Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kate's Kindle Diary Day 5 and beyond: Don't go changing...

Due to a nasty autumn bug, I've been able to share more quality time in bed with my Kindle. After nine days with my grey companion, I think I am on safe ground saying that it’s more than a flash in the gadget pan... I have found my perfect e-reading match.
He might be simple. He might be a little limited. Too matt, bordering on dull at times. But, in the (supremely patronising) words of Mr Joel, I don't want clever conversation.
I love you just the way you are!

I really look forward to picking K up, and to selecting something to read that exactly suits my mood. No different from having a shelf-ful of glorious books, I guess except that a) I don’t normally buy lots of new hardbacks on the off chance I might like them enough to read past the first chapter and b) if I have too many books on the bedside table it generally freaks me out and makes me feel very guilty.

Yeah, just like Billy J, I do like the fact that the Kindle is a one trick pony. It makes it hard for me to do anything BUT read – laptops and iPads have so many other distractions, but the Kindle is for reading and I actually think it might even improve my attention span, which has been seriously eroded by surfing. There’s no over-functionality here. It does what it’s meant to. OK, there’s a browser but the temptation to check email is severely diminished by the fact that it's a terrible faff.

Sample downloading is my new vice, but it is definitely encouraging me to embrace new genres and new authors – though, crucially, I still haven’t bought anything. I will, honest. But for now, I am enjoying the pick ‘n’ mix qualities of the Kindle.

As for what it means for writers, well, many smarter people than me are pronouncing on this. I do think that that first fifty pages, always absolutely critical, becomes even more important now. In conventional bookstores, it’s the cover, the blurb on the back and the first page that seal the deal, especially for newer/less well-known authors. The e-reading fraternity have more to go on, so a cracking first paragraph must be followed by fifty more pages up to the same standard. Once I do purchase, I will be pretty sure I want to stay with that author.

Niggles – well, it does feel weird to be restricted to the UK store. I understand all about rights – a lot of my income comes from selling my work in different territories (countries or regions) – but I wanted to look at How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely (a novel, rather than a self-help book, though obviously I would love to know how to do it myself) the other day, and while it’s been published in the US, it doesn’t arrive here till next May. Somehow the question of different rights in different territories seems less relevant and more archaic when you’re downloading. I don't think rights should necessarily be changed or relaxed, because they are so important for the publishing industry, but it's an issue.
Final statistics:
Samples downloaded: 47
Classics: 8
Children's classics: 4
Money spent: £0

Oh, and one final whinge. Where’s Scrabble? The Americans have been able to download it for a while now, yet there’s no sign of it here yet. Grr.
***Mumbles off moaning whose language is it anyway. Then goes onto Kindle store to search for books about the invention of Scrabble/global English etc etc etc.


Blogger Lorna F said...

Hi Kate - I agree with all you're saying here. I got a Kindle for my birthday and absolutely love it - I wrote a post about it on my blog http://literascribe.blogspot.com

9:01 pm  

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