Friday, April 7, 2017

The Great Kindle Assessment

It's time.

Small has been a trooper for almost a year now (even though I neglected him for a few dusty months under my bed) and he's seen me through several books, each of which I have heartily enjoyed.

In fact, Small has helped us with a lot.

For those of you who haven't made his acquaintance, Small is a Kindle Fire that I bought last year on Prime Day. He was a good price ($30, maybe? I can't remember anymore) and had the capability of getting on the internet to download apps, which I like a lot.

And after many months of use, in which he has uncomplainingly and staunchly offered bibliophile support, it's time for the Great Kindle Assessment.

Are e-readers as good as print books? Or are they not? Do I still love print books better, or have I been converted to the trends of the 21st century?

Read on, Lizzy.

Kindle Features I Use 
  • Spotify is my favorite music program. A legitimate software that lets you listen to almost anything under the sun you could possibly want. When we were cleaning a house for someone last year, I brought Small and put on music for all of us to listen to. Also, the great thing about Kindle Spotify is that it's not shuffle play like the phone app. 
  • Social media--I use Small to check Facebook, Twitter, and email when I want to, though I still primarily use my computer and definitely wouldn't want to type a whole email on Kindle. 
  • And then, of course, what everyone uses a Kindle for--ebooks. I have a large collection of books, and I've read several on it. 

Kindle Features I Like 
  • The battery life is fantastic. Hours of use when you want to read a book--it's remarkably long, like a good phone life. 
  • I can purchase books very economically, often on sale for 99c up to $2.99, so if I want to try a new author, this is a low-risk way to do it. 
  • I love how Kindle estimates your reading speed and tells you how much time you have left before you finish the book. It's helpful and encouraging in an odd way at the same time. It makes me want to keep shaving down time and motivates me to read just a few more pages. 
  • The highlighting and bookmarking: I absolutely love these features. Highlighting means I don't have to mark up a paper book (though I am starting to do that more than I used to) and I can go back and find things that stood out to me when it's time to review. 
  • The most addicting feature, by far, is being able to turn to the next page with just a swipe of the thumb. Because Kindle pages are smaller than book pages, you keep on swiping page after page without getting bogged down in the length of the book or the size of the chapter. I find I read books very quickly on the Kindle--mostly because I'm glued to the screen and can't put it down--so on a Saturday morning when the world is my oyster, that would be a great time to use it. I also like to use it occasionally during breakfast (bad, bad idea young bibliophiles. it will make you so late starting your day). Altogether, I find I read books much more quickly than I would otherwise, and since my Kindle syncs page locations with my laptop Kindle app, it's easy to switch from Kindle to computer and back again, depending on what I need. 

Kindle: The Downside 
  • First of all, Kindle apps can only be purchased from the Amazon store. You can't use the Android or Apple app stores. That means no Instagram, no Revive Our Hearts, probably no Duolingo (, apps I like to have. That was disappointing. But you can add Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Hoopla (an app that lets me borrow movies from the library) so that's great. 
  • Second of all, at the end of the night, it is another electronic screen. I like to stick to print books when I need to wind down for the night. 
In Conclusion
While Kindle will never replace print books (I love reading a novel by hand. There's nothing quite like the smell of old glue or new pages) I do find the Kindle handy, and I wouldn't want to give it up entirely. It helps me read review books very quickly, and it's a great format that easily persuades me to read a few more pages. I've read both fiction and nonfiction on it and found both to be enjoyable. It's small and light, but you can choose a larger font size if you wish, and the highlighting features are way faster than underlining by hand. Also, I've found good sales on e-books and love trying out a book for a low-risk investment that way.

Small was a great investment. While I didn't pay $50 for him (I think that's what they run normal price on Amazon) I would say that he's worth the $50, and I would definitely pay full price if I needed another one someday.

But we don't need to think about that. Long live Small. May his life be a happy and learned one.


  1. "Reading by hand" is a splendid phrase. So often we think of reading as something that involves only the eyes out of all the senses, but with print books, it involves almost all of them (the only except I can think of, which is rightly one, is taste). I shall have to keep that line in mind.
    (I come down firmly on the side of print books to the point that when several relatives of mine not only offered to buy me a Kindle when they say how many books I was packing for a weekend visit to them, I argued back and continue to do so. On the rare occasions I read an e-book, it's because it's on Project Gutenberg on account of being out of print.)

  2. Yay! I'm so glad you're enjoying Small. I got one just like it for Christmas a little over a year ago, and I love it, but mostly for the apps (I prefer print books, when I can get them).

    As far as the app store - I have the Google Play store on mine, which has been a huge help. A techy friend downloaded it for me, so I'm not sure exactly how, but I think he just Googled it. I've gotten a whole bunch of apps that way that I wouldn't have otherwise, like Google Hangouts, Blue Letter Bible, Google Docs and Drive, and others.

  3. I got Small's twin for my birthday last year, and she (Turandot, made of ice and fire) is a trusty little trooper. I've dropped her on the floor several times by mistake, and thankfully she's still running. Having music and books that fit in my purse is a huge blessing. :D

  4. Duolingo? Might I ask what languages you are studying?
    I enjoy being able to get older books for free on Kindle with Project Guttenberg that it would be hard to find otherwise, but other than that I don't use it much - Monday I finally got to read a Gene Stratton-Porter book :)

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. Physical books are the best but electronic books can be handy.

  6. I love to read, and I read *ahem* at the breakfast table a lot! ;) I prefer good print books to e-books any day! :)


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