Free reading challenge: When FREE isn’t free

So, I’ve now been satisfying my reading urges with only free books for two weeks.

Philippa Fusspot

My chief learning point for the past fourteen days is what a very fussy reader I am (actually, I already knew that; this exercise has just confirmed the fact). I often find it hard to discover books I enjoy because there are just so many out there, and so very many of them (I’m sorry to say) are absolute junk (imo; tastes may vary). Now that a big chunk of potential reading material has been cut off, I’m finding it even harder to find books I want to spend my time on – and I’m appreciating the Look-Inside feature even more than before.

Listopia

I have also confirmed that there’s very little point to trawling through Amazon’s FREE lists to fill my kindle. I was very surprised given Amazon’s customer focus and their much-vaunted (if esoterically obscure) logarithms which I thought were intended to deliver exactly what the customer wanted, to discover how random the free lists were. I don’t mean the quality, which I was expecting – but rather, when I search for YA fiction I don’t really expect to find that a notable number of titles were actually erotica.

When free isn’t free

And then there’s the FREE element. A large proportion (like 8 out of 10 of the top ten) weren’t, in fact, free. It always winds me up when authors promote their books as FREE … on Kindle Unlimited, because that’s not free, it’s included in the cost of subscription. Quite how authors had managed to get their £3.99 books listed in the free category was a puzzle. Maybe it gets the books seen more widely, but I couldn’t help thinking a lot of readers, like me, would be annoyed by seeing books, in effect, shelved wrongly.

Pay it back with a review

A more positive development is that I’m jumping more firmly down the read-for-review route to free books. I’ve requested a couple with YA Bound and Xpresso Book Tours, and I even approached an author directly to ask for a review copy, which she was happy to send (that’s Laura Diamond’s Under My Skin, which I’m loving).

So, at present: On-line browsing- 0; Reviewing – 1. We’ll see if that changes over time. I’ve signed up for a couple of Free book Newsletters to see if they can help narrow down my options. I’ll keep you posted – can I actually make it to Christmas without buying any books for myself?

About katyhaye

Katy Haye writes fast-paced fantasy novels for YA readers and is fascinated by the science of stories.
This entry was posted in Reading, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Free reading challenge: When FREE isn’t free

  1. Rhoda Baxter says:

    Very interesting post. I like the ‘pay it back with a review’ model, but I do worry about what happens if you dislike a book you’ve been sent to review (admittedly, you wouldn’t request/agree to it if you KNEW you wouldn’t like it, but what if it catches you unawares?). I tend not to do negative reviews, because people work hard for their books… but is a (polite) bad review better than no review?

    Like

    • katyhaye says:

      Generally, I’ll only offer to read for review if I’ve enjoyed the preview enough to be confident I’ll like the book. I’ll only post a review if I can give 3, 4, or 5 stars (I know some people think 3 stars is “bad”, but it’s a worth-reading-but-flawed from me and I think a considered 3 is at least as helpful to readers as a gushing 5). If a book didn’t reach my 3-star benchmark I’d just have to go back and say it wasn’t for me and I couldn’t give a review – fortunately this hasn’t happened so far!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s