I was recently gifted one of the latest hand-held electronic devices for reading books as a birthday present. Developed by Amazon, the Kindle Paperwhite released in 2015 boasts a much higher resolution screen than the previous 2013 version. Although I was excited to try out this relatively new technology, I was initially suspicious of my relative’s promises that it would aid with my university reading. After all, what could beat the experience of holding my own physical paperback?

Kindle Paperwhite
Paperwhite showing the copyright-free Alice in Wonderland

After some extended reading consisting of the 19th century literary novels from my course’s reading list, I’m starting to realise that there are many benefits to using a Kindle over a traditional paperback copy. The first reason, and probably the most attractive reason to students, is the price of e-books themselves. Most of the novels on our reading list are now out of copyright and in the public domain, which means they are completely free to download and read. This has been an incredible money-saver as previously I ordered all my copies online. Online purchases quickly add up due to postage fees often costing more then the book itself.

Stack of books
Stack of books

The other major benefit of Kindle is how simple travelling becomes. I can travel back home on the train without breaking my spine lugging a tonne of books behind me. All my books are in the same place so there is less chance of forgetting the one I need, and it’s much more convenient to pull out a slim kindle from your luggage than it is to search through everything to find that one elusive paperback. You never have to worry about running out of battery either, since one single charge lasts for weeks. Other useful features include an estimated reading time. Before you start reading your Kindle will let you know roughly how long each particular book will take to read, and will also let you know how long it will take to finish the current chapter you are on. Whilst this might encourage a more linear style of reading, it is useful in scheduling your reading around your work and studies. It can also help you prioritise which books to read first based on length.

A final feature that I found very helpful (especially when reading Shakespeare) was the ability to press on a single word to discover the definition. You can also highlight certain phrases or characters to view a short description of who the character is, in case you need to refresh your memory.

Currently Kindle’s are discounted, the Paperwhite is £89.99 (down from £109.99) and is probably the best value for money. Click here to buy a Kindle Paperwhite.

If you are wondering which Kindle would be best for you, here is an updated comparison review for 2016.