Kindle from an author's perspective

After a reading yesterday, a friend of a friend whipped out her Kindle -- the Amazon digital book thingy -- and downloaded Rapture Ready! I’m not sure how the store that hosted the reading felt about that, but as an author, I certainly approved of how the device enabled an impulse purchase.

On the other hand, it was weird to see the design of the book homogenized to match the Kindle aesthetic. After all the back and forth I had with my publisher about everything from the cover to the type design, it was disappointing to know that some people will be reading the book in the purely utilitarian Kindle design. I know the essence of a book is in its words, which remain intact, but surely the experience of a book has something to do with its look and feel in your hands, and at the risk of sounding like an anti-technology crank (which I’m not!), I do feel like something is lost in this new format.

4 Comments

Testing commenting.

I purchased Rapture Ready a few days ago on my Kindle. I was on a camping trip, no computer along, out in the woods, and what a treat that impulse purchase was! Great book, btw.

Since I bought my Kindle back in January, I’ve been doing most of my reading on it. Several non-Kindling friends of mine grumble that electronic books cheapen the experience of reading, but I gotta say, I’m hooked on the thing and enjoy it every bit as much as reading a “real” paper and ink book. Plus, my bookshelves are literally packed to the point where I could not shove one more book in there if I had to - and now I don’t.

For me, the biggest downside is that you really can’t loan out a Kindle book once you’re done with one. I’ve been raving about your book to my like-minded friends, but they’ll have to buy their own copy if they want to read it.

‘After all the back and forth I had with my publisher about everything from the cover to the type design...’

In that case, I feel I must compliment you on the overall look of the book itself. It caught my eye in the shop (Shiny things! I can’t help it.) and I snapped it up. I’ve only read the first hundred pages, so I can’t quite comment on the whole text yet, however, I’m completely engrossed already.

I bought your book through my Kindle and am reading it now on both that and my iPhone (via the iPhone Kindle app). There’s something immensely satisfying to me to be able to pull out my iPhone and pick up where I left off on the Kindle an hour or two before, no matter where I am physically. It almost feels as if the book exists in some other world, and my devices just allow me to access it at will from anywhere.

I admit, the cover design of your book is what initially caught my eye--but even then, I saw it for the first time online on Amazon. Weeks later I saw it in a Barnes & Noble and paused to look at it for a few minutes. Other than that, I had no impulse to own the physical copy. It’s the content that grabbed me.

I have lots of probs w/the Kindle, but they’re more about digital rights and tying up content so that the consumer doesn’t really “own” it even after paying for it. As far as access to a vast library, however, yay for ebooks!

2008 Daniel Radosh    Design: Pat Broderick     Programming: Kevin Shay