Kate's Kindle Diary Day 1
My Kindle has had quite a journey – first to my parents’ in Merseyside, then to Spain, the reason being that you can’t choose to have a UK Kindle (with access to the UK titles in the shop) if you live here in Espana. Not sure of the logic of this, and I can’t imagine Europeans generally being too pleased at being linked to the US shop, but there we are.
Unpacked it in a hurry - the box said it was 'certified frustration-free packaging' which struck me as irritating. I was going to post a shot of the box but then I got a grip.
There are more techie reviews and macro close ups of the thing than you can shake a stick at on the web, and mine looks exactly the same as everyone else's. Kinda grey. What I want to do here is to talk about how it’s affecting my reading habits, so I will only say that, no, I didn't cut myself on the cutesy cardboard box and yes, the type/e-ink is amazingly clear and book-like from the moment you see the thing (the picture shows a close-up of the screen), and yes, it felt solid but light in my hand. Not pretending to be a book at all, but with enough familiarity to make the connection clear.
Initially I downloaded lots of freebie classics – including Winnie the Pooh. The illustrations looked great. But I didn't quite feel the same enthusiasm for starting on Crime and Punishment. OK, it's brilliant that the Kindle stays the same weight once I have thousands of pages of Russian Literature available to me, but embarking on a Great Work is no less daunting for that.
Hmm, I thought. Maybe I need to read something more contemporary. Shall I download The Help? Or Stephen Fry’s latest? Somehow the choice of my first paid for book seemed Significant.
It was only after reading this Guardian piece that I found the ‘read a sample’ button on the amazon page – I swear I am normally more observant but there are a lot of buttons on the right of the amazon page!
Well, that was me. Off!
Went on a downloading frenzy and, in particular, was seeking out books that had been reviewed in the weekend papers. So in went When the Lights Went Out by Andy Beckett, about the 1970s, Whoops! by John Lanchester and The Blitz by Juliet Gardiner. I can’t help thinking that Amazon should have a page for ‘featured in the papers’ with hotlinks to the reviews, as there’s something rather cool about reading a review, clicking onto Amazon and buying, within the space of a few moments. On Me and My Big Mouth (in an article originally published five years ago), Scott Pack insists that reviews don't sell books. I wonder if this might change, at least for those who live online?
Not that I have bought anything yet! No, I am still sampling away. My library includes:
Classics: Anna Karenina; Madame Bovary; Dracula; Diary of a Nobody; Crime and Punishment; The Moonstone; The Phantom of the Opera and A Christmas Carol. All free.
Children’s: The Jungle Book, Grimm’s Fairy Stories and Winnie-the-Pooh (again, all free)
Samples: oh, yes, this is the biggie: When the Lights Went Out; Whoops!; The Blitz; Agent Zigzag; Operation Mincemeat; Eat Pray Love; Freedom; Nothing to Envy; Mini Shopaholic; The Help; Sister; Room; The Legacy and A Place of Secrets.
Interesting, for me at least, that I am really open to sampling non-fiction when my usual reading is predominantly novels. Not sure how many will transfer into purchases. Or why – perhaps it’s because non-fic books are generally so heavy to buy in print? Having said that, you presumably miss out on photos (unless they are reproduced in the full versions).
Samples downloaded: 14
Money spent: £0
Day 1 conclusions: samples are like crack. As a reader, it’s fun to flit between books. As an author, it might lead to fewer sales as the reader is spoiled for choice – or maybe the iTunes effect will apply and people will be buying like billy-o, electronically, as it’s so much less painful than handing over real cash or using Amazon’s new choice of courier, Home Delivery Network which has, to put it mildly, ‘mixed reviews.’ And unread books will be less intimidating on the Kindle than on the about-to-topple-over, guilt-inducing to be-read-pile on the bedside table.
What do you reckon?