What is your preferred device for reading programming books?



What do you read most of your programming books on? Which is your preferred device?

Please take part in the following polls by stating how often you read programming books on the following devices…

On a computer/monitor

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

On a laptop

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

On a large screen such as a television

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

On a tablet such as an iPad

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

On an e-ink device such as a Kindle

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

Paper books

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

Other (please explain in thread!)

  • Very often
  • Fairly often
  • Occasionally
  • Not very often
  • Never

0 voters

Here is some info you might find interesting…

LCD devices (computers/laptops/TVs/tablets)

  • LCD screens flicker around 60 times per second which can cause headaches (as well as other issues), the blue light can interfere with your circadian rhythm and the extreme brightness of some devices can damage your eyes (often described as ‘retina burn’).
  • You often get disturbed by notifications on such devices
  • Cannot be easily read in bright sunlight/daylight
  • A positive: You can usually easily click on links to see full file of snippets or quickly Google something if you need to
  • A positive: You can sometimes change the hue to a warmer colour via things like ‘night modes’
  • A positive: You can usually get free updates to your books


  • Aside from sharing the same pros and cons from above, they’re portable!

e-ink devices

  • They do not suffer with flicker, blue light, extreme brightness
  • You don’t get disturbed by notifications
  • They’re highly portable - the most portable of all reading devices
  • Larger code snippets can be difficult to read as they go onto multiple lines
  • You usually get free updates to your books
  • Not easy to read the full file when you click on a link
  • Not every book will be available for your device (though most publishers support them nowadays)


  • Some people prefer them
  • You have to buy a new book if you want an updated version
  • Difficult to carry lots of ‘books’ around

Did you find this info helpful?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Already aware of these pros/cons

0 voters

Will this info change the way you read books in future?

  • Yes - I might try another device or platform
  • No - I will probably continue to do what I always have

0 voters


For the “Other” category; I occasionally read books on my mobile phone (iPhone), mostly via the Kindle mobile app and on some rare occasions as PDF documents.

My Kindle Paperwhite (and the one before that) is by far the best technology/gadget I’ve made and I read somewhere between 20-40 books per year (across all devices).


Damn I knew I forgot something! Good job I included that now :lol:


My phone is what I most read on, the Google Pixel 2 XL, which is giant enough to read on easily with a 1440p screen, so yeah, I make the text tiny on it. ^.^


So much envy! I wish that phone were available in Norway, but alas.


@AstonJ - Oh! I also use my phone to listen to audio books via Audible. A lot.


I love it. ^.^

It is so responsive. I’m amazed at how much I use voice commands on it…

And I still haven’t filled it up after a year! I usually fill up the phones internal memory in a couple of months, but I’m at 800+ programs and still counting! I need to clean those out… ^.^;


I’m for sure getting one when (if) it arrives in Norway!

(The “Reply” feature on this forum platform is a bit confusing. Sometimes, my reply gets “embedded into” the post I’m replying to, sometimes there’s link in the top-right corder of my reply… Hmmm.)


In the computers/laptops category I would add a major pro (for me at least). When you read a programming book, you can split the screen in two (hip hip hoorray for i3wm). At the left you keep the pdf open and at the right your text editor. This way you can follow along the code.


I’m not sure if LCD screen does really flicker. Subpixels can turn on and of as often as refresh rate, but when image is still, like a book page. They are constantly turned off or on, until what is to be shown on does not change. And that is not really what Id call flickering.


It is not embedded as a direct link unless it was more than 2 posts ago as I recall. You can always just quote a part like this by selecting it then hitting the quote thing that pops up. :slight_smile:

LCD’s don’t flicker, they ‘glow’ and they take time to change state. CRT is the ultimate display, it flickers if the refresh rate is too low but it changes state faster than no LCD could ever even hope to do. ^.^


Most of the time I use my Android phone for reading. To not get disturbed by notifications, I usually put it into DND mode, in which only my wife, my parents and my Team Lead can call me. No other kind of notification will come through.

Also when I have the necessary controll, I prefer to have the background in a very dark gray or even pitch black, with light gray to silver foreground.

Code samples are often a problem on the small screen though. I often do a note then somewhere and look that example up later again on a bigger screen.

I still use paperbooks a lot, even though I usually don’t like them, as they quickly get out of date for many technologies and sometimes the update notes on the website supersede the book itself.

But paperbooks can lift me in a reading mode, I barely can reach when reading from electronic devices. I can better concentrate on paper. I do not think its because of notifications or such things, I really think its the haptics. I grew up with dead trees, and didn’t had an alternative for more than half of my life.

The first “ebook” I actually had, was a self scanned book I already had in paper. I uploaded a loose collection of JPEG to my windows phone around 2004/5… I had strict weight limits for my bags back than.


Ditto, I live in DnD mode on my phone!

Also ditto, with oreo you can finally at least theme the launcher dark now, so I have!

I wish all other programs let me theme, some do, some are just a horrid white… >.>

I’m actually very VERY big on the “feel” of something, and I just can’t stand the feel of paper, it feels rough and horrible, and most books feel even worse, so I just cannot concentrate on the content at all. :frowning:

I’ve been so happy with the e-book and website changeover most things are doing!


Can you post a screen grab of what you mean please Leif? Edit: just noticed ODL replied, is that what you meant?

The type/amount of flicker can depend on your device, but there will be some sort of flicker - from wikipedia:

You can do a quick test - read on an LCD screen for 30 minutes or so, then switch off your lights and close your eyes. You’ll usually notice a ‘pulsation’.

I highly recommend a Kindle. I absorb what I’m reading a lot more when I read on my Kindle - it also feels ‘nicer’ (no flicker, no bright screen, no horrible blue light).

You do need to acclimatise tho - before I start reading on my Kindle I put all other devices aside (and turn the computer screen off) and then close my eyes and count to 10 - if anything comes into my mind, I blot it out, and then I keep doing that until a) my mind feels clear and b) the ‘pulsating’ from looking at an LCD has gone.

Try it, you might like it :003:


I do almost all of my reading on a Kindle and have for years, but its not all that great for technical books, very often code layouts are difficult to read - almost always they are unreadable in portrait and in landscape I feel like I do too much page turning.

It might be easier on my eyes but the main reason I use it is because it is very light weight, battery lasts for weeks, and I’m not tempted to check Reddit or HN while I’m using it.


Have you looked at the larger (and waterproof) Kindle Oasis Jeremy?

I might get one when they’re on sale next :smiley:


I just got an Oasis but I haven’t read a technical book on it yet! You are right I’m sure it will be better.


Ah awesome! Please do and let me know how you get on! I have a Kindle from 2011 I think so I reckon the Oasis should be a really good step up for me.

Could you take some photos of a book with some code on it too please? Just so we can see what it looks like :003:


Even though lot of reading (prose) is done via the kindle app, most techbooks I own are in a variety of formats, and I do kind of fear that they won’t be available on a kindle.

Also the last time I had a kindl (the eInk one) in my hands, I really had problems with the very slow screenswitching. Turning black, turning white, letters appear inverted, then everything gets right. I’m a diagonal reader, more skimming than reading, on screen I have a steady scrollspeed, rarely standing still, on paper I often have the next page ready to turn between my fingers while still reading on the left. Because of this habbits, reading on slow eInk is hard for me…


Yep, they’re definitely not the fastest! It’s certainly one of the things I wish was faster - but my Kindle is old now, and the newer ones are a lot quicker (tho maybe not fast enough for you?) Check out some videos perhaps?

My Kindle is definitely one of the best tech purchases I have made though - I love it! I’ve read so many books that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t had a Kindle :blush: