I’m Dusting Off The Kindle!

03/05/2016 Discussions, Reading 25

I'm Dusting Off The Kindle!As you can probably tell from the photograph, I’ve had my Kindle for a long time! If I remember rightly, it’s a 2nd generation Kindle, and seen as Amazon are now up to the 7th (not to mention the other versions such as the Paperwhite and Oasis etc.), I’d say it’s a good number of years old!

However, despite having owned a Kindle for so many years, I find I barely read any ebooks. I had a phase when I first got the Kindle where I read a few, and now I’ve got it out of the bottom of the drawer it has been pretty interesting to scan through it and see what I was reading back then (the entire Hunger Games trilogy, which I had forgotten I read on my Kindle, The Host by Stephanie Meyer, before they made that terrible film out of it, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir etc.). For some reason though, reading ebooks has just never quite caught on with me, and I even wrote about my inability to read ebooks in a guest post for Oh! the Books back when I first started blogging. I'm Dusting Off The Kindle!

I have been wondering recently though whether to give ebooks another shot. This was partly prompted by the realisation that I physically can’t fit any more books into my overstuffed bookcase, and seen as I’ll be moving sometime in the next few months, I don’t really want to get another one at the moment (more stuff to move!). I’m also trying to save up for my move, so I like the fact that ebooks tend to be a lot cheaper than physical books.

Plus I’ve been reading quite a few writer blogs and listening to some writer podcasts at the moment (The Creative Penn is a current favourite!) and have been hearing more and more about the self-publishing industry, and it has made me kind of interested in trying out more self-published books, which are more common amongst ebooks.

I’ve never really really read any self-published books, which to be honest, as a book blogger is pretty shocking. Especially seen as I’m an aspiring writer myself, I should probably be trying to support other writers more, and you never know – one day when I finally wrote that novel I might decide that self-publishing is the right path for me too!

However, the thing that has always put me off is that there are already so many traditionally published books I want to read anyway, and wading through the good and bad of self-publishing seems like such hard work. I know there are some super-talented self-published authors out there, but I have also heard that there is some absolute rubbish as well, and if I’m paying for something, I want a good product, not an unedited, badly formatted mess.

Anyway, that’s why I’m dusting off my Kindle, and I’m looking for some recommendations for good books I can download, so that hopefully I’ll avoid all the unedited, badly formatted messes! You never know, if I get into ebooks, maybe I’ll treat myself to a more up to date Kindle, instead of this antique!

So do you read many ebooks? What do you think are the pros and cons? Are there any books or authors you would particularly recommend? 

25 Responses to “I’m Dusting Off The Kindle!”

  1. Alex

    Third Time Poster:

    I use my kindle a good deal and even more since the kindle app for my phone. Allow me to add three additional benefits to using the kindle.

    1) Nobody can see what you’re reading. For many people holding a hardback copy of your favorite book is a flag to be proudly waved at all those around you. But let us say you are not a famous book blogger with distinctive look and you want just want to read your sci-fi or fantasy novels in peace. A grown man reading Twilight, Harry potter, Jackie Collins or old school sci-fi may attract some looks. The kindle will allow those prone to intellectual vanity or artistic snobbery to “slum it” while reading in public.

    2) A lot of classics, those that exist in the public domain, are available for free or very cheap. Some examples of classics you can get for 99 cents or less are the Morte De Arthur, The King in Yellow, Heart of Darkness and the Complete Works of Mary Wollstonecraft. For me, the books I “should read” were taking up a lot of bookshelf space. Now they take up a lot of my cyberspace.

    3) It is a fast and easy way to support many of the literary magazines. There are a lot literary markets out there and some very excellent genre markets. I suggest Burbon Penn, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fantasy Scroll magazine and there are a ton more. Boats Against the Current has never gotten much into current short fiction and I think the Kindle is a great portal to that world. Also the short fiction community is a vibrant one with a strong online presence.

    May I also add something about self-publishing. It needs you. As you said you don’t want to wade through the crap to find the diamonds, but neither does anybody else. As a prolific and talented blogger and reviewer you could be a lighthouse in the sea of self-published books. The self-published world needs people to call out the crap and celebrate the good. What is the role of critic and reviewer if not help defend and draw attention to quality that might go over looked? I am going suggest two self-published reads here. I don’t have any connection with either of them, but they’re both under three dollars american and they represent competent and incompetent self-publishing. The first is just easy to read space opera stuff and the second is a train wreck.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Michael-Wallace-ebook/dp/B01CR14C1W/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1462280363&sr=1-3&keywords=rogues

    http://www.amazon.com/Paranormal-Urban-Werewolves-Adventure-Anthologies-ebook/dp/B01EO8D87A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1462282383&sr=1-1&keywords=love+before+the+dawn+cynthia

    • Laura

      You make some good additional points!
      You might not always want people to see what you’re reading, and I do like the free classics thing. I used to use that when I was at university and then I didn’t have to buy so many books.
      The literary magazine thing is a good point too, as I’ve read a few stories off a few of those websites, and have even downloaded a Beneath Ceaseless Skies Anthology a while ago, but never got round to reading it, thanks to me having abandoned my Kindle for so long. I’ve been wanting to read more short fiction for a while, so that would be a good way to get into it.
      I also take you’re point about being a reviewer – the point of reviewing is to recommend books to other people, and help them decide what not to bother with, so reading more books that are lesser known would be a good way to do that. So many people have already read a lot of the books that I already review, that it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to find a review of it elsewhere anyway.
      Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll be sure to check those out! 🙂

    • nordie

      I use my review policy to weed out a lot of selfpubs that I might not get on well with (and therefore write a bad review for). If you can’t follow instructions like “i’m not accepting books” or “I dont review poetry”, and mail me saying “can you review my book of poetry?” then quite honestly, it’s started bad and can only go downhill.

      I do read self-published authors, many of whom I’ve met in real life. I’ve been to author events, heard them read passages from their work, and have built up a relationship with them. These are the ones I’ve read for time and again and continue to support.

      I wrote a longer piece on this a few weeks ago https://nordie.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/self-publish-and-be-damned/

    • Laura

      Is it? Hehe, I have absolutely no idea. I know the 2nd gen was out around the time I got it, but as I say, it was so long ago I don’t really know 🙂

  2. nordie

    I’ve spent a couple of years reading ebooks almost exclusively, and am now heading back to reading paper books in an attempt to get a grip on my “real” bookshelf.

    Netgalley have got better in the quality of the books being made available in terms of formatting. I’ve found that Edelweiss can be hit and miss in terms of the quality of the format – but then again, the latter will make Neil Gaiman and Tracy Chevalier books available, so it’s swings and roundabouts.

    Librarything have a monthly Early Reviewers, where you can put your name down for books and can get them free, including Kindle format. BookViewCafe are one of the publishers who release stuff via this method.

    I’m not going to recommend specific books, as it can be very subjective – check out my blog instead and see whether you like any of them – I usually say where I got the book from (did you see what I did there? hahahahhaa)

    • Laura

      I really do worry about the whole potential for annoying format and errors in ebooks, so I’ll maybe give Netgalley a go if that is supposedly not too bad.
      I think I’ve heard of Librarything before, but have never used it, so I’ll look into that.
      And I’ll definitely be checking out your blog for some recommendations, so thanks! 🙂

  3. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I could not function without my e-reader now. I am slowly becoming a physical book reader again, but my Kindle is my everyday way of reading. It’s so much more convenient for my commute because carrying a book around can be very unwieldy. I became a book Kindle reader much for the same reason you’re thinking of getting back into it, the chance for reading lesser known books and the cheap prices.

    I think having a balance of both ebooks and physical books is good, but in the end, what copy I buy is partially down to which I can get cheaper and if it’s a series it depends on what format I have the rest of the books in.

    • Laura

      E-readers are so much more convenient to carry around, and so I would really love to be able to use it more for my everyday reading like you do, so hopefully I’ll get into the habit of using it more.
      A balance is probably good, as there are still certain books I’ll probably still want physical copies of, but otherwise I’m going to just choose whatever is available for cheaper 🙂

  4. Karen Blue

    I get how you feel, there is something really special about the printed word. When I buy books, I almost always buy them in hardcover for my shelf. I have to admit that I have grown really attached to my kindle. My kindle (4th gen Fire) has a text-to-speech option for most of my arcs and (after getting used to the monotone voice) I rely on it to read to me while I am driving around for my job. I find reading on a kindle is faster for me since I can do it one handed and switch to speech when I have to look away.
    I also want to mention all the books you will have access to through NetGalley and Edelweiss once you start reading on it. I have only had formatting issues with a very few books, most of them read just fine (although you may find a typo or two).
    I hope you make peace with your kindle.

    • Laura

      I’ve only occasionally tried the text-to-speech function on my Kindle to test it out, but having it read the books to you whilst you drive sounds like a really good use of it! I’ll have to try that out.
      I’ve never really done the whole ARC thing, or used Netgalley of Edelweiss, and I think a lot of that was to do with my aversion to ebooks, but hopefully if I get into it more, that will be a lot more options opened up to me! Here’s hoping I do manage to make peace with my Kindle! 🙂

  5. Jill

    I read on my Kindle only lol. I used to have mountains of books, but there came a time when something had to give, and I opted into Kindle, I never looked back. Here’s a book lovers little selfish point about kindle or ebooks. You know when somebody says “can I borrow that book?” and you secretly fear you might never get it back? Not a risk with ebooks lol.

    I read whatever appeals to me, traditional published and self published. How they came to find their way into the ebook store doesn’t influence my decision making process. I read a LOT of potential indie author manuscripts to be honest as I edit, proofread and publish them for a living. Mistakes, typos etc should not be more frequent than in traditionally published books (trust me they are there). However if there are many mistakes and things are grammatically poor in an ebook I generally stop reading, for me it indicates that the writer didn’t seek to get the support they need in order to give their reader a book to the standards which we expect? It smacks of not caring, but that’s just me being judgemental lol. There are some amazing writers out there not taking the publishing deal route, there are also some poor ones. When trying out any author we haven’t read before, the gamble is the same? It does help to read reviews though?

    • Laura

      That is such a good point! Pretty much every book I’ve ever lent to other people I have never got back, so I should really start buying everything in the Kindle store! 🙂
      That seems like a good way of choosing what to read. To be honest, it’s never been a particularly conscious decision for me to not read self-published books (aside from that little bit at the back of my mind where I fear all the potential typos etc.), it’s mostly just been that I buy books in stores as opposed to online, thanks to my ebook aversion, and pretty much all the books there are traditionally published. I’ve started looking around on ebook stores though, and have bought a couple of things now, so I’ll see how it goes. Reading the reviews has been pretty helpful in making my decision!
      I get what you mean about the ones that do have typos and stuff though, because I guess if you’re serious about publishing your book you should get it properly edited.

    • Laura

      Let me know when you do your response post, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Ebooks are such an interesting subject I think, because people have such different thoughts on them 🙂

  6. Jackie

    I received a Nook as a college graduation present, so I’ve had it for about five years now. I think I read just as many physical books as I do e-books.

    I love the convenience of e-books. Not only is it easy to travel with, but I can also basically buy and read a book whenever I want. The only downfall is I have a hard time reading looooong books are more complicated texts like classic novels or non-fiction books.

    • Laura

      Ebooks really are so convenient, which is what’s kind of pushing me towards trying again to get into reading them. I can imagine really long or complicated texts are pretty tough to read on them though!

  7. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I never thought I would get into ebooks but then my parents gave me a Kobo and I love it. I almost exclusively use it for library books and free classics or other offers; I don’t like the idea of spending money on something so ephemeral. Convenience is the main selling point for me – I can download instantly, travel with dozens of books, read easily in bed without bothering my husband, etc.

    If you’re willing to spend a few bucks, Open Road Media has a great “Early Birds” email list that gives daily deals as well as a free classic each day: http://www.earlybirdbooks.com/

    • Laura

      Convenience is one of the main things that is making me want to try again with ebooks. I have too many physical books for my shelves, and it’s harder to carry round actual books.
      Thanks for the link, I’ll definitely have to check that out! 🙂

  8. Silvara

    I love my Kindle. My first one was the Kindle DX, I’m not sure what generation, one of the early ones? *laughs* It was the one and only oversized Kindle Amazon ever made. It’s the size of a hardback book, but just as slim as other Kindles. But last year I bought myself a new small one on sale so I could take it to work with me easier.

    I love having my Kindle at work. I can easily pick it up during downtimes and read a bunch, but set it aside when the phone rings. I also like being able to get library books without having to drive anywhere.

    My only real complaint is that it isn’t easy to flip back to an earlier section of ebook to check something that was said/explained if I have a question later in the book.

    As far as recs on self-published authors? I had to go look through my archives. *laughs* I read some, but so many are poorly done that I only try them if they’re free or recommended by a friend!

    I really enjoyed:

    Lisa Star and the Solstice Academy by R. Hunter Gough (only one book though and should totally be a series! Still hoping for more.)

    Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1) by Melissa F. Olson (has now been picked up by a publisher)

    Everything ever written by Chera Carmichael (only on Smashwords last I checked)

    Painted Blind: A Modern Retelling Of The Myth Of Cupid & Psyche by Michelle Hansen (one of the first self-published books I read after starting my blog, & still one of my favorites!)

    The Quill Pen by Michelle Isenhoff

    Cursed Beauty by Dorian Tsukioka

    • Laura

      I haven’t actually even heard of the Kindle DX! Although thanks to me getting one of the early Kindles and then never using it I haven’t really kept up to date with all the different ones they have released.
      I imagine a Kindle is super useful for your work though. I bet with a book when the phone rang it would be a bit of a scramble to try and mark your place before putting down an actual book, so a Kindle is ideal really.
      Thanks so much for all the recommendations! I’ll definitely be checking some of those out! 🙂

    • Laura

      That’s true, it can depend on your mood, so a combination of ebooks and physical books is probably a good thing to have! 🙂

  9. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    LOL! That Kindle really does look like a dinosaur! I’ve never seen one like that!

    I actually now really enjoy reading on my Kindle, even though I didn’t think I would at first. I basically started because of review books and NetGalley. I’d actually still say that 99% of the ebooks I read are for review, but I occasionally throw a regular read in there.

    As far as good self-published books – I totally agree that there are some FANTASTIC self-pubbed books out there, but it CAN be a mixed bag. And if you’re paying for the books, you want them to be good! Of course, I highly recommend any of the books I’ve edited – I can vouch for their error-freeness (even editors can make up their own words sometimes!). Most of the books I’ve edited happen to have sexual content, though, and I can’t remember what your stance on that is. If you want some suggestions, let me know!

    Oh, and I wrote a post awhile back called Top Twelve Indie Books for Readers Who Like Fantasy/Dystopian/Paranormal. Check that one out for some suggestions!

    • Laura

      Haha, it is a total dinosaur. It must be at least 6 years old, probably older.
      I imagine I’d have got into ebooks more if I did more review books and ARCs (so far I’ve just been reviewing the books I have been reading that I would have read anyway).
      I’ll definitely have to check out some of the books that you’ve edited (the fact that the authors have hired an editor is obviously a good sign!), and I’ll be sure to check out your post because I’m a huge fan of fantasy and dystopia 🙂

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