I had heard long ago of something called a Kindle, and that it was a device for reading, but didn’t really think much about it. But when I read a friend talking about a kindle, it sparked my interest. I noticed that the said friend reads a lot and I figured it would help me to read more. Still, I did not know exactly why I should buy one, or what exactly makes a Kindle so special.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I was finally able to buy one. By then, I had started my studies at Islamic University of Medinah, and I was having a hard time forcing myself to read more. Then, one day I saw another friend, a fellow student at the university, reading Arabic books on a Kindle. That day, I first did my research on the Amazon Kindle, and I finally decided to save money to buy one.
After several months, and after getting some advice about which Kindle to buy (there are several versions to choose from) from a friend, I decided to buy an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.
18 months with the Kindle, and I am loving it. Here are 10 reasons why (in no particular order).
- The Size and Weight
Even though I had some idea about how big a Kindle Paperwhite is from the YouTube videos I watched when I was doing my initial research, I was pleasantly surprised when I first held my Kindle in my hands. It was a different model than the one my friend had, so I was expecting some differences. I love how effortless it is to hold it with one hand, which, along with its light weight, makes it very suitable for me to read while walking (which is a time wasted if something useful is not done during it, I always say). It doesn’t hurt that I can put it in the pocket of my thobe or even the back pocket of my trousers.
- The Display
The e-Ink display is new to me. E-Ink displays mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. It depends on an outer source of light (such as the sun) to display whatever is on it. It is a bit slow rendering and refreshing the pages, and it leaves what is called a ‘ghosting effect,’ meaning that you might sometimes see some shadows of the previous page on the new page. But you don’t notice it that much when reading, and it isn’t a big deal.
Apart from that, I like how it looks and how easy it’s on the eyes, and it feels as if you are reading a printed book.
- The Dictionary
If you come across a new or difficult word that you don’t know the meaning of, you just tap and hold on the word and the built-in dictionary would pop up with the dictionary definition of the word. No need to turn the pages of your dictionary, or change to the dictionary app to search for the word anymore.
I can’t find a good Arabic dictionary for the Kindle, though. And most of my Arabic books are scanned from printed books, so it doesn’t and wouldn’t work, anyway.
- Ease of Buying Books
Amazon has a wide range of eBooks, and if you find an interesting book or the one you are looking for, then it is your lucky day. It takes literally a minute or two (more or less) between finding a book, buying it, downloading it, and reading the first sentence.
In case of normal bookstores, this is not possible. The trip to the bookstore, walking around, waiting at the counter, paying cash, the trip back, too much.
Plus, on Amazon, reviews.
- The Absence of Distractions
No Facebook, no Twitter, no Snapchat, or any other social media for that matter (although you can post to Facebook and Twitter with your Kindle, I think). No notifications, no nothing. Not even calls or SMSs. Sometimes I leave my phone at home, so that wherever I am, all I have got with me is my Kindle, and all I can do with it is read (no games on the Paperwhite), and this makes me read more. Good.
- Auto Screen-Off
I have the habit of reading while lying down, and in such cases I almost always fall asleep while reading the book. When I wake up, the book will inevitably be closed (might even be under me), and I it takes a bit of an effort to find the page I last read.
With the Kindle, however, it will turn the screen off after some time of inactivity and in the morning, I can open to the last page I read (because when I fell asleep, I would have stopped turning the pages by tapping on the screen, obviously).
- Changeable Fonts and Sizes
I love this. If I am feeling too lazy to turn the pages too frequently, I just reduce the font size to the smallest, and it displays more lines on the page, so it takes longer to finish the page. Or, if I am walking or in a vehicle and it is a bit bumpy, I increase the font size so that it is easier to read.
There are several fonts to choose from, but I stick to one instead of changing it occasionally. But I like the fact that I have a number of options to choose from.
It might be a bad habit, but occasionally I read more than one book at a book. Sometimes I get bored of a book (might be because of a boring chapter, my mood, etc.) and change to another, more interesting book. In the case of normal, printed books, it means that, in order to make this possible, I have to carry two or more books with me wherever I go.
With the Kindle, I can carry thousands of books with me, and with no extra weight!
- Battery Life
Oh, my Kindle is showing the low battery warning? No problem, it can still go on for several hours.
Amazon claims that if you read half an hour every day, with the wi-fi off and the light setting at a certain level (I forgot which), one full charge of the Kindle will last six freaking weeks. Six.
I usually read for more than half an hour daily, so I can’t really confirm Amazon’s claim. But I sure can appreciate the fact that the Kindle’s battery lasts an impressive length of time. I have yet to charge my Kindle two times in a week, and if I say that it usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks for me, it would probably be very close to the mark. This is gold, compared to my phone, which I need to charge once daily at least.
I mentioned before that e-Ink displays need—like normal books—an outer source of light such as the sun. Ever noticed how difficult it is to read your smart phone’s display out in the sunlight, especially with the brightness set to a low level? It is the opposite in case of devices with e-Ink displays such as the Kindle. It is as easy to read in broad daylight as it is a book.
At night or in the dark, it is just like a book. Just like how you need a bedside lamp (or a torch under the bedsheet because the Dursley’s don’t allow any lights on or reading your school books after bedtime) to read a book, the Kindle needs a light source for its readers to read. This problem is solved by a backlight, which is series of led lights that project their lights on the screen. This light is quite comfortable on the eyes compared to the light of the smartphone displays.
Anyway, these are 10 reasons why I love my Kindle. If you are a bookworm, you probably have heard of a Kindle. If you are thinking of buying one, I hope this helps you take a decision.