Book Chat: I joined the 21st century and bought a Kindle

I’m not typically old-fashioned. In normal circumstances, I’m open and welcoming of new ways that technology can improve and better our lives. I love video games, I’m over-dependent on my iPhone, my laptop is my baby. But when it comes to e-readers I feel as though I’ve had a dramatic, unexplainable repulsion towards the idea of replacing my beautiful paperbacks with a digital screen.

At the beginning of the year, I tried to read a few books on my phone, inspired by the convenience of the library app Libby. I even tried to join the ebook craze five years ago when I was in university (I read 2001: A Space Odyssey on my iPad, very futuristic of me). But I never felt the same emotional connection as I felt when reading a physical book. And most importantly, reading a novel on a digital screen gave me a headache. After being on the computer at work all day I looked forward to reading my non-digital, non-artificially lit books when I came home in the evening.

Enter Amazon Prime Day 2018. A day of useless purchases and the illusion of saving money on items you never needed to begin with.

Something chaotic and evil in the back of my mind (potentially spawned by the stresses of wedding planning) told me to take a look at the Kindles. I was curious and we’d already made a couple spontaneous purchases (hello, two more Alexas!). So I figured I couldn’t do too much more Prime Day damage from taking a quick, innocent look at the Kindles which were, of course, on sale. Specifically the Kindle Paperwhite. It still wasn’t cheap at £80 but I read through the overwhelmingly positive reviews anyway which were filled with people who felt the same way I did. They didn’t think anything could ever replace their precious paperbacks but after buying a Kindle they’ve changed their opinions entirely. I was sceptical.

I looked up some books I was interested in buying and they were typically a bit cheaper in their Kindle version. For instance, one book I wanted was only 99p. Some ebooks cost the same as their paperback counterpart so ebooks weren’t necessarily a money saving venture 100% of the time. Reddit was my next stop, where I checked old posts on /r/books to see what people thought of their Kindle purchases. The praise matched everything I had read on Amazon, unsurprisingly. I then thought about the diminishing space I had in our flat to store the books I currently own. My bookshelves were all packed, a stack was growing beside my bedside table, drawers were becoming beyond jammed. And I wasn’t going to stop buying books anytime soon, I’m unashamed to admit.

So without putting much more thought into it, I parted ways with £80 and purchased the Kindle Paperwhite alongside our baby Alexas (our Echo was getting lonely). I spent the following two days waiting for my Kindle to arrive in deep regret, tempted on numerous occasions to cancel my order and get my money back.

First Impressions

My hand for scale.

The day my Kindle Paperwhite arrived I spent my lunch break poking around the various features, my inner sceptic in check. Positive things I noticed right away included how lightweight and comfortable it was to hold and the strength of the backlight. I also liked that even if you had the backlight turned all the way down that it was still easy to read the screen, especially since it isn’t affected by glare. A feature that I instantly loved was the ability to connect Goodreads so I could rate and update books I was reading. It also lets you see e-books being read by your Goodreads friends. Amazon is obviously connected as well for Kindle purchases. I received a month free of Kindle Unlimited which was a bonus, but I’m unsure if this is something I will renew or not at this point. I downloaded two books right away, one which was free with Kindle Unlimited and another that cost 99p (paperback version was £8.99 I believe, so great savings).

The downside, as I suspected, most e-books aren’t THAT much cheaper than the paperbacks, but a few pounds here and there will definitely add up. Another downside is the Kindle feels way too vulnerable without a case, so I spent another £12 to order one.

Overall my first impressions were good, but I wasn’t sure if I was riding a ‘shiny new toy’ high or if it was something that I would enjoy longterm.

About three weeks Later…

I’ve drunk the Koolaid. My Kindle is my new BFF. We’ve already been on two and a half novels worth of adventures together and I’ve downloaded 6 other books (all under £3 and a couple free with Kindle Unlimited). I haven’t left the flat without it since it was purchased and I don’t plan on ever letting it out of my sight. Also, the case I ordered arrived and LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS.

This is going to sound so typical, but I honestly don’t know why I was so stubborn about buying an e-reader. It’s so easy to use, I can buy books and read them seconds later, and I can highlight and store my favourite quotes. One of the coolest features of the Kindle Paperwhite is that the screen almost has the same texture as a book. It even LOOKS like the page of a book. If it wasn’t for this, I probably wouldn’t be able to read for as long as I have been. My eyes have had zero strain so far and I’ve never felt the need to stop reading because of a screen-headache.

On multiple occasions, I’ve brought a giant Tesco bag filled with books when we’ve gone to stay for a few days on the Isle of Wight and it’s always such a massive pain. This is going to make travelling, especially flying, so much easier. I have a number of flights I’ll be making in the next 6 months and I’m a terribly nervous flyer. I feel like having a ton of ebooks at my disposal (and not jammed into my carryon) is going to make air travel much more simple and less stressful.

I’m still not thrilled by the price of some ebooks, but I haven’t seen one that’s the exact same as the cost of a paperback yet. So far so good. I still don’t know if I’ll pay for a month of Kindle Unlimited or not once my free month has expired, but there are a number of books I’ll try to read off of it before it does. I’ll be doing a review on Kindle Unlimited soon since I have a few separate thoughts on this service.

But the biggest perk of my Kindle is definitely how easy it is to read on. I like to read in bed at night and holding up my Kindle is much easier than holding up a gigantic paperback (or worse, hardcover). And I really do think this is going to save storage space for books that I only plan on reading once. This won’t stop me from buying physical books completely as there are some authors and books I want to have in my personal library, but it’s going to help put an end to my ongoing book storage crisis. The Kindle battery lasts a decent amount of time but I’m sceptical that it lasts as long as I’ve read others users boast. But if no downloading is done and it’s only used in the evenings I suspect it would probably last about a week before needing a charge. I’m in the middle of testing that right now.

So to end my extremely lengthy ramble, I am actually thrilled that I made this spontaneous purchase. I look forward to many reading adventures on my Kindle and exploring all the different books I can get for it. If you’re on the fence, I recommend giving it a chance (advice I would never have listened to myself). Amazon Prime Day brings out the worst in all of us, but at least on this occasion, my impulsive purchases didn’t fail me in the end. I’ll write a follow-up post about my Kindle in a few months to see if my high opinion stands the test of time!

What do you think?

Do you have a Kindle? Or are you repulsed by the idea of e-readers like I used to be? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

24 thoughts on “Book Chat: I joined the 21st century and bought a Kindle

  1. Sammie says:

    Welcome to the dark side! We have eBooks galore and also now two places to accrue unsightly TBR piles. Yay!

    OMG YOUR CASE IS SO CUTE! *flails* I just can’t take it.

    I bought a really cheap used Kindle last year because I wasn’t sold on the idea of it and didn’t want to spend all that money without knowing if I was going to even use it. Long story short, I’m in love with mine and it goes everywhere I go. 🙂 Like you, I work on the computer all day, so reading on the phone really hurt my eyes. I’ve got a Kindle Touch, which I love, and it doesn’t have a backlight because I’ve found that strains my eyes, so it really does look and have the feel of paper, and I can read for hours without it hurting.

    I recommend signing up for either Goodreads daily deals or BookBub or both, because they’ll send you book deals. I have such a reading list at this point that I tend to wait until books are on sale for $0.99 – $2.99 before buying them. I also have just a general private list of books I really want on Amazon, and I check that every couple of days to see if anything has gone on sale. If you’re patient, you can get really good deals on books, much more than buying paperbacks. It also takes up less space, which was a win for me because my husband is touchy about that. xD

    You can also use Libby/Overdrive from your library with your Kindle, so there’s also that convenience. 😉

    Welcome aboard. Hope you continue to enjoy your Kindle. 😛

    • Ashley says:

      This is literally the best comment ever. Thank you SO much for all of this amazing information! I’m going to sign up for Goodreads daily deals and Bookhub right now and I’ll start compiling a list on Amazon to check on once in a while. It actually sounds like a ton of fun to hunt for ebook deals and I super can’t wait to get a system going for it. And the fact that our flat will be less likely consumed entirely by books is definitely a good thing! 😛 Glad to hear Libby will still work with my Kindle, I’ll look into that tonight as well! Nothing will ever beat free library books.

      I’m so glad you love your kindle! This is the best dark side to join 😛

      • Sammie says:

        No problem! Always happy to encourage people to read more. xD As long as you’re okay with playing the waiting game, it’s a great way to do it. I got Kiersten White’s And I Darken series recently when the Kindle version went to $1.99 to celebrate the release of the third AND my library just got in the third book, so … score? I’ve been eyeing that one for a while. xD So once you’ve built up your TBR list (ha, like that’s ever a problem, right?) it’s really easy to just keep adding to it. 🙂 I mean, I’d love to buy everything full price and support these authors that way, but … I have a set amount of money each month, and that’s it. So when I preorder something (and I do sometimes) or buy things not on sale, it adds up, as I’m sure you know. 😛

        It gets to be like a little game, though! A very nerdy game that probably very few people find exciting, but oh well. Nerts to them.

        The only thing I hate about my library’s Overdrive is the waitlist. It often takes me months to get books from that. But on the other hand, it’s hard to complain about free books, so yeah.

        If you ever get stuck with something and need help, feel free to message me and I’ll see if I have an answer. 🙂 I always love seeing people get Kindles, because I resisted for SO LONG and then when I got mine, I was just amazed. And a bit silly for having resisted so hard. So I love when people start using it and love it. :3

        • Ashley says:

          Oh boy do I ever understand the need to book budget. It would be so easy to spend thousands on all the books I want to buy. So playing the waiting game seems so much more reasonable! 😛 I completely understand your frustrations with the waiting list. My local library has super long waits for any popular ebooks which is frustrating, but as you say, hard to complain about free books! (But I think we can complain a little bit haha). I will definitely message you if I have any questions at all! You’ve been so helpful and I really appreciate it. 🙂 <3

  2. Satou Johns says:

    Welcome to the Kindle world! I am a huge fan of Kindle and the mega sales! haha great that you got the Paperwhite so you can read even when it gets dark! Sometimes the Kindle books are way more expensive than a paperback book or just like $3 for a hardcover, but that depends on the book! If you keep a close eye to the sales, you will have lots of fun! Trust me! XD

    https://inkishkingdoms.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/in-the-constant-search-for-kindle-sales/

    https://inkishkingdoms.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/what-i-like-about-kindle-books/

    • Ashley says:

      LOVE being able to read what it’s dark! What a massive perk. Ebooks do seem like they vary drastically in price, I’ll definitely keep my eye out for some cheap ones. I’m going to be obsessed with looking for sales… I can sense it already haha. And thanks for the links, I’ll check these out soon :)!

    • Ashley says:

      Thank you! As soon as I saw the cover I knew I had to have it. It does seem like the best travel companion, I can’t wait to bring it on the plane with me in a few weeks. 🙂

  3. elnadesbookchat says:

    That case is adorable! Great post too. Very well stated arguments. My husband converted a few years ago, which was awesome because he was the book hoarder in the family and we were also running out of room. I still use my i-pad to read, but I have been thinking of converting.

    • Ashley says:

      Thank you! I enjoyed the concept of reading on my iPad but it was the lighting and glare that gave me such a headache. Kindles definitely make reading easier on the eyes! I completely recommend converting. 🙂 (I can’t believe I’m now someone recommending an e-reader… my opinion has changed drastically fast haha)

  4. daniellepitter says:

    Welcome to the club!! I had two generation Kindles but they both broke/stopped working so I kinda gave up on using them. But I still read on my Kindle app on my iPad. 🙂

    • Ashley says:

      You obviously used them a lot if they both eventually broke! 😛 It’s great that the Kindle app exists and you can still access your book off the actual e-reader.

  5. Aimee (Aimee, Always) says:

    I own a Kindle, although it’s already currently broken and I can’t get it fixed easily since I’m not based in the US. D: Anyway, I LOVED my time with it! I really loved not having glare on the screen, too. It was nice being able to read the words in dark rooms despite having the brightness lowered to its full extent. Your case is SO adorable too, and I’m so glad you’re having an awesome time with your Kindle so far. ♥

    • Ashley says:

      Poor Kindle! I understand the struggles of living outside of the US. So happy to hear your loved your Kindle while it lasted, not having glare is the absolute best part of it. I was really surprised how readable it still was with the brightness turned all the way down. The only time I’ve had it even 50% brightness is when I’m outside, which is great for the battery.

      And thank you! The case is the greatest thing I’ve ever bought (other than the Kindle, of course! :P).

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