Forget thumbing through the bestsellers in the airport book store. When it comes to vacation reading, Kindles are where it's at.
Here are seven reasons why you should leave the pile of paperbacks at home, and just pack Amazon's e-reader instead.
Save Weight in Your Carry-On
It's hard enough trying to get your carry-on to come in under the airline's weight limit without trying to squeeze a bunch of books in there as well. A Kindle is slimmer than even the tiniest of paperbacks and weighs much less as well, which electronic books themselves weigh nothing at all.
Take two, ten or a hundred books along with you on vacation, without having to hire a Sherpa to carry them all.
Save Money on Books
Buying paperbacks can get expensive – and that's even more true when vacationing outside the United States, since books are pricier in most other countries. With no printing costs, Kindle e-books are typically less expensive than paperbacks or hardcovers.
Often you can grab something you want to read for a dollar or two, and sometimes they'll even be free. Also, you'll pay the same rate no matter where you're buying from – no need to pay the inflated local price at your destination.
Buy New Books From Anywhere
Tracking down a decent bookstore isn't always easy while traveling in a foreign country, and that goes double when you're somewhere English isn't widely spoken. I've gone weeks without a book in the past, all because I couldn't find a store that had any books to buy in a language I could read.
No such problem with a Kindle – just buy the book you want straight from the device, then download it over Wi-fi or 3G, depending on the model you've got. You're no longer restricted to thumbing through your hotel's reading library, which invariably consists of several dozen bad romance novels and a worn-out guidebook from decades ago.
Read in the Dark
Whether it's an overnight flight or bus ride, or you're in a dorm room or other shared accommodation, you're not going to make yourself popular by turning on the overhead light or waving around a headlamp so you can read while everyone else is sleeping.
With the Kindle Paperwhite, you don't need to incur the wrath of people nearby while you finish the last few chapters. It has in inbuilt reading light, which gently illuminates the screen without blinding everyone within a twenty foot radius, and you can adjust the brightness up and down to suit the conditions.
Take Notes Without a Pen
Even if you're not studying for exams while sunning yourself beside the pool, sometimes you want to make a quick note in the margins about something you've just read.
Thankfully, there's no need to drag yourself back to your room to find the pen you left at the bottom of your bag. The Kindle lets you make margin notes quickly and easily, and you can even export them to your computer when you get home if you've written something particularly useful.
You can also see phrases regularly highlighted by others, which I've found to be a good way of helping me hone in on important parts of the book.
Look Up Definitions Without a Dictionary
No idea what a particular word or phrase means in that book you're reading? Good news: there's no need to carry a full-size dictionary around in your suitcase, since the Kindle has one built in.
All you need to do is select the section you're struggling with, and you'll be given the option of checking the dictionary definition or looking it up on Wikipedia. Since the dictionary is included on the Kindle, there's no need for an Internet connection either.
Borrow From Your Library When You're on the Other Side of the World
One of the fears when e-books started becoming popular is that they'd sound the death knell for public libraries. So far, at least, that hasn't happened – and in fact, there's a neat trick built into the Kindle which might help keep libraries safe for a while longer.
Using a service called OverDrive, over 11,000 public libraries throughout the US let you borrow books in Kindle format. With your library card and a PIN number, you can borrow books via the library's website from anywhere in the world, and receive them on your Kindle a few minutes later.
When the lending period is up, they'll disappear automatically.
Don't have a Kindle yet? Check prices on Amazon – I recommend the Paperwhite version.