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I Love My Kindle. Am I a Dinosaur?

By Hannah Johnson

2008: My first Kindle

2008: My first Kindle

Back in 2008, I was the first of my friends to get the Kindle, and oh how I bragged about it. Over beers at the bar, in the office, at the dinner table, I proudly demonstrated this new device for anyone who would listen. On my daily commute to and from work, fellow subway passengers would ask me about my Kindle. How do you like it? How many books does it hold? Should I buy one? My answer was always an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Now let’s skip ahead to 2013. The bragging has stopped. Nobody wants a demonstration. People wonder why I’m using a device that can barely access the Internet. As the screen on my Kindle flashes between book pages, the guy sitting next to me on the subway scrolls through an ebook on his iPhone. He doesn’t ask me if he should buy a Kindle. Could it be that in just five years, I went from cutting-edge to dinosaur?

(Note: the technology used in the first Kindle device in 2007 was not cutting-edge. E Ink had been around for more than 10 years, and wireless data transfer capability (EVDO) was first developed in 1999. However, the digital content ecosystem that Amazon built was cutting-edge.)

In 2012, ereader sales dropped by 28% while tablet sales grew by over 78%. It all makes perfect sense: people want to spend their money wisely. Why buy an ereader that only serves on purpose when you can buy a tablet that does so much more?

The writing is on the wall for slow and steady demise of ereaders, so why can’t I shake my Kindle habit? Currently, I’m reading on my fifth Kindle, the Paperwhite. The first three broke, and I left the fourth on an airplane. Clearly it isn’t the durability of Kindle that keeps me hooked.

I simply love to read, and in my opinion, the Kindle offers the best reading experience — for now, anyway. I can read any book I want, uninterrupted for hours and hours. The screen won’t flash with notifications and messages; apps won’t ping my device asking to be updated; and I won’t be tempted to abandon my book for some mind-numbing yet highly addictive game (ahem, 7×7).

The Kindle experience isn’t perfect (typos and strange formatting in ebooks, awkward page-flipping, no page numbers), but it’s more portable than print and less interruptive than a tablet.

Next year, I might be singing the praises of a new ebook app or tablet and wondering how I could have stuck with an ereader for so long, but for now, I’m happy to read on my single-use, black-and-white Kindle while my fellow subway riders play 7×7 on their retina-display iPads.

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13 Comments

  1. Posted April 25, 2013 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    I have a Sony and you just summed up exactly what I love about it. Also, I’m starting to enjoy the aura of slightly outdated cool it gives me – like wearing a digital watch, maybe?

  2. Lora
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    I am on my second Sony Reader and agree with both Hannah and Katy, although I use my reader essentially to read pdf and rtf format manuscripts for work rather than pleasure. It is easier on the eyes than a backlit screen and works much, much better where there is a lot of light that causes problems with computer and iPad screens. (Yes, I have an iPad, but I hardly ever read on it.)

  3. Posted April 25, 2013 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Like Katy I’m on a Sony. I also have a tablet and while I have ereading apps on it I have never used it for reading I just prefer my dedicated ereader. I know there is alot of anecdotal evidence at the moment about different reading habbits but I would love to see a study into device use to find out whether there is a difference in the reading habits of tablet users and dedicated ereader users.

    I’ll do it if someone wants to fund me :P

  4. Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I was, or so I like to think, one of the first people in the UK to have the Kobo Wireless e-reader when it launched in 2008-09. Being a native Canadian, I will jump on board with most Canadian-based companies and their offerings.

    Kobo was no different. Sure I had to navigate territorial right issues and purchase books in CDN$ and not GBP£ initially, but I loved it. As I started seeing more Kobo’s in the wild, on train platforms, on the Underground, I knew the popularity in e-readers was only growing. It is a gateway drug, not only for e-books, but reading at large. I support the different choices for devices, and while I remain a Kobo fan, Kindle will be the mainstay, and the first product people think of.

    Having alternatives like the Kobo (even the Sony eReader) helps increase choice, affordability of device and reading for pleasure in general. This was a great article, but seriously try out the Kobo Aura HD – eInk in hi-def….who would’ve thought! I think it’s only a short step from full colour eInk.

    And that will truly kill the original devices dead.

  5. Miki Smith
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I too am hooked on my Kindle–my 5th, although none of mine broke. They all went the way of children while I upgraded! I also have an ipad, and if I read during the day, it presents a more pleasing screen, but at night, in bed, the Kindle is lighter, the cover has a built in light, and I can read for hours.

  6. Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I love my Kindle. My entire family has one. I use the tablet for reading PDF documents and the more graphic intensive novels – that said, the glare of the tablet screen (especially at night), the fact that my tablet dies within a day of reading – these issues need to get resolved before I will consider chucking away my Kindle.

  7. Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Hannah, I couldn’t agree more. Even though I’m in ebook publishing services, for the pure pleasure of reading — there is nothing (at present) that beats the Kindle eReader. I love my e-ink device. When my daughter broke hers, I loaned her mine and briefly switched to reading on the iPad. It was too heavy. Too bright. Too distracting. There are a lot of uses for a tablet. I wouldn’t want to be without my iPad for many, many other activities, but for reading a good book… give me my Kindle. Thanks for speaking up!

  8. Margot Atwell
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s pretty funny to feel retro nostalgia about an electronic reader! That said, I completely agree. I also like the fact that there are no distractions with the Kindle. I can barely read an entire email on my phone without flipping over to check Facebook or reconfirm my next meeting time in the Calendar. In order to really engage with a book, I need those distractions not to be available–or at least not available on the same device!

  9. Alison
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I have a Kindle (my 4th!) AND a Kobo Mini. I got the Kobo to read epub books from the library that aren’t available in Kindle format. I prefer the Kindle because I don’t really like touch screens (I have the Kindle Keyboard), but the Kobo Mini is SO CUTE! And I prefer them both to reading on my phone.

  10. Chris Quin
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    No Hanna, this certainly doesn’t make you a dinosaur. The fact is that eBook/eInk readers do certain things far better than an iPad or any backlit device. For example, you can read them in bright sunlight (try doing that on a backlit tablet or smartphone !!); they don’t cause eyestrain or disturb sleep patterns like a backlit screen; they are usually much lighter to hold and the battery life is far longer (up to 8 weeks on a Kindle Paperwhite V. less than one day on tablets). Here’s an interesting article that – while now somewhat outdated – makes some good points:
    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9176808/Elgan_Why_iPad_owners_need_a_Kindle_too?taxonomyId=15&pageNumber=1
    Chris Quin – Melbourne

  11. shannon
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I also have a kIndle, my husband bought it for me as a valentines gift a couple of years back after a friend got hers and raved about it. I have to say that I love my Kindle, I love to read and like not having the distractions of my Iphone to pull me away from a good book. I don’t think I would be happy with a tablet to read on.

    That being said tablet or ereader, you have got to love not having piles of books laying around the house and being able to access your library in just seconds!

  12. Chris Quin
    Posted April 28, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    …and some other great points about my new Kindle Paperwhite:

    - I love the touch screen,

    - the easily-adjustable inbuilt light is really good – it’s soft and reflective and not backlit. You can even leave it on during the day, as it makes very little difference to the battery life (up to two months)

    - I like the way you can change font types, font size, line spacing and margin size,

    - the X-Ray feature allows you to get background on any of the characters in a book at any time,

    - the official Amazon leather cover is worth the expense. It’s well made and I really like the way it automatically turns your Kindle on when you open the cover and off as you close it.

    I find I’m reading a lot more with my Kindle and, especially some of the old classics (most of which are free). I’ve just finished the ‘Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin’ (highly recommended) and have started ‘Anna Karenina’.I don’t think I would have ever got around to reading these on regular ‘dead tree’ books.

  13. Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Hi Hannah,

    You Say: “I simply love to read, and in my opinion, the Kindle offers the best reading experience”

    So i think you answered your own question. If you enjoy the Kindle and love it, keep going with it. Why change if you are happy and it does all you need!

    Plus, Dinosaurs are cool :-)

    James

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