Tag Archives: kindle

Spring Fevers Anthology: It’s Contagious!

I’m so old my first published material was printed on dead tree scrolls under a completely different name.  But, alas, technology has advanced, my byline has changed and trees don’t always make the cut for showcasing the upcoming talent of new writers.

Enter a refreshing digital anthology.

Edited by successful freelance writer, Matt Sinclair, this unique collection of short stories has enough variety to entice readers of all genres and ages.

From the gentle brush of a first kiss to the last poignant farewell, SPRING FEVERS explores relationships–the good, the bad and the very different.

Not to mention, it features some of my favorite writers.

So, before winter gets the best of you, catch your copy of SPRING FEVERS on Smashwords or Amazon.

~Cat (author of Annabelle, SPRING FEVERS, 2012)

 

To Ban or Not to Ban: Kindle in the Classroom?

A student took her Kindle to school one day, only to have it taken away as an unapproved device.  The above student was doing nothing more than reading before class–the activity for which the e-reader was made.

In the same school, some students carry–and play with–ipads.  They browse the internet on Kindle Fires or watch movies on ipods.

When did reading become a crime?  When did books become unapproved devices?

On one level, I get the argument: it is an electronic device.  However, the original e-ink readers are nothing more than literary etch-a-sketches.  Nobody is watching movies on them or texting on them.  They are reading.  Because, really, that is the sole purpose of a designated e-reader.  It’s the only thing it does well.

By taking away a portable library, I think schools are undermining a great and educational hobby.  They are forcing kids to choose between carrying thick books or no books at all.  They take away the privacy of shy readers who may not want to be ridiculed for reading certain books (the jock who reads Twilight or the struggling readers whose thin books and juvenilish titles easily peg them as “dumb”).  Will these readers simply quit reading if their only other choice is being the butt of a joke?

What says you?  Do you feel that designated e-readers should be banned from the classroom?  Why or why not?  Which factors should be used to determine if individual devices are a hindrance or a benefit? 

Teachers, in particular, please pipe up.  I’d love to have your experienced wisdom in helping me determine where I stand on the issue.

Curious minds really, really want to know.

Kindle Revisited

My Kindle got a work out on vacation.  Much more so than anticipated.  As promised, I am here to report how I like or didn’t like my e-reader.

For starters, let me say love is a more apropos word to use.  I couldn’t be happier with me decision to purchase a Kindle.  In no particular order, here are the reasons why:

  • It was light, unobtrusive and took up virtually no space.  I read three+ books while on vacation and didn’t have to juggle them in bags, at the airport or in suitcases.  For those who have never seen a Kindle, it is roughly the size of a DVD case and about as light.  Because it was so convenient, it went with me everywhere.
  • And I do mean that in the literal sense.  It, too, tried to snorkel.  Upon purchasing my Kindle, I had been slightly miffed that I couldn’t order the official cover which is leather and has a hinge to hold the “book” in place.  My sister got one and says it functions like an actual book cover and can flop open like a real one.  In essence this means pencils and chapstick and receipts and hair clips can make their way between the Kindle and the cover like a real book if it is thrown into a bag (all my stuff is always thrown into a random bag).  As I didn’t have one of these official leather covers, I used a quilted cloth bag that my sister had made my DD once upon a time.  It fit perfectly.  It protected my Kindle from the contents of my bag as well as the ocean water.  My dear Kindle surfaced unscathed from its dunking.
  • A real book wouldn’t have fared so well (though I don’t actually recommend letting your Kindle swim) and would have needed to be dried.  It inevitably would have ended up with wrinkled pages that are annoying to read.  Also annoying to read while in the elements is the propensity for pages to blow in the wind.  On our day at sea, the wind was ferocious.  The gal next to me literally had a page torn out of her book as she tried to hold onto it.  Another vacationer performed great acrobatic acts with her arms to keep the pages flat.  I lounged with my Kindle in one hand and read away!
  • Which brings me to my next point: the light.  Everyone knows how frustrating electronics can be in the sunlight.  They are virtually unreadable with the glare.  My Kindle had none.  I didn’t have to adjust the way I held it either.  I do, however, have one complaint about the glare.  I found it to be present when an uncovered lightbulb shone directly on it.  This made airplane reading a little more difficult once the sun went down and reminded me of the glare on a television screen.
  • Comfort.  As much as I love the feel of paper between my fingers, I did enjoy the ability to hold my Kindle one-handed–even while flipping pages.  I’m a snuggler and on the six hour plane ride, I curled up in my middle seat so my limbs would not encrouch in other passengers’ spaces.  My Kindle curled up right along with me.  Very nice indeed.
  • Also nice has been my battery life.  Many people have complained about it and say the 2 week advertised life is a crock.  It may be for some, but here’s the deal: I got my Kindle on January 23 and charged it.  One day shy of three full weeks, I still have about 1/4 of my initial battery charge.  Maybe I didn’t read it as often as others do, but I did read every morning while I worked out prior to vacation and again before bed.  I read while I got a pedicure and for 12 hours on the plane.  I read during my day at sea and on four different islands.  On one charge I read four books and two novellas.  The key, I think, is to keep the wi-fi off.
  •  Navigating the Kindle was a cinch as well.  I think the keyboard is tiny, but I didn’t use it.  The toggle switch is simple and responsive.  The page turning feature a breeze.  The only thing I could think to complain about might be the etch-a-sketch rearranging of the words from page to page.  Some people have said it is distracting.  I didn’t find it any more intrusive than the flutter of a real page. 
  • Downloading was a bit of a challenge.  My tiny corner of Minnesota does not have Amazon’s whispernet service.  Therefore, while I am in my own home, I have to download books via my computer.  If I drive across the border about ten miles I can download directly onto my Kindle.  It’s not a deal breaker by any means.  Just an added step.
  • The color.  Brand new, the white looks crisp and clean.  I was hyper-conscious of this while sunbathing on the beach.  I fear that in no time, the oils from my fingers will discolor the cover and it will end up looking like the dingy gray of my boys’ Nintendo DS’s.  I don’t look forward to that.  Ditto for the screen, which picks up lint, sand and crumbs.  A soft toothbrush sweeps out the edges, but again, gunk is gunk and I’m only a pig when it comes to my closet.
  • Sharing.  It can be done.  My sister and I share the same Amazon account.  My Kindle library is her library and vice-versa.  Up to six devices can share one account.  I think this feature will broaden my reading a bit, as we our ven diagram is sufficiently diverse.   

I think that’s it for now.  If anyone has any questions regarding the Kindle, I will do my best to answer them honestly.  Would I buy it again?  Heck yeah. 

Is the Kindle for everyone?  Probably not.  It depends on why you read and how you read.  Are you a collector of hard cover books or a paper back junkie?  Knowing what you are buying is an important factor in deciding if an e-reader is right for you. 

But would I recommend it?  Absolutely…

Capitulate: look it up on Kindle

I love this word.  It must have something to do with my head and how hard my mom claims it is.  I stubbornly hold out followed by un-gracefully giving in.  Not that I don’t know how to compromise, because I do.  I’m actually a trained family mediator.  I’m also a middle child.

My MO is to either compromise immediately or capitulate after I’ve been worn down.  For the most part, I’m pretty easy going (I wouldn’t ask my mom or DH about that, because they’re liars).  I’m also laid back and flexible about most things.  But not with the idea of e-readers.

In the wake of the e-book hype, I have spent a lot of time researching the pros an cons and what that means to authors.  All the while I maintained my stubborn mindset that I would NEVER buy one.

NEVER was shorter than I thought.

Last Friday, after becoming increasingly more fond of the idea of a portable library, I capitulated and ordered a Kindle.  I blame it on my sister.  Because I can.  She’s 1,300 miles away from me and can’t duct tape me to my chair so I can’t type.

But really, it is her fault.  She bought one first–after more than a year of deliberating the pros and cons with me.  Finally, the temptation was too much for both of us. 

Author friends, please wait to cringe until after I share with you my reasons (as a writer and a reader) why I would contribute to the “demise” of the printed word.

  1. I love my husband.  I swear my main motivator was his back.  Last time we moved, 17 tubs of books made their way down the basement steps to the storage room.  I can move my Kindle all by myself.
  2. I love an uncluttered house.  My bookshelf (a beautiful, solid oak, expensive bookshelf) is currently housed in our storage room, as there is no other place to put it.  It holds less than fifty percent of my kids’ library and none of mine.  I can store my Kindle library on my nightstand.
  3. I love books.  I have an addiction.  As proven in #1, I have way too many of them.  I don’t borrow from the library, I buy (good for the author).  Some books make my perennial list.  My all-time faves are already (stupidly?) on my Kindle list.  I love them so much, I want them with me all the time.  This equals two author sales-hardcover and electronic.
  4. Other books are never read again, which makes me sad, but doesn’t inihibit my addictive splurges.  I can give never-to-read-twice books away (which doesn’t benefit the author) or sell them at a garage sale (again, at no author benefit) or stop buying them (right, no bennies).  But in case I didn’t mention it, I love books.  I will continue buying, which will exacerbate DH’s back pain and the home-clutter issue.  Enter my Kindle and I don’t have to feel remorse for packing unused novels into totes.  The Kindle doesn’t look half bad on my nightstand.
  5. Which brings me to another point.  I can be selective about my hardcover books.  I can buy beautifully bound  hardcover perennials rather than paperbacks.  And they will fit on the real bookshelf.  This method of hardcover after Kindle will ensure I love the books I’m buying.  So much so that I can display them on my desk shelves.  The author bonus is a multibook deal from me–and a hardcover instead of paperback to sweeten the pot.
  6. As a reader, I did worry about the feel and smell thing.  I will never replace reading a printed book soley with ebooks.  For one-time reads, the Kindle is great.  It is super easy to read, comfortable and a cinch to manuever.  Besides, I read one-time-wonders so fast I’d read them on a toilet paper roll and not care.  In the end, I think this will heighten my hands-on experience with my favorite hardcovers.  Reading them will be a treat in the literary and physical sense.
  7. I love writing–obviously.  I am excited about reading my “books” on my Kindle the same way I read other books.  I’ve heard from agents and editors who download manuscripts that the experience is different and it makes them feel the marketability of a piece a little better because the medium levels the playing field.  I can’t wait to find out if that’s true. 

What I take away from all this is that I am not going to quit reading.  Nor will I quit buying books.  I love the instant gratification that Kindle offers me.  I no longer have to drive fortyfive minutes to the nearest bookstore to make my purchases.  Likely, the ease will increase my splurges and broaden my reading tastes.

To me, the Kindle is a bookshelf, not a book.  It’s a mega shelf that lets me carry 1,500 books with me at all times.  It was far cheaper than my oak jobby and a heck of a lot lighter.  It also takes up less room. 

I capitulated, but after much deliberation.  And I’m glad I did.  So far, I love my Kindle.

How about you?  Are you contemplating an e-reader or are you still dead-set against them?  Do you own one and love it or wish you hadn’t spent the money?