Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Waiting for My Kindle

Placing the Order:
February 2, 2010

Late last week, Apple launches the iPad, an E-Book reader with Plus capabilities costing $499 or roughly 25,000 PHP. Not really having that much money to spare for another computer gadget, I was simply curious about it thinking it was Apple's answer to Bill Gates' Tablet PC [launched several years ago]...but it is actually a cross between a Netbook and a Smartphone, or as others would call it a bigger, cooler iPod with all available Apps being run on it too. I already own a Viewsonic Tablet PC if all I ever wanted to do with a tablet computer was draw digital art and perhaps post some of them on the web, and maybe even sell some on-line. However, the thought of rekindling my interest for reading sounded too good to pass up...considering I've passed it up for most of my adolescent, and now adult life. And at this point, all I find is time on my hands...and I'm enjoying reading the daily local newspaper more and more, perhaps for the first time in my life. Of course, I find that newsprint ink makes me sneeze every time I start reaching out for the paper.

So I visit Amazon and discover that the whole Kindle Product was already available in the Philippines and worldwide...for both the cool E-Book Reader [hardware] and almost 400,000 books in its massive library collection [software]. Initially, I noted that most bestsellers cost $11.99, a slight increase from the American price tag of $9.99. It has been explained that the extra fee was for Wireless 3G coverage (by Whispernet) so I can download mostly American-published books all across the Philippine Seas. The whole concept of the electronic book reader by Amazon never fails to amaze me, with a whole library of books neatly packaged in one lightweight [and I hear, very well-made] device and the availability of hundreds more at your easy [wireless] disposal...because it simply is amazing.

But just a day after placing an order on Amazon for Kindle 2, I read some discouraging news.


The Amazon Kindle Team says:
Initial post: Jan 31,2010

Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the "big six" publishers, has clearly communicated to us that,
regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative.

Kindle is a business for Amazon, and it is also a mission. We never expected it to be easy!

Thank you for being a customer.


On: Kindle Community Discussion

How it may affect International e-readers
February 1, 2010

Adorina L Reyes says:

Speaking on behalf of Philippine Kindle Owners/Readers: Oh no. I just placed an order for the Kindle 2 yesterday. My very expensive Kindle [$314.00 with Duties and S&H, approx. 15,000PHP] doesn't even reach the Philippine shores or my hands and today, I am faced with this news. Surely it's not a pleasant one considering I am always on a tight budget...and most of your so-called Freebies cost $2.00. Awww.

To Amazon: please reconsider increasing the price tags for us lowly
Filipinos who are English-literate but have a very low GDP. Honestly, I'm a home-based artist who just wanted to start reading again (simple as that but if you think about it, truly profound)...and your current average price of $11.99 for most books sound like a challenge to me already. Adding more sounds a lot more intimidating.

All because I thought the introduction of the Apple iPad last week gave me the option to choose you as my ideal E-reader. Shucks!

I wrote my comment half as a real concern and half as a knee-jerk reaction to this situation I find myself in. As mentioned, my excitement for the product and for the whole idea of reading again has been established, but the price tag increase in many featured bestsellers dampens it a little. Having written these, maybe I should start thinking of the first e-book bestseller I should purchase right off the bat...and think about it well. Any suggestions?

The Arrival:
February 4, 2010
Sanville, QC

Four days after placing an order, I received my Kindle 2 through the mail. I was tired coming home from a long day of museum-visiting and window shopping but still very excited with the news that my Kindle came in one day early. Upon opening the very new looking package (meaning it showed no visible signs of normal wear and tear), I was immediately able to use it without doing the 1-2 step initial charging instructions that it came in with [upon powering the device on]. The first part of the very cool opening was being greeted by the Welcome Adorina note signed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos himself dated at the exact same date I received it. Reading it felt quite oh-so personal. It really was scheduled to arrive one day earlier than announced.

But since daddy also invited the family to eat dinner out, I had no choice but to do the obligatory 3-hour charging. No problem. I immediately skimmed through previously downloaded free e-books upon reaching home the second time this day, Aesop’s Fables being one of them and I enjoyed it.

I must say the Kindle is very cool. The e-ink I have only read about until now was similar to the Etch-A Sketch plaything after all. It blinks when the Next Page button is pressed or any input button for that matter, and it was a slight “mis-feature” but other than that, if all you ever wanted to do was read for longer periods on a computer then the Kindle 2 is by all means a very nifty device. Clear, crisp text. Very sturdy body. Easy on the eyes. Simple navigation.

Now, all I have to do is READ, Read, read and actually finish reading a book.

Images of E-Books/subscriptions I'd like to share that I am currently reading: including a screenshot of TIME's latest issue:

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