Round up #274: Americans’ fear, hardware sales

Round up #274: Americans’ fear, hardware sales

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Hardware sales

There are a lot of sales lately on hardware from Amazon.

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation – 3rd) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

$179…$20 off

This the model I use every day…and I like it well enough that I’m not looking to upgrade to this year’s models (although I’m hoping to get to review them for you).

In fact, I’m watching the World Series right now on mine, using the free

FOX Sports GO (at AmazonSmile*)

app. It looks great, by the way!

I saw some interesting reviews of the app…some may have been written for an earlier version, since it works fine for my Fire HDX. I also saw someone saying that it would kill cable…nope. I had to sign into our cable provider before it would let me watch.

I can also mirror it to my TV, using my Fire TV.

Right now, there is a sale on a bundle of the Fire HDX and the Fire TV:

Amazon Fire TV & Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Wi-Fi 16GB with Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

$259

If you think of the FHDX as $179, that makes the Fire TV $80…$20 off. That’s $40 off both!

I like my Fire TV a lot, too…this might be a case of you keeping both (they go together very well, thanks to the mirroring), or giving one or both as gifts at the holidays.

That deal is so good they are limiting it to one to a customer…while it lasts.

The

Amazon Fire Phone, 32GB (AT&T) (at AmazonSmile*)

which isn’t my favorite Amazon device at this point…but it does work as my phone, it’s available for as little as…free (with a plan).

Meanwhile, you can get a refurb (refurbished) Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ with 4G…for as little as $159!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFKC9UO/ref=gb1h_rlm_c-3_4282_1b6b5d9c?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_t=701&pf_rd_s=center-new-3&pf_rd_r=109CTB24BCY6KJRT4A18&pf_rd_i=20&pf_rd_p=1952684282

To use the 4G (which is like a cellphone connection…it’s another way to connect to the internet, in addition to the wi-fi it can also do), you’ll need to pay for a dataplan…but$159 for an 8.9″ device is a really good deal.

This is the model that has an HDMI out, so you can show what’s on your tablet on your TV using a cable (if your TV has an HDMI in…most modern TVs will). That’s a plus, in just needing a cable. However, some apps will detect the HDMI cable and refuse to play…the Xfinity app used to do that for me.

The refurbs have the same warranty as new ones.

New 10.1″ NOOK tablet

You think 8.9″ is big?

Barnes & Noble and Samsung have just announced a 10.1″ tablet:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1

It’s $299.99 (with a $50 rebate), and comes with $200 of NOOK content (they pick, not surprisingly).

Yep, they are still in the game…

A charter for readers’ rights

I have to say, this

CBC article by Jason Proctor

strikes me as truly bizarre.

Certainly, it’s reasonable to write an article setting out what you think should be the rights of readers…I was expecting something to balance what the authors have recently been saying, and what the publishers and retailers say.

This one just has some very odd points.

Before I do that, let me say…the title actually says “reader’s rights”, and maybe that’s appropriate. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be plural, but just this writer’s personal pet peeves. ;)

Second, the photo that they have of a Kindle is the original, 2007 model.  Perhaps Proctor would be a bit less anti-Kindle if the current models were compared to paper?

Maybe not…

I’ll just mention the first complaint: movie tie-in editions. Yep, Proctor doesn’t like it that you can buy a copy of a book with pictures of the actors from the movie on the cover.

I think, perhaps, Jason Proctor doesn’t realize how much movies affect sales of books, and how much they can turn movie watchers into readers. This strikes me as a kind of literati snobbery…if you aren’t a “pure reader”, don’t be a reader at all.

I’d rather encourage everybody to read…and if a movie is a gateway to reading, great! I suspect it wouldn’t have been too hard to find an edition of the book without the movie cover, if you wanted to do that.

You can add your own comments as they build this list at

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/book-lovers-unite-a-plea-for-a-charter-of-reader-s-rights-1.2791581

I might do that, but I’d want to do it in a positive way. Of course, one of mine might be:

1. The right to read any edition of any book, even one with a movie tie-in cover, without having anyone look down on me and try to discourage me from reading ;)

British perspective on USA and book banning

I don’t want to suggest that there is only one British perspective on…well, anything. :) Just like there wouldn’t be only one American perspective on anything.

However, it does say something when a person from outside your group is stating that they are looking at you in that way…as an outsider.

This

The Guardian article by Mary O’Hara

The article looks at books being challenged in America (challenged in libraries, school curricula, that sort of thing) for being “anti-capitalist”.

I’m not sure that it’s a widespread problem, but it happens…remember that this isn’t censorship by the government, but individuals and groups requesting that books be withheld from readers.

I think the article reasonably makes its point: I believe that some people don’t want people reading books which go against “American values”.

I think that attitude is a non-productive one. As I’ve said many times on the blog before, I want people to be exposed to ideas which are the opposite of mine. I don’t want those ideas to slink around freely in the shadows: I want to shine the full light of day on them, and let people see them for what they are.

In the past, industry groups have imposed these sorts of rules on themselves. The old Comics Code Authority included a provision that “…Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.”

In the USA, we’ve never applied a standard like that to books. Certainly, Huck Finn wouldn’t have passed a restriction like that, just to name one.

According to this article, this is being applied to non-fiction in addition to fiction.

People often ask on the Amazon Kindle forums how they can tell which books are “R rated”, or something like that.

The answer is simple: none of them.

The movie industry has its own rating system.

The music industry has its own rating system.

The videogame industry has its own rating system.

The book publishing industry does not…and I don’t think it is likely to establish one.

However, just because the publishers aren’t getting together to label books, that doesn’t mean that private groups aren’t doing it.

Those groups may also go after schools and libraries.

I’m not quite sure if the article is suggesting that this is an American flaw…that it is something which wouldn’t happen in the UK.

We have always had different standards. American movies have tended to be more lenient with violence and stricter with sexual content than European movies (and TV).

The Boris Karloff Frankenstein was given an “H certificate” in England…rating it too horrific for those under 16 years of age (this wasn’t universally ((no pun intended)) enforced).

I must say I found it an interesting perspective, and I think you may as well.

What do you think? Are Americans (not the government) more likely to try to block counter-culture material than Britons? The article really focuses on how the block can be against portraying poverty…do we only want our children to read through rose-colored glasses? Does a 10.1 inch tablet interest you…and will the NOOK brand still be around a year from now? Should Amazon bring out a tablet that large? What about an EBR (E-Book Reader) that size? What would you put on a list of “readers’ rights”? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

 Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Amazon and Simon & Schuster reach a deal

Amazon and Simon & Schuster reach a deal

There is a future for Big Five books in the Kindle store.

That certainly seemed like the most likely outcome, although the day may come when Amazon doesn’t need them any more.

Why even doubt that the biggest bookstore would carry books from the biggest publishers?

Well, Amazon has been in a dispute with Hachette, another of the Big Five…for more than six months. What I call the “Hachazon War” certainly enters another phase with Amazon reportedly reaching an agreement with Simon & Schuster.

It makes it much harder for Hachette to paint Amazon as an “impossible to negotiate with” Big Bad.

It gives authors something to consider…how much of the stand-off is Hachette’s fault? When their deals with that publisher are done, should they be shopping? Douglas Preston, an author who has led the authors who have publicly expressed concerns with Amazon, wants to know the e-tailer has offered the same deal to Hachette. If it has…why didn’t Hachette take it? Retailers don’t have to give the same terms to everybody, of course.

It also changes the dynamic if there is a Department of Justice investigation of Amazon’s negotiating tactics (Authors United has asked for at least a look into it). If nobody can make a deal with you, that makes it a lot worse than a fifty/fifty split.

I’m going to link to stories on this, but I’ve seen both that this will be a return to the “Agency Model”, and that Amazon will be able to discount the books.

Those aren’t exactly contradictory. In the Agency Model, the publisher (not the retailer) sells the books (the former retailer just acts as an “agent”), and sets the customer prices. The publisher could set the price…and still, in some way, let Amazon discount under circumstances. For example, they might allow a three for the price of two deal to be offered. That doesn’t change the actual price of the book.

While we don’t actually know the terms of the deal, it is reassuring that a deal was reached at all. As a reader, I’d like Amazon to carry every book. However, the conditions under which they carry them do matter. I wouldn’t want Amazon to carry S&S books if the prices doubled…well, I guess I would, for folks who would pay that, but I wouldn’t like it for me. ;)

It’s possible that Amazon let the publisher set the customer price within certain constraints…that would be a form of compromise which could work for them both.

My intuition is that Amazon will make a deal with HarperCollins, and I would think they will with Penguin Random House. They’ve had trouble with Macmillan before…we could see a repeat there.

With publishers not standing united, though, I think everybody will deal before the end of the first quarter of next year.

This might also help Amazon’s stock a bit. Investors hate uncertainty.

Here are some of the articles:

Update: there has been a brief

Amazon announcement (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in the official Kindle forum about the deal. They don’t say much about it, except that they are happy, it’s a multi-year deal, and it involves both e-books and p-books (paperbooks). Interestingly, they chose to make it a ” no reply thread”…they aren’t taking comments on it.

What do you think? Does Amazon need the Big Five? What should they be willing to give up to get their books? Where is the line in the sand? Will this mean Hachette settles quickly? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Comparing the bestsellers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Comparing the bestsellers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

There was a time when the bestsellers at Amazon for the Kindle and at Barnes & Noble for the NOOK were pretty similar.

There were some few exclusives which made a difference, but the lists were pretty much the same.

No more.

Amazon clearly impacts its own bestseller list. That may be by publishing their books themselves, or putting them on sale, or making them part of the Kindle First program (which are books both published by them and “on sale”…they are actually free for Prime members ((one book a month)) and yet to be published.

No question: if you are with Barnes & Noble and not with Amazon, you are missing out on some very popular books.

Let’s take a look:

Kindle Rank Title Kindle $ NOOK Rank NOOK $ Diff
1 My Sister’s Grave 4.99 N/A
2 Gone Girl 4.99 1 8.99 4
3 Gray Mountain 11.99 13 14.99 3
4 The Fire Seekers 4.99 N/A
5 The Glassblower 4.99 N/A
6 Leaving Time 4.99 2 12.59 7.6
7 Stepbrother Dearest 3.99 41 3.99 0
8 I Love How You Love Me 4.99 26 4.99 0
9 Sleep Tight 1.99 N/A
10 Ruin Part Two 0.99 345 0.99 0
11 The Best of Me 4.99 7 4.99 0
12 Medicine Men 0.99 N/A
13 The Cycle of Arawn 0.99 6 0.99 0
14 Burn 4.99 13 12.99 8
15 Ruin 0.99 1386 0.99 0
16 The Heroes of Olympus Books Five 9.99 14 10.99 1
17 Yellow Crocus 3.99 N/A
18 Down and Out 3.99 75 3.99 0
19 Captivated by You 7.99 14 7.99 0
20 Blood Magick 6.99 57 8.99 2
Total 25.6

While there have been some excellent NOOK devices, and they have led in some innovations (notably lending and frontlighting), there is no question that if you backed Barnes & Noble against Amazon (and we’ll just treat it as a two horse race now), your money was in the wrong place (as a reader).

You can’t even get six of the top twenty Amazon sellers, and if you did buy all the ones you could, you would pay $25.60 more. On average, that’s $1.60 a book more, but you could pay as much as $8 more.

Well, I’m glad I looked at that!

Originally, when Amazon started  aggressively  pursuing exclusives, I did think it was Amazon versus B&N. Now, I tend to think of it as Amazon versus the traditional publishers…and interesting mind focus, I’d say.

I know some of you have both NOOKs and Kindles (and Kobos, and some others).

Update: one of my regular readers and commenters, Edward Boyhan, asked me what it would look like if I did the comparison the other way…with the NOOK Books top 20. I originally intended to do that last night, but the frailties of the flesh overwhelmed the intent of the will (in other words, I was too tired). ;) I did eyeball it first, and I didn’t see a book on the B&N list that I didn’t think Amazon would have…and that was right (for the top 20). I created the table this morning:

NOOK Rank Title NOOK $ Kindle Rank Kindle $ Diff
1 Leaving Time $2.99 6 4.99 $2.00
2 Cut to the Bone $1.99 37 1.99 $0.00
3 Gone Girl $8.99 3 4.99 -$4.00
4 Day After Night $10.93 4191 9.32 -$1.61
5 Captivated by You $7.99 20 7.99 $0.00
6 The Best of Me $7.99 11 4.99 -$3.00
7 Holland Springs Box Set $0.99 74 0.99 $0.00
8 The Highlander’s Bride $0.99 102 0.99 $0.00
9 Desired: Club Sin $0.99 85 $0.99 $0.00
10 Deadline $11.99 24 10.99 -$1.00
11 Be For Me $0.99 153 0.99 $0.00
12 Someone Else’s Love Story $1.99 193 0.99 -$1.00
13 The Blood of Olympus $10.99 15 9.99 -$1.00
14 Burn $12.99 17 4.99 -$8.00
15 The Cinderella Murder $10.99 609 10.99 $0.00
16 The Circle of Ceridwen $0.99 308 0.99 $0.00
17 The Geneva Trap $7.51 23,400 6.15 -$1.36
18 Gray Mountain $14.99 2 11.99 -$3.00
19 The Pearl that Broke Its Shell $1.99 146 1.99 $0.00
20 Killing Patton $11.04 32 11.04 $0.00
Total -$21.97

Every top twenty NOOK book could be bought at Amazon as well. The price differentials were still overwhelmingly in favor of Kindleers (over NOOKers).

The number one NOOK book is cheaper at B&N than it is at Amazon…but that typically doesn’t last, since people can alert Amazon on the book’s product page about the differential, and they tend to match the prices.

Glancing at it (and I have a pretty good eye at doing that way), it appears to me that when the prices are the same, generally, that book is ranked relatively lower at Amazon. That isn’t always the case, but my intuition is that a book which $0.99 at both Amazon and B&N is pushed lower at Amazon by the presence of the Kindle exclusives.

I would also guess that the number of people who decide whether to buy a e-book at Amazon or B&N based on the price is pretty low. If they have the respective companies’ EBRs (E-Book Readers), they don’t really have that choice. However, they could have both companies’ apps on a tablet, for example, and then they could choose.

What do you think? This holiday season, will people choose to buy NOOKs as their very first EBRs (E-Book Reader), or is it mostly coasting on customers it already? Are Amazon’s exclusives something that has driven you to become more of an Amazon user? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Trying the new Kindle Voyage glass screen in direct sunlight…

During our recent stay in Ocean Park, Maine, I took a review copy of the Kindle Voyage out to the beach on a sunny day to see if the micro-etched glass screen is as readable in sunlight as the plastic Kindle screens of yore. For the test, I put a Paperwhite and the Voyage side by side on a beach chair. You’ll see the result in this video.

If you are happy with your Paperwhite and have a slightly less obsessive love of new gadgets than I do, I can’t think of a reason to upgrade to the Voyage. It’s a sweet eReader, for sure. The improvement in readability because of the higher screen resolution is noticeable but not earth-shattering. The physical buttons are nice, but after a week of using the Voyage I am still tapping the screen to advance to the next page. I like the auto brightness controls on the built-in light. My favorite improvement is the smaller size and weight of the Voyage.

One thing that really bugs me is Amazon’s Origami Leather Case for the Voyage. Instead of opening like a book, it flips back like a reporter’s notebook pad. I’m not crawling into bed to take notes for a story. I’m in Book Reading Mode, like the old days when the physical thing was one of my favorite things in the world. I love the advances that Kindle technology have made possible in reading, but unnecessarily removing one of the touchable reminders of the book’s heritage seems perverse to me. I know the new cover makes a handy stand in portrait or landscape mode. But I don’t use my E Ink Kindles on a desk or table. I use them curled up before sleep or on the beach.

Luckily, I found a cover that opens the old-fashioned way and have it on order to replace the steno-pad cover. It’s available for $7.99 plus shipping from ACcase. I ordered one and will probably return the $59.99 Origami case.

Let me be clear: the Kindle Voyage is an impressive upgrade to the Kindle line, and I love how Amazon continues to invest time and money into dedicated eReaders. They do it for the love of it, in my opinion, and it shows. With the arrival of the Voyage, the Kindle lineup has three great price points and three good choices to consider for the very best in digital book reading.

Send to Kindle

Fire HD 6 + Kindle (basic, Paperwhite or Voyage) = Reader’s Delight

After using a Fire HD 6 for a week or so, I have decided it’s the perfect reading complement to my E Ink Kindle, currently a Paperwhite but next I’m switching to the Voyage. Sometimes I prefer the sepia color of the Fire’s Kindle view, as well as the faster access to links or looking up information related to the book I’m reading. I also enjoy listening to the Classical for Reading playlist at Prime Music, while I’m reading a book on the Fire HD. You can’t do that with any E Ink Kindle in the current lineup, because they don’t have audio capability.

The Fire HD is also is a great way to watch movies or TV shows, though the audio is a little soft for noisy environments, like the cross trainer in our basement during aerobic workouts. All in all, this is a sweet new tablet in a size that recalls the shape of a paperback book. I love it.

 

Send to Kindle

Fire HD 6 + Kindle (basic, Paperwhite or Voyage) = Reader’s Delight

After using a Fire HD 6 for a week or so, I have decided it’s the perfect reading complement to my E Ink Kindle, currently a Paperwhite but next I’m switching to the Voyage. Sometimes I prefer the sepia color of the Fire’s Kindle view, as well as the faster access to links or looking up information related to the book I’m reading. I also enjoy listening to the Classical for Reading playlist at Prime Music, while I’m reading a book on the Fire HD. You can’t do that with any E Ink Kindle in the current lineup, because they don’t have audio capability.

The Fire HD is also is a great way to watch movies or TV shows, though the audio is a little soft for noisy environments, like the cross trainer in our basement during aerobic workouts. All in all, this is a sweet new tablet in a size that recalls the shape of a paperback book. I love it.

 

Send to Kindle

Five things people who have read Dracula know…but most people don’t

Five things people who have read Dracula know…but most people don’t

Halloween is coming up, and despite all the options out there, it’s still pretty likely you’ll see some kid dressed as Dracula.

You’ll know it’s Dracula: maybe by the widow’s peak hairdo, the cape, or the toy bat cleverly taped on to a shoulder.

You know who wouldn’t recognize that character as Dracula?

Bram Stoker, who wrote the original 1897 novel.

As is often the case, the adaptations of the book have had a greater impact on the public imagination than the original book…or at least, a more lasting, widespread one.

If you haven’t read the book yet, you might want to do that…right now…before reading the rest of this post. ;)

You can get it for free here, as well as in many other editions:

Dracula by Bram Stoker (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Go ahead…we’ll wait.

Ready?

If not, then I guess I’ll just have to put up this

SPOILER ALERT

;)

Here, then, are five things people who have read Dracula know…that most people don’t:

1. Dracula has a mustache!

Stoker describes Count Dracula like this:

“Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.”

Why the mustache?

Stoker is explicit: Dracula is a specific historical figure, and that figure had a mustache:

“He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land.”

Here is a picture of Vlad:

Vlad

The term “Voivoide” that Stoker uses is a title, which evolved a bit over time…you can think of it like “Warlord” or maybe “Prince”, to give you an idea.

So, yes, Dracula has a mustache.

2. Dracula doesn’t only turn into a bat

In Stoker’s novel, Dracula can also turn into a wolf…or even a mist. Does that make Dracula a werewolf, in addition to being a vampire? Well, there is a suggestion that they may be the same thing:

“I could hear a lot of words often repeated, queer words, for there were many nationalities in the crowd; so I quietly got my polyglot dictionary from my bag and looked them out. I must say they were not cheering to me, for amongst them were “Ordog”—Satan, “pokol”—hell, “stregoica”—witch, “vrolok” and “vlkoslak”—both of which mean the same thing, one being Slovak and the other Servian for something that is either were-wolf or vampire.”

The wolf is actually much more important in the book than the bat…and it isn’t the bat that bites anybody (which we often see in the movies).

Here is Van Helsing describing Dracula’s powers of transformation:

“He can transform himself to wolf, as we gather from the ship arrival in Whitby, when he tear open the dog; he can be as bat, as Madam Mina saw him on the window at Whitby, and as friend John saw him fly from this so near house, and as my friend Quincey saw him at the window of Miss Lucy. He can come in mist which he create—that noble ship’s captain proved him of this; but, from what we know, the distance he can make this mist is limited, and it can only be round himself. He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust—as again Jonathan saw those sisters in the castle of Dracula. He become so small—we ourselves saw Miss Lucy, ere she was at peace, slip through a hairbreadth space at the tomb door. He can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire—solder you call it.”

That’s right: “elemental dust”. You can not board up the doors and windows to keep out Dracula…it’s not like fighting zombies!

3. Dracula doesn’t sleep during the day

It’s a bit complicated, but Dracula can move around during the day…the vampire doesn’t “sleep” all day in a coffin, and disintegrate if exposed to sunlight. In fact, Dracula can even transform during the day…but exactly at noon. Here, Van Helsing talks a bit about Dracula’s limitations:

“His power ceases, as does that of all evil things, at the coming of the day. Only at certain times can he have limited freedom. If he be not at the place whither he is bound, he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset.”

4. A wild rose can defeat Dracula

While we all know about garlic (and yes, that’s in the book) affecting Dracula, it isn’t just the “stinking rose” (a term for garlic) which works. Let’s hear from the Professor again:

“Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of; and as for things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, to them he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off and silent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of, lest in our seeking we may need them. The branch of wild rose on his coffin keep him that he move not from it; a sacred bullet fired into the coffin kill him so that he be true dead; and as for the stake through him, we know already of its peace; or the cut-off head that giveth rest.”

5. Dracula hasn’t been undead and unchanging for centuries

I’ve written about this more extensively in my blog, The Measured Circle:

Dracula…race against mind

To me, one of the coolest elements of the book, and one which I don’t think I’ve seen exploited on screen, is that Dracula has just awakened when encountered by Van Helsing. The master tactician Vlad is not fully awake…doesn’t have it all mentally together yet.

When the Voivoide does, Van Helsing will be facing one of the greatest military minds in history.

As a proud geek myself, I completely see the fear this gives Van Helsing.

Van Helsing is a geek…an intellectual with an interest in odd things.

Physically, unlike some interpretations (quiet down there, Hugh Jackman), Van Helsing is not a competitor.

When that’s the case, we geeks count on our mental superiority to give us a chance in the “sport”.

Imagine that Dracula was, oh, a great football quarterback. Living in the Bay Area, I’m going to go with Joe Montana.

Count Montana has just awakened…slowly, the intellectual capacities are returning.

Van Helsing has to play football against the Count.

The first person who scores, wins.

Van Helsing, being a terrible football player, has to score…now. Four or five plays from now, there will be no chance whatsoever: the Count will be back to full capacity!

The Professor better get it all right, right away. No mistakes…every mistake costs valuable time, and Count Montana becomes less vulnerable.

That, to me, is where some of the strongest drama comes in the book. It’s not just Van Helsing versus Dracula…it’s Van Helsing versus Van Helsing’s own weakness.

There you go! All kidding aside, if you haven’t read the book, I recommend it. I like a lot of the movie versions, too…Bela Lugosi (who is the inspiration for that Halloween costumer) is very different from Christopher Lee in the part, but they both have their fascinations.

You can love the movies (and the TV shows, and comic books, and videogames, and…) and you can love the book (and the other books written about the Count), but they aren’t the same.

Now, about Frankenstein… ;)

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Cheap Reads for Kindle: Free Books and Low Priced Reading Options

Cheap Reads for Kindle: Free Books and Low Priced Reading Options

You know, sometimes Amazon.com seems like Doctor Who’s TARDIS**: it’s bigger on the inside. ;)

It just seems like you can’t possibly know it all…it’s constantly changing, and every once in a while, I’ll turn left at an aisle I know and end up in something I’ve never seen before.

I’ve written before about a number of these “Amazon aisles”, but I just ran into this one when answering a question for someone:

Cheap Reads for Kindle: Free Books and Low Priced Reading Options (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They’ve subtitled it “From free classics to great deals, there’s a book for every budget on Kindle.” and I think we know that’s true.

There are over 50,000 free books in the USA Kindle store, typically.

Read a book a week, and that would keep you going for about a thousand years (assuming they didn’t add more to it…which they do).

Read a book a day, and you still have well over a hundred years.

The trouble, of course, is something I write about quite a bit: discovery.

How do you find “good books” to read for free? I put that in quotation marks because I don’t tend to make that kind of distinction. I usually find something of value in every book I read…so I would say that there are “better books” for me, but not usually a duality of “good” and “bad”.

The navigation on this page includes:

Popular Ways to Save

  • Kindle Daily Deals
  • Monthly Deals, $3.99 or Less
  • Kindle Unlimited

Top Rated Free Books

  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & Money
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Teen & Young Adult

They also link to

Kindle Book Deals (at AmazonSmile*)

where books are on sale, but not necessarily super cheap.

On the “Cheap Reads” page, they feature and link to free public domain (not under copyright protection) books at Amazon.

It’s interesting because some of those books are featured in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subser (subscription service…you pay by the month for an “all you an read” program), and some aren’t.

I think the Kindle Unlimited ones may be ones with added material (a foreword, new illustrations) which creates a new copyright.

Regardless, this is a good Amazon aisle to use to pick up the least espensive books at Amazon…and Amazon promotes getting free books.

Why would they do that, when it costs them something to provide a book to that customer?

Simple…it likely makes people spend more money on those higher profit items, which they might be buying through Prime.

I think that’s why we get a lot of free stuff from Amazon…to make us loyal, and to make Amazon the place to which we turn to buy, well, pretty much everything.

Enjoy!

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

** The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) is a time and space craft use by the Doctor on the Doctor Who TV series. In that case, it literally appears to be bigger on the inside…the outside looks like a police call box, but the inside is huge…and bit mysterious.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


New: set your default delivery device for Kindle books

New: set your default delivery device for Kindle books

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NOTE: if you are reading this on a site called


Kindle Updates
Your source for the latest Kindle updates and news

they have reproduced my copyrighted material without my permission. They are infringing on my copyright.

They are also reproducing posts from other sites, I presume again without having obtained authorization (although I do not know that for sure).

If you are able to contact them, please ask them to stop. I would be satisfied with that outcome, and would rather not take additional action (I have already alerted Google’s AdSense to the situation, and they appear to have removed their sponsorship).

Thank you for your consideration of the rights of authors.

===

Well, this should reduce the questions which get asked in the Amazon Kindle forums!

For years, people have been confused by where a book goes when they order one from the USA Kindle store.

In the past, there were two answers to that:

If you ordered from your device (from a non-Fire Kindle, a Fire, or a Kindle reader app), it would first go to that device. That’s if you are ordering from within the Kindle store…not using your browser to go to Amazon.com.

If you were at Amazon.com (on your desktop or laptop, for example, or in your browser), you could choose which device got it first…but it would default to your first Kindle (including Fires) alphabetically.

That led to people naming their Kindles in special ways, to drive one up to the top of the list. Instead of “Bufo’s Kindle”, for example, it might be “AAA Bufo’s Kindle”.

Today, for the first time, I was asked to set a default delivery device.

Before I tell you how, it’s important that I point out that you might not have it yet.

Amazon is big on A/B testing: in other words, some people get something and some people don’t while they experiment with it.

A new feature might work for me, and not for you…or vice versa.

It might work in one browser and not another.

It might work in one way for one person (a button might be on the left side of the screen or the choice might be in a menu) and a different way for another person (button on the right, for example).

That said, here is what I am seeing.

When I go to

http://www.amazon.com/myk…formerly called “Manage Your Kindle” and now called “Manage Your Content and Devices

and click or tap on

Your Devices

I see a

Set as default device

link under a selected non-Fire Kindle or Kindle reader app.

For Fires tablets, it’s in the Device Actions menu.

It isn’t available for my Fire Phone or my Fire TV, although they both show on this page (my Fire TV doesn’t have a Kindle app, but my Fire Phone does).

When you set that,

Default Device

appears under the device’s name.

That’s it. :)

As far as I can tell, you can change it whenever you want.

Once I’d done that, the “deliver to” dropdown on a book’s Amazon product page changed to showing the default device first.

Opening the dropdown, the choices looked like they did before…same order, with hardware Kindles and Fires alphabetically first, followed by apps alphabetically.

It did not change the behavior when ordering from a device…when I ordered from my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

(through the Kindle store, not the browser), it went automatically to that device, not the default device I had designated.

Even those this is a little thing, it’s a big improvement!

A device we don’t use much happens to come alphabetically first…I had sometimes been forgetting to change that, and the book would just sit as a pending delivery forever.

Oh, I could still get it on another device by downloading it from the Cloud/archives, or sending it from that MYK page above, but I really don’t like having those pending deliveries out there (maybe they’ll let us cancel them at some point).

One other tip.

I often get books, and would prefer that they not be on any of my devices right away. I’d rather read them some time in the future, and don’t need them taking up local memory (I usually only keep about ten Kindle store books on any of my devices at a time).

While we can get apps and have them go only to the Cloud, that’s not currently an option for Kindle books.

However, you can get the free Kindle Cloud Reader

http://read.amazon.com

and set that as your default device (I checked…yes, you can do that).

That way, by default, it will go to that Cloud reader, which means the book won’t take up memory on your Kindles and Fires…until you download it.

Remember, that’s only if you order in a browser…if you order it in the store on one of your devices, it will go to that device first.

I’m very happy to see Amazon still making these kinds of asked-for improvements!

If you get a chance, take a look and see if you have the option. If you don’t, I’d be interested to hear that. If your interface is significantly different from what I described above, I’d be interested to hear that as well.

What else would be on your list of tweaks (minor changes) you’d like to see? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


TKC 324 Peter Heller

Peter Heller

Author of The Dog Stars and The Painter

Interview starts at 13:42

Nobody, not even artists, understood art. What speed has to do with it. How much work it takes, year after year, building the skills, the trust in the process, more work probably than any Olympic athlete ever puts in because it is twenty-four hours a day, even in dreams, and then when the skills and the trust are in place, the best work usually takes the least effort. Usually. It comes fast, it comes without thought, it comes like a horse running over you at night.  (From The Painter)

Show Notes and Links:

News

Kindle Scout submission page

Kindle Press Submission & Publishing Agreement

New York Times Public Editor’s rebuke of David Streitfeld – October 4, 2014

“Amazon and its missing books” by David Streitfeld at the New York Times Bits blog – October 12, 2014

“Big Media in Support of Amazon” by Hugh Howey – October 16, 2014

“Don’t Worry. I’m Just Writing” by Hugh Howey – October 16, 2014

“Practically nobody’s buying Amazon’s Fire Phone (including Prime members?” by Lewis Wallace at the Cult of Android – October 15, 2014

Tech Tips

Whispersync for Voice

Interview witPeter Heller

Books on the Nightstand podcast

Peter Heller’s author page on Amazon.com

Hell or High Water 

The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet’s Largest Mammals

Sea Shepherd web site

Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave

The Dog Stars

The Painter

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

Peter Heller’s articles published by Outside Magazine

Jim Wagner, the Taos expressionist painter

Poetry by Peter Heller

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.

Novels by Cesar Aira: An Episode in the Life of a Landscape PainterGhostsHow I Became a NunThe Seamstress and the WindThe Hare

Paolo Bacigalupi’s author page at Amazon.com

Content

Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America by Donald Katz

The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears by Donald Katz

Mindjet for Android free mind-mapping app for Fire

Next Week’s Guest

Denver Donald Katz, founder and CEO of Audible, Inc.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Persepctive” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

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