Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why You Don't Need a Kindle to Read Kindle Books

Every time I have a book sale, I hear the same complaint: But I don’t have a Kindle (or nook or whatever)!

First off, I should tell you why all my sales and promotions involve solely eBooks:

1) I do NOT have any control whatsoever in the selling price of printed books. They are already as cheap as they can get and both I and my publisher hardly make anything at all even when they are not on special. The VENDOR makes most of the money, followed by the printer. Paper and binding and ink aren’t free, no matter what anyone tells you. If you see a paperback sale on Amazon, that is Amazon “magnanimously” waiving a portion of its already-bloated profit. They do that at THEIR whim and they don’t even notify me or my publisher so we can advertise it. The few times I have noticed one of these sales and spread the word, the sale ends as soon as one person takes advantage and then I look like a fool for sending people to a sale that doesn’t exist.

2) There is no mechanism for changing the price of paperbacks once the book is published. Even if my publisher and I decided to forego every cent of our meager cut in order to promote the book for a short period, it cannot be done without producing a REVISION that would actually put us in the hole. It is just logistically impossible. When I give away a paperback as promotion, I do so AT A LOSS. I still have to BUY the books myself and while they may cost a little less than what you pay, they are not free by any stretch of the imagination.

While I do not share the sentiment, I can accept that some people still like the smell of paperbacks or the tactile experience they offer. If you still like dead tree books and are willing to pay distributors for the privilege of selling them to you and the pulp manufacturers so they can plant more trees (yes, they ARE sustainable) then more power to you. I can’t help you on the price, but I will make them available.

3) Ebooks are completely different. I have much more control over the price and can change it any time of day or night, with few restrictions. I make more than Amazon (or any other vendor) on each sale and there is no middleman or materials cost involved. Ebooks are INFINITELY better for authors. I also happen to think ebooks are better for READERS, too, but that is another story.

Okay, so now you know why all my promotions are, of necessity, always on eBooks.

Before I tell you how to bypass eReaders, I should probably mention that the dedicated devices are WONDERFUL! I LOVE my Kindle and I know others who love their Nooks. They are lighter than most books and you can carry an entire library on them. The vendor who sells the device keeps your book order history so even if you lose or break the device, your library is safe forever. They are easier to use. It takes one thumb to turn a page and you have complete control over the font size. No longer need to buy special "large print editions" or make sure you always have reading glasses. You can find them used on eBay at really reasonable prices. Please don’t construe anything that follows as a counter-endorsement of Kindle. This is for those who cannot afford one or don’t want a dedicated device.

But I digress. Let’s get to the HOW.

1) You can read Kindle books on TONS of OTHER devices. Amazon offers FREE apps for every conceivable piece of electronics you could possibly read on. Whatever device you’re using to read this blog post can also be used to read books. Click here to find apps for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, Windows phones, PCs, Macs, and more.

2) You can read a Kindle book on a Nook or other proprietary reader *IF* the book is not DRM protected. My books are all DRM-free, which means you are perfectly welcome to take the Kindle file and CONVERT it to another type to suit the device. So if you buy (or download for free) my book in Kindle form, you can use one of many FREE converter programs to convert the mobi file to epub, and then transfer to your Nook and voila! My favorite free program to accomplish this is Calibre. You can also use it to convert any of your own documents (Word or Open Office) to your preferred file type, so you can read it on your Nook or Sony or iPad or whatever.

For the few of you who feel like you would be cheating me to download one of my books without paying: DON’T WORRY! When you download for free, you help my Kindle rankings, which means my book is seen more when it is NOT on sale and I therefore get sales later because of your free download. Besides which, my entire reasoning for making a book available for free is that I hope to hook you enough that you’ll be willing to pay regular price for my other books. If it still bothers you to get something for nothing, then pay me back by leaving a REVIEW. These are incredibly important to indie authors. I do NOT ask people to give glowing reviews. Just be honest. If you HATE it and say why in an articulate way that isn't personal, then you STILL help me. Really.


  1. So true. When I got my iPad, I expected to use it for news reading, not book reading. I thought reading off a screen would be too tiring. But it's not. And the best part about e-books is that shelf space (a limited commodity in my house) is no longer a factor in my buying decisions.

  2. Oddly, I have never found reading from a screen tiring. I also LIKE the backlighting because it means I don't have to hunt down another reading light. I often choose the computer over the Kindle just because I don't have to HOLD my computer. LOL One finger on the mouse to scroll down every few seconds and that's it. It's gotten to where I get downright grumpy if a book is cheaper as paperback (or *gasp* not available as ebook) because I am really starting to hate paper books now. I hate scrounging up reading glasses, holding heavy books while reading, and then storing books when done. I would be a huge advocate for eBooks even if I wasn't an author.

    Thanks for the comment, Kristen!

  3. Caprice, I finally found you. :) Your book title and name caught my eye as I was scanning the "Flurries of Words" blog post feed and I had to track you down. Congrats on all your progress and the excellent reviews!

    I downloaded The Duke's Handmaid from Amazon a short while ago. Now I have an eBook version *and* an autographed paperback. I'm all smiles today. Drop by my blog or shoot me an email and say "Hi!" I'm at (Hope the link works properly.)

  4. Jeff! I am so excited to hear from you again. You have the very old self-published version from back in 2002. I was picked up by Splashdown Books in 2010. The newer version has a different cover (as you've seen) and was revised and edited a little before it was re-released. And yes, the rest of the series is finished and up for sale in ebook and paperback.

    So excited to reconnect with an old "fan"! Thanks for the comment and the twitter follow. I'm following you back. :)