Webster defines Kindle as a noun meaning, among other things, “to stir up.” And while I don’t think Amazon’s new machine will cause the downfall of paper books, I do think it will stir up considerable sales, even at $359 a pop.
The Amazonians have figured out the natural advantages of ebooks: they're never out of stock, they never go out of print, there’s no warehouse needed, and a couple hundred books fits in a handheld device about the size and weight of a paperback.
But then they realized the downside of e-books. Your reader has to be attached to a computer to get new material. So the Amazon folks designed a reader, The Kindle, which lets you browse, order and download wirelessly. So when you’re vacationing on the beach or commuting on the subway (this is, after all, where people read novels) you can get new books easily.
I’ve posted two of my novels as Kindle books. Thanks to Echelon Press, Blood and Bone is already available as an e-book from Fictionwise in a dozen formats including one that’s Kindle compatible. I haven’t seen many sales at Fictionwise, but then it doesn’t have the visibility of Amazon.com. Let’s face it, NOTHING has the visibility of Amazon.com. That alone might make this the place to be, electronically.
Still, it’s a real scavenger hunt to figure out how much you make on a Kindle sale, or how many you’ve had. And there’s no way to know how many Kindles are out there. Amazon isn’t very free with information. There is also one negative way that Kindle differs from any other publishing I’ve done. There’s no proof copy to check. As near as I can figure there is no way to see what my Kindle books really look like, unless of course I buy a Kindle, which is very unlikely. At these prices, I’ll stick to paper for a while.