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Kindle is out and sales are heating up, but how hot? Mum’s the word on details, but the buzz remains. Specifics: Amazon’s Kindle is an e-reader that holds 200 e-books, 19 newpapers and almost 400 blogs. Got enough reading material? Although estimates indicate they’re selling 40K units a month at $350 a pop, who’s buying? I don’t know anyone yet. But I live in Buffalo. We’re a meat-and-potatoes kinda place. No matter how wonderful this e-reader is, the price is not cheap. Heck, even laptops are less expensive. Still, like most electronic gismos, the cost is sure to go down.

Another concern is the actual number of books available for download. Publishing companies are scrambling to digitize back list books. But will there be water water everywhere and not a soul to drink? Surveys indicate that 82% of book readers prefer paper books. No surprise. Toss a book in your pocket, briefcase, purse and you’re good to go – no batteries, no cords, no online connections, no worries the device could be stolen. While most downloads cost $4 to $10, add that to the expense of the reader and you got some serious cash outlay. Especially when the public library is within walking distance.

Recently, I became convinced that e-book downloads were terrific for the international market where the cost of shipping books is prohibitive. So I uploaded two of my books to LuLu and one to Amazon’s Kindle. Uploading a PDF file to Lulu was seamless, quick and easy. The upload to Kindle was problematic. The PDF conversion was a mess: text hither and yon, weird spacing, dropped lines. Apparently, this is not unusual because specific directions followed that if the manuscript needed further formatting, it should be downloaded and reformatted in HTML. Huh? Anyways, I converted the PDF to Word and resubmitted. The file still had problems but paled to the PDF upload. I was able to make the corrections but it took another hour. Clearly some bugs remain.

In any event, Amazon is spearheading a movement, but will they be the only ones? Apple, Microsoft and any other computer-savvy company could take on the charge. Not to mention the other e-readers who have been schlepping around for the past ten years. Meanwhile online Barnes and Noble no longer offers e-books. Odd.

The end game? Stay tuned. This could be another revolution a la Gutenberg (they scoffed at moveable type, metal letters too) or end up like helium airship travel. Ka Boom.

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You bring up some interesting points. I have talked to some friends of my who are in their 20's and they indicated that they also prefer a paper book over an e-book. While I think e-books are something we should not ignore I feel there is more market for the paperback version. It is important to offer buyers all the options you can as you never know who prefers the paperback version.

Also some people like the audio version so they can listen to it while they do other activities. I feel however, that the audio version is not for everyone as the length of some books make it extremely difficult to record. Books that are long in length, in my opinion, do not qualify for the audio option. I do however thing that topics that are in the booklet category would qualify as the audio would not be lengthy.

There are always going to be new options available to authors as technology is developed but we must look at what it offers and decide if it is right for us. I feel that everything that is developed and becomes available in the future must be looked at to determine if the technology is right for us whether it relates to writing or other products. We as individuals cannot buy everything that is developed. This statement is even more applicable with the high price of many products today.
The informal survey you had with friends is interesting. In fact, just yesterday I read some of the Amazon Kindle blogs. It appears the older crowd, over fifty, are the ones ordering the Kindle. This makes sense. That machine is expensive. Also in the blogs were recurring discussions of where a Kindle owner can get free books and downloads. Apparently it's not so hard. Yes, another format to get a book out is great, but if the competition is giving away their books, this could be a problem. E-books...Yeah baby. Free content...Oh, dear. Alas, there's always a dark side. Enjoyed your comments!!
I personally don't think Kindle will last. Why? Simply because of what is happening with the iPhone and similar devices. Why buy a separate device to read ebooks when you can do it on the same device as your phone, music player, calendar, etc. Sure, the over 50 crowd might be buying it, but the younger generation is not. They are buying add-ons for the iPhone and the like. In 5 years I'd bet everyone just uses a iPhone type device for reading and everything else. I don't know what it will be, but I don't think it will be a stand alone device.

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Director: Bauu Institute and Press
Publisher: New Great Books Reviewed
Editor: Indigenous People's Issues Today
Editor: Indigenous People's Issues & Resources
Yeah. The Kindle is also unattractive. In fact it reminds me of a old fashioned cordless phone you see on Seinfeld. I'm working on an essay about the true revolution, should it arrive. Not so much about reading devices but the way we read altogether. I think there are clues hidden in video games. Yeah, everyone trashes video games but in fact kids hand/eye coordination improves radically when they play games. People blame video games for a child's poor performance in school, but maybe the real problem is that reading across the line may have become boring and slow to a brain that has been challenged with speed. Maybe reading is more effective when it's less linear, like words on a screen or short phrases of words appearing in milliseconds. Of course this is all supposition but if the present way we read is archaic, other devices that don't look like books, may be the next revolution.

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