You know, being a reader, I have definitely heard my share of arguments when it comes to reading on a Kindle or Kobo instead of physical books. The people I talk to seem to believe it isn’t “real reading” because it’s on a digital screen and not on a page. Apparently, in this technologically advanced age, if you use any means of digital device to help your creative form, you lose some sort of meaning or value to said form. In fact, it seems that everyone has a complaint about losing something to the digital age. “Oh, we’re losing our abilities to communicate face-to-face,” “We’re losing our ability to think for ourselves,” it goes on.
Do I even need to list the complaints that everyone has had about e-books? Because I’m sure everyone who reads in any format has heard them all. “Oh, it’s not ‘real’ reading, because it’s digital.” “What are you going to do when you don’t have your charger? You’re just going to sit there all sad?” “It’s ruining the publishing industry when it comes to sales,” “You don’t get the ‘real’ experience when you read on an e-reader.”
Well, for a time, I believed these things because I am stubborn in my ways. I liked physical books and intended to keep reading them. But as time has passed, I began to see the appeal of having an e-reader. So, for my birthday last year, I asked if someone could get me a Kindle Paperwhite as a present. And sure enough, grandma and grandpa delivered and I got one for my birthday.
And, like any medium of entertainment, there are pros and cons to it. I don’t think I need to go on about the arguments surrounding televisions, the internet, or even music to tell anyone that there’s positives and negatives to everything.
But I can tell anyone that reads this my personal feelings about my Kindle, and I’m going to.
Size: It is very lightweight, first off. I can fit this thing inside my smallest bag and be done. I don’t have to stuff and rearrange a physical book all over the place to get it inside a bag, and to have it ruined later in the day anyways. I know I’m not the only person that has had pages and paperback covers folded and wrinkled and even ripped because it was stuck in a bag with all their possessions. But with the flat Kindle’s shape, it doesn’t suffer too much damage even when I have to rush to get somewhere.
Space: It has a lot of memory, which means that I can have lots of books on me at one time. No more hassle of cramming series into huge bags and feeling like I’m carrying weights around every time I leave the house. And I know that I won’t run out of space for a while, whereas if it were physical books, I would have to buy new bookshelves nearly every month. That’s a lot of money and IKEA trips.
Convenience: Since it’s tied in with Amazon, I can easily hop onto the site on the Kindle itself, buy a book, and begin reading it in less than a minute. Which saves me, a broke college graduate, money on gas, which is nice.
Price: While I’m at it, why don’t I just mention the cheapness when it comes to e-books? I mean, I have an account with BookBub, a site that scours Amazon for its best e-book deals, including the ones that are free and discounted. Who doesn’t love to hear those two words when they’re shopping? I can get a book that I want for little to no cost, which is fantastic for someone on a budget and is a cheap person, AKA me.
Reading in the Dark: It has a brightness control, which gives me the option to read in the dark. That is very convenient, since I hate to disturb my roommate with my light constantly being on, and it saves on the electricity bill. (even though I’m really not supposed to read in the dark anyways. At least it’s easier to read on the Kindle than with a flashlight or my phone)
Battery Life: The battery lasts a long time. Like, I haven’t touched it in weeks, and it still has battery power. I could probably read an entire book on it right now, with less than half the battery, and it would still be alive two weeks from now. Yes, physical books never die, but it’s nice to know that if I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to charge it for some reason, the chances of it really dying are only if it the battery power’s image is as thin as my fingernail.
Wi-Fi only: My Kindle only has the wi-fi option, so if I don’t have wi-fi, I can’t download books. This became a small issue when I moved and had to get a new wi-fi set up and forgot to connect my Kindle to it before buying a lot of books. I mean, yeah, I kind of literally asked for it when my grandma asked me what kind of Kindle I wanted, but that’s still slightly annoying. Small con still counts as a con.
Connectivity: As stated before, connectivity can be an issue. For some reason, the Goodreads app didn’t seem to work on the Kindle and I don’t get why. It works on the Goodreads website, but not the Kindle itself? What’s up with that?
Cases: This is probably another minor issue, but it was hard for me to find cases for this thing, which I felt like it needed to have. It felt so fragile and naked without one, and I kept dropping it the first time I took it out of the box. I was terrified of breaking it the first week that I had it. That would have been sad. But, the cases I found at a store in the small town I lived then were way too ugly for the price they asked. And any case that did look good was online and expensive. Shipping fee is worst than sales tax if you ask me. I broke down eventually and had purchased a simple case that was discounted, but still. It shouldn’t have to be a big ordeal for me to find a good Kindle case. Maybe I made it an ordeal because of my pickiness, but hey, I want my things to look nice. Sue me.
Amazon Itself: The publishing industry just…seems to really hate Amazon. Not in the, “I am a publisher/writer/editor/something and Amazon is my mortal enemy that I am to slay” sort of hatred (although maybe someone feels that way?). More like the, “I am a publisher/writer/editor/something, and Amazon appears to be a necessary evil if I am to make money off of this business” sort of hatred. It’s a business-related hatred, and no one can really blame someone of that. Just last year, there was the Hachette incident that made its way to national news, and I’m sure that there are others like this that aren’t mentioned because they’re minuscule in comparison. But things like that do happen. And I wouldn’t be shocked if they appeared in the news once more about the same thing again.
I still like physical books?: Out of all of my meager cons I could add to the list, this has to be the heaviest weight on the scale. Because, try as they might with technology, there are just some habits that are hard to kick. I still bite my nails to this day, even though that upsets my lovely grandma. And, yeah, I get that Kindles are great devices for readers, and I like mine very much, but when it gets down to it, I still prefer physical books. It might have to do with the fact that I was conditioned to read physical copies instead of digital ones because of my generation, and the transition is hard, but it still stands that I like physical books more.
So, overall, Kindles are nice. They provide a convenience that wasn’t possible before. They provide possibilities that weren’t possible before. I am glad to have one. Is it the perfect replacement for actual books? Hell no. Even with everyone panicking that e-books are going to do away with physical books, there are those like me that will still walk out of a bookstore with arms full of hardbacks and paperbacks.