The Kindle Paperwhite: Going from Skeptical to Stunned


Dina Shlufman, Managing Editor

My whole life, I have been known to practically tear up my paperback titles with my relentless annotations, highlights, and Post-its. The four bookshelves in my room are testament to my love of literature. When teachers incorporated PDF text into their assignments, I groaned with dismay at the prospect of scrolling on a screen. “I just can’t read online!” I’d tell my peers as I printed out every page of the PDFs. However, 2022 was going to be the year. It was going to be the year where I finally broke free of my ignorant, scared, and mildly pretentious shell that held together my belief in the superiority of paper books because this Hanukkah, I was gifted an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

As soon as I tapped on its black-and-white display screen, I silently admitted defeat; the Kindle was revolutionary. The thing is, I still can’t say I’m able to comfortably read on a screen as Kindles do not employ them. Instead, Kindles utilize an E Ink screen using technology created by the E Ink company. Within the Kindle screen, there are millions of miniature spheres containing both black and white ink. Yes, real ink! One color has a positive charge and the other a negative. Therefore, when a positive charge comes from the bottom of the sphere, the ink with this same charge shoots to the top of the sphere while the ink with the negative charge rushes to the bottom. As we all learned in physics class, opposite charges attract and like charges repel. All the black text you see on the screen is simply at the top of the spheres and the same is true for the white space around the text. When the screen is not actively moving, i.e. when you keep it still on page 28, the charges do not change. They will only change for a split second when you decide to move on to page 29 and then they stay stagnant once more. Because a limited amount of power is being exerted when in use, battery power on a Kindle is able to last up to 10 weeks straight. However, more importantly, the Kindle looks and reads just like paper.

My Kindle Paperwhite

Unlike other devices, E Ink is able to reflect ambient light, much like actual physical paper. In addition, it is anti-glare and has brightness and warmth light options so that you can read anywhere at any time of the day without any eye strain.

The first text I purchased on my Kindle was My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. I was able to customize the font, the text size, the margins, the orientation, the text spacing, and the alignment. Once I found a set up that works for me, I saved it and will be able to use it for all future books.

The feature I was most skeptical about was its annotation capabilities. When it comes to annotation, I mean business. The second I held down on a word/phrase/sentence, the Kindle highlighted it for me and gave me the opportunity to write a note about it, look it up in the dictionary or in Wikipedia, and even translate it into any language. It also kept all of my notes and highlights conveniently in one location.

Although this is not a sponsored article, feel free to tell Amazon to email me as with or without their request, I’ll keep recommending my Kindle Paperwhite to whoever does or does not want to hear it.