This one is not an email, but an actual physical mail.   Today, I got a free book from Microsoft.

?????

I'm clearly not the only person to get this book, as it was accompanied by a form letter explaining why I got it.  I just am a bit surprised.  I mean, if Microsoft wants to send me a book, I'd much prefer an Amazon gift card.  

I don't object specifically to the book.  It's one of those management technique books. I've got a number of them floating around, talking about habits, and buzzwords, and all that jazz.    Man this author has to be pumped up by having his book sent out by the cartload via Microsoft.  I mean, its a traditionally published book (imprint Wiley) so its not like they put out their own book.  I wonder if this is better than being selected for Oprah's bookclub? 
This one is not an email, but an actual physical mail.   Today, I got a free book from Microsoft.

?????

I'm clearly not the only person to get this book, as it was accompanied by a form letter explaining why I got it.  I just am a bit surprised.  I mean, if Microsoft wants to send me a book, I'd much prefer an Amazon gift card.  

I don't object specifically to the book.  It's one of those management technique books. I've got a number of them floating around, talking about habits, and buzzwords, and all that jazz.    Man this author has to be pumped up by having his book sent out by the cartload via Microsoft.  I mean, its a traditionally published book (imprint Wiley) so its not like they put out their own book.  I wonder if this is better than being selected for Oprah's bookclub? 

Okay, for anyone on my flist who hasn't heard of this yet, Amazon has launched their own digital book/electronic reader.  It is known as the Kindle, and you can read something about it here:

Link to Amazon Kindle Page

The next test, was finding whose books I could purchase, so I started doing some random searches on authors I would consider purchasing if I were to own a Kindle.  Most of whom would be in the SF, F, and H fields.   Here's who I could find:

One of the features I was a little disappointed about was magazine subscriptions.  While I do like having subscriptions to the physical magazines, because that's cool, I might actually get a few more stories read if I had it all digital and didn't need my laptop to do the reading.  IE, it's something I'd consider.   What's sad is that NO Fantasy, SF, or Horror magazines are available through this service.   Even more, there are only (at the time I write this) eight (8) magazines available for subscription at all.   Maybe it doesn't sound cool to others the way it does me.   But there's hundreds of Blogs you can subscribe to, I'd have though magazines would want to be available this way too.  Perhaps it's just going to take a while to get there.

I'm curious what other people think.   Mostly from a consumer aspect, though if you happen to be an author and want to share opinions about the device from that side too, cool.   But especially those friends of mine who aren't writers, you book readers you.  What do you think?  Does something like this meet your needs?   Or are you going to give this a heck no, no way no how reaction?   I'm real curious.  (Opinions, such as: if they could bring down the price tag to $200 I'd go for it are welcome too.)

I think for me the hardest part is this:  I can't test drive one.  At least with the Sony reader, I can find one in a store somewhere and play around to see what I think.   I don't usually buy electronics sight unseen.  I'm not that trusting.  I'd be more inclined if I got say a 90 day money back guarantee trial from Amazon.  Please dear readers (all five of you) share your thoughts too.

Edit:  I'm seeing lots of hits, with no posting.  Anyone want to share where you found this entry from?  I'm very curious how so many people found this one post.

Okay, for anyone on my flist who hasn't heard of this yet, Amazon has launched their own digital book/electronic reader.  It is known as the Kindle, and you can read something about it here:

Link to Amazon Kindle Page

The next test, was finding whose books I could purchase, so I started doing some random searches on authors I would consider purchasing if I were to own a Kindle.  Most of whom would be in the SF, F, and H fields.   Here's who I could find:

One of the features I was a little disappointed about was magazine subscriptions.  While I do like having subscriptions to the physical magazines, because that's cool, I might actually get a few more stories read if I had it all digital and didn't need my laptop to do the reading.  IE, it's something I'd consider.   What's sad is that NO Fantasy, SF, or Horror magazines are available through this service.   Even more, there are only (at the time I write this) eight (8) magazines available for subscription at all.   Maybe it doesn't sound cool to others the way it does me.   But there's hundreds of Blogs you can subscribe to, I'd have though magazines would want to be available this way too.  Perhaps it's just going to take a while to get there.

I'm curious what other people think.   Mostly from a consumer aspect, though if you happen to be an author and want to share opinions about the device from that side too, cool.   But especially those friends of mine who aren't writers, you book readers you.  What do you think?  Does something like this meet your needs?   Or are you going to give this a heck no, no way no how reaction?   I'm real curious.  (Opinions, such as: if they could bring down the price tag to $200 I'd go for it are welcome too.)

I think for me the hardest part is this:  I can't test drive one.  At least with the Sony reader, I can find one in a store somewhere and play around to see what I think.   I don't usually buy electronics sight unseen.  I'm not that trusting.  I'd be more inclined if I got say a 90 day money back guarantee trial from Amazon.  Please dear readers (all five of you) share your thoughts too.

Edit:  I'm seeing lots of hits, with no posting.  Anyone want to share where you found this entry from?  I'm very curious how so many people found this one post.
temporus: (gate)
( Sep. 17th, 2007 07:22 pm)

Mr. Jordan's passing brought up the memory of how and why I first started reading his novels.  It might come as little surprise, that growing up (as now) I was a frequent patron of book stores.  In my home town was a local book store.  It was known as the Book Stop. (And a quick google search shows the store is still there, yay!)  I used to stop in to peruse the shelves anywhere from 1-5 days a week, pretty much every week from junior high on.  It was my main source of both D&D items, as well as books.  I spent countless hours going through the shelves over the years, and the sales person got to know me and my father.  (My father consumes books at a rate most people eat food.)  After I graduated and went off to college, I would still stop in at the store when ever I was home for a visit or on breaks.  Dennis, the sales clerk, knew me.  He knew most of what I read, because most of what I read, he'd sold me.  Over the years, he'd steer me to a book here, or a suggestion there.  And he'd always inquire, which books I liked, or didn't.

Then one year, I think somewhere around 1992 (yes I joined the bandwagon a bit late) he started chatting up this series he'd heard great things about.  The Wheel of Time.  They were out of the first book, but if I was interested he'd place an order for me.  Why not, I thought.  By that thursday (the day shipments arrived) I was holding The Eye of the World in my hands.  Dennis had not steered me wrong.  I did indeed love the book, and acquired the other books out at that time, reading them voraciously back at school.  Later when I learned that authors made more money from hardcovers than from the paperbacks (and a bit due to impatience for the new editions and some adhesive problems of the paperbacks too) I started to purchase this series in hardcover.  I even managed to back collect the earlier novels that I had in paperback.  The WoT continued to be one of the series I would save up money for, even while in college and poor, forgoing quantity of other novels to own the hardcover.  I'm quite happy with my collection of the series.   If his family releases a final volume, whatever the format, I will proudly add it to the rest.

I'm still the guy who is constantly perusing the book store shelves.  These days, the book stores are large chain stores.  They are places one can go sit, have a beverage, meet a friend, and relax.  The overall number of books is immense.  Yet, except for the time when I had a friend who became an employee of the local bookstore, I never really had that kind of connection.  It's not that the employees aren't friendly, or willing to help.  They are, and they do.  But there's something different between being one of hundreds of daily customers, being served by one of dozens of employees, some of whom you might not see again for a month or more, and being a customer known by the single salesclerk and the store owner.   Being seen day in, day out, by the same limited person.  They knew me, they knew my father, my brother.  They knew books I'd like.  Books to point out and mention to my dad.   Amazon, even with their suggestions, and people who bought this book also bought ___ can't compare to the kind of service I got from a real friendly home town bookstore.  I guess that's why people think of the past as the good ol' days.

temporus: (gate)
( Sep. 17th, 2007 07:22 pm)

Mr. Jordan's passing brought up the memory of how and why I first started reading his novels.  It might come as little surprise, that growing up (as now) I was a frequent patron of book stores.  In my home town was a local book store.  It was known as the Book Stop. (And a quick google search shows the store is still there, yay!)  I used to stop in to peruse the shelves anywhere from 1-5 days a week, pretty much every week from junior high on.  It was my main source of both D&D items, as well as books.  I spent countless hours going through the shelves over the years, and the sales person got to know me and my father.  (My father consumes books at a rate most people eat food.)  After I graduated and went off to college, I would still stop in at the store when ever I was home for a visit or on breaks.  Dennis, the sales clerk, knew me.  He knew most of what I read, because most of what I read, he'd sold me.  Over the years, he'd steer me to a book here, or a suggestion there.  And he'd always inquire, which books I liked, or didn't.

Then one year, I think somewhere around 1992 (yes I joined the bandwagon a bit late) he started chatting up this series he'd heard great things about.  The Wheel of Time.  They were out of the first book, but if I was interested he'd place an order for me.  Why not, I thought.  By that thursday (the day shipments arrived) I was holding The Eye of the World in my hands.  Dennis had not steered me wrong.  I did indeed love the book, and acquired the other books out at that time, reading them voraciously back at school.  Later when I learned that authors made more money from hardcovers than from the paperbacks (and a bit due to impatience for the new editions and some adhesive problems of the paperbacks too) I started to purchase this series in hardcover.  I even managed to back collect the earlier novels that I had in paperback.  The WoT continued to be one of the series I would save up money for, even while in college and poor, forgoing quantity of other novels to own the hardcover.  I'm quite happy with my collection of the series.   If his family releases a final volume, whatever the format, I will proudly add it to the rest.

I'm still the guy who is constantly perusing the book store shelves.  These days, the book stores are large chain stores.  They are places one can go sit, have a beverage, meet a friend, and relax.  The overall number of books is immense.  Yet, except for the time when I had a friend who became an employee of the local bookstore, I never really had that kind of connection.  It's not that the employees aren't friendly, or willing to help.  They are, and they do.  But there's something different between being one of hundreds of daily customers, being served by one of dozens of employees, some of whom you might not see again for a month or more, and being a customer known by the single salesclerk and the store owner.   Being seen day in, day out, by the same limited person.  They knew me, they knew my father, my brother.  They knew books I'd like.  Books to point out and mention to my dad.   Amazon, even with their suggestions, and people who bought this book also bought ___ can't compare to the kind of service I got from a real friendly home town bookstore.  I guess that's why people think of the past as the good ol' days.

Okay, I was in the bookstore yesterday, perusing the shelves, and I got to thinking about something. There was a book I saw, and I thought to myself, I'll grab it when it comes out in paperback.   Then I stopped, because I realized I was making an assumption.  It's an assumption that was based on some "information" that I had learned years ago.  But, quite frankly, it's still quite an assumption--one that might well be misinformed.   So I am hoping that those writers I know could enlighten me.  (And perhaps if you don't have the answers, you can nudge other folks you do know my way to help get me the answer.)  

Yes, I want to understand this aspect of publishing because I write.  But more than that:  I read.  I buy books.  If you are someone whose blog I read , and get published, there's a darned good chance I'm buying *your* books.  However, I have limited shelf space in the house.  (Don't we all?)  Now limited shelf space hasn't been exactly preventing me from buying more books, but it will eventually cause problems.  So that means that books are fighting for shelf space.  Hardcovers take up a heck of a lot more space than paperbacks.  They last longer and are more sturdy, which means that, there's a chance they can enjoyed for years to come, by me, the Lovely wife, or perhaps descendants.  They also tend to look nicer.   My wife isn't as fond because they weigh more, and reading in bed is a lot less comfortable when you have to prop up a large book.  They are also the most expensive.  Trade Paperbacks are better, in that they tend to be slimmer, and weigh less and they are cheaper.  Though it seems rare that both a hardcover and trade paperback version are released for the same work, that is, I don't recall a book going from hardcover to trade paperback, then to mass market.  I always thought of trade paperback as being meant for re-release or special editions.  Mass Market Paperbacks, are cheapest, smallest, generally the lightest, but also tend towards the flimsiest of the products.  Some paperbacks barely make it through  a reading by me and the wife before I feel like pages are ready to come out.

So, the assumption that I had was actually a few assumptions all pooled together. I'm going to attempt to break it out into smaller bits.  Yes, some of these points might seem slightly contradictory.  But it's a lot of what runs through my head in the bookstore.

1)  Anything that comes out in hardcover, will eventually come out in mass market paperback.

2)  Buying a hardcover means the author is getting more of my money.  (Yes, and the publisher, distributor, and bookstore too.)

3)  Buying hardcovers or trade paperbacks helps an author more than buying the mmp version.

4) Hardcovers, or trade paperbacks sales mean more to the publisher than mmp sales.

5) In the end, any sale is a good sale, so waiting to buy the cheaper version isn't really that big of a deal.

Sadly, I can't always afford to drop the $20+ per book for all books I want to own.  And room is limited.  I hate to say that there are some authors I'm more willing to spend the extra cash on than others, even though its true.  Sometimes its impatience.  I want the latest book so bad, I don't want to wait.   Sometimes, yes it is a choice, because I am trying to "vote" with my money.   Of course, there was a time when I had a tendency to stick to a very narrow group of authors. Whereas today, I am branching out, taking risks, and trying new authors to see if I like them.  For a writing perspective, I need to learn the field.  From a reading perspective, I know there's a lot of great stuff I never got around to, and am rushing to correct that.  

So, please, if there are any misperceptions in the above, if there is any further insight you can offer, jump in and let me know.
Okay, I was in the bookstore yesterday, perusing the shelves, and I got to thinking about something. There was a book I saw, and I thought to myself, I'll grab it when it comes out in paperback.   Then I stopped, because I realized I was making an assumption.  It's an assumption that was based on some "information" that I had learned years ago.  But, quite frankly, it's still quite an assumption--one that might well be misinformed.   So I am hoping that those writers I know could enlighten me.  (And perhaps if you don't have the answers, you can nudge other folks you do know my way to help get me the answer.)  

Yes, I want to understand this aspect of publishing because I write.  But more than that:  I read.  I buy books.  If you are someone whose blog I read , and get published, there's a darned good chance I'm buying *your* books.  However, I have limited shelf space in the house.  (Don't we all?)  Now limited shelf space hasn't been exactly preventing me from buying more books, but it will eventually cause problems.  So that means that books are fighting for shelf space.  Hardcovers take up a heck of a lot more space than paperbacks.  They last longer and are more sturdy, which means that, there's a chance they can enjoyed for years to come, by me, the Lovely wife, or perhaps descendants.  They also tend to look nicer.   My wife isn't as fond because they weigh more, and reading in bed is a lot less comfortable when you have to prop up a large book.  They are also the most expensive.  Trade Paperbacks are better, in that they tend to be slimmer, and weigh less and they are cheaper.  Though it seems rare that both a hardcover and trade paperback version are released for the same work, that is, I don't recall a book going from hardcover to trade paperback, then to mass market.  I always thought of trade paperback as being meant for re-release or special editions.  Mass Market Paperbacks, are cheapest, smallest, generally the lightest, but also tend towards the flimsiest of the products.  Some paperbacks barely make it through  a reading by me and the wife before I feel like pages are ready to come out.

So, the assumption that I had was actually a few assumptions all pooled together. I'm going to attempt to break it out into smaller bits.  Yes, some of these points might seem slightly contradictory.  But it's a lot of what runs through my head in the bookstore.

1)  Anything that comes out in hardcover, will eventually come out in mass market paperback.

2)  Buying a hardcover means the author is getting more of my money.  (Yes, and the publisher, distributor, and bookstore too.)

3)  Buying hardcovers or trade paperbacks helps an author more than buying the mmp version.

4) Hardcovers, or trade paperbacks sales mean more to the publisher than mmp sales.

5) In the end, any sale is a good sale, so waiting to buy the cheaper version isn't really that big of a deal.

Sadly, I can't always afford to drop the $20+ per book for all books I want to own.  And room is limited.  I hate to say that there are some authors I'm more willing to spend the extra cash on than others, even though its true.  Sometimes its impatience.  I want the latest book so bad, I don't want to wait.   Sometimes, yes it is a choice, because I am trying to "vote" with my money.   Of course, there was a time when I had a tendency to stick to a very narrow group of authors. Whereas today, I am branching out, taking risks, and trying new authors to see if I like them.  For a writing perspective, I need to learn the field.  From a reading perspective, I know there's a lot of great stuff I never got around to, and am rushing to correct that.  

So, please, if there are any misperceptions in the above, if there is any further insight you can offer, jump in and let me know.
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