Kindle

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.

Will I stop buying paper books? I doubt it. Or not entirely. But I’m sure I’ll buy a lot fewer because one thing I do know is that I’ve joined the ranks of people who say, ‘I love my Kindle.’

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “Kindle

  1. Lyn McCulloch

    I love my Kindle too, but the downside for me is that I hadn’t realised how much of a ‘social’ reader I am. If I like a book, I lend it to my daughter, chambermaids, friends – and I have a huge library of books for my hotel guests to read. I now run the risk of buying a Kindle edition of a book and then buying it in paperback as well to lend!
    Other than that, I love it and really don’t now notice the difference between reading on it or a normal book. I have a light to go with mine (clip-on) for reading in the dark and as you say, Sue, it’s wonderful for going flat (with the cover) when you wish to read and eat. All in all, I wouldn ‘t be without it now.

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  2. Interesting. When I wrote my piece for Vulpes Libris earlier this week one of the replies suggested a Kindle would enable me to take more books away with me, which you also mention as a plus point. It seems you can buy more volumes, more cheaply, and they take up less space, which has got to be good! But I like the tactile quality of holding a book and turning the pages, and there’s always the problem of reading in the bath. Books, as I know from experience, do eventually dry out, but what happens if you drop a Kindle? Also (excuse my ignorance if this is a silly question) does it have unlimited storage? Or do you keep stuff elsewhere and download as you need it?

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  3. I put my kindle into one of those food bags with a seal on them to read in the bath 🙂

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  4. Good article Sue.
    I love my Kindle too.

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  5. Penny

    Interesting post, thanks Sue. I recall that ‘Uphill All The Way’ on tape was most rewarding so, even though I enjoyed it in book form at first, I am not entirely wedded to page and paper. But would need to have a reason [ie travel] to use a Kindle…. then I feel it might have its advantages. Probably.

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  6. KIT

    Informative post, Sue. I didn’t know you could upload from an Amazon page either. Having treated myself to a Kindle as my Xmas present it’s been worth every penny. I can now read in bed without disturbing other half, I can take plenty of reading matter when I go on trips and holidays, have far less books and bookshelves to dust and if I run out, can buy a new book instantly. What’s not to like? In fact, I can’t find one single disadvantage.

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  7. Pingback: Kindle | Sue Moorcroft writes | adobe ebook reader

  8. Tom

    It may still take me a couple of months to get there Sue but I think I’ve just been converted by your review. I will now definitely check out these wondrous machines whereas before your write up it was ‘just another gimmick’ to me.
    Many thanks,
    Tom

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  9. I endorse everything you’ve said, Sue. I’m still buying print books, especially if they’re keepers or from an author’s backlist which hasn’t yet come out in Kindle. I have been slightly annoyed that many new titles are more expensive in ebook than paperback. I think the publishers need to address this, after all, few people are expecting to pay £10 for an ebook.

    All mine are available for Kindle, and sales are going far better than the print books.

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  10. Lyn McCulloch

    Thought I’d left a comment but WordPress seems to have eaten it. I love my Kindle and have surprised myself by adapting to it seamlessly. However, the one thing I have found is that I realise I am a sociable reader. Whenever I read something I like I pass it on to someone, often my daughter or one of my chambermaids, a friend – it gets lent out. And I have a huge library here for the use of hotel guests. I now find I read something on Kindle and get frustrated that I can’t pass it on. I am in grave danger of buying on Kindle and then buying the same book in p/back for someone else – somewhat self-defeating.
    I do agree with you, Lesley, about pricing. It seems completely random, with some new ebooks coming out at paperback price before the paperback is out (which I love as I never buy hardbacks) and others being ridiculously expensive. I guess this’ll even itself out eventually.
    Still, overall, I love it – am off to Spain next weekend for ten days with only hand luggage and the Kindle solves the panic of which book to take. BUT then, I usually leave books in our house in Spain for other people to read… oh, dear!

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  11. Lyn McCulloch

    PS And one-click buying is lethal. I find myself sitting on the sofa, reading a review and thinking ‘oh, I’ll have that’. 30 seconds later – there it is. MUST STOP BUYING BOOKS!

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  12. Jan

    I agree with all you say about the Kindle, I find I am reading so many more books because they are delivered within seconds. A downside for my bank account though. I do find the pricing inconsistent. I think it is to do with VAT though. I have the 3g/wifi device and I have bought books via 3G as qickly as via wifi.

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  13. Andrew Culture

    One of the reasons I bought my Kindle was to grab as many old and out of copyright books as possible (Twain etc) but it has led to me spending more on new books than ever before. I’ve got the 3G Kindle so wherever I am when I finish reading a book I can imediately grab the author’s next work.

    I also have an iPad but I think my eyes would melt if I tried to read an entire book on it – the kindle screen is so clear I can read it without my glasses on!

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    • 😎 Don’t think I can read anything without my glasses on! But I do like the facility on the Kindle for easily upping the size of the font. I have it set just one step up from the default and it really is comfortable.

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  14. My only gripe is that there are so many things that aren’t available on Kindle and publishers don’t seem to have got a consistent policy about what is and isn’t. I wanted to take Dalrymple’s The White Mughals to India but it isn’t on Kindle. His The Last Mughal is though. Why not both?
    Oh yes, and the amazingly poor proof reading on so many e-book versions.
    Otherwise I think it is great and your post really sums it up

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    • I suppose I buy all contemporary or recent backlist stuff, so that hasn’t happened to me, yet. 🙂 My son downloaded the Kindle app for his Mac to buy some books he needed for uni and was pleased I’d told him how. He said, ‘I live in a digital world.’ I guess I’m half in and half out.

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  15. Liz Harris

    I turned down an offer from my sons of a kindle for Christmas because I love the feel of a book, and I do most of my reading in bed and didn’t fancy curling up with a machine, however compact.

    Your blog makes me wonder whether I made the right decision, and I shall think about it. If I change my mind, it’ll be because last year the books I took on holiday weighed so much more than my clothes, and with tight weight restrictions, the weight of books is a consideration. Now if you could wear a book …

    Liz X

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  16. I’ve taken photos of my Kindle, ready to do a blog post and haven’t got around to it! You beat me to it.

    I love my Kindle too! But I very much doubt I’ll give up paper books. I will definitely not be taking my Kindle on the beach this summer holiday, (not that I get to read much on the beach – the kids usually want something!) but it will be useful to have in the caravan 😀

    What I have enjoyed with my Kindle is putting my own (and friends) WIPs on there and reading them in comfort on my sofa, rather than sitting at my PC and not getting any rest from it.

    I have a great case for my Kindle too, that makes it stand like a frame – great for eating lunch/breakfast and reading.

    Oh and it really is scarily easy to download books, however, what I have liked is downloading some freebies… I now have Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights (paid 71p for that one!) …

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  17. I sometimes buy a book on Kindle then go out and buy a physical copy for my bookshelf, and still some publishers are worried the Kindle will damage their sales – I’ve just doubled them for my purchases!

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  18. I was given a Kindle for Christmas by my poor husband, I say poor as he had to stump up £170 excess baggage at Dubai airport when I my luggage was deemed overweight. He was even more upset when we returned home and he saw 12 books in the suitcase! I didn’t expect to like the Kindle – but now I can honestly say I LOVE it.
    Janice

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  19. Linda Middleton

    Hi Sue
    I’m hoping to get a Kindle for my birthday in a few months. I think it will be perfect for holiday reading – I can take as many books as I like without affecting the luggage allowance and choose to read whatever I want when I get there. Before I get it though I have been trying to whittle down my tbr pile, my house is full of books and I need to declutter the ones that aren’t going to be read again. I have even taken to smuggling new books into the house so my husband won’t see what I’ ve bought – I even also them at work – so being able to buy them online straight to my kindle will be an ideal solution for me. I don’t think it will stop me buying physical books though – just kerb the habit.
    Linda
    Linda

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  20. I recently worked out that if I did nothing other than work through my book backlog it would still take me over two years to get through it!

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  21. I love my kindle, Sue – I’ve had one since October and blogged about it before Christmas because I wanted to spread the word! Although I’ll always love print books, my own first novel comes out in e-book first and since it’s a Canadian publisher, I wanted to easily read books by my fellow authors.

    It’s scarily easy to buy books, which is a good thing for writers, and I’m reading a much wider variety. I actually find the reading screen very soothing on the eyes. I never thought I’d use it for bedtime reading but find it so much more comfortable than holding a heavier book.

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  22. I’ve had one since they first came out in the UK last September. I love it. I write for ebook publishers, so I’ve been reading ebooks for some time. I used to read on my Ipaq 4700, but the Kindle is the one for me. It’s easy on the eyes, I can carry tons of books around with me, and using a free program called Calibre, I can sideload (ie drag and drop from my computer) the ones I already have.
    Even so, I’m greedily eyeing up the Nook Color.

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  23. I’m a fan too. I travel so much for work, it’s a joy not to have to lug 4-5 paperbacks with me. The downside it that as it’s an electronic device, I have to turn it off for takeoff and landing.
    I have just downloaded Want To Know A Secret… lookng forward to reading it.
    Janet X

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  24. I really fancy a Kindle but was aiming to finish my TBR paperbook pile before I got one. After reading your blog, maybe I won’t…

    Thinking about your author page, I’m not sure if my books are available on Kindle. How to I find out?

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    • Hi Sarah,
      On Amazon, put in your name and then, under departments, select Kindle Store. Or, with my books, anyway, the kindle editions come up with all the others when I look under my name in Books. You just look beside the title and it says whether it’s hardback, paperback or Kindle edition. Or select one of your books and there should be a box with all the formats available.

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  25. I am so pleased to read your review and all the comments about the kindle. It’s made me want to rush out and buy one! I Love your whole blog too – loads of interesting insights…

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    • Hello Pat! 🙂

      As to rushing out to buy one, I’d stay home and order one from Amazon, were I you. It comes already dedicated to your Amazon Kindle account. It’s not a big issue to link it to your account yourself if you buy one from Pc World or whatever but I ordered and the machine arrived a couple of days later, even though I went for the free delivery option.

      Thanks for your kind remarks re the blog.

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