5 things using a Kindle taught me about reading

For the past five months I’ve swapped over from using traditional paper books to a Kindle. I was gifted a Kindle Paperwhite off a family member for Christmas. They’d knew that since being at Uni I was struggling to read as much as I liked due to having to watch my spending far more carefully than when I was home with a job. I could no longer splurge out on a bunch off books.

I’d been debating getting a Kindle for some time, but never got round to it. I felt like I wouldn’t be a proper bookworm if I went over to the dark side and stopped reading physical books as much. But now that I had one I paid no attention to those thoughts and went on reading as mornal.

I never expected anything to change when I switched over to using a Kindle however, within a few weeks I found some odd changes in how I read and my general reading experiences. A few months have passes and I’ve started to read the odd paper book every now and then (usually when I’m borrowing one off a family member) and I found my whole perspective on reading changed. It’s something I wanted to share with you all today as a lot of the time when people talk about Kindles and other forms of eBooks, they’re being compared to your traditional paper books and not being looked at alone. It’s not often people talk about them without trying to sway you either to buy one or to persward you they’re not real books.

Today I’m not going to be doing either of them, instead I’m going to tell you about how using a Kindle taught me about reading.

Highlighting things in your book adds to the reading experience

I’m one of those people who can’t damage a physical book. Books are precious and they shouldn’t be draw in, have pages bent or have the spines broken (except for uni books, they’re a free for all). But I never realised that this mindset was taking away from my reading experience. There was so much I was missing out on by not being prepared to highlight or underline anything in my books.

With an eBook you can’t damage the pages by highlighting them, if you highlighted something you didn’t mean to then you simply hit undo, no harm done. Once I started to allow myself to highlight passages I liked in what I was reading I found my reading experience greatly elevated. I was more engaged, spent longer absorbing every little bit of information, looking for the next bit of wisdom.

I’ve enjoyed reading more with my Kindle then if I had a a physical book,

The paper copy Vs e-reader debate is stupid

I asked on Instagram how many of you used a Kindle and how many used traditional books and as expected 97% of people were for the traditional paper back and 3% were Kindle readers. I’ve had some rather zealous debates with friends and family members over if eBooks count as books.

I very much used to be on the side of if it wasn’t a physical book then you weren’t a ‘proper’ reader (what ever that’s supposed to mean). But since giving a Kindle a go I’ve realised just how stupid that debate is.

At the end of the day, reading is reading and we can all be benefiting from regularly picking up a book – no matter what form it comes in. In a world full of technology that is designed to shorten our attention span and keep us hooked on social media, reading is being pushed to the side and that’s not OK. At this point I don’t care if one person uses a Kindle, an audio book or a physical paper book. If a person is reading then I’m not going to complain, I’m just going to let them be.

Accessibility is important

As someone with dyslexia and Irlens syndrome, reading is hard work and I’ve never sugar coated that fact. However, reading and writing is something I’ve loved so much I’ve just had to ignore these disabilities that make it harder for me. But using the Kindle was a breath of fresh air I didn’t know I needed.

Once I realised how accessible the Kindle made reading for me it got me thinking of how important that is in general. Reading isn’t the single most accessible thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean that can’t be changed. Audio books are fantastic, e -readers allow people who have difficulties with fine motor control to tap the screen to turn the page insted of having to turn a physical page.

Having a kindle opended my eyes to the fact that

I am seriously put off by a books thickness

This was something I never expected when I first started using my Kindle. I had always prided myself that I’d give any book ago, I’d never judge a book by it cover, I was better than that. But what I’d never considered was the fact that I judged a book by it’s thickness, it’s page count.

When I’m using my Kindle I can’t see how big a book is, I can’t hold a physical copy in my hand, weight it up a bit and go ‘that’s a chunky book’. You can see the number of pages in the book, but I found that difficult to visualise. I never thought this was an issue until I got my hands on three paperback books, two borrowed from a family member and the other one brought.

I went with the smallest book first, I was intimidated by the size of the other two. I didn’t have the energy to commit to a 400+ page book right now, I’d stick with the 200 page one for the time being.

It was only by chance that I clocked the page count of one of the books I’d read on my Kindle, in paperback form it was 560+ pages… it took me three days to read. This really threw me, how had I read such a big book in so few days? How did I have the mental energy to do that? Usually a book of that size would have taken me several weeks. Upon reflection I can see that by not seeing the physical amount of pages I’ve got left to read really helped me not get intimidated by that book. Sure on my Kindle it tells me what percentage of the way I am through the book, but I don’t find that intimidating.

I seem to be put of too quickly by the page count of a book, it makes me wonder how many books I’ve not read because I’ve believed I haven’t been capable of reading them at that point in time.

I am a self conscious reader

Turns out I constantly worry that people are going to judge me for what I’m reading. This hasn’t really been an issue during lockdown because I haven’t been able to sit in a coffee shop and read, but before lockdown this was a major issue for me, I really struggled reading in public.

I really worry people will judge me by the cover of the book that’s in my hand. Can’t tell you where this worry came from, but I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been upable to open a book in public because I through they would judge me for what I’m reading.

With a Kindle this seased to be a issue. No one could see the cover of the book that was in my hand, they could just see the yellow case of my Kindle. I found this to be so liberating, I could read where ever I wanted without worry of other people.

Does anyone else very self conscious of people judging them for what they read?

I feel like I’ve turned to the dark side with my reading.

I still love having a physical book in my hand, I’d love a big bookshelf full to the brim one day. But right now, I’m sticking with my Kindle. I’ll still make sure to always have a paper copy of a book on the go, I always want to support local small bookshops. But I’m going to be using a Kindle as my main source of reading material from here on in and I am perfectly OK with that.

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “5 things using a Kindle taught me about reading

  1. Marking words and phrases in books I read is my thing. It might spoil it’s aesthetics. Nevertheless, in retrospect those highlights remind me of why and what made me underline them in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written, Arabella, I do agree to all the points you mentioned, but the only thing which worries me is the reliability of Amazon as company. The issue is, even after buying the books, you still don’t have any control over the ownership of the book. I read a blog recently, wherein a person who was settled in UK bought a lot of books through Apple books, the day he came to India, he had to change the SIM card for obvious reasons, and the moment the location was changed to India, all those books which he had purchased through Apple books ceased to exist, as the facility to buy books through apple books exists in most of European/ American countries and not in India. It’s really frustrating to lose books like that despite buying it. The same thing applies here, tomorrow if Amazon decides to shut down Kindle and its support (in 4-5 years time or may be more, since it’s a dynamic business company which is highly profit oriented), we will lose the books which we bought over a period of time, which sucks big time and unfortunately the company has no policy or obligation towards us if we lose the books in such fashion, which is why I still feel safe with Hardcover books than Kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it is a real concern and it is something I’ve thought about. What I’ve been doing is making a list of the books I really enjoyed reading and know I will read again. I’ll save up and then by them as a physical book (ideally from my local bookshop) so I have that physical copy that I 100% own. I know it’s a lot of saving up and I now have duplicates of a few books, but it does give me that little bit of security that I won’t lose the books I love if something was to go wrong with my Amazon account.

      Liked by 1 person

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