August 2014 Kindle book releases

August 2014 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 3,683 (at time of writing) August releases in the USA Kindle store:

August 2014 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

One interesting thing before I get into some individual titles: the first four (sorted by new and popular) are the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month!

Since Prime members can already be reading one of these (even though they aren’t officially released until August) at no additional cost, you can see how that would drive up their popularity as compared to actual pre-orders. Still, I think that’s the first time.

The other thing is that there are some Kindle Worlds titles way up on the list, and those are part of Kindle Unlimited. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

Night Moves (at AmazonSmile)
by Nora Roberts
pre-order for August 4 (first Kindle issue of 1985 title)
romance – historical
$5.38

One of the most popular authors…period.

The Evolution and Equilibrium of Copyright in the Digital Age (Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law) (at AmazonSmile)
edited by Susy Frankel and Daniel Gervais
pre-order for August 31
law – intellectual property
$76.80

Okay, this isn’t for everybody…but I don’t like to just list super popular books. :) There are quite a few books from Cambridge being released on August 31st in the USA Kindle store.

Doing It (at AmazonSmile)
by Melvin Burgess
pre-order for August 31
fiction – young adult
$7.99

This is a Carnegie medal winning young adult novel (think the Newbery in the USA), but it sounds like it would get challenged as inappropriate a lot in school libraries…if those who would challenge can figure out the British slang. ;)

Election Administration in the United States: The State of Reform after Bush v. Gore (at AmazonSmile)
edited by R. Michael Alvarez and Bernard M. Grofman
pre-order for August 31
politics
$9.99 ($85 in print)

Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles) (at AmazonSmile)
by Nicole Conway
young adult – fantasy
$3.49

I thought it might be related to Pern…it’s not.

Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 ( at AmazonSmile
by Dav Pilkey
pre-order for August 26
children’s
$7.39

Often a challenged books in libraries. There is a Captain Underpants movie scheduled for release in 2017…

Sidewinders: Bleeding Texas (at AmazonSmile)
by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone
pre-order for August 5
fiction – Western
$5.49

J.A. is Bill’s nephew (Bill died about ten years ago, I think).

The Serpent and the Rope (at AmazonSmile)
by Raja Rao (translated by John Murray
pre-order for April 15
contemporary fiction
$9.99

Enjoy!

One more thing: in preparing this small selection, I was struck by how few of the Big Five publishers books I was seeing. That seemed quite unusual, and it actually worried me that negotiations might be keeping a high number of them out of the store. That could still be the case, but I did search by HarperCollins, and by Schuster (to find Simon &), and found books from both publishers scheduled to be released in August. While there still could be some being withheld, there are some scheduled.

That could just mean that they are dropping in relative popularity, so I’m not running across them as easily…hard to say, exactly. I’ll try to keep an eye on 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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 gives numbers: it’s about prices, not share

Amazon gives numbers: it’s about prices, not share

Amazon has added a fascinating

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

which does something Amazon rarely does: it gives specific numbers.

I know when I do my analysis posts, some people just skip them. :) Not everybody likes seeing the mathematical interiors of something they enjoy:  for some, it’s like seeing an x-ray of the person they are dating. ;)

However, these are statistics as a weapon…a weapon in what I call the Hachazon war. That’s the ongoing disagreement between Amazon and Hachette, one of the Big Five publishers (presumably, Amazon is also in or going to be in similar negotiations with the other four).

It’s a carefully crafted post, with again, Amazon taking the populist/consumer point of view…and tacking on support for authors.

I’m not saying that isn’t how they sincerely feel: it certainly could be. It’s just apparent to me that the statement has a very large position framing component…and it’s reasonable that it does, of course.

I recommend that you read it, and I do want to point out some key points.

The biggest argument made is that Amazon isn’t fighting with Hachette over revenue share, as has been reported. It’s not (according to the e-tailer) about trying to get, say, 50% of the sale rather than 30%.

It’s about keeping the prices low.

Amazon argues that e-book prices should be lower than p-book (paperbook) prices. Since the rise in popularity of e-books with the release of the Kindle in 2007, that’s been many consumers’ intuitive sense. We would see posts about that all the time in the forums: “There is no paper cost, it’s just a file.”

For many of those posts, it was clear that they didn’t understand the economics (which Amazon presumably does). They were only talking about manufacture, and that is a small part of the cost of producing a book. I remember an analysis, way back when, that an e-book was about 12.5% less expensive to produce than a p-book.

How can that be?

What costs the most money isn’t the paper, it’s the people. Even for an e-book, you still need to pay the author (although not necessarily the same amount), the editor, the cover designer, the proofreader, the layout artist, and so on.

You still have the same legal costs.

Marketing costs could be different, but are still significant.

Amazon adds in other costs including, interestingly, used sales. Since e-books can’t be sold used, they argue, the initial price can be lower.

If a p-book is sold for $20, and then sold used for $10 and used again for $5, the publisher only gets money out of that initial $20. If the people who paid $10 and $5 for it would have paid $20 otherwise, those second and third sales are a loss of revenue…which the publisher has to make up on the first sale.

Of course, many people who buy a used book at a reduced cost wouldn’t have bought the new book at the full price…but it’s a reasonable argument. Amazon has worked on creating a used e-book market, but that would presumably be a case were the publisher would get a cut of subsequent sales.

Here’s the big stat in this short excerpt from the post:

“We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000.”

Amazon is saying, “Lower the price and make more money.”

They explain how that benefits everybody: publishers; readers; authors; and Amazon.

You know what it doesn’t benefit?

P-books.

That’s always been one of the publishers’ concerns with Amazon pricing many new and popular e-books at $9.99 (which sometimes meant Amazon was selling them to consumers for less than what the e-tailer paid the publisher). It’s “price perception devaluation.” If a Stephen King novel is worth $9.99 as an e-book, why is it worth $25 as a p-book?

If e-book prices set the market perception of what a book should cost, it hurts p-books.

You might think that would hurt Amazon as much as it does the tradpubs (traditional  publishers), but tradpubs have a massive percentage of p-book sales in brick-and-mortar stores (and those do still matter), and a likely significantly decreasing percentage of e-book sales.

I was a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager…and almost all of our stock came from the biggest publishers (the few that didn’t came from smaller traditional publishers, represented by a distributor such as Publishers Group West).

We simply needed the size and services of the big tradpubs. You need to be able to replenish stock quickly when a book is hot, and get credit for copies when a book is cold.

The smaller independent publishers didn’t have the resources to do that.

All of that goes away with digital reproduction and distribution.

The Big Five’s power is disproportionately in p-books…and POD (Print On Demand) hasn’t changed that (yet).

The other thing Amazon says in the post is that the publisher should get 35%, Amazon should get 30%…and the author should get 35%.

To me, that’s a little…manipulative, I guess. Amazon (as they say later in the post) can’t control how much the author gets from the publisher…that’s a matter of their contracts.

It would be like…looking over at another table at a restaurant, and saying to the six-year old, “You know, if your parents really loved you, they’d give you the whole pizza.” ;)

Authors, of course, are not like six-year olds…I expect we’ll see some pointed comments from some of the Hachette-side authors about this part of the post.

Brand new or aspiring indie-authors may have the relative “life experience” of a six-year old, in terms of publishing, but they’ll have different abilities to judge.

Speaking of those indie (independent) authors, you may think that what Amazon is saying isn’t unreasonable: after all, Amazon pays KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) authors either 35% or 70% (the latter if they meet certain guidelines).

Yes, but that’s a different case from Amazon’s traditional publishing efforts.

With KDP, the author/publisher (they are often one and the same in that situation) takes on the costs and risks of development of the book. Amazon takes on some of the marketing costs, although the publisher will many times continue to have those as well. Amazon will also have Customer Service costs, and accounting costs, but for the bulk of the costs, it falls on the indie.

KDP is a platform: the author delivers the book and updates it as needed, and Amazon sells it.

Amazon’s traditional publishing, and the Big Five’s, involves a lot more investment.

The other thing about pricing is that consumers (and Amazon is positioning itself as seeing things from that viewpoint) look at an individual sale, while publishers (and stores) look at populations of sales.

Popular books support unpopular books.

As readers, we do want publishers interested in something besides profits on each title.

We want them to take risks on new authors, and we want them to publish “meaningful” books which won’t be popular.

If a researcher spends ten years documenting working conditions in 19th Century America (I’m just making that up as a topic), it’s not going to top the bestseller lists…but it’s important that the information be out there and preserved.

That book will probably never make back its developments costs…so popular books have to be priced somewhat higher to enable the publisher to take a loss on the “public good” book.

That’s not inherently different on e-books and p-books…except that the risks are quite a bit lower on e-books.

Right now, it’s likely that e-books are, to some extent, supporting the publishing of p-books. They are providing, if not a higher margin, a better cushion for taking risks on the development of p-books.

All of that said, this is an extraordinarily revealing post, as far as Amazon goes.

What do you think? Will it persuade the public to be more on Amazon’s side? How will authors react? Would consistently lower e-book prices hurt p-book sales? Would that cause publishers to take fewer risks with p-books, resulting in less innovation? Would indies pick up that slack? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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


KDD: The Hunger Games for $1.99

KDD: The Hunger Games for $1.99

One of today’s

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

is Suzanne Collins’

The Hunger Games (at AmazonSmile)

for $1.99.

As always, check the price before you click or tap that Buy button…the price may not apply in your country (I have readers all over the world), or you may be seeing this after the sale has ended (it is a Kindle Daily Deal, after all).

This is a book beloved by many. In the more than five (!) years since its initial release (someone who was thirteen and read it when it first came out could be voting by now), it has remained popular. The third movie based on the series (there are two more books in The Hunger Games trilogy) will likely be one of the biggest movies this year, and was a buzzy property at the just ended San Diego Comic Con.

I wrote my own review of it in this blog more than two and a half years ago:

Review: The Hunger Games

Outside the value of the book as a book, it’s an important example of something else.

Its publisher, Scholastic, is not one of the Big Five…but it is a large publisher with major bestsellers.

They don’t fall in line with the Big Five, often giving customers benefits that the Big Five tend not to do.

They weren’t part of the Department of Justice legal action against publishers and Apple for price-fixing: they didn’t do the Agency Model.

Programs in which they participate in the Kindle Store (and specifically on The Hunger Games):

  • Text-to-speech access is not blocked…you can listen to being read to you by software
  • X-ray is enabled, meaning you can get information about the characters and other elements
  • It has “real page numbers”
  • Lending is enabled: you can loan the book (once, for fourteen days) to someone not on your account
  • Eligible Prime members can borrow the book as part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  • You can read the book at no additional cost as part of Kindle Unlimited
  • It has Whispersync for Voice (which also means you can listen to an audiobook version at no additional cost as part of KU)

Scholastic (in business since 1920) doing all of this (and participating in community programs), while keeping customers and (as far as I know) authors happy puts the big challenge to the Big Five…why can’t they do it, too?

However you’d like to get the book, be it purchasing it or borrowing it, 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.


Fire Phone: first impressions and tips

Fire Phone: first impressions and tips

I’ve had my

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

since Thursday, which has given me an opportunity to use it over the weekend and at work.

I can say that the best is yet to come. ;)

This is a new and radically different device. Think of the people who bought the first automobiles, before there were purpose built roads. They had to bounce and rattle along over streets intended for entirely different vehicles. It wasn’t until people responded to the invention that it became completely indispensable.

At this point, the Fire Phone’s two breakthrough features (Firefly and Dynamic Perspective, which I call “dyper”) are like that.

I’m coming to the Fire Phone from a Galaxy S4…and I have an iPhone 5S that I use for work. The iPhone is new for me (the way Apple handled e-books left a bad taste in my mouth for their products), but I do have some experience with it.

I wouldn’t say I’m a power user of SmartPhones: not like I am with Kindles. However, I do know what I’m doing and I use them quite a bit.

At first, I found the Fire Phone’s interface less easy to use than my S4. After doing more research, playing around with it, and making a couple of calls to Mayday (the almost instant live online screen tech help…which is a huge plus for the FP over anything else), it’s growing on me.

It does all of the basics fine: e-mail, calendar, text.

The navigation is new. Without learning that, the phone can seem frustrating, like it takes a lot of steps to get anywhere.

Let’s talk this through.

The way I have the phone set, I turn it on by pushing a power button once…reasonable.

The lock screens look amazing! They have dyper…just by moving my head, I can see more of the image. For example, I have a neon sign up right now, like a tourist trap in the desert (it includes the date and time). By moving my head (even from probably half a meter away from the phone), I can see the streetlamps which are otherwise off the screen. I can see how many new e-mails I have, the signal strength and battery level.

To unlock it, I swipe up from the bottom…that’s an adjustment for me, I’m used to going side to side. However, as an ambidexter, I appreciate that it isn’t better for right or left handers. :)

I’ve put a password on mine.

Once it opens up, there is a Carousel, like there is an a Kindle Fire. It’s going to be easier for Kindle Fire users to adapt to this phone than other people.

At the bottom of the screen are four icons:

  • Phone
  • Messaging
  • Email
  • Silk Browser

Here’s the first thing you might not realize.

Swipe those four icons up, and you’ll be on the apps screen.

It will default to being the apps on your device, but you can switch it to the Cloud easily enough (it’s an obvious choice in your top left corner).

Okay, here’s are a few gestural things on this homescreen which aren’t intuitive.

In addition to swiping from the left or right side, you can just “flick” the phone.

Flick it where you are turning the phone with a rapid motion with the left side getting closer to you, and you reveal the main navigation. That has

  • APPS
  • GAMES
  • WEB
  • MUSIC
  • VIDEOS
  • PHOTOS
  • BOOKS
  • NEWSSTAND
  • AUDIOBOOKS
  • DOCS
  • SHOP
  • PRIME

Flick it back to remove that menu.

Generally, that left menu will be available in most places you are working, and will be the same.

Flick it the other way, with the right side getting closer to you, and you’ll reveal a context sensitive menu…one that varies depending on what you are doing.

ON the home screen, I get a weather report (which I could set to be in Celsius, my favorite…and which autodetected my location), and Google Now type cards. Right now, I’m seeing calendar events, but I may see an e-mail from people I designate, or texts. There is an ellipsis (“…”) at the bottom to go to the full calendar.

Flick left, flick right: two of the main gestures.

Three other big gestures:

Tip the phone to one side (either direction), and you’ll see a ribbon at the top with quick access to functions:

  • Airplane mode
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Flashlight
  • Sync
  • Settings
  • Mayday
  • Search
  • Brightness

How would you know what they were?

You peek.

Really, that’s what they call it.

Move your head to the side and look back at the phone, like you are trying to look behind the icons.

The captions magically appear.

You’ll use that a lot.

The last gesture I’ll mention is how to get back to what you were doing last.

The first couple of days, I really missed the Back button on my S4. Then, one of the Mayday reps told me that you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen. They didn’t describe it quite right: the thing is that you start off the edge of the screen at the bottom, at about the same level as the home button. Then swipe up on to the screen: that will take you back to the last function.

Before I go on, let me say that is seems to drink battery charge like a Chevrolet Suburban drinks gasoline! ;) Just while I’ve been writing this post, it went down four percent. I expect that will get better after I play with some settings.

In terms of the pre–installed apps, I recommend that you play with Clay Doodle and Monkey Buddy (although the latter might drive you crazy, if you are an adult). The first one is like Play-Doh, and takes advantage of the dyper. The second one is a virtual pet, like a Tamagotchi in concept. Since it can see where you head is, it responds to you nodding your head yes in approval, for example.

Believe it or not, the integration with Amazon could be better. My Prime music wasn’t available until I downloaded an app…that was weird. My biggest disappointment so far has been that gestural scrolling doesn’t work in the Kindle app! It only works in Silk on websites.

I was really looking forward to having an endless scroll in my Kindle books, where I could get to the next text by just moving my head or tilting the phone.

A Mayday rep told me that an update is coming soon which will include more functionality…and better interface with the Kindle app is one of the things we may see. Right now, you can get the X-Ray background data by flicking from the right…good to know, right? :)

I may do a full menu map at some point (that kind of thing might make a good short “book” for people to borrow through Kindle Unlimited), but let’s go through the settings at a high level:

Wi-Fi & Networks

  • Connect to Wi-Fi
  • Enable Airplane Mode
  • Pair Bluetooth Devices
  • Set up a Wi-Fi hotspot (only if that’s part of your data plan, I think)
  • Enable NFC (Near Field Communication)
  • Turn off cellular dta usage
  • See your cellular data usage
  • Change your mobile network operator

Display

  • Adjust screen brightness
  • Turn off automatic screen rotation
  • Hide (or show…the commands change based on current state) status bar
  • Change time to sleep
  • Share your screen via Miracast
  • Configure low motion settings (this will turn off some of the gestural stuff, which would be useful for those with unsteady hands or heads)

Sounds & Notifications

  • Change your ringtone
  • Manage notifications
  • Select ringtones for specific people
  • Select text message tones for specific people
  • Change volume levels (there  are also physical volume buttons)
  • Change touch feedback settings (my first call to Mayday: how to turn off hepatic feedback, the vibrating you get when you touch a key…I just don’t like it, and it uses battery charge)

Applications & Parental Controls

  • Configure Amazon application settings
  • Manage applications
  • Prevent (or enable) non-Amazon app installation
  • Turn off product recommendations
  • Enable Parental Controls

Battery & Storage

  • View battery usage (the system is taking 50% of my usage right now)
  • View available storage
  • Free space on your phone (not how much you have…this one is designed to free up space)
  • Change USB connection type

Location Services

  • Configure Location Based Services for your applications
  • Enable Enhanced Location Services
  • Disable Find My Device (enabled by default)

Lock Screen

  • Select a lock screen scene (the default is that it changes every day)
  • Set a password or PIN (Personal Identification Number)
  • Change the automatic lock time
  • Turn off (or on) notifications on the lock screen

Keyboard

  • Change the keyboard language
  • Configure auto-correct and spell-checking
  • Manage advanced keyboard features
  • Edit your personal dictionary

Phone

  • Configure call waiting
  • Configure caller ID
  • Forward incoming calls
  • Edit Reply-with-Text messages
  • View your phone number
  • Set up voicemail
  • Contact your carrier

My Accounts

  • Deregister your phone
  • Manage e-mail accounts
  • Connect your social networks
  • Manage your Amazon account
  • Manage your Amazon payment method
  • Manage your Amazon Newsstand subscriptions
  • Manage your Send-to-Device email address

Device

  • Change the date and time
  • Disable auto backups
  • Change your language
  • Install system updates
  • Factory reset your phone
  • Get info about your Fire
  • Configure your emergency alerts
  • View your emergency alerts
  • Manage your SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card PIN
  • Manage enterprise security features
  • Manage accessibility (it has nice magnifier features…I turned  those  on)
  • View Legal and Compliance Info

Voice

  • Configure voice settings (oh, it does take voice commands…hold down the home button, like accessing Siri. I have found that I have to say “Search the Web” to get it to do that…it doesn’t just guess that’s what you want if you say something for which it doesn’t have a command)
  • Change Text to Speech (TTS) language (it does have TTS for Kindle books…it comes with English and Spanish, but you can download quite a few others for no additional cost)

Help & Feedback

  • Get help from Mayday (there is a lifesaver for that on the quick access ribbon…remember, you can tip your phone quickly for that, or swipe down from the top. Use it to get the most out of your phone)
  • Browse online help
  • Contact Amazon technical support
  • Provide feedback

There, that gives you a pretty good idea of its capabilities.

Overall, I’m starting to like it. If you want everything to be easy, if you want it to be as good as the most popular other phones, you may not want to be an early adopter. You can download apps to do things it doesn’t do right now (in many cases), but a year from now, it will be much more capable…I suspect it will be a lot more capable before the holidays.

It’s certainly satisfactory…and the hardware (the four cameras that enable dyper) and Firefly (the real world recognition system) promise much greater things in the future, once people start designing for it. The killer apps are yet to come.

I think it’s a great first SmartPhone (which is where I think the market is), and an adequate transition phone (with amazing potential).

Hey, my Kindle app has an update available! That sort of thing is going to happen a lot…I won’t focus on the Fire Phone a lot in this blog (just as I haven’t done that with the Fire Phone), but it is a Kindle reading device, and  I think it deserves some coverage here.

If you have any specific questions about it, or things to say, feel free to comment 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.


KU titles dominate paid bestseller list

KU titles dominate paid bestseller list

One of my regular readers and commenters, Tom Semple, noted that there seemed to be a lot of Kindle Unlimited titles on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list.

The books in

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

can be borrowed by customers who pay $9.99 a month for the service (although there is a free month available right now). The publishers are compensated with a royalty based on when the customer has read 10% of the book.

Would that count as a sale for the paid bestseller list (as opposed to the free list)?

I have asked Amazon, but haven’t heard back yet…and they might not reveal that information (I’m sure they wouldn’t be obligated to do so).

So, I thought I’d take a look at the paid and free bestseller lists, and see how KU titles are represented.

Let’s start with the paid list. I’ll indicate if it is KU or not, and if there is an icon (there isn’t alway) indicating if it has been rising or falling:

  1. KU, rising
  2. KU, none
  3. KU, rising
  4. Not KU, falling
  5. KU, none
  6. KU, rising
  7. Not KU, falling
  8. KU, rising
  9. Not KU, rising
  10. Not KU, falling (recent freebie)
  11. Not KU, falling
  12. Not KU, falling
  13. KU, falling
  14. Not KU, falling
  15. Not KU, falling
  16. KU, falling
  17. Not KU, none
  18. KU, rising
  19. KU, rising
  20. Not KU, falling

Well, that’s pretty obvious!

Seven books are shown as rising…and six of them are KU!

It certainly suggests that KU books are pushing traditionally published (by places other than Amazon) down the Kindle paid bestseller list.

That’s not good for discovery for the tradpubs (traditional publishers)!

The Goldfinch (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Donna Tartt (a Pulitzer Prize winning novel) is down to #11.

How does it look on the free list?

  1. KU
  2. KU
  3. KU
  4. Not KU
  5. KU
  6. KU
  7. KU
  8. KU
  9. Not KU
  10. Not KU
  11. Not KU
  12. Not KU
  13. Not KU
  14. Not KU
  15. KU
  16. Not KU
  17. KU
  18. KU
  19. Not KU
  20. KU

Interesting that so many more of the freebies are not Kindle Unlimited…no icons for rising and falling on that list that I saw.

I also have to tell you: the list order changed while I was compiling the second list: it’s done every hour. I think it’s a pretty good representation, though.

My guess is that KU counts as sales (at least at the ten percent point), and not as freebies.

It would be possible that the initial KU download is a freebie “sale” and the 10% point is a paid sale, but I doubt that.

The ones that are not KU on the free list may not be in KDP Select, meaning that they aren’t exclusive to Amazon, and also would not be available through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Indies and Amazon tradpubs have been pretty well represented on the paid bestseller list before, but this does really look different to me…especially with the trending indicators being what they are.

If KU books really are causing even a relative drop on the Kindle store bestseller lists for tradpubs, there has to be some worrying going on at the Big Five, and some high fiving at Amazon.

I may look at this in more depth later, and it’s possible that there is an initial rush to borrow from the KU which may slow down (especially if there doesn’t continue to be a first free month available), but this really could be seen as a turning point for publishing.

If this looks like a significant enough trend, it might even give Amazon leverage in dealing with Hachette, and the with the other publishers.

It wouldn’t be enough to end anything…but it could portend some real changes in readers acquisition habits.

Thanks for suggesting I look at this, Tom!

Update: Amazon has responded to my inquiry, and it confirms (and clarifies) what I thought was probably happening:

“Hello,

If your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited, the borrow will affect your book’s sales rank the same way a normal sale would.

When a Kindle Unlimited customer chooses your book for the first time and reads more than 10% of it, their choice qualifies as a borrow and toward royalty payment for you. Customers can always read your book again, as many times as they like, but that won’t qualify toward your royalty payments. You can even choose your own book and receive one royalty payment—as long as you’re reading it only for the first time, and read more than 10% of it.

These requirements apply to books in both the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited.”

That means that KU and the KOLL are affecting the paid bestseller list and not the free bestseller list. The impact on the paid bestseller list is significant and will add significant momentum to the “discovery of disruption”, to coin a phrase.

People will continue to do things the way they usually do things, unless something changes them. As a trainer, that’s a major part of the challenge of my profession.

Are people trained to buy things from major publishers? I’d argue “no”: they are trained to buy things in certain places and certain ways…and that includes getting them from the bestseller list.

I don’t think most people look at the top ten bestsellers, and then look at the publisher to make a buying decision. Yes, I do think they look at authors, but I would guess that buying an interesting title from the top ten is a common purchasing habit for folks.

If KU disrupts the top ten, that will disproportionalize the non-tradpubs versus the tradpubs…which will in turn tend to move the former up the lists. It becomes a “virtuous cycle” for Amazon and indies…the more books on the bestseller list due to KU means that more of those books will be bought outside of the KU…which will make them again more likely to be on the bestseller list, which means…well, you get the idea.

Sure you want to ignore this, Big Five? I go back to what I suggested before: we may see non-canonical works (short stories, reference works) to major series in the KU, with the main books staying outside of it. That gives the tradpubs discovery (and in a big way…how many people would borrow a story about Grandma Mazur from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series…when she was in college? I’m guessing that would sit right on the top of the KU list. It wouldn’t have to be long…if you don’t pay additionally for it, who cares if it is ten “pages” long?), and could give Amazon exactly the kind of material it wants in KU. With that, they could even work out exclusivity…Janet Evanovich could indie publish it with the author’s tradpub’s tacit approval.

What do you think? Are you borrowing books from Kindle Unlimited? Have you borrowed when you would otherwise have bought a book (the same one or a different one) from a tradpub? What will be the “stickiness” of KU? In other words, what percentage of people who try the free month will keep it to pay for at least one month? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

 


Binge reading with Kindle Unlimited #1

Binge reading with Kindle Unlimited #1

While “binge watching” entire TV series may be all the rage, serious readers have been “binge reading” for decades.

Many of us have picked a series and just plowed through them, start to finish.

How many of you had a “Summer of Sherlock”, where you decided you’d read all the original Sherlock Holmes books?

No?

Gee, where else were you during the summer…on the beach? ;)

I once read three and a half novels in the same series in one day…that’s my record, by the way. ;)

It was

The Expendables by Richard Avery (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (not available for the Kindle)

I’m not going to pretend that they were “thick” reading (like War and Peace or The Lord of the Rings): they are definitely “popcorn books”, plain and simple. They are meant to be snacks…finish one, on to the next, like a bag of potato chips. :)

However, I’ve also read much more serious books…and again, right through the series.

Generally, I don’t want to start a series unless I have access to all of them, and I can start at the beginning.

In the past, that has been challenging, though.

For one thing, it could be a big investment before I even knew if I liked it.

Let’s say a series had ten books in it, and I could get the paperbacks for $5 each. I’d have to invest $50 before I’d even start reading the first one.

Well, okay, I can’t say I’d really go that far all the time. :) I often would read the first book in the series first…and then, if I decided to go for it, buy the other nine.

So, only $45 at a time. ;)

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

changes those calculations.

I don’t have to worry about how much each book in the series costs.

I can choose to read a series, and go for it.

Yes, you can only have ten books out at a time, but unless you are going somewhere where you won’t have access to the internet (even without wireless, you can typically use a computer to download books from Amazon and then transfer them via USB), that’s not a problem. You just keep returning books as you finish them and you can keep taking more out.

There is the risk that you are part way through a series and the other books get removed from Kindle Unlimited…books are going to come in and out of it. If there’s a series where Amazon is the publisher now, that doesn’t mean that they will be later…licensing can change hands.

Still, I don’t think that’s a huge risk.

I thought I’d give you some suggestions for binge reading.

One fun thing: for $9.99 a month (and free for the first month right now), you could race other people on the account. ;) Typically, a book can be on six devices on the account at the same time, at no additional cost. If a book does have a different number of “simultaneous device licenses”, it will say so on the book’s Amazon product page…none of that changes with KU.

However, you can’t return the first book in the series until everyone is done with it, or they won’t be able to finish it. So, if the fastest person reads more than ten times faster than the slowest person, the speedy one will have to wait until that slower one finishes the first book. Of course, you could always buy it…that’s going to happen with some KU books.

Let’s look at some of these series (and other groupings)!

Blow your mind with Philip K. Dick

I can’t imagine what it would be like if you read ten PKD books in a row! I have to believe that virtually everyone would come out of that changed. Reality can be so warped in these…many people struggle to get through one. That’s not because the writing is bad, but because you put yourself in someone else’s head when you read, and PKD’s is like that feeling you get on the teacup ride at Disneyland. ;)

Search for PKD in KU (at AmazonSmile)

That search has 63 results, although some are false positives (they aren’t really PKD). They also don’t have all the books. I’d say try these first:

  • Valis
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
  • Total Recall
  • We Can Build You

From there, you can just keep going. :)

Harry Potter

If you haven’t read Harry Potter, here’s a great opportunity! We paid more than $9.99 for each book when they were released. You could borrow them one a month through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, but wouldn’t it be fun to read all of the original seven on a week’s vacation?

Search for Harry Potter in KU (at AmazonSmile)

What if you have already read them?

That’s where KU really works!

There are 154 results in that search! Again, some are false positives, but there is a whole series of interactive quiz books, Harry Potter cookbooks, parodies, analyses…you might never buy a book on the sociology of Harry Potter, or the “magickal spirituality”, but at this “smorgasbook”, you can just toss them on your plate. Would you buy a book on how to host a Harry Potter party? Maybe not, but you could borrow one from KU if the event is on your calendar.

87th Precinct

Do you really want to disappear into another world for awhile?

You can read more than forty books in the classic series by Ed McBain:

Search for 87th Precinct in KU (at Amazon Smile)

Maybe you aren’t going read them all at once. :) Maybe you read them on your public transit commute (or listen to them in the car…that’s what I do). If you get through one book a week that way, you could commute to work and to the 87th Precinct at the same time…for the best part of a year.

Learn something new with lots of perspectives

Something else you can do with KU is pick a non-fiction topic, and read and discard books as soon as you want. Sure, you could do something like that with free samples, but what if the part you want to learn isn’t in the first ten percent (or so) of the book?

For example, suppose you want to publish your own book in the Kindle store (or elsewhere). There are hundreds of results in this

Search for publish your book in KU (at AmazonSmile)

If all you want to know about is how to promote a book by going to conventions, you can hop and skip from book to book.

I definitely plan to give you more suggestions for binge reading in Kindle Unlimited in the future, but let me also ask you: what would you recommend to me and my readers? I tend to read several books at the same time (those wouldn’t be books in the same fiction series), but I love to find series that can be in that mix. Feel free to make your recommendations known by commenting on this post.

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

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

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


Amazon’s Q2 Financials: net loss 18 times larger than last year

Amazon’s Q2 Financials: net loss 18 times larger than last year

Customers can be happy about all of the money Amazon is investing to make their lives better. They are spending money on more content at no more cost (for example, hundreds of thousands of more songs for Prime Music), they continue to update devices, they are introducing new devices which lets us do things more of the same way in more places (which is easier).

Investors may not feel the same way about it, though.

Let’s take a stand-out figure, according to this

press release

“Net loss was $126 million in the second quarter, or $0.27 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $7 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in second quarter 2013.”

That’s a big proportional difference: as I mentioned in the subject of this post, it’s eighteen times larger.

However, a loss of $126 million just isn’t that much for a company the size of Amazon.

The big thing, of course, is that we have to believe that this is an extraordinary circumstance and not a trend.

After, all if the losses continued to grow at the same rate, they would lose two BILLION, two-hundred and sixty-eight million dollars in the second quarter of 2015…and then you’d be talking real money. ;)

Of course, that’s not likely.

Amazon just introduced a whole new hardware line for them with the

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

Mine arrived yesterday (I’ll make some comments about it at the end of this post).

That’s a very big investment. It’s not just development: I’ve seen full page ads in magazines, for example, and that’s not a cheap thing to do.

Starting up a new service like

Kindle Unlimited

also has significant costs.

So, what did investors think about this?

This

CNN Money graph

shows a drop of 9.65% today…which comes with the smell of fear.

Now, that may bounce back, but my intuition is that investors are actually becoming even less secure with Amazon right now.

What does that mean for customers?

I suspect we may go into a “building” year where there aren’t any more radical product launches (that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get a new Kindle Fire or Paperwhite…but that they won’t launch any more hardware lines).

They need to show that some of these risks are going to pay off. They need to show a record of success for Kindle Unlimited with an indicator of continued success.

They need the Fire Phone to be accepted and to be in a position for growth (the AT&T exclusivity is likely to only be for a year).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) needs to show it is a solid income stream going forward.

None of this concerns me for the viability of Amazon long-term…but we may see them painting the boats rather than launching new ones for a little while.

You can listen to the webcast of the conference call here:

http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/drh3z532/lan/en

Often the Q&A (Questions and Answers) portion is the best part…there is an index and you can jump right to that, if you want, but I didn’t hear any bombshells in it this time.

I’m actually listening to it right now on my Fire Phone.

I need to use it more until I can give you a real report on it (I’ll use it more over the weekend).

Let’s start out with a few things:

It works. :)

It sounds fine as a phone, I set up my e-mail, texting, and calendars. I was able to import everything pretty painlessly from my Samsung Galaxy S4 (which I hate to give up). I was already on AT&T, and they have a wireless transfer app that moves things between the two phones.

I did have one weird thing. Since I’d ordered the phone on one phone number on the account (which was eligible for an upgrade), but wanted it to work on another phone line, I had to call AT&T. The rep there was great, by the way! Surprisingly good.

The negative was that I needed the number on the SIM card on the new phone…and I could not get it to come out of the phone! I actually ended up calling Mayday on my

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

It was kind of funny, because I had the AT&T rep on speaker phone, and that person could hear the Mayday person.

However, try as I might, I couldn’t get the SIM out. Fortunately, I found the number on one edge of the box for the phone…but I still haven’t gotten th SIM card out.

As to the “dy-per” (what I call Dynamic Perspective)…so far, it’s cool, but I wouldn’t feel like I need it. When I’m looking at the sleep screen, I can tilt the phone to see more of the scene. That’s a little hard to describe…it’s like when you were a kid, and you put your face right up to the mirror and were surprised that you could see things “in the mirror” that weren’t directly in front of it…suggesting it was actually showing you another world. Oh, was that just me? ;)

The Carousel, though, looks really busy. I have to check on how to maybe eliminate some of the data.

For example, if I swipe over to the messaging icon, the most recent messages show below that icon. Same thing with e-mail, the Help menu, Settings…it’s sort of like “customers also buy” on the Kindle Fire HDX…but there is a lot of text.

I haven’t seen it react to where I’m looking, yet, outside of dyper..and I’d really like to be able to scroll my book by looking! I may have to Mayday that (the Help search is unimpressive).

Flicking left and right does bring up some useful things…but it’s so far hard to predict when it will work or what it will show. I think that will come in time (I haven’t used it for a total of two hours of actual interaction time yet). There are people who still don’t right-click…you have to use it to get used to it. ;)

While you would think that this would integrate super well with Amazon’s stuff, I haven’t found Prime Music yet…despite looking for it for a few minutes. I can find my other music, but not Prime.

The other big feature that make the phone a stand-out is Firefly, the “real world recognition” functionality.

I pointed it at a superhero sticker today…it thought it was looking at a thermos with that superhero.

I pointed it at a can of Dust-Off which I had bought from Amazon: it first linked me to an inhalant abuse website that was on the can, then I repointed it at the SKU (the zebra stribe Stock Unit number) and it got it then.

It also got a toner cartridge package…again, by pointing it at the SKU.

I think at this point, the features are ahead of the functionality: I suspect there will be some killer apps for both Firefly and dyper, but casual use of the phone at this stage may not reveal their power.

What do you think? Do you have specific questions about the Fire Phone? Will Amazon raise consumer prices to make lower losses for investors? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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 312 Stephen Windwalker

Photo by Betty Scharf

Photo by Betty Scharf

Creator of Kindle Nation Daily and BookGorilla

Interview starts at 9:23

I don’t think their market [for Fire phone] is people who don’t have a smartphone now. I think it’s people who have some version of an Android phone or an iPhone, and they’re committed Amazon customers. I would expect that 75 percent of their sales, just to pick a number out of thin air, could well be people who are Amazon Prime members.

Show Notes and Links:

Intro

Quilts by Susan Carlson

“Dear Jeff Bezos (One-Week Kindle Review)” by Robert Scoble – November 25, 2007

News

“Amazon Fire Phone: A good phone that needs another layer of polish”by Hayley Tsukayama at The Washington Post - July 23, 2014

“Early reviews very chilly concerning Amazon’s Fire Phone” by Luke Dormehl at Cult of Android – July 23, 2014

My unboxing video of the Fire Phone – July 23, 2014

1Mobile.com

Tech Tip

More on how to use Kindle Page Flip on the Paperwhite.

Interview with Stephen Windwalker

Kindle Nation Daily

Book Gorrilla

“Holt’s Legend grows with Superman-like grab” by Ian Browne at MLB.com – June 18, 2014

Credo Mobile

2048 Deluxe - free game at Apps for Android store

Free BookGorilla app for Kindle Fire and Fire Phone

Content

The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle by J. Glenn Gray, with introduction by Hannah Arendt – $15.87 in paperback at Amazon.com

Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt – $9.99 on Kindle

The Human Condition (2nd Edition) by Hanna Arendt – $9.00 on Kindle.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg – free on Kindle

Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow – $7.99 on Kindle

“A Note to Our Readers” by The Editors of The New Yorker – from the July 28, 2014 issue

“The New Yorker Stores  Stories You Should Read Before the Paywall Goes Up” by Eliza Berman and Slate Staff at Slate – July 22, 2014

Send to Kindle browser extension for Chrome

Next Week’s Guest

Andrew Savikas, CEO of Safari Books Online and a director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), which recently released a comprehensive report titled Digital Books and the New Subscription Economy.

How You Can Win a Nexus 7

If you have not signed up to receive the free Kindle Chronicles email updates, you might want to do so in time to be eligible for a free, very slightly used Nexus 7 tablet. I will draw a winner in a couple of weeks from among the names of everyone who is subscribed to the list. You will see the signup form in the right column of this page.

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

Comic Con inspired bargains

Comic Con inspired bargains

Tonight is the preview night for

San Diego Comic Con (SDCC)

which is one of the biggest pop culture events of the year.

In fact, it’s big enough that companies tie into it with merchandise/content sales…and not just on comics.

The con itself certainly goes beyond comic books/graphic novels. Some old timers complain that it has become too much about movies and TV…even ones that aren’t even especially geeky (and I use that adjective as a proud geek).

Authors of text-based books (you know…what many people just call “books”) ;) also appear: Diana Gabaldon, Robin Hobb, Jim Butcher, and more. Even the publishers (Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House) have panels.

So, through this weekend, we’ll be able to find bargains…even if they don’t specifically say they are there because of Comic Con, that may be the case.

For example, one of today’s Kindle Daily Deals is

Batman Day graphic novels sale (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is Batman’s 75th anniversary year..the Dark Knight (or Caped Crusader…depends a bit on your perspective) debuted in what is sometimes considered the best pop culture year, 1939.

Batman (along with Superman) certainly seems to have taken some inspiration from Doc Savage (Doc was a wealthy crimefighter with specialized vehicles and equipment…including a “utility vest”, which arguably became Batman’s utility belt), but that’s another story. :)

There have been some Batman graphic novels that are really considered classic by Batman fans…and yes, they are included here for $2.99 each.

That includes:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight by Frank Miller
  • Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

If you’ve never read a graphic novel, I’d recommend The Dark Knight…and warn you ahead of time, those two in particular are not written for children.

Amazon is also giving us

Batman Eternal #1 (at AmazonSmile)

for free!

You need to enter a promotional code (BATMAN75) first…you can see all the details here:

Batman Eternal #1 promo detail page (at AmazonSmile)

I suspect we’ll see more related specials over the next few days in the

Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile)

Another place at Amazon where we’ll see savings through the weekend, and these may be explicitly SDCC deals, is

The Geek Boutique (at AmazonSmile)

One more thing before I leave Amazon. Here’s a link for

Prime Video Comic-Con Favorites (at AmazonSmile)

If you are an eligible Prime member, you can watch these at no additional cost…and there are 227 results at time of writing.

Let’s move off of Amazon for a minute to go to Marvel.

Marvel has “Marvel Unlimited”, which you can think of as similar to Kindle Unlimited…just for digital Marvel comics.

Normally, that’s $9.99 a month. It includes a lot of comics…typically, you can expect that when a Marvel comic is six months past its publication date, it may appear here.

As a special tie-in to SDCC, though, you can get the first month for $0.99!

You can have 12 comics out at a time (KU allows ten titles).

You can get more information on it here:

http://marvel.com/mu?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=AcquisitionEmail&utm_content=072314EMSubscribeNow&utm_campaign=SDCC14

The necessary app isn’t in the Amazon Appstore, but you could get it at

1Mobile

Amazon allows us to install apps from “unknown sources” on our Kindle Fires, but you have to make the call. Since the app won’t have been reviewed by Amazon to make sure it is safe and that it works on the KFire, you take responsibility for that.

This is one where I would feel comfortable getting it, and I have gotten things for my KFire from 1Mobile before.

You can count on bargains from other geeky sites, too, like

ThinkGeek.com

and

SuperHeroStuff.com

Enjoy!

Bonus story:

In a

press release

today, Amazon announced that it has added hundreds of thousands of songs to Prime Music (at AmazonSmile)…and hundreds of playlists.

That’s the no additional cost streaming music for eligible Amazon Prime members.

In my recent post

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2014

I didn’t talk about using Prime Music, but I have used it sporadically…I sometimes write with it on, for example.

It looks like Prime Music has been quite successful. Adding hundreds of thousands of songs to it is great! I haven’t been terribly impressed with their playlists, although it is nice to have fifty songs of one genre play with one selection. I’m just not sure that I’m seeing genuine creativity n how songs are grouped together in the playlists. I some cases, they seem a bit more like…search results, rather than curated music lists.

For example, the press release mentions one called “Fire for Your Fire”, and describes it as “Odes to all things fire make perfect listening on your Fire Phone or Kindle Fire”. I’m guessing that it’s just a bunch of songs with “fire” in the title, although I’m not seeing it yet on the site.

Curation seems to be better at Songza, but this is new for Amazon. One thing they could do is let customers share playlists, then have people “like” them…and with enough likes, a playlist moves up into a better discovery spot. That would create social engagement, and probably result in better playlists.

New! 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.


Sun Test: iPhone 5S versus Amazon Fire Phone

 

One of the benefits Jeff Bezos claimed for the Amazon Fire Phone is that its screen would be easier to read in direct sunlight than existing smartphones. Today I took my Fire phone review unit and my iPhone 5S outside to compare the screens. I took the photo above with a real camera, my Nikon Coolpix S8000, and I think it shows slightly better readability on the Fire. In real life, I thought the advantage was greater than what you see here. I was reading the same Business Insider article on each device. On the iPhone, the contrast was not as good as on the Fire. The text on the Fire seemed to “pop” a little more. I won’t say it’s a huge difference, but it’s noticeable.

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