Tuesday, January 5, 2010

KINDLING

l still feel out of sorts when I remember last January --being told by my literary agent to submit new manuscripts on a "Kindle sized- page."

Huh? What? While I was gasping, trying to figure out what she meant, she mentioned the Sony Reader, and told me not to worry ... if I brought in a manuscript on 8 x 11 paper, they'd fix it. "We have the equipment --we shoot it, and get it onto a memory card. "

THIS was the new way my agent was going to be trying sell my novels to publishers?

I'd seen a Kindle on Amazon.com – a small, 4" x 6" gadget, bigger than an Iphone, but gee -- a 4" x 6" page? I'd spent umpteen years formatting my books with 40 lines on a page with inch-and-a-half margins.

I studied a Sony Reader on Sony's Website, with a sinking heart -- having experienced the feeling of becoming a "has-been" in the dance world, I couldn't bear the idea that "has-been" was (with my agent's new requirements), happening to me as a writer.

(I've recovered as I will explain in a minute.)

The "Kindle," created by Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, is a booming business. In a recent Newsweek Magazine interview, Bezos said he'd been working on the "Kindle" and developing a Kindle book list for a few years.

Bezos told the interviewer -- "Steven Jobs (CEO and co-founder of Apple) once predicted the Kindle would fail because 'people don't read anymore.'" Bezos immediately proceeded to prove that the Kindle wasn't failing -- it was providing 48 percent of the physical sales.

The interview gave me the heebie-jeebies. Bezos thinks the ink on paper book will eventually disappear. There will still be novels, stories that writers write, but actual physical books will be replaced by new technology.

Yikes!!! Did he mean technology, like IPHones and "apps," so that the Kindle titles he's collecting can be "read" on the latest new portable devices?

Bezos, who looks like a nice guy in the Newsweek photo, actually stated, unequivocally -- "I don't want to read a 300 page book on my computer."

When the interviewer asked. "Do you still read books on paper?"
nice guy Bezos replied, "Not if I can help it."

That remark is still booming in my brain.

Okay, yes, sure -- times have changed -- I saw a promo on the innovative, new, fantastic, amazing, thrilling, top-most, unbelievably fabulous app -- "IPumpstretch" -- one-inch nifty, neat photos of the exercises, plus a heart rate/calories-burned app. (People are buying it and loving it.)

And if you buy the yellow gizmo and yellow cord (it fits your phone), you can use your IPhone like a weight -- toss, shake and swing it in an delightful exercise routine involving lots of major muscles.

I hereby, as an authority on exercise, loudly declare -- "WHAT A CROCK!"

With "Kindles" and IPhones on my mind. I watched for the 4th time, "Fahrenheit 451," the movie made in 1966 about a new world without books -- where books, and homes with books were burned.

The movie has a sad, happy-ending, as Oskar Werner and Julie Christie, the lovers, survive by joining an hidden village where people live, who hate the new world and become a "book." Each person knows one book (every single word in one of the works of Dickens, Poe, and Shakespeare, etc.) and can tell it, so when books are no longer illegal, a book can be "told" and printed as a book again.

Have a look at Francois Truffaut's and Ray Bradbury's world without books.

So, "bravo" Bezos, for creating Amazon, the unique online store that has everything you might want in books, even a help line where you can talk to a human.

But I'm sorry, Bezos -- I am not buying Kindled books or a "Kindle" -- for me, kindle is just a wooden stick or a twig for lighting a fire.

If books go the way they seem to be going, I'll tuck myself into my speedy, new PC, and read quite happily a 300 page or a 750 page novel -- like one of mine that's in my virtual library on my Website, The Readery.com.

1 comment:

Carola said...

I think the Kindles are neat (especially for travel), but have no plan to buy one soon: especially since I do most of my reading via the public library rather than buying books. But I prefer books, and I am glad that books are likely to survive for as long as I live if not that much longer. I like books as objects--having been exposed to publishing in my youth, I pay attention to paper and covers and fonts. About reading books on computer: I have to admit that reading your books on a PC definitely removed some of the pleasure. It just wasn't comfortable. Oh well - I guess we just have to accept a world that is changing.

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