Evaluating Kindle Slush

06 Apr

I love my Kindle for many reasons – because I can store more books than I have space for, I don’t need to wear my reading glasses, and I can read thick books one-handed – but the main reason I love my Kindle is because I have a bookstore at my finger tips. Actually, it’s more than a bookstore because in a bookstore I don’t stop and read something from every single new YA genre release whereas on my Kindle, I do. I download samples and browse every one of them hoping for something that grabs me enough to want to read it.

Emphasis on the word hoping.

I don’t expect to like everything – my average tends to be about one in fifteen books or so, but that’s only if I include books that are related to ones that I’ve already read. If I go with just new releases the ratio drops to at least one in thirty if not more, and drops even further when I look at indie-publishers only.

Take this week, for example. I downloaded more than twenty new releases, all of them from 99cents to $4.99. And no, I didn’t put any of them in my “maybe” folder.

Why? For two reasons:

  • Because most of them were not ready for prime time. Problems with story structure, use of English, etc… You know, the technical stuff.
  • Because nothing grabbed me: No compelling characters in a strong setting with actions/problems that I want to care about.

Indie-publishing makes it easy for people to get their books out into the world and allows them to make a least a few pennies of them, no matter how poorly written/constructed they are. Who says that corporate publishing is dead? Ha! They’ve managed the idea situation for them. They’ve crowdsourced the slush pile and now they only need wait until an Amanda Hocking floats up onto the top of the slush and nab her. Win-win for author and publisher.

As a reader, however, it means wading through a lot of poor quality stuff to find anything readable.

What’s your opinion on the state of indie-publishing? Is it is good or bad from a reader’s point of view?


Posted by on April 6, 2011 in AtoZ Challenge, Indie Publishing


11 responses to “Evaluating Kindle Slush

  1. damyanti

    April 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Wonder how a Kindle experiment of some of my flash fiction would work out :). Most of the comments on my blog are polite “I love this!”–wish I knew if half of them had actually read thru and then commented lol

    I read stuff on my iPad, and now that I’ve discovered the Kindle app, my bookstore has gotten a little bigger. I do buy some stuff, but mostly, I feel I get what I pay for.

  2. Lisa

    April 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I don’t have an actually Kindle but use my cell phone and computer to house my library. It is a great new technology but as a voracious reader I still can’t get past the actual “feel” of a book in my hands. The other thing I find challenging is that there are so many “free” books out there that I can’t seem to say no to downloading them. Where is the problem you ask? Guilt – will I ever read all these.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the wonderful compliment.


  3. Alex

    April 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    @Damyanti: Dean Wesley Smith has some great advice about epubbed short stories and collections.

    @Lisa: I’ve decided to avoid the free novels for that reason – there are just too many out there. If someone puts a price on their novel, it’s because they feel it has value and I’m willing to pay for the professionalism that goes behind it (when it’s quality work that interests me of course). 😉

  4. andrea

    April 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I can’t make myself read books that are not books. I just love the smell of the books, I love turning the pages, I love the look of them. Yes, I read some non-fiction on pdf and it was fine, but when it comes to stories, I need paper. My mind is just wired like that. 🙂 I even do most of writing on paper first, believe it or not, even blogposts! It feels more natural, and m thoughts run better that way. I’m a young old-fashioned apparently. 🙂

    • Alex

      April 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      @Andrea: I felt that way but with the lack of space in my apartment and the lack of English language books to read, I went for the Kindle and now when I read a print paperback I find it awkward, clunky and I hate having to use a bookmark to remember where I am. Funny how the strange becomes normal so quickly.

  5. Theresa Wiza

    April 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I think it’s great for people who write well and who have been rejected numerous time, but you’re right about one thing – anybody can publish and the quality of their books is sometimes very poor. Great post. If you would like to read my “E” blog post, please go to the top blog at

  6. Alex

    April 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    @Theresa: It seems that the good stuff floats to the top. Or at least let’s hope! 😉

  7. Sharon - Grandma is a Writer

    April 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    We worried a lot about the quality of our own book which we self- published, and plan to put on Kindle one of these days! We delayed publishing for a long time in hopes that we would have the funds to pay a “real” editor. Finally we published it anyway and have been very gratified by the response. But I know what you mean. I simply can’t read something that is full of errors in spelling, grammar and syntax and I’m sure your stats are pretty accurate.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    • Alex

      April 7, 2011 at 6:07 am

      @Sharon: I think by just being aware of it you’ve probably gone a long way to producing quality work. I’ve hired a proofreader for my work before it goes up and when I start earning from my fiction I’ll hire a proper editor first as well.

  8. Marcus

    April 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I would rather have the freedom to choose from a huge amount, provided there is a good search function, than rely on publishers to choose alone. Sure, some sort of assessment is required, but readers have the tools now to do that themselves now online.

    Traditional publishers produce slush content too. This happens when something is trendy and they want to jump on the bandwagon. The books are professionally produced yes, but the content is not much good. It’s just copycats riding a wave. Ever looked at the “remainders” piles (bargains), that’s what they’re called in the UK at least. Some gems may be amongst them, but often you wonder why the books were published.

    And don’t forget the possibly good books which get passed up because the publishers quota is full on a specific genre or subject, for that year.


  9. Alex

    April 8, 2011 at 7:01 am

    @Marcus: Exactly! When I go to a bookstore, I have shelves and shelves in front of me but often leave without anything that’s grabbed my interest. Now I have a much wider selection to choose from and not just what someone else has decided I might like.


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