Great deal! Fire HD 7″ for $79 today

April 20, 2015

Great deal! Fire HD 7″ for $79 today

You may not think you are in the  market for a backlit tablet, like the

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

but today’s deal should make you seriously think about it.

Amazon has the 7″ Fire HD on sale starting at $79!

That makes it $20 less than the usually lowest-priced tablet, the

Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black(at AmazonSmile*)

and even more remarkably, the same price as the

Seventh generation entry level Kindle…I call it the “Mindle Touch” (it replaces the old “minimum Kindle”, and has a touchscreen) or the “K7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (my review)

That’s right…you can get a tablet for the same price as the least expensive EBR (E-Book Reader).

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m suggesting you would get rid of an EBR: like many people, I use both every day.

I use a

Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*) (Kindle Paperwhite 2: first impressions and menu map)

at home when I go to bed and a

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation – 3rd) (at AmazonSmile*)

when I am out and about.

I should empathize that: I sight read on a tablet. When we first had a choice of a tablet or an EBR (or again, both), there was a great deal of talk about how much better it is to read on an EBR.

Yes, I get that: the Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had, and that includes paper.

However, I find the HDX to be a serviceable reader. I think part of it is that the screen technologies and software have changed…with the brightness turned almost all the way down, and white letters on a black background, I don’t notice any extra eye effort (although I do have superior night vision, which I believe is tied to some color vision deficiency).

In addition (and for me, this is highly significant), the tablets (including the one on sale for $79) have text-to-speech (TTS), software which reads a book out loud to you.

I use TTS typically for hours a week in the car while commuting.

Of course, a tablet gives you other abilities…like video, apps, and web surfing.

This would be an excellent “guest Kindle”! We have the 6″ Fire hD for that purpose now, but a 7″ screen is a bit nicer.

What does this one not have that my HDX has?

The biggest thing is the lack of Mayday, the almost instant onscreen tech help.

On the other hand, this model has two cameras, front and back, and my HDX only has one (mostly for video calls and such, it faces you as you hold the device).

Bottom line: even if they bring out another generation later this year, this would be a good gift for the holidays, a nice intro to tablets, and a good guest device.

Check the price before you click or tap the Buy button…it may not apply in your country.

Join thousands 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.

That’s just sic (sic)

April 19, 2015

That’s just sic (sic)

When I was going through my morning

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

read this morning, I have to say I was amused…or was it  appalled?   Annoyed? It was one of those “A” words, but really, I’m only good at the first one. ;) I’m going with amused…to see a quotation in a news article coming from WikiLeaks.

The quote said something about “centre (sic)”.

Now, the use of “sic” (a Latin word basically meaning “thus”, as I understand it) is usually intended to convey something like, “Hey, this is the way I found it…I didn’t make this mistake”.

That just struck me as odd in this case.

I would assume that anyone who understood the use of “sic” would also know that “centre” isn’t odd or an error…it’s the way the word is spelled in the UK (and other places), and was the “proper” spelling in the U.S.A. for a long time.

I always like to remind people that Noah Webster was really making a point in 1828. Webster wanted to separate American spellings from British spellings. That’s not to say that it was totally made up (“center” and “color” predate the dictionary), but like today’s chat speak, part of doing it for some people is to make a political or social point.

I’d really like to know why the writer of the article I was reading chose to put in that “sic”. Was it because the writer thought it was an error…or thought the readers would?

If you are a “serious reader”, as I’m sure many of you are, you may find that you spell some things differently from many of your colleagues.

For example, for me, “theatre” is the natural spelling…but right now, WordPress has put a red wavy underline under that spelling for me, to let me know it is “wrong”. :)

I’m sure I’ve been influenced by being a fan of 19th Century literature. Even when I’m reading translations from, say, Russian, they tend to be in British English more than American English…they follow Samuel Johnson rather than Noah Webster.

I’ve mentioned before that our adult kid is a linguist, and, thanks to that, I’ve come around to the idea that if the language serves its purpose, it is correct. Language often changes over time, so that what you might be adamantly insisting on now may have been incorrect in the past (and vice versa).

Certainly, even more so, the spelling can vary in different cultures.

I was pulled up short by seeing the spelling “kerb” in Australia years ago, for what would be spelled “curb” in the USA (it was some sort of traffic or warning sign…I think it may have been about where to stand).

Obviously, I knew what it meant…I think, nowadays, I would simply find it more amusing (there’s that word again) and charming, but I do think I’ve become a better person over the years (I think the majority of people do). Oh, I wasn’t irritated then, but I think I thought it was funnier than I would now…there was perhaps a tad bit of  condescension  on my part, which was inappropriate.

I also catch myself spelling the same word different ways at different times…not through error or inattention, but perhaps through context.

For me, James Bond has a licence to kill, and I have a driver’s license. I assume I first read James Bond in a British edition, where the second “C” would be common, and that I’ve been seeing  the “S” at the American DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). In England, I believe the “S” is the verb and “C” is the noun…in America, we just use the “S” version for both.

Here’s another example: how do you pronounce the word “Caribbean”? Obviously, this one isn’t just from reading, but from usage.

For me, the first syllable rhymes with “bear” in the place (and is emphasized), and it rhymes with “fur” in the adjective (and the third syllable is lightly emphasized).

So, I could hear the word out of context, and if someone was following my preferred pronunciations, I would know if it was a noun or an adjective…but honestly, how often is that situation going to arise? :)

I also use British slang at times (as well as some other dialects of English). When I’m surprised by something, I may say, “Hello!” and pretty commonly, “Hello, what’s this?” That’s not something that my fellow Americans say very often, with that connotation.

As a trainer, though, I have the ability to monitor what I am saying and adjust it for my audience. When I used to hire trainers, I would explain that the ability to “dissociate” (I use that to mean to be able to think about one thing while doing something else) was something I wanted.

I have empathy (another quality of trainers) for the people in the room…I can get a pretty good sense of how they feel. If I realize that they aren’t understanding my “big words”, for instance, I will dial that back (if they aren’t needed for the context).

I also now find that happens a lot for me with pop culture references. I may make a reference to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.** as easily as I’ll make one to Zayn leaving One Direction. I can tell if my students understand one or the other or both, and again, may make a joke about it and adjust.

My point in all this, as it has to do with reading, is that variety in spelling is fine with me…but I do think there is a tendency to standardize. That standardization is going to frequently move towards the American, for a few reasons:

  • America is a really big market…just like New York, if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere ;)
  • Much of the software, such as spell checking, is written in the U.S.A.. It may have regional settings, but I think many people simply don’t change them, even to match their own place of residence
  • This may be a stereotype, but Americans may be less…tolerant of understanding other culture’s local linguistics than they are of ours. Of course, the French are famously protective of their language, but it is seen as an American thing as well. I’ve also mentioned this before, but I sometimes see Americans derided for, by and large, not being bilingual (compared to, say, Europeans). I do think one legitimate reason for that is that we are a large country without a lot of other languages easily accessible to us (one exception being Spanish from Mexico, and French from parts near French-speaking Canada…and those are the two languages which are perhaps the most popular “second” languages for Americans). In Europe, you could probably drive through five different “language zones” in a day. We do have a lot of immigration, so there are many languages spoken in the USA…but again, by and large, we expect immigrants to learn English. We do voting materials in several languages, and where I work, we have a translation line with something like 300 languages available, but perhaps because we have such a heterogeneous country, it would be quite complex to expect everyone to learn everyone else’s language, so we standardize to English. Wow, that is probably the most complex sentence I’ve ever written in the blog!

What do you think? Do people ever think you are from another country because you’ve used a word or phrase you learned in a book? Are you comfortable with seeing words spelled differently from what you expect, or will that pull you out of a book? Would you rather read a book (Harry Potter is a good example) with the original language, or would you prefer it was “regionalized” for your country? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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! :) 

** The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a popular 1960s TV show (I like 19th Century literature and 1960s TV). Fortunately for me, there is a big screen remake coming out this year, so my references may make more sense to more people ;)

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.

Ends Saturday: up to $105 in paid apps for free

April 18, 2015

Ends Saturday: up to $105 in paid apps for free

In celebration of spring, Amazon is giving away apps for which you  would normally pay:

Up to $105 in Apps and Games Free (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (Pacific) on Saturday, April 18th.

There are some with thousands of reviews here…one of the highest rated is

Plants vs. Zombies

with a 4.4 rating out of 5 stars, and 4,188 customer reviews.

Another stand-out is the Oxford Spanish Dictionary, which normally costs $19.99. 4.5 stars, although only six reviews. It looks like it is a pretty sophisticated app. I don’t believe it can be used as the look-up dictionary, but it does let you favorite word, and has a “fuzzy filter”, so you don’t need to spell things correctly. This is a bilingual dictionary, by the way, designed in part for learning.

Other titles:

  • Virtua Tennis Challenge
  • Unmechanical
  • RRDP Pro Client
  • Amazing Alex Premium
  • Osmos HD
  • Pudding Monsters HD
  • Table Top Racing
  • LectureNotes
  • Fun English Course
  • Wolfram Alpha
  • Chess and Mate
  • Adventure Time Game Wizard
  • Songster Guitar Tabs & Chords
  • F18 Carrier Landing II Pro
  • Flightradar 24 Pro
  • MeteoEarth
  • Splashtop Whiteboard
  • Prince of Persia Classic
  • Mobile Doc Scanner
  • TouchDraw

As always, check the price before you hit that Buy button…this may not apply in your country.

Enjoy!

Bonus deal: you know I always like to do something with books, right? :)

Goodreads (owned by Amazon) has a group where publishers/authors can post that they are giving away books:

Free Book Giveaway Goodreads group

Not every book being given away is in the Kindle store, and some of them are a chance to “win” one…there may be only one or two copies available.

However, you are also likely to find ones that are available free for a limited time through the Kindle store.

It’s worth checking, and I may let you know about some of them as well, from time to time.

Join thousands 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 Clone Ranger

April 17, 2015

The Clone Ranger

VERY MILD SPOILER ALERT

Amazon is making the first season/series of Orphan Black free to stream tomorrow. For details, see my post in my Measured Circle blog:

Free for all Friday: Orphan Black S1 from Amazon

Shh…the series involves clones. ;)

That’s not much of a spoiler, because it’s probably in every mention you ever see about it…and the fans of the show call themselves the “Clone Club” (in addition to referring to characters on the show).

So, it’s sort of as much of a spoiler as saying that Star Wars takes place partially in space…

END VERY MILD SPOILER

It’s amazing what can be a popular topic in the Kindle store!

I was inspired recently to look to see what I would find by using the search word “clone”.

“Clone” search in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I got 1,036 results!

373 of those were available to read at no additional cost if you have a

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

subscription.

Most of the books were listed as science fiction, but we have to remember that cloning isn’t science fiction…it’s been done in real life.

There are a lot of associations with cloning…some of them real, some not.

Clones occur in nature, for example, although many people have the connotation of them only being done by scientists.

A clone is produced without sex…bacteria clone themselves, for example.

In science fiction, though, we typically think of it as a scientist taking some small element of a person (they just need DNA…but the idea of cloning was around before DNA was defined) and “growing” an identical person.

Often, they have some highly accelerated way of growing them, so that a thirty year old person can meet their thirty year old clone. In reality, it would be much more likely that if you cloned someone at thirty, they could be sixty when their clone was thirty (give or take…some initial growth stages might be accelerated).

There is also a considerable amount of stories about cloning animals…including extinct animals if you can get the DNA. Jurassic Park is a particularly famous cloning novel.

There is real world talk right now of cloning mammoths…we could bring the species “back to life”, very much like Jurassic Park.

They would use an elephant in part as the incubator, or at least, that’s one suggestion.

Speaking of bringing things back to life, “reviving” specific people is also part of clone fiction: Adolf Hitler, for one, in Ira Levin’s The Boys from Brazil (and other books).

There are a lot of ethical questions involved here. A common theme is that the clones are seen as less than sexually produced humans…they may be used as “cannon fodder” (Star Wars does that), or to provide organs for transplant.

In many cases, the clones don’t know they are clones initially…that can make for some real drama!

Also, a clone need not be identical: it would be possible to manipulate the DNA to produce something different.

Here are five books which I think show some of the variety in clone tomes:

  1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro…who won the Booker Prize and wrote The Remains of the Day
  2. The Klone and I by Danielle Steele: probably not someone you think of as a science fiction writer
  3. The Third Twin by Ken Follett: again, probably doesn’t have a space reserved on your science fiction shelf
  4. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm: Kate Wilhelm, on the other hand, does…a Hugo and Nebula Award winning author, and many consider this book a classic of the genre
  5. Clone: The Road to Dolly, and the Path Ahead by Gina Kolata…non-fiction

Do you have a favorite clone book? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

What do tradpubbed authors really think about their publishers…and about Amazon?

April 16, 2015

What do tradpubbed authors really think about their publishers…and about Amazon?

Huge kudos to

Agent Hunter

for a really fascinating survey of tradpubbed (traditionally published) authors!

You can see the entire dataset of twenty-nine questions (and three more items) here:

http://agenthunter.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Data_All_Final.pdf

to get the results from 812 respondents.

This is an immensely intriguing survey!

I hear it a lot: people are surprised that authors stay with their traditional publishers when they could just self publish and get a much bigger cut.

There are a lot of reasons for that…and they don’t apply to every author.

At this point in the evolution of publishing, being with a tradpub is a bigger benefit if you are already a success than if you are just beginning.

That doesn’t mean that a first novelist shouldn’t be with a tradpub…it’s just that people like Stephen King get more out of the deal than someone who doesn’t have a track record.

Think of it a bit like…taking a cab.

A lot of people don’t own cars nowadays. They may use Zip cars, or Uber, or Lyft, or public transit…or cabs.

So, let’s say you don’t take a cab, but you need to drive through a town.

One option is to own the car.

You have to put your money into it.

You have to deal with the legalities (like registration and insurance).

You have to know where you are going.

The cabs get to drive right up to the front door of the hotel, or to the airport…you aren’t allowed to do that and just leave your car there. You have to park…and pay for parking.

When you independently publish, it’s like owning the car.

With a cab, you have to have the money to pay for it. Then, if it’s a reputable cab, the rest of it is done by somebody else. They know how to get there. They pay for gas, tolls, registration, and so on.

If you are already a success, and you know that when you get to your appointment you are going to make a lot of money, paying for a cab makes sense.

If you don’t have much money, and don’t know that the trip is going to be profitable, it may not.

Let me focus for right now on two questions: I don’t want to take too much away from the survey.

Question 24 says, “Amazon and other e-book distributors
pay a 70% royalty to authors (assuming your price is $2.99–$9.99), as opposed to the roughly 17.5% paid by most publishers.
If you did self-publish an e-book, how do you expect you would fare financially?”

The first interesting thing about this to me is that more than half of the respondents skipped the question!

Now, you may guess that’s due to question fatigue (sometimes, the farther you get in a survey, the fewer answers you get), but about 90% of the respondents answered the previous question.

No, I think there are a couple of possibilities.

One is that people are afraid to think about it. They may even have been shocked by the 70% figure…they might have had no idea it could be that high.

Another is that, well, it has numbers in it. ;)

Not everybody who is good with words loves math. That might have put off some people as well.

The most popular answer (besides “I don’t know”) by far was that they would lose money. 23.78% thought that would happen…only 15.14% thought they would make more money.

The answers make it look as though the choice is between an independently published e-book and no p-book (paperbook) version, or a tradpubbed e-book and p-book.

That’s not an unreasonable thing to say.

Yes, you can do a p-book version independently through Amazon along with your e-book, but that’s a tiny slice of the p-book market…certainly, as long as people still buy p-books in stores (and that includes places like Costco and grocery stores).

Question 25 is even more interesting to me:

“If you were to self-publish, you would have control over every aspect of publication. How would you feel about that prospect?”

Even fewer people answered that one…only about 41%.

You might think everybody wants to be in control of the process…but fully 36.63% of respondents were “Horrified/negative” on it. That’s about 12% more than the “Excited/positive” group.

I can understand that.

Can’t you see wanting to be somebody who just writes? Who doesn’t have to worry about proofreading, and layout, and filing the copyright?

You may think you want to be in control of everything…but do you want to do your own appendectomy? ;) In my case, I definitely don’t want to be the person fixing my car!

My Significant Other made a great point to me a long time ago.

We are not good at gardening…we just aren’t. Oh, one of us can get out there with a weed eater and cut down the weeds. I did that recently, at least part of it. The weeds were twice as tall as our dogs (we have short dogs). I bought a new weed eater (they have really improved the technology since the last time I bought one!), and literally did it until I came to the end of the line. ;) When that spool was out, I had to stop…got more through Prime, so one of us will do more of the yard soon.

Anyway, the point my SO made was that, if there are people who are good at doing something and want to do it, and we are bad at it and don’t like it, and (and this point is important) we can afford to pay them to do it…we are keeping them from putting food on the table for their kids for essentially selfish reasons.

One big reason to have money is to help other people, as far as I’m concerned.

We aren’t rich (although that’s always going to be a relative term to people), but we can afford to pay somebody a couple of times a year to trim the trees and cut down the weeds and haul everything away.

For some authors, it may be a bit like that with their publishers. Yes, anybody can try to be a marketer, or a proofreader…but paying somebody (by taking a relatively lower royalty) may be the right thing to do.

Of course, it goes far beyond that.

I’ve helped some people by reading their drafts and making comments.

There is no question that some editors and authors have had terrific partnerships. The editor doesn’t write the book, but helps the author improve it by making suggestions.

I’ve seen it with some authors (who shall remain nameless) where it seems to me that they become brand names…and people stop editing them as strongly, and their work (although not necessarily their sales) suffers for it.

If  you are at all interested in the actual source of the books you read (the authors), I’d recommend you spend some time with this survey. You may also find the anonymous pseudo-tweets they asked people to write (although they have to be shorter than tweets…120 characters)…one set of them is to Jeff Bezos. Some of them are very praising, others are negative…with themes running through both. I have to say, I was a bit perplexed with one accusing Amazon of making “obscene profits”…that’s somebody who hasn’t ever looked at an Amazon financial statement! Many of the comments had to do with taxes, and with treating employees better.

Once again, congratulations to Agent Finder! The questions are entertaining, and the answers informative.

After you’ve read it, I’d be interested in what you think about it…you can tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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 #291: HarperCollins/Amazon deal, $20 off Paperwhite

April 14, 2015

Round up #291: HarperCollins/Amazon deal, $20 off Paperwhite

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

Book collecting: how has the presence of e-books affected it?

I’ll admit to being surprised by this

Wall Street Journal post by Steven Rosenbush

I have collectible books…oh, not books worth thousands of dollars, but I’ve paid $100 for a single book.

I’ve also “collected” all of a single series, although that’s not quite the same thing.

What would I guess would have happened to the collectible book market in the past few years?

I thought prices would have gone up.

My intuition is that people will see the rise in e-books as meaning that there will be fewer p-books (paperbooks) to collect in the future. Lessening supply with the same demand could mean a rise in prices.

I also figured there would be an “endangered species” mentality. Falsely, I think, there was this sense that p-books were simply going to disappear.

Remember that p-books decay. Different quality p-books (in terms of materials used and production methods) decay at different rates, but pages can become brittle with age.

If they are actually (gasp!) read, the situation is even worse for them.

I’ve had people surprised that I could read a mass market paperback and still have it look like new at the end, and that’s not how it is with most people. The spines get broken, people “dog ear” pages, things get spilled on them,they get exposed to the elements…people tout p-books as one of the great technological innovations of all time, and that’s reasonable…but they aren’t invulnerable.

If we stopped making p-books, the world supply of them would dwindle over time, and I thought that would be the collectors’ collective vision.

Nope, according to this article, the business has been stable.

To me, that’s a bad omen for the future of p-books.

On the other hand, collectors aren’t the same as readers (although there is some overlap). A collector (especially one doing it for investment purposes) sees the book as an object…not as a story. If this physical object was signed by someone, or owned by someone,  or is rare in some way…that all makes it more valuable for a collector, but not particularly for someone just wanting to read the contents.

Regardless, I do think there will continue to be a market for collectible p-books…and I do think we’ll eventually see prices rise, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

Will subsers be the new MMPs?

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, said something that got me thinking about the role of subsers (subscription services) in the future.

Let’s say a novel is released today. We’ll say the hardback is list priced (the price the publisher puts on it) at $25, and the e-book is priced at $12.99.

A year from now, the trade paperback comes out at $15.

Does the e-book drop?

Not necessarily.

A year later, the mass market paperback (MMP) comes out at $9.99.

Then, yes, I’d expect the e-book to at least match that price, if not go a bit lower.

However…

There is a possibility that publishers simply stop issuing MMPs for popular novels.

I think it’s a possibility that books come out at a price like $25 (although I’ve suggested before that some new novels could get as high as $50), then maybe drop some after the first year…let’s say $20.

Then, that’s it.

The e-book comes out at perhaps $12.99…and doesn’t drop (except for sales).

Where do “casual readers” get that book? After all, they are a big part of the market.

They get it after it is on the “frontlist” (that would depend on its success, but let’s call it two years for a popular book…I expect to see fewer books altogether, and the ones from tradpubs…traditional publishers…to stay on the New York Times bestseller list longer on average) when it becomes part of a subser, like

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

MMPs were not really released for people who wanted to own a book or gift a book. They were really intended to be read and then to fall apart…which is not that different an experience from reading a book as part of a subser but not owning it.

I’m  just kicking around this idea, but I do think it’s a possibility.

HarperCollins and Amazon reportedly reach a deal

Four down, one to go.

It’s possible that at some point, a tradpub and Amazon will part ways…but today is not that day.

According to this

New York Times article by David Streitfeld

and other sources, Amazon and HarperCollins have reached an agreement which will keep the publisher’s books in the e-tailer’s store.

While these deals don’t really become public, it sounds like all four of the Big 5 who have come to terms (Penguin Random House hasn’t, yet…that doesn’t mean they are fighting, it may just not be time) have pretty much the same thing.

The publisher sets the price (yes, this is the Agency Model), and Amazon can incentivize them to discount the books.

Publishers haven’t yet figured out how to do without Amazon…and  while Amazon is becoming less dependent on tradpubs over time (Amazon published books regularly top their own bestseller lists…in the Kindle store), they are still in business with them big time.

I think that eventually, that business may consist of backlist titles…which could largely be in subsers (see above).

For now (and this is a multiyear deal), things continue.

Amazon Financials on April 23rd

According to this

press release

Amazon will do its next quarterly financials call on April 23rd at 2:30 PM Pacific.

I think this may be a particularly interesting one…they seem to be pushing a bit into a new direction. We’ll see…

Paperwhite 2 $20 off today

The

Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*)

which is the current model, is $20 off today. That makes it under $100 ($99, to be precise) for the lowest priced configuration.

This is the model of Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) that I use every day.

I like it enough that I chose not to go to the Kindle Voyage…and from everything I’ve heard, I don’t regret that decision at all.

I’m quite happy with both that and my

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

These are both devices which do what they are designed to do very well…I’ve been quite satisfied with them both.

I can contrast that with my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

and our

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

and

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

The Fire Phone is a serviceable phone, but I did like my Galaxy better.

The Amazon Fire TV is good…better than our Roku (which we’ve stopped using). I do expect it to get quite a bit better.

The Fire TV Stick is noticeably not as good as the Fire TV. It takes it much longer to load something, for example, the video stutters quite a bit (it’s on the same network at the Fire TV), and I find I need to restart it every couple of days (by holding in the select and play buttons together for about ten seconds).

The only big thing I see missing in the Paperwhite is sound (especially for text-to-speech, which I use every workday), and for my Kindle Fire HDX, it would be nice to have a rear-facing camera.

I would say this Paperwhite deal is a good one…if you are looking for a gift (they may discount it again for Mothers’ Day), or for a Guest Kindle…or even if you are just ready to replace an older model (keeping in mind the lack of audio), this is a good buy.

What do you think? What’s been your favorite Kindle/Fire model so far? Penguin Random House has always been a bit of an outlier…how will their negotiations with Amazon go? When will a publisher break with Amazon…if ever? What gadgets (including non-Amazon) have you had in your life which achieved the state of satisfying you? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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! LTO on Fire tablets at 3 PM on Lindt chocolates

April 13, 2015

Heads up! LTO on Fire tablets at 3 PM on Lindt chocolates

I am on my phone, so more later…

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Lindt Chocolate Gift Box for $12. Deal starts at 6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT.

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, although this one looks like it will last the hour.

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.

===

Join thousands 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.

Why old books should cost as much as new books

April 13, 2015

Why old books should cost as much as new books

What should determine how much you pay for an e-book?

Some people start out with thinking that an e-book should cost less than the p-book (paperbook) equivalent, since the publisher doesn’t have the same expense in materials, nobody has to pay to ship it around, there’s no storage, and no issue with returns.

However, most of that doesn’t have much to do with the production cost. I remember seeing something years ago that analyzed it (I don’t have the resource offhand…if I find it again, I’ll add it), and they thought it was about 12%.

That might seem strange, but most of the cost comes in labor, legalities, and risk.

Authors get paid. Cover artists get paid. Editors get paid. Proofreaders get paid. Publicists get paid. Lawyers get paid. Agents get paid.

Obviously, I’m talking about tradpubs (traditional publishers) here.

All those labor costs are for the specific book.

Other costs are longitudinal.

Very successful books pay for the publisher to take a loss on risky books, prestige books, and micromarket books.

The publisher has a building. The building has rent, mortgage, or property taxes.

The building has custodial staff, maintenance costs, maybe a security staff…

There are a lot of costs that are going to be the same whether or not some dead trees are involved.

That doesn’t mean that perhaps you shouldn’t pay a bit more for p-books…but I’m comfortable saying it’s not twice as much, just based on paper related costs (including moving it and storing it).

Another thing that seems weird to me that I see in the Amazon Kindle forums…”How can they charge ten bucks for that book…it’s like twenty years old?”

I’ve never understood that.

I do get two things about age of the work affecting price.

A “frontlist” title, which is new, is going to cost more usually. There are additional costs happening right then, including marketing costs (although how much is spend on that certainly varies…you’ll get some authors telling you that their publishers didn’t spend much). For A-list authors, for example, the publisher may be paying for them to go on a publicity tour…or even buying ads in traditional or new media.

There is also a higher demand when the book is first released. That’s basic economics: if people want it more, you can charge more for it.

Many people perceive a value in reading a book first. My favorite thing in a fictional work (book, movie, TV show) is to be surprised…and it’s not easy to surprise me.

For that reason, I really avoid spoilers…which may mean I try to get to something when it first comes out, to lessen the chances. Google, by the way, is apparently working on something that will block spoilers for you. In some way, it’s going to know where you are in the book or movie, and automatically screen, say, tweets for you to hide the information you haven’t reached yet (I assume you could choose to see it if you wanted…some things just can’t be spoiled, because it doesn’t have to do with what happens, but how it happens).

I also get why public domain books (books not under copyright protection) are cheaper…often free. I mentioned that one of the labor costs is royalties for the author…those don’t need to be paid for a public domain title. The book has already been edited and proofread.

What I don’t understand is why people think that a book which is still a desirable read after a couple of decades should cost less than one which is perhaps a year old (and now on the “backlist”).

Oh, I’ve had somebody argue that the publisher and author have already been paid for it by then.

That’s not the way we do it with a lot of other things which you “experience”, though.

Should the game Monopoly have become increasingly cheaper over the years, and once Parker Brothers had made a “reasonable profit” (whatever that is), it should be free?

They’d made the production and marketing budgets back on The Lego Movie within weeks of its release…should the ticket prices have gotten cheaper?

Does Fahrenheit 451 have any less value for a reader today than it did when it was first released?

That one is a good example…the price for it right now is $9.99 in the USA Kindle store.

That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me…and it’s ranked #3,579 of the paid in the Kindle store right now…close to the top 1%. That suggests that people don’t see it as outrageously overpriced.

If you take a look at the

Science Fiction Classics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the prices for the top ten are

  1. $5.70
  2. $9.99
  3. $7.99
  4. $4.61
  5. $4.99
  6. $11.99
  7. $7.99
  8. $8.59
  9. $5.99
  10. $5.58

for about $7.34 average.

If we look at the general science fiction bestsellers in the USA Kindle store, they are:

  1. $4.81
  2. $4.99
  3. $11.84
  4. $3.99
  5. $10.99
  6. $13.99
  7. $3.99
  8. $3.99
  9. $3.99
  10. $3.99

which is $6.66 average.

So, the “classic books” actually cost higher on average than the general group.

That does make sense to me…there is more likely to be cost competition on new books. I someone as likely to want to comparison shop 1984 as they are Ready Player One? My guess would be no.

Also, new books can be used as “loss leaders”. Again, as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I think customers are looking for bargains on the hot, popular books…they may be looking for those as gifts. If they find a good price on one of those books, they may be more likely to buy other (not as discounted) books from the same retail channel.

I do realize that I suggested that newer books might be more expensive, and yet the bestseller list was cheaper than the classics.

That’s in part because the bestsellers aren’t necessarily the newest ones, which are in the hardback equivalent stage.

I decided to do one more check: Science Fiction New Releases:

  1. $11.84
  2. $6.99
  3. $8.99
  4. $11.63
  5. $5.99
  6. $8.99
  7. $8.79
  8. $8.69
  9. $2.99
  10. $4.99

Average? $7.99…yep, the most expensive of the three (although still in the range of the classics).

Looks like at least the bestselling “older” books aren’t significantly cheaper than the newest books…and that seems reasonable to me.

How about you? Do you think a book which is decades old (but still under copyright and which still has a significant market) should be cheaper than a new release? Do you think part of what makes people think this is what they paid for the book originally (the price of p-books has risen considerably over the years)? What do you think should determine the consumer price of an e-book? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

 

 

3 Derek Swannson books free this weekend

April 11, 2015

3 Derek Swannson books free this weekend

Well, this is a case where I am happy I checked Goodreads. :)

I happened to see in my update feed that three of Derek Swannson’s books are free to own from Amazon this weekend:

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

Now, before we go any further let me be clear: there are people out there who would hate these books. These are not for everybody. I think I explain that pretty clearly in my

review of Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg

which is the first book.

I also need to say that after that review of the first book, Derek (who I do not otherwise know) asked me to read the draft and offer editorial comments on Revelations from Big Sur, which I did (I am in the acknowledgements).

I do not, though, have any financial connection with the books.

I also want to say that they are all available through

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

so if you are a KU member (I am, and I’m quite happy with it), you can read them without paying anything additional for them.

Gee, I wonder why Derek didn’t e-mail me to tell me these were free…I’m doing such a good job of making you want them. ;)

Okay, I’m done giving you reasons not to get them for free. :)

The writing is really quite good, and I didn’t want you to miss out on this giveaway…if you think it would appeal to you after you read my review, perhaps.

According to Goodreads, these three will be free in the USA Kindle store on April 11th and 12th:

  • Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg: 4.1 stars out of 5, 39 customer reviews
  • Crash Gordon and the Revelations from Big Sur: 4.4 stars, 42 reviews
  • The Snowden Avalanche (yes, that’s as in Edward Snowden):  4.4 stars, 14 reviews

Join thousands 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.

 

 

 

Bestselling Kindle authors and social media

April 11, 2015

Bestselling Kindle authors and social media

I recently mentioned that I have a sibling who has a first novel,

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

coming out on June 1st.

We’ve had some discussions along the way, and it’s been interesting to see the process.

One question has been about the amount of involvement in social media, and what kinds.

I can’t claim to be an expert on that, by any means. Yes, this blog is successful (it’s usually one of the top ten blogs of any kind in the USA Kindle store). Sure, I feel like I have a good relationship with my readers. I can also say that my Flipboard magaines, including

 ILMK magazine at Flipboard

are doing well, although I don’t know how they compare to others.

But the more well-known social media outlets? Not so much. ;)

I have 309 followers on

Twitter

I suspect there may be somebody’s left gym sock with more followers than that. ;)

I do have a Facebook account, but it’s totally stealth…as private as I could make it. I only joined Facebook so I could look at things that family members post.

To be clear, I don’t have anything against Facebook…I just don’t have the social energy to spend on it.

I would feel a responsibility to respond to people there, just as I respond to almost every comment made on this blog. What with my family, an often more than full time job, writing (I told myself I’d average at least 1,000 words a day in this blog, and I do that…plus I have another blog where I write more rarely, and I work on books although I haven’t released one in a while), and the Amazon forums (which helps with this blog…and I just like helping people), I simply feel like I couldn’t add another commitment and keep up the standards I want to meet.

Oh, and I do write reviews on

Goodreads

I have a whopping 28 friends there…and seven followers. :)

However, any new (or established, for that matter) author is going to get a lot of advice to be active on social media.

My sibling was understandably excited to tell me about the new eponymous website

http://www.kriscalvin.com/

which is a way to connect with readers.

I don’t have an eponymous website. The closest thing I have to that is

Bufo Calvin’s Amazon Author Central Page

So, the announcement of the website got me curious. What is the social media presence like of the bestselling authors in the USA Kindle store? Are they on Twitter? Instagram? Do they have a blog? A website?

I decided to take a look.

Amazon does rank authors, but that tends to favor authors with a lot of books, and I wanted to see the potential impact on new authors, who might have only one.

I went to the

Bestselling paid books in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile*)

and just started checking (in order, from #1 to #5).

Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
publisher: Penguin Random House (PRH)
Amazon Author Central (AAC) page: yes
Goodreads Author page: yes 1325 followers
Twitter: yes @PaulaHWrites 3809 followers
Facebook: yes PaulaHawkinsWriter 955 likes
Website: yes PaulaHawkinsBooks

Comment: there is another Paula Hawkins, a politician, which is probably why the website isn’t just PaulaHawkins.com.

Sejal Badani (Trail of Broken Wings)
publisher: Amazon’s Lake Union
Amazon Author Central (AAC) page: yes
Goodreads Author page: yes 2 followers
Twitter: not found
Facebook: not found
Website: not found

Comment: this book is a Kindle First pick (eligible Prime members typically get one Kindle First book a month free…sometimes it has been two, and other people can get it at a reduced rate). Clearly, that’s been a way to sales success in the Kindle store. The book actually isn’t released yet, so it’s possible some of the other elements will be in place by May 1st.

Orest Stelmach (The Altar Girl)
Amazon Author Central (AAC) page: yes
Goodreads Author page: yes 1369 followers
Twitter: yes @oreststelmach 7847 followers
Facebook: not found
Website: yes oreststelmach

Comment: this is also a Kindle First pick.

Melissa F. Olson (Boundary Crossed)
Amazon Author Central (AAC) page: yes
Goodreads Author page: yes 242 followers
Twitter: yes @melissafolson 2656 followers
Facebook: yes MelissaFOlson 491 likes
Website: yes melissafolson

J.S. Scott (No Ordinary Billionaire)
Amazon Author Central (AAC) page: yes
Goodreads Author page: yes 1552 followers
Twitter: yes @AuthorJSScott 8353 followers
Facebook: yes AuthorJSScott 61894 likes
Website: yes authorjsscott

Comment: that’s a lot of Facebook likes!

Looking at these top five, it’s clear that you don’t need social media to be a bestseller on Amazon…if you are a Kindle First pick. ;)

Excluding that factor, might sense here is that Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon) matters. I don’t have an author page there, and perhaps I should (I’m just on it as a reader).

I’m impressed with how J.S. Scott has done it, in part by creating the reasonable online “handle” of JSSCott. That’s consistently applied, which I think is a good thing…Facebook, the Website, and Twitter all use it.

Everybody in the top five has Amazon Author Central pages…I do think that gives you a legitimacy.

Interestingly, I’m not seeing that having a blog (separate from Twitter or your website) is a big thing. I do think that’s a danger for some writers…that they can put a lot of time and energy into the blog, and not produce books.

Certainly, I thought my focus would be on books, and it’s much more on this blog. I don’t think that’s a problem for me, though. I’m not trying to make a living just doing this, and the blog is fun, is a good creative outlet, and lets me connect with people, which I like.

However, I am starting to try to take a day a month off work as a writing day.

I’d like to be getting more books done.

I remember years ago when my Significant Other asked me what my retirement plan was and I said, “I plan to die at work.” ;) I do like my job that much…as a trainer, I wake up on a weekday and say, “Oh boy, I get to go to work today!” As I’m fond of saying, though, I have a genetic abnormality: I’m an optimist. ;)

My Significant Other would like to retire some day, and I’ve started to get myself into that mindset. One thing that would be attractive to me about that would be writing more.

I would budget part of my time and energy into the social media part (assuming it exists in some semblance of what we have today…not planning to retire soon). I’d also just flat out write more.

I guess the advice I would give writers is to figure that you have a finite amount of time, energy, and creativity. You have to budget it: if a particular bit of social media is an investment where you’ll profit (that might be in more time, more energy, more creativity…or yes, money), then go for it. If not, you don’t need to be there…Amazon could always pick you. ;)

Let’s also do a quick poll:

What do you think? If you are an author, do you feel pressure to be on social media? As a reader, have you ever discovered an author on social media, and then become a reader of their works? Does having, say, a Goodreads Author page give someone more credibility for you? Do you feel like you have become more emotionally invested in an author because of reading their tweets? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.


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