Justin Tadlock

One year with the Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite e-reader laid on top of a colorful library-esque case for the device.

As I write this, I’m counting down the hours until I can return to Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward. I immediately started reading it after wrapping up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which I snagged for a cheap $2.99 during Amazon’s Cyber Monday deal. I could’ve continued reading Sanderson’s work through the night, but I needed to get up and actually do some work this morning.

In January, I received a Kindle Paperwhite. It was a gift from an awesome supporter in the Theme Hybrid and WordPress community after seeing my plan to read 100 books this year. This is perhaps one of the most-used gifts I’ve ever received (outside of some gaming consoles I got as a kid).

I had tested one of the earlier Kindles years ago. This was before the devices had backlights for reading in the dark and were not quite as nice to use. From that experience, I had determined that real books were still better.

Fast forward to January. By then, I felt like my physical book collection was getting out of hand. I was at a point in my life (and still am) where I was striving for more minimalism. I revisited the Kindle idea. They were certainly better than the models from years ago. This gift was the best thing that happened to me in terms of reading habits. While I’m a bit behind my goal of hitting 100 books for the year, I’ve read far more than I have in previous years. A lot of the reason for this is the versatility of the Kindle.

I still love the feel of a good ol’ paperback in my hands. I love the smell of used bookstores. I love picking over stacks of old novels at garage sales to find a diamond in the rough. But, the Kindle has pretty much been a godsend and become my primary method of reading.

The Kindle is easier to read

I’m not as young as I once was. My eyesight has never been great, but it’s gotten worse over the last few years. Being able to adjust the text size is nice. I can hold the Kindle at a comfortable position away from my face for reading.

The backlights in the Paperwhite also help in low-light situations. Previously, the only good place I had for reading at night was in a specific chair with a good light next to it. Now, I can lounge wherever without having to adjust the lighting of the room.

One-handed reading is something I prefer. I like being able to hold the book in one hand or the other while enjoying a good novel. Unfortunately, some books aren’t so great for that, particularly longer works. With the Paperwhite, I can hold the device and swipe from page to page with one hand.

The downsides of the Kindle

Perhaps my biggest complaint about the Kindle is that book covers are not as cool. The black-and-white versions are not as fun as the full-color print copies. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but book cover design is an art form in and of itself. I love a good cover design and will definitely pick up a book with an exceptional cover once in a while, regardless of whether I’m interested in the contents.

The second complaint I have is mostly a non-issue when you spend 99% of your time actually reading. The Kindle isn’t quite as responsive to swiping and tapping as modern cell phones and tablets. I imagine this has to do with the technology being different and geared toward the reading experience. It’s fine when simply flipping to the next page in the book. But, on other screens, it’s a minor annoyance.

My love of reading has returned

Well, I’ve always loved reading. I’ve just not done as much of it as I wanted these past few years. But, it’s become such a good habit for me this year that I even got back into writing. As most followers of this blog know, I competed in and won National Novel Writing Month last month, which was a huge accomplishment for me. I’m still working on finishing the novel I started.

So, more than my love of reading returning—my love of writing has.