Archive for the ‘nook’ Category

Round up #216: Miracast dongle, new NOOK

October 31, 2013

Round up #216: Miracast dongle, new NOOK

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

There’s a new NOOK in town

You know when, sometimes, you see a commercial on TV for an upcoming episode, and you say to yourself, “That show’s still on?”

That’s sort of how I felt when I saw the news on the new NOOK model being introduced. :)

Oh, I know intellectually that NOOKs are still out there, that they have their fans, and that they are one of the big competitors for Amazon…certainly, on non-backlit EBRs (E-Book Readers).

It’s just…they’ve been a bit off my radar.

The new nook (I wish they’d make up their minds on capitalization) GlowLight is $119.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook/379003208

Anything really stand out?

Well, they’ve reportedly eliminated full screen flashing when you “turn pages”…that’s nice.

Here’s the

User’s Guide pdf

It does have 4GB of storage: that’s a lot, nowadays.

They also

compare it to the Paperwhite

It does have some advantages: if you don’t want an ad-supported EBR, it’s cheaper (if you don’t mind the ads, and many people like the Special Offers, it’s the same). It’s about an ounce lighter, and does hold a lot more books.

I have to say, though, I didn’t see a page with tech specs (specifications)…they don’t make it easy to see what file formats it will use, for example.

They also push that you can get “personalized recommendations”…that’s highlighted in the

press release

They say (in part):

“The enhanced shopping experience features a new “Now on NOOK” section right on the home screen, giving readers instant access to a curated list of content suggestions from Barnes & Noble booksellers. The new Shop also delivers an array of exclusive personalized lists “Picked Just For You,” which combine the expert knowledge of Barnes & Noble booksellers with rich book data to deliver unparalleled recommendations.

The new NOOK GlowLight also brings NOOK Channels™ to the shop experience, offering customers more ways to browse the more than 3 million titles from the world’s largest digital bookstore to expand their passions for the authors and subjects they love…”

Those are good things, and I know a very techie person who really liked a NOOK. It will be interesting to see how this does this holiday season. I think the zeitgeist may have changed from it being “normal and safe” to get something from Barnes & Noble to being “normal and safe” to get something from Amazon…and that getting something from B&N may be a risk, due to their possibly uncertain future.

Pop quiz: what is available from B&N in terms of NOOK hardware?

  • NOOK HD+ tablet starting at $149
  • NOOK HD tablet starting at $129
  • NOOK GlowLight at $119
  • Simple Touch at $79

I try a Miracast dongle for my Kindle Fire HDX

I’ve been trying to wait to see if Amazon introduces a TV solution (I think they will…within two weeks, is my guess), but when

Eight of our Kindles were stolen

this week, that meant we had no TV in one room (we only have two TVs…well, three, if you count an old one that literally serves as a stand for a newer one…yeah, we can be classy like that). ;) You see, I had been using my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB (well, the LTE model, but I never used the LTE) with the Live Media Player app.

Well, that last generation model had an HDMI out, which means I could run it through that TV with a cable.

My newer Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers doesn’t have an HDMI out: it’s designed to use wireless Miracast, which the TV doesn’t have.

I bought the MOCREO Airplay Miracast HDMI TV Dongle

for $32.19.

Does it work?

Sort of…

First, it has quite a short power cord on it, designed to plug into a USB port on the TV…which this TV (it’s a few years old, but is HD) doesn’t have. So, it took a bit of stringing things together to get power to it (it needs to be plugged into power to work, but a powered USB might run it).

Second, there were no instructions. It worked pretty easily, though: plug it into the HDMI port on the TV, and that was about it.

I had the TV set to receive HDMI in already. I just had to tell the Kindle Fire HDX to find it:

Settings – Display & Sounds – Display Mirroring

Really, it was easier than Bluetooth pairing.

However…

The sound and the video were out of sync…way out of sync. The sound on the TV was running at the same speed as on the Fire (I only heard it through the TV, the same way it would work if you had something plugged into the headphone jack).

When I watched a Prime video, the video was a couple of minutes behind!

It seemed like the more data intense it was, the more the lag. Angry Birds Star Wars was more like thirty seconds behind. The e-mail app? Less than ten.

I Maydayed it, and the rep could see that my wi-fi was somewhat erratic, and suggested that might be it.

That means I’ll try more testing. Maybe try it closer to the router, and I do have a different router I can try. I might also try it at work. If it works with a better signal, I could try a wi-fi extender (but I don’t think those are cheap…if anybody can recommend one, I’d appreciate it).

If that’s the only issue, then this is a good solution. If it’s not, it’s not. ;)

NPR: “Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores Play The Print Card Against Amazon”

In this

NPR article by Lynn Neary

the basic assertion is that Larry Kirshbaum recently left as the head of

Amazon Publishing

because many brick-and-mortar stores refused to carry books published by Amazon, making that an unsuccessful venture.

As I wrote about a year ago, that drives me crazy! I speak as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager…you’re just shooting yourself in the foot doing that. I would love to see brick-and-mortar bookstores stick around, and I think some will…but not with that kind of move.

Get comps when you review on Amazon

In another good

NPR article

Lisa Chow writes about top Amazon reviewers getting lots of stuff for free.

I really didn’t know that!

I mean, you aren’t even really supposed to write about e-books if you were given them as compensation for writing a review. That’s not quite what is happening here, but I sure would like to know if a review is written by someone who was given that $500 item!

As a blogger, I’m required to reveal when I got a comp (free) copy of something if I review it (that doesn’t usually happen, by the way).

Does put an interesting spin on things…probably really motivates some people to write reviews that will get good responses. I guess that could be a good thing…

What do you think? Is the NOOK as relevant as it was a year ago? Do you mind that some Amazon reviewers get free things to review? Are brick-and-mortars hurting Amazon by not carrying its paperbooks? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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

Round up #199: bundles, B&N

August 21, 2013

Round up #199: bundles, B&N

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

Digital downfall! 

Okay, I would not want to be Barnes & Noble trying to compose this

Press Release on Q1 finances

Actually, I might…I do love a challenge. ;)

Maybe you could hire somebody like an old Catskills comedian to do it like a stand-up routine…

“Hey, it’s nice to see all the investors in the audience. You know, I was afraid this place was going to be like one of our stores…empty. Just kidding…revenues were only down 9.9%, which comes out to 111,000,000 bucks. With all those ones and  zeroes, it looks like our name on the internet. Speaking of digital, if you think our retail sales are bad, you should see our NOOK sales! Yeah, take a look at them…no, lower…lower…lower…yep, that’s them down there. Our NOOK sales were down 20.2% over last year. A 20% decrease…that’s like saying you have a perfect attendance record at work…if you don’t count Fridays. On the other hand, we only dropped $39 million there…so we lost almost $72 million less than we dropped in the bookstores: go, progress! You ready for the good news? Wait, wait, don’t get so excited…I didn’t say there was any good news, I just asked if you were ready for it. Actually, the college bookstores did have a 2.4% increase…up 5 meeeeeeellllllliooon dollars! Let’s see…five million up, compared to $111 and $39 million down: I’d do the math for you, but I couldn’t afford my algebra textbook after I paid ten dollars for a pack of Post-It notes in my campus Barnes & Noble…”

;)

This

GIGAOM article by Laura Hazard Owen

does a nice job of analyzing the Q&A part of the investor call. Are they going to stop making tablets inhouse? Um…maybe not. They are committed to continuing with the NOOK side of the business…at which point, I’m all of the investors in the room snuck a sideways peek at the person next to them, to see if they were dumping the stock and making a break for the exit.

Owen included this quotation:

“At least one new Nook device will be released for the coming holiday, and further products are in development. At the same time, we will continue to offer our award-winning line of Nook products, including Simple Touch, Simple Touch with GlowLight, Nook HD and Nook HD+ at the best values in the marketplace today.”

I think we may continue to see reductions in NOOK hardware prices, which does exert a downward price pressure on Amazon…which the latter might choose to ignore, of course.

The USPTO wants your input on “Copyright Issues in the Digital Economy”

There is a debate going on right now about extending copyright terms.

This is going to be worth another, separate post from me, but I wanted to go ahead and give you the place to make your comments, if you want:

http://www.uspto.gov/blog/director/entry/we_want_to_hear_from

It relates to this

PDF entitled COPYRIGHT POLICY, CREATIVITY, AND INNOVATION IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

I plan to listen to that in the car today, after which I’ll write my response.

Listen to a PDF?

Yep. I recently bought

ezPDF Reader PDF Annotate Form

which has text-to-speech for PDFs. I actually finally spent some of my Amazon Coins on an app, and that was it and this is why. :)

Remember when a “bundle” in publishing meant newspapers tied together with kite string?

Many people bring up the idea of “bundling” e-books and p-books (paperbooks) in the Amazon Kindle forums.

The idea is that you would buy a p-book and get a free e-book, or vice versa.

That often comes from a position of  naivety: they think that Amazon can just give you a digital copy, I guess by scanning the p-book. They don’t understand (and there is nothing wrong with not understanding, as long as you are willing to learn) that Amazon pays the publisher for both the e-book and the p-book, and that in turn is part of how authors get paid.

However, a publisher (not Amazon) could work out a deal with the author that included both the e-book and the p-book…and some publishers (not a lot so far) are.

PM Press in Oakland is one, according to this

Publishers Weekly article by Judith Rosen

I have to warn you, though, when I went to the PM Press site to check it out, the home page had an NSFW (Not Safe For Work) image right at the top.

I tried to find something about their Paperback Plus! program, and they don’t seem to be promoting much. When I searched for Paperback Plus, I did find these eleven results:

https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=search_list&s[search]=paperback+plus&s[title]=Y&s[short_desc]=Y&s[full_desc]=Y&s[sku]=Y&s[match]=all&s[cid]=0

So, you buy a paperback, and get a free e-book copy.

Now, honestly, I’m not sure to whom this appeals. I don’t want p-books any more, even for free. I’m sure I’m not the only person in that category. I love the ones I have, but I don’t want more in my house and I don’t like the ecological impact of the manufacturing process.

Also, I’m never quite sure what prevents somebody from simply doing a deal like this, and then selling the p-book. One barrier is that you would pay more for this combo than you might pay for the e-book alone, but I still don’t quite get it. It used to be different with DVDs and CDs, because there was a clear division in the player. You wanted a physical version to watch/hear on your superior, non-portable hardware, and a convenient digital version. I think increasingly, though, people don’t want the CDs or DVDs either, and for the same reasons that many of us don’t want the p-books.

Alexander Turcic reported in this

mobileread post

that the University Press of Kentucky is doing something interesting. You send them a picture of you holding the p-book, and they send you a pdf of it for free. Again, a kind of bundling…and I’m guessing they can use your picture for promotional purposes, although I haven’t checked.

I don’t expect bundling to become commonplace, except on expensive books, where it will be just part of the luxury service.

What do you think? How good/bad does the Barnes & Noble report look to you? Do you want both an e-book and a p-book when you buy something? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: bonus deal

I meant to include this this morning. :)

End of Summer Savings: Kids & Teen Kindle Books up to 75% off

Right now, there are 149 titles in there, and there are some good and “brand name” choices. They don’t say how long this will last, and it may not be available in your country, so as always, check the price before you click that Buy button.

Good time to look for gifts for the holidays…you can delay delivery.

Enjoy!

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

Barnes & Noble lowers GlowLight price to $99

August 18, 2013

Barnes & Noble lowers GlowLight price to $99

I got a press release from Barnes & Noble today about them lowering the price of the NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight to $99. The

Press Release

is also now up at the website.

The important thing to note here is that this isn’t being announced as a limited-time sale. It looks like this is the new normal price.

Absolutely, that is a good price. Compare it to the

Kindle Paperwhite wi-fi only

at $139 without Special Offers, and $119 with them. Effectively, it’s forty dollars cheaper, unless you allow advertisers to subsidize the initial purchase price (which has been the most popular way to go with Kindles…but some people resent it, even when opting for it).

Two questions here: is this leading up to Barnes & Noble getting out of the reflective screen device business, and will Amazon follow suit by lowering the price of the Paperwhite?

In terms of the first part, I think the answer is no. Barnes & Noble has indicated that they will continue to support reflective screen (not backlit) devices. However, it is worth noting that when I recently wrote about E Ink expecting a big third quarter, the quotation from an analyst was

“To my knowledge, E Ink’s major clients, in particular, U.S.-based Amazon and Japan’s Kobo, are launching new e-reader devices to take the advantage of rising demand in the current quarter…” (emphasis added)

didn’t mention B&N.

B&N’s aggressive approach to tablet marketing is widely seen as having been an over extension. Investors might be happy if they largely stuck with the GlowLight the way it is for a year or so…it’s a good device, and they may not need to be the market’s innovator (and therefore, biggest risk taker) to have it serve its purpose.

Anybody who buys a NOOK does have to be psychologically prepared for major shifts in company support in the future, but I think it might be safe to assume you could use it effectively for another year (which, based on the warrantys, is what you are supposed to figure an EBR…E-Book Reader…lasts, although they can much last longer).

The second question: does this mean a drop in price for the Paperwhite?

Yes, I think it could. Amazon has responded to Barnes & Noble lowering device prices before. I suspect they planned to lower the Paperwhite price anyway when they announce new Kindle hardware, probably before the end of next month. They might figure it’s better to do it now than to let B&N steal a march on them.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the ad-supported Paperwhite also drop to $99 in the next week, but we’ll see what happens. :)

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

Round up #190: sci-fi classics, the smell that sells books

July 23, 2013

Round up #190: sci-fi classics, the smell that sells books

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

Amazon would have a tough time doing this

Well, you know how I keep saying that brick-and-mortar bookstore (I’m a former manager of one) need to make it so that people want to shop in their stores? Get people to be consciously willing to spend more money there to support you?

How do you do that?

In my store, we did it through product knowledge, for one thing. I read a book in every section of the store, and encouraged my employees to do the same. I asked (and suggested that they ask) a regular customer in that area for a recommendation.

That meant I read a Jude Deveraux and a Jerry Ahern, for example.

That was an eye-opener and fun for me, and I think it did help my customers feel valued.

I didn’t require my employees to do it, though…just recommended it. After all, I couldn”t have them take the time to do it when we were open, and I didn’t want to control what they did at home.

So, there’s got to be an easier way to make shopping a bookstore a rewarding experience, right?

How about pumping the smell of chocolate into the store?

According to this

Pacific Standard article by Tom Jacobs

there was a scientific study (albeit a fairly small one) that tested just that idea.

They pumped a subtle smell of chocolate into a bookstore. They did it at different times of the day (to create controls).

When the chocolate was going, people stayed in sections longer…and bought more (a lot more…any store would be happy with the amount of growth that is reported).

I haven’t read the original paper, but I recommend the article. I thought it was particularly interesting that they had people predict first which genres were associated with chocolate, and which weren’t…and while genres in the former group sold better, so did ones in the latter…just not as much.

I think it would tend to drive me out of the store…but I’ve smelled worse in a bookstore and stayed there. ;)

Buy a NOOK Simple Touch, get a $20 B&N gift card

This one surprises me a bit. Barnes & Noble did discount the NOOK tablets, and then say they were going to stop making them on their own. However, at the same time, they committed to continue making NOOK non-tablets.

Right now, you can get a $20 gift card when you buy a NOOK Simple Touch. Here are the details:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/help/help_cds2.asp?PID=47579

You have to act soon if you want to do this…basically, in the next week.

The question is…do you want to do this? ;)

My Significant Other was in a Barnes & Noble not too long ago, and said that the clerk was really pushy. That was particularly true about re-upping with their membership program, which costs $25 a year.

My SO (nicely at first, I’m sure) explained that it made sense for us to have the card when our adult kid was in college (the only real place to shop on campus was a Barnes & Noble college bookstore), but since that wasn’t the case any more, we weren’t going to renew.

The clerk pushed it, and my SO finally said something like, “Look, I don’t know if you are going to be here in a year…I”m not sure it’s a good investment.”

If I had to bet right now, I think I would bet that the B&N card would still be  usable  a year from now…but I can see the concern. ;) We also buy so much from Amazon that we wouldn’t likely to buy enough at B&N to make it worth our while.

Still, it effectively brings the price of a touchscreen non-backlit EBR (E-Book Reader) down to $59 (without a power supply…that’s about $10 more). That compares to the Kindle Paperwhite, at $119 (ad-supported).

This might indicate that new B&N hardware was coming out before too long…we should get some interesting announcements from major players before the end of September.

While I think B&N has made good hardware, I would think one, twice, and three times before I did this…

New NYT app for the Kindle Fire…use free through the end of the month

I’ll admit it: one of my first mental associations with the New York Times now is “paywall”.

I’m not one of those people who think that everything should be free on the web. You’ve got to find some way to run a business, although I’m not convinced paywalls are the model of the future.

On heavy advertising rotation is the

NYTimes for Kindle Fire

You can get the app for free, and use it to read unlimited articles through July 31st.

After that?

The least expensive option I saw was $14.99 a month.

It’s possible you’ll be able to use it after July 31st to read ten free articles a month, but I’m not sure.

I tried the app…as my adult kid would say, “meh”. :)

They made an app for a multimedia tablet…but it’s very heavily text-based (plain black text on a white background, for the most part).

In the “Books” section, I’d say that about one article in every five or so had a picture. I didn’t see any videos.

The navigation seemed a bit clunky. I couldn’t double tap or pinch and spread to increase font size, although that was an option in the menu.

I’d say the biggest plus was being able to use text-to-speech with it…although it took me a few guesses to find the pause button (and I’m a pretty good guesser on these things). It was in my bottom right, horizontal lines.

It was nice that when I went to home it kept playing, though. I also have to say that did remember where I was (both in the audio, and visually) when I went to home and then came back.

I might look at it again while it’s free, and if I get ten free articles after that, maybe use it.

Thought you might be interested…

The New Yorker says Barnes & Noble can make it as a bookstore

I found this

The New Yorker article by James Surowiecki

(and to which I was directed by Publishers Weekly) on the future of Barnes & Noble worth a read.

It’s not just talking about B&N, but about e-books versus p-books (it was nice to see them used my preferred abbreviation there) and the future of the business.

It points out research that says that the vast majority of people prefer reading p-books…and that e-book growth has slowed.

I’ve said for years, though, that I think that the more you love books, the more you love e-books. My guess is that the “serious readers”, the ones who spend much more than the average person on books, are the ones most quickly converting to e-books. If you read every day, voraciously, the advantages of being able to carry one hundred books with you are more important.

If you read a book a couple of times a year, it’s not as big a deal.

People who read casually probably focus more on the experience of reading a book (which may be in some ways symbolic for them) as opposed to the content of the book itself.

That doesn’t mean that I think bookstores (even Barnes & Noble) can’t make it. I’ve written a piece for the end of next month (I’m going to be in a situation of reduced writing opportunities) on how to save the big bookstores. Of course, I might have to write something else if there aren’t any left by then. ;)

Find a sci-fi classic

Every once in a while, I just stumble into some feature in the Kindle store. Today, it was

Kindle Bestsellers in Sci-Fi Classics

That’s one way to find some that are on sale, since that tends to push them on to the list (although they may remain there after the price rises again…the list is only calculated once an hour).

I’d say this isn’t a bad bit of curating. I would disagree with some of them being science fiction (Animal Farm, for one), and some of them are public domain, but generally, I think these are noteworthy. The one drawback is that quite a few of them were currently unavailable, and there were duplicate titles (but different editions).

Worth taking a look, though…if you want my assessment of any of the books, let me know (I’ve read many of them).

What do you think? Would chocolate put you in the mood…to buy a book? If you had to recommend one science fiction book for a non-geek to read…is it on that bestseller list? Would you pay $15 a month (about) for the New York Times access? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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

Round up #185: royal librarian, B&N CEO steps down

July 9, 2013

Round up #185: royal librarian, B&N CEO steps down

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

Barnes & Noble CEO steps down

According to this

Press Release from Barnes & Noble

William Lynch, CEO for three years, and architect of the NOOK strategy, has resigned.

This may be seen by stockholders as a positive. The NOOK has been seen as an underperformer, recently, and as I wrote about recently, B&N decided to stop making their tablets on their own.

However, while it might be good for the company overall, it isn’t particularly good for the world of e-books and EBRs (E-Book Readers). Competition is good for us: it drives innovation and creates downward price pressure.

If other companies look at this and say, “See? Lynch had to resign because of e-books,” which wouldn’t be a good assessment of the situation, it could still make them more reluctant to commit future resources.

Mini-review: Apocalypse Z

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End
by Manel Loureiro, translated by Pamela Carmell
text-to-speech, lending, and X-ray are all available

I decided to break down and borrow a book from the KOLL (Kindle Owner’s Lending Library) that was under $6.58. ;) Why $6.58? If you take the $79 you pay a year for Prime, then divide it by twelve to get a monthly amount, that’s what you get. We get a lot more value out of Prime than the KOLL, but I was enjoying having it be that what I borrowed from the KOLL over the course of a year was worth more than $79.

I’m glad that I did. :)

Apocalypse Z is a zombie novel, but novel isn’t exactly accurate. It started out as an epistolary blog…we are reading blog entries from a lawyer, as a situation gradually emerges. I’m careful about spoilers, so I don’t want to say too much about the plot.

I will say that, when I read the first entry, I was discouraged. It mixed tenses in a way that wasn’t professional…but I thought that might be the voice of the character, not of the author. As it progressed, the writing became much stronger. Again, I’m not sure if that’s because the character or the author (or the translator)  improved, but either way, I’ll take it. :)

The book is like a whole season of The Walking Dead. I found the feel pretty similar…while some things were perhaps too convenient, it’s generally not unrealistic. I particularly empathized with the main character’s relationship with a pet cat.

I did find the translation to be a bit awkward…sometimes English idiom would be used correctly, sometimes it didn’t seem natural. That said, getting a European perspective on the situation was really nice, and quite different from many American takes. For example, there was this:

“The United States has called up the National Guard. What you see on the satellite channel is amazing — armed troops patrolling New York, Chicago, Boston, and so on. Those Americans are crazy. What’ll that accomplish? Scare the viruses? Are they going to shoot someone? They’re overreacting, as usual.”

Overall, I found it an engaging, fast read. It will be too violent for some, but it isn’t just gore for gore’s sake. It’s much more about how the character reacts than it is about that. I always like to let people know about the use of the “F word”, and that’s here, but not really out of place. I have a lot more trouble with books that just indicate everybody is horrible, and that isn’t the case here. I like that. :)

Job opportunity: Royal Librarian

I have readers all over the world, and it would be so cool if one of them became the Royal Librarian in England!

Telegraph article by Tim Walker

The job doesn’t pay that much (£53,000 a year), but come on! 125,000 titles…at Windsor Castle? I’m not qualified, and I like what I’m doing now, but that’s a dream job for somebody…

Two more fun things to do with your Kindle Fire

I really try to keep a mix of topics in this blog, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to exclude the Fire. Interestingly to me, one of my most popular posts is Fun things to do with your new Kindle Fire HD. I’m going to add a couple of apps to it, and I thought I’d mention them here as well.

First

Vine (free)

has come to the Amazon Appstore. That’s the app for making and watching six-second videos. Can you actually make a Vine video on a Fire? Yes, but remember that the camera is really designed for Skype and videochatting. The quality of the video isn’t that high…and when you are looking at the screen, the camera is looking at you. That can make it a bit awkward.

I haven’t played with it much. I can tell you that I prefer just watching the random videos on http://www.vpeeker.com/ to the way that the app lays them out initially (where you have to scroll to see the next one)…but Vpeeker is, um…unfiltered. ;)

Second, there is

Abalone $1.99

When I managed a brick-and-mortar gamestore, we sold a lot of this…and I’ve had the physical edition of it for years. It is a two-person strategy game, but in this case, you can play against the computer.

One weird thing is that part of the real attraction of the game is the tactile feel of it. You are pushing these big, elegant marbles…and they push other marbles with a satisfying feel and sound. Of course, you don’t get the feel with the app.

However, I did like the levels of opponent skill you can choose. The beginning level will challenge you as you learn (it doesn’t take long at all to understand the rules…and there are helpful arrows on the screen), but the highest level isn’t a pushover for me (and I’d say I”m a good player). I do usually win on the highest, but it isn’t easy for me to score a shutout.

I’d say a typical child of eight could play it, and on up to adults. You can change difficulties…not just by level, as I mentioned above, but my setting a time limit and changing the number of scores it takes to win.

You can leave a game and come back to it, and that’s nice.

As far as I can tell, though, it doesn’t give you an aggregate score over time (you can’t tell what your win percentage is, or even what your current streak is, unless I’ve just missed it). It doesn’t always properly recognize the move I am doing, although that’s easy enough to fix.

I’d recommend this if you like something that just relies on thinking, not on how quick you can twitch. ;)

7-11 will pay you to watch an ad

Okay, yes, this is another Kindle Fire thing, but I did find it interesting. If you go your Offers on your Fire, you can see it. What happens is that you watch an ad from 7-11…and they give you a $3 credit to buy MP3s from Amazon. It’s tied into their “Slurpee Dance” promotion for July 11th…you know, 7-11 (um, at least in the USA…in most of the world, that would be November 7th). ;)

What age group reads the most p-books?

Which group would you think reads more p-books (paperbooks): those over or under 30 years old?

It may surprise you, but according to this

Pew research report by Kathryn Zickuhr, Lee Rainie and Kristen Purcell

it’s the younger people.

75% of those surveyed who were between the ages of 16 and 29 (inclusive) had read a p-book in the last year…it was only 64% of those 30 and older.

The article (which I highly recommend) also shows how younger people embrace public libraries. I don’t want to take too much away from it, but I will mention one more. While 75% of the younger group had read a p-book in the past year, only 25% had read an e-book. There was likely a lot of overlap there…the same people might read p-books and e-books, of course. Still, a three to one comparison might seem odd. I do think it’s possible that e-books appeal more to older people than to younger people at this point…some of the key advantages (lighter to hold, increasable font size) aren’t as significant for your typical 25 year old as they are for your typical 75 year old. Not enough data to draw that conclusion, though…that’s just my guess. :)

Still, this information may make a lot of people more hopeful about the future…

What do you think? Is this the beginning (or maybe the middle) of the end for B&N (or at least the NOOK)? Does it surprise you that younger people might read more p-books than those thirty and over? Have you ever played Abalone? Does how much a book costs affect whether or not you borrow it from the KOLL? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting non this post.

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

Barnes & Noble to stop making tablets

June 25, 2013

Barnes & Noble to stop making tablets

B&N reported their fiscal 2013 year-end financials today.

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?

The old joke goes that, “The bad news is that there is no good news.”

It’s not quite like that at B&N, but their losses are way up. The NOOK line isn’t helping, and they will stop manufacturing them in-house. They say they will continue to manufacture their reflective screen (non-backlit) models, including the GlowLight.

To briefly excerpt the

press release

“…Fiscal 2013 consolidated net losses were $154.8 million, or $2.97 per share, as compared to $65.6 million, or $1.35 per share in the prior year.”

That’s not good.

Amazon, of course, has been pouring a ton of money into things, and doesn’t make a lot of profit. However, Amazon sales have been way up.

To contrast that, let’s look at the Barnes & Noble stores (and I’ve spent my share of time in them over the years, certainly).

Comparable store sales were down 8.8% in the fourth quarter, and 3.4% for the full year.

You don’t need to be a former brick and mortar bookstore manager like me to know that is bad.

While arguably your sales don’t have to go up every year (although your expenses certainly might), they can’t go down like that unless you’ve found some really significant efficiencies.

Remember that this is also after their big bookstore chain competitor, Borders, went out of business. Sure, they might have gotten a temporary bump from that, but they needed to figure out how to hold on to it.

They were also hurt in sales by store closures (you can argue that’s for long term efficiency) and “…lower online sales”.

LOWER online sales!

Name a healthy company with lower online sales in 2013…

Now, yes, they sold more digital content for the full year (up 16.2%), but online sales dropped 8.9% for the fourth quarter (year over year). They sold fewer NOOKs, so they sold fewer NOOK Books. That seems like a reasonable line to draw. They also blame the comparative drop on how hot The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey were a year ago.

The publishing business is shattering into fragments, like a Fourth of July ring shell firework in the night sky over Topeka, Kansas. ;)

That doesn’t mean that the big publishers won’t survive; I think they will. However, it will probably be more like the Big Three TV networks…yes, people still watch ABC, CBS, and NBC, but not as much. There are a lot of choices.

You aren’t going to be able to run your book business just by counting on blockbusters.

It’s easy to sell the easy stuff. Remember, Walmart and Target can do that, too. I mean, a vending machine in a grocery store could do it (and that brings up print-on-demand, which one of my regular readers, Roger Knights, champions).

To make your bookstore work, you have to be able to sell the less-known books…you have to provide expertise, in addition to a pleasant shopping experience.

Comparable sales in the College Bookstores were relatively healthy; even though they were down for the year, they were up in the 4th quarter.

So, what does this all mean?

The physical bookstores are in real trouble, especially as bookstores. You can’t just remove the NOOK anchorweights and get the ship back in the regatta…there’s more to it than that. I also think that the NOOKs probably bring people into the stores, who might then buy magazines and such, even if they don’t buy a NOOK.

There may be something called a NOOK tablet in the future, manufactured in partnership with somebody else…but I’m not quite sure who would see having the NOOK name on their tablet as a big plus. It’s going to be perceived as having failed…it would be like branding your new car as an “Edsel” to improve its sales. ;)

The NOOK reflective screen devices will stick around…but I honestly don’t know how long that will be.

Honestly? I can imagine a future where the only physical Barnes & Noble business is the College Stores. Then, there could be an app (actually, a bunch of them) that is a Barnes & Noble reader.

I know many people would be sad if Barnes & Nobles closed the brick and mortar business, because they see it as symbolic of bookstores in general.

However, according to this

Publishers Weekly article by Judith Rosen

independent bookstores are looking towards a good year this year.

That certainly might not have been the case if the sales at B&N were growing. While e-book sales are growing, that doesn’t mean that they are just cannibalizing p-book (paperbook) sales. I do think people are buying more books overall. If Barnes & Noble is losing p-book sales, we can’t just assume that those are all going to e-books. Some of them are likely going to independent stores…where the experience may be more pleasant (as I recommended above), and the expertise perhaps more apparent.

Take a look at this chart:

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

You can see the precipitative, “drop off a cliff” curve for B&N today…down 17.6%.

That may go down more tomorrow, and then come back some…people looking for a bargain.

I won’t be one of those people. :) I’m not saying that it won’t come back eventually, but I’m not much of a stock person, and wouldn’t take a risk like this.

Oh, and Amazon? They were up half a percent today. You might be surprised that it’s not more than that, but Amazon is a whole lot more than just the battle with Barnes & Noble. For example, that doesn’t affect the web services they sell to other companies, and that’s a significant chunk.

What do you think? Will Barnes & Noble make it? If so, what parts? How would you feel about it if it didn’t? Would somebody else buy parts of the company? Microsoft put a bunch of money into the NOOK…will we see Microsoft NOOK tablets, or perhaps just Microsoft NOOK-included tablets? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on  this post.

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

Round up #176: free Superman comic, NOOK loses PC & Mac apps

June 9, 2013

Round up #176: free Superman comic, NOOK loses PC & Mac apps

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

NOOK loses PC & Mac apps

Thanks to “Mooncat” in the Amazon Kindle forum for the heads up on this

TeleRead article

which I have confirmed.

The

Barnes & Noble page for NOOK apps

no longer lists apps for Windows (except Windows 8) or Macs.

Their free apps are now:

  • iPad
  • Android Tablet
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • Windows 8 Tablet
  • iPhone (&iPod touch)
  • Android SmartPhones
  • Windows 8 PC
  • NOOK for Web

Compare that to

Amazon’s free Kindle reading apps:

  • iPad
  • Android Tablet
  • Windows 8 Tablet
  • iPhone (& iPod touch)
  • Android SmartPhones
  • Windows 8 PC
  • Kindle Cloud Reader
  • Windows Phone
  • Blackberry
  • Mac
  • Windows 7, XP, & Vista

This is one of those things where you just want to say, “You did what now?” ;)

It seems like a weird move, especially with Microsoft having put all the money into the NOOK line that it has. Why no Windows phone? Why drop support for the kinds of Windows PCs that are typically running in schools and businesses (I’m guessing most of those haven’t gone to Windows 8 yet)?

It’s just one of those odd moves. Okay, sure, there may be Customer Service costs connected with them, but it may not be much. You’ve moved away from institutional support, which is one place where the money is. Yes, they could use the NOOK for Web support (similar to the Kindle Cloud Reader), but that’s really not the same.

Maybe this is preparatory for some move by Microsoft that provides some alternative to the NOOK reader?

Get a free digital Superman comic by signing up for an Amazon newsletter

With Man of Steel opening June 14th, and getting some buzz, Amazon is giving away the digital version of the recent Superman comic reboot:

Sign Up for the Amazon Comics Newsletter and Get a Free Digital Comic

Actually, DC rebooted a bunch of things with the “New 52″. You can see the details on this deal above, but it goes through July 21st and is just for first time subscribers to the Amazon Delivers Comics newsletter.

Honestly, I have serious doubts about the movie, but as always, hope it’s good. :)

For those of you not familiar with modern comics, this one, by George Pérez, is not really written for younger children.

Oh, and while this will look better on a Fire (partially due to the color), it’s not limited to the tablets. It’s available for these devices:

  • Kindle (what I call the “Mindle”)
  • Kindle Touch
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • Kindle Fire
  • Kindle Fire HD
  • Kindle Cloud Reader
  • Kindle for Windows 8
  • Kindle Keyboard
  • Kindle for iPad
  • Kindle for Android

\S/

No more recently delivered list at MYK

We used to be able to go to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

and see which items went to which Kindles recently. That appears to have been removed. That will complicate things for some people with many people on their account…and there is no limit to the number of devices which can be registered to an account.

I’m thinking this might be because of

Whispercast

which is Amazon’s relatively new way to manage multiple Kindles. I still intend to sign up for it myself at some point to test it out. They just may be trying to migrate people to that service.

“The Princess has stopped.”

I see (and answer) a lot of the same questions, over and over again, in the Kindle forums. I don’t mind that: I know that even though I’ve seen it a thousand times, the person wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t new to them.

However, it is still fun when I see something that is new to me. ;)

In this

Amazon Kindle forum thread

a poster reported (and even provided a link to) an error message on a Kindle Fire that said

The Princess has stopped.

Somehow, that just seems like a great line…like something destined to become an internet meme. ;)

You could use it when someone complains about something having been taken away from them. It would suggest that providing it was a sort of gift from royalty, and that gift has now ended.

Complaint: “Barnes & Noble took away the NOOK for Mac app!”

Response: “The Princess has stopped.”

Complaint: “I can’t see which device got which Kindle book any more!”

Response: “The Princess has stopped.”

;)

I suggested it might be an app that has failed…the poster doesn’t have the situation resolved at the time of writing.

Kindle hardware now available through Amazon in China

This is a huge (although not unanticipated) move by Amazon!

Kindle hardware (both RSKs…Reflective Screen Kindles, and Fires) are available through

http://www.amazon.cn

I think the key thing here is the presence of the RSKs. There are certainly competitors for tablets in China, and there are EBRs (E-Book Readers), but the Paperwhite may be able to really grab some marketshare.

There are 1,322 reviews for the Paperwhite at the time of writing, with an average of 4.7 out of 5.

It’s interesting to read those reviews, although using Google translate can be challenging. They do seem to be generally positive.

The price is ¥ 849.00…about $138.47 at time of writing.

The Kindle Fire HD is ¥ 1499.00…about $244.48.

It didn’t look to me like they had videos, but they had apps, including local apps…there has already been an appstore there.

We’ll see how this goes, but this could be a nice influx of cash (if not profit) for Amazon, which could help Kindle development around the world. It could also mean more Chinese language books in the USA Kindle store, although that doesn’t seem to me to have followed directly with other international expansions.

Three characters walk into a plot…

It’s the second Saturday of the month, and that’s when my post appears in

The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing

a blog specifically for authors.

This time, my post is

Three characters walk into a plot

about using public domain characters in Kindle Worlds works (and I describe three particular ones as examples). Even if you aren’t an author, I think you might enjoy that one. :) There has been a bit of a roiling response in comments over the licensing agreement, and whether or not fanfic authors need be concerned about rightsholders coming after them if they put up free unauthorized works involving copyrighted characters.

Well, I like the mix of stories in today’s round-up! If you have any comments (roiling or not), ;)  feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Microsoft to buy NOOK division?

May 11, 2013

Microsoft to buy NOOK division?

This

TechCrunch article

by Eric Eldon and Ingrid Lunden has gotten a lot of play, and understandably so.

They claim to have seen documents about a proposed Microsoft buy-out of the NOOK part of Barnes & Noble for $1 billion.

That would include the NOOK tablets, NOOK reflective screen devices, and the college bookstore part.

Those elements were effectively separated from the brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble trade bookstore (what most people think of when they think of Barnes & Noble) not that long ago.

The article (which I recommend you read) also suggests that B&N would be out of the tablet business by the end of next year (2014).

“Tab-tab-tablet, good-bye! Tab-tab-tablet, don’t cry!” ;)

Or perhaps…

“Don’t cry for me, Barnes & Noble!
The tablet was just bad business
Although the screen was bright
The timing wasn’t right
We’re still a bookstore…
Until that’s no more”

;)

One of the interesting things is that I think many people liked their NOOK tablets, and of course, they’ve just added the Google Play store (which, as I wrote earlier, puts the NOOK tablets into a hardware business instead of a content business).

That’s really the heart of the problem.

Barnes & Noble and Amazon have clearly been seen as competitors as online bookstores.

When Amazon introduced the Kindle, and later the Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble, like one of the blind people encountering the elephant in the old story, processed just through the book lens.

They thought that to compete with Amazon, they’d have to also introduce e-book hardware. Honestly, they did a very good with it (eventually). They even led in a few important points (like frontlighting the screen and peer-to-peer book lending).

However, the Kindle Fire was never, in my opinion, about e-books. I’ve always said that the device is there to get you to buy physical goods through Amazon (diapers and windshield wipers).

It’s a little bit like…let’s see. You are challenged to a sword-fighting duel. You train and train and get a really good sword. However, you find out that your opponent has jet aircraft…so you figure you’d better get them. You put all your time and energy into getting jet aircraft…even though, as it turns out, your opponent isn’t going to use those jet aircraft during the duel at all.

That doesn’t mean Amazon doesn’t want to sell e-books…I think they do. I think the money, though, is in getting you to buy the physical stuff (they also do a lot business providing services, like fulfillment and web storage, but that’s another story).

So, while Barnes & Noble was competing with Amazon on tablets, they were doing it to sell books (and apps…digital stuff). Amazon was using them as a gateway to something else. Maybe that’s a better analogy. Amazon built a nice door. Barnes & Noble built a nice door…but B&N didn’t have a store behind their door. ;)

I do think it could happen. Microsoft could buy the NOOK business…and shut down the NOOK tablet part of it (which underperformed in the last holiday season) a year from now (maybe a bit more than a year…one more holiday season).

The question is, why would they do that? Why buy the NOOK tablet business and then shut it down?

It’s not, I think, because it is a competitor for Microsoft hardware.

I think they aren’t really buying the tablet business…they are buying the NOOK customers.

This deal would include the NOOK reflective screen devices, and it didn’t say what they might eventually do with those (if this story is all accurate).

I think for Microsoft, they want retail customers…and this would give them to them.

They could then sell Windows tablets to those customers.

I haven’t seen this in many stories, but Microsoft had an e-book business before…and eventually abandoned it. Those people who bought into .lit might be a bit wary of this.

Barnes & Noble’s investors aren’t wary, though. Take a look at this

CNN.Money stock chart

for B&N…up more than 25% in two days.

Does that mean people are saying, “Yay! Microsoft is going to buy B&N and then Barnes & Noble will make a lot of money as I stick with it through retirement?”

No, for many of them it means, “Good! I can get a better price for this turkey before I dump it.” ;)

What would happen to the brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble stores?

I think Leonard Riggio, the B&N founder who has made an offer for them, would get them.

Microsoft would own the NOOK hardware, NOOK Books, really all the digital content, and the college bookstores.

Riggio would own, and try to re-invent, the brick-and-mortar bookstores.

Going farther out, Microsoft would dump the NOOK hardware (including the reflective screen devices, eventually). NOOK would basically just become an app that was part of Windows. You’d have access to your NOOK books, and it would come on Microsoft devices. They might continue to sell digital content online.

Riggio…might figure something out, but I think the stores would look very different than they do today. I do think it’s still possible to make brick-and-mortar bookstores work, but you need them to be destinations. You need the shopping experience to be vastly superior to what it is online…otherwise, as Amazon gets same day delivery going, there’s not going to be much point in going to one.

We’ll see how this all plays out. If this was a leak, I don’t think the players are upset about it. They are getting valuable feedback about how the public sees the idea…and I’d say it’s been generally positive.

Could we lose Barnes & Noble as a chain trade bookstore? I think so…at least in the current configuration of it.

We’ll see what happens.

I’m interested to know what you think…you can let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

P.S. Thanks for all the well wishes about my surgery! I’m doing pretty well…my Significant Other has been very supportive, and I think my surgeon did a great job. :) Thanks also to those who gave me a heads-up on this story…even if I’ve already seen something, I appreciate those!

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

Google Play comes to NOOK tablets

May 3, 2013

Google Play comes to NOOK tablets

“And the walls come tumblin’ down…”

Barnes & Noble sent me a

press release

and then I saw this other places as well (including a heads-up from Joseph Holmberg, one of my readers.

Google Play is now going to appear on NOOK tablets.

This is an important tipping point moment.

Right away, I think people may see it on the surface as a tactical  move against Amazon’s Fire tablets. Amazon doesn’t have access to Play on their tablets: Barnes & Noble does.

Yes, people will certainly see that as a competitive advantage for Barnes & Noble. For people who haven’t decided which way to go, it gives B&N a big leg up.

However…

This goes much deeper than that. That is only the tip of the “hypeberg”, so to speak. ;)

Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon have been primarily content providers in the past. They have sold books, which I think most people would still see as Barnes & Noble’s main focus (I’m not sure everybody thinks of Amazon that way any more).

When B&N introduced the NOOK, it was a “reader’s tablet”. You used it to get content from B&N.

Now, suddenly, that’s not the focus of the device at all.

Let’s think of Barnes & Noble as…a restaurant.

You went in, and you bought what was on their menu.

Now, when you walk in and sit down, they give you their menu…but they also give you a super menu that has the menus for ten other major restaurant chains, and you can order from them. You want a Round Table pizza delivered to your Barnes & Noble table? Fine, no problem.

The restaurant’s own menu has almost nothing on it that isn’t on those other menus, and there is a ton more choices on the other menus.

Why would you order from the restaurant’s own menu at all? It means you have to look in two different places…and one of them almost always has what you want, and the other one doesn’t.

That’s a real question: why would Barnes & Noble continue to offer their own appstore, videos, or music? That’s a lot of work, which Google will do if they don’t.

Yes, Barnes & Noble would probably make more profit on their own “menu”, but not if it isn’t making many sales for them.

I didn’t mention books on purpose, but Google Play also has books. If they ramp up that part of the store, good luck to B&N in competing…even on their own tablets.

The NOOK line has just become a hardware business, not a content business.

That then brings in another question: will people continue to buy NOOK tablets if they see them as just another tablet choice? When they don’t see them as “Barnes & Noble’s reader’s tablets” but as a direct competitor to, say, the Nexus or a Samsung?

I really think this move could lead to Barnes & Noble getting out of the tablet business eventually, or it becoming just a minor sideline.

Now, there is another important point here.

Know what else is in the Google Play store?

The Kindle app.

My  understanding  is that this means that NOOK owners can just download the Kindle app from Google Play, and with no rooting, nothing fancy at all, enjoy their Kindle e-books on their NOOK tablets.

That’s an awful big celebrity to invite to your birthday party. ;) It makes it a little hard to keep the focus on you.

My guess is that there are some really significant changes in store (so to speak) for B&N in the next year, and this is part of it.

Should Amazon respond?

The first question is whether or not it is up to them.

While I see people blithely saying that Amazon just hasn’t paid some licensing fee to Google, I haven’t really found something that shows that is the case.

There are more references to Amazon and “walled gardens” on the internet than there are anacondas in the actual Amazon river. ;)

Amazon is actually pretty open. They allow installation of apps from “unknown sources”. I’ve done that several times…directly from sites, like Zinio, and from other resources, like 1Mobile.

I’m careful only to do it with apps I trust, since, naturally, I take the responsibility when I install an app Amazon hasn’t tested for the Fire.

That, by the way, is going to be another major headache for Barnes & Noble with this move. They are going to get so many Customer Service contacts (which are quite expensive) about things people have downloaded from Google Play that don’t work right on their NOOK tablets (or even just about how to play them). If B&N just keeps directing them somewhere else, that’s going to be a turn off.

Back to Amazon and competitors…Amazon has apps for competitors in their Amazon Appstore. For example, they have the Netflix app: a direct competitor for Amazon Instant Video.

Does every single flavor and variety of SmartPhone that wants to be listed as compatible on Google Play pay licensing fees? They might, certainly, but I don’t know that.

I think it’s quite possible that it has been Google that has not listed the Fire, rather than the Fire which has not been made compatible in some way with Google Play.

Being compatible would be different from having the Play store natively on your device (which is what I think the NOOK tablets will have)…the latter likely would require a fee.

Will we some day have access to Google Play on our Kindle Fires? I think that’s possible. I do think a key purpose of the Fire is to get people signed up for Prime, where they will then buy profitable physical products (“diapers and windshield wipers”). Having people buy from Google Play wouldn’t necessarily impact that. I also think it’s important to note that Amazon is a producer and supplier of video in a way that Barnes & Noble isn’t…however, I suppose they could make those things available in Google Play if they had the Play store on Fires.

I don’t think that’s going to happen right away in response to this move from Barnes & Noble.

If you are losing a hot air balloon race, you might start throwing everything over board to lighten the load…in this case, B&N is throwing over their own content provision for the tablets.

If you are in the lead, like Amazon, you can afford to keep those items on board…for now.

One other quick note: this does not impact the NOOK reflective screen devices (non-tablets). You don’t install apps on those, just as you don’t install apps on RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles).

===

Bonus tip: I’m trying not to write just about the Fire in a post, when I can avoid it. :)

For those of you who have missed having the free Kindle store book listings at eReaderIQ.com, try

http://www.freereadfeed.com/

I’m hoping to give you a bit more information about it soon.

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

To Kill a Mockingbird e-book at B&N, but is it legal?

April 14, 2013

To Kill a Mockingbird e-book at B&N, but is it legal?

You can go to

eReaderIQ

and list books to have them notify you when they are released in Kindle format. This is one of the great free services offered by that site, which is perhaps the most valuable Kindle resource on the web.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is the most watched book right now, and typically has been.

Why isn’t it already legally in e-book form?

Well, my understanding is that Harper Lee doesn’t like to talk about TKaM, and even perhaps wishes it was never published in the first place (for personal reasons).

Rather than being specifically opposed to e-books, my sense is that no one wants to approach the author about the issue, and while that unfortunately makes the book unavailable, I can respect that.

So, it was quite a surprise when I was alerted to this listing at Barnes & Noble:

To Kill a Mockingbird e-book

Thanks to Meya, one of the Kindle Forum Pros, for that heads-up!

If this was a legitimate edition, done with permission of Harper Lee, I would have seen it announced six ways to Sunday (even though this is Sunday). It would be as big a coup as when the Harry Potter books went to e-book (although somehow, I don’t think “Harpermore” would be as fun) ;) and if a publisher got it, they’d trumpet it.

I checked first to see that it was the book, and not a guide book or something. They have a “look inside” feature, and it appears to be the full work.

Then, I looked at the publisher listed. It says it is from “Micro Publishing”. A quick search doesn’t show me a publisher with that name.

Harper Lee has been with HarperCollins (I believe HarperCollins and Harper Lee are just  coincidentally similar) as a publisher for some time, so I checked their site: no evidence of an e-book.

Actually, that’s a good path for me: I’ll probably send HarperCollins something to give them a heads-up.

This could be a legitimate version, but I think that’s unlikely. You usually can’t complain about infringement on behalf of someone if you don’t have a personal stake in the book: it would make it too likely for nuisance removals, which is apparently what happens at YouTube.

Anyway, if this an authorized edition and Amazon also gets it, great. I think the most likely thing, though, is that this is someone using Barnes & Noble’s independent publishing platform to infringe).

What happens if you buy it as a NOOK book and it turns out it is infringing? You won’t be legally liable for anything…it’s the distribution that’s the problem. The Supreme Court has ruled that having infringing copies isn’t the same as having stolen goods (infringement and theft are two different crimes, for one thing). Amazon famously removed infringing copies of 1984 from Kindles, and said they wouldn’t do that again in the same circumstances (that was overstepping the bounds…as I mentioned, having the book wasn’t illegal). I would hope, though, that people would voluntarily delete it.

If I hear more, I’ll let you know.

Update: it appears to be gone from Barnes & Noble this morning. It’s possible that the post here and/or my contacting HarperCollins had something to do with it.

I suspect some people probably wish it was still there, but if it was infringing, I’m happy to see it gone.

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


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