Happy were the days of Goosebumps, Magic Treehouse, and the mysterious adventures of Nancy Drew.
Since I was a kid, reading was, and continues to be, a favorite pastime of mine. Just as my bookcase overflowed with myriads of mysterious and horrifically scary tales, so did my imagination and love for reading.
Nonetheless, those were also the days when hard copy books were the standard. Now, electronic books are all the rage, raising questions as to which modality is better.
I’ve remained loyal to hard copy books until this past Christmas when I unwrapped my brand-new Kindle, a gift from my parents. Both likewise have a passion for reading, but they prefer a digitized format and thought that I might too.
I was a bit hesitant to make the transition for several reasons.
First, I was in the middle of reading a hard copy book that I needed to finish before I could even consider giving the Kindle a shot; I refuse to read multiple books at once. Luckily, I’m a fast reader, so I tend to go through books quickly.
As I was finishing Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, I became hyper-aware to the small details that make the experience of reading physical books incomparable to their electronic counterparts — from how it felt to turn the pages, to the distinct scent of the paperback, to the beauty of the cracked spine and worn out cover. That’s what I grew up on, so the idea of making the switch was mildly jarring.
Personal preferences aside, the device itself was FAR more expensive than I would ever justify paying. The Kindle Scribe, which is the model I was gifted, retails for over $300. I’ve probably spent anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars on books over the years, but I’ve never paid that much at once for anything reading related (minus one or two semesters where textbooks were particularly expensive).
Despite the off putting price point, I’ve found the Kindle both a worthy foe and investment. I used to pay $20 or so for a book at Barnes & Noble. Any shopping spree would oftentimes total over $100 as one book could never satisfy or keep me content for long.
On my Kindle, I haven’t come across anything more than $12, a much cheaper price for the same thing I was getting before, just in a different format. It’s also easier to buy electronic books. All I need to do is hit “download” and the book is at my fingertips almost instantly. Even if I order a hard copy online, it takes days to arrive. The convenience is simply unrivaled.
For me, the real game changer is my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Although I’m still in a free trial period, it normally costs $9.99 per month for unlimited access to a library of millions of electronic books. With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, anything in the Kindle Unlimited library is free to download. There’s a huge selection of titles from different genres, and the library is constantly being updated with new books. Best of all, there’s no limit to how many books you can redeem, so you can really make the most of your $9.99 every month.
The Kindle Scribe is unique because it’s designed for both reading and note-taking. It’s bulkier than other Kindle devices, but it’s like an iPad in both size and weight – nothing unmanageable to throw in your bag and carry around with you.
It’s glare-free and has an adjustable warm light feature so you can control the screen’s intensity, in addition to a dark mode for nighttime reading. You can also customize the font size, page orientation, spacing, and basically anything else you could want to change.
It’s easy to browse through the Kindle store and add books to your library. As you’re reading, you can take notes and add annotations in line with the text. There’s also a notebook feature that allows you to take notes even when you don’t have a book open. You can even access the Internet, although I would probably recommend using a phone or laptop for that – the Kindle Scribe isn’t built to be used like an iPad. Still, it far exceeded my expectations and is now my prized possession.
I’ve read eight books in the two months that I’ve been using my Kindle, all of which were available for free in the Kindle Unlimited library. I haven’t encountered any “bad” books yet, which makes it difficult for me to narrow down my favorites.
I finished No Exit by Taylor Adams in one day, a psychological thriller about a college student who gets stranded at a rest stop in the middle of a snowstorm with four strangers. The twist? One of them has a kidnapped child hidden in their van in the parking lot. This one was an absolute page-turner full of unexpected plot twists. I pride myself on my ability to predict endings, but No Exit threw me for a loop.
Minka Kent’s Unmissing had a similar effect. Missing for 10 years and presumed dead, a millionaire’s estranged wife shows up at his house in the middle of the night. He and his current wife take her in and help her get back on her feet after hearing stories about her years of torture at the hands of a ruthless kidnapper. Despite their seemingly good intentions, everyone in this story had their fair share of secrets. This was another one where the ending wasn’t at all what I was expecting.
I’m sitting on a few other books I snagged from the Kindle Unlimited library that are next up on my to-read list, so I have some high expectations.
I used to love taking trips to Barnes & Noble, but now I don’t think I’ll have any reason to go. Needless to say, my wallet and reading addiction have never been happier.