As posted on Sunday Showdown: Used Kindle vs Trashy Paperback
Reading might be fundamental, but that doesn’t mean we read as often as we should. Everyone has at least one stack of books they stare at sheepishly, knowing they haven’t been read or cracked one open in months, even years.
While you could read that old paperback you’ve been dying to get to, there are so many other distractions to choose from. Besides, what if you’re just not into opening that romance novel after a 10-hour work day? What if you want to read something funny? You can always look at toting more than one book with you, or get yourself a cheap Kindle and save yourself the weight (before accessories, of course). Either way, you’re guaranteed to start reading a little more.
Both are decent choices for getting reading done on the cheap. With paperback books, they’re virtually everywhere, cheap enough, and small enough to tote around. The Kindle, however, has technology on its side, making it easier than ever to read more books at a time.
Cheap paperbacks: Paperback books are the tried and true method of reading something anywhere. They’re small and light, making it an easy decision to take one along with you on a trip or walk. Being an actual book, you’re more likely to retain what you read, making it a great choice for literature you want to devour. Paperbacks are also on the cheap side, often equalling their ebook counterparts, and definitely a bargain compared to hardcovers. Don’t want to purchase any books? Simple. Hit the library.
A used Kindle: Amazon’s Kindle is the most common option when you think e-reader, but any cheap e-reader will do. Available in options ranging from the $80 Kindle to the $290 Kindle Oasis, you definitely have a few ways to spend your money.
What I’m recommending, however, isn’t a Kindle fresh out the box, but a refurbished one, as cheap as you can get one. Combine that with your library’s ebook program as well as ebook sites like Standard Ebooks and you’ve got yourself a library in your pocket for the price of a few hardbacks.
The idea is this: if you’re carrying an expensive e-reader with you, you’re more likely to be wary about pulling it out. I’ve treated brand new smartphones like newborn babes while my old models get tossed like rag dolls (with cases). I’ve owned a brand-new Kindle and found myself behaving in a similar way. I’d only read it at home, never outside. But my refurbished Kindle? I take it with me everywhere, and find myself reaching for it in unlikely situations thanks to its one-handed use.
Both Have Books, but Only One Needs Batteries
Your Kindle might store a multitude of books within, but that’s no good when it’s not charged. There’s one way books always beat electronics: longevity.
Your trashy paperback doesn’t need batteries, nor do your books disappear after your renewal date expires. Getting excited to continue a novel only to find your Kindle dead as a doornail is less than appealing, especially when sitting next to someone with a book they grabbed from an airport newsstand.
Adjusting to electrified reading meant I had to tote a tiny battery pack and USB cable with me to make sure I wasn’t without power when I had a few minutes of downtime. It’s a great habit to build, but annoying when I forget. I’d rather just read whatever I could at that point.
A Paperback is Just a Book, a Kindle is a Library
Having one book might make you excited to finish it, but having one book also means you might not be in the mood to finish it. That means you’re stuck with unwanted reading material wherever you are, text you’ll have to slog through until you decide you’ve read enough for the day.
My Kindle is my portable library and encourages me to explore all of my interests, as long as I’ve checked some out before I leave the house. If I’m not feeling this historical non-fiction book, I can pop over to a high fantasy novel and read about some elves cracking some skulls.
That ability to choose will increase your chances of reading something, anything, as long as you’re interested in it. I’ve used my Kindle to read some classic novels too long and large for me to carry, as well as books with only a few dozen pages.
Verdict: Paper is Nice, But I’ll Keep the Kindle
You may disagree and say there’s nothing like grabbing an old softcover and spending the day with it, but I object. Technology affords us many luxuries, one of them being the ability to carry more than one book with me at a time. It works wonders for my short attention span, lets me get more reading done without being paranoid I’ll break or lose my device, and allows me to get some literature in even when I only have one hand free. Sure, I’ve got to make sure it’s charged or bring a battery pack with me, but at least it means I’m reading more.