First, the obvious: there are a gazillion devices out there, and we’re probably all feeling like we’re teetering on the brink of insanity and bankruptcy. But before you abandon ship, let me make the case for adding a basic, inexpensive Kindle to your lineup!
Now believe me: I am an obnoxious fangirl for all things Apple (did I tell you about that one time my home and office workspaces were featured on The Sweet Setup…?) and I get through my day with the help of many a Mac, iPad and iPhone. Regardless of your phone allegiance and no matter whether you are a die-hard Android or iOS ambassador, Kindle is worth your time. Here’s why:
I’m willing to bet you aren’t reading much these days.
Is that true? I’m placing that wager because almost all of us are suffering from decreased attention spans, the habit of hopping from one app to another and a general loss of the tendency to hold a book in our hands.
So why on earth am I advocating for another device? Because with discipline and a few basic habit tweaks, this one small purchase could put you back on the road to well-read.
Affordable. A Kindle fire (my preference) is $49 – $79, but if you buy during ideal windows (Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday) and trade in an older/outdated device, you could be out a mere $20 – $30 as I was with my recent upgrade.
Focused. The point is to have a dedicated device for consuming content. More below on this.
Lightweight. We are talking the featherweight category here. Most Kindle devices weigh in the ounces, not pounds. This means less strain on your wrists.
Portable. The only way you’re going to start reading again is having your reading material with you at all times… and the Kindle is infinitely easy for grabbing and going.
Small… but not. If you’ve been straining your eyes reading on a phone – even a larger device – you may have forgotten what it’s like to read typeface of the size found in those ancient items known as books. It is delightful.
LOAD READING MATERIALS
Ok, this next part is key: what you don’t need is one more device laying around. You are going to take the time and exercise the discipline to make your Kindle your go-to for reading.
This device is going to be absolutely dedicated to the purpose of reading.
Add books via Amazon and the Kindle app (also available on Android and iOS devices, incidentally). They’re a breeze to download, and less expensive than the real thing!
Mix in magazines have free or inexpensive digital editions. Personally, I’m a big fan of Texture for all my magazines (as you might expect, I’ve got a post on that).
Gather articles you’ve earmarked to read later. Corral all the links you encounter (email, web, social media) in one place to make it easy to find them when you have a few minutes to read. You can do this by bookmarking them, saving a list in Evernote or – my preference – saving everything to Pocket (more on that here).
Download news apps. I try to spend a few minutes every day reading the New York Times and perusing The Skimm, but you’ll find just about every news outlet has a Kindle app.
Do not activate your calendar and email on your Kindle, and honestly I’d skip most social media. I made exceptions for Instagram and Pinterest because I find them relaxing and they often point me toward things to read (and they look fantastic on the large screen), but it takes discipline.
DEVELOP A READING ROUTINE
Keep it with you all the time. Again, the only way you’re going to read rather than idly scroll Facebook or check your inbox – again – is if you have the device with you in doctor’s office waiting rooms and wherever else you find pockets of time. If needed, get a small zip case to keep it clean and protected in your car or bag.
Keep it charged. Develop the consistent habit of plugging it in every night in the same place. Invest in an extra charger from Amazon Basics and a Jackery portable charger (trust me, they’re awesome) which holds a couple of charges. Bottom line: you can’t read if you can’t turn it on.
Eliminate distractions. Don’t download apps and games, and don’t think of the Kindle as a place for shopping. Having two social apps on my Kindle only works because I exhibit discipline and limit myself to scrolling and consuming versus actively posting and commenting.
Form the habit. Train yourself to reach for the Kindle in all the gaps when you might normally do something mindless.
Find routine. I read the news over my morning coffee and I try to plan a reading lunch one day per week to indulge in the delight of eating and reading. I have a go-to spot where they know my face and my order, and they let me sit quietly with minimal interruptions in my preferred corner spot happily reading and chewing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you have a Kindle or other dedicated reading device?
If you’re a member of Amazon Prime (which you absolutely should be, good grief – it is SO worth $99/year), there are some great ways to read on your Kindle inexpensively! Head to Amazon and log in, click on Prime on the right and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll find “Everything Included in Prime.” You can choose one free book per month via Kindle First, access thousands of free books via Prime Reading and enjoy a free six month trial of the Washington Post.
For more on this topic, check out these posts: