My new Kindle

This is not an advertisment. It is a shout of joy.

I received an Amazon Kindle as a gift last night, and I’m already hooked on it. The New York Times is automatically delivered to it at 3am, so I can browse it over breakfast. I wirelessly downloaded (in about twenty seconds) a book I’ve been wanting to read for $9.99 (all new release books are only $9.99). I can get all kinds of newspapers, magazines and blogs downloaded for free over their “whispernet” which doesn’t cost anything extra. It uses the cell phone technology.

It’s easy to read, and there are thousands of books available. I’m going to make my backlist Kindle-ready in the next month or two.

Is this the Beta or the VHS? The HD-DVD or the Blu Ray? Is the Sony e-book going to become the standard in the industry, or is Kindle? I know that people have been trying for a long time to get the e-book right, and I have to say, I believe the Amazon people have finally done it.

It will revolutionize publishing.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “My new Kindle

  1. Call me a dinosaur, but I like something I can read without having to worry about batteries, wireless interference, data loss or the gummint (or some other big business) monitoring my literary habits. Besides, if all new releases are only $9.99, how does that impact the author’s renumeration?

  2. Oh Liz, the Kindle scared me when I first heard about it! Do you really think it will revolutionize publishing? Do authors get their percentage of each electronic copy sold? Is this percentage the same as that for a hard-copy sold? Now that viable electronic books out there, do their electronic rights sell for good money?

    I ditto Cap’n Crusty’s question.

    I’ve been wondering about this for ages. Perhaps you have insights…

  3. Well, Liz, I guess you didn’t realize you were going to (ahem) “kindle” a controversy here.

    Here’s my further take, after having thought about it some more.

    Let’s first assume that Kindle, or similar technology, takes off in the next few years and becomes the standard. Physical books, while not completely vanished from the scene, scarcely figure into the equation anymore.

    Now the $9.99/per book fee is a bit more than most paperback novels run these days; I believe the average is about $6.99-8.99 for “standard” works. The cost of a hardback, however, tends to hit around $25.00-30.00. Assuming the author gets the same percentage of the sale price for hardback as for paper, then the former is definitely the better deal, per sale. However (2.0), I think there are usually more paperbacks sold than hardbacks of any given edition, so if the convenience of Kindle, et al, prompts readers to buy, on the average, MANY MORE works than before–and the author gets the same percentage per Kindle-download–then not only would a writer be left unharmed, financially, he or she might even see a boost in take-home pay. All well and good, but still a big “if”.

    But let’s go a little farther. I’m no cyber-geek, but I believe electronic data storage is quite volatile, meaning it can be lost easily due to a number of otherwise harmless environmental factors, ie, microwaves, TVs, and other EM emitters. If this is the case, and if fewer and fewer works are printed on relatively-stable paper, then we run the risk of depriving future generations of much of our modern literature (although I would admit, should most of Michel Crichton’s crap vanish, culture would not suffer overly much). Imagine an archeology class in the year 3000, where time and time again the instructor has to remind the students, “No, it’s not true that Americans in the first half of the Twenty-first Century stopped writing altogether, despite the paucity of evidence to the contrary. They instead put almost all their formerly-printed media onto something called a ‘Kibble’ or a ‘Kamel’.”

    Sorry. Majored in anthropology. Warps the time-sense.

    Furthermore, if one factors Peak Oil and the massive drop in energy usage which that would engender–including the electricity necessary to run all of our pretty cyber-tech devices–into the equation, then Kindles eventually become little more than nice paperweights.

    Of course, there’s all the energy required to print and ship physical books, which electronic transfer might save…but theoretically, shipping can be done via low-tech, if slow, means. Yay! The return of ye tall ships, eyarrrrrr!

    But for Ye Cap’n, the most telling argument is: no more sitting in the coffee nook of my favorite bookstore–no more bookstores. And while that wouldn’t overly affect a semi-hermit such as myself, it does remove yet one more element of actual face-to-face interaction between individuals, further increasing human isolation to an even greater degree than has been the case in recent years, with the advent of personal computers.

    And really, do you want a whole society of crusty ol’ recluses?

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