Round up #58: estimated pages, X-ray info, Kindle Nation app

Round up #58: estimated pages, X-ray info, Kindle Nation app

X-ray: not enabled

No, that’s not a warning for the radiologist. ;)

X-ray is a feature on the Kindle Touch that lets you download information about the book with the book. I’ve written about it previously.

I like the feature, and in fact, wanted it on more books.

One big problem I had was not knowing which books had it before I downloaded them.

Well, today, I was checking the Kindle store from my Kindle…not something I usually do. I usually just shop the Kindle store from my computer…I find that easier. However, i was going to get a book from the Kindle Owners Lending Library (available to paying Prime members who own a Kindle, as opposed to just an app or no Kindle at all), and that’s a bit easier to do from the device, in my opinion.

Anyway, I noticed that the books were telling me whether they were X-ray enabled or not!

That made my selection easier.

However, I couldn’t see that information when I was on my computer, and I couldn’t see it when I tested it from my Mindle (that’s what I call the $79/$109 Kindle).

That suggests to me that they’ll only show that information when someone using a Kindle Touch shops.

That’s smart! I figured they weren’t showing it because they didn’t want a lot of questions from people about what it meant who couldn’t get it. Also, it seems the vast majority of books are not enabled…so it might be disappointing.

I wondered if Mindles would be able to see that text-to-speech is enabled, since they can’t play it (or any audio). I checked: I couldn’t see that on my Mindle, although it didn’t seem to show me much about a book in the Kindle bookstore compared to  my Touch.

There was, though, a real inconvenience discovered in this process. I knew I’d want to listen to text-to-speech in the car on this one (I want to take advantage of Prime lending, and that means getting through those books relatively quickly…that’s what TTS does. I always hope the publishers all realize that, and react by enabling it more offer).

I’d tried TTS in the car on my Touch once before, and it seemed much quieter than on my Kindle Keyboard (formerly commonly called a Kindle 3) or my Kindle 2. I use a Coby CA-745 Wireless FM Car Transmitter, and it’s always worked fine.

When I tried the TTS once before with my Kindle Touch, and it was relatively very quiet. Cranking my radio up on the way, it was still hard to hear.

While I was testing this, I got the same result with the book I borrowed, Water for Elephants. I took my Kindle Keyboard out to the car to test it…it was fine.

It does seem harder to get the headphone jacked into my Kindle Touch. I’m guessing it may have a somewhat different jack, but I’m not sure.

I tried a pair of headphones on the Kindle Touch…they seemed okay (but a bit quiet).

I’m guessing some of you have a Coby or have tried your Kindle Touch with different headphones and cables. If you can let me know how it’s been for you, I’d appreciate that. I’m curious as to whether this might be a problem with the Coby and the Touch, or maybe just my Touch.

Estimated pages

Speaking of product page information, I’ve noticed that some Kindle store book product pages now give you an estimated number of pages. That’s the case with Stompin’ On Stetsons by D.D. Scott*, but curiously, not with Scott’s Bootscootin’ Blahniks, the first in the series.

That’s also not the case with my latest book, Love Your Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet.

My guess is that it will eventually show up on all the books that don’t have “real page numbers”, but I don’t know that.

Still, interesting. It seems to me like the page estimates are perhaps high…they say that it’s “…Based on the page size of a paperback book.”. When I estimate pages, I use 250 words, which is sort of a traditional measure. I wonder if paperback books have fewer words? That could certainly make sense.

“Stop Freaking Out About Amazon’s Price Check App”

I’ve been in some lively discussions about Amazon’s new Price Check app. People are worried that it’s unfair for Amazon to encourage people to go into brick-and-mortar stores and price check the items and then buy them on Amazon.

I’m a former retail manager…I would have welcomed that. I kept competitor’s brochures at the counter, so people could check them if they wanted. When you have a brick-and-mortar store, you aren’t going to get people to shop there nowadays because you have better prices or a better selection. It’s simply not going to happen, most of the time, compared to the e-tailers.

They are going to buy from you because they like you (yes, personally) and want to support your business.

They want your expertise and the experience of shopping there, certainly…but if they like you, they are willing to pay more for the same product they can get cheaper elsewhere.

That’s the winning strategy for a small physical store these days, in my opinion.

So, it was nice to see this

mocoNEWS article

It gives several reasons why this isn’t any big deal. I recommend the article (by Laura Hazard Owen) to you.

Kindle Nation app

Most of you will be familiar with Stephen Windwalker, the “Dean of Kindle Bloggers”.

Well, Windwalker has made another interesting move:

Kindle Nation Daily app

It’s a free app in the Amazon Appstore.

I’ve only taken a first look at it, but I will say that it looks good. It looks like one of the magazine apps (I’ve tried Wired, Entertainment Weekly, Smithsonian, and National Geographic). It navigates like a webpage, though…no thumbnails of the pages, for example.

You can increase the text size, which is something I really appreciate.

Some of the content (at least two of the links I clicked) requires a live wi-fi connection.

It’s an interesting move. I really like the Pulse app that comes with the Kindle Fire, as you know. I will say that the KND app looks better than that does. :)  Is this the future of blogs on the Kindle Fire? I don’t know…I like the subscriber model, and Stephen’s Kindle Nation Daily has been a bestseller in the Kindle store longer than mine has (I’m at 835 days in the top 100…Kindle Nation Daily is at 895).

I really rely on those of you who subscribe (thanks, subscribers!). That’s not even an option on the Kindle Fire right now. On the other hand, you can’t run an app like KND on a reflective screen Kindle.

It’s still an evolving world…being in it feels a little bit like diving deliberately into a tornado. :) It might make you dizzy, but it’s a heck of a ride. ;)

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

Overall, it looks like it’s worth trying. Let me know what you think about it.

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12 Responses to “Round up #58: estimated pages, X-ray info, Kindle Nation app”

  1. Zebras Says:

    Bufo, I have the same Coby model you have based on your recommendation, by the way. ;-) I find that while the speakers on the Touch are dissapointingly quieter than the Keyboard, that when I use the Coby transmitter or earphones, it comes through louder than the Kindle Keyboard. I can’t compare them side by side, though as my Kindle Keyboard suffered a tragic accident, and so I ordered the Touch as a replacement.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Interesting…that helps. It might be a problem with my Kindle Touch, then. I suppose its also possible that they’ve changed the jack. I may play around with how its sitting, but I can use my Kindle Keyboard. I’m also hoping that we get TTS in an update for the Fire.

  2. Alice Says:

    Is KND truly an app? It seems like it’s just a browser bookmark to KND.

  3. Zebras Says:

    Bufo, I just re-read your post, and you mentioned thinking your Touch had a different headset jack from your Keyboard. I would think then that something is wrong with your headset jack, as I’ve used two pairs of headphones in all three, Keyboard, Touch, and Fire and they all act the same. I was pleased that the Touch came through louder with the earphones than the keyboard, because I use it a lot at a noisy gym, and this will counteract that noisy Zumba class!

  4. lp Says:

    fyi — from comments on the forum, it appears that the new software update is rolling out.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, lp!

      Nothing official yet…I’ll keep my eye out for more!

      Edited to add: Could you link me to a place with those comments? Thanks!

  5. lp Says:

    The topic is “Kindle Fire Software Update.” See http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle/ref=cm_cd_ttp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx2TG644BFFN9JK

    I cannot confirm; mine has not updated. It does strike me as odd that there are not more discussions if in fact the update is out.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, lp!

      I’m hearing about the update from more places. I’m hoping mine updates soon, so I can write about it. :)

  6. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I must say I too was puzzled by the outcry against the price checking app. From some of my retail clients I am aware that they routinely utilize “mystery shoppers” to check on competitor pricing. Some also do price matching. So it’s ok to agressively compete on price with other brick & mortar stores, but if an etailer does it, it’s unfair? Baloney!

    About half the titles I’ve bought on my KT have had x-ray enabled. There are degrees of x-ray support: some support all 3 modes (page, chapter, book); some only supported page and book, but not chapter. I find it useful to keep track of many characters in long titles. X-ray does, however, make mistakes in identifying characters and terms — especially in “invented worlds” science fiction titles. I hope this gets better over time — as it could be very helpful in keeping track of a lot of strange names and terms appearing in certain sci-fi stories.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Yep…it’s always interesting to me when it’s okay to do something, but not do it well. :) Many people have some sense of what’s happening with the deck when they play cards, and that’s fine…but card counting is frowned upon. It’s okay for you to do price comparisons before you go into a store…but not once you are in there? If somebody doesn’t like the concept, that’s one thing…I find it odd not to like the better implementation of an acceptable idea.

  7. Jody Rankin Says:

    So we’re up to 6 Kindles in the family now. Another Fire and a Touch were added yesterday. My wife now has the Touch and was really looking forward to the XRAY feature but we cant get it to pull up on any books that say they have XRAY. I tried playing with it but couldn’t make it work. No Help Q&A for it in MYK. I emailed Amazon a little while ago…we’ll see what they say. Anybody have any suggestions?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jody!

      Six Kindles…that’s impressive! :)

      Hmm…I haven’t had any trouble with X-Ray. For example, I just tested it on Water for Elephants. I tap in the middle top third of the screen…the same way you make the Menu appear. The touch spot for X-Ray is labeled and in your lower right corner.

      If you don’t mind, which book was it?

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