Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Experience of the Kindle E-book Reader

So, I finally got a Kindle. I got the Paperwhite on sale $30 bucks cheaper a few weeks ago. I had such high hopes for it, especially eager to utilize its built in dictionary, note taking highlighter, and vocabulary builder flashcards, features that are still kind of cool, but would be better if the word definitions had audio playback, to help with pronunciation and retention.

I figured I haven't been reading much lately this past year, I thought that maybe having a Kindle would help me read more, by making books more accessible and more portable and perhaps easier to read.

But after extensive time trying it out, I found that despite what I've read to the contrary, if you plan to read more than an hour on it at a time, at least in my case, it causes more eyestrain than a traditional paper book.

You see I'm the kind of person that when I get into a book I like I will read it for several hours at a time. There have been days when I've had the free time and wasn't working that I would spend twelve hours a day reading. I wouldn't recommend doing that with a Kindle.

Overall I'm finding that I prefer traditional paper books to e-readers. There will be an upcoming post delving deeper into the particulars but for now I will will keep it simple.

Regular books are easier on the eyes, but not always easier on the budget. This is where the e-book excels. After the initial investment of the e-book reader, you'll find that e-books are generally cheaper. I'm on an extremely frugal budget and only like to buy books that I intend to keep in my permanent collection, or intend to read more than once, anything else I check out from the library and read for free.

Well, sometimes I want to read a book that isn't available at the library, and don't want to wait around months for an interlibrary loan to come through, but in the meantime can find an e-book version online either for free or priced significantly cheaper than the equivalent paper version, that's where the Kindle comes in. In this regard it's already paid for itself.

I was able to download three technical textbooks for free which would have cost me no less than 30 bucks a piece used. So in this regard I considered the $90 spent on the Kindle to be money well spent. But as far as using it to read fiction, particularly taking advantage of the extensive collection of thousands of public domain classics available for download, such as Moby Dick by Herman Melville or War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, for that I think I will be sticking to the traditional paper version, something that pretty much any decent public library has.

So to recap, the Kindle is great for reading books that aren't available at the library, but are available for download online, either for free or at a cheaper price than the equivalent traditional paper version. It's also a great way to preview a book before you buy it or before you check it out from the library. Being lighter and more portable than most books, it's great for reading bulky textbooks, technical or reference material, and also makes a good travel companion, where you can easily read a thousand page book on the go without being bogged down by a heavy bag.

But in every other circumstance, traditional paper books are clearly the winner, for the simple reason that they cause less eyestrain. Despite all the improvements having been made in this regard, paper is still easier on the eyes than digital screens, especially if you plan to read for hours at a time like I do. So I see the Kindle more as a supplemental tool of my reading repertoire, and not as a replacement for the traditional book.

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