The first edition of the Amazon Kindle launched in 2007 and sold out within hours. Nowadays, the Kindle remains just as popular, but there's no single Amazon Kindle product—it's a range of ereaders that includes the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis.
If you've never owned a Kindle, you might be wondering whether it's right for you. Do you want to take the plunge? To help you out, we've rounded up all the top reasons why you should buy an Amazon Kindle.
1. All Your Books on a Single Device
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the Kindle is that you can store thousands of books at one time. The classic Kindle offers 8GB of storage, while others like the Paperwhite and Oasis are available in 32GB models.
Essentially, it's unlikely that you'll ever hit the limit. Even if you do, just uninstall some; the books are tied to your account, available to redownload at a later date.
Consider going away on vacation for a couple of weeks. Do you want to use up that precious luggage space with books? Or on a daily commute, do you want your current heavy hardback weighing you down? All of this is solved with a Kindle, which is lightweight and slim.
2. Cheap and Free Books
If you're a vicarious reader, the hobby can get quite expensive, especially if you buy books new. With high street bookshops struggling to survive, they often have to charge a pretty penny. It's understandable, but not always affordable.
There are plenty of ways to get free Kindle books; one way is to browse Amazon's Top 100 free Kindle books list. Granted, many of these reads are of questionable quality, but you can't say better than free. Amazon also lets you download samples of books for free, so you can try before you buy.
You may also find that your local library offers free ebooks, if they have a subscription to services like OverDrive. Be sure to inquire with them—it's always good to support libraries.
3. Instantaneous Reading
Let's say you've just read a review for a book that sounds right up your street. You want to read it immediately. With a physical book, you'd have to travel to a store and hope they had it in stock. Or order it online and wait for delivery.
On the Amazon Kindle, you can download it to your device within minutes (or even seconds) and begin reading there and then. There's something powerful about being able to read whatever you want near-instantaneously.
4. Easily Look Up Definitions
When reading, do you ever come across words that you don't understand? It's only natural. There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, and you can't expect to know them all.
If you're reading a traditional book, you often have to make do with figuring out the word from context. With the Amazon Kindle, you can quickly look up definitions of words and phrases in a few taps. You can even read more on Wikipedia or translate passages, all without interrupting the flow of your reading too greatly.
5. Highlight and Annotate Passages
A great Kindle feature is the ability to highlight and annotate. There are plenty of scenarios when this comes in handy. Perhaps you've come across a quote that has inspired you, or maybe you're making academic notes.
Once you've made a note, you can easily flick between them all with a few taps. No longer do you need to earmark physical books or stuff them with sticky notes; let your Kindle effortlessly handle it.
6. Adaptable Display
Unlike standard tablets, Kindle screens are specifically designed for the optimal reading experience. Every single Kindle model has a glare-free screen; the base model has a 6" screen, going up to 7" with the Kindle Oasis. That's plenty of real-estate, so the text on the page never feels crammed.
You can also adjust the size and boldface of the text, so you don't need to strain or scramble for your glasses. Some models even let you adjust the shade of the display, from a white light to a warm amber, which can be scheduled to match the time of day.
7. Sync With Audible
If you enjoy listening to audiobooks, you don't have to give these up when you buy a Kindle. In fact, if you use Audible, your listening experience is enhanced. This is thanks to a feature called Whispersync for Voice.
With this, you can switch seamlessly between reading and listening. The ebook and audiobook will stay in sync, so you don't have to flick forward to find your position.
8. Long Battery Life
The last thing you want is to buy a Kindle and find it conks out just as you're coming to the book's gripping conclusion. According to Amazon, for the Kindle Paperwhite, "a single charge lasts up to 10 weeks, based on half an hour of reading a day with wireless off and the light setting at 13."
Some activities will command greater battery life, like an increased brightness or connecting to the internet, but if you're conservative then your Kindle will rarely need charging. Regardless, even if you use your Kindle constantly and make use of all its features, the battery will last days. Charging from zero to full will take roughly four hours.
Plus, if you have the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, you can wirelessly charge your Kindle.
You Can Still Enjoy Physical Books
Of course, if you do decide to buy a Kindle, it doesn't mean you have to throw out your physical books or never buy one again. In fact, the two can live harmoniously side by side, each serving a different purpose.
Perhaps you can reserve the Kindle for weightier tomes you want to take on holiday, while still lining your bookshelves with plenty of colorful paperbacks. At the end of the day, reading is a joy regardless of the format.