Two months ago I caved and downloaded the Kindle App. I was writing a paper for a course and I NEEDED to read multiple Sweet Valley High books for research purposes. So I signed up for a two-month trial of Kindle Unlimited, which gives readers access to a library of free books for a monthly fee, including newer titles.
While there are some pluses to Kindle, such as having a decent selection of free books for Unlimited subscribers, I found there were too many negatives to e-reading to really enjoy it. Here’s what I didn’t love:
Book design is about more than just the cover are. Designers consider things like how the book will feel in the reader’s hand, which materials to use, paperback vs hardback, embossing vs debossing, and deckled vs smooth edges. All of those careful deliberations go unappreciated when the book is transferred to digital format. I refuse to let book design become a lost art, so I’ll stick with physical books.
I like to take pictures of my reads to post on Instagram, and it’s hard to do that with an e-book. The colours are never as vibrant and it’s difficult to get a clear shot. This doesn’t necessarily affect my reading of the book, but it does affect my enjoyment. I also love the look of a book stack (they basically double as décor for me), and e-books can’t be included in them.
I’m the type of reader that loves to flip back to earlier parts to check details / reread passages. It’s harder to do that on a Kindle. I hate scrolling through the pages to find a particular spot.
Sure, I’m probably straining my eyes with physical books, but it doesn’t feel as strenuous as an e-book. Plus I’m already looking at screens at work, when watching TV, and when scrolling through my phone. I should really be cutting down on my screen time in general, not adding to it.
Reading in Bed
Have you ever whacked yourself in the face with a tablet while trying to read in bed? I have. And it hurts way more than a paperback. Preserve your beautiful face and read a paper copy of your book instead.
I find the books that come free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription (aside from nostalgic, trashy reads) aren’t books that I would pick up in a bookstore or library. Why should I settle just because they’re free? If I want to read free books I can get them at the library / Little Free Libraries. And if I decide to buy a book, I’d rather pay a little more to own the physical copy instead of having a download in my Kindle library.
I guess a lot of people use Kindle for travel, but I’d still rather still pack books and buy books wherever I go, and I doubt that will change (if I ever get to travel again). If my tablet / e-reader gets lost or stolen, it would be pricey to replace. Obviously I’d be sad if I lost a book, but at least I wouldn’t be out a bunch of money. I also never have to worry about charging a physical book or making sure I have a Wi-Fi connection.
A physical book just feels different than an e-reader. There’s just something about holding a book in your hand and flipping the pages. It’s a timeless activity that can’t be replicated.
The Browsing Experience
Scrolling through pages and pages of e-books will never compare to walking through a bookstore or library and browsing titles, which is one of my favourite activities.
I don’t write in books, but some people like to highlight passages or make notes in the margins. It’s also fun to find used books with margin notes or inscriptions on the front – it’s like a tiny connection to another reader.
Kindle / e-readers might be right for some people, but not for me. I’ll stick with my physical books forever.