Just the Kindle: Why I’ve Been Carrying an Ereader Instead of a Tablet

I’ve written several posts lately about switching from iOS to Android, but I’ve made another switch lately that bears some discussion here. In short, I’ve stopped carrying a tablet on my daily commute to work, and have resumed carrying my Kindle instead.

In some ways, there’s no real reason to do make this switch. I’ve long had the Kindle app installed on most of my devices, and I could access my Kindle books on my tablet easily. For me, however, this switch has been a self-conscious behavior hack. I commute to and from work on the train. It’s about 30 minutes each way. When we were looking for a house near a train station, I told myself that riding the train would be wonderful because I could use that time to do lots of reading—both for work and for pleasure.

What I’ve found, however, is that when I carry my tablet I don’t do all that much reading. Instead, I check my email, check Facebook, check Twitter, or—perhaps worst of all—play Words with Friends. Some combination of poor self-discipline and tiredness (morning or post-workday) leads me toward the easy gratification of status updates.

And so I’ve tried to self-consciously curtail that laziness by removing one all-purpose device and replacing it with a device focused on reading. I like the Kindle Paperwhite, which is small and light, ideal for those commutes where I have to stand on a crowded train. The switch seems to be working. Most trips I’ve been reading, alternating between research, teaching, and just-for-fun books. And amazingly enough, my inbox and Facebook pages survive me disconnecting for an hour or so each day.

Have you hacked your media consumption behaviors by switching the devices you use or keep with you? Tell us about it in the comments.

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