Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Crazy for Kindle?

Question of the day: I've been looking at the Amazon Kindle thing, it seems quite a popular device. I can understand all the advantages of a book being available like this. My question - is there ANY downside at all (to the publisher, the author, or both?) to offering a book in this format?

You know, truth be told, I haven't drunk the Kindle Kool-aid, so I'm really not the best person to ask about this. I spend enough time - too much time - in front of a screen, the last thing I want to do is start reading my books on a screen too. BUT. Those who love Kindle LOVE Kindle, and I know that some of my blog readers are among them, so I wanted to open up this question to everyone. To answer your specific query, I don't see much of a downside to offering books in the Kindle format: it's simple one more means in which people might read, and in a time when so few people ARE reading, I'm all in support of getting books out there by any means necessary. It's also a hell of a lot cheaper for the publisher, I'd think: no printing, binding, etc - simply an electronic document that costs the same to the reader as a hard copy.

But that's really all I know and can say about Kindle. Readers - do you love Kindle? If so, why? If you're resisting it like I am, why? And what are the pros/cons for publishers?

6 comments:

Amie Stuart said...

The biggest con, IMO, is the amazon monopoloy which really bugs me. The kindle could be far slicker (BTW Agent Nathan Bransford just got one and is blogging about it) and high tech than it is, especially for the money. Most irritating factor (according to a friend who has one) is the power button being on the back and always accidentally hitting the page-forward button because it's on the side.

Sony is the next best thing--my agent swears by hers--I also have issues with Sony and monopolies/proprietaryness (yeah-not a word)

DAMN I'm opinionated! LOL

Tricia Lawrence said...

Well, I just love the functionality of hauling 30 books around. Yes, I'm weird. I've saved a ton of money in overweight luggage fees and in chiropractor visits. :)

But really, the Kindle is amazing, because it's like reading a book, not a screen. The e-ink technology is pretty cool and I read faster using it and without eye strain. It's super easy to use. The new publishing platform hasn't really birthed yet (read Seth Godin's blog) but it will--someday soon. It's an electronic publishing platform that's more user-friendly, and author-friendly. And Kindle will be right in the middle of it. So I'm a big fan!

Eileen said...

I haven't bought- but I have played with them. I think they are great for travel- or students- but I don't think I would switch for everyday reading. Books are cheaper on the Kindle than they are in typical form.

Costs are cheaper for the publisher. There is a fair bit of discussion on some writer loops re: royalties for any type of electronic publishing versus traditional. Some houses provide higher rates as their costs are lower- some have the same. I suspect if e-book sales grow this will become a more hotly debated issue.

Mark said...

Just to clarify a bit: the difference between the Kindle (and other e-Ink products) and a regular computer screen (LCD or CRT) is that the e-Ink screen isn't light-emissive. It relies entirely on reflected light, and is really the same as printed paper--it's a physical image made up of tiny little dots, and so in that respect is just like ink.

But, what reduces eyestrain is the fact that the screen does not emit light. So, unless you suffer from book-related eyestrain already, you shouldn't suffer from additional problems. I'm a Sony Reader owner myself, and love it to pieces--and, my eyes definitely show signs of serious LCD fatigue after a day's work that the Reader doesn't increase.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thanks, Mark! I didn't know that.

Suzanne said...

I have resisted electronic readers because I can't imagine how it would replace the pleasure of holding and reading a hard cover book.

That said, I certainly appreciate Tricia's comment, especially when traveling...it would be great to take a 'pile' of books on holiday, conveniently in a neat package like a kindle, instead of lugging them in my luggage....especially with the overweight charges the airlines are so eager to charge these days.