How many other companies offer you a newer model of a product valued at $149 for free without kicking and screaming?
A more cynical person would focus on why Amazon might want me to have a working Kindle. Without it, I can’t mainline the various forms of “content” sold by them. Their altruism may be prompted by the same kind of practice in the printer industry. HP, for example, will price printers inexpensively so that customers will continue buying expensive ink cartridges. The hardware is a conduit for the real profit center. We know this.
But still, I’m grateful.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I haven’t picked sides in the war for and against Amazon among writers. Have you?
The Kindle Part 1
I first wrote about the Kindle soon after I bought my first one in 2009.
The Kindle Part 2
I revisited the question in 2011 when I asked readers how much difference it makes to listen to an audio book v. reading a paper copy v. reading on a Kindle. I found that more people had purchased eReaders but that none of them were using them exclusively.
I’ve observed some changes in the way I’m using my Kindle now.
The Kindle Part 3
I traveled a lot this summer and took my Kindle with me. I read several books that way, but I still prefer to underline and dogear the traditional book. That’s an issue others shared with me in 2011.
However, one thing I’ve noticed since then. Price can influence me, and sometimes I will download an ebook when it is on sale, which often happens, or when it is offered gratis.
I’ve downloaded some ebooks for free when asked to do so, often by indie authors who are trying to boost numbers of downloads. Confession: I have a number of these I haven’t opened. I probably will stop accepting gifts unless I have a genuine interest in the subject matter or truly know the author. An electronic “shelf” filled with books I don’t really care about is no more attractive than a “real” bookshelf overflowing with books that I need to give to the thrift store.
Indie Authors. Are you reading them?
Which brings me to the real explosion in ebooks. The self-published book. We all know that a number of bestsellers have arisen among this group of newly enfranchised writers. I have read a number of books in this category and enjoyed them. Others, like the free ones above, not so much.
Most recently I found a memoir by Carol Bodensteiner called Growing Up Country, published by Rising Sun Press, which she owns. It’s a collection of beautifully written descriptions of farm life from another “dairy maid” living in Iowa at almost exactly the same time I was living in Pennsylvania. If you enjoyed Little Heathens as much as I did, you’ll love this book also.
Why did I buy it? I found a tweet from Carol, who follows me on Twitter. I opened the link, saw that I could download the ebook version for $3.99 and have it on my Kindle in 30 seconds. If I were an Amazon Prime member, which I am not, it would have been free. We country girls love bargains, and that looked like one to me. Well worth the risk of $3.99 on an author I only knew as a Twitter “friend.”
If you want to read an inspiring story, read this blog post by Ira Wagler, author of Growing Up Amish, which hit bestseller lists at Amazon, The Wall Street Journal, and even The New York Times. He credits Amazon’s inclusion of his book in a sales offer. His publisher, Tyndale, apparently was as surprised as he was by the response.
“High-Priced” Kindle Books
I am currently reading My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of a Girl Who Yearns to Box by Deirdre Gogarty with Darrelyn Saloom.
So what’s a pacifist with no interest in boxing doing with a book on boxing? And paying more for it than any previous ebook?
Well, the story is long. But I have come to love the stories of the co-author Darrelyn Saloom who lives on a small farm in Louisianna and writes about her life there in a delightful blog you will want to add to your reader. Something about her joie de vivre infects me. She reached out to me with a comment after I published a story about my mother in Jane Friedman’s series called “When Mom was My Age.”
I started reading about Darrelyn’s chickens and horses and feeling my throat constrict as she took me on short journeys into her life. I enjoy her understated style and lovely photos of sunsets and fields. I felt kinship with even the smallest online offering she made, and so I became a fan of her projects. As I learned more about Deirdre Gogarty through Darrelyn, I wanted to read about this woman boxer from Ireland. It was an easy call to download a copy. Now I will have it as my bedtime reading treat.
I also bought the book before publication. As I understand it, doing so helps authors even more than if you wait until after the official publication date.
Okay. Your turn now. Are you still holding out on buying an eReader? (and is that the way to spell it??) Have your electronic reading habits changed? Are you buying indie publications? Does price matter to you? An inquiring reader and writer wants to know.