I remember going to the library as a child, touching the glossy covers of books and reading the blurbs to decide what to choose. Or I’d devour the Scholastic paperback list, trying to decide which paperbacks I wanted to spend my money on. The thin novels were often only 25 cents, so I could buy several.
But now everything has changed. There are still libraries, but I don’t have to always drive there. I can download books to my Kindle from the library’s website. But the selection isn’t extensive. And the more I read, the fewer books are left that I’m interested in. The same applies to the library’s physical collection. Budgets are dwindling, which means the collection of books is too. To help generate revenue, they charge for new releases. And they aren’t cheap. Plus, I’m amazed at how long books are considered new releases. I’m beginning to think something is no longer a “new release” only when people aren’t reading it anymore.
Several months ago, I found an e-newletter that advertised free and 99 cent novels. I signed up and thought my book problems were solved. They weren’t. Now I receive a daily newsletter of listing free and cheap e-books. Some of the books are written by indie authors while others are by traditionally pubbed authors, who are making their backlists available to e-market. But I haven’t got the time or energy to weed through the newsletter, read all the blurbs, check the books’ ratings on Amazon, read a sample to see if the writing is quality or not. The e-newletters advertise books regardless of quality—basically it’s a pay-to-play situation. And the cost isn’t cheap. (If any of you know of some e-newletter that’s different—and not just the reviews of a single book reviewer—please let me know!)
So I’m not really reading the free newsletter anymore. Instead, I’m paying attention to other writer’s recommendations. If writer X, whose novel I liked, says, “Book A is really good and it’s free/99 cents/cheap,” then I usually buy it—assuming the plot and genre are interesting to me.
What about you? If you have an e-reader, how do you decide what e-books to buy?