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After 18 years of typing, I rediscovered the joys of writing with the Kindle Scribe

Why write when I can type so much faster? I've discovered the answer to that.
By

Published onNovember 23, 2023

amazon kindle scribe note overview
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

October 2005. I’m on my early morning walk before my college classes. I had read about a short novel competition at school the day before, and I was yearning to write something again. But I had no time. The days when I could sit worry-free in front of my notebook and craft cool stories and poems for hours were long gone. My life was becoming hectic. But a writer is always a writer — as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing this now. I looked down at the Nokia 3250 Xpress Music in my hand and wondered: Could I type a short novel on a T9 keyboard while walking? Challenge accepted.

One week later, my 13-A4-page novel was submitted to the competition (spoiler: I did not win), and a dramatic shift had occurred in the way I thought about writing. Digital allthethings! No more pens, papers, notebooks, and paraphernalia I couldn’t carry with me everywhere. The smartphone that was already in my pocket was all I needed to get creative anywhere.

I made the switch to typing 18 years ago and barely held a pen since. The Kindle Scribe changed that.

Since then, I’ve written countless poems, shorter and longer stories, articles, and comment thread tirades on my phone. My personal notes made the switch too. Grocery lists. Movies and TV show lists. Any list, really. Notion or Evernote, Google Keep and Google Docs, Todoist, JotterPad, Obsidian — everything has been digital in my life for 18 years. It helps that, unlike notebooks, it’s easier to share it all with my husband, friends, or family.

That was the way until the Kindle Scribe entered my life, nearly a year ago. I was expecting myself to fall in love with the larger display for PDF and comic book reading more than the pen and note-taking aspect. Many stylus-equipped tablets and computers had come and gone before it; none of them made a dent in the way I take notes, so why would this one be any different? Surprisingly, it was.

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Premium Pen, focus on the side button, resting on the Amazon Kindle Scribe which is showing a math problem's solution
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The Scribe slowly changed me and my habits. Yes, I appreciate the larger display for reading, but that’s not what I use it for every day. No, every day, I pick up the Kindle Scribe and I jot down notes and thoughts. Mostly about my Android Authority articles or products I’m reviewing. Sometimes I help my aunt solve math problems, or compete against her to solve riddles. Other times I use it to draw and visualize things, like home improvement projects or furniture installation.

Digital pen options on a sketchpad on the Amazon Kindle Scribe with the Premium Pen on top
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

With time, I realized I had missed holding a pen. I missed carving time out of my busy day to sit down with my thoughts and do nothing but write them down. I missed the single-task simplicity of that approach. No notifications or distractions. No colors or multiple windows. Just focus and take the time to transfer every word from a vague thought to a series of concrete written letters.

Writing is inefficient and quite painful for me. Still, everything feels less abstract and more real when I write it down.

And I say this as someone who:

  • suffers from Carpal Tunnel and can’t write five sentences before the shooting pain and cramps start,
  • writes slowly and makes millions of blunders because my hand doesn’t seem to get a timely and correct signal from my brain,
  • and ends up erasing, moving, and rewriting things all the time.

Writing with a pen is a million levels of inefficiency for me. Yet I enjoy it because of the very fact that it is slow and deliberate.

amazon kindle scribe lasso select copy paste tool 3
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Ask my editor and he’ll tell you how many times I shared with him screengrabs of my research or thought process from my Kindle Scribe. I’ll often list the pros and cons of a product I’m reviewing, draw specs and comparison tables, note everything I’ve tested and what I still need to check, outline an opinion article, or whatever else I need to have a concrete grasp on for my work.

I literally never thought I’d be doing this. For the past decade, I’ve seen videos and read reviews of digital note-takers and thought, “Cool, but clearly not for me,” for all the reasons outlined above. I’ve bought pens for my iPad and Pixelbook, I’ve used the S Pen with Samsung devices, and the stylus that came with my HUAWEI MatePad. I desperately wanted to be a pencil scribbler and note-taker, but none of them clicked, even though they offered hundreds more features. So why did the Scribe click for me? I’m not sure, but I have a few theories.

amazon kindle scribe updates note
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I think part of it is the very realistic pen-on-paper feel of writing on the Scribe display. It’s much more satisfying than gliding on a glass screen. Another part is the always-charged and extremely long battery life. The Scribe is never dead when I reach out for it, and even a 3% battery is enough to get me through a half-hour scribbling session. And the final part is perhaps the very lack of extra features. I don’t need to make pretty, colored, and complex notes; I just want a couple of pen styles, page lines, move and resize, and a way to organize notes in folders. The Scribe offered most of those on day one and added neat extras since.

If you’re curious about whether or not a note-writing e-ink tablet could work for you, you have a lot of choices today, but perhaps none as popular as the Kindle Scribe or reMarkable 2. One has a better ebook ecosystem, the other takes note-taking to a whole other level. For me, the Kindle wins because it’s also a great e-reader.

reMarkable currently has a Black Friday deal that shaves $70 off some overpriced $500+ bundles (i.e. not so much of a deal if you ask me), while Amazon is cutting down the Kindle Scribe by at least $100. The basic pen 16GB version is down to $239, while the premium pen (with eraser and extra button) is down to $264.99. I definitely recommend the latter; the serial mistake-maker in me can’t live without the eraser.

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