Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Wee Rant on the Cult of the Kindle

I don't rant very often but this one has gotten my goat as of late...

Buy your Kindle now! Available online or from all good stores!

What is it with the Kindle which has taken the world by storm? I wanted an e-reader so I went and did my research. Like everything I own, I brought one which wouldn't mind taking the odd tumble. And the Kobo is serving me just fine on that mark. It gets thrown in my work back, gets tossed onto the desk and has seen the occasional drop of water. Verdict? Perfect for accident prone Rae.

Unfortunately, a lot of the books I want to read, the ones by new and indie authors, never appear on the Kobo website. So I go searching for a purchasable PDF. More often than not, I come up against a brick wall.

They're just not there. So why do so many people seem to publish for Kindle only? Why does it have such a stranglehold on the market? Do publishers stipulate they'll only publish for the Kindle? Or is it some clause which Amazon have? One of the reasons I signed with the publisher I did is because they release it on as many platforms as they can. You can purchase a book from their site and the zip file they send will have formats which work on every reader. If you want a print copy, they'll point you in the right direction. If you want it for the Kindle, the iPad or your mobile phone, they'll point you in the right direction.

So why do so many people seem obsessed with the Cult of the Kindle? Surely one is limiting themselves by only releasing it on a single platform?

One friend of mine had only published for the Kindle and I had to twist her arm to publish on other platforms. Once she did, she found her sales increasing. Others have told me to get the Kindle app for the computer. I have it but I seldom use it. Why? 1. I spend enough time at this machine as it is. And 2. I can't really curl up with my laptop or my desktop (well, I can with the laptop but it's not very comfortable. I've tried!).

I want to read! I want to discover new authors and fantastic books. But sometimes I feel like I'm being a little limited. My fault for buying something other than a Kindle? Or another reason?

Agree? Or disagree? Can you answer any of the questions in the post? Feel free to drop it in a comment!


  1. One reason is that both Amazon and Barnes and Noble are pushing marketing programs where the book is exclusive to their device for a period of time (3 months for Amazon, and I think the same for Barnes and Noble.) One of my other publishers went the Amazon Exclusive route. I think the other formats will be out in August,or may be September, because I wouldn't be surprised if this particular publisher hasn't actually done the formatting for other devices yet. I hear people saying this approach gives them better sales because Amazon/B&N promote their exclusives.

    As long at the book doesn't have DRM, generally Calibre does a nice job of converting the Kindle books to Epub and PDF. (I was a little surprised to hear you say you read PDF on your Kobo - mine won't resize the text on a PDF, and most of them are too hard to read with without it. I'm much happier with EPUB formatted books).

    Once past that 3-month limit,I suspect most big publishers are being lazy. The numbers are pretty fluffy, but poking around the internet, reports seem to agree that Amazon Kindle has somewhere between 40-50 percent of the ebook sales. The big 2 after that are Ipads and Nooks. But they're all different formats, so you need to put man hours into setting up the book for each one.

    If the publisher is trying to cut corners, they may figure being on the biggest player is good enough. Or if they're traditionally a paper publisher, they may be testing the water before they decide to invest in people who can do the other formats. Or they may just have drunk the Amazon kool-aid.

    1. I was wondering how much Amazon would push an Amazon exclusive release. For me, a lot of it is aimed at the self publishing authors who only release through Amazon. I don't know if they have to sign an exclusive contract with Amazon or whether it's the man hours which have to be put in for converting everything over to the different formats. A universal format would be great but I doubt it'll ever happen! (The same as we'll never have universal mobile phone or laptop chargers!)

      Hadn't heard about Calibre so I'll definitely give it a go!

      I've found that some PDF's on the Kobo are fine but, as you've said, most of them are too tiny (even if you do have glasses!) and won't resize.