Tech: Is it still worth buying a Kindle?

I’ve loved reading books for as long as I can remember. The weekly trips to the local library (the place where books used to come from) with my parents, well before the age of ten, stirred my imagination and instilled great appreciation and thirst for reading.

My teen years were dominated by devouring every Sweet Valley High book I could get my hands on before ‘graduating’ to more serious fiction like Dean Koontz and James Patterson. Back then, you were allowed ten books and you happily lugged them all home giddy at the thought of which escapades awaited.

But then the revolution. The birth of e-readers and the announcement of the Kindle would completely change the game while simultaneously blowing my mind. All you books in one device and delivered to said device in less than a minute? The geek in me rejoiced.

For some strange reason people are under the impression that buying a Kindle comes at the expense of printed books. Good news! You don’t have to give up anything. Instead, I’ve approached the Kindle as more of a companion to my burgeoning collection of hard copies. In fact, I see an e-book as a sort of acid test of whether or not I want to shell out the cash to add the hard copy to my collection.

The ease and convenience of using the Kindle too will convince you that it’s worth it. Besides it being robust and able to survive being consistently plonked down or even dropped a few dozen times it’s also far easier to transport than a bag full of books. And then there is the E-Ink screen that looks nearly exactly like an actual page from a book, which is also readable in sunlight. But you don’t have to re-charge a book is a favourite argument of the naysayers. This argument falls pretty flat though when you consider that the Kindle’s battery life is measured in months.

But what about the maintenance of a Kindle if you’re a South African buying it online? My first Kindle’s battery sadly gave up the ghost a while ago and despite it being seven years old, and well out of its guarantee period, Amazon were considerate enough to offer me a new Kindle at a reduced rate and threw in free shipping to boot. Similarly, if you buy a Kindle from a third party distributor setting it up is as easy as logging onto Amazon’s chat help facility and having them walk you through the steps.

Then there is the cash you normally fork out for shiny new books. Let’s be honest the prices of books in local South African bookstores are sometimes exorbitant, especially if there’s more than a few must-reads on your list. On Amazon, which has more than five million titles in its virtual library, you’re more likely to snap up your books at a cheaper rate. What’s more is that Amazon regularly has discounted and on sale e-books which are often half the price of your neighbourbood bookstore. And as you can access the Kindle store directly from your device you don’t even have to leave your house to do it.

Convenience is, arguably, the number one consideration where it concerns tech. Therefore, along with its durability and ease of use, and the advantage of having your entire collection of books in one inconspicuous device is what makes a Kindle worth buying.


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