Monday, November 3, 2014

Why I Love my Amazon Paperwhite

I'm never been a fan of dedicated eReaders before.  I glanced suspiciously at the original Amazon Kindle when it came out, but it seemed too small and I didn't like the dim grayish screen.  So I never bought one or even seriously considered it.  Then I got my first iPad and the entire idea of a dedicated reader seemed moot.  I've gone through every iPad model and the Kindle app works great on it.  So there was never any reason to reconsider actual the Kindle reader.

But now that I'm about to take the plunge into self-publishing, I've being reading everything I can on the subject. A couple websites advised future Amazon booksellers to own a Kindle to check out how to properly format for it.  That seemed to make sense, so I went to Staples and found a Kindle Paperlight on sale for just under $100.

And, to my surprise as a hard core iPad fan, I really love it.  Not just for checking out Kindle formatting, but for READING.  I'm not a fast reader, I have dyslexia, so reading is always a little bit of a chore for me, especially, longer novels.  But, to my surprise, the Kindle is a much better reading device than the iPad (even the iPad mini).

For starters, Amazon has come a long way with the new Paperlight screen.  It's much brighter and closer to a pure white than the original Kindle.  While I was initially turned off by the idea of a black and white only screen, there's something very pleasant about reading on it, especially longer works.

Second, I was likewise put off by the thought of the smaller (compared to an iPad) screen.  It's only a little more than six by four inches, but it turns out to be a nice size for the amount of text it can hold.  The size makes it a lot easier to hold in one hand and it is obviously much lighter too.  So, again, it's great for reading longer works.

Then there's the battery life, which is simply amazing, particularly for such a bright screen.  It easily lasts a week or more on one charge with heavy use.  That's just a complete change from managing an iPad.  You can put it on the dresser next to your bed without a charger and pick it up to read anytime you want.  (And, like an iPad, the screen is bright enough to act as a flashlight if you need to get up and go to the bathroom after the bedroom lights are off.)  The battery life, and small size, also makes it perfect for traveling.

In terms of set up, there was little to do but type in my Amazon account information.  My Kindle library popped right up and I had little trouble figuring out how to navigate the books I already own and to buy new books.  It's all very simple and self-evident.  I also discovered it's nice to have a dedicated reading device that doesn't offer the distractions of an iPad, like email and games, particularly for me since I'm easily distracted.

I still haven't figured out if the new Kindle is just much, much better than the old one or if my original bias was unfair.  Either way, I highly recommend that readers, even if you aren't self-publishing and even if you have an iPad, give it at try.  I'm sold.

Here's a fuller review of the model I bought with all the technical details:

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

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