George R. R. Martin joins the “Kindle Million Club”

Amazon announced this week that George R.R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire series, has become the latest author to sell 1 million Kindle e-books. Honestly, I’m hardly surprised. I’m nearing the end of the third book myself (there are five in the series thus far, with more to come), I’ve bought each as an ebook, though I went with the Nook format. These books are long, and therefore, these books are heavy. I’m not hauling that thing on a plane.

Martin has now sold one million Kindle books through Amazon, reports the site. He joins a list that includes Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Janet Evanovich and Kathryn Stockett.

“Groucho Marx once said, ‘I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,’ but even Groucho might have made an exception for the Kindle Million Club,” Martin says in the Amazon news release. “It’s a real thrill to be inducted into this one. There are no dues, no meetings, and I’ll be in some wonderful and exclusive company.”

Great Holiday Expectations for E-Readers

I’m far from the only person who thinks e-readers are going to be the go-to- gift item this holiday season.

Published: November 14, 2010
Not many book buyers have an e-reader, but publishers and booksellers expect this holiday season to change that.
The big question I have, though, is how much of a price drop can we expect? Most retail analysts consider $99 the “magic number” which will bring an item down to the average American shopper’s general consideration, but most e-readers price at $139 or $179. Will they go any lower, or will the new-found frenzy for e-readers keep the prices where they are? What about supply? In some previous years, e-readers were difficult to get your hands on in time to wrap for under the tree. Lets hope the major players have their ducks in a better row this year.

iPad may go on sale March 26th — getting ready for iBooks

I’m a junkie: pretty much every day now I’m Googling “ipad release date”, looking for news — finally, this morning, MacRumors.com says there are “whispers” that the iPad will go on sale March 26, at 6 PM.

The iPad is getting a lot of pre-release criticism, and I’m sure it’s not for everyone. I don’t recommend it, I don’t dis-recommend it — but I know I, personally, want one. I use a desktop for all my heavy computing. I use (and love) my iPhone for my mobile needs. But there’s a niche that’s missing for me. I bought a netbook a few months ago, mostly to fill in while the desktop (“Stan the Man”, I call it — yes, I name my computers) was out getting repairs. I have nothing positive to say about netbooks. Steve Job is right: it really is just a crappy laptop. I need the touchscreen, the media capabilities. And I’ve grown very curious about e-reading. I’ve done a bit of it on my iPhone; it’s not bad, but the screen is a little small. I’ve been curious about the Kindle and the Nook, but just couldn’t stomach the price tag, for a one-purpose device. As Roger Stewart, editorial director of McGraw-Hill Professional, put it:

“The reason publishers have long believed the iPad would have the potential to be a game changer is not because it was designed to be an e-book reader,” he said. “It’s a game changer because it does everything else well and, by the way, it also happens to be a great e-book reader. Most people are reluctant to pay $300 for an e-book reader, but if the reader is just part of the device that you bought for all those other reasons the barrier goes away.”

Exactly.

So, I’m still Googling, and watching the news. I seriously doubt I’ll camp out for the iPad. I didn’t for the iPhone, and instead just walked into an Apple Store the next day and bought one in five minutes. But I’ll be tempted.

NYT: Holiday guide to e-readers

I’ve been posting about e-readers here on this blog for awhile, but alas, I cannot review them for you myself — not owning one. And neither Amazon, Sony, nor Barnes & Noble have convinced me that I should shell out the bucks for one, either. I’m still tempted — always tempted — but they haven’t hooked me yet.

If you’re closer to taking the plunge than I am, though, there was an excellent review/shopping guide for the available e-readers currently on the market (the Kindle, Sony e-reader, Nook, and a few lesser-known competitors up and coming, the Que, Irex, and the Cool-er) that appeared in the New York Times last weekend:

Something to Read
By DANIELLE BELOPOTOSKY
Published: December 3, 2009, NYT
For anyone considering an e-reader purchase this holiday season, here’s a roundup of current and soon-to-be-available devices.

Do I really need something else to carry?

Taking your library with you everywhere — it sounds exciting. But it also sounds like yet another thing to try to cram into my purse.

(NYT) Over the last eight months, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and a range of smaller companies have released book-reading software for the iPhone and other mobile devices. One out of every five new applications introduced for the iPhone last month was a book, according to Flurry, a research firm that studies mobile trends.

All of that activity raises a question: Does the future of book reading lie in dedicated devices like the Kindle, or in more versatile gadgets like mobile phones?

One of my main reasons for resisting e-readers like the Kindle or the upcoming Nook — though I confess I’m getting increasingly curious and would love to try one out, if not commit to a long-term relationship — is that I’m an iPhone user. As I’m sure my Blackberry sisters will also agree, I’ve gotten turned around to the idea of having everything in one little device. Phone/texting, Internet and email, handheld gaming device, GPS, music player, address book, checkbook, remote control for my home stereo, satellite radio. These are all things that I’ve got in one little unit. I don’t want a whole different unit for just reading books. My mind doesn’t go in that direction anymore. Reading an e-book on my iPhone, with either Amazon’s or Barnes & Noble’s or standalone software like ZappTek’s Legends, is more appealing. But there’s a price — that small screen. Still, I’m not sure the cons outweigh the pros.

I think it’s possible the forthcoming Apple Tablet, with its far more ample screen size and yet relative portability, may be a gamechanger, especially if you can sync books between your desktop, iPhone/iPod Touch and Tablet, giving you lots of options for where and how you can read your books. I don’t know about you all, but I’m enough of a book geek that the idea of having my top five favorite books (The Mists of Avalon, Anna Karenina, Tigana, Dune and The Color Purple) in hardcover/paperback, and on my iPhone, and on my desktop, and in my portable tablet computer, sounds drool-worthy. I would never be without them! I could read them however I want to, wherever! And that school of thought might influence other manufacturers to think along the same lines. Or, I’m over-the-top crazy when it comes to books. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: book-crazy people are the only people who can make e-readers and e-books work. People who are non-readers just won’t care. So if you can’t win over the book-nuts, you’re sunk.

In the meantime, the iPhone’s screen is somewhat small for extended reading. Having used it myself, I will say it is surprisingly pleasant to use. I didn’t experience any trouble with the text size or my eyes getting tired. Of course I wouldn’t want to read everything that way, but for the time being, it’s been an adequate way to read on the go — when I’ve been stuck in a long line or showed up too early for a meeting. And most importantly, it doesn’t take up any extra purse acreage.