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I survived the SW ebook sale!

Well, I have spent half of Dec 31st planning what I’d buy from Smashwords end of the year sale with my ultra-limited budget. Let’s just say that I found some amazing deals, and then after I could spend all I could spend, I went ahead and downloaded some SW freebies.

Smashwords is a funny place. They are really trying to make their site attractive, and I appreciate that. Their author and marketing features are incredible! But their end of year sale says Dec 25-Jan 1; what does that mean? Will the deal include January 1 or will the sale expire right before the New Year? What specific hour do these sales expire?

I may seem to be nitpicking, but customers are all over the globe, and frankly some people are perennial night owls. After Netflix announced when movies would arrive and leave, I actually have noticed that the time that things expire/premiere in Houston (i.e., Central Standard Time) is 2:00 AM. The same happens with Amazon deals more or less.

In other words, the new day occurs whenever it hits California!

Smashwords created a new home page a few weeks ago. I am slowly warming up to it, although 95% of my surfing is still through the old interface (because I like the filters and like the ability to read the book descriptions when browsing).

If you use the new interface and look at the row titled “Recent Purchases at Smashwords”, it’s clear that Smashwords sells a lot of weird and smutty titles. (Luckily SW has developed a good option to filter these titles out when browsing). I know reading tastes differ from person to person, but it can be shocking to see clear evidence that most people don’t buy literary fiction; they buy smut and science fiction and pop psychology and formulaic romances (divided into subgenres).

I don’t really issues with erotic themes in literature or even erotica. What I resent more is how much people are paying for it! I guess authors are entitled to whatever people pay for, but I’m seeing a lot of 15,000 word titles bought for $4.99. Authors in this genre (and others) are going out of their way to churn out book slivers and then claiming they are books! At least Amazon can claim that their Kindle Unlimited program blurs the concept of book by letting you pay a single fee for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Even if these authors were writing things I’d actually want to read, reading and managing ebook shorts is too much of a pain for me — even if they are freebies.

An ebook is not a web page. It is something you should be able to dive into and lose yourself inside. Anything less, and you’re just teasing people.

Happy New Years, and if you haven’t visited last week’s Robert’s Roundup of free/low-cost titles on Smashwords, don’t delay; time is running out!

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