Smartphones show 300% growth in use as ebook readers

A survey shows that ebook usage on smartphones  jumped an impressive 300% in the four months from April to July 2009.

The data comes from Flurry, a company that tracks usage of smartphone apps in a similar way to how Google tracks website metrics with its Analytics product.  The data shows active usage in the ebook category, measured by user sessions.

The survey is embedded below.

The interesting thing here is that, because Flurry measures actual usage of the smartphone apps rather than just downloads, it’s a solid indication that iPhone, Android and other smartphone users are not only downloading these ebook reader apps, they’re actually reading with them.

Flurry Smart Phone Industry Pulse July2009 Final

Comments (10)

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  3. Ken

    I would love to find out something about the options for ebooks currently in New Zealand. I know there are no ebook readers available locally. But what are the other options like? How good are laptops, iphones, blackberries, etc., for reading ebooks? and what is the availability of ebooks like in NZ?

  4. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    The PC/Mac or the iPhone are the main NZ options at the moment. My pick would be the iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s a pretty good reading environment, unlike the PC/Mac which is OK for some non-fiction reference but hard to see how you’d read a novel on it. Plenty of public domain titles available for the iPhone and you can buy a few popular fiction, etc, though not a huge choice at the moment. That’s due to a combination of DRM, territorial rights issues and just the general availability of ebook titles. The Fictionwise and Stanza/Fictionwise ebook stores are probably the best iPhone bets for NZ at the moment. NZ-published ebooks are not really here yet though a few publishers are doing some PDF format ebooks, best read on PCs which, as I mentioned, is not an ideal reading enviroment but fine for those reference-type titles. Take a look at the blog I did recently on the 1000 Great NZ ebooks project to get an idea of where the local industry is at.

  5. jjmcgaffey

    If you like SF, check out Baen’s That’s the books they publish each month, plus some, available in literally a half-dozen formats from HTML to Mobibook PRC, and without any DRM attached so it’s easy to change formats if none of those suit you (I go from HTML or RTF to Palm Doc – my reading preference). Also check out the Free Library through or – completely free books in those same DRM-free formats (they’re trying to lure you in, of course – isn’t it great?). And since it’s purely online, it’s available anywhere in the world.

    I read mostly on my Palm TX – the screen is small and the battery life isn’t wonderful (4-5 hours of reading will drain it), but since I’m carrying it anyway it’s very handy for short bursts of reading (when I’m in line/on queue, for instance).

  6. Shelley

    I also use a Palm TX for the majority of my reading. The only issue I have with it is the screen size. I like the fact that I don’t have to purchase books in 1 specific format. My main format is also Palm Doc (eReader) as I can read in that format on more than 1 device. I prefer the desktop reader for Mobipocket but dislike the way it limits you to the number of devices you can read your eBook on.

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  8. Ken

    I am particularly interested in availability of ebook readers. It seems to me that iphones and Palms may not be adequate for me (eyesight at my age) and I am not interested in cell phones, anyway. Just something that I can comfortably read ebooks, pdf documents and word documents on.

    It seems to me that we must just be about at the stage where it is worth purchasing an ebook reader like one of the latest Sony’s. They will probably be cheaper than Palms or iphones, anyway. Yet they are not available in NZ.

    I have heard that some people have purchased readers from the US and make do with what ebooks they can find on-line. However, for a newbie like me, it seems quite a risk to purchase something one cannot try beforehand. One may end up with something that is not suitable and never really of use.

    I am interested in hearing experiences of anyone who uses such an ebook reader. Or what the likely time frame is for their availability in NZ.

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