Tag Archives: eBooks

Get Your OverDrive!

I buy a lot of books. Some of the books I buy are by traditionally published authors whose books sell up to three and four times what I get for one of mine.

I often resort to borrowing books from the library, especially if it’s a popular series and each book is more than $10. If I like the book, then I feel confident about buying the rest of the series.

I use a sweet little app called OverDrive to borrow library books. You can download the app from the Google Play Store, your Apple store, your Kindle App store, etc. 


To use OverDrive, you must have a library card from a public library: any public library in the USA that is listed in the OverDrive directory. I believe that just about every public library is listed.

You add your library to the Overdrive App, log in, and search for the author you want or the book you want. Some books may be signed out, but you can put a hold on the ones you want, and as soon as a book is available, the library notifies you by email.

There are audio books also available. When you borrow the book, you can choose Epub or Kindle. If you use Kindle or Kindle App, you can download the book easily by choosing Kindle.

The book appears normally in your Kindle Library. When the borrow expires, Kindle returns it automatically. The books are checked out to you for 21 days, and you can check out multiple titles at the same time. There is no charge.


There are bestsellers and novels by popular authors available. You are limited only by what the library has. If the book you want is not on the list, you can use OverDrive to recommend to the library that it acquires the title.


Are there negatives? The only one I see is that the latest releases are grabbed quickly, and you usually must wait a few weeks to get them. If you are willing to wait, you can read them for FREE! Really for FREE with no strings attached.


Also, you need to have a library card. Library cards are specific to individual libraries. Libraries only issue free cards to their area residents. You borrow from the one library which issued your card. Your catalog of books available depends on what your library has.

I don’t live in the USA mainland. I live in a USA territory whose libraries are limited to the school system. I am lucky my adult children live in Florida, and I spend months there every year. My daughter-in-law was able to procure a free library card for me. I treasure my card.  

You can, if you are willing to pay, get a library card from a library outside your area of residence. However, these cards can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 a year, and the libraries which have such programs are few.

Click on the link below to visit the OverDrive site. OverDrive also offers Libby as a reading alternative. Both do the same thing, but Libby has a different look.

Link to OverDrive

BookFunnel for Readers

Have you heard of BookFunnel? If you haven’t, it’s time you did.

BookFunnel is a service many authors use to deliver books to their readers. These may be Beta copies for Beta readers, Free books for promotional purposes, or plain freebies. Some authors use the service to grow their email lists.

BookFunnel has a great way of delivering your book straight into your Kindle Library or your iBooks Library. The books are installed and appear alongside all your store-bought books. BookFunnel has an App you install in your device. The App is free and does it all for you.

Apple Devices

The BookFunnel App is a free App at the Apple App store. You do a search for BookFunnel App and download it the way you would any other apple App. Once you download it into your iPhone or iPad, you are set to receive BookFunnel books.

Kindle Devices

The Kindle App store does not offer the BookFunnel app, but it’s a simple process to install it on a Kindle Fire.

For other Kindle eraders, check out this link: https://vimeo.com/157887624.

For Kindle Fire tablets, do the following.

  1. At your Home screen, go to “Settings.”
  2. On Settings, Click on “Security & Privacy.”
  3.  Click on “Apps from Unknown Sources.”
  4.  Click on “Silk Browser.”
  5. Turn on “Allow from this source.”

This is a simple permission which allows you to install certain outside apps to your Kindle. Now, in your Silk browser (internet) go to the following address:      https://getbookfunnel.com

There you will see the option to install on your Amazon device. Click on it. In a few seconds, the App will be downloaded.

  • On the upper left of your screen, click on the Menu button (three small lines)
  • Tap on Downloads.
  • Find BookFunnel download and tap it to install. Now you are ready to receive books from BookFunnel.

Now, to show you how to use the App, I am going to gift you a copy of my story, Edge of the World.

WARNING: This book is not for younger readers or for adults who object to sexual content and graphic scenes of violence.

Click Here for Your Free Copy

The above link will take you to my BookFunnel book.

  1. Click on GET MY BOOK.
  2. Choose your device.
  3. You will see the download link-   BookHip.com/KDMKGB
  4. The letters KDMKGB are the only thing you need.
  5. 5. Open your BookFunnel App’s Home Tab.
  6. Enter those letters into the Submit Code box. The book will show.
  7. Tap your choice- whether to read in the App or to save to your Kindle, iBooks, or another library. Save to your library and the book will appear along all your other books.

Remember: The App is designed for both readers and authors. To download your books, always open to the HOME tab.  The Library tab in the App refers to the BookFunnel library, not your Kindle or iBooks library.  

Open your iBooks or Kindle library. There you will find all your books, including your copy of Edge of the World.

Enjoy! If your have any questions or need extra help, feel free to email me at zeecelugo@gmail.com, and I will respond.

Kindle Unlimited: A Good Deal or Not?

I am almost done with my trial FREE Month membership of Kindle Unlimited. I had been fighting the urge to try it for a long time.  It only amounts to pennies a day, and Amazon claims you can read all you want for free. That is truly not correct. You can read all you want for $9.99 a month. To an avid reader like me, this could turn out to be a great deal.
Before trying the service, I took inventory of my reading expenditures. In the last six months, I spent $150.69 in paid books. That averages out to $25.12 a month (the amount does not include taxes). Compare that to $9.99 for KU, and KU seems like a great deal. However, a little analysis is necessary.
Of my total expenditure, $131.79 was for books by authors who are not offering their books on KU. Most of those authors are published by traditional publishing houses, but some are self-published authors too.
My entire collection of Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody Mysteries is not available on KU. I paid for Game of Thrones, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger books, etc. In fact, only $18.90 of the $150.69 would have been covered in KU. That’s less than $3.15 a month.
This month I have borrowed ten of J.R. Rain’s Vampire for Hire (at 4.99 each), four of Mark Dawson’s John Milton series (at 3.99 each), three of Alex Lidell’s Power of Five series (4.99 each), and five of Auryn Hadley’s Rise of the Iliri books (3.99 each).
Total read is $100.87. Subtract $9.99 monthly charge, and I had a savings of $90.88. The savings is slightly more because I did not include sales tax. I think I like the savings very much! Keep in mind that I can read a book in a day, depending on its length and how much time I can spare for reading.
If your favorite authors are self-published, you may be getting a very good deal from Kindle Unlimited. Do keep in mind that many self-published authors are not offering their books on KU. KU requires us to keep our books exclusive to Amazon. Many authors are unwilling to miss out on Apple and other online sales outlets. My own books are not available on KU at the present time. That may change from time to time.
An interesting point to mention is that because of the cost advantage of KU, I discovered two new authors I am really enjoying. Auryn Hadley and Alex Lidell are authors I’d never read before, but because I could read them without buying the books outright, I gave them a try. I loved both of them.
On March 7, I examined Amazon’s paid best-selling fifty books. (I took the top fifty from the best-selling one hundred).
— Only four appear on the USA Today Bestsellers list. These four are published
      by traditional publishing houses.
— Of the four above, none is available on Kindle Unlimited.
— 34 of the 50 are offered on KU. They are exclusive to Amazon and cannot be found at
      B & N, iBooks, Kobo, etc.
— Of the 34, eight are regularly priced at $0.99 cents.
So, is Kindle Unlimited a good deal? A better question would be, “Is it worth it for you?” Consider the following questions.
— Who are your favorite authors?
— Are they on Kindle Unlimited?
— Are you willing to explore and try new, self-published authors?
— How many books do you read a month?
I realize there are numbers of readers out there who are highly critical of self-published books. They refuse to accept that there are many authors worth reading who are self-publishing. They refuse to try those authors. The rhetoric is often fueled by some traditional authors and publishers who obviously fear the new competition and the way self-publishing has changed how readers buy.
If you are willing to begin exploring on KU, then you might find a great deal. It will depend on your expectations and your discoveries. My advice is that you try the One-Month Trial Membership. It costs nothing and you can quit at any time with a click. At the least, you’ll really get to read for “FREE” for one month! Every month after that, you will pay $9.99 per month, no matter how many books you read.

I will be keeping my Kindle Unlimited membership. For me, it’s a very good deal. Some of my favorite self-published authors such as Rick Mofina and J.R. Rain have multiple-book series which are available on KU.

Free Books or Not?

As the eBook has increased in popularity, it has been matched by a proliferation of Internet sites that offer you FREE books. To get these FREE books, you must subscribe to the site. This usually costs nothing to you but your e-mail address. 

How do these sites work? How are they able to get you the books for FREE? Are all the books offered FREE?


Many of these books are FREE to you, the reader. Other books are discounted. You’ll find books listed anywhere from FREE to $3.99.

Rarely, you’ll find a book listed at a higher price. It is usually one that is traditionally published. We, the authors, pay dearly to place the books on the listings. That is how the site makes its money and is able to get you the FREE book. 

Let’s say that I want to  draw readers to my Daniel’s Fork series. I choose the first title in the series, and I run a FREE promo on Amazon for 1 day.


I book the promo day on a popular service such as Ereader News Today. The Ad can cost from $30 to $135 on Ereader for one day, depending on the genre and price of the book.

A promo on BookBub, the most sought-after and successful promo site for eBooks, can run as high as $1800 dollars  for one day, depending on the genre and price of the book.

A cozy mystery being downloaded for FREE will cost the author $458 at BookBub for one day’s promo. There are many sites that cost a lot less but are not as effective.

On the FREE day, the promo site places my book on its newsletter and sends an email to all its members showing that my book is FREE on that day. It will post the book on its website also. Of course, my book is one of dozens featured  that day.
As a subscribed member, you are notified about the Free and Discounted books being featured. Using such services, you may download hundreds of free books a year.
The beauty of these sites is that they send you an email featuring many books on promo and the links to them. All you do is click and download. Below is a partial screenshot of an email I received from BookBub  this week.

This email featured twenty four books on promo. Most were priced at $0.99 to $1.99, but THREE were FREE!

Why would authors pay to give away their books? Simply because hope springs eternal.


Every author hopes that if you read that first book, you’ll fall madly in love with the characters and the author’s writing. You will then buy all his or her other books.

This strategy, one which a few years ago produced many self-published best sellers, worked extremely well for a while. I myself discovered favorite authors Monique Martin and C.L. Bevill when I read their “first in a series” for free a few years ago.

Presently, the proliferation of the Free book has produced a generation of readers who want to read only for free. They scope the sites daily, downloading every free book they find. They rarely buy.

Some download books they have no intention of ever reading, the virtual hoarders of the eBook age. An interesting post on Good E Reader reports that Kobo has found that 60% of its sold eBooks are never opened.

The more expensive a book is, the more likely it is to opened. If the book is FREE, it sits at the growing pile of unopened, hoarded books. 

The problem goes even deeper. Some readers ask for free review copies they will never review. Some ask for Free gift codes from an author meaning to spend the code in another author’s title.

Last year, I hosted a Giveaway of Strongheart’s Woman printed edition, giving away four copies at Goodreads. Within days, two of the copies were offered for sale as new at a fraction of the book’s selling price. This forced Amazon to lower the price of my book across the board to match it!

     


Logic tells you that writers can not work for free anymore than Macdonald’s workers or teachers or nurses can. As a result, many seasoned indie authors are no longer offering free novels. I believe that number will keep growing.

There will probably remain a small group who continues the practice, especially new authors just entering the writing market. Those still have not learned the lesson that if you want your work valued, you must place a value on it first.

I will no longer give away free novels. I have a short story,  Vampire, Not Monster which I give away to anyone willing to sign up to my VIP list. I have it listed as Free for a time at various seller links in order to attract readers to Angel’s Guardian, my latest full novel.


I also offer samples of three chapters from my full novels at Instafreebie. I do promos on the sites mentioned, usually at a price of $0.99 or $1.99 but no longer for FREE.  


Now, you might ask, where are these sites that feature FREE and discounted books?

Here are the links to some you might like, but remember: sponsor the authors you like by buying their work. You would never work for free. Why should they? 


http://bookgoodies.com/mega-submit/

http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-readers

https://choosybookworm.com/free-ebooks/

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Calibre is for Readers!

Calibre is a Free App that every eBook owner should have. As a reader, I get great mileage out of Calibre.
Kobo, Nook, iBooks, all use ePub format, but Kindle does not. If you own a Kindle, you might buy a book on a great sale from Kobo or Barnes & Noble, but Kindle will not open it. Likewise, if you own a Nook reader or a Kobo, you are limited to buying books from them because they will not open a Kindle book.
      
There is a solution to this problem, as you will see. A book I wanted was on 50% sale at the Kobo site. No problem. I signed into Kobo and bought the book. The book was saved to the Kobo library for my account.
I went into my Kobo Library, selected the new book, and clicked on export. The book was downloaded to my download directory on my desktop. I signed off Kobo.

I navigated to my download directory. I clicked on the book. My FREE Adobe Digital Editions app on my desktop opened it. It now appeared in the Adobe Digital Editions library directory. Adobe Digital Editions is another very useful FREE app.

I opened my Calibre program and imported the ePub file from the Adobe Digital Editions directory into Calibre. I used Calibre to convert the ePub into Mobi, and emailed the Mobi file to my Kindle. The whole process took five minutes, and I was reading the book on my Kindle!

Books that you get from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and most sellers, (including Amazon), are often DRM protected. This is especially true of books from traditional publishers.

This means that when you try to open the book in a reader for which it was not sold, the warning you see below pops up. You are unable to open the book.

The book I bought from Kobo was DRM protected. Since I paid for the book, and all I wanted was to be able to read it, I opted to remove the DRM.
In order to open the ePub book and convert it to Mobi, Calibre must remove the DRM first. It must have the right plugin installed to do so. Good news is that Calibre and its plugins are all FREE and widely available on the internet.

You can spend money buying the DRM removal tools, but that would be foolish when the best of them are available for FREE as open source apps. DRM can be removed from Nook, Kobo, and Kindle books using these Calibre plugins.
Calibre is also a fantastic reader, organizer, and manager for books. It can organize your books in just about any order you want. It can open dozens of file formats. It can convert from just about any format into another.

If you try to convert from one format to another and you can’t, you can usually find a plugin that will enable you to do the task.

Another great advantage of the app is that you can use it to copy books from your Kindle to the computer or portable drive and vice versa. There are also internet instructions on how to transfer books from Calibre to your iPad.

Calibre is made for Windows, Mac, and Linux! If you are a user of, let’s say Ubuntu, you can download Calibre straight from your Ubuntu apps manager.

You can get a Dropbox account and back up your Calibre library so you can access it from any device. I have my Calibre library also stored in an external drive. You might think that is silly, but you never know what companies like Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble may do in the future.

Your books should be forever yours. I am paranoid about sellers going out of business or denying me the books I paid for, in the future, for whatever reason.

I have not even touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Calibre can do. I honestly can say that it is the most useful tool I can have both as a reader. I could write another post on how useful it is to me as a writer.
No, I do not work for Calibre nor make any money from recommending it.  I benefit from the app and feel every reader should too. It is an Open Source App; this means that it is totally FREEEE!!!!
         Adobe Digital Editions
                Great Site for DRM Plugins
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