Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello, Kindle

I unexpectedly received a Kindle about mid-December, and yet I haven't talked much about "life after e-reader." That's mostly because, well, it hasn't been much different. I've only downloaded one book so far...and I'm not done reading it. So no, it hasn't stopped me from being a slow reader, and I haven't gone wild buying every book I can, even though it's so easy to click and read.

I've kind of felt bad, honestly, for having this lovely little thing and not really using it. I know a lot of people who use their Kindles all the time—like my mom, who reads a ton and loves that she can make the font bigger if she needs. She's totally gotten her money's worth. It just felt like an e-reader would be wasted on me, a slow reader who stays home most days and doesn't really have a need to carry around more than one book at a time.

Well, things changed last night.

Now that I've finally finished my huge edit of Transparent, I have some catching up to do on beta reading and drawing (not that the Kindle will help me with drawing, just saying). Then I realized, "Hey! I could put this manuscript on my Kindle!"

So I figured out how to send a personal file to my Kindle, and in less than five minutes—tada!—there it was, all pretty and book-like. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to read on this as opposed to my computer screen! My friend's manuscript not only looks like a book, it's now portable like a book, too. I can take it with me to the mall and read while my kids play at the indoor playground. I can read longer without killing my eyes. I can still make notes. I don't have to scroll!

While I was rather indifferent to reading a published book on paper or e-reader, it's this feature that converted me. As a writer, this will certainly be a tool that makes my work easier, and hopefully my crit partners will get their manuscripts back from me faster.

I know there are still a lot of people out there who dread e-readers, but they are pretty dang cool. And as a writer, it's such a useful tool in addition to reading for enjoyment.

45 comments:

  1. Huh, I never thought of that before. I always thought of Kindles as a threat to my way of life. It would also be cool for when I want to beta read other people's work. If I were and agent or an editor, I would buy a Kindle in a heartbeat. Cool idea.

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  2. Cool! I've often thought those would be neat to have for editing.

    P.S. I love your son's mischievous grin as he peeks in from the side of the picture. :)

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  3. Thanks for the insight! I can't wait to get an e-reader. Sounds pretty cool to be able to download a manuscript and make notes. Plus, I hate when I turn a book page in bed and it gets caught on the comforter and rips. The page, not the comforter.

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  4. Yeah, your son is adorable!

    I am becoming more and more convinced that I need one. Maybe next Christmas!

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  5. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have only read one book on it so far. My reading experience was pretty much the same as pre-Kindle. I think I'll buy more books now that I have the Kindle (instead of borrowing them from friends or the library) because they're cheaper and don't take up extra space (which is hard to come by in NYC!) But I don't plan to stop reading printed books altogether.

    The feature you're describing sounds awesome and I plan to take advantage of it when reading my critique partners' work. :)

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  6. omg - i totes didn't know you could do that with a kindle. Now i want one EVEN MORE!

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  7. The issue now would be getting specific notes to critique partners. (Assuming, of course, you don't want to post all of your notes to Facebook or Goodreads ;) .) The best way I've found is to also use the Kindle desktop app. Then you have to take the Kindle file for your MS and drag it into the folder for the desktop app's books. (Or email it, I guess.) Then you find the My Clippings.txt file on your Kindle device and either open it and work from there (it lists the location and the content of your note) or copy it into your desktop app's appropriate folder. (Or, again, email it.)

    I did this for editing my own MS; it was quite useful (if a bit of work)! Editing was the first thing I really found useful on my Kindle (and I'm a fast-reading homebody).

    I like to convert my files myself, incidentally. Using a Mobipocket program followed by Calibre to convert them has given me pretty good results.

    If there's a better way to share Kindle notes, I'd love to hear it!

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  8. Jordan, yeah, this is true. So far, I just plan on typing up what I've written. I usually give my crit partners overall notes, not much on line editing, so I'm not as worried about getting every correction down. I just need reminders of what I notice along the way.

    It would be cool if they came up with an easier way to share notes, but so far I'm not too annoyed.

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  9. Wow, it's even tinier than I imagined. My husband's dying to get one.

    I love that your son snuck into the photo. Adorable.

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  10. Don't forget Scrabble! I'm ADDICTED to Scrabble on my Kindle. :D

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  11. I also heard from a friend that it's great to use the audio function for your manuscript. It sounds funny, but she caught some mistakes that way by listening to the dialogue read and such. Kindles are great. :D

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  12. I didn't know you could do that!! I'm sending the files today. HOORAY!

    Thanks for the tips!!

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  13. Wow. I did not know about this feature. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have been reading on it like crazy. Love bringing Kindle in my car to kids' sports practices, etc. In fact, I've had to set myself a budget so I don't wind up in the poorhouse from buying e-books. SO gonna try using it to read w-i-p's! Thanks!

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  14. This is why I bought a Kindle. I started my revisions last week, and the stack of unedited MS... Well, it was intimidating. I put the thing on my Kindle, and now I'm reading along, making note of what needs to change. It's really helped me catch my overused phrases.

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  15. I just got a Kindle last weekend, woohoo! I haven't used that feature yet, but I'm looking forward to using it now!

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  16. That's exactly the reason I finally caved and decided to look at e-readers. I want to be able to load my WIP into it and see it all book-like.

    People may laugh, but it's honestly easier to see what doesn't work when something looks different from the version you see every day.

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  17. Ooo, okay, see now you've made me want one. Hm...I wonder if you can do that on an ipad, cause that's what I've been saving for. Guess I'll have to google it. :)

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  18. I've gotta say, the more I hear about one of these, the more I want one. ^^ I heard about agents using that feature to read through their pages and stuff. It looks pretty neat! I'm glad you're getting good use out of it.

    Now to convince my family of my desire for one before my next birthday...

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  19. Shannon, if you have the Kindle app on your iPad (which is free), I'm sure it works fine:)

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  20. I'm not fond of e-readers just b/c I feel like they are a liability to carry around. Saving space is a convincing argument (esp when you live in the city and your apartment is the size of some people's living rooms) but I just can't see me getting comfortable holding a tablet while I fall asleep- then when I forget to turn the power off I'll kick myself in the morning (or is it smart enough to shut itself off too?)

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  21. Tracita, the battery lasts forever. I've only charged mine once. I've had it for a month. And with one slide of the power button it goes into sleep mode, where it uses even less power.

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  22. AGREED! I got a Nook and love it. I can read Word Documents on it too, although I have not done that yet. I plan to use for it my WIPs, which would be neat to see them look "book-like." Yep, I'm a nerd. And I read a lot and it's portable and great, although not without its faults!

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  23. I have a Nook and I do the same thing!! I can even make notes in text, which is slow but occasionally helpful. I really love that about it!

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  24. Agreed! That's a HUGE plus to e-reading. My current Kindle read is a manuscript I would have had to read on the computer otherwise.

    Thanks heavens for my Kindle.

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  25. I just got a Kindle too! It is a small miracle, not least because it is one more thing I can accessorize (only having one daughter, I needed something else. :))

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  26. I've been sitting for the last week reading on the Kindle and editing on the screen. On the whole the Kindle is great for this and has saved me a ton of paper and ink but it doesn't handle hanging indents and tabs right unless you keep the file as a PDF and that creates other problems but I've managed to work around them.

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  27. That's pretty much the only reason I want one, though I'm still holding out for whatever technology the indie bookstores will embrace. Perhaps it'll be something more like the iPad? I don't know. But I have a feeling it won't be that much longer 'til I find out. :)

    Happy critiquing!

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  28. I didn't even think of using it like that. I can't wait till I get a kindle, at the moment I'm reading it on my iPhone, and it's a very small screen.

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  29. My own manuscript was the very first thing I uploaded onto my Kindle when I unwrapped it Christmas morning! I love reading manuscripts on the Kindle!

    Of course, when beta-reading, I make my notes on the Kindle and then transfer them to the computer document later -- an extra step -- but it's SO worth it not to have to read the manuscript on the computer screen!

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  30. I think that's such a cool function of e-readers! Even though I have NO money for fun toys right now (still slowly saving towards my own computer... stupid college), I hope to get one in the future when they're even cheaper and possibly with color ink (although didn't the Nook just come out with one of those?) Anywho, that sounds like a great way to read your/friends manuscripts!

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  31. An e-reader is one of those things on my to-get list.

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  32. I'm still an e-reader hold out, but I've heard so many people mention that perk recently, being able to transfer Word documents/manuscripts. It's making me want to give in and go buy one! ;-)

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  33. That sounds cool! Our library (at which I work) recently got "down-loadable" media, and subsequently purchased an e-reader and nook for staff to be familiar with. Haven't used a Kindle yet. I did read an entire book on the Nook, I was proud of that. Never thought I could get into e-books, but it isn't totally horrible. : )

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  34. I love my Kindle. But I didn't realize I could download a manuscript on it. Waaay cool. Thanks for the enlightment!

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  35. I don't have one yet. Let us know if you like it to read books once you download more of them.

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  36. Hey, I know that book!

    I've finally seen a Kindle for myself (they don't exactly sell them in Thailand) and it's PRETTY. I think anyone who's going to deride e-readers has to try it before they say anything. A lot of the common arguments (e.g. battery life, looking at a computer screen, etc.) are just untrue.

    And that's one good looking photobomber. Well done, Whipples :-)

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  37. I visit second-hand bookstores more than I visit stores with new books, so I'm afraid an e-reader would be wasted on me. I'm still mighty intrigued by it, though.

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  38. Benefactor and fan who shall remain anonymousJanuary 18, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    OK, so next year I guess I'll have to get you an iPad. (I write all sorts of notes in my iPad's Kindle app ... also do yellow "highlighting." I wonder if that's the same as on a "desktop" version of the Kindle app...)

    I'm glad you're liking the Kindle. Don't overlook Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org), for books whose copyrights have expired. They're all free. (But then, I'm guessing you like more recent books ...)

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  39. oh mannnn. Natalie, your post just sparked a 40-minute internet romp with my boyfriend to look up every e-reader option out there.

    I'm hopping on a 14-hour flight in February to Taiwan and the option of not lugging 3 books in my carry-on is appealing...

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  40. You're only the second or third writer I know of who uses an e-reader for this purpose, which I think is pretty cool.

    Don't have one of my own yet, but you can bet that when I do own one, I'll get getting my money's worth!

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  41. Wow, I have a lot to learn about Kindles...I had no idea they could do all of that!

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  42. I'm sort of in love with my e-reader, because of the portability of a ton of books. This feature you speak of is one I'll have to investigate. Sounds dead useful.

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  43. E-Readers are amazing. I've bought two books on it and downloaded a ton of library books. I'm in love :)

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  44. I agree with Cherie - the audio feature is very cool for finding awkward sentences and I actually find the unnatural voice helps because when it sounds off, it REALLY sounds off. ;)

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