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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Love Affair (With My Kindle)

Can I just say, again, how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Kindle?

How in the world did I function before I got this thing?

And the weirdest thing is, I figured I'd be the last person in the world to fall for an electronic book reading device. HA! Made a fool out of me! (but wouldn't be the first time)

I've already got like 62 books and short stories downloaded to this thing. And to put that in perspective, I've only had my Kindle since JANUARY 2011.

Or put another way, I've probably got 10 years worth of reading already downloaded to my Kindle yet the insatiable hunger to keep finding and downloading continues.

Granted, the vast majority of my downloads are free, because you can download tons of classic books for free. Having recently finished Tolstoy's War and Peace, I'm very anxious to begin reading Anna Karenina, which I heard is even better still. But I had to set rules for myself--I can't start Anna Karenina until I finish Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, which I confess is going slowly and I haven't quite figured out what's going on in that book yet.

Despite the free downloads I mentioned above, one of the most exciting things to me as a consumer is that with the power of Kindle, I now can be a book-buying consumer MORE than when my only option was paper books.

This may not make sense to someone else, but I have always felt guilty that I can't buy more books. As a writer, I understand that selling books brings home the bacon. And I love contributing by purchase of books. There's only one problem with that. I also enjoy having a roof over my head and food on the table and having a car to get back and forth to work in. That means near zero book budget. What money I have had to spend on books has gone to books I buy for my research, not fiction works.

But Kindle has begun to change that. And I have been seeing very rapid changes in Kindle offerings. I remember complaining to someone that the old blue-spine Hardy Boys books were not available on Kindle. Then, I kid you not, within the next week, they began to appear. Ditto when I first started looking for James Michener on Kindle--he wasn't there at first. But I'm pleased as punch to say I just ordered a copy of Chesapeake today for $7. SEVEN. Much cheaper than the average price of $13-15 for a paperback book (though you can buy used Michener books for around the $7-8 figure--minus the portability).

HINT TO AMAZON AND PUBLISHERS: I'd really like it if you'd make Michener's TEXAS available for Kindle too. 8-)

So now I have tons of books to read on the go AND I feel like a contributing consumer.

Not all e-book prices are reasonable though--you have to search for the best deals. For me, anything over $10 is immediately off the table, but I'm willing to consider books in the $6-8 range and, for something I desperately want, I'd go the $9.99 route, and you can find a lot of books with the $9.99 sticker.

The big question mark for me is non-fiction. On the one hand, I'd love to see offerings from the University of Oklahoma Press, and others who specialize in the kind of research books I love, make their books available on Kindle for the portability. The only problem is that with these types of books, you don't read them cover to cover--you flip to the pages you need. That would be hard to do with an e-reader. Perhaps they'll find a way to make this easier with future generations of e-readers.

All I know is that I adore my Kindle. To my sisters, if you should ever happen to visit this blog, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART for opening this new opportunity for me.

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