Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Kindle

I know there are a couple of differing views out there about electronic books, authors getting paid properly and Amazon taking over the world of publishing right after google takes their cut, but - I do love my Kindle.

I'm a bit of a Star Trek geek and so when I saw the Kindle one day in an ad, I knew I had to have it. I have an iPhone too because these kind of gadgets make me feel like the idealized world of Star Trek with its hopeful world view is just around the corner. We have the cool tech stuff, so the rest is bound to come soon - the we're all in this together mentality the world could stand to hold to a little tighter.

I digress though. I've been trying to find a good book for my son to read since he has to keep a reading log for his language arts class. He's pretty picky about what he'll read. He's used to be more into comics and magazines than books. He got into the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz and started reading books. (Thank you Mr. Horowitz) But it's still a challenge to find a book for him. There seems to be a dearth of good books for boys adding to the difficulty.

Enter the Kindle. I've got quite a few books and sample chapters downloaded for his perusal. He read the Devil's Kiss on Kindle. He downloaded an Alex Rider book to re-read on it because it's a gadget and it's cool. He just came in about ten minutes ago saying he needed a book to read. I handed over the Kindle and he found one on his own. About 30 seconds after I said buy it, my computer speakers alerted me to the fact that the download was coming through and presto, the new book was here. He's now in the tv room, reading.

The Kindle and other electronic book devices may pose financial challenges to authors in the near future what with pricing and royalties in question. It could be a huge boon to writers though if you stop and think about the ease of access to reading material that's now in the hands of a 14-year-old. I don't have time to take him to the bookstore as often as he's able to finish reading a book, and now I don't have to. He reads more because he can by pushing a button. The author gets more royalties as a result.

The ultimate bonus for me is that he can read my book while I'm writing and revising. It's simple to convert a word document over to text and upload it to Kindle. It also means I can take my book with me anywhere if I need to if I'd like to take a break from editing in front of the computer screen but keep reading for revision. Doesn't sound too thrilling but it's really quite nice to sit by the fire and read my book on a device filled with other published works.

Amazon, Google and soon Apple will hash out the financials with literary agents and publishers. In the mean time, the reader enjoys your story.