Q1. What is Kindle? Why has it become so popular?
In absolute simple words, Kindle is a device that allows the user to read books. It’s an e-book reader/ e-reader. The user can buy/ load books in electronic format to the device and read them. So instead of flipping pages, the user just taps on the screen (or the bezel, if you own a Kindle Voyage) and turn the page.
Kindle, or any ebook reader device/ app is an electronic alternative to a book. Kindle, is just a product/ brand that’s owned by Amazon.
Q2. What’s different between Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage?
Kindle, as a device/ brand has got popular only in the last few months; but, it’s actually a very sophisticated product. Actually, the first Kindle (device) was launched by Amazon in the year 2007. Since then, like every other product category; Kindle has become faster, better, user friendlier, as a product.
As a user, today you have three variants of Kindle to choose from:
- Kindle 6″ – A basic device, that allows user to read e-books under direct light; glare free. In simple words, the blank screen/ reflection that the user can see on their device(s) when the phone/ tablet/ laptop is exposed to direct (sun)light won’t be an area of complain on this Kindle. This is one of the biggest USP of all the Kindle devices. Please note that this Kindle is pretty much useless in dim lit environments and in a dark room. So, if you ever read (or wish to read) in such conditions, I’d sincerely recommend you to NOT buy the Kindle 6″.
- Kindle Paperwhite – Next in line, and personally; my favorite iteration of the Kindle series. A Kindle Paperwhite is faster than Kindle 6″, comes with a superior screen with sharper pixel density (makes the reading experience a lot better), and is equipped with built-in backlit screen. The biggest advantage of this device is that a user can read in all light conditions. The device comes with anti glare screen for broad daylight reading purposes, and even in a pitch dark room; the user can read without straining their eyes, by adjusting the device’s backlight and read without hassle(s). Plus, Kindle Paperwhite is much faster with regards to page turning, as compared to Kindle 6″. A Kindle Paperwhite, in my opinion is every readers’ best choice at the price point at which it can be purchased. A definite buy.
- Kindle Voyage – Kindle for the bibliophile ninjas, Kindle Voyage is not just an ebook reader, it’s a smart ebook reader. The “adaptive built-in light sensors” adjust the screen for the reader. No need to toggle the brightness of the screen, Kindle Voyage does it for you. It’s only natural for a user to hold their Kindle by the bezel; the bezel in Kindle Voyage is equipped with page turn sensors. So, the user doesn’t need to change the grip on the device to flip the page, just a slight press on the device’s bezel does the job.
Q3. Why should I buy Kindle? Do I need a Kindle? Should I opt for the WiFi only variant or should I buy Kindle WiFi plus 3G?
The answer to this question is slightly tricky. Kindle is a device that’s so mature in today’s world, where reading is a diminishing habit; an ebook reader might seem like a splurge to many. Plus, why would someone like to buy a device that forces the user to invest in Amazon only interface. I’d like to share my evaluation that made me buy my Kindle Paperwhite.
Kindle is a perfect device to motivate yourself to read. All other connected devices distract the reader with a constant barrage of notifications and updates. However, with a Kindle; a reader can invest hours at length to reading without any distractions whatsoever
Kindle, as a device gets upgraded; but a device purchased today won’t get obsolete for at least a couple of years. As a result, the user is making a sound investment for at least 4-5 years. This is uncommon in today’s time; especially with the electronic devices space
Amazon is heavily invested in Kindle as a brand/ device/ property. This makes Kindle a brand that would continue to grow and get better with time. Your e-books purchased would be a treasure that won’t take up space in your home and will always be just a few clicks/ taps away. Plus, almost all books today are available in e-book formats. Amazon has a select range of Kindle e-books that are sold at massive discounts, per month.
Although the 3G option of Kindle is VERY good, I chose to purchase the WiFi only version. Just a small point that must be mentioned, the 3G connectivity on Kindle is FREE for good, and consumers can use this connection worldwide, for no extra cost to buy/ download books and to surf Wikipedia. I don’t travel internationally as extensively as I’d like to. While I’m in India, I’ll always have my smartphone with me which I can use as a hot-spot and use the connection to download/ buy books at will. Plus, there’s WiFi almost everywhere. So, I didn’t really see enough value to invest in the 3G variant.
Q4. What are advantages of Kindle?
Besides the USP of individual devices as shared earlier, these are some of the features that are common among all Kindles.
- Weeks of battery life: A user literally doesn’t have to charge their Kindle for weeks at a stretch. I don’t read on daily basis, and hence my Kindle gets charged barely once a month. That’s such a relief considering all other devices start demanding a charge; every couple of hours.
- E-ink: Although Kindle is an e-reader, the device doesn’t really take a toll on the readers’ eyes. E-ink is very easy on the eyes, and even prolonged reading sessions won’t leave you teary eyed, unless you’re reading a book that moves you completely; in which case, I’d really request you to share the name of the book with me and all the fellow readers.
- You’re never away from your library: With your Kindle, wherever you go; your library goes with you. Quite literally. Kindles can hold thousands of books, simultaneously; and the user friendly interface makes it really easy to switch between books, or refer to multiple books with ease.
- e-Books go on sale: Kindle is getting popular with every passing day; Amazon is literally selling it by thousands, on daily basis. To ensure that more customers are lured into buying more Kindles, and the existing customers remain satisfied, Amazon releases multiple e-books on discounts on monthly basis. Imagine getting an original e-book of the bestseller at just Rs. 30? That’s one deal that I’m sure you don’t want to miss.
- User Interface: One of the biggest advantages of books going digital is that a reader can make digital notes, highlight the quotes/ paragraphs of their choice. Imagine doing that to your physical book? Plus, your notes/ highlights/ books are all synced on the cloud. If you wish to read a few chapters of the book, and aren’t carrying your Kindle, you can always just open the Kindle app on your phone/ computer screen/ tablet, continue reading the book from the same page where you’d left it on your Kindle. It’s that simple. Yet another aspect that cannot be ignored is the amount of paper that can be saved for every book that’s read in the electronic format instead of a paperback/ hardback.
Q5. What are disadvantages of Kindle?
- You need to carry one more device: Most people today own at least one smartphone, a laptop, and maybe a tablet. Imagine adding one more device to that list. But then, if you’re someone who carries a book with them at all times (my favorite kind of people), you’re just replacing that book with a Kindle. Plus, I’m sure once you own a Kindle, the device makes space for itself; in your bag, and your life.
- It is a device which does only one job: The biggest advantage of Kindle is also a weakness (to a user who doesn’t read much). Your Kindle is an e-reader, it’s not an alternative to a tablet.
- Extra cost of accessories: With Kindle comes a small add on cost of buying accessories to make your Kindle experience a little better. I’d strongly recommend Kindle users to buy a cover/ sleeve for their device, but you can always take a call if you need one; once you’ve got yourself a Kindle, used it for a couple of days and decide for yourself.
- It’s expensive: This is a point that’s so relative in nature, that I had to mention it. For a Kindle user; it’s one of the best investment they’ve made in their life. For a non reader, it’s a splurge; but still a great gadget to own. I’m yet to meet one person who owns a Kindle, and doesn’t like the product. Hence, the cost of the device and the value for money aspect is one area that I leave on every reader to decide for themselves.
Q6. Should I buy the Kindle, right now?
I believe every moment is a great time to buy a Kindle, however; if you’d like to save some cash, or get better value out of your purchase, I’d recommend you follow the #CDKindleDeals on Twitter. I plan to send updates every time I see Kindle being sold at a better price point, or if any of the Kindle re-sellers run offers on the device(s). I’d sincerely urge the readers to also support this idea and share information about deal(s) on Kindle, whenever they come across any.
Hope this post has been of some value addition to you. I’ve tried to answer all the questions that I could think of about the device(s), variants, options, deals, etc. However, I’m anxious to share more information, if you can think of any angle that you think I’d have overlooked/ missed. Please send in your thoughts/ questions in form of comments, and I assure you that a reply will be posted ASAP.
Image Source: Amazon, and some basic editing on MS Paint