Kindle Unlimited

‘You can’t just keep buying books’ my lovely wife said to me a couple of weeks ago. She does have a point, all of our bookcases are completely full with books, and I’ve still got half a dozen Jack Reacher books next to the bed which I haven’t read.

I have come up with two solutions. If I buy a new book, an old book has to be removed from a shelf and taken to a charity shop. I have also signed up for a trial with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. It is usually £7.99 a month, but I’ve manged to find a three month free trial.

Positives – I can easily spend more than £7.99 in a month on books, and I won’t be adding to our bookshelves, or impacting the environment with deliveries etc.

Negatives – Not every book is available on Kindle Unlimited. Some of the biggest publishers are not signed up, so Stephen King or Lee Child books are not included. However, there are still almost 2 million titles that are available, which includes many of the more obscure horror or travel writers that I enjoy.

It appears to be quite easy to use. If a book is listed as part of Unlimited, you click on it and it is added to your library, although you can only have 10 books at a time, which I doubt will be a problem. Any new books added to your library are automatically synced to you device, in my case the cheapest Kindle available. It is my third Kindle in 12 years. I stood on my first one, breaking the screen, and my second one suddenly died after eight years of use. My current Kindle is touch screen, which I really didn’t like to begin with, but I’ve got used to it now.

Anyway, there are plenty more blogs out there comparing the pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited, but I will update everyone in a couple of months time.

New Kindle

I first bought a Kindle almost ten years ago. It was the third edition with a small keyboard at the bottom. After about a year I accidentally stood on it, breaking the screen. I contacted Amazon who gave me a good discount on a replacement. Last week, after many years of service, it died on me. The screen froze and no amount of tricks could bring it back to life. Once again Amazon gave me a good discount on a replacement, a tenth edition. In the photo below, the new one to the left, old one to the right.


How does the new Kindle differ from my old one? For one it has a touch screen, which I’m still getting used to, especially when trying to navigate back to the home page. I miss the page turn buttons on the side, but apart from that there is very little difference, although it doesn’t feel as solid as my old one. Time will tell.

There is nothing like the feel and smell of a proper book, but a Kindle does have some advantages. If you’re going away and don’t want to carry loads of books then a Kindle is an excellent choice, especially if weight is an issue, for example when me and my beautiful wife go cycle touring, or if you were to go for a multi-day walk. I also like how there are loads of books available for free, often from some very good authors.

Another plus of a Kindle is that it’s immediate. You search for a book, buy it, download it and start reading within a couple of minutes. The last bonus for me is that one of my favourite authors, F. Paul Wilson, had written a couple of ‘mash-up’ short stories, collaborating with other authors, where his most famous character, Repairman Jack, collided and interacted with the other author’s character. All great fun, and these shorter stories were available for 0.99p, whereas buying them from a local bookshop would be nigh on impossible.

I’ll never give up totally on ‘real’ books, especially as sometimes publishers try to make too much profit from e-books. A Dance with Dragons, the most recent Game of Thrones book from George R R Martin, released in 2011, was almost the same price for the e-book as the hardback version. I bought the hardback version. (As an aside, could Mr Martin please hurry up with The Winds of Winter).

I love my Kindle, but for me it will never totally replace books, as I love browsing in bookshops and reading a ‘real’ book.

Other e-book readers are available.

Free e-books

I’ve had a Kindle for many years, and one of the features that I love is being able to browse the website for the best selling ‘free’ books. In the last few weeks I’ve read three sport related short free e-books.

The world’s biggest cycle race by Paul Stevens

How running saved my life by Andreas Michaelides

The bike ride: Diary of an incompetent cyclist by Graham O’Neill

All three books are short, which is great for when I’m commuting by train and I need a distraction. The first book describes a large sportive in South Africa, which I had never heard of but does sound intriguing to do. Maybe one day when I cycle through the whole of Africa.

The second book, as the title suggests, is how one man turned to running after gaining weight and losing motivation. Again I enjoyed it, even though it was short.

Finally, Graham’s short free e-book was the best of the three and I would definitely consider buying an e-book from him. This book is all about a small touring adventure in the south of England, and is humorous and well written, so much so that I am now going to have a look and see if he has written any more books.

If you have a Kindle I would suggest looking for some free books, as there are some hidden gems. My cycle adventure short book was downloaded over fifty times when  I made it available for free, although Amazon don’t allow you to offer books for free for too long.