Hi, love your blog! I don't know if you have opinions on ebooks but I was wondering if you could post about a new project called Standard Ebooks? It is volunteers making and editing ebooks of classic literature in the public domain. Many online sources for these books are full of errors but SE has high standards, so that you won't lose the story trying to understand the text. There is a wanted list for people who want to help and over 100 books completed for people to read already! Thank you!
Hey! Do you think you can make a post about your kindle/e-reader? I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Thank you❤️
Yes, of course!!
I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite since 2015, and I am absolutely in love with it! For anyone who doesn’t know, Kindles are e-readers created by Amazon. There are four versions currently for sale:
- Kindle: The basic Kindle device (which currently costs $79.99 on Amazon) is the cheapest e-reader Amazon offers and, consequently, the one with the least features. It’s just a simple touchscreen, so you can either tap or swipe to change the page (to go either forward or backward). As far as I can tell, there are really two things that set this Kindle apart from the Paperwhite: it has a lower screen resolution–only 167 ppi compared to the Paperwhite’s 300 ppi (for perspective, the iPhones 6 and 7 both have 326 ppi, at least according to a quick Google search I just did haha),which really isn’t a huge deal as the text is still perfectly visible for reading; and the screen doesn’t light up. This second flaw is really the only reason I chose the Paperwhite instead. While you would still be able to read just fine in daylight, you would have to turn on a lamp or something to read in the dark. I imagine you could buy a book light and clip it onto the device, but I just personally felt that would be more hassle than I wanted.
- Kindle Paperwhite: The Paperwhite (which is what my Kindle is), currently costs $119.99 on Amazon. You can pay more to get your Kindle with built-in WiFi and/or 3G, but I have never quite understood how that works and not having it has not been a problem for me, so I wouldn’t recommend that. Again, the Paperwhite is just a touchscreen like the cheapest model. It actually has the biggest screen of all the Kindle devices, which is interesting. I pretty much already covered the differences, so basically it is just the basic Kindle with a built-in light and higher screen resolution. In my experience, the built-in light is one of the best things about Kindles because it allows me to read in the dark without needing a lamp (which is especially convenient when I’m outside or in a car in the dark–I still remember the struggle of squinting in attempt to read in the car at night because my parents would never let me turn on the lights in the car). The light is adjustable, so you can have it set to anywhere from 0 (basically no light) to 24 (AKA blinding light). To give you an idea of how bright it is, I typically keep it at around 10 when I’m reading in the dark before bed and increase it to 15 or so during the day–it all depends on the lighting. As you might expect, it definitely drains the battery more if you keep the brightness high, but it’s clearly not necessary to have it that bright.
- Kindle Voyage: The Kindle Voyage, which was the fanciest model at the time when I was trying to figure out which one to get, costs $199.99 on Amazon at the moment. Its screen is smaller than that of the Paperwhite (but slightly bigger than the basic Kindle), but its main feature is that it has “page press,” which is basically just these sensor-button things on either side of the screen. You can still use the touchscreen as you would on the other Kindles, but you can also change the page simply by pressing the buttons. Initially, this was the Kindle I wanted, but I tried it out in a Best Buy store and decided against it. The “buttons” aren’t raised or anything, so instead you have to press pretty hard on the side of the device to get the page to turn, which just seemed like more effort than it was worth, in my opinion (granted, that was two years ago, so it’s possible they have since improved the technology–if you think you might be interested, I’d recommend going to a physical store that sells the devices to try it out for yourself). In my opinion, it’s just not worth an extra $80 just for some buttons and a smaller screen.
- Kindle Oasis: Finally the most recent addition to the Kindle family is the Oasis, which costs $289.99. In my opinion, this is way too much money for not much improvement. What makes it costs so much is that it comes with a cover that charges the device. Frankly, unless you’re going to be somewhere where you won’t have access to electrical outlets for weeks (or, according to Amazon, months), there’s no reason to pay this much money (as far as I can tell). As I will explain more later, all of the Kindles have incredibly long battery life even without this fancy cover. I just don’t get the point of the device.
As someone who doesn’t make a habit of purchasing new books, I love buying books on my Kindle. I am fortunate enough that I usually receive several Amazon gift cards each year from family and friends, so I just put them on my account and constantly keep my eye out for deals. I never buy Kindle books for full price (frankly I think $10 for just a digital copy is ludicrous), but Amazon constantly puts eBooks on sale for $2.99 or less. Most books I buy are $1.99, and they’re not just random books no one has heard of. To give you an idea, here are a few books I have purchased for $2.99 or less in the past year or so:
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
First & Then by Emma Mills
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
And the list goes on…
Also, as you may know, most classic novels can be “purchased” for free in eBook format as older novels are usually in the public domain. This comes in handy when I want to have a more portable copy of whatever book I’m reading for class, as most are in the public domain.
While I love both of those features, the way I get most of my eBooks is through my local library’s digital book collection. Many public libraries offer eBooks through Overdrive, and those eBooks can easily be sent to your Kindle for you to read while you have them checked out. I absolutely love this because I could get a new book in the middle of the night without the obstacle of library hours.
As I alluded, the Kindles (or at least the Paperwhite) last forever without charging. Depending on how much I’ve been using my Kindle, I can usually go at least one week, if not two or three without charging (and even then, I’ve never actually let it run out of power). I never have to worry about bringing my charger on vacations because I know I’ll be fine, which is so great.
Here are a few of my favorite features of Kindles:
Goodreads: You can easily access Goodreads on Kindle, which is nice for finding new books and updating your reading progress.
Kindle Store: You can also get to the Kindle Store and purchase books right on your device, which lends itself well to impulse buying (thus how I have so many books on my Kindle, haha).
Highlights: It’s super easy to highlight quotes you like, all of which are stored in a “book” called “My Clippings” for easy access (it even stores highlights from library eBooks that have since been returned). As you can probably guess, this is super useful for me in storing quotes to share with you guys, especially if I am at school when I come across them, though I’m weird and nostalgic so I like to go back and look at the dates and times when I highlighted certain quotes (I like to figure out what class I was in at the time lol). Also, the highlights do save even if you are not on WiFi.
Dictionary: Even when you’re not connected to WiFi, you can always click on a word (or sometimes even a phrase) to look it up in the dictionary. On WiFi, you can also look up a word on Wikipedia or have the device attempt to translate it into another language.
eBooks vs. Physical Books
I know lots of people are against eBooks (in fact, I used to be one of them), but I love them so much. The Kindle screen really feels like you’re just looking at paper, so I don’t find it to be hard on my eyes at all, unlike how my phone and computer are. It makes me able to read more books in more places and carry multiple books at once. It has been so incredibly helpful with reading at school. Now, I am able to sometimes walk to class while reading (I haven’t run into anyone yet lol), and it’s not quite so cumbersome to get a book out and start reading as it is with a physical book. I do still love physical books and read them regularly. I think they both certainly have their merits!
So, long story short, I absolutely adore my Kindle! I use it almost every single day. If anyone has any more questions about Kindles, please feel free to ask!!
We’re introducing SimplyE, a new app that gives NYPL cardholders the ability to browse, borrow, and read more than 300,000 free e-books from the Library, in just a few steps. Download SimplyE, log in with your library card and PIN, and start reading! Get it on iOS and Android.
The latest book instalment of the LDN series by Antony Cairns has taken the term Digital Photobook to new extremes. Using recycled old e-book tablets, Cairns has hacked into the software of the computer within the tablet and made it possible to view the entire archive of imagery he has created for his London by night work. You can do this through selecting a chapter / title on the main contents page that you are confronted with when unlocking the E-ink tablet from its LDN EI cover page screensaver. As you flick thru page by page each image is composed by the shifting pixels of the Electronic Ink screen. Not only has the software of the E-reader been hacked but also the hardware has taken a significant bruising and remodelling, each book has been customised with a new back attached and unwanted parts like the keyboard covered and deemed redundant for the purpose.