I love books, in fact my entire family loves reading and we have amassed quiet a good collection of books at home. In spite of space constraints, we managed to find place for all our books – at the corners, filling the under-the-bed storage and even our wardrobes! It attracts typical, standard question from my friends and visitors that why being a tech writer I have not embraced Kindle yet? I was expected to be the first one to use it and suggest it to others but rather looks like I am a late adopter of Kindle, which has kind of become synonymous with e-reader. I have for quiet long time now resisted the idea of Kindle for my reading. Like many good, old, passionate readers I love that fresh smell emanating from the pages of a new book as you flip through, the texture of the paper which obviously you cannot in a e-reader. A tree is being cut for the joy of reading a book, if you are Eco-conscious and also, the space constraints in a city living means e-reader are increasingly popular. An entire shelf of books can be stored digitally and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. So finally I took a plunge and tried the Kindle Paperwhite, did it win over me? Read ahead.
Frankly, the first time I took hold of the 2015 Kindle Paperwhite , it felt awkward. The dimension was smaller than the regular book. For a moment, I pondered ‘do I really need to read on this screen‘ but by now the tech writer in me had taken over and I am not looking back now. I am going to read at least one book on this and experience it. After toying endlessly with colorful displays in mobiles and tablets, the all-white or rather paper white display looked ‘strange’. But it makes perfect sense. The paper white display is made for your eyes. It won’t strain your eyes after hours of reading. Remember, the blue filter toggle tucked in most Smartphone display settings that promises to be good for reading, well, the PaperWhite display makes them feel a poor attempt. The PaperWhite display is genuinely made for reading.
The 6″ E-ink display has a 300 pixels per inch which makes for super-crisp, sharp text and visuals. After all a blurred ink can kill the joy on prints and screens. This is supposed to be a marked improvement from the earlier generations.
I made my first e-book purchase. For long I wanted to read The Martian by Andy Weir, even though I have watched the movie adaptation, so it was my first purchase and it was instantly delivered into my Kindle account. One also saves bucks when buying kindle editions over the conventional books. Every penny saved, more books to buy.
Sometimes I crib over typography of some books. Kindle gives the freedom to choose your convenient font size, fonts (Bookerly font is my choice, it’s neat) , the spacing and also show the reading progress. These tools make Kindle a good mode to read. I slowly start developing a likeness for it, dismissing my initial skepticism.
Parents are paranoid about children getting addicted to electronic devices especially Smartphones and tablets. I have a 6 year old son, who has acquired the reading habits of his parents and this is one device I would be happy if he spends time with. What makes this special over the paper books? It betters his reading skills. The built-in dictionary feature accessed by just tapping the words makes them learn new words and also word wise, a feature that shows short and simple definitions automatically above difficult words, so you can keep reading with fewer interruptions. One can also refer from wikipedia and translation right on the page. The vocabulary builder gathers all the terms you searched in dictionary , one can use these lists to quiz yourself with flashcards and instantly see words in context, children who enjoy reading would love it.
I have this habit of taking notes, annotate but WhisperSync, a feature in Kindle simplifies it. It saves and synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, and annotations across all of your devices and Kindle apps, so you can always pick up where you left off.
Another interesting feature is the X-Ray. It scans through the books and pieces together notable clips, characters, terms and images for reference. Say you want to go through all the mentions of a particular character in the entire book, it’s easy meal.
I am sort of person who wears fitness bands just to see how many steps I walked, though am no fitness freak. I like to read information on me – the way I operate. So I got a fancy for this feature which calculates the reading speed based. Am a slow reader but I still like to see my personalized reading speed, just for the fun of it.
So finally did Kindle manage to change my perception? Will I go paperless? I think yes. I was skeptical but after one good read of a book, I think its an acquired taste. Yes, I miss the smell of papers and the feel of it but Kindle is convenient, I can carry my library on the go, the bundled features are useful and convenient. I would still be reading paper books, it is not easy to change the joy I have got accustomed to since childhood. But I am open to reading on Kindle now, it doesn’t feel alien and I might be buying more and more e-books now for the sheer convenience it offers. When I gave my dad his first phone, I remember him not so comfortable but my kid is naturally at ease with Smartphones and tablets and would be with with e-books also, think Kindle is the way forward. Yes, while I was reading on Kindle, my wife was shaking her head, she still likes the old world charm of holding a book like how I used to be earlier. May be, I will get her read one book and that might change her perception.