Thoughts on a Kindle

I bought a Kindle. I had a little extra money and I thought, I have a Nook, but maybe I’d like to do some side-by-side comparing of my own and see which one I like better. Turns out that’s the Kindle. Check this out:

Joe Konrath recently said in this blog post that he thinks ereaders and ebooks are going to consist of all this fancypants gadgetry in the near future. Some of what he said sounds like it would be fantastic, but much of it was over the top. Consistent updates to one book based on reader feedback? Admittedly, this sounds AWESOME in theory, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an author right now with that kind of spare time. Go on. Try to. Right now. Okay, that’s what I thought.

Anyway, here’s the strongest, most condensed point of what Konrath said, and I think it’s a good one: With coming (and already available!) technology, readers will be able to connect even MORE easily with one another about a book they love, and the author will be able to join in and play a part in that connection.

Okay, so check this out:

Amazon already has a way for readers to share their highlights and annotations with other readers. I was reading I Wish… by Wren Emerson on my brand new Kindle and I found that every time I highlighted something or typed in a note, it saved it to my very own web page at kindle.amazon.com. Apparently (in higher volume books, at least) Amazon keeps track of passages that are highlighted or annotated often. Apart from that you can follow your friends on it and see what they’re highlighting. The update system makes it appear as though Amazon has taken a turn for the Goodreads here, and that’s a good thing!

I’ve got to do some more messing around with it to become super familiar, but I’m thinking that this could be the gateway into the Author Interaction stage of where ereaders and ebooks are headed. If anyone can go and put annotations into a book, why not get them from the author? Just little notes here and there–where an idea came from, stuff like that. The time required for something like that would be minimal, but the result would be invaluable. It would be like watching a movie with director commentary.

Click here for my Kindle public notes page if you wanna keep track of what I’m highlighting.

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Shorts?

On Short Stories, And Whether It’s A Good Idea To Publish Them So That They May Act As Samples To Readers

I’ve noticed a few authors putting up individual short stories for sale. I think I’m in love with this idea.

I’ve been debating whether $.99 is too cheap for a full-length novel, and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it is. Considering the time and effort put into a novel, if it is worth reading it should probably be priced somewhere around three dollars or more. Short stories, though? Novellas that are 30k or under? Heck, man, I’ll totally buy a $.99 short story just to check out a writer’s style. In fact, I have done so several times now.

The Benefits:

  1. You get what you pay for.
    • If you any money at all for something, you should be able to expect a work of art that has had at least some effort dumped into it in order to create something worth selling. Anybody who has written a novel-length work and given it the editing attention it needs to be salable at all deserves to be able to charge $2.99 or more for it in order to make a reasonable profit off of each sold copy. (With the percentages self-published authors receive from their sales, this amounts to somewhere near $2 per copy when priced at $2.99.) Conversely, a work that has taken considerably less effort to put together and edit and prepare for sale could reasonably be priced at $.99 (with the author gaining something like $.30 per copy). The author needs to do less work, the reader receives less, the author receives a smaller percentage for what he/she has sold.
  2. It’s a solid, cheap way to get a feel for a writer’s style.
    • True, the sampling process available on all sites that allow ebook downloads has made it possible for the reader to see what a writer is capable of. However, I think that I’d rather pay a small price for a small work with a beginning and end to gauge a writer’s skills rather than read the first few pages of a longer work. (Actually, I’d probably do both, but I still feel that a short story can be enlightening when deciding which authors to really pay attention to in the self-publishing market.)

The Downfalls:

I actually can’t think of any right now. Somebody help me out here. Are there any?