Is Kindle Still Worth It in 2023? [User’s Honest Review!]

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. – meaning I may get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you.

When people think of buying a Kindle, one debate that often rages in their head is whether buying a Kindle is still worth it especially since it doesn’t have several features that you can find in a tablet!

Kindle is definitely worth it if you read a lot of books. Generally speaking, you can recover the cost of a Kindle Paperwhite even if you read just 20 to 25 books as the Kindle edition books are generally cheaper than the paperback or hardcover versions of the same book.

But, this is just the short version. The goal of this article is to act as a guide and help you decide whether buying a Kindle is worth it for you or not! 

I will share with you who is Kindle best suited for, and who should avoid buying a Kindle. I’ll also show you how soon you should be able to recover your money when you buy a Kindle! That, and much more!

So, let’s get started! 

Note – If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here’s my take on the topic – I highly recommend purchasing a Kindle as it is totally worth it! Also, I’d recommend purchasing this Kindle version as you get the best bang for your buck with this model! In this article, I’ve shown how you can easily recover the cost of a Kindle Paperwhite within just 6 months even if you are a casual reader! 

How Much Does The Kindle Cost?

Let’s start with the basics. Before you even think if the Kindle is expensive or affordable, it is important to know the various Kindle variants and their price ranges.

Generally speaking, the e-ink version of the Kindle starts at around $89 for the basic Kindle. The top-end variant of the Kindle usually costs upwards of $200. The Kindle Fire Tablets are typically cheaper comparatively and come with additional features.  

The Kindle comes in multiple different models. Here’s an overview of the various models –

  1. Basic Kindle
  2. Kindle Paperwhite
  3. Kindle Oasis
  4. Kindle Scribe
  5. Kindle Fire Tabs

The traditional e-ink version of the Kindle typically comes in 4 key models namely the basic Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis, and the latest variant i.e. the Kindle Scribe. 

Kindle Paperwhite also has an advanced variant called the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition that comes with a 32 GB storage space, auto-adjusting front light, and wireless charging.

Then there’s also the Kindle for Kids which is designed for kids and it comes with a free trial of the Amazon Household. Amazon Household allows easy sharing of books amongst family members along with other benefits!

The Kindle Fire Tab is considered more of a tablet and can be used for additional purposes than just reading books. It is more similar to a typical Android Tablet or an iPad in function and purpose than the typical e-ink versions of the Kindle. 

The Kindle Fire comes with multiple models of its own with varying differences in performance and design. 

Here’s a table that highlights an approximate price rating of each Kindle model. (Please note that prices can vary from time to time. It is best to click on the link to check the latest price.)

S. NoKindle VariantPrice RatingProduct Link
1Basic Kindle$$See Latest Price
2Kindle Paperwhite$$$See Latest Price
3Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition$$$$See Latest Price
4Kindle Oasis$$$$$See Latest Price
5Kindle Kids$$See Latest Price
6Kindle Paperwhite Kids$$$See Latest Price
7Kindle Fire 7$See Latest Price
8Kindle Fire HD 8$$See Latest Price
9Kindle Fire HD 8 Plus$$See Latest Price
10Kindle Fire HD 10$$$See Latest Price
11Kindle Scribe$$$$$Check Latest Price

Is a Kindle Worth It?

If you are a voracious reader, buying a Kindle should definitely be your immediate next step if you already don’t own one!

In fact, a Kindle is still worth it even if you read books as a casual hobby!

If you’re wondering why I say that, let me share with you some statistics and do some number crunching together!

How Much Does a Kindle Book Cost?

In order to understand how many books will it take to recover the cost of a Kindle, we’ll need to know the cost of a Kindle book and the price differential as compared to their paperback or hardcover counterparts.

In general, a typical Kindle book is priced in the range of about $4 to $15. On average, a Kindle book costs about $11. Kindle books are usually cheaper than the hardcover or paperback versions of the same book. Some Kindle books are also available for free on Amazon. 

You can also get access to nearly unlimited books if you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited or read free books through Prime Reading as part of Amazon Prime services. These can further drive down the average cost of a Kindle book.

These stats are based on a detailed experiment that I conducted where I calculated the cost of several books on Amazon. I’ve covered the complete details in my other article on the cost of Kindle books

I considered only those books that were labeled as either “best sellers” or “editors pick” in order to resemble the user behavior as closely as possible.

Based on the above-mentioned experiment, here are some conclusions derived –

  1. An average cost of a Kindle book is about $11.80
  2. The average cost of a Hardcover book on Amazon is approximately $18.60
  3. The average cost of a Paperback book on Amazon is approximately $17.35

Furthermore, based on the above figures, it can be concluded that the Kindle version of a book is 36.5% cheaper than hardcover books and 32% cheaper than the paperback version of the same book. 

Obviously, this is a generalization and the figures will vary for individual books. However, if you were to purchase several books over time, this is a typical trend that you will notice. 

Return on Investment on a Kindle 

Now that we know how much a Kindle edition of a book costs on average, and an approximate percentage of savings you can have through book purchases when using a Kindle, let us now try to calculate how quickly you can recover the initial investment in the Kindle!

Ready to nerd out? Okay, here we go!

For the sake of this calculation, let’s consider the most commonly bought version of Kindle i.e. Kindle Paperwhite. 

A Kindle Paperwhite costs about $139 online. So the question in front of us is quite simple – how many Kindle books will we need to buy in order to save about $139?

If we look at the average price differential of the Kindle books compared to their hardcover and paperback counterparts, here’s what we observe – 

  • The Kindle edition of the book is $6.8 cheaper than a hardcover book on average
  • The Kindle edition of the book is also $5.5 cheaper than a paperback version of the same book

So, to recover the $139 initial investment in a Kindle – 

  • We’ll need to buy about 20 Kindle books ($139/$6.8) if you previously only read hardcover books OR
  • We’ll need to buy about 25 Kindle books ($139/$5.5) if you previously bought mostly paperback books!

Now obviously, nobody buys just hardcover or paperback versions. But, it does give us a range! To conclude, if you buy just 20 to 25 books for your Kindle, you will comfortably recover the initial cost of your Kindle!

This does not even include the free books you could read or services like Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading that can significantly lower the costs of reading books on Kindle!

Furthermore, most casual book readers will easily finish reading a book in about a week. Book lovers like me typically finish a book in 3 to 4 days! Some of you might even take a couple of days to finish reading a book!

But, even if you take about 7 days to read a book, you can easily recover the cost of your Kindle in about 20 to 25 weeks!

In other words, it just takes about 5 to 6 months for a casual reader to recover the initial investment in a Kindle!

I’ve done a quick calculation (just to save you some time) on how many books and the number of months you will need in order to recover the cost of various Kindle models!

S. NoKindle VariantKindle TypeNo. of Kindle books to recover the costTime to recover Kindle cost (casual readers)Time to recover Kindle cost (book worms)
1Basic KindleeReader164 months2 months
2Kindle PaperwhiteeReader256 months3 months
3Kindle Paperwhite Signature EditioneReader348.5 months4 months
4Kindle OasiseReader4510.5 months5 months
5Kindle Fire HD 10Multimedia Tablet276.5 months3 months
A Table indicating the time taken to recover the cost of a Kindle when reading Kindle books!

It is worth noting that I’ve only considered the paperback version for calculating the price differential (which is lower than the price differential for hardcover books and Kindle edition books). So, this is the worst-case scenario!

As we saw earlier, a Kindle Paperwhite will take about 6 months to recover the initial investment cost in a Kindle. Even if you were to buy the most expensive Kindle i.e. the Kindle Oasis, you should still be able to recover the money in about 10.5 months!

So, should you buy a Kindle? Well, as we’ve seen, investing in a Kindle is totally worth it!

Is it Better to Buy Physical Books or Read on Kindle?

Generally speaking, reading on Kindle is better than physical books. Reading books on Kindle is environment-friendly and cost-effective. Kindle is also convenient to carry when commuting and traveling. Kindle also allows you to access books instantly as soon as you buy them!

There are several reasons why reading on Kindle is better than buying physical books! In fact, I’ve covered this topic in great detail in my other article on “Kindle vs Physical Books”. Make sure to check out that article to know the full details!

But, here are a few quick reasons why Kindle is better than physical books – 

  1. Cost-effective – As we’ve seen in the previous section, reading Kindle books is usually cheaper than buying physical books!
  2. Convenience – Kindle is also really convenient to carry. It barely weighs 205 grams as opposed to physical books which can easily weigh 500 grams or more!
  3. Access to Thousands of Books – Using Kindle also allows you access to thousands of books at any given point in time. You can’t possibly carry or store these many physical books easily at your home!
  4. Environment-friendly – Since Kindle books don’t need paper, you save trees by cutting the need for paper!
  5. Instant Access to Books – When you order a physical book, it usually takes a few days to arrive! Also, if you are out of town, you’ll have to wait to get back to order or collect the book. However, you can instantly access Kindle books on your device!

Should You Buy a Kindle or an iPad?

Now, some of you may be tempted to buy an iPad or a tablet instead of a Kindle. After all, if you are going to pay to buy a gadget, why not buy a device where you can not only read books but also do so much more!

It is better to purchase a Kindle instead of an iPad (or another tablet) if you plan to buy a device primarily to read books. However, if you don’t have other devices to fulfill the need for other features like browsing the internet, watching videos, taking notes and documents, go with an iPad.

Opinions are usually divided and, in the end, it really boils down to personal preference and your purpose for buying the device.

In my case, I realized that my phone can carry out most functions that an iPad or any other tablet will be used for. Additionally, I wanted to buy a device primarily to read books. And if that is the case, Kindle is definitely a much better option!

Here are some of the reasons why you may want to consider Kindle over an iPad –

  1. Distraction-free Reading – Kindle does not show the annoying notifications that you get on your phone or a tablet. It simply provides you with a distraction-free reading environment!
  2. Better Battery Life – Kindle can easily last several weeks on a single charge. It offers a much better battery life than an iPad or any other tablet!
  3. Less Harmful for Your Eyes – Kindle is designed for reading books! The e-ink screen emits really low levels of blue light and it is significantly less harmful than any traditional digital device!
  4. Feels Like Reading a Real Book – Reading a book on Kindle is as close to reading a real book as it can possibly get! The Kindle Paperwhite comes with a front light and a better screen resolution of 300 PPI, and makes it feel like the real deal!

For an in-depth comparison and to know the advantages of a Kindle over an iPad, check out my other article!

Which Kindle Should You Buy?

Hopefully, as a book lover, I’ve managed to convince you why Kindle is totally worth the investment! The question that you may have at this point in time is which Kindle should you buy?

The best Kindle to buy is the Kindle Paperwhite. It is the most value-for-money of all the Kindles. It is waterproof, has adjustable warm light, and has better screen resolution and front light than the basic Kindle. It also has most of the important features from the more expensive Kindle variants!

If you like to listen to audiobooks via audible in conjunction with your Kindle books, I’d recommend you to go with the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition as it comes with 32 GB of storage space and costs just $50 more than the Kindle Paperwhite.

By the way – if you don’t use audiobooks, you should really check them out! Audible is currently offering a FREE Trial for 1 month. Using audiobooks allows you to read more books even when you are walking, doing household work, or exercising!

If you prefer to just read books, then the 8GB storage space on the Kindle Paperwhite should be more than sufficient. The 8GB version can easily hold about 1500 to 1800 Kindle Books.

I’d highly recommend that you check out my other article on the number of books a Kindle can hold. In it, I also share a few different scenarios based on the behavior pattern of the user and the ideal model to purchase based on the usage of Kindle books, audiobooks, and comics/magazines.

More Related Articles

  1. Does Kindle Work Without Wi-Fi? [Here’s Everything to Know!]
  2. How Long Does a Kindle Last? [A User’s Experience!]

About the Author

Akansha is a former business journalist and a seasoned communications professional. She is the founder of TheBookBuff, an avid storyteller, and a lifelong biblophile! Check out her profile page to know more about Akansha.

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