Confessions of a Kindle hypocrite

Confessions of a Kindle hypocrite

Confessions of a Kindle hypocrite

I have a confession: Whenever anyone bemoans the effects of Kindles as “ruining” the experience of reading or quotes studies about how much poorer the reading experience is on one of these devices, I get super defensive.

In my head, I know that this means I’m probably a little unsure or uncomfortable about my own Kindle habit (because I don’t feel the need to defend choices when I’m confident in them), but I continue to do it.

Despite the bad press, I really truly love my Kindle. Five-and-a-half years ago, my first Kindle revolutionized my reading habit, which had suffered dreadfully in the wake of four babies in five years. When the Paperwhite came out a couple of years later with its front-lit light, I found myself reading even more (I’ve just never liked using a regular book light).

While I still love traditional books, I find that I have a harder time reading them at this point because I love the feel and convenience of my Kindle:

  • I have a book with me at all times.
  • I don’t have to worry about toddlers bending pages or losing my bookmark.
  • I can read one-handed while nursing.
  • It’s easy to switch between books when I’m reading a tougher nonfiction book or a story just isn’t capturing my attention.
  • I can highlight on my Kindle liberally and access all of those notes.

Confessions of a Kindle hypocrite

But here’s the hypocritical part…I just can’t bring myself to pass down one of my older Kindles to my girls. I have both a second generation Kindle and a first generation Paperwhite that I’ve been saving for them, but I just can’t do it. I want them to fall in love with paper books—and I love children’s books in every shape and size—and since that’s working well for us so far, I don’t want to mess it up!

(Note: I have plenty of friends whose kids use Kindles for various reasons, and I think it’s great; this is about my own neurosis, not judgement toward them!)

My girls ask me on a regular basis when they’ll be able to use the Kindles, and it seems fair for them to wonder why I’m allowed to have mine glued to my side when they’re not even allowed to touch theirs, but my only answer is the classic cop out: Because I’m the mom.

Our Kindles don’t have games or social media or other distractions, so I can’t even use those as excuses; it’s just this feeling I have that once they use the Kindles, we’ll never get them back to paper books. (Oh, you know, like their mama.)

And so we continue to wait.

Do you use a Kindle? Do your kids? What pros and cons do you see for kids? For yourself?

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. I was a late adopter of the Kindle because I was loathe to give up my “real” books. However, now that I converted, I don’t think I’ve read a “real” book in years. I also have not encouraged my boys to read books on the Kindle since I also want them to fall in love with real books (which they have). The Kindle can always come later. Plus, we check a lot of books out from the library (which I know you can borrow for the Kindle since I do but it’s way more limited). Picture books are also just not the same on a Kindle vs. real book, in my opinion.

    Oh, and here’s another reason I love my Kindle – I don’t have to deal with that pile of books from your image on my bookshelf :-). We already have far too many books!

  2. I have found that a Kindle is the most wonderful invention for reading really big tomes, especially if you are started to develop painful finger joints from aging.

  3. My kids only use the kindles for games, and not very often, so I’m not in your position yet. I expect I may be some day. I *like* my kindle. It certainly took some getting used to because I also love the smell and feel of real books. I love to own books. I read about half of my books on Kindle now and I’m starting to justify that based on two things: 1) 11/22/63. 2) I use the Kindle to read books I’m not sure I’d like to own, but I have given myself permission to buy them after the fact if I believe they belong on my physical bookshelf.

  4. My daughter got her first Nook at age 7 and has been an avid reader on it ever since.

  5. I bought 2 of my boys Kindles when they were in 4th and 5th grade, so past the picture book stage, and both have read and enjoyed books on them BUT they ask for series type books in paperback or hardcover, Harry Potter is just not the same on Kindle.

  6. I’ve owned a Kindle for years but have never been able to get used to reading on it. I just love the real things too much – something about holding a book that a screen can never replace in my opinion. So, my kids even though they’re allowed to read on the Kindle and even have books on there, they all also prefer real books. They never use it. So I wonder if it’s my attitude towards it that affects their opinion. I will also say we live within biking distance of a fantastic library. 95% of our books come from there and my kids are allowed to bike there alone so this may also foster their love of the real thing!

  7. I love my kindle! I had it for a while before they used ours, and they do read on the kindle app on their devices. If it makes you feel any better, neither are remotely interested in giving up “real” books. There is a balance somewhere!

  8. I have a Kindle, but only use it when I’m traveling or in places not easy to carry actual books. My teenagers have and LOVE their Kindles and use the app on their smart phones, too. My elementary aged children only use my Kindle every now and then as a treat…and then play games. So far, we are more prone to actual books, but I do see the benefits.

  9. I’ve only had a Kindle for about 4 months, and I’m already finding that I’m less interested in “real” books. (And I may let Juliet nurse till she’s 3, since that’s like my only reading time, haha!)

    Mine’s a Kindle Fire, so Eleanor gets “screen time” on it. She almost never reads books though, she always chooses apps.

  10. Love my Kindle! Although, I do switch between it and “real” books, too. I love to borrow from the library, especially if it’s a book that I’m not sure I would like to purchase. There’s just something about the “real book smell…” 🙂

    What is the book you have on your Kindle in the picture? Sounds like a good one!

  11. I love my kindle. I had a first generation Kindle fire, and recently upgraded to a 3rd generation Fire HDX. I gave my daughter my old kindle and she loves it. Personally, while I’d love Sam to read real books, I just want her to read and she hates it. But, she’ll read on the Kindle. So to me it makes no difference as long as she’s reading! 😀 i myself love my kindle for all the reasons you mentioned. I always have a book with me, I can highlight etc and the fire HDX has this cool feature where it learns your reading speed, and tells you how long you have until you finish a chapter! Plus it links to GoodReads. 🙂

  12. I am laughing, because I totally understand this!! No advice from me here. Just an understanding from one hypocrite to another.

    -Tara

  13. So, I personally do not like reading on the Kindle. My husband and I have one that we share, but it has really become his, and that’s fine with me. I tried it for awhile and just never could get to where I liked it. But, when my husband decided to upgrade to the Paperwhite, we had our old one lying around. Meanwhile, I was taking my 6 year old to the library a LOT. She would check out 10-15 books and read them all in 3 days. I couldn’t keep up. These were books like The A to Z Mysteries, the Magic Treehouse books, etc. Finally, I realized one day that I could download these books from our library onto our spare Kindle using the Overdrive app, and I never looked back. She does still read paper books, too – I make sure to still take her to the library to check out physical books, and she loves to go to Half Price Books to pick out a book as a reward or treat. And we read aloud together at bedtime. So, although I was worried at first, it’s been wonderful overall. We really regulate other kinds of screens, but I don’t worry too much about the Kindle. 🙂

  14. I hesitated to get a Kindle because I like *real* books. However, after owning a Kindle for 5 years I find that I read just as many paper books as I do Kindle books. I usually have three books going at once: one paper book that I read at home, on my lunch break, etc; one Kindle book that I read when it is just more convenient (i.e. when I’m in my daughter’s room at night waiting for her to go to bed I find the light from my tablet is much less intrusive than a book light); and one audiobook (through audible) that I listen to at work, while driving or while doing some household chores!

    I do understand the desire to teach your children to appreciate books in their traditional form. Maybe you can start off by limiting the number of Kindle books they can have at at time? Hmm…

  15. This is exactly how I feel. I still prefer actual paper books, but love the convenience and instant gratification of my kindle. I also love that I can read it in the dark. My 3 oldest love to read and prefer actual books too, although they do have a shared basic kindle because of all the free and discounted classic books available. I can see my younger 2 probably being more interested in ebooks once they become readers, but I want them to love books…the feel, the smell…once that’s established I prob won’t mind a partial transition.

  16. I never read (like pick up a book and read for hours kind of reading) before having a digital device. I started reading and could not stop with my iPad and later purchased the Kindle Paperwhite so I could read outside, etc.

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