Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley, California Office
Yesterday, while waiting for the doctor, I had my Kindle out, reading a manuscript. The doctor had to stop and play with it before we could get down to business. His wife is now getting one for her birthday next week.
I’ll admit it: I am an early adopter of Amazon’s Kindle. In fact, when Kindle 2 came out I convinced my husband he wanted my original Kindle so I could get the newest one.
I love my Kindle.
Caveat #1: I’m taking off my agent’s hat for this particular blog post. I understand there are still rights questions floating around about about Kindle’s text-to-speech feature and there are some very real industry concerns about Amazon’s price structure but for now I’m putting on my happy shoes to share my enthusiasm as a delighted consumer.
So until Apple unveils an e-reader (which will, of course, be perfect– artistic in design, feature-rich, connected with iTunes and 100% intuitive) I am sticking with Kindle. Let me tell you why.
The package: Kindle 2 is beautiful. Its leather cover feels like a fine book. The felted interior is comfortable to hold as you turn the cover back to read. The only logo is a small, tasteful brushed metal oval in the lower right hand corner. The reader itself is slim and light. The few things which didn’t work on the first Kindle, like the page buttons which were too easily clicked while holding the reader, have been addressed successfully in Kindle 2.
The delivery system: This is where Kindle has the edge. Amazon not only provides the Kindle but they offer a seamless way to connect to their online store to browse and buy. No you don’t need an Internet connection– it’s built into the Kindle and offered free. With one click I can have a new book downloaded to my Kindle in under a minute. Plus, I’m buying books that are only out in hardcover for $9.99 instead of $24.95. It doesn’t take long to pay off a Kindle in savings if you read as much as I do. Caveat #2: I know this pricing can’t last and it’s not fair for the authors and publishers because it will most certainly cut into hardcover sales. Some publishers are already talking about treating the e-book release like trade paper or mass market books– holding off until the hardcover sales are over.
The convenience: Being able to buy a book the moment someone recommends it means that I never risk forgetting to pick it up or not remembering the title. I was at a gathering at author Lauraine Snelling’s house. Several of us had Kindles. As soon as someone would recommend a book, we’d all go online and buy it right then and there. Other e-readers require a computer and an internet connection to load books. But when you’re sitting in an airport finishing a book, those things are just not available to you.
Documents: I can send my documents to Amazon and for fifteen cents per document they get sent to my Kindle. Don’t want to pay the $.15? Download from your computer direct to Kindle. For me, reading manuscripts on my Kindle has been the biggest surprise. When I’ve just read two or three critically acclaimed books and I open a manuscript I’ve requested, I find I read it with a more discerning eye. When reading manuscripts in the very same format as I read books I can get a better feel for the potential. I’ve been delighted to find that some manuscripts from clients were better than a book I had just been raving about.
And now for the negatives:
- It may just be me, but I do not like reading nonfiction (except memoir) on the Kindle. I’ve tried four books and I gave up and bought the ink and paper version. The geography of a nonfiction book is too much a part of the experience for me. It’s too hard in Kindle to find things again unless you’ve bookmarked them. and I haven’t yet taken time to get comfortable with the note function. So my kindle is for fiction. When I pick it up, I know I’m going to be transported.
- There’s no pass-along-ability with Kindle. When I finish a fabulous read I can’t pass it along to a friend. Four times now I’ve gone out and bought the book (twice in hardcover) to give to a friend. Caveat #3: This is a writer’s, publisher’s and agent’s dream. Books can no longer be shared unless you are willing to pass along your Kindle with the book. I’ve ended up buying more than one version of a book because of Kindle. In the case of one book, The Help, I’m also going to buy the audio version– so that’s three versions of one book for one reader.
I’ve heard so many readers say, “I could never use an e-reader. I love the smell of a book. . .the feel of it in my hand.” I used to say the same thing but with each novel I read on my Kindle, I’m more connected to the look, the feel the smell of it. Whether it’s a book or an e-reader, it’s not the device, it’s the magic of story. The device becomes infused with the stories, settings and characters and we fall in love.
Caveat #4: I am not affiliated with Kindle and make no commission on any sale of said device. Bummer that.
So let’s hear it. What did I miss? Are you an e-book reader or a paper-and-ink enthusiast?