I Bought A Kindle

I bought a Kindle. This was the culmination of a long decision-making process, capped suddenly by an impulse buy. Once I started reading I felt immediately happy with the device, and I suspect I’ll be using it a lot.

If you’ve read Litkicks over the years, you probably know about my history of mixed feelings about this device. On the day the Kindle was announced (with a lot of manufactured fanfare, including the cover of Newsweek) I called it a loser, loser, loser. I was mainly referring to two big problems: it cost $400, and it was gigantic.

Three and a half years later, Amazon has solved both problems. The device now costs $139, and it is small enough to fit in my jeans pocket. Therefore, I don’t think I was wrong when I originally called the Kindle a loser. I think Amazon listened to me and fixed the problems.

Still, looking back over the years, I suppose I have displayed deeply conflicted feelings about the Kindle and about e-book technology in general, and I must admit that I have occasionally changed my mind. I once objected to the fact that e-book readers feel cold and glassy in my hands, but I’m happy to report that the new Kindle does manage to feel warm and (slightly) flexible, which makes a difference. I still don’t care about missing that book smell; I never sat around sniffing my books in the first place. I also care about DRM, and I care about keeping my books when I change devices; I’m still not sure how these concerns of mine will play out over time.

Regardless, it’s a fact that electronic publishing is hot and getting hotter these days, and that many independent or entrepreneurial authors are getting excited (maybe overly excited) about it. I am too, and I’m probably going to start doing some e-book publishing of my own soon. I’m not going to restrict myself to the Kindle format — I hope anything I publish will be available on the Kobo, Nook, iPad, etc. etc. as well. But I guess the Kindle will be a good place for me to start experimenting.

And, just for the record, this is not the first e-book reader I’ve owned. I’m way ahead of all of you. I’m one of about ten people alive today who owned a RocketBook Reader (they gave me a free one, and it was terrible) back in 2001.

9 Responses

  1. Hi Levi,
    I recently became a

    Hi Levi,

    I recently became a convert too.

    I got an iPad and it has iBook and I also downloaded the Kindle reader. I am favorably impressed.

    One thing that’s not too major is the page numbering. Because font size can be changed, there is no set page numbering for the books. But I hear the Kindle software is dealing with that.

    I love being able to download books instantly and have them to read. I never liked having to wait for shipping. I liked to buy at the store and have it. But now bookstores are closing down.

    I love that Gutenberg has all sorts of books that can be downloaded in Kindle or ePub form.

    An example of how great this is is how I was looking through Wikipedia lists of Newberry award books and there was a link to “it’s Like This Cat” which I fondly remember from youth. I was able to download it free for kindle and had a pleasant time reading it.

    It was boom — immediate.

    I also love how this is so open for selling books. One doesn’t need be part of a major publishing house.

    With this in mind and in moving forth LitKicks publications, has anyone used the software to turn a manuscript in to an ebook. Amazon has the software freely available. I also am asking if anyone knows software to turn documents in to ePub format.

  2. Levi, I think you made a good
    Levi, I think you made a good move. But I also predict that the future of epublishing won’t be kindle or anything like that, because of the unnecessarily complex formatting issues. It will be subscriptions online, or something like that. We’ll see…

  3. Well, this is something new.
    Well, this is something new. Congratulations on your new thing! I have noticed over the past year or so of Kindle reading that I spread my reading pretty evenly across books and Kindle. But the Kindle has totally taken over anything that used to come to me via a subscription.

    One of my favorite things with the Kindle is when I’m just sitting in some restaurant somewhere and decide to buy a book and read through my meal right there. Really a great thing to be able to do. That right there is the big basic benefit of a Kindle.

  4. I started with the Kindle 2
    I started with the Kindle 2 but traded it in for the Kindle 3 a couple months ago. The Kindle 2 was too glossy and didn’t feel right to me; I was always conscious of the device while reading and didn’t enjoy long-form reading at all (I did love reading magazines on it, however). I’m a full convert now that I have the Kindle 3. It’s light and small enough that I’m hardly ever conscious of the device, the screen is brighter and easier to read, and reading novels and other long-form books is great. You are right that the tactile feel of a reading device matters — I can’t imagine reading a novel on an iPad, but on the Kindle, it’s a nice experience.

    I’ve been pondering many of the issues you bring up in this article (on my blog and elsewhere) and I find that I am still conflicted over whether or not DRM and other technological issues will affect ebooks and ereaders negatively or if it’s still too early to say. I do think that right now, trends are moving towards locked-in platforms tied to certain devices, but I hope that begins to change.

    Hope you enjoy your Kindle!

  5. I too have mixed feelings
    I too have mixed feelings about this device. I don’t travel much, and I am still pretty much a purist when it comes to books. I am not much into the smell, either, but i like books that are visually pleasing. somehow the Kindle lacks character, but it is certainly convenient. I know dinosaur attitudes such as mine are on the way out, but i will hold on as long as I can.

  6. Levi, when the Kindle first
    Levi, when the Kindle first came out, Liz and I made Last of the Moccasins available on it. No one has bought it and I don’t know anyone with a Kindle. We’ve never been able to figure out how to lower the price. As an experiment we put it at $6.99 which seems a little high these days.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!