I’ve always ascribed a certain sacredness to books. I love shopping for them, collecting them, and just having them around so beautifully filling up shelves. Reading was my favorite childhood sport, after all.

There’s just something about those printed pages. Naturally, I became very anti-ereader also. “Why would anyone want to read a book on a screen?” I’d ask. That was before I knew that ereader screens aren’t bright and awful like other screens. That was before I impulse bought one of those Kindle

things on Black Friday in 2014.

I read maybe half of a book on it (probably more like 30%—which that Kindle thing can tell me and my other books can’t) and then let it sit on my desk, dead and gathering dust, for three years.

Before, you would’ve had to pry my physical, printed books out of my cold, dead hands. I said I’d never read the electronic versions. While I’m still a much bigger fan of “real” books, in the past year I’ve started to use my impulsively-bought Kindle and understand the appeal of reading books this way.

I found a few things to like about the Kindle, none of which will be new to you if you’re already familiar with ereaders. I feel a bit of shame admitting that I like it, but let me explain.

1. Estimated Time

The Kindle feature that undoubtedly hooked me was the “time left” that shows at the bottom of every page. It calculates your reading speed and can show how many hours and minutes you have left in a book or in a chapter. It also shows a percentage of how far into the book you are. If that’s distracting, this feature can also be turned off.

I wasn’t able to find any real evidence of this but I’m convinced that I read books faster on the Kindle, perhaps because of this feature. I try not to let it cause me to speed-read but I really like seeing the estimated time left decrease, producing a feeling similar to beating the ETA on my GPS.

2. Traveling Lighter

Since I’m one who is very likely to find a used bookstore in whatever city I’m visiting and bring books back home with me, it makes sense for me to take my Kindle on trips instead of making my luggage heavier with what I brought to read and what I’m bringing back. This is especially true if I’m traveling by plane.

Let’s say you have 50 books on your Kindle (it can hold thousands). That means you can choose from any of those options or buy any other book you want with a few clicks all while only carrying this one, lightweight device.

3. More Books, Cheap(er) Books

Another advantage to ebooks that I discovered was how much cheaper they usually are. I see so many very cheap (or free!) books that retailers or publishers are running deals on that I’m now restraining myself from buying any more in the near future. Once, Haymarket Books had a 90% off ebooks sale and I got a bunch of great ones for 99¢ each. Goodreads sends a lot of emails about ebook deals too, which I like to grab on Amazon for $1.99 each or not much more.

4. Better Eyes and Vocabulary

Among many convenient features of the Kindle, I really appreciate the ability to increase the text size and look up words. Unless you’re going to use a magnifying glass, instantly increasing the text size is one thing you can’t do with physical books. This feature is great for the elderly or people who just have bad vision, like myself. And if I see a word that I don’t recognize, I can highlight it and quickly get a definition for it.

5. Easier Notes and Highlights Access

I started reviewing books last year, first to get free advance reader copies while helping out publishers and authors and then for The Witness. Being able to highlight and take notes in the Kindle

makes the reviewing process simpler for me. I usually export my notes and highlights from a book using the Kindle app on my phone where I can have them all in front of me to easily copy and paste. Even if you aren’t using your notes and highlights to review books, it’s still a much easier way to see them than flipping through physical pages and trying to find them. Trust me.

Have I convinced you? Of course, there are other ereader options (like the NOOK

) and other reasons to get on the ebook train (think of the trees, I guess?). I’m still on the side of physical books preference-wise and if someone told me I had to choose, I’d chuck that Kindle out the window faster than you can blink.

Thankfully I don’t have to choose and I’ve learned to appreciate another way to read. Funny enough, I feel the same way about audiobooks now that I used to feel about ebooks and can’t see myself getting into them. I never thought I’d read an ebook but all in all, this adventure with the Kindle has taught me to never say never.