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Sunday, February 11, 2018

All Free Books are not a Stupid Act or Marketing Gimmick

The post is a review of the book titled, "How to Think Bigger: Aim Higher, Get More Motivated and Accomplish Big Things" by Martin Meadows.

The very title is quite long. It contains 13 words and 78 characters. However, total pages as per the Amazon counts are merely 106 pages and 1031 locations. It includes seven chapters and an Appendix. A list of books for further reading is included there. It is free and ready for download.

There is a need for, to begin with, a comment on the title of this post itself and the idea of getting this book.

There are numerous books which are available free of cost not only on Amazon but elsewhere also. It is not a researched based conclusion but an experiential observation that such offers are just a Marketing Gimmick. The marketing people are making use of indie-publishing paradigm as a part of the craft of their profession. It is even taught in business schools to write brochure in the form of books or comics to introduce your product and then present it as a book. The booklet is also advertised to promote the selling. The game plan is to tell the world that the book which is a brochure, is free, free and free. A greedy person like me will collect it. If you are sincere and posses my kind of psyche, you may also obtain such free things. Now, if you happen to read the contents, you learn that it was an advertisement for some product. The task of the advertiser was to apprise you of his product, and he had achieved his job if you had fallen into the trap.

I had fallen for such a bait on many occasions. The title was simple. The name of the title attracted me. It was free of cost. I pushed the "Buy It" button and the rest followed.

I have collected this title in the manner stated above. Now, it was not the only title which I had obtained. There are a good number of titles which I have collected. I receive such titles from Hourly History series. I have written about some of their books on this blog. I have read a large number of their other titles. However, I have not written posts on all those books which I have gone through that I have received from Hourly History publication. I am not suggesting that Hourly History series is also a gimmick. I will emphasise that the actual import of the title of the present post in their support. I mean to say that every free book is not a marketing gimmick. I repeat that all free books are not stupid acts. The Hourly History series is doing a good job. I will come out with more posts on their titles. On the other hand, I have found some such free books as a mere gimmick or Stupid Act.

I may be a greedy person. I do not feel shy to accept it. However, I am a reader also. I read. It is next to breathing for me. If I do not read, I feel suffocated. Therefore, I read. I write also. I write with fountain pens. If I write on the computer, I blog. However, many registers are piling up with me which contain all the pages blackened with black Parker Ink written with Parker, Hero (Chinese) and Elegante Camlin. Some of the pages are also in gel and ballpoint blue ink. Whenever I read, I write too. Now in case of this title, I did not pick my fountain pen. I came to the computer and wrote this post.

I must say that the author is sincere. He wrote about what he had experienced. He is not someone like Napoleon Hill or Dale Carnegie or Joseph Murphy or even Swami Vivekananda or Devadutta Patanik asking you to follow some Christian or Vedanta ethics. He seeks references from research-based observations of psychologists, sports trainers and contemporary corporate winners like Jeff Bezos (I am not advertising for Amazon), Richard Branson, Elon Musk and many such celebrities. He refers to his experiential observations. No doubt it is his ultra selling point that he stands as an example of the efficacy of the methods which he propounds. No doubt he also advertises about his writings. He tells about his other books. He has made some of his titles available free of cost, and now I will read his title 'Confidence: How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs and Achieve Goals'. The book is also available free of cost, and it is already in my collection. I hope that I may not change my view after reading his second title. I may buy some of his other titles by paying the cost of the title. If these two free books are his marketing gimmick, then he is a success.

He writes well. His narration is smooth. He does not use intricate terms or flowery language or difficult technical terms in his pursuit to get references from scientific research.

One of the statements made by the author about the ways to improve your Self is to give importance to reading. It is the most responsible statement of the author which is a practical and result oriented (Kindly do not ask the evidence of any research here. Continue to read, and you will get the answer). I do not know about the views of psychologist and neuropsychologist. However, this is something which anyone can verify on his own. It is an experiment which one can perform on his own and learn the benefits. However, in this world of Whats-app, Facebook, Instagram and other social media, (kindly exclude blogging out of it as it turns up as an archaic activity), the humanity is denying itself one of the most straightforward exercises and the methods of self-improvement.

His book is also a teaser for me. He has published this e-book on Amazon. He has used endnotes which works immaculately. I am of the impression that the footnotes or endnotes do not work while formatting on Kindle Direct Publishing. However, in this book, there is a good demonstration of this feature. It means that I have yet to learn about formatting a manuscript on KDP. I believe that the problem exists in the use of the word processor software. I use OO, and most of the writer use MS Word. In short, the success of the feature of the endnotes suggests that I do not fully understand the use of word processor and formatting of an e-book.

It is a continuation of above paragraph. The writer has used a simple title. It is not gaudy or flashy. I differ on this issue with some of the authors and publishers. In case of Fiction genre, there is too much stress on this feature. You can grab the attention by a flashy title, but if the content is not worth the salt, then you are in the business of cheating.

However, there are some irritants also. Who is "Martin Meadows"? It is a pen name of an author as per his claim in the book. Even on the author page of Amazon portable, he or she has not written anything more than that. He has not shown any photograph of self. He talks about his achievements, but he does not introduce himself. That is not fair Martin Meadows.

The second irritant is that he keeps on referring to other titles authored by him to elaborate his point and expect the reader to read them for further clarification. He has mentioned titles authored by some established authors. He has even suggested a list of titles. He has done it in the form of an essay termed as Appendix A. The fascinating thing is that the writer has not found the urge or need of claiming evidence in its favour based on research.

The use of the phrase that "The research I conducted" is a norm, a fad and the buzz words presently. In India, even a Yogi, covering his torso with saffron coloured sheets, is making claims that he has researched for 25 years on the herbs and produced a pill for Blood Pressure or discovered a formulation of toothpaste or face cream to look white like a European or American research institute demonstrates that mineral oils are not safe in hair oils, therefore, his herbal hair oil is research approved because it does not contain mineral oil. I accept the value of research. However, I hate it because everyone uses it without actually understanding the meaning of research. A research claim without pondering, without contemplating, without thinking, and merely using ratios, the sum of the total, beta charts, technical charts, mean, median and mode is not research. Every data procured from experiment preceded by the right type of questioning on the issue in hand demands an interpretation. You say everything with some responsibility. It has to be researched. You write and claim with responsibility. However, why is this insistence of repeating every time that whatever is being said is based on research? I hate the day when a poet will say; I have researched and written this poem. What will happen if tomorrow a research paper says that Cambridge University has proved that Oxford University has produced more politicians and a lesser number of Nobel Prize winners?

Further, it is my observation, that all such Self Help and Self Improvement Books are personal statements of each author. If a book has become popular, then it is because of the writing skills of the author. If you face some problem with the Self, then one of the ways is to seek the help of a psychologist. The second method is to meet your self on your own. Accept your self. Then do experiments with it. You may seek clues and advice, but ultimately you have to deal with it on your own. Your methods may not work for others. At the most, it may divert the attention of a reader for a time. However, if one faces a problem with Self, then remember, the Self is with you and in you. You are the master and the director. You learn cycling on your own. No manual can teach you cycling. It is your body, your muscles, your self. If there is some physical problem, then consult a doctor. However, kindly keep your Self in your ownership. Accept it and deal with it.

A Parting Message:

This book is also an advertisement. It will ask you to download the next free book. You click the link. You will receive the instruction to register by providing your email. You will get a confirmation email which includes the catalogue of his books. It will ask to buy one of his books. It is a quite deal. But my question remains. Who is this Martin Meadow from Portland, Oregon, USA?

Attention Please: It is an Advertisement. It includes the books of Martin Meadows which are free.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Free Classic Novels of Munshi Premchand (HINDI)

Do me a favour by visiting the author page on Amazon HERE -AUTHOR AMAZON PAGE.

The Classic works are forever.

Well, I would have played with a line of John Keats and say that the classic works are a joy forever.

In this post, I have collected the thumbnails on the Kindle Store to the classic novels of Munshi Premchand which can be read on Kindle free software for PC, Android and Apple. They are all free of cost or for ₹ 0/-.

It is not that they are the only classic books which are available free of cost. There are numerous such books. However, there is a need to write this post exclusively in the name of Shri Dhanpat Rai or Munshi Premchand as he was popularly known. Those who follow my blog, they may have observed that I narrate an anecdote with each post. Here also, I have an anecdote to narrate which I use as a reason to select only the novels of Munshi Premchand. I am sure that it will interest those who are interested in reading Hindi literature and writing blogs.

It was way back in 2005 when I started to blog. Every blog writer desires that his posts become popular and his blog gets regular visitors. I do not have any professional training like that of SEOs to accomplish such a task. I have learned through hit and trial. In those days, the Blogger site allowed and it still allows, to insert the codes of site meter reading devices. I opted for sitemeter. Now, this URL takes you to some different site. Anyhow, coming back to my story, the site meter provided some data about the visitors to your site. Gradually I learned that some visitors to my site had used the search term "premchand". I started searching for this term. I learned that the C-DAC, the department of the Government of India in those days had displayed a huge collection of Indian literature. But when I accessed that site, I was not able to collect anything from there which I could read with my scant knowledge of computers and software. You were expected to learn the whole engineering to make use of those resources. It is one of the shortcomings of the resources provided by the Government of India that they are not intuitive in nature. Well, remaining on my story, I was able to locate a site by one Raman Kaul. He was probably a computer professional. He had converted all the contents of the government site into UTF-8 and displayed it on his site. I gave a link to his site on my blog at SUMIR-HISTORY. Then, a miracle happened. Suddenly, the visit to my blog increased. I had done nothing. I had just given a link to the site of Raman Kaul which is still alive at  Munshi Premchand's Stories. The visitors posted comments in my praise. The search engines upgraded my site. The term 'Munshi Premchand Ki Kahaniya' was a wonder term. It is from there I learned that there is a huge readership still seeking his works.

Now, being a regular explorer of the Kindle store and also interested in watching my own title that I had written, I observed and located a large number of classic titles which were available free of cost. From there, I have intentionally collected the works of Munshi Premchand to write this post with the reason which I have already narrated as an anecdote. I will definitely write another post of a similar kind wherein I will act as a curator to some good literature, especially in the non-fiction category. Here is the collection. It is all in HINDI.

Do me a favour by visiting the author page on Amazon HERE -AUTHOR AMAZON PAGE.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thus, I Wrote a Book


It is an advertisement. It is an advertisement in self promotion. I am going to blow my own trumpet in my own appreciation.

I will not like that anyone may feel that he or she has wasted his or her time reading the whole post. In brief, I have published an ebook. The thumbnail display is given below.

The rest of the post follows after this display.

This is my first ebook. It is my third book that is published and available to the readers.

It is not that I have written only three books. I have written some books related to courses concerning different level of academic courses but that is a different story.

The book is published on Kindle Direct Publication (KDP) under their Self Publication paradigm. It is written in Hindi. It falls under the category of Literature and Short story. The whole book is a single story in itself of an unclassified category.

The book is based on the content of one of my blog. In other words, it is 'a blog to a book' product. In simpler terms, I have converted one of my blog into a book.

The name of the blog is 'Sumir Sharma Hindi Main'. The blog was started in 2005. I always desire to write in Hindi. However, due to some technical hindrances, I am not able to pursue it aggressively. I can type in English at a good speed. Therefore, whenever, I get a chance to write on the Internet or for publication, I prefer to write in English.

Secondly, way back in 2005, when I wished to write in Hindi on the Internet, there were not enough models and methods for people like us who did not have the required knowledge of computers, to write in Hindi. In those days, the Internet speed was also very slow. Secondly, there were regular electricity cuts for a long period which continued for days together. I virtually struggled to show something in Devanagari Script on the Internet. However there were some people already writing it in Hindi on the Internet. I was able to establish contact with them and with their help I was able to write that blog.

Now, it is easy to say that you can write. When you attempt to write for a wider audience, you find lack of faith in your ownself. Sometimes, you are not able to appreciate your own writing. You fear criticism. You fear that nobody would read it. You fear that it will be a mere wastage of time. Soon, you realise that you stand nowhere.

I generally write in Hindi. However, when I got the chance to write the blog in Hindi after learning it from my friends on the Internet, I found that I had nothing substantial to write for my blog. I had written some poems in my childhood. I did not have the confidence in the quality of those poems. The need was to put something in Hindi on the Internet. I had the ready material with me. It was merely an experiment to display something in Hindi. Secondly, poems are generally shorter in length. Therefore, I displayed some of the poems on that blog. It was a surprise for me that I received some encouraging comments on them. It increased my enthusiasm and gave me encouragement. However, during this whole struggle, the friends on the Internet continued to help me to improve my skills on writing in Hindi on the Internet. I even wrote a story at that time. Even, that story brought me some appreciation from unknown quarters. It all happened on the Internet. There are evidences of these activities still showing on my blog.

Now, the whole of this activity is compressed into an ebook form. That is the story which I have presented in the book. The title of book is 'Ek Kahani Kuch Kavitayan'. In English, it can be called as 'One Story Few Poems'.

I had learned about Kindle Direct Publication (KDP) or rather had downloaded their software somewhere in the beginning of 2017. Earlier, I had discontinued my activity of publishing books with traditional Publishers. I was confined to blogging. The Kindle Direct Publication has provided an opportunity to self publish your work. I find it as an opportunity to fulfil my earlier dreams. I want to execute my earlier dream plans into a reality. I have started working on all those projects which I once dreamed to publish through traditional method.

I had set a target to come up with a book this year. My work is still continuing. In the meantime, I tried to enquire from the Amazon people (The KDP is a part of Amazon.) that if I could publish in Hindi. They suggested me a way out. But, again there was a technical problem. It was just a chance that I happened to acquire Anmol Fonts from one of my acquaintance. I have Kruti Fonts, Mangal Fonts, and many more such Fonts already with me. But, I was never able to become comfortable with them. However, Anmol Fonts are more user friendly. I had already this plan in my mind to convert my experiences on blogging in Hindi into a story.

My work on my other titles is still in progress. The year was coming to end and I was not ready with my manuscript. I got this idea that I must try to practice typing on the Anmol Fonts. I visualized a plan to write that story which I wished to write. In short, I was able to collect the material which could be converted into a book. I tried to format it on the Kindle Textbook Creator. To my surprise, I was able to compile a book. In this manner, this book was written.

I believe that those who have read it up to here may have liked this story. However, the book that is mentioned here, is in Hindi.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hunt for the Best Available Price Tag

I have been reading some old titles. Such titles are available free of cost in pdf format from different websites. However, I have bought their Kindle edition from the Kindle bookstore. It was not a well thought out approach. I knew about the title. I did not care to acquire such books. However, when I located them in Kindle bookstore, I tried to explore the contents of such books. I found the price quite cheap. I knew that it was available free of cost from other different sources like Internet Archives or Google books. Such books are available in pdf format. However, I have found the Kindle software more user-friendly interface. Therefore, I opted to pay a small amount to acquire it.

Gradually I learned that the same title was available for a more lesser price on the Kindle bookstore itself. The old titles are published by different publishers on the Kindle bookstore with different price tags. Some publishers charge more than the other. The contents are same, but there is a big difference in prices from publisher to publisher. It is all there in Kindle bookstore. For a single author, whose work has come out of copyright clauses and now available as open source, are being recycled by different publishers as digital books. The new thing which they bring in is the formatting of the content of the book. The price is very less. However, from publisher to publisher, there is a difference in price tag. The main feature is that they try to format the content in digital format. One publisher will make an index of the chapter in a way that it becomes easier to navigate through the subject matter. The other publisher may format them in some different way. Probably, that may be the reason for the difference in prices.

However, such a price difference for the same title has become a cause of dissatisfaction also. I bought a book of an author for a particular price. Gradually, I learn that the same title is available in a lesser amount but with better formatting that helps me more to navigate through the contents of the title. In case of a cheaper book, the format is more functional and practical. Now, this brings in the dissatisfaction. I present below two case studies to show my point.

Case Study One

Second Purchase: ₹38/-

Name of the title:

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Length of Pages: 452

Publisher: Oregan Publishing (26 June, 2017)

Kindle ASIN: B073GYW7W2

I bought this edition on September 30, 2017. I had this title in my Kindle library already. However, I bought it because it was formatted differently. Navigating between the chapters of 9 volumes was easy.

On the other hand, the first bought of the same title had following particulars.

Name of the title:

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

First Purchase: ₹ 349/-

Length of Pages: 4361

Publisher: The name of the Publisher is not given but in the description on the Kindle website, it is stated the proceed from the sale would go to the Advaita Ashrama founded by Swami Vivekananda.

Kindle ASIN: B004NIFSQ6

A Commentary:

The titles are same. However, there is the difference in prices. The difference in price is quite vast. Secondly, The first purchase claims that it has 4361 pages. The second purchase claims that it has 452 pages. However, Kindle software is not displaying the page numbers. It shows only the location and the total count of location in the following purchase is 63829. In case of the first purchase, it is 63837. The difference in the quantity of the content is caused by the editorial notes. However, both the editorials are claimed to have been written on July 4, 1907.

In short, I bought the same title for different prices. The contents are same, but there is a considerable difference in price and published dates.

There are many more issues concerning this title. However, presently, I am here to present my point on the difference of rates on the same title which is available on Kindle Book Store. The contents are virtually identical, but there is a vast difference in price. One can access the whole content on different websites. Some of them allow free download. However, to use Kindle software I bought it directly from the Kindle bookstore. However, when I find that there is a considerable price difference for the same content, then I have every reason to express my dissatisfaction.

Case Study Two.

Second Purchase:

Name of the title:

The Complete Works of William Walker Atkinson (Unabridged)

Price: ₹ 48/-

Length of pages: 7920

Publisher: e-artnow; 2 edition (March 3, 2016)


Date of Bought: December 28, 2016.

It is a vast volume. It contains a large number of titles published by W. W. Atkinson. It includes the title 'Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism'. In this title, the author keeps on repeating that many more things will be explained in the next volume and that is titled as "Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. The compilation includes that title also. I bought it for ₹ 48/-

First Purchase:

Name of the Title:

Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism.

Length of pages: 270


Publisher: Not specified

Kindle ASIN: B007PF9C9S

Date of Bought: December 26, 2016.

The Commentary:

The contents of this title are same as it is given in Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. The only difference is in the use of the term Fourteen.

Now here also, the price difference is quite vast. If you observe the details, I had bought these two titles within a gap of two days. The cause was that the writer therein, who claims himself to be Yogi Ramacharaka kept on repeating in the book that he would explain many more things in his Advance course.

In the compilation published under the name of W. W. Atkinson, I found both the titles. I paid far less. I received far more on W. W. Atkinson in my second purchase.

Secondly, in case of publisher e-artnow, the date of publication of each title is not mentioned. However, the different titles published by W. W. Atkinson are published by various publishers with different price tags. However, in case of e-artnow, I believe, I have received virtually all the available titles. The only shortcoming is that the publisher has not mentioned the date of publication of each title. I have reviewed a large number of his titles on this very blog. I had mentioned this shortcoming in case of one or two reviews.

In short, at different prices, you purchase the same content. All these titles and purchases can be made at Kindle bookstore.

My Argument:

In case of some titles, which have come out of copyright clause, different publishers are republishing those titles. The contents are same. However, the various publishers charge different rates.

The Kindle store, as well as in its Feedback links which are given at the end of each display of the book, meant for selling, provides the purchasers to share their dissatisfaction with the product. In case of books, they allow reporting inappropriate claims, copyright issues, and wrong formatting. It is quite fair. I have found and observed that in case of one publisher, who had overstated his claim, the Kindle had stopped the sale of title by that publisher. However, being a reader, you are more motivated towards the content and the author. You do not want to spend time in raising issues and getting involved in such contentions which may strain your resources. I leave to the Kindle and Amazon people to consider the issues raised in this post if they happen to come across it. If I write to Amazon people, then I will prefer to spend time in writing the reviews than to act like a whistleblower.

For the general readers, I have this message for them. If you are interested in some title, then explore the various options provided there. Do not take quick decisions to buy at the spur of the wimps. This approach can be adopted in case of those titles which are now out of copyright clauses and available free of cost. If you prefer, Amazon and Kindle backed titles, even then, have the patience to explore the Kindle site. You may get a better prize for the same title.

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