TKC 323 Maik Maurer & Frank Waldman

Maik and Frank

Co-Founders of Spritz

Interview starts at 10:52

We see this as a technology where people are reading on the go. I have the Kindle app on my iPhone, and I read my books on my iPhone that way. I’d love of course to make that Spritzable, and then I would just hold it at times when I have a few minutes, and I’ll get through a few pages. (Frank Waldman, CEO)

Show Notes and Links:

News

“Report: Amazon to Open retail store in NYC” by Jefferson Graham at USA Today – October 9, 2014

“Publishing Battle Should be Covered, Not Joined” by Margaret Sullivan, public editor at The New York Times – October 4, 2014

 “Jeff Bezos’s” New Plan for News: The Washington Post Becomes an Amazon Product” by Brad Stone at BloombergBusinessweek – October 6, 3014

Fire HDX 8.9″

Tech Tips

ReadMe! app at iTunes Store – $1.99

Project Gutenberg

Interview with Frank Waldman and Maik Maurer

Spritz

ReadMe! app for iOS, based on Spritz technology

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain (link is to Project Gutenberg where you can download free ePub version for use with Spritz on an iPad or iPhone)

Readsy web app based on Spritz

Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatch, which uses Spritz (listing at Amazon.com)

“Spritz’s speed-reading tech shows up to 1,000 words a minute, makes its debut on Samsung devices” by Dana Wollman at engadget – March 11, 2014

“Financial Times brings fastFT to wearables” – August 29, 2014 (Spritz-enabled Samsung Gear app for reading the FT)

Google Glass

Content

The Dog Stars and The Painter, novels by Peter Heller

Next Week’s Guest

Author Peter Heller

Outro

Kindle Voyage

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

Round up #273: what Edith Wharton and Scarlett Johansson have in common, the Everything Store store

Round up #273: what Edith Wharton and Scarlett Johansson have in common, the Everything Store store

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

The New Yorker cartoon about Amazon

A reader alerted me in a private e-mail (thanks, reader! If you want credit, let me know) about this

New Yorker cartoon by Sip Ress

It illustrates how some people feel about Amazon (present company excepted…I assume). ;)

Amazon webcast of Q3 financials

Amazon has announced that they will webcast their third quarter financials (they always webcast them) on Thursday, October 23, at 2:00 PM Pacific.

You can listen live at

www.amazon.com/ir

or listen to the recording later at the same site. I’ll let you know what I think. This is an interesting one, because of all the controversy with Hachette (and other things), the launch of the Fire Phone, and Kindle Unlimited. I think the last one must be working pretty well, since they are expanding it to other markets.

This

Seeking Alpha article by ValueWalk

suggests it may be a better report than some people projected.

“You know what this website needs? Walls…”

According to this

New York Daily News article by Katherine Clarke

and other sources (it seems to have started with the New York Times, but they like to keep their stuff from you with a paywall…I try to make this simple for you when I can), Amazon is going to open a brick and mortar (or as Clarke cleverly called it, “clicks and mortar”) store in New York City.

Don’t expect to walk into it and see twenty million books. :) It will probably serve two main purposes.

The first is as a showroom for Amazon hardware and such. You know, they can have Kindles and Fires (tablets, TV, phones) on display, and let you get hands on. Gee, this is a case where showrooming (something that many brick and mortar stores hate: people come into their store to check out items, feel them…and then buy them online) is a good thing. ;)

That makes sense: it’s not a store/store, it’s a live demo.

The other thing they are likely to do it “order online, pick up in person”. That would only be for a limited number of items if you wanted to pick it up the same day, and could be far more if you are willing to wait a couple of days.

It seems pretty unlikely to me, as a former retailer, that the store can sell enough merchandise in that location to be profitable…but if you chalk it up to advertising expense, it makes sense.

New York Comic Con

It may not be as big as San Diego Comic Con, but New York Comic Con is happening this weekend. You can expect some tie-in deals from Amazon: one of my regular readers, Brian Hartman, commented on this, noticing it on trade paperbacks (the large size).

While Amazon recently bought the very popular Comixology app, they also have comic books available directly through the Kindle store:

Comic Books in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m not noticing a big sale there, but I did stumble across that there are over 4,000 comic books available as part of Kindle Unlimited! I keep seeing more and more value to that subscription…

Some books coming to TV

Movies and TV based on books can really drive up book sales…Gone Girl is #1 in the Kindle store right now, for example.

So, here’s a quick listing of some upcoming adaptations. Note that they might never make it to your screen…you never know for sure.

  • Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy on Spike
  • Steven Frey’s The Chairman on Spike
  • Richard D. Bronson’s War at the Shore on Spike
  • Mairi Hedderwick’s Katie Morag books on CBBC
  • Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel The Custom of the Country (to star Scarlett Johanssson), network to be determined
  • Dan Brown’s The Digital Fortress on ABC
  • Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, network to be determined

What do you think? Is there a book you would like to see adapted to TV? would you be excited to go to an Amazon physical store. Do you have  a prediction on Amazon’s Q3 financials? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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.

 


Barnes & Noble partners with Overdrive on magazines for public libraries

Barnes & Noble partners with Overdrive on magazines for public libraries

In this

press release

Barnes & Noble announced today that they are partnering with Overdrive to make magazines and newspapers available through public libraries which can be read on NOOKs and NOOK apps.

Public libraries have quite a variety of e-media available (although it varies greatly from location to location).

Many of them have e-books, of course, but they also have audiobooks, videos…even comics.

Some of them have magazines now: Zinio, which I use on my

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

which I use to read Fortean Times, does it, although not with all magazines (at least not at all branches).

If you have the NOOK app on your device, you could use this (if your public library is participating…important ifs, there, both of them).

You could install the NOOK app on your PC, for example, and borrow just a current issue of a magazine, if there was a particular article you wanted to see.

I would love it if the Kindle Newsstand would do this as well!

There are times when I just want to read that one article…maybe a comparison of EBRs (E-Book Readers). I don’t want to keep it after that…I just want to get the information.

Buying a single issue can be more expensive than subscribing for a month and then canceling, oddly enough.

Take

National Geographic Magazine (at Amazon Smile*)

for example, to which we do subscribe.

You can get a trial month for free (which would probably get you the current issue you wanted).

You can subscribe for $1.99 a month (and cancel at any time, even keeping that “copy” on your device).

Or you can buy the current issue…for $4.99.

Hmm… ;)

It’s nice to see that B&N is still trying new things, still pushing the race for customers to higher speeds.

That’s only good for us as Amazon customers.

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.


Who is still blocking text-to-speech access?

Who is still blocking text-to-speech access?

A Kindle with text-to-speech access can use software to read aloud any text downloaded to it…provided that the ability to do that is not blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file which prevents it.

I haven’t written much about this in a while (although it still comes up), but it is an important issue to me. I believe that blocking the access disproportionately disadvantages the disabled. Personally, I don’t get books which have the access blocked, and I don’t intentionally link to books with the access blocked in the blog (I don’t want to give the publisher money on books where that decision has been made, and I don’t want to benefit from it by people clicking on the link in my blog).

However, I do believe this is a personal decision, and there are good arguments for supporting the author by buying the book (the author often has very little influence over whether it is blocked or not).

If you want more information on the issue, see my post from a bit over four years ago

The Disabled Deserve to Read

There was a time when blocking the access seemed much more common: Random House used to flat out state that they blocked it on all titles…but they later reversed that decision.

I thought it was going away. I think it’s generally a bad economic decision on the publisher’s part to block the access…I think it reduces the size of the audience. I use TTS myself quite a bit…I typically listen to it for hours a week in the car (I’d rather listen to a book than talk radio or music). That means I finish a book a lot more quickly, and need another book sooner.

Most people guess that publishers block it because they think it competes with the audiobook market. They are really two very different things. The audiobook is read by a human being (often, the author or an actor). TTS is just software (which incorporates a human’s voice, but that human was not reading this particular book…see my article

An ILMK interview with September Day, the voice of the Kindle Fire HD)

I’m sure I’m unusual in this, but I prefer TTS (unless I’ve read the book before). I don’t like the narrator interpreting the characters for me.

Whether you prefer TTS or an audiobook, though, I’m sure the preference tends to be pretty strong. They aren’t the same: it’s a very different experience. I find it pretty unlikely that people who would have bought the audiobook otherwise decide not to do it because TTS is available. If someone is print disabled and needs an accessible version, they can often get one for free (if they can certify the disability), so that’s not the audience here. From what I’ve seen, audiobooks wouldn’t tend to be their choice, because they are too slow. Many people with print disabilities listen to TTS on very fast speeds: they can interpret it that quickly, where as many people have trouble with it going that fast.

I noticed recently, though, that a number of books from the publisher Simon & Schuster seemed to be blocking access on a lot of books.

I decided to check: I like to see the data. :)

There are now a Big Five of USA trade (the kind of books you buy in a bookstore, rather than textbooks and such) publishers.

I took the top ten books for each publisher, and looked to see howmany had it blocked.

  • Simon and Schuster (I searched for “Simon”): 100% blocked
  • Hachette (I searched for “Grand Central”): 20% blocked
  • Penguin Random House (I searched for “Penguin”): 0% blocked
  • Macmillan (I searched for “Macmillan”): 0% blocked
  • HarperCollins (I searched for “HarperCollins”): 0% blocked

So, with this limited sample, my observation seems to have been right: Simon & Schuster does seems to be blocking it much more.

For quite a while, I had a personal policy of not buying books from companies which blocked, but eventually became convinced (see? I am flexible) ;) that just not buying the ones which are blocked is a clearer message to the publisher. I have also communicated with them more directly and explicitly about how I feel about the situation.

S&S is the smallest of the Big 5 and, well, I don’t this policy is going to help them change that.

What might change it?

One wild possibility is Amazon buying Simon & Schuster. Amazon does not block TTS in its traditionally published books. It discourages blocking it in books going through its Kindle Direct Publishing. Leaving it unblocked is one of the things you have to do to be eligible for a 70% royalty (versus a 35% royalty).

Earlier this year, Nate Hoffelder in this

The Digital Reader article

suggested it was a possibility that Amazon was in talks to buy S&S.

Being the smallest, and perhaps most vulnerable in terms of parent company relationships, it could be the most likely one.

Would Amazon want a tradpub (traditional publisher)? Maybe…they’ve owned an audiobook publisher (Brilliance). They are doing more and more traditional publishing on their own.

I don’t know that they would buy it and keep it as Simon and Schuster…I think they might be happy just owning the backlist. However, in several of their acquisitions, they have kept the names and even basic structures (Zappos and IMDb come to mind).

If they did keep it as S&S, that might even make legal challenges more likely. Buying the backlist is one thing. Operating a content producer and content distributor both can be something else. There was a time when movie studios owned movie theatre chains: that got broken up. That parallel would not be left unremarked by other publishers.

Hoffelder has called mergers before…although this is a case of it being called “possible” not “probable”.

Short of Amazon buying it, S&S could change the policy. I can tell you that we bought one of their most popular books when it wasn’t blocked…and then they blocked it subsequently. I even wrote the author on that one, because I really like the book and wanted to be able to recommend it freely.

That suggests to me that it isn’t simply a case of waiting for contracts to run out (perhaps related to audiobooks)…this decision is happening currently.

I sincerely hope they stop blocking it…we’ll keep an eye on the trends here.

What do you think? Should Amazon buy S&S? Should they buy another big publisher? Would the Department of Justice allow it? Does TTS hurt audiobook sales? 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!

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.


Are there more…? #1

Are there more…? #1

This is just a fun little game. It’s based on Amazon’s categories, and I used

eReaderIQ.com

to do the search.

In the USA Kindle store, are there more…

  1. Books about wombats or books about walruses?
  2. Books with the reader age of “teen” or cookbooks?
  3. Five star range books (probably 4.5 and up) that are free, or five star range books which cost at least $25?
  4. Science fiction and fantasy, or romance?
  5. Books in Japanese or books in French?
  6. Books by Stephen King or books by Agatha Christie?
  7. Books published in 2014, or books in the Classics category of Literature & Fiction?
  8. Books published by Harlequin or books with the keyword of “clown”?
  9. Books that are at least 50% off or books under $10?
  10. Books in Kindle Unlimited (I did not use eRIQ for this) or books in Spanish?

Answers tomorrow…

Update: here are the answers!

  1. Books about wombats or books about walruses? Wombats = 77; Walruses = 6
  2. Books with the reader age of “teen” or cookbooks? Teen = 16, 481; Cookbooks = 47,002
  3. Five star range books (probably 4.5 and up) that are free, or five star range books which cost at least $25? Free = 5,226; $25 or more = 27,736
  4. Science fiction and fantasy, or romance? SF&F = 178,327; Romance = 210,896
  5. Books in Japanese or books in French? Japanese = 28,502; French = 60,578
  6. Books by Stephen King or books by Agatha Christie? Stephen King = 242; Agatha Christie = 439
  7. Books published in 2014, or books in the Classics category of Literature & Fiction? 2014 = 708,668; Classics = 42,866
  8. Books published by Harlequin or books with the keyword of “clown”? Harlequin = 21,945; Clown = 835
  9. Books that are at least 50% off or books under $10? 50% = 1,814; Under $10 = 2,455,978
  10. Books in Kindle Unlimited (I did not use eRIQ for this) or books in Spanish? KU = 740,397; Spanish =  107,216

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

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.


#1 New York Times bestsellers available through Kindle Unlimited

#1 New York Times bestsellers available through Kindle Unlimited

It doesn’t surprise me that there have been a lot of…I was going to say “cynical”, but let’s go with “dismissive” comments about the selection of books available through Amazon’s subser (subscription service):

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

I think people tend to test it in the same way they tested the Kindle store in the early years.

They look for books they already love, and see if they would be available.

Well, there is something to be said for discovery. :)

After all, you didn’t love those books you love before you read them, right?

You may have particular authors you like, or want to read the next book in a series…I completely understand that.

That’s why it’s important to realize that, if you do pay the $9.99 a month for Kindle Unlimited, you can still buy other books if you want. I know there will be a desire to have it eliminate all of your other book spending, and that’s certainly possible. However, if you have KU and you spend $9.99 on one other book, that’s still less than $20 that month for books.

I have to say, what I’m finding is that I’m reading much more expensive books than I would have otherwise through KU.

I read quite a few public domain classics, which are free, and I often find books that are on sale or are inexpensive. The big difference for me with KU is that I’m reading books which cost $9.99 or thereabouts, which I would not have read otherwise.

That’s a bit of a mental shift. You may have stopped looking at well-known older books, since they can be quite expensive (much more expensive as an e-book than they were in mass market paperback years ago). I don’t find that unreasonable, by the way. I’ve never quite understood why some people think an older book should automatically be cheaper than a new one…when the value you derive from reading it is the same it was when it was initially released.

I’m amazed at books which I stumble across in KU. Sure, there are a lot of indies (independently published books) which are unknown to me, but there are also some which were bestsellers.

What I thought I’d do in this post (and which I may do again in the future) is list ten New York Times fiction bestsellers which are available through KU.

To make it harder, I went only with ones which had been a #1 bestseller.

I started at the excellent site

Hawes Publications site

which has lists of NYT bestsellers.

The page to which I linked above is specifically #1 NYT fiction bestsellers.

Then, I just started going through them to see which ones were available through KU.

I started chronologically at the beginning (which is how they are listed).

The Robe (at Amazon Smile*)
by Lloyd C. Douglas
November 22, 1942
4.6 out of 5 stars, 203 customer reviews
$9.39 at time of writing without KU
Whispersync for Voice (WSV) ready

This is a faith-based novel set in Roman times. It was on the NYT list for something like a year, and was later made into a movie with Richard Burton.

Forever Amber (at AmazonSmile*)
by Kathleen Winsor
November 14, 1944
4.4 stars, 370 reviews
$10.99 without KU
historical romance

Otto Preminger directed LInda Darnell, Cornel Wilde, and George Sanders in the movie.

So Well Remembered (at AmazonSmile*)
by James Hilton
September 23, 1945
5.0 stars, 2 reviews
$13.99 without KU

The Kindle edition may seem expensive, but it’s actually a bundle with three complete Hilton novels (So Well Remembered, Random Harvest, and We Are Not Alone). Hilton is arguably best known for Lost Horizon and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Trevor Howard was in the adaptation of So Well Remembered.

Gentleman’s Agreement (at AmazonSmile*)
by Laura Z. Hobson
April 27, 1947
4.2 stars, 23 reviews
$7.69 without KU

Huge bestseller which tackled the issue of anti-Semitism, and became a Gregory Peck starring Best Picture Oscar winner.

House Divided (at AmazonSmile*)
by Ben Ames Williams
November 9, 1947
4.7 stars, 37 reviews
$9.99 without KU

Historical novel set during the American Civil War.

Raintree County (at AmazonSmile*)
by Ross Lockridge
April 25, 1948
4.6 stars, 45 reviews
$9.99 without KU

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the movie adaptation of this novel set in 19th Century America.

The Young Lions (at AmazonSmile*)
by Irwin Shaw
November 7, 1948
4.5 stars, 172 reviews
$9.99 without KU

A World War II novel…published three short years after the war ended. Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin starred in a 1958 adaptation.

From Here to Eternity (at AmazonSmile*)
by James Jones
March 25, 1951
4.2 stars, 151 reviews
$9.99 without KU

The World War II novel became one of the most-Oscar awarded movies, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), and Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed).

Exodus (at Amazon Smile*)
by Leon Uris
May 17, 1959
4.5 stars, 445 reviews
$6.83 without KU

This one is about the founding of Israel, and became one of the bestselling novels up to that time in the USA. Paul Newman starred in the movie.

The Group (at AmazonSmile*)
by Mary McCarthy
October 6, 1963
3.3 stars, 263 reviews
$9.99 without KU

Almost two years on the NYT list, this novel was seen as a cultural touchstone. Sidney Lumet directed Candice Bergen and Joan Hackett, among several others. The controversial subject matter may have hurt the movie at the Oscars (no noms),but there was recognition from BAFTA (the UK) and the Golden Bear (Germany).

There you are! While you might not buy these books at these prices, you certainly might want to read some of them at no additional cost through your KU membership.

If you are a fast reader, you might get through all of them during your free month. ;)

If you aren’t a KU member, you can still buy them, of course.

I may add another set of these…and I think I would include some non-fiction. Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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! :) 

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.


A Stunning In-House Rebuke for The Times’s Biased Coverage of Amazon

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 8.25.07 PMMy faith in The New York Times is restored tonight with Public Editor Margaret Sullivan’s measured but stinging rebuke of Times reporter David Streitfeld for his one-sided coverage of the Amazon/Hachette battle.

Sullivan, writing in her role as the newspaper’s ombudsman, said she has heard from many readers “that The Times is demonizing Amazon and siding with publishers and those authors who support them.” I was one of the many who wrote to her. On September 15th I emailed Sullivan and urged her to look into the matter, and I included a link to Hugh Howey’s powerful blog post that day in which Howey charged that Streitfeld “has now cemented himself as the blabbering mouthpiece for the New York publishing cartel.”

I frankly never dreamed we’d see this strong a correction of The Times’s coverage. But it makes sense, because Streitfeld is just one writer at a paper whose reporters include more nuanced and objective journalists. I am thinking in particular of David Carr, Farhad Manjoo, and the recently hired (from The Wall Street JournalAlexandra Alter. They usually cover Amazon like any other business, not as “the end of the world as we know it,” to quote from the opening of Sullivan’s column.

Her closing two paragraphs are worth quoting verbatim:

MY take: It’s important to remember that this is a tale of digital disruption,not good and evil. The establishment figures The Times has quoted on this issue, respected and renowned though they are, should have their statements subjected to critical analysis, just as Amazon’s actions should be. The Times has given a lot of ink to one side and — in story choice, tone and display — helped to portray the retailer as a literature-killing bully instead of a hard-nosed business.

I would like to see more unemotional exploration of the economic issues; more critical questioning of the statements of big-name publishing players; and greater representation of those who think Amazon may be a boon to a book-loving culture, not its killer.

Well said!

Here is the link to the column.

 

 

 

Send to Kindle

Review: new $79 Kindle

Review: new $79 Kindle

7th generation entry level Kindle: “Mindle Touch” (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ve had the opportunity to do a hands-on exploration of the new Kindle.

Let me start out by saying that this is a considerable improvement over the former $69 Kindle, thanks both to the touch screen and the quality of the display.

If what you want is an inexpensive device for reading, this will work well.

In fact, comparing the same text of the same edition of the same book with the  same settings (font size 4, Caecillia) with the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite 2 (with the light turned all the way down), the KP7 (on the top) is easier to read:

K7vKPW2

The background seems lighter and the text seems thicker…that seems odd, because there are more PPI (Pixels Per Inch) on the Paperwhite…they are doing something different to optimize the appearance.

The device itself feels light, which is a goal for people. Irrationally, it also makes it feel a bit cheap…it definitely feels like plastic.

Another “feel” issue is that it is a tiny bit wider than the previous version, which would take a bit of getting used to, although it is only slightly wider (2mm…a tenth of an inch) and slightly thicker than the Paperwhite.

I think, though, it may feel wider than the Paperwhite in part because of the clear bevel of the edges:

Bevel

The KP7 is on your left, the Paperwhite on your right. The PW slopes away smoothly. The K7 has a perpendicular edge, and then it slopes. That’s kind of geeky, I know, but the bottom line is that where you are holding it is thicker. It’s not enough for me to be a problem, but I would say it is slightly less comfortable.

Other external differences with the Paperwhite include

  • The word Kindle on the front of the device is not in silver. Some people actually found the silver distracting when they were reading, so I would say that’s going to be an improvement
  • On the back of the new device, it says “Amazon” rather than “Kindle”

What about the software?

It looks very similar to the Paperwhite. The menu on the homescreen has the same choices.

When you tap the Settings choice, they’ve consolidated the Device Time choice into “Personalize your Kindle”…which makes sense (it didn’t need its own menu choice).

Within a book, they’ve changed the order of the menu…but the choices are the same.

“Long press” a word in the book, and again, the choices are essentially the same.

The choices in the store were a bit different. Tapping the menu there, the K7 doesn’t have a Kindle Unlimited choice (although it’s on the screen), and does have “Recommended for You”, which the Paperwhite doesn’t have.

Overall, it’s very much like the Paperwhite 2 in terms of software.

I’ve liked my PW2 very much, and I think people would like this also.

So, the question seems obvious: why pay $40 more for the

Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*)

?

The answer is equally obvious: the light.

The built-in light on the Paperwhite is a wonderful thing. It gives me the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had, including paper.

However, you may just want to have a guest Kindle, or a “spare”, or something more inexpensive for a young reader. Maybe you are working or going somewhere where you will the risk of loss, theft, or damage is high…and you’d rather bring one that’s easier to replace.

As has been the case with recent non-Fire Kindles, and is the case with all of the non-Fire Kindles being sold new by Amazon, including the top of the line

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

the K7 does not have sound: no audiobooks, no music, and no text-to-speech. Personally, I’d like to see that as a choice: TTS is a big part of my life (I listen to it typically for hours a week in the car), and I’d be fine with it being done without onboard speakers (just a headphone jack, so I can plug it into the car’s sound system, or listen with headphones at home).

Bottom line: the K7 is a fine basic reader, $40 less than the Kindle Paperwhite 2, and an improvement over the previous “entry level” model. It has up-to-date features in the software. Some people will want to pay more for the light, and others will choose to pay $120 more for the top of the line Voyage.

If you have any specific questions about the device, feel free to ask by commenting on this post. I will probably have it for a few more days, while I document a bit more about it.

 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.


Round up #272: Fire update coming, Mindle Touch questions?

Round up #272: Fire update coming, Mindle Touch questions?

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

I have a Mindle Touch

I plan to write a review by Monday, but I wanted to let you know that Amazon has loaned me a

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

for review.

That’s the new $79 model. I called the old “entry level” model a “Mindle” (for minimum Kindle), and this one has a touchscreen, so…Mindle Touch.

Interestingly, Amazon refers to it in a few places as a 7th generation Kindle.

I’m guessing they are counting it this way:

  1. Kindle 1
  2. Kindle 2
  3. Kindle 3 (AKA Kindle Keyboard)
  4. Mindle
  5. Kindle Touch
  6. Kindle Paperwhite
  7. Mindle Touch

That would make sense to me: the Kindle DX was basically the same software as the Kindle 2…same generation, even though it was a different size.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention it in case you have any questions before I send it back. I’ve never asked them for review copies before, but really, I’m quite satisfied with our Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*) and our Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at this point…just didn’t want to buy new ones. After all, I’m apparently one of the very few people to pay close to $200 for the Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) recently…that’s a chunk of budget. :)

I’ve also asked for a Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for review…if I get one, I’ll let you know.

Amazon announces Fire OS 4…on my device

I got a letter from Jeff Bezos on my KFHDX7 this morning…I’m assuming many other people did, too. :)

It’s alerting me that the devices will be updated (for free) to Fire OS (Operating System) 4 in “the coming weeks”. That will be on the new generation of Fires, but I’m sure won’t be on the first generation.

What is it bringing?

  • Profiles (to the USA, UK, and Germany): every “family member” (Amazon usually doesn’t require proof…you know, like DNA sequencing) ;) can have a profile, including “individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, page in the book, spot in a movie, and game levels”. This ties in, in a way, with the Family Library which is coming, which will let us share books with people not on our accounts (we don’t know exactly what limitations that will have yet)
  • Office Documents: we’ll get WPS Office, so we can edit Microsoft Office documents (including creating new ones). It’s going to integrate with the Cloud Drive
  • Longer Battery Life: better battery management when sleeping
  • New Weather and Calculator Apps
  • Full-Screen Immersive Mode: apps and games will full the full screen in “immersive mode”
  • Backup & Restore: it will be interesting to see exactly what this done. It doesn’t look to me like it will mirror your entire device (your personal documents, which books you’ve already downloaded from your Amazon account), but can do “device settings, email and wireless configuration, notes, bookmarks, and more…” I never find the transition to a new device very difficult (I don’t keep a lot of content actually on my devices), but this may make it easier. It would be nice to get a new device and already have it on my network without having to enter a password, for example

Did you notice that Family Library wasn’t on the list? I assume that’s because that isn’t part of Fire OS 4, and that it will work with a much wider range of devices. This update could also affect the Fire Phone…and possibly, in some way, Fire TV.

Why send this announcement now, ahead of time? I think, in part, Amazon’s trying to patch its reputation going into the holiday season…and caring for customers with devices already helps them decide to buy newer devices.

Amazon sends more info on their crowd-sourced publishing program

I also got an e-mail from Amazon this week about their upcoming program. It explains it pretty well (and I’ve mentioned it previously). The basic idea is that authors can put up a sample of a complete but unpublished novel, readers “vote” on them, and Amazon will select some for publishing…paying at least a $1,500 advance. We could use a few more details, but I think this may work very well for Amazon…although it isn’t without risk (the main one being that it is seen as being fair). Here’s that e-mail:

Dear Author,

Thanks for subscribing to receive updates on Amazon’s new publishing program! We’re excited to announce that we’ll be opening for submissions in a couple weeks.

We’ll be welcoming submissions for English-language books in Romance, Mystery & Thriller, and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres. Any adult with a valid U.S. bank account and U.S. social security number or tax identification number is eligible.

It only takes 15 minutes to complete a submission. Here are the things that you should prepare to successfully submit your book:

  • Complete, never-before-published manuscript & book cover image - We’re looking for 50,000 words or more in Word format and a book cover image that reflects the essence and uniqueness of your book. Make sure your work is ready for others to read. Only the first pages will be posted to the website (approx. 3,000 words).
  • Book one-liner - A very short pitch (no longer than 45 characters) for your book that will be used on the homepage and throughout the website. Think of examples like “Space opera meets the Middle Ages” or “How far will one woman go to save her family?”
  • Book description- Help readers understand the content and quality of your book. Keep the description to 500 characters or less.
  • Your bio & picture - Give readers a chance to learn more about you. You will also have a chance to answer relevant questions regarding your book and personal story in a short Q&A section.

We’ll also ask you to review and accept our submission and publishing agreement that grants us a 45-day exclusivity period to post your excerpt and tally nominations. If chosen for publication, you will receive a $1,500 advance, 5-year renewable term, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions, and Amazon-featured marketing. If not, you automatically get all your rights back at the end of the 45-day exclusivity period.
We’ll send you an email as soon as we’re open for submissions. Looking forward to hearing from you!

I don’t have a book written already that will fit this. I suspect it will have somewhat of a soft start: my guess is that people will write books specifically to try them for this program. Some folks have books sitting around…but how many of them won’t have independently published them already before they heard about this program?

You can contact Amazon about it here:

newpublishingprogram@amazon.com

Put in the subject “Question about Amazon’s new publishing program”.

Amazon still working on the KOLL/KU problem

Amazon’s been getting more information from me about the issue with being both a

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

member and a Prime member eligible to use the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).

If you are both (which I am), at least some people (including me) are finding it very difficult to impossible to borrow a KOLL book. All of the books which are in both the KOLL and KU only seem to want me to borrow them through KU. If a book is in the KOLL and not in KU (a quite small number, from what I can tell), then I could do it…but that’s not much of a benefit. It doesn’t bother me that much…I’m not a Prime member because of the KOLL, it’s just a nice perk. Still, it doesn’t seem to be working the way Amazon wants it to work…and it does feel like a bit of a takeaway.

I’ve given them information about my experiences with it…I’ll let you know if they let me know that they’ve figured anything out.

Seeking Alpha round-up

I continue to be impressed with the quality of stories about Amazon at Seeking Alpha. Here are some recent ones:

Update: Fire Phone And Kindle Voyage Developments by Paulo Santos

Santos sees both the Fire Phone and the Kindle Voyage as underperforming, and indicative of Amazon’s customers not being able to be brought to profitable price points.

2 Reasons Why Amazon Will Never Make Money by Shock Exchange

The two reasons? They don’t know how, and they don’t wanna. ;) They recommend selling the stock.

How Amazon.com Got Into Yet Another Fight, This Time With Greenpeace by Paulo Santos

Santos starts out by apologizing for writing about Amazon so much. :) This one did interest me, though: Amazon has had a rep as being an environmentally conscious company…not someone you would expect Greenpeace to actively target.

However, Santos noticed a massive drop in ratings for the Fire Phone…and thinks it is due to an active 1-star campaign by the non-profit.

I generally like Greenpeace, but this raises an interesting question for me: should you go after a company by rating one of their products at 1-star? What does their policy (with which you disagree…details on that in the article) have to do with the quality of the device? I don’t rate books as 1-star because the publisher chooses to block text-to-speech access…I don’t buy the book, but it doesn’t feel…honest to rate the book 1-star on that basis.

What do you think? What do you want me to check on the Mindle Touch? Is rating a product 1-star because of a policy something with which agree? Does it make a difference that this is an Amazon product, rather rating, say, an e-book not from Amazon 1-star because the price it too high or it isn’t available in your country? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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 322 Paul Biba

Paul Biba

Twitter Curator of eBook/ePublishing/eLibrary news

Interview starts at 14:25

Many of the things that the authors and the publishers complain about are normal, everyday behavior in the chemical industry, in the auto industry, in the telecom industry, and the construction industry, which are industries which I’ve worked on—this is the way business works. The publishing industry doesn’t understand this, and so when Amazon does things that are normal business practices, they get very upset, because they’ve never seen this type of business before.

Show Notes and Links:

News

My video review of the new $79 Kindle with special offers

Fire HD6 8GB with special offers – $99

Fire HD7 8GB with special offers – $139

Mindmaps app by Endare for Kindle Fire – $3.99

“Amazon draws line between Fire tablet and Kindle e-reader” by Donna Tam at CNET – September 25, 2014

“Should Amazon acquire Best Buy or RadioShack? Pros debate” at CNBC – September 15, 2014

Tech Tips

Amazon press release introducing Fire OS 4 “Sangria” – September 17, 2014

Fire OS 4 features page at Amazon.com (scroll down)

“Kingsoft’s WPS Office Suite Comes to Fire OS 4” – Kingsoft press release on September 30, 2014

Interview witPaul Biba

Paul Biba’s curated Twitter feed on eBook/ePublishing/eLibrary news

“TeleRead Editor-in-Chief Paul Biba resigns” by Paul Biba at TeleRead - July 23, 2014

Feedbin

Feedly

Mr. Reader RSS reader for iPad

PressReader for Kindle Fire

Feedly for Kindle Fire

Paul Biba’s tweets compiled each Sunday at No Shelf Required

Content

Best Books of October, as chosen by Amazon’s book editors

Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion by Gregg Levoy

Comments

“New Kindle Getting Mixed Reviews on Screen Quality” by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader – October 3, 2014

Next Week’s Guest

Frank Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Spritz

Outro

Moto360 Watch

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.

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