The Pros and Cons of Kindle

My KindlesI bought my first Kindle, a Kindle Keyboard, the one in the picture with a Kindle Paperwhite on top of it, way back in 2011.

The reason i bought it was because i was struggling with my eyes to read normal books any more. It seemed to me that in order to save money (maximise profits), books were being printed with ever smaller writing, less spacing between the lines, and thinner, cheaper paper that allowed a shadow of the print on the other side to mar the side i was trying to read. All this together with long sighted eyes was becoming too much.

So i decided to give the Kindle a try, and here are the pros and cons i have realised in over 7 years of using one…

Cons…

You can’t give a book you enjoyed to a friend to read afterwards – unless their Kindle is linked to your Amazon account. You can link any Kindle you like to your Amazon account, but, you can only link a Kindle to one Amazon account. So it’s fine with people like family or partners, but maybe not so good for random friends and acquaintances.

You can’t give a book to your favourite charity shop. Yes, i used to use charity shops as pay for libraries. Buy a book in one, read it, and if i can’t think of anyone to give it away to just take it back to the charity shop i got it from and give it back to them.

Not really a ‘Con’, but sort of…

Some books i want to read still aren’t on Kindle. Maybe the big publishing houses, and the rights owners, still haven’t got around to digitising all their books yet (a lot of work if you consider the back catalogue of some of these). But you can always read the real book if you really want to so its not really a ‘Con’.

‘I like the smell of real books.’ Yes, it’s the usual thing that people say to me about why they won’t use a Kindle. But think about it. You’re reading a story, you’re supposed to surrender your senses to the narrative within the book. Why do you want the distraction of the smell of an old book to impose upon your reading, continuously reminding you that the story isn’t real and is in this separate thing that smells and exists in its own space with its own smell and everything. The Kindle not smelling like a real book isn’t actually a ‘Con’ because a Kindle doesn’t have any smell other than the normal smell of you which you can’t smell because you’re so used to it. Without a noticeable smell from your Kindle your senses are set free to be transported into the narrative without distraction.

Pros

You can set the font to a variety of sizes from silly tiny to really, really big (they’re not actually called that on the Kindle 😛 ).

You can set the line spacing to several options.

If you have a Paperwhite or Oasis you can set the paper to any brightness you like. Normal Kindles are greyish screens – as is the Paperwhite and Oasis if you turn the brightness off completely.

No backside print showing through the page.

Paperwhite and Oasis have a side lit screen (not nasty back lit) that you can dim down and not ruin your melatonin production at bedtime (if, like me, you like reading in bed before sleeping).

Access to what is probably the biggest public accessible library in history (i’m not aware of any other place where i can have instant access to so many books).

Access to countless historical books that you can’t find in bookshops (there’s an army of people who transpose old books onto Kindle format and most are free or less than £1 – a Vic Lit paradise).

Cheaper books. Publishers can make their books far cheaper because the book doesn’t require a tree to be chopped down, made into paper, printed, bound, packed, transported, stored, transported again, stored again, transported again, placed in a shop with all their overheads, sent back unsold, stored again and eventually destroyed.

Self published books. Writers whose books would never appeal to a publisher because they can’t see enough profit in it, or writers who simply don’t want to sell out to a big publisher, can self publish on Kindle. Historically, the publishers have controlled what everyone reads, now they don’t. Writers are free to write what they like and not have to worry about pleasing the corporate boot heel and readers get to read some great stuff that the corporations would otherwise not want you to read (Ooooh, my tin foil hat is on again).

Carry a huge collection of books that you own anywhere you go and also buy more easily wherever you are in the world as long as you can access Amazon – super fantastic for holidays and people who travel a lot as one Kindle weighs less and is less bulk than one paperback.

Not have to keep rolling from left to right, and back again, when you turn to the next page when reading in bed. You can just get into any position you feel comfy and stay there.

Not be distracted by the smell or having to physically turn the pages. See ‘Not really a Con section’ for smell. But the same also applies to the page turning. With a Kindle you just gently touch the screen and it instantly changes the page either forward or back so you stay immersed within the narrative – unlike having to stop reading to turn a physical page and then realise you’ve turned 2 at once.

Book shop stock.

Dictionary.

Translate.

Wikipedia.

Notes.

Other devices.

Free books.