Note: Post contains Amazon affiliate links.
- Note: updated as of May 2019. The update is towards the end.
I tend to read one new book a month.
And if not, I’m usually going over some past book.
It’s okay, I’m not re-reading fiction. Just marketing and copywriting books to review concepts that I’ve glossed over before.
The problem with this lifestyle is… books add up. You start to notice. Especially after a few years. And then, you gotta throw some out.
So, I ended up throwing some money down for a Kindle. Two weeks later, here’s my Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Review & Why I Got One
Books really do add up.
On my shelves.
In my gym bag.
By my bed.
Possibly near the toilet.
Plus, carrying more than one, as macho and bravado as it sounds, gets real tiring when you’re carrying other crap (gym clothes, notebook, shakes, and so on.)
So, I pulled the trigger and got myself an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.
For anyone living under a rock: “What’s a kindle? Long story short, the kindle is an e-reader made by Amazon. Essentially, a tablet you use to read books (or rather, kindle books, also provided by Amazon) on, and also buy new books on.
How It Works
When you unpack the Kindle out of the box, there’s an “on” button at the bottom of it. Press it and turn it on. If it’s not charged, attach the USB wire to your computer.
Once it’s on, you’ll need to connect to WiFi.
Then, log into your Amazon account and that’s where your journey starts. Either you already have books on your Amazon account and they’ll show up, or you can start shopping on the Amazon Store.
Books take about a minute or less to show up on your device after purchase.
Once a book is on your device, just tap on it. Tap on the right side of the screen to move on the next page. Tap on the left to go back.
My Experiences Thus Far
A) Reasons Why It’s Better Than Real Books
Books come to you fast. No waiting for delivery. That’s an obvious one.
You can highlight stuff, take notes and then export your highlighted wisdom.
Amazon will email it to you in PDF or CSV form.
This is great if you want to remember and apply whatever-the-hell-it-is that you read.
Great for me and my marketing books.
What else? Oh!
Life is a lot lighter with it.
The paperwhite is 6.7 inches in height, about that of a pen. It can fit into my back pocket like a phone would. Super light, just 7.6 ounces.
For your reference, here’s what 15 books of various sizes look like compared to the kindle. I bring these 15 books up again later in this review when comparing kindle and paperback prices.
The battery lasts a while too.
I didn’t do it “to death” yet but I’ve gone a week before charging it again.
And aside from being able to carry it around everywhere, it’s a lot easier to read it in bed. Yeah, I mean the whole holding a book up above your face thing.
Oh, speaking of bed and sleep…
B) Reasons Why It’s Better Than Reading on an iPhone or any Smartphone
Easier on the eyes.
You and I know this: staring at our iPhones before sleep is bad. We know it but we still ignore this fact. It ruins our sleep.
And the kindle?
Arguably, less so. eBook readers, with their backlights, can indeed ruin your sleep like an iPhone or an iPad would.
“They found it took longer to nod off with a back-lit e-reader, which led to poorer quality sleep and being more tired the next morning.
Original Kindle readers do not emit light so should be fine, say experts.” Source: BBC
The good news is, you can turn off the light completely on the Kindle Paperwhite.
Over in settings. There. Light’s off.
Also, No distractions.
There’s a reason I bought the Paperwhite and not an Amazon Fire – it’s focus.
In this day and age, the last thing I need or want are more distractions. I don’t need Facebook on the same device I use for reading. No Twitter or Instagram either.
And this is why the iPhone and any other smartphones cannot and will not compete. In their current form, smartphones are devices of mass distraction. You can disagree all you want. Go ahead and read all you want. Sure, go ahead and think that you can ignore notifications and the temptation of other apps. You won’t.
That’s why they – Apple, Google, Facebook and app makers – make the big bucks.
C) Reasons Why Books Are Better Than The Kindle
The physical touch.
It’s a lot easier to scan and skim through a book, than one on a device.
You can write in them. You can spill coffee and not worry.
I think that’s about it.
D) Limitations & What’s Lacking
I can only speak for the Paperwhite here, but the user interface feels like it’s straight out of 1995.
Like a TI-92 calculator.
Now, that’s not a bad thing at all. At least not for me.
I don’t care that it looks like my old calculator. I need it for books, not pictures. The only thing I notice is that the overall selecting of words or phrases, for example if I wanted to save them as a note, is a tad slow and awkward.
I think that’s the only downside I could find.
Now what about the money side of things? What’s the economics of owning a Kindle?
Well, let’s look at kindle price versus paperback price.
E) Kindle Price vs Paperback Price
I looked up the Kindle and Paperback (where available) prices of the books I have as paperback.
As you can see, there’s not much savings there.
If anything, you’re likely to find a cheaper physical version. Note, the prices are based on the US Amazon store.
|Kindle Price||Paperback Price||Hardcover|
|1||48 Laws of Power||19.99||15.21|
|2||The Obstacle Is the Way||9.99||n/a||20.50|
|3||Ego is the Enemy||9.99||13.26|
|5||Ogilvy on Advertising||14.99||19.71|
|7||Letters from a Stoic||10.99||11.65|
|9||12 Rules for Life||13.99||15.99|
|11||The Copywriter’s Handbook||9.99||12.31|
|12||The Robert Collier Letter Book||5.99||14.34|
|13||Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got||9.99||11.01|
|14||The Halbert Copywriting Method Part III||9.99||17.95|
|15||Mindfulness in Plain English||12.35||12.53|
Of course, I cannot speak for all books, just mine.
But, seeing as how I’m in Japan and buy books off of Japanese Amazon, trust that my books above cost between $20 and $50
So, I would indeed save.
Who should get an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Anyone that reads.
Anyone who wants their books now, rather than wait for d-day (delivery day).
Anyone that is tired of hauling books. Or tired of giving up space.
Anyone somewhat tired of having a collection. I say somewhat because I love my book collection and you may do too.
But we both don’t want to lug them come moving time.
So, this is the biggest selling point for me: Having the books on a device and not having to carry them around.
Now, to answer my question, is it worth it?
• Yes in regards to saving space, “carrying books around” and reading overall. While the economics don’t work just yet, I’m willing to take that hit for the benefits above.
May 2019 Update:
Now that a good year has passed since this Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Review, I do have some extra thoughts about the Kindle. And at this point, my first-timer excitement has long passed.
- Physical books are easier to pick up and jump into. What does that mean? It means that it’s a lot easier to snatch a book and start reading. It’s more approachable. Just pick it up and flip to whatever page. Easier to read.
- With the Kindle, you have to open it, type in your password and then tap on whichever book. Sure, extra seconds of work but noticeable. And I bet you, your brain will subconsciously notice what’s easier (picking up a book) and go for that.
- Physical books are more user-friendly. Again, just a matter of flipping some pages.
- Educational books and anything that requires backtracking is terrible on the Kindle. Again, with a book, you can dog-ear some pages and flip back. You can keep your finger in the page that you’re on so that you can quickly scan back. With the Kindle, it’s a mission and a half NOT ONLY to backtrack to whatever formula or fact you need to review… BUT to GO BACK to your current page.
- This cuts into your reading and “understanding” time.
- The delivery of physical books is much more fun. With the Kindle, it’s downloaded fast which is nice but there’s no anticipation of D-Day (the delivery day).
- It’s easy to buy a whole bunch of books you won’t read on the Kindle. I mean, we can do that with physical books… but which a physical one, you’ll at least give it a try and a half. And it will sit on your shelf mocking you for being a lazy bum. With a Kindle, you can buy it, try it, and then it’ll get bumped down in your library, never to be seen again… because you bought 5 new ones.
- Plus with the ease of ordering books, the temptation to get more is too great.
- You may get into the habit of reading multiple books at once… and maybe that’s not the best thing to do. Just my thoughts.
- Some books are not worth reading more than once. Those are the ones you get on the Kindle.
- Some books are better in physical form. Again, any educational textbook, reference book and anything you will come back to again and again.
But, I still use my Kindle to read. Yes, I save space. Yes, I get my books instantly. Yes, I’m reading a bunch at the same time. And I have a bunch on pause. Yes, you look a lot fancier holding a book than a kindle. Yes, I order physical ones.
My 2019 update seems very…. jaded.
But at this point, my beef is not with the Kindle but with books in general.
Want to know what my beef is? Here it is, but it might require its own post at some point.
One cannot walk away from reading a 500 page book remembering everything they want, right? So, it’s absolutely insane that authors do not include summary/cheat sheets of the content. So, I can backtrack and review key concepts. First, as nice as reading is, dousing yourself with 300-500 pages of info and hoping it all sticks is a giant joke. A very poor transfer of information. If you’re an author, for the love of pie, include summary notes of all key info.
How Would I Make the Kindle Paperwhite Better?
So, here is me dreaming up all the possibilities…
1) Make it heavier and give it some titanium casing or something.
Yes, in an age of small, light electronics, I’d prefer the Kindle to be heavy. Why? Because things that carry no weight … literally carry “no weight” (no importance). The reason why we treat physical books with respect is… they’re heavy. They’re big. And that inherently implies value.
“Ah, no….? No that DOES NOT.”
2) Have 2 screens, like a book has 2 pages facing you if you have it open and spread apart.
Not so much to replicate the reading style with books.
But, more so… to have one screen to read on (preferably the right) and the other to…
- …backtrack without losing your position on the current page. Why? Because currently doing this is a giant pain.
Other benefits include:
- Seeing your highlighted notes.
- Read as you would with a real book – from the left page to the right page.
- Use the left page/screen (or both) to display the “thickness” of the book so that you get a feeling of how much you have to go. How you choose to do that is up to you. I envision lines at the bottom of the page on both screens. Just picture opening up a book. Then hold it horizontally at eye level. The left side is thin – just has the cover. The right side has an inch of pages stacked. Now, imagine these pages represented as tones of lines at the bottom of the kindle screen. Obviously if you’ve just started, the right side will have a ton of lines (representing pages).
3) Fix the percentages.
I recently finished a book… and it finished at the 50% mark. Wow. And I thought I still had so much more to go.
4) Improve the highlighting.
Maybe it’s better on other Kindles, but on the Paperwhite it can be clumsy.
If you’re interested, go ahead and…
Thank you for reading this Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Review.