Tuesday, September 27, 2022


How to take all your books in the RV

The hardest thing to leave behind when we became full-time RVers was our bookshelves full of books. I am so glad that, with my smartphone and the Kindle app, or the Google Play Books app, I can now carry even more books in my pocket than I had in the house!

The Kindle app for Reading on smartphones

I got a Kindle eReader in 2009 when they first came out. Today, I don’t even need the Kindle reader because the Amazon Kindle app works great on my Android phone, my iPhone, my iPad, or my Android tablet. If the book has an audible version, my phone, or my Alexa will even read it to me. Jim’s and my primary method for passing time on the road is to have Alexa read to us.

Reading on a phone is so convenient

I actually prefer my phone for reading over paper books and also over tablets/iPads or eBook readers. Why? Because it’s small enough to hold with one hand (leaving the other hand free for that glass of wine) and light enough that my hand does not get tired. I can set the font size and the screen lighting/colors so that it is comfortable for my eyes whether I’m in a beach chair in the bright sun, or in bed in the middle of the night.

The main reason I like the phone app is because my phone is always with me. I’m prepared with a book to read any time I might catch a bit of time to do so. If you’re worried about how your book looks on that little screen, realize that there are a lot of adjustments available.  Check out this little video to see how it works.

Buying new books – instant gratification

It’s so easy to get a new book. Last week while on vacation, I finished the book (“Mrs. Hemingway”) I downloaded for the trip and started asking the other people in our group for recommendations. At least two people highly recommended “Where the Crawdads Sing”. As soon as I got back to my room I could purchase, download and start reading that book. Imagine how many days, weeks, months – or never – that would be if I insisted on reading paper books?!

Google Play Books

Actually, I didn’t even use the Kindle app this time. Google Play Books is very similar, and it comes on most all Android devices. Just look in the Google group of apps. As long as you have a Google Account and have attached a credit card to your account, you can purchase books. For Kindle, you need an Amazon account. 

If you have an iPhone, you can still use the Google Play Books app to read a book, but to buy a book you have to use a Web browser to go to Google Play Books. Same with Kindle on iPhone – you need to use a Web browser and go to Amazon.com to buy a book, then you can read it on the iOS Kindle app.

Searching and highlighting passages

One other feature I really like with books on my phone is that I can highlight passages and I can search. Those books, and those highlighted passages, are accessible to me forever. This is especially useful for non-fiction books. Let’s say you got the Kindle version of my book – “Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos” – and you wanted to remember how to set up a group photo album. You could highlight the passage and quickly find it any time just by opening the book on your phone and searching for “albums.” Your search results would show any highlighted passages with the word “albums” first. If perchance you didn’t highlight that part, search will show you everywhere the word appears in the book and give you the context. You can then click on an item from the search results and be taken to that page in the book.

Amazon Kindle vs. Google Play Books

I have discovered two differences between Kindle and Google Play Books. #1 favors Kindle and #2 favors Google.

  1. When you buy a book using Kindle, you are prompted to add the audible book to your purchase if there is one. I often buy both the eBook and the Audible version. For some books I also have the paperback version! One way or another, I’m going to finish that book. In the Google Play Books version, the eBooks are completely separate from the Audible books. Pricing example: Homo Deus = Kindle: 14.99 + 12.99 for audible, Google Play Books: 14.99 + 19.95 audible.
  2. When you highlight sections of books using the Kindle app, those highlights stay with the book. With Google Play Books, your highlights are all collected in Google Drive. Very handy.

Download a sample

I was just watching TV and saw an interview of an author promoting a book. I have no idea if I’ll really like the book, but it sounds intriguing. Both Kindle and Google Play Books allow me to download a free sample. So I can read a bit and decide whether I want to buy it. I love that.

So, what are you reading? And, how are you reading it? Paperback? Tablet-sized eReader? Anyone else like reading on your phone as much as I do?

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly YouTube show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years. 


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Judy S
1 year ago

I bought my first Kindle when I was traveling a lot for business and hauling books was cumbersome. Now that I’m retired and RVing full time, it’s convenient to download books in Kindle format from my library, no matter where I am. I also like Kindle Unlimited and Book Bub.

My brother and I share similar reading interests, so we set up Kindle Family and can share our books at no added cost. They appear right in each other’s library, unless we mark it not to share.

1 year ago

I read a lot, mostly on my iPhone or E-reader. I actually prefer the E-reader, but I buy books from Apple and those can only be downloaded to the iPhone. I get emails advertising books several times a month and almost always buy one or more. I have enough books waiting to be read to last for years!!

1 year ago

I read 2-3 books per week at no expense as I am a member of two libraries that have different apps for borrowing books in print and audible versions. You may not get the latest book out for a while but there are plenty of books available.

1 year ago

I buy USED books, don’t really care what is popular to read. I think tablet costs too much, and unlike buy a real used book, even old books the price is high and pocketed by sellers. I even try and buy hard cover, as I prefer them to paper back. We do sometimes buy Kindle books, but seldom.

3 years ago

We do all methods of reading. Wife has all the main methods. Our local library has downloadible books for two week loan. We also hunt for books on CD, cheaply. We pass the CD’s on at rallies. And, we continue to read books on old fashioned paper. Once read, we also pass them on.
Since I have a technical bent, you cannot find much or any titles on the download site.

3 years ago

Kindle and Audible are my form of reading. I may give Google Play Book a try after reading your description of it. Between Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Audible the monthly subscription costs are right about $25 a month, but it’s so worth it to me, especially KU since I can go through multiple books a month. Love that I can read and listen on all of my devices and it picks up right where I left off. It was nice meeting you in March at the RVillage Rally, I picked up a lot of great info on using using Google Photos. Safe travels.

3 years ago

I have Amazon Prime and have the kindle app and audible and find I can read a book in a couple of days……and that becomes too expensive!

Magee Willis
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie

Try “BookBub” and “The Fussy Librarian” – both sites offer free and inexpensive books to download. There are other sites I’ve heard of but not used – Guttenberg Project, for one.

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