Kindle or Buying Books (Affordability Calculation)


In the age of online shopping, smartphones, and mobile data connections many people have started reading eBooks instead of their hardcovers or paperback versions.

The main reason behind this change is the improvements made by kindle and the library of its online books over the traditional paperback and hardcover books.

The question is, is Kindle cheaper than buying books?

Kindle is cheaper than buying books, but only in the long run. An e-book reader and 2 e-books per month after 24 months cost about $630, while buying books for 24 months (2 books per month) costs $720.

How much does an e-book reader cost?

When it comes to buy an e-book reader then apart from kindle from Amazon you can find various other eBook reader devices in different price ranges like:

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon offers a lot more value for your money as compared to other eBook readers available in the market. Its street price in the US is $129.99.

Kobo Libra H2O: This eBook reader is the best option for readers who do not buy eBooks from Amazon only. This eBook reader supports a flexible format. Its street price in the US is $169.99.

Kobo Clara HD: Anyone who is not dependent on Amazon to buy eBooks and can borrow eBooks from public libraries also can find it the best eBook reader for them. Its street price in the US is $129.99.

Kids Edition of Amazon Kindle: Amazon has introduced a kid’s edition of Kindle so that people of any age group can buy this eBook reader to read eBooks. The street price of this eBook reader in the US is $109.99

Onyx Boox Note2: This eBook reader is an E-ink reader with a large format to allow you to read any document. As compared to an Android tablet its monitor is double in size. Its street price in the US is $549.99.

So, on average let's assume that a good e-book reader shouldn't cost more than $170.

How much does a physical book cost?

According to experts, the average cost of laser printing a black and white page can be from $0.05 to $0.08 whereas for printing a colored page from $0.12 to $0.15.

Similarly, $0.50 to $0.60 is the average cost of printing a page with graphics in solid color. The cost of some of the physical books may include:

  • The cost of the hardcover of "A Promised Land", a memoir of President Barack Obama is $23.96
  • The cost of the hardcover and paperback of The Guardians, the past bestseller of John Grisham, is $14 and $9.64 respectively
  • The cost of the hardcover and paperback of The Complete Works of Charles Dickens is $32.47 and $20.98 respectively.
  • The cost of hardcover and paperback of Bleak House by Charles Dickens is $10.99 and $5.95 respectively.

So, the average printed book costs about $15.

How much does an e-book cost?

Though the cost of publishing an eBook can vary but an eBook published by the author may cost him from $100 to $1500 which may include the cost of designing its cover, as well as editing and formatting the eBook, etc.

  • The cost of the Kindle edition of A Promised Land, the memoir of President Barack Obama is $17.99
  • The cost of the Kindle edition of The Guardians, past bestseller of John Grisham is $9.99
  • The cost of the Kindle edition of The Complete Works of Charles Dickens is $3.35
  • The cost of the Kindle edition of Bleak House by Charles Dickens is $0 with the Amazon app.

As you can see, e-books are way cheaper than physical books by about 30%.

So, what is more affordable, Kindle or buying books?

Though eBooks seem to be less expensive than their printed editions, enough readers are not available for eBooks at present.

Many e-reading devices offer eBooks free to read like the Kindle app offered by Amazon but you will have to pay an upfront cost for using hardware of some of the dedicated devices for reading eBooks that work for many people if you are willing to use them.

However, the number of e-readers, especially heavy readers, is increasing day-by-day because they can save a lot of money along with finding a large library around them to choose eBooks of their choice.

When it comes to affordability of e-books and physical books, you need to consider few things.

The narrow gap in the price of eBooks and physical books

The main thing that makes it difficult to decide between buying physical books or using kindle is the very small difference in their prices. In some cases, the price of the Kindle edition of a book is more than its paperback and hardcovers. The number of e-readers has declined considerably due to the increasing price of eBooks as compared to their physical editions.

Free classics vs garage sales

The owners of e-readers also miss the benefits of several things like rummage sales, library sales and garage sales, etc as one cannot resale eBooks. In these sales, people can get a box full of paperback books in just a few dollars.

But some of the retailers of eBooks like etc. offer several classic eBooks for free and that of new authors at a much-discounted price to attract more and more readers.

The difference between these two situations is that in physical sales you can get bestseller books at a very low price which you may not get in Kindle edition for $1.

Free software to read

Some of the retailers of e-readers like etc. can provide free software to the users of tablets and computers to use kindle to read eBooks without buying hardware. So people who do not want to buy another device can find it beneficial and easier to use their existing device to read the eBooks of their choice

Thus, Kindle can be a better option than buying books if you already have a tablet, iPad, or computer as you can use free Kindle software provided by Amazon to read eBooks offered by them.

Why Kindle is better than buying books?

Kindle is better and cheaper than buying books, due to the following reasons:

  1. You have a complete library in your pocket

If you have a lot of time to read books, especially when you go on vacation, then Kindle can allow you to read as many books from its library as you can while traveling as well as after reaching your destination.

On the contrary, you will have to carry a limited number of books with you and you have no option to change them according to your mood.

By using Kindle you need not carry the load of books and have the option to choose the eBooks of your choice according to your mood to read them anytime and anywhere.

2. Kindle is really cheap

Though it can be a bit costly to buy a feature-packed device like the Kindle Voyage or Kindle Paperwhite but with the availability of the Kindle app you need not spend to start reading eBooks.

Once you find it interesting to read eBooks you can buy an early version of an e-reader by spending as low as $50 to $80 only.

If you buy an old version of a branded e-reader even then you can get a quality e-reader for you. However, if you do not like the old version even then you lose nothing as you can either sell it or gift it to your loved ones.

3. Long battery life

While using a quality e-reader you need not worry about the life of its battery as they usually have a battery with a long life.

You don't need to recharge your battery even after using it for several hours for reading eBooks. However, if you have to recharge it, then it will charge fast just by using a USB cable.

4. Instant access to eBooks

If you are reading eBooks of your favorite writer then your e-reader can instantly provide you the latest eBook of that writer.

You neither have to go to a bookstore nor order online nor wait for the delivery of the book of your choice when you are using an e-reader.

5. Read anytime

You can read your favorite eBook anytime whether lying on your bed, sitting in the living room, or eating your meal.

Moreover, you need not hold the page from turning with wind or stop eating your meals to turn the page of your book, especially if you are a fast reader.

You can use a stand to support your e-reader in the right direction so that you can read your eBook uninterrupted even while eating food or doing some other works.

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