Kindle or No Kindle

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By modernlifeninja

I believe that this is my favorite among all other products that I have on this website. I don’t think anything will beat this, at least in the short term. I am talking about my Kindle Paperwhite.

I was packing my luggage for a 10 hour flight when I said to myself, for the first time, I need an e-reader. The books I have in my luggage were just not leaving enough room for the rest of my stuff that I needed to pack. They were not even books that I was planning to read. I had already read them – I was taking them back to my parents’ mini – library.

Our family and I have this thing about keeping all our books at my parents’ house, in their library. It is actually really cool to collect all the books we have read. Some of them are more than 50 years old. I could see what my father read when he was 8 years old. Pretty interesting stuff.

The problem with all this is that I live in Boston, 5,000 miles away from Ankara, Turkey. Since denying our library of any book we read is not an option, I have to carry every single book I read back to our family house.

This was actually fine when I moved to Boston for the first time. I came to Boston to study for my master’s. Because of all the school work, I was not reading a lot of books for pleasures. Taking a couple books back home at the end every semester was not a big deal. But when I finished my master’s and started a 40 hours a week job, things changed. I started reading much more and taking home 20+ books every six months became a problem.

You might see where I am going with this and understand why I decided to buy a Kindle. Buying e-books wasn’t going to solve the problem of not having books I read in the family library, but I thought I can at least have a digital library. I started using Goodreads and this digital library thing actually turned out to be great. Maybe I can write about it as well in another post.

I still feel a little bad whenever I go back to my parents’ house and see that our mini library will never have some of the books I read. But I guess, in this information age, more and more things we can hold and feel are getting replaced with their digital, easy-to-forget versions, and maybe we just need to get used to it.

The bigger problem was the reading experience. I liked reading actual books and didn’t want to buy an e-reader. I thought reading on Kindle would never be as good as reading an actual book. But carrying 20+ plus books was just not doable anymore, either.

I had to choose. I was either going to keep buying physical books and end up with books I am not able to take back home, or I was going to buy an e-reader, carry my digital library with me and sacrifice the reading experience of a real book. I chose the latter and bought a Kindle Paperwhite.

I am not going to explain you how I ended up deciding on Kindle Paperwhite among all other e-readers. I just checked advantages and disadvantages of each e-reader out there like a typical consumer and I personally thought that the Kindle would be the best for me. In this post, I would like to tell you how Kindle Paperwhite proved my assumptions wrong.

After using it for about a month, I realized that I had always approached this buying an e-reader thing as a tradeoff I need to make. I was thinking I would sacrifice the good experience of reading an actual physical book, and in return I would not end up with physical books I am not able take back home.

It turned out that I was not actually sacrificing anything. I thought reading a book on Kindle would never give me the same feeling – and I was right, it didn’t. But reading on Kindle was as enjoyable as reading an actual book. It was different, but it was good. I decided to keep them both. Nowadays, I usually read a physical book and an e-book on Kindle in parallel.

So, what makes Kindle Paperwhite different but good for me? I like to use lists so I’ll use one here –

  • I think I already talked about this enough but let’s mention it here one more time. You don’t have to worry about carrying around heavy books. All of your books are in a thin light device called Kindle Paperwhite. This is very useful especially if you are reading multiple books at the same time. You can just switch to another book based on your mood.
  • This is one of my favorite. You can read a book while rolling in the bed, while eating lunch or while peeling a potato. These things are hard to do with a physical book. Kindle Paperwhite won’t close if you take your hands off it. The backlight of Kindle makes this even easier as you don’t have to worry about adjusting your position to the light.
  • Did I mention the backlight? This allows you to read your book pretty much anywhere you want, without disturbing other people with those annoying overhead reading lights. My girlfriend loves this one too as she can sleep in the dark while I read my book.
  • Kindle has a built-in dictionary. As a non-native English speaker, this has been extremely helpful for me. I can just hold my finger on a word and definition pops up. It also stores the words you looked up so that you can review them later for vocabulary building. I am not that crazy about words, so I don’t use this very often – unless I really need it.
  • You can adjust the font size, font type, line spacing, and margins of the books. I don’t change these settings often but it is actually very nice to have your favorite settings applied to all the books you read. Reading paperback versions of the Game of Thrones books with tiny font and almost no line spacing or margin made me realize the value of this.
  • You can highlight phrases and then, you can see all of them in one place afterwards. I find this very useful after I read a personal development book and want to get a summary of everything I highlighted.
  • Finally, if you don’t have your Kindle with you when a reading opportunity presents itself, you can keep reading your books on your phone while using your Kindle app. I admit that this is not directly related to the Kindle Paperwhite itself but I really like this, so I will put it here. This turned out to be very useful when I had to wait one hour extra before my appointment at my dentist. I didn’t have any cavities though, that was good.

All of these made reading on a Kindle Paperwhite a very unique experience for me. I know there are other advantages of having a Kindle, such as spending less money on books or having books instantly by downloading them. I agree with all those advantages but I tried to focus on the actual reading experience here, which is what matters most to me.

As I said before, I don’t think Kindle is a replacement for physical books. They are both different experiences and I would like to keep them both.

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