Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kindle vs. Nook or Amazon vs. B&N

Okay, so those that know me well, know I prefer B&N over Amazon any day. The few items I've purchased from Amazon have all been via gift certificates that I've won somehow. B&N however gets a lot more of my money because there is a brick-and-mortar store in my town that I prefer to support, along with the few local book sellers left.

I've been in a discussion with B&N for a few days now. I'd emailed them to let them know that they'd be losing an eReader sale based solely on their account setup practice. In return I've had multiple emails, all from various customer service folks with Anglicized (did I spell that right?) names, all of which have more horrid grammar than I do.  All sent back the same boilerplate response of "we're sorry for any inconvenience. We require a credit card for blah, blah, blah..." no actual response to the fact that they're losing a sale. I finally sent an email saying, you should forward my comments to upper management and have them get back to me. I no longer need your customer support folks.

Really folks, if you can't get a simple email comment right, how can I expect you to survive you own ignorant business practices? I understand the reasoning for requiring a credit card, I really do. After all you had a logical argument about protecting the rights of the authors and publishing companies to make sure they get paid. I'm all for that.

But really? A credit card is a "must-have" to setup an account? What about folks who no longer have credit cards, or parents setting up their kids an account that theydon't want running amok with a credit card? There's really no effective way of controlling that. I'm an IT geek, I can spot the holes a mile away, even through the poor English. Never mind that Amazon is a HUGE hacking target and that B&N has already had at least one incident of their accounts being hacked.

So, what all this ranting comes down this: I bought a Kindle over a Nook because Amazon will let me setup an account without a credit card. And no, the Kindle is not for me.

It's my Dad's birthday (okay, father-in-law, but he's the only Dad I have left) and my DH and I were trying to figure out what to get him. He's getting older and an eReader that he can change font sizes on would be fun for him. Major stumbling block: they live in an area of our state that only has dial-up available to them. (For you kids out there, dial-up means you have to have an old noisy modem that makes the sounds that are at the beginning of "You've Got Mail").

Why is dial-up a stumbling block? Well, Kindles require a wireless connection to get registered, which we have but they obviously don't. Yes, a wireless connection is required to activate your Kindle. Since we wanted this to be a surprise, we setup a gmail account for him and then setup an Amazon account, preloaded it with a gift card and he's good to go. 

That would not have been possible with a Nook as B&N requires a credit card just to setup an account, and I refuse to have my credit cards on B&N's site because of an old policy of theirs that kept your CC info in their database indefinitely.

I doubt I'll get an eReader for myself any time soon. Not that they aren't handy devices to have, but for me it seems rather redundant. (I was going to say for "folks in IT" but then I remembered my sister has a Nook, so it kind of depends on what part of IT you work in.) For me, it's definitely overkill considering the number of portable devices already on hand that have a Nook or Kindle app already available. I don't need yet another device to try to get through the overzealous TSA folks.

My recommendation; get a Kindle if you must have "just" an eReader. Otherwise, get your favorite device - smartphone, tablet, netbook, laptop, notebook, desktop - and download the free readers. Now, if Kindle was only available for Linux distributions, THEN I'd be totally pro-Amazon.

(Wonder if Amazon will ever read this post and think about making one for Linux distros?)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Contests and Feedback

I've been busy working on edits for my first book submission to my first contest. I'm so excited to have it in a contest where I will actually get some feedback. It really doesn't matter to me if it's positive or negative feedback, I'm just happy to get anything back on it.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong or right with my writing. My education trained me for writing computer code and business documents, not fictional mysteries, so I'm a total newbie at writing with a goal of being published.

The Christmas challenge piece that I posted here has also been submitted to a local magazine as well. Not sure if I will hear anything back from them, but it's in at least.

And finally, Chicken Soup for the Soul is taking stories for writers. I'm considering submitting something for this as well. I heard about this one from one of my writer's group friends and haven't read all of the rules yet, but apparently unpublished writers can get in on this one.

Now I hope to get blogging more often again, but I'm not making any promises beyond "I'll try".