I ♥ MY KINDLE: In Which I Add My Two Cents on E-readers

Ok, I’ll admit it — I’ve always been one of those readers who unwaveringly (and rather ignorantly, I might add) opposed e-readers. I HAVE CONFESSED MY BOOKISH SINS, NOW PLEASE FORGIVE ME! I’m rather embarrassed of it, really. I look back and my attitude seems rather neo-Luddite (as in a reference to those people who smashed machinery during the Industrial Revolution, #APEuro) to me. Ok, maybe exaggerating a little bit.

Instagram: @everybookaworld

Instagram: @everybookaworld

It’s like I was so attached to physical books that I refused to believe there could be a decent alternative. * Cringe * I would frown at polls indicating rising e-book/e-reader sales, scoff at debates praising the merits of e-readers, and generally roll my eyes at anything slightly pro-ereader. I WAS * THAT * PERSON. All this, despite never having used an e-reader. I know, despicable bookworm behavior.

BUUUUT. I’ve recently caved and bought a Kindle, and have subsequently been forced to reexamine and overhaul all my previous thoughts on e-readers. Or at least most of them.

While an e-book/the Kindle has nothing on a physical book in terms of beauty and presence, I  think this is besides the point — no one is arguing otherwise! While I’m sure some readers might’ve switched over to reading almost entirely on their e-readers, and that the question for the future is if new books will only be available digitally and physical books will become collector’s items, this is not at all the question for me presently. For me, my Kindle doesn’t replace anything, but it does supplement my reading experience and brings some pretty awesome advantages and features. 

Advantage #1: it helps me read faster. Well, it seems like it at least. I’m by no means a slow reader, but it’s so easy to tap through the pages on the Kindle that it feels like the book flies by! And though a location number is kind of a sad substitute for a page number, I think the percentage feature makes up for that. Plus, I love the “minutes left in this chapter” feature — I like to use it to see if I have enough time to finish the chapter before bed (the answer is always yes, by the way).

Advantage #2: HIGHLIGHTING! I’ve never understood how people can stand to mark up physical pages, but all my hesitation disappears with digital pages. Where has this feature been all my life?! While I’m reading an e-book now the  problem becomes stopping myself from going overboard with the highlighting. Seriously — I almost feel like I highlighted the majority of Uprooted because I loved it so much! It makes grabbing the perfect quotes to describe something in a review SO easy. Then I just have to try to stop myself from using too many quotes in a review… I’ve also heard that a lot of people feel like they don’t really “own” an e-book, but I think that being able to highlight and take notes really personalizes the experience and makes it feel more like my copy.

Advantage #3: size, weight, and ease of travel! I just love how light it is, and I even toss it around when I’m holding it because I like to feel all 6.7 ounces of it, haha. I can read with just one hand if I want to, and if I get a special case for it I could even read while eating, A.K.A. the dream. Plus, it fits perfectly in my not-so-large purse, whereas a physical book never completely fits. Then it’s got the whole tons-of-books-on-one-small-device thing going for it. And actually, in a HUGE bookish decision, I’ve decided to only bring my Kindle with me to college next semester. * gasp! * With as little time as I get to read during the semester, bringing a whole suitcase of books just doesn’t make sense. And thinking ahead to studying abroad one semester (because if you know me I’m almost constantly thinking about study abroad 😉 ) I know having my Kindle will be just brilliant.

Because I had no cover to display...

Because I had no cover to display…

Disadvantage #1: (keeping in mind that I don’t mean to replace physical books with my Kindle) lack of real cover art. On my Kindle, at least, an e-ARC doesn’t have a cover, and my e-copy of Paper Towns doesn’t show a full-size version of the cover either, and even then it’s in black and white. I usually love gazing at the cover periodically while reading. It isn’t exactly ideal for Instagram, either.

Disadvantage #2: different reading experience. For the most part, I’m pretty impressed by how paper-like the screen of the Kindle manages to look. But I’m a visual person, so I miss being able to picture a certain scene in its location on the page, which I can’t really do with an e-book. And of course, just being able to hold a book and flip through it so easily. It’s also been suggested that e-readers interrupt the way our brain normally interprets written language (a surprisingly physical process) which could mean something for comprehension. For more check out this article.

Overall though, while I have yet to read anything besides e-ARCs on my Kindle, I think I can safely say that my view of e-readers has almost completely changed, and for the better. While I love my physical books, my Kindle is without a doubt here to stay — and I think I’ll even appreciate it more in the longer I have it.


What has your experience with e-readers and e-books been like? Any other reformed e-reader opponents out there? (I hope I’m not the only one…)

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Comments

  • I think I’ve always been open to ebooks because of how cheap they were for me since I was in high school and my parents were never a fan of spending money on fictional novels. I could read all the new releases that everyone else had at the same time, sometimes even earlier and that led to a huge boost in my reading habits! Still not as great as feeling the paper turn with your fingers and THAT BOOKISH SMELL *suppresses book sniffer side*.

    Didn’t know that e-readers could interrupt language interpretation though :O Guess that’s why I get so easily distracted when reading an ebook. Nice post and glad you “reformed” haha.
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

    • Price is definitely a factor — us broke students want to try to get as many books for as little as we can! 😉 That being said, I prefer to get my books from the library more often than buying them, and nothing beats the library’s price! You’re right — NOTHING beats the bookish smell! *declares this a judgement-free zone for book-sniffers*

      There’s a lot of research going into the process of reading fiction and the way we read these days, and it’s all so fascinating! The article I linked on e-readers says that our brain understands letters as physical objects, and text “as a kind of physical landscape” that doesn’t necessarily translate with e-readers.

  • I totally agree, Lina! Except that I never really *opposed* e-readers… I just *preferred* physical copies more. It’s turning into the opposite right now, actually!

    I read faster on my Kindle, too! I think it’s because I can switch up the font, sizes, brightness, etc. to whatever feels more comfortable for me, and thus easier to read. Maybe. I also adore the “time left in chapter” feature. And there’s ALWAYS time for another chapter, even if it’s already 2 AM.

    I ALWAYS read with one hand, even when I’m reading a physical book, but it’s so much easier to do if I’m on my Kindle because it’s thinner and lighter. And my Kindle is my best friend during vacations as well.

    I’ve found a way to put the covers on my e-ARCs (I use Calibre), but when the eARC is a PDF = no cover. 🙁 And it’s not the same as stroking the cover on a physical book… Stroking my Kindle screen is not as fun. D:
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…How To Start a Book Blog (Mechanics and Essentials)My Profile

    • Wow, that’s awesome that you’re starting to prefer e-readers! I’m not too creative with my fonts and sizes haha, so far I’ve just stuck to what reminds me the most of a physical book (smallest size). And I actually don’t have backlighting, I thought it might hurt my eyes, but I’m sure it comes in handy! The “time left in chapter feature” is kinda deceiving, haha, but I love the excuse to keep reading. 😉

      You’ve got some skills if you can read a physical book with one hand! Then again, maybe you don’t read upside-down like I do sometimes. 😀

      And wow, thanks for introducing me to Calibre! I really love having a cover of some sort. And true, stroking the kind screen would make me feel silly (whereas a physical book? Never haha).

  • I’ve always loved the idea of eReaders – I like having a light-weight way of carrying books (MULTIPLE BOOKS) around with me, because usually when I stuff a physical book in my purse, pages get bent, which makes me a sad panda 🙁 And yes, highlighting! It’s annoying having to read and also carry around a pad + pen with you when you want to write something down. With highlighting on eReaders, it makes it so much more simple, and with the press of a button, you’ve got all your quotes/notes in one place! 😀

    • YES to carrying around an entire library around with you! Haha, I feel like if we told readers from the past that that would be possible, they’d be stunned. Physical books are just a bit too fragile 🙁 I’m absolutely in LOVE with the highlighting feature! Before I would have to take the trouble of going onto Goodreads to record it, which was just too much work.

  • I only “e read” on my iPod so the screen is just a couple of inches wide and DRIVES ME NUTS. Although aaat the same time, I have to admit I can absolutely burrow into my blankets and have my iPod all snuggled in with me and it’s super comfy and easy to hide with…even though I have to turn the page, like, ever 9 seconds. -_- SO. I like ereaders. I’d love to buy a real kindle one day (when I’m rich and famous, lol) and I think they’re extraordinarily useful. The only thing I don’t like about them, basically, is that they aren’t very interesting for bookish photography! 😉
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…#FindMeTag // wherein I take copious photos of booksMy Profile

    • Gah, that’s got to be kind of annoying! You should buy a Kindle the next time you have a bit of money to spare, the newest, basic one that I have is only $80 — it felt like a lot when I bought mine, too, but really I’ve felt that it’s been so worth it. You’re right though, the Kindle isn’t exactly Instagram ready, there’s only so many shots you can take without all of them looking the same. Maybe you’d like an e-reader with color better then!

  • Hahaha, I was JUST like you! I would scoff at everyone reading ebooks, because they weren’t actual books, and real books were superior, yada yada yada… I do still feel like reading physical books is the best experience, but I bought a Kindle for my birthday last year — it’s been nearly a year, and I have to say it’s by far the best thing I ever bought for myself. Like you said, it doesn’t replace anything, but rather it supplements. I have access to books I normally wouldn’t have gotten my hands on, and also it’s so much easier with reading ARCs and author copies I otherwise would have to read on my computer!

    Say it loud, say it proud — I LOVE MY KINDLE!
    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted…The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter by Kate WinterMy Profile

    • YES, so glad to know I’m not the only one! I was so worried that I would be spending $80 for nothing, but the purchase has been well worth it. Honestly, I don’t know how I survived reading eARCs on my computer. And haha, I love this –> “Say it loud, say it proud — I LOVE MY KINDLE!” Maybe we should have stickers made.

  • Annie says:

    I have the kindle app on my phone and iPad and love it. I totally agree – it’s a great supplement to reading actual books because I still love the tactile experience of a real book. But I love the library inside all my devices that’s so easy to find a book I want and travel with a lot of books.

    What I do is I like to read a physical books the first time – then reread on my kindle. I find that I engage with the story and the characters better with actual books but once that connection is made I enjoy them very well (and highlight!!!!) ebooks 🙂
    Annie recently posted…Fairy Tale Legacy: RapunzelMy Profile

    • Reading a physical book is just such an all-encompassing and sensory experience (like hearing the pages flip, smelling the book!) so e-books can’t really replicate it or replace it — but thankfully for the time being at least, they don’t have to! Wow, your re-reading method is unique, but it really makes sense. No favorite quote will go un-highlighted the second time around!

  • I love this, because I was the same exact way! I did NOT want to get an e-reader and then… I finally did and was kind of addicted to it, for all the reasons you said. But for some reason, once I started blogging, I found myself turning around again and wanting physical books instead! It doesn’t make sense! I think I was just jealous of people’s book hauls so… I had to have hauls of my own 😉 I still use my Kindle every day though, for ARCs. Which is a bummer when they don’t have covers. Also, it makes me sad that ARCs don’t have the “time left in chapter” thing, because I loved that! Such a fun post, I am glad you came over to the dark side 😉
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…June New Release Giveaway Hop!My Profile

    • That is kind of a strange turn-around! But I can see how if you’re used to posting physical book hauls how that might happen. The no covers thing on ARCs saddens me too 🙁 I just have to gaze it in on Goodreads for a long time until I’m satisfied, haha. Aimee from Deadly Darlings told me though that with the computer application Calibre there’s a way to get a cover for your ARC, but I still haven’t gotten around to figuring it out! And huh, I feel like sometimes ARCs have the “time left in chapter” feature, but when I was reading Uprooted I thought it went haywire but maybe it never worked to begin with. Hehe, I like the idea of being on the bookish dark side 😉

  • I used to be pretty opposed to e-books and e-readers, too! I guess I was kind of like old people who are so set in their ways that they’re opposed to change, but what made it even worse was that my father ABSOLUTELY loved e-books and wouldn’t stop pestering me to get them instead of physical ones — I was just way too attached to my hard copies. Now, though, a couple of years down the road, I really do see the power of e-readers, and I think I have Edelweiss and NetGalley to thank. Without e-galleys, I wouldn’t have been able to read half as many books as I have now.

    So yup, I’m totally with you about the advantages of electronic books! Even though they’ll never compare to real copies in terms of art and beauty, their convenience far outweighs all the disadvantages. It’s becoming a pain to try and fit a paperback into my bag, much less a hardcover. But with my Kindle (I don’t even need an actual one because I have the app on my phone — more perks!), I don’t have to worry about damaging the book cover or its pages because it’s so small and light. And then there was this one point in time where I read on my Kindle for such a long time that it actually took a while for me to get used to reading physical books, haha. O_O

    Who knows, maybe one day inventors will find a way to make e-books even more physical than ever. They might even incorporate paper scents in the Kindle to make it all the more realistic! (I’m a book-sniffer, what can I say. xD) Overall though, I used to dislike e-books, but now I love them just as much as physical books.

    • You said old people set in their ways and my mind immediately jumped to Carl Fredricksen from Up, haha. Something tells me he would be suspicious of e-readers, too. At least you had someone pestering you to try e-readers! I had no reason to start until I started using Netgalley, either.

      Fitting a physical book in a purse is quite the struggle. And wow, that’s crazy that you adjusted that much! Just letting my mind go out on a limb here — what if in the future they designed an e-reader that was super tiny for travel but then could expand into a device that resembled a blank physical book, and then it would fill itself in with the e-book you wanted to read? CRAZY THINGS COULD HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE. The e-reader definitely isn’t done evolving! And yes, paper scents and sounds would need to be added in! No judgements from a fellow book-sniffer.

  • Tiffany says:

    It took me years to finally get into reading using an eReader, but now I love them! I’ve had all of the big three: Kindle, Nook, and iPad, and now prefer my Kindle. Though, I tend to use the iPad most, because it has Kindle and Nook apps on it, and I’m able to access all three platforms. Like you stated, nothing replaces a physical book. There’s also the added disadvantage of loving a book you have in electronic form, only to discover you wish you had bought a physical copy. This happened to me with the Vampire Academy series. I either downloaded the books from Overdrive or bought them, and now wish I had the series as physical copies.

    However, like you also stated, eReaders make traveling easier. Especially now that airlines charge for extra poundage. Before every trip I download all the books I plan on reading while I’m away, and can throw my device in my purse. Plus there’s also that added advantage of being able to sync my library with my phone for those times when my device won’t fit into my really small bags.
    Tiffany recently posted…The Week in Review: “Graduations and BBQs” (June 14th – June 20th)My Profile

    • I bet having the Kindle app on your iPad shows you a color cover! *tears up* It’s probably beautiful and I miss a color cover so much when reading on my Kindle. I can see how deciding whether or not to buy the e-book might be a problem, though. I’m new to this and already I’d rather buy a physical copy of books I think I’m going to love, even when buying the e-book means I could have it right away.

  • Krystianna says:

    I was completely against Kindles and other e-readers until I bought one for myself. I bought one around February and I have loved it ever since. It definitely does help me read faster too which is weird! I also love the highlighting feature; it comes in handy for when I find favorite quotes because I like to add those to Goodreads. One of my disadvantages would have to be that it dies pretty quick, though that may be because I forget to charge it at night. :/ Great post!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian
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    • Yay, glad to see that I wasn’t alone! And that I’m not the only one who goes crazy for the highlighting feature xD My Kindle battery never seems to run out, but that’s probably because I don’t have backlighting.

  • I have to admit that I ONLY read on my kindle now — it is my true love! I do miss pretty covers but the fact that I can have hundreds of books at my disposal (even eARCs) at any time plus taking notes and highlighting passages is so convenient! Plus for traveling, nothing compares!!

    • Wow, that’s incredible! I might never completely make the switch, but it would be so convenient to do it! Sad about the covers, though. Do you have really nice Kindle (device) covers, though? I’ve been thinking about starting a collection, haha.

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