I can’t believe it’s already June. It seems like I was just taking down Christmas decorations last week but in one more month the year will be half over! Time is never still and our family certainly won’t be in the coming weeks. Every week in June is filled with camps or trips and I’m already exhausted. We used to have months when we didn’t do much but as the kids get older those periods of inactivity seem to be dwindling. It makes putting aside time for reading and writing harder, but I was able to do both last month and am determined to keep some semblance of a schedule even during the incredibly busy month of June!
My reading in May was rather varied and included a re-read, a modern, and an historical. We have one television in our house and I rarely stake claim to it, leaving it instead to the sports and cartoon watchers. Since I knew it was unlikely that I would get to watch the new adaption of Little Women while it was airing, I re-read the book instead. It’s been a favorite of mine for a few decades and it’s always a pleasure to pick it back up. Of course, as it happens with favorites, I find myself identifying with different characters as I get older. I’m still more Meg at her most harried, but maybe in another decade or two I’ll be a Marmee with some strong Jo tendencies.
I also read The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis and The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. I have started The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which we will discuss this month at our Vanity and Pride Press online book club. Here’s the link if you’d like to join us! Since starting this article, I have finished reading and want to gush over how much I loved it but will save it for book club.
The last time I posted, I offered up my take on #cockygate. Hopefully, this is going to die a painful death in the courts. In the meantime, however, more debates have sprung up. Well, they aren’t debates so much as warnings to the readers. Book stuffing (what I have always called book padding) is one of those. It is a pretty common scam in the world of Kindle Unlimited for authors to make their books appear longer than they really are, presumably because they get paid per page read. I understand that those readers who subscribe to KU are trying to get the most reads for their money, but when authors are putting in unnecessary spaces, graphics, larger margins, etc., what is the reader actually getting?
Unfortunately, this problem goes beyond KU. I never knew this before I read some threads on Facebook, but not all authors use the same publishing standards. I recently asked my book designer if there was an industry standard for font size. She said that it varies by genre, but 12 point font is the highest you should see, unless it is a large print book. I also contacted Amazon and asked if they have a limit on the size font authors can use in ebooks. They do not. So, two books with the same page count can vary greatly in the amount of story you actually get. The less scrupulous authors will not only disregard the industry standard for font, but also spacing and margin size. Since Amazon links print books to their ebook counterparts, those blanks pages some add to the end of their chapters will be counted in the total page numbers as well. Don’t forget that print books come in various sizes. A 200 page book measuring 5×8 will have much less story than one with the same page count at 6×9. I want to say I have no issue with physical books being different sizes. I’m just adding one more factor that can determine page count.
Why do people do this? That is a good question. Though despicable, it is easy to see why people pad their KU books. I couldn’t tell you why they do it outside KU. The first explanation that comes to mind is they are looking to justify charging more for shorter books. That doesn’t make sense when so many will go out of their way to defend shorter books, claiming they are the industry standard length or that they aren’t using unnecessary words. If all this is confusing to me, who has some experience with the whole writing/publishing thing, I can only imagine how it must make readers’ heads spin.
I suppose these paragraphs are my attempt to add to the warnings going around the web. Reader beware. Not everything is as it appears. My only advice is to keep buying books by the authors you trust and enjoy and if you see someone applying less than honest practices, don’t reward them with reads or buys. The easiest solution to all this would be if Amazon, who has the biggest market for ebooks, would apply some stricter standards that apply across the board. Hopefully this new push to end scams will lead to that.
Now, to end this post on a positive note, I want to hear from you. I told you that I have read Little Women many times over the years. What are the books you read over and over again? What about these books appeal to you? Let me hear from you and, as always, happy reading!