October 12, 2008

*Guest Blogger Alert*

Today the KC Crew would like to welcome Sherman Lee.
Sherman is a local friend and supporter of the KC Writers who is with the Kings County Library.

Amazon Kindle: The Writer’s Friend
By Sherman Lee

Part One: Backstory
Developed in Cupertino, California, this wireless reading device hit the market back in November 2007. Customer demand was overwhelming. Amazon’s supply of Kindle’s sold out within five and a half hours at a price of $399.00 a unit. The price was later reduced to $359.00 in May 2008. The internal memory should hold at least 200 titles. The Kindle’s closest marketplace rival is the Sony Reader which appeared in September 2006. Other electronic reading devices on the market are the ECTACO JetBook and the iRex Reader 1000 ($650.00). The Sony Reader needs to be connected to a computer before titles can be downloaded. The Kindle requires no such connection to purchase books. But you must connect the Kindle to a computer if you wish to download music or audio books from Audible.com onto your Kindle.

There is no getting around the fact that the Kindle is expensive. Not everyone is going to go out and buy one. At this point in time it is still too early to tell if this will be a costly mistake for Jeff Bezos and the crew at Amazon, or if this is the spark that will ignite the e-book market after so many failed starts in the past. Sources vary as to the number of unit sold. Amazon is cagey about releasing such numbers. Guesstimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 units sold to 240,000 (a number that even Amazon claims is high).

Amazon will be targeting colleges and universities with a “student” version of the Kindle. The Kindle 2.0 is to be introduced in October 2008. Another Kindle with an 8 1/2” x 11” screen may be introduced in 2009. The two new Kindles might be introduced at the same time to take advantage of the 2008 Christmas shopping season. This time around, the consumer would be able to purchase a Kindle in a color besides white.

As with any discussion of the Kindle, I have heard many comments such as; I like real books, I don’t want to do my reading on an electronic device, and the Kindle is too expensive. I could buy a lot of books for that price. This is just a fad. I don’t want to have to buy my reading material from Amazon. All of these are good, valid points.

Perhaps in five years’ time, people will talk about the Kindle the same way people talk about old TV shows like “Fantasy Island” or “The Love Boat”—“Hey, do you remember that old….” I’m not here to predict the end of paper books. I’m not here to predict the future. I’m here to tell you, the published or soon to be published or would like to be published author, short story writer, essayist, poet, non-fiction writer, that you might want to look into the world of e-publishing using the Kindle as an introductory jumping off point. The Amazon Kindle could be a “game changer” in the publishing world.

Part Two: E-Publishing-The Kindle Advantage
In order to publish your work on Kindle, you must do two things: Have an account with Amazon.com and fill out a contract with them that requires some financial and tax information from you.

Why should you even bother? Perhaps you have a hard copy of a novel or short story sitting in a drawer or on a bookshelf somewhere collecting dust. Or you have months of work sitting in your computers hard drive. Why not get your work out to potential customers. Okay, maybe some of you are not computer savvy and don’t want to go through the hassle of uploading and formatting your work. But if you want to give it a try check out this site for more info http://www.amazon.com/ and go to Help and then click on Digital Products. This site was very helpful http://www.patbdoyle.com/?p=169

There are no guarantees in life. While it is possible to sell your work to Kindle customers, chances are you will not make a lot of money but you will reach a new source of readers and isn't that what we want.

Have you had an experiance with the kindle reader? Is it as easy as it seems?

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At October 13, 2008 at 7:13 PM , Blogger Dorinda Ohnstad said...


Not sure if you read my blog about the publishing industry or not. I have never seen a Kindle and not sure whether I would like it or not, as I do like my books. However, I grew up with books, whereas younger generations may be more at home with technology rather than paper. Either way I think that options are a good thing for both readers and authors alike. My only concern is that the Kindle is an Amazon product, which may mean that you have to buy all of your products from Amazon. Not sure what that will mean for authors. As you said, it will get our words out there, and hopefully reach new readers, but may not be a profitable venture for anyone other than Amazon in the end. Will have to wait and see, but in the meantime I too am curious as to the experience of the Kindle from anyone who has had that opportunity. I know that in this month's Writer's Digest interview with Brad Thor he says he has used a Sony Reader (which he prefers to the Kindle)and found it handy when he was traveling, but otherwise still prefers the feel and smell of a real book. In other words, both have a place.


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