Archive for the ‘News’ Category

PKD’s The Man in the High Castle to be an Amazon TV series

November 12, 2014

PKD’s The Man in the High Castle to be an Amazon TV series

I wonder how many authors have had a higher percentage of their books adapted for movies or TV than Philip K. Dick (PKD)? ;)

Well, of course, if somebody only wrote one book and it was adapted, that’s 100%, so I guess it will be quite a few.

Still, the list of PKD adaptations is long (although, again, thinking about it, the author’s bibliography would be much longer). I guess it’s also the impactfulness of the movies: Blade Runner; Total Recall; Minority Report; and the Adjustment Bureau come to mind.

Now, it’s been announced that one of the pilot’s for Amazon’s 2015 “season” will be an adaptation of Dick’s Hugo-winning novel

The Man in the High Castle (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are some big names involved, including Ridley Scott (the PKD adaptation Blade Runner) as a producer, Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) writing the pilot, and featuring Rufus Sewell (Dark City) among others.

The book is an “alternate history” story. I’ve never quite been comfortable with labeling those en masse as science fiction, although many people do.

AH essentially looks at what would have happened if history was different in some way. In this case, what if the Axis powers had won World War II?

This is a well-reviewed book, and has been critically-lauded. It’s complex, though: adapting it for television effectively would mean being in it for the long haul.

Here’s something nice: it is part of

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

so you can read it at no additional cost if you are a subscriber to that service…you can beat it to the screen, if you want. ;) It also has an audiobook version and is Whispersync for Voice ready.

It’s nice to see something this ambitious and this well-pedigreed coming as an original production to Amazon: no question, the industry thinks that model is working.

What do you think? What other books would you like to see adapted? Are some books better as TV series than movies? 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! :) 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.

November 2014 Kindle book releases

October 29, 2014

November 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.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it.

For the most part, we are back to Amazon selling the books…which means they can guarantee the price.

If we see a return of the Agency Model next year (the rumor is that’s happening with Simon & Schuster), we’ll be back to that non-guarantee situation.

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 5,964 (at time of writing) November releases in the USA Kindle store:

November 2014 USA Kindle store releases (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**.

One interesting thing before I get into some individual titles: the first four (sorted by new and popular) are the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month!

Since Prime members can already be reading one of these (even though they aren’t officially released until October) at no additional cost, you can see how that would drive up their popularity as compared to actual pre-orders. The top four being Kindle First was also true the last time I did one of these.

The other thing is that there are some Kindle Unlimited titles way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

  • The Long Haul (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 9) by Jeff Kinney (Nov 4, 2014)
  • MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins (Nov 18, 2014)
  • So, Anyway… by John Cleese (Nov 4, 2014)
  • The Enduring Flame Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (Nov 4, 2014)
  • Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One by Rickey Vincent and George Clinton (Nov 4, 2014)
  • The Perry Mason Book: A Comprehensive Guide to America’s Favorite Defender of Justice by Jim Davidson (Nov 15, 2014)
  • Not Quite Forever (Not Quite series) by Catherine Bybee (Nov 4, 2014)
  • The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne and Christopher Nolan (Nov 7, 2014)
  • Alpha Billionaire 3 (Alpha Billionaire, Part Three) (Alpha Billionaire series) by Helen Cooper (Nov 6, 2014)
  • Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda and Alan Smith (Nov 26, 2014)
  • Knowledge Is Beautiful: Impossible Ideas, Invisible Patterns, Hidden Connections–Visualized by David McCandless (Nov 25, 2014)
  • The Void (Witching Savannah Book 3) by J. D. Horn (Nov 18, 2014)
  • Highland Heroes: Three Scottish Medieval Romances by Claire Delacroix and Deborah Cooke (Nov 24, 2014)
  • The Indie Author Power Pack: How To Write, Publish, & Market Your Book by David Gaughran, Joanna Penn, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (Nov 3, 2014)
  • Dead But Not Forgotten: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Nov 25, 2014)
  • No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi (Nov 4, 2014)
    Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film “The Imitation Game” by Andrew Hodges and Douglas Hofstadter (Nov 16, 2014)
  • Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs (Nov 18, 2014)
    Christmas Cozy (Zoe Donovan Mystery Book 11) by Kathi Daley (Nov 1, 2014)
  • Twilight Midnight Sun: Edward’s version of The Twilight Saga by E. Cullen (Nov 30, 2014)
  • Out Of This World (Wildlings Book 3) by Charles de Lint (Nov 4, 2014)
  • Lowball: A Wild Cards Mosaic Novel by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass (Nov 4, 2014)
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin: Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales by Russell Brand and Chris Riddell (Nov 11, 2014)
  • The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert by Frank Herbert (Nov 18, 2014)
  • Tarkin: Star Wars (Star Wars: Jedi Academy Trilogy) by James Luceno (Nov 4, 2014)

One more interesting thing: this time, we can filter for books which will be in Kindle Unlimited! I may do a separate listing for those later, but here is the link for the 987 titles at time of writing:

Kindle Unlimited books being released in November 2014 in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile*)

What I do is keep an Amazon wish list for Kindle Unlimited books I may want to read. That makes it easy for me to pick a new one when I want. :) If you do that, you will just need to check to make sure it is still in KU when you go to borrow it…some books will go in and out of that list. Indie publishers, for one thing, can change that.

Enjoy!

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.

October 2014 Kindle book releases

September 23, 2014

October 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 6,152 (at time of writing) October releases in the USA Kindle store:

October 2014 USA Kindle store releases (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**.

One interesting thing before I get into some individual titles: the first four (sorted by new and popular) are the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month!

Since Prime members can already be reading one of these (even though they aren’t officially released until October) at no additional cost, you can see how that would drive up their popularity as compared to actual pre-orders. The top four being Kindle First was also true the last time I did one of these.

The other thing is that there are some Kindle Unlimited titles way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

To Kill a Mockingbird (Enhanced Edition) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Harper Lee
pre-order for October 21
Other formats: 4.6 out of 5 stars, 3370 customer reviews

When the first legal e-book of TKaM came out recently (it’s been overing around the top 400 mark in the USA Kindle store), it was also announced that HarperCollins was doing an “enhanced” version, which means it will include audio and or video content. At this point, the pre-order is priced at only $3.99, the same as the unenhanced version. I haven’t been able to find out yet what is in the enhancement, but this could make an excellent gift. Remember that you can delay the delivery of a gift e-book through the Kindle store for the appropriate date.

A Christmas Memory (at AmazonSmile*)
by Truman Capote
pre-order for October 28
$3.21 at time of writing
Other formats: 4.7 stars, 117 reviews

That’s right…Truman Capote for children.

Divergent Collector’s Edition (Divergent Series) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Veronica Roth
pre-order for October 21
Other formats: 4.5 stars, 18013 reviews
$4.99 at time of writing

They are adding a lot to this one for the Collector’s Edition!

72 pages of bonus content, including:

  • Two essays by Veronica Roth, including excerpts from early drafts of Divergent
  • An essay about the psychology behind fear and the “exposure therapy” of Dauntless initiation
  • Artistic renderings of the Choosing Ceremony Bowls
  • An excerpt from the movie script
  • Favorite quotes from Divergent, illustrated by fellow Initiates
  • A map of the Dauntless compound
  • Divergent discussion questions

I should mention, I don’t think you can pre-order a gift…you’ll have to wait for it to be published.

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Princeton Science Library) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Richard Feynman
pre-order for October 26
4.6 stars, 105 reviews
$9.99 (but it appears you’ll also be able to rent it for $4.84…not until it is released, though)

Surely, you’re joking… ;)

I’ll just list some more:

  • Turing Evolved by David Kitson (October 1, 2014)
  • The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly (Oct 28, 2014)
  • Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming (Oct 7, 2014)
  • The Eye of Zoltar (The Chronicles of Kazam) by Jasper Fforde (Oct 7, 2014)
  • Theories of International Politics and Zombies: Revived Edition by Daniel W. Drezner (Oct 26, 2014)
  • A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids by Margot Datz (Oct 14, 2014)
  • The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition by Mollie Katzen (Oct 28, 2014)
  • Maeve’s Times: In Her Own Words by Maeve Binchy (Oct 28, 2014)
  • Revenger: A John Shakespeare Mystery by Rory Clements (Oct 14, 2014)
  • Let’s Talk Terror (Nancy Drew Files) by Carolyn Keene (Oct 7, 2014)
  • The Baby-Sitters Club #78: Claudia and Crazy Peaches by Ann M. Martin (Oct 21, 2014)
  • Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, Jokei Molly Delight Whitehead and Shohaku Okumura (Oct 14, 2014)

One more interesting thing: this time, we can filter for books which will be in Kindle Unlimited! I may do a separate listing for those later, but here is the link for the 916 titles at time of writing:

Kindle Unlimited books in the USA Kindle store being released in October 2014 (at AmazonSmile*)

What I do is keep an Amazon wish list for Kindle Unlimited books I may want to read. That makes it easy for me to pick a new one when I want. :) If you do that, you will just need to check to make sure it is still in KU when you go to borrow it…some books will go in and out of that list. Indie publishers, for one thing, can change that.

Enjoy!

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.

Only on Amazon

August 14, 2014

Only on Amazon

Back in the old days ;) a number of people would get upset when they heard that an e-book store had gotten an exclusive on something. There was a bit of back and forth: Amazon might get something, Barnes & Noble might get something else.

Well, Amazon clearly sees this as a big strategy…and they are investing in it.

That doesn’t go just for e-books (which I’ll talk about shortly). There was this weird little app called Flappy Bird. It was really hard to play, and not much happened in it…but it was very, very popular.

So popular that, reportedly, the creator withdrew it from sale…because it was too addictive.

Naturally, that made it even more of a legend.

People were paying hundreds of dollars for used phones that already had that app installed, so they could keep playing it.

Well, Amazon must have paid a lot of money to get the exclusive rights for

Flappy Birds Family (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which, yes, is an official version (there are a lot of rip-offs out there).

You would think they might have licensed it for the

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile*)

which would make sense and be a good way to really push their new phone (which I’m liking more and more as I use it more).

Nope. they released it exclusively for the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

which, by the way, is discounted right now to $84 from $99.

I’m not sure if that will work to push people over the edge to get a Fire TV. I like mine a lot, and when we buy our next TV, we’ll get a second one to use. It’s still embryonic, but they are improving it. It’s really fast! When I use my Roku, it takes several seconds for YouTube to load. With the Fire TV, it’s a fraction of the time.

Okay, what about books?

There are more than 600,000

Kindle Exclusives (at AmazonSmile*)

in the USA store!

SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND!

That’s a lot of books to have locked into one source.

Of course, you don’t need to own a Kindle to get them…you can get free Kindle reading apps for a lot of devices.

Hey, there was a new option in the search results to limit them to Kindle Unlimited titles!

That resulted in 587,648 titles at the time of writing.

For $9.95 a month, you can read more than half a million titles you can’t read (as e-books) anywhere else.

Now, naturally, you may be thinking that it doesn’t matter how many books there are if there aren’t books you want to read.

Sorting by New and Popular, here are the overall rankings of the top five Kindle Unlimited Kindle Exclusives:

  • #55
  • #42
  • #83
  • #84
  • #19

Those are their ranking among paid books…not as free books.

Four out of five of them were Amazon imprints (traditionally published by Amazon): the fifth one may have been published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

This is one of the big problems for Hachette and the other Big Five publishers.

Amazon is rapidly growing it’s “direct to customer” business…where they don’t need to buy books from the tradpubs (traditional publishers).

I think it’s safe to say that the tradpubs have not come up with a robust direct to customer strategy yet (although they have made moves in that direction).

These aren’t all new authors, by the way: one good example is that the original James Bond books by Ian Fleming are here.

Hachette may be fighting so hard because they want to lock something into place before the situation just gets worse. Buying another year of time might let them get something going in direct to customer…maybe.

How does Amazon get the exclusives? After all, it seems like it would make more sense to have your book available to more people.

For the big name/tradpubs, they pay for it…presumably, big time. Amazon doesn’t need to make a profit on selling books: it’s a small part of their overall business.

For indies (independent publishers, might be just an author), exclusivity is a requirement to have your book be available through the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library)…again, if you are an indie (a tradpub doesn’t need to make a book exclusive to be in the KOLL, I believe).

Amazon is literally the only legal place in the USA to get some of the world’s literature as e-books.

It’s a different world than it was. Barnes & Noble used to have some exclusives in paperbooks in their stores, but nothing like this.

What do you think? Does it bother you that everyone has to deal with the same company to read such a large amount of books as e-books? If you can get them in the public library (meaning that they dealt with Amazon), does that make it okay? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus story: Amazon Associates love to link to Kindle books…to promote the books they like and recommend to their audiences. Associates do not get money for Kindle Unlimited borrows…

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.

August 2014 Kindle book releases

August 1, 2014

August 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 3,683 (at time of writing) August releases in the USA Kindle store:

August 2014 USA Kindle store releases (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**.

One interesting thing before I get into some individual titles: the first four (sorted by new and popular) are the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month!

Since Prime members can already be reading one of these (even though they aren’t officially released until August) at no additional cost, you can see how that would drive up their popularity as compared to actual pre-orders. Still, I think that’s the first time.

The other thing is that there are some Kindle Worlds titles way up on the list, and those are part of Kindle Unlimited. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

Night Moves (at AmazonSmile)
by Nora Roberts
pre-order for August 4 (first Kindle issue of 1985 title)
romance – historical
$5.38

One of the most popular authors…period.

The Evolution and Equilibrium of Copyright in the Digital Age (Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law) (at AmazonSmile)
edited by Susy Frankel and Daniel Gervais
pre-order for August 31
law – intellectual property
$76.80

Okay, this isn’t for everybody…but I don’t like to just list super popular books. :) There are quite a few books from Cambridge being released on August 31st in the USA Kindle store.

Doing It (at AmazonSmile)
by Melvin Burgess
pre-order for August 31
fiction – young adult
$7.99

This is a Carnegie medal winning young adult novel (think the Newbery in the USA), but it sounds like it would get challenged as inappropriate a lot in school libraries…if those who would challenge can figure out the British slang. ;)

Election Administration in the United States: The State of Reform after Bush v. Gore (at AmazonSmile)
edited by R. Michael Alvarez and Bernard M. Grofman
pre-order for August 31
politics
$9.99 ($85 in print)

Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles) (at AmazonSmile)
by Nicole Conway
young adult – fantasy
$3.49

I thought it might be related to Pern…it’s not.

Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 ( at AmazonSmile
by Dav Pilkey
pre-order for August 26
children’s
$7.39

Often a challenged books in libraries. There is a Captain Underpants movie scheduled for release in 2017…

Sidewinders: Bleeding Texas (at AmazonSmile)
by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone
pre-order for August 5
fiction – Western
$5.49

J.A. is Bill’s nephew (Bill died about ten years ago, I think).

The Serpent and the Rope (at AmazonSmile)
by Raja Rao (translated by John Murray
pre-order for April 15
contemporary fiction
$9.99

Enjoy!

One more thing: in preparing this small selection, I was struck by how few of the Big Five publishers books I was seeing. That seemed quite unusual, and it actually worried me that negotiations might be keeping a high number of them out of the store. That could still be the case, but I did search by HarperCollins, and by Schuster (to find Simon &), and found books from both publishers scheduled to be released in August. While there still could be some being withheld, there are some scheduled.

That could just mean that they are dropping in relative popularity, so I’m not running across them as easily…hard to say, exactly. I’ll try to keep an eye on it.

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.

** 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.

Amazon launches subser: Kindle Unlimited?

July 16, 2014

Amazon launches subser: Kindle Unlimited?

In my

The Year Ahead: 2014

post in December, I made this guess about what might happen:

“Kindle Unlimited: Amazon does an “all you can eat” plan

I think this has become a lot more likely. Amazon already has it for kids, and rumor is that they’ve been talking to publishers about it. They could open it with mostly independently published books, but they would hopefully get HarperCollins or some other tradpub (traditional publisher) to join in. You’d be able to read as many books as you wanted out of a select group. I could see this being discounted with Prime, or available without it. Let’s say… about$20 a month without Prime, $5 with it. Once people become Prime members, they spend a lot more money, so this could work economically.”

Now, two of my readers (Lady Galaxy and Marjorie) tell me that they’ve actually seen links and information about something called…Kindle Unlimited!

Marjorie said:

“Did you see that Amazon started an unlimited borrowing program for their kindle? First month free. Then $9.99/ month. I saw quite a few Simon & Schuster titles while browsing. The selection is similar to Scribd but Amazon seems to have some newer titles.”

Lady Galaxy said:

“When using a Kindle to “shop in Kindle store,” I see that two of todays “Kindle Daily Deal” books are listed as “kindleunlimited.” Underneath is a link saying “Subscribers read for free.” If you click that link, it leads to the kindleunlimited page offering a 30 day free trial .”Unlimited reading, unlimited listening, any device, $9.99″ a month.” It offers over 600,000 books. So far, I can’t find a link to it in the online Amazon store.”

This would represent what I call a “subser” (short for “subscription service”).

I will add to this post, but I wanted to get this out there right away. This could be “A/B testing”…some people see it, some people don’t.

** Updated info: if you signed up, you won’t be charged. If you downloaded books, you’ll be able to read them…so people who were quick got freebies (to read, probably not to keep) out of this.

I’m investigating a couple of ways, but if you see this link, please let me know. One thing that would help: right-click the link for more information, then choose “copy shortcut” (it might be a bit different wording…and right-clicking is more likely on a Windows PC…it could be a long press on your device, for example) and post that for me in a comment.

Exciting news!

I really appreciate it when my readers take the time and effort to give me the heads-up on something like this. It really helps get the information out to everyone.

More to come…

Update: I’m not seeing the link shopping on my computer in the Maxthon browser. I’m not seeing it on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

whether I go from the Shop tab on the homescreen, or from the Shop in the Books tab.

On our

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

(newest version), it updated the store when I went to it. That could be connected to this. However, I checked all five books, and didn’t see anything.

If you are seeing something, please also let me know where on the page you see it…although, again, that could be different for different people.

I haven’t seen the link in Chrome on my computer, either.

I did a Google search: not seeing that anybody else has announced it yet.

Update:

A reader, Kindle Fan, commented this:

“The link to Kindle Unlimited is:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/ku/

Kindle Unlimited is an offer for customers in USA and for only $9.99 per month you have unlimited access to over 630,000 Kindle books. You can read the books on your Kindle device or Kindle Reader.

A few hours ago the total number of books in Kindle Unlimited was around 639,000.

It’s likely that Amazon by mistake opened Kindle Unlimited to a number of customers and they have now removed the links and all info about it.

I signed up for Kindle Unlimited and managed to get two good books before Amazon closed it.

My guess is that Amazon will open up for Kindle Unlimited within a few months.”

I responded:

“Thanks for writing, Kindle Fan!

I just tried that link and got a 404 message, indicating that it doesn’t exist (for me).

I tried it in Maxthon, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

It is possible it was an error, as you suggest, or an A/B test. They may have wanted to have a very small sample with which to work first.

I really appreciate you making this comment!

I’m checking in some other ways. It’s possible we won’t hear anything more right away. My guess, though, is that we’ll hear something (even if it’s a “coming soon” announcement) by Tuesday. We’ll see… :)

Lady Galaxy wrote back and identified one of the books as

Gone South (at AmazonSmile)

by Robert McCammon (one of the Kindle Daily Deals at $1.99), but also said the link had disappeared.

That book is published by Open Road, which tends to be feature forward and customer friendly. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were to participate in something like this…which would bring us many great backlist books.

It’s also interesting that Marjorie mentioned Simon & Schuster. Before I saw their comments, I had flipped this article into the ILMK Flipboard Magazine (see below):

The Bookseller article by Sarah Shaffi

which talks about Les Moonves (Chief Executive Officer of CBS, parent company of S&S) talking about Amazon. The comments are a bit…hard to define, and it could be that Moonves was aware of the subser at the time of the interview. Moonves said,

“It’s going to be a very interesting thing as we go into the future.”

That might have nothing to do with it, but still…intriguing. :)

Update: I’ve now had a chance to look at the cached page above, so I can say some more about it. None of this is final, and it might not be like this when it launches: we might have seen an accidental leak of a mock-up. I have gotten some information from Amazon on it, and am waiting for permission to share their brief statement (which does not have a launch date).

Here are books shown on the page, their publishers, and if they are currently available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I’m including the last one because the figure of “over 600,000″ KU (Kindle Unlimited) titles is close to the same (I get 614,972 right now). Could KU work with the same titles as the KOLL (from which you can currently borrow up to a book a month)? Maybe…but flashier titles might get more people into it.

  • Water for Elephants (Algonquin, a Workman imprint), yes
  • Life of Pi (Mariner, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint), no
  • Flash Boys (W.W. Norton), no
  • The Hunger Games books (Scholastic), yes
  • Lord of the Rings books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), no
  • Harry Potter books (Pottermore), yes
  • The Fracking King (Little A, an Amazon imprint), yes
  • When I Found You (Lake Union, an Amazon imprint), yes
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press), no
  • War Brides (Lake Union, an Amazon imprint), yes
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), no
  • The Namesake (Mariner, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint), no
  • The Bone Season (Bloomsbury), no
  • The Summer I Found You (Albert Whitman), no
  • “Kindle Exclusives” (I think all Amazon, all KOLL): The Long Way Home, Trinity Game, Firefly Beach, The Detachment
  • Old Girls in Low Cotton (Kindle Singles), yes
  • Revolution by Murder (Kindle Singles), yes
  • Operation Cowboy (Kindle Singles), yes
  • Books by Michael Lewis: Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, Home Game (W.W. Norton: no, no, and yes)

They are also indicating audiobooks, which would give them a decided advantage (for those who like them) over Oyster and Scribd.

So, looking at this, although one of my readers reported Simon & Schuster (and my readers were able to go from a live link into a much more complete listing), I’m not seeing any of the Big Five publishers displayed on the cached landing page.

However, there are quite a number of them which are not available through the KOLL.

Scribd and Oyster should be scrambling today as they hear this information…that’s the direct challenge.

This is not at all simple, though.

I think one big appeal for it is going to be gift subscriptions. It would be like buying Netflix for your kid…but people feel really good about giving the gift of reading. I’m not sure how many people think they spend $120 a year on books (most of the readers of this blog, quite possibly, but we aren’t enough to make this work).

I see three particular challenges in this:

  • Getting more big publishers on board…you need a turnover of promoted mainstream titles, I think, to keep people engaged
  • What do you do with the KOLL? How does this interact with Prime (if it does)? Is the KOLL going to be positioned as the Prime version of Kindle Unlimited now (and still limited to up to a book a month)?
  • Compensation…and in particular, how that might vary for tradpubs (traditional publishers) versus indies (independents). That’s already different in the KOLL, though, so it isn’t insurmountable

I’m very confident we’ll hear the Authors Guild and others express concerns about this…

Update: thanks again to Kindle Fan! My very informative reader on this linked to some terms on Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) site, which proves that Kindle Unlimited is official!

It’s interesting stuff…I’ll need to verify that it is in the public-facing material, and if it is, I’ll let you know more.

Update: okay, I’ve verified that you can see this without having a KDP account: I don’t want to breach any confidences:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=AI3QMVN4FMTXJ

Here’s the key point:

“You’re eligible for royalty payment from Kindle Unlimited each time a new customer reads more than 10% of your book for the first time. A customer can read your book again as many times as they like, but you will only receive payment for the first 10% read.

It may take months for a customer to read more than 10% your book, but no matter how long it takes, you’ll still be paid once it happens. This is true even if your KDP Select enrollment period has lapsed, and you chose not to re-enroll. “

This suggests that perhaps you have to be in KDP Select (as an indie) to be part of KU. That requires Kindle store exclusivity, which may make some authors hesitate.

I’m also curious about limits on how many books you can have out at a time.

Let’s say you have five people on your account (there is no limit). Can each of them have out a different book at the same time? If so, what if you had 600,000 people on your account? You aren’t allowed to share your books for commercial purposes, but maybe you are just friendly with everybody in your city. ;) Can two devices have the same book at the same time? If so, multiple device licenses create the same problem. We’ll have to wait to see details.

**UPDATE: okay, I just got permission from Amazon to share this information, and it’s important!

“From time to time, we test both new and existing features on our website to determine which services would drive customer purchases and satisfaction. We’re testing Kindle Unlimited but the service is currently unavailable. If you tried to subscribe, you will not be charged. If you downloaded books, you are able to continue reading them.

During these test periods, certain aspects of our website will function or appear differently to randomly selected customers, or to the same customer using another computer or browser. We don’t have any specific information about this service. We’re continually fine-tuning our presentation to provide our customers with the greatest value, selection, and information for their online purchasing decisions.”

Thanks to all of the readers who have commented so far! What do you think? Would you buy into this? If not, what would get you to do it? Do you think it will work in the marketplace? When do you think Amazon will introduce it? Will it cannibalize book sales (these are borrows), and will it mean more of the backlist appearing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

New! 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.

 

July 2014 Kindle book releases

June 30, 2014

July 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:

July 2014 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shoppint*)

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

By the way, some of the prices seem particularly high to me this time. You can always list books for free at

eReaderIQ.com

and they’ll let you know when a book drops in price an amount you specify. I think that is the most useful site on the web for Kindleers. I’m not associated with them, although we have had some correspondence.

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile)
by Harper Lee
literature & fiction – classics
pre-order for July 8

I think this will be one of the best-selling e-books of the year. People have been waiting for it to become legally available (well, not everybody waited) for years.

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee (at AmazonSmile)
by Marja Mills
biographies and memoirs
pre-order for July 15

Mills literally moved in next door to Harper Lee to write about the author…nice companion piece to TKaM being released!

The Book of Life (at AmazonSmile)
by Dorothy Harkness
romance – fantasy
pre-order for July 15

The end of the trilogy begun with A Discovery of Witches…

The City (at AmazonSmile)
by Dean Koontz
romance – fantasy
per-order for July 1

Interesting to see the publisher classify this Koontz book as a romance…

Power Play (An FBI Thriller) (at AmazonSmile)
by Catherine Coulter
suspense
pre-order for July 8

Koontz is romance, Coulter is suspense…got it. :)

A Perfect Life (at AmazonSmile)
by Danielle Steele
family saga
pre-order for July 22

From one of the most popular authors ever…

Cut and Thrust (Stone Barrington) (at AmazonSmile)
by Stuart Woods
suspense
pre-order for July 15

From the unstoppably popular author…close to thirty New York Times bestsellers!

For All Time: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy) (at AmazonSmile)
by Jude Deveraux
romance
pre-order for July 1

Oh, wait…did I make a big deal about nearly thirty NYT bestellers? Deveraux has over forty!

Sight Unseen (at AmazonSmile)
by Iris Johansen, Roy Johansen
crime fiction, supernatural
pre-order for July 15

This one sounds interesting…both Johansens are recognized authors.

The Last Town (The Wayward Pines Series, Book Three) (at AmazonSmile)
by Blake Crouch
horror, mystery
pre-order for July 15

I read the first one of these…it was worth reading. This series is soon to be a Fox TV series. It’s also traditionally published by Amazon.

Diary of a Mad Diva (at AmazonSmile)
by Joan Rivers
humor, biographies and memoirs
pre-order for July 1

New York Times bestselling author…that’s the first thing that comes to mind for Joan Rivers, right? ;)

The Giver Quartet Omnibus (at AmazomSmile)
by Lois Lowry
children’s
pre-order for July 1

Want to read up before the movie is release? Four title omnibus for $14.99.

The High Druid’s Blade: The Defenders of Shannara (at AmazonSmile)

The long-running fantasy series…

Enjoy!

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.

** 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.

Amazon announcement: it’s a…phone!

June 18, 2014

Amazon announcement: it’s a…phone!

Amazon Fire Phone, 32GB (AT&T) (at AmazonSmile)

I’m watching Brad Molen’s liveblog on

engadget

and checking

Amazon’s own site (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ll update this as things are revealed.

  • 60,000 people asked for invitations (about 300 are there)
  • Jeff Bezos looks relaxed in a “California suit” (suit jacket, dress shirt and jeans…also wearing non-business shoes)
  • A LOT of talk about Prime, and how much membership increased when they added perks. I’m guessing they are going to talk about Prime Music before the hardware reveal
  • They’ve been in the device business for ten years, since the first Kindle…but that was in 2007. Maybe since the first prototype?
  • Shout out to Mr. Pine’s Purple House…ironically, since the text doesn’t appear to be part of the images, it appears that the publisher has deliberately blocked text-to-speech access in the Kindle edition
  • There it is…the Fire Phone!
  • 4.7″ HD display, ruggedly built with Gorilla Glass
  • Ultrabright display (590 nits)
  • Quad core 2.2 GHZ processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 13 MP rear-facing camera
  • f 2/0 five element lens
  • optical image stabilization
  • Showing comparison pics to iPhone 5S and Samsung S5…no question, Fire Phone looks better (at least in low light)
  • Physical camera button…even with the phone off, two pushes gets it going
  • Unlimited online photo storage
  • Dolby speakers with Surround Sound
  • Some new weird tangle-free headphones (earbuds, actually)
  • Big section on how cool video is…and you can do second screen and mirroring (you can fling it to a Fire TV)
  • It will have the ASAP feature from the Fire (which I think is great…it pre-loads videos it thinks you might watch, like the next episode in a series, so they start right away)
  • The apps screen includes HBO Go
  • Prime Music (and the availability of apps for competitors)
  • A shout out to books…yay! :) Also the Newsstand
  • Immersion reading
  • Plugging customer service…might be Mayday! Yep, there’s the fake Mayday rep from the Kindle Fire commercials! Mayday is included free, available over both wi-fi and 3G/4G
  • Just saw a Flashlight app in the settings part…I’ve always downloaded one to my phones, nice to have it as an onboard feature
  • About to show off a feature called Firefly (go, Whedonverse!) ;)…requires props
  • Firefly is object recognition (including scanning UPCs and tags, it looks like). Point it at a book or a videogame, and it finds it in the database. Gee, I wonder what they want you to use that for? ;) Shopping, of course! It’s the ultimate super showrooming app! ;)
  • Firefly can also do Soundhound like song recognition. As a cool feature, it can look at a TV show and identify it
  • It recognizes paintings as well
  • I didn’t know Jeff wears glasses…
  • Point it at a sign (even a poster wrapped around a pole) and it can pick up a phone number or e-mail address
  • 100 million items can be recognized
  • Cool!
  • Wow! It had a hard time reading a phone number because of glare (hard to tell if it was a 3 or an 8) so it checked which ones were possible in that position, given the rest of the number
  • Heavy duty OCR (Optical Character Recognition)…hm, might lead to a lot of capture of books that way (which would be legal with public domain titles for sure)
  • Dedicated button for Firefly
  • I really like my Samsung Galaxy S4, but wOOt! (Want One Of Those)
  • They are making an SDK (Developer’s Kit) available, so other companies can work with the recognition
  • Hey, there’s MyFitnessPal…I’ve lost something like forty pounds using that!
  • The SDK is available immediately
  • Firefly is a game changer!
  • Nothing on Amazon’s homepage yet
  • Doing sort of an art theory lesson 3D (perspectives and such)
  • I do suggest you go to the Engadget site to see their great pictures!
  • There’s something about 3D images, and specifically using it in maps. They are using what may be the Empire State Building…maybe we’ll see Doc Savage walking around? ;)
  • If we are finishing in an hour, should see the price and dataplans (?) soon
  • Interesting approach to multi-tasking! You can look under one image to see another one (since they are in three dimensions)
  • You can tilt the phone to make it scroll
  • Looks like you can continuously scroll a book…some people have really wanted that, especially on a smaller screen. In other words, no page flips…just tilt the phone a bit to bring up the next “page”, and keep going
  • The basic interface looks pretty easy to use
  • About to demo a game called “tofu fury”. I eat tofu a lot…hopefully, this will mean that the speech recognition in Firefly will be able to spell “tofu” ;)
  • A term we’ll all learn and use “dynamic perspective”…you tilt your head, you see different things…hm, maybe “dy-per” for short? ;)
  • Lots of technical stuff about how the dyper works…requires four cameras, infrared so that it works in the dark…and the ability to tell the difference between a picture of a head and a head (so it doesn’t get distracted by Nic Cage’s t-shirt that has Nic Cage’s head on it). They used millions of images of faces to train it
  • Dyper is available for developers: developer.amazon.com/firephone
  • Many little interface touches, like canned messages you can send easily
  • AT&T exclusive (I’m happy we are already on AT&T)
  • AT&T rep is talking: four killer features…dyper, Firefly, Fire TV with Fire Phone, and Mayday (there will be a “hand-off” for Mayday to get AT&T help)
  • The phone can be pre-ordered today
  • It’s not on the homescreen yet, but here it is: Fire Phone at Amazon (at AmazonSmile)
  • They are showing $199, or $27 a month (with a two year contract)
  • Ships July 25
  • You get a year of Prime included!
  • Existing Prime members will also get a year free

I’m going to get one!

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Update: well, this is disappointing! I tried to pre-order it through Amazon, and it says I’m not eligible to do an upgrade until September…of 2015! =:o I called AT&T, and they said that they have the “Next” program which would allow me to get it…but we couldn’t get the Fire Phone to show up at the AT&T site, even though the rep could see it on the website. The AT&T rep, who was great, by the way, even texted me a link…it just showed up as a blank page. They thought Amazon might be able to switch it to the Next (monthly) plan…which they had mentioned during the launch events (that’s the “per month” plan). So, I Maydayed it…and they couldn’t do it either.

I’ll have to try the AT&T site again later, I guess, or go to one of their stores.

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

My new free Flipboard magazine, The Weird Old Days features vintage articles on ghosts, sea serpents, psychic phenomena, and more http://flip.it/ZtmYw

* 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.

Amazon’s next launch event: June 18 (you can request an invite)

June 5, 2014

Amazon’s next launch event: June 18 (you can request an invite)

“What the what?” (as Liz Lemon might say).

Amazon has just announced (on its homepage) their “…next device unveiling.”

They’ve even done a teaser video, which you can see here:

https://www.amazon.com/oc/launchevent (at AmazonSmile)

What is it?

Well, it doesn’t look like a phone…or a reading device.

Clearly, based on the video, it is watching people and translating what they are doing into…something.

It appears to be about the size of a tablet, but that’s a bit hard to tell.

Could it be a tablet?

Maybe…one with some weird gestural tracking thing.

My intuition watching the video is that it is doing some kind of avatar or augmented reality featuring you. It’s (and this is pure speculation) representing the user on the screen.

It could even be doing it in glasses-free 3D.

The way people are interacting with it in the video (which could just be a very small part of its capabilities) is like…if you went to a science museum, and they had something that showed you a heat map of your body (I’ve done exactly that). People slowly move body parts around, to see how it looks on the screen…it looks like that. :)

You can request an invitation (you won’t necessarily get one) at the above link.

I can’t go (it’s in Seattle, by the way)…I have a somewhat open-ended commitment going on right now, that could go that long.

Could they introduce more than just this gizmo?

It’s possible…even though they only say “device” (singular) unveiling.

There are three basic possibilities at these Amazon events:

  • They introduce new hardware (that’s clearly happening)…either a completely new line (this could be a gaming device, for example…although the Fire TV does that, too) or updates to an existing line
  • They reconfigure the existing line-up…discontinuing and lowering prices. If this impacts the Kindle non-Fire line, I could see the Mindle going away, for example
  • They introduce new services: that could happen here, including introducing a Prime music streaming service, or a subser (subscription service) for books

Again, purely intuition at this point, but I suspect they are just introducing one thing…and that it is a new direction.

They could also do this big event, and do something separate (even a press release) to announce other changes.

Update: I’ve watched the video a few times, and put it on full screen and frozen it. It certainly seems to me that they are looking at something with apparent depth…a 3-D image. People seem to be trying to look under it, but needing to be at perhaps a certain (fairly broad) angle for it to work.

The most interesting one to me is at about 14 seconds, where you can see the participant in the red plaid shirt for the first time. What makes it different? You see the tester’s right hand, with a finger (the “pinky”, I’d say) crooked. I had originally thought it was too big to be a phone, but this does appear to me that the person is holding in the left hand, and “touching” something with the right. The way it is done, I wouldn’t describe it as typing. If there is a 3D image, it might be “touching” it.

I’m now leaning towards this being Amazon’s rumored phone with 3D imaging.

That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get other announcements along with that, of course. For example, they could talk about its mirroring capability with the Fire TV (if it has that…which I would guess it would).

Update: this photo reportedly pauses part of the video, and reveals something that has the right form factor to be a phone:

[https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/+AaronKasten/albums/6021190030695581425/6021190037605131826?pid=6021190037605131826&oid=%2BAaronKasten

However, I just ran the video several times looking carefully, and could not see that frame. It could just be too fast for me…or it’s possible the photo has been altered.

Two of my readers, jjhitt and Mich Napier (thanks, readers!), commented on a reflection of the device in one tester’s glasses at about 41 seconds. That one I can see…I don’t know that I would have the right to show you a screengrab of that, but you can see it yourself. Outside of it looking like a light-colored rectangle, I can’t tell much from that.

Well, what do you think? What is that thing? What does it do? If you do get an invitation, let me know…maybe we can work out some sort of field reporting from you to my readers.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Harold Delk for giving me a heads-up comment on this.

* 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.

Is the Hachazon War over?

May 28, 2014

Is the Hachazon War over?

Update: according to Amazon, the answer is no. After I wrote this, I saw that Amazon has posted a statement on this issue in the Kindle forum:

Announcement Hachette/Amazon Business Interruption (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Before I address the content, let me first say that I think it is a very good thing that they have said something.

Amazon often keeps things quite private…famously, they don’t release sales figures for Kindle devices or e-books (except sometimes), for example.

This

Reuters blog post by Jack Shafer

does not express a unique position:

“If Amazon thinks I don’t care about its silence, it’s wrong. I take it personally that the company doesn’t think it owes me even a half-baked explanation for why I can’t buy some books from it.”

Now that Amazon has ended that silence, what did they say?

When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term.”

It is an intriguingly “high road” post. Where Hachette’s public statements seemed to suggest they were baffled by what could be seen as Amazon’s bad behavior, Amazon defends Hachette:

Hachette has operated in good faith and we admire the company and its executives.”

I think Amazon makes a mistake in the post in explaining what a tiny part of their business this is. People extrapolate from the specific to the general, not the other way around. In other words, they will assume that a broader class has the same characteristics as an individual case they know well. You can tell someone that 99% of snakes never bite anyone, but if they’ve been bitten by one snake once, that’s going to matter more to them.

What solution does Amazon suggest?

 If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors.”

When I wrote what follows on Tuesday night, I suggested that it looked like maybe things were getting better in the Hachazon War. Amazon suggests in the post that they don’t see it that way:

Even more unfortunate, though we remain hopeful and are working hard to come to a resolution as soon as possible, we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon.”

Looking at it again this morning, I’m seeing about the same results as I did last night…so my optimistic thought that I was perhaps seeing an indicator that the dispute was ending is not being validated.

What follows is my original post:

===

Interestingly, some of the books which were previously affected by the Hachette/Amazon dispute appear to be unaffected today.

In this search for

Grand Central books (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

one of the big Hachette imprints, I’m seeing some which had been…made inconvenient, no longer having that issue.

For example, you can get Robin Roberts’ book right away now.

Now, I’m still seeing some which are affected…J.K. Rowling’s next book (writing as Robert Galbraith) still says you can sign up to be notified when it is available.

My guess is that they may be just updating everything after an agreement…let’s take a look at it again in the morning.

This has been a messy, messy disagreement, with a lot of bad public relations out of it (on both sides, but I would say I saw a lot more people not liking Amazon’s tactics).

I have expressed my unease with more than one outlet refusing to carry books when the disagreement is with the supplier or publisher of that book…as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager myself, I understand making a principled stand not to carry something, or an economic decision that it won’t sell…but trying to go after a business partner (and Hachette and Amazon do work together…that’s what I mean by partners, not anything legally organizational) by doing something that broadly inconveniences your customers doesn’t seem like good business to me.

Customers don’t generally understand the deep reasons why you don’t have something and someone else has it sooner and/or cheaper…they just know you don’t have it when they want it.

Hoping this is over!

New! 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.


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