My first Kindle review: Going digital on reading *gasp*

A year or even a couple months ago, if you told me one day I’d buy a Kindle, I’d laugh at you. In your face.

I started reading words and sentences since I was 3. Read the “real” books with no pictures like those kids books since I was about 5. And never really stopped since. Reading has been such a huge part of my life I can never live without; holding so much more sentimental meanings than you could ever imagine. For me. 

The fact that I would abandon my books; physical books with paper, my over 20-year-long time companion, is way beyond me. Until recently, I could never have imagined I would go “digital” on reading. 

So what was the turning point?

What got me to see a Kindle close-up for the first time is my boyfriend who has a Kindle and constantly teased me how cruel and ancient I am to be a “tree killer” Jokingly, it had been our endless battle. I remained stubborn through all accounts, yelling “You don’t mess with MY books, I don’t mess with YOURS,” and turned deaf to all comments while burying my nose in my *physical* books. However, my interest was slightly piqued on a few occasions I got to observe and play with his Kindle. First thing I noticed was the screen was totally glare-free, unlike any other tablets. To my own ignorance on digital reading world, I didn’t know this before. Kindle is also not available in Thailand, so I never got the chance to check out the actual model. 

Kindle looks interesting alright, I finally admitted (to myself, never to him, of course). But I wouldn’t go out of my way just to buy a Kindle, since it’s not available in Thailand, I made a vow to myself. 

The real turning point though? It was when my colleague was about to go back to her hometown and offered to pick up a Kindle for me, if I wanted to place an order. 

Ah, I was so torn. 

And a week later, after DAYS of researching, asking people whether to get a 2,700 THB Basic or a 5,200 THB Paperwhite, whining to boyfriend (“They even have a White Kindle! OMG, what to pick now!?”), listing pros and cons between 2 models, watching YouTube reviews, and being indecisive for a while (Yes I’m an overthinking, indecisive nerd, if you can’t tell by now), THIS finally happened. 

Hi there, Paperwhite! 

The best part, though, is my pink cover 😀 I’m perhaps more excited about the cover than the Kindle itself. I have a weakness for pink, you see…

I got it right after Songkran. Currently reading 60% of my first book on Kindle. Here’s my little review on the whole experience. 

Shape and size

This is the main reason I finally jumped to a Kindle bandwagon. Recently I’ve read a lot more non-fictions and, unlike paperback fictions, they come in huge sizes. Not practical to carry around. These past couple months I’ve started building a habit of reading during my morning commute, and having to carry and read a big book on a super crowded BTS is much less than ideal. 

Kindle has fixed all these problems very nicely. I can fold it to fit in one hand. No need to worry about not being able to turn pages on the crowded train anymore. Also it is light and compact enough to fit in my purse easily. Huge bonus points.

Book Selection

These past couple months I experienced some frustration that many Kinokuniya branches, my most favorite bookstore EVER, more frequently than not, don’t have the books I want to read. I went in one day, gave them a list of 4-5 books I wanted to read, but almost all of them are out of stock or I have to order and wait for weeks before it arrives. Nope, not gonna do that. If I want to read something, it’d better be available now! 

Kindle store solved this problem, obviously. Everything is in there, every books is only 1-click away, and purchasing a book has never been easier. In fact, it is SO easy that it’s kind of scary if I push the button by mistake. But that’s Amazon and their genius 1 click purchase for you, huh? 

Reading experience

Having said all the positive things above, you may have thought I regret not going digital way earlier. Well, honestly, not quite. The reading experience feels different now. No matter what, this modern technology with fancy screen cannot replace the experience of touching the paper and holding the actual book in your hand. Holding a book to read gives me comfort, while this device feels so…bland. There’s zero sentiment attached to it, while there are too many sentiments attached to reading the real books. 

Perhaps I also find reading the real book a good way to escape from screen-oriented world we are now living in. It’s a nice escape too, and I miss that. 

Not to mention the experience of going into the bookstore and browsing books before purchase. Nothing can beat that either. Kinokuniya feels almost like my…sanctuary; walking in, the familiar smell of paper and books, the sight of rows after rows of book shelves, the comfort, the countless possibilities of new worlds waiting to be discovered right there in front of you, waiting for you to pick out…

What can I say? My books and I have always been in serious business, deep attachment, since the 90s. 

My verdict? There’s no absolute choice in choosing what you want to enjoy, is it? I may go back and buy actual books again; reliving my most favorite experience of browsing and holding a book in my hand, while some days I may just be happy reading on Kindle; cherishing the convenience of it all. 

Most of all, I’m grateful I can alternate between both worlds at ease now. No stubbornness or closemindedness, I’m just utilizing what is best for me from both physical and digital reading experiences. 

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