Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kindlespeare

[ There’s an actual question for y’all at the end of this anecdote, just so you know. :) ]

Funny thing happened last night.  I brought the kids to the library, and “my fan” the children’s room lady is working.  She and I discuss Shakespeare whenever I’m in, and we worked together to bring Rebel Shakespeare to the library for two performances this summer.

Anyway, I give her my new business card to keep in the files.  She thinks my job is to be a full time Shakespeare geek (I wish!) and mentions a radio program she’d heard where a man spoke of having a 9-5 day job in the computer world, and then in the evening shopping around his book of poetry.

“Funny you should say that,” I tell her.  “I just published a book myself.”  Being a librarian she immediately puts her hands onto her little computer keyboard to look it up.  “It’s not available in print yet,” I say. “It’s an e-book.”

“It’s not available for my Kindle,” she says, half asking.

This is the first time I’ve ever met a Kindle user, and it surprises me.  But I’m prepared. “Why yes, as a matter of fact it is very much available for the Kindle!” I tell her.

She grabs a piece of paper and a pen to write down the name.  “It’s a collection of Shakespeare wedding quotes,” I tell her, not that she appears to care.

Her head pops up again.  “My son is getting married!” she beams.

Moral of the story: Talk about yourself and your projects, often.  You never know who you’ll meet.  I wrote a Shakespeare wedding book for Kindle and I met a Kindle owning, Shakespeare loving mother of the groom.

 

Ok, on to the question. As I mentioned, I’ve never seen  a Kindle (or a Kindle owner) in the wild.  I’m more of an Apple guy, and know several iPad owners.  But a librarian owning a Kindle? Made all the sense in the world.

So, a quick poll – how many of my regular readers have a Kindle?  And what’s the Shakespeare experience like on it?  I know that in the iPhone world we have all sorts of applications and interactive browsers to play with, but I really don’t know what a Kindle can and can’t do.  Do you carry complete works around on it?  Can you?  How’s the searching, and highlighting?  They are both battling it out for the ebook market, but I think they’re really positioned to be very different things. I’m wondering if even the best dedicated book reader can win.

7 comments:

Fearless Leader said...

The Kindle is a brilliant device, though the Shakespeare experience (via Amazon's offerings) can be a bit matter-of-chance. While new and modern releases can be had properly formatted and indexed, earlier books and works are less so. They appear to be victims of a quick initial rush to e-print.

Now, little can I complain, as these books are offered (most of the time) for $0.00, but there are enterprising e-publishers who've taken the Project Gutenberg texts and repackaged them for actual cash.

But yes, the Kindle is a wonderful device. And really, a good Shakespeare experience can be had, but only if the reader is mindful of the source or takes the time to place their own PDFs of the Works on the device directly.

Duane said...

Thanks, Fearless. I've read several Kindle titles on my iPhone, and I agree that the formatting often left a lot to be desired. I think some of that is a side effect of variation in devices (do not put page numbers, they will not be accurate!) while some is just a rush to hit that "convert from format X to Kindle" button on your publishing program.

I hope the folks that are getting the Kindle version of my book find it "a good Shakespeare experience." I did spend what I think was a substantial amount of time reviewing it myself on assorted preview applications, and while I couldn't prune out every single formatting error (I think some are an artifact of how it displays, regardless of source file), I did what I could to make it just as highly polished as a print version would have been.

Kirk said...

The iPad is much better. I read a great deal on mine. There is a very good Shakespeare app with all the plays, poems and sonnets.

Anonymous said...

I have The Complete Works on my Kindle and love it! It can be a bit clunky to find specific passages in, though.

wolferiver said...

I bought a Barnes & Noble Nook, and love it. It won't replace paper books, especially the elegant ones with the special bindings and paper and fonts, but its convenience cannot be denied.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to leave the comment that I am surprised a librarian would choose a Kindle over other e-readers because the Kindle does not support library books!

IMNSHO that is a huge drawback.

Duane said...

I dont understand what that means, wolfe - what is it about "library books" that it doesn't support? How does one borrow a digital book to begin with?