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From reading and writing to publishing

/by  Krystyna Fedosejevs/

December 2013, not a mouse stirred in the house. The timer struck a tinny chime. Shortbread cookies raced out of my oven, row after row. The holiday season was approaching quickly.

A friend steered my eyes to a website, introducing me to a new kind of shortbread. Where words are used instead of cookie dough to entice a sweet tooth. Fairy-like creatures strutted in red-hooded jackets, hot-air balloons taking flight … inviting me to take an expedition of discovery. It couldn’t be a bad thing having ‘shortbread’ in its title.

Within minutes, I latched onto the strings and joined ShortbreadStories. Overall, it’s format looked appealing, offering written and audio stories. Poetry, flash fiction and short stories made up the repertoire.

I started contributing my own writing. One of the first ventures was a Christmas contest I entered. To date I have 37 stories posted at ShortbreadStories. The last one appeared approximately three months ago. I vowed I’d return one day. I will.

For now, I’m delighted to be basking in the limelight of publishing elsewhere. There’s so much variety, so many opportunities to be published online and in print.

I’ve been asked, ‘What impact ShortbreadStories has on my publishing?’ If, in fact, it was ShortbreadStories that started my publishing adventure? I’ll answer by first saying ‘no’ to the second question. I have had several short flash fiction, as well as poetry, published before my initial rendezvous. Also, several poetry contest winnings have placed me on a favourable board.

As to ShortbreadStories’ impact, the interaction with other writers, their comments and the opportunity to ‘publish’ have only reinforced my passion for writing. Since the start of my membership at Shortbread, several of my ultra short fiction have appeared at:

Fifty Word Stories (one story chosen as a runner-up in November 2013 contest)

100 Word Story

Nail Polish Stories (one story published in October2013; it was featured in the ‘Best of 2013’ issue; three more stories appeared in April 2014)

Espresso Stories

Haunted Waters Press

In nonfiction, I wrote and had published a review of an art history book at Alberta Wilderness.

In the fall issue of the Boston Literary Magazine, three of my haiku will be available for viewing.

I know I’ve been absent from the ShortbreadStories site too long. Most likely, those who got to know me there are disappointed in my disappearance. I say to them ‘Forgive me, please’. I’m only human; an adventurous being in pursuit of words.

I will be back.

Krystyna Fedosejevs

Aug. 2014.

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Re-blogges from: From reading and writing to publishing | Shortbread

Sam and Charlie: Questions for the talented Mr Fish

/by Sam Kandej and Rachel Marsh/

The Talented Mr Fish

Our very own Sam got in touch with Mr Fish at Fiction on the Web to ask about his take on writing and the short story. Charlie Fish is a popular short story writer and screenwriter. His short stories have been published in several countries and inspired dozens of short film adaptations. Since 1996, he has edited Fiction on the Web, the longest-running short story site on the web. Every single story on Fiction on the Web is hand-picked and carefully edited by Charlie Fish. He was born in Mount Kisco, New York in 1980; and now lives in south London with his wife and daughters.

Sam Kandej: Nothing in this world is more enjoyable than having a few words with the writer whom you love and admire. Today, I have got the honor of spending a few minutes with Mr. Charlie Fish. How do you do Mr. Fish?

Charlie Fish: Very well, thank you.

Sam: Let us start with the short story itself. Are you in love with writing short stories?

Charlie: Actually, I often find the process of writing laborious and frustrating, especially when starting something new. What ends up on the page seems to fall short of the images in my head. I have to persist and write myself into the story until I reach that golden territory where the ideas and characters take on a life of their own. Not all stories get there, but when they do – that’s when I fall in love.

The great thing about short stories is that if I write one that’s no good, I can discard it and write a new one. Each time I have to discard a story I learn something new. Writing a novel is considerably more challenging – persisting past the doubt and frustration is a much longer slog.

Sam:  Do you remember the very first time you told yourself “I must become a writer”? What made you say that?

Charlie: I’ve written stories all my life, but for many years it never occurred to me to think of myself as a writer. I assumed I had to get a desk job with a decent salary. But then it occurred to me the only difference between being a rat-racer who dabbled with writing – and a writer – was declaring myself as such. I didn’t have to make money, or win awards, I just had to write, and put myself out there and tell people I was a writer until they started believing me.

As soon as I started calling myself a writer, I paid more attention to my craft and my writing has been getting better ever since.

Sam: And do you remember the first short story you read?

Charlie: The first? No. But there are several short stories I read in my youth that left a lasting impression – some of which I am revisiting now as I read them again to my three-year-old daughter. Like The Sneetches by Dr Seuss or The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Sam: How many short stories have you written?

Charlie: More than 50, of which there are maybe 15 that I consider worthy of general consumption.

Sam: Which one is the most popular?

Charlie: “Death by Scrabble”. It was first published in 2005, and since then I get at least an email a week from someone asking to reprint it, or adapt it into a film, or use it for a speech competition. It’s been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Flemish, Hebrew, Turkish, Chinese, Telugu, Gurani – and that’s just the ones I can remember. If you search “Death by Scrabble” on YouTube you’ll find nearly 100 short films inspired by the story. It features in standard textbooks for English comprehension in three countries.

There is no way I could have predicted how much of a chord that story would strike with people – and probably no way I’ll match its success again. But that won’t stop me from trying!

Sam: Is it your own favorite story too?

Charlie: I’m immensely proud of “Death by Scrabble”, but my latest favourite story is probably “Remission”, which I wrote last year for a horror anthology called BLEED, published to raise money for The Children’s Cancer Society. I poured a lot of raw emotional honesty into the story – it’s a science fiction space tale, but also a metaphor for the loneliness of dealing with a serious illness. My baby daughter was very ill when I wrote it, and I think the story was infused with some of the trauma and desperate hopefulness I was feeling.

(She’s happy and well now!)

Sam: Typically, How much time do you spend on reading short stories, and how much time do you spend on writing?

Charlie: Not enough time writing! Never enough time. But I read a lot of short stories – I usually get about a dozen submissions a week for my website, Fiction on the Web. I read them all during my lunch breaks at work, and choose the ones I want to publish. At home, at the moment, I’m reading Gardner Dozois’ Best of the Best anthology of science fiction short stories, which is thoroughly enlightening.

Sam: I’m really interested to know more about your writing habits. Do you have any unusual habits for writing short stories?

Charlie: My favourite writing environment is sitting in the bar of the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton with my laptop and a beer. No kids, no “To Do” list, and a very poor Internet connection. Perfect.

Sam: What do you do in your free time when you don’t feel like writing and reading?

Charlie: For the last couple of years I’ve been pretty obsessed with board games. Not the old school ones I grew up with, but the new wave that’s sparked a growing subculture. I recently attended the world’s largest board gaming convention in Essen, Germany, along with 150,000 other people. I had a blast. If “board games” to you means Monopoly, Risk and Scrabble, you’re missing out. Try Carcassonne, or Ticket to Ride, or King of Tokyo, or any of the other thousands of amazing games published in the last twenty years.

Sam: Have you ever been jealous of a writer?

Charlie: Envious, yes. One of my heroes is Terry Rossio, the screenwriter responsible for Aladdin, Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean. I wrote to him once to thank him for an inspiring series of columns he’s published online (at wordplayer.com), and he invited me to a house party. I dropped everything and flew to LA to go. It wasn’t his palatial house that I was envious of, or his two hot tubs, but the fact that this man had the ear of Hollywood. He could write a screenplay and it would get taken seriously, get made for millions of dollars, and get shown to a packed audience at my local cinema 5000 miles away. I want that!

Sam: I have noticed that you are a humorous writer. You even mix horror and humor together. Is it a way to attract more readers? Or do you do that because you love humorous stories?

Charlie: I don’t really think of myself as a humorous writer. I’m no Douglas Adams. But humour is an excellent tool to charm readers and get their defences down. The louder they’re laughing, the more open and vulnerable they are when you hit them with the real emotion of the piece.

Sam: In your opinion, what would life be like if all politicians, presidents, kings, and prime ministers were short story writers?

Charlie: A lot of politicians are writers, which makes sense because they spend most of their lives making stuff up and manipulating people anyway. Perhaps if they all wrote fiction they’d have a keener sense of the ironies inherent in their day jobs, which could only be a good thing.

Sam: If I were a Short Story Genie, what three wishes would you make?

Charlie: Discipline, flair and courage.

Sam: You have a great website called Fiction on the Web. Why did you create it? And how many writers cooperate with you in order to keep this website up?

Charlie: Fiction on the Web gives me an opportunity to showcase amazing short stories, encourage fledgling authors, and contribute to the wider community of writers. No-one helps me with the site, it’s a labour of love.

Sam: What are your plans for the future? Are you going to write more short stories? Are you going to publish any new books?

Charlie: I’m intending to self-publish a collection of my best short stories from the last 15 years. Keep an eye out at fictionontheweb.co.uk for the announcement.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing – working on the collection for the next 15 years.

Sam: Thank you so much dear Mr. Fish for taking the time and answering my questions. I look forward to reading more of your short stories.

Charlie: Thank you Sam for such interesting questions!

If you follow an author online or in print and would like to interview him/her for ShortbreadStories, get in touch with Rachel at rachel@shortbreadstories.com, and we’ll try to get you that interview.

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Re-blogged from: Shortbread Stories’s Blog › Sam and Charlie: Questions for the talented Mr Fish | Shortbread

A Writer Responds: The Whole Reason

Everyone uses ShortbreadStories differently: as a portfolio of polished work, as a learning exercise, as a library, or as a writing community. Others use it as a stop gap, sometimes already knowing that their piece needs work. Karen, who’s been a long-time member of ShortbreadStories, has been reading on the site for years, but only recently began uploading work. In this blog she talks about why she uses ShortbreadStories and about how Shortbreader comments help her move forward with her writing. Karen also hoped by addressing all of ShortbreadStories in a blog, it would get us all thinking about how we use the site’s comments.

If you want to write a post for ‘A Writer Responds’ send it to rachel@shortbreadstories.com.

Rebloged from : Karen Graham’s Blog › A Writer Responds: The Whole Reason | Shortbread

/by Karen Graham/

I’ve had my head stuck in thesis-land for the past month, and — while I’ve read everyone’s comments on my little poem — I haven’t gotten round to thanking everyone and responding. I will do shortly, but I have to get past this next deadline first.

Nevertheless, a couple of the comments got me thinking about the difference between my perception of the poem and the way my readers responded to it. I was under no illusions that this was a finished piece, and I’m still not. I’ve spent a good deal of time lurking about on ShortbreadStories reading stories and blog posts and comments, and I came to the conclusion some time ago that Shortbread is a bit like Kings Cross Station – you can spend an enjoyable time there, you can meet people and shop and eat and drink, but it’s only ever a stop on a journey to your final destination. It’s not home. Shortbread is not the home for my writing, or for yours either. It is a place that it needs to go through to get where it’s going.

Some of the comments I got reflected this, like those expressing the hope that this first step into submitting with ShortbreadStories helps me get the confidence to submit more, or those informing me of poetry competitions that I could submit to in a search to find a home for my writing.

Another brought up a different point entirely on my poem Mother:

“Hi Karen, just something for you to consider. To me (Only a thought!) the second lines after the ‘Mother’ line seem a little too long. I think the last stanza with the line ‘I am trying not to cry’ sounds as if it has the right rhythm and length to it. It follows the ‘Mother’ line very well. The content is strong and sad and makes you consider that the poor soul will now have two voids in their life. All the best. Hugh

It was not a surprise to me, as the author of the poem (wow that’s a weird thing to write), that a reader noticed a difference between the rhythm of the first long stanza and the final short one. This was sort of the idea I was going for, but without being too precious about it. I was at the stage of getting something semi-finished. The right amount of lines, the right tone, telling a story from beginning to end. I wasn’t at the stage of sitting down and thrashing out my rhythm and metre with dashes and slashes. Yet.

The rhythm is there, and there’s a difference in the way that last stanza feels — from my perspective. This difference is, to me, the opposite of Hugh’s interpretation. I’m not for a moment saying that he’s wrong. Indeed, I greatly believe that if the reader doesn’t get what I’m trying to say then I haven’t made my point well enough. This is normally something that I talk about with students when discussing their academic writing; however it is equally true for creative writing. Hugh’s comment shows me that the discord between the beginning and the end of the poem is there. The reader feels the change and they notice the twist. This is all a very good start.

For me, the rhythm and meter in the final stanza are too short. I’m left feeling the desolate, finite, rushed end of that stanza. But, I can see my character. I can hear their words and the lilt of their accent. I can see where they leave the note to their mother, and what they do after the close of that last line.

My job as an author is not to bend my reader to that exact image of the character. Instead of taking their head in my hands and forcing them to see my character through my perspective, I take a step back and see what they look like to the reader(s).

And so, like the mother in my poem, I have no choice but to watch. My character and their story no longer belong to just me. They belong to you, reader. No longer mine, but ours. And that is the whole reason that I write in the first place.

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Writing Challenge: Random Subjects

Brother and sister Shortbreaders, Tobias Haglund and Maria Burén, created a semi-competition amongst themeselves. They asked each other to write a story about a random subject chosen from the dictionary, then they uploaded the work to the site. The subject was ‘Cancellation’.

We thought this was such a great idea, and one we hope you might want to do for your first Writing Circle challenge. (Oh, and by the way, ShortbreadStories is starting Writing Circles, and you can read about it here.)

 Thanks to   for bringing such a great idea to ShortbreadStories.

Cancellation by Tobias

Cancellation by Mari

Re-blogged from: Shortbread Stories’s Blog › Writing Challenge: Random Subjects | Shortbread 

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Introducing Writing Circles

/by Erica Brooks/

I don’t want to embarrass anybody, but I’m going to anyway. Recently a new member named Icarus Fell, a.k.a. Stewart Hobby, put out an enterprising request in the forums. He wanted more readers, more feedback on his stories, and he offered to give feedback on others’ stories in return.

It was a simple and effective notion that sparked a good deal of encouragement, mostly veterans encouraging comments in general. Because, as Stewart’s request demonstrates well, comments are at the heart of the ShortbreadStories experience. The encouragement and constructive criticism are what make people want to post here. And it gave me an idea that we’re going to try out.

There is a new Forum Thread dedicated to Writing Circles, un-ironically, titled ‘Untitled’ (the backstory to this is that we can’t, at the moment, change the Forum thread titles, so we’re having to use ‘Untitled’ to denote ‘Writing Circles’).

The idea of Writing Circles is very, very simple – find some other writers and make an agreement to read, and to comment on, each other’s stories. Think of it like a virtual writers’ group.

Here’s how it’ll work. We’ve set up the new ‘Untitled’ Thread along with a few new Forum posts to get you started:

– The Circle Market is a place to post if you are looking for a circle to join. You can specify how many people you’d like to partner with, what kind of feedback you’re looking for, and anything else you consider relevant. This is a self-organising space, so use it as you see fit.

– The Circle Lottery is for people who would like to be randomly assigned writing partners. I’ll periodically pull names out of a hat, aiming for groups of four to eight people.

– The Suggestions Box is for general feedback.

– Group Discussion is for general talk, although you can also feel free to post your own threads and start your own discussions.

– Circle Challenges is for writing prompts and challenges in which each writing circle can participate.

You may want to organise circles around particular needs or interests – genre, writing goals, or experience, for instance. It’s also a chance for people to ask for a specific kind of feedback. Do you just want a bit of accountability and encouragement? Or are you looking for intensive, critical editing with an eye toward publication?

This is, of course, an experiment. It’s very much member-driven, although I’ll be keeping an eye on the place, watching for suggestions and stepping in if needed. Expect tweaks.

Most of all, take care of each other, especially new people. But then, you do that already, which is why you’re here.

Happy writing!

Erica

PS-If you’re getting a bit tired of ShortbreadStories ‘work arounds’ like ‘Untitled’ Forum Threads, you can donate to the redevelopment of the website by going to http://www.mycharitypage.com/shortbreadstories.

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Re-blogged from: Introducing Writing Circles | Shortbread 

 

The Biggest Announcement Yet

/by Rachel Marsh/

For those of you who have been with ShortbreadStories for some time, you’ll be used to our ‘grand announcements’. In July 2012 we became a charity, and a month later we introduced Gavin Dobson as Trustee. Then, in September of last year, we said goodbye to our beloved and adored editor, Fiona Smith. All of these announcements have been for the benefit of the organisation and have helped us move forward, even if slowly, with our overall development plan.

So, as you will guess from the title, we are making another announcement; however, this statement is bitter sweet. I am saying good-bye to more team members and welcoming others into new roles.

It is with a heavy heart that I bit farewell to Robin Pilcher, bestselling author and ShortbreadStories founder. Robin started ShortbreadStories as a private business nearly ten years ago, but — despite the organisation legally acting as a company — he was insistent that the site was not littered with advertisements and it was open to all, thus it had no revenue streams. This led us to rethink the model, so we decided to become a charity. At that time Robin stepped down as an owner and became a Trustee. As a Trustee he remained active and continued to fund the organisation as a patron.

 After years of making ShortbreadStories a central part of his life, Robin has decided to retire. I am positive that Robin will remain an Advocate of the organisation, but sunny Spain, France and Longforgan are calling his name.

When Robin internally announced his plans to retire, Gavin made a decision to leave the organisation as well. This left me with a monumental task. Find their replacements. And, despite the weight of the decision, two obvious names came to mind:

Fiona Smith: We all know and love Fiona, and I am very happy to announce that she is returning as a Trustee. She was with ShortbreadStories from almost the beginning: reading, editing and running the organisaiton as Editor, Project Manager, and all around Jack-of-Shortbread-Trades.

Fiona’s new role with ShortbreadStories will be slightly different to her previous job with the organisation. As a Trustee she will be instrumental in planning and developing the future of ShortbreadStories, and she will be a lead in all external communications. However, for the moment, she will not be attending to the daily running of the site, but she will be behind the scenes helping us plan for the future.

Erica Brooks: Erica is an early member of the site and a part of the ShortbreadStories in Spain crew. I have the utmost respect for Erica. She has an egalitarian ethos to writing education and has been a part of writing programmes on two Continents. She is an advocate of the arts, of literature, and of being a damn fine person. Plus, she is already getting our new little team more organised than it has ever been.

So, we say farewell to Robin and Gavin, and hello (once again) to Fiona and Erica. But, rather than ending this little announcement myself, I would like leave you with the words of those who are coming and going. Below are links to Robin’s ‘goodbye statement’, and Fiona and Erica’s ‘hello’s.

Robin’s Retirement Message

Fiona’s Introduction as a Trustee

Erica says ‘Hello’ as Trustee

Re-bloged from: Rachel Marsh’s Blog › The Biggest Announcement Yet | Shortbread 

ShortbreadSpecials: Week of 23rd March

/by Rachel Marsh/

*Don’t forget to vote for your favourite piece in the International Women’s Day: Inspiring Change competition.

*We had more stories submitted for publication this week than usual, so instead of publishing everything on Sunday, I’ve decided to split this week’s pieces into two batches. This way everyone will have a chance to feature on the ‘Latest Short Stories’ list (scroll down on the front page and you’ll see it to the right). So, if you’ve submitted recently but don’t see your work on the site, please do not despair. I will be publishing the rest of the editing queue on Wednesday.

*There’s some really good chat happening over in our current ‘Critical Collective‘ forum. Just now everyone’s commenting on Chris Donaldson’s Albion’s Shore.

*ShortbreadStories is now on Pinterest, where the Social Media Elf is pinning each week’s Writing Prompt Wednesday photos.
*If you’re a bl
ogger, drop by our blog page at shortbreadstories.wordpress.com

*And, of course, check out this week’s ShortbreadSpotlight and then send over your Spotlight recommendations to Nik at spotlight@shortbreadstories.com

As always, if you’ve got anything you want to highlight on ShortbreadStories you can get in touch with me at rachel@shortbreadstories.com
Best,
Rachel

Re-blogged from: ShortbreadSpecials: Week of 23rd March | Shortbread

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Check out the ShortbreadSpecials

/by Rachel Marsh/

Special features on ShortbreadStories:

After a few glitches, we finally have the Valentine’s Day competition up for voting. You have until the 27th to read all the stories and cast your vote. Go to the competition by clicking here.

A few of our Shortbreaders have offered to financially help the site by donating profits from their ebooks to ShortbreadStories. Check it out here.

Read a great Shortbreader Interview between Chris Donaldson and Adam West.

We have a new Critical Collective; this time it’s Robert Kasch and he wants you to have a go at his story ‘No Big Deal‘.

Re-bloged from: Shortbread Stories’s Blog › Check out the ShortbreadSpecials | Shortbread

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iPad Apps for Writing

/by Fiona Smith/

Last week Rachel shared with us her thoughts on iPad versus Kindle for reading. It occurred to me that I rarely use my iPad for reading, which is fine, since my original intended use was writing. I do write on it often, in fact I’m typing this blog on my iPad as we speak. So I thought I’d share with you my favourite apps for writing on the go.

Clean Writer: My preferred mode for writing short stories. As the name suggests the app is very clean and easy to use. There’s nothing fussy, no bells or whistles, just a white page, a handy word counter and that’s it. But let’s be honest what else do you need? You type away using the standard iPad keyboard, save it when you’ve finished and then you can email it yourself, or use dropbox to access it on other devices and computers. Clean Writer is also nice and cheap at a bargainous 69p.

Evernote: To fully explore the capabilities of this app would take a good few hours. This is certainly not a clean writer, and contains many bells and whistles- in fact you could even record a whole load of bells and whistles with the built in voice recorder. It has a rather fancy text editor where you can change font, make things bold, and do any of the normal things you can do on Word. It also allows you to input images, so is ideal for putting together presentations, or a scrapbook. It could also be very helpful when putting together research for any new novel. You can send notes directly to Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Dragon Dictation: An app which allows you to dictate your story to your iPad. So just speak away, then hit the finish recording button, and your text will appear. Sounds brilliant in theory, however it did have some problems with my Scottish accent. After saying rather slowly; ShortbreadStories is the best website in the world, it presented me with the following; Let’s celebrate is the best web story in the world.

WordPress: If you’re a blogger with a WordPress account you can now blog on the go. This is the perfect app for blogging off-the-cuff pieces when time is of the essence.

Finally do any of these apps beat a good old fashion piece of paper and a biro? In my opinion yes, yes they do.  Of course it can be hard to stay focused on your writing, when Angry Birds, Facebook, Wikipedia and the Internet is a click away! However the best thing about writing on your iPad, is that everything stays on your iPad. I no longer have a pile of scrawled on tickets/flyers/tissues. When inspiration hits you can type away safe in the knowledge that you will find your writing again – without trawling through your pockets. The writing can also be transferred easily to a computer and you don’t need to re-type your writing from scrawled notes. 

So there you have it! Feel free to let us know your favourite reading and writing apps on the Shortbread forum.

iPad Mini vs Kindle

/by Rachel Marsh/

I was on my way to the airport for two weeks of lounging about with the partner and his extended family. The plan was to do nothing too arduous, and spend the time chatting, being silly, and reading. Then something horrible happened on the Piccadilly line between Acton Town and Heathrow. I realised I was supposed to be going to Terminal 3, but my train was going to Terminal 5. So I jumped off at the platform, and that’s when it happened. The door closed, catching my shoulder bag, and the train started to pull away dragging me and my shoulder bag with it. A wonderful man came to my rescue by prying the doors open before the train picked up any speed.

As soon as we were free, (and I had thanked the man who rescued me) I checked my Kindle, which was slipped into the front pocket of my handbag. It looked okay, until I switched it on. The liquide-type-magic-eInk inside had gone gwarbled – my screen was cracked. I needed a new Kindle, and fast. I had a holiday approaching, and I wouldn’t be able to cope without anything to read.

This is where my partner comes in – the Apple loving IT guy. Despite buying me the Kindle for my birthday, he’s never been a fan of them. ‘Why buy something so limited, when an iPad will do so much more?’ he’d say. I never could make him understand that I only wanted the Kindle for reading, and didn’t want all the bells and whistles of an iPad. Plus, the iPad was just too big.

Well, it must have been fate, because I have since learned that the Piccadilly line crushed my Kindle at the very same moment the iPad Mini was being released. The Universe was telling me something; it was saying ‘Buy an iPad’.

After much searching, we finally found a store that wasn’t sold out of the miniature tables, so I forked over my credit card and thought, ‘Will this gadget become as indispensable as everyone claims, or will I still long for my Kindle?’

I’ve only had iPad Mini for a short period of time, but I feel I can come to a verdict. Below are the pros and cons of the iPad Mini and the Kindle:*

*The vivid colours of an iPad means that you can enjoy picture books, magazines, and other ebooks not normally suited for Kindle.

*While you can download the Kindle app onto your iPad to access the books in your Kindle library, buying books on the Kindle app isn’t as simple. The actual Kindle has a simple ‘One Click’ option, but on an iPad, you have to exit the Kindle app, open a browser, and purchase the book as if you were on a computer. However, iBooks and Newstand make it easy to find and purchase books, magazines and newspapers.

*At the moment, the iPad Mini does not come with 3G (or 4G for that matter), so if you like to buy books on the go, you may be a bit stuck. However, you can store your book collection on your device, or through the Kindle cloud, so at least you can read when you’re not connected to wireless.

*You can’t make notes or highlight on the Kindle app, like you can on the Kindle. This is unfortunate for anyone who wants to use the iPad for scholarly purposes, when scribbling in the margins is a must. In fact, I thought the lack of note-taking capabilities would be particularly problematic as I had gotten into the habit of reading student’s work on the Kindle and making notes as I went along. However, as the iPad Mini can read Word Docs, I can simply make notes as I would on a computer.

*Distractions are one of the big problems with the iPad Mini. In fact, I was reading a book just a moment ago and the author used a phrase which I thought might be an allusion, so I clicked over and Googled it. I suppose these sorts of distractions also exist with traditional books and other eRaders, but I’m less likely to put down a book if it means I have to walk over to a computer. With an iPad, the distractions are right there at your finger tips.

*Then there are the physical differences. The iPad Mini, while a similar size to Kindle, is slightly heavier, which is noticeable when holding it up for long periods of time. Also there is the glare issue that is inevitable on a device without eInk. Although, I must say, there is something satisfying in turning the page with your finger (as the iPad simulates) as opposed to Kindle’s button pushing.

With all this said, I find myself reaching for the iPad more than I ever did for the Kindle. Unfortunately, this may not be because of the reading capabilities of the tablet, but because of all the bells and whistles I thought I’d never use. In fact, the iPad Mini is really no different than the regular iPad (excluding the size and lack of 3G), so while I do believe that the Kindle is a superior device for simulating reading a book, the iPad is so much more handy especially now that they’ve made it Kindle size.

*Note: I am focusing on the iPad Mini, because its size is very similar to a Kindle. In fact, when I bought my iPad Mini, the only cases on the market were the magnetic ones that don’t protect the back. However, my iPad Mini does fit snugly in a Kindle pouch. Also, I am not talking about the Kindle Fire (with its touch screen), simply because I have never used one of those. The Kindle I am familiar with is the eink version with the keyboard at the bottom.

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