Pub Rants

Kindle Update

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STATUS: Into the home stretch. Just one more editor dinner tomorrow night and I’m homeward bound.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? LET’S DANCE by David Bowie

Pros definitely outweigh the cons. I think Jeff Bezos should hire me as I convinced more agents and editors to buy the Kindle just by showing them mine and how easy it is to use.

What I love:

1. I love having 2 full manuscripts and 20 partials in one easy to store, easy to hold reader. No more back pain. No paper to lug around. No heavy laptop that needs to sit on my lap to read. And I bought a new purse (another benefit!) that can easily hold my cell phone, Kindle, sunglasses, wallet, spare parts etc.

2. I love being able to choose the font size to read in that is now the default and easy on my eyes.

3. I love being able to have all my favorite books downloaded to the Kindle so I can read them anytime and anywhere I want. Even when I’m traveling and I get the hankering to read Pride & Prejudice for the umpteenth time, it’s there. This is also great in terms of storage. Last year I donated boxes full of books because there was literally no where to put them. I won’t have that problem because even if you don’t want to store it on your kindle, Amazon will store a book for you at your site account.

4. I love the Clipping feature. If I make a note in any document, it is auto saved to this file for easy reference. In other words, I can read 10 sample pages, write a note to myself about each one while reading, and when it’s time to enter my response into the electronic database, I simply open that one file and all the notes are there. I don’t have to reopen each partial that I read. Very handy.

5. I love emailing the documents to myself. No cables. No “I forgot to transfer documents to my Kindle” before walking out the door.

What I would change:

1. I would like more flexibility in being able to organize my downloads into separate folders so my home page always stays neat and clutter free. Right now it doesn’t have that organizational capability.

2. Wouldn’t mind a reader light to turn on just when necessary.

3. Documents downloaded to the Kindle do not have corresponding page numbers that can be used as reference. That’s a bit tough for when I take notes. I can only refer to a chapter.

4. I imagine this was a cost element but a touch interface would be pretty cool.

5. When emailing myself, I’d like the note in the body of the email to be integrated into the document that’s being loaded on the Kindle. Right now, it doesn’t do that.

6. Side buttons are a little cumbersome and it’s easy to turn a page when you don’t mean to.

Other than that, I’m thrilled to have bought one. I spent one night reading a whole novel for 6 hours and my eyes never felt tired. That was the real test.

76 Responses

  1. Adrian Lopez said:

    Kindle doesn’t light my fire, by Free Range Librarian:

    First, as Jason Griffey points out on Pattern Recognition, the Kindle reinforces the idea of one owner per book, period. Fair use? We don’t need no steenkin’ fair use. If the Kindle’s DRM model becomes standard, you can kiss libraries goodbye.

    Second, it’s a proprietary format. So when Kindle loses its spark and is replaced by the Apple iReader (yes, I made that up), your Kindle books are lost. Sometimes I misplace my books, and once in a while I lose one; but I don’t go to sleep at night worrying that in ten years I won’t be able to access what I can see on my own shelves.

    Third, Amazon picks the blogs you read. Yes. They do. Several hundred of them. The world of blogging becomes commodified and stilted and squinched down to the same airport-mall collection. And — sit down — you have to pay for them (‘Get blogs wirelessly delivered to your Kindle for as little as $.99 per month’). Yes — you heard correctly — pay for blogs. Anil Dash sounds a twee hesitant when he says, ‘I don’t think they should be charging for blogs that are distributed to Kindle users.’ Let me be man enough for both of us: that blows chunks. Amazon. Stop. Now. Insane.

    Fourth, unless you transfer documents via cable, you are charged every time you transfer a personal document to your Kindle. Yes, Kindle burns your own money to move documents from one device you own to another! It’s just a wee micropayment — ten cents per document — but like felling fair use with a death blow, that strikes me as a very bad precedent (though a pretty slick trick; I’m trying to think of a few businesses I could ‘repurpose’ along those lines — perhaps that plate-to-mouth thing that happens in a restaurant? Call it a ‘prandial usage’ fee, perhaps?).

  2. Anonymous said:

    Free Range Librarian is quite mis-informed.

    “Kindle reinforces the idea of one owner per book”

    Did you know that paper books have one owner per book. Not true for Kindle. One can have up to 6 Kindles tied to a single Amazon account – all six can read the ebook at the same time. And the books generally cost 30-50% less than paper books (including shipping and tax)

    ” Fair use? “

    The Kindle has a clipping feature which makes it far easier to get text for reports, emails etc., and other fair use applications than a paper book – which requires re-typing.

    You can go to blogs for free with Kindle using its web browser. You need only pay the $1 a month if you want auto delivery over a cellular broadband network. Please name another device with free cellular broadband service.

    The objection for paying $0.10 an email to send docs to a Kindle is silly – do you get free email on your mobile phone? iPhone service costs $25 /month for data. Do you pay for an ISP to access free Internet content? If the $0.10 is too much for use use the included cable or an SD flash card.

  3. Misque Writer said:

    I’m completely in favor of the ebook revolution. But I’m not sure a model of being nickled and dimed — for sending emails, reading blogs, etc, is great. Yes, you have to pay for a service at some point, but I’d rather know the cost up front than sit therre trying to calculate how many emails I’ve sent. Look, I love eBay too, but they finally took their nickle and dime approach too far, and drove me to seek alterntives. My big fear is that happening to Amazon.

  4. Lorra said:

    Reading this post, I wonder how a document created in Word using print view looks on Kindle. I imagine layout and page numbers are completely changed. I’m hoping that overall word count is all we writers need to worry about.

    Continuing that line of thought, do any of your readers know how to permanently uncheck widow/orphan control in Word/paragraph/line and page breaks. Because I keep forgettingt to uncheck it before I begin a chapter, I have to go back manually and fix it to get rid of spaces at the bottom of pages. Also, is there any way to globally undo my mistake within a given file?

    Thanks Kristen. Thanks Readers.

  5. Kelly Kirch said:

    I uncheck the widow/orphan at the beginning of a doc, set my format and save it blank in a folder. Then after I open it for a new project, I resave under the title. This is especially important when you have multiple publishers with their own formatting guidelines. Your editor should have guidelines available for you.

    The Kindle dialogue is fascinating. I don’t have one yet, but want one badly. I’m with the unknown entry up there when it comes to cost. It’s basically free unlike your cell, iPod, blackberry, laptop service, wireless connection. Kindle is a jumping off point. Hopefully they will take into consideration what kind of needs their users have when they upgrade. Until then, it’s the best thing on the market. You have to expect proprietary type circumstances given how far advanced it is. Sony ought to be scrambling for the same wireless options.

  6. Adrian Lopez said:


    “Did you know that paper books have one owner per book. Not true for Kindle. One can have up to 6 Kindles tied to a single Amazon account – all six can read the ebook at the same time.”

    I can sell my printed books on Amazon once I’m done reading them, or I can give them away to friends. Can I do the same with Kindle books, or am I stuck with those books being forever tied to my Amazon account? Can libraries loan out Kindle books to its patrons, or is that not permitted?

    “The Kindle has a clipping feature which makes it far easier to get text for reports, emails etc., and other fair use applications than a paper book – which requires re-typing.”

    Easier than typing, to be sure, but probably subject to strict artificial limits enforced by the Kindle’s software. Photocopiers have no such limits.

  7. Joe said:

    When the Kindle first came out, I repeatedly heard that Amazon had done correctly what Sony had failed at. But comparing the Sony eReader to the Amazon Kindle, I much prefer the eReader. It’s sleeker design and properly placed buttons allow for a reading experience rather than a self-conflicted reader/laptop that isn’t really good at either. So I’ve been trying to find someone who can tell me why the eReader is deficient. I found those comments when I wasn’t looking, but now that I am, I can’t find any. Someone help me out here!

  8. Kelly Kirch said:

    Adrian: ” can sell my printed books on Amazon once I’m done reading them, or I can give them away to friends.”

    From an author’s perspective, we get paid based on sales not resales of old books. Think of it like movie pirating or music pirating. We get such a small amount of the sales that to lose them by people passing around a book, hurts.

    Knowing this, I have no desire to rip off other authors or have them rip me off. Just another view point.

  9. Adrian Lopez said:

    Loaning, selling or giving away the books one has legally purchased somehow constitutes ripping off the book’s authors? I don’t think so. You should read about the first sale doctrine.

    I don’t like the fact that the Kindle takes that option away from me.

  10. Kelly Kirch said:

    Your take on Napster, then? I’m open to discussion. How do you feel about pirated movies or download forums like Napster? I know my publisher has the right to challenge Ebay sales of eBook copies on that site. I think it’s safe to say that the code written in the 19 otts had nothing to do with internet distribution. It’s still creative work. It’s still my work. People selling my work to others without buying it is stealing from me. I don’t get paid enough to give it away.

    Thoughts? Let’s have a friendly discussion here. I welcome others to chip in.

  11. Adrian Lopez said:

    I’m not talking about Napster, I’m talking about used books. Selling used books isn’t piracy, and it only involves stealing when you’re selling stolen books.

    I seriously doubt your publisher has the right to stop sales of used books on eBay. Copyright holders can stop unauthorized copies from being sold, but legitimate copies can be sold and resold without restriction, per the first sale doctrine.

  12. Adrian Lopez said:

    “I seriously doubt your publisher has the right to stop sales of used books on eBay.”

    Ah. I just noticed you said “eBooks”, not “books”. What I’ve said about books probably doesn’t apply to eBooks.

  13. Kelly Kirch said:

    LOL, Adrian! 🙂

    It’s an interesting discussion. I wonder what the copyright laws make of the new trend to release a book in print and download at the same time… Hmm.

  14. Lisa said:

    I love my Kindle too. I really like the ability to look up a word or check something in Wikipedia while I’m reading.

    I also like the ability to adjust fonts so I can pretend I don’t need reading glasses 🙂

    Like you, I wish I wasn’t always inadvertently changing pages. I’m still trying to train myself to grab it from the top or bottom, not the sides. On the other hand, I love being able to read one-handed and do it with either hand.

  15. Lorra said:

    Thanks, Kelly, for the tip. I guess I was hoping there was a way to change the default setting but I haven’t been able to find it, so apparently it doesn’t exist.

    Good discussion everyone. I’m tempted to try the Kindle.

  16. CM said:

    I don’t understand why the doctrine of first sale doesn’t apply to eBooks.

    Hypothetically, a publisher could block sale of electronically-delivered material on eBay because the person has to make unauthorized copies in order to transmit the sale–from your computer to theirs.

    But suppose I download the eBook file directly to a thumb drive and then sell the book by shipping the medium its on. I think that’s absolutely protected by the doctrine of first sale, because I can sell it without making a copy.

  17. Aimless Writer said:

    Not sure I’m ready for this. One more thing to carry around, weigh down my purse, worry about breaking, dropping, losing…
    I like my books in paperback so I can stuff them in my coat pocket, purse or car. If I drop it or lose it-no big deal.

  18. Anonymous said:

    don’t like the tone but don’t mind the sentiment… does anyone else think that with the infinite replication capability of this kind of technology authors should get flat fees? you know, if you’re a first timer you get paid 100K, then after that they judge how many downloads you got, then pay you accordingly for the next book.

    I actually have a problem with “publishers” making more money than the author on this type of medium. all they are in this system is basically a bulletin board with a massive storage capacity. If they are planning on getting this garbage off the ground, authors should keep ninety percent of sales, and agents should go piss. seriously, if you think about it, the publisher no longer has any type of financial risk… they buy the book, post it on their sight, and sell downloads. what contract? every download costs ten bucks, and the author gets $8.50— why would you want to lose 15% to some guy who basically was responsible for forwarding your e-mail?

    though a weirdly poetic schmuck, the gal posting ahead of me has an excellent point… where the hell is this e-book nonsense going? nevermind the whole doomsday scenario. if the web crashes and technology takes a dump on us (for whatever reason), books will still be here, and e-books with their downloadable content won’t be worth a turd. that, and the ever-present fact that not everyone has a broadband connection, a good computer or one of these silly e-book readers… many people can’t afford such things, and considering the way our economy is going, not a lot of people are going to be able to afford such luxuries for a while.

    agent kristen is starting to sound like a techno-snob. don’t like it, but someone needed to say it.

  19. Stephen said:


    The doctrine of first sale should still be valid. But, when you buy a DRM’d ebook, they get the ID number of your device from you, and the file you get is specifically linked to that device. (and maybe a few others, as somebody pointed out above). It will not work in any other device. This means that you can’t sell it on, no matter what the law says, because the publisher has made it so you can’t.

    I think authors should be getting a bigger percentage of ebook revenue than they do from a paper book. I would expect them to get no less than they would for a paperback – maybe more. Amazon (or other stores for other devices) is doing the job of both distributor and shop, the publisher doesn’t need to print a physical book, they can afford to give the author at minimum paperback revenue without shorting themselves.

  20. Stephen said:

    To anonymous above

    Disclosure: I own a Cybook (same screen as the Kindle, different device, no internet connection). I own (and have paid for) well over 1,000 ebooks, and no longer buy paper books.

    Some “publishers” do pretty much what you’ve said – they’ll take almost anything, and put it up for sale as an ebook. I generally refuse to buy from them.

    If you think all a publisher does is take the authors text and print it, you need to study the subject some more. Ever heard of editing? Advertising? Writing copy text that is going to attract me to look at the book in the first place? Everything that needs to be done for a printed book except the actual printing and distribution should also be done for an ebook. If it’s done right, it’s not cheap.

  21. Kelly Kirch said:

    Going off Stephen…

    And cover art. Plus most of the ebook distributors also print the book between 1 month and 1 year later. Having made some profit up front, the expense is more managable for the smaller print publishers.

    As to royalties. Yes, they take care of the authors. I won’t say more because each contract is different but it’s not the same as paperback. In fact, many eAuthors make the bulk of their money from the digital release, not the printed copy.

    Also, if you download to your computer hard drive instead of directly to your Kindle or other reader then transport to your reader, the coding is not proprietary in the one eBook one unit scheme of things.

    To Doomsday x2…. Shades of Terminator, much? You managed to write the blog comment. You don’t require an eBook reader to read eBooks. You can use your computer screen, cell phones (some models) and other technology.

    And I already have an agent. These lips need not pucker for anyone. Kristin’s is an interesting forum with interesting insights like yours.

  22. Anny Cook said:

    I own a Sony and love it. I can’t imagine what I would use a Kindle for as I don’t use wireless technology. (No, I don’t normally use a cell phone either!) As for e-book vs print book. I have both but prefer the e-book because I can change the font size so I can actually read it. Also, I can carry around a library instead of just one book. It’s easier on these arthritic fingers of mine (and less weight).

    I download my books to my computer library and copy all of them to a back-up drive for security.

    As for selling them on the internet… I’m one of those e-pubbed writers also. And I have to tell you that it realllly annoys me when my books are pirated.

  23. J L said:

    I have a Kindle, an Ebookwise, a REB1200, and a Palm. I read ebooks on all of them. I no longer buy fiction paper books. No need to.

    A misconception about the Kindle: you don’t have to pay to convert and transfer files to it. There is a free option. It’s just a different email address.

    I agree with the downsides to it for proofing my own books but the same applies to ebookwise and other devices for proofing — their page number doesn’t correspond to my Word version. I use my Kindle (insert other reader here depending on my mood of the day) to see how it will look on the device. For editing on the go, I use a NEC 790 MobilePro (yes, I love gadgets).

    I’d add a backlight and a touchscreen to the Kindle, but that’ll bump up the price and lessen the product life. I don’t use it to read blogs, surf the net, etc. See above (NEC 790 MobilePro with WiFi or my Palm or my Tungsten).

    As to the viability of e-publishers, their motivations, pirating — it’s all been said. I know I love being with e-publishers for a lot of reasons (which I’ve talked about on several blogs).

    Would I go with a “big New York house” if they asked me? Probably. It gives me wider distribution for my books. My backlist would benefit greatly.

    I’m not pursuing that or an agent at this time because I’m happy with the amount of books I have out, the ones coming this year and next, my editors, my covers (mostly) and the whole process.

    I’m also happy to be in on the beginning of what I think is a new trend. Print books are wasteful, period. The whole print publishing model is outdated and outmoded. It will have to change at some point. I’m not sure if e-publishing is what it will change to, but some form of it will probably be there. I’m glad to be on the beginnings.

  24. Anonymous said:

    If I ever see someone reading a book on a cell phone, I’m going to slap ’em in the face with a carp. Get real. There is such a thing as being ‘too into technology’, and just because the Verizon guy and a thousand other commercials tell you everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean they are.

    There are techno-nerds among us (I wouldn’t call them techno-snobs, necessarily); these are the folks who do everything they possibly can on some manner of electronic device. These are the people cheering for e-books- they are also the people who don’t use paper calendars anymore, who have the latest iPhone that they bought for six hundred bucks, have radio-connected weather centers in their kitchen, wear watches that are updated by the atomic clock in Fort Collins, and proudly and loudly proclaim to the masses that they haven’t used paper products in seven years.

    I’m sorry to say that these people are not in the majority. These folks are either real wealthy (and into every time saver they can afford) or real lonely (and into anything that makes them feel like part of an elite group). There’s a guy at some university in California who calls himself the first cyborg- he wears a stripped down and reconfigured laptop on a harness that distributes the components all over his body, and every day he wears a headset that keeps a miniature screen in front of his eyes. He’s an uber-dweeb, and he’s living in a fantasy world of his own making. My point? Just because something is technologically possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    To those who have been e-published, please answer this question honestly– how many real-world publishers turned down your stuff before you found an e-publisher willing to publish your book? It seems that there is a lot more leeway for e-publishers than there is for paper-publishers, costwise, and they’d be willing to take a lot more from unknown authors. I have to say I put a lot more credence in the opinion of someone who has been published in the real world of traditional publishing and then been e-published, rather than that of someone who has only seen a screen image of their work.

    Mark C.

  25. Dave Shaw said:

    I love how personally some people take it when someone else explores a new technology. Personal insults aren’t usually considered a hallmark of rational discussion.

    Technology is changing all aspects of communications, including all forms of publishing. It’s been doing so throughout recorded history. People need to decide how to use it and how to adapt to it. Some will find ways to use it to their advantage, and some will fight it and lose out. I don’t know if the Kindle is the future, but if it helps people (such as Kristin) now, then it’s a worthwhile investment for them. Insulting them for trying it just seems pointlessly gratuitous to me.

  26. Terri Beckett said:

    Yes, there are writers who are first published in print and then in ebooks. I know of at least three in my minute sphere of communication.

    Some people will always prefer a ‘real’ book (I’m one of them) but with the demise of the small publisher, there’ll be many many worthy books that just don’t make it into print — why? Because publishers can’t afford to take a chance on a writer no one has heard of, when they can make big bucks publishing big names. So the eBook publishers at least let new writers get a toe in the water.

  27. Maureen McGowan said:

    You’re selling me… At least for what you use it for, it sounds so smart.

    I hope Bezos’ tech folks are reading your blog to develop features for Kindle 2.0

  28. Kelly Kirch said:

    Beautifully said, Dave. I also appreciate how much more mature the non-anonymous are by not trading insults.

    Must be hard harboring all that ill-will, I would think. As someone who doesn’t fall in either category (rich or lonely) I reckon he’s not talking to my kind. I’ll keep writing, keep pubbing in my preferred medium. I will also abstain from further comment on this topic. I’ve said everything I need to say and have nothing to prove.

  29. Anonymous said:

    Once again you all prove that if you have a different opinion from the status quo of this board, you are wrong and harboring ill will. I think some people have a problem with e books because there’s nothing to them… they are an electronic jumble of bits and bytes, walk too close to a magnet, drop your reader, lose a charge, spill some coffee on it and BANG it’s gone. How many e-readers will last fifty years? How many formats? My grandkids will be able to read the books I’ve collected… if I leave behind a pile of chips and discs, fifty years from now they’ll all be part of a dead format and unreadable.

    I agree with those casting aspersions. I’m not insulting anyone. I think that the number of people using tech like this is still in the minority and shall remain so. Even if ten million people sign on for this kind of technology (a pipe dream for the makers of this thing and you know it), they are still a minority… please remember that there are nearly three hundred million of us here in the US alone.

    And to the lady who signed off with the huffy, immature “I’ve said all I’m going to and nothing else.” You’ve harped on throughout this entire subject, lighting into anyone with a contrary opinion no matter how well crafted. You prove my first statement as to the state of mind of the followers of this board and this agent. Congratulations on your narrow mindedness. Hope that works out for you (while you call yourself “writer”).

    James Nelson

  30. Tammie said:

    Wow – who knew the kindle could light such fires?

    Relax people. No one is taking your books away and no need to call Ms. Nelson names.

    Many of us read her blog even after we’ve been rejected so grow up, calm down, mind your manners please.

    Disagree is never a problem, it is the tone in which you write, as a writer you should be aware of it and if you are and still meant to come across as harsh then don’t be surprised when people turn on you for your bad manners.

  31. Tammie said:

    Wow – who knew the kindle could light such fires?

    Relax people. No one is taking your books away and no need to call Ms. Nelson names.

    Many of us read her blog even after we’ve been rejected so grow up, calm down, mind your manners please.

    Not agreeing with the agent of this blog is never a problem, it is the tone in which you write, as a writer you should be aware of it and if you are and still meant to come across as harsh then don’t be surprised when people turn on you for your bad manners.

  32. Anny Cook said:

    Dear me, until I read this blog, I never realized that there was such animosity toward technology. I wonder what writers such as Nora Roberts, Jonathon Kellerman, and Robert B. Parker think about the new revolution? I bought and read their books this past week… on my e-reader. Surely they aren’t the wannabe authors someone mentioned?

    As for techno-people out there, I guess I wonder if the individuals who are so anti-tech drive cars, use microwave, televisions, telephones (standard in-house phones), listen to music, or shop at their local grocery store where they use standard scanning technology. Most devices we use in everyday life run on computerized instructions. I fail to understand why my use of a gadget that makes it possible for me to read more is that upsetting.

    I don’t advocate getting rid of books. I have a huge library of print books that I treasure. Unfortunately, many of them are in a print font size that I can no longer read. And I’m not alone. As the baby boomers age, more and more of us will have to make the decision to use technology–or not read at all.

    I am neither rich nor caught up in technology as a hobby. I simply use what I deem necessary. Some people spend money on other hobbies. Reading is my hobby.

  33. CM said:


    Not all e-books are DRMed. I was specifically thinking of Samhain Publishing, who sells flat-HTMLed e-books and tells me I can’t sell ’em (post purchase–not even a vague attempt to get some kind of click-through license).

    I always wonder, well, how can they legally stop me?

    And Samhain isn’t alone. A lot of exclusively epublishers have non-DRMed formats.

  34. Anonymous said:

    Perhaps we should all join Anny on her slippery slope. Yes, people who like books all live as Stone Age cave people, eschewing all technology to live the simple life of the Noble Savage.

    Technophiles, techno-nerds, techno-snobs; these are people who cannot exist in their day to day lives without resorting to the overuse of technology’s cutting edge. We are not talking about scientists with electron microscopes or doctors using the latest MRI machine. We are talking about the guy who can’t make a grocery list without wirelessly hooking up his three-week old Macbook Air to his latest palm pilot or Blackberry, all to download the words “Milk and Eggs”. We’re talking about the guy who couldn’t imagine buying a paperback novel when he could download seven into his reader wirelessly and over the web (and there was one of those upstream in this conversation, by the by– way too proud of never having to buy books again).

    You’ve met these people. You’ve listened to them talk about how they don’t even shop at stores anymore, they do it all over the web. They buy new smart phones twice a year just to keep up with what’s latest. They follow fads, and it is what’s wrong with the world.

    This crap will prove to be a fad. Why? Because I don’t care how many safeguards you put into protecting the copyright of the author, it can’t be done. Tech geeks see security systems as a personal challenge leveled by The Man, and take perverse pleasure in defeating every single countermeasure a publisher might install in a software/hardware system. They will hack whatever system e-readers come up with and post pirated work without even reading it… they will do it for the thrill of giving the government and big business the bird.

    Go ahead Anny, tell me it isn’t true. Not everyone is an agent or an author with a vested interest in making sure the appropriate parties get paid. And if you think there isn’t a majority of readers out there who wouldn’t grab a pirated copy of Stephen King’s recent book for a buck or two rather than dropping $27.99 for a hardcover or $12.00 for a legit download, you live in a cave on the moon and you talk to your cats.

  35. Anonymous said:

    Please keep in mind that on this particular posting area, I usually hold my tongue and keep quiet– this because I actually value most of what Ms. Nelson says. It is when the chatter of the bobble-headed agreement monkeys becomes too loud that I feel the need to speak up and support those whose opinions are lambasted for being in opposition to Ms. Nelson’s.

    I usually lurk about a forum populated by published science fiction and fantasy writers, due largely to the intelligent, open discourse encouraged there. Once upon a time, after being disgusted by the choir of yes-men over here, I invited a number of folks over here to quietly listen… it was a sanity check for me, to make sure I wasn’t being over-sensitive. Each and every person came back and said variations of, “Wow! Can you believe all the suck-ups? Ass-kissing on an Olympic level! I need a shower after that display.” It was a big laugh.

    Keep saying you aren’t brown-nosing Ms. Nelson while you agree with every little opinion she formulates while listening to her Greatest Hits of the Eighties collection. Keep thinking that the needs of an agent are identical to the needs of a writer. You’re all brilliant.

  36. Anonymous said:

    Mr. Anonymous,

    Having read your comments to these authors in which you call them immature and “on a slippery slope”

    I don’t see anyone talking about the downside of agents here and I think that you are probably one of the most rude people I have seen in the way you attack each and everyone here. Regardless of whether this will be a fad or not, I think you should check carefully the glass walls in your house before throwing any more stones at the others.

    Scott Lawrence

  37. Dave Shaw said:

    Kristin posted opinions about the usability of a piece of technology in her life. For that she’s been lambasted and insulted by people who object to the existence of the technology as if she’s responsible for it. Next, anyone pointing out the unfairness of that is insulted in turn.

    I’m not objecting to people disagreeing, but ad hominem arguments because you don’t like the technology that someone is trying out are not particularly persuasive or civilized. That’s just MY opinion, of course.

  38. Anonymous said:

    Shut up, Scott.

    Read every comment that is posted after someone disagrees with Ms. Nelson. Disagree with her and the bobble-heads come out of the woodwork. Come here often enough and you will find that there is a very consistent pattern of this. If you aren’t a diehard fan and have a difference of opinion, you aren’t welcome. From this comes the vitriol. This is the way it is here. Kristen comes up with an opinion weighted towards agents (which the publishing industry cannot live without) and everyone breaks their collective neck nodding in dumb agreement. One person speaks the opposite way and wham, they are crucified for it and called a negative wannabe. Rude? For daring the say, “People have a right to make up their own mind about an issue.” Get bent, dear Scott. Or sit and listen for awhile, make up your mind and speak out if it is in opposition to the general tide… see what happens to you.

    Or just agree and smile, wipe up the spittle decorating your chin and go your merry, idiotic way.

  39. Anonymous said:

    Why can’t you people have an adult conversation? The name-calling is asinine.

    I don’t read romance. I don’t write romance. I will never query Ms. Nelson, but I learn things reading her blog. And it’s HER blog, so I guess she has the right to express her likes and dislikes.

    The rest of you pseudointellectuals and super rude people with a limited vocabulary are the ones who need to shut your faces.

    Go away. Shut up. Or be civil. Yes, you!

    Where’s Miss Snark when you need her?


  40. Anonymous said:

    O, See what the kindle hath kindled. . . I haven’t posted in a while, but I agree with Dave Shaw and Delilah – there’s a professional and civil way to state one’s opinion and debate without ripping each other’s e-heads off about it.

    Delilah, I differ from you in that I DO write romance, and I eventually would like to query Kristin; but again, though we share differences, respect is a universal vessel.

    “Can’t we all just get along?”

    -Rachel Glass

  41. Dave Shaw said:

    anon @ 3:52

    So, you want to be able to state your contrary opinion without rebuttal, you wish to be rude about it, and you feel that that’s fair and a good way to persuade people to your point of view.

    I have doubts about the DRM scheme and proprietary format of the Kindle myself. However, terms like ‘traitorous skank’ and ‘techno-snob’ and statements such as ‘shut up’ don’t contribute any value to discussing them. Again, just my opinion.

    As for the Kindle itself, it’s a tool, and Kristin was commenting on its utility in that regard. If you wish to raise concerns about the tool, we’re all listening, but we reserve the right to respond with our own opinions which may or may not agree with yours, and most of us would prefer this to be a civil discussion. Thank you.

  42. Anonymous said:

    You are all morons; the negative nellies, the rude jerks, the go-alongs, the romance writers, the non-writers, the readers, the techno-fans, the technophobes, the critics, the arbiters of reason, the agents, the editors, the writers and EVERYONE ELSE WHO READS THESE STUPID BLOGS! Goddamnit, you crowd of warbling turkeys, get off the web and write! Or read! Or jog! Or talk to a human being! I’m pretty sure that once Nelson’s done writing down her little pearls of wisdom [which probably takes all of five minutes], she gets back to her chosen business, closes up the shop and goes the hell home! And I guarantee she doesn’t give a good goddamn what any of you think of frigging KINDLE!

    just to add mine own three centavos, I schedule my life on my Macbook, haven’t bought a CD in fifteen years, still read print books and magazines but never touch a newspaper or click to a television news channel to stay informed. my cell phone is synced up with my laptop and I make backup copies of every single piece of media I get my hands on [and assume that I would do the same with any e-books I would ever buy]. I think Babylon Five is a ripoff of Star Trek Deepspace Nine, secretly enjoy the fact that the metal music of my youth took over the recording industry and is now considered mainstream rock, and do all my shopping online. peace out, homies!

  43. Tammie said:

    anon 4:53

    While I understand there is no reasoning with you, if this blog and all of us who read it and join in conversation from time to time are so stupid why are you here? Why read this blog – you have the ability to as you say do something else – do us a favor and go do it.

    And spare us your own 3 cents.

  44. Anonymous said:

    WOOSH! There it went… you missed the point, Tammie. Comments were meant for the nitwits sniping back and forth at each other. Now you’re a nitwit too. Get it? I’m not for getting along, I’m for shutting up, getting what you can out of these stupid things and moving on. See? I think the Kindle things are pretty cool, myself.

    You are probably a Babylon Five fan. Poor Tammie.

  45. Anonymous said:

    New and unpublished writers see things like electronic publishing as a threat. You can smell their fear of it in the irrational anger that seems to pervade the air of all their posts. Why?

    Because they feel like they are going to miss the boat. If a midlist novelist could make forty thousand dollars a year on his or her writing, they could make a meager living at it and essentially live the dream of being a professional writer. Win a prize, create a little buzz and your novel does well, making you more money from residuals and almost assuring you a larger advance on your next project. The imagined (perhaps imagined) terror for a currently unpublished writer is that the whole system will give in to the e-book craze. This is new and unfamiliar, an untried system, and the previous rewards of publishing a novel may take a sudden dive in profitability. Worse, the large publishing companies may decide to use the e-book technology as a proving ground for a book, and cast new novelists to the instant popularity contest of the download system and print only the winners in the traditional manner.

    Can you put yourself in the shoes of a young or beginning novelist when faced with fears such as these? I think this is the reason for all the latent hostility we all hear in the voices of the anti-technology movement. Imagine having spent ten years pursuing your life’s dream- you attend conferences and listen to novelists and agents and publishers, you dream of having just a taste of their successes, and then you realize that a new movement in your desired industry has the potential to yank the rug from beneath your dreams, making the continued pursuit of your goal very near to worthless.

    Please give them a break and just a little understanding. Are their fears truly well-founded? I cannot tell, for anything is possible. I hope not, for many voices would be silenced before ever getting the chance to be heard, and that would be a shame.

    Randy P.

  46. kris said:

    You must embrace the new technologies because they will advance with or without you.
    that makes some people dizzy. they like to call attention to the point that life makes them dizzy. why are things always moving, changing, and surprising you just when you were about to admit the old ways were terrible?

    if you didn’t want to ride the mery-go-round, why did you buy a ticket? get on or get off. either way, you’re going in circles, so you know that can’t be avoided. everything goes in circles, never really changes much, it’s all just perception or something.

  47. Anonymous said:

    I think Randy P. is making a point about new writers being afraid of missing the chance to succeed the way writers in the past have succeeded– not about being afraid of technology. They are afraid of the technology taking away any of the financial benefits of being a writer. Who wants to be e-published without being traditionally published, if they post your book on a website that may or may not get heavy traffic from those willing to buy e-books? Your career could die aborning, just because your file was never looked at or browsed by the right audience. Your book is only downloaded a hundred and fifty times, you make a thousand bucks or less, and the publisher never buys anything from you again. I see his point.

  48. Janny said:

    Just a thought: Today, this blog needs some comment moderation. 🙂

    Interesting, this bit of techno-panic here, when I just came from presentation about the TOC conference at my day gig. There, the talk was how the new world of publishing is Web 2.0 (which will soon be superseded by future “communities”), and that “content” is no longer king…but presentation, and the consumer’s ability to control all content they receive, is.

    In the context of how this affects authors, I heard one of my own bosses comment that when it comes to the rights authors (or their agents) will grant, now the word on the street is that it’s “ask for the moon” time, because many authors come to the table ready to effectively “give away the store” just for the privilege of having their content “out there.” Publshing now is increasingly no longer producing a great book and sending it on its way; it’s all about “sharing” and “customizing” and “giving the consumer what he/she wants”…but nary a whisper about the artist’s compensation for being the one to create that product in the first place. And that is chilling.

    In the worst case scenario, the artist/author is even presented as a backward, ignorant bit player who “just doesn’t know how to adapt”–merely because he or she wants some kind of compensation for all that proliferation of his or her work. In this brave new world of gadgets and free words, no one knows what’s fair for authors, apparently…or at least no one seems to care.

    Witness comments here to the effect that “If you can see a downside to any of this, you’re a wannabe and a whiner who lives in a cave”…and then people wonder why aspiring or midlist authors are less than enchanted with technology that seems to do little more than give publishers an excuse to shove them further and further down the food chain?

    Brings to mind one of the classic lines from TOP GUN: “You still got the address of that truck drivin’ school, Mav?”



  49. Anonymous said:

    I thought I left a comment earlier, but now I don’t see it…

    I’m 15, enjoy reading and writing, and therefore read several writing blogs. I find this one to be generally helpful. Both Kristin’s posts and then the comments from readers a often useful.

    I am very disappointed with the comments to this post, though. As I said, I’m a teenager, and my brother and sister and I treat each other with more respect than you’ve been treating each other. I can’t believe that intelligent, literate adults can’t express their views more politely (and persuasively, for that matter – simply attacking someone else’s view is not persuasive). Grow up.

    As for the technology issue; my generation is very tech-savvy. I don’t see this as a bad thing. I have a Kindle, a laptop, an IPOD, and a cell phone in my backpack right now.

    I also have at least one paperback that I’m reading for enjoyment, and three or four textbooks. Oh, and my folder with music for jazz band practice later tonight. Technology is not replacing paper… it’s simply adding to the resources we already have.

    If having an ebook reader encourages people to READ, then how can that be a bad thing? Books and paper will always be around, too (until we clear-cut all the forests and no longer have the option for paper… but then we can start scavenging the landfills and recycle the materials there… so books will never disappear).

    – Alexis, 15 and disappointed in the “adults”

  50. Anonymous said:

    Eloquently put, Janny. That ought to sum up the fears of the anti-technology wing quite nicely. Authors seem to be less and less of a factor in this business chess game (and their agents alongside them); one wonders that if it were possible for the publishing industry to create a software package to write personalized novels for each consumer, would they do it?

    “Introducing Novel Writer 6.0! Sick of authors mangling perfectly good books with snarky endings? Tired of writers taking themselves too seriously and trying to be literary giants? Buy your copy of Novel Writer 6.0 today! Simply load in your favorite names, the number of deaths/sex scenes, level of acceptable profanity, nine of your favorite cities and choose which of seventy-five separate genres you want your book to be about! Choose what kind of ending you like! Buy the upgrade package and even enter what you want your main character/main antagonist to look like– even better, use Cover Creator 9 for a picture! In the time it takes you to cook up a bowl of popcorn, Novel Writer 6.0 will cook YOU up a customized novel, tailored to your specific needs as a reader and downloaded to your choice of digital media… you even control the length of the novel!”

  51. Anonymous said:

    Alexis, sweetie, your generation is the one that thinks digitally ripping off songs and copying DVDs from Netflix is okay. As a person who has yet to make a living on her own, with no idea of how hard it can be to have a career (especially as a writer), you really have no idea as to the context of this conversation. In the end, it all comes down to money.

  52. Anonymous said:

    Perhaps it does all come down to money. However, tolerance and literacy are goals worth striving for. Perhaps my generation can succeed in those where your generations have failed.

    Thank you Anon 1:17 for managing to speak to me in a kinder tone than some of the others have addressed one another with in the comments above. If only you could have managed to speak to me without the condescension…

    – Alexis

  53. Anonymous said:

    Oh, and my friends and I do not “rip off” CDs or DVDs. However, I’m pretty sure people of all generations do engage in such behavior and are in violation of the law for doing so.

    – Alexis

  54. Anonymous said:

    Aha, but previous generations would have had to steal copyrighted materials in one of two ways. Shoplifting or plagiarism. Nowadays it all comes down to “cut and paste” or “click to copy”. Remember Napster?

    I think people are more upset by the idea of writers not getting paid enough for their work, and worse, that work being proliferated ad infinitum without them gaining anything at all. All it would take is one “book club” making copies and passing it among their members, or publishing companies deciding to license certain groups to download several copies at the same price, undercutting the artist yet again.

    Doesn’t anyone know what high schools go through these days just trying to use the photocopy machine?

  55. Anonymous said:

    Just got back. My comments way above look mean because I dislike Know-It-Alls, and Agent Kristin counts as a Know-It-All. Saw her live and in person, and she was rude to several people who had paid good money to see her. They had honest questions, she had smartass answers. Blow it out your collective ass.


  56. CM said:

    “Aha, but previous generations would have had to steal copyrighted materials in one of two ways. Shoplifting or plagiarism.”

    Uh…. Xerox? Cassette tapes? Printing presses? Anything that can be manufactured once can be manufactured twice. And at any point in history, if the majority of the value add was the intellectual content, someone’s probably done it.

    The word “piracy” has been used to apply to copyright infringement for a really, really long time. Certainly longer than “this” generation. Copying’s a lot cheaper now than it was then–but the flipside is that global enforcement is a lot more effective now than it was in the dark old days when the Brits couldn’t do anything about the penny presses in America printing verbatim copies of Dickens.

    The challenge the 21st century faces in dealing with copyright is to make it easier to buy the real deal then it is to pirate it. That’s why iTunes works when there’s bittorrent.

  57. Judith Rochelle said:

    I guess I’ll add my two cents worth here. I am published in both ebook and print and I have to say I was first published and ebook and it was and continues to be a great exoperience. My ebooks are available to people all over the world (I have emails from readers from Canada to Hong Kong) and my sales have been great. On top of that, the royalty percentage from ebook sales far exceeds those in any standard print publication contract so I am making a tidy piece of change. And whoever said it costs the publisher nothing to put an ebook out there knows nothing himself about the process of readying a book for publication and maintaing both an online store and arragements with other ebook sellers to maximize the sales of the books. So if you want to comment about the negativity of ebooks, please be sure you know what you;re talking about.

  58. Agent Kristin said:

    As a general principle, I do not moderate comments (as I would rather not waste the time).

    And Free speech and all that. People are entitled to their opinion.

    However, I’ve noticed that there have been several comments posted that just seem to be general attacks on other posters and don’t involve an actual relevant discussion to this blog topic.

    I have removed them.


  59. Anonymous said:

    Whew, that was a lot of work. Just to get her highness off of her throne and down here among the proletariat took an awful lot of perseverance on my part, at least seven different commentator names and the unwilling but necessary participation of a few special individuals who helped me out by taking themselves way too seriously. Really, folks, these guys and gals are the true heroes here– leaving themselves open for ridicule like that takes a lot of guts and very few brain cells.

    I must admit that no less than sixty percent of my posts have been taken down, a personal record. But anyone reading this might ask a tremulous, “Why do this at all?”

    Simply this. Ms. Nelson gets the ball rolling by blithely sharing with us the dull minutia of her days as an agent, which gives us a fair view of her job. Every now and again, she tosses a grenade into the mix without so much as a polite cry of “Fire in the hole!” Hot topics that are obviously near and dear to the hearts of writers, that are then fought over and chewed to pieces by scores of individuals. And then she walks away from the conflict without so much a a brief rejoinder.

    When you open your blog up with one of these accessible little comment screens, you unwittingly create a forum atmosphere. No joke, it’s what brings people back, this forum. You have the chance to become a part of something larger than what you set out to create, which is a mildly interesting blog about your day-to-day. When you see an issue explode the way this one did, it’s almost your moral duty to step in as the progenitor and either comment on/explain your views, or at the very least address the subject in another blog entry. Way over our heads, there were people with legitimate points and concerns about a product like Kindle. One guy talks about the fears of unpublished writers… how is that not a valid topic?

    Before you were a business person, you were a teacher. If there is any shred of that left in you, look at what you’ve created here and use it. Either that or shut the comment section down and let your number of visits dwindle.

    That’s it for me. No offense or anything. I see too much crap in this world these days, too many wrongs ignored. Read this and delete it if you like. Ignore me. You have unwittingly founded a platform larger than you meant to; use it for good or shut it down. If you don’t you aren’t that worthy of much respect, in my opinion.

  60. dan rogy said:

    Read-to-Me Feature
    With the new text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog and book out loud to you, unless the book’s rights holder made the feature unavailable. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening, and your spot is automatically saved. Pages automatically turn while the content is being read, so you can listen hands-free. You can choose from both male and female voices which can be sped up or slowed down to suit your preference. In the middle of a great book or article but have to jump in the car? Simply turn on Text-to-Speech and listen on the go.

    Improved Newspaper Experience
    Using Kindle’s new 5-way controller, you can quickly flip between articles, making it faster and easier to browse and read the morning paper. Want to remember the newspaper or magazine article you just read? Clip and save entire articles for later reading with a single click.

    Faster Page Turns
    Pages now turn 20% faster on average.

    Bookmarks and Annotations
    By using the QWERTY keyboard, you can add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book. And because it is digital, you can edit, delete, and export your notes. Using the new 5-way controller, you can highlight and clip key passages and bookmark pages for future use. You’ll never need to bookmark your last place in the book, because Kindle remembers for you and always opens to the last page you read.

    Full Image Zoom
    Images and photos display crisply on Kindle and can be zoomed to the full size of the screen.

    Personal Document Service Via Whispernet
    Kindle makes it easy to take your personal documents with you, eliminating the need to print. Each Kindle has a unique and customizable e-mail address. You can set your unique email address on your Manage Your Kindle page. This allows you and your approved contacts to e-mail Word, PDF documents, and pictures wirelessly to your Kindle for a small fee–see details. Kindle supports wireless delivery of unprotected Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files.

    Built-in Dictionary with Instant Lookup
    Never get caught without a dictionary. Kindle includes The New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries and definitions, so you can seamlessly look up the definitions of words without interrupting your reading. Come across a word you don’t know? Simply move the cursor to it and the definition will automatically display at the bottom of the screen. Never fear a sesquipedalian word again–simply look it up and keep reading.

    Wireless Access to Wikipedia
    Kindle also includes free built-in access to the world’s most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia– With Kindle in hand, looking up people, places, events, and more has never been easier. It gives whole new meaning to the phrase walking encyclopedia.

    Kindle makes it easy to search within a book, across your library, in the Kindle Store, or even the Web. To use the Search feature, simply type in a word or phrase you’re looking for, and Kindle finds every instance in your book or across your Kindle library. Looking for the first reference of a character in your book? Simply type in the name and search. You can extend your search to the Kindle Store to find related titles you may be interested in. Explore even further by searching Wikipedia and the Web.