Kindling my interest

Publisher Theodore Savas and his son Demetrius were in Arlington yesterday and we met for dinner, some trade talk and a few laughs. Ted is as wise as he is genial and I would urge authors to jump on the chance of working with him.

He caught me offguard with his interest in the Kindle reading machine promoted by Amazon. When you say "Kindle" I picture a curly wire sticking out of a taped-together shipping box stuck at the bottom of a closet - a closet filled with early adopter toys that never worked out.

I had seen the competitors' stuff and was not impressed. In fact earlier in the day, I had looked at an 8" USB-enabled $49 digital picture frame that could serve as a computer monitor in a pinch. I thought, "If the book pages were image files, this could also be a reading device." Then I thought, "This is stupid, I'm re-inventing the tablet computer."

Ted has seen people with Kindles in public places. He has talked to them about the thing and is impressed by its potential and the way people use it. He met a woman who gets her newspapers and magazines delivered to the system; he has seen travelers in airports and trains reading it; he remarked on its lightness and legibility.

He also mentioned an Amazon feature I had not noticed in my browsing. While looking at book information, Amazon enables the sending of a pestering email to the publisher asking for a Kindle edition of the work. What startled me is that as a publisher Ted gets such emails.

It seems Kindle has an active fan base. I am wiping off my Kindle spectacles for a fresh look.