Blog - Phil Cox


Kindle Unlimited Trial – How unlimited is Unlimited?

The Kindle Unlimited Trial rolls on…

I’ve now had a chance to test out the trial and all is going well. I have a stack of reading, downloading these books has been very simple but I have started to get the feeling that Kindle Unlimited is not so unlimited.

The Kindle Unlimited Free Trial might not be for everyone

If you were considering doing the Kindle Unlimited free trial in order to download lots of books, cancel the subscription and enjoy your reading at a later date you will be a little disappointed. The limit is set at 10 downloads at any one time; you can return books to free up space for further downloads but be aware that when you cancel the trial, all your Kindle Unlimited books will disappear. They will, of course, remain if you decide to take the paid subscription after the trial period has ended.

Although the books will disappear, any notes, bookmarks or highlights you might have made will be saved to your Amazon account. The theory is that these will be available if you buy the books or take out a Kindle Unlimited subscription and download it at a later date.

Maybe a way to judge whether you want to keep going with the paid subscription (currently at £7.99 – Jan 2016) is perhaps to compare your reading wish list to Kindle Unlimited and see if the titles are offered. Most people sign up to save money I guess, but running a few calculations, I don’t think I can consume a book fast enough to really save a lot of money. The vast majority of books listed in Kindle Unlimited sell at $4.99 or less and there doesn’t seem to be a whole load of best sellers on offer. I tend to read novels at around 1-2 a month (not all are Kindle books) so I would be breaking even at best.

If you are an Amazon Prime customer, you may wish to consider the Kindle On-Line Lending Library as an alternative, it’s part of the Prime Subscription and you don’t have to return books! If I was a Prime customer this might suit my personal circumstances a little better, I could borrow a book and get around to reading it at some point without paying any more for that privilege.

So, I enjoyed browsing what was on offer and discovered a few new authors but I suspect I will not be signing up for Unlimited, it just doesn’t suit my reading habits. I know there are people out there who consume books a lot faster than I can so this might be a good option for them. Amazon are very good at telling you the benefits of a feature if it is positive, I had to hunt around to find out the not so positive stuff e.g. the 10 book limit download.

If you do sign up for the free trial, Amazon will assume that you want to continue with Unlimited and pay the subscription, it’s down to you to cancel the trial before its end date. This date is made very clear by Amazon as is the need for you to cancel if you do not wish to continue with a paid subscription.

My own Kindle publication is currently priced at $3.99 which equates to £2.80, I do offer it on Kindle Unlimited and have been pleased with the income generated, I donate all royalties to Although the download is ‘free’, I get paid per page read for the first time. Additionally, it gets my book out into the readers’ hands, with luck they will like it and talk about it to other people. The more people who recommend it, the more paid downloads will result (fingers crossed).

But don’t take my word for it, have a look and see what you think, just click the cover image!

If you fancy having a look at the trial, click here.

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What’s involved in signing up for the free Kindle Unlimited trial?

Every time I log into Amazon, I’m constantly reminded that I have not signed up for Kindle Unlimited yet so I thought I would give the free trial a go and see what it was all about. The usual monthly cost comes in at £7.99 so the free trial was definitely worth a go.

As a Kindle author, I benefit from people choosing my book through the Kindle Lending Library/Kindle Unlimited. Subscribers to Kindle Unlimited have a huge choice of books to borrow/download for free. Royalties are calculated on the number of pages read for the first time only.

The free trial for Kindle Unlimited looked enticing and straightforward to set up, I thought it might be useful to blog my experience. I tend to be the kind of reader who has a pile of books waiting to be read as well as a few on Kindle that I have picked up when browsing (usually impulse purchases). I always have a book on the go and there just never seems enough time hence why I haven’t signed up previously.

I logged into my Amazon account, clicked ‘Your Account’ (top right) and selected ‘Your Kindle Unlimited’. The next screen presented me with a few details about what I would get during my free trial, basically a choice of over a million free Kindle books and thousands of audio books – sounds great so I clicked the big button marked ‘Start your 30-day free trial’, straightforward so far!

The word ‘free’ is mentioned a lot, which is why I was a little surprised when the next screen to appear was asking for payment card details. I read through the text and was reassured that this information was required in advance of any billing after the free period had expired. I noticed that Amazon gift cards cannot off-set any future subscription fees but there was still a box to complete the gift card reference. I’m guessing this was just part of a generic screen used for purchasing so paid it little attention. I clicked the ‘Place your order’ button and moved on….

The next screen asked me to click on my billing address for future invoices, the format looked like a normal Amazon purchase screen so no surprises there. That was it, the welcome screen appeared and I was ready to browse through all those tempting books, downloading what I wanted for free! Happy days!

I made a note of the trial period expiry date so I wouldn’t run into the charging period.  I wanted to see if Amazon where as good as their word around the ease of cancelling your Unlimited subscription when the time came.

The welcome screen looked intuitive but I thought I would give that a test drive another time. I was eager to try out the process of looking for something in Amazon and downloading it through Unlimited. Worked a treat, I clicked the ‘Buy now with 1 click’ and that was it, a confirmation screen appeared and I received an e-mail to boot – standard Amazon stuff. I then had a look at Point North & Pedal to see how the screen had changed; it was slightly different, the button was marked ‘Read for £0.00’, apart from that it was clear that the book featured in the Kindle Unlimited section of Amazon.

Check back for part 2 of this blog where I will have a nose around the Unlimited menus, the final part will look at cancelling the free subscription. I tend to post new blog notifications on my Facebook Page and my Twitter account, please connect with me, there may be something of interest in all the white noise! Every ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ helps with raising funds and awareness for Cri Du Chat Syndrome Support Group.

If you would like to check out Point North & Pedal, please click here. All profit to It’s a great resource for anyone considering the UK End to End ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats (or vice versa or ‘There and Back Again’!), lots of anecdotes to help you plan your trip as well as good information about kit and training etc.

Thanks for dropping by.

Further reading…..

If you liked this blog please take a moment to check out my book describing the solo Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in 2012, all profit from sales to

Please click the cover image for the Kindle version or click here to order a paperback copy. Thank you!

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Re-Launch of Point North & Pedal – Get your FREE Kindle copy now!

Download FREE from 3/1/16 – 00:15

I’ve learned a lot about self-publication since launching Point North & Pedal in 2013, a book about my experience of riding nearly 1,000 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Sales have been OK but I thought I would apply some of this new-found knowledge to re-launching the book. I’ve read a lot of blogs and listened to countless videos about the best way to promote a book, hopefully some of it has rubbed off!

So, what’s it all about and what’s the point?

I rode the UK End to End in 12 days, a solo effort on a heavy mountain bike but it had a clear purpose, raise lots of money for the Cri Du Chat Syndrome Support Group. I was a fairly new to riding a bike at the time but made sure I practiced everything I would need to ride an average of 80 miles a day for nearly two weeks. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I can’t recommend it enough.

The book is an amusing look at the physical and mental side of taking on such a ride. It’s supposed to be funny but also inspirational, something I hope comes across to the reader. I have been honest about how I felt, especially regarding the severe homesickness, something I have never suffered from in the past. I have also resurrected the word ‘wassock’, a very satisfying term when applied to people who wind me up.

I originally wrote up my notes purely as a personal project, as I got into the detail, it became steadily more fascinating. I had always planned to write something when I got back so I maintained a meticulous journal during the ride. It was a positive way to spend the evenings once all the ‘housekeeping’ had been sorted out. I had a lot of thinking time, usually in a freezing tent and isolated from the rest of my life.

The book also developed into a ‘top tips’ guide for those looking to research the ride, I made plenty of mistakes so I hope prospective LEJOGers will find some useful information. Check out the About section of this web site for further tips and kit reviews etc.

The end result should have something for everyone, it’s not just for cyclists or those interested in touring on a bike, it’s a story too.

I have received some nice reviews on Amazon, I think this one sums them all up well:

‘A truly amazing book for cyclists and non-cyclist (like myself!) everywhere. This book tells the story of one man, one bike and a 1000 miles for charity. The planning, the physical and emotional endurance and pressure of cycling one end of the country to the other without a support vehicle all for the selfless goal of giving some financial support and help to this wonderful charity. The funny bits made me laugh out loud and the sad bits made me remember those that have gone before. A truly remarkable read written by a man and his family who are an inspiration to us all. Please, please buy this book you will not regret your purchase.’

All the above sounds very self-indulgent but there was a point to the exercise, I sell the book to profit the Cri Du Chat Syndrome Support Group. They are a great (small) charity that supports families of those with CDC Syndrome, they also fund research into this rare chromosomal disorder. I have a personal connection with the charity so raising money for them seemed a natural thing to do. To date, the figure stands at over £7,600 but I can and must do better!

So, moving into 2016, I am offering the book for FREE for a limited period of 5 days only! A little counter intuitive but I hope to improve future sales as a result; more people see what I have done and talk about it to their friends etc.

Please help me to make this a success, there are several things you can do:

  • If you have a Kindle, please DOWNLOAD the book – after all, it’s FREE!


  • If you don’t have a Kindle, you can down load reading apps for most devices.


  • Share this post with your friends on Social Media


  • Like my Facebook Page (there is also a ‘Like’ button in this blog, under the Twitter feed on the right).


  • If you read/have read the book, write a review on Amazon, this really helps to drive sales.


  • If you don’t have a Kindle, buy a paperback copy (they make great presents too!).


You may own a copy already, if that’s the case, thank you for helping to raise a little more cash for the charity. It all adds up and makes a difference. More information about the charity can be found here.

Here’s to a great 2016, whatever you are doing.

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How well do drivers see me & my bike lights in the dark?

Winter is definitely here but are my bike lights up to it?…..

I know that because I am commuting less and struggling to set foot outside the back door when I do ride. Bike maintenance and cleaning becomes more frequent because of the conditions, something which costs time and money. Bike lights are a no-brainer, you must have them.

I recently gave thought to the effectiveness of my bike lights and hi viz for rides to work; mornings are semi dark but the evening ride is completely dark. The last few commutes have left me feeling a little vulnerable, so I decided to look at my lighting from a driver’s point of view.
My current lighting set up is:

Front Lamp:

  • Cateye R2, rechargeable, twin LED Trail Light (around 450 lumens from memory).

When I chose my front bike lights, my main criteria was to be able to see the road in front of me given its sometimes shoddy condition. The bike light has a high beam (rarely used) and a half beam; the lower setting adequately floods the road with light and is very visible to on-coming traffic. I recharge the battery every two commutes, apart from that it requires little maintenances except for drying it off after each ride if the conditions are wet.

There is only one issue with this bike light; it can leave you, quite literally, in the dark when the battery goes. There is a small green/amber/red indicator on the switch which gives you an idea of battery life but if it gets to red, you know there are only minutes left and then it just goes out, quite dangerous if you are not expecting it!

Rear Lamps:

  • 2 x Fibre Flairs LED (mounted on the seat stays).
  • 1x moderately priced Cateye LED light.

These Flair bike lights look great and are very bright. They require AA batteries which power two LED’s, one at either end of the transparent silicon rod. The attachments are flexible, rubber-type straps that clip to plastic hooks. A lot of thought has been put into the design of these bike lights; there is even a small flap of the strap material to protect your frame from the plastic clips.

I also have a smallish Cateye rear light attached to my seat pack, a more traditional location which I hope helps drivers to recognise a bike.

The Flairs have two settings: flashing and solid. The smaller Cateye has 3 flashing settings and a solid mode.


Additional Lighting:

  • Helmet mounted front/back light

The main candle power is attached to the bike, but I have a small light attached to my lid which lights up front and back. My thinking here was to give the approaching driver some sort indication that I am bike-sized and not another vehicle with some of its lights not working. If the driver identifies me as a cyclist from further back that can only be a safer situation?

Rucksack Cover:

  • HUMP Delux

It is unfortunate, but I need to carry a rucksack to work for my shirt, towel, lunch etc. The discussion about a pannier system v rucksack for commuting is a whole different blog for another time!

My rucksack has its own integral cover which is now a dull orange, I’m not sure it’s even that visible in the daytime anymore. My main issue is the lack of reflective Scotch tape; this stuff really shows up in the dark when car lights shine on it.

Having looked at various options (including covers with their own red LEDS), I went for the HUMP Delux. It fits securely, is very yellow for day time visibility and has plenty of reflective chevrons for night riding.

My final consideration was clothing. An old school friend, Penny, had posted a comment on Facebook about cyclists wearing black; this prompted me to think about my visibility given the onset of winter.

My bib shorts are black (sorry Penny!) but I do have options around socks and jerseys. My solution was simply, I landed a half price deal at Decathlon Sports on a plain white jersey at £4.99 (should have bought a few)! OK, the quality wasn’t great but then I am only using it for commutes and it saves my ‘nice’ jerseys for the weekend rides.

I understand that white socks are the only acceptable colour for racers…apparently it’s an old school cycling thing. Again, a bit more white will help in the battle to be seen.

In conclusion, I have spent the best part of £230 on the items above but I don’t begrudge a penny of it. At least I can know ride in the dark in the knowledge I have done my best to be seen, it’s only fair to other road users. This was spent over a period of time and will take just under 40 commutes to be repaid (savings calculated upon fuel and parking) – a nice incentive to keep riding to work!

I would be interested to know others opinions/set ups, please consider posting a comment or visiting my FB page to start a discussion.

Further reading…..

If you liked this blog please take a moment to check out my book describing the solo Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in 2012, all profit from sales to

Please click the cover image for the Kindle version or click here to order a paperback copy. Thank you!


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