Instant Feedback

Not really.

Image via Wikipedia

As a continuation of my kindle saga, I bring to you Amazon’s newest feature: @author. Billed as a way to connect readers and writers, it allows kindle readers to message the author from within the book. Neat, huh?

I know some authors see it as more work, and at first, I couldn’t see that it’s really that different from someone tweeting or emailing a question to me while reading. But after looking at Amazon’s description of this new tool, I can see how it could have its drawbacks, from my point of view:

Posting a question from the Kindle:
1. Place the cursor at the beginning of the passage you’d like to ask a question about using the 5-way controller, then press down to anchor it
2. Highlight the passage using the 5-way controller
3. Enter your question about the passage you highlighted, beginning with the phrase “@author”…
4. Select “save & share” from the options at the bottom of the note window when finished

So the reader can highlight an excerpt while reading and ask about it (and everyone will see it). Um, can you say “spoiler”?

My first reaction is to wonder who would use this. I have read books where I really wondered where the author was going, or if they’d ever get around to closing a loop they started early on – but I wouldn’t stop reading to ask them. If I really wanted to know, I’d just skip ahead. The answer should be in the book in my hands, right? All I have to do is read it.

If I do have a question for the author, there’s usually umpty-seven ways to reach them – if they want to be reached. But right in the middle of a book? I don’t know.

What do you think? This feature is still in the testing phase, and hasn’t really been touted by Amazon (yet?). Would you stop in the middle of a story to send the author a message about the story? Do you see another benefit to this feature as readers or writers that I’m missing? Or is this just a different version of twitter/facebook/forum?

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3 responses to “Instant Feedback

  1. Robin DeJarnett

    @Jen I think it posts to twitter at the same time (you click “save and share” to send the message). I don’t know if it posts to the author’s twitter, the reader’s twitter, the @author twitter or all three. The feature is not widely available yet, so I assume we’ll find out more when it rolls out to everyone.

  2. I’m still learning about this feature. How would everyone see the question?

  3. Seriously—how many more communication tools do we need? The spoiler thing is a problem, and like you said, we hope our readers have questions part way through, and we aim to answer them by the end, so I really don’t even see the point of this. ‘Course I didn’t really see the point of Facebook or Twitter for a while either…

    Thanks for the informative post! You’re a darling to keep me up to speed on these things. 😉

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