Books: Bestsellers and Insider Tips for Everyone‘s Bookshelf
Books are something that we take for granted, but they’re truly amazing things. These bound collections of paper and print conceal whole worlds within their covers. They are a portal to worlds of adventure and fantasy, life-saving collections of knowledge and ways to relax, learn and engage the mind.
Even in a world with video games, Netflix and the endless seductions of the web, books remain remarkably popular. This buyer's guide will explain the types of book on offer and how to read the books you love as cheaply as possible.
A Whole World Inside Two Covers
It's no exaggeration to say that the invention of the book was revolutionary. When they first started to appear thousands of years ago, books allowed states to record things like crop production, military strategy and tax returns, enabling them to create bureaucracies that lasted for centuries.
But books offered more than a tool for governments. They became a way for stories to circulate and be remembered across whole continents. Holy books like the bible and classical works by Greeks and Romans were treasured across Europe for the knowledge they held.
However, the real revolution didn't get started until the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439. After that, the trickle of books published every year became a flood. Poems, songs, stories, cookbooks, history books - all spread as people learned how to read and write. In the process, their minds were broadened and new ideas were debated.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw a huge spike in the literacy of British consumers, and the modern novel was born - telling stories of everyday life (or melodramatic versions of it) that people could relate to.
In the 20th century, the price of books dropped to an incredibly low level thanks to mass-market paperbacks. Now, everyone with the ability to read could consume science fiction, sword and sorcery fantasy, romances, sporting biographies or literary classics.
More recently, the book has started to evolve once more. Many people feel that the days of the printed book are numbered, as e-Books and e-Readers are becoming ever more popular.
With publishing cheaper than ever, and thousands of new books arriving every month, it's a golden age for readers. Here's how to indulge your taste for literature and save money in the process.
Books to Read: What Types are Available These Days?
The publishing world is incredibly diverse, with markets for almost every imaginable taste. However, the actual physical format of books is fairly limited. Here are the basic forms of book you'll come across when browsing the hotukdeals book listings:
Paperbacks – Often coming with a thick paper or card cover and slim pages inside, paperbacks are generally glued together. They have been around in some form for centuries, but Penguin are thought to have pioneered the modern paperback in the 1930s, and they are still major players in the field. Cheaper than hardbacks, paperbacks don’t last quite as long but they are lighter and more portable.
Hardbacks – Usually coming with card covers that are covered with cloth, hardbacks are bound with staples and (usually) an intricately sewn spine, which gives them far more longevity than paperbacks. However, due to their higher production costs, hardbacks will almost always be costlier than their paperback equivalents.
Pamphlets – Smaller than paperbacks and hardbacks, pamphlets are usually short, paper publications that are held together by a couple of staples, and not much more. They tend to be used for promotional purposes or to provide specific pieces of instruction, such as recipes or car maintenance processes.
E-Books – The most recent edition to the printing world, e-books (electronic books) deliver text in digital form, usually to specialist e-book readers like the Kindle. Along with their cheaper prices, e-books are often preferred for their portability and the ease with which customers can search databases like Amazon Books, finding recommendations along similar lines. Another advantage is the ability to download vast libraries of out of print books for free from archives like Project Gutenberg. With sales of e-books in the USA surpassing print media in 2012, they have become the dominant literary form in the 21st century.
Audio books – The premise for audio books has been around ever since audio recording was invented, but in practice, we've only really been buying recorded books since the 1980s, when tape cassettes came into use. These days, audio books are hugely popular (and often essential for those with poor eyesight). They can still be purchased on CD, but the most common way to buy audio books is via download services such as Audible (which is owned by Amazon). Audible allows users to download books onto smartphones, tablets, PCs and digital music players, and offers a monthly subscription service for regular customers, entitling them to one or two free books every month. However, if you aren't too worried about quality, older or out of print texts can also be found in audio book form on databases like Librivox, completely free of charge.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Play to the Book by J.K. Rowling
How to Download and Read eBooks
Although you can download and read e-books via conventional laptops, to really enjoy the experience and make the most of the format, you'll be better off purchasing a dedicated e-book reader. These pocket-sized devices come with special reader-friendly features like integrated lights, anti-glare surfaces and web connections, and they are quickly becoming an essential items for travellers.
Here are the specifications you should look for when buying an e-Book reader:
Screen size – With larger screens, you'll be able to enlarge the fonts of texts, making them easier to see. However, the larger the screen size, the bulkier the reader becomes, so there's a trade off here. Typical screen sizes will be around 6 x 15 inches.
Connectivity – Not all e-readers come with Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity. If you want to be able to download texts on your computer and then transfer them to your reader without a cable, make sure that you have the right connectivity features on your device.
Ports – Related to connectivity, having the right USB ports will make it easier to hook up your reader to laptops and desktop computers.
Battery life – Good e-readers will always have long battery lives (around 4 weeks is common). Don't be fooled by cheaper options with shorter battery lives. When your reader shuts down in the middle of a flight, you'll understand the price difference.
Anti-glare touchscreens – A good touchscreen is essential, but it also has to be able to shield your eyes from the effects of glare. Some advanced readers like the Amazon Kindle 2016 have anti-glare screens that allow you to read even in bright sunlight - ideal for long, lazy days at the beach.
Memory – Memory matters if you intend to keep a vast archive of books on your reader, but it's not crucial. Around 1GB should be enough to store the books you love and you can always offload them to external drives or computers if you want to save space.
Weight – E-readers need to be light and compact, or at least light enough to slip into your handbag or coat pocket. Look for models weighing around 200g or less.
A Quick Guide to the Major Book Genres
Even if you are a seasoned reader, you'll still have blind spots in your reading history. With a massive range of different styles of writing around, it can be hard to keep up. Here are the major choices and some popular recent works to check out:
Crime – Books and crime go together perfectly. Around 300 pages seems to be the ideal length for an intriguing detective story, taking readers through enough twists and turns to keep them engaged, before delivering a show-stopping twist. Some of the most popular recent crime writers include Ian Rankin, Tana French, and Karin Slaughter.
Thrillers – You'll be amazed by how thrilling reading can be, whether you are following the rescue of a president from terrorists or humanity's last hope as a zombie apocalypse unfolds. Thrillers are always evolving with new plotlines and popular writers from 2016 include Gregg Hurwitz, Sarah Pinborough and Lee Child (of the Jack Reacher novels). Among the classics you will find the James Bond series by Ian Fleming or Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
Sci-Fi and Fantasy – Science Fiction and Fantasy novels are actually distinct categories, but many book sellers lump them together. That's unfair, as each has their own fan base and special themes. If you love pure escapism and epic battles, fantasy writers like George R.R. Martin, Pierce Brown (or even J.R.R. Tolkien) will be ideal. If you prefer speculative sci-fi books, check out recent writers like N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor or China Mieville. Drama - Nothing can evoke family lives, everyday dramas and the ebb and flow of life like a good book, and the UK market is always full of beautifully written, powerful drama titles. Some of the best recent practitioners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay and Jonathan Franzen. Sci-Fi and Fantasy books that everyone should have read include The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Hunger Games.
Cookery – Moving into completely different territory, the book world is a wonderful place to look for kitchen advice from the experts. Cookbooks fly off the shelves and are a great way to create gourmet miracles in the home. Some of the most exciting authors to check out include Sumayya Usmani (Pakistani), Bonnie Chung (Japanese), Nina Parker (Italian) and Jamie Oliver (pretty much every style).
Graphic Novels – Comics have long been popular, but started to die away a little in the 1990s and 2000s. Thankfully, they have evolved into the graphic novel format, a halfway house between classic comics like DC or Marvel and genuine literature. Often vehicles for complex philosophy or politics, even superhero graphic novels can have hidden depths and tell fantastic stories in the process. Check out masters like Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth) or Charles Burne (Black Hole), or the political books of Joe Sacco for some of the finest work around.
Manga - An increasingly popular form of graphic novel, Manga hails from Japan and tends to deal with all-action science fiction or historical settings. With its unique graphical style, Manga is a wonderful blend of sheer artistic skill and consummate storytelling, with appeal well beyond teenagers. Newbies should check out Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and Akira Toriyama's Dragonball series, but there's a vast Manga universe out there, waiting to be explored.
Romance and Erotic fiction – It's hard to talk about e-books without mentioning 50 Shades of Grey at some stage. After all, it did sell over 100 million copies, most of them in e-book formats. Something about the privacy of e-book reading makes the format ideally suited to romance and erotic fiction, and you'll find plenty of options on Amazon. For some higher-end romantic fiction, try writers like K. Bromberg, Aleatha Romig or, of couse, E.L. James.
These genre descriptions are simply the tip of the iceberg as far as literature goes. For one thing, there are plenty of crossover titles that bridge genres like crime, drama and romance. There are literary thrillers, historical novels, children's books, pop-up novels, poetry collections, plays, film scripts and books of photography, alongside reference works, manuals and gardening texts.
Part of the joy of reading is exploring bookshops, whether they are on- or offline, and sites like Amazon make it easy to find new works by previously unheard of writers. So always feel free to expand your literary horizons (especially if there's a great offer for the writer you are interested in at hotukdeals).
Handy Accessories for Book Lovers
Reading has never been as simple as just picking up a book and sitting, absorbed until the story is over, and there have always been accessories and tools to make the reader's life more enjoyable. Here are some to consider whether you stick to print texts or e-books:
Portable reading lights – You can't read without a source of light, but it's not always possible to turn on the lights (planes and buses spring to mind). That's why rechargeable clip-on LED lights are so handy, especially for readers who need to travel.
E-book holders – Sometimes it's inconvenient to hold your e-reader in your hand. If you want to have your hands free to eat, type or do anything else, there's a huge range of e-book holders on the market with stable bases. You can also find dual-purpose holders that work with ordinary books as well, although you'll need to check the maximum size and length of book that these devices can handle.
E-book magnifiers – If your e-reader's screen is too small, and your eyes are having trouble focusing on the text, you can purchase magnifying sheets that clip onto the reader, making the text much more accessible.
Cases – Protecting the screen of your e-reader is vital. If it becomes damaged, whole stretches of text could become hard to read, ruining the experience. You can find book-style e-book holders with leather cases, alongside hard-cover boxes to provide protection when in transit, and lighter skins are also available. With various colours and designs to choose from, they are a fun way to jazz up your device.
Chargers – No-one wants to be left hanging at a crucial plot point when their e-reader breaks down, so always ensure that your device is properly charged. You can purchase swivel-style chargers to plug in your e-reader, phone and laptop at the same time, which may make it easier to remember.
Cheap Book Deals
Books broaden the mind, and they have become much more accessible thanks to e-book readers and merchants like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. However, readers aren't always cheap (especially high-end models like the Amazon Kindle Oasis or the Kobo Aura One). This makes it vital to get the best bargain deal possible.
Whether you are buying a collection of children's books to start your kids off properly, a library of the Game of Thrones series, or a high-end e-reader, the first place to look for the cheapest books and more is hotukdeals. You'll find a constantly updated stream of deals for readers, accessories and, most importantly of all, books themselves.
When you find a great deal, head to one of the many UK merchants featured at hotukdeals. This includes high street fixtures like Tesco, Asda and Waterstone's, along with major e-book merchants like Amazon, online print book sellers like the Book Depository and even publishers like Lonely Planet. A good place to look for rare and second hand books is the online shop of AbeBooks.
If you are looking for an e-book reader, you might also want to wait until Black Friday in late November, which tends to see big reductions on electrical goods (and may even bring big book discounts too). However, book retailers tend to schedule sales throughout the year. Check out their Christmas selections along with summer beach reads, many of which will be reduced in seasonal deals.
Make Big Book Savings at hotukdeals
Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures, allowing you to engage your imagination, experience new worlds and ideas, and access knowledge from experts across a whole range of fields. Whether you are building a book collection, need a specific title or a high-quality e-reader, the hotukdeals book listings will enable you to find the best offers around.
Some people have said Razer hate customers, this is untrue they want customers to give them money, they like that but they don't want to help them after they've got the money.
Yes Razer has a mixed record, although I've had two Dell XPS machines that I've had to return too. Going with Amazon is a good bet. By law, any build quality issues are the retailers problem (even if they try to palm you off on the manufacturer). Amazon's customer service is usually decent. The Square trade warranty is probably worth it in this case too.
I’ve heard a few built quality issues on these - that’s a good price though! Hot
Good price. Heat!
1165G7 Same machine here with easier to read specs: https://www.ebuyer.com/1129346-razer-book-13-core-i7-16gb-256gb-ssd-13-4-win10-home-laptop-rz09-03571wm1-r3w1
One of the most devious and generally nasty human beings on the planet. To quote: "In May 2003, Dr David Kelly told a BBC journalist that Alastair Campbell had personally added the invented ‘45 minute’ WMD claim to the infamous 'dodgy dossier' on Iraq. Two months later, after being exposed under pressure from Campbell and subsequently harassed, Kelly was (mysteriously) dead."
Be under no illusions, they are ALL as corrupt as each other.
First time I had Gout no idea what it was bouncing around on trampoline with kids and a fair few beers one sunny afternoon. Woke up with a very sore knee. Few times foot playing up etc. Next was big toe gout, a truly horrendous experience and sadly repeated. I have had Gout in my instep and ankle as well. First doctor said once you on the pill it's for life. Put me off and listened and used all the quack remedies. Finally, floored by Gout once again, second doctor said one pill and your sorted for life. Allopurinol really really helps. Forget this book unless you are going to turn into a nun. Gout fever is no fun and sitting with your foot in a bowl of ice water for relief is no fun as well. Pain killers are not a cure.
Naproxen didn't touch mine but colchicine did but I dont think you can take it for long periods. Also just recovered from kidney stones. I dont eat a lot of fish or other potential items that are mentioned on the internet. I'm at a loss of my way forward to be shot of this.
Gout is excruciating! You can't beat it naturally as you'd be out of action for weeks if not longer! Some Naproxen or Colchicine and drink plenty water.
(lol) very true. i feel we need a separate free books section as there are so many of them.
If you click on the "£0.00 to read", it takes you to the Kindle Unlimited sign-up screen to enter payment details. Granted you can read for free then cancel your subscription, but as stated earlier, you can do the same for Netflix and claim it is free! There are plenty of books that ARE actually free - hundreds of them posted here day after day - so we can do without the millions of Kindle Unlimited books being posted as well.