Round up #168: Kindle 3D phone, geeky Moms
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Interesting mix at KDD for Mothers’ Day
I’m sure (or at least I strongly hope) that Amazon chooses the Kindle Daily Deals with promotional tie-in value in mind.
That’s why I was impressed with today’s Kindle Daily Deals.
Okay, sure…the featured (and Gold Box) deal is on any one of a number of highly-rated romances.
However, the science fiction & fantasy deal is
That’s really making a solid choice for those geeky Moms.
It has an interesting developmental history. Essentially, Stanly Kubrick bought the rights to some short stories from Arthur C. Clarke…and they jointly wrote the screenplay. However, at the same time, Clarke (with Kubrick’s knowledge, and, I think, encouragement) wrote the novel.
The novel took elements from a few Clarke stories, as did the movie. It isn’t that the movie was written without Clarke and then Clarke adapted the movie.
The Teens daily choice is also one I could see being a sharing between mother and child…but it isn’t one I would think would be read aloud:
That’s a Newberry and Carnegie Medal honored book. It is, however, what I call a “Discovered Destiny” book: the protagonist finds out that they aren’t really who they always thought they were, or that they have some secret mission to perform (that they didn’t know about previously). While in some cases that can be “anti-parent”, I could certainly see how a mother and child could have some very interesting discussions if the mother had read the book when young and then gave it to her own child. That’s certainly possible in this case…the book originally came out in the mid 1960s.
Smashwords: “How Data-Driven Decisions *Might* Help Indie Ebook Authors Reach More Readers”
by Mark Coker of Smashwords is the result of some really heavy lifting in data analysis, and has some great insights for e-book authors and publishers.
While this is a single source of data, I’d suggest that it is one of the most significant analyses you’ll read this year, and I highly recommend it.
They do say we can share it with our friends, but I don’t want to take too much away from it. Let me note a few highlights:
- Longer books sell better (60% of the bestsellers were more than 100,000 words)
- Free books are most downloaded, but low-priced ($0.99 and $1.99) are not downloaded as much as somewhat higher priced books…some publishers are underpricing their books
- Sales are not distributed evenly…in other words, just like with print books, some bestsellers really dominate the market. That might be a surprise for e-books for some, who want to see them as more “democratic”
Note that I’m really summarizing: there are 71 slides in the presentation. Yes, the presenter has an agenda, but I did find the data valuable (even if collection of data across all outlets could not be done evenly).
James Patterson explains why his books sell
This is a really insightful
from mega-successful author James Patterson.
It talks about how the author’s background in advertising made the first big book a success, and about collaborating and producing around ten books a year.
This is one of those stories about “finding a better way”, and worth reading.
CBC: “Writers’ Union of Canada to vote on admitting self-published authors”
Sometimes, it feels like the USA is really good at making stuff (like the Kindle), but slower than some other countries at changing behavior (which, as a trainer, is what I do for a living).
The Writers Union of Canada is scheduled to vote at the end of May as to whether or not to allow independently publishing authors into the group.
Generally, traditionally published authors have balked at that. They wanted to recognize the hurdles that were passed to become tradpubbed…it was certainly different from paying a “vanity press” to publish something.
That idea has really changed, though, and will continue to change.
People shrink at the term “self-published”, although that’s often what is happening…the preferred term is now “independently published”…even though that’s a bit mushy to me.
The simple fact is that there are now many “hybrid authors”. They are both traditionally published and independently published. Many very successful tradpubbed authors are now going their own way, and that’s likely to increase.
It then challenges you: why do we accept this author when they do things one way, and we would reject the same author when they do things a different way?
I think it’s possible to set a certain level of success as the barrier to entry. Having a single title on a “recognized” bestseller list (you can create a modifiable list) for at least three weeks (an arbitrary number…I don’t want it to be just one appearance on the list at a retailer, because those can be manipulated by buying a bunch of copies yourself…even at particular times of the day when competition is lower.).
I suspect it will be a while before the Authors Guild in the USA seriously considers the same question, but I could be wrong…and would be happy to be wrong.
WSJ:”Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen”
talks about an array of possible gadgets from Amazon this year, including a phone with a 3D holographic display…no glasses needed.
Others mentioned include a cheap audio-only streamer, and a set-top box (like a Roku).
I’ve suggested that this will be a year without huge technological breakthroughs in the EBR (E-Book Reader) market, and a 10-inch Kindle Fire doesn’t count.
It’s interesting that EBRs aren’t mentioned.
Here’s the thing. Amazon can be a hardware manufacturer that doesn’t make money on hardware. That works if they use your loyalty to the hardware to get you to buy other profitable items (we are back to my “diapers and windshield wipers” line).
It’s hard for anybody to compete with that.
For me, though, I’d love to see all of this as one device eventually. Why give me a set-top box if my Kindle Fire could easily wirelessly transmit to a TV? Of course, that’s what the set top box could be…just seen as an “accessory” for a Kindle Fire.
How much cheaper could an audio streamer be than a tablet? Sure, you could probably make something for $10…but can’t you just make the Fire do the same thing?
I’ve said before that, if it’s a choice between carrying a tablet that makes decent phone calls and a phone with a relatively small screen that shows movies decently, I think people will go with the tablet. Tablets are small enough to carry reasonably easily, but the bigger screen makes a difference in a lot of functions. Until we get morphable devices (which can change shape), I think the tablet will win.
That said, Amazon can make a lot of money (er…sales, not profit…they aren’t that good at profit) with an array of devices. Those devices have to get people to sign up for Prime, and Prime has to get people to buy physical items.
I think that’s the winning strategy.
I have to admit, I’d be a little afraid to get a “Kindle phone”. My Samsung is very reliable, even it’s a bit outdated now perhaps. It’s a real workhorse. I can’t say that about my Kindle Fire: like an early model PC, it does “crash” a lot, but not so it’s really irritating. Flipboard may stop responding, for example. I wouldn’t want that to happen with my phone…
What do you think? Should authors’ groups accept independently published authors? How do you determine for yourself who is “an author”? Would you buy a Kindle phone? Do you have a geeky Mom? Are you more likely to buy a book for $2.99 than for $1.99? 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.