Thursday, December 10, 2009

Going Kindle

Amazon released its first digital reader in 2007 at a price of $399. Kindle 2 was released in February 2009, and the price was reduced to $259 in October 2009.

As an avid reader, I rejected the idea of a digital reader at first. I like to curl up with a book, I like the heft of a book and the feel of the pages. But I find a gadget hard to resist. It's the price that has kept me away.

As an author, I have been asked time after time, when my book would be available on Kindle. Since I'm self-published, that decision is left to me. I have put off making that transition for a couple of reasons. First, I'm not ready to buy a Kindle at that price, and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of putting my book on a medium where I couldn't see it. Second, I printed out the eight-page guide to the Amazon Digital Text Platform, and found it lacking. The geek in me is up to the task, but the analyst in me could see what was missing in the instructions.

Everything changed this week when I stumbled upon Kindle for PC. I was browsing Amazon as I often do, and clicked myself into the Kindle bookstore. The book I was browsing had several purchase options, and there it was "Kindle for PC free download."

Far be it from me to resist something free, at the same time solving part of my Kindle publication issue. I would be able to see my book on Kindle. Before I knew it I had downloaded that Kindle for PC, and started preparing my book to upload to the Digital platform.

After spending 3 hours Tuesday, I was heading for frustration. Getting the text uploaded was simple enough, but I had never seen a Kindle book. Where does my book cover show up? And what about all my Author bio stuff on the back cover? Does that show up anywhere? What do other books look like on Kindle?

So it was back to the Kindle bookstore to see what I could buy for cheap. Free is usually better than cheap, and I found a free sample of Twilight, part 1 of the Twilight saga. (I have almost been tempted to hook myself on vampires) I downloaded the free sample into my Kindle for PC reader, and there I saw it. Page one is the book cover.

I spent 3 hours Wednesday trying to get my book cover into Kindle. (I don't want to take this ride without Cynthia Marie's handiwork). I followed the sketchy instructions as well as some postings in the forum from equally frustrated people trying to get their stuff into Kindle. Starting with my Word document, I pasted the book cover in the front page and back cover on the last page, and saved it as HTML. That action created a new folder with the images in it. Since one of the accepted file types is a zip file, I zipped everything together and uploaded to Kindle.

They have a preview that doesn't exactly look like Kindle and doesn't always show the images correctly. I read that in the forums. So now I have my text in acceptable quailty, but in place of my images is the message "The image is missing."

(Groan) I found a similar question in the forums from 2007 without a useful answer. My last action was to contact support, by email. I have had no answer yet, but I won't give up. I want my Kindle book available in time for all you people who get a Kindle for Christmas.

Stay tuned.


Harold of Scaggsville said...

One of my friends who is a big reader loves her Kindle. However, like you, she still can't get rid of the paper so she indulges in both. Good luck with moving your book on to the next "era".

I still have your book on my list. It is already purchased and sitting in my family room. Hope to get it read by end of the year.

Keala said...

Hi Sarah!
I was perusing some site today when I came across a Kindle ad. I was tempted, but then I remembered this post and I had to come read it again before I made a decision.

So, did you ever get your images uploaded to Kindle? I'm still considering getting a Kindle. Especially since I found out that the Kindle will read to you. I used to listen to books on tape whenever I had long car rides. We'll see.

Take Care!

saraphen said...

@Keala...Yes, I did get my book, along with the images, uploaded to time for Christmas. I also have it available for the Sony e-reader.

Keala said...

Yes! Congratulations! That's what I'm talking about. Go Sarah!

I'm still not sure if I will buy a kindle. Debating it.