Tuesday, August 21, 2012


My to-be-read pile used to consist mainly of the table at the library with the sign that said, “Staff Picks.” Every book I ever nabbed from the staff picks table was a winner.

Then I got my Kindle.

Have you ever seen that delightful “free” list at Amazon? 

I thought so. 

As an author, I adore the free list. It has helped me sell thousands of books (and give away thousands more.) 

As a reader I feel like a small child who got lost at Disneyland. I know I should be scared, but it’s all so wonderful. I scan and click, scan and click, moving from one delicious cover to the next. It’s only when the click-fest is over and I’m tired, hungry (for a good read) and ready to settle down that the fear gets me.

I open my red pleather Kindle cover ready to settle in with a cup of tea and a blanket only to discover that all of the beautiful covers that drew me in are nowhere to be seen. (I’ve googled it. I can’t figure out how to make the covers appear on the home page. If you know the answer, please tell!)

I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by the cover, of course not. I do my very best to apply that rule to people, but books? That’s what the cover is for!

I currently have 76 books on my kindle. I have no idea why I bought most of them because the visual is gone. I can’t even put them in the handy little collections I set up because I just don’t know what they are. Okay, not exactly true. Some of the books, like the delightful Julie O’Hara Mystery Series (Swan Song is free today!) and Death Knell: A Birdy Morgan Murder Mystery make it clear what collection they belong in. But The Typewriter Girl? Gabriel’sRedemption? Did I nab those in a sci-fi-steam-punk mood or in a inspirational fiction mood? There have no covers! I may never know!

I shouldn’t complain about the Kindle. The Kindle launched my writing career and I hold it near and dear to my heart. But my to-be-read list is such a snarled confusion now that I don’t feel thankful. In fact, I confess, the last three books I have read have been from my local library.

One of these days I will sit down and open the books one by one, reading their first pages and then putting them into their collections. After I re-learn how to put books into collections. When the job is done I will never run out of books to read again. I will have the 76 books in my current collection plus many more, all neatly categorized by genre.

Or maybe I’ll just get a Kindle fire. They show book covers on the home page. 

Traci Tyne Hilton is a wife, mother, author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and award winning playwright from Portland, Oregon. She is madly working on her next mystery series which has finaled in the Books of Hope Contest at Write Integrity Press and has an impending deadline.

Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband, the mandolin playing funeral director from Kansas, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci's work can be found at


  1. My daughter-in-law just obsconded with my Kindle! But no worry - I read on my iPhone or iPad now. I only upload free books as I have time to read them. But I'm down to one so I'll be looking for some freebies soon. And I want to read your books and see what all the shoutin's about! Just as soon as I've read "Lady and the Sea" and one of Linda Kozar's. How can anyone possibly get bored nowadays?

    ~Nancy Jill Thames
    Author of the Jillian Bradley Mystery Series
    "Queen of Afternoon Tea"

    1. Awe, that's sweet, thanks! Isn't it crazy how much harder it is to find time to read as a writer? A friend was just telling me about her newest favorite book ever and I couldn't promise I'd read it. I said I'd add it to the to-be-read list, but that the list is a looooong one already!

  2. Hmmm--I have a Kindle Fire and don't have that problem. The titles are on the home page. Have you contacted the Kindle folks to ask for a solution or even googled your problem? That might help.

  3. I've found that if you go back a few pages you come to the cover. For some reason Kindle opens to the inside title.

  4. @Linda, The Kindle Fire was my potential solution, not my problem. : ) It is the Kindle touch that doesn't show the covers on the home page. I have googled it. I don't think there is a solution. : (

    @Cynthia: I see the covers when I open the books, just not on my home page. : ) I could open them all to see which one I want to read, but I would love to be able to see the covers on the home screen! : D

  5. I love, love, love my Kindle Touch. It's so much easier on the eyes than being back lit like the Kindle Fire. Before I got it I wondered if I would have a use for it, now I wonder what I ever did without it! Like the late Ray Bradbury said, "It's nice to be able to carry your whole library around with you."
    Also if you go to Menu and Go To at the bottom a menu will appear to allow to to select the cover.

  6. But is there a way to get the covers to appear on the home page with the library list? All those delicious free books waiting for me don't look as awesome as just a title...I don't know which one to start on!

  7. Speaking of free (and covers), Eminent Domain is free today to celebrate it's new cover! http://amzn.to/Mitzy2


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