Archive for the ‘Giveaways’ Category

Round up #248: write your way to a Kindle Fire, “me-colored glasses”

April 4, 2014

Round up #248: write your way to a Kindle Fire, “me-colored glasses”

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

“I’m not at Liberty to pay…”

“‘By reducing our preferred position and eliminating some of our related rights, Barnes & Noble will gain greater flexibility to accomplish their strategic objectives,’ Mr. Maffei said in a statement.”
–quoted in a New York Times article by Michael J. De La Merced and Julie Bosman

Flexibility? Yes. Capability? No.

Yes, I’m sure all that money you were giving them was reducing their choices. It’s like a parent saying, “You don’t like my rules? Fine. Then you can just get an apartment on your own and live your own rules. Of course, you might have trouble finding someone who will rent to a ten-year old…”

I don’t really see how to spin this and make it a good thing for B&N, and neither can the stock market…following the announcement, B&N’s stock took a more  precipitous  dive than an Acapulco cliff diver. ;)

CNNMoney graph

That doesn’t mean that they won’t recover…but I would be very interested to hear what people think does mean that Barnes & Noble is going to get back to robust health.

I think this does make the continued existence of Barnes & Noble bookstores as we know them today less likely (and I’m speaking as a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore).

The article was generally pretty good, but I doubt the folks at Books-A-Million liked this statement: “…Barnes & Noble, the nation’s last major bookstore chain”.

 Digitizing your paperbooks will be legal…in the UK

America’s copyright system is often relatively complex compared to many other countries’ systems.

I honestly don’t really expect us to lead on this front.

One could argue that it is due, in part, to us being so successful in creating intellectual property. Most countries in the world consume American media, even if we don’t return the favor in equal proportion. You can also see this in the use of our software.

So, I wasn’t surprised the the UK beat us to saying something that I’ve been hoping would get said here in the USA.

Starting 1 June 2014, it is legal to digitize your paperbooks (turn them into e-books) at home for your own purposes in the UK, according to this

Wired.co.uk article by Olivia Solon

This decision wasn’t specifically about p-books to e-books, but it does cover them (it also covers things like “ripping a CD” to digital).

It doesn’t allow you to do that for other people, but that’s fine. If I knew it was legal here, I’d probably start digitizing a lot more of my books (I do public domain ones now…just started on that with my new Xcanex scanner, although I did it with a flatbed for a non-profit).

I don’t think this is much of a threat to the e-book industry. Not very many people are going to scan a book when they can buy one already done and nicely formatted. I think, as would be the case with me, that it would be books that aren’t available otherwise in most cases. Certainly, some hobbyists might scan the books instead of buying them…but it would be a bit like saying that people who build their own computers are a threat to HP. It just isn’t going to be that large a group.

I hope this inspires a similar decision in the USA…

Amazon Fire TV

My Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile) should be here today. I meant to order it with one-day shipping, but apparently, in my haste (I would afraid they would sell out), didn’t click the button to switch it. That’s okay…I probably won’t really get to explore it until Saturday, and I’ll write more about it then.

Of course, many people don’t wait to explore it before they write about it.  :)

I was…intrigued with all of the 1-star reviews that showed up before almost anybody had the device. The vast majority of those were from people who didn’t have it yet.

1-star reviews for the Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile)

A lot of the “reviews” (I don’t believe you can actually “review” something until you have viewed it) had to do it with it missing something the poster wanted.

That just seems very self-centered to me. Its like giving Baskin-Robbins a 1-star review because, out of the 33 flavors of ice cream they have, they don’t have Banana-Coconut-Mango…and that’s your favorite! So, it doesn’t matter if their service is excellent, prices are good, and the vast majority of people who go there like their ice creams…the place sucks! :)

Now, that’s not quite a fair comparison…arguably, at $99, Amazon is not a price leader on this (they are comparable to many other devices in the category, although not the the Google Chromecast). It does seem like a very narrow focus…seeing the world through “me-colored glasses”.

One of the most commonly mentioned ones, and one that Amazon even includes in the comparison chart, is

HBO GO (at AmazonSmile)

That also messes up the analogy, because that’s a popular “channel”…it’s more like Baskin-Robbins not having strawberry ice cream. To me, that wouldn’t mean BR should get a 1-star review…there would still be a lot of good in that place, and a 1-star review is as low as you can go at Amazon.

Notice, though, that I have a link for HBO Go? That’s because you can get it in the Amazon Appstore…for your Kindle Fire.

That means that, if you have both a

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and an

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile)

you will be able to watch HBO GO through the AFTV, since you can mirror the Fire to it (display what’s on the Fire’s screen on your TV). I assume that will be true: I won’t be testing that specifically, since we don’t have HBO.

The app is free, by the way.

Equally worth noting: no reason to suppose the app won’t get added directly to the AFTV at some point.

I expect AFTV’s 3.1 star average to rise considerably in the next week, once the initial flood of negative reviews by people who don’t have it is countered. Don’t know where it will get, don’t know how good the experience is yet…but I think it has been front-loaded with negativity.

If you don’t have and don’t plan to get an AFTV, does this part of this post matter to you?

A bit…it’s making some changes on the Amazon.com site, and possibly pointing to some interesting strategic shifts.

First, the AFTV appears in the Kindle “family stripe”. That’s the thing at the top of a Kindle’s product page which shows you what other Kindles are available.

If you go to a Kindle Fire’s page, you now see the Kindle Fires…then a “show all device types” illustration, which includes a Fire, a Paperwhite…and an Amazon Fire TV.

I have said many times that I wish they hadn’t named the Fire a “Kindle”, since they are such different devices…I wish they had kept “Kindle” for dedicated EBRs (E-Book Readers).

While I had suggested the “Amazon Current”, I would have been much happier with the “Amazon Fire” rather than the “Kindle Fire”.  It has created a great deal of confusion, with people wondering why they can’t read their “new Kindle” in the sun as well.

This family striping seems to be a step away from branding everything as a “Kindle”, which I think may be a good thing.

Similarly, while the links to

Manage Your Kindle (at AmazonSmile)

still work, the page is now branded, “Manage Your Content and Devices”.

Students: write your way to a Kindle Fire

I mentioned this briefly, but wanted to call it out more.

Amazon has a nice

student guide

to

Timebound (The Chronos Files) (at AmazonSmile)

One of the elements there is a contest:

This lesson will allow your students to write an account of an American History event as seen through a CHRONOS historian. Students can submit their work here to enter to win one of 5 autographed editions of Timebound. One lucky student will win a Kindle Fire. Submissions must be received by 12/17/2014. For more information on the content visit: http://www.chronosfiles.com/students.html.

This is, in my opinion, a good academic and creative contest. The rules will require some real research, and I see this as a legitimate school exercise.

What do you think? Should I cover the Amazon Fire TV at all in this blog? I do think I will do it some (not a lot), but I’m interested in your opinion. Will the USA follow the UK in legitimizing format shifting? Should they? What would be the impact? Were you ever given an assignment in school with a prompting question? If so, was it valuable? 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! :) 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.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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.

Our first Give a Kid a Kindle device has been ordered!

April 3, 2014

Our first Give a Kid a Kindle device has been ordered!

Our first “Give a Kid a Kindle” Kindle has been ordered!

I am giving a

Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I got the 3G, because I don’t know this recipient’s circumstances. Getting one with 3G gives the most flexibility for connecting to wireless: it includes 3G (like a cellphone) and wi-fi (which many people have in their homes, and is available in some business).

I also decided to order a wall charger. The thought  occurred  to me that someone might not have a USB port to charge (I’m trying to cover the most bases).

The one negative to the 3G for me is that it is out of stock right now, but is expected to be back in soon:

===

Placed on Thursday, April 3, 2014
SHIPMENT 1 OF 2
Your estimated delivery date is:
Monday, April 21, 2014 -
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Your shipping speed:
Two-Day Shipping

Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers
Electronics
Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

SHIPMENT 2 OF 2
Your estimated delivery date is:
Saturday, April 5, 2014

Your shipping speed:
Two-Day Shipping

Amazon Kindle 5W USB Power Adapter
Accessory
Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

===

Thank you for everyone who participated, either by nominating someone or by “recommending” one of the nominees to receive the device!

This is the person who got it:

[Nominee #1] is a ninth grade student who comes to class every day with a stack of books. [Nominee #1] seems to read very rapidly, perhaps a book a day, and [Nominee #1] checks out stacks of library books so that [Nominee #1] has enough to read. [Nominee #1] would benefit from a Kindle because [Nominee #1] could read free classics and not have to carry around a stack any longer!

http://ilmk.wordpress.com/give-a-kid-a-kindle/

I removed personally identifying information.

When I told somebody about this in person today, they commented that they could see how happy it made me…and it really does! I love being able to give back in this way, and to empower a reader to change the world…or just to enjoy it and understand it better. :)

What’s next?

I think I’m going to wait until I start up again. I want to think about how well it worked. I want to think about ways to up the participation if I do this again.

I don’t think I’ll do it again in April, but may start it again in May. I have to think about the timeline I did: too long? Too short?

Again, though, thanks!

I was able to do two things through Amazon that made this even better.

One was the ability to buy the Kindle in installment payments. That is going to make it considerably easier. Not everybody has that option, but it’s nice when they give it to you.

The other one was that I bought it through

AmazonSmile

That means that the non-profit I chose to support at that site will get a donation from Amazon for purchase…it’s another (very convenient) way to give back.

* 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.

Round up #247: Amazon announcement, win a book scanner

March 29, 2014

Round up #247: Amazon announcement, win a book scanner

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

Win an Xcanex book scanner

I’ve written about my

piQx Xcanex Portable Book and Document Scanner (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s a remarkable device for digitizing your public domain books (and lots of other things.

Well, they are currently them away!

They are in Round 4 of what is basically an essay contest. You say why you want one, and they pick a winner (the current contest ends April 4th, but they may keep going after that. You enter here:

http://www.piqximaging.com/

I paid over $250 for mine…I did enter the contest, but with the intent to donate it to a non-profit if I win.

Amazon announces…something to do with video

This coming Wednesday, April 2nd, at 11:00 AM Eastern, Amazon is going to announce something. According to the invitation, as shown in this

Droid Life post

it will involve “…AN UPDATE ON OUR VIDEO BUSINESS.”

That could be several things.

Amusingly, I see a lot of news reports referring to a “set-top box”.

I find that amusing not because I don’t think they will introduce video hardware, but because it is already an obsolete term.

The

Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
(at AmazonSmile)

isn’t a set-top box…it doesn’t go on top of the set (there isn’t much of a top to many TV sets any more any…some of them just hang on the wall and are thin). It plugs into the HDMI port, typically on the side of it.

I know that being techie, but I always find it funny which words catch on and get used even when they don’t fit the situation.

I would expect them to introduce hardware here. I’m hoping for a Chromecast type stick (something small) that pairs super well with my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That would mean it would have Miracast capability, most likely. I actually don’t need that right now, since my only TV that has an HDMI already has a

NETGEAR Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter – Miracast and WiDi (PTV3000) (at AmazonSmile)

which works well enough.

It would, though, give us more options in buying a future TV. Hm…I wonder if that might work for me at a hotel, as well? I’m guessing it would.

That would make enough news, especially if it was cheap enough to rival the $35 Chromecast.

Amazon is good at announcing more than what most people expect, though.

They may also announce something to do with video content.

This

The Wall Street Journal post by Greg Bensinger

created quite a buzz, suggesting Amazon might be doing a free (advertising supported) streaming music and video service.

Doink! Doink! Doink!

What’s that? The sounds of the jaws of cable operators hitting the floor. ;)

Amazon has denied that since the report came out.

However, I could see them doing a few interesting things.

One would be to give us in the USA a model like they recently did with LoveFilm in Europe.

In addition to Prime, give a possibility to subscribe to video only for a monthly fee.

I’d also love to see them crack the live TV thing, but I’m not quite sure how. I’d like to be able to see some shows live. They could partner with somebody to do exclusive video…maybe The Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos recently bought?

On my

I can see news stories for free. They come from web-type sources, and they aren’t as slick as cable, but I could see dropping cable and making do with them.

Another way to go would be to do something like Kindle FreeTime through it. Create “channels” of videos for a monthly fee, and use profiles…you could make it work with all ready created FreeTime profiles, for that matter.

I do expect strong integration with the Kindle Fires, whatever they do.

“You can’t buy that! The great e-book royalty war”

This

Salon post by Laura Miller

does a nice job explaining the difficulties in getting some older (but not public domain books) into e-book form. I’ve written about this before, but it’s a bit complicated.

Essentially, rights are considered to remain with the author in most cases, unless that author licenses them.

For books published prior to about 2005, contracts usually didn’t mention e-books…meaning that the e-book rights would stay with the author.

There has been a lot of debate about some clauses, and a judge recently (narrowly) ruled that Open Road did not have the right to procure e-book rights to

Julie of the Wolves (at AmazonSmile)

by Jean Craighead George.

That’s a little scary…I like there to be competition for e-book editions. However, it’s less scary than it used to be, because it used to be that large tradpubs (traditional publishers) didn’t have much interest in e-book editions. If they had the rights, we might not have the books.

That’s changed…the market value of e-books is much clearer than it was five years ago.

Still, the article points out that tradpubs are tending to stick to what can be seen as a somewhat low royalty rate…certainly, much lower than independently publishing through Amazon (where you can get 70%).

That may drive some authors away from them…they have to watch this carefully, or they could trip over their own feet.

Getting into a goodreads rhythm

Okay, I’m starting to use goodreads more effectively.

When I finish a book, I mark it as finished…and write a review.

For example, I just wrote this one

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/882763732

on

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine (at AmazonSmile)

by Danielle Ofri.

Polls of my readers here have shown me that reviews are not people’s favorite posts in ILMK…but I know people do like to read them at goodreads (that’s how they capitalize the site on the site, by the way).

I thought that review came out pretty well. :)

Several of you have become my “friends” there…I think you do that on my profile page:

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

I am finding it interesting to see what my “friends” are saying…what they are reading and such.

I’m still a goodreads novice, but I’m finding this level of involvement fun, and worth the time.

What do you think? Do you wish I would write reviews here? What would you do with an Xcanex if you won one? What do you think Amazon will announce on Thursday…and do you care? 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. (Last weekend before recommendations close!)

===

* 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.

 

One week left to help a kid get a free Kindle

March 24, 2014

One week left to help a kid get a free Kindle

March 31st will mark the end of the period to recommend which of the kids nominated will get a free Kindle from me:

Give a Kid a Kindle

Thank you to everybody who has made recommendations so far!

A special thank you to the people who nominated children. I know it can be hard to ask for something (even for someone else), but my Significant Other and I are happy to do this.

I truly believe that helping a child get to books makes the world a better place.

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

Give a Kid a Kindle recommendations now open

March 1, 2014

Give a Kid a Kindle recommendations now open

You can now recommend that kids nominated by my readers get a free Kindle:

http://ilmk.wordpress.com/give-a-kid-a-kindle/

For each nominee (we have two so far…nominations will continue to be open through the end of the month), there is a poll. I had wanted to have a one question poll (I don’t want the kids to feel like they are competing with each other) for each nominee, but that wasn’t possible the way I was doing it. In each case you can say that you recommend the child, and/or you can simply congratulate that child for being a reader.

It’s fine with me that you recommend every nominee, if you like. I think more recommendations (and congratulations) are better…it will encourage these kids and others.

After March 31st, I’ll give one of the kids a Kindle (for more details, see the page linked above…this is not a non-profit, and I’m not taking donations: it’s just something I want to do personally). If one kid gets more recommendations, it will be that one. If it’s a tie, I’ll randomize it. I’d love it if every nominated child got a lot of recommendations, and it was  tie! :)

If a nominee doesn’t get the Kindle this time, and if I do this again next quarter (which is my expectation), I’ll carry those nominees into April (but reset the recommendation counter for them to zero, to make it fair for other nominees).

Please consider helping the next generation of readers by making recommendations.

Give a Kid a Kindle

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

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.

Do you know a child who should get a free Kindle?

January 9, 2014

Do you know a child who should get a free Kindle?

How big a difference did reading when you were a child make in your life?

It was huge for me…my life would certainly not be the same, and I will say confidently, it would not be as good as it is now.

Reading not only gave me knowledge, but it gave me perspective.

I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where I had access to a lot to read.

That’s not true for every child.

Do you know a kid who would benefit from getting a free Kindle? Maybe the child is a serious reader now, but in circumstances where getting a book is hard. Maybe the child has a very active mind, but just hasn’t clicked into reading yet.

If you do, please let me know.

Nominations are now open for the free Kindle I plan to give away in April.

You can read the details here:

Give a Kid a Kindle

This is something I want to do: I think helping kids get access to books makes the world a better place.

I want your help, though. I want you to nominate kids, or to get other people to nominate them. After that, I’d like you to help me decide who gets one…I’d love to be able to give a Kindle to every nominee, but I simply can’t do that. There is no organization behind this, it’s just me and my family. :)

If you don’t know any kids yourself, maybe you could mention this to your child’s teacher, or your librarian. There is no economic needs testing for this, but if you volunteer with a group that helps disadvantaged kids, they might also know someone.

Help me help a kid…books matter.

Nominations are open through the end of February 2014.

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 #228: Silk fix, what did Melville make?

December 18, 2013

Round up #228: Silk fix, what did Melville make?

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

Coming in 2014: Give a Kid a Kindle

I’m going to give away a Kindle to a child in 2014 (I hope to do it every quarter), and you’ll be able to help.

You can nominate a child that you know, by commenting on this page:

Give a Kid a Kindle

which I have just made public this morning.

Nominating comments can be made now (see that page for more information), and I will begin displaying those nominations (which may be edited) on the page in January.

Readers will be able to recommend a child for the Kindle in March of 2014, by using a poll which will be on that page.

There is no charitable organization involved in this, and there won’t be any tax write-offs associated with it…it’s just something that I want to do personally (and I’ve discussed with my Significant Other, of course).

I’ve tried to keep this simple. I just want to do something nice. :)

I think reading is important, and that readers can (but don’t have to) change the world.

I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions you have for this. I can certainly see some challenges in doing it…

Amazon promises Silk “accordion” fix

It has seemed pretty obvious lately that Amazon needs to do more testing before they release updates.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting free updates with new functionality! It’s just that you don’t want them to make things worse. That’s clearly how some people are feeling about Amazon’s updates…I know of people saying that they are afraid to turn on the wireless, because they don’t want to get a new update.

Recently:

  • A Kindle Fire update appears to have made wireless connections unstable…I have to frequently toggle the wireless on and off now
  • The introduction of Cloud Collections to the Kindle Paperwhite in a recent update has been widely criticized as confusing and unwieldy
  • An update to the Silk browser caused pages to “accordion” as you scrolled, making it impossible to read them

As to the last one, Amazon had now addressed it in this:

Kindle forum thread

They’ve said that a fix has been released, and that the Fire should automatically update within the next few days.

I really appreciate that Amazon employees will go into a public forum and make a statement like that…but it would be better if the problems were discovered pre-release, and fixed.

I’m guessing that when Amazon gets a little distance on all this after the holiday season, they’ll re-evaluate their quality control and testing for updates. That might mean we get them farther apart, but I think that would be worth it.

Hugh Howey writing in the world of Kurt Vonnegut

My feeling is that Kindle Worlds has been a bit slow getting off the ground. This is Amazon’s bold venture to mainstream fanfic (“fan fiction”), in a sense, by licensing properties from the rightsholders and then letting anyone write within those worlds (within certain guidelines), and splitting the royalties.

I’ve been following the forum at the

and after some initial activity, it’s been quite slow.

The bestselling Kindle Worlds books tend not to break the top 10,000 in the Kindle store. That doesn’t mean that can’t be profitable and popular, but my intuition is that Amazon would like more out of the program.

Part of this is chicken or the egg: they may need hits to get people interested in the program, and people need to be interested in the program to write those hit titles.

Well, this title should help.

Hugh Howey (at AmazonSmile) is a best-selling (New York Times and USA Today) science fiction author. I’m reading Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) (at AmazonSmile) myself, although it’s not first in line for me (I’m reading a galley copy of something right now, as part a “beta reader”, and then there is always the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library book to finish). My guess is that I’ll finish the five books in the next few months.

Howey is writing a Kindle Worlds’ title in the world of Kurt Vonnegut:

It can be pre-ordered now, for delivery on January 14, 2014.

Howey’s books are well-reviewed on Amazon, and this announcement has gotten some media play. It’s an interesting mix of inspiration (Slaughterhouse-Five (at AmazonSmile)) (which is only $2.50 at time of writing) and author. Howey had a personal experience with the September 11th World Trade Center attacks, which may certainly inform this piece.

Janet Dailey reported dead

We sold a lot of Janet Dailey (at AmazonSmile) when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore…and we certainly weren’t the only ones.

Reportedly, the author’s books sold something like 300 million copies, certainly making the romance novelist one of the best-selling novelists of any kind.

Amazon lists over 100 Janet Dailey titles in the Kindle store, including at least some of the Americana series (Dailey wrote a novel for each state).

Dailey began writing in the 1970s, and the latest book from the author was published this year.

New York Times article by Paul Vitello

Herman Melville’s Lifetime Literary Earnings

Bibliokept has this nice

post

which shows you how much Herman Melville got paid for writing. While not complete, let’s just say that the figures might be surprising…you do have to remember that we aren’t talking about constant dollars, though. Money went further back then. Still, being an author is rarely one of the best paid occupations.

* 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 #225: Mitty, Matheson, and KFHD

December 5, 2013

Round up #225: Mitty, Matheson, and KFHD

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

I wonder if people save so much money this time of year that it’s a net negative for stores? Nah…  ;)

Ben Stiller reads The Secret Life of Walter Mitty…free

Let’s start out with a freebie:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

This is an audiobook from Audible (owned by Amazon) with Ben Stiller reading the short story by James Thurber.

As regular readers know, I’m not a big fan of audiobooks (I don’t like actors, or even the author, interpreting the characters for me)…unless I’ve already read the book, in which case it is more like a movie adaptation for me. That’s the case here.

Stiller stars in (and directs) the new movie version, which has been getting an interesting and encouraging critical response.

I’m a Danny Kaye fan, and I’m sure it will be quite different from that 1947 movie (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). I can be okay with alternate visions, though.

The original short story was published in the magical pop culture year of 1939 in The New Yorker. 

It was later collected in My World and Welcome to It, which is not available as a Kindle book. If you do want to sight read it as an e-book for your Kindle, it is included in James Thurber: Writings & Drawings (The Library of America) (at AmazonSmile).

I’m guessing most people know the basic concept, but I’m quite careful about spoilers. I will say this: I think that cultural attitudes have changed considerably since 1939 as it regards adults and imagination, and it might be quite a different situation today.

AmazonLocal deal: $30 off 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD

You can get $30 off last year’s model, the  Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB (at AmazonSmile), with this

AmazonLocal deal

That’s just for the 16GB, wi-fi only…but it works with or without Special Offers. That can bring the price down to just under $200 ($199).

That model does have the HDMI out jack, which many people prefer over the wireless Miracast methodology of the newer model.

However, it is quite a bit heavier, and doesn’t have the latest operating system…for one thing, that means no Mayday free onscreen technical help.

I’d still say this is a good deal, although somebody who isn’t a techie really couldn’t benefit from Mayday.

Like all AmazonLocal deals, you would need to set up a free AmazonLocal account if you don’t have one. You claim the voucher, and then use it for your purchase. The coupon is only available for a few more days, and you have to use it by December 10th.

Kindle Daily Deal: read the movie

On the Kindle Daily Deals page today are nine different books which were made into movies, any of which you can get for $1.99.

There are some really good titles here. One of them is I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. There’s a reason it has been officially adapted multiple times…and inspired many other works.

The 1954 novel brought the idea of supernatural tropes into the modern world, with a contemporary explanation, a bleak feel…and a multi-faceted perspective.

Certainly, we can trace a lot of modern zombie entertainment to George Romero’s

which is available through Prime streaming at no additional cost…this is a remastered version.

I think, though, that it’s reasonable to extend that line through NotLD back to I Am Legend.

Other books in the deal include:

  • The Cider House Rules
  • The Vow ($0.99 in this deal)
  • A Passage to India

By the way, I’m guessing that Amazon will do a huge Kindle book deal right at December 25th, but we’ll see.

Amazon introduces StoryFront (for short stories)

Amazon has become a

press release

cornucopia recently…they seem to be always announcing something. ;)

The one referenced above announces a new program from Amazon

Honestly, this is one of those things which may succeed…even though it seems somewhat…unnecessary…at first look.

Amazon says:

“StoryFront is dedicated to high-quality short fiction for readers looking to discover new voices, experiment with genres, or find a great quick read.”

The part that seems strange is that the Kindle store is already full of short stories.

The prices here aren’t a distinguishing factor, and that would seem to be a detriment on the surface. These looked to me like they were priced at ninety-nine cents and $1.99…the same price as many novels and anthologies/short story collections in the Kindle store.

What people will pay for here is the curation: the assurance that these are of superior quality. There is also the convenience of having them in one place.

Is that enough?

Well, I have a relative who says that they were offered the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of two things, and turned them down, not seeing the value to consumers.

One was TV Guide: after all, the listings were already in the paper.

The second was bottled water: who would pay for water when you could get it from the tap?

Obviously, both of those did quite well. People were paying for something that was substantively the same as something they could get for free.

With TV Guide, of course, there was additional content…but they didn’t advertise it, at least initially, as being articles about television: they advertised it as TV listings.

People bought them, in part, because they agreed with the concepts of the products. People thought, “I love TV: this publisher loves TV. I love the simple purity of a glass of water: this manufacturer loves that purity.”

They were willing to support people with a shared vision to theirs. It helps validate their view of the world.

If people feel like StoryFront means that Amazon loves short stories, they may support it for that reason.

That’s one of those secrets to success. Brick-and-mortar bookstores (I’m a former manager) can’t succeed by treating books like simply discountable commodities. They need to show how much they value them…and valuing them could mean that you actually charge more for them to show how much you think they are worth.

That’s not going to work with a casual reader who doesn’t love books…but as auctions of items that go for very high prices to collectors show, people sometimes think that paying a lot for something shows it…respect.

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.

Round up #224: free comics, B&N BF deals

November 27, 2013

Round up #224: free comics, B&N BF deals

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

Barnes & Noble announces Black Friday NOOK deals

You want a deal?

In this

press release

Barnes & Noble announces really low prices on some of their hardware…and more. Their low prices on NOOK books will likely drive low prices on Kindle books, since Amazon does typically price match where possible on those.

Interestingly, you can get these deals online, in addition to in the stores.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • NOOK Simple Touch (not lit): $39
  • NOOK HD tablet: $79
  • 50% off hundreds of bestselling titles (you’ll be able to get them for the NOOK here starting on Black Friday…and again, look for them in the Kindle store)
  • Buy $75 in B&N gift cards, get another $10 B&N gift card

Meanwhile, at Books-A-Million…

I reported yesterday on the big drop in Barnes & Noble sales. Well, the second largest bookstore chain in the USA is also down.

Publishers Weekly article

Same store sales fell 8.5%…that’s bad.

Unlike B&N, which managed to improve profitability by cutting costs, BAM saw it’s third quarter loss more than double YOY (Year Over Year) from $2.8 million to $7.1 million.

While this is actually a bit better than last quarter, it’s still not good. For those of you concerned about the literary culture being affected by the loss of dinostores (large, generalized bookstores) I’m not sure you’ll be heartened by their dependence on Duck Dynasty merchandise and Doctor Who toy tie-ins. ;)

The digital comic book spinner rack…and these are free!

Amazon has a special deal through December 2nd where you can get up to eight DC (Superman, Batman…not Marvel) digital comics for free.

8 Free Comics from DC

They work on Kindle Fires, Paperwhites, in reader apps (including iPad), in the Cloud reader…even older versions of the Kindle (including the Touch and the Keyboard). Yes, they’ll look better in color, but you can read them in the others.

There are some fun choices here, including Batman ’66 (the Adam West version), Vampire Diaries, and Smallville.

I’m getting them all…why not?

What about Kindles on Black Friday?

Amazon’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals will come fast and furious, changing as often as every ten minutes. We don’t know exactly what will be in those…I expect to keep checking. :)

Here is their

Black Friday Deals Week
Black Friday Deals Week at AmazonSmile (benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping…shop ’til you help)

which has links to Gold Box deals and more.

In terms of other stores, here is the search for “Kindle” at my favorite Black Friday site, BFads.net:

http://bfads.net/Search/kindle

Be careful as you look at those to check what model is involved. Some of the discounted prices are for last year’s models. For the current models, what I’m tending to see is an incentive when you buy (like a gift card to the store). Best Buy does show the Mindle for $49.99 ($20 off).

The ads at BFads.net aren’t official…but they tend to be accurate.

Enjoy!

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.


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