Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night

Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night

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

It’s World Book Night!

April 23rd (Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday, Cervantes’ deathday) is World Book Night, when select books are given away.

Why is it book night?

There was already a World Book Day, where kids were given tokens for books…this was for grown-ups, and night-time is supposedly more grown up (you know…like Nick at Night or Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, which is night-time).

Specially produced copies of books are given away by “givers”, and the authors waive their royalties.

I think it’s a wonderful thing! It occurred to me (too late to do it), that I could do a free day for at least one of my titles to coincide. I’ll plan on that next year.

For more information, see

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/faqs

I also thought this was an interesting

The Guardian article by Alison Flood

about authors reading from other authors’ letters, including one from Kurt Vonnegut.

From 1 star to 5 stars? HBO GOGOGO!

I love it when having a positive attitude gets proven to have been the right thing!

See, as a basically optimistic person, I get to have fun looking at something…I’m enjoying life! Pessimists, well, they often seem to be having a sour taste. If it turns out that something was a negative, that doesn’t seem to make them happy…if anything, they seem to be more upset when they are right than when they are wrong. ;) Hm…I’ll have to look for some positive things about pessimism and cynicism. If not, I’m in danger of being pessimistic…about pessimism. :)

In this case, I recently wrote about the number of 1-star reviews which came out about the

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

which launched without HBO GO:

Don’t judge a box by its content

I said,

“One of the interesting things is that Amazon included HBO GO in its comparison table…showing that they didn’t have it.

Why do that?

I think it’s because they are likely to get it.

Why don’t they have it already?

They have to negotiate it.”

Well, even non-Fire users will apparently benefit from the result of those negotiations!

According to this

press release

HBO GO is coming to the Fire TV later this year. That allows current HBO subscribers to watch the current episodes.

However, and I would argue with greater impact (and probably costing Amazon a lot of money), Amazon Prime members are also going to get exclusive subscription streaming access to a bunch of older HBO shows!

That’s at no additional cost over the Prime fee.

People are really going to have to start thinking about how much it is worth it to see things when they first come out…and this could seriously contribute to “cord cutting” (ditching cable/satellite for streaming options).

Let’s say you want to watch True Blood (you know, because you like literary adaptations). ;)

If you want to watch current episodes as an HBO subscriber, you pay  for a monthly package from your cable/satellite provider which includes it as a “premium channel”.

The cost of that can easily be more than the cost of a Fire TV (depending on the package, which you might bundle with phone and internet)…and that’s per month.

If you are willing to wait a few years, you could watch them at no additional cost on your FTV if you have Prime.

I think Prime is worth it just as a shipping service (many items for two-days for free), but even if you treat it just as a video streaming service, that’s going to be a lot cheaper.

Remember that this is an exclusive deal (for subscription services…you may still be able to buy the episodes one by one from other places, and they will be on HBO platforms).  That means they won’t be available on Netflix or Hulu+. Gee, did the Fire just get more attractive? ;) Here’s a bit more about what it will mean:

Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming access to:

  • All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favorites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
  • Epic miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
  • Select seasons of current series such as Boardwalk Empire, Treme andTrue Blood
  • Hit original movies like Game Change, Too Big To Fail and You Don’t Know Jack
  • Pedigreed documentaries including the Autopsy and Iceman series,Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and When the Levees Broke
  • Hilarious original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis CK and Bill Maher

The multi-year deal will bring additional seasons of the current series named above, along with early seasons of other series like Girls, The Newsroom andVeep to Prime members over the life of the deal.”

This idea of patience being rewarded also goes for books, of course. I expect Amazon to launch a subser (subscription service) for books for grown-ups this year, although they often surprise me. I think we’ll end up seeing a model somewhat like this for publishing: lots of access to backlist titles through subscription services, and you pay for new releases.

How do they pick these lists? It’s a mystery… ;)

Amazon just put out a list of

100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile)

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, questioned some of the choices (and especially some of the non-choices), and that’s inevitable on any list like this.

Looking at it, my mind initially went for mysteries, and there are certainly many here that are more in the thriller camp.

I’m not quite sure why those two get lumped together.

Mysteries, by definition (at least my definition) are cerebral at heart. The mystery is about figuring out the mystery. In a classic mystery, you use your own brain power to try to figure out the answer.

Thrillers, on the other hand, tend to be visceral and emotional. There may be somebody to stop, but it’s not so much about figuring it out.

Does the same person who likes Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell like Frederick Forsythe and Charles Bukowski? Certainly, maybe, but I think statistically, they appeal to different people.

They cheated and put all of Holmes in one volume, but it was nice to see kid’s books represented: Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys…but only one of each series, not like with Sherlock.

Including From H*ll, the graphic novel by Alan Moore about Jack the Ripper? Intriguing.

I think there was probably a conscious effort to include “quality” literature, including The Name of the Rose and Rebecca.

No Perry Mason, though?

A list like this also always gets skewed by including only one title per author (except for the cheating Holmes one above). It’s certainly possible that Agatha Christie deserves more than one spot here. Oh, they did get around that in a clever way. Here is one of the listings:

“Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Gabriel Garcia Marquez” (emphasis added)

;)

My guess is that they accidentally got the name on there, and then ran a check for multiple titles by the same author, which failed.

What do you think? What was left off the list? What is on it that surprised you? Do you ever plow through a list like that? Rebecca still isn’t in Kindle format…I wrote about that more than three years ago:

Why Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca isn’t in the Kindle store

Are you helping out on World Book Night? What do you think of exclusive content deals, like Amazon getting the HBO shows? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* 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.


Harris poll: E-book readers read more

Harris poll: E-book readers read more

Years ago, I remember saying that “…the more you love books, the more you love e-books.”

Initially, people who read e-books were treated by some “serious readers” as…inferior. It was somehow insulting, or even anti-literature, that we would read the same words that the other person was reading, but not in the same “container”.

I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I thought my Significant Other had the best line. When somebody saw my SO reading a Kindle and sneeringly said, “I like the feel of a book in my hand,” my SO replied, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” ;)

While there certainly may be some tactile (and olfactory) things that we lose, the simple fact is that you can have more books available to you more often with e-books.

Now, this

Harris poll

backs up the assertion that e-book readers read more.

My guess, by the way, isn’t that the e-book medium itself makes you read more, although that’s possible. I think it’s that the people who read a lot are attracted to EBRs (E-Book Readers).

After all, if you only read a book in a month, you don’t see the same benefit you would if you normally carried two or more books with you everywhere (which I did).

Here’s a short excerpt with one of the most interesting statistics:

“Interestingly, there appears to be an intersection at work between how Americans read and how much they read. Those who read either more or exclusively in the e-book format are more likely to read over 20 books in an average year (30%) than either those who read more/only in hard copy (18%) or those who read in both formats equally (21%). They also report a higher average readership per year than either hard copy hardliners or equal-opportunity readers (22.5 books vs. 16 and 15, respectively).”

There is a lot more to the poll, including gen-gen (generation and gender) breakdowns.

I don’t want to take too much away from it (I recommend you read it), but I do want to mention this.

Only 6% of the respondents said that they read e-books exclusively.

I would put myself in that category (although I am reading a p-book…paperbook…right now, that’s really a fluke, and I don’t consider it normal).

I’m guessing a significant number of you do, too…although I’m also guessing I have a lot of “mixed media” readers (some p-books, some e-books).

Why do I read just e-books (despite having something like 10,000 p-books on shelves in our house)?

No question, the ability to increase the font size is part of it. My vision isn’t what it used to be, and I can wear glasses (I buy cheap ones, and scatter them around the house), but it’s nice not to have to do that.

Another big, big issue for me is text-to-speech. I use it typically for hours a day in the car…I much prefer that to the radio.

Third, there’s the portability. I tend to bounce from book to book, rather than reading one straight through. On Goodreads, I show myself as currently reading more than ten books. Part of that is because I never abandon a book…so if I’ve started it, and haven’t finished it, I consider myself to be currently reading it.

However, I am actively reading (every day or two)…certainly three books.

A fourth reason: free public domain books!

I could keep going. :)

The key thing: those who read e-books read more (on average)…and they report that the amount that they read is increasing.

Again, it’s a bit hard to separate that out without more information. Serious readers might always tend to report themselves as reading more…I just don’t know that.

I will say, though, that book lovers love books…and e-books give us the opportunity to have more books and more access to them.

What do you think? Are you reading more or less than you used to read, or is about the same? What makes you choose to read an e-book over a p-book (and vice versa)? Will e-books reverse the trend of declining reading rates eventually? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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.


Round up #250: $5 Audible credit, challenging Underpants

Round up #250: $5 Audible credit, challenging Underpants

250? Wow! ;)

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

Captain Underpants challenged more often than 50 Shades of Grey in 2013

The good news for many people will be that the American Library Association reported about a third fewer “challenges” to books in 2013 than in 2012: 307 versus 464.

The list is, as always, a bit puzzling to me. It may have to do with the age of the kids. Perhaps a school library that would carry Fifty Shades of Grey is less likely to be scrutinized by people who would complain than one that would carry Captain Underpants.

However, looking at my post on the 2012 books:

Should any books be banned? Banned Books Week 2013

they are actually in the same positions they were then…Captain Underpants #1, 50SoG #4.

One thing that does stand out to be when I analyze the

report from the American Library Association

is that one of the top ten, the Bone series of graphic novels (they count it as one listing) by Jeff Smith is challenged on the grounds of…political viewpoint.

I haven’t read these, but I know it’s a series of graphic novels set in a fantasy world: I wonder what the politics are from which you want to protect your child? “Don’t let my kid read that book! They might end up voting for a dragon for President!” ;)

Here’s my analysis of this year’s challenges:

2013ChallengedBooks

U.S. Customers: $5 coupon for Audible

Thanks to Books on the Knob for the heads-up on this one!

Customers of Audible in the United States can get a $5 credit, but you need to act quickly (it ends Monday).

http://www.audible.com/promo/offer/1763?bp_o=false&AID=10273919&PID=3512156&source_code=COMA0213WS031709&p=LISTENUP

I’m not much of an audiobook person (I prefer text-to-speech: I don’t like the narrators interpreting the characters for me), but I know a lot of people do like them. Audible is owned by Amazon, and it’s easy to play Audible audiobooks on your Kindle devices…at least, the ones which do audio at all.

Enjoy!

What happens to the rights when a publisher goes bankrupt?

This

Publishers Weekly article by Calvin Reid

may seem a bit “inside baseball”, but it’s important.

A major independent publisher, MacAdam Cage went bankrupt.

Let’s say you were an author, and you had licensed the rights to publish your book to them.

They are out of the publishing business.

Can you license the publishing rights to somebody else?

Not right away…and not all of the rights, apparently.

The authors of the books in this case (and they include Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, among other well-known titles) have gotten their p-book (paperbook) rights back…but not the e-book rights.

That’s because the e-book rights were apparently farmed out to another company…which didn’t go bankrupt, but which, according to the article, may not be paying the authors royalties for those books (that’s an allegation…I don’t know if it is true).

Well, at least it suggests more strongly that e-book rights and p-book rights are separate, which will tend to benefit authors. What a mess, though! Some may see this as an argument for independent publishing…

I’ve ordered the Fire TV Game Controller

I am liking my

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

a lot! I had debated whether or not I was going to order the

Amazon Fire Game Controller (at AmazonSmile)

and now I’ve decided to…er…mash the button? ;)

I would be, by the most generous definition, a casual gamer. I actually rarely play video games. My Significant Other, a bit oddly to me, plays them much more…particularly Candy Crush.

However, I am planning to write a small guide to the Fire TV, and I really need the controller to test out some of the apps…and, you know, the tax refund came in. ;)

While I was able to order it now and get the special deal that gives you 1,000 Amazon coins (basically, $10 for purchase of apps and in-app buys), and their new exclusive game, Sev Zero, I’m not going to have it for a while…it is sold out.

Expected delivery?

May 13th.

Riggio sells some Barnes & Noble stock (which then loses value)

Leonard Riggio, who is basically the architect of the modern (last forty years or so) Barnes & Noble, sold stock in the company, dropping down to a 20% stake.

BloomergBusinessWeek article

Riggio said it was partially for “estate planning”…but it may not help to suggest “after death” plans and Barnes & Noble in the same breath. ;) Following the announcement, the stock dropped more than 10%…and unlike when Amazon drops after a financial report sometimes, I don’t expect it to immediately bounce back up to where it was.

I don’t know who, casual investor or serious player, is thinking B&N is a great place to put their money right now.

What do you think? If you were an MBA (Master of Business Administration) student and I gave you an assignment to come up with a plan to save Barnes & Noble, what would you do…and how high a grade do you think you could get? :) When you hear a book has been challenged, does that make you more or less likely to buy it? Have you ever sight read a book, listened to the audiobook, and saw the movie…and thought the audiobook was best of the three? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* 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.


USA Kindle Store Bestseller Analysis April 19 2014

USA Kindle Store Bestseller Analysis April 19 2014

I do an analysis of the bestsellers in the USA Kindle store from time to time. The last one was on November 10 2013.

Unfortunately, just as we’ve been seeing with our monthly Snapshot of the New York Times bestseller fiction hardback equivalents, the prices have gone up…a lot. The top twenty titles averaged $4.77 in November…and they average $6.48 today. That’s an increase of almost 36%!

That reverses a drop that we had seen before.

It simply can’t be ignored that some prices on e-books at Amazon are going up. It’s possible that other prices are going down even more, but that’s hard to tell easily.

When we look at the features, we again have the impact of some of these books being Kindle First books…meaning they haven’t actually been published yet. Those books are apparently not listed as part of the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), which makes sense. You can order them before they are published, but you can’t borrow them before.

Here’s a look at the top 50:

 

Rank Publisher Price TTS X-Ray Lending KOLL WSV KMB
1 Amazon $4.99 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
2 Hachette $7.50 Yes Yes No No Yes No
3 Indie $0.99 Yes Yes No No No No
4 Harper $7.99 Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
5 Harper $4.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
6 Harper $1.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
7 Harper $6.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
8 Penguin $11.99 Yes Yes No No No No
9 Penguin $7.74 Yes Yes No No Yes No
10 Harper $6.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
11 Amazon $4.99 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
12 Harper $14.99 Yes Yes No No No No
13 Hachette $8.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
14 Penguin $5.99 Yes Yes No No No No
15 Amazon $4.99 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
16 Indie $0.01 Yes No No No No No
17 Penguin $11.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
18 Open Road $2.51 Yes Yes Yes No No No
19 Random $1.99 Yes No No No No No
20 S&S $10.99 No Yes No No Yes No
21 Harper $6.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
22 Amazon $4.99 Yes Yes Yes No No No
23 Amazon $3.99 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
24 Penguin $7.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
25 Random $8.99 Yes Yes No No No No
26 Amazon $4.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
27 Harper $0.99 Yes Yes No No No No
28 Hachette $12.74 Yes No No No No No
29 Indie $3.99 Yes Yes Yes No No No
30 Norton $13.64 Yes Yes No No No No
31 Indie $0.01 Yes No No No No No
32 Amazon $4.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
33 Indie $0.99 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
34 Random $6.49 Yes Yes No No Yes No
35 Hay House $4.39 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
36 Indie $7.99 No No No No No No
37 Penguin $7.99 Yes No No No No No
38 Random $19.99 Yes No No No No No
39 Indie $0.99 Yes Yes No No No No
40 Amazon $3.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
41 Open Road $1.99 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
42 Penguin $10.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
43 Indie $3.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
44 Indie $0.99 Yes Yes No No No No
45 Indie $0.99 Yes No Yes No No No
46 Indie $0.99 Yes Yes No No No No
47 Indie $0.01 Yes Yes No No No No
48 Random $4.99 No Yes No No No No
49 Harper $0.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
50 Rosetta $1.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Summary $5.69 47 42 16 5 23 7
Percentage 94 84 32 10 46 14

Comparing it to November, we see this:

TTS (Text-To-Speech): this is up a significant amount, being at 94% instead of 85%. My intuition is that blocking TTS is going away as a strategy

X-Ray: 84% versus 95%…that’s a big drop

Lending: 32% versus 25%

KOLL: 10% versus 10% (no change)

Whispersync For Voice: 46% versus 35%. Another significant increase. It’s funny, this would seem to me like a relatively difficult task. It has to help that Amazon owns two audiobook companies (Audible and Brilliance)

Kindle Matchbook: 14% versus 5…nearly tripled!

Kindle First is clearly working: eight of the top 50 are Amazon, versus five in November.

The  number of indies (independently published books) is up by twenty percent…from ten to twelve.

One other interesting observation: I was surprised to see books priced at one penny in the top 50. Indies can’t typically price their books below $0.99. The books could be considered seasonal, so I wonder if one of Amazon’ price algorithms got in a limbo fight (“how low can you go”) with another algorithm?

Bonus deal: the first book in the Crash Gordon series by Derek Swannson is free through April 22nd:

Review: Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg

As full disclosure,  I have some correspondence with Derek Swannson (we’ve never met  in person), and was privileged to offer some advice and do some proof-reading on the second book:

Crash Gordon and the Revelations from Big Sur (at AmazonSmile)

I haven’t had a chance to read the “final” version, though…but I do know I was acknowledged. :)

You can’t always tell from this blog ;) but I am a good (amateur) proof-reader. I was also pleased to see that some of my editorial advice was taken as well…I’ve done that for a few people. I think it particular that the opening structure is stronger.

Just like the first book, I will warn you that many people will see it as beyond the bounds of good taste. However, with a 4.8 average with 25 reviews, it’s also apparent that many people like it.

* 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.

 


Don’t judge a box by its content

Don’t judge a box by its content

We’ve probably all heard the old saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

The idea is that the cover of a book may mislead you. It might be bland, while the book inside is exciting…or the opposite might be true.

There have been some pretty hilarious covers, like the ones in this

Trivia Happy post

Of course, nowadays, we may not even see the same cover for an e-book we are going to buy.

I haven’t heard about this happening, yet, but I  certainly anticipate it.

As you shop in different sections of a site, the cover for the same book might change its appearance to match the section. A Christian mystery might have a conservative cover in the Christian fiction section, and a flashier one in the Mystery section.

That idea just occurred to me, but it fits right in with a book I’ve just read:

Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy (at AmazonSmile)
by Richard Scoble and Shel Israel

and which I do recommend (I’ll write a review of it on Goodreads). They are talking about the  convergence  of five forces in technology (mobile, big data, sensors, location, and social media) and how they will create a context society, where our devices (and organizations) know much more about who we are and what we are doing, and tailor communications to match.

In fact, there is probably a real opportunity for a business there (if not for Amazon itself). Something that can algorithmically customize covers. I would think it might be very effective for the system to go find a picture of you (on a profile or on the web) and subtly merge elements of your appearance with that of a cover character. When that sort of morphing has been done, people tend to find the morphed picture (which they don’t know was morphed) to be a lot more trustworthy. I also saw something recently about people on dating sites tending to pick “themselves” more often.

Sure, we would sometimes want to see something exotic…and might not want to be the murderer on the cover. If, though, you stuck somebody in the background that had the morphing done, I bet that would work.

However, I digress. :)

I wrote this post to update that old saying.

When you buy an electronic gadget (and to make the saying work best, I’m calling all of those a “box”, whether it is a Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), a Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), a Kindle Paperwhite, 6? 2nd generation, wi-fi only, with Special Offers (at AmazonSmile), or something else), don’t judge it by the content it has.

That can change…and rapidly.

When the Fire TV was first released, there were a lot of very low starring reviews based on the fact that it didn’t have HBO Go. There were one and two star reviews…from people who didn’t even have the device yet.

I can absolutely see saying that it didn’t serve your purposes at that point, so you weren’t going to buy it yet…but that’s a very fluid characteristic on which to judge a gadget.

One of the interesting things is that Amazon included HBO GO in its comparison table…showing that they didn’t have it.

Why do that?

I think it’s because they are likely to get it.

Why don’t they have it already?

They have to negotiate it.

Let’s imagine you were HBO.

Right now, your customers want to watch HBO on their devices.

You have an app: it even works with Amazon’s Kindle Fire:

HBO GO (Kindle Fire Edition) (at AmazonSmile)

Your customers still have to have a subscription to HBO through a TV provider (like a cable company, or satellite) to use it…so you are making money from it.

Amazon wants to license it for their new streaming device, the Fire TV. It will attract customers to their gadget.

Your reasonable response might be, “What’s it worth to you?”

Makes some sense in the beginning… you don’t even know how many people are going to buy one until it is released.

Naturally, if a lot of people start using them and it starts cutting into the market for other boxes (the Roku, for example), that might shift some of the balance of power to Amazon. If people buy the Fire TV and you aren’t on it, they might decide they just don’t need you any more.

That’s not in the beginning, though…you might be able to wait to see what happens.

Would Amazon like to have had it at launch? Sure, but they can’t hold up the whole product waiting for one license. According to the documents in the Apple Agency Model conviction (for fixing prices), Apple was trying to negotiate quickly to get enough of the big publishers on board for iBooks when the iPad came out. That haste might have contributed to the eventual woes (with five publishers settling, and Apple losing…although they have appealed).

Personally, I’m not a cynical person. I tend to think good things about people and organizations.

I don’t quite get the cynical attitude. It would be like…putting shoe polish on your tongue before you went to dinner: it would just make everything taste bad. ;)

That doesn’t mean I was surprised when people said that Amazon’s voice search on the Fire TV only worked on Amazon Instant Video because they don’t want you to use competitors.

Amazon seems to be fine with you using competitors…you can get apps for your Kindle Fire from Amazon for direct competitors, such as

Netflix (at AmazonSmile)

and

Hulu Plus (at AmazonSmile)

…both of which came installed on the Fire TV!

Does it seem logical that they would let you use the app on the Fire TV, and then block you from using the voice search for those apps (even though you can key in a search), in an attempt to keep you from using them?

The voice search needs its own negotiation.

Why?

You need access to the company’s product database, which changes every day.

According to this

press release

Amazon has signed deals with Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Showtime to have the voice search work with their catalogs later this year.

I’m sure they are working on Netflix, too.

Oh, and I should point out, not all the competitors return the favor by featuring Amazon in their stores. Many bookstores have refused to carry books published by Amazon. Google Play still doesn’t recognize the Kindle Fire as a device…my best guess is that Google is making that choice. After all, we can commonly get apps that are at Google Play from other (legal) sources for the Fire (including Amazon’s own Appstore, and 1Mobile.com). I doubt Amazon is choosing to stay out of the Google Play store online (their Kindle reader app is available there, after all). Now, Amazon might not want to pay some fee to put Google Play directly on their devices…but the forked nature of the Android version Amazon is using might also have something to do with that.

If I don’t think you should judge a box by its content, do I think it is okay to judge it by its interface? After all, that could change in the future too, right?

Well, I do think that’s different. The interface (how a user interacts with it) not only tells you about how they feel about customers, they can largely develop the feel of it in house. They don’t have to negotiate with somebody to have a way to remove something from the “Recent” (which the Fire TV has). If something had an interface that made you put in, or, your astrological sign each time you wanted to do something, I could see saying that made it a less desirable device.

I would judge a gadget by:

  • The hardware specifications (does it have the power and connectors you want?)
  • The company’s Customer Service
  • The strength of the company
  • The interface
  • The openness
  • The  compatibility with other things you own…at lest the philosophy of that. That one could change, though

Oh, and yeah, sure…the coolness factor. ;)

Last point: I’m not saying you should buy something that doesn’t have what you want. Not buying it is not the same as denigrating it…

What do you think? How does Amazon treat its competitors on its devices and on its website? What do you look at before you buy a product? Would you write a bad review of something, because it didn’t have a license you wanted? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* 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 298 Molly Hawthorne

Molly Hawthorne

Retired Special Ed Teacher and Kindle Reader

Interview starts at 19:42

I read The New York Times Book Magazine on Sundays, and I belong to a book group, and there are suggestions there. If I come across anything in the newspaper or whatever, then I check it out. The nice thing is I can get a sample of it and read that sample. If I like it I can download it, and if not I just go onto the next.

 Show Notes and Links:

 News

“Amazon Kindle Fire Smartphone Expected Release Date” by Christine Celis at AndroidOrigin – April 14, 2014

Tech Tip

Amazon Cloud Collections

Interview with Molly Hawthorne

Viking River Cruises longship Ingvi

Interview with Charles and Robbie Beazley (Starts at 31:28)

Click here to download PDF of Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide – 2nd Edition

Content

Books on Molly Hawthorne’s Kindle (all prices as listed at Kindle Store):

The Litigators by John Grisham – $6.35

Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West and Mary Lynn Kotz – $1.99

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – $5.99

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek – $9.09

Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline – $6.99

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – $7.99

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – $10.99

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman – $8.99

Books on the Kindles of Charles and Robbie Beazley:

The Racketeer by John Grisham – $4.99

Reservation to Kill by Leonard Finz – $2.99

Next Week’s Show:

I am working with an Amazon representative at the company’s Paris office to set up an interview next week when Darlene and I conclude our current trip with three days in Paris.

How You Can Support E-Books for Troops

Click here to help, so we can continue to distribute donated Kindles to U.S. Soldiers deployed overseas.

Click here for information on how to donate your used Kindle.

For information regarding major gifts or other questions, please email me at PodChronicles AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks to all of you who are already supporting E-Books for Troops, and a special thanks to M-Edge Accessories, which donates new Kindle cases whenever we need them to supplement cases that we receive with the donated Kindles.

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!

Send to Kindle

Add Your Amazon Books rolling out to Goodreads website

Add Your Amazon Books rolling out to Goodreads website

When Amazon bought Goodreads (a bit over a year ago), one of the advantages people  envisaged  (and certainly, some people thought there might be disadvantages as well) was the ability to easily import your Amazon purchases to your Goodreads shelves.

We did get the ability to do that from some Kindle devices. For example, you have that functionality on the Kindle Paperwhite.

That was fine for people with those devices, but there are lots of Goodreads users who have bought books from Amazon and don’t have Kindles (or at least, those specific devices). The import isn’t just for Kindle editions…it’s for p-books (paperbooks) also.

In this

Goodreads blog post

they announce that Add Your Amazon Books”…will be available in the next few weeks to members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. ”

Other countries are expected to follow.

After giving you an explanation of what it will be like (it will be on My Books under Tools), they give you a link to where you can go ahead and do it now:

Early Access

They have a Question and Answer section there. I’ve asked this, but don’t have an answer yet:

“This seems to be similar to the functionality on the Kindle devices (for the ones which have it). It is only showing me recently purchased books, and I have something like a thousand which haven’t been imported. My guess is that there might have been a size limit the first time it did the sync, and now it doesn’t go back and re-query, just starts with books after the last sync (yes, I’m a geek). :) Any troubleshooting for it not importing all of the books? Are there books which wouldn’t be imported (ones without ISBNs, perhaps)? Thanks! “

Why do this?

Mainly to “feed” Goodreads. It lets other people see what you are reading (if you choose that), helps you keep track for yourself…and strengthens the algorithms used by the system to make recommendations to you.

For those of you who are already Goodreads users, this simplifies things. If you don’t use Goodreads now (I do…you can follow me. I write a little review there on most books I finish), maybe this will get you to start. ;)

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 updates Kindle Personal Documents

Amazon updates Kindle Personal Documents

In this

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

Amazon announced some significant changes to their Personal Documents service.

Previously, you had the ability to send documents to your Kindle. You could e-mail them to a special e-mail address your Kindle has, or use the “Send to Kindle” feature:

send to kindle (at AmazonSmile)

and they would be stored in your Cloud/archives. One place they were available was at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle (at AmazonSmile)

You could also download them from your device.

For example, I keep the configuration information for my routers there. That way, I can access it from any of my devices. That means I have the information on my phone or tablet when I set up a new device.

As of today, though, they are also stored in your Amazon Cloud Drive, in a folder called “My Send-to-Kindle Docs”.

That does give you the advantage of the additional organizational capabilities of the Cloud drive (you can add folders, mass delete, move and copy, and so on).

Nice enough, I suppose, to have it in the same site as personal photos and documents you’ve uploaded directly to the Cloud drive.

By the way, I’ve seen a lot of complaints today. That seems to be the normal thing with any update…”Though Kindle updates, may bring the pain…” ;)

Some people appear to have gotten tons of documents this way, and a few people mentioned .png files. Those are “Portable Network Graphics” files, and I’m guessing what happened there is they uploaded a file with pictures in it, and the Cloud drive broke each picture out into its own file. That didn’t happen with me, by the way: my new drive looks very much like what I would want it to do in this case, with the appropriate number of files.

The other big part of this announcement, though, is that files will stay in their native formats.

What that means is that, if you e-mail a Word document to your Kindle, it will be converted to a Kindle friendly document…and it will be available as a Word document in your Cloud Drive. I tested it, and that is what happened. That is an easy way to use your Cloud Drive somewhat like Dropbox (without some of the features of the latter).

If they were to incorporate this into the

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

I would actually find that quite useful.

I do presentations. I could e-mail a presentation to my Kindle Fire, and on a Fire TV at work, I could display it on an HDTV. Of course, I could mirror from my

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

to the Fire TV, but that would commit the resources of my Kindle Fire to that task…and I might want to use it for something else. I wouldn’t even have to be where the Fire TV was, if someone else was using it.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s in the offing.

I also like the idea that I could carry a document on my Kindle (Fire or not), and easily access the same document in full-featured Office on my desktop/laptop/two-in-1.

I think this is one of those that may take a while before people really realize the benefits.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what your experience is with it!

* 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.


Heads up! LTO on LCD writing board at 315 PM Pacific

Heads up! LTO on LCD writing board at 315 PM Pacific

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: LCD Writing Board for $5. Deal starts at 6:15 PM ET/3:15 PM PT.

Check your Kindle Fire. ..

More later…

Update: sorry I had to be really brief on this one! Not only was I on my phone, but I was in a place where I couldn’t speak out loud…so I couldn’t use speech-to-text! That really limited my ability to input the information.

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Kindle Fire owners.

What happens is you can get a text to alert you to an upcoming deal (details in the links below). You don’t get much warning…maybe an hour (about half an hour in this case).

The deal also appears on the sleep screen of your Fire, and you can find it under Offers on the homescreen (all the way at the end).

Then, you say you want to “learn more”. You’ll get to a screen with a countdown clock. As soon as the clock gets to zero, you need to click to have a chance to get it.

They have typically been selling out in seconds. In this case, I wasn’t in a place where I had a wi-fi connection…although this is one I would have liked to have gotten to have to give as a gift at the holidays.

Here is information on the program:

As I’ve written before, I look at these LTOs (Limited Time Offers) sort of like buying a lottery ticket: I don’t expect to get one (win), but its exciting if I do! Of course, the “ticket” doesn’t cost me anything.

These LTOs are one of the best arguments for having Special Offers…and yes, a good argument for having a  Fire (at AmazonSmile)!

Did you get one? Do you have any other comment on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

===

* 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.


Kindle Fires are on sale today

Kindle Fires are on sale today

Note: see the update below: Prime members are getting an extra ten percent off the prices listed in the first part of this post!

This is a “limited time” offer, but not one of those that disappears in seconds. No way to know how long it will last, but I guess it will be good for today. Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button.

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s my personally most-used device.

It’s $199 for the configuration I have: 16 GB, special offers, wi-fi only.

That’s $30 off the normal $299 price.

It appears to be $30 off any of the possible configurations.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (at AmazonSmile)

is $40 off, again, that appears to be all the configurations (including 4G).

That brings the cheapest version down to $339.

In addition to the larger screen, you also get a rear-facing camera with that one, in addition to the front-facing camera (for videocalls, mostly) you get on the 7″.

Kindle Fire HD (2nd generation) 7″ (at AmazonSmile)

No cameras, no Mayday…but $20 off the 8GB makes it as low as $119. 16GB? $40 off.

For comparison’s sake, $119 makes it the same price as the

Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ 2nd generation, wi-fi only, with Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

Update: thanks to reader Glenn Starrett for the heads-up on this one!

I missed this at first, and I think a lot of people did.

For the first time, Prime members are getting an additional discount on Kindles…and it can be combined with the above.

We don’t know if it will last very long, but the extra 10% is an interesting move (and a way to give us more as they raise the prices. Here are the details:

Prime Members Save 10% on Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

Bonus tip: I’ve written before about pricing strategies. Pricing something with a price ending in .99 makes it seem like you are getting a bargain, like you are saving money.

Pricing something ending in .00 makes it seem like it is a quality product.  When I managed a gamestore (I also managed a bookstore), we couldn’t have sold a $499 chess set…but we could sell a $500 one. Someone spending that much doesn’t want a “bargain”, they want “the best”.

Oddly, sort of the same thing goes with Kindle books. A stand-out book may be priced at an even $5, instead of $4.99:

$5 books in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile)

Some of the books there:

  • Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Lean In by Sheryl Strandberg
  • I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

Those were all buzzy books. That doesn’t mean that books priced at $4.99 aren’t as good, and certainly not that they aren’t as popular. It’s just that if you sort things only by price, you may miss some really good backlist books at what are now bargain prices.

Enjoy!

* 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.