After years of having a phone that took forever to start up, rebooted at random intervals, and required charging every few hours (okay, I exaggerate slightly, but not by much), I caved and got an all-singing all-dancing smartphone recently. I have now become one of those annoying people who whip out their phone whenever I’m waiting in a queue, waiting for the train, or really, waiting for anything.
One of the first things I did with my fancy phone was download all the apps. And now I’ve gotten them configured to my satisfaction, I thought I’d talk about the reading/blogging-related ones I have. (I’m totally going to lose my phone now, right?)
Note I’ve an Android phone, not an iPhone, so links here are to the Google Play store. Also, they’re all free ones (at time of posting, anyway) – I’ve never felt the need to pay for an app (yet).
Kind of a no-brainer, seeing that I’m so hooked into the Amazon eco-system (don’t ask how many Kindles I have). You need your Amazon account details to set this one up, and then it’s synced with your Kindle library. And the Kindle app does what I expect it to do – it allows me to download any books I’ve purchased on Amazon or emailed to my Kindle. Admittedly, I don’t need much from a phone reading app – just the ability to adjust the background (I find a sepia-ish tone easiest on my eyes), margins and font size.
Amazon Kindle for Samsung (link to Samsung website)
Why yes, I have a Samsung phone (and this one is only for Samsung phone owners). And the reason why I have a Samsung-specific Kindle app? Because it gives me a free book a month (from a selection of four). It takes a bit of configuration (you need a Samsung account and an Amazon one, IIRC), but once you’re set up, it’s simple – I “buy” the free book from this app, and then can download the book from the cloud onto my Kindle Paperwhite (which is still my main ereader). Functionality-wise, I don’t think there’s any difference between this one and the Kindle app – different skin, but that’s it as far as I can tell.
I can’t remember where I first saw this posted, but EverAfter Romance app offers various benefits, including a free book every now and then – I downloaded it a month or so ago, and have three free books so far (you have to use a code that they email you to redeem them). As the name implies, it’s centred around romance books, so good if you’re a romance reader! If you have a Adobe ID, you can use that as part of the installation process – I forgot mine, and so the app created a new one for me. That may cause problems down the line, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it…
The range of books? I haven’t explored in detail, but it appears to have the same freebies as I see on Kindle, so probably down to which app you prefer.
I downloaded this to access the ebook collection at my local library. I needed my Adobe ID (this time I managed to use my existing one) and my library logon credentials. Once set up, it was really easy to browse my library’s catalogue and download books. To be honest, I’m not noticing any difference between the reading experience on this app, EverAfter, and Kindle – it’s just that I’ve different ebooks accessible via each one.
Not strictly a book-ish app, but I love Feedly. I use this to catch up on blogs during my commute to and from work – it’s really user-friendly, and well, pretty! I log on with my Google credentials, so really straightforward. The Save for Later function is the one I use most often – either for posts that I want to go back and read in more detail or ones that I want to comment on (I need to figure out how to comment easily from my phone – Belle did a post on setting up phone shortcuts that I’ve been meaning to try).
So that’s me – tell me your must-have apps for your phone? Preferably ones that are available on Android (I’ll get all envious if they’re iOS only) and they don’t have to be book-related!
Bonus one for UK-based readers: WeBuyBooks.co.uk is a website that buys unwanted books (and computer games, DVDs etc). They’ve an WeBuyBooks app that allows you to scan barcodes and immediately lets you know if they’re accepting the book, plus price. I used it when I re-organised my bookshelves – slightly random acceptance criteria (they didn’t want a lot of my genre titles) and it didn’t exactly make me a fortune (the offer price for most paperbacks ranged from 5p-10p, with a surprising £2 for a M&B), but it helped me with the clearout of some books.
(And also, I played around with PicMonkey to make the button (banner?) above. Tweaking the various elements is surprisingly addictive – I foresee many more wasted hours in my future.)