Why Get a Kindle? Some Pros and Cons of Reading on Kindle Paperwhite

by Mira

You may be aware of the Kindle Paperwhite, the latest version of which was released this September of 2013. Read this review and you may want one as a Christmas gift.

Here’s how I decided to get the latest Kindle incarnation and how it works for me.

First, let me tell you that I love paperbacks. I love their smell, I love turning the pages, making line marks or notes in the margins. And I’m a fan of bookstores, of this whole serendipity thing that everyone talks about. You enter there to browse or buy one book, and leave with that book and two others.

It works about the same way with Kindle. The Kindle Store, easily accessible from the top menu bar, has Daily Deals, Monthly Deals, books Recommended for You, Bestsellers, and so on. Or so I remember. I don’t have a wireless network at home and can’t access the Kindle Store. Which, I found, is a good thing. I check Daily Deals on Amazon now and then though, because I found some classics at $1.99 and now I’m hooked.

The Kindle Paperwhite Makes a Great Christmas Gift

For You, Your Partner, or Someone Else
Kindle Paperwhite 3G
Kindle Paperwhite 3G

So Should You Get a Kindle if You Love Paperbacks

They make for different reading experiences. On some days now I want to read a paperback, and on others I want to hold and play with the Kindle. The way we adapt to things has always fascinated me. We embrace new things but we don’t really let go of the old ones. You know the story: we still have radio and television (albeit much changed in content, support, infrastructure, etc.).

So by all means, if you like to read, try the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s beautifully made and a pleasure to handle. It’s lightweight, the touchscreen is great (I imagine you can work the letters much faster than on the older models, which had the QWERTY keyboard separate from the screen), the nice built-in light (you can choose the brightness setting which works best for you in a given environment) of the E Ink display is easy on the eyes and uses less battery power than regular tablet screens, and the option to highlight and annotate passages is nice.

Another advantage is that this thing is really helpful if you want to travel light, especially if you are the kind of reader who doesn’t read only one book at a time. It can be hard to decide what to take on a trip, especially if it involves long train rides and long airport stopovers.

A Con

If you like your electronics to work super fast, the processor on the Kindle seems to have a short lag (some two seconds?) before it saves your annotations. BUT I have the pre-September 2013 version, and I’m reading the processor is faster on Kindle Paperwhite 2. And in any event, I can wait. I get two seconds longer to think about that passage.

More Advantages

The Daily Deals (usually $1.99). I discovered great reads through this feature (you get to read reviews, of course, and also samples for free), including some contemporary classics I long wanted to read and others I didn’t know about. Also, there are “singles” written for Kindle, some sort of novellas. And you can read various magazines you subscribe to, or serials you pay for.

It’s also a great way to read some literary magazines out there.

Then there’s Project Gutenberg, which has over 42,000 free ebooks. I had to pay to read them in paperback before I had the Kindle, because I simply can’t read a book on the laptop. So this was one major reason why I decided to get the Kindle.

Another major reason is that while you won’t find on Amazon all the books you want in a Kindle format (especially if it’s an older book), you do get to find many, and your living quarters will be less cluttered. So even if you will still buy paperbacks, the fact that you save some of the space this way is great.

A Con

I found myself spending more on books ever since I got the Kindle. Maybe it’s just the initial excitement. I don’t know yet. It’s all very tempting, whenever you have a wireless connection, to check those Daily Deals and other books.

Now, another con: not having a 3G connection. Make sure you get the Kindle Paperwhite 3G. It’s $209 on Amazon right now (compare that to $139 for the one with Wi-Fi only) but it’s worth it, I think. And don’t kid yourself: you’ll be spending much more once you get it (on the other hand, if you spend your dollars carefully, you may save money in the long run). That’s how technology works nowadays -- that's why Nokia, which closed the deal with you once it offered you the mobile phone, lost the race.

Another Pro

Now, if you know you do NOT want to spend too much money on books, and plan, for instance, to read mostly books in the public domain made available by Project Gutenberg, you may be happy with the Wi-Fi Kindle Paperwhite. Do note that you CAN download books from your computer, of course. And you can also access the Daily Deals on your laptop and download books first to your computer, and then, through a USB cable, to your Kindle.

Note that you can also see your highlights and notes online on kindle.amazon.com.

There are many more features to explore. There’s Amazon Prime, which gives you access to a large library of books from Amazon as well as to books owned by other subscribers (you can borrow them through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), free two-day shipping for a year, and more.

You can also share book ratings, highlights and annotations with other Kindle owners. To learn more, click on any of the images below and take a product tour on Amazon.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi

Selling now for $209
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Buil...

Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi

Selling now for $139
Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-i...

Happy reading!

Updated: 10/10/2014, Mira
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Mira on 02/20/2014

That's a good idea, too, to use the app, but there are advantages to Kindle Paperwhite too. The screen technology is really nice . . . and it's not very expensive! But if you already have the iPad, I guess it makes sense to use the Kindle app there.

ologsinquito on 02/20/2014

We have a Kindle app on our iPad. My husband loves reading books on Kindle. I would too, but he usually has it.

Mira on 01/19/2014

I put off getting a Kindle for a long time. Now I'm getting some great books as Daily Deals, and that alone makes it worth it, because the Gutenberg fiction I might have been able to get from a library, but those books are new and expensive and to be able to get them for very little is truly wonderful. If you want to see the kind of books they have for Daily Deals, search with "Kindle Daily Deals." Also check out some of the other deals there. Do note that some days are better than others. But the idea stands that you can find some little gems among those books. Some of the books I got recently: The Kite Runner, The Fault in Our Stars, a novel on Henry James, and an interesting book by Anita Shreve. I got them fast and they didn't break my pocket. Then again, as I say here, I don't always read on the Kindle. I love the feel of a book, and some books just don't translate well into Kindle format or can't be used well as Kindle books.

DerdriuMarriner on 01/19/2014

Mira, Your pros and cons are helpful.
It truly is amazing how much has been made available via Project Gutenberg. I refer to their holdings often while I'm researching, so it's practically a miracle to have hard-to-find treasures available in cyberspace.
Apparently Kindles have put a real dent into circulation statistics for local libraries; I've been told that the Kindle downloads which are available through local libraries' online catalog are not included, so circulation is down. :-(
One of these days I'll probably own a Kindle. Before your review, I had a vague concept. Thank you for enlightening me.

Mira on 12/09/2013

Thank you, VioletRose!

VioletteRose on 12/09/2013

I love my kindle! Nicely written.

Mira on 12/09/2013

Like many things, it's addictive only if you let it. I still read paperbacks. But I'm very happy to have a Kindle now. In a way I wish I had waited till the release of Kindle Paperwhite 2, but the one I have is very nice to read on, too.

Tolovaj on 12/08/2013

Kindle is certainly on my wish list. If not for this Christmas, I definitely want it in next year. Thanks for this review, I can totally understand the addictive part:)

Mira on 12/08/2013

Hi Kathleen, thank you for your comment! It IS great for traveling, isn't it? Makes for easy packing, too: What shall I take? What shall I take (to read)? The Kindle, of course :)

Mira on 12/08/2013

Hi Mike, I have read good things about Kindle Fire but I own a cheap tablet and so I didn't look at it closely. Thanks for your input!

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