Round up #68: WG2E, ABA boycotts Amazon, 9″ KF?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
We’re going to hear a lot of predictions going forward about what Amazon may do with the next hardware we see from them…and if history is a good teacher, they are still going to surprise most tech writers.
This is the latest wave…that Amazon is readying a 9 inch tablet for possibly the second quarter of this year.
It’s funny to me that some people are contextualizing this an iPad 3 being a Kindle Fire killer. That seems the other way around to me…Apple’s the Goliath hardware maker, Amazon’s new to that game, relatively.
“But that is the risk which the strongest always faces in accepting challenges. If he wins, it is no virtue. If he loses, it is a cosmic joke for three thousand years.”
The Fate of the Phoenix (a Star Trek novel)
written by Myra Culbreath and Sondra Marshak
My guess is still that we’ll see multiple models. One will be a larger version of the Kindle Fire (although it may not have that name, certainly). Another would be a more fully-featured version of the Fire we have now…camera, GPS, and maybe 3G (but not free 3G), and it would be more expensive. It would irritate me a bit, but it might have included text-to-speech (TTS) where the KF1 doesn’t.
I think we might also see a larger full-featured Android device.
In addition to that, we could see more on the reflective screen front. It could be color, and/or it could be a stripped down larger screen model. The Mindle (that’s what I call the low end one now) has been very popular, especially abroad. A similarly limited large reflective screen device might have a real market…especially if Amazon getting Android tablet available overseas takes a while. We might see the Fire overseas pretty soon, though…maybe before summer.
Another clear opportunity? Multiple language menu support on devices other than the Mindle. That could be done with a software update, but again, they could use it as a carrot to upgrade.
They could also announce a phone at the same time, but I think that’s less likely.
That’s my latest article at the Writers Guide to E-publishing. I do a post for them on the second Saturday of each month. I’m linking here in case you are interested…that platform is for writers, and while I do address them here, it is a different perspective. Also, I don’t think you are often going to run into Oscar Wilde and Han Solo in the same article, and you will there.
My free books…today!
I let you know in an earlier post that I was making some of my books free for today (February 12) for my birthday. That’s partially an experiment, and I’ve only mentioned it publicly to you readers of this blog, but…yow! We aren’t supposed to reveal specific sales figures, but let’s say that lots of you are taking advantage of it. I can say that at least one of the titles will have more downloaded today than it is has ever sold…by a lot! Thanks! I don’t get royalties on those, but I’m happy to have you read them…they are someone outdated, but I think they still have value. That’s one of the problems with non-fiction and being cutting edge: things change.
I always think it’s an interesting perspective that people are mad at Amazon because they can’t get an Amazon product in their countries. It’s not because they don’t like you: I’m sure Amazon would like to sell everything everywhere.
It just can be complicated. In the case of the Fire, that’s especially true (I commented about this at the link above).
This goes back to people seeing sales on an individual basis, and companies seeing them on a population basis. Amazon may be losing some sales right now…some people might not wait and might get a different tablet. However, Amazon might poison the waters by releasing a tablet when they didn’t have enough market-specific content lined up. They can’t think of it as, “We failed because this individual bought something else.” They have to think of the market overall.
American Booksellers Association boycotts Amazon paperbooks
As a former bookstore manager, I have to say…this seems like a bad move to me.
While there has been a massive decline in membership since the mid-1990s, this is an important organization of independent bookstores that has been around since 1900. It’s quite possible that your favorite local bookstore is a member.
The group promotes literacy and freedom of speech, among other things.
That’s why it seems ironic that their for-profit site that sells books to bookstores (which they sell to customers) is deliberately not going to carry paperbooks published by Amazon’s imprints.
“Oh, yes, we want you to read and discover other viewpoints…and we’re going to do that by making books unavailable to you.”
Look, I get that they don’t like Amazon exclusively having certain e-books available, and this is a way they can punish Amazon.
However, it also punishes: the authors; the readers; and those indie bookstores.
Indie bookstores need to sell books people want, and they need to have an honest and beneficial relationship with those customers.
Otherwise, those customers (reluctantly for some) will get those books from the internet.
I can absolutely see writing the history of publishing fifty years from now and seeing this move (also made by Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million) being pointed out as bookstores killing themselves off. I can see how it (and other restrictive selling practices) drove people away from the brick-and-mortars when they had an opportunity to take advantage of the demise of Borders.
This story has some nuances…the bookstores can still order the Amazon paperbooks, but they have to do it a special way.
Back to text-to-speech in the car…on my Kindle Fire!
As regular readers know, I’m used to listening to text-to-speech for hours a week in the car. The Fire did not come the kind of text-to-speech we’ve had on Kindles since the Kindle 2. That has been my biggest negative about the Fire. It just isn’t convenient for me to carry both an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) and my Fire when I am commuting to work.
Well, I was answering a question for somebody in a comment (and I know you don’t all see the comments), and found what is a real game changer for me.
I’ve used apps to access the Pico TTS (text-to-speech) engine which comes on the Fire, but it hasn’t been satisfactory. The biggest problem was that it didn’t know where I stopped in a book…it always started at the beginning.
Well, now I have a free app that knows!
I need to be very clear here: this does not work with Kindle store books with Digital Rights Management, and probably doesn’t work with those relatively few that don’t have DRM.
I’m an eclectic reader, though…I love older books.
Here’s how this works:
Download the free app.
Get a text file book for it to read…for example, something from Project Gutenberg. I’m going back through
Update: I see that the above link actually opens the book when I access it through the Pulse app on my Fire. Try this one, and long press (see below) the text version:
in preparation for the John Carter movie being released March 9th.
You can get it on the Fire: go to Gutenberg.org, find the book you want (again, I know Droid Talker works on text-files…it might work on HTML, but I haven’t tested it yet). “Long press” the title…hold your fingertip or stylus on it for about a second. You’ll a choice to save the link.
Open Droid Talker.
Use the menu (horizontal lines in a box at the bottom of the screen) to
It will be the Downloads folder.
Once it’s opened, use the menu again to choose Read. Don’t click the Speak button, or it will only read one page at a time.
When you are done for that session, click Menu and click Stop. Going to Home won’t stop it, by the way…you can listen to it read while you are doing other things.
When you open it again, it will be in the same place. When I tap Read, it does start at the top of the current page, but that’s not bad.
Enjoy! I know I will.
Happy my birthday to you!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.