Archive for September, 2012

In honor of Banned Books week: famous books for $0.99 each

September 29, 2012

In honor of Banned Books week: famous books for $0.99 each

Thanks to “Emily Bronte” in the Amazon Kindle forum for the heads-up on this!

In honor of this year’s Banned Books week (which is September 30 through October 6), a number of books from Open Road Media whcih have been challenged or banned are $0.99 each.

This is a great opportunity to get these books at a reduced price!

As always, check the price before buying…it could be different in your country, and I don’t know when the sale will end.

After adding these, I noticed many of them were digitally list-priced at $14.99. Open Road had not been part of the Agency Model, and has not blocked text-to-speech to my knowledge.

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

ALA & AAP: the relationship between public libraries and publishers

September 29, 2012

ALA & AAP: the relationship between public libraries and publishers

recently reported about an open letter from the American Library Association’s President, Maureen Sullivan to American publishers.

The AAP (Association of American Publishers) has responded, as reported by Publishers Weekly:

PW article

The ALA letter did have some emotionally charged language:

  • “refused”
  • “no good”
  • “denying”
  • “not”
  • “cannot”
  • “lock out”
  • “doesn’t add up”
  • “discriminatory”

Interestingly, the AAP letter (which is shorter), does appear to be trying to play the “grown up”. They say:

“At a time when individual publishing houses are more actively engaged than ever in exploring viable solutions to e-lending, we are disappointed that the new leadership at ALA chose this path, with this particular timing, to criticize those efforts…”

When you hear that language, “I’m disappointed in you,” it usually comes from an authority figure: a parent, a teacher, a boss. It’s not something you usually hear peer to peer…does your Significant Other say, “I’m disappointed you didn’t call” or just say, “Why didn’t you call me?”

From the business perspective, libraries and publishers are currently negotiating new contracts. There’s an obvious question here: why did President Sullivan make this an open letter, which by definition is seen by the public?

Clearly, it’s to involve the public in some way. Either it’s to have them impact this negotiation, or to affect other interactions with the public. In either case, it suggests to me that the librarians do not think they are in a position of strength.  If you are having a disagreement at a restaurant table with your partner, and you are sure you are going to win, do you turn the room and say, “Am I right?” You don’t, because you are already doing okay…you don’t want to complicate the situation. If it does look like it is going your way, you look like a jerk by airing it publicly. If you think you are going to lose, then you might “rally the troops”, call for the cavalry.

It’s entirely possible that librarians (who I think are generally perceived by the public as a force for good) can bring pressure on the publishers (who, in recent years, have been painted as being greedy, corporate, and draconian by many) by customers to bring about a change.

However, it’s unclear that has worked in the past. Lots of people didn’t like the Agency Model, but it took legal action (not popular opinion) to get a change. There were actual public protests over the blocking of text-to-speech access, and that has changed somewhat, but some publishers seemed comfortable having the policy of blocking.

When the publishers controlled the pricing under the Agency Model, they didn’t seem to hesitate to raise prices for popular bestsellers past the $9.99 magic number, despite thousands of forum posts protesting that four digit price.

This may be different. I think that it may be that the vast section of the public which is not made up of serious readers will side with the librarians, bringing additional market pressure. It might parallel a bit with the recent lock out of refs in the NFL (National Football League). The anger over the substitute refs appeared to spread way beyond the group of people who actually watch the games, and a change happened.

So, while I would guess that the librarians’ letter genuinely reflects how the organization feels, making it public was a business move.

What’s the basic issue here?

Some publishers are not licensing e-books to libraries at all, and others have either restricted lending or raised the licensing fee.

When a library gets a book (e-book or p-book…paperbook), it doesn’t pay what you pay for it. There are different agreements involved…that’s one reason why, when you donate a book, you don’t see it on the shelf: it goes into a library sale, commonly.

The publishers are clear: the rules on e-books have to be different from those on p-books.

Why?

Well, for one thing, e-books never wear out. P-books do, and have to be replaced.

I also wonder if the publishers think the cycle of  “discover” and “purchase” is different for e-books. Are people less likely to read an e-book and then want to purchase it for themselves? I do think that’s possible. Having held a physical object in your hands can change your perception of its value. Some people don’t like to give a gift card for something…they prefer to give the item itself. I think part of that is this tangibility impact.

President Sullivan said:

“…recent research from the Pew Internet Project tells us that library users are more than twice as likely to have bought their most recent book as to have borrowed it from a library.”

That doesn’t really tell us what the publishers would want to know. The question is, does having borrowed an e-book from the library make it more or less likely that the person would purchase the book…and how does that compare to p-books?

I think the initial publisher reaction may have been out of fear. If there is a flood, and a wall of water is coming towards your house, you look around quickly and grab things that have personal meaning and/or that seem irreplaceable.

I think the “digital deluge” meant that publishers grabbed what they considered valuable, and held it tight.

They grabbed audio, they grabbed the ability to lend to friends, they grabbed public library lending. They clutched them to their chests, uncertain what was going to happen next.

I don’t have the data to say whether publishers are right or not, in terms of the economics, to encourage library borrowing…but neither did they when they made the decision.

My intuition is that publishers allowing their books to be borrowed in public libraries would be a net positive for them, and certainly, I want books to be available to as many people as easily as possible. However, I also recognize the creative and production side: I’m a big supporter of copyright, and I see the legitimate role of publishers.

Outside of this business negotiation, there is a basic societal question: what is the role of the public library?

The public pays taxes to support libraries: should the books be available to everyone? Alternatively, are they there to make books available to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them? If it’s the latter, I do think we could see publishers loan e-books on a need-tested basis; if you could legitimately afford to buy them yourself, you don’t get them for free. In that scenario, it could be supported by tax incentives, rather than by taxpayers directly.

What do you think? If a publisher doesn’t support library borrowing, does that affect your decision to buy from them? Are you less likely to buy an e-book you’ve already read than a p-book you’ve already read?  Do you think President Sullivan’s letter was inflammatory…and will that work? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Reading the Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide

September 28, 2012

Reading the Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide

You know when there’s a series of books, and you just can’t wait for the next one to come out? That’s how I feel about Kindle User’s Guides. There’s that thrill of seeing which features will be mentioned and won’t, the rock solid density of reading those legal notices, and the head-scratching moments like having to tell people not to dry their Kindles in a microwave. :)

Well, the wait is over…the User’s Guide for the Kindle Paperwhite is now here!

http://kindle.s3.amazonaws.com/Kindle_Paperwhite_Users_Guide.pdf

So, now, as you may be frequently told to do on the internet, you can RTFM…you know, Read The Free Manual. Wait, that’s what the “F” is for, right? ;)

Well, I did just that yesterday…while driving. Don’t worry, it was safe. I downloaded the file as a pdf, e-mailed it to my Kindle Fire HD with the word “convert” in the subject line, and had the Ivona TTS (text-to-speech) software read it out loud to me through my car’s sound system.

I continue to be impressed with Ivona. Not only is it smoother and more natural sounding than Nuance’s Vocalizer (on the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch), it handles punctuation better. I was blown away when the author (Benjamin Mee) of We Bought a Zoo used ellipses to indicate…someone…was…speaking…slowly, and Ivona actually had the gaps between the words. It’s not perfect; chapter titles are still an issue, but it is much better.

There were some things that stood out that I want to share with you, but a couple of caveats first. User’s Guides change over time…this one could be updated even before people have the Paperwhites in their hands (on Monday). Second, many things that the Paperwhite does won’t be covered in the User’s Guide…what geeks like me call “undocumented features”. Third, there may be things in the User’s Guide that suggest something might happen, but it doesn’t ever. For example, it may list certain countries just as a precaution, and then it may not go on sale in those countries.

That said, here are some interesting points (some of this we knew already):

  • The power button is on the bottom edge, which hasn’t been everybody’s favorite place
  • The AC adapter is sold separately…charging shouldn’t take four hours, but could in some situations
  • The power light will change colors as it charges (amber to green)…the KFHD doesn’t have a power light
  • You’ll be able to change the keyboard on the fly for different languages…that’s nice. There will be a globe button on the keyboard if you have more than one language, and you can use that to switch
  • The previous page tap zone is only on the left side…that may be a problem for left handers; you can swipe instead of tap, though
  • The brightness button appears in the main toolbar…it will be easily accessible
  • Wikipedia look up is available
  • “List” or “cover” views on the homescreen are mentioned as options…we may be able to see the covers of the books there
  • The “About the Author” option is mentioned in books…but it will only be available for “books that support the author profile”. This may encourage authors to create Amazon Author Central pages (here’s mine). That’s a good thing: I like having the forum there for my readers
  • Line spacing and margins will be adjustable
  • In some cases, you’ll be able to switch to the “publisher font”
  • The toolbar when reading a periodical will appear on the top, with the main toolbar; I think it’s smart that they are putting the controls all in the same place
  • It says flat out that wi-fi is faster than 3G
  • Their discussion of switching from 3G to wi-fi seemed confusing this time…like it might not switch to wi-fi if the 3G signal is stronger. They say: “Your Kindle automatically turns off 3G when you connect using Wi-Fi with better signal strength.” I thought in the past it switched to wi-fi every time when available, regardless of comparable signal strength, but that might have been wrong
  • One of the clear indicators that the Paperwhite will be sold in multiple countries was this one: “Note that Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers are not available in all countries”
  • There will be recommendations when you are in “cover view”: “When in Cover View, your Kindle Home screen displays recommended content from the Kindle Store, such as Editors’ Picks”. We have a change coming that will enable people to turn that off on the KFHD…don’t know about the Paperwhite
  • They mentioned blogs…yay! I always worry they are going to cut that off at some point
  • This one might be confusing: “You can also synchronize your Kindle device so that purchases within Kindle apps are available to you” I think they are talking about being able to read a book that you bought while using, say, Kindle for PC on your Kindle…not about “in-app purchases” like power-ups and music in an Android app
  • They now refer to the archives as the “Cloud”, like they do on the Fire
  • Another possible confusion: “Your Kindle can store thousands of digital books, personal documents, newspapers, blogs, magazines, and active content”…can it store thousands of e-books? Can it store thousands of magazines? I’d doubt the latter, since they tend to be big. I think they mean the items can combine to be thousands…but some of them would need to be small to make that happen
  • You can sort and filter your Cloud items…filters now include Active Content
  • They have an “x/y” button so you can jump to page “3 of 10″ on the homescreen, or by letter. We’ve always had the ability to jump, but I don’t think x/y is going to be clear to people…a bit math geeky, don’t you think?
  • Book description is mentioned as an option, but that doesn’t mean the book descriptions are stored locally…we’ve also had that “book description” for a while
  • Yes, you can create Collections
  • Periodicals and blogs still can not be put into Collections. I think that’s because each time they download, their names (as far as the Kindle is concerned) change
  • This statement appears to need to be corrected: “Note that files transferred to your Kindle using the USB cable will display the option “Delete This Document” and will be permanently deleted unless you have enabled archiving on the Manage Your Kindle page.” Whether you’ve enabled archiving or not, I don’t think your Kindle server is going to back up a file you’ve transferred via USB (as opposed to e-mailing it to your Kindle using the Personal Document Service. It would be possible for Amazon to survey your device for added documents, but they’d get a lot of pushback on that, and I don’t think it’s going to happen
  • They push this site, http://www.kindle.com/support, a lot. Interestingly, it actually takes you to a UK page, http://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle/support, which then lets you pick a country (including India). It looks nice
  • The periodical situation is the same…you get the “rolling seven”. Amazon keeps the current issue and six back issues for you. You can choose to keep any issue you want, but you are responsible for storing it
  • You can change the number of pages for the page refresh (changing how often you get the flash)
  • Kindle Panel View is available for comics and manga (and they carefully list those separately)
  • You can pan tables (move left and right in them)
  • You can pan and zoom some things
  • Pinch and spread will work
  • There will be a Dictionaries Collection in the Cloud…might this eventually mean user-created Collections in the Cloud?
  • We will have translation (of individual words) and reporting errors from within the book
  • My Clippings will appear on the homescreen
  • X-Ray will be available, as will information from both Wikipedia and Shelfari
  • Reading Time will figure out how long it will take you based on your reading speed to finish a chapter or the book. Note that this estimate of your reading speed is stored locally…if your Kindle is replaced, the new one will have to relearn your reading speed. I think they might have been worried that people thought it was an invasion of privacy if your reading speed was known by Amazon
  • You can set an access password for the whole device. They say that if you forget it, you have to contact Customer Service
  • You will be able to set “parental controls” for the web, the Kindle store, and/or the Cloud
  • You can manually set the time, even on a 3G Paperwhite
  • Formats: “You can send Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC, and MOBI files to your Kindle and read them in Kindle format. You can add notes, highlights, and bookmarks, which are synchronized across devices along with the last page you read via our Whispersync technology. Synchronization of notes, highlights, bookmarks, and last page read is available only for personal documents archived in Kindle format. You can also read documents in PDF and TXT format natively.” That looks like no MOBI without conversion, but we’ll need to test that
  • Twitter and Facebook integration is available
  • For the browser: “Your Kindle includes a web browser that enables you to surf the web and view most Amazon web pages. Web Browser supports JavaScript, SSL, and cookies, but does not support media plug-ins. You must have a Wi-Fi connection to access most websites.” So, even with a 3G device, you probably will need a wi-fi connection to get to your favorite non-Amazon/non-Wikipedia sites
  • You can pinch and spread on websites
  • Article viewing mode is available
  • Downloading files from websites has a different list of formats than the above: “Supported file types for download include Kindle content (.AZW, .AZW1, AZW2, and AZW3), unprotected Mobipocket books (.MOBI, .PRC), and text files (.TXT).”
  • They give you instructions for drying out a Kindle, and talk about repetitive stress injuries
  • I love this line: “If you are in an area where using your Kindle while operating a vehicle is allowed, always give full attention to the operation of the vehicle and stop using your Kindle if it becomes a distraction.”
  • There is a statement about conformity with Canadian regulations
  • Memory: “Storage — 2GB internal storage, with approximately 1GB available to the user”

This table on warrantys suggests that you may be able to purchase it in China and Japan:

===

If you purchased your Device: This Warranty is provided by:
From Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de,
Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es,
or from authorized resellers located
in Europe
Amazon EU S.à.r.l., 5 rue Plaetis, L-2338,
Luxembourg
From Amazon.ca Amazon.com.ca, Inc., 410 Terry Ave. North,
Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
From authorized resellers located
in India
Amazon Seller Services Private Limited, having
a registered address of 201, Midford House, Off
M.G.Road, Bangalore 560 001, India
From Amazon.co.jp or from
authorized resellers located in Japan
Amazon.com International Sales, Inc., 410 Terry Ave.
North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States
From Amazon.cn or from authorized
resellers located in the People’s
Republic of China
Amazon Joyo Co. Ltd., 26F, Bldg A, Ocean
International Center, No. 56 East 4th Ring Road,
Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
From any other Amazon website or
from authorized resellers located in
other countries
Amazon Fulfillment Services, Inc., 410 Terry Ave.
North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210, United States

===

Again, any of this could change, but it was an interesting read…but technical manuals always are, right? ;)

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

Price matching Google 25: great apps for a quarter each

September 27, 2012

Price matching Google 25: great apps for a quarter each

These won’t last…Amazon is price matching Google’s 25 year celebration with some popular apps priced at a quarter.

The big one to me is

OfficeSuite Professional 6

It’s normally $14.99, and I use it often. It lets you read, edit, and create Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. I got the Pro version as a free app of the day, but don’t miss this.

Here’s the list at Google:

Google 25

I may buy some others, but I will get them from the Amazon Appstore.

Update: here are some others that stand out to me:

Note that some apps are available both in free ad-supported versions and the paid version without ads (as above). That can actually make a big difference. My understanding is that the ad-supported ones need to “phone home” through the internet to get new ads…meaning that the game may not open sometimes if you aren’t connected to wireless. There are a lot of questions about that asked in the Amazon Kindle forums.

This price matching is the kind of thing that the Agency Model prevented on e-books. As the Agency Model ends on e-books, we should start seeing some of these kinds of price matching price wars on e-books as well.

Update: thanks to reader Ana for asking me to clarify the Agency Model connection to apps. I was trying to compare and contrast…apps are not under the Agency Model, which is why Google can discount them and Amazon can match them (and vice versa in other instances, of course). For e-books under the Agency Model, the former retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and so on), can’t discount them.

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

New Fire update in coming weeks: languages, turn off “Customers Also Bought”

September 26, 2012

New Fire update in coming weeks: languages, turn off “Customers Also Bought”

Thanks to TuxGirl, who alerted me to a change in this

FAQ: Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD

that has these two key passages (it was updated September 25):

“Q: Will I be able to configure my Kindle Fire (2nd Generation) and Kindle Fire HD so recommendations do not appear under the carousel?
A: Yes. In the coming weeks, a new, free software update for Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD will add a setting to let customers control whether or not personalized recommendations appear below the carousel on the device homepage.”

“Q: What languages do the new devices support?
A: The new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD currently supports US English. In the coming weeks, a new free software update will enable customers to set their device default language to one of six languages, including English (US), English (UK), German, French, Italian, and Spanish. Free dictionaries for each language will also be available. This software update will be delivered automatically to your Kindle Fire.”

We got pretty frequent updates on the KF1 (Kindle Fire 1st generation), and it looks like that might continue. :)

By the way, when it says “Kindle Fire” in those quotations, I assume they are referring to what I call the KFSD (Kindle Fire 7″ SD), and that they are not talking about the KF1. That doesn’t mean that the KF1 will never get any more updates, but I don’t think they are discussing it her.

Thanks also to *~*Pineapple*~*. :)

Update: I forgot to mention…if you don’t like the “Customers Also Bought” (CAB) recommendations, try looking at the Carousel in landscape mode (wider than it is tall). :)

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

New NOOKs: faster, lighter, bigger, and more personalized

September 26, 2012

New NOOKs: faster, lighter, bigger, and more personalized

“Now batting…from New York City, a 95-year veteran of bookselling who is still swinging for the fences, Barnes & Noble!”

Barnes & Noble announced today

Press Release

two new tablets, and the introduction is impressive.

They’ve done an excellent job in making these devices sound customer-aligned…territory Amazon tried to claim in its September 5th presser (press event).

Very simply, there aren’t wild innovations that people may not understand (X-Ray for Movies, “Immersion Reading”), but things that people clearly want (no ads, customizable screen savers*).

The specs (hardware specifications) will make the gear heads happy, at least for the features on which Barnes & Noble focuses…except for memory (see below).

This is one of the best product introductions I’ve seen.

Yes, I love my Kindle, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate other devices.

These aren’t Kindle Fire killers in my opinion…I do think there is room for both. However, I think this may move Barnes & Noble up in market share through the holiday season.

While Barnes & Noble and Amazon aren’t the only two players here (the market is merging in some ways), let’s take a look at this head to head. I’m going to talk about both reflective screen devices and the tablets. I compared the Kindles in an earlier post and if you are already settled that you want an Amazon device, that one will give you a good idea. In a similar way, I’m going to try to give you a sense of which Kindle or NOOK might best fit how you are going to use it.

Before I do, though, I want to say that Amazon’s Customer Service is a deciding factor for me in comparing the companies. Amazon allows the “return” of a Kindle store book in the first seven days after purchase for a refund: B&N doesn’t allow the return of NOOK Books at any time for any reason. Amazon has great Customer Service, and great involvement with their customers. I’ve never had a bad experience in a Barnes & Noble brick and mortar store, but I have had them online with them.

Note: Amazon gave me a Kindle Fire HD 7″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB and a Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers. That is not because I’m a blogger: it’s because of work that I do voluntarily on the Kindle forums to help other customers. I’m what they call a “Kindle Forum Pro”. That’s not a job, and I’m not paid by Amazon. They gave the devices to all of the Pros. While I’m grateful, I don’t think it’s particularly influenced my feelings about Amazon, or that it will affect this post…I liked them before. :)

Definitions

Reflective Screen Devices (RSDs): an EBR (E-Book Reader) which does not have lighting behind the image. RSDs are particularly good for long form reading, have a long battery life compared to a backlit device. They can be read easily in bright light, because you read them by light reflecting off of them (the same way you read a paperbook). The technology does not “refresh the screen” quickly enough to handle video. While they can play some games, their primary function is reading. The screens on the earlier models used a brand name technology called E Ink. RSDs currently do not do color images.

Tablet: a backlit device, similar in that way to a laptop, desktop, or SmartPhone. You read what is on the screen by a light coming from behind it. In bright light, they can be hard to read, because the light coming from behind the screen is competing with the light hitting the screen from the front (the sun, for example). Tablets can do full animation (meaning you can watch movies and TV shows, and play games that require animation). They can show many colors. They are good for visiting websites. The software is flexible, and you can install many types of “apps” on them. The battery charge life is much shorter than on an RSK: a day of full use will require a recharge.

The entry level RSD

If you just want to get an EBR (E-Book Reader), maybe your first one, or as an extra, or you just aren’t sure about the whole thing, Amazon owns this one with the Kindle (“Mindle”) with Special Offers. At $69 in the USA, it’s $30 cheaper than the cheapest NOOK. If you just want to read, and you don’t mind ads, it’s a good deal. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, and it doesn’t have audio (so no music, no audiobooks, no text-to-speech). You can get it without ads for $89, but that’s only $10 less than the…

Lowest priced touch screen

NOOK Simple Touch

Is it worth $30 more than the Mindle? If you want a touchscreen, yes, just looking at the hardware.  It also has a memory expansion slot, which many people want (you can use micro SD cards for more memory). If you don’t consider the companies, this is an easy to use $99 model.

“Glow” RSDs

Barnes & Noble established the naming on frontlighting for reflective screen devices, calling it a “GlowLight”. That means that you can turn on a light to read it in low light conditions, and still read it well in bright light. If you are okay with ads and special offers, Amazon gets in the cheapest at $119 with its Kindle Paperwhite wi-fi only. If we eliminate ads, it’s a much more direct comparison at $139 to B&N’s NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™. The Barnes & Noble device has an expandable memory slot. The Paperwhite has X-Ray, a feature that gives you background about the book you are reading. Neither one has audio, and both have touchscreens. These are comparable devices, with the GlowLight perhaps having the edge on hardware, and the Paperwhite having it on software. There is also a $179 ($199 without special offers) Kindle Paperwhite 3G, which adds the ease of connecting via the cell phone network.

Update: on September 30, B&N dropped the price of the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight to $119…the same price as the ad-supported Paperwhite. There are people who reject ads on principle, and when these two are the same price, that will push some of those to the NOOK.

RSD with a physical keyboard

Barnes & Noble isn’t even choosing to compete on this. No touchscreen, no built-in light…but audio and free 3G. The Kindle Keyboard 3G at $139 is a solid option. That free 3G gives you another way to connect to the internet…and one that does not require you to be near a wi-fi network, so it’s great for people who aren’t as comfortable with technology. The audio gives it text-to-speech (where    software reads you the words out loud), and audible menus…this is the most accessible device. If you want the “cool gift”, this isn’t it, but if you want a practical reading machine for someone who isn’t as high tech or has a print disability, this is the one.

The entry level tablet

Just as they do with the ad-supported Mindle, Barnes & Noble cedes this one to Amazon. The Kindle Fire 7″ SD does have some of the features of more expensive tables (no Bluetooth ((so no way to use a physical keyboard or wireless headphones)), no HDMI out ((so you can’t connect it physically to a TV)), no camera), but at $159, it’s a great first or extra device. It has text-to-speech, which is a big selling point for me…I listen to TTS typically hours a week.  It’s not as friendly for the print disabled as the Kindle Keyboard above (how do you work a touchscreen without audible feedback?), but for people who just like TTS, that’s a big difference. I think this is going to be a hit in the holiday season.

The $199 tablets

This is the big hand(held) to hand(held) combat. In this corner, it’s the Kindle Fire HD 7″. In that corner, and a newcomer, is the NOOK HD.

Let’s break this one down:

  • The Kindle HD has ads, although you can buy out of them for $15 (making it $214 without ads)
  • The NOOK has only 8GB of memory, unless you move up to the 16GB at $229. Does that matter? When you start downloading movies (which B&N has just announced, yes, absolutely
  • The NOOK comes in two different color cases (Snow and Smoke…is it just me, or do those sound like two minor league superheroes?)
  • Wall charger is included with the NOOK, about $10 with the Kindle Fire HD…without that, you charge by USB
  • Screen quality goes to the NOOK: 1440 by 900, versus 1280 x 800. What does that mean? What you see on a computer or similar screen is made up of dots called pixels. More dots per inch makes for a better picture…imagine a dot to dot without the lines connects, versus a pencil sketch: the dot to dot might have twenty “pixels”, the pencil sketch could have the equivalent of thousands. With these two, it works out to 243 pixels per inch versus 216. Will you notice it? That’s harder to say
  • The NOOK is about two ounces lighter…hold it for an hour, you might feel the difference
  • The NOOK’s processor is a bit faster: 1.3 versus 1.3GHZ
  • The NOOK has an expandable memory slot: the Kindle Fire would use a wi-drive (wireless external drive)
  • They both have some kind of individual profiles, but we won’t be able to compare that well until we see how Amazon’s FreeTime works in October
  • The Kindle Fire HD has a front-facing camera for video calls…no camera on the NOOK HD
  • The Kindle Fire HD has X-Ray for books and movies and syncing between audio and sight-reading

I’d sum it up this way: the NOOK does beat the Fire on hardware, but the memory size difference will matter to people. I don’t think the camera is a dealbreaker for a lot of folks. I do think Bluetooth** matters, especially if Amazon can work out a current glitchiness with Bluetooth keyboards. People who just look at the “cutting edge” nature of the hardware will lean towards the NOOK (ignoring the lower onboard memory, perhaps being okay with the expansion slot). People who want cutting edge features may lean towards the Kindle Fire HD. The latter is especially true when taking Amazon Prime into account (which is normally $79 a year). That has the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and I do take advantage of that…and free Prime streaming.

The big screen tablet

The NOOK HD+ is  bigger (9″ versus 8.9″) and cheaper ($269 versus $299) than the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. Regardless of anything else, that’s going to sell a lot of people on it. On the other hand, there is no camera and no Bluetooth.

Those both come with 16GB…if you go to 32GB, the NOOK+ is significantly cheaper: $369 for the Kindle, $299 for the NOOK.

The Kindle also comes with ads…$15 to buy out.

The Kindle has text-to-speech…and the NOOKs work with UltraViolet, which lets you effectively get a digital file with a DVD. That’s not free for all your old DVDs, and not available on everything, but it’s a good deal.

The NOOK includes a wall charger at no additional cost.

Unless Amazon makes some changes (matching UltraViolet, for example), I think this is going to tend to go to the NOOK, for people who haven’t already committed to Amazon.

The 4G tablet

This one is Amazon’s alone, with the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE 32GB at $499 and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE 64 GB at $599.

If you want to check e-mail or go on the web at the beach, this is the option. That does mean you would pay for a  data plan: Amazon is advertising an AT&T one starting at about $50 a year. At this point, though, you are clearly competing with the iPad, and that opens another discussion.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble also have their own special software features:

Amazon’s include

  • Whispersync for voice (synchronize your place between an audiobook and sight-reading)
  • X-Ray for movies (pause, and find out about the actors on the screen0
  • X-Ray for books
  • X-Ray for textbooks (even linked to relevant videos)
  • Whispersync for games (sync game progress on different devices)
  • Prime (annual fee) for free streaming video and a borrowing a book a month from a specific Kindle Owners’ Lending Library)
  • Immersion reading (hear a voice and read the words at the same time)

Barnes & Noble

  • NOOK IQ recommendations
  • NOOK Catalogs (yep, like paper catalogs for stores, but on your device)
  • NOOK Scrapbook (save magazine and catalog pages in one place)
  • Customizable screen savers
  • NOOK Channels…I think these are sort of like the playlists on Songza…expert groupings of similar topics

Quite simply…game on! ;) Amazon wins on entry level devices, and the super high end. In terms of tablets, Barnes & Noble may gain some serious ground in the middle.  I think the Kindle Keyboard is still it’s own market slice, and I didn’t mention the Kindle DX (but that’s not really in the hot mix).

More information will come out in the next couple of months, but that should help you get started comparing them.

What do you think? Does the 8GB versus 16GB difference matter, if there’s an expansion slot? Does Amazon’s reputation just make it impossible for the NOOK tablets to move into first place? How much of a liability is it that Amazon defaults to having ads? Do the “enhanced reading features” at Amazon matter? Will Amazon respond in some way…if so, how? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

* When I first saw that there were customizable screen savers on the new NOOK tablets, I thought that would mean your own pictures. B&N has a chat feature for help, so I got a clarification:

===

Secure Connection
You are now connected with Richard Green from BN.com

Bufo Calvin: I’m interested in information about the customizable screen savers

Richard Green: Thank you for contacting Barnes & Noble Digital Support. I’m Richard.

Bufo Calvin: Hi!

Richard Green: I understand that you want to know customizable screen savers on new devices that are going release. Is that correct?

Bufo Calvin: Yes.

Bufo Calvin: Which devices, and what sorts of pictures can be used?

Richard Green: Sure, please give me a moment while I check the device details.

Bufo Calvin: Thanks.

Richard Green: Thank you for your time.

Richard Green: Yes, these new devices come with pre-loaded screen savers. You can select or change screen saver from the pre-loaded gallary.

Bufo Calvin: All of the new tablets? That also means you can’t use your own pictures as a screen saver?

Richard Green: Yes, you cannot use personal pictures for screen savers.

Bufo Calvin: Thank you, that clarifies it.

Richard Green: You are welcome.

Richard Green: \AE

Richard Green: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Richard Green: Sorry for the typo*

Bufo Calvin: That’s okay. I think I’m good for now…all of the NOOK tablets allow you to select from a pre-loaded “gallery” of screen savers, but not to use your own pictures.

===

** Update: thanks to reader Jackie who pointed out that the B&N press release says their tablets will have Bluetooth. That doesn’t appear anywhere on the site  that I could find. I’ll get a clarification from B&N, but that does even things out more if true

Update: Barnes & Noble has now confirmed for me that the new tablets do not have Bluetooth. Unfortunately, that means their initial press release was incorrect. That does happen…Amazon had to clarify the amount of memory on the KFSD, for example. I applaud B&N for having the chat option…although I did have a few issues with it. I tried to get on it this morning after 9:00 AM Eastern…and it was telling me I was outside the hours. Then, I tried to do it later…and it was unavailable because they were too busy. When I did get someone, as you see below, it was a little while before somebody actually connected with me; I would guess it might have been a couple of minutes.

===

Secure Connection
You are now connected with Chanakya from BN.com

Bufo Calvin: Do the new tablets have Bluetooth so you can use an external keyboard?

Chanakya: Good day Bufo, thanks for joining Barnes and Noble Digital Chat Support.

Chanakya: I’m sorry to inform you that the new NOOK hd and NOOK hd+ devices do not have the option of bluetooth.

Chanakya: Are we connected?

Bufo Calvin: Yes, thanks!

Chanakya: Okay.

Chanakya: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Bufo Calvin: Sorry, I stepped away while I was waiting. I appreciate that clarification…the initial press release indicated that it would be available, but I didn’t see it on the spec pages.

Bufo Calvin: No, that’s it…thanks so much!

Chanakya: You’re welcome.

Chanakya: Thanks for contacting Barnes and Noble Chat support.

===

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

Round up #116: Librarians’ letter to publishers, NOOK video

September 25, 2012

Round up #116: Librarians’ letter to publishers, NOOK video

Barnes & Noble announces NOOK Video

In a

Press Release

this morning, Barnes & Noble announced that NOOK Video is coming to the USA this fall, and the UK at the “holiday season”.

This is a major initiative, and challenges Amazon on an important front. The videos won’t just be available on NOOK tablets, but they will have apps for other devices.

They are also beating Amazon to UltraViolet (at least in the announcement), something I suggested Amazon might do at their September 4th presser (press event).

UltraViolet lets you get a digital file when you have a physical DVD. It’s limited, and it might cost you something…but read this portion of the B&N press release:

“NOOK Video will also integrate a customer’s compatible physical DVD and Blu-ray Disc purchases and digital video collection across their devices through UltraViolet™. “

Even though that’s a strong statement versus the reality (which they clarify in following sentences), it’s a great selling feature. Just like “LendMe” and text-to-speech sometimes disappoint but still sell e-books (in my opinion), this is going to sell videos and tablets.

I do feel like Amazon missed an opportunity here. Even if this does prompt then to do UltraViolet (which I think it might), they’ll be seen as following Barnes & Noble, not leading. That’s happened before (hello, frontlit reflective screen devices and lending), but I would like to see Amazon leading on content features. They do it on some, certainly, but I (unrealistically) would like to see every company struggling to stay out front on everything…selfishly, that drives development to our benefit. :)

American Library Association’s President’s open letter to publishers

I first saw in this

Digital Book World article

and then read the original

here

It’s an open letter from the American Library Association’s President, Maureen Sullivan, to American publishers.

It pulls no punches.

Let me quote from the conclusion:

“We librarians cannot stand by and do nothing while some publishers deepen the digital divide. We cannot wait passively while some publishers deny access to our cultural record. We must speak out on behalf of today’s — and tomorrow’s — readers.The library community demands meaningful change and creative solutions that serve libraries and our readers who rightfully expect the same access to e-books as they have to printed books.

So, which side will you be on? Will you join us in a future of liberating literature for all? Libraries stand with readers, thinkers, writers, dreamers and inventors. Books and knowledge — in all their forms — are essential. Access to them must not be denied.”

There are also some interesting statistics included:

“Seventy-six percent of public libraries now offer e-books — double the number from only five years ago — and 39 percent of libraries have purchased and circulate e-readers”

That’s astonishing…39% of public libraries are circulating EBRs (E-Book Readers)? That’s higher than I would have thought, but does help to address that digital divide.

I still think the answer to this may be publishers directly lending e-books to the disadvantaged on a needs-testing basis. That might require clarification in the tax code, so that it is seen as in the same class as donating physical books. If that was the case, if there were tax advantages, I think we would see this happen. No, that wouldn’t mean that those who could afford to buy the books could get them for free from the library, but it would mean that those who couldn’t afford them would have access…and for me, that’s one of the core principles of the public library system.

Do I think this letter will make a difference? I think it was good for the ALA President to say it…important for how people perceive the ALA.

One app purchase, many platforms

Amazon has introduced

Amazon Device Targeting

What this does is allow a customer to buy a single app, and have it work on multiple device types. Instead of having several apps in the Amazon Appstore (one version for a SmartPhone, one for a Kindle Fire HD, one for a Kindle Fire 1st Generation, and so on), there can be one purchase that downloads the appropriate version for the appropriate device.

That’s going to certainly make things easier for Amazon customers, although it might not for app developers…I think they still have to create all those different versions.

“Infrastructure kills”

This is a fantastic interview (perhaps conducted asynchronously) between Joe Wikert and Lou Rosenfeld:

Tools of Change

I might have said, “Publisher Lou Rosenfeld”, but if you read the article, you’ll see why I didn’t. ;)

The basic idea is that Rosenfeld thinks that publishing companies need to recognize that books are only part of it, only one way that publishers connect the public with an author’s “expertise”.

It’s really interesting, and clearly expressed. “Publishers” setting up seminars and consulting is really a variation of publishing a book, as Rosenfeld sees it. I loved this line:

“Publishers without content or expertise? I hope they manage to enjoy the view of the approaching iceberg while fumbling for their life jackets.”

This is one that I strongly recommend you read…you’ll be entertained, and may be given a glimpse into one success path for the future.

CNET: Cracking Open the Kindle Fire

For those of you who want to get under the hood, Bill Detwiler actually takes a Kindle Fire HD apart in this

video

and compares it to the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 2. For the techie stuff, it’s definitely worth watching.

What do you think? Are publishers making a mistake not licensing books to public libraries? Does it make a difference in your buying decisions? Have you ever bought a book which you first borrowed from a public library? Did Barnes & Noble steal a march on Amazon…again? Do you use UltraViolet now, and if so what’s your experience with it? Is Lou Rosenfeld right…restricting yourself to books if you are a publisher is old-fashioned? Have you ever bought two versions of the same app for different devices? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Travis McGee coming to Kindle in January 2013

September 25, 2012

Travis McGee coming to Kindle in January 2013

In the early days of the Kindle, I used to talk a lot about the books that were, as I called it, “in the well”.

Those are books that were first published in the USA after 1922 and before about 2005.

If a book was first published in the USA prior to 1923, it is in the public domain in that country. That means that they belong to the public: anyone can publish them without having to pay royalties to the rightsholder…because the public is the rightsholder.

If somebody gets a copy of a book first published in the USA prior to 1923, they can digitize and sell it. Amazon no longer allows you to just do that with books that are freely available on the internet…you have to add some kind of new content.

Still, many well-known books from that time period are available for the Kindle…often for free.

For books published from 1923 to about 2004, the e-book rights were not commonly negotiated (since the market for e-books was much smaller prior to the Kindle, but also prior to Sony’s EBR…E-Book Reader).  A publisher has to pay to license rights, and if there doesn’t appear to be a market, that doesn’t make much sense.

By 2005, I think it was becoming apparent (even though the Sony PRS-500 was a year away) that it was worth licensing those rights.

It was sort of an inverted bell curve as to which books were being made available…and that deep part (from 1923 to 2004) was what I called the well.

It’s not always easy to get books out of the well. It requires a new negotiation with the rightsholder (which could be the author or the author’s estate), and the latter aren’t always in good shape to enter into negotiations..especially if the estate is disputed.

In the beginning, one of Amazon’s stated goals for the Kindle was to have “every book ever published”.

Let’s say that was a bit…ambitious. :)

People immediately began to look for what’s called the “long tail”. Not the front list, recently published books, but the “backlist”…books that have been out for a while.

Publishers want that, too. There are initial development costs, and relatively high introductory marketing costs. Once those are recouped, then the book can start making the publisher some profit.

There were a lot of series on the list of books people wanted…particularly mystery series. They often didn’t understand why, say, Perry Mason wasn’t in the Kindle store. I think a lot of people assume that any book first published before they were born is in the public domain. ;)

So, I was happy to see it today when Ellis Golub posted in this

Amazon Kindle community thread

that  the Travis McGee books have been announced by Random House for January 2013 (I may not get them all listed before publishing this post, but I do think they are doing the original twenty-one):

Travis McGee is an important series. A self-deprecating “salvage consultant” who lives on a houseboat in Florida, you can see echoes of John D. McDonald’s character in Jim Rockford, Simon & Simon…even Miami Vice.

As you can tell from the above list, each of the books had a color in the title.

If you haven’t read them before, I think you may enjoy them. Certainly, even though they won’t be published until January Eighth, these could be good presents.

Here’s the search at Amazon (I cut out the Audible audiobooks for you):

Travis McGee Kindle store books

I’ve also noticed that Lee Child is doing at least some introductions for the books.

One last note: some of you will be surprised by some of the prices…it looked to me like they ranged from $7.99 to $11.99.

You may even be able to buy the paperback for less than the Kindle book…but that’s because Random House is still using the Agency Model, meaning that Amazon can discount the paperbook but not the e-book.

I checked one of the $11.99 Kindle store editions…the paper list price (set by the publisher) is $16.00…it’s just that Amazon is discounting it to $10.88 (in the USA…prices may be different in other countries).

Random House is not part of the Department of Justice’s action against the Agency Model publishers, so it isn’t one of the settling publishers (there is nothing to settle). That action is not exactly against the Agency Model: it’s against collusion, and Random House didn’t join when everybody else did.

Could Random House drop the Agency Model voluntarily, meaning Amazon would discount these? Maybe…but they may wait until the non-settling publishers have fought it out in court, and that wouldn’t happen before January 2013, I think.

If the price seems too high to you, you can list them at

http://www.ereaderiq.com/kindlewatch/

They’ll send you an e-mail when the book drops an amount you specify. There is no charge for that…if you buy it through their link, they presumably get an advertising fee from Amazon.

What do you think? Are you already a Travis McGee fan? Do you wish I hadn’t mentioned Miami Vice in the same breath? ;) What other “long tail” series would you like to see? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Round up #115: Top 10 horror stories, Big Six and social media

September 24, 2012

Round up #115: Top 10 horror stories, Big Six and social media

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

The Big Six and social media

While the Big Six US trade publishers (Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Random House, HarperCollins, Penguin, Macmillan) are sometimes perceived by customers as being techno-primitives, that simply isn’t the case.

In this

ReadWriteWeb article

by Richard MacManus, you can see how they are using modern social media, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and more. It’s interesting, because one of the perceived advantages for independent writers is that they can have a more direct connection with readers, building a closer and perhaps more loyal bond.

However, the Big Six are also moving in that direction.

They are, after all, professional promoters. That’s been, to me, the challenge for independents…if something works, the Big Six can do it too, with certain exceptions.

One of the key things is production time…it simply will probably always take longer for a tradpub (traditional publisher) to publish a book than it will for an independent. The tradpub also has to look at the long term. They aren’t going to publish ten books by the same author in the same year, generally. An indie may do that…looking to get things in the market, and a trickle return for years.

The tradpub has to look at supporting a whole publishing house (and stockholders) on that successful author for decades to come.

I recommend the article: I think you might find some things you want to follow. :)

The Top 10 Horror Stories

Being a great anthologist is like being a great deejay. You can’t just find good pieces: you have to know how they fit together.

In a sense, being an anthologist is harder. A deejay can adjust, based on the room. The anthologist has to anticipate how each story will leave the huge diversity of readers feeling, and what would be the best thing to read next.

That’s why a new anthology can receive a new copyright, even if all of the stories are in the public domain. For that to happen, there has to be a new creative contribution in the arrangement.

One of those creative anthologists is Stephen Jones, who had edited or authored more than one hundred books. In this

Publishers Weekly article

the expert on horror picks the ten best horror stories.

One of the fun things about a list like that is that no one will ever agree with it. ;)

I will say that I would agree with the choice of authors, although I don’t know that those would be the only ten I’d pick. :)

I’ll leave you to look at the article…and you can guess before you go which Stephen King story Jones selected.

The Guardian: “JK Rowling: ‘The worst that can happen is that everyone says, That’s shockingly bad’”

This is a fascinating

interview with J.K. Rowlilng

in The Guardian.

With the release of The Casual Vacancy on Thursday, people are playing it like a great mystery as to whether the book will do well or not. They are acting like Rowling, moving from a putatively children’s series to a book intended for adults, has the same sort of transition as Shirley Temple into adult movies. ;)

I don’t think there is that big a risk…writing isn’t the same as going through puberty, although it can have the same impact on your social life. Yes, you can take that both as a negative and positive.

It’s nice to see that Rowling has great enthusiasm still…that doesn’t go away.

10,000 Kindle Serials sold in the first week?

Len Edgerly, of The Kindle Chronicles podcast, had Jeff Belle on a

recent broadcast

Belle reported that about 10,000

Kindle Serials

had sold already.

As you know, Amazon doesn’t usually announce sales figures, but Len does a great job of relaxing people and giving them a safe haven. There’s a reason Len gets invited to the Amazon pressers (press events)…The Kindle Chronicles is one of the important news sources on the Kindle beat.

Len also mentioned the tip I gave you on taking a screen shot on your Kindle Fire HD (hold in the lower volume and power buttons for about a second)…but that’s not why I’m saying nice things. ;)

By the way, one other little thing on the KFHD that’s nice…you can launch an item on the Carousel without getting it to the front. I know, I know, no big deal…but it does make things simpler.

Four problems with the KFHD

I know I’ve said a lot of nice things about the KFHD, but I wanted to give you the heads-up on some complaints I’m hearing.

  • Some people are experiencing a popping or crackling sound. I’ve heard it once myself, but this seems to be a bit unusual
  • When typing with a Bluetooth keyboard, letters are repeating. “That’s right” might look like “TTTTThhhhhhhaaaaat’s rigggggghhhhhhhtt.” I’ve had that, and I’ve been experimenting with it (and telling Amazon about my experiments). It seems  fine when I am using the BT keyboard in an app that’s not web-based. I only experience it on the web. So, I tested…I went to a website, turned off the wi-fi (but left the Bluetooth on), and I did not get the “echo letters” (as I call them). Turning the wi-fi back on, I did get them. That’s a small sample size, of course, and I’m hoping some other people repeat the experiment. My guess is that this a problem that Amazon can fix
  • There is no Flash support, and that’s throwing off some people who used it to listen to streaming radio stations and such at work (as well as other things). That’s an easy fix, from what I can tell…I got the Maxthon browser from the Maxthon website http://www.maxthon.com/ and installed it. I use it often on my Kindle Fire 1st Generation…it’s available for that model directly from the Amazon Appstore. I think Maxthon supports Flash…I’m not running into any problems using it…I can go to YouTube and just watch a video. Maxthon has not yet been approved for the KFHD through the Amazon Appstore, so you might want to wait…but I think it will be
  • Some people report items reappearing on the Carousel after they’ve been removed. I haven’t seen that yet myself, so I haven’t been able to look for a workaround

Have you had any of these problems? What would be one of your top horror stories? Do you follow any of the Big Six tradpubs on social media? Will you read J.K. Rowling’s new book? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to a regular reader who in a private comment gave me a correction for one of the headlines. :) The body of the story was right, I’d just had one of those pesky word substitution problems.

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

October 2012 Kindle book releases

September 23, 2012

October 2012 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. Unlike with paperbooks, your pre-order prices for five of the six biggest US trade publishers aren’t guaranteed by Amazon…they can’t be. Under what’s called the Agency Model, Amazon can’t set the prices for those e-books: hypothetically, if the publisher raised the price between the time you pre-ordered it and the time it was released Amazon couldn’t do anything about it.

I don’t think that tends to happen, though. Publishers don’t tend to raise the price between the pre-order and the release, and I’ve also heard of Amazon canceling pre-orders. I don’t think there is any significant risk that you’ll pay a different price than the one at which you pre-ordered…unless the pre-order is canceled and you decide to re-order it.

This time, also, we have the interesting situation of three publishers (HarperCollins, and Hachette and Simon & Schuster…HC and Amazon have already worked out the new contract, which is why it is five of six above…it will be three of six before the end of the year) having settled on the Agency Model. That means that the price I’m seeing now is set by the publisher, but may not be by the time the book is released. I think it’s likely that we may see prices drop dramatically on some of these…the result of price wars, which become possible again after the Agency Model contracts end. If that happens, I would expect that Amazon would give you the lowest price…after all, they would again become the seller of record.

I’m looking at the list sorted by popularity:

October 2012 Kindle book releases

but I’m not just going to list the most popular out of the 2,426. I’ll hit some of the big names that I think might interest you, but if something else catches my eye, I’ll list that, too. :) If the book blocks text-to-speech access, I won’t list it.

The Racketeer
by John Grisham
pre-order for October 23

Grisham is the best-selling brand name author of (usually) legal thrillers.

Partners
by Nora Roberts
pre-order for October 9

Another brand name author, but of a rather different type. :)

Mercury Rests
by Robert Kroese
pre-order for October 23

The first book in this series, Mercury Falls, can be read for free by eligible Prime members.

The Essential Novels: Star Wars Reads Day Special Edition: 4-Book Bundle: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron; Heir to the Empire; New Jedi Order: Vector Prime; Legacy of the Force: Betrayal
by Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole, R.A. Salvatore, Aaron Allston
pre-order for October 2

Four books for (at time of writing) $7.99…not enough for you? How about The Essential Novels: Star Wars 10-Book Bundle for $62.99?

Dr. Bloodmoney
by Philip K. Dick
pre-order for October 23

I’ve got this one in paper. :)

The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Secret White House Tapes
by David G. Coleman
pre-order for October 1

Nonfiction

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy
by Yael Kohen
pre-order for October 16

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language
by Mark Forsyth
pre-order for October 2

The 50 Movie Starter Kit: What You Need to Know if You Want to Know What You’re Talking About
by Ty Burr
pre-order for October 2

Boston Globe critic tells you about fifty movies you should know.

The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure
by Ian H. Robertson
pre-order for October 16

Son
Lois Lowry
pre-order for October 2

This is the end of the young adult series that began with The Giver (Newbery Medal Book)

The Sins of the Mother: A Novel
by Danielle Steel
pre-order for October 30

Mars Attacks
by Len Brown, The Topps Company, Zina Saunders
pre-order for October 1

A comprehensive look at the trading cards on their 50th anniversary…I’m guessing this will look great on a Kindle Fire, and be a great geek gift. I don’t think you can pre-order a gift, though.

Who I Am: A Memoir
by Pete Townshend
pre-order for October 8

Well, there’s an interesting group for you!

I do expect pricing may be wild this year.

One disappointment: there were a couple of books I would have listed, but they had text-to-speech access blocked. I really thought we were getting done with that. I wonder if that might be, in some way, a response to the end of the Agency Model. They might reflexively re-assert control…and then, I can only hope, they relax it again.

Regardless, happy reading!

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


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