Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing

From: Patrick King (
Date: 16 Nov 2009

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    Kerry, let me answer as concisely as I can. The Kindle is disabling compared to the book because I cannot make or fix (or run) a Kindle by myself, whereas anyone can make a book by himself. Any time you add a layer of intermediate complexity, you disable people. I don't think this can be argued with.

    But even if you assumed that industrial civilization would continue along present lines (an impossibility, as we know from physics), do you think poor people, who are the overwhelming majority of the world, will be buying Kindles and paying to download books from Amazon?


    I have not got stock invested in Amazon or the Kindle machine and really don't care whether anybody else uses these products or not, but do feel compelled to disperse misinformation about this item simply because I own one and know what it does and doesn't do. In the first place, you don't have to make, fix or run a Kindle. A Kindle is not a computer. It is a cell phone. It works on cell phone technology. Your Kindle is activated and updated by your Kindle account at Amazon. You can retain a large amount of documents on the device, and a limitless amount of documents at your Kindle account. You can, if you're obsessive, also download your documents from your Kindle to a computer hard drive if you believe Amazon is going to steal your documents back from you. You can also view private documents, publications, and blogs on a Kindle.

    Should you experience a problem with a Kindle, you hold the ON button to the right for 60 seconds. This reloads the Kindle software and your current library and the device is completely updated.

    I'm sure if you take and axe or and heavy hammer to it, you can break your Kindle device. It is unlikely the you will break a Kindle by dropping it on a linoleum floor. But even with a cracked screen, it is easier to read a Kindle than it is to read a book that has been submerged in water.

    And, yes, when a new book, like Elmore Leonard's ROAD DOGS, comes out in hard cover at $24.99, and the Kindle edition, available two days earlier at $9.99, I am going to download and read the Kindle edition. The initial expense of the device is greatly out weighed by the savings on most electronic documents. Most public domain documents like Poe, Wilkie Collins, Doyle, Lovecraft, Rohmer, Wallace, etc are free. There is sometimes a $2 or $3 dollar fee for these if you want a linked table of contents so you can press a button to move from story to story instead of paging through or using the search tool. Those are individual choices you have, depending on how you intend to use the documents.

    The Kindles currently available will undoubtedly, like every electronic instrument, become obsolete in time. There are a number of features, especially in terms of graphics, and kerning I hope to see improved. At the same time, the ability to change the size of the type to suite your eyes and your lighting conditions with the press of a button is a very useful and convenient feature.

    I do think the evolution of electronic type is an improvement in many ways over conventional type, certainly to the extent compact disks are an improvement over vinyl disks (ie: richer tone on cheaper equipment, lighter and easier to transport and maintain). I will be very surprised if within 24 months it is not the dominant media on which most Americans and Europeans are reading.

    Patrick King


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