Ellen DeGeneres Visits the Kindle

Ellen Degeneres

I was surprised when I visited Amazon’s Kindle Blog — and discovered that the person writing it was Ellen DeGeneres! The comedian/talk-show host was a “guest blogger” on Thursday — and she had a message for us all.

“Hi, e-readers! I hope you are e-reading something good. I was just thinking — you know, I’m always thinking. Sometimes I’m thinking about the world we live in, sometimes I’m thinking about work, sometimes I’m just thinking about seedless watermelon. How do they have babies?

“Anyway, I was just thinking that all you e-readers out there should know about the new book I wrote. It’s called Seriously… I’m Kidding and it will have you rolling in the aisles — if you decide to read it somewhere with aisles, like a movie theater or a supermarket or even during a wedding ceremony. ”

The blog post helped push Ellen’s book onto Amazon’s best-seller list, and within five days of its release, it became the #35 best-selling book in the entire Kindle Store. (And #1 in the Entertainment/Humor subcategory). Ellen’s a fun personality to watch, and it turns out that she’s also a very witty writer. (And she provided the voice of Dory, the big blue fish in Pixar’s animated movie, Finding Nemo.)

I didn’t know much about Ellen, so I looked her up on Wikipedia, where I learned she’s won four daytime Emmy awards for “outstanding talk show host” , and another five daytime Emmies for having “an outstanding talk show”. (Plus three more daytime Emmies for the show’s writing.) She’s starred in two different sitcoms, she’s hosted both the Oscars and the Emmy Awards, and last year she was even one of the judges on American Idol. (She once joked that she’d become so attached to the young singers in the competition that in the end, “they’re probably all going to end up living at my place.”)

“Seriously…I’m Kidding” isn’t Ellen’s first book on the Kindle. Other titles include “My Point…And I Do Have One,” a 1996 book which came to the Kindle store in March. (And another 2003 Ellen title is also available as an ebook — “The Funny Thing Is… “) But it looks like in all the books, she’s done a good job of transporting her cheerful personality into an entirely new format. Here’s the way she opens her newest book.

“Dearest Reader,
Hello. How are you? That’s great to hear. Listen, I want to thank you for buying this book. We’re about to begin a beautiful journey together – one that is unique and special. I know a lot of you might watch my talk show, but communicating through a book is different than communicating through television. Like, on my talk show I tell you what’s going on in my life and what I’m thinking about each day. But in this book, I’m going to tell you what’s going on in my life and what I’m thinking about — you know what, I don’t want to waste your time with silly comparisons.”

There’s one funny problem with the book’s sample chapter. Ellen makes some funny claims about her accomplishments, but then backs down from them in self-deprecating footnotes. “[S]ince I wrote my last book a lot has happened in my life. I got married. I got my own talk show. I started a record label. I became a CoverGirl. I was Dory. I won an Academy Award.* I won the Boston Marathon.** I started a compost heap.*** And I was knighted by the Queen of England.****” Unfortunately, the footnotes aren’t included with the ebook’s sample chapter — so there’s no way to confirm when she’s kidding! (I sent an e-mail to Ellen’s show, joking that “Maybe I need to start watching your show more. I didn’t know half that stuff!”)

But the bottom line is her new book is full of jokes, and it seems like a lot of fun. It was just last week that it turned up in the Kindle Store, and it’s spent every day since in the top 100. She’s obviously attracted a large audience of loyal fans from her TV shows (and her funny blog posts) — so I’ll give Ellen the last word.

“What’s really exciting about you e-readers getting my book is that now you won’t just be e-readers, as in electronic readers. You’ll be e-readers, as in Ellen readers! You don’t even have to change your name, and I think that is “e” as in excellent.”

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