From the minute I could read I’ve devoured every book I could find. My childhood was characterised by long trips to the library, lazy Sundays in bed with a book and making Nan drive me an hour to a book store every time the latest Harry Potter was released.
Thus being able to read while travelling is essential to me. Travel will keep you busy exploring new destinations, engaging in different cultures and meeting new people. But there is still lots of down time.
It’s long amounts of time stuck in airports waiting for your flight, hours spent on public transport getting to your next destination, time spent having a break on a breach and even time spent dining alone in restaurants with no one but yourself for company.
These are all times where some form of entertainment comes in handy, and for me reading is the perfect option.
But books are heavy. I remember stuffing my coat with books on my flight back from France, simply because I couldn’t bear to leave any of the ones I had bought even though I didn’t have any extra weight left in my check in bag allowance.
Lucky for me, in the 6 years since I was last in France, the world invented something fantastic called an e-reader.
E-readers are electronic devices on which you can read books. You simply purchase or even download free books from online e-book stores and you can instantly read straight on your device.
Why not just use e-book apps on my smartphone or ipad?
When I first heard of e-readers I was very wary. My years reading Harry Potter Fanfiction on my computer taught me that reading for long periods of time on a device with a backlight can be incredibly straining on your eyes.
But the Kindle (or other e-readers) are specifically designed for reading. On the most basic level devices there is no backlight. If you want to read in the dark you’ll need a clip on reading light or a light. This minimises strain.
Some of the newer models such as the Kindle Paperwhite which I am seriously considering investing in, have a backlight option. But again given the device is specifically for reading, even these backlights are designed in a way which will not strain your eyes. You won’t get that on an Iphone or Ipad.
Further, anyone who has a smartphone knows how notoriously bad battery life is. Most e-readers including my Kindle have enormous battery life. I can go weeks without charging mine. The reason for this is because of the lack of backlight, as well as a lack of complex graphics and technology. When all you need to do as a device is display text, the battery life is always going to be better.
There are a heap of e-readers brands out there. Some of the most popular are Kobo Readers, The Barnes and Noble Nook and Amazon’s Kindle. I choose, and would recommend Amazon’s Kindle for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, Amazon has by far the greatest amount of e-book titles. These titles only come in Kindle format and it can be especially tricky if not next to impossible to try and get these books onto any other platform.
In contrast its been relatively easy for me to convert epub films or similar into the Kindle accepted mobi format.
Also because Amazon has the largest amount of books, you’ll usually find that the e-books offered on Amazon are the cheapest. And you’ll get the greatest range of free book options.
Secondly, Amazon customer service is pretty damn amazing. I had had my kindle for about 7 months when I came home drunk one night and stepped on it. Devastated, I sent an email to Amazon in the vague hope they would replace it.
Thirdly, their purchase system is super easy.
Amazon have an Australia store for purchases of ebooks which means I don’t have to worry about currency conversion. They also have a one-click system whereby I attach my credit card details to my account and can download a book with literally one click.
But I love the idea of a traditional book?
When I first heard of E-Readers I was also in this camp. I loved the idea of a book in the palm of my hand, of pretty bookmarks and the smell of a new or old book. I also loved the idea of collecting books and having them on display on the shelves of my bedroom. However I was quickly converted into a Kindle lover for a few reasons.
This is incredibly important for travel. E-Readers are super light and using one means you don’t have to lug around heavy books on your travels.
I’ve always been a fast reader. So trying to work out how many books to take on a flight or train was always hard for me. I’d often end up bored for the last hour because I had finished my book (or even two) and didn’t have any others with me.
With my Kindle I often have up to 100 books loaded at once (I grab cheap and free titles when they come on special). This means I never run out of books.
And even if I do, instead of trying to find a bookstore with English titles, I can just connect to Wifi, search Amazon, click purchase and I have something new to read.
After years of reading I had kind of resigned myself to that painful cramp in my wrist that comes from holding a large book for hours on end.
The light-weight and slim line design of the Kindle means I never develop that same cramp when using my e-reader.
Another comfort element is the ability to change the size of the text depending on what your eyes like. This was one of the reasons I bought my Grandpa a Kindle for Christmas, as the ability to make the text really big meant that he could throw out the audio books and start reading again.
Reading isn’t exactly a cheap hobby. I have 500 books on my shelves at home and I’d hate to think of how much money I spent collecting them.
Where a normal book would cost you between $10-$20, e-books are usually much cheaper. You can easily pick up great titles for between $3-$5.
If you read as much as me, this can mean huge savings. And when you are saving for travel every dollar counts!
Moreover Kindles themselves aren’t extremely expensive with the most basic model (which I have) coming in at $99.
Before I purchased my Kindle I was starting to run out of room for all the paperbacks I had purchased over the years.
Every time we moved house a running joke in the family was how much room my 10 boxes of books took up in the removalist’s truck.
I also don’t think my Mum would be willing to invest in a fourth bookshelf for my collection.
While I still do purchase paperbacks (I have series I do enjoy collecting and rarely they are cheaper than e-books), switching to my Kindle has saved a lot of space!
In terms of travel this space translates to space in your bag, and space in your allocated baggage allowance.
What I’m Reading at the Moment?
She is one of most unluckiest travellers I know and she recently published a book about her disaster ridden travels.
She also writes about her struggles with anxiety which I think makes her a superhero.
I’d definitely recommend it!
Which camp are you in?
Are you a fellow Kindle lover? Do you prefer the Kobo or Nook? Or are you still firmly set on the concept of a good old fashioned paperback?
Comment below with your thoughts and any book recommendations you might have.
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