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Is the Kindle worth all the hype?
As the e-book becomes increasingly more popular is it worth buying a Kindle? Yes but don't throw your books away just yet, argues Abigail Newton

Kindles: Are they really worth the hype?

I am an avid book lover. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a selection of books given to me at Christmas or birthdays. However, this Christmas I didn’t get any. Shocked, I turned to my mum and she produced a Kindle instead. I felt uneasy holding the device, where were the pages I could run my thumb across producing that ‘book’ smell that I loved? But I had to give the Kindle a go, so I started reading Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”, one of my favourite books, to see if I read it differently on the device.

It was definitely strange reading a book from a period where the Kindle wouldn’t have been thought of in a person’s wildest dreams. However, apart from that I felt no different which surprised me. It was as easy if not easier to read the book on the Kindle. I expected to not like reading off a screen and being unable to physically turn pages.  But I became so engrossed in the story again I didn’t even realise I wasn’t reading it from an actual book.  The Kindle is so easy to use as well. I’m definitely not the best when it comes to technology however, even I am able to download books to it and use it without any major issue. The battery life is very good on it as well. Perfect for when I went on holiday for a week. As a quick-reader it was a luxury not to have to carry two or three books with me.

One of the biggest things I have against Kindles is that I like the idea of passing a book down from generation to generation. I have a copy of Johanna Spyri’s “Heidi” that my nain gave to my mum who in turn passed it down to me and I hope to pass it on. There is still a note from my nain on the inside cover of the book wishing my mum a “Merry Christmas”. Further in there are early attempts of my mum attempting joined up writing. Some would say the scribbles are just ruining the book however, I like them. As much as it’s about the story in the book, it’s also important to remember where the book came from.

It’s undeniable that the e-book industry is booming and soon everyone is going to be using Kindles. There’s not much not to like really. A 170 gram device can hold thousands of books – no more hauling heavy books around, something every student can sympathise with. Also it’s so easy to carry round with you, which, hopefully in the long term, will encourage people to read more. The only problem is that there is still some old favourites that you can’t get on the Kindle and the books tend to be more expensive as you have to pay VAT on them. Apart from that there’s nothing really not to like.

I’m very quickly becoming addicted to my Kindle. I’ve just downloaded one of the many free e-books in a matter of seconds. Best get reading then!

Abigail Newton is a young writer based at Cardiff Metropolitan University.