Have your torches and pitchforks ready?

No?

Well, you better get a move on because I’m about to commit an act of heresy by claiming that the Kindle App is superior (in some ways) to physical books. And you need to be prepared to have a good ol’fashioned witch burning!

I do a lot of reading on my Kindle App, and I love it. I love physical books, too, but I’m not one to bemoan the rise of ebooks, and specifically, Amazon’s Kindle App. Here are some of its advantages:

1. Cost — Kindle books are almost always less expensive than physical books.

2. Large Text — I can make the text larger, which is really convenient at the end of the day when my eyes are tired. This feature is especially helpful for folks who can only read large print books.

Alternatively, you can make the text really small, which allows more words on a single screen. Studies have shown that people can read faster with more words on a screen.

3. Built-in dictionary — I can tap on any word and immediately see a definition. When I encounter new vocabulary in physical books, I seldom take the time to go look them up in a dictionary or Google.

4. Save Important Passages — When I rode the train every day to work I read many non-fiction books and copied important passages into a notes app, which automatically synced with my computer.

Alternatively, copied passages can be posted to Goodreads or Facebook.

5. 1,000 Books In My Pocket — The Kindle App did for ebooks what the iPod did for music. Anywhere I go, I can read for whenever there’s a bit of time to kill.

This is really handy for people who frequently travel or don’t have a lot of space in their home. It’s also a path endorsed by minimalists who limit their possessions but want access to all of their books.

6. Syncing Made Simple — I can read on my phone, tablet, or laptop. The Kindle App syncs between all of them, so I never lose my place in a book.

7. Instant Gratification — When there’s a book I want to read right now, I can read it immediately on the Kindle App. In contrast, I have to wait 2 whole days for physical books to arrive in the mail. And even longer for used books!

Sure, I could get in the car and drive to a bookstore while rockin’ my grungy Ninja Turtles shirt and Jurassic Park pajama pants. But who wants to do that?

(You’re probably thinking, Damn, that Stewie is a spoiled brat! And I’d agree with you.)

8. Easy Searching — The Kindle App allows me to search for specific words. This is handy when searching for a particular passage in the book.

9. Easy Sharing — Multiple people can read the same book at the same time. In years past, this would’ve been nice when I had to take turns with my wife reading the The Da Vinci Code or the latest Harry Potter.

10. Ebooks are like diamonds: they last forever — Physical books will wear out. Paperbacks are especially susceptible to wear — their spines break, and they lose pages. Who wants to read a book with missing pages?

When physical books get wet, it’s game over. Books on the Kindle App do not suffer from such plights and blights.

11. Privacy — People around you cannot see what you’re reading.

Some people speculate the success of Fifty Shades of Grey was due in part to the existence of e-readers: numerous people read the book without anyone around them knowing.

Boy: Auntie, what are you reading that has you so engrossed? Is it the Bible?

Auntie: Uhh yes, it’s the Bible, dear. Now, let Auntie finish this tantalizing chapter.

It’s easy to poke fun at Fifty Shades of Grey (I do it all the time!), but there are all sorts of books that you may want to read without broadcasting it to everyone.

It’s possible that

  • A family member has cancer, and you’re reading about treatment options and life expectancy.
  • You’re researching grief, trauma, sexual identity, or other sensitive topics.
  • Your beliefs go against the dominant culture, economic system, or religion. (I know a woman who was harassed because she had The Communist Manifesto on her desk, at work.)
  • You live in a country where the possession of certain books can land you in prison. Or worse.

Your privacy is important, and e-readers like the Kindle App can keep people around you from snooping.

I should also mention that the Kindle App does report to Amazon what you’re reading and what page you’re on. And I have no insights into what they do with that data. Who do they sell it to? What government agencies do they share it with?

Because of this, you should ask yourself, Do I want the government to know I’m reading this? before reading sensitive materials on any e-reader.

All privacy concerns aside, the Kindle App has numerous benefits for readers and has made it possible for me to read more books. I’m able to easily take notes on what I read and make the text bigger when my eyes are tired. And I’ve learned hundreds of new words with the built-in dictionary.

So, try it out! Give the Kindle App a try and see if you read more books as a result.

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Have a question or comment? Shoot me an email ncstewartauthor@gmail.com

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