I have one-word answer for you: BOTH! This is what I do. I just can't help it, but I really, really love both. It's really like asking: "Beauty or Brains"? Both, of course!
So, let's go through pluses of both real quick, just so that you can see why, if you care about reading, you should have both.
- Kindle is so practical and compact that you can carry it literally everywhere. It even fits in the back pocket of your jeans. You only need to be careful when sitting down. But who sits down, without something to read anyway? :)
- You can take thousands of books with you, no matter where you go. If you try to take a trip and you want to bring more than one book along, be prepared to leave a lot of clothes behind. Or just put a Kindle in your pocket.
- As it's not a "tablet", but it uses e-ink technology, battery lasts for like a week. There are just no battery problems, ever. You can charge it wherever there's a USB port available and a micro-USB cable handy.
- You can read PDFs on it! Simply copy the PDF into the documents folder, and you can read them on Kindle.
- It's easy on the eyes. Like reading from paper. Again, it's not a tablet. It's based on e-ink technology. It doesn't have this glow that phones and tablets have.
- You can highlight and "take notes" without damaging the books.
- It's actually EASIER to read on a Kindle than to read a "Real Book". This one was like a revelation to me and it's something I would have never guessed before. When you are holding a book, you almost always need to use both hands, as papers have the tendency to run away if you're not holding them. With Kindle, you can only use one hand to hold it and to turn the pages, and you have your other hand free .. for other stuff. Or simply to lean on it. However you wish.
- Get the book instantly. Click and it's there. OK, this also might be a minus, as bookstores are really ... dare I say ... romantic places.
- Books are lot less expensive in Kindle edition. There's a huge, huge amount of free ones, too. All the classics, you can get them all for free basically. This is also a huge point for me. You can buy a lot of good books in Kindle version for only a few euros.
- Read at night time more easily. No getting up to turn off the light.
2. Real book
- First and most important: a book is a thing of Beauty. There's no better word to describe a real book, when comparing it to a piece of technology. You hold one of humanity's greatest inventions in your hand. What can compare, really? After you read it, you can put it on your shelf and admire it, until you have the desire to read it again. It's like a flower that doesn't fade. I think you get the point.
- There's a certain charm of holding something real in your hands, progressively going through it, turning the pages ... even the smell of a book. It's real. It's down to Earth.
- You concentrate better on what you're reading. OK, this is a bit subjective and it's also possible it's a by-product of books being harder to read, you know, with holding them with both hands.
- Read in the tub. OK I'm not a fan of baths, but I can see this as a big plus. Even if the book gets a bit wet, it will dry. Water and electronics, on the other hand ...
- Disconnect. We all sit in front of our computers, like all the time. Relaxing with a book in this busy world is a moment of tranquility.
- If you go to a physical store, picking them out is a lot easier, you can simply pick it up off the shelf, browse through it, get the feeling of it.
- Books are more social.Try ordering or bringing one to your workplace and you'll see what I mean. Real, physical books inspire people to discuss them.
- Battery never runs out. Ever.
- Finishing a book gives you a real sense of accomplishment. It's again the whole "physical-world" thing.
So, in conclusion: both are great, I love both. I buy both e-Books and Real books. In time you develop a feeling which books would you rather read from a physical medium and which you would rather carry around with you. That's all there is to it.
I really think this is one of the rare, rare contests where one can say, without any hesitation, there are no winners. Or better to say, both are winners. It is a beautiful feeling to read a real book. Reading from Kindle is easy, practical, affordable, in one word, smart. But it is the action of reading itself that is important. Rest are nuances.