To Kindle or Not to Kindle... — Kindle — AAPEX

Friday, May 22, 2009

To Kindle or Not to Kindle...

Click Image to Enlarge.

For a playwright, that is the question. At this point, the cost of the Kindle ($359.00) means there won't be enough to go around even for a small play with few characters-- much less one like mine. Once Upon A Time In Harlem is a big sprawling three-act cast heavy period drama (or "dancical" as Jaz Dorsey, founder of the African American Playwrights Exchange, likes to refer to it since it is NOT a musical) and just to outfit the main characters with a Kindle would bankrupt most productions.


AAPEX has always encouraged playwrights to be pro-active in their careers. Getting your play "Kindlesized" is one way of doing that. Why? Because it puts it "out there" in one more iteration and the more you got, the better your chances are at getting discovered.

But who's going to read it?

The cognoscenti with a jones for the digital. Like the brother in the picture above. With luck, one of them might be a Broadway producer or director needing something to read on the subway. He or she looks up a list of Kindle books on theatre and discovers...your play. At this point there aren't many but yours is there. And it only costs $1.60 at for an instant download*. Such a deal! By the time the person who can change your life steps off the train, he or she has read enough to want to buy the rights.

Or something like that.

In any event, if you have the time, it's worth the effort. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain since the only cost to Kindlesizing your play is time. Reformatting is a bitch but it will become easier-- there is talk that PDF files will soon be accepted.

And there is competition. A Canadian company is introducing its own take on the ebook.'s reformatting is extremely easy to do compared to Kindle. It needs your work in text format. If your play is in Word, do a "Save As" in .txt and it's basically done. Both company models include color covers for listing on the Net. What sets ShortCovers apart from Kindle is that its ebooks are able to be read on most mobile devices like cell phones and are not restricted to one digital platform like Kindle. Also, it supports downloading shorter content such as chapters, articles, blog entries, etc. Of, course, Kindle's got going for it and all those eyeballs searching for something to read. But, as Bob Dylan once said, "times they are a changin'."

That means reaching that hip, connected producer, director, or literary agent just go a whole lot easier.

DC Copeland

*For the "Radio Play," a shortened reading version.

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