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Kindle Reviews VI

Having just read your piece in the Oldie (Feb.) I have to say that I was in exactly the same position as you - several books on the go at any one time, and hundreds if not thousands of books all over the house!

I originally bought my Kindle last year before going on holiday, so that I would have a good supply of books to read without the weight of them in my suitcase. But now I'm buying books via Kindle as a way of saving space, since there is literally nowhere else in the house with space enough for another bookcase!

However, I still prefer the feel of a proper book, and the ability to leaf through when looking for something in particular. (I've not yet been able to master the Kindle search!)

Kindles are fine for fiction, but not so good for the many academic books I buy, where the text doesn't always tally with diagrams, and references at the end of chapters.

Hopping back and forward is not nearly as easy as it is with a printed book. However, I wouldn't be without my Kindle, and I never leave the house without it!



I love my Kindle.  We bought one each last year for a cruise; books are so heavy, and found it easy to use as compared with the Sony I got for my husband before he had his cataracts done.

At first I said I preferred a real book to take to bed as cosier but now the Kindle often accompanies me.  And it takes me to hospital and the surgery. I am old and crippled with arthritis and we downsized some years ago so I only keep reference books.

The Kindle allows me to read the weeklies and delete them when finished; no more recycling.  At the moment I'm rereading Middlemarch and enjoying it but not enough to keep it so away it will go.



Like you I am a late convert to Kindles, mainly since I attempted to take 6 kg of books on holiday and my husband pointed out the weight allowance for our luggage!  However, I am now totally besotted since I discovered Amazon’s self-publishing scheme for Kindles.

When The Oldie published a piece for me on nude sunbathing a few years ago I mentioned that I was writing novels, with not much success.  Then when  I recently read an article in the Guardian about Amazon’s self-publishing scheme, I spent a few hours doing a final proof read of the first book I wrote 9 years ago and within half an hour of logging onto Amazon my book was being advertised for sale.  I’ve since invested in a professionally designed front cover (not really necessary for Kindle) and I’ve sold a few copies already with absolutely minimal effort and no cost at all, apart from my own decision to pay a designer.

Their royalty rates are excellent, you decide how much you want to charge (mine is £2.56) and then persuade all your friends to buy a Kindle.  You can do a print version later if you want but I haven’t looked into that yet, I’ll wait and see how the Kindle version does.  I wonder if this means that agents and publishers are redundant?

It’s certainly a great deal easier than printing off 3 chapters, doing a synopsis, CV and covering letter, sending it off and waiting 6 weeks for a rejection slip.  All you do is log on to and click on ‘Self Publish with Us’ at the bottom of the home page.  They guide you through each step, it’s really simple.



Always being keen on technical bits and pieces I got a Kindle very early on.   The main result is that I read more books last year than, I should think, for many many years – simply because it’s so convenient; carrying a hardback around, or even a plum paperback, is always a bit troublesome.

Carrying a Kindle is a doddle.   Being able to have the complete Shakespeare, the complete Trollope, Austen, Dickens, whatever is remarkable – and, as you say, for free.   But new books also are considerably cheaper and more easily obtainable than in book form – reading Brian Sewell’s autobiog. at the moment.  Useful, even, for reading one’s proofs on the hoof.  

There’s the usual problem: the moment you buy it, a better version comes along – my wife’s, bought about six months after mine, has a much brighter and clearer screen, but I’m reluctant to buy a new one myself and use the hundred or so books downloaded.


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