My new Kindle Paperwhite: a love story

My new Kindle Paperwhite: a love story
  • It’s slightly slimmer than it was, coming in at less than a third of an inch (versus the previous generation’s 0.34 inches).
  • It’s lighter (6.1 ounces versus 6.4 ounces).
  • It’s highly water-resistant — I can’t tell you how many paperback print pages I’ve soaked and ruined through bathtub mishaps.
  • Its resolution is sharper (300 pixels-per-inch versus 167).
  • Its built-in light means I don’t have to rely on the sun or my hiking headlamp.
  • Its glare-free screen and flush-front design make each page look more like a traditional book page (and help keep crud and dust from collecting).
  • And its battery lasts weeks (this last not being as much of an improvement as previous generations boasted similarly long battery lives) — I read daily throughout January and into February before finally succumbing to plugging in it.

I can Kindle everywhere — and anywhere

I can read whatever I want, wherever and whenever I please. In the past 30 days, for example, I’ve pulled out my Paperwhite while in line at the grocery; to share a poem from U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo while teaching a restorative yoga class; and to pass a half-hour between meetings, getting started with “The Bird King,” the latest from G. Willow Wilson.

I’ve warded off insomnia in the middle of the night without disturbing my husband on the other side of the bed. On a patio underneath a full sun, I flipped through a few chapters of Gail Carriger’s oldie-but-goodie “Soulless.” I’ve exposed it at three coffee shops across town already, during a few meals out by myself and at a recent monthly meeting of the local Silent Book Club.

Making the Kindle Paperwhite my own

With print books, you read what’s in front of you and you make it work. There’s joy in simplicity. But my aging eyes also appreciate the Paperwhite for its versatility. With a few taps, I can increase or decrease font sizes, line spacing and page margins. I can select different font styles — from serifed options to sans and back again, depending on my mood. If I prefer to read in landscape for some reason — which I find helpful when I’m laboring on a treadmill — it’s a click away.

Even better? You can save all of these modifications as themes. So far, I’ve got one theme for everyday reading (that’s the Bookerly serifed font in size 4, vertical alignment, and the minimum margin), another for reading in bed when light is sparse and a third for when I can’t find my glasses.

On top of that, the Kindle lets me organize collections — like I do on my shelves. My home page features one folder for fiction, one for nonfiction, another for poetry and a fourth for miscellaneous (like the Kindle user guide and various dictionaries).

Print still makes my heart patter. And I don’t believe it will ever be dead — at least not until the day we run out of paper. I also still adore audiobooks and how I can check off to-dos while a talented narrator like Julia Whelan or Rebecca Lowman entertains me. Thankfully, though, books are pretty open, because my love affair with words and how I engage with them has now turned polyamorous.

More shopping guide and recommendations

Find the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations.

Kirsten Akens

Kirsten Akens is a freelance writer with bylines in O the Oprah Magazine, People, Lifehacker, Ozy and more. Based in Colorado, she is also the author of “100 Things to Do in Colorado Springs Before You Die.”

Read More