Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

Lies - High ResolutionI mentioned yesterday that, for now at least, my latest book is only available on Kindle. I know I have some readers who use other devices, and that this has to be annoying for them, so I thought I should explain why, as well as talking about my views on how Amazon approach this.

For those who don’t know, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing includes an option called KDP Select. If an author enrolls one of their books in KDP Select then they gain certain advantages – primarily that they can give it away for free via Amazon for a few days, which most authors can’t otherwise do, and it is included in the Kindle Unlimited reading package, increasing the likelihood of people reading it and giving the author a taste of that sweet, sweet Unlimited money. The catch is, each time you enroll the e-book in Select you do so for 90 days, and during that time you can’t publish it in other e-reader formats.

Normally, this is something I don’t do. I have no objection to Amazon offering benefits to those who work solely with them, but I’d rather not be reliant on one platform and am uncomfortable with the potential monopoly it supports.

That said, having something in Select is a potentially huge way for an author to find new readers and draw them to their work. On that basis, I’d been planning on putting something on Select at some point, though I hadn’t yet worked out what.

Then this November hit and I took on more than I could do at once. Formatting a book for Amazon is relatively easy using Scrivener, but formatting for Smashwords takes a lot more work. So rather than stretch myself further by preparing Lies We Will Tell Ourselves for Smashwords, I decided to make this my experiment in trying out Select.

Of course the same workload also meant that I dropped the ball in getting the book up on Select, not sorting my free days out in time for the book to go live on Monday, and then finding on Tuesday that I couldn’t start the free days on the day I was in. But I’m there now. Lies We Will Tell Ourselves is free on Amazon from now until Sunday, please go grab a copy and enjoy.

Sorry to my non-Kindle-using readers – I’ll make it up to you at some point, I promise!

“I have no objection to truth,” I said, “but I enjoy untruths too, they’re the building blocks of human culture. Actors pretending to be kings, singers faking heartbreak or elation, novelists inventing heroes in their heads to escape the mindless dullards around them. Reality is a vast sea of tedium interrupted by brief flashes of the repugnant – why would anyone chain themselves to that?”

Lies - High Resolution

Out now on Amazon, Lies We Will Tell Ourselves is the latest, and for now last, of my anthologies pulling together my previously published stories. This time it’s the turn of science fiction…

A spin doctor forced to deal with aliens who loath lies.

A squad of soldiers torn apart by the fiction in their midst.

A hunting submarine with its dead captain strapped to the prow, the crew promising that one day they’ll revive him.

We all tell lies to get through the day, some of them to ourselves, some to other people. Now read the extraordinary lies of the future in these nine short science fiction stories.

Includes:

  • How We Fall – trapped behind enemy lines, faith and duty clash for Sergeant Grund’s squad.
  • So Cold It Burns – long cut off from home, Gandpa Jo must decide the future of his frozen wife.
  • Distant Rain – the submarine Promethean hunts a mutant whale through a polluted Pacific.
  • Our Man In Herrje – Julius Atticus lives by lies, but can he defend them to the alien Gatherers?
  • Day Labour – a dark secret waits for the farm labourers of a distant world.
  • Digits – a robot finds his humanity in a hand.
  • The Extra Mile – race driver Geordie proves how far he’ll go to win.
  • Second Skin – stock trader Eddy’s symbiont has all the latest apps, including one no-one told him about.
  • The Harvest – as aliens devour the Earth, an anthropologist recognises an unsettling truth.

Lies We Will Tell Ourselves is out now on the Kindle. I’m just releasing it there for now as experiment, and I’ll get into my reasons another day. But because it’s exclusively on Amazon I’m able to give it away through there for a few days, and so it’s free from tomorrow until Sunday, after which it will still be only $1.99.

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and read your way into a bright new future!

Part of our desire to own and collect books stems from an instinct to control. As in many areas of our lives, we assert that control to feel more like agents of our own destiny, like masters of our world. In business, this manifests as managers setting strict rules. In politics it’s both the intellectual struggle to create orderly systems of thought and the ballot box battles for control of the country. And in reading it’s our book collections, knowing that you have a book to hand even if you’ll never read it again, that it’s there inside your sphere of influence. You own that story, just a little.

Yes, little man, it really is that awesome

Yes, little man, it really is that awesome

I got a new e-reader this week, having broken my last one in a moment of clumsiness at the gym, and it made me think about this issue of ownership again. Because in a digital age we can get hold of many books at a moment’s notice just by going on an e-reader and downloading them from the appropriate store. We can even access books instantly for free through the growing electronic collections of libraries. It can liberate us from the clutter of books, but involves a change of mindset, from one of control to one of flexibility, feeling safe that you can get what you want when you want it if you just let go of the need to own. The book is just as available as before, even more so as you don’t have to work out which shelf or box it’s in. But some of the romance is definitely gone.

I doubt many people of my generation, entrenched like me in thirty-something years of habit, will make the most of this liberation. But the shift from functioning by controlling to functioning through flexible networks is one that’s also emerging in other areas like business management. Maybe, as future generations give up paper pages in favour of networked e-readers, changing reading habits will be symbols of a wider social change.

And that’s enough intellectual posturing for today. I’m off to the gym with my new e-reader. And this time I’m going to be very careful.

 

Photo by Zhao ! via Flickr creative commons