Turning the E-Page

October 21st, 2010 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Kindle, Newsflash, Reading Matters Comments Off

USA Today today has a great article on the growing popularity of ebooks (sales up 193% over a year ago), but there’s a lot of discussion about how the eboook market is a limited market.  I agree with that one, but something that Seth Godin (I think he’s the one) said a while back has stuck in my noggin.  The people who now have ereaders are the die-hard readers, the bibliophile (ebiblios?), the limited market of the population that account for (now Kathleen’s making up stats) 75% of the books being bought.  Yes, I think 80% of the population will not have an e-reader, but only 75% of the US population read at least ONE book (2006 data — there’s probably something newer and even more alarming, but I’m too lazy to get it.  Sue me.) 

The general consensus seems to be that people who get an ereader end up purchasing more books (Kathleen’s experience has shown this to be true), so all in all, to quote Martha Stewart: “It’s a good thing.”


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Kindle Changes the E-Game

August 4th, 2010 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Kindle, Reading Matters, Techie Things Comments Off

WSJ has a really good article on the upcoming Kindle and Amazon’s ereader strategy.  To be fair, I have a Kindle, I love it, nearly as much as my children, sometimes more.  People (publishers and a good chunk of authors) are not happy with the Amazon cut-throat pricing strategy (reminescent of Wal-Mart in its earlier years), but looking objectively, I think the world has gone very dog-eat-dog (or book-eat-book) and I don’t fault them for it (and I do LOVE $9.99 hardbacks that I would never read before).

This is my favorite quote from the article:

“For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going
to be helpful. It is distracting rather than enhancing. You are not
going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets,” he said.

At the RWA, there was a lot of mainstreaming of digital books, digital rights, e-readers.  The first time that I’ve ever noticed the the Publishing Powers That Be have openly embraced the idea with not only excitement, but legitimacy as well.

A $139 Kindle sold at Target is a game-changer.  I will most likely buy one for both of my kids.  My daughter is a selective Luddite (with two computers, an ipod, and an iHome).  She eschews the idea of reading a ‘book’ (picture hoity voice) on a device.  Of course, she can heft a 50 pound Harry Potter volume with ease.  I, now in my dwindling arm muscle years, have aches to accompany JK Rowling.  My son (who is no Luddite and LOVES tech), loves to read on the Kindle and loves the idea of instant book gratification.  I have friends who are voracious readers, who will now probably take the dip.  In my expert opinion, Amazon is going to sell a hella-lot.

There are a lot of what I deem ‘not-hardcore’ readers who poo-poo the Kindle.  It doesn’t have color.  It doesn’t play TV shows.  What if I want to browse the web?  If this is you, do not buy the Kindle, because you are not a hardcore reader.  You do not read cereal boxes at breakfast.  Your bathroom is not accessorized with a magazine rack.  Your bedside table is not invisible beneath the pile of books.  If these symptoms apply to you, then you, too may have readeritis, a serious, but non-debilitating disease that causes a slight twitch when you are jonesing for a book.  The tingle of excitement when you hear about a story that appeals.

I think the Kindle is here to stay in some form or fashion.  I think Amazon is going to rule the ebook market, and I do believe we are in for some wild roller-coaster e-swings.

You heard it here — not exactly first — but probably two-hundred-and-twenty-two-second.

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Confessions of an Unapologetic Book-Hoarder

July 22nd, 2008 Kathleen O'Reilly Posted in Cool People, Kindle, Reading Matters Comments Off

On Monday I had the pleasure of lunching with Stacey Agdern, who is bookseller par excellence at Posman’s Books in Grand Central.  If you’ve ever been to Grand Central, check out Posman’s because they have an awesome romance section and it is ALL Stacey’s doing.


One of the best parts about talking to booksellers is to get book recs.  Stacey gave me a few.  Madeline Hunter’s Secrets of Surrender, Tara Janzen’s upcoming Loose and Easy, Lara Adrian’s Midnight Rising.  This is why I love lunching with Stacey. 

I love talking books, and sharing new books and authors with people, and telling people about this great book that I read.   But over the past few years, I haven’t read nearly as much as I want.  My eyes are getting that over-40-what-does-that-say squint, I never seem to have a book when I most want it in my hands.  However, I’m hoping that all that with change. 

My Kindle is coming today. 

Adjust font size?  Check.

Portable bookstore?  Check.  Think about that for a minute.  A portable bookstore wherever you go…. I believe the blogology word for such emotional and physical euphoria is ‘squee.’ 

I’ve heard all the complaints about the Kindle.  Oh, but I can’t loan my books to my friends.  Hehehehe…. You guys are so much more soft-hearted than I am.  I rarely share books.  I am a total book hoarder.    Oh, but I can’t resell them.  Okay, I hear you there, but I’m willing to take the hit for the whole above-mentioned-bookstore-portability thing.

My biggest complaint (or what I think will be my biggest complaint) is the availability of Kindle titles.  I started browsing, looking for my romance keepers that I want to keep on my Kindle, available at a moment’s notice.  Feeling stressed with my family?  Whip out Nora Roberts the MacKade brothers and remember that family is family no matter what.  Wanting to shoot the entire U.S. Congress?  Bring up Brockmann’s It Came Upon A Midnight Clear and remember that yes, sometimes the government gets it right.  Feeling like my DH just doesn’t get me?  Click on Julie Garwood’s Gentle Warrior, and realize that compared to Geoffrey, my DH is a peach.

The big problem right now is that only the Brockmann book is available on the Kindle.  I’m honestly surprised that Harlequin hasn’t jumped all over putting Nora’s backlist on the Kindle (just think, an entirely new un-Noraed market to penetrate!!!), but I wonder if in those days, Harlequin’s contract didn’t mention Nora’s electronic rights, and if so, who does???  Whoever it is, I have a job for you….

Of the 140,000 titles currently available, there are only 8,511 romances available on Kindle.  6%.  A mere drop in the bucket of the ocean of romance, but I have faith in Amazon.  They do not disappoint.

I will report back, and I will be taking it with me to conference, so if you want to sneak a peek, feel free to ask. 


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