Monday, November 10, 2008

Kindle, eBooks Discussion in The Horn Book This Month...

Lately I've had Kindle on the brain. First was the Oprah to-do in which Ms. Winfrey declared it to be her favorite new gadget and said it changed her life. Then I started seeing tests for a Kindle version of CWIM. (It's OK but not great at this point. It seems the Kindle's not awesome with books that are not straight text. There are some funky icons and weird caption placement and things like that, but I'm told Kindle users are used to such things. I was surprised how good the images showed up, however.) Getting our Market Books (as well as a host of other F+W Media titles) ready for Kindle and other electronic readers is a hot project around here.

Seeing the CWIM test was actually my first in-person encounter with the Kindle. I can understand it's appeal, but I'm not sure it's a gadget I'll be snapping up any time soon. I'm in love with the printed book. The feel. The smell. The piles in the corner of every room. The 87 boxes of them I have to back every time I move. I don't mind lugging a book in my carry-on luggage. And at $359, I'd rather buy an iPhone or a really awesome pair of boots.

When I opened my November/December issue of The Horn Book which a big section titled "When e- Is for Reading," in which several writers discuss reader-gadgets, I read it with great interest. Here's a bit from Stephen Roxburgh that puts things in perspective:

And, for the moment, let’s not engage in the “death of the book as we know it” debate. Technology is the means to an end, and not necessarily the end of a means. Think about the fact that people still walk, bicycle, ride horses, drive cars, take trains, and fly to get where they are going. When we read, we have a goal in mind. We are going somewhere.
Click here to read the rest of Roxburgh's piece along with the others.

Anybody out there tried the Kindle? Do you like it? And what do you think of CWIM on the Kindle?

8 comments:

Ghost Girl said...

Thanks for that, Alice. I love Stephen Roxburgh's comments—perfectly phrased.

Kristi Holl said...

About the only time a Kindle appeals to me is when I'm packing for a trip, and my carry-on weighs fifty pounds because of the books. Then a Kindle tucked away in my purse sounds very appealing! But...the price is going to have to come down, or Santa will have to be very generous this year. 8-)
Kristi Holl
Writer's First Aid blog

Under the Covers said...

I played with someone else's at a writing conference recently, and yes, I'd like one, but I'll be more enticed when the price hits $200. I always cart a book or three with me to kids' lessons and games, and the Kindle seems awfully convenient. However, the fact that you can get a new release for the Kindle for $10 when the hardbound might cost $25ish seems like a bad thing for an author's income. If e-books catch on big, isn't it not so great for writers? Since an e-book obviously saves production costs for the publisher, would the royalty rate on such sales differ?

Solvang Sherrie said...

I like the smell and feel of the printed page so I have a hard time envisioning a world with only electronic books. And is there a way to back up the books you've downloaded? Or add memory to hold more books? Because I don't know about you, but 200 titles isn't nearly enough space for me!

Katy said...

I've always considered myself a have-to-hold-it-in-my-hands, smell-it, flip-the-pages book lover--until...last April, when I took the plunge and bought a Kindle. I loooove it! I love that new releases are cheaper. I love that I can get tons of classics for free. I love that Kindle books are delivered wirelessly in seconds. I love that it's so easy to carry a library with me in my purse or car console. :-)

There are only a couple of negatives I've run across so far--not all the YA and MG books I want are available for the Kindle, but I think that will change--especially with Oprah's endorsement. The other is that I'm spending way too many $$$ on books--it's just too easy. :-)

Katy

Gay said...

I resisted a Kindle for a long time, but now that I own one, I resist buying books that don't come in Kindle. I can carry my entire library with me... I can read any spare second I get, any book I want, because my book is ALWAYS in my purse, the book never tries to shut in my hand, I never lose my page (Kindle remembers), there's no glare even in bright sun, it's environmentally friendly, I can browse full chapters in bed before making buying decisions, I can book shop at 3 A.M. and read these chapters, the print can enlarge if I've had a tough day and my eyes are tired...

I could go on and on but I won't.

The price will also make up for itself before too long at the rate I read, given the purchase price of books is so much lower. Of course, if I only read paperback (I'm not good about waiting for the trade paperbacks to come out) or if I passed around books with friends (nope, not good about that either), then maybe things would be different. But at $9.99 or less per book, won't take long...

And, I have my own manuscript on the Kindle and my writing friends and I share our manuscripts from our WIP in Kindle form which make it easier to discuss them over coffee (don't have to lug our computers or waste paper) - you can upload any .txt file or .pdf to it via USB cable.

I guess you could say I'm in love.

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