Thanks to Billy at Chapter and Verse for the Pico de Arte Award. I am honored and humbled. Thank you very much Billy.
The criteria for the award is as follows:
To inspire others with their creative energy and talents. This can be through writing, artwork, design, interesting material or contribution to the bigger community. It is a special honour to receive it.
I am passing this along to the following bloggers. These are all places I visit regularly and I always find thoughtful, creative posts that teach me something.
The Electric Orchid Hunter
On another completely different note, I've been thinking lately about my Kindle. Yes, I bought a Kindle a few months ago after my Uncle Denis got one and I developed Kindle envy. I'd always looked at the Kindle as a supplement, not a replacement for actual physical books and to be truthful, I didn't do much with it for quite a while. My original thought was that it would be great to have when I'm traveling and I really wish this was something I could have had during the years when I was traveling over 50% of the time. I'm always pretty weighed down with reading material any time I'm going somewhere for more than an overnight trip. Lately, I've started using it more and the ability to have more books than I could ever possibly read available to me on one small device is great, but there are so many other cool things I can do with it that I'm not sure too many people know about. Here are some of my favorites:
1. The font is adjustable. I have finally come to the point where my near vision is starting to go. I can still read without reading glasses, but I finally broke down and got a pair and I find myself reaching for them more often than not when I settle in at night to read. I don't need them when I'm reading the Kindle.
2. There's a built in New Oxford American Dictionary. When I come across a word I'm not sure about, all I need to do is highlight the word is and the definition pops up.
3. There's a search function. If I'm reading and run across a reference I'm not familiar with (a name, a literary reference, a foreign phrase, a place, a book title, etc.), I can type it into search and I have the option to search the Kindle, the dictionary, Wikipedia or the web. When I run into something I'd like to research when I'm reading an actual book, I rarely remember to check it out later, so it is extremely useful to be able to do it while I'm reading.
4. The wireless service used to download books from Amazon and to perform searches comes with the unit as part of the admittedly high purchase price -- there's no further service fee. The account also comes with a Kindle email address, so I can send documents and pictures to the Kindle. The literary agent, Kristen Nelson loves this feature because it allows her to send client manuscripts to the Kindle, rather than schlep tons of paper around.
5. I can highlight text and/or add my own notes about it and it's saved. The "clips" I save are available on the Kindle home page and the highlighted text and the page it appears on are included in the clip file.
6. One of my favorite things about the Kindle is that if I'm interested in buying a book, I can download a sample of the first few pages of the book for free. This lets me check out the author's style and get the feel of the book. If it doesn't hook me, I haven't lost anything. If I want to buy it, the Kindle is connected to my one-click account and I have it within a minute.
7. Here's one that I am shocked that Amazon hasn't been playing up as a marketing tool. Buying ebooks is not only less expensive than buying brand new paper books, but it is an almost entirely green alternative. An enormous amount of resources are used to print, store, pack and ship paper books. There's the paper itself, not to mention the fuel required to truck and deliver books around the country and around the world.
There are quite a few more things that you can do with it that I either haven't tried yet or don't know about, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the usefulness of this ebook reader.
I'm curious about your thoughts on the Kindle or other ebook readers. Since the Kindle's release, I've been surprised at some of the hysterical, bordering on irrational posts and comments I've read about it. I accept that most of us love the feel of a real book and we're reluctant to make a shift. I love "real" books too and I foolishly continue to buy them and really ought to stop since I do have the Kindle. Writers in particular seem to have a huge fear that ebooks will be a bad thing. The first fear expressed is that people will pirate free copies of the book. Frankly, I think that's not a big concern. Secure purchasing has been worked out for music and software already and it's inevitable that there will be some pirating, but I doubt seriously that it will have any greater impact than shoplifting does. In fact, people lend physical books out all the time and it isn't really possible for me to lend the books I download to my Kindle to anyone, so in some ways, it could stimulate more book sales. The other part of the ebook model that I think should be encouraging is that since the cost of selling an ebook is next to nothing compared to the production and distribution of physical books, and since the price point for ebooks, although lower than for physical books is still relatively high, the profit margin to the publisher on ebooks is logically far greater. This could potentially do two things. Publishers could choose to purchase more titles, since the risk associated with producing and shipping physical copies is drastically reduced, and/or they could choose to allocate more money toward promotion and marketing.
Now there are a couple of obvious downsides to the Kindle specifically. The first is that it's obviously a proprietary device designed to only work with Amazon. The second is that there are quite a few ergonomic improvements they could make. The thing really looks more like an early computerized toy than a modern piece of technology. And the third is that it's pretty pricey, which is normal for any new technology device. The first DVD players, .mp3 players, digital cameras, etc. were all two or three or twenty times more expensive than they later became.
There were plenty of people who claimed they'd never download music and yet the majority of people in the country have an iPod or some form of .mp3 player. We resisted most technological advances and yet, the useful ones have all been adopted.
So what say you readers and writers? Are you one of those who will never consider using an ebook reader? Do you use one now? Do you see them as a threat or as a good thing for writers?