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Phones, PCs put e-book within reach of Kindle-less

Amazon's pioneering device may not dominate the market for long. Many phones are now sophisticated enough to be used as e-book reading devices.

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Many phones are now sophisticated enough, and have good enough screens, that they can be used as e-book reading devices. They can now rival the Kindle, pictured.

Mark Lennihan/AP

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A few weeks ago, Pasquale Castaldo was waiting at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for a delayed flight, when a man sitting across from him pulled out an Amazon Kindle book-reading device.

“Gee, maybe I should think about e-books myself,” Castaldo thought.

He didn’t have a Kindle, but he did have a BlackBerry. He pulled it out and looked for available applications. Sure enough, Barnes & Noble Inc. had just put up an e-reading program. Castaldo, 54, downloaded it, and within a minute, began reading Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

As others are also discovering, the North Haven, Conn., banker found e-books quite accessible without a Kindle.

“The BlackBerry is always with me,” Castaldo said. “Rather than just sitting there, if I can fill that time by reading a good book, I might do that, in addition to doing the other things I might do, like reading e-mail and Twittering.”

Thanks to Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle, e-book sales are finally zooming, after more than a decade in the doldrums.

But the pioneering device may not dominate the market for long. As Castaldo found, many phones are now sophisticated enough, and have good enough screens, to be used as e-book reading devices. In addition, e-book reading on computers is already surprisingly popular.

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