Are there any benefits to reading e-books on Amazon Kindle device over reading those same e-books on Amazon's Kindle app on a smartphone/tablet, for someone who is a power user?

I'm excluding the obvious hardware differences (e.g. Kindle had bigger scree size than an average smartphone and has better battery life; and presumably Kindle's screen is easier to read books on).

What I'm interested in are features that are open to Kindle device users, that aren't easy to recreate/achieve on an Android device.

As an example, may be some e-books are exclusive to Kindle devices (permanently or on launch). Or some features of Kindle device software aren't present in Kindle Android app which can't easily be replaced.

  • I'm fine with an answer listing a benefit that is specific to only one particular version of Hardware Kindle - it does not have to apply to every Kindle device.
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:12
  • 5
    I know you said you are excluding screen differences but I have to say that the e-ink is the #1 difference between reading on a Kindle and on a computer. It is so much easier on the eyes (not just a little but truly significant). In fact this is THE reason I bought (and use) my older Kindle. Comparing to tablets, desktops, etc., I can read for 10 times as long before my eyes feel the strain if I am using an e-ink reader.
    – John
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 7:59

3 Answers 3


Lending only works on Kindle devices, not the apps. Specifically, there are two things that Amazon lets you do only with Kindle devices. First, Amazon Prime members can "borrow" books from the Kindle Library, which includes lots of bestsellers and older books, but only on Kindle devices. Second, users can lend many (but not all) books to other Amazon users. But, the recipient can only accept and read the loaned book using a Kindle device.

Other than that, I don't think there are any advantages to the Kindle 3G over reading in other contexts. I do 80% of my Kindle reading on the iOS apps, about 19% on the PC app, and the remaining 1% on my actual Kindle.

With a Fire, this is less of an issue, since it is much faster, prettier, and more full-featured than the older Kindles.

  • Thanks! +1. If you can provide some reference (both to explain what lending is, and the fact that Kindle App doesn't support it), I will accept.
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:32
  • Done! Thanks. Lending is the big gotcha, IMHO.
    – elixenide
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:43
  • You can now "borrow" books. The feature was rebranded and opened up to the apps as "Kindle Unlimited".
    – jrhorn424
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 19:45

Another benefit, and one I use to advantage is that e-ink Kindles (and other e-ink devices) are essentially designed for one purpose, to enable people to read eBooks. There are few apps installed, sometimes none. There's little temptation to use the device for other purposes - they're for reading, period.

I've provided over 20 kindles to 10 schools in rural Kenya so far, they can be charged using a small (3 watt) low-power solar panel (via a battery to store the solar charge as the kindle keyboard power circuitry doesn't cope well with the raw, variable power from the panel), and they last up to a month on a charge. Newer tablet or smartphone based devices need significantly more power, more often. They also consume lots more network traffic e.g. to update the apps, the operating system, to send and receive emails, messages, etc. Kindles in particular are parsimonious with the network bandwidth and therefore inexpensive to support (3G devices are essentially free); again Tablets and Smartphones use much more bandwidth and can easily use all the paid-for data allowance of a 3G mobile connection.

So I'm not sure whether you'd consider low power and network consumption 'features' for you - for me they are key features and advantages. BTW: There are also advantages to using Tablets and Smartphones and their apps e.g. color contents rather than greyscale, and the ability to watch videos.

In case you're interested in the project here's a link to the web site where I also maintain a blog on the work we're doing http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/

  • Sorry, but these all fall under "I'm excluding the obvious hardware differences".
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 14:37
  • As you wish. None-the-less, the e-ink devices are used differently and encourage different modes of interaction. Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 16:41
  • most certainly they are. But they have different software as well (possibly) which was the scope of the question.
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 17:09
  • 2
    The title you used seems to be more general than your third paragraph "What I'm interested in are features that are open to Kindle device users, that aren't easy to recreate/achieve on an Android device.". The advantages of e-ink kindles for me are primarily the ones I've listed. I appreciate your question and the other answer it solicited. Let's see whether other readers of this topic agree my answer is off-topic too. All the best. Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 17:21

I've used the Kindle app on my android for years now and decided to purchase a Kindle Whitepaper device just to try it out and I must say, I was very disappointed. First of all, it is a nice looking device and the size and weight is both comfortable to hold and read, but that's where the positive comments end. Maybe I'm just used to the app, but I found the devise clunky and slow and not very flexible. The android app has a lot more features you won't find on the device, like page transitions. On the app there is a turn the page feature that looks just like it says. Or you can scroll from page to page or just pop from page to page. On the device, it is an ugly, pixelated dissolve from page to page. The letters are not true black, but grayish. You cannot change the font type or page color (not that I could find). You have to pay to not see ads, no speakers for listening to audio books and so on. Just so many negatives that I returned mine within a week of trying to get used to it. I will stick with my smaller screen and enjoy a far superior app.

  • You should be able to change the font and the ebook screen should be a higher resolution. An epaper ebook reader is meant to be less flexible
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 17:47

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