Tag Archives: Free

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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Buy the Cow!


Only a fool buys what he can get for nothing. Remember the old adage: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? It still stands!

Recently, I tried to promote a short story that I offered as a free download. I found that most promo sites do not accept promos for short stories. In fact, most of the guidelines specify that books must be over 100 pages.

I messaged the admin of a well-known promo site. I asked if it was possible that they could offer a limited service for short stories. I believe there is a market for them, and many authors who hate to give away months of hard work, offer shorts instead.

I received a prompt answer from the site’s owner. He informed me that most readers did not read short stories. He knows that because he has been in the business for six years. He said that his customers expected free books, and that most authors had at least one free offering of a full-length novel.

Now, I had just read an article that stated that short reads are very popular right now. (See article.) The rise of the iPhone and tablet as reading tools has had a great effect on our reading habits because they are so convenient for reading short works. It also stated that the younger people love things they can finish while they ride the train or bus home, sit at Starbucks for a few minutes, or wait at a doctor’s appointment.

It seems to me that this site owner is doing what is best for his business, not mine. Of course he wants full free books. He also wants my money. He has a great business going. He gives away my product and charges me to do it! He buys nothing, stocks nothing, and pays nothing. If I am giving away my work, why does he not also give me a free ride? Why not make money out of advertisements or a minimal charge to the readers? But no, the cost must be all mine.

My opinion is that if a reader will like my writing, he or she does not need a full thirty chapters to do so. Normally, A few chapters into a book, I know whether to finish it or put it away. Everyone can download the 20% sample of my books at Amazon and Smashwords. If the reader is not hooked with that 20%, then he or she will never buy the book or the next.

A few years back, when the self-publishing craze was new, I read a free book by Monique Martin, fell in love with it, and have bought all her other books since. There were then only a few hundred authors giving away a first book as free. It was easy for me to find her.

Today, I do a search for free romance books, and I have to scroll through 100 plus pages of Amazon offerings. A quick search in Amazon using the words “Free books for Kindle” gave me 205,204 books! “Free romance books for Kindle” gave me 13,656 books.

Those are Permafree books. Those results do not include the temporarily free books on Kindle promotion. If your book is not in the first five pages of the search, it gets lost in the multitude.

I could no longer see the benefit in spending $100 dollars promoting my book in several sites to give away another $1,345.50 worth of my work, (450 copies at $2.99 each, downloaded for free) to make back $90 in residual sales. Meanwhile, the site owner makes a killing, and the readers stock piles of free offerings. Most are never opened.

Some people will quickly argue “exposure.” Exposure is the magic word that holds us all prisoners. It is the antidote to the poison. It is the word that holds the self-published author at bay, and keeps him feeding his life’s blood to the promotion sites.

My answer is that you can get a lot of exposure without giving your work away. But wait: we are already giving our work away when a reader downloads that 20% sample at Amazon or Smashwords.

When is enough, enough? When do we stop feeding the sharks, those lurking to snatch anything free with absolutely no intention of ever buying or even reading? (See this article.) When do we stop making money for others who have invested nothing in our work?

I have placed prices on everything I have on sale. Even my short stories are now priced at $1.99. I am giving away.

I now rely on my blog and author sites for that vaunted exposure. One thing I do believe is that I may have markedly fewer downloads, but because the reader paid something, he or she is more likely to open the book, to review, and to fall in love with my writing and buy the next book.