Monday, February 1, 2010
I've been thinking about getting a Kindle for a long time, but I found the price of the Kindle 1 prohibitive - especially when a cursory look at all the books I'd like to buy showed that instead of being reasonably priced, it cost as much if not more to buy electronic versions of books than of their print counterparts. And frankly I think it's outrageous!
Oh, I know the economics. When it comes to print books, it costs only pennies per copy to produce them -- particularly if they're printed in China, which most seem to be these days. The main cost of the book, as far as the publisher is concerned, is where to store 5,000 copies of them, and how to send books out to the various bookstores when needed. That's what takes the money, the middleman - the warehousing and the distribution/fulfillment, whatever you want to call it. The author gets a few pennies, and the publisher gets a few more pennies.
But with these electronic books, there is no warehouse. There is no storage fee! And yet books cost as much as their print counterparts. It just isn't right.
Presumably, authors are paid more on royalties for the sale of electronic copies of their work, and I suppose the publishers make a few more bucks also, which helps to keep them in business, but still, it does seem ridiculous that electronic book buyers don't get at least some discount.
Well, after beating that subject to death, let's move swiftly on.
I ordered a Kindle yesterday - the Mark II, the one that is only $257. I'd gotten a windfall of just that amount of money, so I thought I'd go for it. Of course, I hesitated for other reasons, once I started reading the list of Kindle complaints at the Amazon.com site. Apparently the battery is sealed inside the Kindle and can't be replaced. When it dies (as all batteries eventually do), the Kindle must be sent back to Amazon, who will send you a brand new Kindle, and you then have to download again all the books you had purchased previously. (This doesn't make any sense to me, I would have thought it would have been Amazon's responsibility to send you back a Kindle fully loaded with what had been on the one you sent in, but I guess that's just me!)
Also, apparently even though you pay for these books, if a publisher decides he no longer wants to offer a book, and removes it from Kindle, it's also removed from your own particular Kindle, even though you purchased it! I dont' like that, either. Once I pay for something, it should be mine. If it is resident on my Kindle - which is what I had thought Kindle books were - then it shouldn't be possible for Kindle to remove books from it. But apparently they can...
So, what will this blog be about?
I will share anecdotes about my Kindle. Hopefully they will be good anecdotes! I will also share book reviews of Kindle books (another complaint is some of these books - presumably those ones in public domain - have a lot of typos, and that textbooks don't transfer well because of all the graphs and tables in them). Admittedly most of the books I plan on getting are public domain books, but I will also provide reviews of books I personally own that are print books, if I see that they are available on Kindle.
For example, I checked and a few of the Agatha Christie books are available, at quite reasonable prices - $4 or so, rather than the $9.99 that most of the books are asking for.
Clive Cussler books cost as much for electronic copies as they do for print copies, so I doubt if I'll purchase them. (While I like the formula of Clive Cussler books, it must be admitted that he's not a very good writer...so it is kind of annoying that he's a multimillionaire on the basis of his books...but if you have the right macho formula, guys will buy it! And some girls, of course. ; )
Another reason why I purchased a Kindle was because I intend to write books (and blogs) which I will publish on Kindle, and of course I therefore need a Kindle, to make sure that my product looks good.