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The Kindle Experiment

I recently inherited a Kindle. Not something I would have purchased, but I have to say I was tickled pink to get it. It's a first generation model, not the latest version, but it was free so I said what the heck! Even the first models sell for $200 used.

After charging the battery I was happy to discover the user's manual is on the Kindle. Yay! It's several hundred pages long. Slow and dry reading, to be sure. I started skimming and the same thing that happened to me in Intermediate Algebra thirty years ago happened again. At some point, I crossed the line of what I knew and got into new stuff that I didn't know, and now I'm totally confused. In the spirit of the typical man, I said "Who needs instructions, I can figure this thng out!" (In my defense, I write from the male POV most of the time. This hasn't caused many problems except that one time I tried to pee standing up. But, I digress...)

Totally frustrated with a Kindle loaded with a slew of western novels, I gave up that first night and went to bed. As usual, things often look brighter the next day. I figured out that I had to delete the previous owner's registration and register the thing with my Amazon account. It was simple to do, the Kindle is wireless, like a cell phone, so I never even had to hook it up to my computer. It all just changed, *poof*. Suddenly, I had a Kindle in my name (with a slew of western novels.) I tried uploading my pdf books and after finally going online to a Kindle forum, discovered the first generation Kindle doesn't accept pdf. It only reads Kindle format. There's a way to get around that, by emailing a pdf file to yourself on your Kindle, but there is a small fee for each email and I did NOT want to set up an account with my credit card because knowing me, I'd have a host of unintentional charges on the thing.

I discovered you can get a chapter of a book for free. I downloaded a chapter of one of my books, just to see my author name on the Kindle. hee hee hee It worked. So I had one chapter of a book, and those westerns.

I did figure out that the Kindle reads prc versions of books, and TEB sends me that version. So I loaded the memory card for my Kindle up with some of my books. Now, I can read most of my titles, a few of Jude Masons, and a slew of western novels. Things are looking up!

I saw a post by another author that her publisher gives away a free Kindle title regularly and she provided the link. When I went there, I was amazed to discover that lots of people give away free Kindle books. I got twenty books for free, five of them were classics like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, and Dracula, but the rest were erotic novels or mysteries that are generally one in a series. I know they want the reader to love that free book, and go look up the author and buy some more. I hate to break it to them, but with my schedule of working, writing, and life, those twenty books are going to last me a while. But I'm excited to have reading material on my Kindle. Now I just need to go somewhere so I can enjoy the luxury of sitting and reading. Hmmm, I have a dentist's appointment in March...

Have a great weekend, and happy reading!



Postscript: This morning, before I went to post this message, I found a link to an article in the New York Times talking about how the bestselling Kindle books are free. There's an interesting debate about this. Some publishers such as Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins, say "free is not a business model".

But one of the epublishers giving monthly freebies reports that in October, they had 26,897 free downloads of the featured romance novel. The author's previous novel, which had sold 97 copies at Kindle in Sept, sold 2,666 in Oct. That same author sold 119 copies of another novel in Sept., and 3,279 in Oct.

The NY Times article goes on to say, "With e-books still representing about 5 percent of the total book market, data on the effect of digital giveaways is still inconclusive. Brian O’Leary, a principal at Magellan Media Consulting Partners, which advises publishers, said that while it appeared that free downloads led to an uptick in actual book buying, there was a risk that free reading could eventually 'supplant paid reading'."

In my case, this is sadly, possibly true. But I do admit, if I love one of the free books, I'll remember that author the next time I'm in the market to buy a book.

What do you think?


Jude Mason said...

Hi Jenna,

I had no idea you could get free stuff like that for your Kindle. Not that I have one, but you never know, one day. I'm glad you got yours sorted out.

About offering free stuff to help promote your books. I waffle on this one. Possibly if offered on a big site, such as Amazon/Fictionwise etc. it would do the trick. Offering from an author's website also helps, in my opinion, but not nearly as much. Not by a long shot, unless you're well known already.

Great post!


Crissy said...

Oh the world of e-readers. At Christmas time I had mentioned to my husband and mother-in-law that I really wanted one.

My hubby being the great guy that he is starting looking into them. Reading everything on the web. That turned out not to the the best thing.

So many only take certain formats. Hubby even went into my computer to see what formats my bookd come in.

Okay so he had somewhere to start. More research. And more questions. Do I want one linked to the internet, blah, blah, blah.

I currently read PDF off my computer. I have my own. My hubby has his and my daughter has her own. Then we have one laptop for the family.

After weeks of trying to get me what I wanted he decided to go simple.

He bought me my own laptop. Now on a trip I can either read or write. I think I got the best deal.

Maybe someday I'll get a reader... probably.

Also, let me add. If I love a book by an author. I will go buy their other books. Even if I don't have time to read right then.

I have an paypal account with a certain amount of money so I can buy books monthly.

We call it research.

Also I have given free books and had those readers go buy the others in the series. I don't see this harming anything.

Crissy Smith

AKM Miles said...

On the Kindle, go to the Menu that shows all your book titles. Click on Menu again and go to Content Managar. Then you get your titles with a box at the end of the line. Put an X on those western titles then hit menu again hit delete selected items and those will go away. Then go back to regular menu and back to what you were reading with more room on the Kindle. Hope that wasn't needless info for you...just thought I'd tell ya. Took me a while to do it... AKM

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Jenna,

I didn't know the risks of writing from a male POV!

Seriously, this is an interesting post. Very few people discuss the down sides of eReaders, at least on author blogs.

I saw that NYTimes article and posted it to the ERWA writers list. Interesting numbers. I wouldn't mind giving away one of my books free in order to boost the sales of the others.

Thanks for sharing!


Sedonia Guillone said...

Personally I haven't had a positive experience with giving away books. Maybe it's different with Kindle.

However, I have many titles up at Kindle now and have in the last few days gone through the listings and put up lots of tags for each title, as many as I coudl think of and I did notice the sales rankings on many of those titles improved within 24 hours. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I'm inclined to think the tagging helped.

Jenna Byrnes said...

Hey Jude! I had no idea about the free books either. I figured I was doomed to a Kindle of Westerns and my own work--and was excited to get Scorpio Tattoo on there. It's my first read when I go to the dentist, lol



Jenna Byrnes said...

Hi Crissy,

I think a laptop is a great compromise. Someone who travels a lot, or who's on the go a lot, might benefit from the smaller reader. But then again, I see lots of laptops in airports and it would certainly make the time go faster!

Thanks for dropping by.


Jenna Byrnes said...

Hey AKM,

Thanks for the Kindle tips. I'll take all I can get. I did figure out how to delete the books I don't want, but I left a couple on there so if I want to show the Kindle to my mother or someone who might freak at erotic romance, they'll be there. LOL

Thanks for stopping by!


Jenna Byrnes said...

Hi Lisabet,

I'm not sure they've invented the perfect ereader yet. This one certainly wasn't a snap to set up, and the fact that it doesn't read pdf is huge to me. Of course, I mentioned the newer version does, but I'm not prepared to pay $400 + for a reader yet.

Thanks for commenting!


Jenna Byrnes said...

Hey Sedonia,

The give away I mentioned really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Of course, it was a publisher sponsored thing, in coordination with Amazon, so I think it got a big promo push.

I wasn't aware of the tags at kindle. I'll have to check it out. There are so many approved third party vendors out there, my head spins sometimes. LOL

Thanks for dropping by!


harrisonmeg said...

I have gotten several (ok alot) of books free and that has allowed me to read genres and authors I normally wouldn't have picked! Some are fabulous! I have a kindle (1st gen) that I bought myself ayear and a half ago.I love it but yes I would like it to accept more formats.You can email your pdf's free to an email address associated with your kindle (see kindle suport) its pretty easy.

Erotic Horizon said...

Hey Jenna..

Glad to know about the Kindle... I have the desktop kindle and most of the book I have on there are free...

The only thing I pay for is whispernet delivery, becasue I am overseas... but I can see the possibilty of free books....

I have bought books because of free books - so it has it's good point...

there was a risk that free reading could eventually 'supplant paid reading'

Couldn't the same be said of extensive excerpt posting or chapter posting...

You will obviously have a set of readers who will follow through and buy the book and even more of the authors work - but another set of reader, who might just not be impressed with the author style, build up or characters...

I am also at the same stage with ereaders as you are - I have had my Iliad for about 3 years now and I am looking around - All the ones I love are way too expensive...