Plz recommend a device to read Kindle books and fanfic on for hours!
December 15, 2017 3:36 PM   Subscribe

What device would be best for reading Kindle books, and fanfic sites? I read for hours every day and I feel like my Android is too small; I get headaches and neck pain from squinting at it. (I do use a blue light filter.)

I have contacts but do not need extensive visual/text enhancement features. I have an ipad mini but it is heavy-ish and I am not sure if e-readers specifically are better for your eyes. Thanks in advance.
posted by ShadePlant to Technology (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The obvious answer would be a Kindle. You can download fanfic from AO3 in .mobi format and email it to your Kindle. The e-ink is easy on the eyes and font size can be changed with a pinch, while the device isn't much heavier than a phone - no heavy glass. I recommend the Paperwhite, the backlight makes reading even easier.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 3:54 PM on December 15, 2017 [11 favorites]

+1 for Kindle Paperwhite. The only electronic device I can stand long reading sessions on.
posted by primethyme at 4:03 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I caved an got a Kindle paperwhite last year. It's so wonderful I wish I'd gotten it years ago. I'm too sensitive to bright light to ever use my phone or an iPad for long periods of reading--I get headaches and my eyes revolt. No headaches or eye pain from screen illumination with a Paperwhite--it's e-ink and has a backlight that's very subtle and adjustable if you need it. You get a discount if you agree to let Amazon populate the sleep screen with book ads (which is what I do).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:04 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have one of the big kindle fires, and it is my go to for all ebooks and online browsing if I'm not at a full-size system. It's a couple years old, I've dropped it dozens of times, and it just keeps on going. Plus, you get access to the Amazon underground free games, and that's fun.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:29 PM on December 15, 2017

Nthing the Paperwhite. It won me over despite my not wanting an e-reader as I stare at monitors all day for work. Its e-ink display is not like looking at a screen at all and I appreciate that I can jack up the font size as needed, eliminating the need to wear cheaters.

I recommend getting a case for it that includes a hand strap: due to its size (about the width of a closed paperback), I found it awkward to hold with two hands but found one hand gets tired after gripping it after a half-hour or so.
posted by jamaro at 4:31 PM on December 15, 2017

If cost is a concern, you can get a basic Amazon-refurbished Kindle for $40! I just did and I love it.
posted by stinkfoot at 4:38 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would literally marry my paperwhite if human-electronics marriage were legal.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:52 PM on December 15, 2017 [12 favorites]

Best answer: I used to have a standard e-ink kindle, then switched to a kindle fire (because I wanted to read comics on it as well). It works well enough as an e-reader, but I don't like it for fanfic, because it wants to sort emailed or downloaded files differently than books in my device library - the fanfic is stored in another place on the device and often, if I start something, read part of something else, then come back to the first thing, it has forgotten my place. Plus, yeah, the eyestrain issue.

When my fire is sufficiently worn out that I can justify replacing it, I will be going with a paperwhite.
posted by darchildre at 4:55 PM on December 15, 2017

Definitely a kindle paperwhite--the e-ink is much much easier on the eyes. (I also have a Fire for reading comics, though.) AO3 lets you download in several formats, including mobi. Just use Calibre to organize/rename/etc and load your fics onto the paperwhite and you're good to go! There are also sites that will convert fics into downloadable epub or mobi files.
posted by lovecrafty at 5:24 PM on December 15, 2017

I read 300+ books a year on my Paperwhite. I do sometimes wonder if I want a fire to make doing things like reading fanfic or longform articles less cumbersome, but since this is my fourth paperwhite*, apparently I do not.

They really are durable, I just keep doing things like leaving mine on planes or on the roofs of cars. I think the actual hardware devices may be loss leaders, since Amazon just keeps replacing mine free of charge?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:56 PM on December 15, 2017

Response by poster: These comments are all helpful; I didn't know about the .mobi fanfic download option. I also wasn't sure if there was an e-reader with a functioning web-browser built into it. Looks like the Paperwhite is the #1 contender.

Edit: A word
posted by ShadePlant at 6:23 PM on December 15, 2017

If cost is a concern, you can get a basic Amazon-refurbished Kindle for $40! I just did and I love it.

If cost is less of a concern, Kindle Voyages are VERY nice.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:32 PM on December 15, 2017

Note that if you get a non-backlit Kindle, you can get a clip-on booklight to illuminate the screen if you need it. However, the Paperwhite and more expensive Kindles also have higher resolution and are therefore even easier on the eyes.

And also to be clear, the Fire is a tablet, a backlit device just like a phone, with all he same drawbacks. For lots of reading, you will never, ever regret getting a real Kindle (and the batteries go forever between charges).
posted by lhauser at 6:46 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another voice to the chorus for the Kindle paperwhite. I've probably done about 20-25 hours of reading in the last week, all on the paperwhite, and my eyeballs are doing great. I'm in front of screens most of my waking hours, and the Kindle is just a totally different experience.

I email all kinds of things to my Kindle--it supports pdfs and you can turn anything into a .mobi using the Calibre software. Dead easy.

My Kindle is some of the best money I've ever spent.
posted by phunniemee at 6:57 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

In the event you're not already wedded to having Amazon provide your non-fanfic ebooks, there are other excellent e-ink readers out there with different options for things like categorization and having on-board library ebook access. I adore my Kobo Aura One, partly because the hardware's better, partly because it reads epub and plays better with Calibre, and partly because, well, fuck Amazon.
posted by asperity at 8:24 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

I also favour Kobo e-ink devices because they support epubs (available directly from publishers, other stores) and are fine with sideloaded material - and you can download epubs of fanfiction very easily. Archive of our Own does Epub downloads.

An e-ink device that supports epubs, managed with calibre (great free ebook program) is wonderful.
posted by jb at 9:59 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Kindle Paperwhite for me too.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:11 PM on December 15, 2017

Unless the kindle's browser has improved a lot since I last used it (I've never tried the paperwhite's browser) I wouldn't count on it being pleasant to use on a regular basis. The best way by far to read on a kindle (or any other ereader) is to load files onto it.

As everyone else has said, look into the things you can do with calibre. Besides ebook conversion and management, I think you can set it up to automatically download things from various sources.
posted by trig at 12:00 AM on December 16, 2017

Best answer: I love my Paperwhite, it's a huge, huge upgrade from the older non-backlit models. One thing to note about the Paperwhite's 'backlight' is that it is actually more like a sidelight - if you look at it with the light turned up, you can see there are a bunch of tiny LEDs around the edges that cast a really nice soft light across the screen. It's a very subtle effect and I find I can read for hours in varying light conditions without eye strain. Recommended.

trig: "Unless the kindle's browser has improved a lot since I last used it (I've never tried the paperwhite's browser) I wouldn't count on it being pleasant to use on a regular basis."

It's actually okay on the Paperwhite, as it's touch-screen and much easier to enter URLs etc. You can even scroll reasonably well on text heavy screens. But yeah, using the 'Email to Kindle' functionality is way easier, or sideloading via Calibre.

Another thing you could do would be to get an Instapaper account just for fanfic, then use their Kindle digest feature that will bundle up all your Instapapered articles as often as you like and add them to your Kindle as a new document. You can find it under settings on the web interface for Instapaper.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:34 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Info on the email-to-kindle feature. It's shonky, but it works:

Send to Kindle by E-mail
Send documents to your Kindle as an email attachment
Supported File Types:
Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)
PDFs can be converted to the Kindle format so you can take advantage of functionality such as variable font size, annotations, and Whispersync. To have a document converted to Kindle format (.azw), the subject line should be "convert" when e-mailing a personal document to your Send-to-Kindle address.

posted by snuffleupagus at 3:37 AM on December 16, 2017

Response by poster: I am considering all input; am initially wedded to Kindle because I already have 20+ Kindle books. Also my library lets you "borrow" books in Kindle format. I am not sure what devices their other epub options function on. Will investigate. Thanks all!
posted by ShadePlant at 5:22 AM on December 16, 2017

Contrary to Happy Dave's experience, I found scrolling on the Paperwhite's browser to be maddening. Therefore, I never use the browser on any of the newer Kindles.

The old, keyboard Kindles had a usable browser because you could scroll using the hardware buttons, so scrolling was consistent. Those do not have a lighted screen, but it may be a decent tradeoff depending on your preferences.

Ao3, as stated, will let you download .mobi files, as will a few other small archives. However, you can get the ebook management program Calibre and the extension FanFicFare, and download from almost any archive and convert to .mobi. There is also an online converter at which will give a .mobi, though it will not email it.
posted by timepiece at 12:05 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

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