I thought I’d blog about my Kindle because when I was thinking about buying one and soliciting opinion on Facebook and Twitter, people asked me to let them know how I felt about the reading device when I’d used it for a while.
In the interests of science, I should say that I’ve had very little experience of other reading devices but had looked cursorily at the iPad, and have a smartphone, a netbook and a Mac desktop, all of which I’ve used for reading books in some form or another.
The pic opposite was kindly supplied to me by my friend Mary L D D, before I ever bought my Kindle. The reason that I’m in the pic is that she had logged on to my Amazon page. Which I didn’t even know, at that stage, it was possible to do.
My primary purpose in buying a Kindle was to be able to download books by my favourite US and Australian writers. I was given some dosh for Christmas and, naturally, spent it on books. On 2 January 2011, I bought five paperback books from the backlist of Suzanne Brockmann. Those books are not published in the UK, so they had to come from the US. The first of these five arrived about five weeks later; the last of the five took two-and-a-half months! Naturally, the last of the five to arrive was the first of the series … With shipping, these books cost me between £4 and £5 each.
By the time I’d read all five, I had my Kindle. And began buying the rest of the series as ebooks. They arrive in about ten seconds.
Really. That’s the direct comparison. Two-and-a-half months versus ten seconds. And the ebooks cost me between £3 and £4 each. (See what I did there? I made an economy.)
Another purpose I have in mind for the Kindle is to buy US books when they come out in the US, rather than when they percolate through to the UK. Whether this is cheaper than buying brand new titles as hard or paperback depends upon the pricing policy of the publisher. On the March release of Suzanne Brockmann that I looked at last night, there was a saving of around £2 on the hardback.)
Also, I’m going to be away overnight, tonight, and have stuck my Kindle in a tiny bag – it has four books on it that I have yet to read – and it weights a lot, lot less than taking a paperback, or taking two, which I would normally do if I’m in the second half of a book and know I’m going to want to begin another before I get home.
The reading experience with the Kindle suits me fine. There’s no glare or eye fatigue, it’s lighter to hold than a book so doesn’t hurt my thumbs, I can have the font at any size. I can use it as an emergency web browsing device – I say emergency because it’s monotone and not particularly rapid – it doesn’t take the place of an iPad, netbook, laptop or desktop, or even a smartphone, for the web experience. Like a print book, you need a light to read it in the dark but you can read it in the brightest sunshine without a problem. I bought a case for it that stands up like a picture frame, which is useful for reading on the train or, especially, whilst I’m having lunch. There is no mouse or touch screen – most of the navigation is done via a four-way scroller with a select button, like many mobile phones. It is efficient. There’s a small querty keyboard for when you need to do something like a search for the book you wish to buy. It was incredibly quick and easy to set up and learn to use – and I hate learning to use new technology!
I have to say it’s not that suitable for reading in the bath (but I have done it, after purchasing the insurance! I hardly ever drop a book into the bath so am hoping I will be equally dextrous with the Kindle.)
I bought the £111 WiFi Kindle. It latched onto my WiFi at home in no seconds and has done the same in the other two places I tried – one a club in London, the other a station. It is SCARILY easy to buy books on the Kindle. It’s a one-click process so, whoopsy daisy, it’s done. And, yes, I’ll admit it – because there were witnesses – I have bought one book I didn’t mean to when I was demonstrating my new toy. But there’s a button on the same page to click on if you do buy by mistake, so it was no real drama.
My own books are currently available on the Kindle at £2.14. It’s a promotion that went well around St Valentine’s day so Choc Lit have left it like that, to assess the results. It’s a huge saving on between £6.39 and £7.99 for the paperback and, for the first time, my ebook sales are ahead of my paperback sales.
Is this a good thing? Nobody seems to know! What we do know is that it’s not a bad thing because I’m reaching readers I hadn’t reached before, especially in different countries. We’ll have to wait and see what the other results are.