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Amazon Kindle vs books: Which one should you buy?



Past decade has been a time of exponential technological evolution. And digitisation has been one of the greatest gifts of this evolution. Right from the photos, that are now snapped and corrected by the artificial intelligence-based algorithms within seconds, to the news, which is delivered on a minute-to-minute basis, the ongoing technological evolution has not only revolutionised the way we consume information but also changed the dynamics of how technology, including the gadgets that we use in everyday life, is utilised. And one of the most striking examples of this change has been the rise of e-book readers, commonly known as Kindle.

E-book readers were first introduced as Kindle by Amazon back in 2007. Over the past decade, Amazon has bettered the design of Kindle and in doing so it has made the name synonymous with e-book readers. Today, the Amazon Store is the home to millions of popular book titles both new and old. Notably, the Kindle Store not only house books in English but also in other major languages including Mandarin, Hindi and German and regional languages Tamil and Marathi.

To say that Kindle has inspired an entire generation of ‘tech savvy’ people to take up the timeless art reading wouldn’t be entirely unfair. And yet when it comes to books, avid readers would any day pick and choose conventional paperback books.

Sure paperback books have an air of charm and nostalgia associated with them but Kindle nonetheless is a worthy opponent.

Why Amazon Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle line-up consists of several devices including Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage and the premium– Kindle Oasis. And this year, the Seattle-based tech giant refreshed its Paperwhite series by introducing Kindle Paperwhite 2018 (review) with LTE connectivity, continuous glass-front and waterproof design. However, the best part about the newly introduced Kindle is its price. The 32GB-4G variant of Kindle Paperwhite 2018 sells at Rs 17,999 in India. To put it simply, the device offers the best of Kindle Paperwhite with the premium features of Kindle Oasis.

If limited features at a lower price range were an argument against Kindle, then with Kindle Paperwhite 2018 Amazon has ensured that it puts all such qualms to rest. The 8GB Wi-Fi variant of Kindle Paperwhite ships at Rs 12,999, while the 32GB variant ships at Rs 17,999. Light in weight, optimum in size, abundant in features, and convenient in usage, even if there was something missing in the older version of Kindle, the new Kindle Paperwhite 2018 ensures that you personal digital library remains just one tap away from you.

Why books

And yet when it comes to book reading, there is one thing that Kindle despite all its advantages would never be able to take away from the conventional paperback books- the essence of this centuries old practice.

See, book reading is more than just turning pages and knowing a story. It’s like being a part of a culture that imparts centuries old experiences and knowledge using a subtle way. It’s more of a tradition. It’s like a dish that is being prepared using the centuries old technique.

What makes reading paperback books more special is their ability to be shared with family and friends. You can write a special note and gift it to your friends on their birthday or you can simply lend it to them saying-“This is a book you’ve got to try.”

Books, unlike Kindle, are a representative of your intellectual journey. Remember the book that got you through a really terrible breakup? I bet you do! Now, recall the first book you read on Kindle. Is the name still fresh in your memory? Probably not.

You can scribble on your book and leave a note for yourself to read afterwards. You can highlight important sentences and dog-ear important pages and they would still be there years after you first marked them. Sure there are options available in Kindle that makes it easy for the readers to highlight interesting lines and look up for the meaning of difficult words online, but can a Kindle truly ever beat the feeling of turning the pages of a book over a cup of coffee? My guess, not.

Which one should you buy?

Kindle is a great device. And if anything, the new Kindle Paperwhite with its comfortable design, lucrative pricing, gigantic battery and enormous storage space makes a compelling case to leave behind the old world behind (or at least take a break from it) and step into the digital era where all your favourite titles are, literally, a tap away. But book reading, just like drinking wine, is a habit that you cultivate. And often these habit are not easy to give up (would you ever trade your Cabernet for Merlot?).

But Kindle or not, what matters the most is being a part of the tradition. Kindle and paperback books are just the means to an end.

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