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May 26, 2008

Blackwater Rafting on the Kindle

This weekend I bought my 20th book on my Amazon Kindle ebook.  I still read the occasional paper book, but if I could, I'd trade all but my favorite paper books for ebooks.  It really is that good in my opinion.

I think that the Kindle is just the tip of the iceberg of what is going on at Amazon.  What really matters is the infrastructure that is being built out to support authors, publishers and other merchants.  To learn more about that side of the business and to see how this is all going to evolve, the Person Who Prefers Not To Be Blogged About has given me one of her short stories to experiment with, and I've published it on the Kindle.

If you own a Kindle, you can buy the story right here.  It's priced at the minimum price of $1, and Amazon.com currently has discounted it to 80 cents.  It's only 10 pages, but I've seen people cry from laughing so hard while reading it.  Waitomo Caves - Wonderland or WeirdoLand? is about a blackwater rafting trip we took in New Zealand.

The tourist description of this trip is the beginning of the story.  The “Lonely Planet” guidebook on New Zealand describes the blackwater tubing experience at Waitomo Caves as “… a three-hour trip on an inner tube floating down a subterranean river that flows through Ruakuri Cave … floating through a long, glowworm-covered passage.”   We began to realize this wasn't the Lazy River at Disney World when we got fitted for our wetsuits and hardhats.  I'd be happy to answer any questions after you read the story, such as why I would take a claustrophobic person that I love deep into a cave with a maggot-covered ceiling, or what I believe the chances are of her ever going with me into another cave in this lifetime.

For the moment this is a "Kindle Exclusive" story, but I expect that Amazon.com will open the platform up to allow anyone to publish ebooks that can be downloaded to other devices and read in a browser.  The capability is there, they just haven't made it as easy to use as the Kindle platform is.  To publish the story, I had to create an account, giving them my taxpayer ID and bank account information.  That's going to stop some people right there, but I expect to make a good ten or twenty dollars off of this venture, so I kept going.

Next I saved the story in Microsoft Word as an html document.  Uploading the document was easy, and I even uploaded a photograph that I took on the trip, and I filled in a few fields of descriptive information.  After I uploaded the document, it took about 12 hours before it showed up on the amazon.com website.  They say that it will get even faster in time.

I realize that (besides the writing) the hard part about publishing is getting the word out.  That's where you come in - if you like the story, please take a moment to give it a good review at amazon.com  I really believe this is the future of publishing, but I'd like to hear what you think. 

May 26, 2008 in Web/Tech | Permalink


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Tracked on Oct 22, 2008 2:45:56 AM


I loved this story! If I had a Kindle, I'd buy it and share it with my friends.

I'm fascinated by the whole idea of publishing a story this way, and I'm curious about where this approach will lead. I think it's time to have new ways to reach an audience - without jumping through the publication hoops that now make it so hard for new writers to publish.

Thanks for telling us about your experience, Terry.

Posted by: Verna Wilder | May 27, 2008 7:30:49 PM