EReaders, Kindle Unlimited, and no sleep in sight

I should start this product review by saying I will be covering more topics than just my new eReader—because, well, I’m not known for staying on topic. Although I am a book-in-hand kind of gal, I’m running out of room in my little home library (meaning the shelves are starting to bend), so last week I began the hunt for an eReader (gasp in horror, I know!).

I very quickly decided that I would have to go with Amazon’s Kindle for a number of reasons.

  • Amazon has a lot more eBooks available than Kobo, Google play, Barnes and Noble, etc., and as an author I know that Amazon makes sure that their eBooks are the lowest price available..
  • As stated in the previous point, they have the most eBooks available for purchase. When an author signs up for Kindle Unlimited (which I will explain later in this post), they are only allowed to have their book available on Amazon in order to utilize this service. I am not aware of any other platform that has a similar program of exclusivity, therefore its fair to say a book is either on Amazon and no where else, or it is available on Amazon and other retailers.
  • I knew they had Kindle Unlimited and as someone who reads 3-5 books a week I couldn’t pass up the deal (again, I will break down the who/what/where of KU in a moment).
  • I should also note that I do own an iPad that I could’ve used, but between my two older children the only time I get the iPad is when the battery is dead and it needs recharging. Also the light on it (and my phone as well) hurts my eyes after a while, especially when I am reading for hours in the evening.
Kindle blog post pic

My eReader is gearing up for a vacation.  Now we just need someone to take us somewhere!

But first to the eReader. I snagged the Kindle Paperwhite on sale for $99.99 on Amazon’s Prime Day last week. It’s actually the only thing I bought that day and it just so happen to coincide with my decision to become an eBook reader, so I figured it was written in the stars somewhere for me to buy this one. For those who aren’t aware Amazon’s Prime Day is sort of like a “Black Friday” type sales event for those who have a prime membership with Amazon (membership includes free shipping, easier returns, exclusive deals, etc.). I order enough stuff online to make this paid service worth it. The eReader arrived a day late (what the hell Amazon?!), but it was easy to use, compact, and it came pretty much fully charged so I could play around with it a bit and read a little too. When I first saw it I thought the 6 inch screen was too small, but I adjusted the font size and to be honest I don’t really know any different so it’s working for me.

I set up the eReader with relative ease and began my search for books.

For books, like any other eReader, you can search on the actual device when hooked up to Wi-Fi, find a book, buy it (usually for a fraction of the cost of the paperback), and download it to begin reading.

I have quickly determined there are quite a few benefits to an eReader. The first being that if I decide at ten o’clock at night I want to read a book, I can read it five minutes later. I don’t have to wait until I have time to nip to the shops and buy the book—that is both convenient and worrying for what my credit card bill might look like next month, ha! The kindle is also linked with Goodreads (which are now owned by Amazon and are turning a little too corporate for my liking, but that is a whole other blog post my friends!), so you can read both Amazon reviews and Goodreads reviews (Goodreads tends to have more) before you purchase.

And we all know the importance of book reviews from my post last week, right?

But besides the late night impulse shopping and the reviews, Amazon also has this amazing service called Kindle Unlimited. This is basically the Netflix of books.

The way Kindle Unlimited (KU) works is you pay a monthly subscription fee (I paid $9.99) and you get access to a million books in their database. Now, not all books are there, and some of the more well-known authors have zero books enrolled in this program for you to borrow. There are two reasons for this:

  • As an author, you get paid out of a giant pot of Amazon’s KU subscription fees for pages that are read from your book when you enroll your novel in the KU program. For example, if they made a million dollars and had a million pages read that month each page of a book read would essentially be worth a penny. If you have 300 pages in your novel and one person read 278 pages (for some reason they didn’t read the last few pages—maybe they were page stuffers which I will write another post on) you would get paid $2.78 for that novel being read. For someone who has an eBook priced at $2.99 regularly, this isn’t that bad. But the really well known author’s books aren’t sold at this price range because a publishing house has to pay for overhead like book tours, signings, editing, promotion, etc. So if their eBook is regularly $13.99 they just lost over $11.00 on this program. And the publishing houses also factor in that their big name author’s books will sell without this program.
  • For an author to have their books listed with KU their book has to be apart of a program called KDP Select. This means that they cannot have that book listed on any other selling platform. The good news is an author can have certain books enrolled, but other books can be listed regularly (and available on other platforms). So for less known authors, the KU system is a way for their books to get in the hands of readers who might not usually give them a try but the reader’s mentality is: “Well, it’s free, so what can it hurt?”.

I just read a fantastic series on KU by Rachel Caine. The first book Stillhouse Lake and the second Killman Lake were just amazing. They are available through KU and I would one hundred percent recommend them (but don’t start them if you want to sleep tonight, because they are just too good to put down). And guess what I did after I read the books? That’s right, I wrote a review (see below)!

Now, I should point out that the Kindle is NOT friendly with the Canadian Library system, and quite frankly I don’t think they ever will be. Why would Amazon want to lose sales for you to borrow a book from the library for free (you can with the KOBO reader)? The only problem with borrowing the eBook from the library is you have to wait your turn just like any paperback. They don’t have an infinite amount of eBook files to give out, so you request it and wait just like if you were getting a physical copy of a book, which to a “I need to read this right now!” person like myself, that system doesn’t work very well.

So now I need to hear your thoughts. What eReader do you have—do you love it and why? And more importantly, is anyone else reading any Kindle Unlimited books and has  recommendations for me?

REVIEW FOR STILLHOUSE LAKE.

Book Blurb:

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

 

Book Review:

Umm, holy crap. I don’t even know where to start. Well, I should start off with this is one of those psychological thrillers that just kind of sticks with you. It’s an on the edge of your seat, can’t stop reading, suspect everyone, kind of novel. It was SO good.

The characters are flawless, and I have to say I like that information was very slowly presented to the reader as to the killings in Wichita and exactly what happened. I could understand Gwen (previously Gina) and her fierce protection over her kids. I could feel it. Her motivation is so believable that I wanted to cry in frustration to everyone around her that made her life a living hell.

I could totally run a book club meeting with this novel. First off, could a woman be living with a man for that many years while he murders people in the garage and she doesn’t have a clue? HELL YES! I think you would be shocked what people are capable of, and more importantly capable of hiding.

And while all this psychological thriller stuff was—well, thrilling—what really resonated with me was the theme of cyber bullying. I think, given enough time and internet know-how, someone could easily ruin your life if they wanted to. I could walk into a restaurant tomorrow and say a rat ran over my foot on my Facebook page. How long do you think that would take to go viral? Who knows if I was even in a restaurant! I could take a picture of my foot under a table, Photoshop the rat on it and bam—that restaurants reputation would be GONE, because the truth is, how many people would actually stop and get the other side of the story?

In Gwen’s case, she doesn’t have a very good leg to stand on to begin with. She was completely in the dark as to what her husband was doing, but it’s not hard for an outsider to say, “Come on, how could you not know?” People stalk her and her children, because why should they get to live in peace when her husband destroyed so many lives, right? But then more bodies start to show up and all eyes are firmly turned to her again. But who is killing people now? I can’t tell you, you need to read the book. Like now.

Oh, did I mention it ends on a cliffhanger and there is a book two?

Good luck sleeping this week.

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