Does anyone have a Kindle? As an avid reader I am starting to run out of space in my apartment. I can't throw any away as I have too many favorites that I go back to from time to time. So I was thinking about getting a Kindle.
Does anyone have one? What are your feelings/experiences with using one. I'm all for embracing modern technology, but I do like the feel of a book in my hands.
I would only be using it for leisure, not study.
I'm a computer consultant, software architect and engineer, and developer - an all-around technology geek. And as such, I am very interested in e-readers in general, and have answered many questions about them for friends and family. So, I hope this information helps you in your decision making process...
As you have noticed, the future for reading is e-books and e-readers - and there are two main reasons for this:
** convenience - you can carry thousands of books on my e-reader, and my entire library is available to me online, so I can enjoy them from anywhere, in many ways - from my e-reader, my android smartphone, my laptop, etc.
** cost - the average nook e-book is 20%-70% cheaper. As an example, there is not a single book in the hundreds I own that cost as much as the paper version.
The main point people need to remember is that it isn't WHAT e-reader you use - it's that e-readers are an advancement in how we use books, and this increases readership. I've seen it firsthand. I'm reading much more than before. My children have begun reading more, ever since they borrowed our nooks so they could read books for assignments. Once they used them, my nook goes "missing" often, and I find it in my son's room. This kid never read on his own before. That alone makes the nook worth it.
Libraries now allow you to "check out" e-books, if your reader supports it - the nook does, and I think Kindle and others do too (and if they don't, I guarantee you they will soon). My eldest daughter told me recently that many of her text books are now available electronically, and are much cheaper than buying them - even the used ones.
The future of books are e-books - it's just a matter of when, not if, they reach "critical mass". Once you have decided that you're ready to move into the e-reader world, you need to figure out your reading "profile", or the type of book reader you are. Once you've decided the type of reader you are, the features you want or need, etc. then you can look at the e-readers on the market and choose the best one that fits your profile.
As you know, there are two biggies in the e-reader world: Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They each have their strengths, each have their weaknesses, but each have carved out a niche for themselves in such a way that I think they'll both be setting the standard for e-readers for the foreseeable future. Now, everyone knows about Amazon and what they bring to the table - and they are very successful in conveying what that have to offer via their advertising and marketing.
For me, the best e-reader is the nook from Barnes & Noble (B&N) - and since people don't know as much about them, I thought I'd take a moment to point out the things that attracted me to the nook, and why we chose it over any other e-reader.
We own two nook "First Edition" with 3G and wifi. The 3G is over the AT&T network and allows us to access our libraries or purchase books anywhere, any time.
** the folks at our local B&N know a ton about books. They tend to put people who have a particular interest in a certain genre IN that section to help others or give advice. They also have a dedicated person who is a "nook specialist" who mans the nook kiosk to answer questions for current and prospective nook owners.
** B&N created a strong web presence to rival Amazon (not beat them, they just simply put together an attractive site to sell their wares, and made it easy-to-use like Amazon).
** Instead of pulling back in their B&N stores, or treating the e-books as a different business from the brick & mortar stores, they blended the two in ways that strengthens and blends both offerings. They strengthened the stores with good staff training, emphasizing customer service, made the shopping experience enjoyable for both types of customers, and added some clever tie-ins with the nook e-reader
** They also have a dedicated person who is a "nook specialist" who mans the nook kiosk to answer questions for current and prospective nook owners.
** If you bring your nook into a B&N store you can "browse" any book in there and sit down and read it before you buy it, just like you can with a "real" book.
** You can also check out books on your e-reader at the local library, if you don't want to pay for it.”
** The nook's OS is based on Android. This means that it can be updated very quickly, and is updated regularly. It lets B&N concentrate on what it does best - selling books - and lets the programmers do what they do best. Amazon based their OS on an old version of Android, but they write their own OS now - so they are the only ones that can update their devices.
**The form factor of the nook allows it to support new features via the OS, without the need to change the device itself.
Now you know a bit about the nook - and they have newer versions out now that are even more advanced and impressive. I encourage you to check them out.
So, no matter what you choose (Kindle or nook), I highly recommend e-readers. As you can tell, I am partial to nook, but no matter what your preference is, I think almost everyone will appreciate and enjoy an e-reader if you give it a chance; for my wife and me, we can't imagine reading without ours.”
One other thing: The profile of a "tablet owner" is different than that of an "e-reader owner". For instance, for me I needed something to simply replace the 3-5 books I always carried when traveling, or buying new books on the road. I didn't need the extra stuff tablets do, since I have my Macbook Pro. I also wanted to be able to read in bright light, like sunlight - at the pool, for instance - and tablets are not able to be read in bright light.
Tablets are backlit, are able to have multiple apps on it, and serve more than one purpose - email, surfing the web, etc - and reading books is just one thing you can do with it.
E-readers are not backlit, they use an "e-ink" screen that doesn't give you as much eye-fatigue as backlit devices and computers. Reading an e-ink screen is just like reading a book. E-readers are specific-purpose devices designed to do one thing, and do it well - read books and manage e-book libraries. They are also lighter than tablets and the battery lasts much longer.
So, if you simply want to replace your books and library, get an e-reader. If you want a multipurpose device to take the place of your books AND the way you use your computer, then get a tablet.
I love mine. After getting my Kindle my reading increased immensely. It's the best thing I have ever owned and since I purchased it three years ago.
My family thinks I am nuts but I have the Kindle reading apps for my cell, laptop, work computer, ipad, and home computer. The WhisperSync system allows me to read from anywhere and the best part I never have to figure out where I left off. It syncs to the last page I was on regardless of which device I am using. Another cool thing is the e-ink screen. It doesn't reflect light like the other reading devices. So while everyone else is trying to shade their screens I can read away in utter bliss.
I love my Kindle! I was a bit skeptical at first, because I really do love the feeling of reading a physical book, but I've found that using the Kindle doesn't hamper my reading experience at all. And the battery lasts forever. I haven't charged mine in like three weeks and it isn't even close to dead yet (though to be fair, I haven't been reading on it a whole lot since classes started). Also, you can buy new books for a lot less than they would cost in hardback form.
I'm getting used to my Kindle, and I like it. But I had not realized until recently how prevalent they are in publishing. When I sent the ms. of my second-to-last last novel down to my agent in 2005, it was only after having spent half the day printing it on my "Desk-jet" (hah!) printer and then wrapping it for the mail. When he got it, however, my agent emailed to say, "Oh, no, just send me an e-copy, so that I can zap it over to Random." Those sweet days of NYC bicycle messengers with their satchels are OVER. No one in New York reads a paper ms. anymore. They're all exchanged on Kindles.
My wife got a new one and gave me her old one. It is very nice. It has a few drawback for the clumsy like me - it slips sometimes, and the buttons get inadvertently pushed. I never figured out how to relocate my place when I accidentally lose it. But that is sort of laziness on my part, really. I still like my books, but especially for potboilers and light reading, it's cost effective and saves a lot of space. And many, many classic titles are free. it's also very good for reading txt and word files for, in my case, research projects. You can read PDFs with some fuss, which is fine for quick scans of scholarly docs, but I always end up keeping a copy on my computer for real reference. Again, all in all it's a good investment, I think. Like MP3s, though, if I want a real listening experience I will track down the CD. If I want the real, winter's evening on the couch with a coffee and a McCarthy experience, I will track down the real deal.
Have had a Kindle for about two years and I really like it. It has all the great qualities mentioned above. In my own experience I have found that while I enjoy it, I am still pretty attached to books. I am often reading several books at once, a very bad habit, and the Kindle makes this habit even worse, because I have a lot of books on it and I am reading many of them at once. It makes it too easy to support my bad habit of reading too many at one time. So if you are a serial reader like me it might not be a good idea but if not, I think you will really appreciate the Kindle or any eReader.
I have one and its fantastic. I do love it because I am a student tho - I can send all sorts of articles, essays, my own essays and notes to it and you can underline stuff and have it all cut and pastable from Amazon. The draw backs are that new books will only cost slightly less than print copies and much more than second hand copies. Books with are now in the Public domain are either free or very cheap tho - entire works of Dickens, Shakespeare etc - 74p in the UK.
I don't think that the Kindle will supplant books to any significant degree, at least for those who really like to read, but it does augment the reading experience in convenient ways. What I like especially is the chance to download free samples of books that I may have heard about to read at leisure. Borrowing books from a library for the Kindle is a big plus, too. As a writer, I like to upload a work-in-progress to the device so that I may have a fresh look at it, which invites insights. But, again as a writer, I am concerned about the uncertain future that e-commerce represents for book sales and compensation. The standard royalty on hardcover fiction is about 10% for the first 10,000 copies and somewhat higher percentages after that. Obviously, 10% of $25 is a lot more than 10% of $6.99.
This year, for the first time, all incoming students at Yale's medical school will receive an iPad, which will replace most paper texts.
Do see Sam Harris's recent blog post: "The Future of the Book."
I have a slightly different take. First, I think e-readers will eventually make books all but obsolete, except in specific instances where an e-book is not appropriate or usable (not sure what that would be, but I'm sure it exists). Sure, for those people who grew up with books this won't be the case - the older you are, the more set you are in your ways - and usually the more technophobic, or techavoident you tend to be. But for the kids growing in the high-tech era, reading from an e-reader screen will be very natural - and they will scoff at a traditional book the way a computer user would scoff at a typewriter. Once the current and future generations of kids mature, it will spell doom for widespread sales of printed books.
Currently Kindles cannot use e-books from libraries; nooks can, however, and libraries are quickly adopting alternative formats that the Kindle can handle.
I am also an author, and once again I view it a bit differently than you. Where I understand your lamenting the loss of royalties, let's be honest - it won't be that different overall. Additionally the benefits to authors for the e-book market far outweighs the disadvantages.
First, the slight loss in royalties is made up for by the fact that you will almost certainly see increased sales. Your book will reach a wider audience, as it is much easier to sell it in other markets, areas, etc.
Second, you don't have to worry about inventory - both for running out of inventory if you happen to hit a bestseller, and you don't take the royalty HIT taken when stock is returned - this is a cost hit to royalties that authors seem to forget about.
Third, if you are an author who has yet to be published, it is much easier to get your book out there for people to sample and read, and eventually find your work. I can tell you that I have discovered quite a few new authors via my nook by reading their first novels (many put them up there for free), and have purchased subsequent works from them because of this. In fact, I know of a couple of authors that have gotten traditional publishing deals because of the sales experienced for works they've originally self-published.
Fourth, because it is so easy to self-publish - anyone can get an ISBN for a book now - you really "cut out the middleman" and put your works out there yourself. There is already services blooming to help serve the self-published author, and I can see these offerings increasing - for such things as copy editing and tech editing where appropriate (and many authors NEED a good copy editor ;) ). Because you can self-publish and get larger profit margins on your work, and this definitely offsets the loss in margins for royalties in traditionally published works.
Like I said, there simply isn't any future in traditionally published books. There will always be a niche market for them - just like there is for vinyl record albums and 35mm cameras - but the mass market appeal of traditionally published books will eventually fade away, and of that I have no doubt.