BABS CRAIG

Why I’m Finally Getting A Kindle And Saying Goodbye To Paper

blogpost coverMay 04, 2020
Personal, Productivity

This year, I made it one of my resolutions to read just 12 books. One a month for every month of the year. I would start with Atomic Habits to lay the groundwork for growing good habits throughout the year, one of which would be reading. Thing is, 12 books is hardly some great resolution but it had been so long since I actively read anything that I wanted to give myself a realistic target.

It all went pretty well for the first month but afterwards, I noticed a drop in the number of pages I was reading each day and I was also going longer and longer without picking up the book. The book was bulky. I didn't want to tear it. I defnitiely didn't want to stain it so eating and reading - my favorite pastime when I was a kid - was out of the question. And at night, I needed a light to read. In fact, this made me realize how my eyes have become accustomed to reading off self illuminated surfaces.

Growing up, I was an avid reader. I read anything and everything including “forbidden books” that my Mother specifically told me not to read. I read the Bible cover to cover too before I was 13. A lot of the person I am today is because of the books I read in my formative years. Books provided a way to escape, to enter into and explore vast new worlds and to learn from people across space and time.

Perhaps it was with a bit of nostalgia that I declared to myself that I would buy only physical books, preferably hardbacks, and build a physical library while at it.

So after waiting a week for the first book - Atomic Habits - to arrive from Amazon, I was ready to dive in.

If it had gone well, I wouldn’t be here writing this article. A few months later and here I am patiently waiting for my Kindle to arrive in a day or two. Here’s why I’m making the switch.

First thing, is that I need a competitor to my phone and other electronics. These things are addictive. And I need to be addicted to a device that has the potential to build me up and fill my head with ideas.

Second, it would be nice to reduce the friction of buying books. Why wait a week or head to the bookstore before a book arrives when I can buy one and instantly have it sync to my device? Also, Kindle editions tend to be cheaper on average than the print editions so there's that too.

I’ve also been concerned about my bed time habits. I usually toss and turn for an hour or more before sleeping and that’s a huge amount of time to spend on Twitter or Instagram when I could be spending that time engaging my brain. A Kindle is perfect for night-time reading because of the display. It’s not backlit in the way phones and laptops are and since it mimics the look of paper, it’s easy to read and fall asleep naturally.

The fourth reason is portability. If I’d made it to the end of the year and purchased 12 books, moving around with them would be a drag! A Kindle would mean that I had my books with me always, no matter where I was. Also, the books would be safe from damage or theft - or that one friend who always “borrows” books but never returns them 😉.

Finally, I love the idea of the social and tech aspects. Easy highlighting that doesn’t damage the book and if you throw in an app like Readwise, you get your all your highlights sent to you in batches as emails throughout the year. Also, with Goodreads, I could connect with others, share what I was reading and get some healthy competition going.

These are all the reasons I’m switching over to a Kindle instead of sticking with paper. I’ve decided to pull the plug and see where it takes me. Of course I am not ruling out ever purchasing a paper edition ever again - either when a book is not available or for sentimental reasons - I recently purchased the first two books of Kyle Simpsons 2nd edition You Don’t Know JS series. Those books were responsible for helping me overcome a lot of misconceptions I had about JavaScript when I was starting out and it’s nice to hold these lifechanging books in their physical form. So no, I’m not writing paper off completely but I am trying to make it as easy for myself to catch up and maybe surpass my reading goal for the year.

Here’s hoping I don’t write a rebuttal in 3 months on the merits of paper over the Kindle. 😆

Babs is a JavaScript developer who writes mostly React/React Native & NodeJS (with a healthy dose of GraphQL) by day and everything else JavaScript under the cover of night. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram where he shares details of his clandestine love affair with Software Development.

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