The Amazon Kindle Is A Game Changer

When e-readers started coming out a couple years ago, I thought of them as unnecessary and expensive. Last time I checked the reading process worked pretty damn well on paper, with enough trees remaining on Earth to keep that going for a few more generations. I questioned why we’re taking a simple and pure act of reading a book and turning it into a complicated beast with technology that doesn’t add any value to the process. I also did the math and calculated that reading books on the Kindle would be more expensive than reading used books. So if it didn’t add any value to the reading experience, and cost more money, why would it take off as a product?

My second trip to South America lasted 13 months, and during that time I traveled with a duffel bag of about 40 books (many were Spanish and Portuguese learning materials). While it was a pain to carry around, I was able to keep up my reading while on the road. I didn’t want to deal with the duffel bag system for my current European fuck tour, so when the Kindle reduced in price to $139, I decided to try it out. The duffel bag was replaced with this:

I’m one of those “I like the feel of paper” guys. Nothing can take away from the sight of real ink printed on real paper. That took about one week to get over. Due to the dim background, reading on the Kindle is actually easier on the eyes than reading on white paper, and not at all like reading on a regular computer screen. I noticed that not only was I reading faster but my sessions were longer. Since I’ve written five installments of book reviews here on the blog, I can actually calculate my reading speed in four separate periods.

August 2007 – March 2009: 1.1 books/month
March 2009 – May 2010 (Duffel bag period): 1.3 books/month
May 2010 – December 2010: 1.1 books/month
December 2010 – February 2011 (Kindle period): 5 books/month

From August ’07 to December ’10, my reading pace was 1.2 books per month. After getting a Kindle, that jumped over four times to 5 books/month. I know that the Kindle sample size is small, but even if it settles to a mere 2.4 books a month that is double my normal pace.

The kicker is that the latest batch included a couple of paperbacks. I’d go slow on those, then knock out a Kindle book in under five days, something I rarely do to dead-tree versions. I found myself planted in front of it for marathon sessions, with a result that I stopped watching movies (goodbye Netflix Instant subscription). What the Kindle did for me was make reading a book more enjoyable than on paper.

There are a few drawbacks, though, which are worth noting:

1. Reading PDFs can be a pain because either the typeface is too big or too small (it’s only bearable if you rotate the type orientation by 90 degrees). Instead of dealing with that I let Amazon’s email service convert the book to the .azw format, but some formatting is lost.

2. You can’t easily flip back to an earlier section. To do so you have to bookmark your current page, find the earlier page, then go back to your bookmarks screen and click around to your current place in the book. While the Kindle remembers where you last left off after turning off the device or going to the home screen, it offers no easy solution to quickly refer to other passages.

3. Books heavy in images aren’t suited for the Kindle. I tried to read Jay Z’s Decoded but the formatting was so bad I eventually requested a refund. Charts and tables usually show up fine, but it all depends on how much care the publisher put into their Kindle format.

4. No epub format support (sometimes you’ll find a depository of free older books that are in the epub format). In that case I use the bulky program Calibre to convert to mobi format, which is readable by the Kindle.

5. You accumulate books there’s no hope for you to read and feel overwhelmed with so many choices. This isn’t entirely a bad problem, but with a Kindle I really feel like I’ll never be able to “catch up.”

Recently I read a review where a user said it “re-kindled” their love of reading. As corny as that sounds, that is what the Kindle does. Whatever pace you read at now, you’ll read more with a Kindle. Don’t buy the device to save money because you’ll be spending more on books than you ever have.

Here’s a little in-home demonstration:

With my own positive experience using it, I’m hitching my wagon to the Kindle. Call me a fanboy but I believe e-reader devices are the future of books. While no one is predicting a 100% market penetration with e-readers (people still do buy CDs after all), it will shrink the paper book market. Book stores and publishers must adapt to this change to stay relevant, yet I’m skeptical they’ll let go of their existing model (I still see Kindle versions that are more expensive than the paperback edition). Guys like Joe Konrath show that the publishing houses are especially in for a world of hurt.

Here are recent Kindle sales of my books:

They went from nothing to nearly 200 copies after just eight months (it’s on pace to pass that for March). To put things in perspective, it took me 26 months after publishing Bang to sell over 200 copies/month for both ebook and paperback. Even though only a tiny minority of book readers own a Kindle, they read so many books that just a minor uptick in Kindle sales will move a large volume of copies. So while the Kindle sales rank for Bang has remained steady (around 9,000), each month I’m selling more because of all those new Kindles. Therefore in a year or two that modest rank of 9,000 can translate to something like 20-30 book sales a day. You won’t need to be famous or published to earn a fair income that enables you to write more books.

As for which version to buy, I have the wifi-only version (unless you don’t have wifi at home I see no point in paying extra for the 3G version). Even when I return to the States I can’t imagine putting away my Kindle and going back to paper. If I had a choice of paying a couple dollars extra to read it on the Kindle than to have the paperback, I’d go with the Kindle version, which I can easily slip into my jacket pocket to read anywhere. As you can see, I’ve become quite a Kindle groupie, and believe that within ten years they’ll be more people reading on them than on paper.

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Jamez
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1st

Pete M
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I bought the 3G version as it allows me to surf the net internationally – well I bought the UK version and I can surf throughout Europe where there’s a vodafone connection. The browser is pretty crappy but it’s good enough for gmail or google reader

hydrogonian
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You must have bought a monster duffel bag for that keyboard wink

I get migraines from reading on the computer and so I’m reluctant to try the kindle, even though its entirely different. But I’m also reluctant to accumulate even one more paper book. Owning and storing books is a habit that can get out of hand over many years… I know that I’m going to wind up giving them away just to free up space and reduce what I own…

Klasik
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Is it possible to read pirated material on the Kindle?

Workshy Joe
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I would get an ebook reader if it was any good with PDF files. I have a ton of those on my laptop.

Any recommendations guys?

samseau
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Problem with Kindle is that I don’t like to pay for anything I read.

Half of what I read is available for free in libraries around the world, and the other half is on the internet.

Hugh
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Hugh
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All good points above.

I would just add that with the Kindle I find myself skipping from one book to another and to another and then back to the first book. Not too sure how healthy that is.

Also without the physical book cover I find it harder to remember which books I’ve finished.

On the plus side I live in Europe and every time I bought a few books from Amazon I’d pay about the same again in postage. In my case the Kindle will pay for itself in postage saved in about 3/4 months.

virlge kent
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I’m not trying to be funny but does Ipad do the same thing (of course more expensive) but do you get the same deals from the Amazon store. I’m not trying to do the reserch on my own to find out.

sutton
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“You can’t easily flip back to an earlier section. To do so you have to bookmark your current page, find the earlier page, then go back to your bookmarks screen and click around to your current place in the book.”

No, after flipping back in a book (but while still in the same book, i.e., without having gone “home” or anything, just click Menu/Sync to furthest page read. Then click “ok” when it offers to take you to that location. A little clunky, but maybe easier than bookmarking your current page.

easy reader
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I think that the fact that there’s no ongoing cost for 3G coverage makes the $50 difference worth it. Especially if you like going to remote areas.

As for the ipad comparison, the fact that I like to read before bed makes the ipad (and all back-lit devices) a bad choice for me. I tried to read with it at night and slept badly. The Kindle is much more like reading a real book and I sleep like a baby.

The ipad also won’t usually increase your reading volume the way that a Kindle will. Ask ipad owners how many books they’ve read on it. Most are too busy with Netflix and Angry Birds..lol.

Finally $500 vs. $189. If are you just looking for an ereader, there’s no point in buying an iPad. I bought one, watched a few movies on it, and sold it to my brother a week later. I just didn’t see the point.

Frost
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Another benefit that has yet to be mentioned: Using an e-reader will push you away from contemporary best-sellers (most of which are crap) and towards pre-20th century classics that can be found for free on archives.org and similar sites.

easy reader
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easy reader
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One last thing…I generally prefer to use the cheapest tool possible because I break and lose stuff. I use a netbook for travel, cheap sunglasses, etc. It took me a while to relax and embrace my “you can’t have nice things” policy. I try to keep replacement value on everything on me when travelling under $500. I realize this doesn’t apply to everyone but I can deal with replacing a couple Kindles over the next 2 or 3 years. This wouldn’t be the case with ipads.

Anonymous
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Try using http://calibre-ebook.com/. It’s free and really helps converting PDFs and lots of other formats.

Carl Sagan
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I recently purchased a kindle a couple of weeks ago.

My sentiments pretty much echo Roosh’s. I’ve already read 3 books on the device and have spent more on books these past couple weeks than I have in the past several months.

It makes reading easier and more enjoyable. For $140 it is definitely worth the price.

science
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science
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I wish I had your hands. good hands are a quality asset.

Anonymous
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Roosh, in the beginning I was just like you: I thought ebook readers were stupid.

After lugging “Atlas Shrugged” (1000+ pages) and two other books across Europe and Russia I finally came to the same conclusion: I bought the Kindle. It has some drawbacks as you pointed out but it’s far lighter.

I haven’t went traveling with it yet, but I’m looking forward to not carrying several pounds worth of books everywhere.

G
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G
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Audio books rock as well because you can consume books while driving, working out, etc. I have gotten into amazons audible.com for that.

hydrogonian
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I did some recon on the kindle today and am dangerously close to buying one, and a case, for a layout of $210. I hope that amazon is paying you for that very persuasive article Roosh. The point about it’s effect on reading raising volume is convincing as now I buy books and get through them very slowly. I have a backlog and know I will wind up giving away books that I bought and never read, just to free up space. I’ve already done it on a small scale.

PeePeehead
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So do you make a decent wage?

Z.
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I just read this on Amazon, under the 1-star rating.

“The unit will NOT come out of sleep state on a very regular basis. When you slide the power switch over to wake it up, it just sits there like Rip Van Winkle. No amount of sliding and waiting makes a bit of difference. The ONLY way to get control of the unit back is to do a full “reset” by holding the switch over for 15 seconds and forcing a reboot. Even then it takes 1-2 minutes to respond to this, and when it finally does awake, it goes through a full update/reset procedure that takes another 1-2 min.”

Is this a problem for any of you Kindle users out there?

The reviewer above has since gotten 2 replacment Kindles from Amazon, but is still having the same problem.

Anonymous
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Is Kindle for the ipod touch any good?

Carl Sagan
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22: I’ve had mine only for a couple of weeks and I haven’t had any issues with the power switch.

Also, I like how the kindle displays how much of the book you have read in terms of a percentage. It motivates me to keep going to 100% completion!

Anonymous
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Ipad to me is a total status symbol. People try to talk themselves into buying it or try to convince you they bought it for some practical reason, like they’re trying to justify to you or themselves, but it’s always BS. I totally don’t mind ppl buying stuff as a status symbol, I’m guilty of it too, but I hate when they don’t just keep it real and own that that’s why they got it.

The last version of the Ipad was just a giant itouch…no keyboard, phone operating system rather than Leopard, no USB or HDMI ports, almost 3 times the weight of a Kindle, uses same apps as Iphone. It’s pretty and all, but still…

Snoeperd
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Damn, you make selling 200 books a month seem easy. Doing it all while being hairy sounds though but you’re doing well.

Adventure21c
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There’s an interesting sales figure buried in the article.

“it took me 26 months after publishing Bang to sell over 200 copies/month for both ebook and paperback.”

Estimating the author’s profit on a book, say, at about $12, it took 26 months to get to earning $28,800 per year.

A recent figure I’ve read on this blog indicated 500 copies of books sold for month, which would translate to $72,000 per year at $12 profit per a copy sold.

Barring a freak accident of Nature (like the Japan quake and tsunami), the author seems to be on a trajectory to a six-figure income in a few, if not a couple, years.

Hmmm, I’m not sure how to interpret that as a business or a way of making a living in terms of investment vs. return.

A seven-figure, eight-figure, nine-figure or even ten-figure (gasp!) income seems off the horizon for now, but still, it’s rather nice.

A gratz to the author.

f
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The sony readers are substantial more open than the Kindle and Nook. You can get way more free/pirated material on them. Also work better with PDFs from what I hear.

Whoever mentioned ipad: That’s an older LCD, not e-ink. The reading experience on an e-ink screen is completely different. The font resolution is better than what you get in a paperback or newspaper, as good as a nice hardcover, whereas LCD text strains anyone’s eyes.

K-Man
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#4 – Sure you can read free stuff on your Kindle. Even on Amazon most classics are free (I think it’s 50+ years since the author died) – this includes Jack London, Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, and countless others – I’ve got 200+ on my Kindle. Most of them I’ve read in my youth, but every now and then it’s fun to re-read and remember.
Now, if you want something newer for free, that does not come from Amazon, but try piratebay or torrentreactor – just search for “kindle bundle” and enjoy.
If you try to rob a starving artist like Roosh by downloading free books, that’s one thing, but if it’s someone like Stephen King, who’s already a multimillionaire from his books, then…

tp
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Another endorsement here for the kindle.

I bought one for my current travels and I’ve found that it is considerably preferable as a substitute for toting paperback books. For convenience purposes, it can’t be beat and the drawbacks are negligible. The device’s interface and page turning is intuitive, the battery charge lasts for a month, there are hundreds of classics available for free download, and the e-ink text is no more straining on the eye than an Etch-A-Sketch drawing.

In my opinion, the kindle was too light and too thin upon initial usage, so I bought this case and it feels better in my hands:

http://www.amazon.com/M-Edge-Kindle-Jacket-Display-Generation/dp/B0042AM7H8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1300532655&sr=1-4

It all fits perfectly in my netbook case along with my netbook. Well worth the money.

Marmot
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That was very inspiring and might encourage me to try out the Kindle eventually. However, I already own a sizable collection of paperback books (including many of my favorite titles which I re-read every year or two).

Would it be a pain to find and buy some of them for my Kindle, or have you perhaps seen an option that lets you also get a kindle version for a book that you had bought in paperback? It would be a nice incentive…

mr t
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“I will say it’s under $10 per copy. I’ve definitely had some good months but with the nature of book selling I’m not going to get excited and forecast future income. I’m just going to keep writing, live frugally, and hope for the best.”

Yeah, that guy (#27) way overestimated your income.

Still, if you keep self-publishing books, you will eventually build up a pretty decent libarary of material. All you really need is to get to about 1000 books/month in sales to live well just about anywhere in the world.

S
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How is the Kindle screen different from the ipad screen? I think someone said before that the ipad hurt his eyes but that the Kindle didn’t… Also, how long does the Kindle battery last? Do you have to charge it very often?

x
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After following this blog for about a year, I won’t be returning – I feel like I’ve learned all I can, and the content is too often repetitive and stale (like alot of women). Props to Roosh and I’ll recommend this blog to all newcomers to game…

alex
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I read everything on my iphone now, and have for over two years. The kindle app is nice, and so are the other readers. iBooks even lets you read pdfs and epubs. And you can’t beat the convenience of having your entire library in your pocket everywhere you go.

PenisHead
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YOU AREN’T WELCOME IN DENMARK. LEAVE MIDDLE EASTERNER!

RateThisWorld.com
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I’ve read many reports that Kindle is a game changer, but what about all the people I know that must print something before they read it? I don’t mind the digital format, but a lot of ppl just prefer paper.

DW
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I definitely agree on the value of the Kindle. I recommend the 3G version, however, as with 3G you are able to access Wikipedia and other reference sites while away from WiFi, which increases the value far outside of the extra expense.

Re: S
The screen is very restful to read. It’s about as paper-like as one can get. As for the battery, on the 3G (with the 3G turned on all the time), it has a propensity for running out of juice right when you need it. However, you can turn the 3G radio off, and if you do that, it can sit unused for at least a couple of weeks and still have a full charge.

Cliff Arroyo
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It takes most foreigners a few months to hate Denmark.

As for women reading your blog, a better analogy would be a (straight) man who reads bridal and girly emotional sharing sites everyday.

A guy who watches 2girls1cup is just a perve into scat, it doesn’t say anything about insightful or unsettling about female psychology

I’d personally advise any woman who wants an insight into pure male id to read this and other blogs like it. Not always eddifying but educational. But it does take stronger nerves than most women have. They are forever asking men to share their emotions but completely unprepared for the reality.

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[…] Roosh – “The Dick Move“, “Do Black Guys Have a Game Advantage?“, “The Amazon Kindle is a Game Changer” […]

Adventure21c
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@ #40, Cliff Arroyo:

Are you a female psychologist? You awfully sound like one.

Cliff Arroyo
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Are you asking if I’m female or a psychologist specializing in females?

Neither. Psychology is related to and overlaps with my field but I’m not professionally engaged in that intersection. And I’m male, just really interested in human behavior and belief and that’s easier to do from a third person perspective. Staying inside my head gets in the way of a more panoramic view.

And I might reconsider advising women to read this kind of blog after all. I often think that the less men know about women (and women know about men) the better off they are. Deep understanding of the other sex’s atavistic drives almost never leads to emotional happiness.

Marian the Librarian
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outlaw josey wales
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outlaw josey wales
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Have you considered doing stand up? Being very serious. Your deadpan style is great, sort of reminds me of Zack Galifiwhateverakis. It will certainly put you out of your comfort zone, and you already have a gold mine of stories.

Eugenius
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Shit Roosh with your infomercial……you make me want to read a book

I love the video…..your serious face really makes me laugh

I think #45 is wrong, you would prob not do well in stand up (too much pressure) but having skits/videos set up like this one, is great….so maybe a bit on some TV show…id watch it any day.

InterestedParty
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BTW, how do you handle editing? You do it yourself?

Carl Sagan
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How is the Kindle screen different from the ipad screen? I think someone said before that the ipad hurt his eyes but that the Kindle didn’t… Also, how long does the Kindle battery last? Do you have to charge it very often?

Kindle uses e-ink technology. It is literally like reading paper (actually I think it’s even better). All other electronic devices (ipad, iphone etc.) are using LCD technology. That shit is harsh on the eyes after a little while.

Also, Kindle retains battery life much much better than other electronic devices. You charge it up once and you’re good for a month or more if you are a heavy reader, even longer if you’re not.

BigJohn
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BigJohn
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Kindle
I read non-fiction and take notes. I underline and write notes in the margins. Can I do anything like this on Kindle? Does it have a search to easily find things?

Max Ikbal
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I think it would be sweet if the Kindle could also directly download e-books from other websites other than Amazon. Also…has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with the Sony reader? How does it compare?

The Singularity
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I have the larger Kindle DX. I got it because I’ve historically read a lot of pdf files on my computer and wanted to migrate to the Kindle. The larger screen size of the DX means I don’t have to convert them to another format – I just download them, and they open as easily as the e-books. My experience echoes everything Roosh has said. Since getting my Kindle in April 2010, I’ve read more books than I did in the previous three years, easily. Unfortunately, I bought the Second generation Kindle, which is thicker, heavier, and has less contrast than generation three being sold now. I looked at the new screen at the store, and it’s amazing. It looks EXACTLY like paper now. To all the people hemming and hawing about moving from paper, trust me, a few days with the Kindle and you’ll wonder why you ever worried about it. E-book readers are the future, and I predict the’ll eventually have a major effect on the reading habits of the masses, maybe almost as great as Gutenberg’s printing press. I predict that a color e-ink with good resolution and contrast will mark the beginning of the end of paper publishing.