The Man Who Made Me Buy a Kindle

It’s happening.

After holding out for as long as I possibly could—after waxing lyrical about the wonder that is a printed book, sharing my rules for handling printed books (that, sometimes, extend as far as not reading them…!) and traveling on a low-cost airline with no fewer than 25 books hidden in my luggage—I’m buying a Kindle this week. If you’re new to this blog, this will be my first e-reading device and the books I read on it will be among the first e-books I’ve bought and/or read from start to finish.

And yes, I’ve been self-publishing and selling e-books since March 2010.

I know.

It’s not because I’ve suddenly taken a turn against the printed book—that will NEVER happen—and I don’t see this as changing anything except me traveling a lot lighter and me not having to buy those awful small, thick paperbacks that after reading turn into a creased-spine mess I can hardly bear to look at. And to be honest, I could easily manage with the traveling and creased-spine thing for another while.

No, I’m buying a Kindle now for a very specific reason, and that’s a man. A man named Michael Connelly.

Michael Connelly is my favorite writer, favorite being the writer who has given me the most reading pleasure to date and continues to do so. If the house was on fire and all other humans were safely out, the one thing I’d grab is my limited edition, leather bound copy of Nine Dragons, which Connelly personally inscribed to me after I won a competition on his website. His detective, Harry Bosch, is like an old friend I only get to catch up with once a year and, just like Julia Keller in The Chicago Tribune, I live in a world where Bosch is a real person. On the wall behind my desk hangs a framed print of The Garden of Earthy Delights by Hieronymus Bosch from the Prado in Madrid; that Bosch is Harry’s namesake (although he prefers Harry to Hieronymus) and the work itself plays a part in one of my favorite Connelly books, A Darkness More Than Night. It also serves as a reminder to me that writers can, sometimes, make their fictional creations seem real.

Catching up with Harry is a big occasion: I buy the book on the day it comes out, clear my schedule and then read it all in one sitting, and I have done that since A Darkness More Than Night in 2001. The way I remember it, I found the hardback of Void Moon in a discount book bin on a lazy Saturday afternoon sometime during my seventeenth year and soon after saw a television ad for Angels Flight, which I then bought in paperback. Then I quickly went back and caught up with the five previous Bosch novels, and have been reading everything Connelly’s written on or soon after its day of publication ever since, including The Black Box which I devoured yesterday.

Well, not exactly everything’s Connelly’s written, and that’s where we come to the Kindle.

More than any other mega-selling traditionally published author that I’ve seen around, Connelly knows how to work the e-book only angle. On the Kindle store, he currently has four titles you can only buy in e-book: Angle of Investigation: Three Harry Bosch Stories ($2.99), a Kindle single called The Safe Man ($1.99), Mulholland Dive: Three Stories ($1.99) and Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories ($2.99). He also released the opening chapters of his last two novels, The Drop and The Black Box, as free Kindle e-books before publication. And he (or his publisher) regularly drops the price of an early Bosch novel down to $1.99 or $2.99, enticing new readers all the time.

Beginning back in September 2006, a Bosch story called The Overlook was serialized  in sixteen installments in the New York Times magazine. In May 2007 it was published in a slim hardback as a full-length novel. Even though it wasn’t really—”editing” in this case really meant “padding”. But at the time that was the only feasible way to get that serialized story into the hands of all of Connelly’s readers. Now he can release it in its original form as a low-cost e-book.

So I’m buying a Kindle because I want to read everything my favorite author has written. And because if I get time in the New Year, I want to go back and re-read all the Bosch novels for the first time, in order, and all my books are in storage and I can’t stand that horrid little paperback versions that I have of his early titles.

(Ugh!)

Just for kicks though—and loyalty card points—I’m going to buy my Kindle from Waterstones.

27 thoughts on “The Man Who Made Me Buy a Kindle

  1. What The Traveler Saw says:

    Catherine, I love your blog. Met you as I was beginning to write mine. I’m the traveler and store owner and don’t get near enough time to tap out my stories. I do read yours and now will get Michael Connelly’s book on my iPad. And yes, these devises take the feel of paper away, the weight of a new book… but they allow you to travel like a bird, with that favored twig In your claw. I know how you feel but you WILL love having the luxury of taking a dozen books along for the ride without the weight. And of course I’ve learned how to minimize the clothes and dreaded potions and lotions that women need on the road, and still make the trips I take them on a wonder. PS. the iPad also helps but not entirely, reduce the weight and clutter of cameras, note pads and travel books. Enjoy!

  2. Experienced Tutors says:

    Decision made! But which one?

    I purchased my first Kindle two years ago – the one with the keyboard. Love it! Taken it on planes in my bum bag and fits in the inside of everyday rain jacket.

    Saw the all-singing-all-dancing new Kindle Fire HD. ‘Must have, must have’, thought I. I can put my ‘old’ Kindle on a well known auction site, get £50-£60 for it and put it towards the new one.

    One month later and I have two Kindles. Why? The new HD l also love but I have found it too big and heavy (with case) to take around in my coat pocket. So I’ll keep them both!

    Word of warning about new HD. You will need a charger costing £18. Yes, that says eighteen. I tried a cheap and cheerful £3:50 off the aforementioned internet auction site. It went up in smoke! Got my money back but almost lost my house. Case now lies with Trading Standards.

    Be careful with Kindles, they are addictive. Can’t wait for the next one to add to my collection. . .

  3. Karen Prince says:

    Hi Catherine,

    If it is only the one set of books you want to read on the Kindle, I hope you know that you can download the Kindle app onto your pc, mac, iphone etc and read .mobi files from there. http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

    On the other hand, I LOVE my Kindle. I carry it with me everywhere and whip it out for a quick read whenever I am kept waiting anywhere. Also, if a new author is mentioned in the book I’m reading, I click on the link, download and store for later, then carry on reading.

    • T.K. Marnell says:

      Ditto Karen. I read eBooks all the time on my laptop with the “Kindle for PC” software. B&N and Kobo also have software free for download that will let you read EPUBs from their online stores without one of their devices.

      For self-publishing authors, though, there are a lot of reasons to buy a Kindle other than for recreation. I use the Kindle Previewer to double-check the formatting of my MOBI files before I upload to KDP, but it isn’t quite the same as using the physical device. Just fiddling around with the Nook displays in stores gave me a lot of perspective on how people will read my stories.

      I personally don’t have an e-reader because (a) I don’t have the money for rent and food, never mind fancy gadgets, and (b) I’m waiting for the exclusivity wars to end so I can get an all-purpose tablet from a company that doesn’t lock me into a single app store or try to control what I do with my own property. But if I had excess disposable income and a guarantee from Apple/Amazon/whoever that I own what I buy, I’d snap one up for sure.

      • catherineryanhoward says:

        I think too that it’s really important for self-published authors to have access to a Kindle, if only to see how the Kindle store works on it (because it looks totally different to how it does on the internet). Definitely don’t like the whole licensing as opposed to purchasing idea either, but for now it seems like we have to go with that or nothing, unfortunately.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      I do indeed know about the Kindle app but as I’m opposed to reading on screen to begin with, sitting at my desk or with my laptop on the couch and trying to read from a computer screen is absolutely out. Can’t stand it.

  4. Brendan O'Reilly says:

    And I thought I was the real Michael Connelly fanatic around. About 10 years ago, my brother lent me a copy of Angel’s Flight. I’d never heard of Michael Connelly before but I just loved it. I subsequently went to my nearest bookshop and bought a copy of every Michael Connelly book on the shelves – about 7 I think. Since then I have every book he has published.
    I treat the new books a bit differently. Part of the pleasure is the anticipation ! I sit the new book where I can see it and thoroughly enjoy looking forward to reading it. Once I start it, however, that’s it. Nothing distracts me until I’ve read it. And I go back and read them again and again. I have them sorted in date order and every few years read “The Black Echo” and start reading them all over again.
    The only reason I would ever buy a Kindle would be to read the Michael Connelly e-books but I’ll have to give that a bit of thought.
    Long live Harry Bosch.
    Brendan O’Reilly
    Mountmellick,
    Co. Laois

  5. MarinaSofia says:

    So Michael Connelly twisted your arm, did he? Excellent reason to get one, I think. I too am resisting getting one for myself, but I am regularly using my husband’s Kindle for publishers to send me books for review (they find it cheaper and more convenient, too). And you are right, it does enable you to see what your book looks like, which is often very different from what you expect!
    (Still love real books, though).

  6. shansullivan says:

    I was a die hard book person, too. I got a Kindle two years ago and am on my second one. I wore the first one out! You will love it because you can read so many authors that only publish e-books. I still buy real books and have to smell a good old one once a week!

  7. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel says:

    Catherine, so awesome that you won the contest on your favorite authors site. I can imagine how happy you were. I can tell you that I’ve had my Kindle Fire for almost a year now, and I wouldn’t part with it, trade it, or do without it. I love paperback books, too, but I honestly love owning a Kindle, especially the Fire. You will too before you even realize. How fun for you! Be sure to let us know.

  8. kkrompas520w06 says:

    First of all, loving the title. I have to say I’m a little jealous that I didn’t think of that for myself having the name Kaity and working at Starbucks for 3 years, haha. Any, enjoyed your blog. I’m a big fan of tangible books, and have also smuggle pounds of books in my carry-on bag. I hope your experience with Kindle continues to be wonderful. I have been considering it myself as I’m running out of shelf space for all my beloved books. Take care!

  9. fuonlyknew says:

    I was on the fence about a kindle until I realized how many books I could afford to buy as e-books versus hardcover. It comes in real handy when traveling and waiting at the doctors or dentists office.
    About Michael Connelly. He is one of my favorites also. I love Harry Bosch and I’ve read all but his last two books. Will be getting them soon!

  10. Barry Walsh says:

    Haven’t come across Michael Connelly up to now – must look up one of his Kindle books, sounds like good value! I used to really look forward some years back, in suppose the same fashion as you do with Connelly, to any new Patrick O’Brian novels, the Jack Aubrey 1800s naval sagas. They were brilliant! But more in the seafaring line than detective work.

  11. Shauna says:

    It was only after getting my Kindle that I realised it wasn’t so much books I loved, but reading. Yes, I still buy print books, but when trying to hold up an 800 page book recently I wished I was reading it on my Kindle.

    As an author it’s also great for editing. I notice things that I didn’t see on the computer, or even printed out. Have fun reading, and off now to check out Michael Connelly.

  12. rgdole says:

    I didn’t want a Kindle either when it came out… i love books and being surrounded by them… in fact I’m currently seeking a degree to be a librarian… but like you it’s nice being able to take some many books easily when i travel and i do love being able to read unheard of authors who are now able to self publish… but i’ll never stop buying actual books… there’s just something so comforting about them that i have to have

  13. The Voyager says:

    I used to despise e-readers with a passion, but recently, after doing studies for on reading patterns in children, I’ve become more tolerant of them. I mean, I still think that there’s just something about a book with pages and a cover that you can feel and smell, but I’ve tried to adopt John Green’s viewpoint: “I don’t care how you read, I care if you read.”

  14. Sharon says:

    Hi Catherine, I’m in the final stages of formatting my Word doc for Kindle and epub conversion — your book and Mark Cokers at my side every step of the way — and am really glad I finally purchased a Kindle a couple of months ago. It makes it easy to imagine how my formatting choices are going to look, and can poke around and see what other people have done. Right at the time I was buying, Amazon took it’s basic model off the market in the United States – the one with the gray screen, with everything in black and white only-and now you can only get the kind with the lit up screen here. I read somewhere that the gray screen is the one sold in all or almost all other countries. Which makes me wonder, how strong Amazons presence is in the UK and Europe – really strong, even predominant or just barely present – and who the predominate online retailers are over there.
    Anyway, thanks again for your wonderful book and all your wonderful help! Sharon

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