Ideas on cheaper reading

06 Apr
After hanging around different places on the net for a while I have seen a couple of questions pop up about ereaders and ebooks. Some or more technical and I won’t go into those but some others I find to be interesting as they have more to do with our outlook on books and not per-se with ebooks.

Cost of ebooks
Samples/trying out small pieces
Lending/giving away/sharing

Cost of ebooks
Some people are scared of the high price of an ereader when ebooks are not always that much cheaper than paperbacks. So they choose to not go for an ereader, though I think this is a shame, think of the space you would safe if you would buy ebooks, and if you would change your mindset even a lot of money.
I have a whole collection of books and haven’t paid for any of them. If I only count the books that I bought from Amazon on days they were free I would probably have a collection worth about double what I paid for my Kindle.
For the list of free books on Amazon you can use these two lists:
Amazon UK Free ebooks
These two lists don’t include another large source of free ebooks: books that no longer have copyright on them. Old books, or a nicer name Classics, have often run out of copyright and thus are available for free. Think about it like this: you can buy classics for a couple of Pound or Dollar but you still have to pay for the book, or you can buy the classic in ebook and have them for free. You can find classics on Amazon but also at Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg has not just English (UK/US) writers but also books in other languages, so if your first language is not English or you want to practice a different language you have a big chance you will find a book of the chosen language on it.
The third option is indie writers. These ebooks are usually cheaper than ebooks from publishers and can go as low as $0.99 or 70 pence. In comparison a lot of published ebooks go for around 6 dollar, so you could buy 6 ebooks for the same price when you buy indie. Of course not all of them are that cheap but overall they are cheaper than traditionally published works.
I actually have a large collection of free ebooks from indie writers from websites like Smashwords and I’m not even close to having found everything that is on there. They have a huge collection of ebooks and more are added daily.
A often heard complaint is that you never know how well written the book is and that people are scared to spend money on badly written books. In the past couple of years I have found that traditionally published works also don’t guarantee a well written and edited work, I have found errors in books when they go into their 11th print. I find this an excuse that doesn’t really have any grounds apart from the stigma that is attached to self publishing.
These days you have no excuse for buying a badly written book to be honest. There are thousands of weblogs and websites out there that give honest reviews on books, Amazon has a review system where you can see what other people thought of the book and there is something else that will help, samples.
Samples/trying out small pieces
Amazon gives you the option to sample the first part of the book before you buy it. So you can read a bit before you decide if you want to buy it or not. This can help a lot. You might find that a book that sounds really good might not be your style of writing at all. Or that the language used in the book offends you. But (for me) this also takes away the excuse of buying badly written indie books. You can try the sample and if you find it to be full of errors or other problems you can go onto the next book and not buy this book. How easy is that? Ofcourse the start of the book might have been clean but it might be full of errors elsewhere, well… You’ll probably see that in the review section, so don’t worry.
I have used this option very often. Especially when I decided to buy a book on grammar and punctuation and downloaded samples of all the books that interested me. In the end I decided on an indie writer; Annette Lyons book There, Their, They’re: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from theWord Nerd . I had read through a couple of samples and found her style and writing to fit me best for my purpose.
Samples are your friend, use them whenever you can.
Lending/giving away/sharing
A lot of people are uncomfortable with not being able to lend their books to other people, or that they can’t give the books away after having read them. I never gave away my books after I read them, so I never had to deal with this.
Although I have heard some interesting ideas to the whole lending problem.
The first thing is that some books in the US can actually be loaned for 2 weeks before they return to your kindle and you can’t borrow that book again. I do hope they will make the loan longer and that they will spread this to other parts of the world with kindles too. I don’t know a lot of people with kindles and stuff in person but I have met quite a couple of them online.
But some people have actually created accounts so they can share all their books with family and/or friends. You can connect multiple kindles and kindle apps to one account so as long as you don’t all sync every time you read a couple of pages in a book and you take care of how the money is handled this could be a good idea.
If you have an ereader that can handle epub format (Kindle can’t) I heave read that some libraries actually let you borrow their own books in ebook format, which I think is quite neat. Though not a lot of them do it yet as they seem to have problems with publishers about the how of it all.
Have fun reading and I hope I might have given you new ideas on how to spend less on books for you kindle without having to read less.

Posted by on April 6, 2011 in cheap reading, ebooks, epublishing, reading


4 responses to “Ideas on cheaper reading

  1. Tom

    April 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I for one disagree with your view on e-publishing. You may think indie publishing (though it would perhaps better to label in vanity publishing) is the future, but proper publishing still has a strong future, simply because of the Editor helping the writer hone the work. Though I do agree to a point that e-publishing will become important, standard books and publishers won't die simply due to their wealth of experience that they've had, in some cases for hundreds of years. Indie publishing simply makes it easier for writers to get sold, but in all probability won't.The library and lending of books is interesting. I shall watch with interest with how that develops.You do raise interesting points however, and I enjoyed reading them.

  2. KiaZiShiru

    April 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    The discussion on indie publishing (ebooks) vs vanity publishing (regular books) vs traditional publishing is one that is going on in a lot of places.I for one don't agree that indie epublishing is the same as the century old vanity publishing. epublishing for one doesn't cost a thing. You put your work up and it sells or it doesn't according to your skills and marketing.Vanity publishing is where you pay to get your work printed. You pay to be able to sell the books at normally 3 times the traditional publishing price.Indie publishers (at least the ones that sell well and have great books) have editors, they sometimes have people that will make them covers and they sometimes have a whole range of people to work with. Why? Because they want to compete with traditional publishers. They sometimes write genres that traditional publishers don't accept often (I write gay romance, there are very few larger publishers for that) or they guess that if they need to do of their own promoting anyway (as traditional publishers are asking of more and more authors) why not sell it themselves and get rid of the middle man? Which changes the profits they make themselves from 15% max to up to 70% of the sale price.Also don't confuse e-publishing with indie publishing. There are actually a growing number of "traditional" publishers who only sell in e-format. epublishing is simply the format of the work.Indie publishing, or independent publishing, means you are not connected to a publisher at all. You do everything yourself.I think ebooks will make up more and more of the amount of books sold, last year Amazon released a report that they sold more ebooks than paperbacks or hardback books in the last quarter of the year. This was not including free books.More people will start reading from phones, laptops, tablets and ereaders since more people are constantly using those devices on a daily base. The idea of being able to carry around 10 LOTRs for the same weight as your agenda does appeal to a lot of people these days.

  3. Coral Russell

    May 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    eBooks are the future. My dad is a superintendent and he is going to buy Kindles for all of his HS students so they can have access to eBooks. Netbooks/Laptops/iPads are either in use or being piloted. Professors are using programs to make their own textbooks in an eBook format. What's exciting is that IF you go the DIY route, you can not only publish your stories, but also sell them and from personal stories, make some money at it. If your goal is to make a living at writing, it's gotten easier by applying a lot of elbow grease.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: