I can’t believe I am 9 months into my year of DRM-free reading! And to my delight, there has been no shortage of material, nor of sites to purchase it from. I am continually discovering new little niches of the internet from which to get content, and have been catching up this month on some of the zine-esque pay news stuff I have been hoarding.
1) Star Dispatches
I mentioned in a previous article that I was thinking of dropping my subscription to the Star Dispatches ereads service. I love the concept—premium, in-depth news content delivered weekly via mini ebooks that are meant to take about 30 minutes to read. But now that the Star has a paywall and I am no longer visiting it, I find I don’t wait for these books the way I did at first. The teasers throughout the week on the main site were a key part in getting me interested.
I decided to give it one last try and read everything they sent me, plus a few from the archives. And I came away conflicted. The ones which were good were very, very good. There was one called ‘Forest Kids’ which was about a kindergarten class which, as part of their curriculum, spends an hour or more exploring the woods beside their school in great detail. There was another which expanded on an award-winning series the paper did which reconstructed the life of a woman whose obituary gave intriguing glimpses at the value of an ordinary life.
But the clunkers were clunkers. One of the more recent ereads was from an award-winning reporter and activist who reflects on the 30 years she’s lived in a wheelchair since becoming paralyzed in a gun crime. It had its moments of interest, but glossed over many details I would have liked to hear about. I later learned that she’d written a book which offered more perspective on this, and that’s great. But it left me feeling like this eread I had paid for was only half a book!
I’ll probably drop my subscription when the month ends, but it was worthwhile exploring this new-to-me hybrid news/book model.
2) Dell Magazines
These were as-yet-unread holdovers from my long-ago Fictionwise days, and like the Star Dispatches, I was giving them one last go before they faced the one-click deletion. There were a few gems in the bunch, but I ultimately went with my initial instinct and deleted them. I find short stories as a genre to be difficult for me. It feels jarring to read because as soon as you get into something, it’s over and you may have to switch gears completely for the next one. I’d rather read a longer book, all the way through.
School started up again in September, so I didn’t have time for much else. But now that I am back into my routine, I am reading more again. I’ll be back next month with some great suspense and non-fiction!