People seem to be very interested in the Kindle and what it will mean to the publishing industry.
I don’t know. I only know that I can read the New York Times in bed at night without folding over giant pages, getting ink all over my hands and figuring out what to do with the piles of newspaper as they accumulate. The Kindle is like what… five ounces and the size of a paperback book. A subscription to the daily NY Times is $13.99/month. To Time Magazine: $1.49 per month. A free 15-day trial subscription to each magazine or newspaper is included. The NY Times is automatically downloaded to my Kindle every morning around 3am. I get up, and there it is.
But books are what we’re talking about here. Electronic rights have been an issue for publishers and authors alike for some time. The field of electronic publishing has been in flux, and yet zooming ahead, leaving everybody confused. The publishers want to tie up the rights to a book for electronic media not even invented yet. I assume that’s why I can’t download Geraldine Brooks’ new book–or any of her books, in fact.
But John Saul’s new hardcover, The Devil’s Labrynth, still in hardcover, is available for download for $9.99. His book Perfect Nightmare, out in 2005 and currently available in paperback, is available for your Kindle for only $5.59.
Do the authors still get paid? Of course. The price is cheaper because there’s no printing, no paper, no ink, no fancy four-color, embossed covers, no gas consumed by shipping palettes of heavy books.
I downloaded Barbara Kingsolver’s amazing book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and paid a whopping $9.99. It’s still in hardcover for $26.95. I can annotate my copy, highlight passages, do anything I could do to a hard cover book, and I don’t have to store it in a bookshelf and I don’t have to box it up if I move. If I delete it eventually because of lack of space on my Kindle, Amazon.com stores a copy for me, complete with my annotations, so I can download it again for free later if I need it. My electronic bookshelf is at their place.
I know of a New York editor, who, instead of schlepping heavy boxes of manuscripts to and from home every weekend, now converts manuscripts to .pdf files, loads them on his Kindle, and he has only 5 ounces to take home with him. Pretty sweet.
Again, I’m not trying to sell these things here. I’m just spreading the word about an amazing new product. Technology that works.
Again, I’m shouting for joy.
This is the ultimate tool for readers.