There’s no shortage of ways to read a book these days. Everyone has a smartphone, a lot of people have tablets and then there’s the Kindle, that un-converged device that only serves one purpose – reading. Oh and there are actual books and you can even get those free from a library.
Tell someone that you love your Kindle and you’ll probably get a confused look: it can’t play games, it won’t play your movies, it won’t even let you listen to music. Either that or you’ll be told that it lacks the feel of a book, the smell of the paper, the visceral glory of opening a hardback and trying to make sure it doesn’t slide out of the dust cover. For many people, the Kindle is a device that seems to serve a very limited purpose, a very singular definition of entertainment.
The new Kindle Paperwhite adds a lot of refinement over the device that first launched in 2012. It’s now brighter, increasing the level of illumination, while the front has lost the bezel, so the screen is flat from edge to edge. It’s also lighter, although the tactile black finish will never be as attractive as the cover art of an actual book.
There’s support for Bluetooth – but you won’t be playing any music on your Kindle. Oh no, this is so you can listen to Audible books via headphones or speakers.
Support for audiobooks is no accident. While the value of digital book sales in the UK increased by 3 per cent in 2017, the value of sales in audiobooks increased 21.5 per cent. While there’s a big difference in the value of these sectors, it’s audiobook downloads that are growing fast as people realise they can listen to books while cooking or driving.
But isn’t an ebook reader a bit old hat?
No it isn’t: on introducing the new Kindle to us Amazon confirmed that Prime Day 2018 was the biggest day for Kindle sales in the product’s history – and that Kindle owners are reading more pages in Kindle books than ever before. The Kindle Paperwhite is still Amazon’s best-selling Kindle and we suspect the same will be true of the new model.
And therein lies the uncomfortable truth: the Kindle is loved because it is so good at doing that one job. It isn’t a jack of all trades, it really is the master of one thing – reading. And while Kindle readers love their Kindles, they don’t hate books – they’re probably passionate about printed books too.
So while the likes of Apple and Google are worrying about digital wellbeing, reading is the thing we’re all being encouraged to do more of. So yes, the more Kindles the better we say, because it’s a piece of technology worth getting addicted to. Reading is said to be food for the soul, and the great thing about the Kindle Paperwhite is that you can feed your soul without having to turn the lights on.
Thank you for reading.