By Akriti Rana & Nimish Dubey
“Paper or digital?” – This is a bookworm battle that is fought every time Amazon promotes a version of its Kindle e-book reader. On the one hand there are those who insist that a book printed on paper is the only true book. On the other side are those who say that electronic books are no longer the future but the present thanks to the benefits they bring.
With Amazon bringing a new Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition to India this year, it was hardly surprising that both sides of the paper vs. digital lobbies hit the refresh button. The two Kindles come with improvements and new features, including the Signature Edition’s auto-adjusting light, but their biggest challenge comes from their paper counterparts, which are sold in friendly neighborhood shops.
Well, we’ve been Kindle users for a while and have also been using the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition for a few weeks now. While this may sound like sacrilege to some, we think Amazon’s e-book reader is worthy of being on the bookworm menu. Of course, it doesn’t quite have the “feel” and “smell” of paper, and you can’t hear the rustle of a page as you turn it, but it does come with its own benefits – many of which are VERY important to anyone who enjoys reading . really loves it
Here are seven of the top reasons avid readers should consider getting a Kindle:
1. The sheer convenience of carrying so many books in one tablet
For us, this is one of the top reasons to get a Kindle—the ability to carry hundreds, even thousands, of books. Most Kindle books (unless they contain a lot of illustrations and photos) are generally 1 or 2MB in size. The Kindle e-book readers from Amazon have storage capacities from 8 GB, of which around 6.2 GB are available to the user for storing books. With this you can store an amazing 3,000 books. With a Kindle, you never have to worry about which book to take on a trip or if a book is too big to carry around and read. Everything fits into this 200 gram tablet. You can literally take your entire book collection anywhere. And if you run out of space on your Kindle, you can easily remove books from it. They remain in the Amazon cloud (free for you) and can be downloaded later at no additional cost.
2. Free samples of each book
This is a feature of the Kindle and Kindle books that not many people are aware of. Almost all books available in the Kindle eBooks Store allow you to download and read some pages completely free of charge. So you can literally download a sample of a book before you decide to buy it. These aren’t tiny samples either – you’ll usually get between 15 and 20 pages, and sometimes even more. Imagine being able to open a book in a bookstore and read it for half an hour before deciding to buy it? It’s a bit like that.
3. The “visit-and-buy-anytime” bookstore with thousands of titles
The Kindle eBooks Store is one of the best reasons to get a Kindle, in our opinion. As the name suggests, this is an online book store where you can get e-books for your Kindle. It’s a massive bookstore with tens of thousands of titles, many of which are even available for free. Also, it never turns off. It doesn’t matter where you are and what time of day you are. As long as you have a Kindle and an internet connection (whether 4G or Wi-Fi), you can go to this massive store, browse, download free sample books, and buy new books. There’s no need to plan a visit, worry about parking, or worry about whether you’re likely to find the book you’re looking for. Most titles these days are published in both print and digital formats at the same time, so there’s a good chance you’ll find the book you need.
In addition, in contrast to the normal book trade, there is no chance that an eBook will be “sold out”.
4. The reading experience
This may surprise some people, but reading on a Kindle actually has many advantages over reading on paper. You won’t get the tactile and feel of paper, but on the downside you still get a bright, clear e-ink display that’s easy to read. Additionally, unlike paper books, you can actually change the font size on a Kindle and even use the front-lit display to read at night. You don’t have to worry about the letters ever being too small or the light not being good enough when using a Kindle. This also makes the Kindle a particularly good device for people with vision problems – you can actually read a little even if you forgot your glasses. All you have to do is make sure your Kindle has enough battery. Incidentally, the battery life of the Kindle is exceptional – even heavy readers can last a week on a single charge.
5. The Reading Supplements
Imagine you are reading a book and come across a term or concept that you do not understand. You try to learn more about it online on your phone or computer, or pull out your handy dictionary or encyclopedia to learn more. Well, on a Kindle, all you have to do is highlight a word or phrase to understand its meaning, and in many cases you’ll even get a Wikipedia article about it. It’s all built into the Kindle itself and you don’t need to use any other source of information. You can also highlight passages, take notes, and even share content to Facebook and Twitter, all right from your device. The touchscreen isn’t as sensitive as a smartphone, so typing isn’t as seamless, but it’s more than serviceable.
6. Read the option anywhere on any device
Thanks to the free Kindle app, you can read your Kindle books even if you forget your Kindle at home or somewhere else. All you have to do is download the app and log in with your Amazon username and password (the same one you use on your Kindle) and not only can you read all the books you have on your Kindle, but you can can even read where you left off on the Kindle. No, reading on AMOLED and LCD displays isn’t as good as reading on the Kindle’s more paper-like e-ink displays, but the convenience of being able to continue reading your book even if you forgot to bring your book with you
Kindle makes a big difference.
7. Books that will never fade or be lost
Unlike paper books, e-books are not subject to wear and tear. Additionally, a book you purchase on Kindle is always available to you unless the publisher withdraws it for any reason. A book purchased from the Kindle Book Store is literally yours forever. Until the store closes or your Kindle finally breaks. Incidentally, Kindles have longer lifespans than most phones and computers — they generally last seven to eight years, and in many cases well over a decade. Of course, as mentioned earlier, you can always read your Kindle books on your phone, tablet, and computer in the Kindle app, even if your e-book reader fails. When you buy a new Kindle, all you have to do is log into your account and all your books will be moved right to it. There’s also no chance of you losing a book on your Kindle or a friend borrowing it and not returning it!
And something else: the environment benefits
Environmental concerns were originally cited as one of the main reasons for the spread of e-books. E-books didn’t need paper (which comes from trees), didn’t need packaging, didn’t need fuel to ship, which generally gave them a lower carbon footprint than their paper counterparts. Of course, a Kindle itself consumes electricity, and being a small computer, making a Kindle requires the use of a number of natural resources—far more than is required to make a book. But given that a Kindle generally lasts five years or more, we’d say that for heavy readers with an environmentally conscious mind, the Kindle remains a greener option. However, casual readers would do well to stick to paper.