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Report from an eReader reader

As I've said before, I was never an early adopter of technology. When I asked my husband for a Kindle over a year ago, I didn't know anyone who owned one, at least not that I knew of. I had never even seen a Kindle. But they sounded intriguing, and the idea of being able to always carry a library in my purse had a strong appeal. I knew right away that if I got a Kindle I would keep it with me all the time; I even bought a new purse so that my Kindle could fit easily in it.

I am now on my second Kindle and my second Kindle-friendly purse. The first purse was too hard to find things in; this one has a prefect Kindle-sized pocket and a cell-phone pocket. I also recently found myself again sitting in a hospital for hours at a stretch— at least this time it was the ER and not the ICU— and was again grateful for that library in my purse. Time spent reading is never time wasted.

Having a Kindle has had more impact on me as a reader than as a writer, but it has also, for the first time, made the Ven diagram of my day job intersect with my passion for writing fiction. That's because by day job is in supporting the publishing system of a legal and regulatory publisher. Writing encompasses publishing, and book publishing is just now coping with the workflow issues that cause errors in ebooks and e-magazines. Information publishers dealt with those problems decades ago; I can't wait for book publishers to catch up.

It's not just "errors" it's also omissions. For example, I saw an online review of a nonfiction book The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: the Tragedy of Mary, Katherine, and Lady Jane Grey, by Leanda de Lisle. It sounded intriguing; I checked and there was a Kindle edition, so I downloaded a free sample. The narrative seemed well written, and well researched, but I didn't buy the book. In spite of the fact that the print cover is shown for the Kindle edition, the sample downloaded with a generic cover. And although there is a list of illustrations in the sample, there is no evidence that any of them are included in the Kindle version; there are no links to them, as there are to chapters in the table of contents. And yet the publisher wants $16.50 for this ebook, even though the hardcover version retails for $19.80 with some Amazon sellers listing a new version for $14.99!

So, I hold off on this purchase, to see if the price comes down. Publishers may have figured out that ebooks can sell, but they haven't gotten the kinks out of production or pricing.





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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
jongibbs
Dec. 30th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
I would hope they see fixing those sorts of problems as a priority.
karen_w_newton
Dec. 30th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
I would hope so, too! I feel bad for book publishers because they are having change thrust upon them, but business isn't built on feelings. If they want to survive, they need to learn more about digital publishing really quickly, assess their workflows, and figure out how to produce the same quality in digital books that they do in print. It is certainly possible, but they have to give it some attention or it won't happen.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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