Back in 2007 online giant Amazon released their first ever Kindle, a concept which at the time seemed absolutely pointless to me. Just eight years later and I’m a huge fan of the Kindle having owned two over the past three years and spending well into the hundreds on Kindle downloads.
I used to think that nothing could replace the paperback. It’s cheap, available and most of us prefer to hold a real life copy of our most loved novels. It was during a long train journey sat next to a gentleman reading a Kindle that I realised their real benefits. It was the first time I’d ever seen an e-ink display in real life and I was really impressed by how paper-like it appeared.
I’d assumed that a Kindle would strain my eyes and now I laugh at the idea because I find them so much easier to read. Kindle devices run off an Electronic Paper Display which uses particles of electronic ink to display text. Unlike your typical LCD screen, EPD screens as standard are not back-lit unless of course you have the Paperwhite Kindle in which case you can toggle between the back-light and a regular display. As the black and white pigments are only re-arranged when you turn the page (and otherwise static,) the battery is only used while refreshing the text (or using the backlight) meaning it can often be a month or two between charges.
I am supposed to wear glasses and I don’t. I don’t like having them on my face, they irritate me and make me look ridiculous because I have such a tiny facial frame. I’ve tried so many different frames but I either look like a hipster wanna-be or Harry Potter. Contacts aren’t much better since I’m both a bit phobic of touching my eyes and also suffer from astigmatism. Ugh. Anyway the point that I’m making is that for people like myself, reading a book can be quite difficult especially for long periods of time. Every generation of Kindle has had to option to adjust the font size meaning that I can have it quite large for clear and easy reading. The larger font size also means less words to a page and makes reading a long book feel a lot less daunting.
Coming back to the Paperwhite’s back lit screen; it’s definitely a feature I’m glad I paid extra for. Unlike than the original Kindle (4) which I had first, the Paperwhite is fully touchscreen and back-lit. This means reading in bed is an absolute dream, no more straining my eyes in bad lighting or falling asleep with a reading light on. When reading in much brighter light I turn the back-light off and the screen reflects any natural light meaning no glare on the screen even in the brightest of sunlight. This is easily the most heavily advertised feature of the Kindle although in my opinion it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Unlike traditional books, the Kindle is so lightweight and tiny that it can be slipped into a coat pocket or handbag as easily as a smartphone so if like myself you tend to read huge hardback non-fiction books, it’s a saviour! It also means for those who read multiple books at once or those who read really quickly, you’ve essentially got a library of 3.5 million books with you wherever you go. What I find to be the best thing about the Kindle’s minuscule size and weight is how easy it is to read in bed with one hand or balanced on a pillow. You might think me super lazy that I can’t even be bothered to hold a book with two hands or turn a page but once you’ve used a Kindle for a while, the feeling when you go back to real books is insane. Real books constantly flap closed and stop you from reading in the comfiest of positions.
You may still argue that buying a Kindle between the prices of £50 and £110 would simply put you out of pocket but I’ve found the financial benefits fantastic. Kindle books are subject to VAT but they also go on sale far cheaper than real books. Amazon almost constantly run a 40 books for £1 each l, emailing you updates as they change the lot. There’s hundreds of best sellers for under £5 and often you’ll be able to find the book you need on a Torrent site if you’re risque enough.
Are you hoping for a Kindle this Christmas? Did you buy one as a gift? Are you more fond of a different e-reader? Let me know your thoughts on the Kindle Paperwhite in the comments box below.