I’ve finally entered the digital age!

The BookDepository

After years of resisting the temptation I finally have an ereader!

I don’t do much travelling and am surrounded by books so never felt the need to buy one. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on a device when I have hundreds of unread books around me. But then the price comparison website, Idealo, offered to buy an e-book reader for me in exchange for a link in this post and I decided that would be the perfect opportunity to join the digital age.

Has owning an ereader changed my life?

No. I have now had a couple of weeks to investigate my new kindle and although it does have some benefits I still prefer to read a paper book.

The Plus Points

I love the fact that it is really light – a definite plus point when you are reading a long, heavy book.

You can carry lots of books around with you without breaking your back.

It seems to be holding its charge well. I was worried that I’d have to plug it in as much as my mobile phone, but I haven’t had to recharge it at all and after two weeks the battery is still showing more than 50% of its charge.

I find the smaller screen size enables my to read more quickly. I’m not sure why this happens, but I have noticed this weird effect occurring.

The Negatives

I’d heard a lot about the benefits of being able to read one-handed, but that certainly isn’t the case with the kindle. The button to turn the page is located awkwardly so you need to use your other hand every time you turn the page – which is more frequent than with a traditional book as the screen size is smaller. I guess I’ll have to wait a while longer before being able to read whilst drinking a cup of coffee.

There is an annoying flicker every time you turn the page. Other ereader users have assured me that you get used to it, but I haven’t yet.

The risk of damage/theft means I am less comfortable taking it to certain places where I enjoy reading (eg. the beach).

Would I recommend buying one?

If you took my kindle away tomorrow I wouldn’t buy another one. My home-based lifestyle means that the benefits aren’t worth the outlay. If you do a lot of travelling and are the sort of person who carries several books around with you then I highly recommend it – my suitcase will definitely be lighter next time I go away.

 


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51 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    I took the “Kindle plunge” earlier this year when my family bought one for me as a Mother’s Day gift. I really like it, but I’m being judicious about the books I buy for it. This is mostly because I so rarely buy a book (I use my library and swap sites a lot). I really like it for 1) chunksters (easier to hold, easier to carry to & from work), and 2) books I want to read before they are out in paperback, because the Kindle edition is often cheaper, and 3) classics, many of which are available for free.

    Not that you asked, but I have two tips:
    1) The battery lasts even longer if you turn off the wifi. I only turn it on when I want to buy books or synch with Amazon.
    2) I bought a leather case that looks really nice but more importantly, makes the Kindle feel more like an open book when I’m reading it.

    Like you, this will never replace “dead tree books” but I’m still glad I have one. Enjoy!

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I think I’ll use it in a very similar way to you. I am already considering buying the electronic version of 1Q84 because it will be both cheaper and lighter, but I can’t see myself buying that many books on it.

      Thanks for the tips – I already had a kindle case on my Christmas list to help protect it from damage. It is good to know the case has the added bonus of making it feel more book-like. :-)

  2. Sandy says:

    Yay Jackie! I don’t read exclusively on my Kindle, but I do love it for trips. I also think I read faster on them for some reason. And yes, if you keep the 3G off, that battery will last you forever. I think when I was overseas for 3 weeks this summer, I read it ALL THE TIME and I only charged it once I think. Congratulations!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Most of my travelling involves driving my own car and so I don’t have issues taking a stack of books with me, but I know it would be fantastic if I went overseas. It is good to know I’m not alone in reading faster on a kindle – I wonder why that is?

  3. Hi Jackie, I’m a big Kindle fan and wouldn’t be without mine. Living overseas I can download books at will. In Dubai the libraries are not great, there are no charity shops and new books are very expensive so it’s great being able to buy current books at a reasonable price.

    Other big pluses are the free classics and the plethora of self-published works available for next to nothing.

    Regarding chunksters though, you can’t gauge the size of a novel in ebook form so I often find myself reading a chunkster when I fancied something quick and easy.

    Finally, don’t have a problem with page-turning. Maybe it’s the way you’re holding it but I can turn a page one-handed. In fact having buttons on both side means I can use either hand depending on how I’m sitting or whether I’m multitasking! Enjoy your new toy!

    1. Jackie says:

      Liz, I can see why you’d love a kinde in Dubai – I’m sure I’d buy a lot more books if I didn’t have charity shops or a library.

      I also love the idea that you can accidently read chunksters! Thick books can be really intimidating on a shelf so I look forward to reading many more on my kindle. :-)

  4. cbjames says:

    It’s refreshing to see someone who is not totally in love with their new Kindle. I think the only way I’ll ever get one is if someone gives me one for free. Basically, I don’t like the fact that you never really one the books on your Kindle. As far as I’m concerned, if I can’t sell it, then I don’t own it.

    And I think it’s really just a way to make your TBR pile invisible. Out of sight out of mind.

    1. Jackie says:

      cbjames, I don’t think I’d have ever gone out and bought a kindle either. I completely agree with you about the lending/selling of books – I love the fact that I can pass my books on.

      So far I’ve avoided the invisible TBR trap. Since owning my kindle I’ve bought one book (State of Wonder for 99p) and am reading it, but in that time I have bought 4 real books. I think I will be able to control the impulse electronic purchases. ((fingers crossed))

  5. kimbofo says:

    I’ve had my Kindle for a year now — it’s the version before the one you pictured here — and I can easily read it with one hand. I think they might have moved the buttons on the new version, which would explain why you haven’t been able to do so. (On the older version, the turn-the-page buttons are on the side of the device, exactly where you hold it.)

    I use mine when travelling, primarily. I find it very good for commuting to work by bike because I can stick it in my bike bag and it takes up barely any room — I couldn’t do that with a real book.

    While I still read and buy real books, I tend to buy Kindle books if they are cheaper than the real version.

    But as cbjames points out, it does mean that it doesn’t take long to accumulate a virtual TBR which is out of mind, out of sight. And he’s also right to say you don’t technically own the books — you’re simply buying a licence to read them — so you can’t pass them onto friends or family to read when you are done with them, which is a pity.

    1. Jackie says:

      kimbofo, Perhaps I just hold it in a strange way? I don’t think the buttons have moved, but I don’t feel comfortable holding it on the side. I hold it at the bottom so that explains my issue :-(

      I’ll be interested to see whether I do accumulate a large virtual TBR pile over the coming year. I’m normally only persuaded to buy when I spot a real bargain or if I want to read it then and there. Let’s hope I can keep my will power.

  6. nomadreader says:

    I’m so glad you’ve branched out to Kindle reading. The biggest joy: instantly having access to books when the prize lists are announced! I have a second generation Kindle (so two versions before yours), and I prefer the button placement on mine. I also like having the keyboard and more space outside of the screen to hold it. I can page forward on either side and easily read one-handed (admittedly, it’s wine as often as it coffee in my hand!) It’s especially handy on the bus when I can’t get a seat. I can hold on to a bar and still read (and turn pages). I also find I read faster on the smaller screen, which is nice. My eyes wander so much when I read a print book and have two pages facing me. I’ll be curious to hear how your expectations change over time too!

    1. Jackie says:

      nomadreader, Having instant access to the prize lists is a big bonus – waiting for that first copy to arrive in at the library seemed like a long 5 days last time :-)

  7. Stephanie says:

    I generally prefer actual books too but there are times when I am in the mood for my kindle. I have a first generation and it has had some wear and tear over the past few years, so I am excited to get a kindle touch for Christmas!

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, I hope that your kindle touch lives up to expectations – I look forward to hearing all about it in the New Year.

  8. Ros says:

    I am determined to resist as I love books but I can see the advantages. I travel regularly to London on the train (a 2 hour trip) and often travel about when I’m in London. Last week I took 4 books with me and they can be heavy to lug around. But the purist in me is holding out at the moment!

    1. Jackie says:

      Ros, Those are the times when I used to seek out books with a small type! Good on you for sticking to the real thing – it also has the benefit of building up your muscles as you lug them all around. :-)

  9. I read a 50/50 split on printed books and my Nook. I enjoy it for the variety of books I can carry, the sales and prices in some instances, and the instant gratification. Do I NEED one? Absolutely not. I do enjoy it, but it’s a fun toy at this point. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Andi, I can’t see me getting to the 50/50 stage, but I guess only time will tell.

  10. Maxine says:

    I was given one for my birthday last Sept. I prefer print, but I have read quite a few books on kindle, usually books that aren’t available in the UK in print or ones that I want to read anyway but are on a special promotion offer. I try not to have a backlog. I found it very useful on holiday in the summer when I ran out of books & could download some from an internet cafe. But like you, I am usually at home so I can read print for preference. I do seem to read books quicker on the kindle, but find them harder to retain in my memory.

    1. Jackie says:

      Maxine, It is sad to hear that you struggle to remember the books read on a kindle. I wonder if this is down to the fact that they are read more quickly on an ereader? That sounds like another big negative I need to watch out for.

  11. Jo says:

    I have had mine for a year now. I love it, but I have still loads of actual books and love reading them and buying them so it seems to sit quite nicely with me. Handy for work, when I read in my lunch break. But like you I do no long journeys, and if I did I would be the one driving, so certainly no reading for me!

    I do have quite a few books on there, a varied selection so there is something hopefully to suit most moods.

    Like you and I think many others, I seem to read quicker on my kindle and I have no idea why.

    Good luck with it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, It sounds as though you have more opportunity to read with one than I do, but perhaps mine will increase as I become aware of the benefits of owning one.

      I recommend audio books for those long car journeys (as long as you are the only one in the car – I have been caught out with difficult questions when certain topics have appeared out of the blue in a book I’ve been listening to in the car with my children :-( )

  12. stujallen says:

    I had a e reader it broke I ve not replaced it ,may get a kindle at some point I have asked amanda for one from santa so have to wait and see ,I was use mine mainly at work on night shifts as easie to carry before it broke but would like to try and use a new one more than I did the first one ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Sorry to hear that yours broke. I hope santa is good to you.

  13. Jenners says:

    The price of the basic Kindle is so low now that I think it is pretty easy to justify getting one. I think they are wonderful for all the reasons you mentioned … easy to carry lots of books with you on vacation/while traveling, easier to read chunksters, etc. Glad you entered the digital age!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, I’m not sure. I can think of a lot of things I’d rather spend the money on, but I look forward to finding out how wonderful they are.

  14. I didn’t buy my Kindle either – I won it and, like you, I don;t think it will replace paper books for me. BUT it is great not to have tote around a heavy bag of reading material on trips. For the record, I wholeheartedly endorse Laura’s two tips (first comment). The cover has made a great deal of difference.

    1. Jackie says:

      Debbie, Thanks for cover endorsement – I look forward to seeing the difference it makes.

  15. Amused says:

    Love your review! My fiancee has one and it has made him read so much more because his eye site isn’t so good and he can blow up the text. I don’t use mine very much however because I feel so guilty using it when I have all of these free review copies nagging me to read them!

    1. Jackie says:

      Amused, Being able to increase the font size is a massive deal for a lot of people, but luckily my eye sight is OK for now. Hopefully that wont be a positive on my list for many years to come. :-)

  16. Tony says:

    I have a Kindle for pretty much one thing only – free German-language classics which I’m not sure about buying…

    …oh, and minor Trollope novels ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Tony, Free classics is a major bonus and I imagine that is especially true for overseas classics that aren’t as widely available. I’ll have to download a few :-)

  17. I love my Kindle for heavy books. Right now I am reading the 900+ page Stephen King novel, 11/22/63 on it –by the way – it is very good.

    Enjoy your new Kindle Jackie.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, I still haven’t read any Stephen King, but I bought my first one (Under the Dome) yesterday and look forward to trying him.

  18. SEY says:

    Congrats on moving forward to the digital age! Surprised though that no one mentioned that with a Kindle you can ONLY purchase books from Amazon, the retailer who pays their authors next to nothing! With other e-readers, like the Nook, Sony, etc you can purchase from a wide variety of venues including independent booksellers.
    We must be careful not to equate e-brands available. Libraries also had a hard time in the US working out a deal for their patrons to download books from their on-line lending library with the Kindle, in other words Amazon. With the other e-readers this was not an issue. Do some comparison shopping before you get a Kindle!

    1. Jackie says:

      SEY, That is a very good point. Unfortunately I didn’t have any choice about which ereader I got, but I don’t plan to be a big purchaser of ebooks. I’ll still be buying books from a variety of different sources.

  19. Bellezza says:

    I have a nook from Barnes and Noble, which I can hold with one hand, take anywhere, and hold several hundred books at once. I love it, although it did take some getting used to. (Still miss the scent of the page, though. ;) And isn’t it weird how one can read faster with an e-reader? I’ve heard several people say that.

    1. Jackie says:

      Bellezza, It isn’t just the scent – it’s the texture and the visual experience….we’re all just too in love with real books :-)

  20. I was not planning to buy a Kindle or any kind of e-reader…pretty happy with paper books.

    But my daughter gave me one last Christmas, and I’m finally loving it. It will never take the place of paperbacks and hardcover books, though.

    The best thing about it, other than ease of traveling and reading chunky books on it, is the ease of acquiring new books. Download in seconds.

    I still have issues with the actual reading, though; I worry about spilling coffee on it, etc.

    And managing the pages is challenging for me. How to flip back and reference something; still haven’t figured that out.

    I only have to charge it once a month, though, so that’s good.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laurel-Rain Snow, I worry about breaking it too. I am always dropping books in the bath, having them licked/nibbled by my dog and covered in food! So far the kindle has avoided damage, but that is a big factor in the amount of time I spend reading it – and my love for second-hand (pre-damaged!) books!

  21. JoV says:

    I’m with you on this Jackie, the price of Kindle has gone down to £89 and I was offered to have it for free for Xmas prezzie. I’m still thinking if I should have it or just use the money and top it up for a good laptop or a camera. I wouldn’t know how to flip back and reference something, not like what I can do now in minutes.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, Personally I’d put the money towards a laptop – I don’t own one, but think it would be far more useful (especially now I’m sharing this computer with my 2 sons and husband!) than a kindle. I look forward to finding out what you decide to do.

  22. I feel pretty similarly about my ereader. I really like having it for when I’m traveling or at the gym, but if I didn’t have it I’m not sure I’d run out and buy another one.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, I thought everyone was in love with their ereader – I’m glad I’m not the only one who is ambivalent towards them :-)

  23. parrish says:

    I got a kindle earlier this year because I fractured my wrist & had to give up on a book because I couldn’t hold it, this was after prevaricating for about a year or more. My model is the one before yours with the keyboard. I love it use it for work & if I’m on the train, although it hasn’t stopped me buying books, but gives me the option of sampling before deciding which way to go.
    Ps mines easy to use one handed & it does feel better with a booklike cover, mines made by M-Edge & has that old book fabric feel to the cover.

    1. Jackie says:

      parrish, I’ve discovered that you can read them no handed – by placing it on a desk and then just pressing the button to turn a page. I can see how that is a huge benefit if you suffer an injury like yours. I hope I’m never in that situation.

  24. Ellie says:

    I have a version with the keyboard and the buttons to turn pages are placed perfectly. You do have the option to turn it upside if the spacing is better the other way. The battery will last even longer if you turn off wifi, which I do unless I’m downloading a book.

    I still prefer paper books but it’s handy for review copies, free classics and if I get to the end of a book with a sequel and must carry on reading!

  25. I just got a Kindle recently (a couple of months back), and funnily, one of the reasons I got it was to take it on the beach. Or, well, on holidays. I take about eight-ten books on holiday, and consolidating that on one device seemed sensible.

    I’ve not really used it yet, as I’m trying to get through the dozens of unread paperbacks I have lining my shelves, but eventually – I will.

    Congratulations on your new toy :) )

  26. Aths says:

    Yay, congrats! I am no ereader fan – I barely use mine, but I am glad that I have one, because it’s a great asset for traveling. I usually take a chunk of books with me, which is turning out to be a huge packing problem, so having an ereader helps a lot. Plus, I have a tablet which helps me get to the ebooks in my library. Otherwise, I still love the tree books much much better and always prefer to buy them.

  27. Vasilly says:

    Jackie, I think the risk of theft or damage is a really big one. I recently damaged my e-reader and it took awhile to get through to customer service. I was really discouraged and thought about not buying another one. Luckily the company sent me a new one free of charge. I think when it comes to ereaders, people really need to think about warranties. Great post.

  28. This is really interesting Jackie – I’m just looking at getting an e-reader myself. Since I’ve been blogging I’ve increasingly seen how useful one could be, and imagined most bloggers who’d be going for a while probably used one.

    Really interesting to hear your thoughts on the Kindle, it’s a toss-up between that or an iPad for me.

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