Aug 04

Kindle for PC

The right Kindle for me hasn't been made yet, but in the meantime I envied the Nooks and Kindles friends and acquaintances had, knowing too that I did not really really need one and had other things to spend money on, and I might drop or lose it. Sometimes I even have to use my landline to call my cellphone so it'll ring and I can find it. And I am still somehow loyal to good old-fashioned books.

Until it came down to looking online for an Abraham Lincoln speech. Imagined there'd be an open Lincoln archive of all his works, but the most you can find is his famous speeches and quotations, and the one I sought wasn't famous. Drove to library (12 miles, one way), checked out thick book of Lincoln's speeches and letters. Took it home and searched. What I wanted wasn't in there. Contemplated driving to another library (27 miles, one way) and said, well, maybe when I'm next around there I will stop in. But that didn't happen and I realized I should probably just stop fooling with libraries and go online and buy other collections of Lincoln speeches and letters, maybe even the 7-volume set of his collected writings, and thumb through for the one thing I wanted. So I went to Amazon to see what that'd cost; maybe someone was selling it used.

There it was on Amazon, the 7-volume set in Kindle version for 99 cents. No joke. Lincoln's whole mind for 99 cents! Immediately I downloaded the free Kindle for PC--not as cool and nuanced as the Kindle, but it let me buy the books. And in one minute I had it. The collection was indexed and had live links. There are 900,000 other ebooks I could buy as well. And some Kindle users tell me they never pay for books; they download only what's free and in the public domain and they love it.

P.S. Abraham Lincoln was not only an admirable man but an admirable writer. (Those traits so often go together!)
May 08

Amazon is Getting Sued

Yesterday, May 19, a POD publisher named Booklocker.com filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Amazon.com. To simplify greatly, in March Amazon declared that POD publishers (and self-published authors) must use and pay THEIR printing service, called BookSurge, if they wanted Amazon to list their books. Booklocker is saying this is unfair -- as it clearly is.

Today, May 20, (in an E-mail stamped 11:20 a.m.) I received "A Special Offer from BookSurge for Authors!" Until the end of May if I self-publish with them they'll give me 20 complimentary copies of my book, plus some nice things a POD gives as a matter of course, such as the copyright to my own book. I also got a freebie eBook listing 555 ways I can market my self-published book. Yawn. I mean, talk about being behind the wave.

Amazon.com is the sole source and distributor of the wireless reading pod called the Kindle ($400). It's cool, but it will download only reading matter purchased through Amazon.com. Although Kindle users have been agitating for a 2.0 version with more freedom of choice, Amazon has not scheduled any such thing.

Between BookSurge and the Kindle are authors, publishers, and consumers, all getting squeezed. We liked it when Amazon just sold books. Now it's like the boa constrictor that's so big and tangled it doesn't realize that the thing it's strangling is itself.
Apr 25

The Kindle, a Portable Reading Pod

The "reading pod" that everyone will have in a couple of years (like the iPod everyone listens to music on now) has come of age. You can now glimpse the future of reading at:
http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Amazons-Wireless-Reading-Device

I watched the video demonstration of how what they call "the Kindle" works:
  • daily newspapers are delivered wirelessly
  • one may buy and wirelessly download all bestsellers plus other books and blogs (not all of them; that will have to change)
  • you don't need to find WiFi "hotspots" to do your reading or downloading; it works anywhere a cellphone will work
  • you can read in bright sunlight or dark, lighting doesn't matter
  • you can adjust the type size to your comfort level
  • the Kindle will turn the "pages," even "dog-ear" them -- oh, and your book will re-open to the page you were last reading.
Amazon wanted really badly to create a reading pod that was tied to amazon.com purchases and no others. This is their mistake. And the Kindle is too new to buy. (At $399 it is expensive, but in a year, the price will come down; and it'll be finer-tuned.)

If you are "tech," here is the review from pcworld.com, a most trustworthy source, which agrees that the Kindle is too expensive as of yet -- and that it needs the ability to read PDF files. (That's what'll make it able to read self-published books.) Stay tuned. Sure, publishers will still print books. But in five years you will own a reading pod much like this.