A New Way to Read Books

Posted On Sep 2 2014 by
Photo Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons and Ed Yourdon


No doubt about it, the way we read books is changing. I know, a lot of you still like the feel of paper in your hands. But know what I like better? More paper in my wallet. The cost of traditional publishing has gone sky-high, which is why so many readers are switching to electronic versions of their favorite books. $8 for a paperback or $3 for an electronic copy. It’s not a hard choice. And I no longer live in fear that my stack of books on my nightstand will someday topple and bury me alive.

Electronic books are a nice start. But what’s next?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been researching something I like to call “Pay if you Wanna.” Meaning this: download a book, read it, then come back and give the author whatever you think it’s worth.

Insane, right?

Imagine if you could do that in a movie theatre. I know I’d like to get back a lot of dollars wasted on terrible flicks. And all those one-star reviews on Amazon. I bet those folks wish they hadn’t blown their hard-earned money on something that turned out to be a bomb.

So here’s what I’m planning:

Right now, I’ve got #AngelWarz up there for your enjoyment. It’s a middle-grade urban fantasy, but written for ages ten and up. By the end of the four year series, our heroes will be teens. Not sure how to categorize that! I hate categories anyway. I like the genre called “Good Books.” #AngelWarz is an episodic novel, meaning you read an episode per week for thirty-six weeks (we break for summer). It’s a four year series, so it should keep you entertained for a while. Oh, and it’s free. For now. Once we bundle them into novel format, they aren’t free. Maybe. Maybe we’ll give them away and ask you to donate what you think they’re worth.

My next book, Camp Dogs, will be ready in November. Now, I plan to put it on Amazon, B&N, and others, but I may just try that free download from my website and let you decide what it’s worth as well. Nothing says I can’t do both. Camp Dogs is essentially the prequal to the Juli Knox series. You’ll like Juli. She’s the baddest sixteen year old in the new Wild West.

Also coming up is my contemporary YA, Now I Knew You, the story of a high school track star who gets a glimpse of heaven and all that he’s missed in his single-minded focus on his goals.

And then there’s Scorpion Summer, a middle-grade historical about a boy’s coming of age after the loss of his father aboard the USS Scorpion, the last US sub lost at sea in 1968.

And oh so much more.

Like I said, though, my plan is to offer these books up through the usual retail sources like Amazon and B&N. But I’d also like to give them away from my website. I’ll have a little payment box on my site. If you like what you read, drop me a few bucks for coffee. If you don’t, then keep your hard-earned money.


Okay then. Go ahead and start with #AngelWarz. No payment box for this. Just enjoy. Who knows, maybe my next book will be delivered in daily installments to your inbox. Now wouldn’t that be a cool way to read a novel?


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Last Updated on: September 2nd, 2014 at 7:57 am, by

Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.

2 responses to “A New Way to Read Books

  1. Ron, I think you may be onto something here. A similar strategy seems to have worked well for Cory Doctorow (though he started giving away free ecopies before the use of ebooks exploded, and as I understand it, he relied on print sales rather than donations for income). Plus it’s not that far removed from what works in the open source software community.

    Have you looked into applying a Creative Commons license ( http://creativecommons.org/ ) to the copies you release for free / donation and encouraging readers to pass copies on to their friends within the terms of the license? Thinking that could be a great boost to word of mouth.

    I look forward to hearing how your strategy works out for you. It’s an idea I’ve toyed with off and on myself. I think it could be hugely successful, but that depends on changing how people think about paying for books, from purchasing a commodity to supporting an author from whom they want to read more books in the future. Best wishes!

    • Thanks, Karen. I’m also seriously considering the “daily chapter.” I’d send out a chapter a day to subscribers. After that series is complete, I bundle it and sell it or ask for donations. I envision most of my novels being read on cell phones, delivered in daily chapters. A lot of writers already give away free novels via Amazon. The problem is they get nothing in return. I’d rather have an e-mail list with 2,000 subscribers than 10,000 free giveaways on Amazon, most of which never get read. It’s definitely time to re-think the way we get our books in the hands of readers.