Where my mind wanders when I can’t sleep
• Did I use the £ symbol on the United Kingdom posts and the $ symbol on the United States posts today? If the British use 99p for 99 pence; why doesn’t the United States use 99c for 99 cents?
• Is gluten-free really the answer to every person’s health and diet woes? Am I wrong to practice “Give us this day our daily bread” and enjoy it?
• What publishers are going to merge next? The big players are eyeing each other; trying to find a suitable dance partner. No one wants to be a wallflower because then they will have to declare they can go it alone. It’s Victorian drama all over again.
• Why do so many teen and young adult books dwell on dark subjects such as death, abuse, destructive behavior and broken relationships? Teen fiction needs to foster adventure, growth, unlimited potential, achievement and hope.
• Will I live long enough to read even 20% of the books on my Kindle?
Post Times – And I don’t mean horse races
A few weeks ago we implemented a change on our posting schedule for the weekends – posting all the posts in the early morning hours. Please vote in the poll below to tell us how you like the change.
Cheap reads in a bundle
Donald Harington spent nearly all of his early summers in the Ozark mountain hamlet of Drakes Creek. There, before he lost his hearing to meningitis at the age of twelve, he listened carefully to the vanishing Ozark folk language and the old tales told by story-tellers. His first novel was published by Random House in 1965, and since then he has published twelve other novels, most of them set in the Ozark hamlet of his own creation, Stay More, based loosely upon Drakes Creek.
Today you can buy 15 of Harington’s novels for £11.97 when you buy the three volumes below. Individually these novels are selling for £3.99 each, so I strongly recommend you purchase the volumes for your Kindle library now while they are supercheap.
The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harington Volume 1 (£3.99) The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harington includes five complete novels: (1) Lightning Bug; (2) Some Other Place. The Right Place; (3) The Architecture of the Ozarks; (4) The Cockroaches of Stay More; (5) The Choiring of the Trees.
The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harington Volume 2 (£3.99) The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harington includes five complete novels: (1) Ekaterina; (2) Butterfly Weed; (3) When Angels Rest; (4) Thirteen Albatrosses (or, Falling off the Mountain); (5) With.
The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harington Volume 3 (£3.99) The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harington includes five complete novels: (1) The Pitcher Shower; (2) Farther Along; (3) Enduring; (4) Let Us Build Us a City; (5) The Cherry Pit.
Kindle Store’s Top 100 Paid List – Is it valid?
Some readers and almost all authors live and die by the bestsellers list, but how valid is the Kindle Store’s Top 100 Paid list?
Amazon tells us the list is updated hourly and contains best selling items. But Amazon has no adjustment for the price of the item when sold.
Hardbound books on The Times Bestsellers list sell for expected prices that all readers know. To be in the top ten of the list week after week means that the buying public continues to spend £10 – £20 for a copy of the book.
The Kindle Store Top 100 is a list skewed. An author or publisher can reset the price of a book to 99p and sell thousands of copies to move into the top 20 of books sold. Consumers might buy the book because the price is so low and they are willing to give it a try. These same consumers would never buy the book at a higher price.
The price can then be increased to £5.99, but the book remains in the top 100 list until other books outsell it according to Amazon’s criteria.
I believe that the inclusion of the book in the Top 100 list with the increased price is misleading to buyers. If I did not know that the book had sold at a much cheaper price that caused it to reach the Top 100 list, then I am under the impression that this book reached its popularity selling at £5.99. As a consumer, my first thought is that the book must be a great read if so many others are buying the book at that price.
I don’t have a solution for how to account for a price change of a book in the top 100. Perhaps it should be pulled from the list if the price fluctuates by more than a set percentage of the price that caused the price to reach the list. Publishers and authors won’t be happy with any adjustments, but consumers deserve honesty in how a book reaches the Top 100.
A common example of this is the Kindle Daily Deal which often appears in the Top 100 list for several days following its feature at a very cheap price. As of 1:00am today, four of the top 30 were previous days’ Daily Deal books.
Should Amazon take price into consideration when compiling the list? Is it misleading? Any other ideas on how to account for price changes? Leave a comment to let us know what you are thinking.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and moved to the United States in 1980. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, published in 34 countries. In 2006 he was named a US goodwill envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency. He lives in northern California.
Thousand Splendid Suns (80p) Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.
By the same author:
The Kite Runner (£1.79) Set in Afghanistan and the United States between the 1970s to the present day, it is a heartbreaking tale of a young boy, Amir, and his best friend who are torn apart. This is a classic word-of-mouth novel and is sure to become as universally loved as The God of Small Things and The Glass Palace.
Poll results – What you want
The results are in from our poll of what you would like in a re-designed Daily Cheap Reads.
The most popular choice was more books priced at 99p or less. (Amazon, are you listening?) Many low-priced books are available in the Kindle Store. Most are good reads and are independently published. For those books, we rely heavily on reader comments to help us determine the best books. If you have read a great indie book selling for 99p or less, drop us a note and tell us why. Your recommendation may be posted.
Other popular choices were:
• More posts each day
• Paperback and hardback book bargains
• All posts for the day first thing in the morning
• More book reviews.
We’ll work to add more posts into the rotation as time and books are available. Same with paperback and hardback book bargains.
Beginning tomorrow (Friday, April 12) all posts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be posted by 5:00a.m. London time. Free books may be posted after 11:00a.m. so check back in later in the day. Monday through Thursday posts will continue to be posted on our current schedule.
More about book reviews next week.
Cheap Reads by Anne Holt – Vik and Stubo Series
Johanne Vik is an Oslo University psychology professor and formerly an FBI profiler. Adam Stubo is a detective inspector who puts out a call for Vik to help out on a tough case.
The Vik & Stubo series began in 2001 with the novel What is Mine (later re-published as Punishment). Three of the crime novels are selling for only £1.79 each.
Punishment (£1.79) A serial killer is on the loose – a killer of the worst kind. He then returns the child’s body to the mother with a desperately cruel note: You Got What You Deserved. Police Superintendent Adam Stubo is in charge of finding the killer. He recruits legal researcher Johanne Vik, a woman with an extensive knowledge and understanding of criminal history. So far the killer has abducted three children, but one child has not yet been returned to her mother. Is there a chance she is still alive ?
Death in Oslo (£1.79) When Helen Barclay becomes the first female US president, the whole world takes notice. And unfortunately for President Barclay, one man takes very particular notice. He knows her darkest secret. He has the ultimate motive. Revenge. Unfortunately for the FBI and the Norwegian police, nobody knows about this when Helen Barclay chooses to visit Norway for her first state visit. But when she goes missing from a locked, heavily secured bedroom, they are forced – unwillingly – to work together to find her. Has she been kidnapped? Murdered? Can the US president really just disappear into thin air…?
Fear Not (£1.79) The silent, snow-covered streets of Oslo are a perfect scene of Christmas tranquillity. But over the tolling of bells for the last Sunday of Advent, a black note sounds. A boy’s body washes up near the shoreline of the city’s Aker Bridge. Nobody has even bothered to report him missing. One week later, the bishop of Bergen is found stabbed to death on a deserted street. Johanne Vik, criminal researcher and police profiler, is called in to untangle the motivation behind the bishop’s murder. But with her husband at the head of this increasingly high-profile investigation, Vik’s association with the case is under intense scrutiny.
Automatic Book Update
E-books have many advantages over traditional print editions. Errors and formatting issues can occur in even a well-edited book. With digital files, those errors can be corrected and new versions of the book distributed to everyone who owns a copy.
You can now choose to have book updates done automatically so you always have the most current, improved version of your book. To opt in to the feature, go to the Manage Your Kindle page. Select Manage Your Devices and scroll down to the Automatic Book Update.
If you have notes, highlights, and bookmarks or want to know your furthest reading location, you will need to have “Annotation Back Up” setting turned on.
To turn on Annotations Backup on Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Touch:
• Tap the Home icon. Then tap Menu and select Settings
• Select Reading Options from Settings
• Next to Annotations Backup, select On
To turn on Annotations Backup on Kindle and Kindle Keyboard:
• Navigate to Kindle Home screen and press the Menu button.
• Select Settings
• Select the desired option next to “Annotations Backup.
To turn on Annotations Backup on Kindle for iDevice:
• Navigate to the Home screen
• Tap the Settings icon in the lower right corner of your screen
• Tap Other
• Slide the selector next to Annotations Backup into the ON position.
To turn on Annotations Backup on Kindle for PC and Kindle for Mac:
• Select Tools and then Options
• Select Annotations from the left side bar in the pop-up menu
• Tick the box under Annotations Backup
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete our poll on re-designing Daily Cheap Reads. Your preferences and opinion matter. Some of your ideas may be implemented within a few weeks.
One reason for the re-design is to make the site friendlier for those users who access DCR through their mobile devices. Our goal is to keep the site ad-free, uncluttered, and easy to navigate.
Also, effective April 1 Amazon has changed its operating agreement with Associates regarding free books. If more than 10,000 free books are downloaded and an 80% ratio of free books to paid books is met, the associate will not be paid for that month. We will continue to post free books as long as our commission is not jeopardized.
Your continued support to buy your Kindle books and other Amazon products through our site is appreciated. The poll is still open if you haven’t voted yet.
Cheap Read to Pre-Order
The Mermaid of Brooklyn (89p) Sometimes a mother needs to come up for air . . .
Jenny Lipkin, former up-and-coming magazine editor and current stressed-out mother of two, is struggling. With two demanding children, she is adjusting to life as an average mother, drinking coffee in the playground and complaining about breastfeeding, sleepless nights and how to get the buggy on the subway.
And then, one summer evening, her husband Harry goes out to buy cigarettes and doesn’t return. Jenny reaches breaking point. She is contemplating ending it all, but when she falls off the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River, she finds a surprising ally – and a magical way to rethink her ideas about success, motherhood and relationships. But confronting her inner demons is no easy task . . .
Pre-order this contemporary novel for only 89p today and receive it 25 April.
Re-designing Daily Cheap Reads
The summer months will soon be here and Daily Cheap Reads is considering a new look. While comfortable and familiar, after more than two years, it is time to think about a makeover.
Some things won’t be changing. We’ll still be searching the Kindle Store to find great reads at great prices. We promise subject variety, new authors as well as ones you have loved for years, and the daily deal. As more users access DCR from their mobile devices, changes will improve site viewing for those users. Our goal is to keep the site ad free.
Your input is needed to decide what to include in the spiffy redo of DCR. Please take the poll below and select what you would like to have on the site, selecting as many of the options as you want. If we forgot something, please select Other below and tell us about it. We welcome your ideas and comments.
James Herbert passes
Readers around the world were saddened to hear of the death of James Herbert, a grand master of horror.
Herbert’s publisher, Pan Macmillan, said he died Wednesday (20 March) at his home in Sussex, southern England at the age of 69.
His first novel The Rats (99p) was published in 1974 and sold 100,000 copies in the first three weeks.
During his life Mr. Herbert wrote 23 novels, selling 54 million copies around the world. He was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010. That same year he was named “Grand Master of Horror” by the World of Horror Convention.
Twenty of Mr. Herbert’s books are available for the Kindle and are priced from 59p to £2.99 each. Click here to access all of his Kindle horror novels.
Read more of Mr. Herbert’s life here.
Read an E-Book Week
Read an E-Book Week is this week, March 3 – 10. Today is World Book Day. Daily Cheap Reads thinks every day is a great time to enjoy a digital book. If you want to celebrate the week, I would encourage you to:
• Read from a genre other than your usual fare
• Try a new author
• Read a classic that you remember from your childhood
• Grab a non-fiction book of a time that interests you
• Try a graphic novel or cartoons on your Kindle
• Buy a Kindle for a friend and share the e-book love
• Encourage a child to read for many days and weeks to come
Book Description Bloopers
Actual descriptions in the Kindle Store, but I won’t embarrass anyone by mentioning the book:
Description: This book tells the story of two second-generation star-crossed lovers facing a hurricane on the Texas coast, hold up in an historic hotel.
My reaction: A hold up! Did the robber get all their money?
Description: Nicolette had been bullied by Jay for most of her school life and that and a few other things had led to her leaving the small town she’d grown up in.
My reaction: That and a few other things have led me to not buy this book.
Description: She winced through the pouring rain as pain shot up through her ankle, at the man who was helping her.
My reaction: I’ve never seen pain shoot up through an ankle at another person. Must be paranormal.
Description: A novel about the afterlife, guardian angels in training and how someone who has passed on interacts with his/her family to bring them piece.
My reaction: Piece? Piece of what? A piece of pie would be heavenly.
Description: In an obscure suburb of Belfast Doctor Morathi Opong, an unorthodox physicist, develops the ability to travel in time and with his college, Tommy Weatherall, arrives in the twenty-sixth century.
My reaction: Travelling with a college has to be cumbersome. And who goes to a college named Tommy?
Description: Someone is brutally murdering innocent women in downtown Toronto. . . A light, fun, and fast paced mystery.
My reaction: Brutal murdering innocent women is light and fun? Those Canadians have a unique sense of humor.
The Kathleen Turner Series – Three Romantic Suspense Novels – 99p each
No Turning Back (99p) Kathleen Turner has goals. She moved to Indianapolis to start seeing to them, but things aren’t going quite as well as she’d hoped. She’s a runner for a high-powered law firm in town.
One of her new friends is her neighbor Sheila, though Kathleen can’t say she’s completely comfortable with Sheila’s job choice as a high-dollar escort.
When Kathleen hears fighting coming from Sheila’s apartment, she knocks on her friend’s door, only to find Sheila murdered. And Kathleen Turner, law office runner, can trust no one if she wants to survive.
Turn to Me (99p) When Kathleen Turner, office runner for the prestigious Indianapolis law firm of Kirk & Trent, started dating the boss she knew the risks. But she’s always known there was a termination date on her relationship with Blane.
She just didn’t expect that termination to be her funeral. Kathleen and Kade, Blane’s brother and ex-FBI-agent-turned-assassin-for-hire, are on the trail of the killer.
Unfortunately for Kathleen, he’s already moved for the end-game – by painting a target on her…and pulling the trigger.
Turning Point (99p) After her promotion from law firm Runner to Investigator, Kathleen Turner is learning the ropes of her new job from none other than assassin-for-hire Kade Dennon, a situation her boyfriend Blane Kirk is none too happy about. Kathleen, Blane and Kade must atone for the sins of the past and the present. The fallout will force Kathleen to a turning point…in her career, and her life.
For the Record
• I often read the 1-star reviews, but won’t let a couple of them keep me from trying a book.
• Solitaire on the Kindle Fire is addictive. If I could overcome my addiction, I could write a book about how. . . . . forget that idea, I like my addiction.
• Amazon needs to update the PaperWhite to show the book title in the upper left corner because I forget what I’m reading.
• Some people can’t tell a story, let alone write one. Too bad they self-publish anyway and give the great indie writers a bad image. This is an actual sentence from the first page of a book in the Kindle Store: Anna glimpsed at her husband in cogitation curious expression lighting up the sapphire in her twinkling eyes, “could this possibly be the same man she had married?
• Amazon considers Gourmet Perle Connoisseurs Selection cat food grocery and gourmet food. For the record, I have not purchased this product so I can’t verify that it is gourmet quality.
• Publishers who put a new cover on a re-printed book and change the description significantly without mentioning it is a reprint are causing angst and unhappiness among their customers.
• The Kindle Fire needs the option to customize the background color on the home page. Black is for boys and I like to change shoes and purses with the seasons, I should be able to do the same with my Kindle.
A Wonderful Idea for Print Books
What a wonderful idea on giving your hardbound books a second purpose! This clever presentation is just one of a dozen that you can view on this blog.
We’ll have plenty of time before next Christmas to shop used book sales and scour your parents’ (or your own) attic for just the perfect books for your tree.
New Publishing Imprints and Cheap Reads
Amazon has announced new publishing companies for young adult books – Two Lions and Skyscape.
Two Lions will publish picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction while Skyscrape will publish titles for young adults, encompassing works from both established authors and new voices. Both lines will release their first titles in the spring. Read more about the companies in this article in Publishers Weekly.
Amazon has been publishing through their Amazon Children’s Publishing imprint for a year and has released more than 400 titles. We regularly post their books on our jr. edition of Daily Cheap Reads, which features books from the US Kindle Store.
Check out these three great books published by Amazon. Tea Time, a picture book for pre-schoolers, is selling for £1.34 ; The Adventure Collection is a collection of five classics for readers ages 9 – 12 selling for £1.43; and The Birdcatcher is a teen suspense novel selling for 99p.
The E-Reader is Dead
I don’t think so, but this article in ComputerWorld cites two analysts who predict a large decrease in the number of e-readers being shipped in the coming year. To an analyst, if a product isn’t growing, it is dying.
The death knell is being sounded for the dedicated e-reader as analysts believe that 2011 was the best year with 23.7 million e-readers shipped. To hear them tell it, it’s all downhill from here. The e-reader has been replaced by the tablet because a user can do many more activities beyond reading.
If I didn’t own a Kindle and could buy only one device, I would buy the Kindle Fire as the price is competitive with e-ink devices and the Fire has so many more features.
Will the e-ink Kindle totally disappear? No. The Kindle became the popular device it is today because serious readers embraced the simplicity and convenience if e-books. They wanted a device for reading books and they still want that today.
Remember the words of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, when the Kindle was first being introduced to the public? Mr. Bezos said that when creating the Kindle, Amazon’s strategy was to “make the device disappear.” The intent was for the user to be so absorbed in the reading, the medium used for delivery wouldn’t interfere with the experience.
One of the most compelling reasons to keep the e-ink reader in production was brought to my attention when a friend shared this story:
The grandparents wanted to purchase each of their four grandchildren a 6” Kindle for Christmas. The children’s mother told the grandparents that she would prefer that they give the children one Kindle Fire for all of them to share. After all, the mother reasoned, there were so many more activities for the children to do with the Fire. The grandparents responded, “Yes, but we want our grandchildren to read.“
I’m not worried that fewer dedicated e-readers are shipping in the coming year. Perhaps the most serious readers already own one or more. If an announcement is ever made that the e-ink Kindle will no longer be produced, that’s when I’ll panic and buy a few extra to have on hand.
Would you like a book with that?
Kudos to McDonald’s in the United Kingdom! The fast food restaurant has pledged to distribute 15 million books by the end of 2014 through their popular Happy Meal menu item. Dubbed the Happy Readers Initiative, the program began 9 January with books from the Amazing World Series of DK Publishing, a Penguin Publishing imprint.
If McDonald’s is able to give away 15 million books, it will become the largest distributor of children’s books in the UK. Thank you, McDonald’s, for a great campaign to put books in the hands of children.
Cheap Reads for the Winter
Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes (£1.99) Can you really make a living from indulging in your dreams?
TV Producer Stella Weston is over worked, overweight and under fire. She is put out to pasture on a religious gardening programme. In the past, comfort has always been found at the bottom of her mixing bowl, but when even the most delicious lemon sponge with zesty frosting cannot save the day, Stella decides enough is enough.
Can you really turn a passion into a profession? Does more time at home actually give you a happier family life? Stella has to roll up her sleeves and find out – when the going gets tough, the tough get baking….
Women of a Dangerous Age (£1.99) Lou is married to a man who no longer loves her. It’s time to move on, to begin a new business venture and to start her life over.
To celebrate her new-found freedom, she travels to India, where, in front of the Taj Mahal, she befriends Ali after taking each other’s photographs on ‘that’ bench.
Ali is a serial mistress. But when she returns home, she discovers her latest lover is not the man she took him for. She too needs a new beginning.
As Lou and Ali put their pasts behind them, they start to discover new possibilities for life and for love, until the shocking realisation that they have far more in common than they thought.
A husband congratulated his wife for dinner, “That was an excellent dish. Where did you get the recipe?”
“From an Agatha Christie book.”
If one of your goals is to be healthy in the coming year, you may want to turn off your Kindle Fire earlier in the evening. Research by the National (United States) Sleep Foundation found that 40% of adults surveyed report having a computer or tablet in their bedroom. Further research by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, NY, found that two hours of exposure to the light from tablets significantly lowered a person’s level of the hormone melatonin, which plays a role in the sleep cycle. You will have to decide if solitaire or sleep is more important.
When you do need a light
If you are reading from a reflective screen Kindle (e-ink model) you might not lower your melatonin level, but you may need an external light source. This light is selling at a great price.
• This LED Light is a battery operated clamp-on accessory that is designed to illuminate your device
• An ideal companion for traveling and clips onto any book, eBook reader, iPad or thin surface
• Flexible arm allows you to position you’re lighting anywhere you want it
• Requires 3 x AAA batteries (Not Included)
• Perfect for Amazon Kindle and the iPad
Pay only £2.69 for the COLT® Led Reading Light Lamp.
Cheap Reads from Picador – A Literary Novel and a Mystery
The Oversight (74p) In 1983, an ordinary teenager called Daniel Rathbone fell in love, spurned a friend, and stumbled on the ability to see in the dark. On his twenty-fifth birthday, Daniel is bequeathed a second no less unusual gift – a Victorian writing box, the legacy of his father and the repository of his youthful secrets, and of his current feelings of guilt. When a visit from the once-spurned friend, Carey Schumacher, coincides with the death of a contemporary, Daniel’s peculiar endowments are enlisted to make lasting sense of lost time and place. From Bath to Brixton, from the 1960s to the 90s, The Oversight follows a trail of thwarted and victorious affections.
The Earthquake Bird (74p) Early this morning, several hours before my arrest, I was woken by an earth tremor. . . It has been an unusual day and I would hate to forget anything . . . So begins The Earthquake Bird, a haunting novel set in Japan which reveals a murder on its first page and takes its readers into the mind of the chief suspect, Lucy Fly – a young, vulnerable English girl living and working in Tokyo as a translator. As Lucy is interrogated by the police she reveals her past to the reader, and it is a past which is dangerously ambiguous and compromising . . . As Lucy’s story unfolds, it emerges that secrets, both past and present, obsess her waking life . . .
New Year’s Resolution – A Book a Day?
Jeff Ryan made a New Year’s resolution in 2012 to read a book a day – 366 books. He writes about how he was able to keep that resolution and succeed in his goal. Hint: Short books. You can read about it in this article in Slate.
My goal for 2013 is not nearly as ambitious. I just want to read or listen to a book a week. Do you have a reading goal for 2013? Please vote in the poll below and let us know your plans.
Authors who passed in 2012
Maeve Binchy: Ms. Binchy, Ireland’s beloved author, passed in July. Her most popular novel in the Kindle Store, A Week in Winter (£9.99) was released posthumously in November 2012. Follow this link to see all of Ms. Binchy’s books available for Kindle including quick reads for £1.49 each.
Nora Ephron: She wrote I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (£3.32) and When Harry Met Sally. . ., the book that became the movie.
Ray Bradbury: The Playground (99p) was part of the first hardcover edition of Ray Bradbury’s legendary work Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. It is the first of Ray Bradbury’s works to be authorized as an ebook.
Maurice Sendak: He is most known for his children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. Mr. Sendak’s books are not available for the Kindle.
Helen Gurley Brown: Sex and the Single Girl (£6.64) is Ms. Brown’s most popular book in the Kindle Store.
Donald J. Sobol: Mr. Sobol is best known as the author of the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries for children.
L. C. Evans: Ms. Evans, an independent author who enjoyed early success in the e-book market, passed away in January 2012. She was a delight to work with and DCR’s US site first featured her work in September 2010. Ms. Evans’ books are still offered in the Kindle Store. I encourage you to read one in 2013.
This article from The Daily Beast has a more inclusive list, including professionals in the publishing industry who passed away in 2012.