Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Thoughts on my new Kindle e-reader

Y'all may remember I posted pics for my trip to finally purchase a Kindle e-reader. I'd held off a long while, but finally I just couldn't stand my curiosity any longer.

My Kindle sat around for a couple of weeks before I downloaded any books, then it sat around another couple weeks before I read anything on it. Although I was curious, the Kindle on my bedside table didn't compel me to open it and read like my printed books always did.

However, once I finally opened my first ever Kindle book (How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal) and began reading, I quickly "forgot" I was reading from a device. This, I admit, amazed me. I fully did not expect to have this "forgetting" and thought the reading would instead feel awkward. Nope, I read along happily and was fully into the story, never thinking "Huhn, I'm reading on a device and not a book;" well, perhaps I did think this from time to time, but not in a negative way, for the reading experience itself--getting into the story and characters--felt the same as with the printed book.

When I was out of town in Baton Rouge/Paulina, Louisiana, I took along my Kindle, and this, my good friends, is another positive experience for e-readers. I didn’t have to lug along books, which really isn’t so bad if I am reading one book; however, I have been out of town, finished a book, and didn’t have another one with me, or began a book and decided I wasn't in the mood for that one afterall. With my Kindle, I have as many books as I wish to read at my fingertips, and when I fly, with baggage weight fees, taking along a Kindle instead of books/manuscripts will be invaluable.

But the most wonderful thing about my Kindle that made it full worth the price (I bought the wifi version for $139.00) is how I am able to upload my draft manuscripts to my Kindle and read my own work (alternatively, I can upload an author's book I will be 'blurbing/endorsing' without having to have a printed copy). This is, and will be, an invaluable tool for my work. Reading the work in different ways always allows me to catch things I may not see in my word doc, or the printed one. I uploaded the draft of VK III to read (so easy to do!) and it allowed me to "see" things I wanted to work on, and to experience where I had things where I wanted them. I love this! I'll be able to read my galley (last chance to proof) on the printed copy, word doc, and on my Kindle. Shazam!

However, what I missed about reading a printed book is the feel of the book, the heft of the pages, the smell of books, yes, but as well, with an e-reader, I miss the colorful spines on my shelf, and the beautiful covers on my nightstand. Also, while reading printed books, the author's name and the title of the book are at the top of every page—not so with my Kindle (unless there is a setting I am missing?)—and with my pea-headed black holed brain, I sometimes forget who I am reading and what the title is!

Without the visual of the printed colorful covers/spines on my bookshelf/nightstand, and without the author’s name and title of book at the top of the pages, there is this distance between me and the work and the author, and that does bother me. I look for some distance from the author when I am into the reading of the book, but upon picking up the book from my nightstand, and then closing it when I am finished reading for the night (or the end of the book), or even as I subconsciouly note the title/author at the top of the page, I do not want that distance, I then want the connection, which is somewhat missing from my Kindle e-reader experience. That's a flaw I do not  know how to remedy or if it will work itself out.

All in all, I’m finding the experience a positive one. Which is why I will also say that I don’t mind paying a decent fair price for my Kindle books I purchase—perhaps not as much as I pay for a printed book that I can place on my shelf, but I consider the experience of reading the same joy on my e-reader that I do on the Kindle.

What about you? Thoughts on e-readers?


TC said...

I wondered how the "kindle experience" was going. I still haven't made the plunge yet, food processor (yes I don't have one, I don't believe in excessive kitchen gadgets) and ipod are still on my wish list too....I want the $189 kindle. I think I can do many pc related things with it? It says it has a type of browser?

June Kramin said...

I just blogged about loving my Nook Color. I never thought I'd make the switch to e - let alone love it! Glad you like your kindle!

john bord said...

Guttenburg's process changed the way life was viewed. The electronic devices are doing the same.

If it had not been for the German, I would have hand written books lining my shelves.

A piece of plastic/screen sitting on shelves/stands does not have the ambiance of a book.

Yet like the electronic devices. life has changed. Is it good or bad, depends how they are used.

I guess now it will be e-worms, no longer will there be book worms. Heaven forbid, I hope not. A life without books, that's like walking around without clothes.

Kathleen Boston McCune said...

As usual, your overall evaluations are so complete it is difficult to find anything missing.....well done you!

Judith Mercado said...

Judy's plan for May had always been to get a Kindle. Ms. Kathryn just reminded her to do it already, for crying out loud!

Jessica Nelson said...

I didn't think I'd want one but I'm starting to change my mind. I know reading on my computer is distracting because of the lighting but I've heard e-readers are different...interesting food for thought here. Thanks Kathryn! :-)

Michelle Teacress said...

I still haven't given in yet, and don't know if I ever will - though I'm sure there would be some things I love about it.

Catching up on your posts...boy, I bet no one is bored when you're around. ;)

Kristan said...

Honestly I had the exact same reaction and gradual transformation as you. It will be interesting to see how many people embrace it (or not) in the years to come.

Glynis said...

Still on the fence. I am using Kindle on the pc, but miss curling up in bed with a book.

I do suspect I will get one for Christmas, DH keeps mentioning the Kindle, and would it be useful to me.

Now you have said about reading your work on one, maybe I shall give in. I think I would have to have a cover, so it opens like a book though.

Glad you are enjoying yours.

Sherry G. Dewees said...

I didn't think I would like my kindle either, but after lugging around a 900 page book, I LOVE MY KINDLE!! I can put it in my purse and have my book(s) right in my hand!! I do sometimes miss the feel of a book, but, then I feel how much lighter my Kindle is and that makes me like it even more! (and my Kindle even saves the page, so I don't have to keep up with a bookmark!) :D

Mimi said...

Congrats on your Kindle!
Sorry I've not been around for so long, busy time.
Lol re you forgetting who and what you're reading. But I can see how the kindle will help in your work.
My friend got a kindle, and found herself trying to turn the pages of her "book"! She didn't think she'd like it, but now loves it!

Karen said...

I don't have one yet, but I didn't know you could upload your MS! That sounds great, especially for trips. thanks

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb Shucka said...

I didn't realize Kindle offered the option of downloading your own stuff. That makes it pretty tempting for me. Mostly I just don't want one badly enough to spend the money - yet.

Connie T. said...

I can download e-books from my library and read them on my computer. I like real books better. I like the bookmarker in it where I left off. I like to flip back to read parts of the book. I like to skip over the boring parts. I like to flip to the back and read the ending first sometimes. I am reading "And the there were none" by Agatha Christie. I am always flipping to the 10 little indians poem to see how they die. It would be hard with a Kindle.

CathrynLouis said...

I love it for reference books. I've got my whole writerly library on it. Love the lighted cover so that I can read in the dark. You're right about uploading manuscripts - that rocks!

Reading for fun is a little bit hard to get used to. You know what I miss the most? The smell of the paper. And how it mingles with the coffee when I'm reading. Weird - never knew I noticed it until it wasn't there. :)

Barbara Forte Abate said...

I am probably the most ridiculous Kindle owner on record. I received mine as a Christmas gift and took over a year to put anything on it. As a firmly planted and absolute lover of ink and paper books, in the back of my mind was the insistence that to pick up that new and shimmering device was akin to cheating -- having a shameful affair with the new guy on the block.

Needless to say, when curiosity won out and I at long last downloaded my first book (okay, I admit it was my own novel -- but, hey, it felt amazing and wonderful to christen my device with my own words!) my experience unfolded much like yours, Kat. It is fabulous and incredibly awesome for multiple reasons, just as it not for others. My final consensus? I'm happy to have it, just as I'm thrilled to have my piles of print books at bedside and lining my shelves. After a reluctant start, I've decided there's ample room for both in my life.

Anthony Lee Collins said...

But the most wonderful thing about my Kindle that made it full worth the price (I bought the wifi version for $139.00) is how I am able to upload my draft manuscripts to my Kindle and read my own work
Yes, exactly. This is the main thing I use it for (well, and I'm finding it the best way to read the NY Times every morning). Amazon doesn't advertise it as a tool for writer (they don't make money when you load your own stuff, obviously), but it's a great good one. I'm about to read and comment on a 550-page draft of a YA novel a friend is writing, and I'll just carry it around on my Kindle. Beats carrying around a manuscript. :-)

Carol N Wong said...

I just got a Kindle last week. It took a while to figure how to load the books because the instructions didn't quite match. It is the cheapie. I still haven't received any of the advertizing they said that I would get.

Carol Wong

rosaria said...

My guess is that we will have both, electronic devices to download info, books, pictures, and hard copies, the stuff we like to keep around, pack around and see on our shelves. How else do we get inspired to re-read something but seeing it on our shelves, on on a bookstore's shelf.

We still keep LP's around, don't we?

Terri Tiffany said...

Good point about not connecting with the author as much. I tend to study the cover of a book each time I pick it up and then of course see the name of the author again.
Still not convinced I want one. Maybe some day:)

Eryl said...

I got a Kindle for my birthday recently, I don't think I'd have bought one for myself, but I love it. I can upload my own work and, even better, my student's work and make notes on it in bed. I can use it to read blogs, and other web content, and check my emails away from my computer, and it's much easier on the eyes than a computer screen. Two major plusses, for me, are: its light weight doesn't bother my arthritic thumbs, I can really struggle with heavy books; and I don't need to wear my specs to read it. The thing I like best about it, though, is reading in the garden: no matter how breezy it gets I never lose my page.

I found a blog today called Kindle Vixen which had all sorts of useful tips such as how to back up your e-library.

NCmountainwoman said...

I love my Kindle, but it is not my primary reading source. I buy just as many books as before.

The major complaint I have with Kindle is that flipping back and forth between pages is cumbersome. And, like you, I miss having the title in sight. I have lots of poetry, biography, short story collections and classics on the Kindle...great when you are waiting for appointments and the like. Wish I'd had one back in the days of taking kids to their activities.

Jill of All Trades said...

I have my Kindle for a few years now and I do love it. It has been to Ireland with me and it was awesome for the translatlantic crossing. I do still LOVE real books and I'm a collector of books so I'm torn. I still will buy books but now I only buy them if I want to keep them for my collection. If I just want a read then Kindle is for me. I have a few authors that I have all of their stuff ;) in print. Kindle, it's a good thing.

Marguerite said...

Congrats on taking the plunge! I love my Kindle and wonder how I ever lived without it! E-books are awesome and are the wave of the future, cher!

Guess you've heard by now. They opened the Morganza Spillway today, and are force flooding the whole Atchafalaya Corridor, to keep Baton Rouge and N.O. from flooding. I did a post about it. So sad!

Kerry said...

I have wondered how you liked the Kindle; it's very interesting to hear your take on it as an author. I didn't realize you could load it with your own docs, and can see how that would be very helpful.
I can see how it would be a great thing to take along on a trip, although I don't like to be dependent on battery-operated things.
I can't see how illustrations would be nearly as effective on a screen as they are on paper, although perhaps I'm wrong.

Slurryoffagrape said...

WHY didn't I think of loading My Buk into my beloved Kindle reader? (A worthless thing, .... a half-written VERY rough draft carved out in the frenzy of Nanowrimo 2009 (But I did two-finger type 30,708 words in 12 days!!!))
A great idea.
Kevin (UK)