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Should You Buy a Kindle Paperwhite 3G?

Barb taught English for a few years before switching to bookselling. Now retired, she blogs and creates products for her two Zazzle stores.

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E-Book Reader vs Paper Books

Let me say up front that I've always been partial to paper books. I never really wanted to get into reading e-books. I have more paper books than I will ever have time to read. So I never expected Id buy a Kindle or any other kind of e-book reader.

At the end of December last year, I changed my mind. I was contemplating the possibility of major surgery that could keep me in bed for who knows how long. I did not know how much hospital time that might include. I did not want to run out of reading material. I wanted something that could easily go with me anywhere. So I bought my first Kindle.

Since I got it, I've done a lot more reading. Why? It's so easy to slip the Kindle in my purse and take it everywhere. If I have to stand in line, I just pull it out. Sitting in a waiting room? Pull it out of the purse. When I have to close it, it saves my place. If I want to read something different than what I started, no problem. I've got almost a hundred books to choose from on that small e-book reader. All I have to do is switch them out.

The Paperwhite 3G Has Lots of Useful Features

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First, I decided that of all the manufacturers, Amazon would probably be around to support its product the longest. This is important to me.

Second, I read all the information on the Amazon site about the different Kindle products. I wanted to be able to read in any kind of lighting, since I might be in a hospital room with poor lighting. I wanted to be able to change the size or font of the text for easier reading. I didn’t want to worry about losing my place if I had to put the Kindle down for a few minutes or a few hours. I wanted to be able to bookmark important pages and highlight passages. I wanted the whole experience to be easy on my eyes.

After reading all the specs and about all the features, I decided that the Kindle Paperwhite 3G would best meet my needs. It had all the features I mentioned above and more you can read about if you click the product link I have included in this lens. Because I bought a product with both 3G and wireless connections, I should be able to download books from Amazon almost anywhere with a 3G signal or a wireless connection.

This photo shows my Kindle Paperwhite charging when it was new for its first use.

What I Like About Using My Kindle

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What I Like About Using My Kindle

  • One thing I love are all the free books I can download on my Kindle Paperwhite. I can usually find one or two a day that interest me. I am loading the Kindle with books because I do have a surgery scheduled next month that will keep me flat on my back for two weeks at least and away from my computer. Meanwhile, I’m having to discipline myself not to read too much, since it’s easy to start a book while eating or sitting on the throne and then not be able to put the book down when I have work to do.
  • I really like that it’s easy to read in bed because the Kindle has its own light, which I can easily adjust to the degree of brightness I want. To dim or brighten the light, just click the light bulb on the toolbar at the top. The downside of this is that I now have a sore neck from looking up all the time. I need to get a reading pillow. That won’t work, though, when I have to keep my foot above my heart. I just ordered a stand to prop my Kindle up on a bed tray.
  • One really nice feature is that the Kindle lies flat. I have it in a case that protects it, and I can put it on the table to read if I’m eating alone. I can turn the pages with just one finger. If I put the Kindle down, it remembers where I stopped reading. If I’m reading more than one book at a time, it keeps my place in all of them. So I may have my Bible, a book that tells me how to do something, and a novel, all open at the same time. When I switch from one to the other, I can start reading right where I stopped.
  • If I’m reading my book and come across I word I don’t know, I can hold my finger over it lightly, and I will see the definition in the default dictionary I have chosen. If I hold my finger there too long, I will begin selecting to highlight a passage instead. To escape from those modes, I tap lightly again.
  • There is also a feature called X-Ray for most books. Let’s say you are reading a novel, and you forgot how one character is related to another, or you want to know more about that character. You can go to X-Ray and click on People and then chose whether you want to see only the people on that page, in the chapter you are reading, or in the whole book. You can do the same things for various terms you might want to trace. The X-Ray feature isn’t active for all books. You can see the X-Ray screen in the photo gallery below. It's open to show all the characters in the book Inescapable by Nancy Mehl. All my screenshots in the photo gallery come from that book.
  • Sometimes I download books from sites other than Amazon, and some of these books have smaller print than I find comfortable. All I have to do is go to the toolbar and tap the text icon to adjust the print size or the font to one that’s easier on my eyes. The photo gallery also shows screen shots of how I did that.
  • One really neat feature is the “Time to Read” information. You can customize this so that you can see how much time it should take you to finish the chapter or the book. Mine is currently set to tell me on the bottom left how long it will take me to finish the book, and on the bottom right it tells me what percentage of the book I have already read.
  • I just learned how to use the search feature. It just works within a book. You just tap the top of the screen to bring up the toolbar and then tap the magnifying glass. That will open a search box, and you can type in the first letters of the term you want. The Kindle will suggest terms that begin with those letters, and you can just tap the one you want. Then the results include every instance of that term in the book, so be careful what you enter.
  • In some of the screenshots I've used, you will see ads for books. I choose to buy the Kindle edition that displays ads because it's cheaper. I have not found these ads to be distracting since they don't show on the text pages when I'm reading. I'm not sorry I chose this option.
  • The photo of my Kindle screen above shows a page from a book I downloaded about finding free books. I wanted you to see the icons at the top and the "Time to Read" feature at the bottom. It is currently set to show the page numbers on the left and the time left to read the chapter at the right. You can change these setting to suit yourself.

Why Not Get Yourself a Kindle Paperwhite?

Because I wanted to protect my new Kindle Paperwhite, I also bought a padded case for it. Because I didn't want to be tied to a computer to charge it, I bought a charger. I bought the stand because I was about to have foot surgery and I would be confined to a recliner with my feet up, using a lap desk. The stand made it easy to use the Kindle hands-free so I could read while I ate if I wanted to. It works that way with a regular table, too. It was also very handy in the hospital after my neck surgery when I couldn't bend my head down to read.

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Kindle or Paper? - What do you think?

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What I Don't Like About My Kindle

There are some ways in which paper books are better.

Let’s face it. Paper books are easier to navigate. First, I can walk right over to a bookshelf and scan the spines to quickly find the book I want to read. In Kindle, I have to organize my books. I have them organized into collections that are organized by subject, as well as one for books I’ve already read. I have so many collections they take up more than one page. So to get to see the rest of them, I have to click the number in the bottom right corner to bring up the “Go To” screen and take a guess at the page number I need to find the collection I want and type it in. If I prefer, I can tap the box under the page number box to find a collection title starting with a certain letter.

Let’s say I want to read a book from my Mystery collection. I need to bring up the collection title, which is, fortunately on the first page of my collections. I need to tap it to open it. Since I have 35 mysteries at the moment, I need to find the right one by the same process I used to find the collection. There are five pages of titles. To pick a book by title, I have to remember what it starts with. Or I can guess what page I will l find the title on. Books I’ve recently been reading are at the top, so they are at least easy to find. But it’s sure easier just to go to a bookcase and grab book off the shelf.

When I reviewed Inescapable, I wanted to reread parts of the book. In a paper book I would just thumb through the pages until I found what I wanted. Maybe I would put a sticky note or bookmark on those pages. I could continue to flip back and forth if I needed to. Although I can also bookmark pages in my Kindle, they get bookmarked by something called ”location.” When I want to find the bookmarked page, I have to know the location number to find it. That means I have to write down those numbers with a note as to why the bookmarked page is important. I find this frustrating.

My most frustrating experience in my Kindle so far has been trying to read a Bible. It is really hard to navigate. First, I had to navigate through the Table of Contents to find the book of the Bible I wanted to read. Then I had to pick the chapter of that book I wanted to read. But I seemed to land on the footnotes instead of the text, and I had to fiddle around by trial and error to finally get to the text. When I wanted to go back a page, I landed back in the footnotes. It didn’t work that way with the Psalms.

The Kindle has a learning curve. You will have to accept that and learn what you need to if you are to be able to use all the features you want. I suggest getting a good user manual at the same time you buy your Kindle.

My paper books always work the way they are supposed to. Sometimes my Kindle will freeze, and I have to shut it down and restart it before I can turn the page. It doesn’t happen often, but it never happens with a paper book.

When I read a paper book, there’s no battery to recharge. My Kindle supposedly only needs to be recharged every two months. But there’s a catch to that. It assumes you only use it for half an hour a day. I find I have to recharge mine after every book or two. That is about three days to a week.

That being said, I am mindful that the Kindle Paperwhite is limited by the fact that it is an electronic device and has many of the same kinds of limitations a computer does. It also does some things much better than a paper book, including providing its own light source, making it easy to adjust text size, keeping your place intact for several books at once, and holding lots of books in a small space.

The Stand is Really Handy

Do you have anything to add or any questions you want to ask? You can use the comments to do that.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Barbara Radisavljevic

Comments

Vicki on November 23, 2017:

Do you have to be on the Internet to use this kindle?

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Templeton, CA on December 21, 2016:

I resisted for a long time, but now I wouldn't be without my Kindle. I recently bought a second one.

Bill Kasman on December 21, 2016:

I don't know the first thing about any kind of Kindle but my wife is a dab hand at using (and buying!) all types of electronic book readers. I will tell her about this review.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Templeton, CA on June 10, 2016:

Did you get one?

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on June 23, 2015:

Wonderful review.

I've been thinking about investing in a Kindle.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Templeton, CA on March 30, 2015:

Kristen, sounds to me like that's a great way to get a Kindle. Can't you use the Kindle reading app on your computer or in the Cloud to store books you've read so you have more room on your Kindle for new ones?

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 19, 2015:

I've won my Kindle Paperwhite, 2.5 years ago, via an author fan club contest on Facebook. I love it. Although I'm on Kindle limbo, since I can't download any more ebooks, since I've reached 1300 ebooks, due to space issues.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Templeton, CA on March 10, 2014:

@DebMartin: I think as far as Kindles go, if you want to just read the books, it's the best one. Of course if you want to surf the internet, etc. I guess you'd want a Kindle Fire. I just want to download and read books.

DebMartin on March 10, 2014:

Very informative. I think it's time....

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Templeton, CA on March 08, 2014:

@Brite-Ideas: I still have more to learn, but I do appreciate its convenience.

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on March 07, 2014:

There is no doubt you know your stuff about Kindle!

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Templeton, CA on March 07, 2014:

@SusanDeppner: In which direction do you swipe? I've tried down the list and across the page near the middle, but nothing happens. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on March 07, 2014:

I recently discovered that you can actually swipe through the collections (or list of books) in both list view and cover view so you don't have to guess at those page numbers! I've had my Kindle Paperwhite for a few months now and it just occurred to me recently to try swiping to see what would happen. It worked! Give it a try to let me know if it works for you. (Great review of the Paperwhite! I'm featuring this on my new KindleToday page on Facebook.)

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