I was an avid reader when I was younger. My family and I used to go to the mall every week and I remember going home from those trips with shopping bags filled with new books. I would also wait for my school’s annual book drive, where I would spend all my savings just to buy new books. I remember being so proud of my little book collection and showing it off to my friends.
Those were fun times.
But eventually, as time went on, I stopped reading books. At first, I just didn’t have the time. And even if I did, I didn’t have access to the physical books that I wanted, which were either insanely expensive or unavailable in my country. I tried reading off my iPad for a bit, but my grandma-esque eyes just couldn’t handle that screen.
Well, now that I have more time during the quarantine, I decided to get back into reading. And I decided that the best way to get started was to buy a Kindle. A Kindle Paperwhite, to be exact.
I’ve been using this for more than a month, and now that I’ve spent quite some time with it, I can say that it’s definitely one of the best impulse purchases I’ve ever made. I actually feel like the Kindle got me out of a long, long reading slump and made me enjoy reading again.
The first thing that made a huge difference was its screen and interface. The screen is so easy on my sensitive eyes: it’s glare-free in bright sunlight and its backlight is gentle in dark settings. I no longer have to worry about my room’s lighting or anything – I can read whenever and wherever I want without straining my eyes. I also really enjoy not having extra apps or any form of notification on the device, which helps me concentrate on what I’m reading.
I can also buy digital books online and have it delivered straight to my Kindle, which means there’s no need for me to comb through the whole mall only to find out that the book I want isn’t available! It’s a very useful feature, especially now that we’re on quarantine and everyone is discouraged from going out. Oh, and I love how I can download a book sample on my Kindle and read the first few parts to see whether I would like a certain book. I’ve had lots of terrible experiences where I bought a book because everyone says it’s “excellent”, only to find that I hated it or that I wouldn’t derive any value from it. This feature definitely helped me save tons of money (and avoid disappointing books)!
I also love how I can highlight passages and write notes about them! I know that writing on paper books is considered a mortal sin by some book lovers, but sometimes I really, really want to do it, especially when I’m reading non-fiction. There are times when I have thoughts or strong opinions about a certain passage and writing it down helps me articulate why I felt that way or why I agree or disagree with the author. I’m happy that I can finally do that on a Kindle. My Kindle Paperwhite also syncs my highlights and notes to Goodreads, which is a great feature!
But in my opinion, the best thing about the Kindle is that it enables me to carry my entire library with me, without adding weight or taking up precious physical storage space. Because of this, the Kindle fits perfectly into my current lifestyle, which is focused on being mindful of my current posessions, the physical space that they take, and the purpose of the things I add into my life. I get overwhelmed when I’m faced with too much clutter, so I’m currently trying to limit my posessions to the few things that I actually need or intend to use often. Physical books do not belong to any of those categories. So, it makes more sense for me to have just one device where I can store and read my whole library as opposed to having loads of physical books just sitting there unused when I’m done with them. In the end, making the switch to a Kindle is about changing the way I buy and consume content, according to the new lifestyle that I’m creating for myself.
As I’m writing this, I can hear a few gasps in my head from some of my die-hard physical book-loving friends. “Physical books are better!” or “You’re not a book lover if you read e-books!” or “You’ll never get the feel or smell of paper when you’re reading e-books!” and trust me, I get it. I get all of it.
Of course I love physical books, and I’m not saying that they’re inferior or that I will no longer read them. I will definitely continue to read physical books. I still make occasional visits to my former university just to read something from the library. I still borrow physical books that don’t have e-book versions. I still have my old books, and I still re-read them when I feel like it. But I will no longer buy new ones if I can help it because, like I said, buying physical just doesn’t fit my preferred lifestyle anymore. Besides, having my Kindle in my life has made me realize that my enjoyment of a book is not affected by its form factor at all. I enjoy books not because of the feel of paper in my hand or the sound of the pages turning. I enjoy books because of the stories they’re telling, or the things that I’m learning from them. I know I will still be able to learn new things and immerse myself in wonderful stories whether I’m reading on a fancy hardcover book, a tattered paperback book, a tablet, or an e-reader.
So far, my Kindle has been a great companion during this crazily long quarantine. I’m currently on a clear-out readathon where I have to finish all of the books on my shelf/to-read list before purchasing new ones. If you’d like to see what I’m reading, follow me on Goodreads. I’d be happy to get some book recommendations from you as well! I have a particularly soft spot for books related to history and economics 😉
How do you prefer to read? Let me know in the comments! 😊