Because of the Kindle

Because of the Kindle

On November 19th, 2007, Amazon introduced the Kindle:

Introducing Amazon Kindle

and things changed.

A lot of things: businesses; individuals; arguably, culture.

Oh, not everything, of course…and not all things the same way for all people.

Still, no one can say that the Kindle hasn’t had an impact.

The question is, how?

I’ve been exploring that for more than eight years, in one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the USA Kindle store, I Love My Kindle.

That means thousands of posts and millions of words writing about Kindles, Amazon, e-publishing, and related topics.

Needless to say, I’ve had my experiences and I have my opinions.

However, I haven’t done this alone. Those thousands of posts have had literally tens of thousands of comments.

On the tenth anniversary of Amazon’s announcement, I wanted to look back…to examine the question of what impact the Kindle has had. I don’t want it to be just what I think, though. I want it to include what other people think; what you think.

I want you to comment on this page, and complete the thought: “Because of the Kindle…”

Now, to be clear, this isn’t a contest, and you aren’t going to get paid for it. I plan to price this book at ninety-nine cents in the USA, and I don’t expect to make much money. It’s really more about getting those perspectives out there.

I do intend to use twenty percent of the gross royalties for Amazon giveaways on the blog, so there may be some small return in that way.

You will also retain rights to what you’ve written: you can publish it anywhere else without asking permission from me, although I will ask that you link to ILMK. I’m also happy to link to a related website of yours, if you want. If I decide I’d like to use your comment in the book (which will be called, “Because of the Kindle”), I’ll e-mail you with a simple rights agreement, and I won’t use it without your agreement.

It may have appeared as a comment on this page before that…as always, when you post a comment to a page, I may publish it there. Your e-mail address won’t be seen by my other readers, and I’ll just use it for communication about the book.

This is what I plan for the book:

  • A summary of each year
  • “Reprints” of some of my articles from ILMK
  • My own opinions about what happened Because of the Kindle, and my memories
  • Opinions and memories from my readers and others

I’m going to put some of my thoughts on this page, to give you an idea, but I hope you surprise me. There is no length limit. It doesn’t need to be positive, although my regular readers know, I’d like it to be respectful.

Please feel free to let people know about this…the more people who contribute, the better it will be. #BecauseOfTheKindle @BufoCalvin

My readers have also commented on my blog post about this project, so you can see their Because of the Kindle contributions there.

What do you think? 🙂

Because of the Kindle…I read Janet Evanovich. Before the Kindle, my Significant Other would buy a Janet Evanovich hardback, and then pass it to a sibling. Even though I was always open to reading it (I’m an eclectic reader), but reasonably, I didn’t want to get in the way of two impassioned readers. With the Kindle, my Significant Other and I could both read the same book at the same time…for one purchase price. Not only did that mean that I have now read and enjoyed many Stephanie Plum books, it means that we were able to discuss the book without spoilers after we’d both finished it.

Because of the Kindle…traditional publishers lost their near complete control of book distribution. When I was a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I would sometimes get someone who would show up with a book they had published themselves. They would want me to carry it “on contingency”, where the store would only be charged if it sold. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t really work. First, there is the cost of having the book on the shelf. We had to pay rent, so it was costing us money to have something there that wasn’t selling. Second, if it did sell, we would need more copies…quickly. I would ask them that: “If I need ten more copies, how quickly could you get them to me?” A tradpub could usually get them to me in a couple of days. The way that the Kindle created a mass market for e-books meant that an individual author could have effectively an infinite supply of books (without the need for a “book factory”), and they could be displayed right alongside those tradpub books without paying rent like you would in a store. Before the Kindle, the bestsellers at Amazon were virtually all tradpubbed. Now, it’s common for independently books to be top sellers in the USA Kindle store.

Because of the Kindle…driving is no longer “wasted non-reading time”. 😉 I never get Kindle books which have text-to-speech access blocked, so I listen to books while I’m driving. I could have listened to audiobooks before the Kindle 2 got TTS, but I don’t like the actors (or even the author) interpreting the characters for me, if I haven’t read the book first. If I have read it, then an audiobook is like going to a movie for me. This has meant, by the way, that I stopped reading some series and didn’t read other books because they had text-to-speech access blocked.

Because of the Kindle…I had the first year where, if I only made money on my writing, I wouldn’t have been poverty-level. 😉 That’s not the way I make my living, but without the production and distribution of the Kindle and Kindle platform, I probably wouldn’t have come close to that in terms of writing contributing to my family.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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