Tag «book services»

Service Review: Kobo Super Points Program

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**This is in no way affiliated with Kobo or Kobo Super Points! It is simply my take on using the service over the last year!**

I was really excited when Kobo announced they were starting a rewards program last year. My Kobo is my main eReader; I just use my Kindle for review copies. So when I have a book that I really want to buy, I purchase it for my Kobo. (Unless it is an Amazon/Kindle exclusive, but that is another story). That means, every year, Kobo gets a lot of my money and the idea that I would be getting some of that back, made me really happy!

At first, I was going just keep the regular program (which is free) but the idea of getting an additional 10%, a free book and double the points (all for the low price of $10/year) had me wanting to give VIP a try.

How Does it Work?

Kobo Super Points has two reward programs: Regular & VIP.

Regular (Free):

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So roughly, you get 10 points for every $1 you spend. And then, once you collect enough points, you can redeem them for a book from a set list of titles.

VIP ($10/year or 4000 points):

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As a VIP, you get roughly 20 points for every $1 you spend. The 10% works on most indie reads but not so much on bestsellers/mainstream titles (though they seem to update the applicable titles throughout the year). The book choices for the Free Book are pretty decent as well (I got Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast). And, of course, you can use your points to redeem for other (applicable) books throughout the year.

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

Anyone with a Kobo account automatically collects Super Points for their purchases. They have the regular/basic (free) point system.

If you are interested in the VIP program, it’s super easy to switch over to. You just visit the Super Point homepage and opted in. You can have the renewal as an auto-subscribe so that when your 12 months of VIP privileges are done, they just keep continuing without interruption.

–How do you Collect Points?–

Literally every book you purchase on Kobo automatically gets you points. So you don’t have to even think about it!

They do have weekend promotions where you get double/triple the points as well and they do a good job of advertising that both on their site and if you are on their email list.

kobosuperbuy–Qualifying Titles for Point Redemption–

I really liked that Kobo lets you browse what titles you can redeem at any time. And if a title you are looking at purchasing qualifies, you can see if they get the VIP 10% discount (if applicable) and how many points it would take to redeem to get it on the main page for the title.

Now, what titles are these exactly? I find most of them are your reads from the smaller publishers or self-publishers. I classify them as Indie reads; you aren’t likely to find your big-name publishers’ works here. But, some of your favourite authors likely have titles with these smaller publishing companies so give it a search! You might be surprised.

I personally don’t mind the collection of titles. These are the books I would be buying from Kobo anyways because I can’t find them anywhere else (the big name titles my library has). So it works in my favour and it’s why I upgraded to VIP.

–Titles Qualifying for 10% VIP Discount–

The titles that qualify for this tend to be the same as the ones that you can use points for.

I think it’s important to note that the 10% doesn’t work on all titles on the site. You get points for any book you purchase (regardless of regular or VIP status; and regardless of its publisher) but the 10% is only for select titles. These select titles are clearly marked on their site (a red VIP circle is beside the price–see above) while browsing and on the title’s description page.

And one additional bonus of the VIP 10% is that on some weekend promotions, where select titles are (ex.) 30% off, you can combine the sale % off and your VIP 10% off! (ex. instead of 30% you get 40% off).

–Is the VIP Program Really Worth the $10 a Year?–

Because most of the books I buy qualify for the VIP discount, I decided that $10 for a year would probably pay itself back. Getting a free book was a nice bonus and because I really only buy books under $5, the double points aspect was nice. More bang for my buck if you will.

But I really wasn’t sure if I did get my money’s worth this past year because I have curbed my book buying habits and bought fewer books than I expected. So, I decided to crunch the numbers!

Points Earned as VIP (February 16 – January 17, 2017) — 2328

Amount Saved via VIP Discount (Feb 16 – January 17, 2017) — $11.21

A month before my VIP membership was about to expire, Kobo sent me a reminder email and actually told me how much I saved. My breakdown:

Free Book Redemption: $6

VIP 10% Savings so far: $15

Total Savings: $21

Now, I know that there is a discrepancy between my calculated discount savings and theirs but I’m actually more inclined to believe their number. My number is really my best guesstimate on how much I’ve saved by browsing my purchasing history and seeing what titles would have qualified. I have no doubt that I missed a few of the titles that are no longer available (and it doesn’t show on the receipt) or I miscalculated how much I saved (it could have been a 30% off weekend for example and not just a 10% off).

So basically: I made back my $10 for the membership in savings; got a “free” book; and got enough points to get a $2 book.

Do I recommend VIP?

If you are a frequent eBook purchaser, it is a great way to get some of your money back. Just make sure the books you see listed as applicable are actually books you want to read. It wouldn’t be worth it if the books don’t appeal to you.

So, Am I Keeping It?

Back in December, I turned off the auto-renewal on my Kobo VIP Membership. I did this because I made a resolution to myself that I was only going to buy books if they were under $2 in 2017.  I have so many great books waiting on my Kobo to be read and I can never seem to get to them! My hope is that I can read more books than I buy this year. It just didn’t seem like it would be worth the $10 this time around when I could use that $10 to buy ~10 books. I’m going to accumulate as many points as I can so I can use them on a book I wouldn’t normally by for myself (read >$5 in price).

But it is definitely something I will look into again in the future when my Kobo library is smaller in number 😉

Do you use Kobo Super Points? Any tips or feedback on the service?

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Service Review: Kindle Unlimited

**This is in no way affiliated with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon! It is simply my take on using the service!**

A couple months ago, I shared my experience with Amazon’s Audible (audiobook subscription) service. Now I’m going to share my experience with Amazon’s eBook subscription service, Kindle Unlimited.

When I first looked at subscription eBook services last year, a lot were not available to me because I live in Canada. I think that has changed now but I chose to try Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited because it is a company and interface I am already familiar with.

Oh yeah, and they had a free 30 day trial period and I had nothing but free time for the month of August!

How Does it Work?

Kindle Unlimited is a monthly eBook subscription service .

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For $9.99 CAD a month, you can read as many titles from the Kindle Unlimited catalogue as you want. You can only send and hold 10 books at a time on your device, but once you’ve “returned” one, you can take out another.

I’ll talk more about the selection of books you can choose later on.

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I don’t have this feature in Canada so I never got to use it and don’t really know how it works.

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As much as I love using my tablet, I don’t like it for reading. So I waited until I had an actual Kindle device to try this service. But it’s nice to know that you don’t have to own a Kindle eReader to read so long as you have a device with the app installed.

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

Nothing exciting here. If you already have an Amazon Account you just have to sign into it, select a credit card for the subscription (you won’t be charged for the free trial until your 30 days are complete and it automatically assumes you are keeping the service for another month).

>>Helpful Hint: You can immediately cancel your subscription (or cancel it a few days before your trial ends) to prevent your credit card from being charged once the trial is done. You will still have access to the service and titles until that very last day of your trial. It just gives you some piece of mind knowing you won’t be charged for a service you may or may not want to keep.

–Title Availability–

A lot of the major publishers don’t have titles available for the Kindle Unlimited program, so you get a lot more self-published or Indie authors. Which is fine for me because those are the books I typically purchase from Amazon/Kobo on a regular basis anyways.

>>If you are curious about how much an author makes from the Kindle Unlimited service, check out this article.

What books are those? If you’ve ever browsed the Kindle store, you’ve probably noticed some books have the words “Kindle Unlimited” above their cover.

These are the books you can read when you are a part of the subscription service. You can also use the “Kindle Unlimited Eligible” filter when searching the Kindle store or browse the Kindle Unlimited Homepage for readable titles. They do have a nice “most popular” list for you to start your selection process with. It can be a little overwhelming, but once you dig a little deeper, you’ll (hopefully) start finding lots of interesting titles.

–Reading Experience–

Before I started my trial, I wanted to create a list of books to read to maximize my reading efficiency. I came up with a list of 29 titles: a combination of series sequels; indie reads my library lacks; books I saw on Netgalley; and books that caught my eye on the “Most Popular” lists.

Browsing the available titles, I find, isn’t the most intuitive. While the lists are great, they do have a lot to them and it is a little overwhelming. I found the easiest thing to do was search for a title I had on my TBR to see if it was available for Kindle Unlimited.

Once I had the trial and picked a book, it was super easy to send the titles to my Kindle. I usually sent a few titles at once and they would download right away. When I was finished, I would use my laptop to return the titles (via the “Manage my Content and Devices” folder on my account). It was pretty seamless overall.

–Is it Really Worth the $9.99 a Month?–

As I near the very last year of my post-post-secondary school year, I’m very conscientious of where my money is going. Sure, I can spend $10 buying 3-5 eBooks very easily, but $10 for “unlimited” novels could mean I spend $10 on 1 book or 20 books–just depends on my reading habits for the month and they vary something fierce during the school year. It’s like my Netflix subscription–sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t!

So, I kept track of all the books I read during my trial to see if it totalled $9.99:

  1. More Than Forever — $5.18
  2. First Comes Love — $ 3.86
  3. No Pants Required — $ 3.90
  4. Porn Star — $4.99
  5. Coast — $5.18
  6. Beautiful Broken Promises — $5.24
  7. Edge of Glory –$3.88
  8. Filthy English — $3.90
  9. Where the Road Takes Me – $2.00
  10. The Charlotte Chronicles — $6.65
  11. Taming Cross — $5.05
  12. Anything but Minor — $5.20
  13. Unmaking Marchant — $4.43

Basically, I got my money’s worth by the time I finished the second book. It was by chance that most of the books I read were on the pricey-er side of things. Given my initial list of 29 reads, the average price was $3.78. So if I read 3 books a month, it would be worth the monthly fee. The list of 29 books I created and added to did total more than what I would pay if I subscribed for a full year. But like I said before, there’s no guarantee I would read all of those.

So, Am I Keeping It?

You know, I was really tempted to keep my subscription for another month once my trial ended. I loved having all of these titles at my disposal and there were so many more that I wanted to read!

But in the same breath, I knew I was reading so much from this service because it was a trial and I wanted to get as many books in as I could. I also had no responsibilities besides vacation. But once September hit, I knew I would be loaded down with my clinical placement and studying for my licensing exam. I also had my bigger city libraries still at my disposal for another year and I had a lot of books I had purchased still to read.

So, at this time, I’m not keeping it. But it is definitely a service I will consider looking into once I lose my library sources. Because, essentially, this is a library service you pay to use on a monthly basis. I don’t mind the fact that I can’t keep these novels because I usually only read novels once. Plus, you can always take them out again and all your notes are saved (not that I make any). It’s a great resource for people who lack a larger library or eBook enthusiasts who likes the ability to swap books whenever necessary. Definitely worth the trial!


Helpful Articles:

These are some sites I looked at while researching subscription services and Kindle Unlimited itself:

Do you use Kindle Unlimited? Any tips or feedback on the service?

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Service Review: Audible

**This is in no way affiliated with Audible! It is simply my take on using the service!**

I’m a newbie when it comes to audiobooks. They never really interested me before because I am such a visual person and need to have the words before me in order to keep my interest. But when inspiration hit that I should read some celebrity memoirs via an audiobook, I was sold on the idea and immediately picked some up. Turns out, I love listening to non-fiction, comedic audiobooks…

And so does everyone else at my library apparently.

Waiting times at my library can range from zilch to weeks to months depending on what book it is and waiting sucks. I like having an audiobook out for when I do errands or chores around the house; so when I don’t have one out, it’s a little boring.  Therefore, Audible seemed like the perfect solution thanks to its sole focus on audiobooks.

How Does it Work?

Audible is a monthly subscription service of sorts from Amazon for audiobooks. Here is the schematic of how it works:

So basically, you pay $15 a month (CAD) to get one audiobook of your choice via a credit. There doesn’t seem to be any restrictions on this book so it’s pretty great if the book you want is over $15. They do have a great selection of older bestsellers and newer releases so you aren’t getting less than premium picks when it comes to decision time. You can also carry over credits (max 6) if you want to wait another month.

If you go through more than one book a month, you can always buy another book or two and add them to your library at a discounted rate. There is also a gifting option where you can gift an audiobook or a membership to a friend via email. They also launched Audible Channels which seem to be like podcasts but I never really explored them (they seem to be free without a membership).

They also have some other plans to note (all are in CAD):

audible

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

I was lucky enough to win a free Audible audiobook through a Twitter contest thanks to the awesome Tonyalee @Lily Bloom Books but needed to get my Audible account activated. Swagbucks (the site I use to get free gift cards) had a great promotion where you get to join Audible for 2 months for only $2. That meant I would get 2 books for $2!!! (Well, technically, I got a month free as a part of the trial. So 1 book for $2 is more accurate). Plus the one I got from Tonyalee–SCORE! I already had an Amazon.ca account so all I had to do was activate it for Audible.

–Listening Experience–

While I could listen to the audiobook via my computer, I opted to use the app for my iPhone. This was super easy to set-up. I would download the book when I was at home, connected to my WiFi and then listen to it whenever (it doesn’t need a connection to listen to the book once it is downloaded). What I really liked was that I could download the book and listen to it at the same time once a certain percentage was downloaded.

The app itself has all the features I want. It tells me how much time is left in the book, how long the book is, a 30 second fast-forward and reverse AND a sleep timer. You can rate the book once you finished based on your Overall, Performance and Story and leave any comments you want as well.

So, Am I Keeping It?

Right now, I don’t have $15 a month to drop on an audiobook I will only listen to once. If there was another promotion in the future, I would definitely consider it. But right now, I’m going to stick with the really long waiting lists at my library.

But, if you do listen to a lot of audiobooks, this is a fantastic service for you! I’m not sure where else you can get audiobooks or what other places have deals, but these seem to be reasonably priced where I am from in Canada. The cloud system makes it easy to transfer books to your devices but if you prefer to hold the audiobook CD in your hands, spend the extra money to get the physical copy. $15 for an audiobook seems great, especially for those newer books and you never have to leave the house to get them!

Do you use Audible? Any tips or feedback on the service?

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