a kindle placed on the table

Is Getting The Kindle Worth It? (Spoilers: Yes and No)

Despite being an activity I now only pick up during semester breaks, reading remains a constant in my life. I grew up breezing through Enid Blyton novels, the Percy Jackson series, and every Harry Potter book. Then came Wattpad and its many fanfiction stories during my teen years. Fourteen-year-old me constantly had her eyes glued to a small smartphone, but long gone were all those days after my aunt and uncle gifted me the Kindle 7 for Christmas 2015. Safe to say, I haven’t been the same since the e-reader’s arrival. 


person holding and reading a kindle in a hammock


Now, avid readers who have spent years buried in old-fashioned paperbacks and hardbacks might wonder: is it worth getting the Kindle? Honestly, there is no clear winner because both mediums have their pros and cons. However, it is worth noting this comparison against physical books only involves the regular Kindles (excludes the Kindle Fire tablet).



1. The Reading Experience

Among my initial concerns about ebooks, readers were that the display would make reading uncomfortable, but the Kindle proved me wrong. Rather than LCD screens, the Kindle Paperwhite, Oasis, and Basic use an E-Ink screen.



You won’t find it glaring to read on the Kindle because the display doesn’t emit light on its own. Instead, it reflects available ambient light — just like an actual book. This removes the discomfort one usually gets between their eyes after staring at their phones or laptops. As a result, you won’t feel as though you aren’t reading a physical book. 


a kindle placed on the table



Another few differences you will notice are the missing nice “book smell” and the absence of crispy-bound pages. Switching to the Kindle is a means of going paperless, so pages turn by simply tapping your finger.



2. What About Practicality?


Amazon Kindles (except the tablet) weigh not more than 200g. They all also share approximately the same thickness, which is just about 8.5 mm. Incredibly thin and light, that’s why it almost always comes along with me to dentist appointments, vacations, and long LRT rides.


For storage size, you have an option of either 8 GB or 32 GB memory, with the latter costing more to give you more space on the Kindle. Yet don’t let the 8 GB deceive you as too little. My Kindle comes with the minimum, but I have barely even used a quarter of it. Keep in mind that the average file size for an ebook is 2.6 MB, so 8 GB can hold perhaps thousands of your favourite titles without a problem.


a person swiping on a kindle to read their stories on

The interface of Kindle’s ‘My Library’.

Source: PC Mag 



Although the Kindle sounds great in the practical aspect, it depends on the situation you’re planning to use it in. For example, I wouldn’t recommend the Kindle for college or university students hoping to save money (and their backbones) on heavy textbooks. 


While finding keywords will be easy using the search function, skimming a book or jumping back and forth between a section in two different chapters is almost troublesome. Kindle pages don’t hold as many words as physical books do, so tapping to flip pages will happen far too often. 



3. And Functionality?

What I’m most impressed with about the Kindle is its astonishing battery life, thanks to the E-ink screen. Amazon touts the fact that their ebook readers can last for weeks before needing a charge. It is significantly longer than most smartphones, tablets, and laptops. That is something I can confirm as true because my Kindle once lasted for a solid month.


Glasses and a kindle on top of the table


Aside from the long-lasting battery, there are more features you get to enjoy;

  • The dictionary and translator just press and hold an unfamiliar word or phrase and choose to either look up its definition or translate it.
  • Annotations — can bookmark and highlight content.
  • Supports various file formats — EPUB, PDF, MOBI, and more. 
  • Audiobook playback via connected Bluetooth headphones (Only available from the 2016 generations) 



Nevertheless, battery life still depends on several other factors, especially how much you are using it. The battery will drop at a different rate if you’re going to be reading more than just an hour daily. However, again, remember that it will differ from model to model, and generation to generation.



4. Now, Let’s Talk Money


According to Kindle Malaysia, the most affordable model is the all-new 10th generation version standing at RM 500. The price also varies depending on the model you get. 


Otherwise, buying second-hand Kindles off from e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada and Carousel is a great alternative if you are looking to stretch your pocket.


Kindle E-readers Model Comparison Chart

Kindle E-readers Model Comparison Chart using the latest information from Kindle Malaysia.



Though part of the challenge here is the price of ebooks. You can only purchase them from the Amazon Store, but they are sold in U.S. dollars. So after converting to Malaysian ringgit, you will find that it costs RM 25 to RM 42 ($6 to $10). The more bestselling a book is, the more expensive it becomes. Eventually, the price will share its physical counterpart’s, which is quite disappointing. 


You could consider a Kindle Unlimited subscription for $9.99 (RM 41.80) a month. It allows you to read any book as long as it is under this program. 


catalog for books online

Source: Ebook Friendly



Still pricey yet beneficial for someone who goes through 3 books a week. Alternatively, download free ebooks from these sites and load them onto your Kindle



So, is it a hit or miss?  Regardless of the model, the pros of having a Kindle seem to outweigh all its cons. Having said that, I’m not calling it the best e-reader money can buy. The decision to get one is even more relative since there are other brands (i.e. Barnes & Noble and Kobo) in the market. Each person has their own preferences, so it is important to compare wisely from various aspects and find the one that best suits you. 


If you’re interested in reading more, check out this article on Read These 5 Books To Feel Inspired To Go After Your Ambitions.

A motivated Mass Communication student with a passion for Journalism, Lynelle loves to write just almost about anything. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or losing her mind over a video game.

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