Archive for the ‘Kindle Paperwhite’ Category

Round up #261: Shannara to the screen, $85 PW2 refurb

July 15, 2014

Round up #261: Shannara to the screen, $85 PW2 refurb

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

Refurb PW2 for $85 (today only)

I know that many of my readers prefer the non-Fire Kindles, so it’s always nice to be able to write about a deal for them. ;)

Gold Box Deal of the Day: KPW2 refurb for $85 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s the current generation Kindle Paperwhite, which is normally priced (this is all the USA store…this deal may not be available in your country) for $109.

The Paperwhite is a great reader. It’s only big lack is in not having sound, so it can’t do text-to-speech (or audiobooks or music), but otherwise, I like it a lot.

“Refurbed” is short for “refurbished”. I’d never hesitate to buy a refurb from Amazon: they have the same warranty as a new one, and they’ve been inspected perhaps more carefully.

I would guess that new items have been inspected outside Amazon (by the actual manufacturer), and refurbs are inspected at Amazon, although I don’t know that for sure.

This is a Deal of the Day, so although it may go on sale again at some point in the future, it won’t be the price tomorrow.

If you’ve been debating getting a newer model non-Fire Kindle, this is something to consider. I’d say that there are people who prefer some of the earlier models (both for the sound, as I mentioned, and for a physical keyboard), but they won’t last forever…

The Hachazon War and the rhetoric of class warfare

This

Gigaom article by Laura Hazard Owen

is one of the most interesting takes I’ve seen on what I call the Hachazon War (the dispute between retailer Amazon and publisher Hachette) to date.

The lengthy piece points out how Amazon is positioning itself as being the populist entity, and the publishers are the establishment.

Well, yes.

Despite Amazon being a huge corporation, in this case, they have very much empowered small indies (independent publishers, which can be individual authors) and disrupted the status quo.

Which authors have tended to come out in favor of the big publishers?

Brand name authors who have benefited from the tradpubs’ (traditional publishers’) prior dominance.

Which authors have tended to come out in favor of Amazon?

Indies, even if some of them make enough money now to be in the same league as many tradpubbed authors.

When being published and widely distributed required a huge infrastructure, tradpubs ruled.

E-books don’t require that same structure. Accurately, we can say that Amazon provides that infrastructure…to pretty much everyone.

Amazon also pays more royalties (the percentage authors get of each sale) that the tradpubs.

I do think tradpubs bring legitimate value to the process…but theirs is no longer the only process.

Owen does a great job of pointing out how even their corporate language differs, with Hachette tending to be formal, and Amazon tending to be informal.

I highly recommend that article.

On the other hand, there is this

Huffington Post article by Maddie Crum

It’s about how to “quit Amazon” as a customer, and is written in a humorous fashion.

I don’t put this one on the “other hand” because it is anti-Amazon…while I like Amazon, I haven’t liked some of their tactics in the Hachazon War, and have said so.

There was one particular statement, though, that pulled me up short:

“How does one stop purchasing books, and also many other things, from a company that has been repeatedly accused of price fixing…”

Um…I’m not sure if Crum realized that accusations of price-fixing against Amazon came from publishers…who accused them of fixing the prices too low! Publishers complained about Amazon selling bestsellers (apparently often at a loss) at $9.99, which led to the agreements with Apple to raise those prices that eventually brought in action by the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Amazon has been accused of a lot of things by a lot of people (including pressuring publishers, including academic publishers, to take a smaller cut), but artificially raising prices and locking them in at a higher price hasn’t commonly been one of them.

In an article supposedly explaining why it is…perhaps inappropriate to keep shopping at Amazon as a customer, pointing out that they have low prices may be ineffective. ;)

A bestseller…and more than fifty years old

I’ve been watching the sales ranking of

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile)

It’s been in the top 100 in the USA Kindle store.

That matches my prediction that it could be one of bestselling e-books of the year, although we have a ways to go yet.

I think we may see a considerable jump in its sales when the school year has started (as the book gets assigned), and I think it may also be a popular holiday gift.

Due to the former reason, I think it will have solid sales for quite some time.

E-books have a much longer sales cycle than p-books (paperbooks). The economics are very different. You don’t have to predict how many to print and order and store, so you don’t have to tie your promotional efforts into that time when the paper copies are available.

With p-books, you typically get huge sales in the beginning, and a rapid dwindling.

With e-books, they are around (with no supply challenges) for a long time. It may be that they sell almost nothing at first, and then spike, then taper a bit, then sell at a lower level, then spike again, and so on.

Very different strategies, just based on the medium.

Terry Brooks’ Shannara coming to MTV

No, this is not Game of Thrones. ;)

A popular fantasy series is being adapted for television:

Shannara series (at AmazonSmile)

The feel of the two is very different…this should be a whole lot lighter.

According to this

The Hollywood Reporter article by Lesley Goldberg

and other sources, the series has solid geek cred in the production department: Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville).

This is another case where you might want to read the books first. The series will reportedly be based on The Elfstones of Shannara. Text-to-speech access is blocked in the single edition, but not in

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)

omnibus (three novels in one).

There are more than two dozen books in the series, with more on the way…

What do you think? Do you buy refurbs? Even though I think they are fine, I don’t usually do that. One reason? Since I’m going to write about them, I want them on release day. When do you buy a new model Kindle for yourself? Only when an old one fails? When a new one is released because, you know, that’s cool? When they are on sale? Is Amazon the champion of the “little guy”? Think back to when you were in high school (assuming you no longer are)…what media did you love that was fifty years old at that point? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

July 10, 2014

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

I very often see people in the Kindle forums asking what they should get: a

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

or a

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

I have to admit: I always find that a somewhat odd question.

It suggests that there is either one correct answer, or that complete strangers on an online forum know you well enough to know what’s better in your situation. :)

People are often helpful on the forum. One of the first comments you’ll typically see is, “If you want it mostly for reading,  you should get the Paperwhite.”

Is that true, though?

Like a lot of people, I have both an HDX and a Paperwhite. I actively use them both…and yes, I actively read on them both.

My Fire is what goes with me when I leave the house…I need its other capabilities (like viewing and doing light editing of Excel files), and an important one I’ll mention a bit later in the article.

I read my Paperwhite in bed before going to sleep.

I don’t think it’s a matter of a simple black and white answer (and I’m not talking about the grayscale of the Paperwhite). ;) The Paperwhite is better for me for some reading tasks, the Fire is better for others.

In this post, I’m going to compare the two.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: the screen technology.

The Kindle Fire has a “backlit” screen. You read what is on it by a light coming from behind the image: the text is between you and the light source.

That’s how a lot of technology works: laptops, desktops, TVs, SmartPhones (at least, all the popular ones at this point).

You read what is on a Paperwhite by light bouncing off the screen from the front: the same way you read a p-book (paperbook).

Before the Paperwhite, you needed an external light source to read a non-Fire Kindle.

The Paperwhite has a built-in light…and that light is in front of the screen, not behind it: it’s “frontlit”. It’s on the same side of the screen that you are (like a booklight would be that you clip on to a book).

Some people don’t like reading backlit screens for long periods…they say it tires their eyes (or gives them headaches…I’ve heard both). That’s understandable: if you stared at a flashlight or a lit lamp for a while, that would tire you, too.

I don’t think the Fire is as harsh as a lot of devices: you can change the brightness, and have different text backgrounds…so I don’t find that it bothers me.

Backlighting takes up a lot more battery charge life than the Paperwhite’s frontlighting. A backlit screen requires a constant application of energy to maintain the image. With the technology in the Paperwhite, it “draws the page”…and doesn’t need more energy to maintain the image. The Paperwhite is like an Etch-a-Sketch in that way. It takes energy to draw a house on an Etch-a-Sketch, but if you don’t shake it, the image will stay there with no more effort.

A backlit device is like a garden hose: the Paperwhite is like a puddle.

It’s a huge difference. I charge my Fire every day. I charge my Paperwhite every couple of weeks (reading on it every day…although not for more than a half an hour or so).

The last thing on this screen technology is reading in bright light. A backlit device (the Fire) has to compete with light hitting the screen from the front…and it’s not going to win against the sun. :) More light makes a Paperwhite easier to read, and because it has that frontlit screen, it’s also easy to read in a dark room. The Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had…including paper.

I’m always able to read on my Fire outside, but it’s not as easy. Crank the brightness up all the way, and keep the device between you and the sun. If it feels like you are shading your eyes with your Fire, you are in a good position. For example, you might be leaning back, holding the Fire above chin level, with the bottom of it farther away from you than the top. Of course, don’t set it up where you might slip and end up looking directly into the sun!

Okay, let’s say you’ve got the lighting where it works for you. What about options when you read?

Fonts

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 7
  • Paperwhite (I’m using the latest edition): 6

Font Sizes

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 11
  • Paperwhite: 9

Font/Background Combination Options

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 4 (including white on black)
  • Paperwhite: 1

Margins

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 3
  • Paperwhite: 3

Line Spacing

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 3
  • Paperwhite: 3

The Fire wins on three of these, and it’s a tie on the two others.

Text-to-speech

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: no

The Paperwhite doesn’t have any audio capabilities. My guess is that they did that to make it cost less, and to reduce battery drain. This is the thing I said I was going to mention later. :) I use TTS (software which reads the book aloud to you) pretty much every workday for an hour or more a day in the car. I love this! I like to say that driving is no longer wasted “non-reading time”. ;)  The TTS on the KFHDX is much superior to what we had on the Kindle 2 (it sounds more natural, makes fewer errors, and there are more choices), and it’s better than what we had on later non-Fire Kindles with TTS.

The Fire wins this one…hands down.

Oh, and that also means no immersion reading for the Paperwhite (where you can hear a voice and see the words at the same time), which the Fire has.

X-Ray (gives you information about the book)

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: yes

It’s a tie.

Annotations: Notes, Highlights, Bookmarks

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: yes

I like the experience of Notes better on the Fire. It’s one tap to get to the Notes icon, and it’s two on the Paperwhite. You have multiple color highlights on the Fire. The interface with the notes and highlights seems easier on the Fire: long press (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second) and you can view, edit, or delete. On the Fire, Bookmarks are labeled as Bookmarks…not on the Paperwhite.

I’m going to give this to the Fire.

Look-up

  • Kindle Fire HDX: X-Ray (including a Shelfari link), Dictionary, Wikipedia, Translation, in the book, and on the web
  • Paperwhite: Dictionary, X-Ray, Wikipedia, This Book, All Text, Kindle Store

The Fire seems to do this faster, and has more information (Shelfari has some great stuff), but I do like being able to search the Kindle Store on the Paperwhite. Still, I’d give this to the Fire.

Color, embedded or linked video or audio

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: no

You might not use this much. Still, it’s nice if you are reading about Martin Luther King and can actually jump to the dream speech. This one goes to the Fire, although again, you might not care about it.

Sharing

  • Kindle Fire HDX: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook
  • Paperwhite: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook

It’s a tie.

Report a Content Error

  • Kindle Fire HDX: no (if you know of a way, please let me know!)
  • Paperwhite: yes

This one goes to the Paperwhite.

Overall? I’m actually surprised that the Fire wins in so many categories. That doesn’t mean that I don’t recommend the Paperwhite: the more comfortable reading experience and the long battery charge life are strong pluses. Also, a lot of people like the lack of distractions (although the Fire does have a “Quiet Time” setting.

What do you think? I’m sure some of you want to leap to the defense of the Paperwhite, and I understand that. :) Have I missed any advantages? I suppose I should have said that the Paperwhite is smaller, although the weight isn’t all that different…the KFHDX wi-fi only is 10.7 oz (303 grams), and the Paperwhite wi-fi only is 7.3 ounces (206 grams). I’ve heard that ten US pennies weight about an ounce, if that helps. ;) The Paperwhite is cheaper ($119 vs $199 in their cheapest configurations at time of writing), but I don’t know if I’d consider that part of the reading experience. ;) Are there other advantages you see with one or the other? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post. You can also let me know if you have other comparison questions about them that way.

Update: thanks to reader burmmom for a comment which improved this post!

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

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

 

Massive new update for 1st generation Paperwhite

March 6, 2014

Massive new update for 1st generation Paperwhite

Join the party, KPW1ers! ;)

Amazon has just added a new update for the first generation Kindle Paperwhite. That’s in addition to the update for the second generation…and I’ve added some of my testing on that to this post:

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update available

This brings the 1st gen inline with the second on many features. You can just wait and your KPW1 should update automatically (eventually), or you can do it yourself from:

Kindle Paperwhite 1st Generation Software Updates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

What do you get?

  • Kindle FreeTime (separate profiles and tracking)
  • Goodreads on Kindle
  • Cloud Collections
  • Page Flip
  • Enhanced Bookmarks, Highlights, and Notes
  • Smart Lookup
  • Vocabulary Builder

That’s a lot!

Update: while it wasn’t listed, you apparently also get “inline footnotes”. Thanks to Phink, one of my regular readers and commenters for mentioning that. I’d seen that it was included in an update document which appeared on my KPW1 with the update (which is greatly appreciated, Amazon!). I’m not sure what book I’d use to test it, but you can see a screenshot here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-imageproduct25

What it means is that (if the book if formatted for it), you can read footnotes without going to the back of the book and then having to return. That caused a lot of people problems in the old days…they’d jump to the end to read the footnote, and then let the Kindle sleep without returning to home first. I believe that would reset their “furthest page read” to the end of the book.

This is version 5.4.4.

Our “Guest Kindle” is a KPW1, so I’ll be testing it out soon…still working on testing the update to my Significant Other’s KPW2. :)

I do want to thank Amazon and point out that updates do come out for earlier models…you sometimes see that criticism. That doesn’t mean that your 2007 Kindle will get these updates…it couldn’t handle it technically. Amazon has in the past, though, updated discontinued models, and continues to do so, at least for a while.

Let me know if you have questions or observations…

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.

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update available

March 5, 2014

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update available

I haven’t had time to download, install, and test it yet, but there is a new update available for the Kindle Paperwhite 2…and it looks promising!

Download KPW2 Software Update 5.4.3 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, you should be able to just wait for the update, if you want, or you can get it and install it manually at the above link.

Amazon says it has:

  • The ability to manage your Cloud Collections. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen the term “disaster” applied to the way Cloud Collections first worked on the KPW2. I’ve found them very useful on our Kindle Fire HDXs. This says that you’ll be able to “star” Collections to make them favorites…uniquely on that device. I’ll have to test this out to see if it resolves people’s concerns…let me know what you think!
  • You’ll be able to see your Notes in a book from “the Reading Menu”. Does this mean you’ll be able to see them along with the text? My guess is no, that it is just an easier way to access them (rather than using “Go To”). Update: I can confirm: it’s just another way to get to the Notes. I don’t remember being able to select between Your Notes, Popular Notes, and Public Notes, but that’s now a choice. You could also use this technique to get to the Table of Contents
  • PDF improvements
  • You’ll be able to cancel the purchase of a book you do from a sample, as long as you do it before it finishes downloading

More information later, but I know people like to get these right away. :) If you have feedback, feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: I have now downloaded and installed the new update.

It went as expected, using the link above: the whole process was under five minutes, I’d say.

The first obvious difference was a series of dark stars appearing on the homescreen, next to each of the Collections (I have the Kindle sorted by Collections).

Unfortunately, the directions at Amazon only apply to when you are seeing covers on your device, which is not my choice. It talks about the star being in the “…bottom-right corner of the collection cover”. However, it’s obvious in either view.

I long pressed (holding a finger in my case, or you could use your stylus, on a Collection for about a second).

One of the choices is to “Show Only in Collections View”.

I did that with my TBR Collection, since this is my Significant Other’s Kindle Paperwhite 2. I was looking to make it not visible on this device (to simply things for my SO).

I got a message:

“This collection will only be shown in the Collections View. Select Collections under My Items to see it. You can press and hold on a Collection to change its view options.”

I tapped “OK”.

At that point, the Collection disappeared from the  homescreen…the result I wanted. :)

To see it again on this device, you go to where it says “My Items” at the top of the homescreen…not where it says “Collection” on my currently (the sort order).

If I go to All Items under My Items, it shows up again.

That seems reasonable to me. You could switch to Collections to download things from a Collection which you don’t normally want to see. For example, you could have a “Read” Collection, and only invoke it when you want to re-read it.

So far, I like it. It’s not intuitive, but I think it works.

When you are sorted by Collections and filtered by My Items, you now see both Collections and items not in Collections…that’s going to confuse some people.

I think this may require a bit more explanation…unleash the tabular format! ;)

Filter Sort Count Comment
My Items Recent 24 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items show both inside and outside Collections, sorted by downloaded or accessed dates
My Items Title 24 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items show both inside and outside Collections, sorted by title (no separation for Collections and individual items
My Items Author 24 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items show inside and outside Collections, sorted by author (with Collections appearing after the individual items and the Collections also sorted alphabetically)
My Items Collection 14 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items in Collections do not show outside them, sorted by Collections first, then individual items (looks like by Recent)
Books Recent 12 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items appear and outside of Collections
Books Collection 5 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items in Collections do not show outside them, sorted by Collections first, then individual items (looks like by Recent)
Collections Recent 9 Unstarred Collections show, no individual items show

I didn’t do all of the options there (yet), but here’s the bottom line: for most people, you wanted the filter to be by Books and the sort to be by Collections.

More later…

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.

Round up #222: Mark Grist, Paperwhite update

November 19, 2013

Round up #222: Mark Grist, Paperwhite update

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

Major Paperwhite update

Yesterday, I wrote about a major Kindle Fire update.

Today, Amazon announced a big update to the new Kindle Paperwhite (new Kindle Paperwhite at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit by shopping) in this

press release

There are three main features:

  • Goodreads integration
  • Kindle FreeTime
  • Cloud Collections

Goodreads and Cloud Collections were part of the update to the new generation Kindle Fires yesterday, and they already had Kindle FreeTime.

I do have a Kindle Paperwhite expected to arrive today (I was able to get it for $19 in a recent promotion…it replaces one for me which was recently stolen during a home break-in). I’ll be able to look at these more carefully after I get it.  If you want to get it right away and install it yourself, you can go to

Kindle Software Updates page

Here is part of the press release Amazon sent me:

===

Goodreads Integration

Goodreads on Kindle Paperwhite brings together the world’s largest e-reading community and the world’s largest community of book lovers. Join more than 20 million other readers on Goodreads to discover great books and have discussions about what you’re reading. Features of the new Goodreads integration, available exclusively from Amazon, include:

- Share favorite passages with your Goodreads friends without leaving the book.

- See what your friends are reading, read their reviews and discover new books to read.

- When you finish a book, immediately rate it without putting down your Kindle.

- Keep track of all your reading activity—update your “Currently Reading”, “Read”, and “Want to Read” shelves directly from your Kindle. Easily add your Amazon book purchases, print and digital, to your Goodreads account.

Kindle FreeTime

Built-in parental controls have been extended to give parents a simple way to encourage kids to spend more time reading. Parents can set daily reading goals for their kids, hand-select books for their kids to read, and track progress against goals. Children earn achievement badges for hitting reading milestones—for example, reaching and exceeding their daily reading goal, and passing big milestones like “Read 1000 pages”. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned and books finished.

Cloud Collections

Organize your books, newspapers, and magazines in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.

===

“I Like a Girl Who Reads”

There is a great video linked in this

Huffington Post article by Sarah Barness

It’s a poem by Mark Grist, and it has to do with what’s attractive…and that isn’t always the physical.

I will warn you that it is NSFW (Not Safe for Work), although you could probably hear it performed on network TV.

Although I’m not a fan of calling adults by words meant for children, I think that the poet is trying to make the point that someone who uses the common vernacular can also be drawn to the intellectual…and that’s important to express.

“How to Open a New Book”

This

EBOOK FRIENDLY post

reproduces a quaint, illustrated explanation from a bookbinder about how to open a new hardback properly.

I must say, I didn’t do it that way. I generally didn’t open the book all the way, the way it is shown here. I sort of peeked into the middle, tilting the book back and forth for each side, so that I didn’t break the spine. I was going to say “never”, but I did open them fully for some things like coffee table books. Novels, though? Not usually…

Bookstore sales buck general retail trend…by going down

For the third month in a row, according to this

Publishers Weekly article

U.S. bookstore sales were down..a lot. 4.5% year over year…we are also down for the whole year so far.

Overall, retail is up…this is particularly a brick-and-mortar (I’m a former manager) bookstore issue.

I do think this may be the last holiday season that we see Barnes & Noble in its current configuration. Amazon is doing more and more for us, and there are independent bookstores that are growing…I just don’t see investors looking at this holiday for B&N thinking that it’s worth keeping up the support.

That could mean that the chain gets sold to someone…or even that we know it will largely close. If the latter is the case, I think we would see one more holiday season out of them, but knowing that it was going.

I have given some ideas earlier about How to save large bookstores, and it’s possible Barnes & Noble will pull a phoenix on this…but you don’t see a lot of phoenixes around. ;)

The Onion goes all digital

I remember seeing a stack of copies of The Onion in a bookstore, just like any other newspaper.

Now, after 25 years, according to this

USA Today story by Roger Yu

it’s going to stop publishing on paper. It’s only been doing that in three cities recently, but this is another example of a major print publication dropping that format to go for all digital.

I also remember the day this blog passed The Onion in the Kindle store! That was exciting for me, and I wish them the best in the future.

“Apple Seeks to Knock Out E-book Class Action Suit”

Legal issues have been part of publishing for a very long time, and there is not indication they are going away any time soon.

They certainly go back more than a century, when the Supreme Court ruled that a store could discount books without the publisher’s permission (creating the “First Sale Doctrine”) in 1908. There was a battle that lasted more than a decade over whether or not Captain Marvel infringed on Superman, which meant the “Big Red Cheese” was off the stands for a long time.

In this

Publishers Weekly article by Andrew Albanese

we learn that Apple is basically arguing that the “class” in class action suits against it for e-book pricing is…I guess, ill-defined is a good way to put it.

My intuition is that they won’t prevail in getting the case dismissed, and that (if they don’t settle…they didn’t in the Department of Justice case, but did in the European Union) will have a trial in maybe May of 2014.

What do you think? Will Barnes & Noble exist, largely as we know it today, into 2015? How much does whether or not a person read affect how you feel about them…both as a friend and a potential partner? Stating a more simple (and narrow) version of that, is reading sexy? Did you try to keep a book in the same condition it was when you bought it, or did you curl the cover under, dogmark pages, and make marginalia? 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. I recently polled my readers about my linking to AmazonSmile, and while more than two-thirds of the respondents said they would like it or didn’t mind (and about 15% didn’t know), there were enough people who wouldn’t like it that I’m not going to just jump into it and do it for everything. I’m going to try doing both links in this post, and see how hard and/or confusing that is for people. You can let me know how you feel about having both links by commenting on this post.

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.

KFHD2, KPW2: people love one of them

October 15, 2013

KFHD2, KPW2: people love one of them

There are now quite a few reviews on both the Kindle Fire HD 7″ (the second generation) and the Kindle Paperwhite 2.

At this point, the verdict is clear: based on customer reviews, one of them is a real winner and the other one…not so much.

Which would you guess?

The new, less expensive tablet with the new operating system, or the 2nd generation frontlit model with some new features?

One of them has 4.4 stars with 364 customer reviews at the time of writing…that’s quite good. 83% of the reviews are fours and fives.

364 Reviews
5 star: (243)
4 star: (60)
3 star: (30)
2 star: (14)
1 star: (17)

The other one has 3.3 out of 5 stars with 126 customer reviews…only 45% are fours and fives.

126 Reviews
5 star: (39)
4 star: (28)
3 star: (18)
2 star: (14)
1 star: (27)

Seriously, that second one has a high percentage of one-star reviews…21%. By contrast, the better-reviewed model only has 5% one-star reviews.

Okay, enough suspense: the Kindle Fire HD 7″ 2nd generation is the lower rated one.

Looking at the reviews, I think people are seeing it as a step backwards from the first generation Kindle Fire HD, and in some ways, that’s not an unreasonable assessment. It appears that some people ordered it thinking they would get the first gen…and were unhappy with not having a camera, for one thing. Yes, people Skype on Kindle Fires, but not this one.

It could be that when the next package of features for Mojito (the operating system used by the Kindle Fire HD 2nd generation) is released in mid-November, that may help, but for now, this is not a good reception.

It is still the best-selling of the Kindle tablets, though, but I think I’m going to stick with my guess that the  Kindle Fire HDX 7″ is going to be the bigger success by the end of the season…

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

KDX $50 off, KPW23G shortages this season?

October 10, 2013

KDX $50 off, KPW23G shortages this season?

Hmm….

“Hey, buddy…you look like somebody who enjoys a classic. You want your page turn buttons? You want text-to-speech? How about free 3G…for web surfing, not just shopping? Want to carry 3,500 books with you? You hate that backlit screen? Tired of e-mails interrupting your reading? Well, I’ve got just the thing for you…and it’s fifty bucks off!”

Kindle DX, Free 3G, 9.7″ E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally

Yep…you can get the big screen Kindle DX for $189 right now.

Sure, the software is from the Bronze Age of EBRs (E-Book Readers), but this is a relatively good deal on it.

However, this other RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle…not a Fire) news is…intriguing.

You can order the Kindle Paperwhite 2 right now. It’s shipping in 7 to 10 days (I gave you a heads-up that I thought there might be shortages this year, or at least a need to order early). I’ve already got mine.

You know what Amazon has taken off of the front and center for ordering?

The Kindle Paperwhite 2…with 3G.

They used to have it on the “family stripe”, the image links at the top of a Kindle  product page that show you the other Kindles.

You couldn’t pre-order it, but you could sign up to get an e-mail when it was released (I did).

Now?

It’s gone.

They have the current generation KPW3G up there instead.

When I click the link from my post,

Which Kindle should you buy? Fall 2013

it still takes me to the next gen model…still says it will be released November 5th…and now I can pre-order it! (I don’t think Amazon sent me an e-mail on that, by the way, I checked my Inbox).

What does this say to me?

They are worried about shortfalls this holiday season.

Why else would you stop promoting a model…that isn’t even released until November 5th?

My guess is that demand for the KPW2 is higher than Amazon expected…maybe a lot higher.

Perhaps people at Amazon were wondering where the market was for non-tablets, and they underestimated it.

The wi-fi only KPW2 is the 2nd best-selling electronic at Amazon as I write this (still behind Google’s Chromecast, as I first reported a couple of weeks ago…making it seem more likely to me that Amazon will release a cheap TV gadget this holiday season incorporating Miracast for their Kindle HDX line).

The list is intriguing: I would have thought the Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, being the new technology, would have been the most popular of the Fire tablets, but it’s not.

That honor (at #3 on the list) belongs to the least expensive one, the Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers. That one doesn’t have the live onscreen tech help called Mayday, or a camera. The difference might just be that you can get the KFHD now (it was released October 2nd), and the KFHDX won’t be out until October 18th (that’s when I’m supposed to get mine, since I ordered right away…current orders are scheduled for October 28th).

I doubt that’s all of it, though…you would think people would wait on a tablet purchase, even if they are less expensive than they used to be.

It might also be a case of people buying from online reviews.

My guess is still that the lowest priced KFHDX will be the bestseller of the Fires during the holiday season…but $90 less to drop that X ;) (KFHD versus KFHDX) may push the less expensive one to the top of the heap.

I’m thinking, though, that the reviews of KFHDX will help it…if it performs as advertised (Mayday has got to work well, and work well right away).

Let me just say this: if you want a Kindle (Fire or not), or even an accessory for this holiday season, don’t wait. Pre-order now.

I think it’s going to quite a year…

Update: thanks to reader Judy Schechter for a comment that helped improve this post.

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

Round up #210: KPW search tip, France’s stance

October 5, 2013

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.

This

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.

This one

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:

Gen 1:

  • My Items
  • Kindle Store
  • Dictionary
  • Wikipedia

Gen 2:

  • My Items
  • All Text
  • Kindle Store
  • Dictionary
  • Wikipedia

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:

===

Bufo Calvin
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:

===

Hello Bufo,

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.

Best regards,
Kay Jong
Scribd, Inc.

Questions? http://scribd.com/faq

===

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:

http://www.scribd.com/subscribe

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.

Kindle Paperwhite 2: first impressions and menu map

October 2, 2013

Kindle Paperwhite 2: first impressions and menu map

My

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

is here!

Let me first say that it was particularly easy to set up. They’ve been improving that, with on-screen guidance. All I needed was my wi-fi network password, and the rest of it was easy.

They even gave me a choice to set up parental controls, although I skipped that.

I’d say it took less than a minute to get itself up and running the first time.

It knew its name (“PowPow”), and it showed me the device time so I could confirm that it got it right (it did). I had my Cloud/archives, and was ready to go.

It did still have to index the (wait for it)…Kindle User’s Guide! Yes, it came with an onboard User’s Guide, not just online, which was nice.

It came about half-charged: people do ask about that sometimes.

The screen is quite evenly lit: you don’t have those “smudgy” spots on the bottom that you had with the Kindle Paperwhite 1.

I like the raised “Amazon” on the back of the device…it gives it a bit of tactility.

It does seem brighter and clearer. Even at the lowest lighting setting, there was still a bit of light, but it was quite, quite dim…even with my superior night vision, I would have been challenged to read at that setting in full darkness.

Now for the menu map (I’m on version 5.4.0):

Homescreen

Displayed along the top was my name for the device, wi-fi and the strength, the battery indicator, and the clock.

The first toolbar below that was

  • Home
  • Back
  • Lighting
  • Cart
  • Search
  • Menu

The menu button had

  • Shop Kindle Store
  • View Special Offers (I chose to have those)
  • Cover/List View (it came set in Cover View…I switched it to list, my preference)
  • Create New Collection
  • Sync and Check for Items
  • Settings*
  • Experimental Browser

Below that was

  • Cloud | On Device (similar to the PW1)
  • My Items (with a dropdown: All Items; Books; Periodicals; Docs; Active Content)
  • The sort (Recent; Title; Author; Collections

On the device were:

  • Kindle User’s Guide
  • Vocabulary Builder
  • Dictionaries (2 items: The New Oxford American Dictionary; Oxford Dictionary of English)

At the bottom of the device, it told me what page of items I was on, and how many pages there were all together…and there was an ad, less than an inch tall.

I’d say it isn’t a hard adjustment at all from the PW1.

Let’s take a look at the

* Settings

That’s where a lot of the fun stuff will be. :)

  • Airplane Mode (on or off…they explain that you should “Turn on Airplane Mode to disable wireless connectivity.”)
  • Wi-Fi Networks (tapping that showed me the available networks, and that page included “Other…” and “Rescan”
  • Registration (showed by name, and tapping it would let me deregister it)
  • Device Options…I’m going to drop to sublist for this one:
  • Device Passcode
  • Parental Controls (Web Broswer on or off, Kindle Store on or off, Cloud on or off…deregistration and reset device are disabled when Parental Controls are active. With the store locked, you can still Kindle store books on your computer and send them to the device…that’s how it was on the PW1 as well)
  • Device Time
  • Personalize your Kindle (Device Name…you can change it on the device, without going to Manage Your Kindle)
  • Personal Info (you can add whatever you want here, including contact information)
  • Recommended Content (displayed in Cover View…on or off)
  • Send to Kindle E-mail (you have to edit it on Manage Your Kindle, but it is displayed here)

Back to the Device Options Menu

  • Language and Dictionaries…time for another submenu:
  • Language (Deutsch, English (United Kingdom), English (United States), Espanol, Espanol (Mexico), Francais, Francais (Canada), Italiano, Portugues (Brasil), and two which I think are Japanese and simplified Chinese)
  • Keyboards (you can choose to add keyboard in the above languages…and yes, it confirms them as Japanese and simplified Chinese
  • Dictionaries (you can set the default dictionary here for the language you are using)

Reading Options menu

  • Manage Vocabulary Builder (on or off…controls whether or not it remembers dictionary look-ups, and whether or not Vocabulary Builder appears on the homescreen)
  • Page Refresh (you can make it refresh every “page turn” if you want
  • Social Networks (connect to Facebook or Twitter…and view Amazon’s privacy policy)

Okay, once you are in the Settings area, you can hit Menu again to get

  • Shop Kindle Store
  • Restart
  • Reset Device
  • Legal
  • Sync and Check for Items

Within a book, you tap towards the top middle to bring up the toolbar…oh, and it displays the name of the book on the top line, where the name of the device normally is.

Below that, you get:

  • Home
  • Back
  • Brightness
  • Cart
  • Search
  • Menu

This menu, though, is different:

  • Shop Kindle Store
  • Book Description (yes, it sill connects to the website to get you that)
  • About the Author (won’t always be available)
  • Landscape/Portrait mode
  • Sync to Furthest Page Read
  • Reading Progress
  • Vocabulary Builder
  • Settings (this is the main Settings choice above)

Below that is

  • Aa (font size, font ((Baskerville; Caecilia, which is the default; Caecilia Condensed; Futura; Helvetica; Palatino)), line spacing, and margins)
  • Go To (Contents, Notes, Beginning, Page or Location…and specific chapters, then End. A separate tab in Go To brings you to your notes, which are nicely displayed…you can delete or share them from here)
  • X-Ray
  • Share
  • A multiple bookmark looking icon, which lets you jump to your bookmarks…click the plus on the top one to add a bookmark to this page

Not intuitive to me was that at the bottom of the screen, there was a things which told me the chapter I was in, what location I was on, and how many minutes were left to read in the chapter. Tapping it brought up the new Page Flip feature, which is really cool. You can preview pages, moving ahead or backwards with arrows, without losing your place. There is also a location slider, to adjust where you are in the book. The location slider also had a “chevron walks into a bar” icons (>|) which lets you jump by chapters…but just in Page Flip. It looks to me like you could figure out where you want to go with Page Flip, and then use the Go To button to get there.

“Long-pressing” (holding your finger or stylus on it for about a second) a word in a book gave me an X-Ray definition first, and a choice to get “More on Shelfari”. Tapping that brought me to the Shelfari (owned by Amazon) page for the current book…lots of info there).  I could also open the full X-Ray for that book.

I had a choice to see the Dictionary definition, or Wikipedia. I tried the Wikipedia search with Airplane Mode on…it didn’t like that much.

I could also search This Book, All Text, or the Kindle Store.

Tapping “More” gave me:

  • Highlight
  • Add Note
  • Share
  • Translation ( to Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish)
  • Open X-Ray
  • Report Content Error

Dragging a set of words (which seemed much more responsive than on the Kindle Paperwhite 1) gave these options:

  • Add Note
  • Highlight
  • Share
  • More (Search, Wikipedia, Translation ((which did do the whole phrase)), Report Content Error…all similar to above)

Overall, it does seem nicer than the Kindle Paperwhite 1, but not a quantum leap forward. I’ll need more experience with it, but I wouldn’t say you need to rush to upgrade from a KPW1…but I will say it is better. :)

If you have any specific questions, or comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Which Kindle should you buy? Fall 2013

September 29, 2013

Which Kindle should you buy? Fall 2013

Amazon has recently announced new versions of the Kindle Paperwhite and of the Kindle Fire. While it is possible that more announcements will be made for this holiday season (it wouldn’t surprise me to see a price drop on the lowest priced Kindle, for example), these are likely to be the ones you are considering right now. If I need to come back and revise in light of announcements which may come later this year, I will. I do think it is possible that some models may be in short supply: I’m particularly impressed with some features of the new Kindle Fire HDX line, which may considerably broaden their appeal (particularly as workplace devices).

I should also mention that this information is based on the USA. Not all models are available in all countries, and prices may vary.

I am only going to list devices available new from Amazon. There may be refurbished models available (including the popular Kindle Touch model), but the price is going to be more variable and availability much less predictable. You can find them here: Certified Refurbished Kindles. Certified Refurbished Kindles can be an excellent buy. They have been reviewed carefully by Amazon, and typically carry the same warranty as one you buy new.

A note for upgraders: the Kindle Paperwhite 2 appears to be the same dimensions as the Kindle Paperwhite first generation, so your old covers should still fit. The same is not the case for the Kindle Fire: for example, the Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX is actually smaller than last year’s Kindle Fire 8.9 HD.

I’m going to list the models available new in order of price, lowest to highest.

Definitions

RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle): an EBR (E-Book Reader) which does not have lighting behind the image. RSKs are particularly good for long form reading, having a long battery life compared to a backlit device. They can be read easily in bright light, because you read them by light reflecting off of them (the same way you read a paperbook). The technology does not “refresh the screen” quickly enough to handle video. While they can play some games, their primary function is reading. The screens on the earlier models used a brand name technology called E Ink. RSKs currently do not do color images.

Tablet: a backlit device, similar in that way to a laptop, desktop, or SmartPhone. You read what is on the screen by a light coming from behind it. In bright light, they can be hard to read, because the light coming from behind the screen is competing with the light hitting the screen from the front (the sun, for example). Tablets can do full animation (meaning you can watch movies and TV shows, and play games that require animation). They can show many colors. They are good for visiting websites. The software is flexible, and you can install many types of “apps” on them. The battery charge life is much shorter than on an RSK: a day of full use will require a recharge.

Frontlit: a reflective screen device that has been equipped with a built-in light facing the screen. That’s what the Kindle Paperwhite is, as well as some models from other companies. This will allow you to read in bright light and in darkness, although because it does not change the underlying technology of the RSK screen, it does not allow for video or color. In some ways, it is the best of both worlds for e-books. The Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had, including p-books (paperbooks). The battery charge life is also remarkably long: more comparable to an RSK than to a backlit device.

Wi-fi: a short-range wireless broadcast of the internet, typically the size of one building or so. Customers will usually use wi-fi they are broadcasting themselves in their own homes, or at a public wi-fi spot (many restaurants provide it).

3G: a method of connecting to the internet similar to a cell phone.

4G: another method of connecting to the internet, but faster than 3G.

Special Offers: devices with “Special Offers” have their initial price reduced because they are supported by advertisers. You see advertising on the device when it is “sleeping”, and a small ad at the bottom of the screen where you select the book you want to read. The advertising does not appear in the books themselves. Note: you will probably need to click a choice on the product page to get one without Special Offers. The links I give you will take you to the product page, but some features need to be selected manually on those pages.

GB: short for “gigabyte”, it’s a unit of measure of memory. The more gigabytes you have on the device, the more things you can store on it. That’s not likely to be an issue with e-books, but could possibly be with movies. More GBs cost you more. Many people recommend getting as much as you afford. I usually go on the lower end, since I keep most of my content in the Cloud/archives, and download it as I needed. I tend to keep about ten Kindle store books on one of my devices at a time. That gives me enough time to download more before I run out. If I was going to be out of wi-fi range for a week, though, I might download books before I went. If I’m on a long flight and want to have a couple of movies downloaded, I do have to be aware of the memory use.

Front-facing camera, rear-facing camera: a front-facing camera is looking at you while you are looking at the screen. It’s good for videocalls (such as Skype), but awkward to use to take pictures of other people. A rear-facing camera is on the back of the device, looking the same way you are looking when the screen is facing towards you…similar to a typical still or videocamera.

Must Have Features

There are many things that Kindles have in common, but not every Kindle has every feature. I’m going to list some of the features that people insist on having, and tell you which models available new have it. Note: it is very important to  realize that features may be made available to older models in updates (that has happened), but may not. Don’t be surprised if you reject a model because it didn’t have something, and then it was added retroactively. That’s not going to happen with hardware features (a Kindle Paperwhite is not going to be able to download speakers to it), and software features may have hardware limitations that keep them off the older models:

Audiobooks: Kindle DX, Kindle Fires

Collections (the ability to organize your e-books on your device in to groupings you define): currently, Paperwhites, Kindle DX. “Cloud Collections”, which appear to be a similar ability that can be shared centrally between apps and devices, have been announced for the Kindle Fire HDX, the 7″ Kindle Fire HD (but not the 8.9″, which is last year’s model), and the new Kindle Paperwhites.

Mayday (on screen live Amazon tech support): Kindle Fire HDXs

Music (MP3s): Kindle DX, Kindle Fires

Origami cover (a new gadgety cover from Amazon): Kindle Fire HDXs, new Kindle Fire HD (only the 7″)

Physical page turn buttons: Mindle, Kindle DX

Text-to-speech (the Kindle can read any text downloaded to it out loud to you, unless that ability is blocked by the publisher. It will not be able to read websites or typical PDFs): Kindle DX, Kindle Fires

Touchscreen: Paperwhite, Kindle Fires

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Priced at $69

Kindle (“Mindle”) with Special Offers
Available: now (it was announced September 6, 2012)
Type: RSK

The Mindle (my name for it: it’s also called the “Baby Kindle” and the “Starter Kindle” and the “Kindle 4″) is the lightest Kindle, and the least expensive. It’s an excellent starter model, and can be good for children. If you just want something on which to sight-read books, it’s a good choice. It does not have speakers, so audiobooks are out, and there is no text-to-speech. It does not have a touchscreen or a physical keyboard (you navigate through letters on screen), but does have physical page turn buttons. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $89 

Kindle (“Mindle”) without Special Offers. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $119

Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers
Available: pre-order now, released on September 30, 2013
Type: frontlit RSK

Like the Mindle, this is designed primarily for sight-reading: no audio. However, one of the key differences is a new patented light system. The light is still directed at what you are reading, and not your eyes. You can adjust the light for all conditions: bright light outside and in a darkened room. Even with the light being used, the battery life is twice that of the Mindle…reading half an hour a day with wireless off, the Paperwhite will last about eight weeks versus the Mindle’s four weeks. The Paperwhite has a touch screen, compared to the Mindle’s “five-way controller”. The touch screen has also been improved over there Kindle Touch, which it is effectively replacing.  The Paperwhite also has these features which are not on the Mindle:

  • X-Ray (background information about characters and things in a book with no wireless connection necessary to use it…a good study aid)
  • Time to Read (estimates how long it will take you, based on your personal reading speed, to finish a chapter or a book)
  • Instant translations
  • New (I’ll be testing and reporting on these new features soon): Page Flip, which will let you look ahead in the book without losing your place
  • New: automatically build flashcards for vocabulary words which you look up in the onboard dictionary
  • New: In-line footnotes
  • Coming soon: better integration with GoodReads
  • Coming soon: Kindle FreeTime
  • Coming soon: Cloud Collections (organize your books where Amazon stores them for you…in “the Cloud”

For someone who wants a Kindle for reading, but wants more…a high school versus an elementary school student, a serious reader who wants to read anywhere, any time, the Paperwhite is going to be the best choice. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $139

Kindle Paperwhite 2, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – without Special Offers
Available: pre-order now, released on September 30, 2013
Type: frontlit RSK SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers
Amazon label: “Best Value Kids Tablet, Family Tablet”
Available: pre-order now, released on October 2, 2013

If you want web-surfing, video, and popular apps like Angry Birds and Where’s My Water?, you need a tablet. At $139, this is the lowest priced Amazon tablet. What are you missing if you get this one, rather than the $229 Kindle Fire HDX model? It has no microphone, no camera, and does not come with Mayday (the onscreen live technical help). The screen isn’t as good and the processor isn’t as fast as the HDX models, but those stats would have been considered quite good a year ago.

If you don’t need to impress with the state-of-the-art, and you need something to entertain the kids or get the job done at work (as long as that job doesn’t require a camera), this is going to be a good buy. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $154

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Without Special Offers

Low priced tablet with the least amount of memory and no ads. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $169

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers

Larger onboard memory capacity with ads.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $184

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Without Special Offers

Larger onboard memory capacity without ads.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $189

Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers
Available: e-mail sign-up to be notified when available, ship date Nov. 5, 2013
Type: frontlit RSK

The top of the line current generation reading-focused device from Amazon.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $209

Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi – Without Special Offers
Available: pre-order now, ship date November 5, 2013
Type: frontlit RSK

Same as above, no ads.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $229

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: pre-order now for October 18, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Personal Movie Tablet, Best College Tablet”

This is the state of the art Amazon tablet in the 7″ size. I’ve had a Kindle Fire 1st generation, and 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD (2nd generation), and this is the one I’ve ordered for myself (look for my review and information on it shortly after release). The Mayday feature may make it a particularly attractive gift for getting people who aren’t as comfortable with tech able to do things like Skype (and e-mail, for that matter). Why would you move up to the $379 8.9? Part of it is the screen size, although for me, the 7″ has been adequate and easy to carry. The 8.9″ is also the only one with rear-facing camera (so you can take pictures easily of other people and things. The larger version has a better screen and somewhat longer battery life. I think this one may be the most popular of the new models.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $239

Kindle DX, Free 3G, 9.7″ E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally
Available: now (this version is more than three years old, announced on July 7, 2010)
Type: RSK

This is now several generations back, but has its fans and charms. It’s a large screen RSK with no built in lighting. You’ll read it in the dark the same way you would with a paperbook: with a booklight or lamp. It has a physical keyboard and physical page turn buttons. It has audio, so you can do text-to-speech, music, and audiobooks. The onboard memory is about three times that of a Kindle Paperwhite or Mindle. The battery charge life is much shorter than a Paperwhite, and shorter than a Mindle It comes with free 3G, but doesn’t have wi-fi. It doesn’t have all of the features of the Kindle Paperwhite, and isn’t likely to get them. This is old school, definitely, but might be attractive to some people for that reason, along with some of the features.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $244

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Without Special Offers
Availability: pre-order now for October 18, 2013
Type: tablet

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and least memory.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $269

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: now (this is last year’s model, announced September 6, 2012)
Type: tablet

This was last year’s larger screen model, and it’s the one I typically carry with me now. I do find that it is heavier and larger than I like. It is very much like this year’s $139 model, except with that larger screen, a front-facing camera (for Skype), a better screen, and about 8 ounces (a couple of hundred more grams) of weight. If you want the larger screen, but don’t want to spend the money on the HDX, this is the one. It’s also worth noting that this has an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) out port, which the HDXs don’t have. That means that with a cable which you buy separately, and a pretty modern TV, you can display what’s on your Kindle Fire on your TV. However, some apps (such as Xfinity) will block the use of the HDMI cable automatically. Still, using the Miracast wireless technology on the Kindle HDXs may mean buying an additional display device for many people.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers
Availability: pre-order now for October 18, 2013
Type: tablet

State of the art smaller tablet with ads and the middle amount of memory.  SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $269

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with ads and the middle amount of memory. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $284

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – without Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the middle amount of memory. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

===

Priced at $309

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB – Indludes Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the most memory. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

===

Price at $314

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: now (this is last year’s model, announced September 6, 2012)
Type: tablet

Last year’s larger tablet with no ads and the middle amount of memory. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $324

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB – without Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the most memory. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

===

Priced at $329

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE from either AT&T or Verizon, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the least memory. This version comes with 4G, which means you would be able to connect without having a wi-fi router near you, but you would also pay for a data plan from your carrier. Note that there are two different selections, one for AT&T and one for Verizon, not one for both. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $344

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE from either AT&T or Verizon, 16 GB – Without Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the least memory. This version comes with 4G, which means you would be able to connect without having a wi-fi router near you, but you would also pay for a data plan from your carrier. Note that there are two different selections, one for AT&T and one for Verizon, not one for both. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $369

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE from either AT&T or Verizon, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with ads and the middle amount of memory. This version comes with 4G, which means you would be able to connect without having a wi-fi router near you, but you would also pay for a data plan from your carrier. Note that there are two different selections, one for AT&T and one for Verizon, not one for both. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $379

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

This model is it: the top of the line. Best screen and best battery life, front-facing and rear-facing cameras, all the latest features (including Mayday live on-screen help), if you want to get somebody the best, you would get the 64GB, 4G model of this one. It’s only about an ounce more than the 7″, which is remarkable (and quite a bit less than last year’s large-screen Kindle Fire HD). SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $384

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE from either AT&T or Verizon, 32 GB – Without Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the middle amount of memory. This version comes with 4G, which means you would be able to connect without having a wi-fi router near you, but you would also pay for a data plan from your carrier. Note that there are two different selections, one for AT&T and one for Verizon, not one for both. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $397

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with lowest memory and no ads. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $399

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: now (this is last year’s model, announced September 6, 2012)
Type: tablet

Last year’s larger screen tablet with the middle amount of memory and 4G through AT&T (which would require a separate paid data plan) with ads. Note that there is not a Verizon option with this model. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $409

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE from either AT&T or Verizon, 64 GB – Includes Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with ads and the most memory. This version comes with 4G, which means you would be able to connect without having a wi-fi router near you, but you would also pay for a data plan from your carrier. Note that there are two different selections, one for AT&T and one for Verizon, not one for both. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $414

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T, 32 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: now (this is last year’s model, announced September 6, 2012)
Type: tablet

Last year’s larger screen tablet with the middle amount of memory and 4G through AT&T (which would require a separate paid data plan) and no ads. Note that there is not a Verizon option with this model. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $424

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE from either AT&T or Verizon, 64 GB – Without Special Offers

State of the art smaller tablet with no ads and the most memory. This version comes with 4G, which means you would be able to connect without having a wi-fi router near you, but you would also pay for a data plan from your carrier. Note that there are two different selections, one for AT&T and one for Verizon, not one for both. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE

Priced at $429

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the middle amount of memory with ads. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $444

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the middle amount of memory with no ads. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $479

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the most memory with ads. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T or Verizon, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the least memory and ads, with 4G. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $494

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the most memory with no ads. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T or Verizon, 16 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: November 7, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the least memory and no ads, with 4G. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $499

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T, 64 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: now (this is last year’s model, announced September 6, 2012)
Type: tablet

Last year’s larger screen tablet with the most memory and 4G through AT&T (which would require a separate paid data plan) and no ads. Note that there is not a Verizon option with this model. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

Priced at $514

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T, 64 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: now (this is last year’s model, announced September 6, 2012)
Type: tablet

Last year’s larger screen tablet with the most memory and 4G through AT&T (which would require a separate paid data plan) and no ads. Note that there is not a Verizon option with this model. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

===

Priced at $529

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T or Verizon, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: December 10, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the middle amount of memory and ads, with 4G. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

===

Priced at $544

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T or Verizon, 32 GB – Without Special Offers
Available: December 10, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the middle amount of memory and no ads, with 4G. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

===

Priced at $579

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T or Verizon, 64  GB – Includes Special Offers
Available: December 10, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the most memory and ads, with 4G. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

===

Priced at $594

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi & 4G LTE through AT&T or Verizon, 64  GB – Without Special Offers
Available: December 10, 2013
Type: tablet
Amazon label: “Best Movie Tablet, Gaming Tablet, and Business Tablet”

State of the art larger screen tablet with the most memory and no ads, with 4G. SELECT OPTIONS ON PRODUCT PAGE.

===

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That should help. :) If you have specific questions, feel free to comment on this post to ask them. If you notice any errors, please also let me know: this was a complex task because of how the information is available at Amazon on the items.

Update: thanks to readers Sara Miles and Judy Schechter for comments which improved this post.

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


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