Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Harris poll: E-book readers read more

April 22, 2014

Harris poll: E-book readers read more

Years ago, I remember saying that “…the more you love books, the more you love e-books.”

Initially, people who read e-books were treated by some “serious readers” as…inferior. It was somehow insulting, or even anti-literature, that we would read the same words that the other person was reading, but not in the same “container”.

I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I thought my Significant Other had the best line. When somebody saw my SO reading a Kindle and sneeringly said, “I like the feel of a book in my hand,” my SO replied, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” ;)

While there certainly may be some tactile (and olfactory) things that we lose, the simple fact is that you can have more books available to you more often with e-books.

Now, this

Harris poll

backs up the assertion that e-book readers read more.

My guess, by the way, isn’t that the e-book medium itself makes you read more, although that’s possible. I think it’s that the people who read a lot are attracted to EBRs (E-Book Readers).

After all, if you only read a book in a month, you don’t see the same benefit you would if you normally carried two or more books with you everywhere (which I did).

Here’s a short excerpt with one of the most interesting statistics:

“Interestingly, there appears to be an intersection at work between how Americans read and how much they read. Those who read either more or exclusively in the e-book format are more likely to read over 20 books in an average year (30%) than either those who read more/only in hard copy (18%) or those who read in both formats equally (21%). They also report a higher average readership per year than either hard copy hardliners or equal-opportunity readers (22.5 books vs. 16 and 15, respectively).”

There is a lot more to the poll, including gen-gen (generation and gender) breakdowns.

I don’t want to take too much away from it (I recommend you read it), but I do want to mention this.

Only 6% of the respondents said that they read e-books exclusively.

I would put myself in that category (although I am reading a p-book…paperbook…right now, that’s really a fluke, and I don’t consider it normal).

I’m guessing a significant number of you do, too…although I’m also guessing I have a lot of “mixed media” readers (some p-books, some e-books).

Why do I read just e-books (despite having something like 10,000 p-books on shelves in our house)?

No question, the ability to increase the font size is part of it. My vision isn’t what it used to be, and I can wear glasses (I buy cheap ones, and scatter them around the house), but it’s nice not to have to do that.

Another big, big issue for me is text-to-speech. I use it typically for hours a day in the car…I much prefer that to the radio.

Third, there’s the portability. I tend to bounce from book to book, rather than reading one straight through. On Goodreads, I show myself as currently reading more than ten books. Part of that is because I never abandon a book…so if I’ve started it, and haven’t finished it, I consider myself to be currently reading it.

However, I am actively reading (every day or two)…certainly three books.

A fourth reason: free public domain books!

I could keep going. :)

The key thing: those who read e-books read more (on average)…and they report that the amount that they read is increasing.

Again, it’s a bit hard to separate that out without more information. Serious readers might always tend to report themselves as reading more…I just don’t know that.

I will say, though, that book lovers love books…and e-books give us the opportunity to have more books and more access to them.

What do you think? Are you reading more or less than you used to read, or is about the same? What makes you choose to read an e-book over a p-book (and vice versa)? Will e-books reverse the trend of declining reading rates eventually? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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.

March 2014 Kindle book releases

February 25, 2014

March 2014 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 3,570 (at time of writing) March releases in the USA Kindle store:

March 2014 Releases USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

The Finisher (at AmazonSmile)
by David Baldacci
pre-order for March 4

Since there is a free preview of this available, there are already reviews…and those are interesting (and I think the book is deceptively low-scored).

Baldacci is known for harder-edged adult books, like Absolute Power…and this is a dystopian young adult novel. Many of the customer reviews freely say that it isn’t their cup of tea…yet the professional reviewers quoted seem to like it. I’m not sure the preview was the best idea…and perhaps a pseudonym might have been in order. Oh, not to fool people, just to differentiate it…I’d be fine with “David Baldacci writing as…”

Aftershock (Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin) (at AmazonSmile)
by Sylvia Day
pre-order for March 11

One of the bestselling authors who…actually, I can stop right there. One of the bestselling authors. ;) Harlequin has had this business figured out for quite some time.

Night of the Hunter: Companions Codex, I (at AmazonSmile)
by R.A. Salvatore
pre-order for March 11

Salvatore has written a bunch of New York Times bestsellers…this is another Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms novel.

The Auschwitz Escape (at AmazonSmile)
by Joel C. Rosenberg
pre-order for March 18

Honestly, I’m having trouble with the concept of this one…a novel about escaping from Auschwitz. I don’t know how you do this without it seeming exploitative…but I’m open to the possibility.

A Circle of Wives (at AmazonSmile)
by Alice LaPlante
pre-order for March 4

The author teaches creative writing at Stanford, and this mystery is set in Palo Alto. “Lesson 1: write what you know.” ;)

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History) (at AmazonSmile)
by Eric H. Cline
pre-order for March 23

I love a book that tells me about something everybody knew at one point…but that I don’t know about now! It’s from Princeton University Press, so the scholarship should be good…but it also sounds enthralling. Let’s see, 1177 BC…it was the end of the world as who knew it? Bronze Age Egypt.

Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community (at AmazonSmile)
by Saul Austerlitz
pre-order for March 1

You say you are too into TV to care about ancient history like the last book? Well, you could be like me…and enjoy both. ;)

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance (The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance)
by Steven Kotler
pre-order for March 4

This is about extreme sports athletes (and apparently, psychology & counseling, according to the categories), but it looks like it might be inspirational for a lot of people. It reminds me a bit of Stan Lee’s Superhumans (at AmazonSmile) where Spider-Man’s creator sends out the world’s most flexible human to search for real-life superhumans…it’s on Prime streaming at no additional cost. It can be quite remarkable. As to this book: I can’t see that it has anything to do with \S/uperman, and if that’s the case, I find the title misleading…but that’s just me being geeky. ;)

As you can tell…March isn’t always a month with the most respected, bestselling books of the year. Still, you are going to read every day, right…right? Whew! You had me worried for a minute there. ;)

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

Articles aiming at Amazon

February 23, 2014

Articles aiming at Amazon

Amazon isn’t perfect.

Some of you may be surprised to hear me say that.

After all, this blog is called, “I Love My Kindle”.

I’ll admit to thinking that my customer experience with Amazon is probably the best I’ve ever had with any company.

However, everyone can always improve.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have always liked Yul Brynner’s response to the question of what the actor would like as an epitaph (“on your tombstone”). I’m going from memory, but this may be close:

“I would like it to say ‘I have arrived’…because when you believe you’ve arrived, you’re dead.”

Anyone who doesn’t want to hear respectful criticism is driving a car high-speed without a windshield…and headed for a crash.

I don’t think Amazon is so close-minded that they don’t think that they can improve…and that they don’t believe that listening to other people can be helpful.

However…

I also believe that there is a tendency for people to want to attack people and organizations that are succeeding.

Part of that, I think, is to make it easier to believe that no one can succeed while being good.

If you believe they can, you have to ask why you aren’t as successful.

After all, it’s easier to believe that only the evil succeed…because it justifies the level to which you’ve risen (presumably without being what you perceive as evil).

There are two articles which recently have criticized Amazon which you might find interesting. I would recommend you read them, and evaluate them yourself. You might think that what they say is true. If you do, then you’ll have to consider for yourself what the proper response should be.

This first one has gotten a lot of buzz, and I was alerted to it by readers (thanks, readers!). It appeared on February 17th in the New Yorker:

article by George Packer

It’s a lengthy piece…over 10,000 words.

It talks about how bad Amazon is for books.

It also assigns a pretty Machiavellian motive:

“Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers. The books would be priced close to cost, in order to increase sales volume. After collecting data on millions of customers, Amazon could figure out how to sell everything else dirt cheap on the Internet. (Amazon says that its original business plan “contemplated only books.”)”

Now, I know Jeff Bezos is seen as forward-looking, but I have to admit…that seems a bit far-fetched.

Amazon only sold books because the sales were good for datamining?

That seems…rather ahead of the game for the mid-1990s.

It also suggests that only “affluent, educated” people would buy books (otherwise, based on this, you would have an increased noise to signal ratio in your data), and yet, the prices would be reduced?

I’d have to see the data, but if this is the plan, it doesn’t seem to me like it would work very well (and whatever Amazon has does, if you look at in terms of sales and not profits, it has worked very well).

It reads to me sort of like this:

“Rich people buy diamonds. We want to know where the rich people are, so we’ll sell diamonds. However, rich people don’t buy very many diamonds, which won’t give us enough information…so we’ll price our diamonds like they are rhinestones.”

You see the problem?

You could attract rich people (who would presumably be better customers for other goods) with a superior shopping experience and service…you wouldn’t decrease the price to get more data.

I genuinely believe that Amazon, as an entity, liked books from the beginning…even though they may have liked sales equally as  much.

I still believe that Amazon has been good for books.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve been good for the book industry, the way it existed before 1994.

Those are two different things, though.

More people can get more books more easily because of Amazon…tens of thousands of them for free.

Crucially, more people can publish books, creating a more diverse literature.

However, that’s only one small part of the article. There are a lot of specific allegations in it. I have to read it myself yet, thoroughly, but I think many of you will want to do that (perhaps on your Kindles…).

The question of the impact Amazon has on books is one that we can certainly debate. I think it may be decades before we really know. That’s how it is with a transformation: will what results be a butterfly or a werewolf…or a bit of both? Um…a butterwolf? ;)

You my find this other article more disturbing:

Salon article by Simon Head

It’s not about how Amazon treats books…it’s about how Amazon treats its employees.

The title and subtitle make the position clear:

“Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers
You might find your Prime membership morally indefensible after reading these stories about worker mistreatment”

This is not a hypothetical assessment: it contains reports of specific allegations.

I do recommend that you read it, although it may be hard on your emotions.

Essentially, it suggests that Amazon abuses its workers, in part because of its customer focus.

I’ve mentioned concerns about fulfillment center workers before, and I do think that might be part of why Amazon bought Kiva, a robotics company, some time back.

While the article focuses on Amazon, and on how computerized monitoring and analysis can lead to harsher conditions for human workers, it is actually an excerpt from a book that deals with the topic more widely:

Mindless: Why Smarter Machines are Making Dumber Humans (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I do want to point out something I found…interesting.

At the bottom of the article is a link to the book. Where does it take you? To the Kindle store, with what appears to be an affiliate link (I’ve used a different link above).

In other words, it appears to me that Salon posted an article, wrote a headline for it suggesting it was “morally indefensible” to give Amazon money…then linked to a place where you could give Amazon money…and they would benefit from it if you did.

Hm…

What do you think? Has Amazon been good or bad for books? Do we know yet? As books become increasingly democratized, is that a positive or a negative? Is increasing the number of “poorer” quality books available a risk to quality literature? How about Amazon’s workers? If these allegations are true, would you stop shopping with Amazon? What if Amazon was working to change its practices? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

UK gets an “Amazon toolbar”

January 22, 2014

UK gets an “Amazon toolbar”

This might be something which is in beta…which means that I might see and you might not. It can even mean that I see it on one computer and not on another, even using the same browser. That’s similar to the new Manage Your Kindle page (Major changes to MYK: bulk actions)…so far, I’ve only seen it in Silk on my Kindle Fire HDX, despite checking other devices and browsers.

That said, here is the link to the page I’m seeing:

Amazon at Your Fingertips

It requires Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3.

These seem to be the main features:

  • Search Amazon
  • Add to Wish List
  • My Amazon (I’m guessing that’s account information, such as tracking your orders and payment information
  • Bestsellers
  • New releases
  • Settings

Intriguingly, according to this

FAQ…Frequently Asked Questions

page, you could use the Settings to reset it so it pointed to another Amazon site…although they don’t specifically mention Amazon.com.

My guess?

They are sort of beta-testing it with the UK, and that we’ll get it in the USA before too long.

If you  test it now, though, and are able to set it to Amazon.com, I’d appreciate you letting me know. :) I’m not using a compatible browser right now, or I’d test it myself.

I think this could be a big hit! There are so many times I go to Amazon to check something, and this might make it a lot easier. That, in turn, may help Amazon make even more sales. ;)

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.

5-star newbies #1

January 20, 2014

5-star newbies #1

There’s something about reading a newly published book. Personally, I love reading old books…even a century old or more. How exciting would it have been, though, to read Hemingway, Dickens, or Burroughs when they were first being published? That’s before someone else tells you they are classics, before a movie has been made…before your know-it-all cousin says, “Oh, yes, that book made quite a splash…when I first read it ten years ago.” ;)

The problem, of course, is figuring out what books which have just come out are going to be great.

Well, in my ever-expanding quest for book discovery ;) I tried something new this time.

I looked at books published this month with 5-star (out of 5 possible) customer reviews on Amazon. I have to qualify that a bit: 5-star in this case means 4.6 or higher (they would round to five). New is also new to the USA Kindle store…they could have been published previously in other formats or territories.

I looked through and picked ten of them, and I am allowing myself to be swayed by the number of reviews. A 4.7 average with only five reviews doesn’t mean as much to me as a 4.6 with five hundred reviews.

Outside of that, these are just ones that caught my eye.

First, though, here is the entire list of 5-star (as defined by Amazon) USA Kindle store books released this month, in order of best customer review average:

RAW (at AmazonSmile)
by Belle Aurora
4.8 stars, 766 customer reviews
$3.99
Romantic suspense

Appears to be a stand-out of the genre…but it does look creepy.

Urban Imagination (at AmazonSmile)
by George Zisiadis
4.9 stars, 89 reviews
$9.99
Humor and entertainment

This one looks fun! It’s a collection of child-like cartoons of urban settings with familiar objects transformed into something playful, like a parking meter becoming a gumball machine. Sounds like it would make (or a gift recipient) smile. :)

Black Arts: A Jane Yellowrock Novel (at AmazonSmile)
by Faith Hunter
4.8 stars, 129 reviews
$5.99
Urban fantasy

I’ve never read any of these (this is number 7), but the reviews are great and make it sound like a real “page turner”. At one point, people wanted to update “page turner” to “button masher”, but we don’t always have buttons any more either. ;)

Life on Altamont Court: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary (at AmazonSmile)
by Trent D. Pines
4.9 stars, 51 reviews
$6.99
Humor

Based on the reviews, I could see someone adapting this into a TV series. It’s a memoir about a wacky neighborhood, but with a modern make-up.

The Mind Body Solution: Train your Brain for Permanent Weight Loss (at AmazonSmile
by AJ Mihrzad
5 stars, 49 reviews
$2.99
Self help, stress management

Downward Dog
by Edward Vilga
4.9 stars, 106 reviews
$3.99
Contemporary fiction

I’m amazed at how many people comment on where this fits in the “yoga novel” genre. :) Reviews are good..

Secret to Startup Failure: Fail Fast. Fail Cheap. Fail Happy. (at AmazonSmile)
by Sonia Lin
5 stars, 47 reviews
$9.99
Business & investing

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way (at AmazonSmile)
by Joseph Alton, Amy Alton
4.8 stars, 88 reviews
$24.99
Safety & first aid

This is the kind of book I would expect to be over $9.99. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a relatively high awareness of the possibility of being cut off from help for days. My recommendation for your “go bag”: have your doctor give you a list of your chronic conditions, medications, and allergies. With EMRs (Electronic Medical Records), that’s easier than it used to be.

Style that Sizzles & Pacing for Power: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction (at AmazonSmile)
by Jodie Renner
4.8 stars, 63 reviews
$2.99
Writing skills

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
4.9 stars, 26 reviews
$9.17
Teen & young adult horror

Finishing up with the sequel to a well-known book…nice!

So, there you go! You can read them before all of the “cool kids” do, and the reviews suggest they’ll be good. :) Of course, not all of these will become classics…that’s especially true of non-fiction, which can sometimes be very much tied to the time it was published.

Enjoy!

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

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

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

Split your payments over a year on an HDX

December 15, 2013

Split your payments over a year on an HDX

Oh, Amazon…you’re always trying something new!

Right now, you may have a lot of money going out the door. Ponying up $229 for a  Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) or $379 for a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″at AmazonSmile) could be tough!

Sure, you could charge it on your credit card, but those interest charges can be hefty.

Well, Amazon has a solution for you!

They’ll let you pay in four equal payments…over the course of a year…same as cash!

The details are here:

Now, I should be clear: this isn’t for just anybody. You need to have been a good customer (active for at least two years). There are some other conditions: part of what Amazon says is:

“To be eligible for this offer, you must reside in the United States of America, your Amazon.com account must have been active for at least two years and you must have a valid credit card associated with your Amazon.com account that expires no earlier than March 31, 2014. Residents of Florida and the District of Columbia are not eligible for this offer.”

Still, this does make it a lot easier to manage your money. I’m sure most people can find $57.25 (the lowest installment payment for a 7″) or $94.75 (8.9″) a lot more readily than the full amount.

Now, if Amazon does release new hardware during the next year, which could certainly happen, it might be weird to still be paying for what has become “last year’s model”.

Is this layaway?

Nope…with layaway, you do pay installments, but you pay them before you get the item (it might be a certain amount to “reserve” it, then then full amount to pick it up).

With this one, you can start using it before you’ve even made that second payment.

I suspect this might be where some Amazon gift cards go after the holidays.

Oh, sure, there may be some people who can’t make all the payments…not quite sure what happens then.

Once again, though, kudos to Amazon for trying new things!

Oh, and I’m not seeing it on the non-Fire EBRs (E-Book Readers) or other products at this point, by the way. If you’ve noticed any, feel free to let me know. I suspect they are trying it out on this…it’s really not that much of a risk with a Fire, since people tend to buy a lot more from Amazon when they have a Fire. It wouldn’t surprise me if some people could default after a couple of payments, and Amazon would still have made money (especially if the Fire has to be sent back and can be sold again after it is refurbished…not for full price, but certainly for some recovery for Amazon).

* 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.

Google FTW! Judge Chin rules

November 14, 2013

Google FTW! Judge Chin rules

Thanks to reader Evan for the heads-up on this!

I first wrote about the Google settlement more than four years ago (and it actually started back in 2005), and it’s been ongoing (off and on, at least) since then.

Now, according to this

Reuters article by Jonathan Stempel

and other sources, Judge Chin has now ruled that Google’s scanning of copyrighted works, and subsequent specific use of them, falls under Fair Use.

Here is the actual

opinion in PDF

I’m looking forward to reading it, but I wanted to give you a chance to see it right away.

Skimming it, and particularly the argument that what Google did is “transformative”, lets me give you a quick, preliminary sum up now:

  • What Google did transforms the works
  • It doesn’t replace the original works
  • It’s good for society
  • It doesn’t show harm, and probably helps copyright holders

Again, that’s just preliminary…I’ll read through the whole thing when I can.

The Authors Guild is likely to appeal this dismissal of the case (legal advocacy is one of the main things they do).

I think this might have far-reaching implications in terms of making things (indexes, snippets) available on line without the rightsholders’ permission, but we’ll see…

* FTW = “For The Win” (internet slang)

Update: I’ve now read through it. Judge Chin’s point by point analysis of the Fair Use application to this (and that’s the key…every point is supposed to be satisfied in Fair Use) will be the crux of any appeal, I think. Some of it feels a bit subjective to me, and that’s one of the frustrating things about copyright. It isn’t usually a simple mathematical answer…it’s fuzzy.

I could see this being used to further the idea that people can digitize their own p-books (paperbooks) for their own use. Judge Chin seems to make the point that if you already own the book, you aren’t infringing on the copyright if you make another copy for your own use. Judge Chin says:

“…the scans do not replace the books. While partner libraries have the ability to download a scan of a book from their collections, they owned the books already — they provided the original book to Google to scan. Nor is it likely that someone would take the time and energy to input countless searches to try and get enough snippets to comprise an entire book. Not only is that not possible as certain pages and snippets are blacklisted, the individual would have to have a copy of the book in his possession already to be able to piece the different snippets together in coherent fashion.”

This seems to suggest to me that when you own the p-book, you can create an e-book copy for  your own use without interfering with the market for the book. That might seem obvious, but it would be great to have that established in precedent. This doesn’t do that,but it might be cited by someone trying to establish home digitizing for personal use as Fair Use.

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.

Amazon saves brick-and-mortars? AmazonSource

November 6, 2013

Amazon saves brick-and-mortars? AmazonSource

Bookstores selling Amazon selling.

That’s basically what’s happening with a new, innovative…even mind-boggling program from Amazon announced in this

press release

Here is the key concept:  your local bookstore can sign up for a program with Amazon. They then sell Kindles in the store, and the store gets ten percent of the purchase price of the Kindle store books you buy on it for the next two years.

It’s an extraordinary idea, and certainly, some bookstores may jump on it.

After all, it may feel like they are going to get ten percent of e-book sales for two years without doing anything…free money, right?

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, and a big fan of Amazon…but like the Golden Ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, entering the magical world of a genius may not always have positive results. ;)

At the site for the program

https://source.amazon.com/

Amazon calls it “completely worry-free”.  They say:

“If you decide that e-readers and tablets aren’t the right fit for your store, we’ll buy back any tablet, e-reader or accessory that was on your first order, no questions asked.”

This is short-term thinking for the store. If you can get into it with no risk on the hardware, and you simply sit back while the money rolls in from e-book purchases, why not do it?

I’m not telling people not to do it.

It certainly could be a benefit.

It also feels a bit to me like Amazon may have just started a two-year death clock on the independent bookstore, though.

When you sell one of your customers a Kindle, you may be selling them on the idea that they don’t need to come into your store any more.

You get some money from their Kindle store purchases for two years. When those two years are up, you don’t…and will your customer then stop buying e-books from Amazon? Seems unlikely.

For this to work for stores, people have to continue to buy both e-books from Amazon and p-books (paperbooks) from the stores. Yes, many people buy both. One of the questions is going to be whether or not the customers will continue to buy their p-books from your store, when you’ve sold them a Kindle Fire HDX 7″ that lets them buy the same p-book online from Amazon.

I would think that p-book discounts may start showing up in our Special Offers when this deal gets rolling (maybe early next year).

There are a lot of subtleties and complexities to this, and when books are written about Amazon fifty years from now, this may be seen as one of their most brilliant moves.

  • It’s great PR (Public Relations): “Amazon saves Mom & Pop bookstores”
  • Customers feel like they are “donating” to their local stores
  • Every bookstore that joins becomes a salesperson for Amazon
  • Every bookstore that doesn’t join loses a competitive advantage with their customers
  • People who buy Kindle Fires, in particular, will buy other profitable items, partially because they may become Amazon Prime members. That may make sense in terms of what it will cost Amazon. Buy $200 a year in e-books from Amazon, it only costs them $20 (plus administrative costs). Will they earn more than that $20 on your other purchases (“diapers and windshield wipers”)?
  • Veteran booksellers are incentivized to get people to buy Kindle books. Those booksellers may then start writing reviews and blogs, and become Amazon Associates, and make much more of a transition to online (and specifically Amazon)

Amazon has a cost for this for about two years: how many of those bookstores will still be around in two years doing what they are doing now?

If Amazon launches real digital storefronts for bookstores (perhaps something like I wrote about here: Hey, Amazon, buy this: BookAnd), I think many of them may go that way.

It gets even more interesting.

There are actually two programs as part of this announcement. One is for bookstores, and includes the e-book component. The other is for other stores, and gives them a deeper hardware discount, but no e-book cut.

That part about non-bookstores is fascinating. This certainly may mean that your local convenience store, hardware store, grocery store, and so on, start carrying Kindles.

They also risk opening their doors to the wolf, but in a very different way. Depending on weekly (perhaps daily) content sales is different from “Somebody kicked in my door and I need a replacement right now”.

Here is something else: it isn’t available in every US state, just these:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Why is that?

I suspect it has to do with how friendly the state is to Amazon, especially tax-wise. I know California and Amazon (after a messy situation) worked out a deal and are now effectively partnering (Amazon now has fulfillment centers there). I also understand that Maine and Amazon are in dispute right now…and Maine isn’t on the approved list.

Another thing: Amazon is not requiring exclusivity. A store can continue to sell Kobo devices, for example. There may be legal strategy behind that, but there will also be the idea for people that they support the bookstore if they buy the Kindle (in a different way than the other devices). Additionally, space is at a premium in stores (you are always fighting the rent), so will people really allot space to several different brands of devices? You know who used to do that? Borders…and they aren’t around any more.

Do I think this is an evil move by Amazon? Not at all. If I was managing a bookstore still, I’d probably do it.

It feels more like…Amazon is giving stores two years to get their things together as the world of bookselling transitions. Some people may see that as an eviction notice, but maybe it is more like a reverse mortgage: “We’ll pay you now for ownership later.”

I should be clear: I don’t think this wipes out independent bookstores, because many of them don’t need to make a profit. They are there because people love to be in a bookstore, both from the selling and buying sides. They love the community feel and the expertise of the sellers. They like being in the company of other booklovers and, yes, thousands of books all around you. Those stores, and that experience, will be around for a long time.

However, strictly in terms of business, I think the clock is now ticking…

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 Keyboard available again, but may not last

October 24, 2013

Kindle Keyboard available again, but may not last

The Kindle Keyboard (AKA Kindle 3) has been one of the best-loved Kindle models.  It has 4.4 stars (out of 5) with 40,789 reviews. It has a physical keyboard, and text-to-speech (it is not a touchscreen).

It’s been unavailable at Amazon, but is back now, for $139 ad-supported, $159 not ad-supported.

Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

I would not wait on this if you want one (and many people like the combination of an unlit screen, for long battery life and easy reading outside, and audio capabilities).

I think this might be temporary, partially because it is not on the “family stripe” (the list of Kindle models at the top of most Kindle product pages). Also, it isn’t behaving in the same way as other Kindle models in terms of interfacing with Amazon’s webpages.

It could be that they are just getting things up and running on it and it’s a full reintroduction, but that’s not what my guess is right now.

If you do want to benefit a blog or other site when you buy this, you could first get an Amazon Gift Card from a link on the site, then use that to buy the Kindle.  I suspect we’ll see this mentioned quite a few places later today.

We can hope it is back for the long term (they revived the Kindle DX, after all), but at this point, I wouldn’t count on it.

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

There’s a lot of year left to go!

October 22, 2013

There’s a lot of year left to go!

Of course, there’s never been a “slow news year” since the Kindle was announced on November 19, 2007.  There’s always something new, something better, something controversial…just like life. ;)

This year, though, there is a lot happening towards the end of the year.

We are already at October 21st: there are a scant 71 days left until we run out of 2013, and hit 2014 head-on.

Here are just a few things on the schedule:

Tuesday, October 22: At 10:00 AM Pacific, Apple is holding a presser…and they “have a lot to cover”. This could certainly mean an iPad 5 and in iPad Mini 2…maybe in lots of colors (the invitation shows colorful leaves). It could mean new Macs and OS X announcements. I have to tell you from my experience, though, that if they don’t have something like Mayday (and they probably won’t), the Fire HDX is going to start chewing away marketshare from Apple.

Thursday, October 24: At 2:00 PM Pacific, Amazon will webcast its third quarter financials. You can hear the call at http://www.amazon.com/ir

Before the end of October: Kindle Matchbook launches, giving people who purchased some p-books (paperbooks) from Amazon the opportunity to get reduced price (or free, in some cases) e-book versions

Thursday, October 31: Halloween! Look for special deals on content

Thursday, October 31: Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 16GB projected to be in stock

Sunday, November 3: World Fantasy Awards announced

Tuesday, November 5: Kindle Paperwhite 2 3G is released

Tuesday, November 5: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck: 8 is released

Tuesday, November 5: The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (14) is released

Thursday, November 7: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ is released

Tuesday, November 12: The First Phone Call From Heaven is released

Thursday, November 14: Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 4G is released

Mid-November:  Update to Mojito, affecting newest Kindle Fires:

NovUpdate

Tuesday, November 19: Takedown Twenty: A Stephanie Plum Novel is released

Wednesday, November 20: National Book Awards
Tuesday, November 26: Hawaii by James Michener is released for the Kindle

Friday, November 29: “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving)…big shopping day

Monday, December 2: “Cyber Monday”: special deals online

Tuesday, December 3: Command Authority (A Jack Ryan Novel) by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney is released
Tuesday, December 3: Robert Ludlum’s (TM) The Bourne Retribution by Eric Van Lustbader is released
Tuesday, December 3: Dangerous Women edited by George R.R. Martin and Gordon Dozois is released

Tuesday, December 10: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ 4G is released

Tuesday, December 10: Innocence by Dean Koontz is released

Wednesday, December 25: possibly the biggest Kindle e-book selling day of the year…and look for Mayday to get really tested!

Anything else you are really looking forward to seeing?

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


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