The big news is that I bought a Kindle. The even bigger news is that I adore it! This little device was created for someone who loves to read.
Why did I buy a Kindle when I'm a big supporter of pBooks, that is, paper books? I guess because I wanted to make my own decision about the subject rather than follow the party line of condemning them as the anti-Christ of publishing.
Sure, there are a lot of writers who deplore digital publishing and eBook devices. I won't name any names, but some authors have said publicly that they hope no one ever clicks the Amazon button saying "I'd like this book to be on Kindle."
The debate seems to be getting more heated so I thought I'd test the pros and cons myself. Thus, I ordered a Kindle on Monday. It arrived Wednesday, and it was programmed and ready to go right out of the box.
1. Easy to use and navigate. If you've ever used a cell phone or computer, the learning curve is very short. Few buttons to master, and all are intuitive.
2. Can connect to purchase books, periodicals, or blogs from virtually anywhere and what you "buy" is always stored on your Amazon account in case you need to delete it from your device to make room or you accidentally delete it and want to download it again.
3. Lightweight and sized perfectly and easy to handle. Plus, you can use it in bright sunlight.
4. Text size is adjustable which endears it immediately to bifocal wearers.
5. Lots of free content available for purchase. I downloaded all of Jane Austen's books in a matter of minutes. I also downloaded, free, The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross, a co-writer with James Patterson on several thrillers. Apparently, the publisher is making this title free for a limited time as a promotion. You can even download the entire Bible free.
6. Long battery life. I think I'll be a heavy user so I bought the car charger as well as a protective sleeve.
7. Text to speech enabled on a lot of books so it can read to you if you're a person who learns well that way with instructional nonfiction or if you just like to hear a book read to you in certain situations, like folding clothes and all the other mundane chores called housework.
8. Makes less sound when turning pages while reading in bed next to a spouse trying to sleep.
9. Able to hold 1000 books.
10. Can annotate and bookmark what you read.
11. Can instantly look up a word while you're reading thanks to the New Oxford American Dictionary that comes loaded on the Kindle. If you prefer a different dictionary, you can download one at reasonable cost.
12. Can follow links embedded in Kindle content to further your research when reading nonfiction.
1. It's big weapon in the burgeoning digital versus paper book war. Publishing will have to change. I can easily see all the advantages to digital, and I can see that digital will continue to grow. It's just too easy to use.
2. Connection to the 3G network that makes the Kindle work varies depending on the 3G network and your battery strength. Weak 3G takes more battery power. I started in the living room with a weak signal. Walked to the front and stepped outside and sat on the step. Signal got very strong though it waned after 10 minutes. Went to the patio. Weak signal, but it strengthened to full before fading 10 minutes later. The stronger the signal; the faster the speed.
3. It's nothing I'd ever lounge in a bubble bath and read. One slip, and Kindle is history. Still, I can't remember the last time I had a bubble bath. I'm more of a shower girl.
4. Books on Kindle vary in price. It's probably just me, but I'll probably never pay for a bestseller on Kindle because you can get hard copies for just about the same price.
5. The text to speech function is bothersome because of copyright concerns over audio books.
6. Though it makes less sound than turning pages while reading in bed, you still have to use a book light of some kind. I had thought there would be a glow function or something, but there's not.
7. It's display is in black and white only. For some reason, I thought it would be in color. That was a big disappointment.
8. It will change traditional publishing even more than digital publication already has.
9. Digital piracy is just as innovative as digital technology, and piracy will continue increasing and threatening the ability of creative persons to make a living from their creativity.
Hmmm. That's about it. Maybe it's just me, but I see a lot of advantages to Kindle and other eBook readers or digital devices. In fact, after a couple of days of use, I'm sold on the Kindle.
Will I stop buying paper books? No way. When I have the time to curl up with a book, it will be a paper book. There's nothing that will replace the tactile feel of paper, seeing the inked words on the page, or even the smell of a book.
By the way, Andrew Gross's book was just as much a page turner digitally as it would be in print. I had to force myself to turn Kindle off last night and sleep instead of continuing to hit Next Page.
I'll be putting several traditionally published books on Kindle in the near future along with some original books not published before. In each case, I'll make a paper copy available if readers want that too or in place of.
To begin, I've got both my blogs accepted for Kindle publication. I didn't set the subscription price. Amazon does that and pays me a royalty each month. I'll blog about the process of doing this and getting books in Kindle format at a future date. You can look for articles like that under the Digital Publishing label I've set up.
I'm hoping someone will subscribe to the Kindle editions. Here are the links to subscribe the the Kindle Editions of my blogs in case you're interested in checking them out.
Joan Slings Words, Kindle Edition
Sling Words, Kindle Edition
The world of publishing is changing. To succeed, authors and publishers must change too.