Saturday, 19 January 2013

Did Santa put a Kindle in your Stocking?


Well, did he? This is my second Kindle Christmas. In 2011 I got so fed up waiting for Santa to bring me one that I gave myself a Christmas present, a lovely brand new Kindle which I quickly clothed in a swish red leather jacket. I was in book heaven, and my fingers just itched to load it up with books. Then this Christmas, the 2012 one that’s now just a memory, I decided I’d been such a good girl I deserved another reward, so I bought myself a brand new Kindle Fire. Now I get to see all the books in my library in their full colour covers. Not sure if it makes the reading experience any better, but it does make my Kindle library look awsome.

So, I imagine that if Santa was good to you and brought you a Kindle, whether it was a keyboard one, or a Touch, or a Paper White, or the newest of the new, the Kindle Fire, you’ll be looking forward to filling it with books. Well, you’re in luck because Amazon has loads of reasonably priced and free books in their Kindle store, some of them good, some of them not so good, and some of them downright awful. So how do you choose?

For my first sally into the world of ebooks I chose to download some free ones. I played safe and downloaded some classics. You can’t go wrong with them. I went for things like The Adventures of Tom SawyerThe Legends of King ArthurPride and Prejudice, although I’m not really a Jane Austen fan, and there were several more. But being a crime writer I then turned to The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Complete Sherlock Holmes – and of course, I couldn’t resist one or two horror novels like Dracula, - Frankenstein, - and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Now I don’t know what your tastes are, but when you get tired of reading the classics – and who wants to read nothing but classics? Well, maybe you do, but I’m afraid my tastes veer towards fast paced modern fiction so it didn’t take me long to start exploring the lists of other books. And there are plenty to choose from with a variety of prices from the ridiculously cheap to the over the top expensive. Oh, and I need to say, that nowadays I don’t particularly go for the free books unless it’s an author I know, because most of the free ones I downloaded just sit in my Kindle and aren’t read. And who wants or needs a library of books that will never be opened? But I did find a load of really good books which were ridiculously cheap.

I discovered that a lot of traditional publishers price their ebooks higher, in fact some of them are more expensive than the paper versions. I can’t get my head round the reasons for them doing this, unless it’s to persuade us to buy the paper ones. Or maybe they just don’t like the technological revolution in publishing! There’s a name for that, and I think it’s luddites!

But there are loads of authors out there who are writing what is termed Indie books, it just means independently published books, by authors who are bypassing the publishers. Now, you can find loads of good books published by Indies, and also some, which to be polite, are not so good.

So how can you tell the difference? Well, a lot of the books on Amazon allow you to ‘Look Inside’ and by clicking on the cover you can read a short part of the book on the Amazon website. So, if you do this, you can quite easily check whether the book is well written and well formatted. Oh, a word of caution, I discovered that even the classics can be badly formatted, however there are usually several versions of the same book, varying in price from free to varying rates of cheapness. The book will be the same in all cases but the formatting may vary from good to diabolical. So it’s worth looking inside in order to get the best version.

There are also some websites and blogs, like The Famous Five Plus http://famousfiveplus.blogspot.com/ and Loveahappyending.com, although this latter one is not solely for ebooks and promotes authors with print books as well. Here is my page on Love a Happy ending http://loveahappyending.com/chris-longmuir/ although there are many more authors to choose from. And here is my author page on Authors Electric http://electricauthors.jimdo.com/authors/chris-longmuir/. I’m sure if you root around the internet, you’ll find many more. It’s also worth googling the author’s name and title of the book you are interested in, and checking up on the reviews, because there are lots of reviewers out there.

So, whether Santa brought you a Kindle, or whether like me, you decide to give yourself a Christmas present, happy reading. And I hope you’ll cast your eyes over my selection of ebooks when you’re looking around.




8 comments:

Chihuahua Zero said...

I did get a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and it's definitely getting the most use of all the presents received in my household!

Chris Longmuir said...

Yes, I kinda like my Kindle Fire too. I read it in the living room, but stick to my older Kindle when I'm reading in bed, and it's amazing how the two Kindles sync to where you left off reading. I hope you get lots of lovely books for your Fire.

julia jones said...

That's a very good point about looking at different editions of classic novels to check the formatting. And I didn't know that different 'editions' of Kindles would sync with each other to allow you to continue reading the same book on each one. Clever stuff that

madwippitt said...

Its a shame that the perfectly sized cover for the older Kindle looks a bit lost on the longer screen of the new Kindle Fire though ... It did lead me to think about introducing some colour illustrations in my last book though!
As far as the free classic novels are concerned, it can also be frustrating to find the illustrations are missing, replaced with a caption.

Reb MacRath said...

And to think that only 'yesterday' I was so tickled to get my first Kindle that I felt I'd just entered the Space Age. Now I mope about my cave, yearning for a Kindle Fire. :)

Kathleen Jones said...

I got a Kindle Fire too (special offer (£99) but sadly it has Solitaire on it.........

Beautiful screen though and I love the way I can highlight text. Pity about the card games .......

Chris Longmuir said...

Yes, the apps can be quite distracting. I have Bubble Shoot on mine and it's addictive!!!!

cheap jerseys said...

I read it in the living room, but stick to my older Kindle when I'm reading in bed, and it's amazing how the two Kindles sync to where you left off reading. I hope you get lots of lovely books for your Fire