Ereaders have a lot of things going for them—they’re lightweight, they’re an environmentally conscious choice, and they allow you to easily read ebooks, which are often substantially cheaper than traditional print books. (Though technically, you don’t need an ereader to read ebooks).
For book lovers, one of the best perks of an ereader is its ability to hold thousands of books. With so many books at the touch of a button, you’ll never have to worry about running out of reading material while you’re travelling, commuting for work, or even while you’re having a staycation.
But how many books can a Kindle really hold? To find out, we’re going to have to do every reader’s favorite thing: math. (Don’t worry, we did all the hard work for you.)
The short answer: It depends, but at least 1,000.
Amazon advertises that all of their Kindle devices hold thousands of books, and they’re not kidding. They’ve recently upgraded their most basic Kindle to have 8 GB of storage, but even if you have an older model with just 4 GB of storage, you’ll likely be able to fit at least 1,000 average length books on your device.
Similarly, an 8 GB Kindle will be able to hold at least 3,100 books, and a 32 GB Kindle will be able to hold a whopping 15,100 books.
Related: The Best eReaders in 2020
The long answer: Breaking down the short answer.
1. Determining how much space you really have.
As everyone with a smartphone knows, electronic devices don’t have quite as much storage space available as they advertise. Almost 2 GB of a Kindle’s space will need to be used for the device’s operating system and other necessary files.
For example, a Kindle Paperwhite with 8 GB really only has about 6.23 GB worth of storage for individual books. But as you’ve seen in the short answer, that’s still a lot of room.
2. Determining the average file size of an ebook.
Most ebook files are very, very small compared to the amount of available space on a Kindle. And despite varying page counts, they often take up similar amounts of space once compressed into a mobi file for Kindle readers.
For example, Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter is a fairly short book at just 160 pages, and takes up 1.8 MB of space. And Sally Rooney’s Normal People only takes up 1.5 MB, despite the fact that it’s almost twice the length at 304 pages.
Longer books, like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (734 pages in the original U.S. edition) still don’t take up very much space, either—that tome shrinks down to just 3.3 MB on a Kindle. And Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is 588 pages, yet only takes up 2.6 MB.
Because most books are between 300 and 400 pages, we’re estimating 2MB of space per book for this question—but you should know some books that with this page length can take up as much as 5 MB of space, so take that with a grain of salt.
3. Dividing storage space by average book size.
There are 1,000 MB in a GB, which means there are 6,230 MB worth of storage in an 8 GB Kindle. Divided by our estimate of 2 MB per ebook, that’s 3,115 books!
We’re big on reading here, but that’s enough to keep us busy for quite some time.