I grew up going to the library, because my family couldn’t afford my reading habit. Each week, I would leave with a stack of books, and I remember feeling like I was robbing the place. I couldn’t believe they let me just walk out with all those books! I had no concept of who was getting paid or how, or that authors were even people like my mom and dad. I just wanted books to read and lots of them. Libraries are still one of the best places to get your fix, but of course they are limited to the number of copies on-hand.
So I know what it’s like to have limited funds for reading and a voracious appetite. Believe me I know what that’s like. Just yesterday, I asked for reading suggestions on Facebook and had several hundred responses. I made a list and went shopping. Any ebook over $9.99, I skipped. Any ebook that was in the Kindle Unlimited program, I put on my TBR pile. This is how I shop for ebooks these days.
Yesterday, I had a reader Tweet that it was a “$5 Hugh Howey day,” and it gave me a twinge of guilt. I’ve released a lot of short stories lately, and I’ve been pricing things at 99 cents to keep the cost to you down, but it can still add up. Ever since I released my first story, I’ve been all about keeping my prices low to aid in discovery and make sure everyone can afford my ebooks. I’ve always been an advocate of pirating my ebooks (not those of others!) as a way to sample my works for free or read them first and pay later when you can. My old website had a button specifically for that, and people used it practically every day.
I think Kindle Unlimited provides an even easier solution to these problems. I’ve been a subscriber from day 1, and I’ve always gotten my money’s worth. It is $10 a month, and not everyone can afford another monthly bill, but if you read a lot, you will save money. My hope is that readers who enjoy my work and are reading a lot of other great stories will be able to read everything I publish for “free.” All of my novels and stories are now in Kindle Unlimited. I love the program as a reader. I’ve used the program for my short stories as an author. Now I’ve got my novels in the program as well.
If you are an avid reader, I highly recommend checking the program out. I’ll even gift five of you a six-month subscription to the program, which costs nearly $60. You can cancel before they start charging you. Just leave a comment below telling me what you remember about reading as a child, or what it’s like these days trying to get your book fix. Or tell me about your dog eating your favorite paperback. I’ll pick five comments that I like, and I’ll email you a six-month, fully paid, Kindle Unlimited subscription. You’ll love it, I promise. Just make sure you use a valid email when you comment (no one should see it but me).
If you don’t have a dedicated ereader, don’t worry. Kindle ebooks can be read on pretty much anything with a screen. There are apps for your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and PC. But if you are an avid reader, I can’t recommend a Kindle highly enough. You will read more with an ereader. You’ll be able to order ebooks anytime and anywhere. The battery lasts forever. The screen is easy on the eyes (especially since they just upgraded the new Paperwhite screen to the same one that’s in the incredible Voyage!). Plus, you can look up words, highlight your ebooks, and have access to every purchase ever made.
Ebooks have changed the way I read. Kindle Unlimited has changed the way I shop for ebooks. I’m reading more than ever and loving it as much as when I was a kid, raiding my public library with my parents.
(Edited to add: Holy heck, your comments are moving me to tears. Which makes me an irrational spender. No way will 5 gift subscriptions be enough. Expect more. Thanks for sharing, everyone.)
As a reader, the above is all you need to know. Now a note for any of you who are writers as well.
I’ve been ruminating on the pros and cons of KDP Select and Amazon exclusivity for years, going back to late 2010, in fact. When I started self-publishing, many of my ebooks launched through KDP Select. Those free days were so valuable, and I loved the extra visibility. There’s a blog post here with my thoughts on being exclusive to one retailer or the other. You can see that I’ve wrestled with this decision for a long time. I remember a blog post back in 2011 about my decision to pull out of KDP Select and publish on B&N’s new Nook platform, and how difficult that was for me to do. These decisions are never easy. The great thing is that they aren’t permanent.
I’m keen to see what the next 90 days bring. I’ll share my findings. And I’ll keep wrestling with these pros and cons. The landscape changes every day, and I try to be open to changing with them. My gut tells me that right now, I can reach more readers by being exclusive than I could by being wide. This would be like realizing I could reach twenty million readers in the state of New York or one million around the globe. Which is the right call? In which call are we truly ignoring borders and boundaries? In which one am I limiting myself?
Like many of you, the exclusivity requirement for KDP Select is hard to accept. Like you, I wish I could get all that KDP Select offers in incentives, but without having to pay the cost of membership. Getting something for nothing is always a great idea when you can legally get away with it. But membership is a choice, one each author should make for him or herself, and what’s right for one author won’t be for another. It might not even end up being the best choice for me! But I think it’s the best for my readers; I think the Kindle platform is the absolute best for reading; and I think concentrating my works there is not only the best way to grow my readership, but to grow the marketplace for ebooks and ereading in general.
232 replies to “Unlimited Reading”
I love to read. I retired several months ago so, more time to read but not as much money, LOL. Bought several books at the library book sale this year. I find they don’t get read as much as the ebooks. I guess I’m spoiled by the Kindle’s consistent format.
I haven’t been able to keep up with all of your new works lately! I hope I win one of the gift subscriptions, that way I can catch up and share your writing with my two sons.
When I was in grade school, I went to the school library every day. I had rapidly plowed my way through many of the books written for my age group when the school librarian took notice. She became a mentor of sorts, setting aside books that she thought I would enjoy and that would challenge me to learn things that can’t be taught in classrooms. Huck Finn, Catcher in the Rye, other books that were considered “banned” back then; Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury; far heavier fare than the Judy Blume stories my classmates were reading. She gave me a worksheet that I was to use for words I didn’t understand, but instead of looking up the definitions in a dictionary, I had to try to figure out their meanings by context. This woman recognized a kindred spirit in me – a fellow book lover – and enthusiastically encouraged me to read more, to stretch my mind as far as I could, to discover worlds that I never knew had existed. I’m 44 years old, and I first met this librarian about 37 years ago. The gift she gave me is one that I have never forgotten and still use every day.
I grew up in rural New Zealand. I was reading fluently by age 4, which was considered odd if not freakish for my family. The only literature to be found in our house was the bible, which according to my mother was the only book god intended us to read, and the weekly horse racing papers which my father pored over every evening and lost half his money to during the week.
I would tag along with my mother whenever she went into town for the weekly grocery shopping. When we got there I would scurry off to the local bookshop and immerse myself in the glorious assortment of books it had to offer. After a few weeks of this much anticipated time the old leathery, snark mouthed shop owner banned me from the store, telling me “if I wanted to read for free to take my grubby paws down to the public library.”
On our next shopping trip I parked myself outside the library and watched in amazement as people walked into the library with books and after a while walked out with more books. What a wondrous thing and to this day I still feel that heady excitement I felt then when I entered that cornucopia of knowledge, history, adventure and excitement that is a library.
Honestly , I do not expect to be chosen and really am doing this for my oldest daughter. She has a great appetite for books and writing. She was upset when I stopped using Oyster. I always enjoyed reading stories set in fantastic worlds and still do. It fueled my appetite to draw mainly and I loved drawing what the written word conjured up in my brain. Nice of you to offer this and continued success.
As a kid my mom worried that all I did was read and that I needed to “go out and play.” I would go outside and climb the weeping willow tree at the edge of our yard and read there, hidden by the canopy of branches. It felt like such a mysterious special place. I only realized later that the creek I thought bordered our yard by the tree was really a concrete drainage ditch, but I thought of it as a beautiful creek running beneath my secret reading spot.
Now, I am an avid Kindle reader. I travel a lot, and no longer have to worry about running out of reading material while stuck at a hotel or an airport. I am a sucker for those daily deals!
As a child I loved reading Nancy Drew mystery stories. I loved the way the books would make me think, looking for clues and trying to solve the mystery before I got to the end of the book. I couldn’t wait for the bookmobile to come by our school so I could check out more books. Today I read all kinds of books but mysteries are still my favorite.
I really enjoy my Kindle mainly because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be so the “increase font size” feature is a huge bonus.
My big issue with Kindle Unlimited is wading through the books available to find the good ones. Anyone have a good “best of kindle unlimited” sort of list?
BTW – I’ve paid for all your books and enjoyed every cent. Hopefully it went for something useful on your boat :)
<3 my Kindle, actually the App on my phone. <3 you Hugh, can you make yourself into an APP too?
I’m intrigued by the program, but as a lifetime public library user I struggle with the idea of paying for books that I very well could get for free (which I am technically paying to support via taxes).
As a Massachusetts resident I have access to the Boston Public Library’s e-library in addition to the one available in my own town. At this point I haven’t been able to justify the cost when I can access books for free via these platforms.
Exactly….it’s hard to justify spending $10/month on Kindle Unlimited when I live two minutes from my nearest public library, where both physical and e-books are still FREE. Yeah, I’ve got to wait sometimes for popular books, but given that I have a huge backlog of books I want to read and 3-5 books checked out at any given point in time, that’s not too big of a deal.
I loved reading Peanuts books when I was young, along with comic books. As I grew older, I enjoyed reading books about sports history and the great players of the day. I also remember reading a number of books about the Vietnam War, since it took place during my childhood. In college I began reading Stephen King, Hemingway, Faulkner, and other classic authors. I’ve always been an avid reader, and now with my Kindle, reading is even easier and more convenient as I can carry a huge library with me no matter where I go.
i was looking last night at your stuff on kindle and was wondering what kindle unlimited was. Was planning on following up today – so this would be great!!!!!
Love your stories and have recommended Wool many many times.
I love my kindle. I love the instant gratification it gives me. I’m in work and I see a tweet about a new book or short story. By the time I’ve boiled a kettle to make a coffee in the kitchen its on my Kindle app on my phone, Then when I get home it’s there waiting for me on my Kindle. It even knows where I’m up to. its one of the things that makes me feel that I’m living in the fantastical technological future that I was led to believe lay ahead of me as a child. Flying cars next please!
I grew up in a reading family. I remember how excited I was to start school in Germany just so I could learn to read. As soon as I could, I got a library card and started heading out there at least once a week to work my way through the science fiction and fantasy shelves. Yes, I was the nerdy kid who always preferred to stay in my room reading the latest Hohlbein or, later, Stephen King. Some of my fondest childhood memories are about sitting on my bed all weekend long, just reading and being sad when I finished a book.
I still read as much as I can and am hoping to instill the love of reading to my kids. My oldest is seven and also loves to read. Right now, it’s mostly about fairies, but she also reads everything she can about “Minecraft”. I have been thinking of getting her a kindle of her own for Christmas.
After many years of scoffing at Kindles in favour of actual books, I finally caved and bought one a couple of months ago. I could the basic Kindle and I wouldn’t be without it now. I love it. Never without a book. It’s like having a bookshop with you all the time!
Thanks, Hugh, for putting your money (and your books) where your mouth is. I appreciate your openness and honesty about KU and other e-book matters, ever since you started writing about them. You’ve been a big help to me in making my own decisions. All my books are also available on KU, and I plan to leave them there for the foreseeable future, unless that becomes economically unviable.
(Dare I hope you’ll try my latest and see if you like it? It’s on KU, after all!)
(Oh – and have you built a Kindle app into the navigation console on Wayfinder? :-) )
I like that idea! Or just mount a Kindle into the console. Now you’re thinking. :)
What’s your latest? Feel free to plug here.
Thanks, Hugh. I write in the military science fiction genre, apart from one volume of memoirs about my experiences as a chaplain in a high-security prison ( http://amzn.to/1CgKIgD ).
My latest is the second book in the Laredo War trilogy, ‘Forge A New Blade’ ( http://amzn.to/1S2vAVX ). If you’d prefer to start with the first book, it’s ‘War To The Knife’ ( http://amzn.to/1HamEuF ). The third book in the trilogy will (hopefully) be out in November.
My ‘main’ series is the Maxwell Saga. The fourth book, ‘Stand Against The Storm’ ( http://amzn.to/1CgKIgD) was published in February. The fifth is due out late next month.
In case links don’t work in comments, here’s a text-only reply. Search my name or the titles on Amazon.com to find them.
I write in the military science fiction genre, apart from a memoir of my work as a chaplain in a high-security prison titled ‘Walls, Wire, Bars and Souls’.
My latest book is the second volume of the Laredo Trilogy, ‘Forge A New Blade’. It came out in May. The third volume will be published (God willing) in November.
My main series is the Maxwell Saga. Volume 4, ‘Stand Against The Storm’, came out in February. The fifth volume will come out next month.
I started reading when I was three and my mother would take me to the library with her every week and get me books that I wanted. When I turned four I apparently wanted my own library card and pitched a fit cause my mother told me I had to be 5 to get one. Well that week at the library my mother told the librarian I wanted my own card and was told as long as I could print my name I could get one. I got my library card at four years old and walked out with an armful of books, I haven’t looked back since! I also taught my son to read at three years old and he is an avid reader as well. My mother instilled a love of books that has passed down to us and I’m forever grateful for it.
I was that kid, too. The library had limits on how many books could be checked out at once, and I always picked out the maximum–and read through them before the week was out, that’s as often as my Mom would take me. Thanks for posting this – memories of those days are starting my day with a smile.
I remember reading Stephen King’s “The Stand” while driving through the west on a family road trip. We passed the locations in the book as I was following the characters in the same places in the book.
I love the convenience of having my Kindle with me wherever I go but I st enjoy pages on a good worn book.
I remember trips to the library as one of my absolute favorite things as a kid. My mom was an avid reader of fiction (my dad read a lot too, but mostly nonfiction), and we couldn’t afford to buy books, so we went weekly to the library and each brought home a stack to last us until the next trip. It was like having a birthday every week and picking out gifts for myself.
I don’t recall having a dog eat any of my books, but when I lived in Taiwan (1985-86), I had a parrot who I let run around my bedroom while I was working (teaching English) and going to school (learning Mandarin). He went to town on my Roget’s Thesaurus, but luckily he limited his damage to the cover and the first few pages. I still have that edition on my shelf, beak-marks and all.
Thanks for the opportunity to skip down memory lane!
When I was a kid, I had the same experience. I grew up in El Paso in the library was a long way away from our house. Still when I would run out of books I would be so desperate for something to read that I wasn’t willing to wait for my mom to take me. I would hop on my bike and ride with my giant pile there and bring back and equally giant pile. As a nerdy uncoordinated kid it was just about the only exercise I’d get.
Now my own daughter is a mini me in this way. She has stacks of books that she’s reading through and often shares ones with me she thinks I’ll enjoy. She’s also one of my best beta readers, especially about the story I’m working right now about a rabbit with the strange addiction for pasta.
I’ve been going back-and-forth about being exclusive I’m KDP. I’ve resisted because it just doesn’t feel fair, I guess. But the thought of being part of something that supports a voracious reader’s appetite is very appealing. I’m going to look at what it’ll take to move my books into the program.
Thanks for the reminder.
I love your books, especially the SILO trilogy and SAND. Winning the KU membership would help me read your Molly Fyde series and short stories….which are the only things you wrote that I haven’t read.
Okay, now you’re just sucking up.
Smart strategy. :D
My sibs and I grew up in the Minnesota northwoods in a run down place with no electricity or running water. We were the weird kids without many friends. Since our property was ten miles out from the nearest small town we lived for days when the book mobile stopped at a local bar paking lot a quarter mile from us and we could check out our ten books to last us for the next two weeks. Those book were a much needed escape. Now nearly forty years later the escape is not needed often, but the books and their stories are still treasured. Now withmy arthritis that makes holding dead tree books a challenge, the Kindle and Kindle apps make it all possible without the pain. I would love to try out Kindle Unlimited.
While I do love the feel of a real book, the immediacy you can get from Kindle, when a story real takes you in, is fantastic.
I also read a variety of books and so having quite a number in hand, and across several devices is a boon.
I should still have like to have been able to get the Wool series on the silo keycard. I loved that idea.
Nice move Hugh. Luckily I can afford KU and already Do so i let others tell the stories about childhood reading experiences.
Nice move yourself, sir.
Is this fantastic offer available to those of us in the UK?
My Kindle has made my vacation reading so much easier – I used to pack a bundle of books with me, now they are all on my kindle.
This doesnt mean that I dont still buy books – I love my slipcase editions of the Wool saga!
That’s a good question. I’d like for the offer to be for anywhere KU exists. I’m pretty sure my Amazon account will let me gift it to any country. I guess we’ll find out. For now, let’s assume “yes.”
But no posting with a British accent. I’m a sucker for that, and that would be cheating.
By Jove, that would be spiffing, what what?!
Did you go to uni in the last hour? You sound so much smarter! And funnier!
Great offer! My brother let me read some of your books and i got hooked! :) Hope to read some more!
My passion for reading started because of my mom. We were poor but when it came to books she never batted an eye when I would asked for one. I would often read out loud to her and she would tell me with genuine sincerity that I was a “great reader”. One of my prized pocessions is a book she gave me that she wrote in… She died when I was eleven. I hope that I can pass that same passion to a child someday especially when I see so many people struggling to read. Hugh, thank you for sharing your passion and thank you for the amazing literature that you have given me to read as well.
OMG, this is me. My mom taught me to read very early on, and she never let us think we were poor. She came from money, but lost support from her family when my grandfather came down with Alzheimer’s. He had no living will, so we went from growing up in the shadow of wealth to my mom working three jobs to raise three kids. When I wanted a book, she acted like it was no problem. Only much later did I realize what she was sacrificing to make that happen. I mean, she was a school teacher. She knew what was important. And I get weepy just typing this. My mom is sitting 4 feet away from me right now, no clue what I’m typing.
My early schooling was a bit disrupted (moving towns and a few different styles of education at different schools) and I fell behind in reading. My parents read to me every day though and one day when I was nearly 7 it just clicked, I went from beginner readers to young adult in about a year and haven’t stopped since. Now I have 2 small children and don’t get much spare time but I still read myself to sleep every night (my husband bought me a paperwhite kindle for Christmas so I don’t need the lights on!), and thanks to technology I’m not limited to the few books the kids will let me pick up when I manage to wrangle both of them out of the house to get to the library. My 3 year old son loves the library, but is not yet very patient about letting me browse so I don’t get to choose much for myself.
The first book that really blew my doors off was a biography of Jesse Owens which I read in fifth grade. I was born in a nice, quiet, homogenous, lily white community outside of Boston. This book widened my horizons by a power of magnitude. Struggle, failure, triumph, racism, politics, Nazism, global conflict. It could not have been a more perfect introduction to the ‘real world’ for me. It was the first step that inspired me to get out, travel, volunteer and learn as much as I could about this amazing world we live in. That book is still in my grade school library and I love that.
As a mom of two young children and a teacher, I am buying books all he time!!! I have always loved to read and it is important for me to provide a variety of reading choices to children. To help them find themselves lost in a book. As a child I loved to pretend I was actually in the story. My focus is so much on children’s books that I tend to neglect my own love of reading due to finances, time and space. I would love to win this to help me on my way to staying the reader I want all kids to be!!!
I still get most of my book fix at the library since a lot of what I read is from older authors, like TC Boyle, Donald Barthelme, etc. At least we don’t have to go to a card catalog or look it up on a computer at the actual library anymore. I can just reserve online through their website and they email me when it’s ready for pick up. Great library system here in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Read the first part of Wool last night (free one on Amazon). I loved it–though Sci Fi is usually not my thing–so I reserved the ebook version of the Omnibus through the library. Unfortunately, there’s a list!
I have had to downsize my life, much like you Hugh, except I have lived a bit longer, aquired two sons and a huge number of books, ( amongst other things). So starting with leaving Africa 14 years ago and living in 6 different places since and helped along by a few earthquakes, I am down to just a few books in a box.
Bring on the Kindle! I have replaced some of my favourite books, and add more whenever I can. I am loving this..moving next time will be a breeze!!!
I wanted to thank you so much for your inspiration. I fell in love with Wool and have been a fan since.
Life has just plucked me from my happy little island and set me adrift in stormy sea. Although I’m terrified, I have seen, met people and learn things otherwise unknown.
Thank you for your help and God speed,
I remember the upstairs corner in our (then) modern library. There was a view of Sarasota Bay on my right, and a carousel of Read-Your-Own-Adventure books on my left. Some of my happiest summer days were spent right there, trying out all the possibilities.
Before discovering just how amazing eReaders/ebooks were, I went to the library at least twice a week. I would always go to my favorite author (Stephen King) and see if there were any books I hadn’t read yet. Then I’d spend a few hours just walking up and down the aisles letting the titles jump out and pick me.
When I “gave in” and got a Kindle…I was hooked. And in love. What do you mean I don’t have to get dressed to go get books? What do you mean I don’t have to wait for someone to *hopefully* return the next book in the series I’m reading in a timely manner? What do you mean I can easily hide my Kindle at work when I’m supposed to be “working”and not reading?
I just signed up for the 30 day trial of KU and so far, my bank account and I are really enjoying it!
Every Hardy Boys I could get my hands on!
KU sounds like a good deal, but with the exchange rate from South African rands to USD – it is a lot of money ……… and yet, when you read as much as I do, it is probably a good idea :)
I’ve been nervous to delve into the Pandora’s box that is kindle unlimited, if only because I may never do anything else ever again….
From what I understand, I was a “spontaneous reader” of some sort. I have been told I taught myself to read with cereal boxes as a toddler and then started grabbing everything I could get my hands on. First sci-fi was Robert Heinlein’s “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” and never slowed down.
I was an early kindle adopter (had the second generation and am now on my third kindle). I have been weary to signup for KU, even though I am sure I spend that reading every month. I really already your insight on KU Hugh and I might finally be convinced.
This would be an amazing way to try out the unlimited service! I appreciate your efforts at keeping your cost to your readers low, although for your work, I would gladly pay much much more than a few dollars. It’s absolutely worth it!
My fondest memories are when my mom took us to the library as kids. I was such a bookworm my preschool teacher called my parent concerned about my social growth. I spent all day under the table reading. I see my daughter doing the same now, and it I am overwhelmed with joy at her love of books.
When I was a kid, I read the Hobbit and was hooked. I then read the Lord of the Rings and was a bit confused (at 6 years old, The Hobbit makes a lot of sense. LotR, not so much…just didn’t have the experiences to understand it.) I’ve re-read the Hobbit more times than I can count, in many different editions (including annotated) and have read it to my daughter as well already (I haven’t read it to my son yet, but will soon. He’s only a month old.)
After reading the Hobbit, I discovered my dad’s bookshelf, which was one of my favorite places in the house growing up. I’m a huge fan of the Kindle and not having to take up space, but through the last few moves I’ve continued to cart all my books with me because I want my kids to have that same experience of pulling books off the shelf and discovering new worlds. Granted, they’re going to have some trouble finding many fiction books much newer than the late 90s on my shelf, since almost everything I buy is digital now, but that’s okay. There’s a lot of great books from the 60s through the 80s that I grew up with and that they will hopefully enjoy too.
In fact, I already need to reorganize the bottom shelf; my daughter (who is 3) likes to come in and pull books off and carry them around the house to look through them. Some of the books are rather large and heavy and I don’t want her to drop one on her head, so will have to put all the graphic novels and smaller paperbacks on the bottom shelf…should mean I’ve got an interesting way to organize them if anybody comes to my office and asks about it, right?
As much as I love physical books, I have to say that reading on my Fire is much easier on my RSI-riddled wrists! Here’s hoping that KU brings you lots of (additional) adoring fans!
I would love to get a subscription. As a writer I would use it to read more indie author books and review them. I have been blowing my book budge every month trying to support authors who have asked for help with reviews.
Would love this, I have been considering giving kindle unlimited a try, because right now I am just on a lot of ‘hold’ lists through my library’s website for many kindle books. Can’t afford as many books as I read a month (4-8) plus audio books I listen to at work. I think this would be a good option, especially for people like me that read quickly
Hugh, I love KU (and the old KOLL), and I’m glad to see you’re promoting it. Books I’ve written have been read more through these programs than anywhere else. If you’re still filling up your Kindle, please check them out: “Speed of Light ” and “Seven of Seven,” always and forever on KU.
Ps: thank you for being the voice of reason.
How about “a” voice of reason? Lots of reasonable people out there. Even some of the authors complaining right now are reasonable people; they are just being negatively affected in their wallets, which has them very upset. I’m sure many of the same people will agree that KU 2.0 is a massive improvement once the dust settles.
I have a huge appetite for reading but not a big budget for buying new books. I spend hours scouring for free and cheap ebooks on amazon that peak my interest. Unfortunately I usually end up disappointed. Free or cheap ebooks are either not that well written OR are are very well written but very short so you get pulled into the story and then have to pay a hefty price to read more. One day I was browsing for my next read and came across Wool. The reviews were amazing AND the price was right! I decided to give it a try and before I knew it I had bought and read almost every book you have written! I’m addicted! Thank you so much for pricing your ebooks as fairly as you do. I know you could ask a lot more for them. I’m a fan for life now ever awaiting your next story.
Been a follower of you since the beginning. StilI have the sprinkle of Sand included in the book.
Kindle Unlimited for six months would be lovely for this 70 something lady. Thanks for being who you are:a friend to your fans
I really hope the changes Amazon made will benefit authors, although many authors are still worried. Good luck!
I remember many nights reading with a flashlight under the covers and realizing I had read all night. I would hear my dad getting ready for work at 6:00 am, and pretend to be asleep til he left the house.
Sounds like a fun option to explore books you might not normally try due to cost. Thanks Hugh!
Books have allowed me to be so many different people, in different places with different adventures and loves. From the BFG and Asterix to James Herbert and his rats, from zombies and ships that talk (Robin Hobbs), to strong female role models and classic science fiction. All I do read is fiction but I have learnt so much from all the genres that I read, and have loved so many characters. My birthday present this year is my reading, the kindle is fantastic and cheaper than buying paperbacks, but all i really want is more books, and more time to read them in :) Thanks for allowing so many people to share in your stories and those of others – it’s a beautiful gift.
I remember going to the library all the time as a kid. It’s hard to find the time to do that these days. I feel guilty for not taking my kids nearly often enough. I have been hesitant to give KU a try as when I first heard about it none of my favorite au th or were on there. Now it seems everyone is there. I’d be willing to give it a try now!
I’ve always been a reader. I remember hours spent in my room organizing my ‘Little Golden Books’ and studying the checklist on the back for ones that I wanted but didn’t have. Some nights I would sit in bed looking at the stack of books I couldn’t decide between. Studying blurbs. Sorting, stacking in order how I might read them. I adore books and can’t imagine not being surrounded by choices. They used to be just a small stack, but with kindle, I always have 100s of choices. With Unlimited, I could have millions!! :-)
I’ve loved reading since the 6th grade when I started reading RL Stine’s Fear Street books. I used to pile all my blankets and pillows Iin one of our guest bedroom closet, bring in a small lamp and lock myself a way for the weekend. No one would bother me there and I could just read. (I also snuck in a small old school boombox to read to music). I did this all throughout middle school and still to this day like to read is small nooks, now it’s in the nook of my couch but I still like to feel like I’m letting myself be surrounded by the books.
I remember reading every chance I got as a child, and even sneaking in reading time at school when I was supposed to be doing other work. My teacher was always confiscating my books (and giving them back at the end of the day!)
Support the fun reading of single moms in grad school. Gift me that Kindle Unlimited, baby! You’re the best Hugh Howey.
I’m still not 100% convinced by Amazon, especially given how they exclude all other ereaders – I’m an open source freak myself, this kind of thing is a big turnoff. Still, they have to be comended for giving authors options. Best of luck with the experiment.
I agree with this. It’s why all of my ebooks that I self-publish are DRM-free. You can buy them, offload them, convert to epub or any format, and read on any device.
It’s not optimal, and it puts the onus on the reader, but it’s an option, and one I fully endorse.
Double trouble Help needed! Forced to buy books twice by kids with same voracious reading habit, but stubbornly different reading preferences! One reads exclusively kindle, the other is adamant about physical books. It’s summer and I can’t keep up with their “book every 3 days” pace! Free kindle unlimited would help!!
Hey, you should make them look for works in the Kindle Match program. You buy the print work, and the ebook comes at a huge discount! :)
You and I apparently are on the same page. I posted an entry to my own blog last night, announcing that, at least for 90 days, I would be Amazon-exclusive and my reasons for going into Kindle Unlimited. Amazing.
I’m still waiting for the Tolino outlets to clear my series stuff, but that should happen within a day or so, and those titles will then be in Select.
Here’s wishing us good luck, and here’s to our readers, too: enjoy the reads!
I know your decision to go exclusive to KDP / KU (for at least 90 days) didn’t come easy. I imagine it will rock the boat (but catamarans are more steady – right?). I recently had this conversation with A.G. Riddle – who has also chosen to stay exclusive for the benefits that KU offers. I suspect there isn’t a ‘right’ answer. The numbers can be presented in any number of ways, but there’s so many contributing factors – things going on behind the scenes with Amazon … their motivations, long term and short … that it’s impossible to judge so early on. My situation may be different than others. I’ve spoken to you about this before, Amazon came around at a time in my life when things got so dire (financially) I wondered how I was going to make it through the week, let alone the month. Then I wrote my first book – and with the simple understanding that if I did the work … provided something perceived as being of value, Amazon would provide an avenue that no one else was (and still isn’t) offering. That doesn’t mean that if things changed radically I wouldn’t reassess my options. But as of right now, I personally have zero second thoughts with staying exclusive and seeing how the latest changes affect my livelihood. Amazon has provided amazing opportunities to not only distribute our creative works, but also maintain a sustainable livelihood. For something that has changed the course of my (and my family’s) life so dramatically, I’ll typically give Amazon the benefit of the doubt …
Thank you for producing excellent, error free work. The quality of your writing has me taking a closer look at self-publishing, which had been tarnished by a too-large share of really bad writing and editing.
I used to read a lot when I was a kid. I can’t remember why I got away from it exactly, but by the time I reached high school reading for entertainment had essentially ceased all together. My college years were no different, and that trend continued for nearly a decade after I got my degree. It was hard for me to get back into reading. I attribute it mainly to my job. I actually do quite a bit of reading on a daily basis, but it’s technical in nature (building codes, specifications, engineering text books & research papers, etc.). This is material that requires a lot of focus for extended periods of time, and is not exactly entertaining (insert reference to reading stereo instructions here). It had been so long since I read for pleasure that it was hard for me to imagine actually getting any pleasure out of it, especially after reading technical jargon all day long. Then a friend of mine insisted that I read Wool, and all of the sudden I was back on the horse again. So, I really owe you Hugh for getting me back into reading. Thanks!
As a kid I used to go to the library every Friday night. Mom and Dad would do their weekly shopping, and there was a small library attached to the mall, so they’d drop me and and my sister off and we’d spend that hour or so reading.
I always loved to read series, so my first love was Enid Blyton (The Famous Five), then later I discovered comic books, and later still Agatha Christie and other mystery writers. These days I still love series. I’m into the Women’s Murder Club series right now, and love it. Unfortunately where I live there’s no KU, otherwise I’d definitely be interested.
Thanks also for your thoughts on KU 2.0. It’s good to have a voice of reason in this debate. When I saw you take a vicious beating on kboards my heart bled. Not much fun to watch a mob scene in progress. It did remind me why I rarely post on forums these days. Too harmful for one’s mental health :).
I hesitate to write this. It sounds like just another corny “oh woe is me, I walked a mile to school through rain and snow to go to a one room school in my little Appalachian isolated holler” tale. Take out the “Woe is me” and it is true, however. Library? A store that sold books? I never saw either as a child. Yet, somehow my mother managed to have a handful of books from which she taught me to read by the time I started that one room school. And from that point on, reading was magic! Since I had a very limited choice, I read anything that found its way to our house. Mom splurged on a subscription to LOOK magazine and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive in the mail. It opened up the world to a little girl. My love of reading was shared by a cousin who lived just over the hill. I often walked across that hill to visit and he had a large collection of “Funny Books” (comic books) that he kept in the loft of a little shed. By the time I was eight years old we would spend hours in that loft reading those Funny Books (sure wish I had them today–he had all of those original action comics, etc. the ones that sell for LOTS of money). I read books over and over. I have no doubt that love of reading is what took me from that one room school to graduating from college. And maybe that lack of books is why my walls are now covered with bookshelves full of books of all kinds. Yet, it is time for this “older than I feel woman” to progress with the times and join the Kindle readers. But back to remove the “woe is me” part. My childhood rocked. I played in pristine creeks, never met a tree I couldn’t climb and wandered through hills, often carrying a book to read underneath my favorite pine tree. Other times I “wrote” stories in my head. Nope. No time for “poor little me” in my growing up years!
I have the kindle app, the nook app, and a reader app on my iPad. When I talk to friends I have to admit that the ones with a real kindle, with the white paper, love it the best! I had never read a science fiction book until I happened upon the first Silo book for free. I was hooked and had to buy them all! Since then futuristic science fiction books are my favorite.
How awesome! I LOVED WOOL! I haven’t read a book that I liked as much as that one in years! :D Hope I win! I’m always recommended that book to all my book-loving friends!
I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who lived at the library as a kid. I made out like a bandit. Don’t enter me in your contest, Hugh. I’m already a KU subscriber.
You are a gem. I’m a die-hard in the wool (!) fan, keep ’em coming Mr Howey!
I remember the delicious rush I felt entering the library when I was a kid- the magic power it gave me to go anywhere, anywhen.
Sometimes I still feel that giddiness when I take my kids to the library. Who knows what book one of them might discover tonight that will resonate with their personality so deeply they’ll remember it when they bring their children?
Hugh if you’re looking for a good FREE read, that’s right FREE. For a limited time my books, Pizza Man, and The OzValt Grant Collection are free until July 7th at Amazon.com. Pick them up and let me know what you think!
Many people still prefer the feel of a real book over sitting with an electronic device. I personally love my Kindle and how ebooks have allowed many indie authors to flourish over the last few years. This is actually the way I find new books, through recommendations by other indie authors, either through the website, newsletters, tweets, etc.
I first heard of Wool through an online messaging board. Through Kindle Worlds I found Jason Gurley, who has written many excellent stories outside of the Wool universe. I was then lead on to Michael Bunker and so it goes on and on. These are authors I would otherwise never have heard of or had the opportunity to read their stories.
My reading pattern has definitely also changed because of this. I now prefer serials and short stories over the huge tomes I used to buy (anyone ever read Steven Erikson’s Malazan Empire series? It’s great, but 10 enormous books would probably scare me off today). And when it’s usually less than a dollar a pop, then why not? If you sign up for newsletters from indie authors, they often send you free copies of books, anthologies, etc, so do it!).
I think KU will definitely push this movement along even further and bring to light even more authors, who may not have had the chance to go in front of a big audience and still scared of those, who think $0.99 is too much for a short story by a relatively unknown author.
I have the kindle app, the nook app, and a reader app on my iPad. When I talk to friends I have to admit that the ones with a real white paper Kindle, love it the best! I had never read a science fiction book until I happened upon the first Silo book for free, I was hooked and had to buy them all! As a child I was a terrible reader and never read for pleasure. As a teenager I discovered romance novels and became a avid reader! Since reading the Silo series, I have discovered futuristic science fiction books and can not get enough of them!
I share your love of books and as a 7-year old, I regularly visited our local country library. I remember finding the science-fiction shelves, starting with the A’s and working my way down the shelf. But when I hit the “H’s” and Heinlein, I was smitten. Read them all, twice. I can remember going to the librarian and asking if there were any more Heinlein books she could get. She looked in some catalog listing and said, “No. He must be writing another one though.” The next week, I checked and there were no more Heinleins on the shelf so I moved on to the L’s. The week after that however, there were still no more Heinleins on the shelf. I asked again. The librarian smiled at me and explained that no, there were none coming yet. “So how long does it take him to write a book?” I asked in high dudgeon. How long indeed. It only took me a few hours to read it, surely two weeks was more than enough time to write it. As it turns out, it only took me another 30 years or so to read everything he ever wrote. The wonder was there right from the beginning and I still wish he wrote those books faster.
I was also the type of child who couldn’t get enough of the library. My mom bought me a book bag and we would part ways to look for books to fill our bags to the brim. Reading wasn’t a “cool” thing to do at that age, and I recall running into a boy from school at the library and feeling extremely embarrassed that he saw me there. It makes me sad to think that I reacted that way, and my hope is that young readers don’t feel they should hide their intellect or love for reading nowadays. I’m currently in medical school so the bulk of my reading is medical school notes, but I try to get some pleasure reading in before bed each night when I can. My current 6 week summer break = catching up! I fell asleep a few pages in to Beacon 23 part II last night. Can’t wait to finish it today!! Side note – have you read The Martian? It’s incredible!!
Nice! I’m expecting to publish my first novel by the end of the month and have been going back & forth on whether or not to give Kindle Select/KU a try (not big on the whole exclusivity thing). Your “vote of confidence” is a pretty good sign that it’s worth a try! (P.S. – I’ll recuse myself from your offer of a free 6-month membership to KU, so another, more voracious reader can have it!) As always – thanks Hugh, for all you do!
If it wasn’t for the library, as a child I’d never had the opportunity to read as many books as I could. Growing up in the South, I soon learned that the world was a large place, that religion didn’t have all the answers, and that there was great diversity in people, places and governments. I was also entertained, able to transport myself out of a small southern town into fantasy environments, historical settings and learn while doing so. Imagination is a wonderful vehicle for human growth.
As a writer, my ebooks will always remain in Kindle Unlimited. I write for the love of writing, and the income is just icing on the cake. Thanks for your continuing thoughts about KU.
I remember as a kid sitting in my closet reading. I read everywhere actually and still do. Every table near me was stacked with books so I could have options. Every bag I carried weighed a thousand pounds because it was full of books. I read my family’s set of encyclopedias when new books were scarce and when I got tired of that I started writing my own.
I didn’t live close enough to a public library to get to take advantage of one, but I devoured anything I could get my hands on at my school library! Almost Everyday I would get two new books and have them read by the next day! The librarian couldn’t believe how fast I was blowing through all those books! I even got in trouble in middle school for reading too much! Now that I have my daughter I don’t get to read as much as I used to but I still try to read when I can! Thank you for being so generous to your readers!
I grew up in a town of 2000 people, and my weekly pilgrimage to the town library quickly resulted in me exhausting my favorite fiction genres of new stories. What a gift. It forced me to read all the other genres and expanded my world a thousand-fold. I wouldn’t trade those hours at the library reading by the window facing the river for anything.
I was an introvert as a child (still am) so I read my way through the tiny library in my tiny grade school. It was one book after another. Books were my friends. I’d read every waking moment. Eventually my parents learned that sending me to my room as punishment wasn’t all that punishing since I’d just pick up a book and read.
Books and I had a falling out of sorts when I had to read books for school and not pleasure, but recently I made a concerted effort to spend more time reading and thanks to e-readers I can carry a ton of books everywhere I go and I feel like that little kid again!
Also, I have loved every book of yours that I have read so far. I just started the Molly Fyde series and it’s great. But I will forever rank Wool among my favorites. Don’t ever stop writing!
When the Kindle first came out, I was not convinced. I loved the feel and smell of my books! I finally broke down a few years back and I love my Kindle now. I can read in the dark! While traveling I can bring hundreds of books in a small package. That’s a big improvement over the giant bag of books that I used to bring on car trips! I haven’t tried Kindle Unlimited, yet. I’ve contemplated using the one month free trial, but I still have so many e-books that I have checked out from the library to read! I do want to read “The End is Come” and that’s available on KU. :)
As a child, Nancy Drew was my absolute favorite. I just couldn’t get enough. I wanted to be her when I grew up. And even now, as a much older adult, I still enjoy picking up an old Nancy Drew for a quick afternoon read.
Hi Hugh! Thanks for this great offer!
I have a couple of stories about reading as a kid. I read a lot as a kid. A LOT. I loved the library too (still do). But I didn’t live near a library, so it was always a special trip to go. That being said, the school library was where I got most of my books. When I was in 5th grade, I had the privilege of getting to go over to the middle school library because as my dad put it “I had read all the books in the elementary library.” I had a wonderful teacher who recognized my advanced reading level and knew I needed higher level material. I remember thinking the middle school library was so big and had books I actually wanted to read. Flash forward to 7th grade and I was bored with the middle school library. I was raiding my parents’ books by this point, who are both avid readers. So in 7th grade, I was sitting in the library reading Stephen King’s “IT” when the librarian sent me to the principal’s office. I was baffled. Turns out she believed I was reading inappropriate material. The principal called my mom who confirmed that I had permission to read the book. Long story short, nothing really came of it other than I was asked not to bring outside books to the school library. I remember being dumbfounded that I got in trouble for reading! I still remember the librarian’s look of disdain.
Love your works, Hugh. And thanks again for offering the gift of reading to your fans!
I was an early reader. Mom tells me that when I came home from my first day of kindergarten, she asked me how I liked school. I declared I was never going back and with great derision explained, “Those kids can’t even read!” :)
That love of reading turned into a love of writing stories when I hit about age nine or ten, and it continues until today. I’m keeping my eye on the whole KDP thing, and I’m interested in seeing how authors like it once it’s been around for a while.
I lived in a country town as a child, and we were poor. I figured out early on that reading would be the great equalizer. I looked forward to the once-a-week walks (when weather permitted) between my elementary school and the public library. (The school didn’t even have its own library!). The teacher would have to almost drag me out of the place. Over the years, I’ve tripped over more piles of books than I can count. Now I own a Kindle and delight in the fact that I can have new books as fast as I can read them, as long as I can afford them. I am currently in the middle of an 8 book series, but I don’t have as much time to read as I once did. So sad!
I’m still on the fence about KU as a writer, but will be sticking with it until the end of the year at least. As a reader, I think it’s a great idea. The kindle and ebooks in general have led me to read much more, as I’m in an area where getting to a library is a bit of a hassle. I’ll probably try out KU myself when my budget allows.
I just got my son a kindle paper white for his 9 th bday coming up. He is running through books very fast now.
My favourite books growing up as a child were written by Phillip Pullman – he just had this great way of drawing you in to the ‘deep’ subjects that go on all over the world (religion, politics) and yet he made it fun, thought-provoking and intriguing throughout! I just recently read Wool on my kindle. It was my first sci-fi, post-apoco book and I LOVED it (good job :D). I cannot wait to continue on to Shift and Dust – you’ve definetly become my adult Phillip Pullman!
The smell…ah, the smell of Rainy Day Bookstore! My Dad would take me in there at least once a week. The smell, the very atmosphere of the place was enough to create a sort of pre-nostalgia for me, like the potential of unlimited journeys and lives not lived. Of course, Dad was usually a little miffed, because I often wanted a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. What can I say? I grew up in the Zork era. I think seeing my Dad’s passion for reading instilled one in me. Admittedly, I don’t make it into the bookstore as often as I once did. My Kindle has made it far to easy to download books. However, my kids do see me read nightly and I hope it helps to foster their own love of books. Perhaps it’s time to start a Rainy Day Books tradition with my own kids!
Reading is my escape. It’s my go to. I don’t watch tv, I don’t have cable or Internet in my home. My dad instilled in me a love for reading. He started me on Tolkien in 3rd grade. It took me months to read The Hobbit, but then I became a more efficient reader. I read the Lord of the Rings through my fourth grade year. I was hooked. Since then I have always had a book with me no matter what I’m doing. There was one point I was going through books so quickly that my husband bought me a Kindle touch the first year they came out. I still have it. I use it everyday and my 5 kids do as well. My 4 oldest are readers, when they tell me they’re bored “get a book” is my one and only answer. They’ve read several, each, since school ended. My 8 year old just picked up The Hobbit… and I am so excited to watch her read it.
Books have been, and remain, my best friends. I had a grandmother who was a librarian and let me explore the world via the tomes in her library every summer, including learning who this Andrew Carnegie was that built the place. I continue to patronize my library heavily, though largely through e-book and audiobook downloads rather than physical volumes.
I was a reluctant adoptee of e-readers, but fairly wuickly realized that I was actually reading MORE and reading a greater diversity of subjects, genres and authors. My Kindle takes me back to childhood when I used to read under the blankets late into the night. My Paperwhite sure beats juggling a flashlight or leaving the overhead light on.
Kudos to you, Mr. Howey, for sharing the joy of reading! (I already have an Unlimited membership so will decline the prize if you pick this comment.)
When I was very young trips to the library were one of my favorite treats. We would listen to story hour in the children’s section, my sister and I often snuggled together in one of the carpeted claw foot rubs they had scattered throughout the room. We would leave afterward with whatever the limit was to check out on my Mom’s library card, probably 14 children’s books and one novel for her.
As I got older I would drag my sister along on the mile walk to the library, where she would pout and scuff her feet, she having not grown into the avid reader I was, until I chose my armload of books and we’d make the trek home.
Another treat in my teen years came once a month when I’d get my braces tightened. No not the part at the othadontist’s office- that sucked! But afterwards my Dad would let me visit the small bookstore just up the street and pick out two paperbacks before he drove me back to school. Most of my personal library at the time was attained that way.
These days I still love my library system. I listen to a lot of audio books from there on my work commutes. I am also a big fan of Paperback Swap.com.
My enthusiasm for reading books began with the monthly library bookmobile visits to our parochial school. I couldn’t believe you could check out books and read them for free! My primary interest was reading any book I could find about animals–dogs, horses, wolves, you name it. When summer vacation came, I would walk about a mile to the library bookmobile set up in town. When I quickly exhausted their stock I discovered you could fill out a card and request books by authors you liked. Score! I had to get creative about reading them once I got home with my selections. With six kids in the household we had to be outside playing–not “laying around” the house. So I would climb the large maple tree in the backyard and read my book in peace and quiet. ;-)
Nowadays, my husband and I love reading and sharing our Kindle books. And, thank goodness, I don’t have to climb any trees to read my books. I’m not convinced yet about the Kindle Unlimited but you make a strong case for considering it, Hugh!
“Did you watch ___ on TV last night?” asks my friend/acquaintance (FA).
I offer a bemused grin. “No. I don’t watch television.”
“Oh.” Long pause. “How about the ___ late show? They had this guest on the other night…”
I sigh. “Sorry. No. I never watch TV.”
FA stares at me in confusion. “Except the news, right?”
“Nope. I read the news online.”
Another long pause. “So what do you DO in the evening?”
My face lights up. “I read.”
Thanks, Hugh, for your constant support of fellow reading addicts and indie authors. My only complaint about KU is that the big 5 seem to be avoiding enrolling their books in it like the plague. Still, since I read about 8 Indie books for every 2 “big pub” books, it’s probably in my best interest to enroll. I’ve enrolled all of my own books in KOLL and KU, since I want to make them accessible to as many readers as possible.
Now I feel like you’re flirting. :D
Love that mock conversation. That’s me to a T!
Reading has been a part of my life since I can remember. Coming home from school, grabbing the unfinished paperback of the day and climbing the guava tree in my grandpa’s yard.. I had the benefits of shade, food and peace, all in one place, to enjoy my book. Reading was not only the greatest company, but also the greatest teacher (I truly believe it is the main reason I learned English so quickly as a child.. so many books to read, not enough translations available!). Books were my favorite gifts.. even now, as an adult, I feel like I’ve given myself the best of presents every time I find a Great Book.. you know, the ones you read in a weekend ’cause you just can’t. put. it. down.
I loved the Wool series books and pass the word to everyone I meet. Also enjoyed the Molky Fyde series. I am really hopping they make the Wool movie.
I think KU is a cool idea. Kinda like LitFlix – the netflix for books. It’s beyond cool to see where your life has gone since that serial you started call wool. Congrats!
ps. Wayfinding was a great read. Looking forward to part two!
As a pre-teen and teen, I used to walk into the B. Dalton Booksellers or Waldenbooks stores in the mall and experience a complete loss of time.
My first target was the Young Adult section to see if there were any new Christopher Pike books. I inhaled his works. They were of the semi-paranormal genre, and I couldn’t get enough. Beyond that, I sought out Choose Your Own Adventure books and biographies. Ya, biographies as an 11-year old. The ones that stand out in my memory were the biographies of Carol Burnett and Gilda Radner (holy heartbreak on that one).
It was the best feeling in the world to immerse myself into the time vacuum of the bookstore and not have anyone to answer to or interact with. That is, until my mom stomped into the aisle where I stood, nostrils flaring and “Where the hell have you been? I’ve been looking for you!” streaming out in fiery rage. Whoops. My mom – not a reader – could never understand.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my desire to read. I believe it was school – high school as well as college – where mandated reading sucked the joy out of my reader’s heart. I don’t think I even realized it until someone casually asked me what the last book was that I read for enjoyment and I couldn’t recall. Damn.
Amazon & its Kindle; appropriately, restarted the fire and love for reading for me. I started a website to review books so that I would read deeply and for content, a sort of forcing the focus. Browsing the lists of books available on Amazon feels a lot like that lost-in-time feeling I had in bookstores, though as an adult the realization that money doesn’t just replenish in my wallet when I sleep sours the dream of READING! ALL! THE BOOKS!!
I’ve been coveting the Kindle Unlimited program since it came out, but I’ve not been able to add in another monthly fee.
I’m willing to offer a sort of symbiotic relationship – since I know a lot of authors on the KU program are newer, I could publish reviews on my site which get decent “re-tweet” publicity.
Anyhow, I see you have a ton of really deserving people above me, and I’m a wee bit late to the party, but I’m a fan of sharing my story of me as a kid + bookstores + voracious reading tendencies, so thanks for the opportunity.
I am one of the reader/writer hybrids and I am currently exclusive in Select. I have been in and out twice, but never managed to do well enough in the other places to convince myself to stay. It’s a never ending debate!
As for my childhood reading, that was where my desire to become a writer came from too. All thanks to Stephen King.
I was at a family friend’s house, drooling over his bookshelves until I came across the original hardback of Gerald’s Game (Moonlight through a window, unmade bed, handcuffs….none too child friendly). I flipped it over, saw this old black and white of the master on the back, realised he was perhaps the coolest person I had ever seen, and asked if I could borrow it. Of course, my parents were like ‘no way’ getting all excited about how ‘Stephen King was crazy’ and ‘there must be something wrong with him to write the stuff he does’. And that was when I discovered the power that a writer has, because I couldn’t understand why none of them couldn’t see that he was just a story teller. He wasn’t crazy, just a fiction author. After a lot of negotiation I devoured that book over the course of a weekend, and from that point on vowed one day somebody would misjudge me in the same way that my folks had Stephen King. True story, and my dream came true :-)
One of the ways I coped with reality as a child/teen was to spend hours in a library. I remember the smell of old books in the college library where I’d hang out after school. The stories took me to other places and allowed a temporary escape from a difficult time. Library workers are some of my favorite people! They could find an answer, or point you to it, decades before Google! Even with e-books I still love the local Library! I take my kids as often as I can, I want them to have fond memories of shelves & shelves of books! A beautiful site. Now about that Kindle pass…. yes please! Thanks Hugh. <3
My parents ONLY hobby was reading. We had a standing date, the three of us, on Saturdays. Our first stop was the local Chinese restaurant for fuel then we would head into Harvard Square and spend the afternoon until late evening perusing through all the different bookstores. I’m 43 so at that time, the age appropriate books were finite and by 11/12 I had read the lot. Young adult didn’t exist as extensively as today so I would hit all the different sections and read until I found something I liked (and understood without having to look up every 6th word) and asked my parents to buy it. Other than true romance, easy to spot with it’s cover art depicted as heaving bosoms and longing, I could read whatever I wanted, however much it cost. My parents valued the written word and paid for it without comment. Often I would stare for hours in the art or travel sections staring at pictures and their captions but never asked my parents to purchase them, even though I would search out the same book over and over. I had a stack of picture-less books on the floor next to me that I slated for reading at home. I still got to read about sex and other dangerous things from the adult world my father was trying to have me avoid. My memories are sharp and nostalgic.
Today bookstores are equivalent to my church and when I feel upset I sit on their floors and look through books I won’t buy because my budget won’t allow. I don’t watch TV so my cable bill budget is my book budget, with whatever coupons I can scrounge. I use the library and my voracious reader friends, colleagues, hair dressers etc to swap books to increase the stacks. I now have audible. I haven’t switched to ebooks because I don’t know how to borrow or share them yet.
I have yet to create a book I want to read, which is why I have countless notebooks and file folders with scribblings I haven’t attempted to publish. One day soon maybe…I can read a book of mine on a e-reader, I figure it will be incentive to learn how to share it. :)
When I was a kid, I was an avid reader [still am, just college student now]. I would go to the public library and check out piles of books. I needed to bring a shopping basket to take them home in! Somehow I would read them all within one week, and have them ready to sent back to the library the following week. I read everything from the Magic Treehouse to the Boxcar Kids to Miss Piggle WIggle and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. The volunteers in the children’s’ section of the library all knew me, and would let me keep the ever-growing pile of books to check out behind the desk. It was my dream to volunteer at a library when I was old enough.
The head librarian of the childrens’ section, Pam, actually saw me grew up. She saw as my reading habits matured, I got taller, and eventually moved to the young adult section (but I would always return to the children’s section to say hello). Eventually when schoolwork got difficult in high school and I moved to reading plays/literature in school, I stopped going.
There was a five year gap, but during my first year of college I went back to the library for memory’s take. The shelves were a little shorter, but everything was as I remembered. I saw Pam, and although we both had aged, she recognized me. Talking with her made the tears flow.
Anyways, I’m currently studying abroad on scholarship in Taiwan. I don’t have KU, but I love that my Kindle enables me to carry my whole library with me, minus Pam.
When I was a kid I hated reading until 9th grade. I was then asked to read To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice And Men. These books were life altering game changers. I loved the way the story was told and it transported me to new places. I was a reader and I couldn’t get enough. This inspiration also led me to a career as a teacher. I now read every chance I get and will not pay more than 9.99 on matter of principle and budget. I have thought about Kindle Unlimited, but I am not sure about the content. I have found a few authors I enjoy using the program, but I haven’t had enough time to discover the authors/books I find truly magical. Hugh, thank you for this opportunity and your obvious commitment to the reader and the joy of reading.
A few months ago I did the unthinkable – I somehow lost my Kindle.
Yes, I checked under the couch. And behind the bed. And in the car. And in my desk at work. I don’t know where else I might have left it, don’t you think I’d look if I thought of something!?
Anyway, thank goodness for the Kindle app on my phone. I didn’t have to stop reading the ebook I borrowed from the library.
Tangentially, did you know that summertime is the WORST time to attempt to borrow YA ebooks? It’s like people in that demographic have nothing better to do this time of year.
I’m 35, and I get a lot of my book recommendations from Goodreads, which I love, and wish more of my friends used. Guess it’s time to make new friends?
I love goodreads! I’ll be your friend there! :)
I’ve always been a book geek and proud of it. Nothing better than getting absorbed in a new world and reading a day away (less opportunities for that now that I must be a responsible adult, but I digress). That’s my favorite thing about your books: you create a world and it FEELS LIKE YOU’RE THERE. I look up from time to time and am surprised that I’m not in a silo, or the top of a gigantic tree, or on the beach, or wandering around in the sand. Luckily, I’ve passed my love of reading to my daughter, and not much gives me more pleasure than seeing her absorbed in a book just like I was. She has a rare chromosomal abnormality, and we were told she may never be able to read. The fact that she is a bookworm at the age of 14 fills me with indescribable joy. It’s one of the greatest pleasures of my life.
As a child I was a voracious reader. The thing I remember most is how much I enjoyed the excitement that my elementary school librarian had about finding new things for me to read because I had already read all of their typical suggestions. I’m pretty sure I read over half of the books in that library and I still love reading just as much.
Hi, my name is Cara and I have an addiction.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to read. One of the very first books I can recall reading by myself was a book with Yogi Bear, and I think there was something in it about aluminum spelled backwards and an alien. After that I went on to read Goosebumps, The Saddle Club, Babysitter’s Club, all of the YA novels by Christopher Pike, then I graduated on to Ender’s Game, the Dragonriders of Pern, the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey… by the time I got to high school, I was often carrying 4-5 reading books back and forth every day. Usually once a week I’d walk from the school to the public library and check out 20-30 books at a time, then walk the few miles home (often reading a book on the way).
I am so very thankful for Kindle – now I can bring a few hundred books with me anywhere I go, and I am not carrying more than a pound or so. I can even put my kindle in a ziplock bag and take it with me to the beach, I can read in the tub, etc., without worrying about damaging any of the books.
Reading has always been an escape for me, a way to avoid a pretty craptastic childhood. Even now as an adult, I spend 2-3 hours daily just reading books (so yes, Kindle Unlimited would be a huge help!). Now that I’m undergoing treatment for breast cancer, I likely spend more like 6-8 hours reading. Hurray for an all natural, no side effect pain management!
It gets very difficult feeding my addiction. Not only is there the cost associated with it (although I am deeply greatful to indie authors like you, Hugh, who price their novels at a dollar or so apiece), but it’s also getting increasingly difficult to find new books that I’m interested in and haven’t read a dozen times already!
I’ve been an avid reader as long as I can remember. I got my Kindle and one of the first books I downloaded was Wool. You introduced me to Science Fiction and now I’m hooked!
I must say I stiil have a large stack of books by my bed but I’m trying to keep it to the Kindle now. Haha
I hope you consider me for the Kindle Unlimited give away. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and this might be the kick in the but I need.
I was the reader in my family and I, too, grew up in the library. My parents always seemed to be struggling financially, but I was never at a loss for reading material. My mom believed in reading to us from a very early age because she always said that was one thing that disappointed her about her own mom… My grandmother never read to her kids, because that was what school was for. So my mom was the opposite!
I remember in 3rd or 4th grade my mom and I had a reading contest to see who could read faster. We each read the same children’s book and timed ourselves. I won. I was given free reign at the library venturing into the sections for older kids and then adults. My choices weren’t always appropriate (I went through a horror phase at quite a young age), but I was enthralled by the idea that I could learn anything and go anywhere in the pages of a book.
I stepped through the doors of that enchanted wardrobe, I went down an uncharted river in the Amazon with Teddy Roosevelt, I joined Roland and his Ka-tet, I stared at the sky with Pi and wondered at the craziness of being lost at sea, I cried with a family who lost their father in the Cambodian genocide, I followed Juliette up and down the stairs of the silo (carefully, and without looking over the edge).
A perfectly crafted sentence thrills me. I rarely read paper books without a highlighter in hand. Some of my books are so worn they are barely holding themselves together. I will never lose the love of printed books and being able to grab a favorite and flip to a favorite spot. But once upon a time another author I was following mentioned a new sci-fi series by one Hugh Howey… and I got my first e-book on my Kindle app. And now a whole new world has become available!
Hugh, I have done the exact same thing as you: made a list of to-read books and shopped on Amazon choosing the lower priced ones to read first. I don’t think you can ever run out of room for books (and I’m working on proving it), but e-books have made my obsession cheaper and infinitely more accessible. I never subscribed to KU because I figured I’d spend the money on books that weren’t necessarily available there, but I’m pretty sure you’ve changed my mind.
It has been so fun to follow you, read the new stuff you are constantly putting out, and feel a real connection to what would have once been a dust-jacket image of a person I knew nothing about. Authors are my heroes. I haven’t had the inspiration to become one yet myself, but I am amazed at what is being produced.
Thanks, Hugh. From one 1975er to another: You are an inspiration!
That story about libraries – yes, that was me. I had a library appointment every Monday afternoon, and I read my way through the entire youth section. At least five to seven books every week.
I adore that you put all your books back into KU. That might actually make me subscribe. (Will have to check out the German KU library, though.)
I have most of my books in KU, because I want to give readers a chance to read my stories for free. After all, I’m not a famous author, and picking up one of my books is a risk. So have at them.
Hmmm… I went to a Catholic elementary school, so our books selection was quite limited (a lot of non-fiction and Narnia). Outside of school it was all “Choose Your Own Adventures” and Hardy Boys. When I went to the public middle school (I actually volunteered to work in the library), but that is where a love of science fiction began.
My wife is a voracious reader, together we have 7 or 8 floor to ceiling bookcases of hardbacks. We try to collect first editions of our favorites (just added the Subterranean versions of the Silo Series and you sent Dust in my potluck!).
However, the best part of reading is watching my sons (6 and 11) pick up a book and not put it down for hours. My oldest used to fight us to read, we talked him into joining the boys bookclub in 3rd grade…. The Secret of Nimh was it… cover to cover and that began a nearly unstoppable love of reading. He just finished 5th grade and won his school’s Accelerated Reader award for earning nearly 300 points. I figure I’ll start him on Wool next.
The little one is already reading at a 4th grade level, so he’s not to far off!
Keep up the excellent work, Hugh! Engaging storytelling is a gift, and it’s wonderful that you share it (exceptionally inexpensively) with everyone! I’ve recommended your books nearly daily to folks.
As a side-note, I’d like to know how many other authors of your level of success reply personally to emails and facebook posts as consistently as you do?
Howdy Hugh. My childhood was mostly book-less. I always loved stories, but I struggled with reading so I spent most of my time at the movies. Reading was so difficult for me that it wasn’t until I was 22 years old before I could boast that I had read an entire book, front to back (Four Past Midnight, by Stephen King). Because of my late start, and my love of movies, I never really got too invested in reading though. One day, My wife, who is an avid reader, told me about a short story she was reading with her book club called Wool, and the author who had Skyped in to chat about the story with all of her lady friends. Her excitement about the story and the way you interacted with her club, including an argument with my sister over the meaning of the story, got me to order Wool 1 and read it on my phone. 3 hours later, I had ordered my first Kindle and the Wool Omnibus, and was on my way to a new found love of reading.
I now own two Kindles, a Nook, and a newly purchased bookshelf to store my growing collection of analogs. In addition, and in large part due to this run of events, I enrolled in a local community college to get my degree and take some writing classes, where I wrote my first A-worthy essay ever on one of the fan created Wool book covers that you featured on your website.
Your writing, and your connection to your fans, has been an inspiration and has literally changed the course of my life. It sounds weird and sort of over-the-top, but it’s completely true. Thank you.
The book I remember having the biggest impact on me as a child was “Winnie, my life in the institution” but I read anything I could get my hands on. Some things never change..
As a keen book collector, I use kindle for all my book reading, my books go on the shelf unread.
I don’t have a Kindle, I use the Kindle app on my smart phone.
the beauty of Kindle is all the cross platforms it supports + in my job books are not allowed for the rare quiet moments we have but my phone secretly hidden in my pocket has all the books I desire at my fingertips, how good is that? :)
Your silo series has given me the worst book hangover literally I have trouble reading other book because i keep thinking back to what they are up too now !!! Six months of kindle unlimited just might be able to get me over my book hangover!!!!!
I was a voracious reader as a child, hungry for stories and ‘friendships’ with characters. But I especially wanted the wisdom those stories taught. I learned about compassion–for animals, people who looked or spoke differently, and through science fiction, creatures that existed only in imagination.
I became a nurse, then a minister, and was able to help people my colleagues found difficult because I had a greater depth of understanding of others.
Then last year I shattered my ankle and was confined to bed for months. Kindle saved my sanity, as I was able to access as many stories as I wanted, without sending a friend to the library or bookstore.
Although this is a very long comment, I want to add, Hugh, that I attended a kaffeklatch with you a few years ago at WorldCon in Chicago. I was so impressed by your friendliness and good sense that I read even more of your books! So thanks for being a good guy,
When I was a kid, we lived in the desert, where the soft-bellied horny toads were my friends, and I played cars in the dirt with my brothers. We lived too far from the library –and people — so I had no friends but I did have siblings and the occasional visiting cousins. But I adored music and books, and I remember mom and dad providing us with a reading library at home. I would spend many hours with my nose in books (literally, because I loved the smell of freshly printed pages), and still recall the volumes of Mother Goose and Life nature books, and every Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew book ever written. When I could, I would sneak paperbacks that some adult left laying around (and in the process caught up on how sex happened), and poured over those dusty pages too. Book fairs at school? Could never decide which to buy on my very limited budget (so many wonderful stories to choose from!), but treasured those like they were gold bars.
My mother worked extremely hard when I was young to provide for my sister and I. She worked hard jobs all day, then made sure we had home-cooked meals every evening. Her one pleasure was reading. I developed a love of reading from seeing the joy she got from it.
I fell in love with sci-fi/fantasy from the start. But I grew up in a small southern town in the 70s, you know, before the Kindle and the internet. The nearest bookstore was not close, so I was dependant on our local library, and our fantastic librarian, to order books from the library system. She was great, but the selection was still limited.
When I became an adult, I discovered a wonderful bookstore 50 miles or so away that had all the books I could ever want. I became a weekly customer and could provide books for myself and my mother.
Later, I took the leap and opened a bookstore of my own. I tries to keep a stock of not only popular books, but the “other” books that some kid may have a hard time finding. We had a great five year run, but unfortunately, had to close shop.
Now, I’m just an older guy with a Kindle. Lol. My love of reading has endured, and I have passed it along to my two sons. I share an account with my mom, and I keep her, and myself, in a constant supply of good reading material (which includes many Hugh Howey novels and short stories).
Reading has been an important part of my life’s journey. I thank every author who contributed to my enjoyment.
My first memory of becoming obsessed with reading came in fourth grade. I couldnt get enough of RL Stine’s Goosebump series. The problem was that I lived a very conservative family in a very small town of 500 people. Ghost stories were simply not allowed. At first, I just read them at school. Then I grew bolder, I would check them out of the library, and sneak them home in a backpack and read them with a flashlight whenever all my siblings and mom were asleep. That made up for some terrifying nights but I just couldn’t stop reading them. I got to where I would purposely get my name on the board so as to miss recess so I could read.
I love that you’re doing this!
My mom subscribed to Reader’s Digest and collected all of the ‘condensed’ books. This was in the ’60’s. I went to the library to get the ‘real’ versions!
We didn’t have much money growing up, so books were a precious resource. They were my teachers. They were my escape. As an adult, because of hard work and a huge amount of luck, I can afford to pay for KU myself. Thank you, Hugh, for giving others a chance.
At age, 11 mom took me to the base library (Air Force brat in Spain, no tv). The librarian asked what I liked. I said cowboys. he introduced me to Zane Grey. I’ve been a library nerd ever since. I just went the other way with my books Hugh. From KDP select for all to KDP select for some and both Amazon and Smashwords for others. Too soon to say….if you want more to read, my first book On the Rocks is free on Smashwords, all the large print ebook versions are in Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. The 3rd book (Cowgirl Rocks) is the best so far, but the upcoming 4th book is even better. But, hey, I am prejudiced. They are humorous western sci fi. Three cheers for all the free market choices we have today!
The first books I remember reading was the John Carter of Mars series (E.R.B.), then I blew through my dad’s Stephen King books, then graduated to libraries, then the stores that I could take all my paperbacks in… and trade them for new (to me) ones.
I wanted to be an author and did the research on how to do it… then promptly gave up.
Read WOOL and found out that it was self-published (was mostly surprised by the quality)… ran out, got more information about self-pubbing, then proceeded to start writing.
I’ve written 3 short stories and am now in the process of working on my second novel (all of which are or will be in Kindle Select). I absolutely love my Kindle and have also used it to let people read one of my short stories to get them hooked on my writing.
Hugh is my inspiration and the reason I call myself an author today.
I remember when they released the first version of the kindle. Thought it was crazy, pay 300 dollars for a device and STILL need to buy books. The cheaper prices of the kindle versions of the books didn’t seem to offset the price of the device to me. Plus the fact that when I looked at the books available on kindle the selection was well…….. not suited to an individual who reads lots of military history books.
And I never bothered to look into again until I was at work bored out of my mind talking to a coworker. He was raving about how great his kindle was and everything and I told him that they just didn’t have a selection and that 300 dollars was a crazy price. He laughed and told me I needed to update my research. I was amazed to discover just how cheap the kindle had dropped (The kindle keyboard was selling for about 100 dollars) and I spent the afternoon at work looking thought my wishlist of books to confirm how many were or were not on kindle. I was amazed at how many military history were available and how cheap some of these crazy expensive hardcovers were. I believe I got back my 100 dollar kindle investment in just 3 or 4 books.
But the surprising thing was, I wasn’t hooked right away. I still was reading my backlog of “regular” books. It seemed like a nuisance to read on the kindle vs being able to hold a book. Eventually I finally wanted to read a few of the kindle books that I bought cheaply bad enough that I gave the device another shot and after reading a few books in a row I was hooked. I have not gone back to regular books since. I think I’ve read two books in non kindle format since I learned to love the format. (July of 2011 when I bought my kindle – amazing how my reading habits, my personal library, and the technology has changed since then!)
Kind of how I was with my tablet, I didn’t embrace the kindle fire at first either, but eventually after about a half year I couldn’t live with out it. Now I’m just waiting to see if that Amazon Echo will feel the same. Even after all these months, I still haven’t figured out what to do with the thing ::shrug::
My grandfather read with me. My parents weren’t in to doing things with their kids like taking them to the library–when they did, I’d check out the 25 book limit, and then they’d get really mad about having to make a trip to return them, it was just another thing they got mad about–so Poppy and I read the same books all the time, and on birthdays he’d get me a new one. We usually read The Real Mother Goose, and we always went through the book reading his favorites first, and then when I begged, went through it again reading everything. At the end, I’d tell him that his favorites were the best ones and he’d get this silly proud look. He had to buy a new copy because we wore out the first one and the cover fell off. I still have both. When I got to elementary school Poppy died and I was able to check out books from the school library, and made the goal of reading every book in it. I did. People didn’t believe me at first, but there was a reading program at our school where you took tests after and you accumulated points for the number of right answers, which served as proof. It was really exciting and I still remember it as the thing I was proudest of growing up. They asked me what I was going to do after I finished them all, and that was so silly to me because I did what I’d always done: I reread my favorites. I still reread books. It’s funny that so many people don’t. You find new stuff in them every time! Anyhow, we moved a lot (luckily? unluckily?) which meant new school libraries! :) That was always my one good thing about moving, the new school library. I still move around a lot as an adult, and always check out the libraries in a town first. Leaving Seattle was a bummer because the KCLS library system is the best and my new one is very…lacking. But! You can find treasures in any library system. I make it work.
This comment has made me realize that the reading habits I established as a child are still the same today. How funny! I don’t really know who I’d be if my grandfather hadn’t spent that time coming over and reading with me when I was little. I just don’t know how I’d have survived childhood if he hadn’t done that.
I still have the books he gave me, with his signature in the front. I try and give kids I know books for their birthdays now, and write notes in the front like he did. I figure it was the best thing anyone did for me as a kid, so I try to pass it on.
This comment got really long. But I dig the question. Reading the comments on this post is really neat, it’s great to see how other people became readers!
Books have always meant a lot to me. As a kid the highlight of my week was the Saturday morning trip to the library. I read every book in that little library and had to go to the next town over to start on theirs. Books still mean a lot to me now, I met my husband through books. Our first gifts to each other were old copies of our favourite books – our first date in Brighton involved a trip to a second-hand bookstore. He bought me a copy of Heart of Darkness, and I gave him a copy of Call of the Wild. When he was ill I read The Night Circus to him, which is another book with a lot of meaning to both of us. When we moved to another country together he gave me a book from a famous author here.
Books have always been an important part of our lives, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
One of my favorite memories of my childhood was the year the ABA convention was held at Moscone Center in San Francisco. My mom took me, and we came home with five shopping bags of free books.
And I’ve also got to give a shout out to my 1st grade teachers, Mrs. Burns, who got me (and all my classmates) hooked on the Mister/Little Miss books….
I have multiple Kindles and a first generation Nook. I hate to say it but Kindle beat the Nook and BN on pricing almost every time. I love the traditional Kindles with E-Ink technology. It is easy on the eyes and allows me to consume more books more often.
When I was in 3rd grade our tv went on “vacation”. My parents felt we were watching too much tv and needed a break. At the time, we were horrified but truthfully it was one of the best things that ever happened to us. Weekly visits to the library opened up new worlds to lose myself in and I have never looked back. Poor TV, it turns out it didn’t really get to go vacation and was living in the trunk of my parents Ford Pinto. Not much of a vacation… I’d rather read a book.
I would love the subscription
My childhood allowence went to books. I read a lot of trade paperbacks that weren’t in libraries; Star Wars, Star Trek, Dragonlance. Every car trip, five minute pause between classes, anytime I was stationary, my nose was in one of those off yellow paperbacks that smelled like acid and pulp.
Sometimes I’ll pick up an old paperback and try to guess the age by the smell of the pages. My wife (and you, probably) think that’s a bit odd, but the smell reminds me of childhood.
Love this post, Hugh! Not only for your thoughts and generosity, but for all of these wonderful comments and stories from people who love to read.
I’ve been reading and writing most of my life, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I finally finished a novel. I wrote it over the summer and fall, intending it to be something my younger daughter might enjoy reading and made the main characters her age at the time (14). She’ll be 20 come September and I’ve written and published five more novels and one novella since that first one. None have set the world on fire with sales, but the reviews I do have are overwhelmingly positive and come from people I never knew before the read my work.
It brings me great pride and pleasure, knowing that I’ve brought some joy and entertainment to a few strangers around the world, much like Alan Dean Foster, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Stephen R. Donaldson, and a host of others did for me when I was a teenager and reading every scifi and fantasy I could get my grubby hands on.
I read almost exclusively Indie now. Not only for the variety and the fact that I’ve met so many great people in the writing community, but because it’s simply too expensive to buy books for what the trad pubs want to charge. I don’t read enough these days to make the KU subscription worthwhile, but it would have been a boon to that younger me who spent every waking moment with his nose stuffed in a book ;-)
I try to avoid black and white, all or nothing thinking, so for now, my wife, Gina Lake, and I still have some ebooks in KU and some available widely. This seems like the best of both worlds especially since we now have over 30 books for sale. We do not need 30 books in KU to take advantage of that program, nor do we need 30 books on iBooks to reach the people who shop more on there. And since some readers buy ebooks on more than one platform, even the ebooks that are not available on their preferred online store are still available to them if they search a little harder.
And my parents were educators and so for a while they paid me $0.10 for every book I read. It worked as I read a lot and even forgot after a while to ask for my $0.10. The only thing that ever slowed me down was when the library had a limit on the number of books you could check out at the same time :)
So many touching comments on here! I just wanted to say hi. (I think part of the reason I became an author was to fund my book-buying habit, so I can afford KU now.)
Growing up, our financial situation was all over the place. (My dad worked in television manufacturing in the 80’s and early 90’s before a lot of it started to become outsourced.) Mom would take my brother and me to the library every summer. I loved it. Once I built trust with the librarian, she would let me take home an entire series at a time. Reading also helped me through a difficult move in third grade (my old home room teacher actually drove 30 minutes to give me a bag of Ramona Quimby paperbacks), and I can think of dozens of situations where reading bettered my life in some way.
I’m still navigating the author side and am having fun with the entire process. It starts getting fun when the income can cover the phone and electric bill, and I love building something that feels bigger than me.
Something I think is awesome about what you do is that you think of your readers first–what opportunities can make things better or easier for them. I know it’s impossible to please everyone, but you go out of your way to create a great experience for readers more than any other author I know. From an author standpoint, I want to be like you when I grow up, lol.
Have a great day!
I was much like you with the library growing up! My family was very poor and my dad was in and out of the hospital since before I was born. We lived in a scary neighborhood and reading was my escape from all of it! My mom started taking me to the library when I was old enough to walk and we spent many hours bonding over books. It was really the only thing that we did together. She was always working to support us but readings we could do together any time!
When my friends chipped in a couple years ago to buy me a kindle, I literally cried. It has been to most amazing gift ever. Having so many books at your fingertips is a serious blessing! I discovered your books on there and I first bought them because they were so affordable! Who knew you would turn out to be one of my favorite authors and such an overall good guy?!
Thanks for the chance to win the kindle subscription, but bigger thanks for everything you have done for e-publishing and for being an amazing writer! You are an inspiration!
I remember going to my small town library all the time. It was in a run-down trailer with uneven floors and there was always dust floating in the air. You could smell it everywhere you walked and see it wherever the sun entered the room. The book selections were relatively scant but the librarian was nice. It was a special place to go to find treasures.
The responses here are heartwarming, a nice change over some message board responses I’ve seen over the past week or so.
I picked up a paperback copy of Stephen King’s “Pet Cemetery” in the airport way back when. I tried to finish the book that night, reading it on the flight, and eventually falling asleep on the couch in the middle of the night with about twenty pages left. When I woke the next morning, my golden retriever had eaten the back half of the book. Seriously. I finished it standing in the book section of the local supermarket.
I’m already a very happy Kindle Unlimited subscriber and love my Voyage, but had to share anyway.
I had unlimited for awhile but had to cancel it but I miss it and hope to get it back soon
Wool was one of the first books I read on my Kindle. I loved it so much, I’ve read every single thing you’ve written to date. I tell everyone about you!
I realize I’m too late for the contest, but I’m sharing anyway! My experience as a child was similar; too many books that needed reading, not enough money to buy them. I thought my stacks were going to get me a visit from the library police, but the guilt I felt caused me to train myself to read quickly. These days I’m ALL about the library, and I’ve learned a thing or two about books. The copy of Wool at CCCLibrary (CA) is too tightly wound. Seriously. It kept shutting itself if left open on its own. Also, I used to think that if a third book in a trilogy was a clean – seemingly unused – hardcover, that I shouldn’t bother at all (there’s nothing worse than reading a great part 1, and sometimes 2, only to find the end simply too disappointing to read). But I realize now that it just means that the paperback third book had already been replaced with hardcover because awesomeness! For example, Dust was in tatters when I got it recently, and sadly, I will be the last to read that particular paperback book. Speaking of Silo, unfortunately I read Shift first, then Wool, then Dust (the first time I read the series, acoupla years ago). The reason? Blame Justin Cronin. I had just finished The Passage (loved it!) and on the cover of Shift, above the title, was a blurb from him, “Read this! Live in this world!” or some such. Didn’t even read the title, the author name, or description of the book. I just thought that if it was good enough for Justin Cronin…. I found out that it was book 2 about the time I looked you up on the webs…
Thanks for your work.
Oh yeah, I forgot the most important thing. It’s all my mom’s fault I read. I didn’t realize until I was much older that all mothers didn’t have stacks of books lying around the house, and they didn’t all stay up all night reading. Love you mom!
I grew up in a rural area and we didn’t have the luxury of going into the library. We got a lot of 25 cent paperbacks at yard sales or I read what my folks already had. The first time I remember going to the library was after my parents split (very difficult times) and my now-single mom and I moved to the city where there was more opportunity for work. A neighbor took me and the thing was multiple stories with books rising way up into forever. She said, “Get any book you like, even more than one if you like. They are all free!” It’s a memory that makes my eyes kind of well up now because I remember catching my breath and thinking that a library was the most amazing thing I’d ever experienced. (We were so, so poor.) I even remember the first book I checked out… The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
Oh, another funny book thing… there was a little motel in the town where I grew up and the lady who worked there was addicted to Harlequin romances. When I got old enough to drive I would go back to where my grandmother lived and take her to the motel office where they had a “leave one, take one” policy. She’d drop off the Harlequins she had read and picked up an equal amount of new ones she hadn’t read. That was our Saturday ritual for a while.
Last year, when I read George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons I was struck by a quote by Jojen: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” This sums up my live perfectly.
I have always been an avid reader. I learned to read when I was three. In first grade I had to prove to our school librarian that I could read third and fourth grade level books before she would let me check them out. Through high school, college, and into my fiftieth (plus) year, I have never been out of arm’s reach of a book, magazine, or newspaper. To me, even a cereal box is reading material.
Jojen was right. I have lived a thousand lives. I have traveled to the future. I have been to the past. I have lived in other worlds. I have fought for my life, loved, lost, and died all while walking in someone else’s shoes. I have been an old woman, a young soldier, a wizard, a queen, a silo resident. I have mourned the end of a good book like a lost relationship.
No, Jojen was wrong. I have lived more than a thousand lives.
Reading is easy and relaxing, it’s the selecting of books that stresses me out. What if I download a pricy title that I don’t enjoy? What if I miss out on a 99-cent short story that seems pricy because I’ll have it done in 15 minutes? What if Kindle unlimited is perfect for me and I don’t give it a try? I’m intrigued by the possibilities.
Amazon allows you to return a book if you buy it but do not like it. I believe it is a 7 day window on digital content. Most (all?) books also allow you to download the first chapter or so as a sample, so you can try it out before you buy.
I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime, starting at age six when I learned how to read. I loved going to the library, both the school library and the public library, and used to come home with stacks of books from each. I own hundreds of books, lovingly collected over the years.
Since I became unemployed five years ago, I’ve had to get creative in how I get my books. The library, of course, free giveaways on Amazon or Smashwords, beta reading for fellow authors, and the used bookstore, which has a half-price sale every Canada Day.
I have kept all my books from my childhood, and read them to my grandkids now. I love that I can share my favourite books, such as the Little House books, the Green Gables books, or the Pippi books with my grandchildren.
Whoops, I posted this as a reply to a comment above and can’t figure out how to delete it… When I was in grade school, I went to the school library every day. I had rapidly plowed my way through many of the books written for my age group when the school librarian took notice. She became a mentor of sorts, setting aside books that she thought I would enjoy and that would challenge me to learn things that can’t be taught in classrooms. Huck Finn, Catcher in the Rye, other books that were considered “banned” back then; Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury; far heavier fare than the Judy Blume stories my classmates were reading. She gave me a worksheet that I was to use for words I didn’t understand, but instead of looking up the definitions in a dictionary, I had to try to figure out their meanings by context. This woman recognized a kindred spirit in me – a fellow book lover – and enthusiastically encouraged me to read more, to stretch my mind as far as I could, to discover worlds that I never knew had existed. I’m 44 years old, and I first met this librarian about 37 years ago. The gift she gave me is one that I have never forgotten and still use every day.
As a child I saw both my parents reading often. My father read fantasy novels and I recall looking at these incredible images on the front and asking him what the books were about. He replied, “Read it and find out.” So I did.
Once I picked up that first book I was addicted. I became a regular at my local library and I soon worked my way through their selection of fantasy and Sci-fi. When I began earning money, I started buying them.
Through 7 house moves over a decade, I carted around my now considerably large collection of books. Often adding to it and even more often, re-reading those old favourites.
Now, I have no room to unpack them all having filled the limited shelving space and since I have a kindle, I spend less time reading those stories since I have so many new ones to choose from on Kindle.
The one thing I am grateful for, is my fathers response. He challenged me to read and provoked my curiosity often enough that I did and in so doing, found so much wonder and joy.
Cut a poor Aussie some slack – with the terrible exchange rate the $10 a month for Kindle Unlimited works out to be around $16 Australian dollars :-( We always end up paying more for the things we love, books especially.
I grew up in a family of readers. We went to the library every week, sometimes multiple times a week to get more books.
There was a period of time during my childhood where I shared a room with my sister. We had a bunk bed and would regularly put blankets up around the bottom bunk to create a fort. At night our parents would regularly check on us to make sure we had gone to bed instead of staying up all night reading. My sister and I would fight over who got to sleep on the bottom because the blankets prevented the flashlight from being seen, at least mostly.
I have to be honest, I kind of miss those days. Hiding in the fort reading until I fell asleep.
Growing up our family was of limited means, but even then our house was well stocked with books (okay, ones that my parents read… we didn’t have enough to buy books that us kids would quickly “outgrow” and never read again.) That means that I just about plundered both the public library, and our rather well-stocked school library. I got to read classics years before the curriculum even thought they should be taught (classic dystopian novels like 1984 and Brave New World were stocked in the middle-school section of the library.) I got to read now-famous works even before they were particularly popular. (The high school library had a Naval Institute Press copy of The Hunt For Red October, with Tom Clancy on the jacket as a dorky-looking insurance clerk working for his in-laws. I wonder if somebody has stolen it some time in the last 25 years, as I imagine it’s quite valuable.)
As something of a loner in school, books were a respite from the social structure and rituals I never understood; rarely was I without a book in my hand (much to the consternation of my teachers, this often also applied during class.) I became so familiar to the school librarians that they didn’t even make me even bother checking out books; I simply walked out with them and re-shelved them when finished.
My reading during those years profoundly shaped my life to come. I decided to become a Computer Engineer after reading a Nat Geo book about technology. I developed a hobby of technical history after reading some books about the influence of technology on the practice of war (in a middle-school library no less!), and later books on computer history in general, including the century-long history of my current employer.
Inspiring a love of reading (of actual books, not just snippets on web pages) is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to their children. Basic literacy is not good enough; even after the children learn to read, parents should set a good example by reading themselves, or reading the same book as their child so they can discuss it together. Teaching the skill of close reading is a true life skill that is the next level beyond basic literacy.
Does anything in life last as long as the love of reading? I remember books being the only gifts my family could think to give me, even today. When I was ten, my mother remarried and we moved to a bigger town with an actual public library! I was so excited because our former small-town home didn’t have a library and I had read everything in the school library years before. I insisted on getting my library card before fixing up my room or visiting my new school. It became my favorite place in my new home. I finished the summer reading program in a week (much to the delight of the local librarian) and my mom bought me a cart for my August birthday because she thought I was carrying too many books in my backpack. I volunteered there starting at fourteen until I left for college. Unfortunately, that remarriage was a bad one so the library was a real bright spot for me and my two sisters. All of my siblings also have a love of reading. In fact, my middle sister just graduated high school and I gifted her a ‘basket of books’ (which my grandmother did for me when I graduated as well). I included five books, one of which was Wool. I think reading is something that keeps us grounded, no matter what we face, not as an escape but as a new way of seeing our circumstances. Thanks for your work Hugh!
Being a fan of horror, a limited budget/allowance every other week from doing chores, I would spend it (it = $10 to $20) on a Goosebumps or Ghostwriters book, G.I. Joe or Transformer and a snack to eat.
When I was young I had an insatiable appetite for books. And I thought from a very young age that I wanted to be a writer some day…Looking back on it, I didn’t realize that you could even buy books! I was one of six children and we lived on my father’s small preacher salary. To me, a bookstore was the library. You could borrow, but you had to return them eventually!
Flash forward 40 years and I still am an avid reader, but I will admit I don’t visit the library quite as often. I have my Kindle and can now borrow my books from the library without ever leaving my home. One thing that the library does not offer, however, are many of the new Indie authors (I still want to join the ranks but as of yet have never published). I think this is one of the reasons that Kindle Unlimited would be such an awesome service to have.
Not only is your writing great, but your generosity is inspiring. Thanks for being so awesome to your fans AND for setting a great example for authors and others in the public eye.
Great offer Hugh! Don’t enter me in the contest. I’m a writer and want this to go to a reader (that sounds funny, I read as well!). All of my books are on KU and I’m sticking with the program. I hope all the authors who are staying in KU get a huge surprise with large payouts :-)
I neglected to answer your question about childhood reading. I practically lived at the public library for two reasons. One because I adored books, and two because it was a safe place for me. I credit my local library for shaping me as a person and for nurturing my love of the written word. Some of my favorite authors as a small child: JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Norton Juster (author of The Phantom Tollbooth).
I also forgot to answer your question! I have wonderful memories of childhood summer vacations up in the Sierra Nevada mountains when I’d go to the tiny mountain library in Shaver Lake, CA and bring back armloads of Hardy Boys and Black Stallion books. I’d sit in the woods reading for hours.
Don’t care if I ‘win’ really, but you’ve offered up a chance to thank my dad, so I’ll take it. When I was a kid my dad read to us kids every night. Now it probably wasn’t really every single night, but it was often enough that my memory blurs it all together as a constant nightly ritual over the years of my childhood. Sometimes it was a silly children’s book read over and over, and other times it was surprisingly challenging material like Homer’s The Odyssey. He had his favorites and wanted to instill something of them in us, a sense of adventure, a life lesson. Whatever it was, he knew some things were best expressed through books.
Now I’m a father myself, my kids are 2, 4, and 6. We’ve made reading a nightly ritual as well, something I was always determined to carry on to my kids. What we read varies quite a bit as well, but my kids love it. When they act out, the mere threat of ‘no library book tonight’ will straighten them out, and God forbid I have to follow through, it’s like a funeral processional as we march on to bedtime. But I love that as young as they are, there’s already a love for reading. It’s so fun to see my kids acting out the books we’ve read, seeing what reading has spurred in their imaginations.
All this to say, my dad probably had no idea what he was starting by simply taking 15 minutes to read to his kids at night. I encourage anyone reading this to do the same!
I have loved reading as long as I can remember and I feel fortunate that I am able to read every night before I go to sleep. I am trying to instill a love of reading in my children as well.
What I remember about reading as a child? – First thing that snapped into my head (I could almost hear it happen) was a memory of the school library at my elementary school and exactly where the John Christopher books were on the shelf. At eye level to me as a 4th or 5th grader. Lined up there temptingly. I remember two trilogies and a stand-alone story. It was a sad day when I ran out of them.
Wow, I can almost remember how that library SMELLED. Powerful memories!
When I was a kid, I loved everything about going to the library, from the time I devoted to deciding which books to check out to the smell of the place, the feel of its tables, and, of course, the reading. Strangely, no matter how much I enjoyed getting paperbacks from the Arrow Book Club catalog at school, it wasn’t quite the same as holding the hardback version, with its official-looking plastic protective cover.
At some point, my dad happened to mention that a cousin of his, a man named Arthur Brody, invented those plastic covers. So they were more of a family tradition than I’d realized. (Supporting documentation for the skeptics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brodart)
It makes me happy to know that somebody in the family tree has helped libraries preserve so many books, thus getting them into the hands of even more readers because they last longer.
How cool is that? – And now I know why they’re called Brodart!
Thanks, Maria—I’ll pass the enthusiasm along to my father. He’ll get a kick out of it.
My fondest memory of reading as a kid was that I was given an adult library card when I was in the sixth grade. I’d tested into a special “extended learning” program and needed to be enriched, it seems.
All that year, even though I was only eleven/twelve, I could check out any book I wanted. I suspect I was supposed to use it for non-fiction.
Nope. I went straight for the fiction. Although I didn’t always understand the things in those books, they stayed with me until I did.
For instance (and this is over 40 years later!), I remember reading the line “(somebody) was lovers all by himself” in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. I had no idea what that was about at the time, although the book itself was a marvel to me and definitely an influence on the way I looked at things from then on.
Somewhere in my teens, itt made sense. I was a bit embaressed about it when the meaning became clear.
Still one of my favorite books, smutty-talk and all.
My first memories of reading as a kid? Getting caught by my Mom reading Micky Mouse magazines with a flashlight under my blanket way past bed time. But they were just a gateway drug to books and I’ve been hooked ever since. There’s nothing better than the power of imagination, fueled by the right books.
Greetings from Germany, Hugh!
I attended a small private school. We had a small library in the back of the classroom. I used to rush to finish my assignments so I could select a book to read while I waited for the rest of the class to finish their assignments. I read all the books in the classroom library. Historical biographies and mysteries were my favorites but I would read anything.
My dog did in fact eat my favorite paperback. It was And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave; I had just gotten it back from my brother (I loaned it to him and he kept it for almost a year before returning it with the pages water stained and stuck together) and I was ecstatic to finally have it back. It was out of print at the time, so damaged was better than nothing (or worse, the abridged edition).
Then I came home to find confetti sized scraps of paper littering the living room floor. My dog is a jerk, so I immediately knew which book it was. If he hadn’t already been neutered, he would have been right then. The only other book he’s ever eaten was Imagine Life with a Well Behaved Dog.
One of my earliest memories of reading was walking into my 3rd grade classroom for the first time and checking to see if they had any Science Fiction. Clearly I was already a reader, and already a Science Fiction reader, I just don’t remember what I was reading before then. I found A Wrinkle in Time, and loved it.
I grew up in a very small town, and we were pretty poor, so the local Library was my lifeline.
Eventually I moved to the big city and began to amass a library of my own. Soon I had thousands of books, which made moving a lot harder. When I got married, we moved from time to time and each move I purged books just because I didn’t want to deal with moving them again. It was hard because it felt like I was getting rid of a piece of myself with everyou book.
About four years ago I got my 6 first Kindle. I love it. I read far more now than I did before. I enjoy the experience more, to the point that I rarely ever read a dead-tree book anymore. The best part is that once I have a book for my Kindle, it is mine forever, and I don’t have to worry about moving them
My wife and I are downsizing in anticipation of moving into an RV in a few years. I am down to only two book shelves and those will soon be gone.
KU is the way to go. I’ll enter! Thanks!
Don’t want the subscription, but did want to say you’re one cool dude! Thanks for sharing your passion and wisdom with us.
One of my most vivid memories as a young fella is that of being jacked into an AI, trapped, and then seeing the whole beach, me included, dissolve into bits right under my feet.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was then and there that Neuromancer made me a writer.
And Hugh, if your sails ever bring you to the southern coast of Brazil, let it be known :)
For me, walking into a library has always been akin to stepping through the wardrobe and into Narnia. As one of five kids I never owned very many of my own books until I started working and could pay for them myself.
My parents always surrounded us with stories and brought us to the library whenever they could, often more than once a week. The librarians sometimes probably wished we couldn’t order from other locations because we took full advantage of the 30 book limit.
The majority of what I read these days is on digital devices but there is something magical about entering a building and literally being surrounded by every story imaginable.
Another good post, Hugh. The majority of my titles are enrolled in KDP Select now. The major exception is my first book, which is free on numerous platforms (including Amazon with Price Match). I launched that title when KDP Select was in its infancy – January of 2012 – and like you I used the freebie days to expand my readership and hook them into the sequels. Much of the power of freebies has been lost since then, due to a flood of titles and the habit of many readers to grab a freebie and store it away for a rainy day (or the apocalypse). These days I get far better results with the Kindle Countdown Deals (at lease for titles with a list price of $2.99+). And then there is the perk of Kindle Unlimited. I am optimistic for KU 2.0. Most of my titles should earn close to as much, possibly more, on a borrow (read cover to cover) as a sale.
Here are some of my feelings about exclusivity with KDP Select.
1. Private label products make millions with exclusive distribution through traditional department stores, such as Target, Macy’s, etc. Just look at Martha Stewart.
2. If you are going to choose exclusivity, do it with the biggest distributor, with the largest customer base. Amazon fits that description, at least for the foreseeable future, and the terms are renewable every 90 days – so it’s not like signing away the rights of a book for the next 30 years.
3. When I branched out onto numerous platforms briefly in 2013, I found that 90%+ of my sales were still coming from Amazon. When I returned my titles to KDP Select, following introduction of Countdown Deals and later Kindle Unlimited, my 2014 sales skyrocketed.
4. Kindle was the platform that convinced me to start writing fiction. It is where I built a fan base (not as simple as it sounds). I own Kindle devices (not Nook, etc.) and I purchase many Amazon products as a Prime Member. I buy from them, and they pay me far more than I spend there. I probably feel much more loyalty to Amazon than they feel towards me, but they have really been a good business partner.
5. I like to focus on writing. Restricting my promotions and finances to a single platform simplifies the business side of self-publishing. Amazon makes direct deposits that I can count on, as well as providing good accounting of sales and income.
There are other things I like about Amazon, and a few that could stand improvement. Overall, I am pleased with KDPS and looking forward to the future as an Amazon Author.
PS: Hugh, I already subscribe to KU, so give the memberships to some avid readers who will make good use of it. As usual, your generosity will benefit many more authors than yourself.
Great summary. I agree with a lot of this.
How to woe Hugh for a KU? What to do? Whew. Okay. That’s probably not the way to go. :-)
Would I appreciate a six month subscription to KU? Absolutely. I’m currently living on a fixed income, and the best way to nourish my writing is to feed my reading. I turn away from a lot of books simply because I can’t afford them.
That said, it looks like there are many folks, who could benefit from this gift. You already give your readers so much… your amazing stories, your friendship, your guidance, and your ability to forge new pathways for all of us. Thank you for everything that you already do!
I remember being in first grade, huddled under the covers of my bed using the tiny light bulb I’d taken out of my nightlight to read by. The book was Gulliver’s Travels, the real one, not a children’s adaptation. The school librarian had at first refused to allow me to check it out because I was only seven and a relatively new reader, suggesting instead picture books. The next day my father phoned and told her to let me have it. And she was wrong. I could read it. I read it all, until late into the night when I finally fell asleep, my head filled with Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians.
Much like yourself, I came from a cash strapped family and fell in love with reading at a young age. Delving into other universes through the magic of storytelling quickly became my passion and visits to the library were definitely the highlight of any given week!
Over the years, after moving out on my own, I slowly fell out of the reading habit. One day, about a year ago, I was looking through my Facebook news feed when I saw a friend who was gushing about a new story he had just read. It was called Wool, and the way he described made me scramble to acquire a copy. Instantly my passion was reignited, and I have been reading daily ever since.
You can call it sucking up, sure, but it is also the truth. Thank you, Hugh Howey for helping me rediscover the passion!
I’ll tell you what the Kindle did for me. An avid reader as a kid and into my teens, I drifted away from books during college. Something about having to read textbooks killed my interest. The Kindle came along and it was just a neat gadget – fun to have, but really, when would I use it? I resisted until Amazon offered the first non-keyboard model for a ridiculously low price a few years ago, around $45, and then I simply couldn’t hold back. And since then, I read nearly every night before bed. Life is busy, especially once you have kids, but now I set aside a little bit of time to get lost in fictional worlds. The convenience of the Kindle was key, of course, but more than that, it got me reading again. Many lament the shift away from physical books but for me it’s been the very thing that got me interested again. I’m so glad to see authors like you, Hugh, that have embraced the system and are pushing for greater acceptance.
When I discovered books it was like opening the door to another world, one which allowed me to escape into my imagination as I devoured story after story. I was such an avid reader as a child that you could often find me trailing after my friends, my nose stuck in a book as I tried to read and walk at the same time. I’m in my forties now, but it’s something they still tease me about to this day. It didn’t matter where we were going (even the pool in the dead heat of summer), I always had a book with me. Sometimes two if I was close to finishing whatever I was reading at the time. I’m lucky I didn’t ruin any of them since they were always borrowed from the library… Or my mom’s stash once I was a little older and discovered romance novels.
Hugh, thanks so much for all the wonderful posts you’ve made lately about KU and the changes in 2.0. I’ve been reading all of them and it’s really helped me gain perspective for the future. Your posts are always spot on and I appreciate that!
Hugh, I had a KU subscription for the first few months it was available. I jumped right on it in the belief that my voracious-reader’s prayers had been answered! I ended up cancelling because I could see that it was affecting my reading choices. For example, I really want to read Book A, but it’s not in KU, but Book B is, so OK, I’ll go with that one, After all, it’s “free” … And I didn’t like making reading choices based on a distinction that’s immaterial to the value of the product. This is different from being influenced by price. I assume that price sends a signal about the value of the product (yes, I know this is a questionable assumption, but’s it’s one we all make to some extent). So if I choose Book B because it’s cheaper, I’m accepting that tradeoff. But being in KU vs not being KU is NOT a value signal. So my choices would be influenced by this arbitrary factor, unrelated to value. Didn’t like it; quit.
That said, if KU2 brings more of the books I want to read into the program, I may reconsider. (But please don’t consider me for a gift subscription. Others need it more than I do.)
Books raised me. They were my retreat, solace and delight through a grim childhood. We were poor and my parents had personal problems so my siblings and I were neglected. I haunted the local library and disappeared into books. Books stood in for parents – they even taught me right from wrong. Oh and I read a lot of british children’s fiction so I had some strange ideas about honour, ‘tuck’ and boarding schools, and I used the word ‘ghastly’ far too late in life! I believe that storytelling is one of the most important jobs in the world. You’re changing someone’s life.
Hi Howey. I absolutely love my Kindle and like you, loved books since I was a kid. I hadtwo big sisters and I used to delve into their collections, which was mostly the Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club series (which are still so vivid in my imagination!). I live in Myanmar and there are very few bookstores here – now that I have a Kindle I can buy whatever book I want and that has been a huge benefit for me. Buying the 2015 Writers’ Market led me to discovering you – your interview really inspired me (I am attempting to find an agent and publisher but will push on with finishing my book regardless – i will go it alone if need be). My Kindle also made me quit smoking after buying Allen Carr’s book. The benefits of owning a Kindle will go on and on! But unfortunately Myanmar is still kinda cutting me off – the Kindle Unlimited deal is unavailable here (so it says on the site), which is a real shame. But I wanted to leave you a comment all the same… Very best wishes, Jess
James Fennimore Cooper. I still remember the first book I checked out of the tiny Ulysses library. It was only the beginning of my obsession as I read every biography in their collection that summer so long ago. My Kindles are my “must haves” – I love having ALL my books with me all the time.
I went to school libraries and soon found I loved the books with the little spaceship tags.
I was an Air Force brat who’s Dad got transferred every 6 -12 months so it was a lot of little libraries but they all had that special section of books.
Kudos to you for resisting KU for such a long time, Hugh.
Nonetheless, as much as I understand the economic reason behind this, your decision saddens me. I hope that the other platforms will understand that they have to improve their competitivity and the authors’ visibility when losing your novels, but I don’t thing that will work that way.
We have to remember, as authors, how hard it was, and is, to place our books in bookstores. All the hurdles to jump, and the major difficulty of keeping our books in said bookstores for more than a few weeks.
Now, imagine an ebook startup company. You have to place you in the shoes of this ebook company. The high investments required by a technological product and a website, the risks taken, the fragility. Imagine that company facing the daunting prospect to be able to sell just half the ebooks their main competitor, Amazon, offers. That’s a real barrier to entering the market and competing, and this barrier may become bigger and bigger in the future.
Already 1 million ebooks are exclusive, and many ebooks have stayed exclusive since the beginning of KU. You know that the 90 days period is just a clever way for Amazon to entice authors in trying their fix. You know that once economically dependant, it will become very hard for them to get back. The books will stay there for years.
The comparison between exclusivity with a publisher and with a distributor is a fallacious one. A publisher has to make your book available everywhere. If a publisher was to favour a distributor, it would be a distortion of competition. And I don’t care that exclusivity deals happen here and then in the business world. With KU, it’s on a massive scale.
To quote Justin Alexander on Joe Konrath’s blog: “Amazon’s exclusivity policy is a monopolistic tactic aimed exclusively at independent self-publishers.
If they similarly limited Kindle Unlimited participation only to Big Six titles that published with them exclusively, it might be ethically defensible (although Uncle Sam would probably still be jumping up and down on top of their heads). But as it stands, the tactic is explicitly exploitive and is being aimed exclusively at people Amazon knows lack the ability to push back. It’s indefensible.”
We indie authors are enjoying the benefit of a free market. Maybe we would be wise to keep that market free.
The company building my boat builds spec boats as well as custom boats on commission. When they build a spec boat, they often go to a different sailmaker for the sails, or a different deck hardware company, or a different fiberglass company. They do this to check the quality, but also to send a message to their preferred accounts: Get us the deal we want, or you’ll lose our business.
The message from “Publish Everywhere, No Matter What” indies is: “You’ll get our business no matter how you treat us.”
Google Play is the worst. Their treatment of authors is abysmal. I haven’t had my works with them for over 4 years (other than the occassional pirated work that goes up for sale, which Google shrugs and lets continue). I’ve given up at least 6 figures a year for 4 years on principle with them, while keeping an open dialog, and asking them to please fix some of their policies. They have no impetus to fix these policies. Most authors give them their business without hesitation.
If I pull my works out of KU in 90 days or six months, or a year, and publish wide again, then Amazon will know that I can and will do that. If I go exclusive, then other retailers will know that I can and will do that. My power is very limited, mind you. I’m not releasing a new novel every month that hits the NYT list. These are billion-dollar companies, and my contribution wouldn’t fill a thimble. But dynamism in the overall market is better than blanket acceptance of all terms, everywhere. When I go exclusive with Amazon (which can be tempting EVEN WITHOUT the advantages of KDPS), I’m telling retailers that this is the experience and level of support I want.
I could be wrong about all of this, but it’s the way I see it. And I do see your points as well.
Yes, I know about Google Play. They are terrible. The thing is, I have the feeling that other retailers are lightyears behind Amazon. Probably because they don’t care so much for books than for money. And Amazon began its business with books.
One million ebooks exclusive to Amazon in two years. And many more to come, because KU is now more attractive than ever for the authors. Will Uncle Sam let Amazon become the only ebook seller for 80% of the books?
We’ll see. The sad thing is that the electroshock you are giving to Amazon’s competitors won’t be enough to have them innovate and improve. They’ll wait for a political decision.
As much as I’d love to get 6 months KU for free, I have KU already. Now, my problem is this: I feel like I’m getting my books for free with KU, If I got a free 6 month subscription then I would be getting them for free twice – and that’s not even possible. My head hurts!
Silliness aside, I get every pennies worth from KU and love it. 2 kids and being a grown up can get in the way of reading to the extent that I did as a child – but having a Kindle is starting to fix that. Downloaded Beacon 23 part 2 last night and devoured it in 20 mins. Can’t beat that! (Oh, and still giggling about the Philosophers stone!)
It’s official! As promised, all of my stories, with the exception of the one in J. A. Konrath’s “Jack Daniels And Associates” Kindle World, are now all available in Kindle Unlimited.
Enjoy the reads! ;)
I don’t need the subscription, as I am an old soul, born way after my time. I love the feel of paper and the history etched within the binding of a book. I just want to say that you are pretty awesome. I didn’t know about you until I ventured to a Comic Convention in Tampa, FL (first time going) and you had a booth with Wool on display. My good friend was/is an avid fan and you were the reason we went (ok, Gimli from LOTR a.k.a John Rhys-Davies was there too… love the way that man speaks). We sat in on your panel discussion and my 1 year old son cried when you mentioned that you would probably not continue writing a certain series (epic timing on my son’s part as it drew laughter from everyone). Since then, I have read your works, and listened to what you have had to say on many topics. You are, indeed, a pretty cool dude! Keep inspiring the world and helping others, as you do. And, keep on rocking!
I read the Silo saga and some of your short stories and I loved them all. I’m Czech and I grew up going to the library a lot, mostly reading Jaroslav Foglar’s adventure books (probably not very well known outside of Czech Republic).
But my dad was a big fan of sci-fi short stories, especially by Isaac Asimov and he often brought various sci-fi anthologies with him on vacations and let me borrow them. I fell in love with sci-fi and that’s mostly what I’ve been reading to this day.
I kind of fell out of my reading habits during my late teenage years but then I bought a Kindle in 2011 when I was going away to work in Madrid and I have been reading 20-30 books a year since then. It really is a great way to read. I had to read a paper book recently because the title wasn’t available in ebook form and it felt kind of clumsy and impractical compared to the Kindle.
Looking forward to your future books!
I am dyslexic, and as a young kid I hated to read. The words would move around and I couldn’t focus. I thought I was stupid and it was really embarrassing. Then one day I grabbed a Superman comic off a spinner rack and my whole world changed. I began picking up comics each week and I could work out the story. I gradually got better at working around my problem and now have 3 books of my own out.
Being dyslexic reading was allows very difficult for me. I would get extra help in school but they could also give me books that didn’t challenge me. I would always come home feeling defeated. Then my mother gave me her original copy of the hobbit. We would read at least 5-10 pages a night together. The day that we finished The Hobbit was the last day I allowed myself or others make me feel bad about being dyslexic.
It may take me longer then most to finish a book but I don’t let it keep me back. I read every day and I couldn’t imagine a day without a book or my Kindle in my hands.
Some of my earliest memories are riding my bike to the library several times a week for books and joining the summer book reading clubs. I loved being transported to different places. I was raised by a single mom that was working two jobs to support us so I was alone a lot. The books became my friends. Fifty years later I am still using the library for my kindle books. I wasn’t a sci-fi fan until Wool. I loved Sand also. I have had to cancel my KU, but I am looking forward to the day I can subscribe again.
Will you write a post of some of your favorite books you’re reading on Kindle Unlimited?
I loved reading Babar books when I was 6 and 7 years old. Something about a whole civilization comprised of elephants fascinated me, and I especially loved the adventures of Babar’s children.
However, I had a problem at my school library.
I don’t know if anyone remembers this any more, but the Babar books used to be printed in a script font. In my school, cursive handwriting was taught in the third grade. So our librarian created a special rule for the Babar books: only third graders were allowed to check them out!
Woe! What was a poor first or second grader to do?
Honestly, my problem was more one of delayed gratification than anything else. My mother took me to the county library every single week, and there I could check out Babar books to my heart’s content.
I never had any trouble reading the script font, despite the fact that I would not learn to write it for another 2 years. :D
I remember helping out a local bookstore as a kid, Shelby Books in Utica Michigan. I’d help the owner unpack and shelve books, return magazines and books that didn’t sell, and pack/unpack for book fairs & antique fairs. She’d pay me in books and occasionally she’d let me take some of the ones with the torn off covers. I’d always buy a new science fiction or a classic. Robot City, C.A.D.S., Foundation, 2001, Eon, Red, Blue, Green Mars, etc. I’d read them all in exchange for a little manual labor. My parents and I couldn’t afford to buy a lot and the library wasn’t that good. My creativity and passion for science and technology today is due to my reading. Now with 3 kids of my own I want them to have the same experience I did reading anything and everything they can.
I don’t need the KU subscription, but I had a story to tell – you can decide if it’s touching or funny or what. I was born at the tail end of the baby boomers, so as you might realize, books were a bit less expensive back then. I can remember going over to my grandfather’s house, and he was probably in his 70’s. In pretty good health, but of course he didn’t think so. He’d give me and my sister each a buck, and tell us that “it might be the last dollar you get from me,” with a bit of a sad smile. (The implication was that he wouldn’t be around much longer.) I always spent my buck on books. I could get two paperbacks, usually Heinleins or Asimovs, for the dollar. (My parents would pay the tax, since they were usually about 50 cents each at that time.) I checked, thinking my memory had to be faulty, but I still have the Asimovs and Heinleins and they do say fifty cents as the cover price. Gave my son my old copy of I, ROBOT to read a couple of years ago, and he liked most of the stories in it.
I just put my collections and my one novella into Select this week. I kept thinking that I was going to get them up on B&N and iBooks and maybe Kobo and Smashwords, but I never get around to doing it, and I don’t have the time to do the formatting, so I thought, why not? We’ll see if it results in any increase in sales, or if borrowing works at all for me…nowhere to go but up…
Hugh, missed you at Bill’s memorial shindig.
One problem I see with the Unlimited program,from the readers perspective, when one quits the program, all previously downloaded books disappear. Now that Kindle books are higher priced, in most cases just slightly lower than paperback, it may be worth the $10. Reference books have to be kept. When one stops reading a lot, and leaves the program, all are gone. Some books just say, “Put me on the shelf for later.”
What is your read?
I grew up an hour away from a tiny town. My only access to the library was the school library during the school year. I’m so grateful to the librarian that allowed me to come in before school started on the days between my class’s assigned library time. I hoarded the few books I got for birthdays and Christmases for the summers we spent in the mountains when we moved the cattle to their summer range. I would use gift money to buy books in town when I got older. Having a Kindle stuffed with hundreds of books now AND the opportunity to borrow thousands more at any time is my idea of heaven!
Ive just been going through all your books on this site and apart from the new Wayfinding series Ive read all apart from Glitch and Second suicide. Not bad going for someone who first heard about Wool on the Radio 2 book club with Simon Mayo. I may be poorer, so I obviously need to win this :-) but I love when I read a book by an author and ‘need’ all of their books. Its even better when they let you be friends on Facebook and dont delete you because of your stupid comments :-0 Much love, Jules x
I just read Second Suicide a few months ago. It’s really good (of course!), and I loved the killer twist in it.
I remember when my Conan paperbacks went from 2.95 to over 5.00 and I thought that was the end of the world. Got married had kids and went to bookstore and they where 9.95. Can’t tell you how many late fees I had from library. I would never trade the time I spent going through a card catalog. Now when I’m in line at Wal-Mart I get out my phone and read a page or two. Please pass me over for subscription. The 9.95 I spend each month for more books than I will ever read is the best money I have ever spent
I still love real paper books the best. I have the Silo series on my bookshelves now and plan to reread them again soon. However, I have to concede that a kindle is a lot easier to travel with. Love my kindle.
Growing up an Army brat, overseas, and an only child (and we didn’t have a TV), the library quickly became my second home. At least once a week I was carrying home stacks of books.
30+ years later and a father of three, I can’t always afford to indulge, but I can certainly appreciate the idea of KU.
I’ve loved reading since I was a young boy. So much so that when I got my first job, I was a library page. I worked in my public library for over ten years off and on from high school, college and then grad school, working my way up from page to become a front desk clerk, talking with everyone about books – I loved it! I even got to put the plastic covers on them after unloading them out of the shipping boxes. As I was doing so, I would always see a few books that would catch my eye, read the inside flap to find out more and then earmark them later to go into my “To Be Read” pile that would eventually come home with me. Discovering new books was never a problem! My book fix was always satiated, as I would get first crack at the latest and greatest. I always had a ton of library books at home and always found great stuff to read. And some of the titles I ran across while putting them away were really funny. “The Brain: A Users Manual” (in the human biology section) and “Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Guide to Teenagers” (in the psychology section) were very memorable, so much so that I still remember them to this day. Overall, it was the best job a reader could ever have.
Growing up my parents encouraged me to read as they themselves were avid readers but for me there never was enough time in the day to read all my books. When I was probably between 5 and 8 years old every night my parents would allow me to read for 20 minutes before bed to get ready to go to sleep, a habit left over from them reading me to sleep, but then it was lights out. Lucky for me I had a timed night light and after my bedroom door was shut I would sneak over and grab a few other children’s books to read before the night light went out. I always thought I was so smart and sneaky doing that but found out years later that my parents knew because I never put the books away lol.
I still find that now even 20 years later that when I’m reading a good book that bedtimes becomes nonexistent. I know finishing up Dust I was awake until 4 am and even though I wad so tired in the morning it was worth it.
I just had to chime in on this one! Reading when I was a child was so much easier than it is now for pleasure. I have a vivid imagination of laying on my bed in the summer, which was right by the open window, and reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Lord of the Rings to the sound of the crickets and peepers.
These days, I still have a mountain of books, but only chunks of time to read. It would be nice if we all had a dedicated two hours in the middle of the day to go sit and read. I suppose I could time my lunch break to actually be a break, but still! I think I need new book shelves and more time to concentrate on the stories I want to experience on the page and screen.
I already subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, but wanted to comment anyway. As a small child, I loved books. My mom used to tell the story of how I, at about age 4, would carry books around the house and beg anyone to “Show me how to read! Show me how to read right now!” I was reading shortly after that and have never stopped.
What I remember most about reading as a child is that I read anything and everything. I read cereal boxes, I read my father’s college textbooks when I was way too young for them, I read my mother’s psychology books, I read my uncle’s old reading textbooks from school (from the 1920s or so), and I read my own books over and over and over. I had one shelf–not a whole bookcase, just one shelf–full of books. I didn’t have easy access to a library and our local library did not have many good books for children. They were mostly all books written with a condescending tone like, “Sally needs a date for Friday and nobody has asked her! What will she do?” or “Johnny’s team lost the football game and it was his fault. Whatever will he do?”
When I was about 11 or 12, my father was doing some carpentry and brickwork for a family, and he used to take me along. The family had an older teenage daughter, and one day, for seemingly no reason at all, she came out and gave me a shoebox full of paperback books. She’d seen that I was always reading and just gave them to me to keep. I think she knew that I would appreciate her books, and I did. I still have these books now, more than 40 years later. I shared many of them with my own children when they were teens. I was so thrilled to have these books. They became my new go-to books which I read over and over and over. Many of them had a huge influence on me at the time and some of them for the rest of my life. I don’t know if she knew how much these books meant to me as I don’t believe I ever saw her again after that, but I idolized her at the time and even now in my mind, I see her has this sort of mythical figure in my life–a hero, a mentor, someone I admired and looked up to even though I barely knew her. (I invented this wonderful life for her, of course. I imbued her with all the best qualities of the characters in all the books she gave to me.)
I also named my daughter after a character in one of the books.
In junior high and high school, I traded books with friends and discovered the school library so my reading expanded even more. I miss trading books with friends as I would read anything and so often read books I probably wouldn’t have picked for myself. Even so, I wouldn’t give up my Kindle. :)