Thank you, Amazon!

Totally coincidence, and untied to anything on the calendar ;) , I thought I’d thank Amazon for a few things.

Thank you for the adjustable text size

I’ll admit it: my eyes aren’t what they used to be.  Oh, they’re still eyes…they haven’t become toes or something.  That would be weird.  ;)  But I used to have really good vision, and now, I do use those cheapo readers (I pay a buck for them at the dollar store).  That’s pretty much just for the laundry, though.  I mean seriously, who do they think does the laundry…Horus, the Egyptian hawk-headed god?   I mean, those tags are so tiny!  It would almost make sense to become Scott Carey and shrink down…then you could read them, right?  You know, if it wasn’t all for that having to worry about being eaten by the household cat thing.  The adjustable text size on the Kindle has made a huge difference.  I hadn’t even realized that reading some of my paperbacks was a strain.  Another thing is that I increase the text size so I can read better in darker situations.  For example, when I’m in a movie theatre before the movie, I can up the text size and be able to read without my booklight. 

Thank you for web-browsing and mobi compatibility

This is a great and little touted feature.  The Sony and the nook both do increased text size.  Neither of them do this.  Amazon lets us use the web browser  to get to sites other than Amazon.  They also allow us to read mobi/prc books on the Kindle (if they don’t have Digital Rights Management that prevents it).  That means we can go to sites like FeedBooks.com and ManyBooks.net right from the Kindle and get nicely formatted free books…directly from the Kindle!  I often see people incorrectly say that we can only get books from Amazon for the Kindle…simply not true.  We can get older public domain books, but we can also get contemporary books…the key thing is that we only get our books with Digital Rights Management from Amazon, basically (and even that’s not entirely true).   There are lots of other options…including the Baen Free Library.  You can get free books from Andre Norton, Keith Laumer, Fred Saberhagen…all authors where I paid for paperbook (p-book) versions years ago.

Thanks for continuing to innovate

Amazon doesn’t have to send out wireless updates (which probably costs them significant money).  They could just say, “You want  native pdf on a six inch?  Buy a new one!”  However, we just got another update.  We’ve gotten several updates: I thought it was cool when the K1 got an update that allowed easier management of titles from the homescreen (by using the back arrow to remove titles from the device).  They aren’t sitting on their laurels, and even though K1 owners didn’t get this update, they aren’t ignoring current owners.

Thank you for the one-week return policy on e-books

This is another thing they don’t have to do.  Sure, it’s probably good business…but Sony and Barnes and Noble don’t do it.  It’s possible you’ll order the wrong book, or just get one that’s poorly formatted (although they are working on that issue).   You can just tell Amazon you want to “return it” (within seven days of purchase), and they’ll credit you and remove the book.

Thank you for the Digital Text Platform

This has made a huge difference for me personally, obviously, but it is as important for readers as it is for authors.   Any US author with the rights for a book (within certain parameters) can publish through the DTP and get 35% royalty.  That’s much better than you would get with a traditional publisher (tradpub)…if you could get it published at all.   That means we have a lot of inexpensive things to read we wouldn’t have otherwise.  Some of those books will be great books…not most of them, probably, but some.  It’s also possible that important non-fiction will come out of that.

Thank you for the blog publishing

Again, this is important for both authors and readers.  Thousand of cheap reads, with convenient timely delivery. 

Thank you for the 14-day free trials on subscription items

This is another great feature!  Try out a blog, magazine, or newspaper for fourteen days!  With a blog, you can get a good idea in that time…that might not be true with a monthly magazine, but still, it’s really nice.

Thank you for free samples

Like a lot of Kindleers, I really like getting the free samples from books.  It lets you decide if you want to buy them, but it also means I have bite-size things to read at lunch sometimes.  That might be something I never intend to buy…and it’s still free

Thank you for the Universal Wish List button

You can install the Universal Wish List button, and put things on a wish list…that don’t even come from Amazon!  This is a way to put Kindle books on a wish list, true, but you can also put things from Think Geek, Wicked Cool Stuff…even competitors like Deep Discount.  I do like to buy from Amazon, and I do tend to do that.  However, Deep Discount has great deals on DVDs (and books and music) with no shipping.  Amazon lets me put those on a gift list that I can share with other people.  You can get the button here, and more information in this earlier post.

Thank you for the Amazon Kindle community

This has made a huge difference in my life.  Within reasonable limitations, Amazon lets people talk to each other about Kindles, and e-books, and quite a broad swath.  I’ve learned a lot there, had a lot of fun, helped some people.  Posters may show up and criticize Amazon repeatedly and in some cases, unmercifully (and even incorrectly).  If they do it respectfully, Amazon lets them.  I actually think they could be more strict with what they allow…they don’t enforce the rules as much as they could.  In particular, I’d like to see them pay more attention to ad hominem attacks.  However, the fact that they let people come on and say that the nook is better than the Kindle is simply amazing.  Yes, they get a business benefit out of it, but they take a lot of hits as well.  Amazon could have people censoring those posts, but they don’t.  It’s also a great community: I wouldn’t have “known” dog without it. I wouldn’t have had the laughs I’ve gotten, the tips I’ve learned, the opportunity to share. Take a look at it here…who knows what you’ll get out of it?

So, do I think Amazon is perfect?  Nope.  Do I think they do all this stuff without business benefit?  Nope.  I’m still thankful for it, though, and I can always look ahead and smile to wonder what they’ll give me next.

Thanks, Amazon!

Thanks also to you!  Whether you just read the blog online, subscribe to it through the Kindle store, or gotten the new collection, I really appreciate it!  Special thanks to those who have chosen items after following links, and to those who have commented on articles!   Thank you also to those who have directed others to I Love My Kindle and my other works!   I hope you all find things for which to be thankful in your life!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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4 Responses to “Thank you, Amazon!”

  1. LuvMyKindle Says:

    Well said, Bufo! I am happy I have the Kindle as my ebook reader and feel Amazon has the most to offer, by far, to their ereader customers, including the Amazon Kindle Community/Discussions, where I came across you through your threads and posts…

    I still enjoy reading your blog every day and want to give you a very gracious THANK YOU again, for writing this blog…….still loving all the varied, insightful, informative, and humorous articles you write. I’ve been meaning to leave a review on your Amazon blog sales page and will try to get it done this w/e.

    Meanwhile, here’s wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      LuvMyKindle, that’s so nice of you to say!

      I’m an educator, not a lecturer…I like a little interaction. :) It’s sometimes hard to know if people liked something much. Comments, reviews…I do like those. I always say to my students that, “For me, questions are the fun part.”

      Best to you and yours!

  2. kpatrick Says:

    Agreed on all counts.

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