Kindle vs. Books: An Ode to the Book

Kindle vs books

I’m sure you’ve all figured out by now that I’m an avid reader. When I was younger, I didn’t want to be a pop singer or a princess, I wanted to work at my family’s bakery (but not too hard!) and be an archaeologist (I know, I shocked everyone when I came out with that – no idea where I’d picked it up at the age of 6!). But these for me were sideline careers – what I really wanted to do was be a children’s author. So reading was my thing – it was almost a competition between me and one of my friends at school: who could read the fastest and who could read the most books. I remember going into school and boasting that I’d read 23 pages last night, then being devastated to find out she’d read 24. We also read ourselves out of the little library we had in our primary school classrooms and had to be sent over to the big school to pick out some books from that library!
Back then, all we had were paper books. Remember those days when the Book Fair used to come to your school? To me, that was like Christmas! We would be so excited to visit it every year, I would spend my break times reading the backs of the books trying to decide which ones I would choose from the hundreds there.

If you’re not a “book person”, it’s hard to understand, but the smell of books, new or old, is one of the best in the world. A lot of people may hate me for this, but one of my favourite things when starting a new “real book” is cracking the spine open on it – I know, sacrilege, but it’s my book!
I’ve always loved libraries and book shops filled with shelves and shelves of books – what could be better?! I had my own shelves in my bedroom, and these were the only things I would keep neat and in order! They would pile up beside my bed once the shelves were full. Eventually, I got more shelves for my books in the spare room next to mine, and they were soon piled high with books too. I’ve since moved away from home, but as yet, I don’t have enough room for my books. (On a side note, I can’t wait for our new house so I can have real shelves and fill them with my books).

A few years ago, when they were just out, Ben bought a Kindle. It was one of the first generation ones with the keyboard (like this, although it didn’t even have 3G!). He doesn’t read a lot, but thought he might do if it was on a screen rather than a page (and he still barely uses it!). We downloaded a few books that we thought I might read too. I gave it a go, but it was weird: buttons to click instead of turning the pages, and words on a screen instead of paper, even if it did look (admittedly) a little bit like paper. But then I had my trip to Greece: it was three weeks and there would be a lot of travelling around on a coach (I’m not the type of person to feel travel sick when reading fortunately, and I can’t sleep anywhere other than a bed, so spend my time reading), and since we were moving around so much, I didn’t want to have a big heavy suitcase. So too many heavy books were out of the question. I would have to use The Kindle.

After those three weeks, I was converted. Oh yes, I still love real books – when I get the opportunity to buy and read a real book, it’s the best! But, there are so many downsides to real books too. So I decided I’d do a bit of a list. Nothing is ever going to win for me, because even if I do use my Kindle the most, nothing can outweigh having real books on your shelves and in your hands.

Real Book

Pros:

  • It smells like a real book.
  • They look pretty when you put them on your shelves and when you can create a whole library out of them (one day….)
  • You get a real cover rather than an image on a screen.
  • You can flick through to any page you want super quickly.
  • Tradition.
  • It’s real!

Cons:

  • If you drop it in the bath, it gets wet and you can’t read it any more.
  • It takes a fair amount more effort to turn a page than it does to click a button.
  • They can blow away in the wind (speak to Ben about this…reading by the sea sometimes doesn’t work so well).
  • If you read a lot, they take up a lot of room, both in your house and in suitcases.
  • Can be much more expensive than a Kindle book to buy new.

Kindle

Pros:

  • It takes little effort to click a button or swipe the screen to turn the page.
  • It takes up very little room and can store thousands of books at any given time. Even when it’s full, you can archive those books, but pull them back from the Cloud whenever you want them.
  • Kindle books are usually far cheaper than a real book.
  • Books can be downloaded to your Kindle instantly, so if you finish one, you can read another straight away.

Cons:

  • It feels really weird to click a button to turn the page at first.
  • It feels really weird to read off a screen at first.
  • If you drop it in the bath, it dies :/ (although I do have one of these waterproof covers which, although I haven’t tested it, apparently works really well according to a Watchdog programme I watched the other night!).
  • Can seem pretty expensive to buy if it’s more than a couple of pounds considering you don’t get a physical book.
  • It’s not a real book!
So as you can tell, for me, I can never decide! I’ll always still love real books and buy them whenever I get the chance too, but this is usually just if I’m tempted in a bookshop, if I have a voucher to spend, or if it’s a special edition or something I want to add to my collection.
I’m currently using the fourth generation Kindle which isn’t a touch screen and has a few little buttons at the bottom, but this one seems to be no longer available to buy new through Amazon. I can’t comment on the touch screen or paperwhite ones, but those are the ones currently available. Take a look at some of the different ones you can currently buy on Amazon here:
So which do you prefer – real books or Kindles? And why?
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