I checked my Amazon account the other day, and of the last fifty books I purchased on Amazon, forty-nine have been Kindle books. (The fiftieth was a gift for someone else that went directly to the recipient.) I don’t know about you folks out there in Intertubes land, but for me, the Paper-vs-ebook debate is over, and the ebook has won.
My current reader is a basic fourth-generation Kindle. I also have the Kindle app on both the iPad and iPhone, but I do most of my reading on the Kindle because the e-ink screen is easier on the eyes than the backlit screens of the iThingies. I picked the basic Kindle because it’s the smallest of the bunch (small enough to fit into the back pockets of my jeans), because I already have 3G capability on my iPhone, and because I dislike touching a screen for turning a page. The hardware page turn buttons on the Kindle are easier to use one-handed and require less finger movement, and the screen doesn’t get all smudged with fingerprints.
I’ve given all the major players fair shakes—I’ve purchased books on the Nook via B&N, on iBooks via Apple, and on the Sony reader via pitiful Sony ebook store. In the end, I’ve settled on Amazon for several reasons:
- Kindle books are usually cheaper than the same books on the iBooks store or the Nook store.
- Amazon has the biggest catalog of titles.
- Amazon offers the easiest and most convenient browsing and buying user experience.
- The Kindle is the best reader out there in my opinion—and I’ve tried all the current competitors. The new iteration of the basic Kindle is everything I need in a reader—small, flat, long battery life, perfectly integrated with Amazon.com, and not loaded with features I don’t need or want to pay for.
Yes, Amazon has its problems. Among those are the proprietary ebook format and lack of support for the open .epub format. But with Calibre, I can convert .epub to the .mobi format the Kindle does read, and the advantages I’ve listed outweigh the problems for me. Open standards are good, but ease of user experience and quality of integration trumps open source for me. (That’s why I have an iPhone and not an Android phone, which is a whole other argument and a topic for another day.)
So yeah—I love my Kindle, and while I still love and own paper books as well, I’ve converted to ebooks a while ago. Don’t get me wrong—I love browsing in brick-and-mortar bookstores, but with the Kindle, I can buy the books I want in thirty seconds without having to leave the house or even put on pants. They don’t have the paper smell and feel, but they don’t need to be stored and are easily moved, they don’t have to be thrown out by the boxful because of water damage from a leaky roof, and I can carry a thousand of them around in a four-ounce device that fits into my back pocket. The words are the same whether you read them on paper or e-ink, though, and that’s what counts in the end.