Archive for June, 2010

Flash! Kindle web previewer coming

June 30, 2010

Flash! Kindle web previewer coming

More details on this later, but Amazon is going to make it possible to preview Kindle books (even ones with audio and video) through the web.

Official Announcement

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

Flash! Amazon redoes DTP, allows public domain, 70% royalty

June 30, 2010

Flash! Amazon redoes DTP, allows public domain, 70% royalty

We knew it was coming, and it is here today, according to this

press release

Authors/publishers, you’ll want to go to the Digital Text Platform and check your books there.  They’ve also really reworked the site: it looks much better.

https://dtp.amazon.com/mn/signin

So, authors who independently publish can now choose the 70% royalty option, as long as they meet certain requirements (including allowing text-to-speech, and pricing books between $2.99 and $9.99).  Also, according to the press release (I am not discussing any private contractual information), the e-book list price must be 20% below the lowest list price for the physical book.

Do it the way Amazon thinks the e-book world should be, and they’ll double your royalty…sounds fair to me.  :)

Another key thing to me is that they are allowing public domain books again…but only for the 35% rate.  I think that’s a good thing, although I don’t know how (or if) they’ll limit the massive duplications of titles. 

I do have books, though, that I might digitize (they are in the public domain)…I backed off that when Amazon said no to public domain for independent publishers.  They’d be ones that, to my knowledge, aren’t available elsewhere.

Oh, and this is interesting: you must make the book available in all jurisdictions for which you have e-book rights.  That may speed the growth of the non-US stores, although I doubt many people with e-book rights were holding back (unless there are complicating tax payment issues, or something). 

This puts independent publishers on a parity with the rate Agency Model publishers are getting…which may encourage some authors who retain e-book rights to independently publish.  They weren’t getting the 70% the Agency Model publisher was getting anyway, but this would give them a bigger slice of the pie.

This might cause a reduction in under $2.99 books…as I mentioned in a post yesterday, I’ll track that.  I’ll probably wait until tomorrow to run it.

This is innovative and bold on Amazon’s part, and we’ll see how it affects what we read.

It’s going to push the decentralization of publishing, which I think is a good thing.  I’m not convinced the big publishers will make any less money…they may lose some market share on e-books, but it’s going to be a much bigger market.

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

Flash! Interview with Jeff Bezos and Fortune online

June 30, 2010

Flash! Interview with Jeff Bezos and Fortune online

 Jeff Bezos’s mission: Compelling small publishers to think big

Interesting article!  Read it to see Jeff’s comments on the iPad, Amazon’s strategies, and the market shift from traditional publishers.

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

Are some cheap prices about to rise?

June 30, 2010

Are some cheap prices about to rise?

On June 30, 2010, Amazon’s new 70% royalty option for publishers that use its DTP (Digital Text Platform) becomes available.

I am basing this information on this

press release

and not any specific contract information.

 DTP authors, you may want to check the DTP site for any additional information there  may be.

The press release said that, in order to get that royalty rate, the books would have to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (among other rules).

While that correctly shows Amazon’s price pressure to keep prices under ten dollars (and they’ve been effective at doing that overall in what I call the “prime range”…one penny to fifty dollars), it also may cause some independent publishers (indies) to raise prices from ninety-nine cents and one dollar to $2.99.

Not everybody will do that, of course, or do it on all of their titles.  For some people, they just want to get the boos out there…they will price them as low as they possibly can.

I wanted to compare the prices before and after…although it may take a couple of days before we see the impact.

I ran some numbers today:

  6/29/2010  
0.99          60,983 10%
1            8,560 1%
2.99          19,140 3%
0-299        170,710 27%
2.99-9.99        358,167 57%
Prime        561,314 90%
Prime<10        489,087 78%
Total        625,230 100%

 The first three are price points, not ranges.  So, it’s worth noting that ten percent of the books today are priced at exactly one dollar.

My prime range is one penny to fifty dollars…that’s to eliminate the freebies and the text/technical books.

I’ll re-run this to see if the 70% rate changes these percentages.

By the way, this may bring us a lot more of the backlist, and at possibly lower prices.  Authors who own the e-book rights (especially for older, out-of-print books) may see this as an attractive enough reason to self-publish (or micro-publish).

Oh, and should you buy books priced from ninety-nine cents to $2.98 today, just in case?  In moderation, it couldn’t hurt…  :)

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

Freebie flash! Eternal Hunter, Tuscan Holiday and more

June 29, 2010

Freebie flash! Eternal Hunter, Tuscan Holiday and more

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Eternal Hunter
by Cynthia Eden 
Published by Kensington Books  (a genre and romance publisher)

It’s a paranormal romance with shapeshifters, witches, and District Attorneys.  ;)

No Mercy
by http://www.johngilstrap.com/ John Gilstrap
Published by Pinnacle, the “commercial fiction” (incl. thrillers and true crime), imprint of Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher)

Gilstrap is the author of the Jonathan Graves novels, and is a thriller author.  This one features a private investigator that Publishers Weekly compares to Bruce Wayne.

Tuscan Holiday 
by Holly Chamberlin
Published by Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher)

Let’s see…vampires?  Nope.  Bodice ripper?  Nope.  Violent murders?  Nope.  Hey, this one is just about, you know, regular people!  “Now there’s something you don’t see every day, Chauncey.”  (25 trivia points for identifying that quotation…no fair looking it up).  ;)

Lakota Flower
Lakota series #3
by Janelle Taylor 
Published by Zebra Books (a mostly historical romance imprint of Kensington, a general publisher)

Janelle Taylor is one of the big names in romance.  When I managed a bookstore, I made a point of reading a book in every section.  I had my regular customers recommend one: Janelle Taylor was the suggestion for romance (although I also read a series romance, the ones that came out every month).  She’s an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author…if you ever wanted to try a romance to see what they are like, this might be a good freebie, although not necessarily typical.

The Heir
by Paul Robertson
Published by Bethany House (part of Baker Publishing Group, a faith-based publisher)

A rich relative dies, an unexpected heir…and the challenges that can present to a family.  Sixteen reviews on Amazon, with nine 5s and seven 4s…not too bad. 

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

Flash! Kindle for Android app does not work with the Alex

June 29, 2010

Flash! Kindle for Android app does not work with the Alex

I was curious about this, so I asked the folks at Spring Design, who make the Alex EBR (E-Book Reader).

All I did, by the way, was use the Contact form at their website.  I didn’t identify myself as a blogger or anything…while I did plan to share it with you if they responded, I was really asking for me.  I’m not a company, so I tend to leave those fields blank, when allowed.

They got back to me with an e-mail in under a day…impressive!

I was asking them if the new Kindle for Android app would work on the Alex (which is an Android device).  That would be a dynamite combination!

I haven’t used an Alex yet, but it does seem like quite a device.  It’s a six inch, E Ink reader (like the Kindle and NOOK), but has a full web-browsing 3.5″ screen.  For more details, see my earlier post.

One concern I’ve had with the Alex is the books which are available for it.  Having a Kindle reader app on the Alex would give it the best in-copyright selection out there for e-books…and I assume pretty spiffy web access for things like e-mail.

A negative to the Alex (which has become more of a negative recently) is that the price is $399.99. 

I was told that the app may run on the Alex in the future.  In part, the e-mail said:

“At the current time, the kindle app will not work with the Alex; however, it may be adopted in the future.”

Just thought I’d let you know…  :)

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

Flash! Kindle for Android app now available

June 28, 2010

Flash! Kindle for Android app now available

It was announced in May as coming this summer, and in this

press release

Amazon announces that the Kindle for Android app is now available.

You can get it here:

http://www.amazon.com/kindleforandroid

I assume it isn’t going to work on the NOOK at this point, since, although it is an Android device, I don’t think you can put an app like this on it.

However, it may work on the Spring Design Alex: if you have one, please let me know if it works.

Busy day…  :)

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

Flash! Download the new User’s Guide from Your Orders

June 28, 2010

Flash! Download the new User’s Guide from Your Orders

One of the things that was a bit of a surprise to me was that when I got my new Kindle and updated to 2.5, the latest edition of the User’s Guide wasn’t sent to my Kindle.

Yes, I read those beginning to end :) , but they are also great to have so you can search them when you have a question.

Well, I got my manually from the Help page:

Kindle Documentation

However, then you have to put into your Kindle’s documents folder using your USB…that’s not terrible, but it isn’t as cool as doing it wirelessly.  :)

In this

Amazon Kindle Community thread

forum member pointed out that the 5th edition Kindle User’s Guide may be available in Your Orders at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

When you get there, you can search for User’s Guide.  When you find it, you’ll see options to send it to a particular device.

It appears that not everybody might have it yet.  I suspect you might need to be updated to 2.5.3 before you get it.  My manual update got me 2.5.2, then the system updated it to 2.5.3, I believe.

Anyway, I’m happy to have the latest guide on my Kindle.  :)

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

Flash! Kindles for sale in airports

June 28, 2010

Flash! Kindles for sale in airports 

HMSHost has a lot of restaurants in airports…and now, they have an exclusive contract to sell Kindles in airports as well.  They say in this 

press release 

that the Kindles will be “pre-charged and ready to read”. 

This is an exciting development to me.  I can absolutely see people doing that…buying a Kindle in an airport.  Maybe you are traveling unexpectedly and never had a Kindle.  Maybe you need a special gift when you get there.  Maybe you’ve been thinking about a Kindle for somebody in the family on the trip, and realize this is a great time. 

I didn’t see anything in the press release about price: it wouldn’t surprise me if they are more expensive than they are at Targets or through Amazon (airport retail space is expensive). 

They say they will be in the stores (called Simply Books or Authors Bookstore) today, June 28.  

They are expected in these airports: 

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson
Simply Book
Charlotte Douglas International
Simply Books
Dallas Ft. Worth
Simply Books
George Bush Houston Intercontinental
Simply Books
Miami International
Simply Books
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Simply Books
Authors Bookstore
John Wayne (Orange County)
Authors Bookstore
Salt Lake City
Simply Books
San Diego International
Authors Bookstore
Mineta San Jose International
Authors Bookstore
Tampa International
Authors Bookstore

For some reason, the news stories are under-reporting the airports, but maybe it was updated after the initial release.

This also suggests that they aren’t having supply problems with the Kindles, which is also indicated by their availability in Target stores. 

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

The difficulties of looking up a quotation in a paper book

June 28, 2010

The difficulties of looking up a quotation in a paper book

I love paperbooks! 

Okay, can I complain now?  ;)

I publish quotations pretty much every day (among other things) in one of my other blogs, The Measured Circle

I’ve collected those quotations over time.  Back in the day, I didn’t have a computer, just a…what were those called?…oh yeah, typewriters.  ;)  That meant I couldn’t do things like italics and bold, so I tended to use all capitals for those (that was before that meant shouting on the internet, although it did communicate emphasis).

One problem, though, is I don’t know which one it was in the original work.

So, I was setting up a quotation for publication several days away (I’m going to have less computer access from July 5 to July 9, due to a family thing…I still expect to have a post a day in ILMK, and my guess is that I will stay on top of things…but I’m going to try to write ahead a bit).  I wanted to go back and confirm the quotation.

I had the source listed as Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein. 

First, I didn’t know which book that was…I knew it was a short story.  If I’d had that book on my Kindle, I could have searched for it, but that wasn’t an option. 

Fortunately, I could look it up at

http://www.isfdb.org

which I highly recommend.

That told me that it was in Assignment Earth.  I went into my library in my house and had no trouble locating it (my books are alphabetized, which probably won’t surprise you).

My copy is an old Signet paperback (it originally cost twenty-five cents…I think I paid a dime).  It’s a November 1954 first edition paperback…in lousy condition.  :)  It’s literally falling apart…only the back of the cover is even attached anymore (the front and the spine are there, but they are hanging loose).  The ends of the pages are shredding.

When people talk about being worried about their e-books being available to them years from now, this is the kind of thing I want to show them.  Paperbooks, especially ones that were thought of as ephemera (and I read a lot of those), decay.  Yes, I have hardbacks that are over one hundred years old, but paperbacks are often not printed to last. 

So, I had the book, I had the story name.  I gingerly opened the book, and started flipping through…page by page.  I’m a good skimmer, so it didn’t take that long to go through 45 pages to find it.  I also had to put on my reading glasses from the Dollar Store.  :)  I don’t normally wear glasses or carry them around with me, but this text was small.

Once I found it, I had to carefully balance it open (so I didn’t degrade the book any more than necessary) and compare it.

Needless to say, that was a lot harder than doing a search, clipping the section, and copying and pasting.  :)

I love paperbooks, but I do have to treat them somewhat like fragile invalids…lovingly, but with caution and recognition of their special limitations (and strengths). 

In my opinion, academia and research generally will be greatly advanced when e-books are used more extensively.

Disagree?  Like putting those little sticky flags in paperbooks to mark things?  Feel free to let me know with a comment to this posting.

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


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