I’ve never really kept my disregard for E-readers / Kindles etc. a secret, I’m sure I’ve had many a rant about the joys of a real, proper book that you can hold in your hands and the smell! Oh, the smell of an old book!
So when circumstances meant I recently acquired a Kindle Paperwhite I was pretty sceptical but I figured I’d pop on my big girl pants, pull up my socks and give it a bloody good go.
The first thing I did was buy myself a cover for it, I trawled Amazon for a Kindle cover that looked like a book, I figured I’d feel more comfortable betraying the written word then. As a bonus, I managed to find this gorgeous cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
A Kindle E-reader will set you back anywhere between £49.99 to up and over £200.00 depending on what you are after, I didn’t pay for the Paperwhite I have but on Amazon today a Kindle Paperwhite will set you back £109.00, pretty hefty when you could buy your average paperback for £7.99.
E-books tend to be pretty cheap, there are a huge amount of free books available and you can sign up for Kindle unlimited which gives you access to unlimited books for £7.99 a month (you get a 30 day trial, which I signed up for). Not every book is available in Kindle Unlimited and I haven’t seen many well known titles and authors within the category. There are often special offers on, such as 40 books all priced at 99p.
I’ve read 6 and a half books on the Kindle now and I’m still in two minds about it. The text on the screen has taken some getting used to as it looks like the text is on top of the screen rather than in it, which I suppose makes you feel a bit more like you are reading a good old paperback, personally it feels a little weird.
The Paperwhite stops glares from the sunshine which I quite like as I suffer from headaches and glare doesn’t help! It’s also a decent glow at night so if I can’t sleep I can read without the light on and I won’t disturb my husband.
You are able to view the covers of the books and a blurb (like you get on the back cover) but as they are in black and white, you lose some of the joy of a beautiful book cover.
I have some really beautiful books, with bright and colourful covers and pages, which you obviously lose with the Kindle, my bookshelves are a joy (not at the moment I will admit, they could do with a dust!).
The Kindle does have some benefit, I read a lot, like a ridiculous amount, I can read a book in a few hours and sometimes have to stop myself reading two books in one night, so that means we have a huge amount of books, I also have a stack of books I’ve read but didn’t like or don’t want to read again but they are just sat there taking up space on a shelf. With the Kindle, once you’ve finished you can remove it from your device with a touch of the screen.
I can also see the benefit of the Kindle for holidays, two weeks on a beach and I’d need a separate suitcase just for books.
But with the Kindle and access to wifi, you have millions of books at your fingertips all without coming anywhere near your baggage allowance. The Paperwhite will only let you store up to 10 books at a time, which for most people would be more than enough, having read 6 books in 2 weeks and already on my 7th whilst working full time, I’d need more than 10 books, although to be fair if I had wifi I would be able to download more.
There is something about a real book though isn’t there? I have a few books that would be lost in translation on an e-reader. For example, Ship of Theseus.
This book is a novel within a novel, Ship of Theseus by V.M Straka has been taken by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorset and under the guise of a school library book, a love story emerges from two students who communicate through notes they have made in the book, it’s filled to the brim with letters, postcards and photos that you can pull out, that really look like handwritten postcards and letters. The book even comes with a library sticker. It’s beautiful and wonderful and could never be recreated in the digital world.
I have other books, hardbacks with suprised under the dust cover, books like The Night Circus that have the edges of the page coloured gold. Books with illustrated maps, like the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, books that I’ve treasured for years like Pongwiffy and Alfie and Annie Rose, these books are made to be read and enjoyed as a real, proper book and for me, the Kindle can never compare to that.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a number of good points, I can read it whilst on the exercise bike or whilst blow drying my hair because you don’t need two hands to hold it open or turn the pages, a tap of the screen will turn the page for you, ideal for those who can’t use their hands as well. It’s super light so ideal for chucking in your bag, I’ve found it handy whilst in the hairdressers and waiting at the hospital.
The Paperwhite has settings you can change, you can change the screen brightness, font size etc. Which is great as if you don’t have the best eyesight you can make the font big enough to read, something you obviously can’t do with your average paperback copy of Catcher in the Rye.
I’ve struggled a little with the screen, my chubby fingers have had difficulties typing in the tiny search box (you can only seem to make the font of the book bigger, the search and store screens are quite small) and I’ve often turned a page and turned it again in quick succession, meaning I’ve had to backtrack a little.
I also feel like I’m not taking the words in as I normally do when I read, to be fair this could partly be because of the the type of book I’ve read. A large amount of the books on Kindle Unlimited seem to be of the crime/thriller/mystery persuasion which I wouldn’t necessarily choose in a book shop.
I’ve decided that the Kindle Paperwhite has a time and a place in my life, it’s easy to use, lightweight and gives me access to more books instantly than any book shop ever could, it will be perfect for holidays, hospital visits and more but it will never replace the perfect, tactile, timeless qualities of a real book.
I think that as long as you treat your soul to the joy of reading, it really doesn’t matter how you do it.
Do you have an e-reader? Or do you prefer a paperback? Let me know below!