A Brand New Kindle: Could It Change a Fiction Writer's World?

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.


  1. I was turned away from the Kindle and readers like it because I too love the feel of books. HOWEVER, a friend told me about the app available for computers, so I downloaded it and oh my gosh, free books! Still, as small as my laptop is, it's not exactly great for curling up to read, so I find myself really desiring the Kindle. Go figure. :D

  2. I've been battling a while now on whether or not I should get a Kindle or some other type of e-reader... it just seems like it would take away from the fun of reading for me. However, I would like to have it for the many benefits you just listed - such the books' low costs, the fact that you're able to take it anywhere and it hold so many books, etc. I think I would mainly miss being able to hold the book in my hands. I love analyzing book covers/textures and having a bookshelf full of books, so that would be hard another hard thing. I'll probably end up with a Kindle eventually, though. I think it's so cool how it's sort of like an iPod, except the fact that it holds books rather than music. I love that. =)

  3. I want one for the access, too. There's a whole new world of books available, if you have a reader.

  4. Interesting comments, you guys! For a long time I really resisted, but I think my opinion changed when I started using the Kindle for Mac software. As a reader, I loved having access to more books, but like Angela, I didn't love curling up with the laptop. Nothing will replace a real book for me, but now I'll be able to read in some situations where I couldn't before. Plus, I guess I ought to get used to the way some of my future readers will consume my books.


  5. I'm also wrestling with the idea of buying a Kindle. I have yet to do so, but I can definitely see its benefits, especially in terms of how much space it would save (my apartment is quite tiny, so it would be a huge benefit in my current living space). I'm the same way though--I absolutely love real books; nothing can beat them. I think from a business standpoint though, for example if there is a client I am meeting and there are passages from books I want to share with them, instead of lugging around a bag of books, I can bring one device and show them everything I want to. From a personal standpoint though, I think I'll always stick with printed books. :)

  6. In my 24 hours with a Kindle, I've realized I can send files of the several writing newsletters I receive to the Kindle. Some of these have been hard for me to keep up with, because if I'm on the computer, I'm either writing, or online. Today my kids had job interviews, and I was able to catch up on newsletters, and read a critique partner's chapter. I have a feeling I'll be using it more that way than actually reading novels. At the writing conference I attended recently, the organizers emailed the workshop notes, and I saw several attendees using their Kindles instead of lugging around the heavy binder that I carried.


  7. I've had a Kindle for a couple of years now and I love it. You've pointed out many of the great values it can provide.

    For me it's the best thing when it comes to travel - I carry one device and have any and all books I want with me in a convenient and lightweight package. I also love having the Kindle app on my phone. If I happen to find myself with some time for reading but I'm without my Kindle, I can pull up the book on my phone, and it syncs to the place where I left off. So great!

    I still read "real" books, too. Not sure they'll ever be totally replaced by the Kindle in my life.

    I also wanted to add a little shout-out for Bookcrossing.com. It's a fun way to give away books and track their travels out in the world.

  8. Wendy, that's a great point about the cross-platforms. I don't have a phone that could do that, but I can see how that would be handy.

    I love Bookcrossing! I've had several books pass through my house from them. Thanks for stopping by!




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