Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kindle is a Gift from the Gods

I once feared the loss of physical books: the tactile sense of page turning, the smell of a bookstore, the way lots of books on a shelf makes you look smart.  No more.  I got my Kindle June of 2011 and have been obsessed ever since.

Top 5 Reasons I'm in Love with Kindle:
1) Cheaper than physical books
2) High quantity of books without the weight and paper use
3) Kindle on iPhone, lap top, and Kindle device
4) Instant gratification of purchase
5) Ease of publication for self-published
Bonus- Books are reviewed by average people and Amazon makes great suggestions based on passed purchases

"1) Cheaper than physical books" I hate spending money!  I have sat in a bookstore all day and read a book that I couldn't find at the library for free.  When I'm feeling like not spending a dime there are tons of free books available on Amazon.  Some of the them honestly suck, but once in awhile you find a gem.  If you are willing to up your game to doling out a dollar for a book, the level of writing goes up exponentially.  It has opened my eyes to novellas.  What more perfect place to publish a book only 100 pages long for a dirt cheap price than for e-readers.  I can check out an author in a quick, cheap read that would rarely be found on a bookstore shelf.  I like to read a book in one sitting, I don't care if it's 50 pages or 500 pages.  Novellas have helped me to be have fewer sleepless nights trying to finish a novel.

"2) High quantity of books without the weight and paper use" I have around 160 Kindle books at this time.  That means at anytime, any where, I have access to 160 books on my iPhone.  Carrying around one paperback book can be a pain, having a cellphone within reaching distance 24/7 is a constant in my life.  When I move, I don't have to move 160 books, and I've saved 160 books from being published in paper.  Pretty darn awesome.

"3) Kindle on iPhone, lap top, and Kindle device" As previously mentioned, iPhones support Kindle books.  But did you know you don't need to buy a Kindle reader to buy Kindle books?  You can now read them in a browser without even having an app on your laptop.  I love being able to switch from reading on my laptop, my Kindle reader, and my iPhone, pages synched.  

"4) Instant gratification of purchase" I admit, I'm getting fairly spoiled when a two day wait for a book to get physically shipped to me is too long.  But when you see a book you want to read at that moment there's nothing better than it getting downloaded and starting to read within 10 seconds.  I recently wanted to get a textbook with practice test questions that I needed for a test a week away.  I could have bought it, waited 2 days for it to get shipped to me, worried about it getting lost and not actually getting the studying I needed to do done.  Instead, I downloaded the Kindle edition and was going through practice questions within the same five minutes I made the purchase.  I see a bright future in digital textbooks.  For medical illustrators, this creates an entire new level of interactive inexperiences within a traditional learning device.  Textbooks can contain videos, interactive quizzes, and social interactions within a book.  Image an illustration that you can rotate and see in 3D, you can enlarge it to see details. Maybe even edit it yourself to create an interactive learning experience.

"5) Ease of publication for self-published" My favorite Kindle purchases have been self-published stories.  I love that anyone can be a published author, it is in the hands of the readers to decide what is entertaining and not publishers deciding what a specific demographic wants.  This has happened on YouTube, making everyday people create television I'd rather watch then live TV.  They can find niche audiences and not have to sacrifice content to advertisements.  The future of self-published stories is bright.  "On The Island" by Tracy Garvis Graves is an example of how e-books can now go viral, and she happens to be from my hometown, Des Moines, IA!

"Bonus- Books are reviewed by average people and Amazon makes great suggestions based on passed purchases" I will never run out of material to read because of Amazon.  Amazon's pretty darn sneaky about sending me straight to books I want to buy.  Their suggests are extremely accurate, and I've found more than one author through "Recommendations for You."  Seeing people's honest opinions of the books also gives me that final push to purchase and read.

How does this relate to medical illustration?  As I've previously mentioned, e-textbooks will soon be more fully developed and I imagine used widely across college campuses.  It also allows people with niche knowledge to find a market and publish at a low cost.  Simply writing a "How to Apply to Medical Illustration Grad School" could be put out digitally and find readers.  This would never happen in a book store.  Writing can begin to incorporate dazzling images and video content.  Stories will be able to be told in an entirely new way.  Goodbye constraints and hassles of physical books, hello to the possibilities of digital reading.

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