My first Kindle arrived yesterday. I wrestled with the purchase for a long time, because I love physical books, and felt an e-reader was too much of a short-cut. My daughter, who is passionate about books is incredibly disappointed with my decision. So I'm thinking through the reasons why owning a Kindle might be beneficial to a fiction writer.
First of all, since money is an issue, I bought the cheaper Kindle with Special Offers. At $114, it's $25 less than the normal version. It's exactly the same product, but the screensavers might contain an offer from Amazon or another merchant. Your reading is not interrupted by ads, however.
Here's the list I've been accumulating in my head. Who knows? I might think of more.
I have access to books I'd probably never buy. As a reader, I love new books. As a writer, it's part of my job to read good books, bad books, and in-between books. To keep up with my genre, and what's new in the market. My small town doesn't have a bookstore (and Wal-mart doesn't count), so many of my purchases are made online. Through Amazon's free reading software, I've already been reading Kindle books on my laptop, and have accumulated more than seventy books--some of them books that are out of print, or otherwise inaccessible.
I'm reading books I might not read otherwise. It's possible to get thousands of titles of classic literature in an e-format, most of them free. The accessibility is encouraging me to read these books. Most of them I didn't own already. Other classics are sitting on my shelf, but the tiny font used is hard on my forty-something eyes. On the Kindle, I can adjust the size of the font, and even how many words appear on each line for faster reading.
Space. We have bookshelves in every room of the house. Even the laundry room. The bathrooms don't have shelves, but each one has a stack of books. In order to add more books to our collection, we'd have to *gasp*--give away some of them. Increasing the books available to us on a Kindle takes up no space at all.
Critique. I'm a member of several critique groups, and it's not always easy to carry the laptop around on errands, trying to get all my critique reading done. With the Kindle, I can email a .pdf file of the manuscript I need to read, and it will transfer to my device. While reading, I can make notes and highlights in the document.
For those that want to convert other kinds of files to a particular e-reader, there's a great site called Calibre that will walk you through it.
My husband. Of all the reasons above, the biggest one is my husband. He'd like to read my manuscript. He's not a computer guy. And I'm to cheap to print out the whole thing when I know I'm still making changes. So, this next week, he'll get to start reading my book on the Kindle. This is a technology he can handle. And I'll feel better, knowing that my writing is a part of his life.
There are other pluses of the Kindle I didn't highlight. You can get an instant definition of any word with the touch of a button. The Kindle can read out loud to you, or you can download audio books. It connects wirelessly to Wikipedia for checking out things that come to mind. The battery lasts a month, and it holds 3500 books.
Have you thought about an e-reader? Maybe you know some benefits--or drawbacks--that I haven't mentioned. I'd love to hear your opinion.