I’m an avidreader, I read multiple books a week and I’m always reading something. We own about 2,500 books and we’ve had to invest in bookcases throughout our house to shelve them all. There’s no smell I love more than the smell of books. I’ve worked in a used bookstore and every time I came in for work, I would just take a deep breath and savor the smell of ink, of paper, of dusty covers and paper. I loved that job, just being between books all day.

And despite my love for real, physical books, I love my Kindle . I admit, when the first e-book readers came out, I was very skeptical. After all, there’s nothing like the smell and touch and feel of a book in your hands. How could something electronic ever replace that?

A couple of years ago I bought myself a Kindle, even before they were available here in Europe. And I simply love it. No, it’s not the same feeling as that of a ‘real’ book, but there are enormous advantages to a Kindle that made me a fan. It’s lightweight, very easy on the eyes, readable in full sunlight, the battery lasts forever and it fits into every bag. And I’ve discovered that it actually is a perfect gadget to use in youth ministry. Here are 4 good reasons for you as a youth leader to get a Kindle:


1. Always something to read

Since I usually carry my Kindle in my bag wherever I go, I always have something to read with me. As leaders, it’s crucially important that we invest in our knowledge by reading. But our busy schedules often prevent us from sitting down and reading for two hours straight. Since I have my Kindle, I’m using every minute I wait to read, whether at the mechanic’s waiting for my car to be fixed or at the doctor’s waiting to be called in. It’s a very efficient use of my time.

Did you know that you can read pretty much anything on a Kindle? Sure, you can read ‘e-books’, but you can also put any pdf document on your Kindle. That’s perfect if you have a lot of documents to read, just put them on your Kindle and read whenever you have few minutes. You can even make notes or highlight (see below).

2. Easy highlighting, summarizing

When I read non-fiction books, for instance on youth ministry, I love to make a summary afterwards so I remember the book better. With real books that’s always a bit of a problem for me, since I hate highlighting and writing in books. It basically means that I have to read the book twice, once for the big picture and then once again while making notes on a separate paper to make a summary. With my Kindle, I can easily highlight important passages and later combine them into a summary. I can even see what highlights other people have made (you can choose to make your highlights and notes public and view the public views and highlights of others).

This of course is also great when reading books (or the Bible!) on your Kindle for sermon preparation. Just highlight away and later compile them to use them for your sermon. The same goes for illustrations or quotes you come across you want to save.

You can even send them straight into Evernote if you want (just go to your Amazon Kindle page, select the right book, view the highlights and then use the webclipper to clip into Evernote).

3. Making notes while reading

In the same way as with the highlights, I love how easy it is on my Kindle to make notes (although I must admit that typing on the Kindle is a bit of a hassle, this is actually easier on my iPad with the Kindle app). Often when I read non-fiction books I get ideas for how I could use what I’m reading in youth ministry. Now I just make a note of my idea and when I’ve finished the book, I can compile my notes. You can see your notes on your Kindle itself, or on your Kindle Page. Again, you can clip these into Evernote easily.

4. Lending and borrowing books

One of the biggest cons was that you couldn’t lend books. Now that that problem is solved, it’s one more reason to get one. You can share books with other youth leaders you know, thus saving on the costs of having to buy them all yourself. You can lend once for a period of 14 days and not all titles are available for lending. Still, it’s an awesome way for those of us who have to watch what we spend to be able to read new youth ministry books. You can even loan books to people who don’t own a Kindle, they can read it with any Kindle app for instance on a pc, Mac or iPad. And you can lend books to people across the country, which would be a lot less practical with real books!

And let’s face it, with the recent price changes, ereaders have become very affordable…

Do you own an ereader or device? How are you using it in youth ministry?