Monday, June 6, 2011

I Buy a Kindle

(Please see Peggy Tibbetts' post re Kindles and other eReaders, if you haven't read it yet!)

Anyone who read my previous blog entry regarding tech already knows I’m a “late-adapter”. I have a desktop computer which uses the Windows XP OS and WORD 2003, and a cell phone they stopped making in 2007. As long as my current way of doing something techie still works, you have to drag me kicking and screaming to a shop or website selling some new-fangled replacement.

Consequently, -I’m- even shocked by the fact that I now own a Kindle. I’ve been thinking about buying one for the last two months. I kept rejecting the idea because I’ve been burnt by several purchases of (semi)cutting-edge hardware, like the smart phone that I never learned how to use or my shiny new laptop that buffaloed me because it’s powered with Windows 7. (A friend is giving me “laptop lessons” this summer.)

What if the same thing happened again with an eReader? What if nothing I wanted to buy was available? What if I made a mistake buying the Kindle when I should have purchased a Nook, a Kobo or a Sony? What if I simply couldn’t figure out how to upload book files, no matter how hard I tried? What if I understood how to work the thingie but then never used it?

I thought about all of this carefully, and spent a ridiculous amount of time cruising the more negative Amazon reviews for the Kindle and for the Kindle books that I most wanted to read. Maybe in an effort to scare myself out of the whole idea, I made a tentative list of books I might purchase—with an estimate of how much the Kindle, its jacket, and the books would cost.

This was not necessarily a good move for me. In the past, doing so much research about other possible purchases has often just locked me into the purchase before I was ready. You see, I have a thing about this—once I’ve spent a certain amount of time thinking about a possible purchase, I can’t seem to back out of actually making it, even if I still have doubts.

Thanks to all those hours in the Kindle shop, I discovered that:

1. Books which often appear to be missing their tables of contents aren’t always lacking them. Some kind soul writing a review pointed out that when a user opens a new book the Kindle queues up to the first chapter. What? No table of contents? Yup there is—but you need to back up to see what comes before the chapter.

2. Under no circumstances should readers—especially non-techie readers like me—purchase a cover for their Kindle which fastens hinge-like to the left edge of the reader. Evidently, this arrangement often makes a Kindle freeze or crash. If that happened to me, my pitty-pat little heart would freeze or crash.

3. Amazon has a –wicked- number of books I already love or want very much to read. Like all the young adult & children’s books written by the members of the YAAYNHO blog. See the list at the end. (Or all the ebooks written by my fellow members of the Lost Genre Guild—writers of speculative fiction with a subtle Christian worldview.)

Other older but still yummy books are even free or cost just 99 cents. For instance: many of George MacDonald’s books for children like The Princess & the Goblin, and At the Back of the North Wind; Kipling’s Jungle Book; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; The Secret Garden; Little Women; Anne of Green Gables; Grimm’s Fairy Tales; Andersen’s Fairy Tales; Stevenson’s Kidnapped; Sidney’s Five Little Peppers series; Kingsley’s Water-Babies; and The Wind in the Willows.

Other goodies cost money: Narnia, The Hobbit; Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence; Madeleine l’Engle’s series; the Nancy Drew books; The Hardy Boys; Harriet the Spy; Artemis Fowl; The Phantom Tollbooth; Island of Blue Dolphins; Witch at Blackbird Pond; Tuck Everlasting; A Series of Unfortunate Events; Graceling; The Hunger Games; some of Brian Jacques’ Red Wall, etc. Roald Dahl and Lloyd Alexander’s books are only available as pricey Kindle audios for some reason.

And then there’s Project Gutenberg or Smashwords books that I’ve looked at from time to time but never downloaded. To say nothing of my fellow writers who have offered me advance PDFs of their manuscripts for review. I’ve turned down these offers in the past. Why? I hate PDF and I didn’t want to read a whole book on the computer screen. I’m at the computer much of the day as it is.

Anyway, I ordered my Kindle, and it came, and there I was opening the package with fingers crossed. (Somewhat hard to do, that.) Fingers still pretty much crossed, I managed to charge my Kindle all by myself. In the meantime, I read the quick start menu. It mainly identified which key is which. Helpful, but not that helpful. The booklet promised that there were more instructions loaded on the Kindle itself. But would I be able to find them? (I have absolutely no confidence left when it comes to tech these days.)

I turned the Kindle on–it went on!--and found the in-depth directions right away. Phew! So I started to read. I read for a while—understanding most but not all of what I was reading & immediately forgetting the previous paragraph—until I noticed a tiny bit of data at the bottom of the screen. It said that I had read 3% of the document so far. Only 3 per cent? How long were these instructions, anyway? I read for a few more minutes, advancing about two screens. The percentage was now 4%. Hm. Assuming my math was correct, that made the entire file of instructions 200 screens long.

Believe it or not, I actually sat & read the whole file at one sitting—except for the fiddly bits at the end where Amazon has all the legalese absolving them from practically everything. Done. Huge sigh of relief. Too bad it hadn’t been a book.

Books! Urk! Time to start uploading books from Amazon. Well, the Kindle hadn’t exploded--yet. It was probably waiting for this to do so. Or freeze. Or just stare blankly with its little screen. (“Come on! Open up! It’s good for you! I mean, I mean, it tastes yummy! Open a’ready! Just one more.”) Long story, short. I was able to upload approximately 30 books. They really do transmit them in a minute. The only delays I experienced were thanks to the response time of my ancient computer, the time taken to find the next Amazon page or, rarely, waiting for the Kindle to catch up. I even created my own categories and stored my purchases by author or type of book. Now understand, none of this was as easy for me as it sounds. I still have to randomly try “Menu”, “Home” and “Back” before I find which one I need to go to in order to perform some operation or other. But, hey, I have 30 books on the critter, a whole list of freebies to install, and a wish list of YAAYNHO & LGG titles I’m itching to get!

Score: Sherry = 1. New tech = 0.


Here’s a List of a/l/l Most of the Kindle eBooks written by YAAYNHO Authors.

A few books by YAAYNHO authors appear to be available only in paperback. (Or maybe they have paperbacks at Amazon, plus eBooks for Nook, etc.) I’ve tried to list the paperbacks if that was all I could find at Amazon.

If any author or title is missing--and I'm sure I've forgotten someone--please put the information into a comment—I’ll try to add it to my blog entry!

Christine Norris = The Crown of Zeus: the Library of Athena, Bk.1;

The Mirror of Yu-Huang; The Ankh of Isis.

Kim Baccellia = Crossed Out.

Jenna Kay Francis = Blood Bred Series Book 1: Gift of Blood.

Christine Marciniak = When Mike Kissed Emma.

Beverly Stowe McClure = Caves, Cannons & Crinolines; Just Breeze.

Gloria Oliver = Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles; Willing Sacrifice; Vassal of El.

Rebecca Ryals Russell = Odessa (The Seraphym Wars series).

Peggy Tibbetts = Letters to Juniper.

Kathi Wallace = Assiniboin Girl.

Mike Dicerto = Milky Way Marmalade.

J L Walters = Flight (pb?);The City That Waits to Die ( pb?)

Kathryn Sullivan = Talking to Trees (pb); Agents and Adepts; The Crystal Throne.

Sherry Thompson = Seabird (1st Narentan Tumult); Earthbow (2nd Narentan Tumult)

Ophelia Julien = Saving Jake; Hunting Spirits.

Kimberly Blackadar = Nothing But Trouble After Midnight (The Seven C’s series).


  1. I'm still in that community of thinking I probably wouldn't use it. I have an Ebookwise reader and I seldom use that. I read on the computer mostly.

  2. JennaKay, thanks for responding!
    The only books I've ever read on the computer are my own manuscripts. I actually read Kindle's entire instruction file on the Kindle--while sitting at the computer. Just wasn't used to the freedom to move around yet. All that sitting fixed to one place cost me, too. I ended up with a backache by the time I'd finished. (I'm getting old)
    Re the Ebookwise reader, did you use it when you first got it & then the initial charm wore off, or did you really never use it at all?

  3. I love my kindle, and I like the fact that I can afford to buy more books that way. It's like a literary candyfest.

  4. Ditto Catherine! And congratulations Sherry. You are going to love your kindle. IMHO if we authors want to sell our ebooks we have to get behind the technology.

  5. Sherry, I never really used it that much. I mainly bought it to demonstrate ebooks when I sold them at the craft fairs. But now, everyone and their brother seems to have a Kindle, so I don't need to demonstrate anymore. I just find it's easier to sit at the computer in my comfy desk chair and read, I guess. Most of my reading is editing work, so I need to be where I can make changes. I can't remember the last book I read for pleasure that was fiction.

  6. I'm glad you're enjoying your Kindle, Peggy. I usually am the last to try new gadgets, but I finally bought an iPad and really do like it. The print is so much easier on my eyes, and I've found several great books for free. The price is good on most of the others too. I plan to order many more eBooks.

  7. You are a brave woman, Sherry! I applaud that because I certainly am not!
    My husband got an e-reader for Christmas, but it was a Nook, not a Kindle. He's fine with it. Meanwhile, I'm still going out and getting those old-fashioned things from places like libraries and bookstores. It may not be possible, but I keep hoping that the two media (books and e-readers) might eventually coexist peacefully.
    Thanks for the plug on my titles!

  8. Oh, you found that trick about the table of contents, too! For the longest time, I thought the Kindle, like Fictionwise, snipped off the book covers. Then I backed up from where the book opened, and there was the book cover!

    For my next trick :) I discovered how to load prc and mobi files (not from the Amazon Kindle store) onto my Kindle. Nifty how there's a USB inside the power cord adaptor. Simply load the prc or Mobi file onto your computer, then via the USB, copy it onto your Kindle. I had one mobi file take a day to turn up in my Kindle menu, but the prc file of my book, Talking to Trees, was accessible right away.

    Thanks for the plug! Happy reading!

  9. I have both a Kindle and Nook Color. I'm totally in love with my Nook. So many more options and apps.

    Thanks for the plug on CROSSED OUT!

    Kim Baccellia

  10. I love my kindle, too! Love my iPad and also read on my smart phone. LOL! FYI, if you don't want to try transferring files via usb, you can email them to your kindle. Your kindle email is in your account, under manage my kindle. You have to enter your own email as approved (I think) before you can send. That's to keep people from spamming your kindle. If you shop at fictionwise, you can set up your kindle email there and just click it to send.

    I love digital reading so much, if I have to read a print book, I feel aggrieved that I have to hold the book open AND turn the pages. LOL!
    Pauline (via BU). :-)

  11. I love my Kindle! And I'll add that THE CROWN OF ZEUS is also available on Kindle (and all three are on Nook, too)

  12. Christine: fixed!

    Ophelia: Hardly brave. Someone in my local writers group (Written Remains) brought her Kindle to one of our meetings a couple of years ago. I was intrigued--but look how long it took me to do anything about it!

    Kim: I know several people, by email, who love their Nooks. I wonder if "Kindles vs Nooks" is going to be the next "Windows PCs vs Apple".