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Kindle vs iPad vs Books vs Audiobooks: Which is Best Way to Read

Kindle vs iPad vs Books vs Audiobooks: Which is Best Way to Read

Now, reading is one of the things that I love and that I'm sure you love as well but life is really hard for us these days here in 2021 because we've got way too many methods of reading books. We've got Kindle, iPad, physical books, God forbid, we've got audiobooks.

And so in this article, I'm going to try and answer a question that's been plaguing philosophers since the dawn of time. What is the best way to read books? So for each of these different ways of reading, we're going to be comparing them against one another.

Comparing based on these 4 things

  • Cost and affordability
  • Convenience, the aesthetics of reading
  • The ease of note-taking
  • The durability of the reading method of choice

And for each one, I'm going to share my personal thoughts on which of these 4 methods I use in different circumstances in my life.

Physical Books

Kindle vs iPad vs Books vs Audiobooks: Which is Best Way to Read

⦿ Cost and affordability

Method number one for reading is the one that's been around since the prehistoric era. And that is the method of physical books. Now, in terms of price, physical books are pretty reasonable. You can get a book for between $5 and $20. And if you go to a secondhand bookstore or a public library you can get them for cheap or virtually free.

⦿ Convenience, the aesthetics of reading

Convenience-wise, though, we're going to give books a one out of five. The problem with books compared to devices is that you have to carry a physical book around. And so if you had sort of person who carries a book around with them, and that's totally cool but every time I've tried to carry books with me, it ends up getting smushed in my bag and I end up never really taking it up.

But the place that physical books really shine is in the aesthetics of the reading. Like a lot of the anti-Kindle people say that "Oh, there's something nice about reading a physical book." And I would agree. I think in terms of reading aesthetics, physical books are going to get a five-star rating from me. because with Kindle, iPad, all your books, you just don't get that nice feeling, feeling of the book.

And when you're reading a book, you feel, you know what, I'm going to sit down and read a book. I don't really think that when it comes to sitting down with a Kindle or sitting down with the iPad. That's probably the single best thing about physical books.

⦿ The ease of note-taking

In terms of their ease of note-taking, we're going to give this a three out of five-star. It is possible to take notes from books while you're reading, but usually, you have to pencil on you taking notes in the margin, or like I do, you can use these physical book tag things to kind of create bookmarks. And then theoretically, at some point, I'm going to go over my bookmarks for this and actually type them up. So ease of note-taking, we're going to give a three-star rating.

⦿ The durability of the reading method of choice

In terms of durability, we're going to give these a three out of five because you can toss books onto the floor and it's like, totally fine. But for example, I had a big book in my backpack and it just got squished amongst everything else, amongst all the tech and devices and things. So this is not very good. And also, ( throw out) if you pour water on books, they don't do particularly well.

I remember I used to spill water on my "Harry Potter" books when I used to sit and read them in the toilet and they would just end up dying. So durability gets a three out of five.

Now, overall, physical books are still kind of nice. I do have quite a few physical books around the house. I don't read them very often, but I will admit it is nicer. Like if I'm winding down for the evening, it feels nicer to sit down and read a physical book than it does to sit down and read the Kindle. So that would be probably the best thing about them.

➤ Kindle

Kindle vs iPad vs Books vs Audiobooks: Which is Best Way to Read

Now we're moving into the 21st century and we have here the Kindle. I have the Kindle Oasis. The Kindle Oasis is probably a little bit overkill. You could do it with the Kindle Paperwhite. And out of everything I've ever bought, I would say the Kindle is one of my top three most life-changing pieces of tech. Because the thing with the Kindle is once you have a Kindle, it does cost a bit of money to buy like 69 to £99 on Amazon, whatever.

But once you have a Kindle, suddenly the friction to buying and getting and reading new books just gets reduced basically down to zero. Like I've read so many more books over the last 10 years since I've used the Kindle than I would have done if I had to wait for physical books to arrive. Anytime someone recommends me a book, I can literally hop onto Amazon and just buy it immediately on the Kindle store and start reading it there and then. That is a sort of thing you just don't get from a physical book.

⦿ Cost

So a Kindle, I think is a pretty high return on an investment purchase. £69 for the cheapest Kindle. That's not too bad. I'd basically recommend a Kindle for everyone. Now, Kindle books are not that much cheaper than traditional physical books. These books are probably the same price on Kindle as they are in the physical version. But the nice thing about Kindle is that often Amazon does run sales on them.

So you can often get books for 99 P or less than a dollar or even a few cents. And that's pretty good for eBooks. You don't really get that with physical books.

⦿ Convenience & Save some money

So overall, I think if you have a Kindle, you would save more money in the long run than if you bought physical books. But I think the real benefit of getting a Kindle is in terms of convenience. And we're going to give this a five-star rating because it's just so convenient. You carry a Kindle around everywhere. Well, I don't personally, I have my Kindle on my bedside. And so whenever I want to read at night time, I just get into bed and read on my Kindle. That's ridiculously convenient.

If I'm going traveling, I always take the Kindle with me because I know that if I'm on a beach or if I'm chilling in a coffee shop, or if I'm in bed, I can always just read whatever I want on the Kindle. The aesthetics of reading though, are not that great. Like it's quite a functional utilitarian device. It doesn't feel good to be reading a book on the Kindle which is why I'm undergoing to give it a two out of five-star rating for this.

⦿ Ease of note-taking 

But even though the aesthetics of the Kindle are only two out of five, the ease of note-taking on a Kindle is great because the really great thing about a Kindle is you can highlight anything. And if you can highlight anything, and then you can export your highlights to wherever you want. So, I use a service called Readwise, which automatically collects all of my highlights from Kindle and Instapaper for articles and Air Audio for podcasts, and it puts them all together. And then it sends those highlights into Notion and into Roam, which are the two note-taking apps that I care about.

This is absolutely game-changing. I really wish I had highlighted more books when I was younger. 'Cause I used to read them, but not really highlight them but now I just highlight the hell out of all the books that I read whenever I come across something that resonates with me. And I know it's going to end up in my note-taking system if I need to use it at some point in the future. So for ease of note-taking on a Kindle, we're going to give this a four out of five.

The reason it's not a five out of five is because it's actually quite hard to type things like... It does have a keyboard on it and a touch screen but it's like really slow and annoying to actually type stuff out if I wanted to expand on a highlight. So mostly because of the highlighting, we're going to give this a four to five.

⦿ Durability

When it comes to durability, not particularly durable. I've dropped lots of Kindles. I have had them crushed in my bag. They do all right. Let's give it a three out of five. And the Kindle Oasis is waterproof but it's a little bit overpriced. You probably don't need the Kindle Oasis unless you're like by a poolside or a beach a lot. You don't really care about them, well, I personally don't really care about the waterproof nature of it. So personal thoughts on the Kindle. Kindle is my absolute favorite way to read.

It's not as aesthetic as books but the convenience and the ease of note taking and highlighting makes it a winner in my category. And honestly, basically, everyone in the world who can afford it, I would recommend a Kindle because I guarantee it will change your life.

➤ iPad

Kindle vs iPad vs Books vs Audiobooks: Which is Best Way to Read

But let's say you don't want to get Kindle because you already have an iPad or a tablet or even a phone. You can always use the Kindle app on your iPad or on your phone or on your tablet. And the Kindle app is pretty solid. The Kindle app isn't the only one you have to use. You can use iBooks as well or Apple Books or whatever it's called. And then you can buy eBooks from Amazon or from Apple. And you can read them on your device.

⦿ Cost

Now, obviously, you've got the price of the device but if you're going to read on your phone, chances are you've got a phone anyways. So the price doesn't really factor into it. And certainly, if you have an iPad, you're probably not buying an iPad to read books because that's a weird use case for an iPad. So you probably have an iPad anyway if that's what you're concerned about.

And then price-wise, it's exactly the same price as Kindle books because you can just read them on a different device instead.

⦿ Convenience

In terms of convenience, we're going to give this a five out of five as well. Like it like most of us, well, we always carry our phones around, right? And it's very convenient to be able to read a book on your phone. In fact, I have a Kindle on my home screen on my iPhone. And for example, when I was in Japan for two months and I was taking the train back and forth into Tokyo City center for two hours each day, I was reading "A Song of Ice and Fire" the series, on my phone while standing up in a carriage.

And that's a lot easier to do on a phone than it is even on a Kindle where you have a bigger device. Obviously, I wouldn't be taking an iPad out and reading on there. So five out of five for convenience.

⦿ Aesthetics of reading

But in terms of reading aesthetics, I'm going to give this a one out of five. It is less nice reading books on the iPhone and on the iPad than it is reading on the Kindle. The nice thing about the Kindle is that it's got this E-ink screen. So it doesn't look like you're looking at a screen but whenever I'm reading on my iPhone or my iPad or my MacBook on the Kindle app, I always feel like I'm looking at a screen. And because I spend all of my life looking at a screen anyway, it's a bit annoying to have my reading experience also be based on looking at a bright LED screen.

⦿ Ease of note-taking

But the place where iPad and iPhone and MacBook really outshine everything else is in terms of their ease of note-taking. Now, when you're on the Kindle app on the iPad, again, you can do the highlight thing as well. So I could just select some texts and highlight them. And then that would automatically synchronize via Readwise into Roam Research for my note-taking. But the even cooler thing is I can tap on it and I can add a personal note.

And if I'm adding a personal note, that saves to Readwise as well but obviously, it's a lot easier to type something out on the iPad or on my phone where I have a decent touch screen, a decent keyboard. Even on my MacBook, if I'm reading on there, I can type things out. That's infinitely easier than trying to type on the crappy keyboard that they've got on the Kindle. And it's also infinitely easier than having to find a piece of paper to take notes on when reading a physical book.

So overall, in terms of use case, often what I'll do is that I'll read a book either on Kindle or I'll listen to the audiobook, but then if I know that it's the sort of book I really want to take extensive notes on or I want to write a summary of, I'll often just open it up on my iPad. And then in split-screen mode, I'd be using the magic keyboard and I'd be taking notes and summarizing the book while flicking through it on the Kindle app on the iPad.

That's like a really, really, really good user experience that you don't get with any other device. So I'm going to give this a five out of five for note-taking, and that's my most common use case in terms of reading on the iPad. 

⦿ Durability

And finally, in terms of durability, this stuff's not particularly durable. Probably can't drop it. It's not waterproof. But I just shove it in my bag at all times. And I have the paper-like screen protector on the iPad. That screen protector makes it feel like paper when taking notes.

➤ Audiobooks

Kindle vs iPad vs Books vs Audiobooks: Which is Best Way to Read

And finally, the fourth method of reading is in fact, audiobooks using Audible. I'm sure there are other audiobooks services. It's the one that I've been using for years at this point. I often say that if there was only one subscription service that I could ever have in my life, it would be a subscription to Audible which I think is about $15 a month. And for that, you get one free audiobook credit each month, basically.

⦿ Cost

Price-wise, most people don't get through more than one audiobook a month. I get through a lot of audiobooks a month. So I just spend a lot on audiobooks. If you buy audiobooks individually, they're ridiculously expensive. It's like $25 on average for an audiobook but if you'd get it through the Audible subscription, it becomes much more reasonably priced.

⦿ Convenience

In terms of convenience, listening to stuff, I'm going to give it a four out of five. It's not as convenient as just being able to whip out your phone because you do generally have to put headphones in. But that's one of the things I love about the Air Pods, for example, that I can just whack them in and immediately open up the Audible app on my iPhone and just immediately start listening to whatever I want to listen to.

So this is what I do when I'm cycling to my coworking space these days. It's what I do when I'm doing any chores around the house. It's what I do when I'm setting up the cameras. Basically, whenever I've got downtime, I'm always listening to something on Audible and it just makes it so, so, so convenient to listen to a ton of books.

⦿ In terms of the reading aesthetics

It's not quite the same as the feeling of reading a book. But like audiobooks have, like really are a good user experience. If you haven't tried audiobooks yet, I really recommend it. It's fantastic. 'Cause, they're often narrated either by the author of the book themselves or by a professional voice actor and a writer-type person. And the really cool thing about audiobooks is you can listen to them at multiple speeds. So for example, mostly I listen to audiobooks at between 1.5 X and 2.5 X speed.

At the moment I'm listening to one called "The Millionaire Fast Lane", which I'm listening to, I think two and a half times speed. That's pretty good. It means I can get through the book in two and a half times the normal rate. And I can do that while doing other stuff crucially. So absolutely incredible for convenience. And pretty okay for reading aesthetics. Four to five styles on that front.

⦿ Drawback of Audiobooks

It's like, it's really hard to take notes while you're listening to an audiobook. Like yes, on audible, you can bookmark sections but there's no real way of exporting them. It's just an absolute nightmare to take notes from audiobooks. So the way that I actually do it is if I like a book so much on Audible, I will just buy it again on Kindle.

And then I'll take notes on my iPad using a split-screen, taking notes on drafts or in Notion or in Roam with the Kindle app open on the side. And so I'm afraid, note-taking from Audible gets a one out of five in my book. And finally, durability pretty hard to assess. But like they're always live on the cloud and we always have phones. So durability, let's call it a five out of five. Why not?

➤ So overall thoughts about these 4 different methods of note-taking

⦿ Kindle plus Audible

If I could only choose one, it would be the Kindle. And if I could choose two, it would be Kindle plus Audible. But in fact, I actually use all 4 of these in my life in different ways. So Kindle, I always have at my bedside. I always read in bed on the Kindle. And I like the Kindle Oasis. It's a bit overpriced but it does have more warm light. And I use it on dark mode. So usually I just lie in bed, I get my Kindle out, I read.

And then when I notice myself starting to fall asleep, I'll just chuck it across the floor or on the bedside table and then I'll fall asleep. So this is how I read the bulk of the books that I read.

The second most common is Audible. I listen to Audible when I'm cycling, when I'm driving, basically whenever I have downtime. And then as I said, if I need to take notes, I would just buy the book on Kindle because it's totally worth it and I will take the notes.

⦿ iPad

I use the iPad, generally, only when I want to take copious notes from a book that I've read or when I want to summarize it, where I'll have split-screen open, Kindle on one side, Notion or Roam or Drafts on the other side.

⦿ Physical Books

And finally, in terms of physical books, I only really have these around the house 'cause they look cool and so I can show them off in videos. But I actually found that if I want to relax for the evening and I'm not in bed if it gets to like 9:00 PM and I think, "You know what, "I'm not going to play World of Warcraft tonight. "I'm going to read a book." Then usually I'll pick up a physical book and sit on the couch and just read a physical book.

So in a way, all these 4 methods of reading fit into my life. But if I had to choose the absolute best, it would be the Kindle followed by Audible, followed by physical books, followed by the iPad. So hopefully you guys found this article useful. So what is the best way you think to read books, definitely, let me know in the comment section below and share this article with others.

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