The Case for E-Readers

Many years ago, when the first Kindle hit the market, I was horrified. Read books off a screen? Gross. About 2-3 years later, my grandma bought one for my sister. I started to ease off my hatred. When I lived in Colombia, I was craving texts written in English and found myself wishing I had a Kindle with a few books. Then one Prime Day, the most basic Kindle was something like $35. I decided – what would it hurt to give it a try?

Now I have a lot of feelings about having a Kindle. They are largely positive – but I wanted to point out the value of having an E-Reader from a Minimalist perspective. Here are some of my pros and cons of biting the bullet and grabbing a basic E-reader. I am going to mention that I don’t consider the Kindle Fire or an IPad to be an E-Reader. Those are tablets. You can play games and connect to Facebook on them. They have their place, but I’m talking about a bare bones, old school Kindle in this post.

Pros –

  • You can get rid of all your books – This is a hard pill for some people to swallow. It certainly was for me at first. I grew up in a house of so many books it was ridiculous. I certainly think there is value in physical bound books – especially illustrated children’s books or graphic novels. But if you have your house full of novels – whether they be Classics or beach reads – you don’t need them. Trust me. They are a real bitch to get rid of when the time comes. Do yourself a favor and start to declutter now. The most freeing thing that I got rid of was maybe 95% of my books. I have a couple with special value (gifts from my family or friends) but most of my books have been comfortably rehomed. It’s amazing.
  • Holds charge for weeks – I charge my Kindle around once every six weeks. I use it all the time. Again, this is the basic Kindle which doesn’t even have a backlight (I prefer it because it doesn’t hurt my eyeballs when reading for long periods of time). I don’t even bother bringing my charger on short trips – I know the charge is going to hold. If I do need to charge it – it uses a pretty standard charger.
  • Exceptionally compact – My Kindle is tiny. If I had to give it a size comparison (I don’t have any books on hand) I would say it’s about the size of your average early Young Adult Fiction novel. Maybe like the Boxcar Children. It’s not only easy to take with me traveling – it’s easy to pop in my purse for day to day use. For me, this size is perfect because it’s substantial enough to notice if it’s not with me but extremely light and easy to carry.
  • Easy to use – I didn’t have to read anything about setting up this E-Reader. It’s intuitive. There aren’t updates which change the user interface. The only set up is to get it connected to your account and the internet. Once you do it once – you are in good shape to use it without a hassle.

Cons

  • Have to charge – Obviously with actual books, you don’t have to charge them. So that’s a thing to consider if you are extremely forgetful. However, see above for how often you have to charge them.
  • Difficult to take notes – My one sister takes tons of notes in her books. She’s highlighting and annotating and writing her opinions. I will totally agree that a Kindle might not work for her. The notetaking system for me isn’t that helpful. It’s possible to highlight and annotate but personally, I’ve never used that system. For me, if I’m buying books in Spanish, I go ahead and get a physical copy so I can take notes and write translations. I only have two books in Spanish so far so that’s not really that big of a deal to me.
  • Repurchase books I already have – I’m a comfort re-reader. I could re-read Harry Potter every year. Same thing for some of my favorite chick reads and literature. I never get tired of a nice cozy story. That being said, if I want those books, I have to repurchase them. On the one hand, I hate this – I already purchased them once. I think there’s some way to get newer books in both a physical and digital copy but if I’m honest – I didn’t look into it that hard since I now don’t find myself wanting physical books. It’s a pain in the ass to repurchase but there are some books offered for loan. You can borrow one book at a time.

 

Overall, as someone who likes to keep my amount of physical stuff to a minimum – an E-Reader has become a no brainer. I suggest if you are skeptical to do it like I did – get it on a huge discount. If you aren’t a fan, then it wont have been a big money sink. If you only use it for vacation ditto. However, maybe you’ll really take to it and start thinking about donating your books to local charities and libraries. Just saying – it’s a worthy cause.

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