Archive for the ‘Bufo’s books’ Category

Round up #269: how Amazon spent the summer, AmazonShack?

September 16, 2014

Round up #269: how Amazon spent the summer, AmazonShack?

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

Should Amazon buy Radio Shack?

Several articles are talking about Rob Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s suggestion that Amazon could buy Radio Shack if the latter declares bankruptcy. Here’s one that I thought had a good discussion of the idea:

MarketWatch article by Jennnifer Booton

I don’t really see it. They certainly don’t want the name or the operating strategy. Generally, when Amazon takes over a business (IMDb, GoodReads, Zappos) it keeps the name and the business runners…and the basic system.

Would owning the physical stores do them any good? Well, first, that would depend on the leases, but let’s skip that.

Many Radio Shacks now are tiny, and they don’t seem to me to have a good layout. I don’t think people would go to an old location out of habit, and then shop at an Amazon store.

They are in expensive malls in many cases.

I suppose they could become lockers, where you can pick up your Amazon orders in your town, but it doesn’t seem like the most efficient place to do it.

Would a strictly Amazon hardware place work? Kindles, Kindle Fires, Fire TVs, Fire Phones? Nope, I don’t see it…maybe as a pop up store at the holidays, but not year round.

It’s not to Amazon’s advantage to encourage you to go to physical stores. They live online…it would be like a shark trying to stalk a New York alley. ;)

Who had a bad summer?

I think you’d be hard pressed to find another three month period that was so negative for Amazon, in terms of public relations. Yes, people didn’t like it when Amazon removed a George Orwell book from their Kindles, and they are still having some repercussions from that, but generally, they got past it.

Recently (in the September 5th issue), Entertainment Weekly did a Summer Winners & Losers piece. In the books category, they classified Amazon as a loser, saying in part that they had made enemies of “…book publishers, the German Government, George Orwell’s estate, and Stephen Colbert — to name a few.”

The

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

is being pegged (prematurely, in my opinion) as a loser. I have one myself, and there are some real attractions to it. I’ve recently used Firefly a few times to identify TV shows: worked great! Within about ten seconds, it could tell me the name of the episode, who the actors are, and so on. I suspect Amazon will give it three years…if developers start really building for Firefly and dy-per (dynamic perspective), I think it could be a solid 15% player in the SmartPhone market…and a much bigger moneymaker than that for Amazon.

However, Amazon’s success (in terms of sales and market share, not profit) has depended to a large extent, in my opinion, on good will with customers. It doesn’t help that many of the customers’ favorite authors are part of Authors United, which is about to send a new letter to the Amazon boardmembers. You can read the letter here:

http://www.authorsunited.net/

It’s worth reading. They make some important points, including that many of them are not Hachette authors, and are therefore not directly impacted by what I call the Hachazon war.

I think this short excerpt from the letter sums up the argument:

“Since its founding, Amazon has been a highly regarded and progressive brand. But if this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last?”

Going to the Board (and publishing their contact information) is an interesting tactic. The Board could pressure the company to change a position.

That’s not to say that I agree with everything in the letter. Amusingly, they suggest that Amazon can’t be forced into doing anything. I say that’s amusing, because Amazon has in the past always lost when they’ve gone up against the big publishers…text-to-speech and the Agency Model are two good examples. In the latter case, it took the Department of Justice to make a change.

That history might be part of what may have convinced Amazon to do an “end around”…to try to keep customers without being so reliant on the tradpubs (traditional publishers). We now see that many of Amazon’s bestsellers are not published by the tradpubs. Would it take a long time to get people to make that switch? Sure, but Amazon is famous for taking the long view.

That can’t possibly do it if the customers aren’t on their side, though…

Checking in on my free Flipboard magazines

I continue to be amazed at the growth of my free Flipboard magazines.

The main idea is that you can use the

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

app, which I read every morning anyway on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

to “flip” articles into a magazine of yours, which you make available to other people for free.

To me, it’s a different medium, in the way that Twitter is.

I doubt I’ve had anything else which has reached more people…although I don’t make any money directly from it, and it certainly doesn’t satisfy my creative nature like this blog does.

Don’t worry…I still love you best. ;)

The Measured Circle

“A geeky mix of pop culture, tech, and the weird world”

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

  • 2,278 readers
  • 5,630 page flips (by other people of my article choices)
  • 6,124 articles

ILMK (I Love My Kindle)

“The long-running blog about the world of e-books and publishing, which is one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the Kindle store, brings you related news stories”

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

  • 654 readers
  • 35,590 (!) page flips
  • 3,607 articles

The Weird Old Days

“Has the world always been weird? These news stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries bring you tales of lake monsters, the Hollow Earth, ghosts, and more! Edited by Bufo Calvin, of The Measured Circle blog. Note: these articles reflect the culture of their times. As such, they may use terms and concepts which some modern readers will find offensive”

 http://flip.it/ZtmYw

  • 112 readers
  • 381 page flips
  • 269 articles

Doc Savage Fanflip

“Doc Savage, the forerunner of Superman and Batman, has been one of my fictional heroes for a very long time. Thanks in part to Doc, I try to better myself to help others, and to do so with “…no regard for anything but justice.” A “fanflip” is my new term for a Flipboard magazine by a fan, dedicated to one topic. I will bring you not only Doc Savage news, but Doc stories and resources from around the web. Think of it as a scrapbook with news.”

http://flip.it/HJShc

  • 100 readers
  • 272 page flips
  • 89 articles

As you can see, The Measured Circle has the most readers…but ILMK has by far the most article flips by other people.

For more information on them, see Update on my free Flipboard magazines.

What do you think? What would Amazon’s best strategy be to get public opinion back…or do you think they haven’t lost it? Do you think Amazon is working to make the tradpubs irrelevant to their success strategy? Should Amazon buy Radio Shack? Would that be like Futurama coming back after it was canceled? ;) Should Amazon even have brick and mortar stores? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

 Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #260: kids’ books at Food Banks, B&N splits, app giveaway

June 28, 2014

Round up  #260: kids’ books at Food Banks, B&N splits, app giveaway

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

Barnes & Noble “consciously uncouples” from NOOK

According to Barnes & Nobles’

press release

and other sources (including a Jeffrey Trachtenberg piece in the WSJ which was behind a paywall), they plan to split into two entities by the end of the first calendar quarter of next year.

One part will be NOOK Media (the devices and the content), and the other part will be the retail segment, which includes the brick-and-mortar stores.

It seems that the new sail (the NOOK) with which they had outfitted their corporate ship has become an anchor. ;)

This short excerpt tells the tale:

“Device and accessories sales were $25 million for the quarter and $260 million for the full year, declining 30.1% and 44.8%, respectively, due to lower selling volume and lower average selling prices. Digital content sales were $62 million for the quarter and $246 million for the full year, declining 18.7% and 20.6%, respectively, due primarily to lower device unit sales.”

On the other hand, the retail segment was definitely…um…less bad. ;) Core comparable sales were down 3.1%, but overall, things were pretty flat…which is a considerable improvement.

The stock rose, according to CNN Money

http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=BKS

over 13% this week…and it’s risen more than 50% this year.

Not everybody thinks this is the death knell of the NOOK

Motley Fool article by Dan Newman

but it’s not exactly a victory march, either. ;)

Barnes & Noble is having a NOOK book sales on beach reads…and since Amazon tends to match prices, that means they are likely to be discounted in the Kindle store as well. I did check, and did see the price matching, although I didn’t check them all:

Barnes & Noble Beach Reads sale

Here are a few of the ninety titles:

  • Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury
  • Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
  • Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
  • Four Friends by Robyn Carr
  • Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

E-book revenues more than three times mass market revenues in 2013

This

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

has the stats from the Book Industry Study Group for 2013.

Sales in the trade sector (this group doesn’t include textbooks, kids books, or professional/scholarly books) dropped 2.3% (we’re talking about cash, not units), but other sectors grew.

In terms of formats, I’ve written before about how e-books are largely replacing mass market paperbacks as far as market positioning goes: relatively cheap and convenient. MMPs were down another 6.7% to $781 million…which you can compare to e-books having $3.03 billion.

Hardbacks (again, we’re talking revenue, not units) were still much higher than e-books, at $5.14 billion.

I don’t want to take too much away from the article…if you like to see these sorts of stats, I recommend it.

Through Saturday: over $100 worth of apps for free!

Amazon alerted me through e-mail (which I really appreciate…it lets me help you) about thirty-one apps they are giving away, just through tomorrow (Saturday).

There are always lots of free apps at Amazon, of course, but these are ones for which you would normally pay.

Over $100 in apps…free (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I just figure I’ll go ahead and get all of the ones, if I don’t already have them. With apps,  you can get them for “Cloud Only”, so they don’t take up any memory on your devices unless you choose to use them.

This set includes apps that are generally pretty well-rated, and it has Splashtop and a Sonic the Hedgehog game.

One interesting thing: some apps (like Plex, which is part of this deal) are compatible both with my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

and my

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Since it’s basically the same operating system, I suspect that some of the apps I already own for my KFHDX will also work with my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

when I get it at the end of July.

They won’t all be cross-compatible: if a game/app is designed to work with the Fire Phones dynamic perspective (which I call “dyper”), it won’t be able to do the same thing on the Kindle Fire. They might be able to make two different versions of it available, though, which it would seem like must be the case with the Fire TV and the Kindle Fire.

Children’s books given away at Food Banks

I love this story!

When our now adult kid would have birthday parties growing up, we normally did them at the Food Bank (that was our kid’s choice). It was actually a lot of fun. We would reserve a time, and we’d show up with maybe ten or fifteen people (kids and guardians). We would sort food donations and box them up. It was hard work, and you had to do it right (one big part was checking expiration dates, and looking for damaged containers…like moldy peanut butter). We got to bring our own music, though, and we could crank it up! We’d spend an hour or so (I think that’s right), and end up with a whole palette of food for people!

Afterwards, we’d invite people out to pizza or something like that.

It felt really good to be able to help.

Well, it would have felt even better if we could have given out toys, too, which is what happened recently in England, according to this

The Telegraph story by Martin Chilton

The book that was given away was Super Duck, by Jez Alborough (not available in a Kindle edition), which I understand is popular in England.

When we buy our Toys for Tots donation every year, I do think it’s a good thing to get well-known brands, like Spider-Man. I just figure that has to make the kids feel more “normal”, since many of them see the commercials just like everybody else.

Bravo to the charity Booktrust for arranging this!

Lemony Snicket endorses Spencer Collins

Daniel Handler (A.K.A. Lemony Snicket (at AmazonSmile)) provided verbal support to our

ILMK Reader Hero #3

Spencer Collins, according to this

Huffington Post article by Ed Mazza

That likely ups Spencer’s cool quotient with the kids…not that Spencer needs that. You may recall that our Reader Hero put up a Little Free Library…and it was ordered taken down by the City Council. This issue is still unresolved (you can click our link above to add your support), but we particularly salute Spencer for approaching this by reading up on city codes to work within the system and in a mature and responsible way.

Full disclosure: one of my relatives knows Daniel Handler, although we’ve never met.

Mary Rodgers reported dead

Mary Rodgers (at AmazonSmile)

the author of Freaky Friday (not available in a Kindle edition) and a handful of children’s books, including the sequel

Freaky Monday (at AmazonSmile)

has reportedly died.

The book was a bestseller, and was adapted memorably more than once (some of will think first of Jodie Foster…others of Lindsay Lohan).

She also wrote plays (including Once Upon a Mattress), and was the child of Richard Rodgers (of “and Hammerstein” fame).

The book will live on.

The Measured Circle free Flipboard magazine continues to grow

On Monday, I gave you an

Update on my free Flipboard magazines

Well, the readership continues to grow! I have to say, this may be the most dynamic growth of anything I’ve done creatively.

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

had 716 readers on Monday…and 1,109 at time of writing! That’s more than half again.

Interesting… :)

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Update on my free Flipboard magazines

June 23, 2014

Update on my free Flipboard magazines

It’s rare that I think of something as really a new type of content.

Twitter was that, certainly. Those 140 (or fewer) character tweets created a different medium, and that shapes what’s in it.

I also feel like Flipboard magazines are a new way to express yourself…and I’m surprised at the success mine are having!

The main idea is that you can use the

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

app, which I read every morning anyway on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

to “flip” articles into a magazine of yours, which you make available to other people for free.

You can also get an extension for Chrome which allows you to do it with websites (most of my flips come from things I read in the Flipboard app…except in the case of one my magazines, which I’ll explain below).

It’s really about your curation…your taste and editing skills.

You put in what you think is interesting, or what you think other people will think is interesting.

You generally don’t write anything additional about it, unless you are using the browser extension. In that case, you can add a short caption about it (which you can not edit later, by the way).

I’ve been on Twitter since December of 2009, have 3,490 tweets at the time of writing…and 300 followers.

I started my first Flipboard magazine not three months ago…and have 1,105 readers!

I’ve also flipped 2,411 articles in that time.

Does that mean that Flipboard is more influential than Twitter?

Nope…I’m sure the highest profile Twitter accounts do a lot more than the highest profile Flipboard magazines…but for someone like me, who isn’t going to be a top echelon person in either place, Flipboard is working comparatively very well.

You get a lot more as a Flipboard reader, since you get full articles to read (you may have to click a link or two after seeing a good summary and perhaps an image, but it’s easy).

I thought I’d give you a rundown on my magazines and how they are doing (at time of writing…it changes rapidly).

I’m going to do this in order from the biggest number of readers to the smallest number.

The Measured Circle

“A geeky mix of pop culture, tech, and the weird world”

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

  • 716 readers
  • 2,088 page flips (by other people of my article choices)
  • 1,102 articles

This one is inspired by my blog, The Measured Circle. The blog has never been very popular, and unlike this one, I don’t write in it (on average) every day (I sometimes go a week).

It is eclectic, but you’ll see a lot of things on geek topics, tech, and “weird world” (“Bufo’s Weird World” was my first e-zine, back before we called them blogs).

I’d say its primary purpose is…fun!

To give you a sense of it, here are the most recent ten articles (and their sources):

  1. Han Solo in Carbonite Life-Size Figure Giveaway (Sideshow Toys)
  2. ‘Lost’, ‘Stargate Universe’ actors among 14-person cast of Wachowskis’ sci-fi Netflix (Entertainment Weekly)
  3. The Convenient Monster: Nessie TV Cryptofiction Reviewed (Cryptomundo)
  4. James Randi: An Honest Liar (Cryptomundo)
  5. 9 Extremely Impractical Marvel Illustrated Swimsuits (Topless Robot)
  6. Things We Saw Today: Tiny Captain Marvel Cosplay (The Mary Sue)
  7. It’s Kristian Bruun, Graeme Manson and John Fawcett from Orphan Black (Reddit)
  8. Tech Wars…1913 style (I found this article at the Library of Congress)
  9. Clone Club, Prepare for Tonight’s Orphan Black Finale With These Beautiful Episode Posters (The Mary Sue)
  10. The Eight Funniest Recurring Themes in the Original Star Wars Trading Cards (Topless Robot)

ILMK (I Love My Kindle)

“The long-running blog about the world of e-books and publishing, which is one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the Kindle store, brings you related news stories”

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

  • 385 readers
  • 14,860 page flips
  • 1,083 articles

This one is based on my blog, ILMK (I Love My Kindle). They aren’t the same, though. I write original material in the blog itself. I told myself that I’d average 1,000 words a day, and I do. I write a lot of different things, often providing analysis and opinion.

For the Flipboard magazine, none of that happens…you just get articles from other people (unless I flip one of my own in there).

It does allow me to do some different things.

For example, I can more easily flip ten different articles on a new piece of Amazon hardware into the magazine than I can link to them in the blog. Linking in the blog takes some work: it’s simple to flip (just a couple of clicks or taps).

There are also times when something is too short to warrant a full post in the blog. Those types of things go into my Round-ups, but I don’t do those every day.

Another thing? I do a lot more images in the magazine: it’s just more compatible with it. My blog is read on non-Fire Kindles, and images are tougher there.

  1. What’s Next for E-books in Libraries? (Publishers Weekly)
  2. A book that watches you – it’s not a concept any longer (video) Ebook Friendly)
  3. Audible Summertime BOGO Sale (Books on the Knob)
  4. It’s All About Storytelling (Publishers Weekly)
  5. The World is a Book – A4 Travel Quote Print. Father’s Day Gift. Gift for Him. (Etsy)
  6. Reading to a child (cartoon) (E-book Friendly)
  7. Literature is the agreeable way of ignoring life (Pinterest)
  8. ILMK Reader Hero #3: Spencer Collins
  9. Book Community Board (Pinterest)
  10. The publishing industry isn’t dead – but it is evolving (The Next Web)

As I look at those, I think that E-book Friendly may have posted some of the others as well. What can happen is that I run into a bunch of them from one source in sequence…that’s making this one look a bit less source diverse than it actually is. That is a great blog, though, and I do recommend it.

The Weird Old Days

“Has the world always been weird? These news stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries bring you tales of lake monsters, the Hollow Earth, ghosts, and more! Edited by Bufo Calvin, of The Measured Circle blog. Note: these articles reflect the culture of their times. As such, they may use terms and concepts which some modern readers will find offensive”

 http://flip.it/ZtmYw

  • 50 readers
  • 257 page flips
  • 177 articles

My original idea on this was that I was writing a book made up in large part of public domain newspaper articles. I was writing pieces to provide context, both because I wanted to do that, and because it would enable me to sell it in the Kindle store (they require original material…nothing purely public domain…that was a policy which evolved over time).

It’s a labor of love, for sure!

I find it fascinating. I’m very interested in how people think about things, and how that has changed over time.

At this point, I’ve been using the Library of Congress’ fabulous “Chronicling America” resource. The negative to that one is that the pages don’t display very well on smaller screens. However, you can click to display the page as a PDF, and that can work quite well.

You also do have to read through the newspaper page to find the article…I also think that’s fun. ;)

I do feel like I’ve made some real discoveries: I just posted one that is about an apparently hoaxed photograph of a UFO (airship)…in 1897!

  1. “Was All a Fraud” (Baxter Springs News, April 17, 1897) (that 1897 UFO photo hoax)
  2. “Was Not a Sea Serpent” (The Fulton County News, September 15, 1907: a photograph allowed a scientist to identify the creature as a “thrasher” shark)
  3. “Hooray! Hooray! Sea Serpent Here” (The Washington Times, June 12, 1907)
  4. “Red Sea Serpents” (Deming graphic, March 10, 1905)
  5. “Legend of the Great War” (The Mahoning dispatch, August 26, 1921: about the Angel of Mons…the “Great War” is World War I…there hadn’t been a II yet)
  6. “WILD MAN OF BORNEO DIES AT 92 YEARS” (Hopkinsville Kentuckian., June 4, 1912: while the “Wild Man of Borneo” appears to have been a pretty standard and recognized acting part in traveling shows, this one presents them as real. Interestingly, they are described as “small”, which would better fit modern reports of some island hominids. The fake ones tended to be big bruisers)
  7. “Wild Man Flees to the Capital: Cop Nabs Him” (Lincoln County Leader, November 29, 1912: this is another one which is presented as real)
  8. “MODERN WITCH: Visits a Farm and Whole Family is Driven Mad” (The Semi-Weekly messenger, July 21, 1905)
  9. “MACHINE BESTS MEN IN GAMES OF CHESS” (The Sun, June 28, 1914)
  10. This one had a few articles…one on a cigarette smoking sea serpent, another on a captured lake monster (Los Angeles Herald, September 9, 1906)

Again, this one can go in “flaps” of one topic, because my search sometimes leads me to related articles. I think this gives you some idea, though.

Doc Savage Fanflip

“Doc Savage, the forerunner of Superman and Batman, has been one of my fictional heroes for a very long time. Thanks in part to Doc, I try to better myself to help others, and to do so with “…no regard for anything but justice.” A “fanflip” is my new term for a Flipboard magazine by a fan, dedicated to one topic. I will bring you not only Doc Savage news, but Doc stories and resources from around the web. Think of it as a scrapbook with news.”

http://flip.it/HJShc

  • 27 readers
  • 172 page flips
  • 49 articles

I look for interesting things on the web about Doc. If Shane Black ever gets out the Doc Savage movie, this may get more popular, but I’m happy to ferret out the oddball bits and pieces.

  1. Doc Savage Paperback Book Covers by James Bama (The Golden Age Site)
  2. Doc Savage (Flickr)
  3. Doc Savage (Flickr)
  4. Why You Should Care: Doc Savage Edition (Crave Online)
  5. Doc Savage Casting Call (IGN)
  6. Doc Savage Magazine Volume 4, No 1 (Flickr)
  7. Not A Grimm Vigilante Or Stranger From Another World – Chris Roberson Talks Doc Savage #6 (Bleeding Cool)
  8. Michael Uslan Talks The Avenger, The Shadow And Doc Savage – Justice, Inc. (Bleeding Cool)
  9. Superhero Doc Savage (WGNS Radio)
  10. 80 Years of Doc Savage: 1933 – 2013 (YouTube)

I’m also working on another Flipboard magazine, but I’m not ready to release it yet…it needs more content first.

These are not hard to do, and they aren’t taking significant time or creative energy away from my other creative work. I don’t get any money directly from them, although they might lead to more discovery of other things where I do.

Enjoy!

Do you have a Flipboard magazine about which you want to tell me and my readers? Feel free to comment on this post.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Round up #253: Jeff Bezos in class, best reviewed “mother” books

May 11, 2014

Round up #253: Jeff Bezos in class, best reviewed “mother” books

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

My Flipboard magazines take off!

Thanks to those of you who are reading my new Flipboard magazines:

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

and

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

I already have over 100 readers, which seems like a lot to me at this stage.

I wrote about this before:

Flip your way into being a magazine editor…I did

but I have to say, it is fun to see these results!

What happens is that I do my normal morning

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

read on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

and as I read the articles, I “flip” them into one of the two magazines…which you can then read.

This is just my curation: I don’t even get to add comments, which I think is fine.

Oh, and how do I get compensated for this?

Just by knowing people are reading it. :)

Unlike the subscribers to this blog (thanks, subscribers!) I don’t get royalties. If you are seeing any ads, they are put there by Flipboard, not me.

I’ve actually flipped more articles into The Measured Circle (174 at time of writing, versus 160 into ILMK), but ILMK is a lot more active (there have been 1,382 page flips there, as opposed to 233 at The Measured Circle).

There are lots of magazines being created by others…have you created one?

If you are reading either of mine, do you have any feedback to share?

Jeff Bezos speaks…to an eighth grade class

I’m always interested in what Jeff Bezos has to say. While I certainly find the company interesting, I’m also interested in Jeff as a human being. Often what the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) communicates is philosophy…and it’s important to keep that first in a business setting.

In this

New York Times article by Nick Wingfield

we get to see a parent’s tweets when Jeff spoke to a class of kids.

This is pretty different from that Princeton commencement speech back in 2010 (which you can watch here), but the ideas are not that different.

One thing which was? Jeff brought a drone!

Bezos is quoted as saying, “Who succeeds at amazon? “Explorers and pioneers”. Who fails? Those who focus on killing our competitors.”

I think that’s key to success…that, and not over-estimating your customers’ loyalty. I’ve said before, I think that’s how market leaders tend to lose that position…

HarperCollins credits e-books when profits jump 83%

Now that they aren’t spending all that money fighting over the Agency Model, publishers can start making money again. ;)

According to this

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

HarperCollins said, “…sales of more profitable e-books, ongoing operational efficiencies and higher revenue, EBITDA rose 83% at HarperCollins for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 which ended March 31. EBITDA hit $53 million, up from $29 million in last year’s third quarter. Revenue increased 14%, to $354 million. Both sales and profits were driven by the Divergent series which sold more than 8 million units in the quarter. Total e-book revenue increased 46% and accounted for 26% of HC sales, up from 21% a year ago.”

It might surprise you that only 26% of HC sales are e-books…but units for e-books are going to be much higher than that.

They mention the

the Divergent series (at AmazonSmile)

as being a major contributor.

While certainly adults have read those books, it’s nice to me that young people are, in a lot of ways, driving book profits. That bodes well for the future. :)

The “mother” of all best reviewed books ;)

Just for fun, here’s a search of the

Best reviewed books with “mother” in the title (at AmazonSmile)

One that stands out to me right away?

Are You My Mother? (at AmazonSmile)

by P.D. Eastman. I remember this one! It’s a great kid’s book…and even though it is illustrated, it is accessible with text-to-speech.

Have a great day on Sunday!

Enjoy!

What do you think? I’ve tended to like HarperCollins as a publisher…did it surprise you that the percentage of e-book sales are still that low? Does this result change your feeling about the future of traditional publishers? I mentioned kids’ books driving profits…but 50 Shades of Grey did, too. Neither of those are really the mainstream…what is the future of literary fiction? Do you have a Flipboard magazine? Should Jeff Bezos have brought a book, rather than a drone? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

New! Try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Flip your way into being a magazine editor…I did

May 4, 2014

Flip your way into being a magazine editor…I did

I’m very careful about taking on new responsibilities, but this is something I plan to do…and which I think some of you may really enjoy.

I’ve written before about how the

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

app on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

is a part of my morning routine. It’s sort of like what a newspaper was for me in the “olden days”. ;) It gives me discovery of stories (you choose the sources and/or topics).

Well, they recently did an upgrade which allows me to easily curate magazines you can read…for free!

It’s really adding very little time to what I was already doing. All I do (now that I’ve created the magazines, which took seconds) is click a plus symbol on the article, and then choose into which magazine I want to “flip it”.

That’s it.

The articles then appear as they would on the web…color, pictures, whatever.

I would guess it doesn’t add ten seconds to each article.

You can then use the Flipboard app (which is also free) to read them.

Right now, I have two Flipboard magazines:

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

and

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

Those are links to them on the web, and it will ask you to install Flipboard if you don’t have it.

You can also search from within Flipboard. On your dashboard screen (where you normally see your feeds), there is a magnifying glass searchbox up by the red menu. Tap that, and enter “Bufo Calvin”, “I Love My Kindle” or “The Measured Circle”, and you should be able to find them and subscribe within the app.

While the two of those line up with two of my blogs (this one and another one which is mostly geeky pop culture), they aren’t the same.

They don’t have original writing by me (unless I flip one of my own articles into the magazine).

That’s a big differentiator between the magazines and the round-ups I do in the blogs. I comment on the articles here: I can’t there.

On the other hand, the entire article appears. Additionally, I will flip some articles into the magazines which I wouldn’t do in the round-ups. There are times when articles just speak for themselves…I don’t really have anything to add.

It also means you can read it verbatim: I’m careful to stick with Fair Use here, and not quote too much of something…there, you see the whole thing.

So, if you are interested, take a look. What you are getting is my sensibility as an editor. I’m not really concerned about it taking people away from reading the original content here…but you might find it replaces something else for which you do pay, if you are subscribing to magazines or other periodicals.

Oh, one other important thing. I don’t take advertising in this blog…that’s a choice I’ve made, and my intuition is that people appreciate it. Ads can show up when you visit the website for the blog, but I don’t put them there (WordPress does), and I don’t think you see them much.

My guess is that you will see ads in these Flipboard magazines (I see them in the regular Flipboard app). Just wanted to give you a heads-up on that.

If you try them, let me know what you think. If  you have started your own Flipboard magazine, or have ones you’d recommend, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post. Since people don’t pay for them, I won’t really consider that advertising…unless you write it like an ad. :) I’ll exercise my usual judgement on posting the comments.

Enjoy!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Happy my birthday, 2014!

February 12, 2014

Happy my birthday, 2014!

February 12th is my birthday, and continuing a tradition, I’m giving you presents!

This is to thank you for making another year of my life richer. I have a lot of fun writing this blog, and I sometimes get to help people…and what could be better than that?

Part of KDP Select (the program through which users of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing make books available for eligible Prime members to borrow through the KOLL…Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) is the ability to make books free for five days (they need not be consecutive) in a ninety-day period.

Please check that a title is free for you before buying it.

I have asked Amazon to make them free on February 12, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. I think they may also only be free to customers in the USA.

Some might be fun to give as a little Valentine’s Day present…you can buy it today as a gift, and schedule delivery for the 14th.

So, you can click on the titles before, but please make sure it is free when you click the 1-click buy button.

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When this one was first published in December of 2012, it was the number one bestselling book of quotations at Amazon…including paper! That didn’t last long, but it was fun while it did. :)

Love Your First Generation Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet (at AmazonSmile)

This one has been a bestseller. It was written before the Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, so it doesn’t match up exactly with those. If you do have the first generation Fire, though, I think you’ll find it useful.

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition) (at AmazonSmile)

This has some fun stuff…and other things that are out of date. If you want The Happy Little Bookworm, this one has it. :)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile)

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m coming up on the five year anniversary of the blog, and I’m considering doing a “best of” book. I’d include the posts that are less time-dependent, I think…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know.

Remember, double-check that they are  free to make sure before buying.

Happy birthday! ;)

I also wanted to add something different to the post this year. I suppose I can’t help being a little reflective on my birthday, and I was just thinking…

If I wasn’t a reader…

…more people at work would understand me, because I wouldn’t offhandedly drop a 19th-century term into a conversation

…we would have bought a smaller house (we bought an extra bedroom just to be a floor to ceiling library)

…people wouldn’t keep asking me how to spell things

…I wouldn’t mispronounce words as much (because, as I told the parent of a child who mispronounced something in the brick and mortar bookstore I managed, that’s the sign of a reader…it means you’ve read the word, but you’ve never heard it said)

…I would never have been to Oz, or Narnia, or Barsoom

…I wouldn’t have learned to speak Mangani (the language the “great apes” in Tarzan speak…I used to know all of the original words)

…I wouldn’t have become the Education  Director of a non-profit corporation (I was reading a magazine that happened to do with the focus of the group when I was in a park, and one of the members approached me)

…I would have needed one less suitcase when I traveled pre-Kindle

…I wouldn’t have had the example of Doc Savage to help make me a better person

…I wouldn’t spell something the British way and some things the American way

…I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I am at Jeopardy (and trivia)

…We wouldn’t have friends who swore they would never help us move again

…I wouldn’t be a writer

…I wouldn’t be me

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Giveaway: my new book, The Mind Boggles

October 13, 2012

Giveaway: my new book, The Mind Boggles

I’ve just published my first non-Kindle related book in the Kindle store:

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations

It’s not unrelated to books and publishing, though, since it does have quotations from many books in it, as well as from other sources.

These are all quotations I’ve personally collected over decades. It’s only a couple of hundred quotations, but they aren’t the “usual suspects”. :) If you like quotations, I think you’ll find this unique.

I love quotations! I especially like ones that come from unexpected sources, and say things beyond what you would expect.

It’s a bit like my post recently on Can a popular book be a good book?, but with a twist: can a bad book have a good quote? ;) I don’t think I’ve ever read a completely bad book, or seen a completely bad movie. I think some genres are simply disqualified out of hand by some people, and that’s certainly not my case. Classic or kitsch, eternal or ephemeral, I’ve enjoyed them. :)

I always like to thank you for being readers, so I’m going to give away ten copies to the first ten people who comment on this post and ask for one. Please do not include contact information in your comment: I can see your e-mail address in the unpublished information. I will not use your e-mail address for any purpose except to send you the gift.

I did make the book available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, so you can borrow it for free if you are an eligible Prime member with a hardware Kindle. The weird thing is that I make a lot more money if you borrow than if you buy it.

The economics on that is that I get about thirty-five cents when you buy a ninety-nine cent title (which this is).

When someone borrows a book, we split a pool of money. It doesn’t matter what the list price of your book is, you get an equal share for each borrow. That share has been running a bit over $2.

I’d have to sell five copies to make the same amount as one borrow.

That shows you how the economics are changing in publishing.

By the way, I do think this is going to be a good little gift at the holidays. :)

If you’d like a copy, just be one of the first ten to comment on this post and request it.

One other thing: I’m going to try to gift copies to people who are quoted. If you know you are quoted in it, just let me know and I’ll send you one. I’m going to try to be proactive on that, but I know I won’t find everybody. :)

Update: The Mind Boggles is the number one bestselling book of quotations in the Kindle store! I would have thought that was pretty narrow, but there are 897 titles in that group! Thanks, everybody!

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

Love Your Kindle Fire update available

August 21, 2012

Love Your Kindle Fire update available

My book, Love Your Kindle Fire, has been updated to the 7th edition. This one is a considerable change…

  • I’ve added close to 10,000 words
  • That includes new introductions to the different sections
  • I’ve moved the original “splinterviews” to the back of the book
  • I’ve added a piece on understanding your account

I know I’ve talked about this process before, however, I’ve already been asked by someone who got an e-mail about the update how it works.

The first thing I did was upload the updated version to the Kindle store. It typically takes them up to a few days to post an update (they review it in some way).

At about the same time, on July 19th, I sent Amazon (through the Kindle Direct  Publishing site) a notice about the change, requesting that it be made available to prior purchasers.

I got a response back asking for more samples of the changes on July 20th. I was informed that there would be three possibilities after they reviewed the changes:

  • If they decided it was a major change, they’d send out an e-mail
  • If they decided it was a minor change, they’d make the updated version available through the MYK page (see below), but not send out an e-mail
  • If the new changes broke something (that happens), they might pull it from sale and have me fix it

I think during the review they noticed a missing image. That didn’t actually have to do with this update, but they wanted me to fix it. In terms of the timing,  my decision was that the best thing to do was just pull the image…I also described it in text. Fixing it by reuploading the image and the file through a special process would have been complex at that time, and I think result in days of being off sale.

They told me the review could take four weeks.

Well, that seems about right. :) They are sending out e-mails, and the updated version is now available.

If you do update it, it will wipe out your “associated information”. You’ll lose notes, bookmarks, furthest page read, and so on. That also seems to pull any comments you’ve made from the book’s “bookstream”, the live chat you can see on the Kindle Fire.

My recommendation would be that you do the update. Before you do, you could copy any old notes you want to keep from

http://kindle.amazon.com

You can update it yourself (it’s easy) by going to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

The only unfortunate thing is that the update is telling people that it is due to “Missing Images”. There was only one missing image…and now people may look for one, when what actually happened is that I pulled it. They aren’t told about all the improvements…that’s not great PR (public relations) for me, but it’s nice that people were told about an available update.

I felt the update was necessary because of all the changes that have happened. I have updated it several times already, but I wanted to move my pre-release speculation to a less prominent position.

New orders have been getting this updated version for about a month. I had been getting a few returns before that. Obviously, I’d rather have no returns, but they are unavoidable…like the occasional 1-star review. :) They aren’t all for the reasons I would do them. However, the return rate has drastically reduced since the update, which is a good sign.

Especially with non-fiction like this, I love that Amazon lets us update the content for prior buyers! It’s just not a practical option for a p-book (paperbook).

If you have questions about this, feel free to ask…or let me know if you have comments on the update, of course.

I don’t expect people to update reviews…obsolete reviews are just something that you accept online. :)

Enjoy the update!

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


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