The Amazon Kindle is a series of digital e-book readers which have been designed and marketed by the popular online retailer, Amazon.com. The Kindle has a major advantage over physical books as it allows owners to carry large amounts of books with them to read at any time in one relatively small device. It is even lighter than carrying one single book, let alone multiple books. The Kindle is also not a one trick pony as it also allows you to download and read digital newspapers and magazines. In recent versions of the device, the Kindle has gained more capabilities of other tablets, as it allows you to use social media and other apps.
I have tried reading both physical books and books on a Kindle device and I prefer to read physical books. While the Kindle has the advantage of being able to hold a large amount of books, I find that if I am reading a certain book, I am only reading that one book until I finish it. This means that normally for a trip away I would only really need to carry one book with me, until I finish that book, which lessens the need to carry several books.
However the Kindle’s ability to store a large amount of books can come in handy if you do not have the space to store a huge library of books. I can also see this being highly useful if you have a large list of books that you need for school or university as, in this case, having them all in a Kindle is much lighter to carry, though it may be harder to annotate them with notes, so this can also depend on how comfortable you are with using your device. Some may also find this ability to store a huge amount of books helpful when on holiday, as they may finish the book they are currently reading or decide that they do not like this book, so, on their Kindle, they have a larger selection than they would have had otherwise
I believe that another advantage to physical books is simply getting to enjoy them. To buy a book on your kindle you go through the grey screens to see a small version of the cover and you simply click on the ‘buy now’ button and it downloads on to your device. The version of the Kindle that I own is completely in grey scale, which affects the cover of the book. This grey scale can also affect the book in a negative way if it has any illustrations.
The devices are now available in colour but you still only see the cover of the book the first time you open it. I believe that seeing the cover is a fun part of having a book as they are often colourful and tell you something about the book even when it is on the shelf. This can also be seen to do a slight injustice to the work that goes into designing these book covers. Similarly with the illustration, having them in a smaller scale or even in grey scale can pull the reader out of the story and doesn’t help the reader fully appreciate the work of the illustrator.
Buying a book through a Kindle also takes the reader out of the experience of going into their local book shop and choosing a book. This may sound like a scene from out of, well a book, but there is a sort of special feeling when you walk into a book shop and see all of the books. You can then take your time to choose your book, which can involve even the smallest things like flicking through the pages to check that the font is the right size but stopping before you get too close to the end of the book, to avoid you catching spoilers. Going into your local book shop can also be a huge help, as they are often losing out to people buying both physical books and e-books from online retailers.
However, in this area, the Kindle does have an advantage, as books that are ‘classics’, such as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, are free to download from the Kindle store. This would be far more appealing to people, including students who may have to study these classics in education, as in popular book stores these classics can start at a price of £8/£9.
There are also other aspects to physical books that can make them more enjoyable. For example, with a physical book you can pick it up and see by your book mark, how close you are to finding out what happens to the characters in the end. There is a sense of progress that comes with both this and actually turning the pages of the book. This can be easier to see than a small progress bar across the bottom of the screen.
Overall I am a big fan of physical books still being able to hold their own against the Kindle. However, I can certainly see the advantages that the Kindle may have, and how it can fit into some people’s lifestyles, but I would hate to see physical books die out completely from the growing popularity of digital e-books.