I’ve bought four books this week, which sounds like a lot for someone who isn’t buying books at the moment, but wait, your honour, I can explain…
One for me…
I have bought a book for myself this week, but it was non-fiction and an excellent reference book for self-publishing (it’s Format it Yourself by Jo Roderick). Being non-fiction and for “use” rather than for “pleasure” doesn’t change the fact that I bought it, but it is allowable, however, under exception category 2. as a book I bought at release to support a writer I know, so I haven’t fallen off the wagon of my free reading challenge.
It’s for a friend, honest..
This week also let me get a fix of book-buying because I had two nieces to buy birthday presents for, as well as it being father’s day. That lead to a very happy ten minutes browsing in Waterstones. (Yeah, I know, that seems pretty brief to me, too. I think I didn’t want to hang around in case I found something I wanted myself!)
Read for review
As far as my challenge goes, I haven’t spent anything on (fiction) books for myself. I’ve read and reviewed or lined up reviews for several books from small presses or self-published authors, and I’ve signed up to participate in review blog tours with Xpresso Book Tours and YA Book Bound.
I’ve also been pretty manic writing promo pieces for Rising Tides, which releases on Friday (argh, that’s really REALLY close now!), so there certainly hasn’t been a dull moment.
Overall, I’m still finding plenty of good-quality books to read for free. Guilt levels are moderate at not paying for them, but they are all legitimately free which means the authors are perfectly happy for me to read them without paying, and I’m maintaining my levels of reviews – anything that is read to the end gets a review. And if I didn’t get to the end, it’s because the book really isn’t my thing, and you really don’t want a review, I promise you that!
So, I’ve now been satisfying my reading urges with only free books for two weeks.
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.
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?