The new iPad hit stores today, carrying the same bank account-upending price tag as its version 2 predecessor: $499 to $829.
I bought the iPad when it first came out less than two years ago. The price tag was tough to choke down then; in fact, I still can’t believe I spent that much money on it. Like a lot of people I know, I was able to get over my sticker shock because I had become so smitten with the device (as recounted here). Over time, my interest waned a bit, especially once I realized that reading books on an iPad wasn’t a terribly comfortable experience. To that end, the old-school Kindle, for its size, weight, and indoor/outdoor readability, has a lock on that particular user experience. Don’t get me wrong–the iPad’s still cool and a great way to consume media, but it’s not as critical to my daily life as I once imagined it becoming.
So, what to think of the new version? It has a fancier camera, which is said to be a big improvement over the camera introduced with the iPad 2. It also has an HD screen which is supposed to blow minds/melt faces/insert radical, body-altering, metaphor here. The problem is, after buying one iPad, there is no justification on earth (other than insane, uncontrollable, wealth) to buy another one. The price is just too high. Kindle Fires, on the other hand, have a much more “replaceable” price point.
I can’t imagine what a future iPad would have to include in order for me to consider spending that much money again, short of it being able to drive my car or babysit the kids. Until that point, I’m a v1.0 guy.
Now that I’ve officially released the book, I’m racing to tie up loose ends and move forward:
I’m still waiting for CreateSpace/Kindle to finish formatting the book for Kindle release. I got this message from CreateSpace/Kindle on 5/19:
Within 3 to 5 business days, we will send you a message that we’re ready for you to provide an ISBN or select a free CreateSpace ISBN for the Kindle version of this title. In order for us to move forward with the creation of your Kindle-Ready files, this step must be completed through your CreateSpace Member Account. If you choose to provide your own ISBN, keep in mind that it cannot be the same ISBN that you used for your paperback book.
Once you provide an ISBN, we will proceed with the creation of your files. This service will be completed within three to four weeks, at which point you will receive your Kindle-Ready files.
3-4 weeks after 3-5 business days? My expectations were shaped by their website ad, which quoted “typical turnaround time” at 2-3 weeks. Check it out:
Please review my book on Amazon!
I’m extremely self-conscious about my self-published authorial debut. So much so, that I’ve started a running list of mistakes.
Thanks for that. You deserve a reward.
Here’s a top-secret code, good for $5 off: L2BWTZ7T Use it before Wednesday with this link.
As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I made the decision to surrender control of Kindle formatting to Kindle’s publishing services. Their solicit says that conversion usually takes 2-3 weeks, though after committing to the process and having my credit card charged, Team Kindle let me know that I’m looking at something closer to five weeks.
This has completely thrown off my plan to simultaneously launch the paperback and Kindle versions on June 7. As a result, I’ve been wondering whether I should push the official launch back or do separate releases.
The tricky thing is that the book is now technically available, though I’ve made no public announcement of that fact. A formal public push and marketing effort will come in June, but visitors to my site deserve an early heads-up. With that, let’s just consider this blog post a “soft release” of the paperback version. Kindle will have to wait.
You can knock $3 off the obscene cover price with a limited-time (this weekend only) discount code on CreateSpace:
The code: RWNDPPKH
CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, but I’m not entirely sure if your Amazon login will work on the site. Let me know if that is/isn’t the case.
If Amazon is more in your comfort zone, you can pay full price here.
Off we go…
As I was grinding my way through a typically nasty Friday rush hour commute home, I got an email from my friend John Tomkiw. John generously designed the cover and jacket for Off the Record Collection, and he attached the final version of the artwork for my consideration.
As I got cut off, middle fingered, and generally delayed on the Kennedy, I was beside myself; I couldn’t wait to get home and open the PDF attachment. Once I finally made it, I darted from my car to my house, dropped my messenger bag by the front door and raced to the computer. The jacket design exceeded my already-high expectations. It was perfect.
In the time between that moment and right now, a lot has happened. I’ve ordered a proof copy for Tuesday delivery and made some final cosmetic tweaks. Operating under the assumption that I won’t find anything horrific in the proof, I’ve set a release date of June 7 for both the softcover and Kindle versions.
A few notes:
My friend Patrick was the first to recommend that I record an audiobook version, and the idea makes sense. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources (time, money, facilities) or bandwidth to properly get that done.
I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to format my book for Smashwords, the preferred ebook conversion service (it’s free!). The work required to make the document ready for conversion was mind-numbing and fairly difficult, even with a detailed “how to” guide. I like the idea of Smashwords, but the process turned me off.
Additionally, the only e-publisher Smashwords doesn’t have a direct relationship with is…you guessed it, Kindle. I tried to format the book for Kindle, but got so frustrated that I decided to pay $69 to have Amazon properly format the book for distribution. The way I see it, I’d rather not spend all week struggling with and working on the conversion. That effort would end up costing me more in time and hours than it would to simply front the 69 bucks.
To be continued…
Last November, I had one of those milestone birthdays that’s not so much celebrated as it is dutifully acknowledged. My family was kind enough to honor the occasion with the most thoughtful gift of all: Cash.
I immediately socked the birthday money away, budgeting it for the then-rumored-to-be-forthcoming iPad (which, back then was expected to be known as the iSlate). I’d long been fantasizing about an all-in-one iPod/book reader/comic book reader/magazine reader/video player/PDA. It would change the way I travel. It would change the way I exist. The promise of this technology supersolution was strong enough to keep me from pissing away the money on passing distractions, or on crazy things like food, clothing for the kids, and utility bills.
My reason for sharing all this information is that I felt it important to make clear right from the start that, yes, the iPad is really expensive. And by “really expensive,” I mean “REALLY EXPENSIVE.”
I bought the 64 GB 3G model the day it came out, along with a Mobile Me account, wireless keyboard, and protective case. The grand total for all that? Well, let’s just say that I didn’t take anything out of the box for a few hours. I spent that time trying to rationalize why I shouldn’t just return it all the following morning.
After hours of internal conflict, I gave in to my base instincts. I’d been thinking about the iPad for months. I wanted it. I needed it. And then, at around 10 p.m., I opened the box and never looked back since. Not a shred of buyer’s remorse. I yelped with excitement when I slid the iPad onto my hand. Summer camp’s going to be tough to swing for the kids, but–hot damn!--now I can read Stephen King books, listen to Nick Cave albums, email my friends, watch “Land of the Dead” in HD, look through all my photos, manage my datebook, and read the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine…all on the same device.
I’ve read all the critiques of the iPad. Each criticism worked really hard to find something to complain about. To address a few:
-I don’t want a camera on my iPad.
-The inability to run multiple apps simultaneously is a non-issue for me.
-The keyboard is much easier to use than I’d expected, so much so that my wireless keyboard is near-unnecessary.
-I’d like Flash for Safari, but my websurfing won’t suffer without it.
Some of the iPad’s core functionality really shines: The Calendar, Notes, and Contacts applications–all standard Apple stuff–feel much more essential on the iPad. I’ll never enter another contact into my Blackberry. I’m also very close to ditching the old-school black day planner that I tote around everywhere. And you can just forget the thought of seeing me scribble another note onto a pen-and-ink legal pad ever again.
Making the Calendar and Contacts more appealing is having a Mobile Me account. Every change I make to my iPad is immediately reflected on my account “in the cloud.” The opposite is also true; when I make a change to information via my Mobile Me account, that info is updated on my iPad.
A whole world of apps, some amazing, some much less so, is available through the App Store. Here are some quick thoughts on those I’ve spent the most time with so far:
Marvel Comics. The comic reader is amazing, and the colors absolutely pop off the screen. What’s missing, though, is depth. The store has a meager selection of titles to choose from, which I assume will increase with time, and as more people warm to the technology. My other complaint is with the pricing: $1.99 for a digital comic seems too steep. I’d love to see Marvel (and other existing and future comic apps) adapt a price structure similar to iTunes, in that a single issue would cost .99, and a collected storyline or “digital TPB” would run $9.99.
Zinio. The magazine app. I wrote Zinio off when it was strictly web-only. I thought the reading experience felt stiff and unnatural, if not altogether silly. The iPad changes all that; it’s the perfect platform for digital magazines. The technology is excellent, and the experience is superior to holding a print magazine in your hands. If I can go the rest of my life without another subscription card falling out of a magazine onto the floor, I’ll die a happy man. There are a few free magazines to peruse (National Geographic, Car & Driver, Macworld), and that’s how they hook you. If National Geographic was that enjoyable, I thought after reading it, imagine how amazing a magazine I actually enjoy would be…
Last night, I whipped out my credit card for a 12-month subscription to Spin for $5. That’s how much it would cost for a single issue if I impulse-purchased it at an O’Hare Hudson News. Now when I’m done reading a monthly issue, it doesn’t get left on my bedside table for a week or two before it gets chucked into the recycling bin. Instead, it’s digitally archived for later reference. Or more simply, it’s out of the way, and not a bother.
While there are plenty of “big dogs” yet to come on to Zinio (hurry, Entertainment Weekly!), the available options are impressive.
Scrabble. The only app I paid for ($9.99), and well worth it. I’ve played Scrabble for PC, iPod classic, and iPhone, and none have been as well-executed as the iPad app. A variety of gameplay options, bold, vivid, colors and a fun, clean interface are just some of the reasons this is my go-to pick for business and leisure travel time-killing.
Books. The iPad bookstore app is gorgeous, and iTunes-easy to use. Unfortunately, similar to the Marvel app, the big drawback to the Apple app is its lack of depth. I simply couldn’t find a lot of titles I wanted to read. Because of that, I opted to download…
Kindle. The Amazon Kindle app offers access to the Kindle-friendly library of titles, which can be downloaded and read in the Kindle app. The Kindle library is impressively deep, and I’ve found titles there to be cheaper than those on the Books app.
Beat the Traffic. Real-time traffic maps that illustrate where the trouble spots are, using your GPS location as ground zero. An invaluable resource to commuters like me.