Those who follow my WordDreams writing blog know I read constantly–far too much, but it’s not something I can control. I curl up with a good book, start on page one (or the preface), lose track of time, and suddenly I’ve finished the book and am looking for the next. As I roll through book after book, the cost has become a big issue. I used to buy them on Kindle, but these days, they’re $9-$12 each with Indies when you can find them $2.99-$3.99. That quickly became too expensive so I switched to library books. I set up an online account at my local branch allowing me to search the virtual stacks of all county libraries. When I find a book I want, I have it delivered to my local branch and pick it up for a small service charge of $.25. There’s even a section for ‘New Titles’ so within a week of publication, I can get the latest offerings of my favorite authors. I have never exceeded the 70 book checkout limit, but regularly pick up 5-10 books at a time. The problem with this is they don’t carry all books (of course they don’t) and there are times I’ve waited months for a book to become available.
Another way I defray reading costs is through Amazon Vine. As a Vine Voice, I have a personalized online queue that provides items they think interest me. I can select up to five at a time and add more as I review them. The problem with this is, there are less and less books on my list and too many items I’m barely interested in. For example, right now my queue includes nail polish, books on art, earbuds, yogurt, placemats, dish towels and baby items. Since the law now requires they charge me (albeit at a discounted rate) for items I order, I only pick what I really want, which BTW isn’t any of the ones I listed.
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed many of the bloggers I follow review books they’ve gotten for free from NetGalley. At first, I thought the choices would be limited so it took me a while to check it out. When I did, I found a long list of books from authors I have enjoyed (LG Sellers, James Patterson, Ben Coes–NYT best-selling authors like this). All you do is set up an account and request a copy.
That sounded easy enough, so I did just that. First, I had to set up my personal writerly profile, which I did, filling in as little as possible because I’m always in a hurry. Within a few days, I got a rejection of my request, suggesting I add more detail to my profile. What they wanted me to do was sell my qualifications as a reviewer, blogger, writer. OK. Any author knows how to do that, so I spent about twenty minutes fleshing out my creds. Within a few days, I started getting approvals on almost all the books I’d selected (a few had limited availability and I was too late). Now, I have four books on my NetGalley dashboard. I can read them on my Kindle, either in the native format or as a ‘doc’ that downloads to my Kindle app. There were a few geeky steps that took me way to long and now I’m all set up. With this collection of books, I can’t imagine running out of reading anytime soon.
How do you fill your reading queue affordably?
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.
I’ll admit to a taste for 19th century literature so I get a lot of my books from Project Gutenberg. Likely I don’t read as much as you and only buy a handful of books a year. Often the ones I buy are fellow bloggers who I want to support.
My wife does the library thing and just loves it.
I like Project Gutenberg. I debated volunteering for them at one point. I did a lot of research there for one of my novels.
Netgalley sounds like a perfect solution for you but I don’t think I’m qualified. Though I sometimes discuss books on my blog in reference to a topic, I don’t review them as whole loaves.
I go to the used book stores, purchase on line, trade and borrow from friends, browse the library, and on rare occasion, I buy something from the book store. Actually, I buy lots of books for my grands – kids need something in their hands, where they can turn pages.
I still don’t do e-books.
And in the back of my mind is a voice reminding me that one day I hope folks will purchase my book. I’m aware I don’t support that concept for other writers as much as I should.
Somehow I don’t see you reading a book about placemats. Someone actually wrote that?
They say they’re for the ‘professional reader’ so that is you. Besides the requested books, they have a lot that are read, where you download it and read. I don’t know if that’s for some or all…