New: Kindle for Book Editors: I'm doing it wrong

A while back, I smugly tweeted that I was using my Kindle to read early-draft books by friends of mine. (Hi, Curtis! Hi, Piaw!) These weren't detailed mark-up-every-sentence read-throughs. Just gathering initial impressions. You know, general stuff like "This story would be awesome if only it had some Morse code in it. Morse code is my obsession; it should be yours, too. Plz add."

One of these books is now ready for a detailed review. So on my bus rides, I sat down with the Kindle and typed in more detailed notes. E.g., "You should delete this phrase here; it has nothing to do with Morse code and therefore bores me." Today, I stepped back and considered: how far have I made it through the book? Not far. Not far at all. Why so slow? The Kindle is set up for reading books. But. It's not set up for rapid text entry. It feels like I type fast: my fingers fly. But... it's two-fingered typing. And to enter, say, a semicolon, I go to a little menu. And I keep messing up trying to enter quote marks. And I have a surprising amount of trouble with the teeny-tiny little shift keys. And... and and and it adds up.

Maybe I'm just doing it wrong. I was inspired to try it because Curtis mentioned that one of his reviewers used a Kindle—and handed over comments as a Kindle .mbp file. And that worked OK. Then again, maybe that was just going for a high-level reading, not getting into a red-pen rampage.

(This isn't a slam at the Kindle. It's not supposed to be a tool for book editors. I'm not sure anyone has ever designed a tool for that market. Would you want to design a product for people who complain about stuff for a living? Yeah, me neither.)

I guess I'll fall back to using a desktop computer for this, instead of reading on the bus. It's probably just as well. I find enough things to complain about when I'm marking up a manuscript; I'm probably insufferable when I do so while carsick. "I feel nauseous; it's either the bus' poor braking or it's this paragraph. Better delete this paragraph just to be on the safe side. Also: dot dot dot; dash; dot; dash." I'll go back to reading feeds on the bus and keeping my editorial remarks in my head.

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Posted 2010-02-04

 CKL said...

Hi, Larry!

The other Kindle reviewer you mention, may have been using Kindle for PC to add his comments. (That's what I used to read them, since I don't have the device.) I mention this because if anyone was going to complain about poor product design, I'd expect it to be him.

Re: book editors

Back in 2008, I spoke to a senior fiction editor at Tor who said management was planning to get e-book readers (from Sony, IIRC) for all of their editorial staff. He was dubious about the devices' usability, but did look forward to not having to haul around boxes full of paper manuscripts to read. I've heard similar things from writers who like to carry around a lot of reading material.

05 February, 2010 00:54
 lahosken said...

> Kindle for PC

*enlightenment strikes*

05 February, 2010 06:14