Summer Reading?

At this time of year, I’ve seen articles in magazines about ‘summer reading’ which make book recommendations. Most of the books are light-hearted fare, and many of them, since I mostly read ‘women’s’ magazines (pardon that archaic designation), are romances.

When I reflected on these articles, it made me start to wonder if such a thing as ‘summer reading’ really existed any more. It might for those kids who are too young to have a job yet, but for the rest of us? Unless you’re a teacher, are you summers really that much different from the rest of year? I work for an attorney who does a lot of real estate, and summer is a prime time for buying and selling (even now). Summers are more work-intensive for me than any other time of year. Mental escape is even more important to me when I leave the office, but does the fact that it’s summer change my reading choices?

I don’t think so. I think I like what I like no matter what the season is. I don’t say on the first day of summer, ‘Time to break out the romances or light mysteries,’ nor do I say when autumn rolls around, ‘Let’s crack open some Dickens.’

Still, calling a book a ‘summer read’ is probably somewhat effective as a sales pitch. It harkens back to that time when our summers were a time of freedom and play, and if reading a particular book can rekindle that feeling, more power to it!

Does the season change your reading choices?

New Program on Amazon

There have been hints and rumors flying around about this, and today it is official. Amazon has started a program for Kindle books called Kindle Unlimited. For a monthly subscription, Kindle owners can ‘rent’ an unlimited number of eBooks, and they will remain on your Kindle as long as your subscription is active (i.e., paid for). If you don’t pay your subscription fee, the books will disappear from your Kindle.

What will this cost? $9.99 a month, but whether you can get it on a month-by-month basis or have to commit to a year, I don’t know.

Is there an advantage to this program for readers? I suppose if you’re a very quick reader, you could get a lot more books on your Kindle for $9.99 than you could if you just bought them outright. The books they offer include non-indie authors as well, though someone wrote that Stephen King and some other renown writers of espionage-type novels were not included. Amazon does have a webpage about the program showing some of the books: (I just discovered that the link I had posted to the Unlimited page is not working, but if you go to the Amazon homepage, there is a link there: http://www.amazon.com)

How does this differ from KOLL (Kindle Owner’s Lending Library) for Prime members? Under that program, Prime members can only ‘borrow’ one book a month, whereas with Unlimited, as its name implies, the number you can borrow is unlimited. Of course with Unlimited, you aren’t getting free shipping on anything else you order from Amazon as you do with Prime.

Is Unlimited an advantage to indie authors? That remains to be seen. You must have your book/s enrolled in KDP Select in order for them to be eligible for Unlimited. Instead of your royalty based on the sale price, you will get a prorated amount (depending on the number of borrowers that month) from the Global Fund Amazon sets up each month. Some KDP Forum members were complaining that their royalty if the book sold rather than was simply borrowed would be more than the prorated amount and therefore Unlimited wasn’t financially beneficial to them. I have had one book to date in KDP Select. The enrollment period ended this week, and I don’t plan to put any other books into it as it didn’t benefit me at all, but some people swear by it.

The big disadvantage to Kindle Unlimited as far as indie authors are concerned is the fact that the author does not get any kind of payment until the borrower has read at least 10% of the book. I know it can sometimes take me a long time to get to a book I’ve downloaded on my Kindle for any number of reasons: I’ve forgotten I’ve downloaded it, my Kindle isn’t handy when I feel like reading, I’ve got an actual physical book I want to read, etc. And in the meantime, the indie author under the Unlimited program isn’t being paid, and if the book is never read and the Unlimited member lets his/her subscription lapse, the author never gets a cent. (If the owner does read the book, or at least 10% of it, the author only gets paid the first time it is read, not for each additional reading. This, though is the same as with a physical book; those authors don’t get additional royalties if loyal readers re-read their works multiple times.)

That’s the program as I understand it. If I’ve misstated anything, I apologize in advance.

So what do you think? Does Kindle Unlimited appeal to you, as an indie author or as a reader? As both? As neither?

Hugging an author

Today I’m sharing an email from Jay at Choosy Bookworm. In case you haven’t heard of him or his site, he sends out a daily newsletter listing Kindle books that are being offered at a reduced price or free. Even if you don’t find a book you like there, he always starts his newsletter with an enjoyable book-related quote. You can find him at http://www.choosybookworm.com, where you’ll be able to subscribe to his newsletter if you so desire.

Here is the text of his newsletter from July 7, 2014:

Hello dear Bookworm!

Did you know that authors need our help?

Authors put their heart and soul into their books. Then, after

laboring over their book for many, many hours, they release

their work into a world of millions of books where it is

hard to get noticed.

How can we help?

There are many things we can do to support our favorite authors.

Here are my top 5 suggestions:

5. Share the author and their books with your friends.
Word of mouth is powerful!

4. Like their Facebook page and sign up for their email list.

3. Purchase their new book when it comes out.

2. Share about their book on your blog (if you have one), in
forums, and on any social media platform you enjoy.

And the easiest and definitely one of the most effective ways
to support an author you appreciate is:

1. LEAVE A REVIEW for a book you love!

It’s the easiest way to show some love and it is immensely effective!

Reviews will help bring more sales which in turn will help better rankings

within Amazon…which are greatly important to your favorite author.

So hug an author today. Leave a review!

Take care,

– Jay :o)