Upgrading Today

Kage Baker wanted a Kindle during her last year. But she hated being an unpaid beta tester, so she watched and queried our several friends who essayed the leap in to ebooks. collecting data and making up her mind. That last months, she preferred to be read to – nobody had an audio playback yet on an ereader, so we went for the old-fashioned approach: I read to her.

Besides, she was really into Jeeves and Wooster around then, and she liked the way I did the accents. A soprano can be very expressive of upper-class British idiocy.

However, in the last few days, as we were finally beginning to sensibly discuss some long-range plans – ie, I was in denial and Kage was making plans for me – one of the things she told me was: “Get a Kindle or you’re going to drown in books. I know you, kiddo.”

And she was correct. One of my only physical indulgences this last year and a half has been books. And they are, yes, taking over; and while Kimberly is very patient with me, well – she has her own books stacked on tables and chairs and counter-tops and slow-moving cats … book hoarding only works well when only one person in the house does it. And I moved from a house where two people indulged, to this one where now four of us are guilty … the tide is rising remorseless and we be caught on a lee shore …

So today I have been spending a good deal of time researching available ereaders. I am almost sure it’s gonna be a Kindle, now; I’ve downloaded both Kindle and Nook apps to my desktop, for some hands-on experimentation, and have been trying out all sorts of the free books to see how it all works. It’s cool, so cool! I am hooked; I just have to decide which brightly coloured plastic insect appeals to my fishy hunger most.

Then tomorrow I will go forth an acquire it, and spend a happy Saturday buying books that don’t take up any space. He he he … what a futuristic delight! And Kage, who dearly loved techno toys, would be terribly pleased.

So I am off to more roaming through the evolving garden of print options, Dear Readers. This modern stuff is really pretty nifty. I can already see more of my desk!

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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7 Responses to Upgrading Today

  1. My suggestion: make sure you play with both ereaders first, don’t just research online! Target stores have carried Kindles for a while now, Barnes & Noble obviously has the Nook, and Best Buy carries both.

    I don’t want to bias you with my choice, but I definitely found the one I picked up to be a lot more responsive and a lot less distracting with the page flashes than the one I didn’t.

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    • Kate says:

      Andrew – yep, I am going out tomorrow for the tangible tests; get my hands on both and see how they feel. Always good advice, not to judge just by the photos!

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  2. Carol Light says:

    I agree that you should check the distraction level on the page “turn”. I bought a Kindle about a month ago and before it was fully charged it was verrrry slow and distracting. Now it’s not much more than the distraction of physically turning a page.

    The reason I decided on the Kindle (Amazon has one with “sponsored” ad screensaver for 114) is that it takes two kinds of documents — pdf and prc (and apparently you can pay for Word), while the Nook, that last time I checked, only took pdf.. On the kindle, my “home-made” pdf’s can’t be adjusted in font size but home-made prc’s are not a problem. I think it’s helpful to be able to put home-made documents on, as that way you can copy articles (and yes,even Sci-Fi stories from legit free sites) and just snyc them on.

    As for colorful, well, I think you have to end up satisfied with a cover, which can be had from about $10 up to at least $50 — when I stopped looking. I settled for a cheap black leather-ish cover but I decorate it with stickers….

    Enjoy.

    Carol

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    • The Nook supports PDF and ePub (which is similar to the PRC/Mobi the Kindle supports, but allows for fancier formatting in the books).

      That said, the Nook doesn’t have an “easy” autoconversion service like Amazon does; you need to do it yourself with a tool like Calibre.

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  3. maggiros says:

    I’m in love with my Kindle, but I haven’t tried any of the others. Truth to tell, most people I know seem to be happy with what they chose, but I’m not sure how much comparison (aside from reviews) any of us did. I’m not sure any test will be as good as actually living with the thing, but what can you do? 🙂

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  4. maggiros says:

    Adding to Carol’s comment:
    Covers can cost a good deal more if you go (as I did) for something cool like Oberon Designs (yes, Kate, that Oberon).

    Sending a Word doc to your kindle does carry a cost but it’s pennies, and the text and page are adjustable. If you’re reviewing your own ms or beta reading for a friend, it’s the best way to go. PDFs don’t re-flow the text on any device, as far as I know, and in some cases, that’s a serious drawback. Kindle also has a primitive but occasionally useful web browser (still considered beta) which is painfully slow but better than nothing, in a pinch.

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    • I don’t know about the Kindle, but the Nook does support PDF reflow if you set the font size big enough. It doesn’t do a very good job, though, so I’d recommend converting the Word doc if you have it instead of trying to use a PDF. 🙂

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