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.
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! 🙂