Friday, September 30, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, or How I Chose Which Book to Buy Today

I have a Nook Color, which I might have mentioned that I love. But, it has changed my book-shopping habits more than I anticipated. Now that Amazon has unveiled the shiny new Kindle Fire, I plan to become a dual e-reader owner. (I had to have color, you see.) And I can easily justify to Sugar why it's essential that I have both--I hope.

Anyway, about book shopping....

Today I perused my to-be-read list, which consists of a stack of actual books purchased pre-Nook, and 21 books I've downloaded to my Nook but haven't yet read. These are all books I'm eager to read--some are written by friends, some by favorite authors, some both. But, on any given day, what I want to read is driven by the mood I'm in. Nothing in my to-be-read list jumped out, grabbed me by the throat, and shouted, "You must read me now!"

I checked the Goodreads recommendations--this is a great feature, by the way. Goodreads checks what you've read and rated highly and recommends books for you. There were good suggestions on the list. I decided to download either Lethal, (the new Sandra Brown novel) The Affair (the new Lee Child novel) or (and this was the odds-on favorite) Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman. I SO miss Jesse Stone.

With those three novels in mind, I logged on to the B&N website. Yes, I know I can easily shop directly from my Nook, but because the screen--and therefore the store--is bigger, I prefer shopping on my laptop.

I clicked Nook Books, selected fiction, then mystery. I sorted by Bestselling. The first 2 books on the screen were The Affair and Lethal. Should've been an easy in and out of the store, right? Not so fast. I love browsing books. So, I meandered down the list. Number three was a Michael Connelly--also a favorite author--and this was a steal--a back-list title for only $1.99. But, it was a title I'd already read and own in paperback.

The first page of 573 pages of mystery novels held 30 titles, most by name-brand authors. Many of them I've already read. Some I just wasn't in the mood for. I went to page 2. More of the same--some new titles by favorite authors, some back-list titles--plus here a few authors whose names were familiar, but whose work I've never read, along with an unfamiliar name or 2. My scrolling slowed.

There, on the bottom line of page 2, a cover and a title caught my eye" January Kills Me, by Evan Katy. I read the first sentence of the overview: "January Kills Me is a romantic comedy, an action filled mystery and a cautionary tale of how not to go about recovering from a divorce."

DING-DING-DING! We have a winner. That caught my attention. I glanced at the reviews. There were only 12 ratings so far, but the overall rating was 4.5. The five reviews on the first page were all glowing endorsements.

But, wait... the book is only 99 cents? Is this a back-list title of someone I haven't read before, or an indie author? Great cover, great title, great reviews--nothing that screamed, "This is somebody's first draft of her first novel, and she got her cousin to upload it because he knew how." It was a completely professional package. And (I had to look) Evan Katy is an indie author.

I can gamble with 99 cents. Jesse Stone, I still miss you, but maybe next week. The budget is a little tight just now.

Peace out,


P.S. As a reader, I never looked to see who published a book until the day I started researching publishers and agents as a writer. I'm not an advocate for independent publishing or authors. Neither am I predisposed to think that a novel written by an indie author is of poor quality. I am a lover of good novels, however they arrive on my e-reader. I am also the CFO of my family budget.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

For my Friend, Who Sleeps with his Autographed Nora Roberts Books

Okay, he doesn't sleep with them. But he clutches them to his chest for a few minutes every day. He loves his Nook, but he also loves the tactile sensation of holding a book with his favorite author's signature. So do I.

And who can really enjoy a book signing--where you get to meet one of your favorite authors, and maybe have your picture taken with her/him--when you have nothing tangible to be signed as a memento?

Until recently, this rather extreme measure was the only option. Now, Amazon offers this for Kindle owners, but you have to sign in with Twitter, and it appears to be only available for select authors and/or titles.

Here's what I plan to do, sometime before the South Carolina Book Festival next year. I'm going to make myself a Reader's Passport--essentially an update on an autograph book. (Disney offers something similar for your favorite characters.) I'll start with a scrapbook--one with a cover that strikes my fancy. I'll personalize it a bit, and make sections for my favorite genres--mystery/crime, thriller, romance, mainstream fiction, et cetera.

Then, like collecting passport stamps, I'm going to collect autographs. Most authors have either postcards or bookmarks--or something with the cover art of their book--at an author event. I'll ask her/him to sign whatever is available. If I've collected every book she/he has ever published, maybe I'll have my picture taken with him/her and add it to the page in the scrapbook.

Then if I want to sleep with my autographs, my bed will be much more comfortable. If you've switched to an e-reader, how will you have your books autographed?