Sunday, December 05, 2010

Kindle Reading; Holiday Books

I've just finished reading/listening to my 51st book on my Kindle, and have started on #52, a space opera by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I first held my Kindle in my hands on February 27, 2009, so I've had about two years. I currently have 34 books loaded on it, and about 75 more kindlized works stored on my computer to be loaded as needed. Among the books already loaded: some of the Dray Prescot works that were never "printed" in English, a couple of the "Shadow" pulp novels, several SF novels from the 40s and 50s, some books by friends like M. F. Korn and Ty Johnston, collections like Discount Noir, and such classics as The Picture of Dorian Gray, Ben Hur, and War and Peace.

I bought a fair amount of my kindle books from Amazon, but over two-thirds of the books I have and have read I downloaded free from Project Gutenberg and other online ebook sites. Many of these I downloaded as text files and then kindlized them, which is ridiculously easy. I just send a text file to my kindle email account and they kindlize it within seconds and either send it back to my kindle or to my PC so I can load it later at my leisure. I have found that I can improve my listening experience on Kindle with such books if I do a little editing on the text file first to make sure there are periods after chapter titles and so on.

Although the reading experience itself on Kindle is very good because of the lack of glare and the ability to increase font size, I've found the text to speech function to be one of my favorite applications. I let my Kindle read to me as I take my long daily commute, and although the voice is definitely mechanical sounding and lacks the voice qualities of a good audio book, I find that it doesn't matter much with a lot of books, such as the Shadow and Doc Savage Pulp stories. I tend to supply the intonations in my head as I listen along.

The Kindle has not meant an end to my long love affair with printed books. In fact, I've bought more "new" books in the past three years than at any time in my life. I've also bought printed copies of some of the books I've read on the Kindle just to have them on my shelves. It has complimented my love affair with reading, not complicated it.

And I'll end this little ode to the Kindle by mentioning a couple of my own works that can be found on Amazon for the Kindle. I’m talking about Killing Trail, and Chimes, of course. “Chimes” is actually a longish short story while “Killing Trail” is a collection of my western stories. They’re both pretty cheap, and I feel comfortable recommending the author to you. :)

Btw, Killing Trail is also available on Smashwords in different ebook formats and PDF if you should perchance prefer.




However, if you prefer to do your holiday shopping for printed books, check out Erin Cole’s Holiday Catalog, which includes Cold in the Light by yours truly, as well as many other wonderful books from up and coming writers who deserve your consideration.

Happy holidays!

38 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I enjoy Project Gutenberg and dip in there for classics I have missed. I find I read more print books when I'm home and switch to Kindle for traveling. My latest eBook is Twain's autobiography. Latest print: RIPLEY'S GAME.

Deka Black said...

My latest prnt? Well, the complete edition in three hardcovers of the entire Conan saga by REH. Only his material, as he writed it. No changes, no continuations, nothing but the stories REH wrote, with synopsis, fragments and things like that.

The spanish edition by Timun Mas is great (and expensive, but worth of it).

And in e-readings... I've started to read the Weird tales issue with the second part of Red Nails.

By the way, the space opera you say, Is one of the chapters of the Darkover saga?

Ty Johnston said...

I just got my first Kindle a couple of weeks ago, and so far I'm enjoying it tremendously. Seems every time I start the thing up I'm discovering some new feature from it.

But it's definitely a different reading experience. Not bad, just different. So I still love my homey paper books, too.

Ello said...

I adore my kindle! And I agree, it has not at all affected my love affair with print books!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wonder how long before my iPad starts reading to me?

Tara Maya said...

I discovered the joy of text-to-speech when I hurt my eye and couldn't read for a while. I haven't used it since then, since I'm more of a visual reader, but I was very grateful for it that week.

Travis Cody said...

I am thrilled with my Kindle purchase. I've had it since August and I've finished 23 books. I've been able to read several books I might not have picked up in hard copy. I haven't tried to audio feature yet thought.

But like you, there are some books that I'll still pick up in hard copy. Mostly those are certain series that I have on the shelves. I'd like to keep collecting those in hard copy.

My Kindle has been a great addition to my love of books and reading. I suspect it will also be helpful when I start trying to reintroduce classic literature into my reading habits.

Charles Gramlich said...

David, they've got a lot of stuff I've downloaded for research too, including Darwin's work.

Deka, I kind of thought that might have been modified for the Darkover Saga. It had somethings in common to some of the Darkover books I've read.

Ty, the more I use it the more I can fairly easily switch back and forth between print and kindle.

Ello, It's rejuvenated my interest in certain genres if anything.

Alex, :) Just make sure you keep taking your meds, man.

Tara, I prefer reading for sure but on the long drive it is really helpful to me. I have a 2 and a half hour commute every day.

Travis cody, I bet it will. There are LOTS of classic literature online at Gutenberg and other places. I read Lyrical Ballads recently, and have a bunch more stuff.

David J. West said...

I've heard Ben Hur is a poor book-though I like the movie a lot-so I am curious to hear your take on it.

Steve Malley said...

Hmmmm, Chimes, you say? Don't know how I missed that one... ;-)

BernardL said...

I am going to take the leap into Kindle later this year. I like the idea of being read to while commuting. Truthfully, I hadn't thought of it until you mentioned passing your long commute with readings.

Cloudia said...

nice suggestions, Charles


Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

Charles Gramlich said...

David J. West, I liked the movie too so I'm curious about it. Will let you know what I think.

Steve Malley, Lots of stuff out there, I imagine. I can't keep up with what is going on for sure.

BernardL, it seems that most of the books I really want to listen to aren't in normal audio books so it's a good alternative for me.

Cloudia, thankee.

Deka Black said...

Really? What i like the most about Darkover is how Bradley works his concept of psionic powers. The best i've ever seen. (and his Free Amazons are different than the most in other genre works).

the walking man said...

You know I guess I have to go somewhere else other than the coffee shop because I honestly have never even seen a Kindle. I know what it is and all but I have never seen one or where to get one if I were of a mind to buy one.

ivan said...

Ah, technology lag over here.

They said I had one in l974, lost some media jobs and finally got dragged into the 21st century by my poor son.
Still, media reentry was by typewriter. But the Globe & Mail said no more snail mail.
So now computer literate, but the writin' aint gettin' any better.
Maybe I need to be rekindled. Kindled?

Gaston Studio said...

I keep my 100s of ebooks on Amazon's website where they're stored for free and I don't have to worry about a PC crash. Never used the audio part but that's because I'm mostly retired and hardly ever go anywhere. But I love my Kindle and have only bought coffee table books since having it for the past 2 years. Love that I can highlight without damaging precious pages!

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka Black, I've liked that about the DArkover books too. I like the more fantasy oriented ones best, although at the moment I'm kind of on a space opera kind of kick.

Mark, I think you still have to buy them online from Amazon. I've seen a variety of other readers carried at Borders and Barnes & NOble. I've seen a very few people reading them here.


ivan, I actually remember typewriters. Wow, who'd a thought you'd have to be fairly old to remember typewriters. Crazy world.

Charles Gramlich said...

Gaston Studio, I still haven't used the highlight function that much. The books I purchase on Amazon are saved on their website but I don't think the downloads I make to my own PC are. I do keep multiple copies, though.

Heff said...

Yeah, I'd STILL rather have a book "to have and to hold".

Guess I'm old fashioned that way.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, magazines count too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I keep trying to get used to it but so far, not.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patty, Really? Hum, that's interesting. You'll have to tell me more at some point.

laughingwolf said...

good tips, charles... some day i may try ebooks... after i have the $$$ for a reader! :(

Rick said...

You have seriously converted me to head the Kindle way, Charles. Thanks for the push.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

I fear I'm getting a kindle . . . it's time! Will enjoy it, I know. Ah, the resistance of the technophobe -- I'm the worst besides one of my exes who is still using quill pens.

Mary Witzl said...

I've never been remotely interested in the idea of a Kindle -- until about fifteen seconds ago when I read what you wrote about your Kindle reading to you. I had NO idea they did that! What a great idea, and even if the voice sounded like a bad version of Mr. Spock, I'd go for one almost for that reason alone. Thanks for those tips!

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, the Kindle has dropped to about 140 bucks. I think some of the others are cheaper. That can still be a chunk of change, though.

Rick, handy to have, my friend. Sorry I wasn't home Monday night. I have a late writing group that runs that night.

Michelle, I always considered myself something of a luddite but I did embrace this technology pretty early. Maybe I'm moving into the 20th century. BTW, there are some lovely flowers on our counter. We sure do appreciate them.

Mary Witzl, because my commute is almost 3 hours a day, I've actually now listened to more books on my kindle than I've read on it. Although it's pretty close.

Barrie said...

I think I would love the listening feature. Is the volume okay?

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm glad you've enjoyed your Kindle so much, but it does seem a pretty natural fit. :)

X. Dell said...

Almost two years? I remember when you got the thing (you posted about your acquisition). Apparently it has been a good investment.

Erik Donald France said...

A very helpful review. The audio part is particularly interesting. More library "databases" seem to be trending this way, and with translation capabilities. Does Kindle translate, too?

I also like the synergy aspects of building overall excitement for texts in all formats.

laughingwolf said...

will take a closer look, thx :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, I didn't find the volume loud enough for my commute on its own, but most new cars have an external jack that you can plug the device into and play it through your radio speakers. Mine is actually on the radio itself.

Lana Gramlich, indeed it does.

X. Dell, I've definitly gotten my money's worth. I was surprised it had been almost 2 years since I got it.

Erik Donald France, no translation capabilities as far as I know. I don't know if there are plans for that or not.

laughingwolf, if you don't travel a lot it may not be as useful to you. I use it in travelling and commuting a lot.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

I LOVE the Darkover novels. Are those the Marion Zimmer Bradley novels you're reading? *sigh* I need to reread some of them.

cs harris said...

Interesting, Charles. What percentage of your reading is now done on the Kindle?

Sam and I were having a conversation about ebooks today and she said in her experience, ebook readers tend to be over 40 or under 20. I'm wondering if others have found that to be true.

Charles Gramlich said...

Rachel, I think this book is one that later influenced the Darkover novels. I've read several of them and liked them but not the whole series.

Candy, hum, over 40 or under 20. Interesting. Most of the people I know who have ebook readers are definitely over 40. I'd say about a third of the books I get through are on the Kindle now, though it's skewed because I'm listening to them on my commute.

Natasha Fondren said...

feedbooks.com has a whole lot of the Project Gutenberg books formatted well and ready as a Kindle file... and all free.