Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kindle Arrived: I Did Not Realize That Two of My Existing Books Are Already Available

Armed America and Black Demographic Data.  (The pricing on the latter means that it probably isn't going to sell well.)

Compared to this, the Kindle my boss has is a brick!  This is far thinner and lighter than any paperback.

UPDATE: And with a larger screen.  I downloaded Republic: A Novel of America's Future by Charles Sheehan-Miles, largely because the Kindle edition was free, and I wanted to see how well this worked for reading fiction.  The Kindle is growing on me as a way of doing pleasure reading.

Republic starts out a little clumsy; the author's method of explaining what is going on is a little pedestrian, but it is growing on me.  He is telling a pretty good story, with people that you care about, and I found myself staying up late reading this in bed, when I should have gone to sleep--and that's a good sign that someone is a storyteller.  Remember that there are great writers (in the technical sense that literary critics like), and there are great storytellers (like Stephen King), and sometimes you get both in one writer!

I do see a lot of annoying typos ("lot's" instead of "lots") and some rather surprising mistakes: the political party is "Democrat" with a capital "D"; newspaper titles are supposed to be italicized.  The dialog, however, is quite good.  Remember that real world dialog is never as grammatical or clear as novel dialog; we rely heavily on various non-verbal cues that prevent this from being a problem.  A novelist has to improve on how people really speak--but not so much that it sounds stilted or implausible, and Sheehan-Miles  is doing that pretty well.


  1. "The 1840 Census controversy"?

    What was that about?

  2. See, you really need to read the book! :-)

    Some people used the 1840 census data as proof that freedom made black people insane, deaf, blind, and retarded. There was another explanation, it turns out.

  3. Glad to hear about the books already on Kindle. Is Amazon the one who sets the price?

  4. The publisher sets the prices on these.

  5. I had forgotten about Armed America. Bought it. One Click can be dangerous ;)

  6. I long held off buying a Kindle. I figured it would just be another gadget that I would not get much use out of.

    Boy was I wrong!

    My son gave me one last September and I have read over 100 books on it so far. That is about normal since I've probably averaged 2 books a week since the 60's.

    I've read 4 paper books since then and all felt like something of a chore. The only reason I read them was for research.

    I am constantly amazed at the amount of free stuff that is available. I am working my way through Trollope's ouvre, Earlier this year I read Hoover's text on mining, Kellog's 1920 bio of him and Hoover's 3 volume memoirs (Download free at his presidential library)I just started Cory Doctorow's "For the Win whch he offers free as well as for sale.

    And then this morning I read this post. I's not heard of the 3 books mentioned but downloaded the Republic book and samples of the other two.

    I read fiction and non-fiction on my Kindle and on my Android phone. Some graphics are problematic and it is hard to flip around. Other than that, it is a fantastic tool for reading.

    Amazon really got it right.

    John Henry

  7. You might want to talk to your publisher.

    Armed America is $10.49. Why the extra 50 cents? According to every thing I read about Kindle pricing $9.99 is the sweet spot. I suspect that you would sell more than enough additional copies at $9.99 to make up for the lower price.

    $69+ seems a bit excessive for the demographic book. I did download a sample just to see what it looks like. I hope you don't feel bad if I don't buy it.

    John Henry

    John Henry

  8. I looked at the sample of the demographic book. I did not get to see what kind of graphs and tables you have but suspect that this is not the type of book that lends itself to Kindle.

    It does seem interesting from the sample and I could probably spend a happy couple hours perusing it in a library. I might even buy it for $10-20.

    The book on arms is also interesting and I have put it in my reading pile. That's a bunch of book samples that look interesting enough that I might buy at some future point.

    I keep it in a "Wish list" collection on my Kindle.

    John Henry
    John Henry

  9. A bit late but I just finished reading Republic.

    I wanted to second your recommendation and say that it is a terrific read. I thought it would be a political screed (not that there's anything wrong with that)but still looked forward to reading it.

    There is some politics and a bit of screediness in it but is seems secondary to the story and characters. Important but secondary.

    As soon as I read the last page I downloaded his next book: "Prayer at Rumayla"

    Hopefully I will get started on it tonight.

    John Henry