Heads up! LTO on Fire tablets at 4 PM Pacific: Artist Studio Painting Kit

December 12, 2014

Heads up! LTO on Fire tablets at 4 PM Pacific: Artist Studio Painting Kit

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Artist Studio Painting Kit for $17. Deal starts at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT.

I am on my phone so more later…

Update:

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Fire tablet owners.

What happens is you can get a text to alert you to an upcoming deal (details in the links below). You don’t get much warning…maybe an hour.

The deal also appears on the sleep screen of your Fire, and you can find it under Offers on the homescreen (all the way at the end). That will disappear when the sale is over.

Then, you say you want to “learn more”. You’ll get to a screen with a countdown clock. As soon as the clock gets to zero, you need to click to have a chance to get it.

They have typically been selling out in seconds.

Here is information on the program:

As I’ve written before, I look at these LTOs (Limited Time Offers) sort of like buying a lottery ticket: I don’t expect to get one (win), but its exciting if I do! Of course, the “ticket” doesn’t cost me anything.

These LTOs are one of the best arguments for having Special Offers…and yes, a good argument for having a  Fire (at AmazonSmile)!

Did you get one? Do you have any other comment on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

One more thing: I’ve had a couple of readers say on past offers that they never even saw the offer. As far as I know, these go out to every eligible Fire tablet in the USA. A few possibilities occur to me:

  • They either bought a Fire tablet without Special Offers, or bought out of the offers later. You have to be subscribed to those in order to get these deals
  • They weren’t connected to wireless in time for it to update
  • They didn’t check the Offers tab (I don’t always see it on the sleep screen)

It might not have been any of those, but those three would have done it.

===

New! Join over a thousand 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.

Amazon’s bestselling books of 2014

December 12, 2014

Amazon’s bestselling books of 2014

In this

press release

Amazon announces their

Customer Favorites: 2014’s Top-Selling New Releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Actually, while they call it the “bestselling” list, they also include information about “most wished for” (added to Amazon wishlists) and “most gifted”…both interesting.

I would guess the “most gifted” may be the most inaccurate: how many people actually indicate a p-book (paperbook) is a gift when they buy it? With e-books, you can send a book to someone as a gift, so that’s more obvious…unless the person is on your account, in which case, it may just look like you are buying it.

Some interesting points from the press release:

  • Over half of the books on the lists are from series
  • “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is the only book in the top 20 to sell more print copies than Kindle copies”…think about that one. There has been an argument that people want to give p-books to children as gifts, rather than e-books. Part of that has to do, I think, with a…presumption that p-books make kids more scholarly than e-books (since the latter are read on a dreaded “screen). I think it’s partially also nostalgia: adults remember being given p-books as kids, and may still own them decades later (or have passed them on to their kids). That will change: in time, adults will remember having been given e-books as children…and will share them with their kids through the account
  • “The best-selling book by a debut author in 2014 was The Martian by Andy Weir”…yep, science fiction, and originally self-published (but then picked up by a tradpub…traditional publisher)
  • The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R. J. Palacio and The Staff of Serapis made the list with Kindle-only books”…another amazing fact. Remember that ten years ago there were no Kindle books. Initially, many of the Kindle store books were converted from p-books, followed by simultaneous releases. For a bestseller to never have been a p-book is a real evolutionary change!

Standing out for me in the top 100 Kindle store books (only paid, by the way…they don’t free in these lists) is

#3: The Fixed Trilogy: Fixed on You, Found in You, Forever with You (at AmazonSmile*) by Laurelin Paige

This is a self-published book…actually, an omnibus of three books in a series.

It has 4.6 out of 5 stars, with 4,836 customer reviews.

Text-to-speech enabled, lending enabled, has X-Ray, and has Word Wise.

It’s also available through Kindle Unlimited, where members can read it at no additional cost.

What is the price on it?

$3.99.

Now, this is #3 on the Kindle list, so it wasn’t included in those above that didn’t have print editions…but it doesn’t.

Congratulations to Laurelin Paige for showing that you don’t need the traditional system to be a success!

I’m not opposed to tradpubbing…it certainly has its benefits. I just like people to have options…that results in more books, and that’s a good thing. :)

Here is Amazon’s top 20 (they say, “List counts only first editions published in 2014 and includes paid units in print and Kindle.”)

  1. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  2. Gray Mountain by John Grisham
  3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  4. 20 Seconds Ago by Lee Child
  5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  6. The Target by David Baldacci
  7. The Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige
  8. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  9. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (I’ve read this one)
  10. Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  11. WMC 13 by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
  12. Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett
  13. Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
  14. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
  15. Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
  16. Field of Prey by John Sanford
  17. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  18. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  19. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
  20. Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

These are mostly “People Magazine books” (that’s what I call the mainstream…books likely to be reviewed in that publication, with a lot of brand name authors. I might have expected more young adult books, and it’s intriguing to see Nora Roberts so well represented with this type of genre series.

Bonus deal:

Amazon is continuing their 12 Days of Deals in Kindle Books” at the

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

page. For Day 2, we have a really important book in the “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime”:

Silent Spring (at AmazonSmile*) by Rachel Carson.

This 1962 non-fiction book was a major influence on creating an environmental movement in the USA. It’s $1.99 to buy today…and it is part of Kindle Unlimited.

Their Best Books of 2014 selection for today is

Those Who Wish Me Dead (at AmazonSmile*) by Michael Koryta

It’s $2.99 today.

I would consider both for gifts…remember that you can delay the delivery date until the appropriate one, and if your recipient already has the book, they can get a store credit instead.

These would both make good small gifts, if you like…if you put a bunch of small gifts together, haven’t you spent $1.99 on something that might have less of an impact and be less appreciated than The Silent Spring? I have. :)

You can choose “Give as a Gift” and then have it e-mailed to you, print it out, and include it with the other gifts.

What do you think? Any surprises for you on Amazon’s lists? What were your favorite books published this year? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join over a thousand 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.

The Amazon universe expands

December 11, 2014

The Amazon universe expands

What happens at Amazon affects us Kindleers.

I’ve said in the past that I was more confident that my e-books from Amazon would be available to my descendants in a couple of generations than my p-books (paperbooks).

As for the latter, it simply isn’t terribly logical to expect my now adult kid and my now adult kid’s hypothetical future kids to dedicate a room in the house to a floor to ceiling library as we have.

Ownership is becoming far less important than access. That may have some positive impacts, especially environmentally. If you don’t have all that “stuff” to store, you can live in a much smaller space. A smaller space can have a smaller footprint in more ways than one.

I was confident that my e-book library would be around 100 years from now. It wouldn’t surprise me if Amazon lasted that long, but if they don’t, I expect that there would be some sort of migration of the library…either to another company or to the customers.

I still am confident in Amazon, but recent moves make their future much harder to calculate.

 As was made abundantly clear at the last Amazon financials call, the

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

cost them a lot of money this year…and didn’t generate a lot.

I was apparently one of the very few people to buy one for $199, locked to AT&T. They’ve really changed that (both the price and the lock), but the launch was bad enough for Amazon to suggest that maybe they would choose the chances they took more carefully…

NOT!

;)

In the weeks since, they’ve announced all sorts of speculative ventures.

There are so many that I’m just going to do them as bullet points:

[Aside: I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, and yes, the power went out while I was writing this. :) We are expecting a very large storm…no, we don’t get snow, but we get a lot of rain and flooding, and power outages are pretty common. Our dogs have never seen a storm like the one that’s been predicted: hopefully, they’ll be okay with it]

  • The Amazon Echo: while this could be seen as a Fire Phone like risk, I think it has a huge potential upside. I can’t buy one from Amazon right now: I do think they are keeping them out of the hands of tech writers until the device has matured. It’s learning every day. I said on the Amazon forums that it’s like a child right now, and you wouldn’t send a child out for a job interview (which is sort of what a review by a tech writer is, for a gadget)…you’d probably wait until they’d at least graduated high school. ;) This could be a market defining device, and allow Amazon to be the way that most people interact with the internet at home. Controlling that, and monetizing it on the business to business side, could be an incredible opportunity. People are making the mistake of judging what it can be by what it is. Right now, it has to be plugged into the wall, for example. No reason why a mobile item (wearable, perhaps?) running off the base station couldn’t exist in the future…it already does, a bit, with the apps and remotes. I like the way they are introducing it, frustrating as it is to a small group of potential customers. They aren’t approaching the Echo like the Fire Phone: they are getting a lot of user feedback before going wide. Also, they aren’t going to be entering a mature market…they are going to be defining one. And if it fails? Hey, it would just a Bluetooth speaker ;)
  • Amazon travel services: sure, why not? I’d book through Amazon as an Amazon customer. They’ve made paying for things easy, and they already know everything about me. :) That’s one of the big pots o’ glue for Amazon: customers consider it low risk and convenient. Would you book Amazon travel if you weren’t an Amazon customer? That’s a hypothetical, of course…is anyone not an Amazon customer? ;)
  • Amazon bike messengers delivery service. My guess is that they are bringing something they’ve been using in China into the USA. Get your goods in an hour? Possible. That goes along with the drone delivery they’ve mentioned…but it will face a lot fewer regulatory hurdles. Combine that with Kiva robots to get the right thing to the bike messengers’…um, bikes, and this could really “roll” (by the way, I’m glad I’m not writing in China, where apparently, the government has recently started to crack down on puns, on the basis that they are confusing…sometimes, confusion is the only path to true clarity)
  • Amazon Elements: Amazon branded products…and there are those diapers and windshield wipers I keep talking about! Well, diapers anyway…yep, Amazon brand diapers. At this point, you need to be a Prime member to buy them…and they are talking about how “transparent” the new Elements line will be. You’ll know where they were made and how. I have to say, though, “transparent diapers” doesn’t really sound like a good idea ;)
  • Consumer Services: this one makes sense to me. If I want a gardener, I’d rather go through Amazon then hunt on the internet, or join yet another group to get their recommendation
  • Bargaining on products: one of Amazon’s failures in the past was an auction site, but this could work. Basically, some sellers of certain types of items (like collectibles) put up a price, but say they are willing to negotiate. Consumers make offers
  • Gaming (social and competitive): Amazon spent nearly a billion dollars on Twitch, a social videogame site, and they just bought GoodGame, a sort of talent agency for competitive gamers. Gaming is a giant market, but my intuition here is that Amazon is more interested in controlling how that market develops than being really passionate about it for its own sake. I could be wrong, though: Amazon does make some games now

Those are just some of their consumer facing investments lately. They are paying tons more to license content, and there is a lot more happening away from the consumers.

If investors thought the big A would slow down after the Fire Phone, they need to start sweating again. Oh, and rumor has it that a Fire Phone 2 is on the way…

Jeff Bezos seems to think some people are too blinded by the present to see the future. I think it’s worth noting, though, that if you time crossing the street based on what the traffic will be five years from now, you might get run over. ;) I do have a great deal of confidence in Amazon: it’s just that it’s getting so much harder to define what Amazon is.

What do you think? Should Amazon have just stuck to selling books? Were you one of the many people who thought that the Kindle was a bad idea for Amazon, since hardware wasn’t their area? When is investing too much for them? When do they need to show a profit for the investors…if ever? Are you more or less confident in Amazon’s future than you were a year ago? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus deal: Amazon has started their “12 Days of Deals in Kindle Books” at the

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

page. Today, that includes one from the “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” and one (really two) from the “Best Books of 2014″ for $2.99 each.

The 100 Books title is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I’ve been interested in that one since I first heard about it on the radio years back. However, the publisher has made the decision to block text-to-speech access, so I won’t buy it**. It seems a bit ironic to me to put that on a list of “100 Books to Read” when one significant way to read the book is being actively blocked.

The other books are the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children books by Ransom Riggs: Hollow City came out this year.

 Join over a thousand 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.

** 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.

Current gen Fire sale (including Kids’), limited time

December 10, 2014

Current gen Fire sale (including Kids’), limited time

When did it get to be that we got the best bargains near the holidays? People used to think that prices got raised during the holiday, and then they’d find bargains afterwards.

I think part of is that there isn’t the same problem with stock sitting in a physical store that there used to be. Yes, devices are physical stock, but that is managed so much better now than they were when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I would be sure that the cost per square foot of using an Amazon fulfillment center is a tiny fraction of what it was for my bookstore.

Amazon has some of their current generation Fire tablets on sale right now, for a “limited time”. This a public offer in the USA store: it’s not limited to those with Special Offers, and it isn’t a deal of the day. However, we don’t know when it might go away (which could be any time).

The models on sale are:

 Fire HD Kids Edition (at AmazonSmile*) $30 off

That brings this version with the ruggedized case and the special replacement policy down to as low as $159 The $30 off applies to both the 6″ and the 7″.

Fire HD 7 (at AmazonSmile*) $25 off

Now you have a mid-size Fire for as low as $114. You can also still get the six inch for $99.

Also on sale is my daily tablet (makes it sound like medicine, doesn’t it?) ;)

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile*) $40 off

That’s as low as $199. It is the previous gen, and doesn’t have a rear-facing camera, but does have the current software (Fire OS 4).

There may be more sales, of course, but we are getting into that “short shipping season”, and there may be more unavailabilities. I’d say this sale is particularly good on the new Kids’ edition…that’s going to be a hot item this year, and a great gift. For me, that’s particularly true for elementary school kids…that’s more of the market than for older kids.

I’ll keep my eye open for more bargains, though!

Join over a thousand 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.

If the top ten books were the Kindle store

December 10, 2014

If the top ten books were the Kindle store

I do an extensive Snapshot of the USA Kindle store every month, but I was looking at the bestsellers and thought it might be interesting just to look at the top ten.

I can tell you right now, they won’t statistically match the greater store.

Now, we have to be careful not to think that they are bestsellers simply because they have these unusual stats. In some cases, it could be that they become bestsellers, which hypes the interest, which leads to retailers (not just Amazon) getting competitive, which can lead to price cutting…so it isn’t necessarily a low price that gets you to the top, but getting you to the top could get you a lower price.

Here are some stats about those top ten at the time of writing (they update it every hour):

Oh, first a quick listing:

Amazon Bestsellers: paid (not free) Kindle store books (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

  1. Guardians of the Night by Alan Russel $4.99 (Kindle First)
  2. Marked by Sarah Fine $4.99 (Kindle First)
  3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand $2.99
  4. The Last Passenger by Manel Loureiro $4.99 (Kindle First)
  5. Fatal Puzzle by Catherine Shepherd $4.99 (Kindle First)
  6. The Escape by David Baldacci $10.99
  7. The Burning Room by Michael Connelly $3.99
  8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty $3.99
  9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr $6.99
  10. Gone Girl $2.99
  • The average price is $5.19…and only one of them is over $9.99
  • 80% of them are under $5
  • 40% of them are traditionally published by Amazon: Penguin Random House has 30%, Hachette has 20%, and Simon&Schuster has 10%. Not a single independently published book is in the top ten
  • Text-to-speech 80% have it
  • X-Ray 90% have it
  • Word Wise 50% (interestingly, the Amazon books don’t all have it)
  • Lending 50% have it
  • Mystery & Thriller 60%
  • Literature & Fiction 20%
  • History 10%
  • Romance 10%

Looking at those numbers, it’s interesting. Amazon would be the biggest of the Big 6…there are the “Big 5″ trade publishers (there  used to be six…Penguin and Random House merged) and Amazon would make six again.

Even though I wouldn’t agree with all of the classifications (publishers often to choose those based on marketing…if a book will sell better in a category, they’ll put it there, even if it isn’t wholly applicable. The Last Passenger appears as a mystery, but I wouldn’t call it that.

Romance, and science fiction and fantasy, don’t appear at all…again, based on the top level classification, I think.

The last thing I’ll point out is the very low prices on some of the best known! $2.99 for Gone Girl? I haven’t read it myself, but I would think that could make a great gift (you know, if someone would be okay with the content).

This isn’t my usual bestseller analysis, but I’ll say…it’s different at the top. ;)

Update: one of my readers, botk, correctly pointed out that I had not labeled the Kindle First books when I did this last night. That is a special program from Amazon that allows Prime members to get one free pre-publication Amazon traditionally published book a month. There are four of those books (as has been the pattern), and they are all in the top ten. How does that influence the stats? For one thing, they will tend to have the special features…but, as I noted, not Word Wise. I wouldn’t say they particularly bring the average price down at $4.99…there were lower priced books in the top ten. I had considered mentioning the Kindle First connection last night, but thought that certainly didn’t represent the broader store (they aren’t quite “one in a million” with four out of about three million…more like “one in 750,000″ ;) )…however, since that was sort of the point of the post, I should have. ;) Thanks, botk!

Update: I also didn’t mention that none of them are in Kindle Unlimited. The four Kindle First books certainly may be, but not until they are actually published in January. I see that at least one of them specifically says that will be the case.

Join over a thousand 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.

Today: 50% off 3rd Gen HDXs with 4G

December 8, 2014

Today: 50% off 3rd Gen HDXs with 4G

This is a Gold Box Deal (GBD) so it should only be good today (although there may be other deals later on).

This is a good one!

Gold Box Deal of the Day: 50% Off Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE Tablets (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can get a Kindle HDX 7″ (that’s what I use every day) for $139…the current gen is $199!

This one comes with 4G (another way to connect to the internet besides using wi-fi) which would require a dataplan that you would pay for monthly, but let me be clear:

You do not need to get the dataplan!

I don’t currently have a Fire HDX with 4G: I did, but just didn’t find it worthwhile and didn’t renew after the  plan after the first year.

Where I live (in the San Francisco Bay Area), there’s plenty of wi-fi…if you live in a rural area, that might not be the case, and you might be happy to pay for a monthly plan.

I consider this one of the best deals Amazon has offered on Fire tablets to the general public (as opposed to something like a Limited Time Special Offer…although this could run out and is only for today).

Note that this has the current version of the operating system: you do have Mayday (the onscreen tech help), you can download some Prime videos.

Bottom line: if you’ve been thinking about a Fire tablet, especially as a gift (the 4G is a nice option in a gift…they can just use wi-fi, if they want, but they can choose. They may move somewhere in the future with 4G), this is an excellent opportunity.

 Join over a thousand 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.

E-books are books

December 8, 2014

E-books are books

Sigh.

I keep thinking we’ve gotten past the literati rejecting e-books as “not real books”.

I haven’t had someone sneer at me in years for reading on an e-reader.

In my experience, it’s simple: the more you love books, the more you love e-books.

However, it happened again.

In what I thought was otherwise an insightful

Thought Catalog article by Kim Quindlen: “11 Things To Know Before You Date A Bookworm”

the third thing is (in part):

“…Discussing e-Readers is not a thing we’re interesting in doing. Please don’t tell us about how they’re so much more practical and convenient…”

Look, if you are an actual bookworm (technically a booklouse of the order Psocoptera), I get it. E-books don’t have the binding paste on which you feed, so you are justified in not liking them much.

If you a human (Homo sapiens) and it is the actual words on which you feed, an e-book is just as nourishing as a p-book (paperbook). ;)

As an inveterate reader, I can’t imagine not wanting to discuss anything which had to do with reading.

I will, though, Kim, respect your desire for ignorance. I’m sure there must be things of which I’d prefer to remain ignorant, although nothing comes to mind…and hasn’t yet in my life. ;)

If you did want to discuss it (and you are free to do so by commenting on this post or in another blog…I assume I’d see the link), I’d hypothetically mention some things to you:

  • There’s no reason you can’t enjoy both. Don’t you want access to books in every possible way you can? Certainly, you might love that nostalgic feeling of holding the book that was given to you by a grandparent when you were a child…and had been their ancestor’s before that. That doesn’t stop you from wanting access to the thousands upon thousands of books which are only available as e-books
  • E-books mean much of the world’s great literature…for free. I suppose you can be a booklover and refuse to read Dostoevsky or Dickens or Doyle unless they come in a particular physical medium and you have to pay something for them…
  • I will make no presumptions about the age of someone writing a dating tips post. Let me just point out that people “of a certain age” are statistically more likely to have print challenges. E-books have given many people the ability to read again who had found it increasingly difficult. The increasable text size, without paying extra for Large Print books (when those are even available) can be important. If you are not having any issues with your eyes or your ability to physically hold a book and turn pages, I’m genuinely happy for you. For others, e-books are the adaptive technology for literature…and since you may end up needing them at some point, I’d suggest an open mind…which reading typically tends to give to readers
  • I also understand the sensual nature of p-books…that’s why people spend hours on a lazy summer afternoon, flipping the pages of a blank book, right? ;) However, I think my Significant Other had the best line. Years ago, someone dismissively said to my SO (upon observing my SO reading on a Kindle), “I like the feel of a book in my hand.” My SO replied, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” :)

That’s enough for now, since we aren’t discussing it, per your request. ;) Let us simply join metaphorical hands in our shared love of reading!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have several books I’m reading…I’d like to get back to one of them.

Oh, and if you actually are a literal bookworm…enjoy your lunch!

;)

 Join over a thousand 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 #278: Goodreads winners, favorite authors

December 6, 2014

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:

Amazon’s Favorite Authors page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

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

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

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

The Last Passenger (at AmazonSmile*)

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

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

and the

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

(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:

32″ TV HDTV LED 720p Element Electronics (at AmazonSmile*)

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:

https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2014

First, I have to say: why isn’t there an easy page for this at Amazon in the Kindle store?

There is a page

Goodreads Choice Award Winners (at AmazonSmile*)

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:

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.

 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.

** 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.

Amazon technical issues preventing delivery of ILMK to subscribers

December 5, 2014

Amazon technical issues preventing delivery of ILMK to subscribers

Well, it seems a bit odd to use a blog post to tell people that they won’t see it, I think it is worth the effort. :)

Two of my subscribers, D. knight and Karen, told me that they had not gotten a new ILMK post since December 1st.

Subscribers actually pay ninety-nine cents a month to receive this blog on their Kindle devices (Amazon does not make it available by that kind of subscription on Fires).

I can never thank them enough for that! It is one of the things that justifies me spending the time and energy that I do on this.

I know that some people continue to pay the subscription fee, even though they may be reading it on a tablet, just to support ILMK…and I really appreciate that. I started to say to “support me”, but ILMK really is more than just me.

A significant part of the value of ILMK comes from my readers…their comments, often giving generously both of their thoughts and their time, provide a valuable community resource.

I understand it when people don’t subscribe…even ninety-nine cents a month can be a lot for some people, especially if they aren’t really getting the product. Everyone is welcome here.

However, those who do subscribe through

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

give my family a predictable contribution to our lives, and help enable some of the good things we can do.

I want those subscribers to have a good experience.

So, when I was alerted about the problem, I first checked it on our

Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Yes, I pay to subscribe to it, just like you do. That way, I can check to see the functioning: and I had the same situation. The last new post had been December 1st. I don’t check it every day (after all, I read it when I write it) ;) , but this was a situation where I was glad I did.

I contacted Amazon, and got a response back pretty quickly:

“Dear Publisher,

I apologize for the inconvenience caused in this regard.

We are facing technical issues at our end. Our technical team is currently investigating the issue.

We will provide you an update within 2 – 3 working days.”

At least I can assure my readers that it is nothing they have done and it isn’t their devices.

Hopefully, this is resolved quickly.

Thanks again for your support!

Update: the problem is fixed! From an Amazon e-mail this morning:

“Dear Publisher,

Our technical team has fixed the issue and your blog “I Love My Kindle” has
resumed publishing on December 05, 2014 14:39 UTC.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused in this regard.”

Join over a thousand 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.

 

 

Microsoft gives up on the NOOK: a tipping point for B&N?

December 5, 2014

Microsoft gives up on the NOOK: a tipping point for B&N?

“To B&N or not to B&N…that is the question.” ;)

Barnes & Noble released their 2015 second financial quarter information

press release

and while things could have been worse (the college store segment actually had increased sales), reaction to it has not been good.

Revenue overall was down (year over year) by 2.7%, and that included a drop in the retail segment by 3.6%.

However, the NOOK segment (which includes NOOKs, accessories, and e-books and other applicable digital content) was down 41.3%, which is huge.

The devices were especially down, and as this short excerpt shows, B&N thinks that dragged down the content part:

“The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $64 million for the quarter, decreasing 41.3% from a year ago.  Device and accessories sales were $18.7 million for the quarter, a decrease of 63.7% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume.  Digital content sales were $45.2 million for the quarter, a decline of 21.2% compared to a year ago, due primarily to lower device unit sales. “

The Microsoft/Barnes & Noble relationship has been interesting, to say the least.

In 2011, Microsoft sued B&N over the NOOK.

In 2012, Microsoft pumped $300 million into B&N’s NOOK business…which some people saw as possibly the lifesaver a sinking B&N needed.

Now, Microsoft is out of there…freed of obligations regarding the NOOK.

While B&N has tried to make that into a good thing, I don’t see how it really can be.

Seeking Alpha has

four articles today about Barnes & Noble

and none of them are positive takes on the report (although one of them is a transcript of B&N’s web call about the financials).

Competition is a good thing, so I’m not pleased to see B&N weakening.

Sony, which used to be one of Amazon’s major competitors in the EBR (E-Book Reader) market, is gone for the USA for those devices.

For EBRs, I’d say that Kobo is Amazon’s one really big competitor (if the NOOK fails).

Amazon has competitors on the tablet front, of course, and definitely on the phone front.

They are battling Chromecast and Roku for streaming devices. The Echo seems to be distinctively different from other Bluetooth speakers, although I suppose one could argue that it competes with other (relatively) high end wireless speakers.

Overall, today’s information doesn’t make me optimistic for B&Ns future…

Join over a thousand 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.


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