Monday, 5 December 2011

I Haz a Kindle!

So, I've finally entered the e-book club. Well, actually I've been there for a while, by downloading and reading digital books on my computer, but there is definitely something to be said for having an e-reader at last. For one thing I'm hoping it won't make my eyes hurt quite as much! And I have to admit that holding it is a little exciting ... TMI? :-P

When I first started looking into publishing, the Kindle was a new and rare thing. E-books were just starting out, and self-publishing via e-formats and POD services were something that had become available to almost any author. With my own book due out in May next year (and with no definite date or eligibility for a print version) I stopped looking at an e-reader as an expensive toy I didn't need. Instead it became an essential piece of kit for me to have. After all, there's not a lot to be said for having an e-book out and not having the means to read it myself, is there?

This is my new (and first) Kindle. I got the one without the keyboard (and without the adverts. Okay, okay, I've been told the adverts - or 'special offers' as Amazon insists on calling them, sheesh - aren't that annoying, but with the amount of constant advertising we get thrown in our faces, I saw the extra expense of having the advert-less kind very worthwhile. I was rather surprised to find that there is an on-screen keyboard which you can navigate with the 5-way controller button - not much use to me in terms of writing, but an unexpected bonus (um, yeah, I didn't read up the specifications THAT well. ). The only annoyance for me was that I don't have a wireless connection. I thought (silly me!) that I'd just be able to download the dozen e-books I had sitting on my pc (including my own scifi short story), but nooooooo! You have to register the darn thing first before it lets you do anything other than charge it up! D'oh! Luckily for me, a quick trip to the local library with my Kindle to use the free wifi soon solved that one. Registration was dead simple (once the library wifi decided it was going to stay on - their problem, not one with the Kindle!).

I have no idea how this compares to other e-readers, or even to the other Kindles. I know there are Kobos and Nooks and Sony e-readers, but those few people I know with e-readers either have Kindles or iPads. I have no idea how it compares to the older Kindles either, so you're not going to get any technical kind of review here (sorry!). I knew what one looked like. It was slightly heavier than I expected - I'm assuming the weight is probably down to the battery. The manual said it takes three hours to charge, but it worked out at less than that. It came with its USB cable for connection to the pc which surprised me - I swear the blurb says you have to buy one separately, and I'm glad I didn't do that! The driver software set up automatically on both my old main pc and the newer notepad, so if you have any issues with yours, I'm afraid I'll be no help at all! I had a little trouble loading the e-books from my pc to the Kindle (for some reason it didn't put them into the documents folder on the Kindle so I had to cut and paste them in) but once I'd done that, it was simple.

So here is my new toy ... er ... I mean essential piece of equipment. With my own free scifi short story loaded up of course ( <cough> blatant self promotion <cough>). :-P

Here I must say a very special thank you to Liz Culver and Becky Thompson. Ladies, I am most sincerely in your debt. :)

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