Perfect Strangers – Robyn Sisman

Perfect Strangers by Robyn Sisman
Perfect Strangers by Robyn Sisman

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met? Suze Wilding and Lloyd Rockwell are perfect strangers. She lives in London, he lives in New York. They know nothing about each other – until one summer they exchange jobs and homes. Suze is impetuous, impatient and NEVER wants to get married. Lloyd is complicated, cautious, and contemplating marriage to the eminently suitable Betsy. But when Suze discovers a plot at work to get rid of Lloyd, the two begin communicating long-distance – and they wonder what might happen if they ever met face to face…

 

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The Pact – Jodi Picoult

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
The Pact by Jodi Picoult

For 18 years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other. Parents and children alike are best friends so it comes as no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. But one night a call comes from the hospital – Emily has been shot dead.

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Have a Little Faith: a True Story – Mitch Albom

Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom
Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom

In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds–two men, two faiths, two communities–that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor–a reformed drug dealer and convict–who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds–and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi’s last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.

Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.

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Keeping Faith – Jodi Picoult

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

One of America’s most powerful and thought-provoking novelists, New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult brilliantly examines belief, miracles, and the complex core of family.

When the marriage of Mariah White and her cheating husband, Colin, turns ugly and disintegrates, their seven-year-old daughter, Faith, is there to witness it all. In the aftermath of a rapid divorce, Mariah falls into a deep depression — and suddenly Faith, a child with no religious background whatsoever, hears divine voices, starts reciting biblical passages, and develops stigmata. And when the miraculous healings begin, mother and daughter are thrust into the volatile center of controversy and into the heat of a custody battle — trapped in a mad media circus that threatens what little stability the family has left.

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The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure – Adam Williams

The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure by Adam Williams
The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure
by Adam Williams

Northern China, 1899. As the Boxer Rebellion erupts, a cast of innocents, fanatics, sinners, and lovers are drawn to the Palace of Heavenly Pleasure – an infamous brothel that overlooks an execution ground – where the fury of the East will meet the ideals of the West and all will face their destiny. Adam Williams’s first novel is a historical tour-de-force and a triumphant return to traditional storytelling on a truly grand scale.

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My Secret Lover – Imogen Parker

My Secret Lover by Imogen Parker
My Secret Lover by Imogen Parker

Lydia knows she should be more serious. It’s meant to be the end of trivia, but all she can think about when she watches the evening news is how the reporter on the front line manages to iron his shirt into such nice creases, and why Will doesn’t move about a bit more when he sings.

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Paths of Glory – Jeffrey Archer

Paths of Glory - Jeffrey Archer
Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer

Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. Francis Drake, Robert Scott, Charles Lindbergh, Amy Johnson, Edmund Hilary, Neil Armstrong, and Lewis and Clark are among such individuals.

But what if one man had such a dream, and once he’d fulfilled it, there was no proof that he had achieved his ambition?

Jeffrey Archer’s latest book, Paths of Glory, is the story of such a man—George Mallory. Mallory once told an American reporter that he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, “because it’s there.” On his third attempt in 1924, at age thirty-seven, he was last seen six hundred feet from the top. His body was found in 1999, and it still remains a mystery whether he ever reached the summit.

But only after you’ve turned the last page of this extraordinary novel, inspired by a true story, will you be able to decide if George Mallory’s name should be added to the list of legends, in which case another name would have to be removed. Paths of Glory is truly a triumph.

 

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Are E-books Really Cheaper?

e-Books VS Books
e-Books VS Books

For a start, e-Books are literatures that are not printed, but are stored and displayed electronically. This has indeed provided much convenience, not only in terms of portability, it makes it easier to transmit and send to receiving parties.

For the points that have already mentioned earlier, I shall not repeat again in this short post that I will like to share in hopes that I can convince you that E-books are not as cheap as it is. If you have not read my earlier post on, Why Are E-books More Expensive Than Printed Books?, you can find it here.

Fees for electronic mediums

In general, e-books are subjected to licensing fees and all other related fees that are required to bring the electronic information available and legit for distribution to the consumers. Yet on the other hand, printed media such as paperback are only subjected to all the physical costs that are required for the publisher and the distributor. Judging by the number of possible charges, and not by the amount of each possible charges, to sell e-books will be very much subjected to many many possible fees, that are inevitable be borne by the consumer.

Small vs Light
Small vs Light

Of course that being said, one may counter argue that the assumption made above is incorrect. There may be many possible fees that incurred for bringing e-book to the consumer, but it is also possible that 100 ( for example) fees incurred is lesser than one hefty fee imposed. In other words, the total of 100 small fees is still cheaper than 1 big expensive fee

As copyright fees are dictated by each relevant authorities (depending where), this sum of money is ‘priced’ and charged accordingly to its regulations. Unlike, the cost of printing and labour, it is pretty much standard and has been ongoing for many many years. As distribution and licensing costs for e-books are relatively new in this century, it may be possible that the fees may fluctuate and be changed accordingly to consumers’ demand. This hypothesis on the difference in licensing and other fees that are related to distributing eBooks on different titles is drawn from the example on different paperback titles with different prices according to its popularity.

 Differences in Pricing

Comparing among paperback titles, it is not surprising to find that the recent and popular titles are prices somewhat higher if not, more expensive than the outdated titles that has been in the market for many years. If that is happening for paperbacks, it is without much doubts that it can also happen for e-Books too, where popular titles will be charged with heavier fees that are required for distributing legally.

This is illustrated below:

Comparing e-Books and paperbacks
Comparing e-Books and paperbacks

This is a relatively new book by James Patterson, a well known author with the series on Alex Cross by one of the distributors. Notice how the difference in pricing across all mediums in the screenshot?

Digital List Price: $33.98
Print List Price: $29.00

Digital List Price is the suggested retail price set by the publisher.

As indicated, the original price of this electronic copy is $33.98, for convenience, let’s just say $34. And its counterpart, that is printed media is only $29. Almost a $5 difference!

On a minor note, by spending additional $5, one will have to charge up the device before reading and it is quite obvious that electrical costs are not free. Unless you are living off the grid, on some form of electricity harnessed from Mother Nature. That being said, on a side note, is it really environmentally friendly to pay more to read e-Books?

At the point of composing this ‘short’ post, festive season is coming. And ‘thankfully’ with that, there is some discount which resulted in the following:

Kindle Price: $15.78 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: $13.22 (46%)

So with that discounted price, we compare e-book pricing with traditional printed paperbacks.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $15.78
Hardcover $14.50
Paperback $12.97

Based on the assumption that all companies, regardless of their business models, are profit driven, it is without doubt that the company should be making lesser profits after given discounts on the Kindle edition. That being said, one can roughly estimate the break even price for e-books.

Also, the profit margin should be much higher than printed paperbacks which attracts most distributors to massively push for e-books.

Local Context: Singapore

Bringing the topic to a local context in Singapore, it is fortunate that cheap paperbacks are conveniently available, if you know where to find them. Partially due to the fact that most Singaporeans do not have a reading habit, most local book stores have ceased to operate in an environment of rising rental costs. Still it is possible to find cheap books in excellent reading conditions.

For most Singaporeans, information is being ‘pushed’ to our IT devices and it is thought to be cumbersome to carry a printed book along. Henceforth we Singaporeans believe that it is more convenient to ‘load’ the electronic material or more titles into our devices such as Kindle, smartphones or tablets and read it on the go.

That being said, it feels good to know that one device can carry 20 books compared to carrying a physical book itself. But the actual problem to this is, it is not like anyone can finish 20 books of 300 pages on a train ride home.

In other countries, there are Meet-the-authors sessions and such to get physical books autographed. Or is it that it is necessary to organise such events to bring forth a reading habit and eventually start a reading trend here in Singapore?

Well for a start, the local government has started free public libraries many years ago, in hope that Singaporeans can have access to reading materials regardless of living conditions. While that being said, each age group will give you an unique reason why they are not reading. This will be my next posting.

Still there is a number of Singaporeans who reads and they are regular clients of BooksAvenue.

Taken from: http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/ST_REVAMP_2014_STORY_PAGE_640X360/RHH1e.jpg

– Local Bookstore in Singapore

That is also why BooksAvenue is created on-line, without a physical store to serve this purpose. While we promise that we keep the prices competitively, we also ensure that the books are in readable conditions, such as no torn, missing or dogged ear-ed pages. All in all, we strive to deliver the best reading experience.

And if we ever do eBooks one day, we will ensure that the prices are low and affordable too. And now what we can do is to partner with SecondhandeBooks. From the site SecondhandeBooks, there are second hand ebooks which are previously owned by other owners. These ebooks are being shared for free. If you like the site, feel free to buy the owner a cup of fresh brewed coffee via the product page. Or you can simply click here to do so.

Afterall, don’t forget the tagline, BooksAvenue: Our Books, Your Convenience.

– Written and compiled by BooksAvenue
*All images belong to its respective owners