Amazon and bibliodiversity

May 27, 2017

Amazon and bibliodiversity

Bibliodiversity is the idea (perhaps originated in Chile as bibliodiversidad) which parallels the concept of biodiversity. The argument is that having greater variety available is beneficial.

That seems simple, and there is evidence to support it in biodiversity. If you have a population with relatively little genetic variation, and if there are few species available in an environment, there is great risk if something changes (a disease arises, a natural disaster, climate change…). A recent example would be DFTD (Devil Facial Tumor Disease). I’ve been saddened to read about it: Tasmanian devils (yes, they are real animals, not just a cartoon) bite each other on the face socially. They are able to transmit what becomes cancerous tumors (I was surprised to see a contagious cancer, even if that isn’t exactly what’s happening) which prove fatal.

 It’s been devastating to the wild population: I’ve seen estimates of a 90% total loss, and many populations have reportedly been completely lost. This has happened in just a couple of decades.

Some devils, though, have shown resistance…very few, but they do seem to be genetically different.

If these marsupial predators were all the same, it would probably have been over already. Thanks to diversity within the population, it’s possible the species will survive in the wild.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_facial_tumour_disease

I’ve read a couple of articles recently citing Amazon as significantly reducing bibliodiversity, with the implication that they could be the cause of a least a massive die-off in publishing.

One concern was about Amazon changing the way the Buy button works, where a small publisher might not find that its own book is the first option for buyers (it might be a third-party seller). I wrote about that one about three weeks ago here:

HuffPo article: Amazon is “potentially terrorizing”

The other one is another

HuffPo article

by Maddie Crum.

Here’s the title: “Amazon’s Grip On The Book World Could Silence The Stories That Matter”.

This one focuses on one of Amazon’s new brick-and-mortar bookstores, and how the store use rankings from the Amazon website, in part, to determine which books appear in the store.

The article is correct, in my experience, that classic literature tends to be lower rated than now, popular books. Most people just don’t go back and rate a book they read years ago.

That, in turn, Crum suggests could lead to a concentration of titles.

My opinion?

Nobody else has done more to increase bibliodiversity in the past ten years than Amazon.

E-books existed in a minor way before the Kindle launched in 2007, but they exploded after that.

Amazon introduced its own digital publishing platform, and thousands of people have published books to it on all kinds of topics. It’s hard to imagine that readers have ever had more options and had the ability to hear more voices. The barrier to entry is so much lower.

There are well over FIVE MILLION titles in the USA Kindle store…no physical bookstore comes close that.

No, authors and bibliodiversity are doing fine.

What is being hurt? Traditional publishing of paperbooks, especially by small publishers.

When you needed a book factory to get a book to readers, and when physical bookstores needed to carry you (I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager), authors needed the publishers to crack the market.

Now, that’s not necessary…which reduces the need for publishers, so some extent.

There may be less…um…publishersity, I guess.

Publishers have definitely added value. They’ve discovered authors, nurtured them, promoted them, and improve the quality of the books themselves, through editing, lay-out, proof-reading, and promotion.

Some of what publishers traditionally did will shift to other places, including agencies which will edit..and artificial intelligence may eventually play a role.

It may also be that some people won’t be able to  make a living as an author who could do so before…and that arguably could mean fewer books…as could the loss of some publishers.

However, that will be more than offset by authors who can make a living as indies (independently published authors).

Look at who is quoted in articles decrying Amazon’s practices…they will tend to be people who are in the space between authors and readers. That’s what Amazon really threatens, and it will seriously remold the experience of discovery and cash flow.

Fewer books and less diversity, though? That seems unlikely to me.

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.
Start:May 20, 2017 5:20 AM PDT
End:May 27, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :) 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2017 Kindle book releases

May 26, 2017

June 2017 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 largely returned 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 7,351 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in June 2017 (638 more than last month):

June 2017 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,248 (264 more than last time) are in

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

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

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month. Amazon doesn’t do these by popularity any more, they do them by featured…and this month, those aren’t Kindle First books, which repeats the trend from last month.

Some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (three of the top ten). 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!

  • Omnia (The Silver Ships Book 9) Jun 2, 2017 | by S. H. Jucha (book 9 of 9)
  • How To Be A Digital Revolutionary Jun 1, 2017 |by Violet Blue
  • Sasha Savvy Loves to CodeJun 2, 2017 | by Sasha Ariel Alston and Vanessa Brantley-Newton
  • Wonder Woman by John Byrne Vol. 1 (Wonder Woman (1987-2006)) | by John Byrne
  • It Can’t be October Already Jun 6, 2017 | by Jeffrey Archer (short story)
  • My Amazon Merch Strategy Guide: Running a Mini-Media Company Selling Shirts and More Online Jun 17, 2017 | by Alan Kerrman (KU)
  • Strategic Internal Communication: How to Build Employee Engagement and Performance Jun 3, 2017 | by David Cowan
  • DC Universe by Mike Mignola Jun 6, 2017 by Neil Gaiman and John Byrne
  • A Contemporary Renaissance: Gulen’s Philosophy for a Global Revival of Civilization Jun 1, 2017 |  by Sulayman Ashrati
  • Anarchism, 1914-18: Internationalism, anti-militarism and warJun 1, 2017 | by Matthew S. Adams and Ruth Kinna
  • Cookies & Chance Mysteries Boxed Set (Books 1-3) Jun 6, 2017 |  by Catherine Bruns
  • Father Damien de Veuster – Apostle to the Lepers (Biographies) Jun 5, 2017 | by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
  • Postcards from Rio: Favelas and the Contested Geographies of Citizenship Jun 1, 2017 | by Kátia da Costa Bezerra
  • The Ethics of Technology: A Geometric Analysis of Five Moral Principles Jun 1, 2017 | by Martin Peterson
  • Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War Jun 4, 2017 | by Michell Plested
  • Make Your Book A Best Seller: The Step-by-Step Guide I followed to Become a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Multiple Countries Jun 3, 2017 | by Bukola Oriola

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in June 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as an ad).

Enjoy!

One bonus note: I started a new project today!

The Measured Circle’s Star Wars Timeline (a long time ago and everything in between)

May 25th 1977 is the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie…May the Fortieth be with you!**


My current Amazon Giveaways

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.
Start:May 20, 2017 5:20 AM PDT
End:May 27, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :) 

** Thanks to Chris Dudley for this pun!

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.

 

Now you can read your Kindle books in Virtual Reality

May 24, 2017

Now you can read your Kindle books in Virtual Reality

Woo hoo!

Although, I’m sure some of you are saying, “Hoo boy…who cares?” 😉

Absolutely, the number of people who want to read books in virtual reality at this point is probably vanishingly small…even smaller than the e-book market was before the Kindle was released in 2007.

There still aren’t that many people in what I call VAM space (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed&Merged Reality). There will be a lot more before the end of the year (Google’s just announced a very interesting, stand-alone device…no phone, no computer required, but we don’t know the price yet), and within about three years, some people will be in VAM space quite often, I think. In five years, many people will be in it for special uses…I want to credit Robert Scoble and Seth Israel’s book

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

for suggesting this timeline (and they’ve been quite accurate in the past).

Next, they need to also want to read e-books. The number of people who read books at all regularly is quite a minority in itself, so we definitely are talking about an unusual population.

I’ve been wanting to read my Kindle books in VAM space, and I hadn’t found a way. I did find a way to read some other books, but not my purchases from the Kindle store.

Why do I want to do that?

When I’m wearing my

Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

at work (at lunch, or on a break), it is uniquely isolating. It gives me a real sense of being somewhere else, which, while I love my job, can be a good mental reset.

Right now, I may watch Netflix or Hulu, and I do play some games (but gaming is not the majority of my time in VAM space, contrary to what I commonly hear people assume). However, I want to read. 🙂 If I play a game for a bit of a reset, then I may want to spend some time exercising and reading.

I do want to be clear: we aren’t where I want to be yet. I need some way to hands-free change “pages”, so I can read while doing floor work, like crunches. I can watch video that way, but with the current implementation, I tap the side of my head (really my headset) to change a page. That’s not convenient…I still expect Amazon to make a big move into VAM space before the end of the year, and while that’s most likely to be Prime Video at a minimum, a book reading “experience” is also a possibility. Audiobooks/text-to-speech would be another way to go, but in this post, I’m talking about sight reading.

Here’s how it works:

I’m using Samsung Internet on my Gear (my phone, which powers it, is a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge…one generation back, now).

I go to the Kindle Cloud Reader:

https://read.amazon.com/

This next step is what I believe is new, and is what made it work.

I select the menu in my top right corner of the main screen, then select, “Request Computer Version” (you can see the little selector circle…in this app, I tap the side of the headset to choose it…in some apps, I “eye gaze”).

Then, I was able to log into the site…and I could use it like I could on my laptop!

Well, it’s a little clunkier…I can’t go back as easily, but I can still read.

Here’s a shot of my library…I don’t usually show you the book covers, but I feel like these are small enough and the purpose is right for it to fall under Fair Use.

This is a shot of what it looks like reading a book (the public domain title The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs…I watched the Doug McClure movie recently as part of the revived Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’d already seen the movie, which I want so MST3K doesn’t spoil it for me…but I must say, I really like the revival! They are doing a lot more, I think, with the production numbers, which I enjoy):

Now, this is a 360 degree environment…I can look around, even look behind me, but the book is in front of me…like it was on a movie screen, but I find it a comfortable size to read. In fact, I’d love to get more words on the page, so I didn’t have to tap so much. 🙂 Hmm…I may be able to change that, I’ll look. I’m sure Amazon could do something that would advance through the book on its own.

I can change the size of the image…that’s part of Samsung Internet, although it doesn’t change dramatically.

One nice thing is that I can change the “background” (but is it really a background when it surround me?). That could even be a 360 degree picture of my own…maybe Len Edgerly of

The Kindle Chronicles

will do that. 🙂 We did an interview about VAM space, with an emphasis on Amazon and books…and I know Len makes 360 videos, so probably has images to use.

Again, this is in no way everything I want. When I’m on a plane later this year, I’m assuming I’ll be able to use my headset (I’m traveling domestically…and the headset isn’t powered, but who knows?). I’d plan on reading on my Kindle Fire, too, but I can see switching between games, videos, and books without taking off the headset (I would need to download some books before I go, unless I can connect to wi-fi…that’s what I’ve been doing so far to read, streaming it).

We are on the bottom rungs of the ladder which is the future!

Bonus deal:

I know this is likely to be too late for some of you, but I couldn’t get to this until tonight. Today’s

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

is “Up to 80% off top book club picks by Goodreads on Kindle”. Check them out…there are some good deals!


My current Amazon Giveaways

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.
Start:May 20, 2017 5:20 AM PDT
End:May 27, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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 Nebula Awards winners…and a great KDD (again)!

May 21, 2017

The Nebula Awards winners…and a great KDD (again)!

In the science fiction community, we usually think of two literary awards first: the Hugos and the Nebulas (there are several others).

The Nebula Awards were first given out by the

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

more than fifty years ago (1966), so there have been a lot of winners!

Amazon has a section for them in the Kindle store:

Nebula Award Winners in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They don’t have them all…there are 28 titles there right now (and I think some of them would be known by people who aren’t science fiction/fantasy fans as well). 🙂

One group that they don’t have listed there is the group of winners that were announced yesterday in Pittsburgh…just too soon.

This

Forbes article by Kevin Murnan

lists all the nominees and the winners…I’m just going to list the winners here:

Congratulations to the winners!

Today’s

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

has 90 (!) titles in what they are calling “Enticing reads on Kindle, $1.99 & up”.

There are a lot of great titles here, and some well-known books and authors. Remember that you can buy these today, and either delay delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or send them to yourself and print them out to give (even wrapped) whenever you want. Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (and I have now bought a book when I was in Virtual Reality from Amazon, although I did “tap” using my Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…Oculus added their own browser, and it worked there. I was also able to read part of a book at Project Gutenberg, although it meant I had to tap the side of my headset a lot to “click”, which was distracting at this point…it’s possible I’d get used to it…but I’m guessing there will be a good reading experience, possibly from Amazon, within a year) that Buy Button: the prices may not apply in your country, for one thing.

Title include:

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West
  • Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • The Wedding  by Nicholas Sparks | 4.6 stars, 1, 564 reviews
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt | 4.4 stars, 288 reviews (non-fiction)
  • Duplicity by Newt Gingrich
  • Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman
  • One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters
  • The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
  • Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
  • Hammerhead Six by Ronald Fry
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (the Corfu Trilogy #1…I’m re-reading these myself right now)
  • Unwritten by Charles Martin
  • The Darkness of Evil (Karen Vail #7) by Alan Jacobson
  • The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot
  • Homeland (Crown Family #1) by John Jakes
  • Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
  • Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow
  • Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
  • The Outpost by Jake Tapper
  • As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova | 3.9 stars, 2,246 reviews
  • The Science of Game of Thrones by Helen Keen
  • A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kingsbury
  • A History of American Sports in 100 Objects by Cait Murphy
  • Audrey and Bill by Edward Z. Epstein
  • The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw
  • Dinner with the Smileys by Sara Smiley
  • The Ingenious Mr. Pyke by Henry Hemming
  • House of M by Brian Michael Bendis
  • World War Hulk by Greg Pak
  • The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes
  • The Rules of Love & Grammar by Mary Simses
  • The Untold History of America at War by Kenneth C. Davis
  • The Letter by Kathryn Hughes
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • The Burial Hour by Jeffrey Deaver
  • New York Times Story of the Yankees
  • The Chosen Few by Gregg Zoroya
  • Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
  • Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson
  • The End of the Day by Claire North
  • Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kaifar
  • The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner
  • Tuesday’s Promise by Luis Carlos Montalvan
  • The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
  • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
  • Seven Days of You by Cecila Vinese
  • Run by Ann Patchett
  • The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole #5)
  • The Drowning King by Emily Holleman
  • Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt
  • A Warrior’s Faith by Robert Vera
  • The Valley of Amazement of Amy Tan
  • December 1941 by Craig Shirley
  • The American Spirit by Edwin J. Feulner
  • Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne
  • The Ones We Trust by Kimberly Belle
  • The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff
  • Deadly Fate by Heather Graham
  • Alaska Nights by Debbie Macomber
  • The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
  • Canada by Richard Ford
  • No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd (Inspector Ian Rutledge)
  • What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
  • Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue
  • Several Marvel collections: The Dark Phoenix Saga; Spider-Man/Deadpool; Spider-Gwen; Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur; Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard; All-New, All-Different Avengers; Incredible Iron Man Vol 1: Reboot

Enjoy!

My current Amazon Giveaways

NEW GIVEAWAY: 

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.
Start:May 20, 2017 5:20 AM PDT
End:May 27, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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 Charts: reinventing the “bestseller” list

May 18, 2017

Amazon Charts: reinventing the “bestseller” list

Amazon is always innovating!

I loved the press release they sent me this morning  about their new feature

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

This is about the top twenty books…but not just the top 20 fiction and non-fiction books sold, but about the most read!

Some people think of Amazon as being tight-lipped with their data, and that can certainly be true (actual sales figures for Amazon devices, for example). However, we also know they have a lot of data…a lot, lot, lot of data. 😉

As the

press release

explains, there are two lists for each category of fiction and non-fiction (so, 40 books a week).

The one for bestselling is already innovative, because it is including borrows, which I think are increasingly significant. That should include

Actually, I’m not sure on the last one, since it says it counts subscription services (what I call subsers), and the KOLL isn’t really that. I think Prime Reading does count, because Prime is a subscription service. It would not count peer-to-peer loans, presumably, where you loan a book to someone you know. Interestingly, “bulk purchases” count as a single buy for this. Also, a borrow has to get to the minimum reimbursement level…about the length of a sample, according to Amazon.

Most read counts borrows and purchases read (or heard…Audible counts).

This is huge new information!

It will be informative to compare the two lists…suppose a book is widely purchased, but not widely read? What if the opposite is true? Could being on the “most read list” mean that the publisher (which may be just the author) can raise the price? Will the “read” ranking start showing up on Amazon product pages?

I’ll need to dig into this more, but I’m interested in what you think. Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

 

Just breaking: Fire tablet line revamped with Alexa, and 20% off mix and match 3 pack

May 17, 2017

Just breaking: Fire tablet line revamped with Alexa, and 20% off mix and match 3 pack

Amazon just sent me a press release announcing a revamp of the

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

and an introductory deal.

press release

The deal is by using the code

FIRE3PACK

for any three…you could get two of the kids’ editions and an 8″, for example, and get 20% off. You could get three of the entry level $49.99, and instead of paying $149.97, you’d pay $119.98 (based on my rounding and without tax and possible shipping and in the USA buying from Amazon.com).

The deal ends June 6th, and here are the details on the discount:

Terms and Conditions (at AmazonSmile*)

Oh, and here’s a press release with multimedia:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005706/en/

I need to look over the product details more, but thinner, lighter, better battery life and wi-fi connectivity, better screen, yada yada 😉 and the same price point for the least expensive model.

The 10″ is not mentioned.

Here’s something I think is key:

Amazon is now making Alexa not just a way to get to content, but a way to manage our lives and to connect with human beings.

It seems quite likely we’ll be able to do videocalls through Alexa Calling on these devices (even if not right away).

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Alexa Calling edition

If that’s the case, and if that’s how we routinely communicate with loved ones (Significant Others, grandkids, grandparents, and so on), having an inexpensive, portable way to do that becomes very important.

If Alexa runs my car, feeds by pets, does my shopping lists, manages my calendar…I’ll want access to it everywhere, which will increase considerably the demand for tablets. Videocalling, I think, is one of those things that can push people (especially those with even minor vision challenges) to tablets over phones (besides the cost difference, of course).

Virtual/Augmented reality headsets, especially ones you can almost forget you are wearing, have a few years (probably five) before they overtake phones even for the technically comfortable, so there is time to do this with tablets. I do still expect Amazon to make a big VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality) play this year, though. 😉

What do you think? Some of my readers are really good at parsing these press releases and tech specs…feel free to let me and my readers know what you’ve found or what questions you have by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways

LAST DAY TO ENTER!

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Join thousands of readers an

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

ReDigi revisited: will you be able to sell “used” e-books?

May 16, 2017

ReDigi revisited: will you be able to sell “used” e-books?

I last wrote about ReDigi more than four years ago

Judge rules against ReDigi, making Amazon used e-books more likely

so it was quite interesting to see it pop up in the news again, especially in this

Publishers Weekly article by Andrew Albanese

Let’s start out with taking a step back, and looking the issue from outside this specific case.

There are advantages and disadvantages to e-books (electronic books) versus p-books (paperbooks).

When the Kindle first caused the explosive growth in what had been a marginal part of the market back in 2007, the differences were more pronounced.

Some of the advantages of e-books were (and still are, for the most part):

  • No need for storage
  • Lighter to carry
  • More accessible, especially through enlargeable fonts (but also through text-to-speech)
  • Many free books available
  • Many more less expensive books available (there are a lot of ninety-nine cent Kindle books available)…this doesn’t mean that e-books are always less expensive than their p-book equivalents
  • Multiple people on the same account can be reading the same book at the same time in different geographic locations
  • Books are able to “stay in print” longer
  • Onboard dictionaries and other references
  • Independent publishing is much easier, leading to more diverse offerings

Some of the advantages of p-books were

  • No platform issues (you didn’t need a specific type of device to read your purchase)
  • Color
  • Ability to give as a gift
  • Ability to donate
  • Ability to sell and buy used
  • Lower entry price point (you didn’t need to buy an expensive device to get into it, even if the content later could be cheaper with e-books)

You probably noticed that I didn’t say that the p-book advantages are the same in the way that I did with the e-books.

That’s because e-books have been catching up with p-books in some ways.

We can now give Kindle books as gifts (at least, within the same market…USA to USA, for example).

We can now see e-books in color (on tablets…that wasn’t really available until there was a joining of the e-book market and tablets).

We can gift e-books to non-profits, and through

AmazonSmile

have Amazon donate to non-profits we choose.

In terms of the high initial cost, e-books can be read on SmartPhones and computers much more effectively, making it practical for many people to read Kindle books without first buying an expensive device…that, and the entry level price of a Kindle

Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has come down from just about $400 to about $80 at time of writing (about an 80% reduction), with tablets available even less expensively.

Still, we can’t sell used e-books.

I’ve written about that quite a bit before. The basic thing is that when you buy a Kindle book, you are really buying a license to read it. It’s very different from buying a physical copy of a book, and just like e-books versus p-books, there are advantages and disadvantages. I wrote about those in this popular post of mine:

How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

which I also wrote about the same time as the last time I discussed ReDigi.

That brings us back to that specific case (see how I did that?). 🙂

ReDigi tried to set up a used e-book marketplace. They tried to emulate the way selling a used p-book works. The seller would, effectively, surrender their license. ReDigi would hold it, then re-sell it to someone else, taking a cut.

That’s not exactly it, but the key argument was that there wasn’t a duplication of the ownership: no more people had access to the e-book after the sale than had access to it before.

A judge ruled against ReDigi, although it was more on the process (which created an unauthorized copy) than on the concept.

ReDigi went into a type of bankruptcy.

Now, at the time, Amazon was also considering setting up an authorized e-book resale market, although it didn’t end up happening.

Legal cases can take a very long time, even decades, to finish. As I read what happened recently (and I am not a lawyer), the winners made a tactical mistake, and wanted ReDigi to go into a different, more permanent kind of bankruptcy. That opened up a line of defense for ReDigi, like when someone in a criminal case calls a witness or opens a line of inquiry that lets the other side use tactics which would otherwise have been out of bounds.

It’s possible that this case will determine new definitions of Fair Use, and may open up that used e-book after all (and, by the way, could clearly establish the right of the owner of a copy of a paperbook to digitize that book for their own use…that’s generally assumed to be the case now, but it would be nice to see it much more “officially” decided).

If that happened, what would it mean?

One possibility would be a rise in the price of tradpubbed (traditionally published) e-books.

Authors don’t get a cut when you buy a used p-book in a used bookstore, so the initial price of the p-book takes that into account. It’s part of why paper textbooks are so expensive: they may be resold several times.

If the same sort of thing happens with e-books, then those prices might also go up.

That might mean that indies (independently published) books get more of a price advantage…although the resale market would presumably affect them as well. However, the resale for a lesser known author could be a lot less likely than for a brand name author, so there may be less risk for them. Some indie authors are also not trying to make a living at it (although many are), which means they again feel less pressure if they don’t maximize their revenue. That might be true if, for example, what they really want is to be read, and they either have an effective day job or don’t need income.

Readers could benefit from the system because they might be able to buy books more cheaply and recoup purchase costs through resale.

Tradpubs really don’t want this to happen. One of their arguments is that a used p-book has been degraded, and will eventually fall apart and not be able to be resold. A “used e-book” is a perfect replica and the same license could hypothetically be sold hundreds of times. This is similar to what they have argued about library licenses in some cases, when, for example, they restrict the number of times a book can be loaned before a new license needs to be purchased.

My feeling is that the best solution is probably one similar to what Amazon was considering, where the resales are licensed and controlled. I don’t feel like you automatically have the right to sell a contract…your apartment landlord can say you can’t sublet. The idea does appeal to people, and by making it legal, the author could actually be compensated multiple times for the sale of the same book…potentially making a used e-book market better for authors than the p-book market.

We’ll see what happens…

What do you think? Should consumers be able to sell “used” e-books? How much does that matter to you? If they can sell them, how should publishers and authors be compensated? If a market was established, how would that affect the market? Do you care about selling used e-books…have you just accepted that you don’t do that with e-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

My current Amazon Giveaways

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

 

Today is L. Frank Baum’s birthday!

May 15, 2017

Today is L. Frank Baum’s birthday!

L. Frank Baum’s birthdate at The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

Baum, the author of the original (Wizard of) Oz books and many others, was born on May 15, 1856…161 years ago today.

Since the books are in the public domain (not under copyright protection), there are many versions of the books, and those versions come in and out of availability.

For this post, I’m going to link to this one, although I’m going to give you a warning as well:

L. Frank Baum Ultimate Collection (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

My warning is because it does include The Woggle-Bug Book. That one, which isn’t part of the proper series (the “Famous Fourteen” original novels), contains extensive ethnic humor, including “the n word”. I would not consider this edition to be for children, but for collectors…and it is a comprehensive collection, including pseudonymous works and short stories.

I’m a big Oz fan, and Baum was a pioneer in many ways.

The idea of a fantasy series of books (like Harry Potter), where fans lined up for the new book, and where there was extensive fandom, was solidly put in place by Oz.

Baum also had “crossovers”, where characters from one series would appear in another. The author wasn’t really happy to be “stuck in Oz”, and tried to end the series (an in-universe way was found to get around it when demand was too great to stop). Crossovers allowed Baum to bring less popular characters into Oz, hoping for an osmotic (“ozmotic”?) boost.

Also importantly, Baum tried to make Oz a multimedia franchise. From the books to stage plays (including a very successful musical) to movies (silents), Baum preceded (some would say presaged) Disney in that, and now, that’s common. Baum also did toys and tie-ins for Oz (the tie-in part, and the attempt to have the same property appeal to many people, is what leads to The Woggle-Bug Book. That itself is tied into a play which was intended for a more mature audience).

I’m not generally a re-reader, but I have been re-reading the Famous Fourteen before I go to sleep.

I can understand if some of what Baum said and wrote makes some people hesitant to read the books…I wrote about that issue more than six years ago in this blog:

The art and the artist

However, Baum also is progressive in some ways…the leaders, and lead characters, in the Oz books, are not always what was typical at the time.

I will say this: pop culture, especially children’s literature, would be very different without L. Frank Baum. 🙂

Bonus deal:

Today’s

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

includes many books in the “Dummies” series. While I don’t like the name of the series, I do think they generally do a good job in making what can be daunting topics accessible to newbies.

Enjoy!

 


My current Amazon Giveaways

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

 

Today’s KDD: Agatha Christies (including some well known ones) for $1.99 each!

May 12, 2017

Today’s KDD: Agatha Christies (including some well known ones) for $1.99 each!

Today’s

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

is really nice! I may buy at least one to have available for our guest Kindle (although other people may read it as well, of course).

These are more than 20 books by Agatha Christie (including some of the best known ones) for $1.99 each!

I always like to point this out, but this is a particularly good example. You can buy the books at this discounted price, and then either delay the delivery for an appropriate gift-giving occasion, or have them sent to yourself so you can give them whenever you want. You could do your own “boxed set” of five of these for under $10!

Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last in virtual/augmented reality) that Buy button…the price may not apply in your market, among other things.

I don’t have all my resources with me right now, but here are five I might suggest for a “boxed set” (without the box, of course) gift:

  • And Then There Were None (which has been known by other names, now…um…not considered appropriate by some people). When I was an actor, I had great fun playing Blore (and got good feedback). I was a bit frustrated, though. We had the audience “vote” who they thought was guilty at intermission, and despite my best efforts, no one ever picked me. 🙂 I’m not saying whether the character is or isn’t guilty, by the way…no spoilers here
  • Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot)
  • The Moving Finger (Miss Marple)
  • They Came to Baghdad (this is not one of “Christie’s Mysteries”, and is more of a spy novel. Nice to have that variety)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles…Christie’s first published novel. This is another Poirot, but worth it for being the first, and this is an updated edition with illustrations

Enjoy!

Update: I decided to do an Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT


My other current Amazon Giveaways

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

 

 

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Alexa Calling edition

May 11, 2017

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Alexa Calling edition

This is one in a series of posts of Frequently Asked Kindle Questions. In these posts, I address a topic in question and answer form. I write both the answers and the questions, but I try to address things I have actually seen/heard asked, or anticipate people asking. I am not an Amazon employee, and I will link to official information when possible. While this series refers to “Kindle Questions”, the blog has, since its regular publication starting in August 2009, expanded to cover e-publishing and Amazon generally.

Q. I heard Amazon introduced some new gadget yesterday, and that it has something to do with calling…maybe video calling. What’s up?

A. Amazon introduced the Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), the fourth type of device in the Echo family. It follows the original Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), the All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), and the Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*). The new device does have a screen, a 7″ screen similar to some tablets.

Q. And one of the things that’s new is that this Echo Show can make phone calls?

A. That is new, but all of the Echo devices (with the exception of the Tap) will soon be able to make phone calls. People will even be able to make phone calls with the Alexa app, which is available for both iPhones and Android phones. That’s all part of a new service called Alexa Calling and Messaging (at AmazonSmile*).

Q. It’s a phone calling service? What does that cost?

A. It’s a free service.

Q. You mean I can dump my phone bill and just use this and save all that money?

A. Not exactly. The phone calls require wi-fi, and while some cities have it free in public places, and some businesses, like hotels and Starbucks may offer it, you generally are paying for it somewhere. 

Q. I pay for my internet service, is that what you mean?

A. Yes. You might be paying a cable company, for example, for your internet, and then you have a wi-fi modem hooked into that, which broadcasts the signal. 

Q. But I wouldn’t have to pay the phone part of my bill? I could just pay for internet and maybe TV?

A. That could work in your home. However, it only works with people with a compatible Echo device or the Alexa app. The Alexa app is free, but not everybody has it.

Q. I can’t just call any old phone number?

A. No. The person you are calling has to have the Alexa app, and they have to be in your contacts on your phone.

Q. Wait, I still need a phone?

A. The app is going to be on your phone. Also, it needs a phone number when you set it up, although it doesn’t use the phone when you make the call…you can do calls with your phone turned off.

Q. Why does it need my phone number, then?

A. It’s part of the set up. Amazon says, “…this feature can use phone data but doesn’t use text messages and minutes from your cell phone plan.”

Q. So it uses my data plan?

A. Apparently, yes.

Q. It sounds a little more limited than I might have thought.

A. Its capabilities may expand, but right now, it is limited to people who have an Amazon account, the Alexa app, and a cell phone number. It is also currently limited to customers in the USA. 

Q. And they need to be in my phone’s contacts?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay…how do I make a call?

A. With an Echo device, you just say, “Alexa, call [contact name].” With the Alexa app, you tap the Conversation icon (which looks like a word balloon in a comic book), then tap Contacts, then tap the Call icon (which looks like a phone handset).

Q. Can the other person answer by voice?

A. Yes. Instead of the blue or red/orange rings we see, the light will be green. Alexa will announce who is calling, and the person you are calling can either say, “Answer”, or “Ignore”.

Q. What if I don’t want to get calls at all for a while?

A. There is a “Do Not Disturb” option. You can turn it on by voice by saying, “Alexa, don’t disturb me.” To get messages and phone call again, you can say, “Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb”. To turn it on or off using the app, go to Menu-Settings- select your device-Do Not Disturb. You can turn it on and off, and you can schedule a daily “quiet time”. It can be on for one device at the same time it is off for other devices.

Q. I use my Echo for alarms and we use a Dot to set timers in the kitchen: will Do Not Disturb make those not work?

A. No, it only affects calls and messages through Alexa.

Q. You’ve mentioned messages a couple of times: are those text messages?

A. You can speak them, and your recipient will hear them…like a voicemail.

Q. Oh, I meant to ask: do they hear my phone call, and, I guess the messages, in my voice or in Alexa’s?

A. It’s your voice. In the Alexa app, there is a “play” button for them to hear your message. It also transcribes your message, but just like a cell phone, that can make mistakes. You can edit it before you send it.

Q. We could communicate silently, then, like if one of us is at work?

A. Yes.

Q. The written messages are in the app?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I delete them?

A. You can swipe them away on an iPhone. On an Android device, tap and hold the Conversation (not an individual message) and you’ll get a trash can icon at the top of the screen. By the way, if you tap and hold an individual message, the phone icon at the top will change to a two page symbol. Tap that, and you will copy the message. You can  then paste it into another app, like a text message.

Q. Do I say the punctuation, like I would on my phone?

A. Remember that if you are sending a voice message, the person would hear you say, “Period. New paragraph”. You can use the dictation feature on your phone’s keyboard, but be careful about which is which.

Q. And I can also use this with the screen on the…Echo Show to do videocalls, like Facetime?

A. Yes. 

Q. Can I do videocalls on my Fire tablet or my Fire TV? They have Alexa.

A. Not at this time. They are not supported for Alexa Calling.

Q. How about through the Alexa app…phone to phone?

A. Reportedly, yes, but ILMK has not tested that yet. I will test it and update this post.

Q. Speaking of testing, can I test out the system to see how it works?

A. Yes. You should have a conversation from yourself (the message will have Amazon’s text). You can tap the phone icon there to call your Echo. Your Alexa app has to first update to the new version (2.0.1050.1 on my Galaxy S7 Edge), and you have to have signed up for it.

Q. Anything else?

A. There is also a “drop-in” feature on the Echo Show (but not, apparently, on the Alexa app). You name specific people who can use it, and they can videocall you. You have ten seconds to reject the call, or to request audio only. Otherwise, the caller can see you, or at least the room where your Echo Show is. Do Not Disturb would presumably stop that, but this feature is on the Echo Show which has not yet been released (it is suppose to be released on June 28th of this year), and we don’t have full documentation. The testing that we’ve done so far has been with the app.

Q. That kind of sounds creepy.

A. It’s not going to be for everyone, even though you have control over it. It could be a great monitor for seniors or those with mobility challenges…or to check on your pets during the day. Amazon also says, “Amazon Customer Service is not able to see or review your messages, voice messages, calls, or contacts.” 

Q. Speaking of privacy, can I control who uses the feature on my devices?

A. No. Amazon specifically says there is no password protection for it, and points out that anyone can hear the calls in your home.

Q. You know, that quote you had about not being able to see it says, “Amazon Customer Service”: can anybody else at Amazon see it? Could law enforcement get information or videos from Amazon with a warrant?

A. I don’t know that, but it seems possible. There has been a court case involving information from an Echo already. I didn’t see anything that specifically said information would not be stored. 

Q. I guess that’s not that different from my other devices. Any other speculation?

A. Alexa is open to third-party “skill” writers, and the capabilities are constantly expanding. This post is about the calling/messaging service, and one thing it doesn’t do right now is call 911. It wouldn’t be hard for law enforcement to set that up (by having a compatible device, as some of them do with texting now), but that capability may come through an app. Similarly, someone may set up a way to call other people who don’t have the Alexa app or an Echo, perhaps through some forwarding mechanism. One big speculation about Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*): Amazon recently introduced the Echo Look. It’s probably not a coincidence that one is the “Look” and the other one is the “Show”. The Look has great cameras, and that could network with the Show to provide augmented reality. The Look would see you, and the Show would show you on the screen in another reality, or a movie, or just an outfit you are considering buying. That’s just speculation, though.


Do you have additional questions or have you found out other cool features or limitations? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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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