Friday, April 24, 2009

Q&A a la Ann Landers: Kindle or Not to Kindle

Those of you who receive to my Sharing with Writers newsletter know that I enjoy answering questions for my subscribers. Here is one that echoes one of my favorite mantras from my retailing days. It's a variation on "The customer is always right." It is, "Give the customer what he or she wants." If you'd like more information like this, please subscribe by sending an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to HoJoNews @


What's your feeling about Kindle? I have two friends who have and love it. One is an author of a book about caring for horses...not a popular topic. She is self published, offered it on Kindle and was shocked and delighted to receive three responses from readers who bought it. The other friend is not a writer but swears by Kindle. He says he's never without it. Apparently the only real negatives are that you can't dog-ear or underscore pages and you can't pass the book on to friend to read. Are any of your books on it?

Thanks for your take on this.
Laverne, Columns & Poems


Readers who have Kindle may go elsewhere for reading material if they can't get what they want the way they want it. You won't sell a lot of books on Kindle. I sell my Frugal books on Kindle but those sales probably make up less than 1 percent of my sales. Many say that's not enough. I ask, why not? One of those people might pass the good word about my book to someone else. Another might be a Hollywood producer looking for a good story. Good retailers give their customers the products they want. And they let them buy them the way they want--credit card? Cash? Check? They don't cram their own needs and preferences down their customers' throats. Guess what? We authors are retailers, like it or not.

By the way, thank you for this question. It prompted me to get my latest how-to release, A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques, on Kindle. If Kindle serves your readers better, why not? Besides, it doesn’t cost anything but your time to do it. Check out The Frugal Editor’s Kindle sales page as an example. It is only $7.20 on Kindle so it also appeals to those who may not want to pay full price for a book (but you do get to set your own price). The Kindle page for the FRUGAL retailing book is at

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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