Some time ago I wrote a short piece about my 1984 Big Year. I put it on the blog and it got a good response, so I wrote up some more of my birding exploits just for your entertainment. To be honest the whole thing was a rather patchy rendition of events and so I have formalised the concept and turned the tales into a series that I call ‘Just a Birder’.
I have two full titles out there now, ‘Going for Broke’ and ‘Twitching Times’, details below.
My publisher is called Smashwords and they specialise in the eBook, offering a wide range of titles on all subjects. You can buy directly from Smashwords using their secure site at http://www.smashwords.com/ My eBooks can obtained for any format of e-reader including Kindle and Kobo. You can also download a free app so that you can read books from Kobo on your PC, whether IBM or Mac, click here to go to the site for the free app: http://www.kobo.com/desktop
Going for Broke – birders have doing Big Years for a long time, trying hard to see as many species as they can in a single calendar year. In 1984, I set out to see as many species as I could during a normal year of birding (if such a thing exists) and it morphed into a genuine Big Year. The story is set in the UK but the essence of a big year is the same everywhere. If you like tales of birding exploits along with life events thrown in, give it a go at only $2.99USD.
Find it here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/426287
or here at Kobo http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/going-for-broke-7
Twitching Times – birds I went for, birds seen and birds missed.
My Patch – how to be a patch birder complete with instructions on how to sell your relatives into slavery in order to be able to buy the best binoculars and other helpful tips – expected December 2014 and available to all whether naughty or nice!
Out now at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/517251
Park Life – tales of the life of an urban country park warden. Shootings, drink, drugs and sex and the public could be worse. Lots of birds, some insects and plenty of disparaging comments for some sections of society that have no respect for parks!
Below are some useful links for obtaining eBook reading software.
If you have a PC, iPod, iPad, Tablet, Smartphone or whatever and you like to read, then there are some e-Book app options listed below.
Mac & PC – Kobo, free desktop reader at http://www.kobobooks.com/desktops
A free iTunes app for reading eBooks is available; you just download it from the app store in iTunes. More information is at https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/ibooks/id364709193?mt=8
Barnes and Noble do an app also, they are a major eBook seller, see more at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook-mobile-apps/379003593/
Amazon Kindle is its own thing and you get the software when you buy it. The downside, as far as I’m aware, is that any titles you want to read must be available for the Kindle and it is not always the case that Amazon will carry them. Most Kindle owners think that they can only buy from Amazon but this is not true and you can go to any number of eBook stores and buy books that can be transferred to a Kindle.
Adobe Digital Editions is a useful piece of free software that will allow you to transfer eBooks to various devices, such as tablets with e-reader apps, get it here: http://www.adobe.com/ca/products/digital-editions.html
Apologies for shamelessly pushing my eBooks, but then this is my blog and I do post you a lot of nice photos to look at and some witty repartee to enjoy, most of the time.
If you have a Kobo reader you will no doubt be doing somersaults at the news that you can now buy both my eBooks via their on-line store. eBooks are considerably cheaper than print versions but they’re coming soon for both books, I hope. To go to the page with Twitching Times on it at the Kobo web site, click here: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/twitching-times
I’ve had a few questions about the availability of my books via Amazon and for the Kindle readers. Amazon only takes a relatively few eBooks per week from publishers like Smashwords and so you have to hope that yours gets picked. Going for Broke has been out for some time and not made it yet, so I won’t hold my breath on Twitching Times doing any better. Kindle readers should not despair though, contrary to what some would have you believe, you can buy for Kindle from any site provided they offer the right format. Below are the instructions from Smashwords regarding how to take a book from them and put it into your Kindle. You don’t need to be a tech head, it is just like using a USB storage device and the transfer is as simple as dragging and dropping a file that you want to move.
How do I download books to my Kindle or Kindle Fire? You’ll find links to all your purchased books in your Smashwords Library. There are two options for loading Smashwords ebook content to your Kindle or Kindle Fire:
- USB Connection. Plug your Kindle into the USB slot (small rectangular slot) of your computer using the cable that came with your Kindle (the Kindle Fire doesn’t come standard with the USB cable, so you’ll need to obtain the cable separately, or, use the email option described in #2 below). When you attach your Kindle to your computer via the USB cable, it makes your Kindle appear as a hard drive on your computer. After you purchase the book, from the book’s book page click to download the “Kindle” .MOBI format. Next, navigate to where you see the Kindle show up as a hard drive on your computer. Next, just drop the book’s file (it should end in file name of .mobi) to the Kindle’s “documents” folder. Then disconnect the Kindle from your computer and the book will be ready to read. If you already downloaded the .MOBI file to your computer, here’s a helpful YouTube video that shows how to drag the file from your desktop to the Kindle’s documents folder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UPOgXDYj3M
- Email the Ebook to Your Kindle Email Address: For both first generation Kindles and the newest Kindle Fire, you can email your Smashwords .mobi files to your Kindle email address. Amazon’s support page provides complete details. To email files to first generation Kindles (Kindles other than the Kindle Fire), click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200140600. For Kindle Fire only, Click here for how to set up your free Kindle email address, and how to load ebooks or email ebooks to your Kindle Fire using either the email or USB cable method.
How do I download books to my Kindle from my Mac? First, go to your web browser’s Preferences and click Downloads. Make sure to click on the box that directs your browser to ask you where you want to save downloads. If you don’t do this first step, your files may go to your Downloads folder, and then it will be difficult to move them to your Kindle. Next, connect your Kindle to your Mac using the USB cable that came with your Kindle. Next, click to your Smashwords Library to find the link for your purchased book. Then click to download the .MOBI file. When your browser asks where you want to save the file, navigate to your Kindle’s “Documents” folder, and drop the file there. After a few seconds, unplug your Kindle’s USB cable and you’re ready to read.
How do I add an ebook to my Kindle App on Android? Download the .mobi version of your ebook to your computer (remember where you put it). Plug your Android device via USB into your computer. On your Android device set it to ‘USB storage’ this may be a pop up query, but you may have to activate it from you device settings. Navigate from your computer to the /kindle folder and copy the .mobi file here. Eject or dismount your phone safely from the computer before disconnecting the cable. And don’t forget to uncheck the ‘USB storage’ button on your Android device.
I may add to this if I get any more advice from Kindle users.
I’ve also had questions about how to read the book without owning an eReader. There are many free desktop eReaders out there, Kobo do their own and the download is free. Go to Kobo’s web site and click download, no tech head capabilities needed. All you get is a programme like any other. Kobo’s will double as an eReader and give you access to their store. They have many thousands of free books as well as those for varying prices. Unfortunately they, just like most of the eBook retailers think bird books should also include pets in the same section but they’ll eventually learn.
For those of you with an iPad you can get my eBooks from Apple via the iTunes store. You need the free iBook app to read it and it automatically appears there when you buy it.
Just a word on eReaders. We recently went to Oregon (no really!) and took in excess of 400 books with us, only two were made of paper. I used my guide to the Western Odonata while there and read a couple of novels too. In the field I was able to access my Sibley electronically too and I had the National Geographic and Peterson fields guides in my pocket and still room for wallet and keys!
In time all of the major field guides will be available in eBook format and now, with the new waterproof version of Kobo’s eReaders just out, you will be able to carry all of your tropical bird guides easily.
Update – here is some advice from my friend Richard: Load the BlueFire ebook reader onto your tablet or smartphone and download the book into that … it’s free, it reads just about every format. http://www.bluefirereader.com/
Finally,a big thanks to those of you who have bought my eBooks. I always welcome constructive criticism and want to know if I need to modify my books to make them read better on your device. At present they all work well with any reader text-wise, but the illustrations show best on an iPad.
I am currently putting the final touches to My Patch, it will be something of a departure from the first two eBooks in that it will actually be suggesting how best to approach what can be a very satisfying aspect of birding, rather than written as pure entertainment. I’m also working on my first novel but more of that later, and I hope to put out some free stuff soon too.