Archive for » June, 2015 «

Kindle Unlimited: Why I Don’t Like It When I Should

Kindle unlimited in essence is a wonderful idea, just like netflix and sites like spotify it allows people to pay a monthly set fee and listen to as much music or watch as much tv as they’d like. It’s affordable and it makes it easier to find the things you want to enjoy. As a reader I think it’s the way the industries ought to be going.

None of the models are perfect. Spotify pays 70% of subscriptions to musicians but it does it based on listens over all not listens per subscriber so the money is pushed towards the sorts of musicians who have people repeatedly listening to their songs. Netflix pays outright for streaming deals and this often means it can pay way too much for some shows and not enough for others.

The one thing both do, though it pay a reasonable amount of what they get from subscriptions to the makers. Spotify especially have at least pegged the figure at a percentage that pretty standard for entertainment. Kindle pass on 70% of ebook royalties to the publisher/author when one is bought.

But that’s where Kindle Unlimited loses its appeal for me personally. Kindle Unlimited costs $10/£8 which is only a little more than netflix and it provides access to the books in the Unlimited library for free. It’s a great deal for someone who reads a lot. But the author has the raw end of the deal. The author only gets a share of an arbitrary pot Amazon decides upon 15 days after the end of the month (worked out by pages read of all books by all readers). There’s no percentage or total gross subscription revenue to give an idea of if this is even a fair amount and has the same flaw that the spotify model has in that it’s not a single persons subscription broken up by what they read, but pages out of the total of everyone.

On top of that Kindle Unlimited demands exclusivity of the ebook. It literally can’t be offered for sale anywhere else. Now in some cases Netflix also does this, but they pay more to get a show exclusively.

In the past Amazon has been heralded as the saviour of the author. Giving the author way more money per sale than a traditional publisher does and giving far more literary freedom. There’s whole new waves of fiction that exist thanks to what they’re doing and a whole load more authors making enough money to live of their writing. In comparison to ten years ago it’s a great time to write books (although still way harder than your average career), but Kindle Unlimited needs work, and I have to admit, I’m kinda hoping someone else comes along with a more transparant pay scale and competes with Amazon, because as it is, it’s a return to keeping authors out of the driving seat of their own career.

The Last Changeling: A Review

We picked out this book for bookclub a few months back based partially on the cover and partially on the description. It sounded like a very interesting blend of Sherlock esque stuff and mythological fairy-like creatures.

The Last ChangelingThe book started off a little on the slow side, I was intrigued but it felt a little wandering in plot and ideas. There was plenty of talk of metahominids (the books version of fairies) and how evil they are. by a third of the way in it pulled together and had plenty of action, some great bad guys and abilities and some very interesting cool characters.

I struggled to put the book down until I got to about three-quarters in and then it felt like the book went downhill a little. There were some chunks of text from what seemed like completely pointless points of viw, like an underground train driver, and after setting up lots of different metahominids with different strengths they onle really shot bows and arrows at people.

Also there were a few bits where I got completely confused as to whose point of view it was from. Something was really hinky with the formatting which made it difficult to tell when it switched, but that was only a problem a couple of times.

Finally the ending felt a bit like a wash out. There was some Deus Ex Machina with a plane that our main hero could suddenly just go get and someone’s fairy uncle who suddenly united the fairies, but then they turned out to not understand humans at all. The ending felt rather rushed and like the author had put all these cool fairie powers together and then couldn’t actually think of a way for the good guys to win against those odds, so conveniently made the metahominids weaker all of a sudden.

All in all there was a lot of great potential in the book and I’d definitely read a sequel, just wish it could have ended a little better.

Imperfect Strangers: A Review

This is another ebook I was gifted by the author, David Staniforth, in return for my review. It’s also another book that’s a departure from the usual genre of the author (honestly something I think authors should risk more often).

Imperfect StrangersI was a little worried about taking this book on as it’s not normally a genre I like reading. I find life can be scary enough without reading stuff that scares me even more, but I’m glad I did. I immediately connected with the main character Keith and what he’d been through.

Although I knew where the book was leading it didn’t make it any less boring to read for the most part, although I felt it dragged a little in the middle and found some of the relationships Sally had with other people to be not quite real. To me she didn’t seem to get along very well with her friends and it made me wonder what had made her like them in the first place, but explaining it might have bogged the story down so… tough to say how that could have been made better.

I must admit there was a part of me that felt very sorry for Keith and kept hoping the book would have a twist at the end and make him the hero, but it was more realistic for it not to so I’m not complaining and I think it’s a credit to the author for making me so attached to his character for me to hope he could redeem himself.

Very interesting thriller with some very realistic messed up characters. Not a perfect story but still well written.

Finding My World: A Review

This is the second book I’ve read by Chris Ward as is in a very different genre to the first one, The Tube Riders, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Finding My WorldI can safely say I adored this story. I was dragged into the characters from the beginning and despite Jack’s very immature and often bafflingly dumb behaviour (I don’t think I’ll ever entirely understand boys) I adored him. The characters were definitely very flawed and I’m not sure I’d have normally read a book with quite so much delinquent behaviour in it but I’m glad I read this one.

The romance was wonderful, none of the falling in love far too fast problems that a lot of romances have. It was a good speed and for good reasons that made the book seem so much more real and believable.

I also really liked the rest of the plot that surrounded the love interests and their lives. They fell in love while they were trying to do life rather than it consuming them in a way that life rarely allows. There was just the right blend of action, romance, and mystery and I hope the author writes more books in this genre.

All in all a great romance and an interesting plot. Another of my recommended reads, although it does contain some lightly described sex scenes and light swearing, so not everyone’s cup of tea.

The TRC are Four

Last Friday I attended the Trauma Recovery Centre’s 4th Birthday Party and it was super awesome to go hang out with these awesome people for the evening (and who doesn’t like an excuse for a party).

TRC AwardThe TRC are a charity I’ve mentioned several times. They really do great work in a lot of different areas related to child trauma and have helped so many kids and adults already. They also have an amazing facebook page you can check out and like here or their awesome website here. You only need to take a quick glance at their page to see the awesome things they’re doing and the lives they’re changing for the better.

While at the party they shared a couple of stories from parents who’d had their children and themselves supported by the TRC and then a couple of awards were given out. It was great to take time away from the heroics of my characters to go listen and appreciate the even more meaningful heroics of ordinary people doing the best they can. Life often hands us difficult times, surprise events and even occasionally the loss of people we love. It’s good to know that when the worst happens there are people to help pick up the pieces. The TRC do just that.

Unfortunately there is always more they could do and more people that need the help they provide, so if you have some spare cash please consider donating to them and know it will go to helping people when they need it most.

Apocalypse – Diary of a Survivor: A Review

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author, Matt Pike, in return for my review.

ApocalypseThis is one of those books that isn’t particularly original in terms of the idea for the plot. Let’s face it in the apocalypse genre there’s not much new and the meteorite idea has definitely been covered. But something about this book is fresh and new. I think it’s the main character and the style of telling, but I am really glad I picked this book up.

It’s written in the form of diary entries, something I don’t think is easy to do well, but the author pulls it off (and in the back info mentions being inspired by a relative’s diary of surviving war) so serious kudos there. The protagonist is also pretty awesome. There’s been a massive focus on YA dystopian fiction lately and almost all of the ones I’ve read have had a female lead. This one has a male lead and does a great job of it.

I have a very slight gripe with where the book ended. It doesn’t feel quite complete, although it’s not really a cliff-hanger ending either. It was a little sad, but in this case I think that’s more realistic and to be expected. I think there really needs to be a sequel to continue the story as this part and chapter of the tale has come to an end but there’s still more before the main character has reached the final resting point.

All in all, a brilliant YA diary style book and I can’t wait to read more.