Friday, January 06, 2012

You Get What You Pay For

This week I read Lali's post on getting a Kindle for Christmas. I got a Kindle for Christmas, too, and earlier this week I wrote a blog post about it. And then I deleted the post.

The post was about all those free books that are offered for the Kindle. I'd been hearing about them for a long time, and as soon as I got my Kindle I began looking into them. I discovered that other than out-of-print classics, etc., many are self-published. While we know there are some good self-published books out there (at least that's what we're told), we also know it would be best if we avoided the rest.

I took a serious look at scores of free ebooks, reading the descriptions and the Amazon reviews. Knowing how authors' friends like to write rave reviews, I paid special attention to negative reviews. When a reviewer commented about the lack of editing (or lack of character development, lack of dialogue, lack of plot), I knew the book wasn't for me.

Often I didn't have to go to the reviews; the description gave me enough information to keep me away from the book. Some of the statements in the descriptions, although not intended to be funny, made me laugh. I thought it would be fun to share them here, so I collected a bunch and included them in my post. Then I decided it would be mean-spirited to publicly make fun of someone's sincere effort to write a book (hey, when was the last time I wrote a book?), and that's why I deleted my post.

But Amazon reviews are fair game, no? Thinking they are, I'll share one review as an example of the kind of thing that's out there . . . and why I think most of my Kindle books will come from the library.

She is such a fun writter when I am just in the mood for some fun easy romance. Her books do tend to be repeditive tho so I can only read one and then wait for awhile to read another. This was on of the weirder ones for me not my fav.

16 comments:

Bridgett said...

Repeditive: a lot of walking in that novel, perhaps?

My cousin is published, for real, not self-published, in the area of fashion design. And every time one of his books comes out, I rush over to Amazon to take a look at review and try to guess which one is his mom's, his sister's, his boyfriend's, etc.

Dona said...

I wondered about the free books on Amazon, Susan. It seemed too good to be true.

Hope you're liking your Kindle otherwise.

Susan said...

"Repeditive" LOL Bridgett.... And I see those family-and-friends reviews in our local writing community all the time.

Thanks, Dona--I am enjoying it. I can enlarge the type so I don't need my reading glasses! I downloaded a book from the library, plus a couple of word games, and I'm giving three free books a try. One nice feature is that if you acquire a book directly from Amazon you can delete it from your Kindle if you don't like it. And if you change your mind later, Amazon gives it back to you.

Indigo Bunting said...

I kind of love how your instincts took you away from your original posts when someone made an attempt at writing a book. AND I'm rolling over Bridgett's comment.

Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb said...

When I pick out a book, I look at the reviews. I will not choose a book that's been reviewed by other writers--they invariably have nice things to say, from sheer collegiality. The NY Times is more reliable, but still inclined to be too charitable. The New Yorker I trust, and the London Times, and my own reading of the first few sentences of the first chapter...

Mali said...

I've been suckered into buying some of the really cheap books for Kindle (I have an iPad and use the Kindle app). After about three of the books, I have decided "No More." They're pretty awful. I have reviewed them accordingly, so others won't be caught in the same trap.

I buy on the basis of reviews I hear on public radio, and friend recommendations in Goodreads. I did at one stage consider setting up an online, blogger's bookclub once a month or so. But that idea faded away.

Mali said...

I of course mean, bloggers' bookclub.

Susan said...

Amazon offers a free sample (the first chapter, I think) of many books. I took advantage of this, and the sample convinced me that I didn't need the rest of the book.

crystal said...

Happy kindle owning :)

Mu sister checked one out of the library so we could see what it was like. I was hoping I could make the words big enough on it to read it without a magnifying glass, as I have to do with real books, but the screen was just to small to make that practical.

You might check the library - mine has zillions of books in electronic form that can be downloaded into devices for free.

Susan said...

That's too bad, Crystal. Kindle has several models now; maybe one of the larger ones would work better for you. But I see what you mean.....I enlarged the type for my own eyes--not a lot, I didn't think, but now a page consists of noticeably fewer words. Good thing it's so easy to "turn" the Kindle pages.

I'm reading a library book now, acquired through the library system of a neighboring county. Our local library system doesn't offer ebooks yet, but it's coming....

crystal said...

Speaking of unhelpful book reviews, I saw this today :) ... http://leasthelpful.com/post/14275391618/really-boring-and-the-immunity-challenges-were

Susan said...

Did you read through some of them, Crystal? They're hilarious! But I'm always wishing Amazon would delete reviews from people who did not read the book (or use the product). And that includes reviews from people who say, "I haven't used this toaster yet, but I'm giving it only one star because I should have ordered it in chrome instead of white." Why they keep stuff like that on the site, allowing it to influence the rating of the item, is beyond me.

Here's a useful review from your link: Very un-Jah, brah

LOL

Helen said...

All hilarious: the post, the comments, the links to other sites... perhaps these e-book readers need to play up their comical side to convert doubting Thomas' like me.

crystal said...

Hee hee - my favorite one was "Just. Burn. It." :)

Anonymous said...

I love my Kindle, have had it for 3 years now and my husband, also a big reader, has one. I have also read some of the free books and found a few that were really good. The cost of the Kindle books is well below what I used to pay to buy books. Although my husband reads a book a week it takes me a lot longer so library books were a bit of a pain having to keep renewing plus I live in the country so it’s a distance to travel.
Just adding my take on the Kindle. Thanks

Susan said...

I've gotten a couple of Kindle books from the library, but both expired before I finished. In fact, one expired before I started. :-) Well, that's not quite true . . . I read a couple of pages--enough to know I wasn't crazy about it. I'll try others, though. I used to download audio books to my MP3 player, and one of those expired before I finished, too. But I loved the book (The Tender Bar, a memoir) and renewed it.