Why I Went Back To Reading With A Kindle

15 years ago I turned on my first Kindle device. It was a gift from a friend for Sabrina while we traveled and I thought it a great idea; being able to store all those books for a kid who loved (and still loves) to read while jaunting around the globe. That is until I received five email notification about purchase from Amazon that I did not authorize….while Sabrina was at school showing the device to friends (and spending $80 on kids books).

While that original unit was large-ish and not the easiest to read, slow, and required a specific charger, the devices have come a long way. After I cleaned off my bookshelves last month, dropping off hundreds of books at Goodwill, I did some research and decided it was time to grab another Kindle.

Here’s why:

Library books are available

Ahhhh…the library. I’m writing this post in one right now (wicked fast internet here as well). All these books, recordings, magazines, etc… for the borrowing.

And thanks to the Libby app, I can borrow ebooks from my library without ever leaving my home. Then I can tell Libby that I want to read that borrowed book on my Kindle, which takes me to Amazon to confirm the borrowing. After that, the library ebooks are on my Kindle, and every Kindle app I have, until the borrowing deadline passes (three weeks in the case of my library).

I can borrow up to 30 ebooks and I have two library cards (yay for never closing a library card!). 60 ebooks for 21 days is insane and I’d never hit that limit. But the possibilities…

No distractions

When I snuggle in for a read on my Kindle it’s just me and the author’s ideas. While my Kindle does have the ability to reach the Internet via wifi, I don’t have to have it on. Plus the browser is slow, monotone and feels like an add-on feature. Kindles use their own Whispernet (cellular data communication, just like your phone) technology to download books and sync bookmarks, notes, pages read, etc… when you don’t have wifi.

This means far, far, faaarrrr less distractions. I don’t go online and get waylaid by notifications or attention-grabbing cruft that takes me away from the joy of reading. It’s (almost) like a book in that regard.

It does have simple note-taking capabilities if you want to highlight passages and remember them or look them up when you’re back on the Internet and that is very helpful. It has the ability to look up words or passages and even translate them; long-press on a word and you get a dictionary definition, Wikipedia reference and a translate option (this part does require a wifi connection to work well).

At its heart it’s a simple device that I can use to read endless books.

It makes me smarter

Mentioned above, I use the lookup feature almost every time I read and it helps me understand what I’m reading better than just skipping over stuff I don’t get. No need for the phone and the distracting Internet.

Magical syncing if I want those other devices

With Whispernet or wifi all my devices sync to the latest page I have read magically. Okay, not magically, but it seems that way. Same with notes, very handy for referencing and learning.

If I have time on my hands while out and about I can bring up the Kindle app on my phone and continue reading where I left off the night before while reading on the Kindle itself in bed (my typical time for reading).

I have also been known to use my iPad while on the exercise bike and make the font larger and easier to see. A 30 minute ride can get me through a chapter (or 30 if I am reading a David Baldacci book) and when I go to bed and start reading on my Kindle, WHAMO! it is set to the right page (more or less, it’s not perfect because of different screen sizes and words on the screen, but close enough).

No blue light cast at night

I’m one of those crazies who doesn’t sleep with a phone beside him (high-five to the other crazies out there!). I don’t have a need unless I’m traveling and using my phone as an alarm clock. This tends to help prevent me from staring at the Internet way longer than I should while trying to relax into sleep. Less screen time right before bed is a good thing and your phone even has a ‘night mode’ where it reduced blue light, almost as if phone manufacturers know their devices might not be the best thing right before bed.

When the Kindle is in Night Mode, the lettering turns to white and the background goes black. Also the brightness drops to zero, so the device is giving off just about zero light emission. This does mean you need a light source to read, but it likely won’t be a vastly blue-colored light. You can read by candlelight in ye olde days.

But it has a backlight if I want it

During the day, however, I use my Kindle with the brightness up all the way (eyes are getting older) with no need for a supplemental light. This backlight is great and doesn’t drain the battery that fast. It’s not meant to be used as a flashlight like your phone; it’s meant to give enough light to read in dark areas.

Small and simple – excellent for travel

The version I have can fit in my slightly larger shorts and travel pants pockets. It also has its own sleeve inside my camera bag where it can happily remain unscratched for a while, and still be easily accessed. Throw it in a beach bag or a backpack for an overnight hike.

Read it in daylight

Have you noticed phones as of late have advertised how many nits of brightness they project, touting their ability to be seen in daylight? That’s great! And it runs down your battery.

The Kindle I have uses a basic screen with an anti-glare coating and 16 levels of grayscale. It doesn’t have to put out all kinds of power to be read in daylight. Contrast does the job well.

Full California mid-day sunshine is not a problem with the backlight at zero.

Battery lasts a long time with USB-C Charging

Yay for USB-C! It’s my preferred charge connection of choice for traveling and not having to bring any other charger is wonderful.

Plus the battery is said to last six weeks according to their marketing. I’ve had my Kindle for 3 weeks and have read 1.25 books and the battery is sitting around 50%. Good enough for me.

Audiobooks, too

I’ll admit that I likely won’t use this feature. The functionality of the Audible app on my iPhone and my AirPods is a better experience than running the same game from the Kindle.

But it’s there in case I want to leave my phone behind and not be connected while I listen.

Etc…

It has other advantages and there are half a dozen shapes, sizes, storage. Some are waterproof, have auto-adjusting lights, wireless charging, writing pens….etc….

I didn’t want a lot of cruft. I want what I have and that is one button to turn it on and then all the cool features I listed above.

Easy reading and access to library books makes it the perfect escape from all my other devices.

One Reply to “Why I Went Back To Reading With A Kindle”

  1. Ionut Trufin

    Thank you for this post, Peter. I can easily relate to the above since I still have my Kindle 3 (the one with a keyboard) and love using it like in the first day. Bought it used in 2011 and it’s still offering 2-3 weeks of battery life now, depending on how much you read. One thing that I would add to the above on the pro side when comparing to a physical book is the ability to change the font size. For my not so good eyes that is a huge plus, albeit you have to change pages more often.

    Reply

Leave a Reply