Friday, December 4, 2009

Beyond Kindle

I love my Kindle. I use it as a supplement to traditionally printed books. As much as I love it, I also recognize it isn't perfect.

Here are things I would like the next generation of e-readers to have:

1. I can make notes and clip and save phrases on the Kindle, but it's not easy enough. Make it simple. I'm thinking maybe a stylus (do they still call those little pen/wands a stylus?) and touch-screen.

2. Let me loan my books to other e-readers, including Kindle. I'm thinking for up to 30 days, then they're magically transported back to me. It's next to impossible for me to follow up on loaned books and get them returned. And when people look at me with blank expressions? I'm totally not into twisting arms and threatening broken legs. My first Harry Potter is gone forever, as well as the first Left Behind. I admit it. I'm a wuss.

3. Color. Okay, not so necessary when everything I read is a novel, but I still like to look at covers, don't you?

4. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to correspond directly with the author of the book you're reading? "You are a fabulous author and I particularly loved . . . " Or even, "What were you thinking? Was that you or your editor?"

5. While you're at it . . . Wouldn't it be cool to see that episode of Lie to Me you missed on your Kindle?

6. This is something that could happen right now. Currently on Amazon, the cost for Kindle editions does not apply toward free shipping for traditionally published books. Some books I want on Kindle, some I want with spines. Picky, I know. But still.

Here's a link to a cool tablet coming out next year via Wonderfactory and Time Inc.

What are some of your dream elements of the next generation of e-reader? Are you as excited as I am about the rumors of the upcoming Apple iTablet?

CR: Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Paper, cloth covers, and binding ;)

    I'm sorry...! I also don't own a cell phone. Truth.

  2. And you're proud of both, right?

    Hmmm . . .

    So seriously, is there a reason? Just curious.

  3. I'm a slow adopter... no Kindle or similar for me ... yet... I like the idea of a slimmer, lighter device (that can hold several books) instead of my bag being weighed down with heavy books. But still...

    I want colour! Yes indeed. At least for the covers.

    I'd love a stylus where I could underline favourite lines or make notes as I do in paper books.

    It would be cool if the e-readers were interactive in some way, especially with the author...

    But when all is said and done, I still love thumbing my way through an anxiously awaited paperback :)

    Cheers, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores!
    Check out the trailer

  4. No, really, I'm not! In fact, I fear making myself a dinosaur and being somewhat left behind. I'm not sure of the reason. Well, they're different for each, I guess.

    I really do love the form/medium of a book. When I read on screen--a ms or a blog--I am never quite as physically comfortable as with a book. And words on a page (a paper one) do something for me that the screen just can't. I realize this really doesn't say why though. I also love bookstores and libraries--anywhere the physical presence of books is palpable. I don't want to see those things die. I want my children's children's etc. to know that world.

    As for the cell, to be totally honest, we try to save money where we can, and this is one place. I'm lucky enough to be home with my children and can just about get by without being reachable all the time. Sometimes it's inconvenient--I depend on the kindness, or phones, of strangers, or actually pick up that antique, a pay phone--but I guess there's a small, odd part of me that welcomes inconvenience, that feels things have become a little too easy for my taste.

    I can still remember as a kid begging my mom not to get a food processor, just to cut with a knife. I longed for this Little House on the Prairie-esque life, which is a little silly, since I do love my car, my word processor--I pick and choose and I realize that.

    Whoa, was this way too long a response to your question, Peg? Maybe we should do twin blog posts on the ways we embrace, adapt to, and cope with progress...

  5. Hello Peg
    I've been following your blog for quite a while. One of the few I read. Thank you! I've been thinking of 'Kindling' but have the idea there is not a large choice of books. Is that true?


  6. Jill, you would totally love a Kindle. 1500 books! LOML is reading a three-books in one deal by Michael Connelly. My hands would cramp up in two minutes with that thing!

    And even though Jenny dissed the screen (sorry, Jenny), I would not have bought my Kindle if was like reading computer screen. I have never once fallen asleep reading my computer (well, almost . . . but not actually asleep). I know I definitely could go into snooze-mode reading a Kindle.

    Jenny, there are things I believe will always be treasured. I can't imagine a world where books were not. The real, bound, smelly-good books. I imagine that when whatever events unfold in our world in the next millennia, books may become rare, but they'll be even more appreciated. It's just that there are a lot of reasons why e-readers will become more common. It's one of those technologies that I think is here to stay, and will only get better.

    A bit warped, but the associated discussion of resisiting change made an old memory surface. As a child, I heard that, through evolution, humans were losing their little toes. I made a point to exercise my pinky toes regularly so that *my* ancestors would have them. I didn't even consider that at some point that would make them decidedly abnormal. I'm sure there's a corellation there somewhere.

    Ann, thank you so much for the compliment of reading my blog. Wow.
    As far as available books goes, I don't see a problem if you're in the US. Kindle is just beginning to become available in other countries, and there may or may not be a large supply of titles.

    I just checked Amazon's Kindle Store. There is a Thriller genre, with four sub-genre's listed. Legal has 1,014 titles available; Spy/Intrigue has 1,279; you'll find a whopping 7,699 suspense novels to choose from and technothrillers comes in at 657. Some (even through Amazon) are free downloads.

    I wish you guys were sitting here so you could experiment with my Kindle in person and see it's wonders and it's potential. It will never be a book. It wasn't meant to be a book.

    Oh, have I mentioined you can download samples of books before you buy them? And it isn't just the first paragraph. It's enough to know whether or not you want to read the rest of the story. And . . . less than a minute later, you're reading it!

  7. Hee hee, food processors and pinky toes. Have those two ever been discussed together before? (Ugh. The possibilities.)

    I am clearly resistant to change--I immediately started things twitching on my feet when I read your comment, Peg :) I don't know, I just love this world, despite its many flaws, to paraphrase Emily Bronte.

    One of those flaws is over-consumption and e readers may certainly pose an antidote to that, at least on the felling trees front. And I really didn't mean to diss the device--only to say that I will probably be a hold out--I'm glad those who love it have one.

    Don't forget, I slice onions by hand, crying every second. This is not a virtue!

    Ann, you're right, Peg's blog is THE BEST!