Amazon launches subser: Kindle Unlimited?

July 16, 2014

Amazon launches subser: Kindle Unlimited?

In my

The Year Ahead: 2014

post in December, I made this guess about what might happen:

“Kindle Unlimited: Amazon does an “all you can eat” plan

I think this has become a lot more likely. Amazon already has it for kids, and rumor is that they’ve been talking to publishers about it. They could open it with mostly independently published books, but they would hopefully get HarperCollins or some other tradpub (traditional publisher) to join in. You’d be able to read as many books as you wanted out of a select group. I could see this being discounted with Prime, or available without it. Let’s say… about$20 a month without Prime, $5 with it. Once people become Prime members, they spend a lot more money, so this could work economically.”

Now, two of my readers (Lady Galaxy and Marjorie) tell me that they’ve actually seen links and information about something called…Kindle Unlimited!

Marjorie said:

“Did you see that Amazon started an unlimited borrowing program for their kindle? First month free. Then $9.99/ month. I saw quite a few Simon & Schuster titles while browsing. The selection is similar to Scribd but Amazon seems to have some newer titles.”

Lady Galaxy said:

“When using a Kindle to “shop in Kindle store,” I see that two of todays “Kindle Daily Deal” books are listed as “kindleunlimited.” Underneath is a link saying “Subscribers read for free.” If you click that link, it leads to the kindleunlimited page offering a 30 day free trial .”Unlimited reading, unlimited listening, any device, $9.99″ a month.” It offers over 600,000 books. So far, I can’t find a link to it in the online Amazon store.”

This would represent what I call a “subser” (short for “subscription service”).

I will add to this post, but I wanted to get this out there right away. This could be “A/B testing”…some people see it, some people don’t.

** Updated info: if you signed up, you won’t be charged. If you downloaded books, you’ll be able to read them…so people who were quick got freebies (to read, probably not to keep) out of this.

I’m investigating a couple of ways, but if you see this link, please let me know. One thing that would help: right-click the link for more information, then choose “copy shortcut” (it might be a bit different wording…and right-clicking is more likely on a Windows PC…it could be a long press on your device, for example) and post that for me in a comment.

Exciting news!

I really appreciate it when my readers take the time and effort to give me the heads-up on something like this. It really helps get the information out to everyone.

More to come…

Update: I’m not seeing the link shopping on my computer in the Maxthon browser. I’m not seeing it on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

whether I go from the Shop tab on the homescreen, or from the Shop in the Books tab.

On our

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

(newest version), it updated the store when I went to it. That could be connected to this. However, I checked all five books, and didn’t see anything.

If you are seeing something, please also let me know where on the page you see it…although, again, that could be different for different people.

I haven’t seen the link in Chrome on my computer, either.

I did a Google search: not seeing that anybody else has announced it yet.

Update:

A reader, Kindle Fan, commented this:

“The link to Kindle Unlimited is:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/ku/

Kindle Unlimited is an offer for customers in USA and for only $9.99 per month you have unlimited access to over 630,000 Kindle books. You can read the books on your Kindle device or Kindle Reader.

A few hours ago the total number of books in Kindle Unlimited was around 639,000.

It’s likely that Amazon by mistake opened Kindle Unlimited to a number of customers and they have now removed the links and all info about it.

I signed up for Kindle Unlimited and managed to get two good books before Amazon closed it.

My guess is that Amazon will open up for Kindle Unlimited within a few months.”

I responded:

“Thanks for writing, Kindle Fan!

I just tried that link and got a 404 message, indicating that it doesn’t exist (for me).

I tried it in Maxthon, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

It is possible it was an error, as you suggest, or an A/B test. They may have wanted to have a very small sample with which to work first.

I really appreciate you making this comment!

I’m checking in some other ways. It’s possible we won’t hear anything more right away. My guess, though, is that we’ll hear something (even if it’s a “coming soon” announcement) by Tuesday. We’ll see… :)

Lady Galaxy wrote back and identified one of the books as

Gone South (at AmazonSmile)

by Robert McCammon (one of the Kindle Daily Deals at $1.99), but also said the link had disappeared.

That book is published by Open Road, which tends to be feature forward and customer friendly. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were to participate in something like this…which would bring us many great backlist books.

It’s also interesting that Marjorie mentioned Simon & Schuster. Before I saw their comments, I had flipped this article into the ILMK Flipboard Magazine (see below):

The Bookseller article by Sarah Shaffi

which talks about Les Moonves (Chief Executive Officer of CBS, parent company of S&S) talking about Amazon. The comments are a bit…hard to define, and it could be that Moonves was aware of the subser at the time of the interview. Moonves said,

“It’s going to be a very interesting thing as we go into the future.”

That might have nothing to do with it, but still…intriguing. :)

Update: I’ve now had a chance to look at the cached page above, so I can say some more about it. None of this is final, and it might not be like this when it launches: we might have seen an accidental leak of a mock-up. I have gotten some information from Amazon on it, and am waiting for permission to share their brief statement (which does not have a launch date).

Here are books shown on the page, their publishers, and if they are currently available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I’m including the last one because the figure of “over 600,000″ KU (Kindle Unlimited) titles is close to the same (I get 614,972 right now). Could KU work with the same titles as the KOLL (from which you can currently borrow up to a book a month)? Maybe…but flashier titles might get more people into it.

  • Water for Elephants (Algonquin, a Workman imprint), yes
  • Life of Pi (Mariner, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint), no
  • Flash Boys (W.W. Norton), no
  • The Hunger Games books (Scholastic), yes
  • Lord of the Rings books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), no
  • Harry Potter books (Pottermore), yes
  • The Fracking King (Little A, an Amazon imprint), yes
  • When I Found You (Lake Union, an Amazon imprint), yes
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press), no
  • War Brides (Lake Union, an Amazon imprint), yes
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), no
  • The Namesake (Mariner, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint), no
  • The Bone Season (Bloomsbury), no
  • The Summer I Found You (Albert Whitman), no
  • “Kindle Exclusives” (I think all Amazon, all KOLL): The Long Way Home, Trinity Game, Firefly Beach, The Detachment
  • Old Girls in Low Cotton (Kindle Singles), yes
  • Revolution by Murder (Kindle Singles), yes
  • Operation Cowboy (Kindle Singles), yes
  • Books by Michael Lewis: Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, Home Game (W.W. Norton: no, no, and yes)

They are also indicating audiobooks, which would give them a decided advantage (for those who like them) over Oyster and Scribd.

So, looking at this, although one of my readers reported Simon & Schuster (and my readers were able to go from a live link into a much more complete listing), I’m not seeing any of the Big Five publishers displayed on the cached landing page.

However, there are quite a number of them which are not available through the KOLL.

Scribd and Oyster should be scrambling today as they hear this information…that’s the direct challenge.

This is not at all simple, though.

I think one big appeal for it is going to be gift subscriptions. It would be like buying Netflix for your kid…but people feel really good about giving the gift of reading. I’m not sure how many people think they spend $120 a year on books (most of the readers of this blog, quite possibly, but we aren’t enough to make this work).

I see three particular challenges in this:

  • Getting more big publishers on board…you need a turnover of promoted mainstream titles, I think, to keep people engaged
  • What do you do with the KOLL? How does this interact with Prime (if it does)? Is the KOLL going to be positioned as the Prime version of Kindle Unlimited now (and still limited to up to a book a month)?
  • Compensation…and in particular, how that might vary for tradpubs (traditional publishers) versus indies (independents). That’s already different in the KOLL, though, so it isn’t insurmountable

I’m very confident we’ll hear the Authors Guild and others express concerns about this…

Update: thanks again to Kindle Fan! My very informative reader on this linked to some terms on Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) site, which proves that Kindle Unlimited is official!

It’s interesting stuff…I’ll need to verify that it is in the public-facing material, and if it is, I’ll let you know more.

Update: okay, I’ve verified that you can see this without having a KDP account: I don’t want to breach any confidences:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=AI3QMVN4FMTXJ

Here’s the key point:

“You’re eligible for royalty payment from Kindle Unlimited each time a new customer reads more than 10% of your book for the first time. A customer can read your book again as many times as they like, but you will only receive payment for the first 10% read.

It may take months for a customer to read more than 10% your book, but no matter how long it takes, you’ll still be paid once it happens. This is true even if your KDP Select enrollment period has lapsed, and you chose not to re-enroll. “

This suggests that perhaps you have to be in KDP Select (as an indie) to be part of KU. That requires Kindle store exclusivity, which may make some authors hesitate.

I’m also curious about limits on how many books you can have out at a time.

Let’s say you have five people on your account (there is no limit). Can each of them have out a different book at the same time? If so, what if you had 600,000 people on your account? You aren’t allowed to share your books for commercial purposes, but maybe you are just friendly with everybody in your city. ;) Can two devices have the same book at the same time? If so, multiple device licenses create the same problem. We’ll have to wait to see details.

**UPDATE: okay, I just got permission from Amazon to share this information, and it’s important!

“From time to time, we test both new and existing features on our website to determine which services would drive customer purchases and satisfaction. We’re testing Kindle Unlimited but the service is currently unavailable. If you tried to subscribe, you will not be charged. If you downloaded books, you are able to continue reading them.

During these test periods, certain aspects of our website will function or appear differently to randomly selected customers, or to the same customer using another computer or browser. We don’t have any specific information about this service. We’re continually fine-tuning our presentation to provide our customers with the greatest value, selection, and information for their online purchasing decisions.”

Thanks to all of the readers who have commented so far! What do you think? Would you buy into this? If not, what would get you to do it? Do you think it will work in the marketplace? When do you think Amazon will introduce it? Will it cannibalize book sales (these are borrows), and will it mean more of the backlist appearing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

New! 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! :) 

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 #261: Shannara to the screen, $85 PW2 refurb

July 15, 2014

Round up #261: Shannara to the screen, $85 PW2 refurb

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

Refurb PW2 for $85 (today only)

I know that many of my readers prefer the non-Fire Kindles, so it’s always nice to be able to write about a deal for them. ;)

Gold Box Deal of the Day: KPW2 refurb for $85 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s the current generation Kindle Paperwhite, which is normally priced (this is all the USA store…this deal may not be available in your country) for $109.

The Paperwhite is a great reader. It’s only big lack is in not having sound, so it can’t do text-to-speech (or audiobooks or music), but otherwise, I like it a lot.

“Refurbed” is short for “refurbished”. I’d never hesitate to buy a refurb from Amazon: they have the same warranty as a new one, and they’ve been inspected perhaps more carefully.

I would guess that new items have been inspected outside Amazon (by the actual manufacturer), and refurbs are inspected at Amazon, although I don’t know that for sure.

This is a Deal of the Day, so although it may go on sale again at some point in the future, it won’t be the price tomorrow.

If you’ve been debating getting a newer model non-Fire Kindle, this is something to consider. I’d say that there are people who prefer some of the earlier models (both for the sound, as I mentioned, and for a physical keyboard), but they won’t last forever…

The Hachazon War and the rhetoric of class warfare

This

Gigaom article by Laura Hazard Owen

is one of the most interesting takes I’ve seen on what I call the Hachazon War (the dispute between retailer Amazon and publisher Hachette) to date.

The lengthy piece points out how Amazon is positioning itself as being the populist entity, and the publishers are the establishment.

Well, yes.

Despite Amazon being a huge corporation, in this case, they have very much empowered small indies (independent publishers, which can be individual authors) and disrupted the status quo.

Which authors have tended to come out in favor of the big publishers?

Brand name authors who have benefited from the tradpubs’ (traditional publishers’) prior dominance.

Which authors have tended to come out in favor of Amazon?

Indies, even if some of them make enough money now to be in the same league as many tradpubbed authors.

When being published and widely distributed required a huge infrastructure, tradpubs ruled.

E-books don’t require that same structure. Accurately, we can say that Amazon provides that infrastructure…to pretty much everyone.

Amazon also pays more royalties (the percentage authors get of each sale) that the tradpubs.

I do think tradpubs bring legitimate value to the process…but theirs is no longer the only process.

Owen does a great job of pointing out how even their corporate language differs, with Hachette tending to be formal, and Amazon tending to be informal.

I highly recommend that article.

On the other hand, there is this

Huffington Post article by Maddie Crum

It’s about how to “quit Amazon” as a customer, and is written in a humorous fashion.

I don’t put this one on the “other hand” because it is anti-Amazon…while I like Amazon, I haven’t liked some of their tactics in the Hachazon War, and have said so.

There was one particular statement, though, that pulled me up short:

“How does one stop purchasing books, and also many other things, from a company that has been repeatedly accused of price fixing…”

Um…I’m not sure if Crum realized that accusations of price-fixing against Amazon came from publishers…who accused them of fixing the prices too low! Publishers complained about Amazon selling bestsellers (apparently often at a loss) at $9.99, which led to the agreements with Apple to raise those prices that eventually brought in action by the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Amazon has been accused of a lot of things by a lot of people (including pressuring publishers, including academic publishers, to take a smaller cut), but artificially raising prices and locking them in at a higher price hasn’t commonly been one of them.

In an article supposedly explaining why it is…perhaps inappropriate to keep shopping at Amazon as a customer, pointing out that they have low prices may be ineffective. ;)

A bestseller…and more than fifty years old

I’ve been watching the sales ranking of

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile)

It’s been in the top 100 in the USA Kindle store.

That matches my prediction that it could be one of bestselling e-books of the year, although we have a ways to go yet.

I think we may see a considerable jump in its sales when the school year has started (as the book gets assigned), and I think it may also be a popular holiday gift.

Due to the former reason, I think it will have solid sales for quite some time.

E-books have a much longer sales cycle than p-books (paperbooks). The economics are very different. You don’t have to predict how many to print and order and store, so you don’t have to tie your promotional efforts into that time when the paper copies are available.

With p-books, you typically get huge sales in the beginning, and a rapid dwindling.

With e-books, they are around (with no supply challenges) for a long time. It may be that they sell almost nothing at first, and then spike, then taper a bit, then sell at a lower level, then spike again, and so on.

Very different strategies, just based on the medium.

Terry Brooks’ Shannara coming to MTV

No, this is not Game of Thrones. ;)

A popular fantasy series is being adapted for television:

Shannara series (at AmazonSmile)

The feel of the two is very different…this should be a whole lot lighter.

According to this

The Hollywood Reporter article by Lesley Goldberg

and other sources, the series has solid geek cred in the production department: Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville).

This is another case where you might want to read the books first. The series will reportedly be based on The Elfstones of Shannara. Text-to-speech access is blocked in the single edition, but not in

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (at AmazonSmile)

omnibus (three novels in one).

There are more than two dozen books in the series, with more on the way…

What do you think? Do you buy refurbs? Even though I think they are fine, I don’t usually do that. One reason? Since I’m going to write about them, I want them on release day. When do you buy a new model Kindle for yourself? Only when an old one fails? When a new one is released because, you know, that’s cool? When they are on sale? Is Amazon the champion of the “little guy”? Think back to when you were in high school (assuming you no longer are)…what media did you love that was fifty years old at that point? 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! :) 

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.

“You should be ashamed of reading that”

July 15, 2014

“You should be ashamed of reading that”

I recently wrote about being a fan of the Planet of the Apes (I was linking to the original book). One of my regular readers, Tuli Reno, commented (thanks, Tuli!) that

“I love Planet of the Apes and am not ashamed of it. For some reason someone I know thought I should be.”

There is no reason to be ashamed of what you read or watch or play or to which you listen.

Oh, I suppose…let me get this out of the way. There is content which is created as the result of a crime, or that exploits real people. That’s a different story. The issue there is the crime, the production of the material.

One weird thing that I remember being proposed was banning sexually explicit animation…making it a crime to produce. I can understand people not wanting to watch it, but there has hardly been a crime committed against the pixels. ;)

So, with the issue of production out of the way, let’s talk about “content shaming”.

It’s interesting to me psychologically.

Why should it matter to one person if another person reads (or otherwise consumes) something that the first person thinks is too “babyish” or “silly” or that it is just junk?

Is the argument that they should be reading something better?

I can certainly see that being a slippery slope…isn’t there always something better? ;) Should you not be reading a really good novel because there is a great one you haven’t read? ;)

My feeling always is that if you are getting nothing out of a book, the lack isn’t in the book…

If you have enough imagination, and choose to exercise it (and it is exercise…it can be tiring), you could read a great novel in a blank book, right?

I just never understand the point of diminishing someone else’s happiness.

I’ve heard the argument about all kinds of things, from comic books, to romances, to mysteries, over the years.

“Stop reading that drivel!”

I do have a theory.

Years ago, I had an  epiphany.

I realized something, and said it this way:

“We hate in others that which we fear in ourselves.”

Let’s say that someone has been taught that crying in public is bad.

They were punished for doing it (“I’ll give you something to cry about!”).

They never cry any more…it’s not that they don’t want to cry sometimes, but that they repress it.

Then, they see someone freely crying in public.

For some people, the reaction to that in that situation is instant anger.

They may yell the same thing at the other person that the authority figure in their life yelled at them.

They hate that the other person is crying, because it is something that they struggle with in themselves…that they work hard to crush.

I honestly think there is something like that at work in some content shaming.

Someone who was told to stop reading Sweet Valley High or The Animorphs or Robert Heinlein, for that matter, learns to repress the desire to do so.

When they see somebody else reading, say, The Hunger Games, they may have that same lashing out.

I’m a proud geek…and we are really used to this sort of thing. :)

Now that geek has become mainstream, it’s a bit different…but yes, watching Star Trek or playing Dungeons and Dragons or reading Lord of the Rings could get you a sneering lecture in the past.

We used to gather in conventions to find like-minded people…but now, you can do it on the internet.

If you are a fan of pretty much anything, you can probably find like-minded people online.

That can help.

I should also mention that not everybody who thinks of themselves as a geek is open to all content. There have been geek feuds (Star Trek vs. Star Wars…or Star Trek vs. Lost in Space, back in the day), and you can see some geeks putting other people down. There is a derogatory term, “skiffy” (a deliberate mispronunciation of “sci-fi”) that some people use for…I guess I’ll say they might call it schlocky pseudo science fiction. When I see someone use that, it makes me a bit sad.

Geek culture should be about acceptance, not exclusion. George Takei has made this point about Star Trek and Star Wars…after all, Takei has appeared in both universes (having done a voice in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Many other people have as well, although perhaps not with such prominence.

My main message on this, though, is that if someone else shames you because of what you are reading, it’s not about you…it’s about them.

A lot of how you emotionally react to things has to do with how you frame the situation.

After all, you are fine with your doctor doing things that would horrify you if someone else did…because you’ve framed it as happening for medical purposes.

If someone wants to content shame me, my framing of it makes me pity them. I feel sad both that they can’t get the joy out of the material that I do, and that something happened to them that made them fear in themselves something that I enjoy in myself.

I think, perhaps, the proper response is just to let them see that it isn’t hurting you…what you are reading, I mean.

Shamer: “Why are you reading that junk?”

Reader: “I like it.”

Shamer: “It’s stupid.”

Reader: “It’s interesting to me.”

Shamer: “You should be reading Tolstoy or Shakespeare.”

  • Reader (response 1): “I do [only if that's true]…I enjoy that, too. This isn’t Shakespeare…but Shakespeare isn’t this, either. I just like different things at different times.”
  • Reader (response 2): “Yes, that’s another thing I’d like to try some day.”
  • Reader (response 3): “You know, I’ve always been kind of scared of that…I’m not sure I’d understand it. Maybe you could help me get into it: where would you suggest I start?”

The bottom line, I guess, is that it should end up with a shrug on the reader’s part. You don’t want to be dismissive of the other person…showing interest in what they are saying would probably be best. You really don’t want to get defensive and engage the anger…that’s a rarely a good strategy.

I think one thing I might do is send the person a gift of a book in the genre…a book that I particularly like. I’d probably include a message that was something like, “I know that what I was reading didn’t make much sense to you, and I can understand how it could seem weird. Here’s a book I think you might enjoy…and if you want to talk about it afterwards, I’m open to that. If you want to trade it in for something else, that’s fine…I just wanted to give you an opportunity to see what I see in it.”

I know, I know…some of you think I’m a dreamer. :) Yup…and proud of it. ;)

Have you ever been content shamed? What were you reading/watching/playing? What did you do about it? Have you ever converted somebody who hated a genre into respecting it? If so, how? Name a book which you think would be a good “ambassador” to get somebody into something (for example, I’d go with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns for somebody who doesn’t like the idea of comic books and graphic novels). Outside of something criminal or exploitative, is there something that has a fandom that you just don’t get? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think, by commenting on this post.

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

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.

 

50 Kindle books for $2 each

July 14, 2014

50 Kindle books for $2 each

It’s possible to become jaded to sales in the Kindle store…there are so many of them, and the prices are often quite low even when books aren’t on sale.

Right now, there are more than half a million books in the USA Kindle store that are two dollars or less, for example.

This sale:

50 Kindle books for $2 each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

though, has some interesting elements to it.

First, they all look to me to be traditionally published by Amazon.

When I say “traditionally published”, I mean that Amazon chose the book…the publisher didn’t just put the book in the store without it being editorially evaluated, which is what happens when books go through Kindle Direct Publishing.

In my experience with Amazon’s traditionally published books, they’ve felt professionally done: not a lot of typos, for example.

Tradpubbed by Amazon also means that they will generally have the extra features: they’ll be available in the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library); they’ll have text-t0-speech available; they’ll be lending enabled; and they may have X-Ray and Whispersync for Voice.

So, this sale is a good opportunity to get professionally produced books with the extras for a low price.

Second…I’ve read some of them. :)

I do read some pretty obscure books, but it’s possible that you will also have heard of some of these.

Here are a few of them which caught my eye:

How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain (at AmazonSmile)
by Gregory Berns
4.2 stars out of 5, 323 customer reviews
non-fiction, neuroscience

I read this one and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s not a technical book…there is quite a bit about how they were able to get the experiment approved and get conscious dogs to stay still in an MRI (it can be hard to get people to do that).

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End (at AmazonSmile)
by Manuel Loureiro
4.2 stars, 2182 reviews
fiction-horror

I read this one, too: my mini-review is in this post:

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

I said, in part:

“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.”

Two other books in the series are also available as part of the sale: Dark Days; and The Wrath of the Just

That means that for $6, you could get yourself (or somebody else…you can delay a Kindle gift being delivered until an appropriate gift giving occasion) three novels in a series, all rated four stars or above.

The Boy from Reactor 4 (The Nadia Tesla Series, Book One) (at AmazonSmile)
by Orest Stelmach
4.0 stars, 750 reviews
mysteries, thrillers, and suspense – espionage

The Boy Who Stole from the Dead, the second book of the series, is also available as part of this sale for $2.

The Palace Job (at AmazonSmile)
by Patricia Weekes
4.0 stars, 169 reviews
mystery, thrillers, and suspense – science fiction & fantasy

A heist caper…with elves!

Midnight Train to Paris (at AmazonSmile)
by Julliette Sobanet
3.9 stars, 233 reviews
romance – time travel (yes, that’s a category)

Starship Grifters (A Rex Nihilo Adventure) (at AmazonSmile)
by Robert Kroese
4.5 stars, 60 reviews
science fiction – space opera

I’m tempted by this one! I do like humorous science fiction, such as Bill, the Galactic Hero. :) The reviews make it sound like it might be fun.

Blood Makes Noise (at AmazonSmile)
by Gregory Widen
4.0 stars, 232 reviews
historical fiction – mystery, thriller, and suspense

I wouldn’t say the title or cover engaged me, but the author and premise both do. Gregory Widen is a screenwriter, known in my kind of geek circles for Highlander (“In the end, there can be only one.”). The story is based on true events surrounding the body of Eva Peron…and the CIA’s involvement with it.

The Hiccupotamus (at AmazonSmile)
by Aaron Zenz
4.3 stars, 323 reviews
children’s, mammals

An illustrated children’s book…with text-to-speech enabled…and well-reviewed…for $2!

The Basement (at AmazonSmile)
by Stephen Leather
3.7 stars, 210 reviews
mystery, thriller, and suspense – hard boiled – serial killers

I’ve read another book by Stephen Leather. I wasn’t crazy about it, but it was worth reading.

Enjoy!

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! :) 

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.

Better than the book? Planet of the Apes

July 12, 2014

Better than the book? Planet of the Apes

I’m about to head out with my Significant Other to see

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

the second movie in the second reboot of the movie series (there have also been a live action TV series and an animated series).

Am I a Planet of the Apes (PotA) fan?

Does watching all five movies of the first series in a row in a movie theatre count? ;) Let me take that one step further…I did that…in an ape suit (with a Don Post mask).

I started writing a script (completely unsolicited) for the live action series, although it was canceled before I was finished. My script focused on a stereotype-busting intellectual gorilla…

However, it all started with a French novel:

Planet of the Apes (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The novel was published in 1963, and was followed five years later by the Roddy McDowell/Charlton Heston version which was most Americans first encounter with it (at least back then):

Planet Of The Apes (at AmazonSmile)

That version, by the way, is available at no additional cost as Prime streaming…along with its four direct sequels! Good way to have a good binge watch. ;)

Generally, people tend to think that a book is better than the adaptation of it, and that’s often the case. Part of it just has to do with the nature of the two media: you can put a lot more into a book than you can into a movie, and the special effects are largely unlimited. ;)

This is the rare one, though, where I would submit that the movie (the 1968 version) is better.

It’s not just a question of the translation (I thought the translation I read was quite good).

There are a lot of similarities between the movie and the book…it’s clearly based on it, even with some of the same characters (down to their names).

As regular readers know, I’m very careful about spoilers…and spoiling the 1968 PotA movies is one of the great offenses in that area, in my opinion (along with Psycho, The Sixth Sense…I would argue, even the 1939 Wizard of Oz).

I was not happy recently when a journalist did just that: spoiled PotA, and unnecessarily, in my opinion. They could have left five words out of their piece, and been fine.

The key thing here is that the book and the movie are…different in their ideas (and in their tones). The book is far more philosophical: it’s not intended to read as reality.

The movie is gritty. We are supposed to think it could be happening (given the willing suspension of disbelief about the premise)…that it could be real.

I’ll recommend the book to you: I do think it is worth reading, and it’s only $5.43 at time of writing.

However, I’m also going to recommend the 1968 movie to you…and I feel more confident that most people will enjoy the latter.

One reason for that may be that Rod Serling, of the original Twilight Zone series, co-wrote the script.

As to the other movies in the first series? Well, there’s a whole through story that’s quite interesting, and there are some notable scenes in all of them (one, in particular, has something to say about celebrity culture). Roddy McDowell is brilliant in all of them. :)

I think, though, they do belong squarely in the geek zone (which is where I live)…non-geeks are just not going to enjoy them as much. ;)

What do you think? Are you a PotA fan? What was your first exposure to it? Was it the Tim Burton version? Are there other movies which you think were better than their source material? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post…but no spoilers, please. :)

New! 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! :) 

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.

Heads up! 1TB Portable Hard Drive for $25: 5:00 PM Pacific!

July 11, 2014

Heads up! 1TB Portable Hard Drive for $25: 5:00 PM Pacific!

These are going to sell out quickly at $25!

It’s a one terabyte portable hard drive for $25…74% off the $94.99 normal price.

They are only doing 10,000 of these.

Buy this for yourself, or for a gift…

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Kindle Fire 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 (about half an hour in this case).

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).

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 that they never even saw the offer. As far as I know, these go out to every eligible Kindle Fire in the USA. A few possibilities occur to me:

  • They either bought a Kindle Fire 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 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! :) 

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 reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

July 10, 2014

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

I very often see people in the Kindle forums asking what they should get: a

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

or a

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

I have to admit: I always find that a somewhat odd question.

It suggests that there is either one correct answer, or that complete strangers on an online forum know you well enough to know what’s better in your situation. :)

People are often helpful on the forum. One of the first comments you’ll typically see is, “If you want it mostly for reading,  you should get the Paperwhite.”

Is that true, though?

Like a lot of people, I have both an HDX and a Paperwhite. I actively use them both…and yes, I actively read on them both.

My Fire is what goes with me when I leave the house…I need its other capabilities (like viewing and doing light editing of Excel files), and an important one I’ll mention a bit later in the article.

I read my Paperwhite in bed before going to sleep.

I don’t think it’s a matter of a simple black and white answer (and I’m not talking about the grayscale of the Paperwhite). ;) The Paperwhite is better for me for some reading tasks, the Fire is better for others.

In this post, I’m going to compare the two.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: the screen technology.

The Kindle Fire has a “backlit” screen. You read what is on it by a light coming from behind the image: the text is between you and the light source.

That’s how a lot of technology works: laptops, desktops, TVs, SmartPhones (at least, all the popular ones at this point).

You read what is on a Paperwhite by light bouncing off the screen from the front: the same way you read a p-book (paperbook).

Before the Paperwhite, you needed an external light source to read a non-Fire Kindle.

The Paperwhite has a built-in light…and that light is in front of the screen, not behind it: it’s “frontlit”. It’s on the same side of the screen that you are (like a booklight would be that you clip on to a book).

Some people don’t like reading backlit screens for long periods…they say it tires their eyes (or gives them headaches…I’ve heard both). That’s understandable: if you stared at a flashlight or a lit lamp for a while, that would tire you, too.

I don’t think the Fire is as harsh as a lot of devices: you can change the brightness, and have different text backgrounds…so I don’t find that it bothers me.

Backlighting takes up a lot more battery charge life than the Paperwhite’s frontlighting. A backlit screen requires a constant application of energy to maintain the image. With the technology in the Paperwhite, it “draws the page”…and doesn’t need more energy to maintain the image. The Paperwhite is like an Etch-a-Sketch in that way. It takes energy to draw a house on an Etch-a-Sketch, but if you don’t shake it, the image will stay there with no more effort.

A backlit device is like a garden hose: the Paperwhite is like a puddle.

It’s a huge difference. I charge my Fire every day. I charge my Paperwhite every couple of weeks (reading on it every day…although not for more than a half an hour or so).

The last thing on this screen technology is reading in bright light. A backlit device (the Fire) has to compete with light hitting the screen from the front…and it’s not going to win against the sun. :) More light makes a Paperwhite easier to read, and because it has that frontlit screen, it’s also easy to read in a dark room. The Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had…including paper.

I’m always able to read on my Fire outside, but it’s not as easy. Crank the brightness up all the way, and keep the device between you and the sun. If it feels like you are shading your eyes with your Fire, you are in a good position. For example, you might be leaning back, holding the Fire above chin level, with the bottom of it farther away from you than the top. Of course, don’t set it up where you might slip and end up looking directly into the sun!

Okay, let’s say you’ve got the lighting where it works for you. What about options when you read?

Fonts

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 7
  • Paperwhite (I’m using the latest edition): 6

Font Sizes

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 11
  • Paperwhite: 9

Font/Background Combination Options

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 4 (including white on black)
  • Paperwhite: 1

Margins

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 3
  • Paperwhite: 3

Line Spacing

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 3
  • Paperwhite: 3

The Fire wins on three of these, and it’s a tie on the two others.

Text-to-speech

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: no

The Paperwhite doesn’t have any audio capabilities. My guess is that they did that to make it cost less, and to reduce battery drain. This is the thing I said I was going to mention later. :) I use TTS (software which reads the book aloud to you) pretty much every workday for an hour or more a day in the car. I love this! I like to say that driving is no longer wasted “non-reading time”. ;)  The TTS on the KFHDX is much superior to what we had on the Kindle 2 (it sounds more natural, makes fewer errors, and there are more choices), and it’s better than what we had on later non-Fire Kindles with TTS.

The Fire wins this one…hands down.

Oh, and that also means no immersion reading for the Paperwhite (where you can hear a voice and see the words at the same time), which the Fire has.

X-Ray (gives you information about the book)

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: yes

It’s a tie.

Annotations: Notes, Highlights, Bookmarks

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: yes

I like the experience of Notes better on the Fire. It’s one tap to get to the Notes icon, and it’s two on the Paperwhite. You have multiple color highlights on the Fire. The interface with the notes and highlights seems easier on the Fire: long press (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second) and you can view, edit, or delete. On the Fire, Bookmarks are labeled as Bookmarks…not on the Paperwhite.

I’m going to give this to the Fire.

Look-up

  • Kindle Fire HDX: X-Ray (including a Shelfari link), Dictionary, Wikipedia, Translation, in the book, and on the web
  • Paperwhite: Dictionary, X-Ray, Wikipedia, This Book, All Text, Kindle Store

The Fire seems to do this faster, and has more information (Shelfari has some great stuff), but I do like being able to search the Kindle Store on the Paperwhite. Still, I’d give this to the Fire.

Color, embedded or linked video or audio

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: no

You might not use this much. Still, it’s nice if you are reading about Martin Luther King and can actually jump to the dream speech. This one goes to the Fire, although again, you might not care about it.

Sharing

  • Kindle Fire HDX: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook
  • Paperwhite: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook

It’s a tie.

Report a Content Error

  • Kindle Fire HDX: no (if you know of a way, please let me know!)
  • Paperwhite: yes

This one goes to the Paperwhite.

Overall? I’m actually surprised that the Fire wins in so many categories. That doesn’t mean that I don’t recommend the Paperwhite: the more comfortable reading experience and the long battery charge life are strong pluses. Also, a lot of people like the lack of distractions (although the Fire does have a “Quiet Time” setting.

What do you think? I’m sure some of you want to leap to the defense of the Paperwhite, and I understand that. :) Have I missed any advantages? I suppose I should have said that the Paperwhite is smaller, although the weight isn’t all that different…the KFHDX wi-fi only is 10.7 oz (303 grams), and the Paperwhite wi-fi only is 7.3 ounces (206 grams). I’ve heard that ten US pennies weight about an ounce, if that helps. ;) The Paperwhite is cheaper ($119 vs $199 in their cheapest configurations at time of writing), but I don’t know if I’d consider that part of the reading experience. ;) Are there other advantages you see with one or the other? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post. You can also let me know if you have other comparison questions about them that way.

Update: thanks to reader burmmom for a comment which improved 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.

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 offers Hachette authors 100% royalty

July 10, 2014

Amazon offers Hachette authors 100% royalty

I’ve previously said this:

“Hachette (a publisher) and Amazon (a retailer) are in the midst of a turbulent negotiation. It’s like Godzilla battling Mothra…and unfortunately, in that scenario,we readers are Tokyo.”

Well, there is another group that might be considered collateral damage…authors.

Those aren’t the only ones affected, but let’s focus on that for a minute.

Essentially, fewer Hachette books are probably being sold right now, because they are not as available through Amazon.

Authors traditionally get paid a percentage (called a “royalty”) when a book sells.

It could be a percentage of the purchase price, or a percentage of the list price of the book.

How much of a percentage?

That varies.

In p-books (paperbooks), a brand name author (Stephen King, Anne Rice) might get 25%, more authors might get 10 to 12%, and it can go down from there.

For e-books, the royalty tends to be higher. Independent authors who go through Amazon get 35% or 70%…the latter if they follow certain guidelines, including the price of the book and participating in Amazon’s special features (like text-to-speech).

In my last post on this:

Hachazon War: the Battle of Petition Hill

I wrote about some authors condemning Amazon, and some supporting them.

Well, according to this

New York Times article by David Streitfeld

Amazon is offering authors a higher royalty while this dispute continues.

Are they going to give these traditionally published authors the same royalty as the indies…35%?

Nope, higher.

70%?

Nope, higher.

Try 100%.

O N E  H U N D R E D !

That’s right…Amazon is offering to give the authors every single penny the retailer gets when it sells one of their e-books (published by Hachette).

What’s that dull thumping sound I hear?

Oh, it’s Amazon investors…fainting. ;)

There are costs of sale for Amazon, so they would clearly be losing money on each of those e-books. They have to pay something for maintaining the infrastructure, the administrative cost of collecting sales tax (where they do that), other accounting, providing Customer Service, and so on.

This is getting heated, and public.

This

Mashable post by Jason Abbruzzese

has Hachette’s response to the offer (it’s not favorable).

Amazon’s response to that?

I quote in part:

“We call baloney.”

The company that sells

close to a thousand thesauruses (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

went with a schoolyard epithet. ;)

What do authors think about the offer?

In that same article,

Douglas Preston (at AmazonSmile)

is quoted as saying,

“To take that money would really violate my moral and ethical principle.”

Preston mentions wanting to pay back advances before the author would take any of the millions of dollars this might mean.

Let me explain that part.

One of the big arguments for tradpubs (traditional publishers) is that they pay authors advances.

What that means is that, if they are reasonably sure your book will sell (because you have a solid track record, or are perhaps a celebrity, or they like your topic), they will pay you the royalties first…often before the book is even done being written.

That’s an “advance” on the royalties.

That’s often what enables an author to complete a book.

Let’s say you are a brand name author…you are likely to earn millions in royalties from next book (and the publisher is going to make many times that).

They could give you $100,000 for you to live on for a year to write the book…but you would have to pay them back out of the first sales of the book.

My understanding is that authors are almost never asked to give back an advance even if a book doesn’t sell…but that has happened.

When you publish a book yourself, you don’t get an advance from a publisher.

One new technique is crowdfunding, though.

People pay indie authors in advance for a book…they buy it before it is published.

In exchange, they often get something extra: e-mails from the author, or maybe a special additional short story. There might be a “meet the author” party.

Those early buyers may even pay considerably more than the general public eventually will.

That’s one of the threats to tradpubs.

One thing about which I’m not quite clear.

It sounds like Amazon is proposing that Hachette also give up their part of the book sale in some of the articles I’ve seen…in others, it makes it sound like it is Amazon unilaterally giving up their part.

Obviously, that makes a difference. :)

If the book is list priced at $10, we’ll say that Hachette would get $7 of it.

Amazon sells it for $8.

Amazon sends that $8 to the author (under the new proposal).

Do they also send $7 to Hachette?

If they don’t, clearly, Hachette would have to agree…and this letter would put the ball in Hachette’s court.

If they do send the money to Hachette, Amazon directly loses $15 instead of making $1.

Yep…an expensive proposal.

I think there is a lot at stake here.

This could change the landscape.

It might drive authors to do much more independent publishing.

It could cost Amazon a lot of goodwill with the public (although not, apparently, with my readers, based on a poll I did not too long ago).

It could cost Hachette marketshare.

However, on that last point, it’s worth noting that Amazon is going to have to negotiate with the others of the Big 5 publishers. Right now, I’m guessing they may be trying to wait to see what happens with this one. Contracts expire at some point, regardless, so it’s going to happen.

I do find this all quite interesting…but I am looking forward to writing about something else tomorrow! :)

What do you think? How will this change the literary landscape…or is it just a bump in the road? 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.

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.

“Back to School” Kindle Fire sale…in July?

July 9, 2014

“Back to School” Kindle Fire sale…in July?

I don’t even think that if they mean summer school that makes sense. ;)

Still, it’s a good sale, even if I don’t understand the way Amazon labeled the sale. They actually have that label in more than one place…maybe people are shopping now for the fall year? Maybe it’s for modular schedules? Oh, well…

Back to School store (at AmazonSmile)

You can get $50 off some Kindle tablets (and $30 off some) and 20% off some accessories:

Kindle Fire HD 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

From that page, you can choose the configuration you want:

  • 8 GB, with or without Special Offers, $20 off (as low as $119)
  • 16 GB, with or without Special Offers, $40 off (as low as $129)

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile)

  • 16 or 32 GB, with or without Special Offers, with or without 4G, $30 off (as low as $199)
  • 64 GB, with or without Special Offers, with or without 4G, $50 off (as low as $259)

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (at AmazonSmile)

  • Any configuration $40 off (as low as $339)

What do I have? The Kindle Fire HDX 7″ with 16GB and Special Offers without 4G, but different people will have different use cases.

I don’t put a lot of movies and such on my device at a time, so the memory has never been an issue for me.

I tried using 4G for a year…it wasn’t worth it for me (you have to pay for a data plan for that). There’s just too much wi-fi in my area to make it a big issue.

I like having the Special Offers…and that’s especially true on the Fire. They do these Limited Time Offers (often, they sell out in seconds…and you get maybe an hour’s warning that it’s going to start)…we’ve literally saved hundreds of dollars that way.

I prefer the HDX over the HD for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Mayday, the live onscreen help option.

I’ve had a Kindle Fire with a bigger screen…I didn’t find that the extra weight and awkwardness of carrying it was worth it for me. I do have the

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

so it’s easy to throw it on a big screen if I want to do that.

Weirdly, I can’t easily find which accessories are 20% off. There would normally be a link or a section promoted on the main accessories page.

This is advertised as a limited time sale, and may not apply in your country. As always, check before you click or tap that Buy button.

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile) is now for sale legally as an e-book…and at time of writing, it’s only $3.95!

Definitely think about this one as a gift (the price will likely go back up…this is probably a result of price competition at launch)…you can delay the delivery to a date you choose. It’s also a good one for your guest Kindle.

Right now, it’s number 113 paid in the Kindle store. I’ve said I think it may be one of the bestselling e-books of the year, and I’m sticking with that. I think it will have legs (keep selling for a long time), and again, should see an upsurge at gift-giving times.

There was a time when a lot of people were surprised by how expensive older books could be for the Kindle, but I’d say there are some bargains out there now.

I ran a search for literature classics prices from $0.99 to $3.99, and tried to filter out public domain titles:

Under $4 classics (at AmazonSmile)

I did this using

eReaderIQ

which I consider the most valuable resource on the web for Kindleers (I am not associated with that site except as a user, although we have had some correspondence).

Some titles standing out to me in the search:

  • Marathon Man by William Goldman for $2.51 (I wouldn’t consider this a classic, but the publishers get to define the categories for marketing reasons)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck for $3.50
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for $1.99
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for $2.50
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath for $2.99
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner for $2.50
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (that was one of the most wanted on Kindle for a while) for $2.99

If you’d pay that much for a new book and you haven’t read one of these (or you want to re-read it…or give it a gift), why not pay for one that has stood the test of time?

I can tell that, at least in this case, excluding public domain didn’t work very well. :) Many of the books in the search results are in the public domain (not under copyright protection). You can often find those free: but it can be nice to have, say, 10 books in a series in a single volume. That kind of thing is showing up a lot.

Enjoy!

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.

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.

Keepers

July 8, 2014

Keepers

Yesterday, I mentioned the book

 Alas, Babylon (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Hopefully, some of you bought it then…you could have saved $7 over today’s price. :)

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, mentioned that a former student still had the copy they had used in Lady Galaxy’s classroom…close to forty years ago.

That got me thinking…

I have some p-books (paperbooks) where I have held on to the specific copies for years.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve held on to all of my p-books (unless I bought them to give them away), but still…these are different. :)

For example, I have one copy of Tarzan of the Apes which I’ve had for longer than Lady Galaxy’s student has had Alas, Babylon.

I have lots of other copies, but this one is special to me (even though it is falling apart).

Clearly, it’s intended to be a copy for kids…and I got it when it was age appropriate for me.

It does have something special in it.

It has an English-Mangani dictionary.

The Mangani are the “apes” that raised Tarzan. I put “apes” in quotation marks, because, if you read the books, they clearly aren’t any of the ape species that we know…and are most likely to be a different species of human (than Homo sapiens…that’s us).

There were rumors of “hairy bipeds” in Africa (as there are in the USA with Bigfoot or Indonesia with the Orang Pendek), and I’d be surprised if Burroughs didn’t intend them to be genus Homo rather than being pongids.

For one thing, they have a language.

Fortunately for us, as far as I can tell, the syntax is pretty much like English. ;)

There are quite a few words in the books…enough so that I’ve been able to translate things into Mangani.

I’ve also in the past made up new compound words. For example, I used “unk-dan-sopu” for a car. “Unk” is Mangani for “go”, and “dan-sopu” is a nut (from “dan” for “rock” and “sopu” for “fruit”). A car reminds me of a nut with a shell (and many cars do have a nut in them…at least, based on the way they are driven). ;) and it goes, so…

So, even though you can find interesting Mangani-English dictionaries on line:

English-Mangani/Mangani-English Dictionary by Peter Coogan

from

Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton site

I still want to hang on to that particular copy.

Yes, despite having several other editions of Tarzan of the Apes.

Part of me feels like that is wrong. That book might have the same impact on a child today that it had on me…am I denying the book to someone else because of my sentimentality?

However, there are two mitigating factors for me.

One is that the book is not in good shape…it would likely fall apart if read enthusiastically while hanging upside down from a tree limb…or while skateboarding through a concrete jungle. ;)

The other is that Tarzan is readily available free as an e-book…legally.

So, I feel like my copy wouldn’t be worth that much to a child, and that the book is widely accessible. You can get e-books free online and through public libraries.

I did give away a Kindle earlier this year

Give a Kid a Kindle

and I may do that again (maybe in the last quarter of the year). There didn’t seem to be much interest in it, though…I didn’t do it just to engage an audience, it felt good to do. However, if the opportunity to get the Kindle isn’t reaching very many kids, it reduces the chances that a kid who could change the world because of having had that vast free library gets it.

I don’t have a lot of copies like that…in most cases, if I could replace the books with e-books, I would. I might even (breathe! breathe! Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale) donate my books if I could do that.

I’m not quite there, yet, emotionally.

Looking at that, though, it’s interesting that I’m okay with only owning e-book versions of the new books I get. Why shouldn’t it be that once I have an e-book of a p-book I own, I’m okay with getting rid of the p-book?

Maybe some day. :)

What about you?

Are there particular copies of books that you want to keep forever (or pass down to  descendants)? If so, what is it about them that makes them keepers? Is it who owned them, or gave them to you? Is it your specific memories of where you read them? What’s the longest that you’ve owned a specific copy of a book? Do you have any that you “inherited”? Feel free to tell me and my readers 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.

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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