My Kindle knows me too well.

When I fire up the 3G connection to visit the Kindle Store or drop by on my computer, I am greeted with a list of recommendations, and many of them are right on.  A few days ago Amazon suggested Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth by James Scott Bell, one of my favorite writers on writing.  I’m not sure how Amazon knew that; I’m pretty sure I bought his Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing at my local Half-Price Books.  But I’ve bought and/or looked at a fair number of craft of writing books on the Amazon site.

Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth is a collection of essays and blog posts in e-book form only, which in itself illustrates one of the points Bell makes.  I grabbed it because I know and love his earlier books.  Bell has an established audience for this type of publishing.  Most of us don’t.  And much of what is currently being self-published, Bell warns, is not quite ready for prime time (“Just Because You Wrote It Doesn’t Mean You Should Publish It”).

Beyond his interesting and realistic view of the e-pubbing phenomenon, Bell’s essays contain a wealth of information, advice, and encouragement, divided into sections on The Writing World, The Writing Life, and The Writing Craft, and concluding with interviews with well-known writers.

I’ve been reading Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth at odd moments over the last couple of days and enjoying it thoroughly; I recommend it highly.  (Bell has a few comments about semi-colons.  He doesn’t favor them in fiction, but they have their uses.)

It’s a shortish book, but I can’t tell you exactly how short.  It’s on my Kindle, and it has no page numbers.  I have to admit that, although I am thoroughly enjoying my Kindle, I miss page numbers.  I’ve heard rumors that they’re working on that, but given the ability to change font size, pagination can’t be easy.  I also miss being able to flip back and forth between pages, especially in non-fiction.  I’ve gone back to the beginning to look at the table of contents while writing this, and I’ll use that to get back to where I left off reading (“How Many Subplots is Too Many?”).  The other day when I went back and forth in another book I had to open the User’s Guide to figure out how to get back to the location number I had left.

The Kindle isn’t a book, after all.  The formatting tends to shift a little here and there, and the proof-reading isn’t always perfect.  I’ve been reading another book in which, for reasons I can’t even guess at, the word often is consistently written as oft en.  I still don’t think that electronic readers will replace traditional books, but the possibilities for supplementing print are fascinating.

I can’t tell what page I’m on, but I’ve read 73% of Writing for All You’re Worth.  Maybe in time that will seem more natural than a page number.

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