Archive for the ‘Bufo’s Life’ Category

Round up #246: Amazon AFD, $5 extra at AmazonSmile

March 27, 2014

Round up #246: Amazon AFD, $5 extra at AmazonSmile

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

Extra $5 donation from AmazonSmile if you buy by 3/31

Wow!

This is a lot extra!

Normally, when you buy any eligible item at AmazonSmile, your chosen non-profit gets half of one percent of the purchase price.

Spend $100, and they get fifty cents.

With this bonus, it’s the equivalent of you spending $1000!

Here are the details:

  • One donation per customer.
  • Limited time offer. You must complete a purchase at smile.amazon.com including one or more items eligible for an AmazonSmile donation between 12:00 a.m. (PT) March 24, 2014 and 11:59 p.m. (PT) March 31, 2014. In addition, this promotion will expire after aggregate donations have reached $1 million.
  • The $5 donation will be made through the AmazonSmile program at smile.amazon.com under the same terms and at the same time as other donations made through the program, and will be in addition to the 0.5% donation made on the purchase price of your eligible item(s).
  • Offer valid for customers located and with billing addresses in the United States.
  • Offer may not be combined with other offers.
  • Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time.
  • Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
  • If any of the products related to this promotion are returned, the donation will not be made.
  • If you violate any of the Terms and Conditions, the promotion will be invalid.
  • Void where prohibited.

Note that they will stop when they hit $1,000,000…so you’d better get shopping! :)

I already bought something, so my chosen non-profit has benefited.

For more information on AmazonSmile (including how to get your qualified non-profit into the program), see:

Smile.Amazon: support your favorite charity by shopping

Don’t Give Them Your Money Back

I suggested that some indies might want to promote using your overcharges from tradpubs (traditional publishers) settlement money to buy indie books…so you aren’t giving the money right back to the people who took too much in the first place. :)

Well, I did write about it here:

E-book settlements are here: “Don’t give them your money back”

and based on the comments, it seems to be getting some traction…Facebook, Twitter, that kind of thing. :)

You might be asking yourself, how can I find indie books to buy, if I want to do this?

Well, Amazon does have a storefront for

Kindle indie books (at AmazonSmile)

You can probably find something…they have gotten better at discovery on that page. They have top-rated, bestselling, new, and featured books, for one thing.

If you’d rather go with a well-known book, but still want to avoid the publishers that overcharged, you could get books published by Amazon. Amazon wasn’t (and wouldn’t have been) part of raising those prices.

For example, there are the

Thomas & Mercer (at AmazonSmile)

Those are mystery and suspense and include the original James Bond books by Ian Fleming and the 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain.

Books traditionally published by Amazon like that are often relatively inexpensive, and typically have the special features from Amazon (text-to-speech, lending, and so on).

I can tell you: the publishers who agreed to settle after being charged with overcharging (basically) would not be happy if you spent that money with Amazon! ;)

The next holiday is the Fourth of July…April Fool!

My first retail job (I eventually managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, among other things) was in a “joke shop” called The House of Humor.

I was really there as a make-up expert at Halloween. I did special effects type make-up in the theatre, so I could serve as an advisor to people (and a retail clerk).

Things would get crazy when I worked there at Halloween! We literally might have a line of 300 people waiting to get into the store.

They would come in ten at a time…and get five minutes to shop!

During that time, I would help them pick latex masks, costumes, and make-up…and we’d get them rung up and out right afterwards (they got five minutes, but they were in the store longer than that).

What fun that was!

One interesting thing that most people didn’t realize is that we had to order the “good” Halloween masks…in March. It takes a very long time for them to create the Don Post quality masks.

That’s why we’d always be out of something hot…

A few examples:

  • Darth Vader (almost nobody thought Star Wars was going to be a big success before it was released)
  • Miss Piggy
  • Coneheads

On the last one, it was actually possible to make something, if you were crafty enough, with liquid latex and a plastic football.

We were also happy that Howard the Duck (at AmazonSmile) could be sold as, you know, a duck. ;) That one did look good on paper in March, having George Lucas, Lea Thompson (hot from back to the future), and Thomas Dolby involved (and based on a Marvel comic…although that wasn’t as big a selling point back then as it is now).

I also remember one “oh oh” for somebody. This poor businessperson came into the store, with an “only slightly” faded red clown nose (drawn on with greasepaint), red cheeks, and red lips. You see, the person had taken greasepaint and drawn directly on their skin…not a good idea with red, especially (red stains the most). That person had a big presentation to do…and all I could really suggest was cover-up at that point.

We also sold all sorts of gags, including things like spaghetti forks (with a crank) (at AmazonSmile) and X-ray Spex (at AmazonSmile).

Well, if you want to get those sorts of things (or books about practical jokes), this year you can go to

Amazon’s April Fool’s Day store (at AmazonSmile)

It’s an interesting collection, including things like we sold, but also clothing, books, and gift cards for comedy clubs.

What do you think? Are you doing anything special with the money you got from the settlement? One of my readers got almost $100 back…how did you do? Do you have a great makeup/mask/costume story? Are you part of an organization that’s been helped by AmazonSmile? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

===

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! :) 

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.

I’m using goodreads

March 16, 2014

I’m using goodreads

When Amazon bought goodreads (and that’s how it is capitalized on the site), I was one of those people who wasn’t really using it, but was using Amazon extensively.

Honestly, it was a question of not wanting to divide my attention even more. I already have a family, a full time (and then some) job, write at least an average of 1,000 words a day in this blog, have two other blogs (neither of which takes a lot of time), spend large amounts of time helping out in the Kindle forums as a Kindle Forum Pro, and, oh yeah, write a book every once in a while. ;)

Something has to show real value for me to spend time and energy on it.

As Amazon has integrated goodreads more into the Kindleverse, I’ve gotten into using it a bit.

I’m still no expert, certainly.

I just decided today to make some things more public. I’ve allowed people to follow my reviews, for example. When I’ve polled my readers here about features, reviews have not come out high on the list. Still, I enjoy writing them (and haven’t completely abandoned them here), and I figure somebody might like to see them. :)

My understanding is that my reviews have already been showing up on the Goodreads’ page for that book…I don’t think you can stop that. Now, though, someone can elect to “follow” them, and they’ll be notified when I write a new one.

I think you can do that (and ask to become my friend?) by going here:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3037617-bufo-calvin

I know some of you readers are well-versed in Goodreads. I’d appreciate some advice: will this somehow mean that I have a lot of things to which to attend? Am I going to be approving Friends frequently, for example?

Well, I thought you would want to know. ;)

Here’s how I’m using it:

I do add books to it as I get them, and at some point, I’ll add a lot more of the books I own in paper. That’s not as easy as it seems: I know you can scan barcodes on them, but many of the books I have seem to predate any useful scannable marks. :)

I wish there was some other categorization than “want to read”, “read”, and “currently reading” when you add a book. Maybe I can add a shelf of some kind and do that?

When I finish a book, I am marking it as finished and adding a rating and a review.

For me, that’s the sort of addictive part at this point. :) It’s not the writing of the review so much: it’s my natural tendency to be honest and accurate. If I said I was currently reading it, and then I finished it, I want to change it.

Some of the books which say “currently reading” may be ones that I haven’t read in weeks…but which I am still in the process of reading. I have some books into which I just dip from time to time…maybe with text-to-speech during a car ride.

I plan to eventually finish them. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t abandon a book.

No doubt, the “currently reading” status on some of my books will outlast me: gee, do they have a setting for “was reading it, but no longer alive”? ;)

I find the interface, even at the site, to be a bit glitchy (or perhaps it works mechanically and is just not intuitive). For example, there is a listing on the homescreen (on the website) of books I’m reading. Every time I try and update one from there to “read”, I get a red “Error” message. I appear to have to go to my Books first, and do it there.

In terms of the integration with our Kindles, I don’t find I use that very much. I suppose that might change, now. I just accepted my first “Friend” request, and that person’s reading is showing up. That might be interesting.

The “Add Your Amazon Books” only seems to go back so far. If it would add all my books from Amazon (we have over 3,000 Kindle books), that  would  be great…but it doesn’t. It’s a decent help for adding new purchases.

Well, I think what I’ll do at this point is open it up to you. What’s the best thing about Goodreads for you? Do you find it effective on your Kindle? Are there any settings or activities you’d recommend for me? Any warnings? ;) Feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.

Update: here’s another example of the difficulties I encounter using goodreads..

I recently bought a book, and wanted to add it to my goodreads books. There was a book there with the same ISBN and a similar title…but the entry was very incomplete. The author’s name was incomplete, and the publisher was different.

I first had tried entering it as a new book. It wouldn’t allow that, because the ISBN was different. That’s reasonable: cuts down on duplicate books.

I tried entering it as another edition of the first book, which is probably the case. It had a link for that, but wouldn’t let me do it. It wouldn’t accept it with the same ISBN, of course, but I had clicked “add a new edition”.

I tried editing the details of the first listing: I didn’t have the authority.

I ended up entering it as a book without an ISBN…so now, there are two listings for the book. I left in the note in the decription explaining the situation…hopefully, someone else can fix it.

Bonus deal:

Amazon does “Kindle Countdown Deals”. Those are limited time offers on Kindle books…you can actually see when they will no longer be on sale.

I checked it out quite a bit when it first started happening, but I was having trouble with discovery…I couldn’t find books I wanted.

Well, I’ve done something that seems to help:

Kindle Countdown Deals by average customer review (at AmazonSmile)

This sort will show you the highest rated books first. That can make it easier to find something that you’ll enjoy (and often for ninety-nine cents).

Amazon’s “average customer review” isn’t a simple averaging…there are a lot of books with a single review which is five-stars, but they don’t show up at the top here.

When I look at reviews on Amazon, I do take into account the number of stars…but I also consider the number of reviews. I would have more confidence in a book with a 4.8 rating and a 1,000 reviews than a book with a 5.0 rating (a perfect score) and ten reviews.

That’s not to say that my tastes and the tastes of the majority always match. It’s just that it is easier to manipulate the ratings when there are fewer people involved.

You also have to consider who tends to review books. More recent books are likely to have a lot more reviews than older books. I doubt very many people go back to their favorite books which they read years ago and add a review. I think that’s why you’ll see more reviews on something like The Hunger Games than on, oh, Tom Sawyer.

One other thing (and it’s a big one) about this sort: it’s a great way to find books you can borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library! You’ll see that you can borrow them here, and even choose categories. Remember that you’ll have to actually borrow them from your hardware Kindle, but this at least is a way to find them on your computer. Enjoy!

===

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! :) 

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.

I bought a paperbook

March 12, 2014

I bought a paperbook

It arrived today.

“It” came because I did something I haven’t done in more than four years.

I bought a paperbook…for myself.

It felt odd, honestly, and I felt a bit…yes, guilty about it.

You see, what happened was that I had put a watch at

Alibris.com

years ago for a book called simply “Monsters” by George Eberhart.

Eberhart, a librarian, wrote one of my prized possessions:

A Geo-Bibliography of Anomalies: Primary Access to Observations of UFOs, Ghosts, and Other Mysterious Phenomena (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s an amazing work of scholarship, listing primarily newspaper articles from all across the United States about all kinds of weird stuff.

That might not sound like much to you, but I treasure it.

Cryptozoology is a special interest of mine. I love animals, and I love people’s perceptions of the world. I’ve written before about

A book that changed my life: The Maybe Monsters

I could never find out much about this book, oddly enough. Searching the internet, I would find references to it, but I couldn’t even really see much of how it was organized.

So, I listed it on a “watch list”.

Now, many years later, I was told that they had a copy…and relatively inexpensively at $78.

I am about to get a bit of extra money in…so I bought it.

The copy I got is a retired library copy, a bit worn…but I’m pleased with it.

Why would I feel guilty about buying a paperbook?

My understanding is that most people who read e-books also read p-books…and I do sometimes pull a p-book off my floor-to-ceiling library to check something (I think we have about 10,000 p-books on shelves).

I don’t like the ecological impact of p-books…that’s one of the main points.

There are harsh chemicals typically used in their manufacture, and there is a lot used to truck them from “factory” to warehouse to store.

However, in this case, the book had already served a useful life. It’s been out of print for decades, I think…no one was going to make another copy because I bought this one.

The guilt thing is irrational, I know…I don’t hold it against anybody who buys p-books.

E-books (the storage of them and the readers) affect the environment too, although in different ways.

I need to put on glasses to read this: I’d rather have had it as an e-book, with nice links to the references…but I judged that was quite unlikely to happen.

Even though Amazon has stated a goal to have every book ever published, it might not be until some of them fall into the public domain…and of course, a goal is not a promise.

There it is.

I bought a p-book.

Not for somebody else…we still buy

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (at AmazonSmile)

in hardback for new parents.

I bought it for me…and I’ll read it, and add it to my shelves.

Years from now, if it comes out in e-book form, will I buy it again?

Possibly.

For now, I’ll just have to accept that I can’t tell people I’ve stopped buying p-books for myself. :)

What do you think? Do you buy both e-books and p-books for yourself? Feel free to tell me I’m being silly about the ecological concerns…I feel like that myself, and am not feeling a bit hypocritical. Do I tell myself that to feel better about not being able to read p-books as well as I used to be able to read them? Maybe…you can tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* 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.

On our guest Kindle

March 8, 2014

On our guest Kindle

Back in November, I wrote

A Kindle for the guest room

We did have a guest stay here, and that worked very well!

Having gotten the

Massive new update for 1st generation Paperwhite

which I think has greatly improved the Cloud Collections, I thought it might make sense to create a “Guest Bookshelf”.

I can manage that from my Kindle Fire HDX. I find it’s easier to manage Collections on a Kindle Fire than on a Paperwhite, although since these are now synchronized, I could do it in either place.

After I created the Collection, I did download the books to the guest Paperwhite. I did about one page at a time, and gave the Kindle some time to index them (leaving it plugged in). It used to be a real risk to download a whole bunch of books to a Kindle at once (and probably even worse to transfer a slew of them by USB), and I suspect that’s not so much the case now (the processors have improved). Still, no reason not to take it slow…we aren’t expecting any guests for a while. ;)

The next thing was to go through and pick some books! Woo hoo!

We currently have over 3,000 in our Kindle account. I wanted to pick a variety…the eclectic sort of mix you might find staying on a tropical island, or in a lodge in Alaska.

I was also driven by the idea of having some of the books be ones that someone has been meaning to read, but never got around to doing so. :)

These are the ones I have there now. I’m sure I’ll change it around from time to time.

    • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
    • The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (at AmazonSmile) by Carson McCullers)
    • The Book of the D*mned by Charles Fort
    • Brain Rules (at AmazonSmile) by John Medina (Review: Brain Rules)
    • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
    • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
    • The Classic Mystery Collection (this have over 100 titles, including all of the public domain Holmes titles)
    • The Complete Wizard of Oz Series by L. Frank Baum (and the first book by Ruth Plumly Thompson)
    • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
    • A Dark-Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell
    • Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

(Review)

    • Dracula by Bram Stoker
    • Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
    • The Fifties by David Halberstram
    • Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

(Review

    • Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
    • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman
    • From Here to Eternity by James Jones
    • A Game of Thrones 4-Book Bundle by George R.R. Martin
    • Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond by Hans Holzer
    • The Giver by Lois Lowry
    • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    • The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzch
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    • History of Rock and Roll (Vook)
    • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
    • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
    • In Her Name by Michael R. Hicks
    • A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
    • Jaws by Peter Benchley
    • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
    • The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (by me)
    • Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
    • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    • Lost Horizon by James Hilton
    • The Man Who Lied to His Laptop by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen
    • Mary Poppins by P.O. Travers
    • The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
    • The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (by me)
    • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
    • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
    • Native Sun by Richard Wright
    • On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
    • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
    • Penguin Island by Anatole France
    • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
    • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    • The Poems of Walt Whitman
    • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

(Review

    • The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
    • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

(Review

    • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    • Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
    • The Scarlet Pimpernel  by Baronness Emmuska Orczy
    • The Science Fiction Megapack
    • Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
    • The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
    • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
    • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
    • Swim: Why We Love the Water by Lynn Sherr

(Review

    • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    • Teenagers from the Future: Essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes edited by Timothy Callahan

(Review

    • The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu
    • This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

(Review

    • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
    • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
    • To Sir, With Love by Karyn Mitchell and Peter Dawes
    • The Transparent Society by David Brin

(Review

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
  • White Fang by Jack London
  •  Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell
  • Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
  • Works of Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Wreck of the Titan by Morgan Robertson
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I also give them access to the Cloud (but not to the Kindle store, just to avoid accidents)…which gives them about 3,000 more titles.

What do you think? If you were staying at our house for a week or two, would you be able to find something to read in that bunch? I know it might be a big heavy on geek titles, but there are other options. ;) Do you have suggestions for books I should add? I’d be willing to hear them, although this is going to always be pretty subjective. It’s not a list of the best books ever, or the books I think you should read. It’s partially about giving people the serendipitous discovery of something they enjoy which they haven’t read before…or want to re-read.

If you have any questions about why I selected any of them, of suggestions, feel free to comment on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

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.

Warning! I may have been hacked

January 4, 2014

Warning! I may have been hacked

I’m working on this right now, but this morning, I had an e-mail from Amazon saying I had requested a password change, and then another one saying I had responded to the e-mail. I had not done either.

I have now chatted with Amazon’s excellent Customer Service, and was able to reset the password. However, this suggests that my AOL account may have been the one that was hacked.

Hopefully, this isn’t too big a headache, but if you get anything weird from me…well, weirder ;), feel free to check with me before believing it.

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 #231: 1st of the month tips, Mohsin Hamid on e vs p

January 2, 2014

Round up #231: 1st of the month tips, Mohsin Hamid on e vs p

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

What a difference a month makes

Welcome, new owners! There’s a lot to owning a Kindle (or using a Kindle app). Oh, it’s not the hardware, so much, at least in the case of a non-Fire Kindle. That’s generally pretty intuitive, at least for just opening a book and reading it.

There are also the Kindle services, and what Amazon does on the site. The latter is what I want to address now.

I look forward to every day, pretty much: I’m at heart an optimist. ;) However, Kindleers always pay particular attention to the first day of the month.

There are a few things that it makes sense to check:

  • Kindle Monthly Deals, $3.99 or less (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)*: Amazon does do a Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile), and that can be great…but you do have to be on your toes for it. They do a new set of books for $3.99 or less each month as well…this month, at the time of writing (it can change), there are 114 titles. I often do a post on the highlights, but I do always look through them all. Since you can delay when a gift is delivered, this is also a good place to pick up a bargain for a future gift giving occasion. Note: this feature, and the others, may not apply in your country. Always check the price before you click that “Buy” button
  • Kindle First (at AmazonSmile): those Kindle monthly deals are available to anyone who has a Kindle or a Kindle app, and you can gift them to people who don’t have one (they’ll be prompted to get a free app). This next one has another requirement: you have to be an eligible Prime member (which is typically done by paying $79 a year). With this one, you’ll be able to pick a book out of a small group (so far, it’s been four each month), which will be published soon by Amazon’s traditional publishing group (that’s what it has been so far). You will own the book**: you aren’t just borrowing it. When you click through to the book, you’ll be given the choice to get it for free and get it now, or to pre-order it and pay for it. Why give both choices? You can only get one free book through Kindle First a month, but you might want to pre-order the others
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) (at AmazonSmile): for this one, there are two requirements. You have to be an eligible Prime member, and you have to have a hardware Kindle (not just a free app). People sometimes ask about that: Amazon has to pay the publishers for each “borrow”, and I’m sure they’ve done the math on how much people spend who have a hardware Kindle versus what they spend when they have an app and not the hardware. The fact that they have to pay is also presumably why you can “only” borrow up to one a calendar month. That calendar limitation is another reason why Kindleers look forward to the first of the month. It’s not necessarily that the selection changes: it changes every day. Let’s say you borrowed a book on December 5th, and finished it by December 10th. You’d still have to wait until January 1st to borrow your next book. People also sometimes wonder why Amazon doesn’t make it easier to get to KOLL eligible books through your computer (it’s easy on the Kindle itself). Well, you have to borrow from the Kindle. I’ve seen many times where someone asks why they charged for a KOLL book. It’s usually because they were shopping from their computers, and click the “Buy” button rather than the “Borrow” button

What e-books did I get for the holidays?

Just thought you might be curious… :)

Two of my family members used my

to get me e-books…and it was great! Big thanks to them!

Sure, they could have gotten me gift cards, and there is nothing wrong with that, but they told me it was fun to look through the list and pick out some special things…it’s sort of like having a Bufo store. ;) I have a list which I share with them (that’s one of the privacy options), and it has over 150 things on it (not all e-books). These are things I do want, but I probably wouldn’t buy for myself for some reason.

You get to describe why they appeal to you, which is a way to share with your circle more about yourself.

Here’s what I got:

My Significant Other got me this one. :) Doc is one of my fictional heroes, as regular readers probably know. I do use Doc’s oath as a guide: to make myself better so that other’s can profit by it, to do right by others…I think I’ve published the oath in the blog before (my understanding is that the oath is in the public domain, although the books aren’t). If not, here it is:

===

“Let me strive, every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit from it.

Let me think of the right, and lend my assistance to those who need it with no regard for anything but justice.

Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.

Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.

Let me do right to all, and wrong no one.”

===

I made one alteration to the last line, making it gender neutral.

This book is an extraordinary “biography” of Doc Savage, by the well-known science fiction writer, Philip José Farmer. Farmer also wrote Tarzan Alive!, a similar biography of Lord Greystoke…and, in fact, according to Farmer, Doc and Tarzan (and many others) are related to each other!

The book was originally released in 1973, and you might think I would already have it…and I do. :) I have it in p-book. However, e-books are so much easier for me nowadays that having it in e-book form is terrific. I don’t often re-read books, but this is one I might…I might even listen to it in the car using text-to-speech.

Yes, Doc again, and yes, from my Significant Other again. :) This is something different: it’s a recent official addition to the Doc Savage stories, written by Will Murray. I’ve read one of the new ones before, but this one really intrigued me: Doc meets King Kong! It makes sense: they both had their pop culture starts in 1933, and they were both in New York.

I’ve started reading it (this is my third new book I’ve read in the past week or so…I’ve had some time off), and so far, it is quite well written. I would say it is considerably superior to the other contemporary Doc Savage I read, The Desert Demons.

My SO and I are on the same account, so these just showed up on my Kindle Fire…a great way to get them! I also got a note telling me to look there, wrapped in a gift. Actually, technically, my SO helped a supernatural entity get them for me, but that’s kind of a long story. ;) When our kid was little, we explained that Santa bought some things in the stores (rather than building everything at the North Pole), so the store owners would make some money. I was in retail at the time, and that was part of it, but it also might help explain the odd sticker on a gift.

The other three came from a sibling and family. They chose to have the gift codes printed out (which you can do when you choose buy an e-book as a gift), and then wrapped those for our family’s big “gift exchange” party.

This is non-fiction by Danielle Ofri, and it sounds fascinating. In my “day job”, I train doctors and other medical people. I’ve always noted that different specialties tend to have different…emotional profiles, I guess. It makes sense: imagine if you were in a job where all day long, people were likely to be dying, and you were dealing with the families. On the other hand, you might be in a job where there was very little risk to the people you helped, and they always loved the results. It would be pretty likely that you would have a different outlook in those two cases, right?

I’m not a big fan of emotions, personally, but I recognize they are there and that they affect decisions. :) Oh, they certainly have their value, but if you were to make me pick blindly between an emotionless machine making a decision in a crisis (like driving a car when a three-year old darts out into the street) or an emotional human, I’m likely to want to go with the machine.

I’ll be interested to see what the book says, and what solid research and insights it might have.

I know a lot about Batman, but I wouldn’t count The Dark Knight among my fictional heroes. I wouldn’t want to be like Bruce Wayne, in the way that I would like to be more like Doc Savage, Spock, or Kwai Chang Caine. Those three all think of themselves as personally flawed, which is not really something I see from Batman, so I find that less relatable.

I do find the various incarnations of Batman fascinating, though, and that’s what this book is about. The radio show was simply bizarre, and you can have Christian Bale’s frightening near-psychopath and the goofy Batman: The Brave & the Bold cartoon running successfully…at the same time.

My expectations aren’t super high about the quality of the work, but I look forward to it.

You might have expected me to have purchased Andrew Richard Albanese’s book already…but honestly, a Kindle Single for $1.99 always seems pricey to me. Since this is a topic I’ve covered closely, I’ll enjoy reading this take on it.

Care to share what you got (or gave)? :)

“They guard our aloneness.”

That is a beautiful line describing reading p-books over e-books in this

New York Times article by Mohsin Hamid

The point is a good one, for those who prefer to be absorbed into a book, to the exclusion of the world around you. Yes, you can put the new generation Kindle Fires into “Quiet Mode”, so you aren’t disturbed by notifications. However, a p-book only has a connection to you while you are reading it…it can’t connect anywhere else (although you can read it out loud, of course).

I can see the attraction of this sort of enforced primitiveness…like sitting on a mountaintop naked. ;) Generally, though, I prefer the option of the advantages of modern technology…like increasable text sizes…and clothes. ;)

How did that guest Kindle work out?

Not too long ago, I wrote

A Kindle for the guest room

in which I talked about having a Kindle specifically as a guest Kindle.

Well, we’ve had our adult kid and a roommate staying here for a week or so. They just went back to the Boston area…the weather here was exceptionally mild, and they did beat the big storm back. :)

The roommate got the guest Kindle (I knew my kid would bring one). It worked beautifully! While we were quite busy (you might have noticed a somewhat reduced output from me…that’s changed, as you can tell…this is a long post!), our guest read parts of two books. One of them was a book we had discussed at lunch: The Transparent Society. How cool is that? The topic came up about privacy (we had a weird experience, where a drone came up outside the window where we were eating lunch on a previous day, and the camera clearly looked at us), I referenced a book…and our guest could read it without hunting for it or any real inconvenience.

I only knew what books our guest  had read, by the way, by asking. It would probably not have been obvious otherwise. Now that they’ve gone back home, I have simply reset the device (you have to remove the “parental controls” first): Home – Menu – Settings – Menu. I then connected it to our wi-fi again, registered it again, set up the parental controls, and then it’s ready for the next person. Oh, and I’ll charge it…it’s about half way gone, I’d say. Once I went through the set-up, it resumed it’s old name.

Cool! Definitely a good choice to have done…what a nice way to provide books for a guest!

What do you think? What was the best “bookish” thing about your holidays? Is reading a paperbook an anachronistic return to an earlier era, or just as current as an e-book? Did you ever read a book when you were visiting someone else that really impressed you? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting 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! :) 

** What you are actually buying is a license to read the book. For more information, see my post,  How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

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.

Eight of our Kindles stolen

October 28, 2013

Eight of our Kindles stolen

I came home from work today, and on entering the house, I could see things were awry.

There were things on the floor that should be there…including a “letter sorter” that held some of our Kindles: it was empty.

I went back out (not touching anything, except to re-lock the front door…I had unlocked it, and there was an stuck in it when I got there, so I knew they hadn’t gone in that way), called my Significant Other, who called the police.

The house was tossed, but not vandalized. They didn’t take a lot of stuff (like this desktop computer), or the TVs.

They did, however, take eight of our Kindles (including three Kindle Fires).

We were only using two of those actively: PowPow (Kindle Paperwhite 2) and Vulcan (Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE).

Since the Kindle content is backed up at Amazon, that part is not that big a deal.

The most awkward part is going to be missing the Kindle Fire, since that’s how we were watching TV in one room (using the HDMI out…which isn’t available on my Kindle Fire HDX, which I had with me).

We may have to try buying a Miracast “dongle”, although we were hoping to wait to see what Amazon announces (if anything).

So, my process was to contact Kindle Support at

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

I chatted with them, because we were using the phones to call credit card companies (that appears to be what they were trying to find).

It was a little disconcerting, because the person was giving me wrong information:

D—:Hello. My name is D—. I’ll be glad to help you today.
I’m sorry to hear that your Kindle was stolen. Let me take care of this for you.
Me:After you take care of it, will the information still be on the account, so I can report the serial numbers to the police?
D—:Nope. After we have deactivated and deregistered your devices, it can no longer be use by another person l as your account cannot be accessed.
Me:Yes, understood, but will the serial numbers still show in Manage Your Kindle?
D—:Serial number does not show in Manage your Kindle.
Me:It does, actually. I can see it right now.
D—:Only the registered name but not the serial number. May I know the name of the
Kindle I need to deactivate please?
Me:Since I can see those serial numbers, and you think they aren’t there, I think I’d better record them before you do anything. I need that information for the police.

The serial numbers do show. I ended up copying and pasting them for the rep.

After they were deregistered, that information was gone from MYK.

If any of them do show up, we can contact Amazon and re-register.

I did have

Webroot SecureAnywhere Mobile

which allowed me to send a remote lock command, and would have located the device if the web connection was on (it hasn’t been…the last shown location was close enough to our house that that’s where it had been seen).

Again, this could have been much worse, and I’m not too stressed about it. I pointed out to the police officer that they weren’t literate thieves, since they didn’t steal my Oz books (probably more than $500 worth of books in an easily handled and sold grouping). Looks like they actually didn’t go into the library at all, which is why my 2007 Kindle was still here.

I think it was probably just random identity thieves. They were relatively polite, not breaking things unreasonably (although there was some damage from where they entered, and one window screen was pulled out.

We’ve always had dogs (which are a good thief deterrent), but haven’t had them for about six months…I suppose that might have made a difference.

Hopefully, this information might be helpful for those of you out there. If it happens to you, one of my most popular things is this:

What to do if your Kindle is lost or stolen

Update: I’m seen (accurately) as a generally positive, optimistic person, so I’m thinking some of you might be curious about how I feel about this.

Sure, I wish it hadn’t happened.

I have to say, though, that I don’t think of the people who did it as bad (or less) human than I am.  I don’t like the action, of course, and we’d like to get our stuff back. In the sympathy I’ve gotten on it (thanks to readers who have offered that), there have been some dehumanizing terms used for them, and that’s honestly not how I feel. I think Jean Valjean from Les Misérables: I really don’t know what their motivations may have been. There are some selfish, “bad” reasons to have done this, absolutely, but it could also have been done for some other sorts of reasons (not necessarily well thought out).

They could have made things much worse, and I do feel like they were making some effort not to be destructive simply for its own sake. Not to take worthless keepsakes, that sort of thing.

I don’t have any great emotional desire to see them punished. I wouldn’t like for them to do this to someone else (although that’s probably pretty likely…this doesn’t look like amateurs to me), but I don’t especially want to see them “hurt” for doing it.

It is affecting us psychologically, somewhat, and that might get worse. I knew it was illogical this morning, but I was emotionally thinking that there might be someone inside the next room when I got up this morning.

I want to especially thank a reader, Oldie Suzanne, for the suggestion to put a freeze on our credit. For $10 for each of the big three credit agencies, you can stop additional credit from being opened in your name (unless you provide a PIN ((Personal Identification Number))). That’s making me more at ease this morning. You can track your existing credit pretty well, but if somebody opens a new credit card at a new address in your name, you won’t know about it until charges hit your account.

This looked like a good resource with links to all three agencies:

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/personal-finance-credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/nFbL/

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

The 296th most popular

October 24, 2013

The 296th most popular

As regular readers know, I sometimes like to do something…somewhat random to try to discover new things.

Well, today is October 23 (where I am), which is the 296th day of the year (since it isn’t a leap year*).

So, I thought I’d pull out the 296th most popular thing in different Kindle store lists, just to see what it is.

That sounds normal to you, right? Right? Oh, well. ;)

The 296th Most Popular Book

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
by Mindy Kaling
4.3 out of 5 stars, 1,044 reviews

Mindy Kaling is a popular actor, writer, producer…well, you probably already know. :)

The 296th Most Popular Magazine

The Priest
3.5 out of 5 stars, 2 reviews

Despite having managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the past, I didn’t know about this one. Seems to be sort of a professional magazine for Catholic priests.

The 296th Most Popular Blog

Perez Hilton gossip blog
5 out of 5 stars, 1 review

No surprise to me that this blog exists, but only one review?

The 296th Most Popular Kindle Single

All My Love, Samples Later: My Mother, My Father, and Our Family That Almost Was. A Story of Life and War. (Kindle Single)
by Craig Vetter
4.6 out of 5 stars, 14 reviews

Sounds interesting! Vetter lost a parent in World War II, as a toddler. Decades later, the author researched a journal and letters, to find out more about the lost one.

The 296th Most Popular Kindle Fire HDX Compatible App

Bingo Mania
3.5 out of 5 stars, 91 reviews

There is, not illogically, not always a direct correlation between best reviewed and best selling. There are going to be many apps with higher ratings that are lower in the sales rankings right now. This one is free, by the way.

The 296th Most Popular Audiobook

A Tale of Two Cities read by Simon Vance
4.2 out of 5 stars, 1330 reviews (but I believe that will include reviews of the novel itself, not just this version)

Well, that was sort of interesting…yes, there were times in a brick-and-mortar bookstore I would just sort of wander around and see where I ended up. ;)

A bit on methodology: I’m sometimes asked how you can quickly advance through search results at Amazon. Well, first, you search. Then, go the next page. Once you’ve done that, the URL (Uniform or Universal Resource Locator) at the top of the screen will have a reference to a page number. You can change that page number to whatever you want, hit enter, and you’ll jump to that page (search results are typically limited to 400 pages). Here’s an example of one of those URLs:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=lp_6118587011_pg_5?rh=n%3A133140011%2Cn%3A%21133141011%2Cn%3A6118587011&page=2&ie=UTF8&qid=1382577384

It’s the part that says, “&page=2″.

I also didn’t do some things, like newspapers…because there weren’t 296 of them.

Bonus deal: this may be too late for some of you, but one of One of today’s Kindle Daily Deals is any of three Star Trek: Destiny novels by David Mack for $1.99 each. I particularly am mentioning this because text-to-speech access is not blocked on these…hopefully, that’s a sign for other Simon & Schuster Star Trek books.

* Speaking of leap years, I don’t think I’ve told this story on the blog before, and it does say something about me and my family (and some of you like to know about that). My side of the family has a lot of intellectuals in it…academics, a Nobel Prize winner (Melvin Calvin…”Uncle Mel” to me, growing up), that kind of thing. My Significant Other’s family is very smart, but hasn’t typically been professional academics…or quite so geeky. ;) Once, when our kid was about eight, my SO was driving, and I was in the passenger seat in the front. Our kid was in the back. Our kid says, “You know, if every time we changed the time for Daylight Savings time we moved forward, every three leap years we wouldn’t need one.” My SO looked over at me, very confused. I quickly got the point. If we moved forward one hour twice a year, we would gain 24 hours in twelve years. Leap years occur every four years and add a day (to keep the calendar year  synchronized  with the astronomical year, since the Earth’s circuit around the sun isn’t exactly 365 days). So, if we moved forward two hours every year, we would make up for that day every three leap years. I said to our kid, “Did somebody tell you that?” Our kid said, sort of laconically, “No…I was just thinking…” :)

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

Round up #209: bookstores, Hollowland

October 1, 2013

Round up #209: bookstores, Hollowland

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

PowPow is shipping!

My

Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers

has started its journey. :)

Since it’s a 2nd generation Paperwhite (PW), and I’ve been writing that as PW2 (which I read as “PW squared”), I have named it “PowPow”. ;)

I am looking forward to exploring it. I hope to have a menu map out by the end of Wednesday.

My Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (which I have named “HDXter”, pronounced “Aitch-Dexter”) is still scheduled for October 18th.

I’m excited to see them both!

Mini-review: Hollowland

Hollowland (The Hollows, #1)
by Amanda Hocking
Free at time of writing
X-ray, lending, text-to-speech, all enabled…and unlimited simultaneous device licenses

I’ve written about Amanda Hocking before. In particular, there was this piece, more than two and a half years ago, about Hocking being one of the iconic Amazon indie authors making it in the writing world. I’ve also said I think Amanda Hocking may be the best tweeter on the planet. ;)

However, honestly, I’d never read a novel by Amanda Hocking.

Now I have. :)

It was free, and I knew from the tweets this was a talented author.

The product page describes it as a “young adult” novel, although it wasn’t categorized that way.

Certainly, the protagonist would generally appeal to that demographic, and there are elements of the story structure (the way that the world can revolve around person still figuring out who they are and where they fit in it) that I’m sure help to contribute to an excellent 4.3 out of 5 star rating with 684 reviews.

However, I have to say…there are things where I would caution you. The appearance the “S word” early on…well, that’s becoming almost acceptable on broadcast TV. We did, though, get to the “F word” eventually. There is clinically described violence (quite a bit of it, even though it is commonly against “zombies”), and…um…an unambiguous sex scene.

If those aren’t concerns for you, then let me say that I liked the characterizations, and the world. I could feel for the people involved, be amused in the right places, and recognize the realness of several of the characters.

As an animal lover (and Hocking tweets quite a few animal pictures), I also appreciated one particular element.

Overall, the story was enjoyable, and I was looking forward to seeing what happened next as I went through it.

In terms of production quality, well, there were a number of minor typos, but they weren’t as common as zombie kills in the book. ;) The cover was haunting.

I wouldn’t say this is classic literature, but if you are comfortable with the elements I mentioned and are looking for a good popcorn book, this could be it.

Library of Congress websites will go offline if the government shuts down

As I write this (but maybe not when you read it), we don’t know yet if the U.S. government will shut down, and if does, for how long.

We do know, though, that the Library of Congress websites (with the exceptions of Thomas.gov and Congress.gov) will go offline if it happens.

That would include a site I’ve mentioned before:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

While many people would be affected in much more serious ways, I thought some of you might be wondering…

Bookstore mini-round-up

You know, I read a lot of stories about bookstores…both about ones opening and ones closing. I know I’m probably more interested in that than some of you, since I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I do think it relates to e-books, though, since the different delivery media for books (e-books, audiobooks, p-books ((paperbooks))) have an interdependency. Feel free to let me know if you’d rather not see these types of stories.

SCPR.org: LA’s Last Bookstore looks to keep the page in the digital age by Colin Berry

This sounds like a bookstore I’d like to visit! It’s funky and apparently has a huge selection of used books, many for $1. It’s exactly the kind of store I’ve suggested could thrive in the current and projected environment. They’ve made it an experience to go there:

“The result could be out of a neo-Victorian sci-fi novel. As Spencer has imagined it, the Last Bookstore is more quirky than stuffy, with bicycle-wheel chandeliers, a huge mural made of paperbacks, and sculptures made of books that literally fly off the shelves.”

New York Daily News: True South, financially strapped black bookstore, closes in Bedford-Stuyvesant by Reuven Blau

On the other hand, not every specialty bookstore is going to survive, even with community support. I love that there was this bookstore in Bed-Stuy: that’s not what you always hear about with that neighborhood…

Idaho Stateman: Ada Community Library Bookstore grand opening Oct. 5 by Cynthia Sewell

That’s right: it’s a used bookstore as part of a community library…and it’s adding a bookstore to the world.

How is it going overall for bookstores?

Fortune: The indie bookstore resurgence by Verne Kopytoff

The article (which I recommend) has several positive indicators…more sales, more membership in the American Booksellers Association.

However, it does talk about Amazon’s “aversion” to collecting State sales tax. Amazon has sent a top executive to argue in favor of a national internet sales tax policy (not a new tax, but what I refer to as “equal collection legislation”. What they don’t want is different rules in different places. Of course, I think it’s also reasonable to ask: if brick-and-mortar stores were not collecting sales tax now, would they be “averse” to having that added to their duties? I’m thinking yes…which suggests that there isn’t a moral superiority in that element, but simply a matter of circumstance. I’m not saying that local institutions aren’t more inclined towards paying local taxes (since they see the benefits more directly), but I don’t think it’s fair to say that because you are doing something you are legally required to do, you are better than someone who hasn’t been legally required to do the same thing.

What do you think? Amazon has fought a sales tax thing…are they taking advantage of the tax structure to get an unfair marketplace edge? Do stories about brick-and-mortar bookstores belong in ILMK? Are you excited because you ordered a new Kindle? Have you been to any of the bookstores I mentioned? If so, how was it? Did you buy anything? Is it okay for young adult books to use profanity and have violence and sex scenes? If so, what makes them young adult? Is that not a label for guidance, but just one for marketing? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,251 other followers

%d bloggers like this: