Archive for the ‘nook’ Category

Barnes & Noble partners with Overdrive on magazines for public libraries

October 9, 2014

Barnes & Noble partners with Overdrive on magazines for public libraries

In this

press release

Barnes & Noble announced today that they are partnering with Overdrive to make magazines and newspapers available through public libraries which can be read on NOOKs and NOOK apps.

Public libraries have quite a variety of e-media available (although it varies greatly from location to location).

Many of them have e-books, of course, but they also have audiobooks, videos…even comics.

Some of them have magazines now: Zinio, which I use on my

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

which I use to read Fortean Times, does it, although not with all magazines (at least not at all branches).

If you have the NOOK app on your device, you could use this (if your public library is participating…important ifs, there, both of them).

You could install the NOOK app on your PC, for example, and borrow just a current issue of a magazine, if there was a particular article you wanted to see.

I would love it if the Kindle Newsstand would do this as well!

There are times when I just want to read that one article…maybe a comparison of EBRs (E-Book Readers). I don’t want to keep it after that…I just want to get the information.

Buying a single issue can be more expensive than subscribing for a month and then canceling, oddly enough.

Take

National Geographic Magazine (at Amazon Smile*)

for example, to which we do subscribe.

You can get a trial month for free (which would probably get you the current issue you wanted).

You can subscribe for $1.99 a month (and cancel at any time, even keeping that “copy” on your device).

Or you can buy the current issue…for $4.99.

Hmm… ;)

It’s nice to see that B&N is still trying new things, still pushing the race for customers to higher speeds.

That’s only good for us as Amazon customers.

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.

Round up #267: page 45, Neuromancer deal

September 7, 2014

Round up #267: page 45, Neuromancer deal

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

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal

In today’s

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

there are two deals which stand out to me.

Neuromancer by William Gibson came out in 1984, and won the Hugo, the Nebula, and Philip K. Dick award…and profoundly influenced geek thinking. You can get it today for $1.99…either for yourself, or maybe delay delivery for an appropriate gift giving occasion. It’s quite possible that even the way you are reading this was influenced by ideas in this book. 4.0 stars out of 5, 813 customer reviews.

The other deal is on twenty Iris Johansen titles for $2.99 each. There are a bunch of Eve Duncan books in this group, and others.

If you want to buy rather than borrow (through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), these are good deals.

Page 45 status

Humans are great at finding linkages and patterns in things…even if they don’t actually exist. ;)

That has led to all sorts of fortune telling techniques, among other things.

I put together a CD with hundreds of small sound clips from movies and TV, gathered from

http://www.dailywav.com/

which is a great site for that sort of thing. It’s been around since 1995, and is nicely organized. They also comply with rightsholders, and I think that they are within Fair Use with what they do.

I have listened to it many times in the car (before I had text-to-speech…I listen to books, now). I would put it on shuffle, and I called it “The Magic Clip Ball”. One way to “use” it would be to think of a question, and then whatever quotation came up next was the “advice” for you. That was often fun!

My adult kid recently made me aware of a “viral book status”.

To quote:

“Pick up the nearest book to you and turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your love life.”

Now, there are some complications with this for e-book users. All of the books in my Kindle (and I know some of you may have thousands downloaded) are really equidistant from me. If you use a Kindle for this, I’d say the one that is nearest to the front of your Carousel. Of course, you may also not have a page 45…I’d go with location 450 if you don’t.

When I decided to try it just for fun, there was a p-book (paperbook) near me…Monsters by George Eberhart (believe me, if I could have had it as an e-book, I’d prefer it).

The line for me?

“One Man in Canoe Sets Out to Hunt Loch Ness Monster”

;)

I won’t comment on the appropriateness of that for me, but I can see how it might fit some people (making it gender neutral, of course).

Seeking Alpha round-up

I recently created a free account on

Seeking Alpha

and they’ve sent me several interesting articles!

They are well thought-out and researched…I’m impressed!

Why Amazon’s Appstore Could Become As Big As Google Play by “Critical Timing”

This isn’t just pie in the sky, but makes a good argument for the super rapid growth of Amazon’s Appstore. Gee, in three years, will be people be as mad at a phone not having access to the Amazon Appstore as they are now to the Fire Phone and Kindle Fires not having direct access to Google Play? Perhaps, although Amazon seems more likely to me to make the apps available more places…they don’t tend to build walls to keep people from getting their products. Witness all of the Kindle reader apps. Of course, you can’t install a Kindle reader app on a non-tablet NOOK, but that has more to do with apps and that operating system, I believe, than deliberate exclusion. In this case there are apps that will work best with the

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

dynamic perspective (which I call “dy-per”), but outside of that, I think we’ll see the Amazon Appstore continue to expand.

Oh, one comment on the Fire Phone: I now like it a lot, after using it for a while. The easy access to things I’ve done before (such as addresses I’ve mapped) is one reason. One big gap? The voice assistant can’t do as much as Google Now or Siri or Cortana, but that will likely improve with software updates. I also asked Amazon if it had a name, and they said no…that might be a mistake, in terms of brand loyalty.

Reading And Believing In Barnes & Noble by Kevin Donovan

I’ve been seeing articles recently talking up Barnes & Noble as a company, at least for investors. Again, this has graphs and trends to back up its point…and they do consider what Amazon does a potential threat to continued growth.

Speaking of what Amazon does, I expect we’ll get a new hardware announcement before the end of the month. In terms of my personal satisfaction, I don’t know what they would do hardware wise to get me to want to upgrade. I’m quite satisfied with both my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

and my

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

It’s possible they’ll introduce some services in another model that would make it attractive.

However, if a model has something unprecedented, I might get it anyway, so I can tell you about it. :)

Back to B&N: do I think they can succeed? I think it’s possible, but I don’t see the path yet.

Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) by Benedict Evans

This may be the best article I’ve ever read on Amazon.

Thorough analysis explaining how it works, and what it will need to do to keep working.

Highly recommended!

It also helps explain why, according to this

RTT News article and other sources

Bank of America just gave Amazon a two billion (!) dollar credit facility.

This despite CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Thomas Szkutak of Amazon’s announced departure next year.

B of A can see money in Amazon’s future…

A KOLL of lump

Last month was the first month since it’s been available that I did not borrow a book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). It wasn’t by choice. Despite contacting Amazon, I could not figure out a way to do it…and I’m pretty good at figuring things out. ;)

You see, I’m both an eligible Prime member and a member of Kindle Unlimited…and even when a book was available in both, it would only let me borrow it as part of the KOLL.

Fortunately, we don’t have Prime just to borrow books, and this is not that big a deal for me (since as noted, I can borrow books through KU instead). It does feel like a bit of a loss, though.

What do you think? Did you get an intriguing “page 45″ result? Do you know of other similar things to do with books and insight? Will B&N survive…and perhaps even thrive? Did you already have an opinion on Neuromancer? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

A new NOOK…sort of

August 21, 2014

A new NOOK…sort of

I last wrote about a new NOOK back at Halloween.

Now, Barnes & Noble announces in this

press release

a new NOOK tablet.

It’s not exactly a NOOK, or at least, not just a NOOK. It’s co-branded with Samsung…it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK.

I had a Galaxy S4 phone which I really liked, although I gave it up for my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which I am starting to like more and more as its easy access to recent activities are becoming more populated. For example, I’ve been driving to places where I need to use GPS. I can easily see my history of searches I’ve done…right from the Carousel. I also like that I get notifications about packages being delivered from Amazon or en route…and I’m made aware of them from the lock screen.

Let’s get back to this new device

Official Page

and the press release.

It’s a 7″ wi-fi only tablet. The screen resolution is 1280 x 800, with 216 ppi.

That’s the same resolution as a

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

and I think that’s the best direct comparison.

The NOOK is a lot more expensive.

With Special Offers (which is the more popular configuration), the 8 GB (same size as the NOOK) Kindle Fire HD is $139. Without Special Offers, it’s $154.

The new “Samsunook” ;) is $179…and that’s after a $20 rebate from the $199 price.

The Samsunook is notably lighter…about 20% lighter (9.74 oz versus 12.2 oz…276g to 345g). It’s also a bit thinner.

The Samsunook has a micro-SD slot. The KFHD doesn’t.

The Samsunook comes with two cameras: 1.3 MP front, 3.0 rear. The KFHD has zero.

The Samsunook directly supports Google Play and ePUB files…the KFHD doesn’t.

Interestingly, I didn’t find the processor speed right away. Online sources suggest it is 1.2 ghz…slower than the KFHD’s 1.5 ghz.

So, yes, the Samsunook has some advantages.

I don’t see any of this making people stand up and cheer, though. I think the most persuasive thing for someone looking for a cheap tablet compared to the Kindle Fires is the presence of the cameras.

They are also saying it comes with $200 worth of content.

The press release says:

“Free with Purchase: $200 in Popular NOOK Content
Barnes & Noble will welcome all Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK customers with more than $200 of free NOOK reading and entertainment content, including three free bestselling eBooks Freakonomics, The Wanderer, and I Am Number Four, and an episode each of three hit TV shows: HBO’s Veep, NBC’s Hannibal, and BBC America’s Orphan Black. As part of the package, magazine lovers can choose up to four 14-day free trial subscriptions from a selection of 12 popular magazines – including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, US Weekly and more, and also receive the previous 12 issues of each title at no cost. A $5 credit will also help customers get started as they explore the NOOK Store. More detail on the free NOOK content offer can be found at NOOK.com.”

If we look at those prices at Amazon…

  • Freakonomics $10.99
  • The Wanderer $4.00
  • I Am Number Four $1.99
  • Veep (HD): $2.99
  • Hannibal (HD): $2.99
  • Orphan Black (HD): $2.99

Let’s see…that’s about $25.

Then there is a $5 credit.

I think they are counting a lot of the money in those back issues. A current single issue of Cosmopolitan is $3.99 at Amazon…so 12 of them would be $47.88 (if you could buy the back issues).

You can also buy a year for $9.99…$0.83 an issue.

So, I’m not that impressed with the $200…but it will sound like a break even to some people.

My opinion?

It’s an okay tablet, not a stand out…people will have to want to have a NOOK to make it work. Fortunately for Samsung, it would be easy to convert it if the B&N branding became a liability or non-existent.

As to that press release…

It has some very interesting statistics, supporting the value of reading. This one in particular stood out:

“Seventy-six percent of U.S. adults state their reading habits have increased over the past three years, and nearly half, over two in five (44 percent), attribute access to an eReader, tablet or smartphone as the reason.”

I’ve been saying that I think the easy availability of e-books has probably increased the number of books being read. Certainly, anecdotally, I’ve heard that from people…they say that they used to read a lot, then it fell off     (sometimes busy lives are mentioned), and after the convenience of having books handy (on EBRs ((E-Book Readers)), tablets, and/or phones), it’s increased again.

However, we have to take that stat in the press release with a grain of salt, since they apparently are counting personal e-mail and social media, among others. I recommend you take a look at the press release…intriguing stuff.

I see some pushback in the comments, thinking it isn’t enough…but that happens with pretty much every new product release. ;)

We’ll see how this affects the stock of both companies…it’s kind of a drop n the bucket for Samsung, but really important for Barnes & Noble.

What does it mean for Kindleers?

Competition is good…but I’m not sure how much competition this is. We could hope that it nudges Amazon towards two cameras on future Kindle Fires…

The KFHDX blows this away, in my opinion…thanks in part to Mayday, the almost instant onscreen tech help. People will like having Google Play on the Samsunook, although you can get a lot of those apps (at least the popular ones) for your Fire through 1mobile and other sources.

What do you think? Do you care about this at all? Does it matter that B&N indicates it will continue to support non-tablet NOOKs? Does the all capital version of the name bug you? ;) Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

NOOK books much more expensive than Kindle books

July 1, 2014

NOOK books much more expensive than Kindle books

Um…Amazon? You know that thing about price matching Barnes & Noble? Never mind. ;)

Why?

On the top ten most popular books, the NOOK books (from Barnes & Noble) are priced higher than the Kindle book (except for one one short story, where they are the same)…often much more.

On average, more than $2.50 more!

As much as $8 more…for one book.

Title Kindle Kindle Price NOOK NOOK Price Difference
One Lavender Ribbon 1 $4.99 N/A N/A N/A
Supreme Justice 2 $4.99 N/A N/A N/A
The Fault in Our Stars 3 $4.99 4 $8.99 $4.00
Neverwhere 4 $2.99 9,904 $7.99 $5.00
The Silkworm 5 $8.99 4 $14.99 $6.00
Top Secret Twenty-One 6 $10.99 2 $11.84 $0.85
The Goldfinch 7 $6.99 38 $14.99 $8.00
Artful 8 $4.99 N/A N/A N/A
The Neighbor 9 $0.99 13 $0.99 $0.00
Invisible 10 $8.99 1 $11.99 $3.00

I haven’t checked this in a while, but the amount of the discrepancy shocked me.

B&N was often in the past higher than Amazon, but this would be pretty discouraging for somebody doing smart comparison shopping and considering a NOOK.

On just the ten most popular books at Amazon, you’d save $26.85…and you couldn’t even get three of them from B&N.

Why?

Those three are not only published by Amazon’s traditional publishing wing, they are part of Kindle First. That means that eligible Prime members have been able to get one of them for free. The books are available for pre-order…I wonder if these sales rankings include the free Kindle First “sales”? Amazon ranks freebies and paid books separately, but they could also track this as Amazon “buying it” for you.

On the other hand, would those Kindle First purchases still be having this much of an effect…on the last day of the month? Wouldn’t you figure that most people get the Kindle First book in the first week of the month?

Could it just be that it’s that great a promotional tool?

Not sure…

One thing we can say confidently: if the DoJ (Department of Justice) hadn’t gone after the publishers and Apple, we wouldn’t be seeing these differences.

The Agency Model was a tool for price raising (the way it was used here) which homogenized the prices across the “retailers” (who became “agents” in the system).

The books were priced largely the same at all the retailers.

Now, Amazon is back to being able to discount e-books…and they seem to be doing that.

Barnes & Noble’s prices are also often discounted off the digital list price…just not as much.

If you were thinking about buying NOOK Media (now that it has been split off from the trade retail stores), you’d have to take that into account.

Are they just not going to try to compete with Amazon on price on the most popular e-books?

I wondered if less popular books might tell a different story…

I decided to check the most popular books in the Reference category at B&N:

  1. The War of Art: $9.99 at B&N, $7.39 at Amazon
  2. The True Story of the Jersey Boys: $2.99|$2.99
  3. Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck: $9.99|$8.89
  4. The Story of Ain’t: $1.99|$1.99
  5. 100 Quotations to Make You Think: Free|Not Available
  6. Free Erotica Books: Free|Free
  7. The John Green eSampler: Free|Free
  8. How to Find Paid & Free Erotica, Erotic eBooks, and Sex Stories: Free|Free
  9. Don’t Know Much About History: $10.99|$9.78
  10. This Time Forever: Free|Free

Amazon is still cheaper if we look at the ten…for the ones which aren’t free, three of them are cheaper, and two of them are the same.

In this very small sample, it appears to me that the lower priced books have less variance, which makes sense. If both stores have $0.99 as the floor price (besides free), you can only so far.

That reminds me of a story. :)

Tallulah Bankhead was doing a touring show. As they got to each town, local actors would take some of the roles.

For those of you who don’t know, Tallulah had this very dry delivery…almost bored sounding.

Anyway, this actor was literally upstaging  Tallulah.

Yes, I’m using “literally” literally. ;)

When you upstage someone, you stand farther away from the audience than the other person…more towards the back of the stage.

That’s “upstage” because in the old days, the audiences were flat and the stage was raked towards the back to make it easier to see.

It’s the opposite of what you find in theatres today, where the audience rows rise towards the back, and the stage is flat.

Why is it bad to upstage someone?

They have to turn a bit towards you to talk to you realistically…which puts their back somewhat to the audience, while you can face full front.

That’s why the metaphorical “upstaging” means to “take attention away from the other person”.

The story goes that  Tallulah took a step back to even the line between them…and the local stepped upstage again.

This was repeated.

Tallulah clued in the audience (with, I imagine, an exaggerated look).

Eventually, the whole audience is laughing at the situation as the local actor, oblivious to what Tallulah is doing, keeps backing up.

Eventually, they reach the back of the stage.

Tallulah looks at the back wall, and drawls out, “Do you climb, dahling?”

;)

One other upstaging story:

I heard about one actor telling another actor (I was a professional actor at one point, hence these stories) that they could upstage the other one without even being onstage.

What happened to prove it is that they had a scene where they had drinks in their hands.

When the first actor left the scene, they carefully put the glass so it was halfway off the edge of the table…just balanced there.

That worked! The audience was spending so much time watching the glass to see if it would fall that they didn’t hear the second actor’s lines at all…

So, where was I? Oh, yeah…Amazon is much cheaper than Barnes & Noble. ;)

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

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

 

Round up #260: kids’ books at Food Banks, B&N splits, app giveaway

June 28, 2014

Round up  #260: kids’ books at Food Banks, B&N splits, app giveaway

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

Barnes & Noble “consciously uncouples” from NOOK

According to Barnes & Nobles’

press release

and other sources (including a Jeffrey Trachtenberg piece in the WSJ which was behind a paywall), they plan to split into two entities by the end of the first calendar quarter of next year.

One part will be NOOK Media (the devices and the content), and the other part will be the retail segment, which includes the brick-and-mortar stores.

It seems that the new sail (the NOOK) with which they had outfitted their corporate ship has become an anchor. ;)

This short excerpt tells the tale:

“Device and accessories sales were $25 million for the quarter and $260 million for the full year, declining 30.1% and 44.8%, respectively, due to lower selling volume and lower average selling prices. Digital content sales were $62 million for the quarter and $246 million for the full year, declining 18.7% and 20.6%, respectively, due primarily to lower device unit sales.”

On the other hand, the retail segment was definitely…um…less bad. ;) Core comparable sales were down 3.1%, but overall, things were pretty flat…which is a considerable improvement.

The stock rose, according to CNN Money

http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=BKS

over 13% this week…and it’s risen more than 50% this year.

Not everybody thinks this is the death knell of the NOOK

Motley Fool article by Dan Newman

but it’s not exactly a victory march, either. ;)

Barnes & Noble is having a NOOK book sales on beach reads…and since Amazon tends to match prices, that means they are likely to be discounted in the Kindle store as well. I did check, and did see the price matching, although I didn’t check them all:

Barnes & Noble Beach Reads sale

Here are a few of the ninety titles:

  • Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury
  • Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
  • Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
  • Four Friends by Robyn Carr
  • Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

E-book revenues more than three times mass market revenues in 2013

This

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

has the stats from the Book Industry Study Group for 2013.

Sales in the trade sector (this group doesn’t include textbooks, kids books, or professional/scholarly books) dropped 2.3% (we’re talking about cash, not units), but other sectors grew.

In terms of formats, I’ve written before about how e-books are largely replacing mass market paperbacks as far as market positioning goes: relatively cheap and convenient. MMPs were down another 6.7% to $781 million…which you can compare to e-books having $3.03 billion.

Hardbacks (again, we’re talking revenue, not units) were still much higher than e-books, at $5.14 billion.

I don’t want to take too much away from the article…if you like to see these sorts of stats, I recommend it.

Through Saturday: over $100 worth of apps for free!

Amazon alerted me through e-mail (which I really appreciate…it lets me help you) about thirty-one apps they are giving away, just through tomorrow (Saturday).

There are always lots of free apps at Amazon, of course, but these are ones for which you would normally pay.

Over $100 in apps…free (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I just figure I’ll go ahead and get all of the ones, if I don’t already have them. With apps,  you can get them for “Cloud Only”, so they don’t take up any memory on your devices unless you choose to use them.

This set includes apps that are generally pretty well-rated, and it has Splashtop and a Sonic the Hedgehog game.

One interesting thing: some apps (like Plex, which is part of this deal) are compatible both with my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

and my

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Since it’s basically the same operating system, I suspect that some of the apps I already own for my KFHDX will also work with my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

when I get it at the end of July.

They won’t all be cross-compatible: if a game/app is designed to work with the Fire Phones dynamic perspective (which I call “dyper”), it won’t be able to do the same thing on the Kindle Fire. They might be able to make two different versions of it available, though, which it would seem like must be the case with the Fire TV and the Kindle Fire.

Children’s books given away at Food Banks

I love this story!

When our now adult kid would have birthday parties growing up, we normally did them at the Food Bank (that was our kid’s choice). It was actually a lot of fun. We would reserve a time, and we’d show up with maybe ten or fifteen people (kids and guardians). We would sort food donations and box them up. It was hard work, and you had to do it right (one big part was checking expiration dates, and looking for damaged containers…like moldy peanut butter). We got to bring our own music, though, and we could crank it up! We’d spend an hour or so (I think that’s right), and end up with a whole palette of food for people!

Afterwards, we’d invite people out to pizza or something like that.

It felt really good to be able to help.

Well, it would have felt even better if we could have given out toys, too, which is what happened recently in England, according to this

The Telegraph story by Martin Chilton

The book that was given away was Super Duck, by Jez Alborough (not available in a Kindle edition), which I understand is popular in England.

When we buy our Toys for Tots donation every year, I do think it’s a good thing to get well-known brands, like Spider-Man. I just figure that has to make the kids feel more “normal”, since many of them see the commercials just like everybody else.

Bravo to the charity Booktrust for arranging this!

Lemony Snicket endorses Spencer Collins

Daniel Handler (A.K.A. Lemony Snicket (at AmazonSmile)) provided verbal support to our

ILMK Reader Hero #3

Spencer Collins, according to this

Huffington Post article by Ed Mazza

That likely ups Spencer’s cool quotient with the kids…not that Spencer needs that. You may recall that our Reader Hero put up a Little Free Library…and it was ordered taken down by the City Council. This issue is still unresolved (you can click our link above to add your support), but we particularly salute Spencer for approaching this by reading up on city codes to work within the system and in a mature and responsible way.

Full disclosure: one of my relatives knows Daniel Handler, although we’ve never met.

Mary Rodgers reported dead

Mary Rodgers (at AmazonSmile)

the author of Freaky Friday (not available in a Kindle edition) and a handful of children’s books, including the sequel

Freaky Monday (at AmazonSmile)

has reportedly died.

The book was a bestseller, and was adapted memorably more than once (some of will think first of Jodie Foster…others of Lindsay Lohan).

She also wrote plays (including Once Upon a Mattress), and was the child of Richard Rodgers (of “and Hammerstein” fame).

The book will live on.

The Measured Circle free Flipboard magazine continues to grow

On Monday, I gave you an

Update on my free Flipboard magazines

Well, the readership continues to grow! I have to say, this may be the most dynamic growth of anything I’ve done creatively.

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

had 716 readers on Monday…and 1,109 at time of writing! That’s more than half again.

Interesting… :)

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.

Round up #257: things like us, Colbert & King

June 6, 2014

Round up #257: things like us, Colbert & King

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

For my UK readers: KFHDX 20% off

Amazon.co.uk is having a Kindle Fire HDX sale through 12 June:

Kindle Fire HDX (from Amazon.co.uk)

You can get the 7″ (gee, do you call it a 17.78 centimeter?) from £159.20, a savings of about £40.

The 8.9″ is from £263.20 (a savings of about £66).

You can also get the first generation (so, not the current one) Kindle Fire HD 7″ for £99! That’s a savings of £60.

We aren’t having an equivalent sale in the USA, but I thought my UK readers might appreciate the alert. :)

It’s ba-ack! The Kindle DX available again new from Amazon

Thanks to Andrys Basten of the

A Kindle World blog

for the heads up on this…and it would have been tough to find!

The larger (9.7″) non-Fire Kindle is back on sale new from Amazon…and for a good price of $199.

Kindle DX

You are definitely dealing with older technology here, but it a large screen non-backlit device with text-to-speech (although an older and less sophisticated version than we have on the Kindle Fire HDX) and a physical keyboard.

Maybe I should find somebody with a different first name…

You know how, for some people, e-books made books a whole lot cooler?

Well, we know that book issues are part of the mainstream…because celebrities are commenting on the Hachazon War (that’s what I call the disagreement going on between Amazon and Hachette, a publisher).

First, let’s mention Stephen Colbert, who did a pretty lengthy (3 minutes and twenty seconds) segment on the Hachazon war:

Comedy Central video clip

Colbert’s books have been affected by Amazon’s “tactics of mass inconvenience”, causing delays in getting the faux pundit’s books.

The weird thing is that you can get Kindle editions of the books right away…but they appear to only be the enhanced versions (meaning they’ll audio/video content). The two in particular that I’m seeing have text-to-speech access blocked, so I’m not going to link to them…but they say they are only available on these devices:

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
Kindle Fire HDX
Kindle Fire HD(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire HD(1st Generation)
Kindle Fire(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire(1st Generation)
Kindle for Windows 8
Kindle Cloud Reader
Kindle for Android Phones
Kindle for Android Tablets
Kindle for iPad

Since they list no non-Fire hardware Kindles, it makes me think these are only available as enhanced versions…and it is possible that that is a different deal with Hachette.

If you want the hardback new from Amazon, you have to wait: “Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks.”

However, here is something else interesting. On the product page, you can get a used copy from Amazon for $9.50…and they’ll ship it with Prime!

Used books usually don’t go Prime (where you pay nothing additional for two-day shipping beyond your annual Prime fee).

That’s a fascinating approach on Amazon’s part!

The publisher, of course, doesn’t get an additional cut for a used book…and the author gets no royalty.

Amazon has found a way to get you the book (albeit, a used copy) just as quickly as if you bought it new…and pay Hachette nothing when you do it.

Colbert was funny, and put a lot of effort into this, I’d say. I did like this line (which I’ve edited slightly from the live delivery):

“This is a big blow to my bottom line because Amazon controls around fifty percent of all book sales. That’s right: thirty books a year.”

Colbert also has a printable sticker you can put on a book that says, “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon.” You can get it at the site above.

That reminded me of the statement that Psychotronic Video used to put on the cover: “Still not a part of AOL Time/Warner”.

This segment clearly presents the authors as victims. The piece doesn’t make Hachette blameless, but mostly mentions Amazon.

I did think it was nice that they arranged a deal with Powell’s Books (one of the great bookstores) so you can order the book through the Comedy Central website above.

Sherman Alexie recommended boycotting Amazon until this was over.

The other famous Stephen who recently commented on the Hachazon War is Stephen King.

I was reading (as I do every week)

Entertainment Weekly (at AmazonSmile)

(specifically, the June 13, 2014 issue), and the cover had a link (I’m reading it on my

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

to a commentary by the prolific author called, “Stephen King Sounds Off on Amazon” (which is actually a sidebar on a longer article by Karen Valby about the Hachazon War).

I’m not seeing it as available on the EW website, but I’ll give you a small excerpt:

“In a sense, it’s like a hoodlum in the protection racket strong-arming one small-business owner so that all the other owners on the street — we could call it Book Street — will fall into line.”

While I have found some statements aligning with Amazon, I’d be happy to find one by somebody who has a voice outside of books and the publishing/bookstore world. Stephen King is an author, of course, but is known to people who…gee, how do I put this…don’t read.

Amazon has recovered from other public relations issues in the past (such as the removal of an unauthorized George Orwell book from people’s Kindles…although I just saw someone raise that on the Kindle forum again, without mentioning what I thought was a good resolution and apology), and if the gadget which is announced in about a week and a half is buzzy enough, it may turn the narrative.

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung for future tablets

NOOK tablets did not go well for Barnes & Noble. People doubted that Amazon could do hardware at all before the Kindle…after all, it wasn’t their area of expertise. However, they did do it quite successfully.

For B&N, it makes sense to turn over tablet manufacturing to an experienced partner (resulting in a co-branded device)…and Samsung is a good choice for that.

PC Mag post by Angela Moscaritolo

In fact, my intuition here is that Samsung may greatly improve the NOOK tablet reading experience…which might drive improvements in Kindle tablets as well.

Why does Samsung want to do it?

Why not? :)

They get to be seen as saving Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, and people appreciate that. They don’t have to invest a lot of money…it sounds to me like they’ll basically take existing hardware and add NOOK software to it. Of course, you can already get NOOK software on a Samsung tablet…but they will brand it that way.

While B&N hypothetically gives up the income stream from NOOK tablets, it hadn’t really been working out as a plus…

Kiva robots going to work at Amazon

Robots to the left of me
Robots to the right of me
Into the Amazon warehouse rolled the ten thousand…

Thanks to the reader who alerted me in a private e-mail to this

EXTREMETECH article by David Cardinal

I write about robots (and lots of other things) in my

The Measured Circle blog

and “flip” lots of articles about them into the free

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

Well, this brings together Amazon and robots.

Amazon spent a lot of money (about $775 million) for a robot company, as I wrote about back in 2012:

I, Amazon: the e-tailer buys a robot company

The article has a great video of the Kivas at work, but also points out some important things.

Sure, people worry about humans losing jobs to robots…and that undeniably happens. The thing is, though, that people also gain jobs because robots are working…and they may be jobs which are better suited (and feel better) for humans.

Robots aren’t cheap, but there are some huge savings involved with them. You often hear people say that they don’t get sick, although they do need maintenance. They don’t need some kinds of leave, though…and they don’t need raises.

Perhaps not as obviously, the Kiva robots can cut down on utility bills. They probably don’t need lights, for example, and from what I’ve read, you don’t have the same air conditioning issues (which has been one of the major complaints for humans working in Amazon warehouses…they can get hot!). They aren’t like mainframe computers, which often need quite a bit of climate control.

Isn’t that a weird thought?

Tourist: “Hi, I’m here for the Amazon warehouse tour.”

Tour Guide: “Great! You’ll need these night-vision goggles, and this personal-cooling suit.”

Tourist: “My what and my who?”

Tour Guide: “This warehouse has been optimized for our silicon-based workers. What do you see through this window?”

Tourist: “That’s a window? I thought it was a TV that was off.”

Tour Guide: “No, that’s the interior of the fulfillment center. It’s just that dark.”

Tourist: “Can’t you turn the lights on?”

Tour Guide: “There aren’t any lights.”

Tourist: “Um, okay. Why the suit?”

Tour Guide: “Well, the suit isn’t strictly necessary, but it is about 40 degrees in there.”

Tourist: “Wait, didn’t you say it was a cooling suit?”

Tour Guide: “Oh, sorry…forty degrees  Celsius. It’s about…104 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Tourist: “Why so hot?”

Tour Guide: “That’s just because of the temperature outside…we don’t heat the floor.”

Tourist: “I’m from Phoenix, I won’t need the suit. How long does the tour take?”

Tour Guide: “About seven to nine minutes.”

Tourist: “That’s it? Don’t we get to see the whole place?”

Tour Guide: “That is the whole place…well, all of it where a giant biped like you will fit. The rest of it is all Kiva height.”

Tourist: “You know, I think I’ll skip it.”

Tour Guide: “Suit yourself. The next shuttle for downtown is in two hours.”

Tourist: “Two hours? I knew I should have driven!”

Tour Guide: “You can’t…there’s no parking lot.”

Tourist: “No parking lot?”

Tour Guide: “No need for one. Do you know how much land like that costs? Not to mention the expense for damages, the danger to people walking to and from…this is much simpler.”

Tourist: “What about you? Where do you park?”

Tour Guide: “Oh, I don’t park. I just live here. I’ve got everything I need…and AmazonFresh brings me my groceries. It’s actually cool. I’m the only human most of these Kivas have ever seen.”

Tourist: “I wonder if they think all human beings look like you…”

Tour Guide: “I doubt that’s the case.”

Tourist: “Yes, that’s silly. Robots don’t think.”

Tour Guide: “They think…they definitely think. They just don’t think about things which are insignificant to them…”

Speaking of thinking, what do you think? Will Samsung keep the NOOK brand for tablets alive? Will B&N farm out the non-tablets to somebody else? Will Amazon ever run out of Kindle DXs…or replace them with another big screen non-backlit device? 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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

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

April 4, 2014

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

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

“I’m not at Liberty to pay…”

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

Flexibility? Yes. Capability? No.

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

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

CNNMoney graph

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

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

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

 Digitizing your paperbooks will be legal…in the UK

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

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

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

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

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

Wired.co.uk article by Olivia Solon

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

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

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

I hope this inspires a similar decision in the USA…

Amazon Fire TV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HBO GO (at AmazonSmile)

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

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

That means that, if you have both a

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

and an

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile)

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

The app is free, by the way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Similarly, while the links to

Manage Your Kindle (at AmazonSmile)

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

Students: write your way to a Kindle Fire

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

Amazon has a nice

student guide

to

Timebound (The Chronos Files) (at AmazonSmile)

One of the elements there is a contest:

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

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

What do you think? Should I cover the Amazon Fire TV at all in this blog? I do think I will do it some (not a lot), but I’m interested in your opinion. Will the USA follow the UK in legitimizing format shifting? Should they? What would be the impact? Were you ever given an assignment in school with a prompting question? If so, was it valuable? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

Round up #244: nook drops Windows app, bookstore sales down

March 17, 2014

Round up #244: nook drops Windows app, bookstore sales down

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

Bookstore sales down 6.9%

According to this

Publishers Weekly post

bookstore sales in the US dropped 6.7% year over year for January (per the Census Bureau).

At the same time, the overall retail sector rose.

Quite simply, this is not a good sign for bookstores. What changed in 2013 that could be seen as an exceptional accelerant? Borders has been closed for longer than that. E-books aren’t new (and the growth rate for those have slowed).

I suppose that one could argue that they’d been coasting on reserves, but seriously, most bookstores don’t have a year’s worth of reserves.

I think this is a genuine indication that people are going less. I know, I know…no surprise to a lot of folks.

Speaking of that slowing e-book growth rate, this

EBOOK FRIENDLY post

has an interesting hypothesis (along with some other intriguing infographic stats…I’d suggest you check out the article).

One of four possible causes given is that the Association of American Publishers (AAP) data, which is what most people use, doesn’t track e-books published by indies.

If the marketshare of indies is growing significantly, that would make it appear to the AAP that the growth rate slowed, when it may not have done so.

Looking at the USA Kindle store bestsellers, there are certainly books from tradpubs (traditional publishers) on there (The Divergent Series Complete Collection ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)) helps with that at the top), but there are also indies. I’ll have to look at that again to see if the sands have shifted.

Margaret Adams on why dystopian fiction is popular

I recommend this

Financial Times article by Margaret Atwood

about people’s fascination with dystopian (negative futures…or at least, negative societies) literature.

Atwood (MaddAddam ((at AmazonSmile))) does a nice job of putting the genre in historical perspective. This isn’t a new phenomenon, bred of economic difficulties for millenials (and the generation after).

As regular readers know, I tend to be optimistic about the future. Take a look at almost anything tangible in our lives and look back, oh, a short two hundred years. Life expectancy? Opportunity for women and minorities? Literacy rates? Infant mortality? I know that some people see a moral decay, but that’s a bit of a different question. Was an individual likely to suffer more physical misfortune two hundred years ago than they were now? Go back three hundred years or forward from my original point one hundred years (to 1914). That’s how I see the trends.

I don’t think dystopian literature becomes more popular, necessarily, when people actually believe the world is getting worse. Wouldn’t one expect that utopian literature might become more popular in fantasy/science fiction at that point, as an escape?

That might be an interesting study…

Classics or not, ya gotta sell ‘em

Looks like I might need to get familiar with this site!

In this

Trivia Happy post

The post has what they claim are genuine covers (and I’m leaning towards that being true) of “pulpish” editions of classic books.

The pictures are great!

I also like the copy on this one…which book would you guess this is describing?

“This unusual book may shock you, will make you laugh, and may break your heart — but you will never forget it”

Would you believe…Catcher in the Rye?

nook discontinuing Windows app: Microsoft Consumer Reader to work with that format?

According to this

Redmond Magazine post by Kurt Mackie

Barnes & Noble has filed an amendment to an earlier statement. B&N won’t need to make a nook app for Windows, and will help with the “Microsoft Consumer Reader”.

What is that?

Hopefully, something that will do better than when Microsoft had the .lit format!

This may be something that Microsoft does that gives an app that will read your nook books and your Microsoft Word documents…heck, why not PDFs and text files, too? The astonishing thing is if they could pull anything else proprietary into it…Kobo, Kindle. I can see that as a possibility, believe it or not.

That wouldn’t have Microsoft selling the content, so it wouldn’t hurt there.

Amazon/Kobo could negotiate payments which might make it worthwhile.

Right now, you could have both the Kobo app and the Kindle app on one device…would it be that much worse for the two companies if, instead of two apps, you had one?

I think this is pretty unlikely, but it’s just something that occurred to me…and I don’t think it’s impossible.

What do you think? If Microsoft makes it so you can read nook books on a Surface (or other tablets), is nook hardware doomed? Why do people love dystopias? Do you read them? Are bookstores on an inevitable slide, or will they hit a plateau…and possibly even grow? How much are indies skewing the stats? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

===

* 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.

After the Agency Model, is there price competition again?

February 28, 2014

After the Agency Model, is there price competition again?

When the Agency Model came into being in the USA in April of 2010, publishers using it set the prices on e-books (rather than the retailers selling you the books). That basically meant that there was no price competition: the price would be the same wherever you bought it.

The US DoJ (Department of Justice) then went after those publishers…and they all settled, eventually ending the Agency Model.

A comment by reader Jamie Bothen got me wondering…are the prices different now at Barnes & Noble and Amazon?

I first checked some New York Times bestsellers:

  • Amazon $5.99: B&N $5.49
  • Amazon $5.49: B&N $6.15
  • Amazon $5.99: B&N $5.99
  • Amazon $8.52: B&N $10.99
  • Amazon $11.47: B&N $11.47
  • Amazon $10.65: B&N $10.99
  • Amazon $11.89: B&N $16.99
  • Amazon $5.99: B&N $7.99
  • Amazon $6.83: B&N $7.99
  • Amazon $10.65: B&N $10.99

Well, that answers the question in the affirmative!

Out of these ten books, only two were at the same price at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Only one of them was cheaper at B&N, and that was by fifty cents. Amazon does do price matching, so if people report the difference (there’s a link to do that on the book’s Amazon product page), the price would be likely to go down.

Interestingly, you could save up to $5.10 on a single book at Amazon!

Looking at the difference if you bought all ten (I went by the default order at Amazon…which happened to be by publication date), you would save $11.57…which could certainly get you another book.

I would actually expect the prices to be more similar on bestsellers than on “long tail” (older) titles…I would think competition would tend to keep them similar, since people are more likely to be comparing prices and shopping around.

So, I thought I’d try the

Science Fiction Classics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

  • Amazon $3.99: B&N $3.99
  • Amazon $5.74: B&N $9.49
  • Amazon $4.95: B&N $5.99
  • Amazon $7.50: B&N $10.19
  • Amazon $8.04: B&N $9.99
  • Amazon $5.74: B&N $7.99
  • Amazon $10.74: B&N $12.99
  • Amazon $5.99: B&N $7.99
  • Amazon $5.99: B&N $7.99
  • Amazon $7.69: B&N $9.99

As I guessed: prices were significantly lower at Amazon on the backlist: the savings was $20.23, close to twice as much.

There’s the answer: prices are different at this point, and Amazon tends to be cheaper (but they are sometimes the same, and rarely, B&N is cheaper…but not by as much as Amazon tends to be cheaper on the average).

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.

NOOK revenues down more than 50%

February 26, 2014

NOOK revenues down more than 50%

In this

press release

Barnes & Noble their fiscal 3rd quarter 2014 financial results.

While CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Michael P. Huseby says:

“During the third quarter, the company significantly improved its balance sheet and bottom line, while making real progress on our strategic priorities…”

that may not be the message most people take away from the numbers.

In particular, for e-book users, this is not good news.

Here’s a short excerpt about the NOOK part of the business (which includes the devices, accessories, and e-books):

“The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $157 million for the quarter, decreasing 50.4% from a year ago.  Device and accessories sales were $100 million for the quarter, a decrease of 58.2% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume and lower average selling prices.  Digital content sales were $57 million for the quarter, a decline of 26.5% compared to a year ago, due primarily to lower device unit sales.” 

Clearly, the NOOK business is sliding, even if it might not be sliding as much as it was. A drop of 50% (closer to sixty for the devices) means that at this rate, in two years, it would make no money at all.

The device declines were due to, according to them (although I’ll put it in other words), they didn’t sell as many and the ones they did sold, they sold for less money.

Lower sales of NOOK hardware is a bad number for Kindle users, because competition is good.

Also worrisome is that the content sales dropped about a quarter, which they blame on lower NOOK hardware sales (primarily). If the device sales dropped by half, and the content sales dropped by a quarter, that might seem like it suggests that about half the sales occur on NOOK apps, which would be one possible avenue for them for the future.

However…

Much of the content sale likely occurs to people who already own NOOK devices. It wouldn’t surprise me if 90% of Kindle book sales to people who own Kindles already.

That makes me guess that very few of their sales come from people who don’t own NOOKs. If they stop manufacturing NOOKs, as the NOOKs fail/are lost/get stolen, that pool of existing owners declines. That decline will be accelerated if the NOOK doesn’t keep up with the market in terms of features.

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I’m also interested in the bookstore sales, and I’m sure many of you are, too.

Even though they were down 6.3% year over year, it is by far mostly the NOOK’s fault, according to them. They say that without the NOOK, they’d only be down 0.5%…up is better, but that’s tolerable.

That’s another bad thing for the NOOK, though. Barnes & Noble pushed as a strength for e-book readers that they had a physical presence (even though they weren’t going to actually repair your NOOK at your local store). They started out with letting you read e-books on your NOOK in their stores, and they had these NOOK desks in the stores.

If those are major anchors on the stores, holding them down, and they eliminate it…that reduces the strength of the NOOK.

Does this mean that B&N will abandon the NOOK?

Not according to Huseby:

“We remain committed to delivering world-class reading experiences to our customers through our reading centric e-Ink and color reading devices.  The Company is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution.   As a result, we plan to launch a new NOOK color device in early fiscal 2015.” [emphasis added]

A NOOK color device does not mean a color non-backlit model, based on the way they use it…it suggests  a new tablet.

Early fiscal 2015 is probably sooner than you think. The third quarter ended on January 25, 2014. Three months later would be the end of April, which would end fiscal 2014. So, we’d be looking at likely the summer.

The third leg of B&N’s stool, College, were also down. The best number they can give us is down 3.1% for comparable stores. It looks like they are doing better with non-book items in college stores…but as I wrote about at the end of January, Amazon has a pilot program which may challenge B&N in that area as well.

Overall, this is a report that isn’t encouraging for e-book readers. However, there are ways that good things could happen here. B&N could have a turnaround…or the resources currently being used to support B&N might end up doing something better for readers…

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

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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