If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 26 December 2011

What Santa Brought

Well, blow me down, I'm the owner of a Kindle. Like this:

Despite misgivings since I first heard of them (I'm a lover of books - just look at my spare room - and that's the books themselves as well as the contents of the books), I'm getting on pretty well with it so far. The Kindle came with a voucher for my first purchase, so I treated myself to a book that has been on my wishlist but overlooked by my family and friends for ages now: These Are The Days That Must Happen To You by Dan Walsh. Endemoniada_88 will know it; in fact, I think he recommended it to me.

I'm already half-way through it, and the 'reading experience' is a little unusual but perfectly acceptable. I'll post a bit more when I have had the thing a bit longer, but first impressions are very good.

Oh, and the book is a cracker.


  1. The assimilation continues apace....


    Ooops! Is this thing on? ;)

  2. I would be interested in one if one could surf the web and pick up email too. I'm not willing to shell out for an iPad that despite the Steve Jobs idolotry is too expensive.

    Happy New Year and I know you probably did not want a bloggers bikefest on 1st January, tempting as it may be!


  3. Julia, if by 'assimilation' you mean re-buying all the books I already possess just to have them available on the Kindle, then I learned my lesson with CDs. Oh, actually I didn't.

    Nikos, there is a Kindle-type device that can do all of that, and it's called an iPad, as I am sure you know. One of the perceived advantages of a Kindle is precidely that - you can read without being constantly distracted by emails and randomly checking interesting websites. I did consider an iPad at one point (they are lovely things to play with) but it would duplicate so many things I already have that I doubt my interest would last more than a week. I reckon the Kindle is going to be a keeper.

    Seriously - up for a meet and a coffee? Whenabouts, roughly?

  4. Good old Dan, mad biking poet extraordinaire. Recommended for all lovers of drug-fuelled wordsmithing everywhere, even the ones who aren't into bikes...

    Part of my space-reduction strategy was purchase of an e-reader (the Sony PRS-505, rather than a Kindle, simply because I'm not a fan of Amazon's proprietary format and DRM). The idea was to replace all my fairly disposable contemporary/mass paperbacks with e-versions and keep the "proper" hardbacks, graphic novels and reference tomes. Have to say, I've been thoroughly impressed with the e-reader overall. It took a little getting used to, but after that, it's hard to find any fault with the sheer convenience. It's not as nice as an actual book, admittedly, but then a lot of "commodity" type novels aren't that nice, either...

    Plenty of (legal and, perhaps, less so...) free and extremely cheap stuff out there, too. Well worth getting a free download of Calibre, which will allow you to convert pretty much any format to Kindle-compatible .mobi and transfer it across in a managed fashion.

  5. Excellent. I need people to test a cartoon book to see if it can be made to work on Kindle. I don't think it can, but it'll be free to test.

    I have last year's model, with the keyboard I used once to put the wireless details in and never used again. It's no surprise they've stopped bothering with that.

    Anyway, would you be interested in contaminating your Kindle with a smnoky-drinker's gibberings? Free book of horrible tales for all testers ;)

  6. I would be delighted. You know the address. I'll use the intervening time to work out how to transfer one to the other ...

  7. @Endo - thanks for the mention of Calibre. I will look into that. I think my approach will be similar to yours. My house is awash with junk novels (everything from Danielle Steele to Dan Brown, and not all mine I hasten to add) which could easily be binned if I had a back-up copy. Proper books can never be disposed of. So the Kindle is likely to hold one-time reads, experimental reads, and free-classics-that-I-never-read-back-then-but-should-have-done. That seems a reasonable division of labour to me.

  8. You're welcome - it's an excellent product.

    The UK, typically, hasn't really got organised for the electronic age. Almost every country allows an electronic backup of products you already own (CDs, DVDs, books etc) under a "fair use" clause of copyright - here it's technically illegal for everything except computer software (although no prosecutions have ever been brought to bear against copying for backup purposes).

    Not much encouragement to purchase - or repurchase - e-books either as they bizarrely are both price-fixed by the manufacturers and attract 20% VAT, while paper books are negotiably-priced and VAT-free. This despite lower manufacturing and distribution costs and greater eco-friendliness for e-versions. Ah, well, sense may prevail in some future time.

  9. I won't hold my breath. ISTR that the zero-VAT thing for books was bravely fought by the UK government when we went into the Common Market, on the grounds that books were a necessity, not a luxury (like food), and a good thing too. I suppose electronic books are like biscuits - nice to have, but not essential, and therefore deserving of a slap of the VAT bat.

    I like the way that all goods are taxed, and there are exemptions that we are supposed to be grateful for. Thus the fight is over what is exempt and not over whether the tax is justified in the first place.


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