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This article was published on September 2, 2016

Why I like my e-reader better than my smartphone

Why I like my e-reader better than my smartphone
Juan Buis
Story by

Juan Buis

Digital Culture Reporter

Juan Buis is TNW's Digital Culture Reporter, and you should click here. Juan Buis is TNW's Digital Culture Reporter, and you should click here.

Reading sucks. Or at least, that’s what I used to think for a very long time.

I would rather spend my time watching a movie or losing myself in series. In my eyes, sitting back and letting the content come to me in 30-90 minute long blocks seemed like a way more efficient way of consuming entertainment. Reading a book can take anywhere from multiple hours to a few days. How was I ever going to set aside the time for that? And what if I end up not liking the book?

Even though everyone is always online and the internet has an endless supply of reading material, it’s not the same as sitting down for a book. The mostly nonfictional texts on the internet are made to inform as quickly as possible. Besides that, after many years of reading them I’m trained to skim instead of going through them carefully.

All of this boils down to the fact that humans now have a shorter attention span than ever before, and I’m a perfect example of that. It’s so much easier to do twenty short things than to do one thing that lasts for a few days.


After excited stories by some of my friends, I decided the time had come — I got a Kindle Paperwhite. Bear in mind, however, that this article is not specifically about Amazon or their product, but about e-readers in general.

There are a lot of reasons why an e-reader is the perfect device to read books on. One of the most obvious and important is that you can’t do much on it.

Even though most modern gadgets have thousands of different functions, e-readers generally stay away from them. There are no notifications, and nothing asking for your attention — It’s just you and your book. You can change the font and some other essential settings, but that’s it. All other features — like buying new books or tracking your progress with services like GoodReads — are completely optional.

My Kindle quickly turned into my favorite screen, partly because it meant I didn’t have to look at my other screens.

When I’m watching a movie on my laptop, I’m only one click away from checking up on work. When I’m on a tablet or smartphone, sending a tweet is just a few taps away. Even if I would have wanted to check Twitter on my e-reader for a minute (that quickly turns into an hour), I wouldn’t be able to.

Also, the device itself has the perfect specifications for reading. It’s impressive how much nicer reading from an e-ink screen is compared to a normal laptop, tablet or smartphone LED screen. It doesn’t shoot light into my eyeballs and thanks to the absence of glare it actually reads nicer in sunlight than without.


One of my favorite features is the battery — or actually, how little I have to think about it. I’m charging my iPhone every day, but have lost the charging cable for my e-reader a few times because I’m never using it. On most devices, a full charge will last you around 2-4 weeks with moderate use, and it feels like freedom.

For a tech reporter it might seem like a joke that buying another device was the only thing that worked to get away from other screens and finally read longer texts, but I’m happy that I did it. In the end I found a new way to entertain myself and I couldn’t be happier.

Do you own an e-reader or do you just read on your phone or tablet? Have a great book tip? Let me know in the comments.

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