E-Reading and Price Wars

The first Kindle came out in 2007. Pricey little gadgets. Still, I’d like to have one. But, I can’t just drop, what was it, nearly 400 bucks on a device my family would see as a geek’s toy.

I’ve been voicing birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day wishes complete with ‘but they need to seriously drop the price.’ I think we’ve bought a printer, a laptop, a desktop and a few cell phones while I’ve been wishing.

Last night, charging my cell so I could continue reading an e-book in a cell phone sized window, I announced to my family that I would soon have enough money to buy a new model Smart Phone so I can read longer before it flashed the low battery icon.

Eventually the idea of checking the current price on my ‘wish’ set in and I called up the Amazon page. My tweets were at the same time mentioning a price war on e-readers. There were more tweets on the topic when I had to turn the phone to airline mode to save the rest of the battery.

This morning, news of the Kindle’s price cut had made its way into my email. So, I checked my pay-pal, it was good to go. I went to Amazon to confirm this wasn’t some really bad joke or a very cool dream.

It looks like I have fulfilled my wish. Now, when people ask what I want for this event or that birthday, I have nothing to say. Unless, of course, this gadget needs a winter coat or a reading light.

I said from the start, if I wait, the price will come down. Well, there it is, and it should be in my very hands before the week-end.

Now, I have to get back to doing the work that made this possible to begin with. Till next time, stay well and keep reading. And if you have a wish list, don’t forget to add my novel, If I Should Die, but you have to wait till November.

I wonder if I can send email through Kindle?  Does it have a camera?  Can I make a call?  Well, I guess I can’t have everything and holding an e-reader to my ear would just look silly.

The Faint Click of an E-Page Turning – or – Is that a Dent?

A Baby Owl we can watch from our yard.
A Baby Owl we can watch from our yard.

E-Books, the faint click of a changing screen.

I have heard a lot of comments about e-reading. Many comments remind me of myself, back in the late 70s when I said, “No one is going to pay to have a cable run out and hooked up to their television sets.” People before me claimed, “Television would never catch on.”

I bought my first computer in the early eighties, a Commodore Vic 20. I had to type in the programs from a magazine line by line. Any miss placed comma resulted in a program coma and it was stored on little cassette tapes. Next, a Commodore 64, then a PC 286, 486 and every computer became a little faster and more self sufficient. I’ve had A Drives, Floppy Drives, Zip Drives, drivers too. I wondered if a home computer would ever catch on.

I had a cell phone back in the late 90s and early 00s when people around me still scoffed at the idea of being contacted after leaving the home or office. I tried to explain about the off button.

I am using a smart phone at the moment and it does more in three ounces than the Vic 20 or even the 486 did on their best days. I can play games, read email, send text messages, buy things, record ideas, keep a shopping list, get reminders of birthdays and appointments, watch television, go to youtube, listen to music, take pictures, edit the pictures, email the pictures, I can read and create documents, edit documents, I read the Wall Street Journal and our local newspaper and have a complete library of classic literature that I can read anywhere. Did I mention I can make and receive phone calls?

I have been wanting an e-book reader, the prices are still beyond my income to outgo ratio. At the moment, I read books on my phone. The phone is much easier to manage in bed than a paper book that sometimes slips and leaves little dents in my forehead. It is convenient, I can take the three ounce phone just about anywhere, I haven’t done any diving in water or sky with it, and don’t plan to try. The books fit on a tiny memory card smaller than my fingernail. I can enlarge the print, auto-scroll and it remembers where I left off.

I was wondering through the Wall Street Journal when I found an article about Google getting into the E-book business. In the comments section as I expected were the folks who would have helped me with the tin foil on my rabbit ears lamenting that subscription T. V. would never find a market. Many of them can be spotted close up by the little dents in their foreheads from the corners of the real-made-of-paper-books from the real-brick-and-mortar-bookstores.

From what I gather, Google will keep the ‘copy’ online and you can access it anytime you want. I’m okay with this, I use their document reader when I look at email attachments and read my local newspaper from their site. I can do this on both computers and my cell phone. It certainly is within my budget and I already have the ‘e’ habit.

I think the e-book market will keep catching on, the die-hard-rabbit-ear-holders will reluctantly nod at their cable boxes and sigh.

What? Do I hear the faint click of you leaving my page?