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E-reading basics

in Random Musings

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I have had several questions posed about how to purchase and read an ebook if you don’t have an ereader since my collection of short stories, “Meet the Roberson Ladies” debuted. Here are the “how-tos” of downloading and reviewing.

First, you have to know where the ebook is published because there are lots of popular venues. Books can be sold through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, or through the multi-platform Smashwords. Mine is on Amazon and Smashwords.

Second, if you don’t have an ereader, there are still several options available. Kindle, for example, offers free apps for your PC, Mac, or your smartphone. If this suits your needs, download the app and you can buy books to your heart’s content from there. If you choose to buy an actual Kindle device, however, there are thousands of books you can borrow from them (much like you would from a library) for free. Smashwords also allows you to read directly on your computer or download a PDF version.

Third, most ebooks give you a sample to download for free. The sample is equivalent to picking up a book in the bookstore. After you read a few pages, you know whether it is something you might be interested in. I have found many great new authors just using this free “try before you buy” option.

Lastly, one of the best things you can do for any author, established or not, is to leave a review of the book after you read it. Just like when a person buys an appliance or a car, most consumers want to know that a book is worth their time and money. Reviews assure other readers that this author has something worth reading. While $2.99 isn’t much to spend on a good book, a review can make the difference between whether a reader gives it that chance.

How to review an ebook

Amazon is the biggest ereading site, so a review there is worth the most. To review a book:

  • Go to the book’s page
  • Click on the star rating where it says “Read all X reviews”
  • Click on the button that says “Write your own review”
On Smashwords:
  • Go to the book’s page
  • Click on “Write a Review” on the bottom of the page.
There is nothing that says you can’t review on more than one site, so feel free to share the love.

I think that covers most of the ereading basics, but I haven’t covered something please leave a comment. If you have the question, others will too!

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