Paper or Plastic? or Why I Love My E-Reader

Posted December 15, 2017 by Phyllis Helton in Miscellaneous /

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It is not uncommon for me to hear people talk about why they will not buy an e-reader. When I then describe to them why I love my Kindle, many go on to ask me which one they should buy. So if you are a confirmed paper book reader and are determined not to change, you might want to skip reading this article and go straight to the comments to tell me why, lest you change your mind. 🙂

And just for clarification, I am not referring to the Kindle Fire.  That is a tablet.  The Kindles I refer to here are the e-Ink readers.

Why I Resisted Getting a Kindle

Let me start off by saying that I am a little bit of a technology junkie and come from a family of technology junkies.  I do always like having the latest and greatest of the gadgets and enjoy finding well written programs and apps that make my life easier.  So my resistance wasn’t due to any kind of intimidation or concern I wouldn’t be able to figure it out.

I love to read, and have been reading voraciously since I was a very little girl.  My mom claims that I taught myself to read, probably so I wouldn’t have to wait for her to read to me.  🙂  I love the feel of a book in my hands and hated to lose that.  I also have always appreciated being able to check books out of the library and to be able to lend books to a friend.

When my sister was telling me about the Kindle they got and how they were using it, I wasn’t impressed.  Being able to read a newspaper electronically wasn’t much of a draw, and I figured that if I could always do that on my computer.

Why I Bought My First Kindle

I was at my sister’s house visiting (she lives across the country from me) and needed to have her bring me to a bookstore.  When I had left the house for the airport, I thought I had enough reading material with me, but I was wrong.  Ugh.  And I think it was around then that I realized, if I had a Kindle, I would be able to have many books with me.  I think it was also that trip that I found out that it is possible to check books out from the library for the Kindle (and other electronic devices).  Hmm.

I don’t remember when it is that I discovered that Amazon has a wealth of books that are available for free.  And only on the Kindle.  Up until that time, I spent a lot of time finding books that were “used in like-new condition” to buy inexpensively, but shipping was always an issue.  I tried combinations of how to buy them, from bookstores or from Amazon, but in the end, it is hard to match free.

Oh, and I’m a book amasser.  I don’t like getting rid of books that I have read and liked, so my bookshelves were completely overflowing.  Even stacking books on each other didn’t give enough relief.  That was when I realized that buying a Kindle would cost me less than a new bookshelf.  It was time to bite the bullet and make that purchase.

Why I Don’t Care for Paper Books Now – Mostly

I have exceptions for this preference, and I’ll talk about it in a minute.  But for now, here are the reasons I love my Kindle, in no particular order.

  1. Convenience – I can carry it with me everywhere so I always have the book I’m reading with me.  And even better, I can have as many books on it as I want, which allows me to have backups.  I don’t have to worry about bulk in a carry-on, or that I changed my mind about the kind of book I would want to read next.  And best of all, I no longer have to worry about only having 2 chapters left when I leave the house meaning I have to carry two books with me!
  2. Weight – I seriously think the version I have now is lighter than a paperback book.  It is very well-balanced and super easy to bring with me everywhere.
  3. Ease of Holding – With a Kindle (especially the Oasis), it is so easy to read one-handed.  I have issues with my arms, shoulders and hands from living on my computer and find it much less stressful to my body to read using a Kindle than a regular paperback book.
  4. Cleanliness – Yeah, I’ve become a bit of a germaphobe when I think about how many people have had their hands on a library book or a used book I’ve picked up.  No problems with that happening with my Kindle.  And if I spill something on it, no worries.  It is easy to clean.  Bye-bye germs!
  5. No Glasses! – With my Kindle, if I don’t want to wear my reading glasses, I can just increase the size of the font and read just fine.  I have a friend who increases the size on hers so much there isn’t more than a single paragraph that shows up on her screen at a time.
  6. Storage – As I mentioned above, not having to buy a new bookshelf every few years has great appeal to me.  And I also like my books to match.  I’ve had times where I’ve purchased several books from a series at different times and ended up with different looks and sizes.  And I’m silly enough that it bothers me to see them that way.  This isn’t even a factor with the Kindle.
  7. Privacy – If the cover of the book isn’t one I want to have everyone seeing, no worries.  With the Kindle, no one sees it.  And while I’m not reading books that have anything gruesome or too steamy on them, some of the book covers are just a little bit lame.
  8. Light – I have a Kindle with a built-in light and will always get them this way.  I don’t have to worry about reading in a dark place and having inadequate light because my light is already there.  This also means that I can read next to my husband when he is watching a movie and not disturb him with the light.
  9. Price – Many books cost less to buy a Kindle version than the paper version.  Yay!
  10. Free Books – The number of free books on Amazon is a bit overwhelming.  And they are all Kindle books.  Granted, some probably should have never been written, but reading reviews can really help to weed out the garbage.  And even better, check out my reviews here.  Many of the authors I like offer their books for free at least occasionally.
  11. Easy of Library Access – If I want to check a book out of the library, I can now do it from the comfort of my home and have it in seconds.  And if my library doesn’t have the book I was looking for, it is easy to request that add it.  I have gotten positive responses to these requests and had the book available within a week.
  12. Kindle Unlimited – If you read a lot, Kindle Unlimited is a great option.  For $9.99 a month you can select from a vast number of books and read as many as you want in that time.  Not all books are available that way, but many of the authors I have found that I like have books on Kindle Unlimited.
  13. Lending Books – It is possible to loan someone your Kindle book.  I don’t understand why this is not available for every book or why you can do it only once, though.

What I Still Prefer Reading in Paper

The main book that I read all the time and prefer in paper is my Bible. Especially at church, because it means that I won’t be distracted by new e-mails coming in while following along in my Bible. I also find that flipping through to find the verses that I am looking for is faster for me on a physical Bible than trying to figure out the abbreviations for the books on my smart phone.

Picture Books. If the book has pictures, especially color ones, the Kindle will display them in black and white, but they wasted on a Kindle. I have quite a collection of gardening books, craft books and photography books that are hard-back or paperback and I will probably never replace them with electronic copies.

Cookbooks are horrible on a Kindle, at least for flipping through to find the recipe I want. I much prefer my physical cookbooks to the Kindle for recipes, at least until I get them transferred to my tablet.

Books best on a Tablet or Smart Phone

I do not, for the most part, like reading books on my tablet or smart phone.  The screen is much too glaring and is not comfortable for reading for extended periods of time.  And the Kindle app is just not as nice as the interface on the actual Kindle.

If not paper, then I prefer to read and study my Bible using my tablet. I find the applications for Bible reading are much preferred to the Kindle app, for ease of navigation and especially for built-in study helps. My favorite app for this is called Olive Tree. It is available for pretty much all tablets, phones, and even computers.

For recipes, I love an app called Paprika. Like Olive Tree, it is available for pretty much any device you want (including Kindle, ironically, though I’ve never tried it there).


Though I did mention Kindle specifically, many of the reasons I like my Kindle would transfer to another e-reader.  The main difference is that Amazon does seem to have a corner on the market for the free books and there are some authors that publish their books for Kindle exclusively.

What are your thoughts?  What is your preferred reading medium, and why?


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