Round up #210: KPW search tip, France’s stance
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Dans votre visage, Amazon!*
While Amazon has benefited from some legal actions in the USA (notably the Department of Justice action against five publishers and Apple, and the State Attorneys General suit against the publishers), that’s not the case everywhere…notably in France.
The Guardian article by Angelique Chrisafis
gives you a pretty good rundown on a recent action by one house of government there that limits the discounting that Amazon (and hypothetically other online booksellers…but we know who they mean) can do…and they sort of count free shipping as a discount.
It’s intended to help brick-and-mortar bookstores compete, and is part of France’s long tradition of trying to provide cultural support within its borders.
I think you are going to know how I feel about this. You don’t protect your culture by making books more difficult to afford and obtain. That’s especially true if you think your culture goes back more than five years or so…brick-and-mortars have a much harder time stocking the backlist than Amazon does.
While it isn’t an excuse, less affordable and available books do, I think, lead to more piracy (in the world of paperbooks, that includes counterfeits, which are surprisingly common in some places).
Today: “8-year-old flags ‘sexist’ children’s books; bookstore takes notice”
Personally, I’d like to see Amazon carry anything that’s legal, in terms of books.
I don’t really want them making editorial choices about what options I have.
However, there are some people complaining about the book mentioned in this
Today.com article by Morgan Brasfield
It sounded really ridiculous…and an 8-year was moved to tears by seeing them in a store.
They are two “survival guides”…one for boys, and one for girls.
I’m going to briefly quote the article:
“In the boy version, the chapters covered topics such as “How to Survive a Shark Attack,” “How to Survive in a Desert,” and “How to Survive Whitewater Rapids.”
The girl version addressed such issues as “How to Survive a BFF Fight,” “How to Survive a Fashion Disaster,” and “How to Survive a Breakout.””
Yes, these are recent books (not available in Kindle editions). I wanted to see what people were saying on Amazon…
Girls Only: How to Survive Anything
by Martin Oliver (illustrated by Daniela Geremia)
had the lowest possible rating a solid 1 star out of 5. That was with eleven reviews.
Boys Only: How to Survive Anything
again by Martin Oliver, although illustrated by Simon Ecob
had 2.3 out of 5 with three reviews.
Ban the book (ironic given the timing around Banned Books Week)?
I think most of you would say no. I could see how it could be absolutely instructive to sit down with your kids (of both genders) and discuss this book…
Kindle Paperwhite tip: searching
I’m still exploring my new Kindle Paperwhite, which is the second generation. I did a complete menu map (linked above), but that doesn’t mean I tested everything at that point.
Both the first generation and second generation Paperwhites (I have mine open side-by-side right now) have a magnifying glass at the top of the home screen that you can use to search.
They also both have dropdowns where you can choose what to search.
Here’s the difference, though:
- My Items
- Kindle Store
- My Items
- All Text
- Kindle Store
Notice that in both of them, you can search for a word in the dictionary. That’s something people had wanted earlier, and it works pretty well.
The Gen 2 adds All Text…which means you can test to see if all of your books are indexed.
Let me just explain indexing on the Kindles briefly. When you put a book on a Kindle, the device “reads” the book to figure out where the words are in it. It might make a note that “cat” appears at location 200, 355, 1420, that sort of thing.
That’s how it can find those words when you search for them.
As you can imagine, reading the book and building that index is energy intensive. If you put a bunch of books on your Kindle in short order, you might want to leave it plugged in overnight…it can index while it sleeps.
How do you know if an e-book on your device hasn’t been indexed yet?
Search for a nonsense word (I use something like “xxy”). When it gives you the result, it will tell you if there are any unindexed books yet…and which ones they are.
On the KPW2, switch to All Text when you do that search.
ON the KPW1, you can have it search My Items.
That’s likely to make the searches faster on the KPW2 when you search under My Items, since it only searches titles and authors.
Cutting the cable?
We used to get cable TV channels on a TV in our bedroom without a cable box. We weren’t stealing them…I think we paid something like $5 a month for some time, and we always let the cable company know that we had that TV.
Now, though, due to regulation changes (as I understand it), we suddenly don’t get any cable TV channels on that set (we do get some radio channels).
So, we are considering using the Fire in that room to provide content, and cutting way back on which cable channels we get (and perhaps dropping cable altogether).
We’ll look at that carefully. I watch a lot of cable news. One solution to that is
US TV Free
which I’m using now. I can get some interesting news channels, including Russia Today (which is in English and intended for American audiences) and the BBC.
It’s not perfect: it ends up buffering sometimes. Still, it’s a good choice.
I also use
DroidTV – Free Trial
I pay about $3 a month for it.
That has a lot of current shows. You have to wait for downloads…sometimes for hours before it happens, but you can do “season passes”.
I do believe both of these are legal: I wouldn’t use them otherwise.
I’m watching right now by running an HDMI cable from my Kindle Fire 8.9″.
I think it’s very likely that Amazon will release some TV device before the end of the year, that will use the Miracast that will be available on my Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi. Mine is scheduled to come October 18th…they’ve been pushing back the date for people ordering now. Order one today (at time of writing), and they now think October 21st. This is the one I think will be the most popular model, and may be really popular.
I’m speculating that Amazon might release two TV devices: an inexpensive Miracast stick that works with the Kindle Fire (it would probably plug into your HDMI port on your TV, and then you could wirelessly mirror from your Kindle Fire HDX), and a somewhat more expensive set-top box that has a lot of content options.
Here is a
Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger
that speculates on the box, but doesn’t mention a stick. If you can’t see it from the above link, try searching for “Amazon Readies Set-Top Box for Holidays”.
We’ll see what happens…
Scribd responds to my questions
I want to thank Scribd for responding to my questions about their new subscription (“all you can read”) e-book service.
It’s $8.99 a month, and HarperCollins has signed up with it, meaning that you can get well-known content…although it will be backlist, not the absolutely current bestsellers, you would be likely to find things to read.
I’m not signing up for it myself, for two reasons.
I asked this:
Oct 03 04:48 pm (PDT)
I have one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the Kindle store (I Love My Kindle) and had just started a write-up on your subscription service, but I have two key questions before I complete that.
1. You indicate it is compatible with the Kindle Fire, but the user is directed to Google Play (which does not recognize a Kindle Fire) for the Android app. The app is available on 1Mobile, but do you also make it available directly on your site?
2. When I tried a sample, I did not see an option to use text-to-speech. That’s important to my readers: is it available through your app?
Thank you for your attention to these questions.
They responded (quickly and courteously) with this:
Thank you for reaching out to us. I spoke to our engineering team and we currently do not support Kindle through our app, because Google Play Store is required as you said. We have submitted an application to Amazon, but it’s still being reviewed by Amazon. The app will not work with Kindle e-ink, but will work with the Fires if/when it’s approved.
Regarding your second question, we do not support text-to-speech, unfortunately. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
That shouldn’t stop you. This isn’t a case of someone blocking text-to-speech access, but simply not providing it. I use TTS too often myself to ignore the lack of it, but I have no moral objection to not including it. While I’d like every device to be accessible to everyone, I don’t think that’s a requirement for every app and every device in every circumstance.
As to not being in the Amazon Appstore…well, it may be later. Contrary to what some people say, Amazon does not “wall you into their garden”. You can get the Netflix app, for example: a direct competitor.
You could get the app now, from 1Mobile, or you could when I checked earlier.
Update: I meant to include the Scribd page…you can get all the info (and see what books are available) from links there:
My guess is that this will succeed, and that we’ll see more subscription e-book services. It’s possible Amazon will do one (and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is not all you can read, of course: it’s up to one book a calendar month).
Some of you might be thinking, “Amazon won’t do that…they want you to buy the books.” Well, yes, they’d prefer that…but they really want you to buy physical goods (“diapers and windshield wipers”) where there is more profit, and tying you into a subscription service (especially if it was linked to Prime) would help with that.
What do you think? Have you already cut the cable? If not, what would be necessary to get you to do it? Do you pay more than $100 a month for cable? Is it okay to sell a sexist book to kids? Do protectionist laws help or hurt book culture? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.
* I was using Google translate to try to say, “In your face, Amazon!” Not sure how close it is, given the idiomatic nature of the expression.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.