Meet the Editor!

April 16, 2012
By

We’re happy to introduce Fire on Kindle Nation Daily’s Editor in Chief, April L. Hamilton: author, publishing agitator, member of the Association of Independent Authors Board of Directors, and founder and Editor in Chief of Publetariat.com.

We offer this introductory interview, to help you get better acquainted with our intrepid “woman behind the curtain”.

Fire on KND: What are your goals for the Fire on KND site?

April: I’d like Fire on KND to be Fire owners’ first, and favorite, place to go when they’re looking for news, commentary, tips and tricks, and content for their Fire tablets.

Being a Fire owner myself, I’ve noticed Amazon doesn’t always make it easy for me to find the content I want, especially in the video and apps areas. Browsing can be a frustrating and unpredictable experience in those parts of the Amazon site, so I’m glad the Fire on KND site offers categorized lists of content that users can sort by price, average review rating, and other criteria. Where free content is available, we include separate lists for it. We’ve already got lists for ebooks, apps, games and audiobooks in place, and we’re currently working on a rollout of lists for Instant Video, Prime Video, Newsstand and Kindle Singles content.

Quality is key, so while it would be easy to just slap up promotional posts for various types of content every day to build up site content, I don’t want Fire on KND to be promoting anything disappointing. Before a given piece of Fire content is written up here, we check reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Of course tastes vary and not every reader will like everything we post about here, but we’re not going to be recommending content Amazon reviewers have panned. I often find I want to get the content being written up here!

In this economy savings are important too, so I’m always going to be on the lookout to alert our audience to quality free and bargain content. Our drop-down lists of free and bargain ebooks are one part of this effort, and we’ll keep posting bargain alerts as quality content becomes available at discount prices.

Fire on KND: Any other plans for the site?

April: Once we’ve finished building out all the site features already on tap, I’d like to get more audience participation going. A regular reader mailbag feature is one possibility, and I’m also kicking around the idea of inviting site visitors to submit their own reviews.  We’re already connecting with readers via our Facebook Fan Page and Twitter accounts, and I’m exploring other social media options as well. Our first giveaway will soon be happening through our Facebook page, and more of those will be coming as our fanbase grows.

I’ll also be contributing Editor Picks: recommendations for some of my personal favorites in ebooks, audiobooks, instant video, games and apps.

Fire on KND: How long have you had an interest in ebooks and ereaders?

April: Pretty much from the beginning of the mobile device revolution. I couldn’t afford a Rocketbook reader when they first became available, but I was an avid reader of .pdb ebooks on my PalmPilot.

When the first mass-marketed touchscreen tablets for web browsing started coming out, way back in ’04 and ’05, techno-savvy ebook fans were quick to see their potential as dedicated ereaders. I bought an “epods” unit and followed some online directions to hack it so that it would function as an ereader instead of a web browser. After I installed the free MewBook reader software, it was actually quite a lot like the reading experience on the Kindle Fire: full color, backlit, touchscreen interface, available font, background and color options. It was pretty speedy with page turns, too. But it had very limited memory and computing power, and could only accept flash drives (not flash cards, which were not yet commonly available) for storage expansion.

I was an early Kindle adopter too, both as an author and a reader. In fact, my first ever published title was Snow Ball, published in Kindle format in ’07. It’s my most popular novel to this day. As a retired software engineer and web developer, it wasn’t too hard for me to do my own formatting and I later went on to offer professional ebook formatting services for a time as well.

Fire on KND: So you own a monochrome Kindle; what other ereader and tablet devices do you have, and which do you favor for reading ebooks?

April: I have a Kindle 3G, a Kindle Fire, a Nook Color and an iPad.

For a long time, like most ebook enthusiasts I thought the Kindle 3G was the best device for reading ebooks with minimal illustration because of its eInk display, but I have to admit I find myself reaching for the Fire every time I want to read Kindle books and texts now. I find I do most of my e-reading in the evenings and indoors in low-light conditions, and it’s just too hard to see the text on the eInk display. Also, since I’m already picking up the Fire pretty frequently for apps and video, it’s almost always closer to hand than my 3G. Since I got my Fire, I find I hardly ever use my 3G anymore.

I love my iPad, but not as an ereader. I’ve found the iBookstore to be very difficult to browse and its content offerings are both more limited and more expensive than those in the Kindle store. I could use the free Kindle Reader app on the iPad, but the Fire and 3G are so much smaller and lighter. Either of my Kindles can slip into a purse, small totebag or backpack pretty easily. Also, since the iPad is so much more expensive to replace than either of my Kindles, I tend not to want to carry it around with me all the time. About the only reading purpose for which I strongly prefer the iPad is comics and graphic novels, just because there’s more screen real estate on the iPad than the Fire.

Fire on KND: What about for purposes other than e-reading?

April: I use the iPad primarily as a laptop substitute, for those times when I need prompt email or internet access and my laptop isn’t booted up yet, and as a portable video player—especially for the kids to use in the backseat on long drives. I used to play some game apps on the iPad pretty frequently too, but again, since the Fire is always so close to hand I find myself using it for games and apps instead of the iPad.

I’ve experimented a bit with audiobooks and music on the Fire, but find I mostly use my iPod for digital audio. This is because the Fire’s built-in speaker isn’t really high fidelity, and all the external stereo speaker devices I already own were designed for iPods. Headphones will transmit high quality audio from the Fire too, but since I usually listen to audiobooks in the car, headphones aren’t really an option there.

One frequent use of my Fire that’s surprised me is as a streaming personal video player. I like to go through every episode of a TV series, one at a time, and this has become sort of a pre-bedtime routine for me. When I first got the Fire it seemed like the screen would be too small for a quality viewing experience, but since the streaming is so crisp and smooth, and there are so many Prime Instant Videos available to me for free, I’ve become a fan. It’s kind of amazing to be able to curl up with a good show the same way you can curl up with a good book in bed.

Fire on KND: What about your Nook Color?

April: I never use my Nook Color. I initially bought it so I could test my own (and others’) Nook books on the actual device, but once that use was fulfilled, I never used it again. I found while comparison shopping that there was a wider selection of available Kindle books, and Kindle books were also generally less expensive than Nook books. Also, the Nook Color is a tablet like the Fire, and has many of the same functions, but the Nook app store isn’t as robust as the Amazon app store, it’s more of a hassle to transfer content to the Nook, and Barnes and Noble doesn’t run all the same free and discount offers on apps as what I’ve come to expect from Amazon.

Fire on KND: Anything else you’d like to add?

April: I’m excited to be in charge of a site that’s dedicated to a leading edge device, and look forward to helping the Fire on KND audience get the most and best use from their Kindle Fires.

 

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2 Responses to Meet the Editor!

  1. Cathy on April 16, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I agree with her, and Love the site!!!

  2. Steve Windwalker on April 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    We’re lucky to have you, April!

    Cheers,
    Steve

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