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Newest soldier in the Kindle revolution

October 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Blog

I am not the bellwether for technological devices. I still don’t own an iPod. I’ve never owned an Xbox, Nintendo, Sega—any gaming system beyond Pong, really. I’ve only had a cell phone for about three years, and it’s the boring kind where all you do is talk into it and punch the button to check what time it is. But at long last you can count me among the ever-burgeoning e-reader population.

I’ve been eying a Kindle for several months now, but held off on the purchase on the counsel of a friend who follows gadgets like I track baseball. He advised me to wait until the new Kindles came out, figuring the prices would drop. And, boy, did they. Staying true to my behind-the-times nature, I opted for the $79 no-frills version, without the touch screen, keyboard, or Fire. After a night of playing around with it, I’m confident it will suit my needs.

My first order of business was charging it up and learning how to navigate through the various screens. I’m still not sure I’ve mastered that. Every time it falls asleep the screen saver comes up with a wonderful offer (i.e. advertisement), and I get a little sales pitch when I turn it back on. Yes, I cheaped out and went for the Kindle with ads, again on the advice of my friend. He was right, though. They’re really not all that intrusive and are fairly easy to live with.

The Kindle comes with wi-fi capability, which I wasn’t confident I’d be able to utilize. We have a wi-fi network, which we use to surf on our laptop. But I didn’t set it up. The Time-Warner guy did all that. All he told me was the password was the set of numbers on the back of the modem. I’ve been praying our connection never breaks, because there are six stickers on the modem with at least six different numbers. I envisioned having to call them last night to walk me through setting up my Kindle. But my second guess was a winner, and now I feel ready to hook up all kinds of wireless devices. Look out.

All that was left was finding my first e-book. Here’s where things got challenging. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m reluctant to pay more for a Kindle book than a paperback, or even hard cover. I have nothing against the dead-tree versions. I’m sure they will continue to accumulate in my library faster than I can add shelves to sit them on. I need to see an advantage in an e-version before I’m willing to pay a comparable, let alone higher, price. I mean, I still like reading the liner notes in my CDs. So I prefer an actual book with a cover to peruse. I want to be able to flip ahead or back to a page at will. And I’m hardly going to leave my Kindle lying on the top of the toilet tank for the next time nature calls.

Price matters. I know it costs less to produce an ebook than print a paper copy. I want in on the savings. Explain to me why it costs $12.99 for the Kindle edition of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, but you can order the paperback for $10.20. Part of my justification for buying a Kindle was I’d make up the cost of the device by saving on my book purchases, so that math don’t work for me.

Red Right ReturnSo I’m focused for the moment on the bargain books. Something under $5. That rules out a lot of your big New York publishing houses and opens the door to the independents and even self-published works. Or erotica, if one were so inclined. Browsing through the Kindle titles, it’s fairly clear a bodice-ripping Harlequin Romance isn’t quite enough for a lot of gals out there these days. That wasn’t quite what I had in mind, though, so I turned instead to my Twitter followers to see if any of them had something available for a reasonable price.

After hunting around a bit, I decided on John H. Cunningham’s thriller Red Right Return, featuring his Florida Keys adventurer/hero Buck Reilly. For $2.99, how far off course can I go? I hit the Buy button and moments later my first e-book was sucked into my Kindle, almost like magic. I made it through the first five (fairly short) chapters last night before bed. So far, so good.

Anyone have any other e-books to recommend?

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