Round up #183: Two million titles, automatic book updates
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Two new Manage Your Devices settings
You never know what you’ll find when you go to
Actually, that fact in and of itself seems a bit odd to me, although I know that not everybody is as interested in the options Amazon gives us as I am (and as I think many of my readers are). I’d like it if Amazon kept e-mailing me a change log, but I’m not going to hold my virtual breath.
In this case, under Manager Your Devices, there are two you might like.
Automatic Book Update is something that a lot of people just assume happens. If the publisher uploads a new version of the book (under the same ASIN…Amazon Standard Identification Number), your version will switch to the new one without you doing anything. I’ve uploaded at least eight versions of one of my books, as I expanded things and corrected items. If you don’t turn this on, there are a couple of things that can happen.
Amazon reviews the update, when they are alerted by the publisher (and the publisher might be just an author…if you make your books available to the public, you are a publisher). From there, there are three possible responses
- Amazon might determine that it is a major revision, and send prior buyers an e-mail alerting them to the new version
- Amazon might determine that it is a minor revision. In that case, you can choose to update it from that MYK page…but nothing goes out telling you that’s the case. When you get to MYK, you can change the view to “Available for Update”. I just did that, and there were 27 there waiting for me
- Amazon determines that the update has “broken” the book in some way, and asks the publisher to fix it…they could even remove the book from sale
I think that, for most people, opting in to automatic updates should be fine. I’m probably not going to do it. I want to have what I chose to buy, and I’m willing to go in and do updates myself (although clearly, I haven’t been keeping up with that). I always remember that I bought a book on the Kindle 1, and the publisher updated it for the Kindle 2…wiping out some of the relevant information for my K1. I would not have done the update in that case…although I might have bought a second Kindle 2 book from the same publisher.
The other new option is Language Optimized Storefront. This is only for USA customers at this point, and you can only switch from English to Spanish (and back to English). This is nice to see as an option…there are a lot of Spanish speakers using the USA Kindle store, and this will make the store friendlier for them.
Bookstores are not all the same
I read a lot of new stories about bookstores (being a former brick and mortar bookstore manager, I’m interested). Every time there is one about a store closing, it somehow seems like the subtext is that e-books (or perhaps the internet) are killing all the bookstores, and humanity is doomed. However, I read stories about stores opening, stores closing, stores doing better, stores doing worse, and stores staying the same.
I think there are some stores that are benefiting from the recent changes in the market. Indies are being helped by the closing of Borders and the reduction of the number of Barnes & Noble stores. Used bookstores, I think, are going to see price inflation as die-hard p-book (paperbook) fans still want them…but there are fewer available.
The key to success is going to be the experience of shopping there. As I’ve said before, customers have to want to spend more in your store than they would online in order to support you. You aren’t going to compete on price or selection, so service (the third one of Amazon’s core principles) is your best bet.
Imagine two lemonade stands next to each other.
One of them has a glass of lemonade for ten cents. The owner just pours out the lemonade in the beginning of the day, and goes back inside (it’s hot out!). The cups are covered, so it won’t get dirty. You leave your dime in a jar, and take your cup.
The second stand has a smiling, friendly person. They don’t pour the lemonade until you ask for it. They ask you how much ice you want. They have a couple of choices of cup styles. They ask you how sweet you want it. They remember you from yesterday, and have the up made up just the way you want it when they see you. That glass of lemonade is fifty cents.
Both of those businesses can make it. You might not think that the more expensive one would succeed…but that’s what Starbucks hypothetically does, versus your Duncan Donuts.
Still, I did want to share two of the “closing” stories with you.
That’s an article from the Daily Breeze by Donna Littlejohn.
That bookstore has been open for over a hundred years, and opened just a couple of decades after the town was established.
However, it has obviously had different ownership, and the town of San Pedro has certainly changed. I’m sorry to hear about it closing, and I would consider it for landmark status, if I was the town. I’m just saying that if the internet didn’t exist, that wouldn’t automatically mean that the store would be in the same health it was fifty years ago.
This next story really is of the “The shelves are falling!” type of Chicken Littleism, in my opinion:
The story starts out:
“It’s the worst of times for book lovers in central Palm Beach County, as the area’s only physical bookstore, Barnes and Noble at CityPlace, has closed for good.”
I assume they are going the a literary allusion to A Tale of Two Cities, but really, this is far from the worst of times. Those same people now have access to millions of books online, and tens of thousands of them for free. It’s much more convenient and less expensive. If they want p-books, they can order them online and have them delivered. Is it sad that the Barnes & Noble closed? Sure, it’s great to browse a bookstore…but the worst of times? I wouldn’t say so…
USA Kindle store breaks two million titles
Speaking of all those books online, the USA Kindle store has 2,000,474 titles in it right now (e-book titles)! I told you it would likely happen this week, and here it is.
Millions of books…I feel like Scrooge McDuck in the money room. No, I don’t own all those books, but they are available to me, and you can usually either get a free sample of the whole book for free. Scrooge didn’t need to touch every single coin and bill to have the joy of diving in there.
Second District overturns Judge Chin’s certification of the authors as a class in Google suit
Can we please just have Judge Cote preside over all publishing cases?
This Google thing has gone on and on. Now, an appeals court has said that Google’s Fair Use defense should have been considered before the authors could join together in a class, which is a considerable blow to the authors’ side
Instead of one suit with one set of lawyers, this could mean thousands of lawsuits. Who gets favored in that case? The giant corporation (Google) or the individual authors? Yes, the Authors Guild could represent each one, but talk about fighting the hydra!
This is going to make this settlement drag out longer…
What do you think? Should a 100 year-old bookstore be considered a landmark and preserved? Are you sad if any bookstore closes, regardless? Will you use the Spanish storefront? Should we have a party for two million titles, as my reader Zebras suggested? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.