Posted June 13, 2011
Although I have avoided publishing my books in electronic format, it seems unavoidable. It’s not that I’m against digital books. I just like printed books so much more. However, I realize that many people prefer the digital versions. So, I pushed myself to try to learn about electronic books. You wouldn’t think there would be anything to learn, but there are always subtle things that have to be considered when formatting text for particular software and a particular device in this case. For these reasons, last December I bought myself an Amazon Kindle for Christmas to begin to understand how one uses electronic books and the like. Incidentally, I decided on Kindle over other similar devices for a few reasons: the screen is easy to read, it consumes very little power (which is good on trans-Atlantic flights), it’s the device for Amazon (they publish my books in print), and costs much less than Apple iPad and other similar multifunctional devices—I already have a small Apple AirBook. I prefer single function devices.
I downloaded a few free books and in time purchased one book (The Odessey by Homer). They were fine, but I didn’t fully embrace the technology until I discovered magazines on Kindle. Magazines subscriptions on Kindle have made it a part of my daily life.
Before Kindle, I liked to read The Economist magazine (a British news publication), but didn’t read it very often. There’s something about having a print subscription to it that is overwhelming to me at times. I feel I should read the whole magazine, or close to it. After a few issues, when I think about reading it, I feel that I should read the back issues. The guilt of unread artices weigh me down, so the printed magazines pile up fairly unread. With the digital version, though, the new issue of The Economist is delivered automatically to my Kindle through its wifi connection. The previous issues fade away automatically, as well. I read what I can and when I can. I only have the pleasure of what I’ve read and no reminders of what I haven’t read. It’s perfect for me. The result is that now I read several articles in The Economist every week. I’ve added subscriptions to Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, Reason, and a core version of The New York Times. I read all of them, regularly.
Since I’m now a Kindle fan, I’ve decided to format my books for Kindle. To start, I chose to add my novel, In Search of Kafka to Amazon. I can’t just upload my book in the format and layout I used to publish it in print on Amazon. Instead, I needed to make a copy of the original document file and change the layout a bit and reformat it for Kindle. It took a good deal of testing, clicking through every page of the book on my Kindle to check for many things such as making sure that Chapters started on new page and there were no garbled text.
If you’re prone to reading books in electronic format and have a Kindle, please consider purchasing my novel. It’s a fun read. The book is moderately priced at ten dollars a copy in the U.S. for the Kindle version, a little more if downloaded from the U.K. and the German sites of Amazon. If you do buy it, please let me know if you discover anything off with the formatting: it’s my first e-book. I’ve checked it thoroughly, but may have missed something—and things may have been altered by Amazon after I handed it over to them.