Tag Archives: Books

Prince Thief by David Tallerman : Review

(This is the 3rd book in a series. My review for book two, Crown Thief can be found here.)

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Altapasaeda, capital of the Castoval, is about to be besieged by its own king – and where else would luckless, somewhat reformed thief Easie Damasco be but trapped within the city’s walls?  Faced with a war they can’t win and a populace too busy fighting amongst itself to even try, the Castovalian defenders are left with one desperate option.  Far in the northern lands of Shoan, rebels have set up the young prince Malekrin as a figurehead in their own quest to throw off the king’s tyrannical rule.  One way or another, the prince must be persuaded to join forces.

Once again, all hope lies with Damasco and his sticky-fingered approach to problem solving, along with his long suffering partner, the gentle giant Saltlick.  But this time it’s a human being that needs stealing, with his own desires and opinions, and events only grow more complicated as Damasco realises that he and the rebellious young prince have more in common that either would admit. 

Prince Thief (Book 3 from The Tales of Easie Damasco) by David Tallerman is an enjoyable and fast-paced read. Continuing off where he started in Giant Thief, and built upon in Crown Thief, we return to find Damasco, Alvantes, and Estrada once again in the midst of chaos.

One thing that stood out to me in particular is how much growth and development the characters have gone through. Prince Thief has a different feel to the earlier books in the series, it being a bit more serious in tone, with the city being on the brink of war, and Damasco having matured over the course of the series. On the other hand, and perhaps due to this, I didn’t find myself getting into the book as much as I had in Giant Thief. I’m not entirely sure why it was exactly, but it didn’t make for quite as engaging of a read as the earlier ones.

As well, with the series leading up to events in this book, I couldn’t help but feel it was a bit anti-climatic after the grand-scale event that it had been building up to be. Though, despite this, Tallerman did manage to wrap up loose-ends, and provide a satisfying conclusion.

While I know the review sounds like a bit of a mixed bag, I found Prince Thief to be enjoyable, intriguing and well-written. If you’re looking for an easy and fun read, I recommend picking up this series. With action, humour, adventures, and giants, The Tales of Easie Damasco is an enjoyable series which fans of fantasy and heist stories are sure to enjoy.

(Also, some words of wisdom: when I first read Crown Thief (book 2), I had made the mistake of not reading the first in the series, so there was a bit of confusion there for me. While I was still able to understand what was going on for the most part, I do recommend you start this series at the beginning to avoid any such confusion and to be able to appreciate Prince Thief more. ;) )

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Prince Thief is set to be released September 24th.


A Never After Giveaway

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Most people are well aware that I don’t read YA novels on a regular basis (or rather, almost never; except if published by a friend). However, this past weekend at the Toronto ComiCon, I met with Lesley Livingston, author of the Wondrous Strange trilogy while she was doing a signing of her two most recent books, Every Never After and Once Every Never.

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While YA books aren’t exactly my cup of tea, I picked up a (signed!) copy of each book with you guys in mind. This contest is going to be a bit different than my usual ones; I’m not going to require you to follow me on Twitter, like the Facebook page or any of that (though, it would be much appreciated if you do! And if you share a link to this so your friends can enter as well).

Simply, leave a comment — saying whatever, though spam will be deleted (and ensure you include your email address), and the winner will be randomly selected on Saturday March 16th at noon.

Winner will receive both books, and will have 24 hours to respond to the email with their contact information before it’s passed on to someone else.

Contest is open only to residents of US & Canada.

Edit: Winner chosen 16/03/2013, Monique Koevoets


Adventure Hunters by Cody L. Martin – Review

Artorius, Regina, and Lisa, three adventurers explore ruins and ancient buildings looking for treasures. When they come across a collection of war machines, they race to find the Lambda Driver, the key to restoring the machines. They must find it before their ruler, King Ryvas, does. If Ryvas finds it first, he will unleash their destructive power on the neighboring kingdom. – source

Adventure Hunters is an interesting concept, with a unique and creative world. However, his world is unrefined and his writing needs more work. Cody L. Martin has potential as an author, there is no doubt of his creativity, and passion for fantasy. Martin however, needs more practice in the art of description.

One of the main issues of this novel was the redundancy, and overuse of description. There were instances in the novel where Martin would spend a page or so describing a character, only to have one of our three protagonists sum them up in a few short sentences later; wasting the readers time and detracting from the story. As well, he describes things the characters aren’t able to see and have no affect on their location, actions, or the progress of the story — on the very first pages he describes on of the main characters (Artorius) in precise details down to the colour of his underclothes. Unnecessary, and a headache to read.

Hopefully with time and discipline Martin will be able to fine-tune his writing abilities in order to more ably express his thoughts and ideas in the written form. The potential is there, but with more editing and the cutting out extraneous details he could have a compelling tale.

For the time being, Martin’s Adventure Hunters is not one I would recommend to anyone.


City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

“Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
     Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.
City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year” – Description from Goodreads

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte — the pseudonym of authors Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch — had an interesting concept. Flyte obviously did their research of Beethoven’s life, and the twist with his “Immortal Beloved” was an interesting take on it.

However, that’s unfortunately about the best I can say about City of Dark Magic, It was through sheer force of will that I finished this novel. The writing seems to be at an amateur level at best; the plot scattered and in general, just a mess. There’s little to no character development throughout the story, and the dynamics between characters seems to fall flat.

With an antagonist who seems entirely power hungry, and just killing for the sake of killing, and a protagonist who is nothing special except for having a nose sensitive enough to smell things like danger, evil and pheromones, and has an extensive knowledge of Beethoven’s music, there wasn’t really much to the characters, nothing that makes you feel sympathy for their quest, or takes you on an emotional ride through their trials and triumphs.

While the book and the writing does seem to improve somewhat about half-way through; there are still sections in which it seems the authors forgot what genre they were writing, with segments which seem like they’d be better suited for an erotica novel — coupled with their style and word usage making the book feel like it was intended for young readers — made those scenes awkward to read and completely unnecessary.
(Note: I have absolutely no issue with sex in novels, but when it’s out of the blue and goes into great detail where it’s completely out of place, it’s probably best to leave it out.)

A lot of what was hinted at and referenced through the novel also fell short and were quite disappointingly executed, seeming rushed at best, or not given more than a few words of mention when they were finally shown.

This isn’t a book I would recommend at all, but perhaps others will see what I failed to in this novel, and will enjoy it.

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte will be released November 27th.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


Highly Anticipated Fantasy Novels of 2013

Last year I compiled a list of highly anticipated science fiction and fantasy novels that were to be released this year. And, with a new year only a couple of months away, the holiday season approaching and many great books coming out in 2013 it seemed only fitting to create a new list.

There aren’t really any Science fiction novels on here, as I’ve had more of a focus on Fantasy this past year and haven’t had a chance to read any of the latest novels in the genre. I’m definitely missing some books, and there are some books on here that you might disagree with. Feel free to let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

1) A Memory of Light – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

– The Eye of the World (book 1 of the Wheel of Time) was published back in 1990. 23 years later, the series is finally coming to a close. With the Last Battle between good and evil approaching; and  the end of an age, Rand, Mat, Perrin and the rest of the world must unite under a common goal and put their own wars and differences aside to fight the Dark One and the Forsaken, along with their hoards of evil creatures.

Release Date: I had this on my 2012 list as well; but with the date changed, A Memory of Light, the epic conclusion to the Wheel of Time series will be release January 8th 2013. 

  • Read “Eastward the Wind Blew” (Chapter 1) here
  • Listen to “The Choice of an Ajah” (Chapter 2) here

2) The Daylight War – Peter V. Brett

Humanity is fighting back. Although the night still belongs to the demons that arise as the sun sets, new wards and weapons are giving those willing to fight in the darkness a chance to retaliate against their core-spawned enemies.

But, as humanity is about to learn, not all monsters are confined to the dark.

Civil war ravages the north and south, battles fought between those who should be working together. It is up to Arlen – the Painted Man – and Jardir – the self-proclaimed Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer – to put aside their differences and bring their people to terms if they are to have any chance of saving their civilisation from demon-rule.

The Daylight War is another one that was on my list for 2012, but with the date finally announced, I’m happy to say that the third book in the Demon Cycle will be out next year!.

My review for the first book, The Warded Man can be found here.

Release Date: February 12th 2013 – My review for The Daylight War will be posted around mid-January.

3) Bloodfire Quest – Terry Brooks

Long ago, many dangerous creatures were locked behind a magical barrier, bringing peace and prosperity to the land. But now those barriers are eroding, and generations of embittered prisoners are about to escape. War seems inevitable… unless a few brave souls can stem the tide.

While some venture into the forbidden lands, others must undertake a perilous quest – a quest whose success will mean the death of a young girl who has barely even begun to live, but whose failure will have unimaginable consequences.” – source.

Book Two of the Dark Legacy, Bloodfire Quest continues the tale of The Wards of the Faerie in Brook’s world of Shannara
Release Date: March 7th 2013. – My review for The Bloodfire Quest will be posted mid-late February. 

The third, and final book in the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy will be out shortly afterwards on July 16th 2013.

4) The Gate Thief – Orson Scott Card

“Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of thirteen centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can’t control him…and they can’t control him. He is far too powerful.

And on Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless—he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he still must somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North.

For when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took the responsibility for the Great Gates. And when he comes face-to-face with the mages who call themselves Bel and Ishtoreth, he will come to understand just why Loki closed the gates all those centuries ago. –source

The Gate Thief is the second book in the Mither Mages series, picking up from The Lost Gate it continues the tale of the mages of Westil whom have been exiled to Earth.

Release Date: March 19th 2013

5) A Tale of Tales – David Farland
“The great war with the Wyrmling Hordes is over, and mankind has lost. Lord Despair has gathered an army of fell creatures, planning to unleash them like a wildfire across the stars.
Those who oppose him know that the battle is all but lost. Though they stand against the darkness, they cannot hope to win with arms. Indeed, they stand against him armed with little more than principles.
Fallion and Tuul Ra, with only a handful of allies, must hope that with resolve and cunning alone they can win the day — before darkness closes upon them forever.” – source
I haven’t had a chance to read The Runelords series, however — readers of Farland’s Runelords will want to read the ninth, (and final) instalment to the epic series.
Release Date: April 1st 2013
6) River of Stars – Guy Gavriel Kay
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay is set in the same alternate historical China as his novel Under Heaven, but centuries later. Following the tales of Lin Shan, the daughter of a scholar, whose intelligence capitvates the emperor whilst alienating her from women of the court, and Ren Daiyan after he takes the lives of seven men and joins the outlaws in the forests of Kitai and emerges years later.
Release Date: April 2nd 2013
7) Blood of Dragons – Robin Hobb


Blood of Dragons
 is the fourth and final novel in the Rain Wilds Chronicles. No description of the book has been released yet, but I plan to have a review for the first book in the series — Dragon Keeper up later next week. {Will update when a description is available/review has been posted.}

Release Date: April 9th 2013

8) The Silver Dream – Neil Gaimen and Michael Reaves

“Sixteen-year-old Joey Harker has just saved the Altiverse — the dimension that contains all the myriad Earths — from complete destruction. After mastering the ability to walk between dimensions, Joey and his fellow InterWorld Freedom Fighters are on a mission to maintain peace between the rival powers of magic and science who seek to control all worlds.

When a stranger named Acacia somehow follows Joey back to InterWorld’s Base, things get complicated. No one knows who she is or where she’s from — or how she knows so much about InterWorld. Dangerous times lie ahead, and Joey has no one to rely on but himself and his wits — and, just maybe, the mysterious Acacia Jones.” – source

This book is partly on this list just because I’m a fan of anything Gaimen, however I have heard lots of praise for the first book, InterWorld and I am sure that The Silver Dream will be an excellent follow-up novel.

Release Date: April 23rd 2013

9) The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson



The Rithmatist
 is an epic fantasy set in an alternate version of out own world. The Americas are under treat by creatures known as Wild Chalkings (two-dimensional drawings infused with life). Following the tale of Joel, a boy wanting nothing more than to be one of the Rithmatist and his adventures as he follows a trail of discovery which could change their world forever.

This book is primarily on here because I’m a big fan of Sanderson’s writing (if you hadn’t noticed by the number of his books appearing on this list, and by how many I’ve reviewed..) but aside from his Alcatraz series which I’ve yet to read, Sanderson has proven himself to be a great writer of epic fantasy, and I’m sure The Rithmatist will not be an exception to that.

Release Date: May 14th 2013

10) The Ocean at the end of the Lane — Neil Gaiman

I’ve yet to read anything by Gaiman that I haven’t absolutely love, and this one sounds as if it’ll be no exception to that.

It began for our narrator forty years ago, when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed.

His only defense are three women on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

To quote Neil himself, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a novel of childhood and memory. It’s a story of magic, about the power of stories and how we face the darkness inside each of us. It’s about fear, and love, and death, and families. But, fundamentally, I hope, at its heart, it’s a novel about survival.” – source

Release Date: June 18th 2013

11) Emperor of Thorns — Mark Lawrence

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To reach the throne requires that a man journey. Even a path paved with good intentions can lead to hell, and my intentions were never good.

The Hundred converge for Congression to politic upon the corpse of Empire, and while they talk the Dead King makes his move, and I make mine. The world is cracked, time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days, the future so bright that those who see it are the first to burn. These are the days that have waited for us all our lives. These are my days. I will stand before the Hundred and they will listen. I will take the throne whoever seeks to thwart me, living or dead, and if I must be the last emperor then I will make of it such an ending.

This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don’t look to me to save you. Don’t think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don’t follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.

I only just picked up Prince of Thorns recently, but so far I’m loving it. While I’ve heard mixed reviews about the series, I have to say I’m enjoying it so far. I’m sure the sequel, King of Thorns, and Emperor of Thorns are going to be equally enjoyable, if not better.

Release Date: August 1st 2013

12) Republic of Thieves – Scott Lynch

“After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke’s own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke’s childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke’s life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal – to destroy Locke for ever.” – source

I haven’t actually read The Gentleman Bastard Sequence yet, however, I have heard great things about it, and have heard a lot of praise for Scott Lynch. With the release date being repeatedly pushed back, fans of the series have had to be patient and wait for the next instalment in the series — hopefully though, this time the release date will hold true.

Release Date: I’ve found conflicting data.. My guess is either September 3rd, 2013 or May 6, 2014. I’ve been told that there’s no official release date yet.

10) Stormlight Archive Book 2 – Brandon Sanderson

Continuing in Sanderson’s epic world he created in The Way of Kings (My review for tWoK can be found here). Not much information has been released about what the unnamed sequel will be about, but with the the intriguing characters, and expansive system he set up in the first book in the Stormlight Archive, I’m sure it’ll be great.

Release Date: December 2013

11) The Blood Mirror – Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks is the concluding novel in the Lightbringer Trilogy. Wrapping up the tales of Kip, Gavin, Karris and the rest of the Chromeria. While no official description/cover of The Blood Mirror has been released yet, I am sure it will be a great conclusion to the series, and I’m highly looking forward to reading it.

Read my review of The Black Prism (Book 1) here
Read my review of The Blinding Knife (Book 2here

Release Date: Sometime in 2013, potentially.

Possibly being released:

Kingkiller Chronicles Book 3 – Patrick Rothfuss

The story of Kvothe; a young man who has killed kings, spoken to gods and rescued princess. A man who has known the name of the wind, trained with the legendary Adem and has sought out the secrets of the Chandrian.

Readers have followed him on since his days travelled as the Edema Ruh, through University, love and pain, and as he has slowly turned into a figure of legend. In this third book, we see the conclusion to Kvothe’s tale.

Update: This won’t be getting released in 2013. No release date is set yet, but 2013 highly unlikely.


You tell me: What books have I missed from this list? What are you looking forward to reading in 2013?

Keep checking back! I’ll be updating this list frequently over the next couple months as more information on upcoming books is released.


Crown Thief by David Tallerman : Review

Meet Easie Damasco: Thief, swindler and lately, reluctant hero.

But whatever good intentions Damasco may have are about to be tested to their limits, as the most valuable – and dangerous – object in the land comes within his light-fingered grasp.  Add in some suicidally stubborn giants, an old enemy with dreams of empire and the deadliest killers in two kingdoms on his heels, and Damasco’s chances of staying honest – or even just surviving – are getting slimmer by the hour.

First off, before beginning the review of this novel I want to say a couple of things. One, I made a bit of a mistake when getting this book to review as I didn’t realize it was a sequel — so some of what I say may not be entirely correct. Second, there is a possibility for there to be spoilers in this review. So, just a bit of a warning for anyone who hasn’t read the first book (Giant Thief by David Tallerman)

Tallerman’s Crown Thief is an engaging, fast paced and riveting tale. Jumping right into the story where the first book left off, Crown Thief follows the story of Easie Damasco and his travels with the Guard Captain Alvantes, briefly accompanied by mayor Estrada and Saltlick, an amiable giant and friend to Damasco.

With Damasco and Alvantes continuously being thrown into perilous situations, the story is action packed and rarely has a dull moment. With its easy to read style, interesting and enthralling characters who go through a considerable amount of character development react realistically to their changes of circumstance and the flow of events, to the point of even being able to form an uneasy camaraderie in their time of need, Tallerman has created an interesting fantasy adventure.

There were a couple of points which while I didn’t entirely like they didn’t completely subtract from the story. One of which was that there seemed to be a overbearingly repetitive nature in the way that Easie would moan on about how boring travel is whenever the opportunity presented itself, especially when revisiting locations they had been to before. Also, while not so much of a deal, things seemed a bit too convenient for Easie where he’d get injured in a manner that’d kill most people, or at least break a few bones but he would walk away with a few bruises at most.

Besides for that however, the giants were an interesting addition to the story, as they’re rarely seen in literature these days (from what I’ve noticed). While being a subdued and gentle race, they proved themselves to be great assets and not just an unnecessary addition to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed Crown Thief by David Tallerman very much. It was an interesting read, very quick and easy to get through. Ending with a bit of a cliffhanger, it leaves you wanting for more.

Crown Thief is set to be released September 25th.

Thank you to Netgalley and Angry Robot for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for a review.

David’s website: http://davidtallerman.net/

 


Books Will Never Die

One of the biggest book debates that’s out there right now is about printed books vs e-books. They both have their benefits, as do audiobooks, and it’s more than likely that neither will ever win.

When you read an e-book, you are still getting the same story you get from reading a printed book, the content might be exactly the same (though, I notice a general lack of maps/images when I read things on my Kindle), and they both let you do the most important thing – read a book, but for all that, their differences can’t be ignored.

I will always choose paper books over an e-book. I do have a Kindle which I only use for books sent to me to review (or as part of a giveaway), or if it’s a book that’s not easy to get in Canada without ordering it from the States or elsewhere. Some of the benefits I’ve recognized from it so far are:

  1. It’s light; easy to carry.
  2. You can make notes and you can delete them later (not leaving permanent marks in books).
  3. When travelling, it’s more efficient than having your luggage space taken up by 3-4 books.
  4. Lack of paper and ink means it’s at least partially better for the environment.
  5. Some of the newer ones have display lights, which means you don’t have to worry about lighting.

I won’t deny, the pros are good. Being able to carry a large amount of books at once is definitely handy, but there are just as many cons, if not more.

  1. Even with e-ink, there’s still the strain on your eyes that you get from looking at screens. (Granted, it’s not as much as from your computer screen, but it’s still there).
  2. Relies on power, even though it takes a while to drain it is something you need to watch out for.
  3. Scratches to the screen, dropping it and other damage can make it stop working, and cause you to lose your books (though, I think with Kindles, it is still backed up on Amazon, I believe.. Though you then have to buy another reader). — I won’t mention water here, as water does affect both paper and e-readers; though you do lose more if you get your e-readers wet. You should avoid sand too with e-readers.
  4. You’re spending more to read. You have to spend $100+ on just the reader, then more for the books. (Though, some books are cheaper, it still adds up).
  5. What happened to sharing books? Book-swaps and second-hand stores? Can’t really buy used e-books.. Meaning people who have to rely on stores like Goodwill, BMV, and other used book stores won’t have the opportunity to buy books that are being released in e-formats only.
  6. Also.. Biggest pet-peeve, maybe this isn’t the case with all e-readers, and just Kindle but.. What page am I on?

In the end, a book is a book no matter the format, and it’s the content which should be used to define the book, not the form. However — I’m extremely biased, and will fight for the printed/physical book until the day I die.

One of my favorite book series is The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. I own it in both digital, and printed editions. Last summer I went to read it digitally while I was on a road trip. I found that it really just isn’t the same experience. Even though it is the same book, exact same content, there’s just something irreplaceable about holding the physical copy.

Tell me, when your favorite author is going on tour, and they’re doing a signing near you.. Are you going to get them to sign a bookmark? A piece of paper? Unless you’re going to get them to sign your Kindle/Kobo/other ereading device, it’s just not something that can be done.

With the ereader, you lose the sentimentality of the printed works. The weight of each book, the crisp of the paper, the cracked spine, folded pages, the smell of old books — the smell of new books. The experience of waiting in a long line and getting the chance to meet the creators of the worlds we visit, to have them sign our books and leave a little note making it that much more special. The pictures, the cover and interior art which show us someone elses interpretation of the story. Having pages with your favorite passage memorized, and just the very act of turning the pages — until there’s nothing left but the back cover.

When you go to someone’s house, you don’t get the chance to look through their bookshelf — jealously ogling over books that are hard to find, finding new books to eventually add to your own collection. You don’t get to protectively watch over your first-edition of the Fellowship of the Ring or other classics with pride, or display your books at least some-what proudly when you have guests over. There’s no running your finger down the spine of books when you’re scrolling through the online book stores.

Perhaps I’m just a little strange, or ‘too’ into books.. But the physical/printed book is immortal. There’s a sentimentality to them — stories, memories, and feelings that you just don’t really get with electronic books. There’s just no feeling to them. Maybe, in 50 years no one will care about the printed book; and it’ll be thought of like an old tablet, or scrolls.. Something outdated and rarely thought of. But even after that, there’s just so much more to paper books. Book shelves filled, stacks of books on the floor; some fallen over.. Opening a new book for the first time.. Receiving a book in the mail that you’ve been waiting to get for weeks.. Or reading a good, old worn book in front of a fire. They’re comforting images, and that’s not going to go away.

E-books may be considered the future, and perhaps they are. Technology is always advancing, always changing.. What’s new and flashy today will be old tomorrow. In this endless cycle of new ideas and innovations, we live in a digital world. However, so long as there are people out there that love to turn the pages, books will never die.

 


The Cost of Books

At one point or another, we’ve all heard someone say “Books are too expensive” no matter what the price is. Whether you’re going out to Chapters, Barnes and Nobles, or some other bookstore, you’ll be going out and spending anywhere between $20 and $40 for a hardcover book. If you’re on Amazon buying an e-book, you’ll be spending anywhere between 99c and $20. That cost doesn’t really matter though, because no matter the cost, someone will complain.

But what do books really cost? When you think about it,  hundreds upon hundreds of hours go into the making of a book; from the first idea scrawled onto a napkin, or typed into Microsoft Word, to a reader going out to a store and buying a copy. There’s the dozens (if not hundreds) of hours and late nights that go into just the first-draft, then the many revisions. There’s the time spent with an editor being nit-picky and going through it over and over (not to mention the time sending out queries/waiting for someone to request the entire novel and sign a deal with the author(s)), designing the cover and interior, planning PR and marketing, and finally, promotion for the book. There’s probably stages and a billion details I’m missing, but the point is, it’s a lot of work. For all that work, people need to be paid — and that’s where the cost of books come from (not to mention things like material — paper, ink and all that stuff).

A friend of mine, Jeff Mariotte posted a link on Facebook for one of his books, The Slab. It was being offered for free as an e-book as part of the Kindle Select program, he had a pretty long post about it, and there’s one part of it that really stuck with me. (Besides the part about how awesome a story it is, I can vouch for how great a book it is, go buy it!)

“Giving away mulitple copies of a book that I worked on for a long time, writing and rewriting and revising and polishing, sweating and giving myself finger cramps, is not an easy thing to do. I’m a professional writer, and part of that deal is that the writer should be paid for the work.”

Authors work hard, editors work hard, everyone who plays a part in the publication of a book works hard. When you start the mass-distribution of free books, everyone gets ripped off. Amazon does offer many ebooks for free, and no matter where you go online there are ways to get free books. Demonoid, and other torrent-based sites will get you    thousands of books for free at once. There have always been ways to get books for free — that’s what libraries were made for, for the sharing of books. Readers have been finding ways to do so for years, whether it’s picking up dozens at Goodwill for 49c each, sharing with friends, or leaving them behind in public places. For these, the authors don’t receive any compensation but does that mean that the downloading of books is just the common day equivalent of going to a library?  It’s hard to say, and I don’t think there’s any one answer but the accessibility of free books online has undoubtedly lead to fewer books sales, and quite possibly the closure of book stores such as Borders.

Think of it like movies, let’s be honest — most of us have found a movie that looks interesting to us, but since we’ve been unwilling to spend the $14 for a movie ticket, we just wait for it to be available online. (Though, don’t get me started on the people who will happily buy tickets for a movie, getting two hours of entertainment then complain about the price of books which give you days of entertainment) Even though a lot of people still go out and see the movie, and buy the DVD, it still results in a lower revenue for the movie. The same holds true for books. Books aren’t cheap, but they’re worth every penny.

Authors don’t get a lot for every book that’s sold. It varies, but they’re typically contracted to receive 10% royalties from the sales of their books, 15% of that 10% goes toward their agent. If it’s a hardcover book, and it’s being sold for $25.00, they’re looking at getting $2.13 per book sold (before taxes). Which, still isn’t bad at all if the book hits mass-production and becomes as well known as some titles such as the Hunger Games or Harry Potter, but it’s rare for authors to hit that status. They do receive an advance of their royalties, which is about 50%, which is great and is in the thousands of dollars, though that is typically put towards marketing and promoting their book. Until there have been enough sales to cover the amount of their advance — they don’t see another penny. So, there are a lot of great books out there, a lot of fantastic authors that aren’t getting the recognition or the money they’ve earned. In a lot of those cases, it’s not that no one is interested in their books, but it’s that those authors aren’t that well known, so people are skeptical about spending money on it and turn to online sources (or just stick with best-selling popular authors). Sales, and free books also affect how much the author gets paid, it’s a tricky thing — they receive less for those sales (or nothing at all from the giveaways or other sources of free books), but if done well it can increase their sales and lead to them making more.

We live in an expensive world, and a majority of us are struggling to make a living. Rising costs don’t make it any easier but that doesn’t make theft acceptable. It’s just not a viable excuse. Authors work hard at writing their books, it’s their job and they deserve every penny they can make for it. If you borrow a book from a friend — or if you download it somewhere — if it’s a book you like, do them a favor and support them, buy their book – for yourself, or for a friend. If you can’t afford to do that; write a review. Spend a few minutes back giving back to the people that enrich your life with mystery, wonder, and fantastical adventures. They’ve created worlds for us to enjoy and explore, show your appreciation and buy a book.


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