On Valentine’s Day, I must confess a new love in my life. I have fallen head over heels for my Kindle. So I read with more than passing interest a piece in the New York Times about a developing controversy over plans by Amazon and others under pressure from publishers to raise the price on e-books from $9.99 apiece to $14.95.
Some Kindle users say they’ll boycott and find other forms of entertainment. Still others have protested the increase by going on Amazon.com and logging negative reader comments about the book they would otherwise have bought.
I’m afraid I’m putty in their hands. As long as e-books cost less than discounted hard copies, I’m hooked. Let me tell you the whole tawdry tale. For our anniversary last year, I bought a Kindle for my husband, who is a voracious reader, an info-holic. Five newspapers a day. God knows how many magazines. Limitless online consumption of news. If he were stranded without fresh material, he’d read cereal boxes.
Obsessive reader though he is, he was slow to start using the Kindle, so I decided to try it out…and promptly appropriated it. I love it. On a recent vacation, I read six books and carried only my Kindle. There is no required trip to the store or wait for a delivery to be made by Amazon. When I finished reading Tracy Kidder’s riveting book about Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains, I wanted to read Kidder’s new book, Strength in What Remains. A few clicks on my Kindle and, in less than 30 seconds, it was downloaded.
Others in love with their Kindles are outraged that they have to pay $14.30 for Strength in What Remains, rather than the original Kindle price of $9.99. But buying the hard copy on Amazon would be $17.16 plus delivery. And going out and paying retail would entail a list price of $26. Even if it’s no longer $9.99, it’s still a deal!
Want to check out the meaning of a word? You don’t have to go to the dictionary, which I frequently postponed doing. Just move the cursor to the left of the word and you get the dictionary definition. If you doze off, the Kindle will respond to the inactivity and turn itself off. When you turn it back on, it is open to the “page” where you left off. If you’re driving somewhere (and your book is not copyright-restricted), the Kindle can be voice activated and will read to you, though admittedly it is a quirky computer voice and not the quality of books on tape. There are other features, including the ability to take notes. I haven’t yet mastered that feature but don’t need to at this point.
There’s even a Kindle app for my iphone. I don’t carry my Kindle with me, but, if I have to kill time waiting for an appointment, I go onto my phone and pick up my reading where I left off. When I return to reading the Kindle, it syncs up with where I left off on my iphone.
The only real limitation of the Kindle is that my sister and my daughter-in-law can no longer borrow my books because everything is on my Kindle.
The e-book increase is one pricing war that I’m staying out of. I’m still getting a bargain and glad of it. Maybe I’ll get my husband his own Kindle for Valentine’s Day!