Among my excuses

for buying the Kindle was the idea of reading my own manuscripts on it.  I’d heard this was possible but didn’t know how until I did some research.  You don’t copy a Word file to your Kindle through the USB port; you email it.

It seems a Kindle has its own email address. If you buy through Amazon, it comes preset with an address based on your own, accepting email only from your email address (you can add acceptable senders if you wish).  When you email a file to your Kindle (free on Wi Fi, a few pennies charged to your one-click account on a 3G connection), Amazon converts it to Kindle format along the way.

The results aren’t perfect, although I’m sure they could be if you worked at it.  The conversion program doesn’t recognize the automatic paragraph indents most of us use in Word.  But I wasn’t formatting Paper Hearts for publication, just transferring it for my own use.  And for my purposes, a read-through rather than a revision, it works like a charm.  No pile of paper, no huge notebook, just my story in what looks sufficiently like printed form to keep me reading rather than editing.  Easy to spot the occasional typo (not so easy to mark them, although the Kindle does have bookmark and note capabilities–I prefer to keep a scratch pad handy and jot down mistakes to fix on the master computer file).

The Kindle doesn’t show page numbers, but it does have a percentage scale at the bottom of the screen.  I’m about two-thirds of the way through Paper Hearts, and today I read Chapter 11 at lunch.  Just like a real book.

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