How I Started Reading RegularlyLet me preface this product review with the history of my attitude toward books in general. The only time I would read books was when I was forced to for school. Because of that I could not understand how people enjoyed reading. A while back I decided to try reading recreationally. I started with a book of a movie that I recently watched, The Hunger Games. Someone I know borrowed it from the library and let me read the book. I wasn’t going to make a trip to the library to start this journey because I thought it would turn out boring and I wouldn’t enjoy reading. I was wrong. I enjoyed the book and ended up reading the rest of the series.
My reading journey continued with some classics that I have heard quoted many times. I learned why the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42 in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I met HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Now that I found that I did enjoy reading I was looking for the easiest and cheapest way to do it. My first, and most obvious option, was to visit the library. In the modern world of technology, that is time consuming and expensive. After a little research I found that my local library subscribes to an ebook library called Overdrive. This was great because I already owned an Android tablet so it would be similar to reading a book rather than sitting at a computer.
Why I Didn’t Like EbooksI got tired of using a heavy device with a brightly backlit LCD display. My eyes felt like they were using a computer or watching TV instead of reading a book. My arms got tired because I could not easily prop the tablet up to a comfortable reading position. I preferred reading physical books still, but opted for ebooks because of the ease of renting and returning.
This is when I started considering an ereader with an “e-ink” display. The digital ink displays, unlike traditional LCD displays, do not rely on light passing through the display surface. They reflect light from an outside source, like how pages of books reflect light. This was my primary motivation, but the weight and battery life were extra features that I would like. The strain on my eyes from the LCD, even on the lowest brightness, was annoying.
Why I Chose KindleThe Amazon Kindle is not the only ereader on the market that fit my requirement of a digital ink display. I considered the Barns and Noble Nook, but the more square shape and childish appearance and terms (e.g. “Simple Touch with Glow Light”) kept me away from it. The liked the Kindle because it had a large ebook selection and a popular company behind it. I didn’t give much thought to the smaller name ereaders because they would likely have a smaller selection and a shorter supported life.
Overdrive integrates well with the Kindle system. I can borrow a book and it will be sent directly to my Kindle in a few seconds. I also have the Kindle app on my tablet which synchronizes the furthest read page with the Kindle. This makes it possible to seamlessly switch between devices. For example if I’m traveling light I will bring my tablet only and leave the Kindle at home, but I will still have my books with me.
Why I Chose the PaperwhiteYou may already know that there are multiple models of the Kindle.
|Kindle Paperwhite 3G||This comes with free 3G wireless with limited internet access to Wikipedia, Kindle Store, and a few others. It may be a good option if you don’t have home wifi.||$179*|
|Kindle Paperwhite||This has a touchscreen and a frontlight (looks similar to a backlit screen).||$119*|
|Kindle||This has no touchscreen or light. It needs light from an outside source such as a lamp. Some people prefer the page turning buttons on the side that do not exist in the Paperwhite. This also has a choice of case color of black or silver.||$69*|
|Kindle DX||The big one. If you are looking for something cheap then don’t get this one. I didn’t compare it with the others.||$299|
I suggest doing like I did and finding a store with display models to compare the feel and user interface of the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle (hint: Wal-Mart does not like the competition from Amazon and does not have Kindles).
I decided that I preferred the ease of selecting text on the Kindle Paperwhite’s touchscreen to the lower price of the Kindle. I did not consider the Kindle Paperwhite 3G because I have wifi at home and everywhere I would want to download a book or use Wikipedia.
I started by saving my money and getting accepting the ads when the device is off. They do not impact the reading experience. I decided to pay the extra when it decided to have an ad for a book Kiss and Tell while I was at a conservative church retreat. Removing the ads later is the same cost as buying it without the ads in the first place.
Why I Enjoy Reading NowI did not like reading because I had a bias against books. That is not something that devices can take away. This was the one thing that I had to change about myself. After I found that I enjoy books, I had things I didn’t like of the whole experience of borrowing library books. It was inconvenient enough that I likely would not be reading often if that were my only choice. Borrowing ebooks solved the problem of traveling to the library, but introduced the problem of a bright screen and a heavy device. The Kindle fixed the problem of the heavy device and bright screen. The Kindle Paperwhite that I have brought useful features, such as the ability to read in the dark, a dictionary, and Wikipedia.
Another advantage of ebooks is that popular books are more likely to be available. Someone told me that Divergent is a good book. I looked at the normal hold que that had about 60 holds. I looked at the ebook que and found that a copy was available right then that I could start reading within a minute. That was even at 1:00 AM when the library is closed.
Is the Cost Worth It?I don’t get out of the house much, so a trip to the library usually can’t be combined with a trip somewhere else. In my case I have saved enough money on gas that I have saved money by using a Kindle. The dictionary is increasing my knowledge, because when reading a physical book I will just assume what an unknown word means by context. With the dictionary my understanding is more complete.
NotesI do not suggest a Kindle Fire because it’s a very restricted Android tablet with an LCD screen. If you want a tablet get get one with more freedom and install the Kindle App.
If you don’t want to spend money just yet then I would advise checking to see if you library subscribes to a digital library service. If they do then you can read ebooks on your current devices (computer, phone, or tablet). You will not get all the advantages of an ereader, but you may prefer it over physical books.