My New Toy!

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

I’ve been giddy with excitement since Friday when I took possession of my new iPad and, although I haven’t bought all the apps or go totally crazy in the iBooks store, I have to admit I’m hooked. I bought it mainly because I wanted an e-reader and since the iPad offers both iBooks as well as the Kindle, it was a no-brainer for me. I also get to feed my NYT crossword addiction! Since my family and I are about to embark on a two month camping/national park odyssey the iPad is also going to be a much lighter (and let’s face it much cooler) option than lugging round a bag full of books, DVDs, DVD player, laptop etc.. The only tricky thing will be working out how to blog with it on the road.

Now I’m an old-fashioned Luddite when it comes to most technology but I have to say, having spent just over two days with my iPad, I really do think that it marks the start of some great changes to come. We’ve blogged long and hard about the whole e-book phenomenon but I know once my parents are like ‘this is cool’ the world must be changing! (for the record my parents are antiquarian book collectors so the mere fact that they are even remotely impressed says something). So here’s my initial verdict on the e-book capabilities of the iPad:

  • As my husband had already bought and loaded my own books on the iBookshelf it was very cool to see my books in e-book format 🙂
  • I like the fact that you just turn the page in an intuitive way that mimics the feel of reading a paper book. The colors and picture resolution are great (Winne the Pooh was already loaded) and I can see me reading an e-book to my children without feeling disconnected from the physical experience – so far it feels just as cozy reading to them from the iPad (despite the fact they fight over who gets to touch the screen and turn the page).
  • I liked the iBooks store but I confess I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. Searching is a bit laborious and there were a lot of titles I couldn’t find (including some of my fellow TMZers) so I think this will take some time to become optimal.
  • It was, however, way, way,way too easy to buy a book. I think I downloaded 10 free classic books and 5 paid books it about 10 minutes (seriously they may need to have an ‘e-books anonymous’ society for me!) But this is great news for authors. I can well imagine publishers vying for advertising/space on the ‘featured titles page’ once the iBook store becomes a bigger player in the market.
  • Which leads me to what I think will be a great ‘game changer’ – once Amazon and iBooks start eroding the power of big chains like Barnes & Noble I can imagine publishers will be able to diversify and niche market some of their lists better than they can presently (at the moment my understanding is they have very much a ‘will B&N buy this title’ mentality when it comes to acquisitions).
  • I was extremely excited to be able to download many of the historical books I use for research so I can read them in a portable format. I used to have to troll through them on my laptop which was very cumbersome.
  • Many publishers already have their own apps so readers can go directly to them (My publisher, Penguin USA, for instance, already has one) which is great (though not much different to what’s already out there on the web) but I can see scope for these apps to be expanded which can only help authors.
  • Already there are some amazingly cool apps that have created terrific visual/interactive content for books (Alice for iPad for example) and I look forward to many more that attract new readers (never a bad thing!)

So all in all, I give the iPad a big thumbs up. It serves my purposes well and has me finally entering the e-book age (which is a miracle in and of itself).

For any of you who have iPads what’s your verdict? Are there any new apps/developments that you think could really improve the e-reading experience? I can’t wait for historical books to have links embedded in them so I can really get the most out of my research (video links, costume designs etc. would be way cool). I was also thinking that our own JRM could produce a great ‘chicken army’ app…So what about you all, any great book app ideas???

The Before That Led to “In the After”

by John Gilstrap

When I was a kid—actually all the way through high school—I churned out short stories by the dozens, sometimes on command to meet the requirements of English class, but mostly because I loved writing. For me, a short story assignment was as close to a guaranteed A as one could reasonably hope for. I read voraciously in those years, and thanks in large measure to The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and their ilk, I grew up steeped in short-form fiction.

I used to read Writers Market in the 1970s and mentally catalog all of the outlets for my stories, preparing myself for the day when I felt that my writing would evolve past high-school good and become professional-writer good. If I recall properly, Playboy was paying $1500 for short stories back then. Who knew that Playboy even had words? All of the big-format magazines carried short stories, too. I was in training to leave my mark on the world.

Unfortunately, when I got to college, my story production sagged precipitously, thanks to my libido and my love of a good party. My attentions were wildly diffused in directions that had nothing to do with academics, and when my grades started to nose dive, something had to go. After careful deliberation, I decided to stay with the dating and the academics and the booze (not necessarily in that order), and stopped my recreational writing.

Meanwhile, the market for short stories evaporated. That was just as well, because by the time I started writing again, my interests had shifted exclusively to long-form fiction. I never looked back—not until my editor at Kensington suggested that I write a short story for my website that would help promote my book, No Mercy, and its main character, Jonathan Grave. That story became “Discipline” and it introduces readers to Jonathan’s bizarre childhood. That was the first short story I’d written in something like thirty years, and I loved the experience.

Just a couple of months after I posted that story to my website, my blog mates came up with the idea of the anthology that became Fresh Kills: Tales from the Killzone (actually, I think it was James Scott Bell’s suggestion, but I can’t swear to it). My initial reaction was twofold: On one hand, I thought it was a great idea, but on the other, I confess that I bristled at the notion of joining the world of “self-published” authors. I worried that it would be read by some as a form of desperation. Let’s face it: self-publishing is not exactly held in the highest regard among my fellow authors, and the last thing I needed was for a good idea to inadvertently harm my career. Call me shallow, but the publishing business is scary these days.

I consulted with both my agent and my editor, and, to my relief, they were both very supportive of the idea. I think it was the uniqueness of the concept as much as anything else. I’m not aware of a similar project out there that combines the talents of established authors in a self-published book, and I think I can speak for the other Killzoners that we won’t complain if we get some positive buzz about this. So, with their approval in my pocket, I signed on.

And what a hoot it turned out to be! Initially, I thought I would do another story of Jonathan Grave in his youth, but that struck me as a conflict of interest—especially since “Discipline” is offered on my website free of charge–a pattern I want to continue. I went mining for ideas, tried a couple of them out, but remained largely uninspired. With our deadline approaching, I found myself with bupkis.

Finally, the muse found me where she often does: in the shower, when my mind was in neutral. I thought it would be really cool to do a story of delayed revenge, a high-tension thriller presented on a tiny canvas. The “feel” of the story hit me before the plot points did. I wanted the reader to feel frightened, and claustrophobic as the victim learns his fate. I wanted the victim in this case to be the protagonist, and I wanted his sense of loss to be enormous.

And because it’s a short story, I wanted it to have a huge twist in the end.

I was on travel on the occasion of this particular inspiration, and because I didn’t know exactly where I wanted it to go, I resorted to pen and paper—ever the best way for me to work through plot points. Twenty-odd handwritten pages later, the story was done. I call it “In The After” because, well . . . Actually, I can’t tell you without giving too much away.

I can tell you this, though: I’m already looking forward to Volume Two.

Blood Remains: A ghost story

This week the Killers are blogging about The Kill Zone’s new e-collection of original short stories, Fresh Kills (available on Kindle, Smashwords, and Scribd). I’m excited and honored to have my short story, ‘Blood Remains,’ included in the anthology. At its heart, ‘Blood Remains’ is a ghost story. I was inspired to write it after reading a newspaper headline (it would be a spoiler if I told you what the headline was). When I read the article I started to wonder, “What if?” As in, what if this happened, and then that?  That thought process energized my creative “boys in the basement” (Jim discussed this creative process in his Sunday post). The end result was a paranormal story: A victim of childhood abuse returns home after many years  only to discover that while memories fade, blood remains. 

The story breaks ground for me in a couple of ways: It’s my first published short story; it’s also a new genre for my writing. A bit of background: I had been developing “Blood Remains” as a novel until Jim suggested that we publish an e-collection of short stories. I narrowed the focus down to what would have been the end of the novel, and reshaped it as a short story.

About making the e-jump

Plunging into the e-book world can be as intimidating for authors as it is for readers (And for publishers, too: Here’s a recent update on the Amazon vs. Macmillan spat). I received a Kindle DX from Santa for Christmas, and I felt very tentative as I downloaded my first few books. I  soon discovered to my delight that some classic books are available on Kindle for free. Then I learned how to enlarge the text so I don’t need reading glasses. Now I’m an e-book convert, carrying my Kindle around with me everywhere. A Kindle application for PCs is available for free, by the way (Click here). Of course, Apple has now debuted the iPad, so the e-book war is officially on. It’s going to be like Rome versus the Barbarians. (Although I’m not sure which side is Rome, and which the Barbarians). It’ll be interesting to see what the e-book landscape is like a few years from now.

Have you made the e-book plunge? How’s the water?

Bleak November

by James Scott Bell

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. – Moby-Dick (Rockwell Kent, Illustrator)

Why does November feel like the month the Earth stood still? Or imploded? Or got hit by that tsunami in the movie 2012?

It seems like this month all the upheavals in the publishing industry started to coalesce into one big flaming mess on the order of the Hindenburg. At least, that’s how it sounded on various blogs and comment sections, where rhetoric sometimes reached conflagration levels.

All the anxiety over eBooks and eReaders, the move of some big publishers into the self-publishing market, the revelation of paltry incomes associated even with a New York Times bestselling book, and the apprehension of authors and agents over just how anybody is going make any kind of a buck as a novelist anymore – it all seemed to come to a head this month.

Why should this be so?

First, the very pace of change in our world is now such that major developments happen almost as fast as chair throwing incidents on Jerry Springer. And humans naturally feel anxious about change until we can catch up and figure out what’s going on. But we always seem to feel a few steps behind these days.

How fast are things moving? Already there’s talk that the Kindle is on the way out. Authors and publishers are even now embedding links to websites and YouTube for added content in digital novels, links which can be accessed on, say, an iPhone but not a Kindle. There’s even a name for such digi-novels: Vooks.

Which leads to the technological changes that seem poised to alter the paradigms we’ve lived with for centuries, such as books on paper being paid for by readers. No one knows what a paradigm shift feels like until they’ve actually been through it, and we haven’t been through it yet. We’re inside it.

So as all this is happening, hands are being wrung throughout cyberspace. The only thing we know for certain is nothing is certain, and the landscape we see today will be very different tomorrow.

I have but two predictions:

1. People are still going to want good stories to read.

2. They’re not going to pay as much money to get them.

As to #1, writers need to do what they’ve always done: write and write well. Over and over. That calls for commitment to the craft and resistance to the “easy way” of self-publishing.

Let’s be blunt. We all know the overwhelming majority of self-published books aren’t good enough to be published the traditional way. That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. There are. But they are as rare as Susan Boyle.

Yes, I do believe authors will do more direct selling in the future. They will make their stuff available in digital form directly. But they still have to prove themselves to be good writers, or people won’t buy.

Which leads to #2. Consumers are being trained to pay $10 or less for books. This means hardcovers are probably a dinosaur. The mastodons are in the tar pits.

But there will still be a market for books, because of #1. You know what it feels like? The mass market paperback boom post-World War II. Low price point, ease of use. The eBook revolution may be recreating this type of market. (According to Kelly Gallagher, VP of Publishing Services at RR Bowker, eBook consumption favors fiction over nonfiction at a rate disproportionate to print).

The cream will rise to the top. Those novelists who can deliver, book after book, are going to gain a following and have the chance to make some coin.

EBooks still represent only a small portion of the book market, by the way. I mean, let’s not be hasty. The “early adopters” drove sales of eReaders over the last year. The curve is going to flatten in 2010 or 2011. It’s not going to be like the personal computer boom. We’re talking about a convenience rather than a necessity. (That may change somewhat as businesses find ways to use the ever improving devices. But will they become “little laptops”? I don’t think so because we already have something called . . . a laptop).

How far eReaders will eventually reach is still a tough call. I know there are purveyors of pervasiveness out there, but hold the iPhone. I’ve pointedly spoken to several twenty-something readers over the past few weeks, and was gobsmacked when none of them liked eReaders. They were paper people! Astonishing.

So whenever I get to feeling like old Ishmael, with a “damp, drizzly November of the soul,” and when I, too, want to go outside and knock some hats off, I remember that fiction writers will always be around. The world needs us.

Maybe now more than ever.

How much is a good read worth these days?

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

An article in yesterday’s New York Time’s entitled “Steal this book (for $9.99)” caught my eye, especially the first line: “Just how much is a good read worth?” and the story of how readers were boycotting the Kindle version David Baldacci’s latest thriller “First Family’ for being priced around $15 (some $5 more than the majority of Kindle e-books were selling for). The article went on to discuss fears in the publishing industry that e-books cannibalize higher-price print sales (rather like the flood of cheap houses onto a real estate market) and that Amazon’s low price point sets a precedent in the e-book market that may be unsustainable. Offsetting this is the evidence, however, that e-book purchasers are buying more books now than they ever did as print book buyers. This is because of the ease with which they can download the books and (presumably) by the lower price point.
This all got me thinking – what is a ‘good read’ worth these days? Should a bestselling author be able to command a premium e-book price? (though I’m guessing Baldacci’s publisher may be regretting that decision!) Does Amazon’s “loss leader’ mentality in which it basically subsidizes the $9.99 Kindle book create the perception that e-books are only worth $10 or less? And what does that mean to consumer perceptions of the cost of trade paperbacks or hardbacks?
I remember talking to an English publisher last year who said the market in the UK had become horrendous because the majority of books were being sold in supermarkets very cheaply or at chain stores as part of “Buy three get one free” and “Buy two for the price of one” kind of deals. Her argument was that in the UK at least this marketing tactic had made many consumers question the original price of books (their reasoning being, well, if I get two for the price of one shouldn’t they have been originally half the list price anyway?). It also created the perception that books were over priced (God forbid!). I wonder, in the e-book market, will Amazon’s pricing have a similar effect?

So what are you willing to pay for a good read these days? Would you pay more than $9.99 for an author you loved on Kindle? Does the cost of an e-book make you less inclined to plunk down more money for the paper version? As e-books command more and more of the market what effect will their price have on us readers and (poor sods that we are) writers? Is it a slippery slope or just a storm in a teacup???

How Technology Will Change The Way We Read And Write

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Last week my husband forwarded me an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal ( on how e-books will change the way we read and write and it sparked a great deal of enthusiastic debate between us. The author of the article, Steven Johnson, basically had his ‘Aha’ moment when he bought, on sheer impulse, a copy of Zadie Smith’s book ‘On Beauty’ on his Kindle. His ideas about how technology can revolutionize not only the book publishing industry but the act of reading itself are, I think, intriguing as well as exciting.

There were three aspects of his article that immediately caught my attention:

The way that technology will transform the essentially solitary, linear act of reading into a community, interactive activity;

The possibilities that technology open up for the e-book-world from hypertextual, searchable books to global book groups;

The revolutionary way e-books will alter the way people buy books from pay per chapter options to the reemergence of ‘forgotten’ books that are now being rediscovered.

Imagine your home library transformed into a virtual, searchable repository of knowledge…

Imagine being able to drill down into the backstory of a book just by clicking on hypertext links embedded in the e-book (as a writer of historical fiction this opens up all manner of possibilities to help inform and deepen the reading experience for my books)…

Imagine being able to highlight a paragraph in the book you’re reading and make comments that will be accessible to both the author as well as the community of readers who are looking at the same e-book…

After reading this article, I was like, wow, the possibilities are endless…and when I look at my four year old boys I can’t help but wonder – what will the world of ideas and books be like for them in the future?

So what do you think about Steven Johnson’s take on the future of e-book technology? What do you imagine that future will be like? What excites you the most about the way technology can revolutionize both the way you read and/or the way you write?

Kindle 2.0

By Joe Moore

We’ve discussed the Kindle e-book reader a number of times here in the past. Even though its market penetration is still modest at best, I think everyone admits it is or will be a factor in the future of publishing. So with 230,000 titles (including mine) available for downloading onto the Kindle, it’s probably worth discussing again now that the product has some significant upgrades.

Recently, Amazon introduced the new Kindle 2. Some of the features in the updated version are a battery kindle2 that will last two weeks, more contrast on the black-and-white screen than the previous version, faster wi-fi connections, more memory, a smaller size that weighs less than the previous device, more storage (1,500 books rather than the current 200) and a speaker with a new function that reads the text aloud. Also, Stephen King’s new novella UR will be available exclusively on the new Kindle. The latest device costs the same as the old Kindle: $359.

The new "Text-to-Speech" audio function has raised some concern with the Authors Guild who stated that it must be considered an “audio right”, but Amazon said that customers would not confuse text reading with an audiobook. (Note: this is not the same as an audiobook where a professional talent is paid to read the story in a dramatic fashion.) I haven’t heard it but I assume it’s done using a synthesized voice perhaps like a dashboard GPS.

Another issue that was raised is the price of e-books for the Kindle: $9.99. Some publishers feel that the price is fine since they are investing in a lot in costly digital technology. And some say that e-books should not be considered of less value than the paper version and assume they would cost less.

With e-books being a very small (less than 1%) portion of book revenue, it would seem to me that having them at a reduced price would encourage buyers to venture into the e-book domain. But I’m sure that publishers don’t want to give up revenue in these hard economic conditions.

So, with the upcoming availability of the new Kindle 2, my questions are: Is it smart of Amazon to price the product the same as the older version? Or should it be priced cheaper than the 1.0 version even with the added features? And is $9.99 a fair price for e-books or should they be sold for less than say the mass market PB version of the same book?

It’s a Vision Thing

I stumbled across a few interesting articles this week, one in Time Magazine that asked, “What’s the Matter with Publishing?” and another on Shelf Awareness that offered a glimpse of Harper Collins Studio, a new division of the parent company. They serve as interesting counterparts to each other.books

Starting with the Time Magazine piece, I was surprised to learn that literary reading by adults has actually increased 3.5% since 2002, the first such jump in almost a quarter century. So, they postulate, the audience isn’t the problem. The trouble lies in the antiquated business model publishers have been following, which dates back to the Depression. Something like 40% of the books printed today are eventually pulped, which is not only environmentally criminal, but horribly costly for both publishers and stores. And an author who doesn’t sell through a certain percentage of their print run, in the age of computerized ordering systems, either must change their name or hope their publisher offers them another chance. And sadly, the latter doesn’t happen often. Bottom line is this is a business, dictated by numbers. No matter that the publisher printed far more copies of the book than you (or they) could hope to sell, especially if they didn’t back up that print run with marketing, which is generally the case. Authors have no say in how many copies of their book will be printed, making it a frequent topic of hushed conversations at conferences. Did you hear that John Doe had over 100,000 printed and barely sold 10,000? Or that Jane’s publisher printed so few copies she couldn’t get in any of the big box stores?

Actual print runs are a closely guarded secret, I haven’t encountered many authors willing to reveal their numbers. But we all live and die by those percentages. If you sell 5,000 copies of your debut, and your print run was 10,000, you’re in pretty good shape. Conversely, if your print run was 100,000, and you sold 20,000, good luck getting that next contract. It’s madness.

Which is what makes the Harper Studio model so intriguing. No more returns. And no big bidding: they cap their advances at $100,000 (although most Kindleauthors will probably get far less up front). What they do offer is more “creative” marketing assistance and higher royalty percentages (a 50/50 split-wow). And my favorite part: they’ve got a plan to encourage buyers to purchase ebook and audio formats of the same book for only a few extra dollars. Wherein lies the genius, in my opinion. Finally, a publisher that sees opportunity in the ebook format, and not just a threat. I love my Kindle, but it’s hardly ideal for the beach or baths. So how perfect would it be if I could start reading a book on my Kindle while waiting for a train, then continue reading at home in the tub that night, then listen to the conclusion in my car the next day? All for around what I would have paid for the hardcover version alone.

It’s an intriguing idea. I’m curious to see how it turns out. So far Harper Studio is apparently focusing on nonfiction, but if the model works, who knows? Maybe they’ll expand to fiction titles. Maybe more publishers will stick their toes in the water. In truth, anything would be better than how it is now, at least from the author’s point of view. In my experience you’re left with very little input into the production process and even less assistance on the sales and marketing end. It’s sort of the business equivalent of tossing a bird from the nest to see if they’ll fly, and sadly most authors end up plummeting to earth, their dream over before it even really began. And that is truly a shame. So I’m all for trying something new, adapting to the changing world and making sure that people continue to love and read stories. Because in the end, isn’t that what matters?

Kindle Redux

By Joe Moore

kindle One of the most popular topics on the Kill Zone blog (besides the ongoing strength of the paranormal genre) has been the Amazon Kindle e-book reader. Kathryn wrote about it here and here; John G also had things to say here, and Michelle commented on it here.

After so much talk about the Kindle, I started asking myself if an electronic device could actually take the place of printed books anytime soon. The way I see it, the biggest hurdle that the Kindle and similar devices have to overcome is the technology itself. A book is probably the most ingenious storage device ever invented. Why? Because the basic format has not changed in thousands of years. And hundreds of years from now, someone can pick up a book printed today and read it. There’s no guarantee that the technology supporting the Kindle will last a decade, much less a millennium. What if batteries are suddenly no longer made to power the Kindle? What if the format is no longer efficient to archive the written word? What if a new device comes along that holds a thousand times more data at a fraction of the cost? What if it simply isn’t manufactured anymore and you still have one that needs servicing.

Can that happen? Remember 8-track audio cassette tapes? Betamax? 78 RPM phonograph records? VHS? It’s even getting hard to find a CD anymore now that iPods and MP3 has come along. How about CRT video monitors? Anyone you know still have one now that the cost of LCD flat monitors are approaching the price of a tank of gas? Seen any standard definition, 4×3 aspect ratio TVs in the stores the last time you shopped? If the device that’s needed to play the media is not preserved along with the media, you’re out of luck. There’s no chance of that happening with books because they are their own storage device.

But before we cast judgement on e-book readers like Kindle and say they’re a passing fancy that will quickly go the way of the rotary dial phone, let’s revisit a few pieces of innovation from the past that didn’t catch on at first.

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
— Western Union internal memo, 1876

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
— Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
— Bill Gates, 1981

“But what … is it good for?”
— Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
— Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”
— David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.”
— A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp)

“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.'”
— Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
— Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

Can you recall something from your past that you rushed out to buy only to outlive its function and usefulness?

Oprah blesses the Kindle

The word sent a jolt through the author community:

“Oprah endorses Kindle.”

The Kindle, in case you’ve been marooned on another planet, is Amazon’s much-ballyhooed e-book reader. Oprah’s nod is likely to give the gadget a boost in sales. To quote one industry insider, a blessing by the Queen of Talk TV means that “the sale of Kindles will increase sales by approximately one bazillion percent.”

I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to gadgetry, so I haven’t tried the Kindle yet. But I was gratified recently to learn that my latest book, A KILLER WORKOUT, has been published in a Kindle edition. Now that my book has made its debut in the e-reader world, it feels like my baby has grown up and left home. And forgotten to send a postcard.

I’ve been a “slow adopter” when it comes to e-reader technology. Basically, this is because, 1) my daughter convinced me to buy a very expensive e-book reader years ago, and it broke within a month; and 2) I find it tiring to read text all day on the computer screen.

But I have to admit, there are some real advantages to e-books, particularly the Kindle. For example, when I heard that Kindle lets you increase the text size, I thought—“Okay, this is a winner.” Me and a silent majority of over-40 presbyopic-somethings, we’re yearning for text that is ten feet tall!

Plus, the Kindle promises that its “revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.”

I will definitely give the Kindle a trial run (probably by giving it to someone close as an Xmas present).

Meanwhile, I’m interested to hear from folks who have tried the Kindle. What’s the reading experience like? Authors, have Kindle sales boosted your audience?