Kindle vs Physical Books: Why not both?

Should you buy a Kindle?

Guest post by Anna Barker

Over the past years, I have grown more fond of reading than ever before and last year I even crossed the step to go over to audiobooks. As I mentioned in this post, listening to audiobooks has been a great help to get more “reading” done and I am still a happy user of Audible, which I highly recommend to any book nerd out there. The books I prefer so far are the books read by the authors themselves, like Becoming from Michelle Obama or Never Split The Difference from Chris Voss.

Kindle reader ebook
Photo by Olga Tutunaru on Unsplash

Now lately I have also been wondering about owning a Kindle as I have heard many friends raving about it (am I FOMO*’ing? Yes, maybe a little 😁) and it is true that in the spirit of minimalism and reducing clutter, owning a Kindle could be a great solution for me. Before I make the step to purchasing a Kindle though, I have asked my friend Anna who initially was a physical book type of gal to share her experience with the Kindle e-reader with us. She needed a little push to get on the Kindle bandwagon and she tells it in a compelling way, enjoy!

*FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out

Kindle vs Physical books

Kindle or book?
A Kindle or a pile of books?

In the battle of physical books vs e-books, supporters on both sides can be fairly passionate, to put it mildly.

On the one hand, you have that feeling of opening a book for the very first time, turning page after page to see what happens next…not to mention how calming the sight of a line of books on a shelf can be.

But on the other hand, you have simple convenience!

Having been adamantly on one side of the argument myself for a long time, I was surprised to so easily slip over to the other. And with a bit of gentle nudging as set out in this article, you may find yourself doing the same.

My first Kindle experience

I was always that kid who relished every library visit and who was never happier than when getting new books for birthdays and Christmases. With a shelf full of books I devoured, nothing could ever convince me that reading from a screen instead of an actual book could be better.

But then I got a bit older and started to travel more. This included moving overseas a few times with a fairly limited luggage allowance that made it harder and harder to bring my stack of unread books with me.

Kindle travel book
Travel light

And then, one day, someone bought me a Kindle as a Christmas present – meaning it was only polite to give it a try. I put a few e-books on to it in preparation for a long train ride a few weeks later for a weekend away, just to see what all the fuss was about.

Well. Going from having to drag a bunch of books around in a backpack compared to slipping a Kindle into my handbag was like night and day. And even me, with my need to wear glasses for any computer usage, had no issues with using the screen.

I was hooked and it’s been true love ever since.

Pros and cons of the Kindle

My favorite parts of having a Kindle are as follows:

  • Light weight – This thing is seriously easy to carry around wherever you need to go. The Kindle Paperwhite, for example, is only 6.8 oz (191g), far less than the weight of just one book, in many cases.
  • Massive storage capacity – I struggle to carry more than two books around, but this thing does far more than that. Specifically, the 32 GB version can hold over 22,000 e-books, meaning that even the 8 GB version will store around 2,750 e-books. Safe to safe, this will probably be more than enough for your reading needs.
  • Easy to read (even in the dark) – The screen itself can be adjusted based on your eyes (like the font being made bigger), but one of my favorite parts of the Kindle is how the screen is lit. Older versions didn’t always have this, but the current Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for reading in the dark. I was always worried that the light would be too harsh, but it’s been a lifesaver at times when there’s no other light source available.
  • Fairly durable – Have you ever gotten a physical book wet? Let’s just say that you’re going to have a bad time. However, I have no hesitation in taking my Kindle with me where there’s a risk of water, sand…or both!

At the same time, it’s only fair to go through some of the negatives of the Kindle:

  • It’s not a real book – This is the main argument for most people who are against Kindles and, honestly, I get it. The feeling of cracking open a brand new book is almost unbeatable. But I assure you that it’s also easy to get lost in a new e-book and when it’s this much more convenient, you may find yourself wondering why you didn’t make the switch earlier.
  • The cost – There’s no denying that a Kindle isn’t super cheap. However, take a look below for more of a breakdown of this point.

[Jonathan: By the way, I am one of those people that like to smell books and you do not get that with ebooks]

Does the cost of a Kindle make it worthwhile?

Pricing should always be a consideration and that’s definitely the case here, with even the 8 GB version being $129.99.

That said, here’s a tip: you can get a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite for only $79.99. While it has slightly less storage at 4 GB, that will still let you carry around more than 1,300 books – more than enough for most of us.

But if you think that even that price may be a bit outside of your budget at the moment, keep in mind that an e-book through Amazon is only $2.99 or less. With physical books easily costing ten times that amount, you’ll see that a Kindle will actually pay itself off before you know it.

(And for any book worms really trying to stick to a budget, don’t forget that there are plenty of ways to get free books, with many of these options also offering e-books for free – including many of the books on this site’s list of top reads.)

Do you still find yourself buying physical books?

bookshop bookshelves

I must admit that having a Kindle hasn’t completely resulted in me turning my back on physical books. But I definitely buy them far less frequently these days.

Specifically, I would generally only buy a physical book if I saw it secondhand. I love going to thrift stores and markets, so finding books there is still great – and it also means that you’re not completely cut off from the thrill of curling up in a chair with a new, actual book.

Of course, the Kindle police won’t swoop down if you happen to still buy the occasional physical book. They look far better on your shelf than a single device, after all!

So who is a Kindle for – and who should maybe stick to physical books?

While it is, of course, completely up to you, I’d recommend the following people give a second thought to getting a Kindle and embracing the e-book:

  • If you travel a lot or have a long commute to work or school
  • If you find yourself buying new books all the time but you’re trying to cut your spending and the cost of this is starting to seriously add up
  • If you don’t have much storage space at home or are trying to embrace a sense of minimalism in your life

empty bookshelf ereader kindle

At the same time, if your life goal is for your house to basically look like a library or you just cannot fathom the idea of putting down a book and picking up what essentially amounts to a screen, perhaps you would prefer sticking to physical books.

That said, if at all possible, consider at least borrowing a friend’s Kindle or similar e-book reader, just to see if it’s a switch you may actually enjoy making.

After all, anything that helps you dig into that never-ending reading list can’t be bad!

About the Author:

Anna Barker - Locila Dollar - Blogger Personal Finance
Anna Barker

Anna is a personal finance expert and the founder of LogicalDollar. Having been featured on sites such as Forbes, HuffPost, and Reader’s Digest, she helps others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio.

Will I buy a Kindle?

In general, I prefer the experience of physical books but if I can get more reading done thanks to an e-reader or an audiobook subscription, I am all for it! I happen to have tried a Kindle last week and I must admit the reading experience was far more pleasant than on your regular tablet.

Should you buy a Kindle or stick to your physical books? Anna shares the story of how she fell in love with her Kindle even if she never thought she's love reading on a screen! #kindle #kindlepaperwhite #booksvskindle #ilovebooks #bookworm #kindlereview
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So, friends, I’ll do it, I will buy that Kindle. The Paperwhite seems to fit the bill for me but since I am not in a hurry, I have put it in my Amazon wishlist and will buy it on Black Friday (Time your purchase)! What has also won me over is the minimalist/decluttered home aspect it brings with it.

And come on, if I really want the physical book version, I will not let the Kindle police stop me from buying it!

I would like to thank Anna once again for sharing her experience with her Kindle as a former “pro book” supporter.

If like Anna you wish to collaborate for guest posting or sponsored posts please do not hesitate to reach out by e-mail jon@joneytalks.com and of course, for everyone, do follow us on social media as well for more great content, check our FacebookInstagramTwitter, and join our e-mail list. I would love to connect with you!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means Anna or I may make a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase. This will help to support both our websites!


6 thoughts on “Kindle vs Physical Books: Why not both?

  1. Great post! I’ve had my kindle for couple years now and like you, was definitely surprised by how much I’ve come to love it. But I do sometimes miss the feeling of having a real book in my hand – making notes, circling key points or just smelling the scent of a good book. I have a process of checking out a book with my kindle first then if I really love it then invest in a hard copy for myself. Thanks for a great read!

    1. Hey Tae, Thanks for stopping by! Yes, my intention is to do the same : Read on Kindle and for the books I really love just buy the physical version 🙂

  2. “Pricing should always be a consideration and that’s definitely the case here, with even the 8 GB version being $129.99.”

    The latest generation Paperwhite is on sale at amazon.com for $80 a few times a year.

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