After putting together the what’s on my nightstand post yesterday, I realized that while I’ve talked about my Kindle Paperwhite from time to time, I’ve never done a complete post on why I absolutely love it and consider it one of the best things I’ve ever purchased. So, today I wanted to take the time to talk about the merits of Kindle and how it’s saved me hundreds of dollars on books.
First, let me start by saying that I used to be a physical book purist and said I’d never buy a Kindle. I always pack several books for vacation, and after heading to the beach for a week with my family back in summer 2015, I realized that traveling four or five books was really weighing me down. Plus, if I finished every book I brought, I had no easy way to get another book short of going to a store, which isn’t always convenient on a trip, or buying something overpriced at an airport. Once I got back home, I caved, purchased the Kindle Paperwhite, and never looked back.
(Also this post is not sponsored in anyway, I just seriously love my Kindle. I have this case.)
I became a convert immediately for several reasons.
For one, because of the Kindle, I can read in the dark, whereas when I read a physical book, I have to have at least one light on. I think turning off all the lights prior to falling asleep has really helped the quality of my sleep—I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve fallen asleep while reading my Kindle! Now, I won’t even read a physical book before bed—I save any physical books I have for the Metro or a travel day. And because I can read in the dark, it’s easier to read on vacation when you’re sharing a room with others—you don’t have to keep a light on and interrupt their sleep. Plus, since you can control the brightness of the screen, its often less bright than a phone is.
For another, unlike my phone or an iPad, the Kindle screen is not reflective, meaning it’s super easy to read in direct sunlight, like at the beach. And, if I need another book while on vacation (or at home for that matter!), I can easily buy another book and sync it to my Kindle instantly, as long as I have access to wifi. No need to find a bookstore or wait for a packing to arrive.
To top it all off, the Kindle has an amazing battery life. I use mine nearly everyday for at least 30 minutes, and I only have to charge the battery every two months or so. This also makes it super easy to travel with since I don’t ever have to pack its charger.
When I first purchased my Kindle, I used to buy Kindle Books directly on Amazon. Depending on the popularity, the author, and the time since the release date, Kindle Books typically range in price from $6.99-$14.99. Now, I spend my money on a lot of stupid stuff, so I never let myself feel guilty for buying books—but reading one or more books a week at that price certainly adds up.
About six months after buying a Kindle, my friend recommended I use my library’s Overdrive to borrow Kindle books for FREE!
At the time, I was living in Arlington, but hadn’t registered for a library card since I didn’t see a need before this revelation. (Hindsight is 20/20 because I could have been borrowing physical books to save money before I purchased my Kindle, but I digress.) As such, I hopped on the Fairfax County Library website, pulled out the library card I put my John Hancock on in the second grade, and was amazed when the library still had my card number on file. From there, I was able to easily register for an Fairfax County Public Library Overdrive account online and then linked my new Overdrive account to my Amazon account where my Kindle information is stored.
Now, whenever I want to borrow a book from the library, I’m able to login to Overdrive and search for the title I want. If it’s available, I can download it instantly. If it’s not, I can put a hold on it, and it will automatically be checked out to my account when it’s my turn. If the library doesn’t own the book, I can recommend it for purchase, and if they do purchase it, I’m automatically put on the list to borrow it when it becomes available. I’ve found that the library does eventually buy the title I want, even if it takes some time, so definitely recommend it to them! (I think they must have to reach a threshold before it’s purchased.) Once it’s my turn for the book, I have 21 days to read it and then the book is automatically returned to the library*. If there’s no waitlist, I can extend my rental.
(*If you want to cheat the system, the library can’t auto-return the book if your Kindle isn’t connected to wifi or is on airplane mode. It will still give a copy to the next person in line if you do this, just the next time you do connect to the Internet, the title will no longer be available. You did not hear this from me.)
Since reviving my old Fairfax County library card and signing up for the Fairfax Overdrive, I have gotten library cards in Arlington County and DC, which allow me to access their Overdrive accounts (here and here) as well. Now, before you turn me in for library card fraud, I should note that these three jurisdictions have reciprocity with each other, meaning as long as you meet the eligibility requirements for one jurisdiction, you can easily get a library card in the others. I’ve found this to be super helpful when searching for books, since some libraries own a certain title and others don’t, or the waitlist is shorter on one. Overall, I think Arlington County has the largest selection of titles, so if you can, I’d recommended getting a card there. If you aren’t local, definitely see if your library offers reciprocity with another jurisdiction to widen your selection.
Because of Overdrive, I very rarely buy books these days—unless no library I belong to owns the book I want to read or if it’s a super popular title I don’t want to wait half a year to read. Though my Kindle was an initial investment, it has paid for itself and then some since I’m able to take advantage of free Kindle library books, all without the hassle of going to a physical library every time I want to borrow or return a book. And, if reading books aren’t your thing, Overdrive also offers a wide selection of audio books—so cancel those Audible subscriptions and save yourself the money!