Round up #171: XBOOKS, Stephen King’s latest horror
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Up to 25 specific Kindle children’s books for $2 each
One reason why the Kindles with Special Offers have been more popular than the ones without has been the offers on books.
Well, I’m always happy to see book offers extended to even those who decline advertisers reducing the price of their Kindles in exchange for viewing the ads.
Today, AmazonLocal has a
You don’t need to have a Special Offers Kindle, although you do need to set up an AmazonLocal account if you don’t have one.
The deal is any of up to 25 specific children’s books for $2 each.
You need to claim this deal by Friday.
shows you the books. However, if this is available to you (it may not be in your country), I’d go ahead and get it. If you don’t use it, it hasn’t cost you anything.
Microsoft is making a big announcement today at 9:30 Pacific about the next XBOX. There has been a lot of speculation about how it might integrate with your TV.
One obvious question to me (but maybe not to most of the people covering this) is will it somehow incorporate the NOOK, since Microsoft has invested so much money in it?
I don’t think most people are going to want to read e-books on their TV screens. I have a hard time seeing that: my TV is more like music in the background for me…I don’t tend to stare at it and not do anything else at the same time, as would be necessary when sight-reading a book.
However, I can see three applications.
One would be to have text-to-speech. NOOK has never done much with that, but I could see having my TV reading a book to me while I folded laundry or worked on a spreadsheet.
Another would be to select books on an XBOX, and then have it send them to an EBR (E-Book Reader), phone, computer, and so on. Especially given the Kinect’s increasing Minority Report type gestural interface, it might be fun to make it seem like you were using your fingers to take a book off a shelf and open it. When shopping, it could include book trailer videos. I suppose you could make in-game purchases of e-books a possibility as well…although I’m not sure that many videogame characters have interesting libraries…
The third one would be to play to kids…there are many interactive book apps where you might want to bounce between a bigger screen (where shared reading might happen) and a personal screen.
My best guess is that we won’t hear anything about “XBOOKS” (just my off the cuff term for e-books on an XBOX), but wouldn’t it be cool…
Male and Female Announcers
I’ve been using the CNN App on my Kindle Fire with the sound off in the morning (while I exercise). That way, it doesn’t disturb my Significant Other. That means I’ve been using “closed captions” (those are words that appear on the screen to show you what is being said, basically…you have to choose to see them).
Generally, even though the show is live, they tend to be pretty accurate. I can see why they are so important to some people, and I’ve been happy to see them become more available on the Fire.
However, there is something…intriguing to me during the commercials (yes, those get closed captioning as well).
Sometimes, a voice is just described as VO (voiceover). Sometimes, though, it says “male announcer” or “female announcer”.
I love how the internet lets people be judged just on their thoughts (and the way they express them), if they want. To help give people that freedom, I try not to identify inherent characteristics much. I try to write these posts without reference to gender, for example.
So, I’m interested as to why the closed captioning identifies the gender. Oh, I guess I know why…people being influenced by a stated gender (even for something genderless like a computer), is demonstrated in The Man Who Lied to His Laptop (which I highly recommend). That would be an interesting study: are people more likely to buy something that is stereotypically female, just because the closed captioning says, “Female Announcer”? I would guess that is the case, but a study would give that hypothesis validation (and give an idea about the extent of the effect).
I also find it intriguing that music is usually just represented by two music notes. I would think that they would describe it: “spooky music”, “triumphant music”, that sort of thing…but they don’t, usually.
Unintended consequences: Amazon business details to be revealed?
Hm…maybe this is why Apple still wants to go to trial in the legal action with the Department of Justice over the Agency Model.
by Andrew Albanese, you can read about Apple trying to make documents from Amazon public in the case, and Amazon fighting it.
Tech writers get annoyed that Amazon doesn’t release specific sales figures, and honestly, I do think that secrecy has a negative impact on people trusting Amazon (although many people do trust the e-tailer…in a recent poll I did, more than ten percent of people said that trusting Amazon is why they bought e-books from them.
Amazon is arguing that releasing the information publicly would hurt their competitive advantage.
Apple argues that Amazon’s filed documents would not do so, and it’s not unreasonable for them to want the evidence about the different business models to be out there.
I’m not quite sure how this will go. If the judge feels that releasing it would hurt Amazon, they could look at them in closed session. If they do get released, it could be embarrassing for Amazon, although I don’t think it would be devastating. Sure, the blogosphere would be all over it, but that’s not the same thing as damage. I wonder if we might even learn things that make Amazon look good?
Stephen King’s latest horror…no e-book edition for Joyland
Oh, the conglomeration of contradiction that is Stephen King!
The author led on e-books…at first. Then, there was the “windowing” (delaying the e-book version) and blocking text-to-speech access (which may not be a decision made by King, but could certainly be influenced by arguably the most powerful author in the world).
I’ve written about this before:
This is more of the same issue.
E-books advance accessibility. It is perhaps noble to want to advance brick-and-mortar bookstores…but not doing an e-book is choosing a commercial enterprise over individuals with challenges. That includes print challenges, but also with mobility issues. Yes, they can order the p-book (paperbook) online, but according to this
“…let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one.”
Easier for some than others…and this doesn’t even accomplish that goal, if people can by the book online (which they will be able to do).
While King’s biggest book of the year, a sequel to one of the author’s most popular books, is not being windowed, it is scheduled to be released with text-to-speech access blocked.
I think The Stand is one of the great American novels, and I try not to judge the art by the artist. However, I have to admit that emotionally, these moves make me like Stephen King less…not necessarily as an author, though.
I should be clear: I probably wouldn’t have bought the new Stephen King books right away, even if they were available in digital form. I don’t tend to buy big name fiction like that when it is first released, although I do sometimes. I have a lot to read, and don’t usually feel the urgency. My concern here is really for others…and I always hope that Stephen King will recognize who is impacted the most by these choices in the future.
What do you think? Do you want to know Amazon’s business details? If they come out, do you think it would hurt them? Will Microsoft mention e-books with the XBOX? Would you sight-read a book on a TV? Are you aware of being influenced by the gender of announcers in commercials? What do you think of Stephen King’s decision not to do an e-book version? Is a good move to support brick-and-mortars? Was calling the decision a “horror” over the top (I was a bit ambivalent about that…I liked the tie-in to King’s genre writing, but thought it might be overly sensationalistic)? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.
Update: thanks to regular reader and commenter Joe Bowers for improving this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.