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How An E-Reader Changed My Reading Habits For Good

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As an avid reader and serious book worm growing up, I was always pro-physical books and anti e-readers. Why would you want to look at a screen for yet another activity when you could just pick up an aesthetically bound book? Why would you choose tapping a screen on a device over physically flipping through crisp pages as the plot thickens? These were all questions I would counter with whenever someone suggested that I buy an e-reader like a Kindle. However, after I moved to college and no longer had access to my local public library that was only 5 minutes away, I barely read anymore. I became one of those people who said, “I used to love reading, but I just don’t have time for it right now”. I would browse through books at Barnes and Nobles and wince at the price. I also spent so much time doing readings for school that the last thing I wanted to do was read even more when I had free time. I instead chose to go on social media and scroll for hours (yeah…not really productive of me at all).

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However, that all changed when I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel. During spring semester of last year, my wrists were so messed up, I could barely even use my phone. Texting was nearly impossible and scrolling on my phone became a pretty painful activity. Since I could barely use technology or anything that would require my hands or wrists to be engaged, I had very minimal options to keep myself entertained while I waited for my Carpal Tunnel symptoms to fade. Alas, I finally had time to read again! Except holding a physical book and flipping through its pages were also very challenging tasks. Once I came to this realization, I started researching e-readers to see if the small device would be more compatible with my current lifestyle. There was also a pretty good sale on Amazon at the time, and my boyfriend convinced me that buying a Kindle Paperwhite would be a great investment. After lots of research and contemplating, I bit the bullet and bought a light green Kindle Paperwhite. I became the e-reader owner that I never thought I would be.

After having my Kindle for almost eight months now, I can confidently say that the device has changed my reading habits for good. I actually read more than I ever did during my previous years of college, and I prefer tapping away page by page on my Kindle over scrolling on social media (sometimes). I went from reading 3 books in 2020 to reading 11 this year. My goal for 2021 is to actually reach 15 books (which may not be a lot to some people, but that’s a pretty ambitious number for me). Aside from turning me back into an avid reader, here are some other reasons why I am pro-Kindles now:

  1. A Kindle makes reading so convenient! Its small size allows me to carry it around and whip out whenever I’m waiting in a long line. I can read to pass the time without having to bring a heavy book with me to places like the DMV or doctor’s office.
  2. I can easily borrow e-books from the Libby app instead of having to buy them. The Libby app is basically a virtual local library, and I’m able to check out and download almost every book I want onto my Kindle with it. I save so much money (and space) by doing this. I no longer have to trek to the local library in Charlottesville or in my hometown, and I’ve refrained from buying books off Amazon and Barnes and Noble (especially when I do it on an impulse and end up never reading them). I also save so much space in my room and can stop worrying about rearranging my overfilled bookshelf.
  3. The sunk cost encourages me to actually use the Kindle and read. I will admit, the Kindle was pretty pricey. I think I spent around $100 on it, and that sunk cost honestly motivates me to use the device and read more. I can’t let it go to waste!
  4. Reading insights from the Kindle App entices me to keep reading. My Paperwhite is linked to the Kindle app, where my reading data is tracked. I can see how many days in a row I’ve read on the device along with how many books I’ve finished. Seeing these numbers actually motivate me to read more. It sort of gamifies the activity and inspires me to seek out new books and break new reading records.
  5. The screen and lighting actually makes it feel like you’re reading a real book! The one thing I was not willing to compromise when buying an e-reader was the screen. I didn’t want to feel like I was reading off an iPad, with blue light still present. The Paperwhite (like the name suggests), really does imitate the feeling of reading off a piece of paper. I can also adjust the lighting to make it feel less like a digital device and be more gentle on the eyes.
  6. Bonus: digital perks. There are some side features like the ability to look up any unknown word instantly, highlight sentences, bookmark pages, and take notes as well. These functions enhance the reading experience and really streamlines the little things people do when they read.

All in all, I love my Kindle Paperwhite and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to up their reading game. It’s a great device for people who always say they don’t have time to read or money to buy books. Happy reading!

Shirley is a fourth year at the University of Virginia. She loves coffee, books, and plants. She also hopes that you'll enjoy her articles!
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