Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Kindle

In case you've missed it, last week the New York Times ran this article on the one-year or longer lead-time between turning in a manuscript and seeing the book in print. It's an informative article about the process of marketing that occurs during that "black hole" time.

So--anybody out there own a Kindle yet? I bought one for my husband for Christmas. Unfortunately I got this bright idea at the beginning of December. By the time I ordered the thing, Amazon and all the world was completely out of them. Well, except for E-bay, where the "Buy Now" Kindles were going for $1900, and the bidding war ones were already up to $800-$900. Seein' as how Amazon was selling 'em for $400, I decided that a piece of paper in a box for Christmas would do. I printed out my amazon order, stuck it in cardboard and wrapped it up all pretty.

Now before you get to feeling too sorry for my husband, do note that he had lots of other presents to enjoy on Christmas. This included the largest set of noise-cancelling Bose headphones that I could have used while stuck sitting next to Dr. I-Hung-The-World cardiologist in O'Hare airport.

On Christmas morning Mark unwrapped the very light present, withdrew the piece of paper and frowned. "What's this?"

OK, the unwrapping didn't go over so well. Funny, how much more exciting it is to pull out the real item.

We waited until the latter part of January to receive the Kindle.

The thing's cool. Mark enjoys it. The Kindle is basically the size of a trade paperback book. For book reading the normal cost is around $10/book, and they download in 30 seconds. It's also convenient for Mark while he's traveling (which is often) to read periodicals. He can pull up the Wall Street Journal and read it at breakfast. There's a monthly fee for subscriptions such as the WSJ, with a two-week free trial period. But you can also buy it for a nominal fee per day. Since we receive the newspaper at home, Mark simply buys it when he's on the road.

The Kindle's testing this cool feature called "Ask Kindle." You can submit any question you want and receive numerous answers within 10-15 minutes. For now this service is free. I have to wonder if the testing period will lead to a subscription fee for it in the future if it proves popular enough, since Amazon is asking for feedback on the service. For a pilot test question, Mark asked, "What's the stock market going to do next week?" We received three thoughtful answers--and one bizarre one. I'm thinkin' the latter came from some techie in Bangalore who hasn't quite gotten the English language down yet.

"Ask Kindle" came in handy last weekend when we were in Idaho and lost our Internet. We had lobster tails to make for dinner, and couldn't get online for tips on how to go about cooking them. Mark sent to Kindle, "How do you cook a lobster tail?" Within fifteen minutes we had our answer--both a boiling method and a broiling one.

We broiled. They were delicious.

And you thought the Kindle was only for reading.

1 comment:

Susanne said...

Wow, another techie gadget. Heavens I still barely know how to work my computer and digital camera. Sigh. I'll never get caught up with this stuff.