Ever since I started my degree studies till I graduated, most of my course materials were in PDF and people wonder how it was easy for me to read straight from my phone. I don't buy materials because I was trying to save my money since I have a phone that can accept PDFs. But one thing about reading on smartphones is that you have to be disciplined just like what @george-dee said in his post.
It is easy to be distracted when you are reading on your phone especially when it has to do with your course in preparation for exams. If you can't discipline yourself, there is no way you will understand what you are reading.
One of the reasons I love reading on my smartphone is because Ebooks are more easily accessible than hardcopy books. Why do I say that? Many times, there are books I would love to read but because of lack of funds or not being able to find them at a nearby bookstore, I just download them online and viola, I am already reading my beloved book.
There are different apps to download novels and storybooks from and I have one called the Lightreader app. This doesn't cost you anything other than using your data to download and you are good to go.
Another reason is that it is not expensive since you are only using your Data. Some novels are expensive that aren't affordable, but with your phone, you can get them anywhere and start reading where you are.
Let me add another reason before talking about the disadvantages it has on me. The reason is that I don't like carrying enough books with me but with my phone, it is light and can go anywhere without feeling burdened.
Just like I said the other time that one has to be disciplined so as not to be distracted but to be focused. For one person like me, when I need to read any book on my phone, I make sure that I won't be doing anything for the next 20-30 minutes elsewhere but spend it reading and focusing on that particular book. So, what I do is enable my “do not disturb mode” and I won't be disabling it until I am done. This is called discipline. I love to achieve my result and this is one way I do that.
Reading from smartphones deprives me of feeling the warmth of holding a book. I remembered buying a novel titled the “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I smelt the book and I love the scent. As I was flipping the pages of the novel, I was feeling good that I was reading something. I knew I held something.
Reading from my smartphone affect my eyes because I am always looking at the screen and when I reached a point, I pause and take my rest. But for physical books, the time duration it takes to get your eyes affected is longer than that of the smartphone. I don't know if you noticed that because I did.
Reading from my smartphone does not make me appreciate that particular novel much. When I read a novel on my phone, I can easily forget I read something but getting the book and keeping it on the table or shelf, will make me keep seeing the book every day and I will easily remember everything I have read.
Another major part of it is that you won't be able to tick some sensible paragraphs or words on your phone but on a hardcopy or physical book, you can highlight with your pen, marker or pencil or even fold that particular place to revisit it.
Also, reading from my smartphone won't make me remember some particular words, unlike reading and using my fingers to trace each line or underline some important words. There was a time one of my lecturers was dictating notes for us. She was dictating the exact words from the PDF I had on my phone. She noticed I wasn't writing anything which to me wasn't necessary.
She said it would be better for me to write even if I have the PDF because I will easily remember whatever I jot down than reading from my smartphone. I agree with that statement because it's true. When you are reading a hard copy of a book, you will understand more than reading from your smartphone.
With all these disadvantages I have mentioned, I still would prefer reading from my smartphone to a physical book because I can easily open my dictionary or go to Google to find a meaning of a particular word or make more research while I still keep reading. Then, the accessibility is what makes me choose reading from my smartphone.