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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Wonderings ... on Readers and Writers

Goodreads Blog: My First Kindle Books
Spoiler Alert: This is not a children's picture book. This is just a silly post about my attempts at entering the world as an e-book author.

My first foray into Kindle Publishing is a comedy of errors, so far. I managed to miss the line where I was supposed to enter my name as the author (but, to be fair, I was logged in as myself on my author page, excuses, excuses...) and so my sister Ro, who had taken the photograph which I used on the back cover of the book, was listed as the only 'contributor' (read that, by default, author)of the Teaching Vol. 2, and my friend Floyd who had collaborated on one of the essays in Teaching Vol. 1 was then listed as the author by default.

I went back to the site, edited the files, and in error listed only Terry Palardy as my name ... which wouldn't then link the kindle version to the print versions (which carry Terry Crawford Palardy as the author.) I sent the editors at Kindle an apologetic email with pleas for help. We'll see what comes of it today! ♥

Update on My First Kindle Books (not a child's picture book series ... yet?)

I've followed the trend and lowered my Kindle books' price to $.99. What I've read on writers' Facebook pages is that listing a book for less than a dollar will entice readers to download it, even if only on impulse rather than in interest.

I have mixed feelings about this. A cynical comment was made that the American reader has become an entitled consumer, expecting writers to settle for much less than the writer feels the work deserves.

I'm a reader as well as a writer, and the comment made me stop and take a look at my purchasing habits. Years ago, Rick and I would drive 15 miles to spend an hour or two wandering through Border Books, he upstairs looking through their Woodworking shelves, and I down, enjoying a lovely mix of History, Biography, Psychology, Spirituality, and Mysteries that I called my "run-away readings." We would stop at the Bargain Books table, conveniently located at the checkout, and pick up a few more. It was not unusual for us to spend, collectively, at least a hundred dollars per visit and come away with perhaps as many as six or eight books. Of course, I had a full time salary then.

With the arrival of Kindle, and the closure of Border's, and my reluctant but medically-related early retirement, we have the perfect storm of change. My buying habits have been altered radically. The only bookstore within 20 miles of us is Barnes and Nobles, and I have an aversion to the place. Their setup prevents customers from browsing their database on a computer, and asking a clerk to browse for me just isn't "browsing." I'm delighted with the Kindle, and have in fact become spoiled with the number of free books, and $.99 books available. I stop and think twice before buying a $2.99 Kindle book, content to wait and see if it comes down in price.

Perversely, I will go to the Amazon Used booksellers for whatever paperback I want to buy ... and will often find that book for less than $1.00, and happily purchase "with one click." But in truth, that book arrives with the expense of $3.99 in shipping costs, putting the total well over the Kindle titles I am waiting to see go down.

The virtual book on Kindle does not have the weight and comfort of even a used physical book, and so seems unworthy of a heavier price.

It is good to understand myself as a consumer, changed by the limitations of a pension just over half my former income.

But as a writer, trying to promote sales to subsidize that reduced income ... I am humbled by the expected lower prices of a Kindle book, and am accepting the trend of American consumers feeling entitled to more for less. If more buy it at the lower price, the 30% royalty might generate more dollars. If fewer buy it at the $2.99 price, the 70% royalty may not amount to much.

What are your feelings on Kindle prices? Are you willing to pay a $3.99 postage fee for an inexpensive used paperback rather than buying a newer title on Kindle?

And yes, this is a polite marketing request that you consider my 99 cent Kindle books at Amazon, and if feeling rather secure and fortunate enough to have a full salary, perhaps buy a few in paperback as well?


  1. I tend to buy whatever format is less expensive right now--whether that be ebook or used paperback. One element that makes me less willing to spring for an ebook is that I can't browse through it to get an idea if I'd like to read the book--which I do in brick-and-mortar book stores. I appreciate the trend toward allowing potential buyers of ebooks to read a sample of the book.

    Of course, my purchasing decisions right now are affected by looming college expenses for a currently one-income family. I expect my purchasing patterns to change as my lifestyle changes over the next several years.

    1. Hi Dana, Thanks for visiting my blog. College years are skinny years for families; inflation continues to challenge families long after college is finished. It's a tough economy for all around.

      Give my best to that daughter of yours!


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