Publishing companies would send me dozens of books every month when I worked in Los Angeles, especially at KLOS, with the hope that their authors would be interviewed on the air. They had an appreciation for radio that the movie studios and television networks lacked. It was difficult to book an interview with a top TV star and nearly impossible to get an interview with an A-list movie star. When those same celebrities had a book to promote, the publishing houses eagerly booked them on radio.
When I got my Kindle, I wondered if publishers still mailed out hard copies of books in advance to radio hosts or if they would somehow send e-books to our Kindles. Would they give us a code to enter at Amazon.com that would let us download a book before its release to the public? Or would they direct us to a secret page on their own website?
Yesterday, I received a hard copy of the new Jefferson Bass novel in the mail. It gets released to the public on May 8 but I need to read it prior to recording an interview with the authors on May 1. I also received an email from a new publishing house asking if I would review one of their books on my website after May 7. They said they didn’t have many hard copies available and asked if I had an e-reader.
The publisher’s publicist emailed me a file with an .epub extension. They also sent instructions on how to download a program called Calibre, which could convert the file into something my Kindle could read. I didn’t like the Calibre interface because I couldn’t find my model of Kindle among their list of devices. I dug a little deeper and found that Amazon has a tool called KindleGen that would convert the .epub file to a Kindle file. It worked but it wasn’t easy to use.
Converting the .epub file to a .mobi file involved going to the Command Prompt and typing in DOS-style instructions. Then I plugged the Kindle into my computer and dragged the file from my laptop into the correct folder on the device. The whole process used up the time I had hoped to spend doing some actual reading last night.