Round up #278: Goodreads winners, favorite authors
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Amazon improves author tracking
It’s nice to me to see that Amazon is working on improving the customer experience.
The ability to be notified when a new book is published to the Kindle store from an author you like seems like it would be a no brainer.
The customer is happy, Amazon gets a sale, the publisher is happy, the author is happy…it’s just a question of getting the infrastructure and user experience to be simple and robust enough.
In the past, we’ve had a kind of clunky way of doing it…and I would hear from people that it didn’t really work (they didn’t get notifications).
I don’t know if they’ve fixed the latter part yet, but they now have a much more elegant and sophisticated way to request updates:
From there, you can just tap an Add Favorite button.
Not only that, but it recommends authors for you, both ones that are similar to what you’ve favorited, and ones that you’ve reviewed positively.
I found that its linkages were very good: when I favorited an author, it made suggestions that made sense. Even in the case of authors I didn’t know, there were book cover thumbnails which made it clear that the connection was logical.
You can search for an author, or choose from popular ones.
You can decide whether or not you want your favorites displayed on your profile.
You can also edit your favorites here: and interestingly, those include books, movies, music, and others.
They also suggest more features are coming to this in the future.
The one suggestion I’m going to make to them first is that they add a place for us to comment on our favorites, which displays on the profile. That would make it much more social.
Ideally, they would make it that if someone went from your favorite on your page and purchased the book, you’d get an advertising fee or other credit of some kind, but I don’t expect that right away.
Almost whole-heartedly recommended a Kindle First book
This is what I recently wrote about this month’s Kindle First books:
Prime members, don’t forget to pick up your
You can get one of the four books to own (not borrow) for free…these are books which will be actually released next month. The choices this month are:
- Marked (Servants of Fate Book 1) by Sarah Fine (romantic fantasy)
- The Last Passenger
by Manel Loureiro, Andrés Alfaro (suspense)
- Fatal Puzzle (Zons Crime Book 1) by Catherine Shepherd, Julia Knobloch (thriller)
- Guardians of the Night (A Gideon and Sirius Novel) by Alan Russell (mystery)
I’m going with The Last Passenger, and it was an easy choice. Loureiro is the author of the Apocalypse Z books, the first of which is the most reviewed book I listed above. They classify it as a suspense novel, but it involves time travel…one of my favorite subjects.
When I started reading
I was quite pleased with it. It reminded me of the pulp hero Doc Savage (without a hero like that), and from me, that’s a compliment. ;) I was already seeing how it would be a good movie.
It was a great high camp set up, had interesting characters including the lead…and it was an excellent translation from the Spanish.
Unfortunately, a character was introduced who is so thunderingly stereotypical in a negative way that now I don’t know if I can even recommend it.
This book was published by AmazonCrossing, which gets books from other countries…so we may not be able to blame the Amazon editor for not saying, “Um, don’t you think you want to tone that down or give that character more depth and complexity?”
I (eventually) finish every book I read, and I’m liking the book except for this one element.
It’s unfortunate, and I do think it’s something an editor could have affected.
Fire TV Stick means cutting the cord
I will write a review comparing the
(I have and use both), but I thought I’d mention that the Stick may mean that we finally “cut the cord” and eliminate TV services from our cable company (we’ll keep their internet…we have Comcast, and it works well for us).
Interestingly, part of what happened was that we bought a new TV:
The Fire TV Stick was coming, and we had a paleolithic Sony TV without an HDMI input. ;) I mean, seriously, Fred Flintstone would have felt at home with the old one. Both of us were grunting and groaning when we had to move it…and we are reasonably strong.
So, when we saw the Element on sale for under $150 on Black Friday weekend at Target, we got one. We have an Element TV already, and I like it. One thing I like is they are super light…I have taken our old one to work easily for a game night there.
However, our recorded Tivo programs looked quite muddy on it (while the Fire TV Stick looked fine). That might be a matter of recabling the Tivo (we also are using an old one of those).
So the question became: could we do without Tivo and the programs it records?
One element of that: Hulu Plus.
We haven’t had it. My Significant Other doesn’t want to watch TV on a mobile device, so Hulu couldn’t be a replacement for us easily until we had a TV that could show it…simply.
The Fire TV Stick and the new TV makes that combination work.
I still have to go through and compare our season passes and see what we can’t do (although mirroring my Kindle Fire HDX or my Fire Phone to the Fire TV Stick might solve some problems, if new episodes are available on network/studio websites…for free, of course) through Hulu to decide.
We aren’t heavy duty TV watchers, I’d say, although I have the CBS app running in the other room and I’m listening to it as I write right now.
Let me revise that: we don’t follow a lot of current TV shows. I watch Survivor live, usually, to avoid spoilers in the apps I use in the morning (Flipboard, CNN, Washington Post). Otherwise, seeing things as they happen is not that important to us…I’d say we could generally wait until the next season.
The exception would be that I have CNN on…a lot. However, I now have some other news apps that could take that place. Watchup, CBS, BBC…oh, I should mention: my BBC news app works on our Fire TV at this point but not on the Fire TV Stick. I assume they’ll work that out.
We’ll probably make the decision this weekend…well, before the next time we pay a cable bill, at any rate (rate…so to speak). ;)
goodreads CHOICE AWARDS 2014
The Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 (I went with their capitalization above) have been announced:
First, I have to say: why isn’t there an easy page for this at Amazon in the Kindle store?
There is a page
but the 2014 ones aren’t there yet as a sub-page…and I didn’t see any link from the main Kindle store.
This is where I’d like a bit more synergy, Amazon. :) As I’ve said before, SMMSA (Sell Me More Stuff, Amazon). ;)
Here are the winners:
- Fiction: Landline (at AmazonSmile*) by Rainbow Rowell
- Mystery & Thriller: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (not linked because it blocks text-to-speech access**)
- Historical Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (not linked because it blocks text-to-speech access**)
- Fantasy: The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy 3) (at AmazonSmile*) by Deborah Harkness
- Romance: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood: A Novel (Outlander, Book 8) (at AmazonSmile*)) by Diana Gabaldon
- Science Fiction: The Martian (at AmazonSmile*) by Andy Weir
- Horror: Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles (at AmazonSmile*) by Anne Rice
- Humor: Yes Please (at AmazonSmile*) by Amy Poehler
- Nonfiction: The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan (not linked because it blocks text-to-speech access**)
- Memoir & Autobiography: This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl (at AmazonSmile*) by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, Wayne Earl, John Green (introduction)
- History & Biography: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra (at AmazonSmile*) by Helen Rappaport
- Business: #GIRLBOSS (at AmazonSmile*) by Sophia Amoruso
- Food & Cookbooks: Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (at AmazonSmile*) byIna Garten
- Graphic Novels & Comics: Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon (note: while this says text-to-speech is not enabled, it may not have been actively blocked by the publisher…it may just be that the dialog is part of the image and can’t be interpreted by text-to-speech software. However, I wasn’t able to satisfy myself on that, so I am not linking)
- Poetry: Lullabies (at AmazonSmile*) by Lang Leav
- Debut Goodreads Author: Red Rising (The Red Rising Trilogy, Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*) by Pierce Brown
- Young Adult Fiction: We Were Liars (at AmazonSmile*) by E. Lockhart
- Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments Book 6) (at AmazonSmile*) by Cassandra Clare
- Middle Grade & Children’s: The Blood of Olympus (The Heros of Olympus, Book 5) (at AmazonSmile*) by Rick Riordan
- Picture Books: The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems (not available for Kindle)
Enjoy! These might be safe gifts, as well…there are a lot of Goodreads users, so if you were looking for the mainstream choice, this might be a good way to go. You recipient (and you can delay the delivery until the appropriate date) will have the option to exchange it for a gift card.
What do you think? Have you ever had a situation where you found one element of a book offensive, but liked the rest? What did you do…did you read it? Do you have alternatives to suggest to the Goodreads winners? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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* 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.