Kindle Thoughts

I’ve been using my Kindle for a couple of weeks now and wanted to give you a report. First, I really do love it and I’m glad I got it. The convenience has been amazing and already has helped me start catching up on reading, simply because of the portability. Here are a few more thoughts:

Design: Many people already reported on the design that makes it easy to inadvertently turn pages, so I was ready for this. They’re right, it’s annoying sometimes, but I’m getting used to it.

Reading: The screen is SO cool, it’s NOTHING like reading on the computer. It’s not hard on the eyes at all. You can even change your font size. As I’ve had it with me while out in public, many people have taken a look at the screen and been amazed. It’s funny, at first without seeing it up close, people begin saying all the reasons they could never use one of those newfangled contraptions… bad for their eyes, etc. Then I show them the screen and they’re like, “Oh! Ohhhhh… I see. Wow.”

Portability: I carry it with me everywhere in my purse. I love this! But it’s only because of my specific lifestyle that the Kindle is perfect for me. (1) I have a LOT of reading to do, all the time, and (2) I’m out and about all the time, whether it’s on business (conferences) or taking the kids places. I’ve found the Kindle most helpful in these situations where I have a few minutes of down-time or waiting time that previously might have been wasted, or I might have used it to check email (on my phone). Now I can spend that time reading. (Often I’m at kids’ activities where the waiting time is hours, not just minutes.)

Adding documents to the Kindle: Kindle is totally wireless so I never have to connect it to my computer. Amazon sends books wirelessly; and my Kindle has its own email address, so when I want to place a manuscript or proposal on the Kindle, I simply send it thru email as a Word attachment, and it shows up on my screen within seconds. Even though I have a special Kindle email address, it can’t get spam because it’s set to only accept email from pre-approved addresses.

Ordering books: I’m sure I’ll mostly use the Kindle for work (reading manuscripts) but occasionally I may want to read books on it. There are already thousands of books available from Amazon in the Kindle format. Last weekend I wanted to start reading some of the Christy nominees that I haven’t read yet, so I began searching Kindle books for Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet, Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee, and Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin… none of which were available in Kindle format. Bummer. Searching around revealed 415 Kindle titles listed under “Religious Fiction,” many of them bestsellers like Beverly Lewis, Jenkins & LaHaye, Francine Rivers, and Karen Kingsbury. Included in “religious fiction” are also authors publishing with ABA houses… Debbie Macomber, Anne Rice, Anita Diamont. Anyway, I couldn’t find what I wanted but there are always dozens of secular books on my “to read” list, so I decided to order The Double Bind by Chris Bohalian. It feels weird reading a book in this format, but I think I’ll get used to it.

Price/Value: While the Kindle is rather expensive, I believe it was worth it. I wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t for business purposes and if it weren’t a legitimate tax write-off. I can’t see myself using it for pleasure reading nearly as much as for work, but you never know! (I’ll bet this summer when I take my kids to the pool I’ll have it with me every time, although I’ll be nervous about it getting wet or dirty.) Anyway, it has already made me more efficient in my work, and I believe its usefulness will increase over time, as I’m able to share documents with others who have Kindles. I can see how this would be revolutionary inside a publishing house. Rather than having an assistant Xerox copies of manuscripts and proposals for everyone, they can simply send emails to everyone’s e-readers or Kindles.

Bottom line… if you don’t have a real work-related reason to have a Kindle, and you’re a book lover who “loves the feel and smell and weight of a book in your hands,” and if the $400 price is an issue, then there’s not much reason to buy one, or feel bad that you don’t have one. For me, however, the Kindle is my favorite new toy since the iPod.

Posted in

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton on May 19, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    >I saw this Kindle up close and personal, and I have to agree about the screen. When I first glanced at it, I thought I was looking at an actual book page. It has an opaque coloring to the background that gives it a “soft” appearance, and the fonts are easy to read.

    Don’t know if I’ll take the step and get one, but it seems to be a great little device for traveling. Makes everything less cumbersome.

  2. Christa Allan on May 17, 2008 at 9:05 AM

    >Hmmm. If my students could email me their essays…Maybe a Kindle with a comment toolbar?

  3. Anne L.B. on May 17, 2008 at 7:38 AM

    >The best things in life are still priceless. I just came down with a case of writer envy after a visit to Michael Hyatt’s blog. His post of May 16th is not to be missed. Rachelle has the link in the lower left of this page (Important Blogs, “From Where I Sit”).

    One can see why God has placed this man at the helm of a prominent Christian Publisher.

  4. Matthew C Jones on May 16, 2008 at 1:49 PM

    >Thank you for stirring up our gadget envy. 🙂

  5. Word Chicks on May 16, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    >You make a pretty good sales pitch, Rachelle, but I think I’m a diehard book person.

    But it does sound perfect for you, though!

    Julie @ Word Chicks

  6. Kim Kasch on May 16, 2008 at 11:34 AM

    >And, think of all the trees you’re saving!

  7. Tiffany Stuart on May 16, 2008 at 9:47 AM

    >I’m dreaming of a new Kindle.

    How’s that for a song from my heart.


  8. Katy McKenna on May 16, 2008 at 9:20 AM

    >Mark h–Ha!!! We’ve got three different “universal remotes.” I’m still trying to figure out in which universe they’re universal…..But, I’m pretty sure, I digress. 🙂

  9. Mark H. on May 16, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    >I don’t even own an iPod, let alone a Kindle. Does anyone know how to get the “12:00” to stop blinking on this darn VCR?

  10. Mike Dellosso on May 16, 2008 at 7:49 AM

    >Rachelle, why do you think more Christian publishers haven’t taken advantage of the Kindle and making their books available on it? It seems like (to use a cliche) the “wave of the future.” Wouldn’t they want to be on the cutting edge of this new technology?

  11. Richard Mabry on May 16, 2008 at 7:02 AM

    Thanks for the honest assessment of the Kindle. I can see how it would really be an asset for you.
    Hope your time at the conference is productive and that you have a bit of time to relax.

  12. Marla Taviano on May 16, 2008 at 7:01 AM

    >How FUN!!

  13. Karen on May 16, 2008 at 5:59 AM

    >Rachelle, you mention receiving email. It doesn’t send, does it? I mean you couldn’t use it as a means of emailing someone besides Amazon, could you? I am getting so tempted. I’ve heard so many good reports and when we travel, it would save lugging 4 or 5 books with me.

  14. Anonymous on May 16, 2008 at 4:11 AM

    >If/when you take your Kindle to the pool, place it inside a ziplock bag. Buttons for turning pages are accessible through the bag and it stays safe. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine. Regards.