Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Getting good deals on Kindle books

Since I got my Kindle, I have become a fan. The problem though for new owners (once they get used to reading books a new way) is finding books at an economical price.

Frankly I won't be buying any bestsellers for my eReaders. The price isn't competitive considering you can resell a paper book; but an eBook, all you can do is loan it or delete it.

What I have discovered though is there are a lot of economical reads out there especially if they are by writers who either wrote for a publishing house earlier and got their rights back; or are indie writers-- going ePub instead of corporate. The problem is finding them. Since I've learned a few ways, I thought I'd share them.

First of all, of course, is buying old classics especially if you can get them in collections. They are usually quite reasonable and you then have, whenever you want it, access to writers you probably would not want to have on your shelf for the space they'd take up. An example for $2.99-- Complete Plays of Shakespeare or for $.00-- Leaves of Grass-- Walt Whitman.

The free ones aren't always the best deal though as a table of contents, making it easier to navigate, is valuable and usually still only a couple of dollars. With almost all of these books, you can get sample pages to determine if the text is as you want. Some classics have been scanned; and although you do get the book, it can be harder to find anything in it. I got a wonderful research book on Oregon history free that way, one I couldn't buy today anywhere; so it was worth it being a scan as I do have the information at least.

As you are thinking what classics you might want, there are also sales. I regularly check Daily Cheap Reads where all the books are under $5 for the day. You never know what you will find. They are a mix of nonfiction, fiction, Christian-- Some by well-known writers and from publishing houses. I have yet to see a current best seller though.

Always check when you go to the link to be sure the book is still on sale for that price. Recently I bought Giants, the Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer.  I paid $1.99 for a book otherwise listed at $9.99. I won't know until I read it if it's a great read, but I didn't invest much if it isn't.

Then there is hitting the Amazon Forums. My favorite is the one for authors where readers are welcome-- Meet Our Authors .  Sort down through the topics to threads. They are there for non-fiction and pretty much any genre you might wish. You will find a link to the book as well as a promo for what the book is about. Mostly authors who post there are independent and not from a publishing house which is why the prices are generally better.

You can check quality of writing from these independent writers by looking at samples which should be free. Frankly if an author didn't offer a sample, I'd avoid them. Samples can be the first chapter or scattered throughout the book. They pretty well tell you if this is a well edited story and whether the style of writing is something you would like.


In researching this, I came across this site which looked good-- 5 Websites for free Kindle books.  It had one website that covered classics.  I haven't  perused it much yet, but I will when I have time.

I know a lot of you don't want to give up your paper books. That's fine but think about this kind of reading as an adjunct. Lightweight, easy to get a book fast, bookmarking possible, and easier on your eyes than a computer (although when you buy a Kindle, you can read it on your computer if you prefer. I don't as I spend too much time looking at a computer screen already).

And if you aren't ready to try the eReaders just yet, bookmark those cheap sites as someday you might be glad you have them :)

12 comments:

Tabor said...

My Kindle was a gift and I still have mixed feelings about it. I miss the color photographs in biographies. I cannot loan it to someone else to read if I really liked it. I also find it difficult to remember what it was about when that would be easy if I picked up a book and perused the cover and back. I also downloaded some free romantic poets, but you have given me some good ideas about critiquing what we buy.

Rubye Jack said...

I'm afraid I'm rather a Luddite when it comes to many of the new gadgets. I still prefer real books and find it easy to keep a paperback in my purse. I don't see what all the hype is about with the i-phones and i-pad, and still don't have a mp3 player. My laptop covers all of these gadgets quite well.

If I should ever succumb to the i magic, I'm sure I will make good use of the links you have here.

Rain said...

I buy my books from the computer; so I get to see the color covers. You know rarely do i want to look at them again. Many of the books allow you to loan your copy to someone else with a Kindle. I don't know how long they stay readable with a loan and I think it's only one loan per book.

I didn't mention the library here as a source because I haven't yet tried it and it's not owning the book either. Dick said he'd come in with the sources he's found; so be sure you come back to check comments for that.

robin andrea said...

Thank you for this information, rain. I'll be checking out those sites for my mom. She loves her Kindle.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Not having a Kindle or any other similar device and the chances of my getting one are slim to none...These helpful hints go right over my head....! But I think it is great that you are sharing them for people who do read books this way.

Rain Trueax said...

The beauty of this is someday we will have access to books that libraries and bookstores no longer have. As more authors bring out their back lists, we won't have to spend a lot of time trying to find a used book we once loved but that is no longer available.

Some of the indie writers are quite good and not willing to go the publisher route where they will have their rights taken from them-- which means an eReader is the only way to read their work. There are writers who have been published and are waiting for the time they have back their rights as the publishers are no longer promoting their books.

This all reminded me of a book I had loved in the library, didn't buy at the time, and recently began to look for a copy of it used. It's not out in an eBook, but I wish the author or their family would bring his books out. I got a good deal on it used and was delighted when it came-- 'Vardy' by John Harris. It's a story of the Napoleonic wars through the eyes of a young woman and the French officer she comes to love. I would have much preferred getting it for my Kindle. Some of the families of these authors, who might now be dead, need to think about this as the books are in demand. There is another I loved from those library years, the library sold their copy evidently in a sale and I can't find it anywhere. Some want to think paper books are forever. Not necessarily so if they aren't among the most famous names.

Taradharma said...

my library even has a program where you can download books on loan. I have not been able to penetrate their system, however, so have given up for the time-being. Love your other suggestions, and will check them all out. Just last night I downloaded a couple of books for .99 each - ka-ching!

DuchessOmnium said...

Try www.gutenberg.org or download their "magic catalogue" with out of copyright books formatted for Kindle (.mobi files)

Dick said...

I signed up for Amazon's Kindle Daily Deal where they email me daily with a special offer that will be reduced dramatically in price for that 24 hour period. Today's book is titled "Ice Age" by Brian Freemantle. It sells regularly for $9.99 as a Kindle book but today is just .99 cents on the Kindle Daily Deal. Not all are quite that reduced but many are. If you don't want the book you don't buy it and just delete the email.

Also on the Kindle book page on Amazon on the right side of the screen is a column of the Top 100 Kindle Sellers, but right beside that is a column of the Top 100 Free Kindle books. This list changes regularly since they top 100 change as purchases (or selections, in the case of the free ones) are made through the day. Drill down as this front page only shows you the top 10. Some are classics but most are new books by new authors. Many are short stories.

When you go to look in more detail at one of those free books, look at the horizontal list of books that is along the screen as it will show you books that Amazon's computers have picked for you based on the type you are looking at. Some of them are free, many are less than $5 and many a lot less.

I think that you are allowed to "loan" a book that you have bought, as long as the author allows that, once to someone else and that that loan will only last two weeks. I think that is also the time you are allowed to check out ebooks from a library.

ebooks are not for everyone and they will never replace paper books totally for me. I especially prefer technical books, such as how to use a piece of software, in paper format as I will often be bouncing back and forth between two or three places in the book and I find that easier to do in a paper book. I also will not buy (well, rarely) first edition books as an ebook because I don't feel the cost is fair. It will be quite a bit less than the list price for a hardbound copy of the same book but quite a bit more than the cost of the paperback, say from Costco, when they are available.

Neville Gill said...

By using the Kindle for PC you can transfer the info. from p.c. to TV by using the AVG connections. Then once this is done buy a wireless mouse and then read your Kindle book from you armchair.

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