What’s in a name? An EBR by any other name would read as sweet

August 28, 2015

What’s in a name? An EBR by any other name would read as sweet

Amazon is good at a lot of things.

Naming items isn’t one of them. ;)

Okay, those are both my opinion…but they are opinions that have been expressed by many people.

Even the name “Kindle”, with its association with fire, seemed an odd choice if you were arguing that you are a champion of books…and especially if you were doing something that some people were going to fear would hurt paper books. Of course, it wasn’t as bad as Barnes & Nobles’ choice of “Nook” for their e-book reader…as I reported that Kindle forum member J. Taylor pointed out way back in 2009:

Flash! Barnes & Noble’s “nook” named after…

That’s a matter of taste, which is important in terms of marketing.

More concerning is when naming has a direct practical impact on customers.

That’s been the case with the least expensive model of the Kindle.

There have been seven generations of Kindles to date…different capabilities, different morphologies…and Amazon almost always refers to that low end model as simply the “Kindle”.

Clearly, that causes a problem for people buying covers, for one thing.

A cover that would fit the Kindle 1 (the 2007 model…we actually got a free cover with that device) won’t fit the current gen(eration).

If, perhaps, Amazon at least put the generation number clearly on the device somehow, that would help.

It’s also a real challenge for people providing support to other Kindle users, like the Kindle Forum Pros (I’m one of those). As the menus change, the step by step help that many people want (and by which they are greatly benefited) becomes difficult if you don’t know which model they have (and they often don’t know, either).

So, and I would say inevitably, the community has adopted its own nicknames for different gens of the lowest priced Kindles.

Since nicknames are unofficial, they have various degrees of adoption…and they strike people different ways.

When the fourth generation of the Kindle was introduced in late 2011, I nicknamed that one the “Mindle” (for “minimum Kindle”…other people said later it was for “Mini Kindle”, which is fine with me). Amazon had referred to the first gen as just a “Kindle” (logical) and the second gen as a “Kindle 2” (that name was actually used in press releases). The third generation went back to just being the “Kindle”, but the community called it the “Kindle 3”. Amazon later renamed that one the “Kindle Keyboard”.

The fourth gen was announced at the same time as the Kindle Touch, and that was when that “Kindle Keyboard” rebranding happened.

There were now three versions of the “Kindle” currently on sale at Amazon.

I nicknamed the lowest cost one the “Mindle” partially to give a short way to differentiate it from the other Kindles.

I’ll admit it: I like making up neologisms. :)

Some of them get used by other people, although that’s not necessarily the point. I do it partially because it is fun for me, and partially specifically for my readers.

Some of them do catch on to some extent. I’ve seen other people use EBR (E-Book Reader) and “tradpub” (traditional publisher). Sometimes, there is a parallel evolution (that’s not that uncommon when doing something creative): I’m certainly not the only person to make up “phablet” to combine “phone” and “tablet” for the larger-screened phones).

I polled my readers, about three years ago, in

Poll Party #1

about their use of terms I’d coined. EBR was by far the most popular.

However…

I’m sure some people detest some of the terms I’ve proposed.

One of my regular readers and commenters, Susan Cassidy, who I respect, recently asked me to stop using the term “Mindle”. Susan reported a psychogenic reaction to it, calling it “…disgustingly cutesy”.

Susan also thought it hadn’t “caught on”. I did check, and it has been used hundreds of times in the Amazon Kindle forum…and very few of those will have been by me. It’s also likely that other people independently came up with the term.

While I will ultimately determine my future use of it, I like to get a sense of what my readers think as well. If many people feel the way Susan does, that would certainly influence my decision.

So, I decided to ask you. :)

A somewhat different question is what you would like me to call the current generation least expensive Kindle, this one:

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

Thanks for giving my your opinion…and that thanks goes especially to you, Susan!

If you have another suggestion for a name, or if you think the whole question is silly ;) feel free to let me and my readers know 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 #305: Amazon Underground, BAMM

August 28, 2015

Round up #305: Amazon Underground, BAMM

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

Books-A-Million revenues down slightly, loss nearly doubles

According to their

press release

Books-A-Million, the second largest chain bookstore in the USA (after Barnes & Noble) had comparable store sales down .3% compared to the same period in the previous year. That’s not a large amount…they blame it on megahit books the previous year.

However, their net loss went down a lot more:

“Net loss attributable to Books-A-Million for the second quarter was $5.8 million, or $0.41 per diluted
share, compared with a net loss of $3.0 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, in the year earlier period.”

If their revenue was down .3 percent, and their loss was down nearly twice as much, it could be that their costs have  risen.

It’s also important to note that their book sales were probably down more than the .3%: as CEO Terrance G. Finley said, “…this quarter we saw strong performances in our cafés and in our general merchandise departments.”

Kindle  Fire HDX update

My

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

updated this evening to 4.5.5.

No new no major features that  I can see…it says it has “general improvements and performance enhancements”. We see that statement when Amazon does  a bug fix. If I notice anything new, I’ll let you know.

No more Free Apps of the Day (FAOTD)? Welcome Amazon Underground

I was surprised not to see a free app of the day yesterday. Well, today I know why. It’s probably due to

Amazon Underground (at AmazonSmile*)

which is Amazon’s new Android shopping app.

This is another huge benefit for Amazon customers, and another striking innovation from Amazon.

Apps for which you would normally pay are free…actually free…to you.

Amazon pays the app publisher on a “play per minute” basis, somewhat similar to the way Kindle Unlimited works now, where they pay based on page read.

You don’t need to download the app, though…there are lots of “actually free” apps as part of AU (Amazon Underground) at the Amazon Appstore, where we would normally have seen the free app of the day:

Amazon Appstore (at Amazon Smile*)

Check it out! There are a lot of interesting apps!

The 471 Underground apps include

OfficeSuite Professional 8, which I use frequently for work. It’s normally $9.99…but you get it free, and even in-app purchases are free!

I’m going to have to check it out more…feel free to share any ones you find that you think are especially cool.

Enjoy!

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.

Amazon reportedly lays off hardware developers at Lab126

August 27, 2015

Amazon reportedly lays off hardware developers at Lab126

According to this Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger (if the link is behind the paywall for you, requiring you to register to read it, try searching for the title in a search engine):

Amazon Curtails Development of Consumer Devices

Amazon is laying off “Dozens of engineers…”

The thrust of the piece is that, due to the disappointment of the

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

(that is the SmartPhone I use every day, but even I liked my Galaxy better), Amazon is moving away from consumer hardware development, at least in some areas.

Personally, I doubt that means the

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

or, and probably most importantly for readers of this blog, Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) or Fire tablets.

I think it’s more that they’ll consolidate their existing lines for now, rather than trying new things.

That could be better for us as consumers.

Concentrate on what works:  the EBRs (although they probably don’t need both the Voyage and the Paperwhite, honestly), the tablets, the Echo, the Dash buttons…I’m thinking they may expand into home automation more, tied into the Echo. However, they don’t necessarily need Amazon branded hardware for  that…they can let other people make the hardware, and concentrate on making deals for compatibility.

Other things, like a super stylus, might not make sense. I don’t know that we particularly want Amazon to pioneer hardware lines…making their own  versions of existing lines, especially cheaper ones, is a good way to go. Amazon has not been able to position itself as a premium hardware maker.

Give us things that are less expensive, that tie into the existing Amazon services…that’s a good idea.

I think it’s also important to note that some of the development has moved elsewhere. My understanding is that quite a bit of the Echo “parse-onality” development (the Alexa Voice Service) is happening in the Boston area, for example.

Amazon Phase 2 (which is where I suspect we are now) does want to make a profit. Embarking on wildly speculative ventures is not a way to do that. Consolidating what you have and improving it…that can be.

I don’t want people to lose their jobs, of course…that said, I would be fine with Amazon focusing on improving things like the website itself…searching the forums, for example, is still not very robust. We could use much better content management, in the Cloud, on our devices, and at

http://www.amazon.com/myk

It’s going to be very interesting to see where this goes…and I’m champing at the bit for announcements which are likely coming in September!

What do you think? What where would you like Amazon to focus its hardware development? Should they develop new lines? What improvements should they make to the existing lines? Is it important at all that Amazon be seen as a cutting edge hardware developer? 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.

 

225 Kindle books for $1.99 or less each, through September 20th

August 26, 2015

225 Kindle books for $1.99 or less each, through September 20th

It’s hard to keep up with all of the Amazon sales!

How about this one?

225 Kindle books for $1.99 or less each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Now, these aren’t what I call “People Magazine” books…they aren’t current frontlist titles from traditional publishers.

Still, there are some good books in this group.

I’ll list a few that caught my eye:

  • The Brainrush series by Richard Bard (3 books, $1.99 each). The first book in the series has 4.3 stars out of 5 with 1,434 customer reviews.  They are also all available to read at no additional cost through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (as are 203 of the books in this sale)
  • The Immortalist by Kyle Mills
  • Killer’s Payoff (87th Precinct Mysteries) by Ed McBain (hugely popular lengthy series, now published in e-book by Amazon) (they also have some of McBain’s Matthew Hope books)
  • Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti
  • Gulliver Takes Manhattan by Justin Luke Zirilli
  • The Salt Maiden by Colleen Thompson
  • The Saint versus Scotland Yard (The Saint Series) by Leslie Charteris
  • Next Year I’ll be Perfect by Laura Kilmartin
  • Happy Stories!: Real-Life Inspirational Stories from Around the World That Will Raise Your Happiness Level by Will Bowen
  • Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects by Mark Frauenfelder
  • Veronica Mars – the TV series: Venus and Mars (Kindle Worlds) by MLP (and some other Kindle Worlds book)
  • Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens
  • Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much (Icons)Mar 24, 2015 | Kindle eBook
    by Michael Wood
  • Dorn of the Mountains by Zane Grey (one of the most popular writers of all time…known for Westerns like this)

Enjoy!

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 Hugo voters picked “No Award” in two major literature categories

August 25, 2015

Why Hugo voters picked “No Award” in two major literature categories

The Hugo Awards are arguably the most prestige award in science fiction literature (they also cover other media).

They’ve been around for well over fifty years, and many a geek like me has used the awards as a discovery tool. Winning a Hugo certainly helped your career, and upped your geek cred.

There was a considerable controversy this year, as I’ve mentioned before.

As explained in this

Wired article by Holly Andres

a group of authors tried to guide the nominations (and awards) to go to books not based solely on their intrinsic value, but on the nature of their content.

As I understand it, their argument would be that they are preserving the historic style of science fiction.

Many fans (or “fen”, to use the geeky terminology) felt that the campaign was unreasonably non-inclusive.

How did the votes go?

You can see the results in this

Official Site

None of the campaign’s promoted works won. If there was a category that only had campaign nominated-works, the voters chose instead “No Award”…sort of like “none of the above”.

The winners in literature were:

Best Novel: The Three-Body Problem (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)
by Cixen Liu (translated by Ken Liu)

Best Novella: No Award

Best Novellette: “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”
by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (translated by Lia Belt)

Best Short Story: No Award

Best Editor (short form, long form): No Awards

I’ll just say, I’m not happy that no awards were given out in some of these categories…although I appreciate a principled stand.

I also feel sorry for all of the authors: this is going to be seen as an “asterisk” year, where it was simply being the best writer that won the category (of course, is that ever true?).

People who were nominated by the campaign may also suffer from that…even if they didn’t agree with the campaign’s position.

I don’t quite know what you do about this in the future…I don’t think any rules were broken. You could change the rules, but how  would you do that?

What do you think? Do the Hugo awards matter to you? Is it possible to have a “fan nominated” process which can not be corrupted? If you were a Hugo voter, what would have done?

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.

Amazon device bestsellers: two things more popular than Kindles

August 24, 2015

Amazon device bestsellers: two things more popular than Kindles

Well, this was interesting!

Amazon has lists of the top 100 bestsellers in a lot of categories.

I’ve never noticed this before, but they have a category specifically for

Amazon Devices Top 100 Bestsellers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Are there 100 pieces of Amazon-built hardware?

Absolutely!

There are a lot of varieties of Kindles and Fire tablets, for one thing…but that’s not the only thing.

In fact, the highest rated Kindle or Fire tablet is only number three right now.

Before I reveal which one that is, and where some of the other devices rank, let me just point out…eight years ago, there were no Amazon devices!

Prior to the first Kindle’s release in 2007 (on November 19), there was a lot of skepticism about Amazon introducing any hardware at all.

Amazon was a retailer: not a gadget maker.

The Kindle succeeded, and transformed the then tiny e-book market.

I would guess that now, many people would think of the Kindle as one of the first things that comes to mind when you say “Amazon”.

I was curious as to what was ranked where…and surprised to see two items ranked higher than any Kindle or Fire:

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

#2 Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The Fire TV Stick is an inexpensive streaming gadget: we use it in one of the rooms in our house…and we use the full-powered

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

in the other.

We’re watching the latter right now.

Which Kindle is the top-selling?

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I find the ranking fascinating:

  1. Fire TV Stick
  2. Amazon Echo (a relatively expensive nascent technology)
  3. Kindle Paperwhite 3 with Special Offers (the latest Kindle introduced)
  4. Mindle Touch (that’s what I call the 7th generation entry level Kindle…no lighting on this one)
  5. Fire HD 6″ (the least expensive Fire tablet)
  6. Fire HD 7″ with Special Offers
  7. Kindle Paperwhite 3 without Special Offers (the latest Kindle introduced)
  8. Amazon Fire Phone 32GB unlocked
  9. Fire HD 7″ without Special Offers
  10. Certified Refurbished Fire TV Stick

Where’s the top of the line EBR (E-Book Reader), the

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

?

#15.

That’s right: the

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

is selling better than the Voyage!

That doesn’t mean the Voyage is selling poorly…#15 is still pretty good.

They had a recent deal on the Fire Phone, which might have bumped it up…but it supports what I have been suggesting…that the Fire Phone isn’t done yet. :)

I’m still thinking they might find a way to tie especially into the Amazon Echo…although when the Alexa Voice Service starts showing up on other devices (which will happen soon, I believe), it might be harder to make that a selling point.

It’s interesting: there are a bunch of Dash buttons in the top 100. I wouldn’t have thought those were doing much at this point.

None of this suggests any weakness for the Kindle EBRs or for the Fire tablets, in my opinion. It’s just a paradigm shift for me to think of that as not the whole of Amazon’s hardware business…and not even the leading component it of it (based on bestseller rank…more EBRs are sold overall, I’m sure, since there are so many models).

It’s very likely that we’ll see a refresh of the EBR/Fire tablet line announced soon…maybe in September, so not far away.

Of course, with all of this Amazon hardware, we may start seeing an Apple style announcement of lines. We could even start seeing some sort of developer meeting…even a Disney-style D23 type of event. Actually, that could really work!

Amazon could host something in Seattle. They could show off new hardware, have Amazon KDP authors there, have developers of Amazon apps and Alexa Skills, do some international things, maybe show off the Prime Air drones…even Prime Now riders. :) Wow, people would really talk about that! It could also counter some bad publicity, by letting people get behind the curtain a bit, and showing happy employees.

I would totally want to go!

What do you think? Surprised by the rankings? Do you think of the Kindle when you think of Amazon? Would you want to go to an Amazon Expo? 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.

 

 

September 2015 Kindle book releases

August 23, 2015

September 2015 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have started to return to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 6,916 (at time of writing…1,932 more than last month. That makes sense, though…September is getting into the holiday season as far as book releases go) September releases in the USA Kindle store:

September 2015 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,067 (279 more than last month) are in

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

about 15% (about 1% fewer than last month).

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

In the past several  months, the top four had been the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Amazon no longer does the “New and Popular” search as a default, but does “Featured”. Presumably, a human being picks those titles in some way…and the list is clearly not the same. Last month, the top four weren’t Kindle First…this time, they are (again). There’s also a link that identifies them as Kindle First books, and will take you to that page. It’s an interesting choice, on Amazon’s part. I like curation, generally, but I think of Amazon’s book search results based on impartial data, but that’s not the case any more.

The other thing is that some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

  • The Keeper (Vega Jane, Book 2) by David Baldacci
  • Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Driving Heat (Nikki Heat Book 7) by Richard Castle
  • Archmage (Homecoming) by R. A. Salvatore
  • Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller
  • Big Nate: Welcome to My World (AMP! Comics for Kids) by Lincoln Peirce
  • The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney and Jo Beverley
  • Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
  • Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray and Phil Noto
  • The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan by Ian Buruma
  • Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. The Obamas by Edward Klein
  • Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle: How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama by Doreen Virtue
  • Batman Vol. 7: Endgame by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
  • Sweet Caress by William Boyd
  • Purity: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
  • Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design by Perry Marshall
  • The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz
  • You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C’s to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Lifeby Jon Gordon and Mike Smith
  • The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman
  • Wildest Dreams (Thunder Point series) by Robyn Carr
  • Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
  • The Bark Before Christmas (A Melanie Travis Mystery Book 18) by Laurien Berenson
  • Cook County ICU: 30 Years of Unforgettable Patients and Odd Cases by Cory Franklin, MD
  • The White Ghost (Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Book 10) by James R. Benn
  • Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
  • The Girl With the Deep Blue Eyes by Lawrence Block
  • Finale: A Novel of the Reagan Years by Thomas Mallon
  • The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange
  • The Gifted Puppy Program: 40 Games, Activities, and Exercises to Raise a Brilliant, Happy Dog by Laurie Leach
  • Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse
  • Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them by Nancy Marie Brown
  • Undercover by Danielle Steel
  • The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science Is Rewriting Their Story by Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A. Morse
  • The Quotable Feynman by Richard P. Feynman and Michelle Feynman

Enjoy!

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 #304: One Murder More giveaway, swarming Amazon

August 22, 2015

Round up #304: One Murder More giveaway, swarming Amazon

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

Amazon under attack

I know, I know…Amazon is always under attack. ;) That’s what happens when you are a leader, and when you position yourself in the market as doing things differently.

You could also say it was predictable that there would be a bigger pushback when Amazon started making a profit. When they aren’t, you can say your company is smarter than they are and that they don’t have to do things like Amazon. If they can be “different” and make a profit, that can be a problem for a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of another company.

Whats been happening?

There is still a huge buzz around the article I discussed here:

New York Times describes Amazon as a “Bruising Workplace”; Bezos responds

I’ve seen lots of things, even an article comparing Jeff Bezos to Chairman Mao (not the usual despotic leader you see referenced on the internet…maybe they are just trying to avoid getting a ticked under Godwin’s Law). ;)

Then, there is Authors United, a group formed during the Hachazon War (the negotiations between Amazon and the publisher Hachette), which includes some really well-known authors (Nora Roberts, Scott Turow…).

According to this

The Digital Reader article by Nate Hoffelder

and other sources, the group has sent a letter to the USA’s Department of Justice (DoJ) asking them to investigate Amazon for anti-trust activities.

Interestingly, the letter is on the Authors Guild website, not the Authors United one:

https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/a-call-to-investigate-amazon/

The Authors Guild has fought with Amazon before…and with other people. One of its major functions is legal advocacy.

The DoJ, of course, went after Apple and five of the major publishers over e-book pricing…and at the time, some people accused them of being influenced by Amazon to do so.

The DoJ will look at the documentation.

As I understand it, it isn’t enough to dominate a market…it will have to be more than that for action from the DoJ.

Then there were comments from Washington Congressperson Suzan DelBene, when she and Nancy Pelosi visited Amazon, just days after the New York Times article.

They were actually there because Amazon supports an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) bill…they were on the same side.

However, they both had to address the “brutal” article.

DelBene said:

“I’ve supported legislation on family leave, access to childcare, equal pay for equal work,” DelBene said. “Again it’s about making sure people don’t have to make decisions on taking care of their family and going to work, or being sick and going to work, so these are policy issues we’ve been talking about a long time.”

Neither legislator directly accused Amazon or confirmed the report…but they weren’t refuting them, either.

You know who isn’t attacking Amazon?

Customers and investors. :)

The New York Times article came out August 15th.

The stock rose slightly on the 17th (the next trading day), and dropped only slightly the next two days. Yes, it went down quite a bit Thursday and Friday…but the whole market did.

I can’t present good stats on customers not changing their buying habits because of it…we’ll see what happens at Amazon’s next financials. I haven’t seen a lot of negative social media coming from regular buyers of Amazon…

I’ve changed Alexa!

Yes, my

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

coverage has largely moved to my other blog, The Measured Circle

Amazon Echo category at The Measured Circle

although I do link to the articles from here.

However, I was really excited about this, and wanted to share with you…this blog is part of the context. :)

I started a hashtag: #TeachAlexa, where I suggest questions (or comments) and answers (or responses) that Alexa should know.

Amazon responded to one of my postings in their Twitter feed…and Alexa knows it now!

Q. “It’s a bird…it’s a plane..”

A. “It’s Superman.”

Someone has already posted a video online of the exchange. :)

How is this blog part of the context?

I don’t think Amazon has ever mentioned ILMK in a tweet. I don’t think I’m owed that, although ILMK has been one of the most popular blogs in the USA Kindle store for years.

Honestly, I was blown away by the mention!

More writing days?

I really need to start taking more PTO (Paid Time Off) days to write! I’m still earning more vacation days a year than I take, and that’s going to build up too much…eventually, I’ll max out.

I’ve been saying I’ll take a day a month without my Significant Other here, so I can get some more writing done. Things have been super busy…I’m keeping up, but barely.

We’ll see…I’m a pretty disciplined person, but it’s hard for me to take PTO.

Australian parents’ group protests Amazon giving kids books

Sigh.

In Australia, Amazon is giving a choice of a book rather than a toy with a Happy Meal.

According to this

Los Angeles Times article by Michael Schaub

The Parents’ Jury is asking regulators to stop the practice.

You know, because it’s better for kids to get toys than books?

I suppose it’s nice that they think books are so tempting to kids…

National Foundation of the Blind protests Amazon

Amazon has an interesting relationship with disability issues.

In some ways, they have been a quantum leap forward. Including text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 (at no additional price) was big.

Allowing publishers to block  it (after they complained) may have been unavoidable, but was a step backwards.

Amazon does do a plug-in that allows screen reader software to read the books even if the publisher blocks the access…another step forward. There is a link to download it on this page, along with additional information about accessibility:

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

Then, there was the Kindle DX.

Amazon had introduced the larger screen EBR (E-Book Reader), with an announcement that included deals with major textbook publishers.

Well, organizations, including the National  Federation of the Blind, took legal action against it…because non print challenged students got more benefit from them than print challenged students:

Flash! Arizona State University and blind organizations settle lawsuit

Now, one of my readers, David Goldfield, alerted me to this NFB blog post:

https://nfb.org/blog/vonb-blog/we-must-stop-amazon-fail

The post is…strongly worded.

Here is a short  excerpt:

“…a vote for this deal is an outrageous act of deliberate discrimination against blind students…”

That vote is coming soon…August 26th.

This is a perfect example of one reason I do the round ups. I would want to investigate this more before I would do a full article, but I wanted you to be aware of it before the vote.

Thanks, David!

Giveaway of my sibling’s book

50 copies of my sibling’s book

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

are being given away through Goodreads

One Murder More on Goodreads

It’s only the hardback, but I think some of you might be interested in that. At the time of writing, 288 people are in the drawing…the drawing goes through September 17th.

On Goodreads, its rated 4.13 out of 5 stars with 31 ratings.

On Amazon, it’s 4.8 stars with 52 reviews…quite impressive!

The Kindle version is $4.99 at time of writing.

Good luck!

What do you think? Have any of these accusations changed your opinion of Amazon? Do you think they’ll impact Amazon in the future? 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.

10 public domain images of reading from Project Gutenberg

August 21, 2015

10 public domain images of reading from Project Gutenberg

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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.

The “I want to own my content” argument about Kindle Unlimited

August 20, 2015

The “I want to own my content” argument about Kindle Unlimited

I recently saw someone saying that they didn’t want to join

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

because they wanted to own their content.

With KU, you don’t own the books.  You pay $9.99 a month (but you can get a first month free) to get access to well over a million books.

Certainly, there are arguments in favor of owning books…I think I own over 10,000 paper books (and several thousand e-books).

For books, owning them has pretty much been the option in the past…outside of the public library or borrowing from friends and family.

That may be why many people don’t like the idea that if you leave KU, you no longer have access to books you’ve borrowed from there (you can keep a book as along as you like…until you stop being a member).

However, I think that just about everybody pays for access to content without owning it.

One obvious example: going to the movies.

When I go see a movie in a movie theatre, I don’t own that movie. I still enjoy it, and I understand that I paid for the experience of the movie…not for ownership.

Of course, when it comes out later on home video (a DVD,  a digital download, and so on), I can buy it if I want.

The same is true with KU.

If you want to buy a book you’ve read through KU, you can do that.

I think people also have the sense that when they are KU members, that $9.99 should cover all of their reading…that’s not my case, and there is no reason it should be.

I own DVDs…and I go to the movies.

We pay for cable (and Netflix and Hulu)…and as above, we have DVDs. :)

I think many people nowadays are more comfortable with paying for access than with ownership. That’s supposedly more true with Millenials (born roughly from 1981 to 1997)  than with Baby Boomers (born roughly between 1946 and 1964, but these dates are pretty fluid). I don’t know if that’s the case. I suspect that many older people are becoming very comfortable with paying for access. That can come with smaller living spaces, or with a sense or less stability.

I also wonder if people are less concerned with inheritance. When our now adult kid gets my p-books (paperbooks), I know that some of that will be a burden (although our kid prefers p-books to e-books, they aren’t going to want all of these!).

 Obviously, you don’t have the same logistical issue dealing with e-books that are owned that you do with p-books, but I think there may be a mental shift going on about building up an estate.

Do I think everybody should be KU members?

No…if you only read a couple of books a year, it’s not worth it.

If you read at least a few books a month, though, I’d consider it.

I maintain a KU Wish List at Amazon, so I can easily find things to read from there. Just to give you an idea, here are five books on it:

  1. The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis (inspiration for the David Bowie movie)
  2. Live and Let Die (James Bond) by Ian Fleming (this is the second book…I’ve already read the first one through KU)
  3. A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (famous account of the Titanic)
  4. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
  5. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

Those are all books I would certainly have considered buying at some point…perhaps if I had seen them used.

My list also has books on it like

Tarzan Meets Kong by Owen Leonard

I don’t expect that to be of the same quality as the above books (although I’m open to the possibility)…but it might be a fun enough read to get it as part of the ten books we can have at once.

What do you think? Is owning your content important to you? What’s the difference between going to a movie, or reading a KU book? If KU means you are reading books you wouldn’t have bought, what’s the difference? What makes a book borrowable, but not ownable? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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.


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