I like real-life books as much as the next compulsive bookshop browser. There’s something amazing about sorting through piles of books and deciding which you’re going to take home. I love how old books smell and I love how new books smell. I like the feel of paper under my fingers. What I definitely don’t love is finding somewhere to put them. At my last count, I had over 600 real-life actual space taking books in my house… and my house is not big – it doesn’t have its own library. I also begrudge having books on my shelves that I bought, thought I’d love and now feel ‘meh’ about. They were fine but I don’t need a copy of them. Yes, I know I can take them to charity shops (and I have) but, as I only have limited time to sort them, I haven’t really got around to doing a proper clear out.
Sony PRS 650
So in an effort to prevent myself becoming one of those obsessional hoarders off of the TV, I asked for an ereader for my birthday a couple of years ago. The idea was to buy ebooks and then if I loved any of them to buy nice, pretty hardback copies for my shelves. The Sony PRS 650 came into my life and my reading experience was changed forever. I loved how light it was to carry around and how I could switch from book to book whenever I felt like it. It’s no secret I love tech, but what I loved about this tech was how simple it was and, very importantly, how the e-ink didn’t strain my eyes. The only slightly annoying thing was that I had to plug it in to download books through a slightly complex system. When it inexplicably died, I was not happy to move my reading to my iPad. Although I love it, it’s not built for reading for long periods of time and after being on a computer at work all day, the last thing I wanted to do is to look at another back-lit screen.
My Kindle Paperwhite came into my life in December. My eyes are so happy to be reading e-ink again. Although it does have a back light, it’s really easy to turn up and down so I haven’t had any headaches since I’ve used it.
Instant access to the Amazon bookstore has meant that when I see book recommendations I can be reading them five minutes later. A huge bonus for me is that I can email documents to a dedicated Kindle email address – this means I can send my PDF course materials to it (I’m completing a distance learning course at the moment around my full-time job), read them, highlight important sections and make notes on the go. I used to do this on my iPad, but due to the weight lugging an iPad everywhere is not ideal. And, realistically, sometimes I just want to take a normal-sized handbag out with me – the Kindle Paperwhite easily fits into all my handbags, my iPad 2 does not. Compared to a large hardback book, like Christopher Paolini’s Eldest (see below) it’s a much more practical option to carry around. Even when compared to a small paperback (Neil Gaiman’s Stardust), it’s still the most practical option.
Although it probably won’t be a problem for me, I also like that you can have books and documents stored off the device to download to it when you need them, but not on the reader all the time taking up space. On the Kindle itself, the menus are easy to navigate with single touches and you can create collections to keep documents or books together.
Battery life is good. I’ve charged it once since I got it just before Christmas. Amazon claims it will last eight weeks on one charge (reading for 30 minutes a day with the wireless off) but even with quite heavy use the battery seems to hold up well. And, to be honest, for someone who lives or works somewhere with electricity (that’s you) it’s not that big a deal to plug it in every few weeks is it?
I bought the official Kindle Paperwhite Leather Cover and it has been surprisingly hardwearing. It holds itself shut with a magnetic closure, which even when chucked in my handbag every day still stays closed. The outside of it hasn’t scratched or dented. I particularly like that the front can be folded right back flat so it can be held in one hand.
All in all, I love my Kindle. I know that the Paperwhite has been a little overshadowed by the sexier Kindle Fire, but I already have a colour tablet. What I needed was a lightweight, easy-on-my-eyes book replacement and the Kindle Paperwhite does that very well.