Archive for February, 2010

War and Peace…with bonus material!

February 28, 2010

War and Peace…with bonus material!

Since, you know, it just isn’t long enough already.  😉

Well, that one may sound like a joke, but you can actually get it in the Kindle store:

War and Peace with Bonus Material

What’s the bonus material?  It’s another whole Tolstoy novel (well, novella), The Death of Ivan Ilych

That’s not the only book in the Kindle store with bonus material, and in fact, this may turn out to be a trend…kind of like DVD extras (except hopefully, a little more interesting than “dental fillings of the grips”) 😉 .

Why would companies do this?  Well, first off, why not?  It’s not expensive, assuming you have paid for the rights for the bonus material already.  It just isn’t that much more expensive to add on a couple of hundred kilobytes to a file.  It’s not like you have to pay by the pound.  You know, “If it has bits, it ships”.  😉

So, why not make the e-book versions worth more to people?  This might even justify (in some people’s minds) paying higher prices for the book.

Besides, it sounds cool.  🙂  Instead of saying it’s a bundle of the Wizard of Oz books, you can say, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz…with 13 bonus books!”  That makes it sound better somehow, except to those triskaidekaphobics out there.  😉

They’ve done this in paperbooks before.  I’ve got paperbacks in my collection with a chapter of an upcoming novel at the end.  It’s a good more…you can certainly get hooked and anxiously want to finish the story.

In fact it’s much better in e-books than in p-books, because they can actually put a link in there where you can pre-order the not-yet-released title, or just go ahead and order it if it was released.  You could be reading The Marvelous Land of Oz right after finishing Wonderful Wizard.

Interestingly, I’ve seen this recently on some free books.  Get the first book in the series free, and get a bonus chapter (or other bonus material) that entices you to read further.  For example, there is this one:

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

That’s the first book in a series (The Hollows), so you can see why HarperCollins (the publisher) might want to give you that one.  You get it, you might go on to buy other books in the series.

However, they also give you a chapter of

Black Magic Sanction, by Kim Harrison

I believe that’s the eighth book in this popular series, and is due on the Kindle on April 6, 2010.

That date is very interesting, in this case.   Although it is the 28th anniversary of the Estonian Communist Party’s fight against bourgeois Finnish TV, that’s not the reason.  🙂

It’s because the hardback was released on February 23, 2010.

Yep, the hardback is out now. 

I kind of wonder about that.  Sure, it’s great that they are giving you a free chapter…but you can pretty much always get a free sample from the Kindle store and it often runs a chapter or more.   It’s actually a percentage of the book (usually 5 or 10%, I think).  That’s why not all books have a free sample…sometiimes, the whole book is free and you don’t really need one.

If they don’t need to give you a free sample to get you to buy the e-book, is it possible they are hoping to get you to buy the hardback before the e-book is released?  I really don’t know, I’m just speculating.  I suspect that might work on some people, though.  You might read the first chapter, and just not be able to wait more than a month to finish it.

It doesn’t seem to make sense for me as far as Amazon is concerned.  Let’s say you get the free Dead Witch Walking book.  You like it, and pre-order the Kindle edition of Black Magic Sanction.  That book is currently $8.65, but has a Digital List Price (set by the publisher) of $25.99.  If that price is what counts, and they haven’t worked out some agency agreement by the time it comes out Amazon would presumably pay Harper about $13 for it.  Hmmm…I wonder if they don’t have to pay Harper until you pay for it (when it is released)?  If that’s the case, and Harper lowers the DLP in time, that could work out for Amazon.

Anyway, I think we’ll see more of this.  I can see some fun combinations, especially with public domain (books that are no longer under copyright) books being attached to modern books.

How about…

You buy Nightfall in the Vampire Diaries series , and they throw in the original Dracula by Bram Stoker?

You buy Game Change, and they include The Art of War, by Sun Tzu?

You buy Amberville and they give you The Velveteen Rabbit, just so you’ll keep expecting that stuffed bunny to pull out a gat and put that dirty stool pigeon on ice?  😉

Nah, that last one is way too creepy.  🙂

In the highly competitive e-book world that’s coming, though, it’s going to be a way to differeniate your product…at first.  Throw in a extra book or other bonus material…cool!  You can have exclusives, and a link to a website!  It just doesn’t cost that much more to do.

Pretty soon, though, everybody will be doing it.  I think it may lead to content expectation expansion.  People may think you are ripping them off if “all” they get is the book.

You might think there would be concern that giving people books will slow down their book buying.   E-book readers, from what I’ve heard, buy many more books than paperbook readers.  Here’s the little secret…they buy more than they’ll ever read.  🙂  Many people who buy a paperbook just carry that one around until they finish it, then get another one…they might have one on deck, certainly.

E-book readers may have hundreds of TBR (To Be Read) books on their devices and in their archives…but that doesn’t mean they won’t buy more.  I think that TBR thing is much more likely to never get finished in e-books.  Giving people an extra book for free doesn’t mean that they’ll after actually read it.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.  If you are reading this blog for free and would like to support it, just click here and then shop at Amazon.


Flash! Hundreds of free books added in February

February 27, 2010

Flash!  Hundreds of free books added in February

Stephen Windwalker reports in his excellent blog, Kindle Nation Daily, about hundreds of free books being added to the Kindle store.

I’m going to do my monthly snapshot shortly, but here’s the story:

February 1 2010: 19,788
January 1 2010: 19,802
December 1 2009: 19,895
November 1 2009: 18,547 
October 1 2009: 7,428 
February 28 2009: 7,401 

 This morning, there are 20,137.

I isolated the free books that were added this month (February 2010):

Free Kindle Store books February 2010 

 That way, I could take a look at what was added.

It appears to be somewhat heavy on arcane non-fiction:

The Subspecies of the Mexican Red-bellied Squirrel, Sciurus aureogaster
by Keith Kelson

The Elements of Agriculture A Book for Young Farmers, with Questions Prepared for the Use of School 
by George E. Waring

The Arawack Language of Guiana in its Linguistic and Ethnological Relations
by Daniel Garrison Brinton

Those three come from Project Gutenberg, which is legal since the books are in the public domain.

I’m not seeing anything that looks like it is the British Library books yet.

I am happy to see some early Astounding Stories (a science fiction magazine) issues:

Astounding Stories (several issues)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.  If you are reading this blog for free and would like to support it, just click here and then shop at Amazon.

Most popular public domain books

February 27, 2010

Most popular public domain books

In the paper world, the odds weren’t good that a book would stay in print for ten years. 

Of course, with the e-book world, there won’t be any real reasons for books to become unavailable (although it may happen sometimes).

For now, though, if a book is being read a hundred years after it was written, that says something.  It can be surprising how modern some of these old classics can seem…but that isn’t necessary.  Sometimes, the very fact that they are different, that the world smells and sounds different, is part of the attraction.

There are nearly 20,000 public domain books in the Kindle store (although there is a lot of duplication in that group).

What books are the most popular?

Please note that this information changes frequently, but if something is in the top ten or twenty, you can bet that a lot of people would recommend it to you…or, at least, to somebody.  🙂

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle

The reasons behind this one’s popularity may seem obvious.  For one thing, there was the recent Robert Downey, Jr. movie.  However, there are many Sherlock Holmes books by Doyle: why this one?

Well, this is the set of short stories that really made Holmes popular at the end of the 19th Century.  Holmes is at his most accessible in the short stories…they are often more fun and real mysteries, where as the first two novels are a bit heavier (with Holmes’ drug use, for example), and long tangents. 

This one does have one of the more violent Holmes stories (The Adventure of  the Engineer’s Thumb), but also some of the most popular ones, including A Scandal in Bohemia, which features Irene Adler (played by Rachel McAdams in the recent movie).

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

This story of relationships is approaching its two hundredth anniversary (2013), and was published well before Arthur Conan Doyle was even born.  Clearly, people can still relate to Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Keira Knightley was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth in a 2005 adaptation.

In an interesting, trend-starting book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith took the original novel and added new elements (including zombies).  The book has spawned a sequel (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls…due March 24 in hardback, but no date yet for the Kindle), and a movie version starring Natalie Portman.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
by Benjamin Franklin

First published in French, this non-fiction book brings us the life of one of the most important figures in early American history.  He was a writer, a scientist, and crucially, a diplomat.  He brings a sense of humor about himself, and would probably be a popular figure if he was around today (which may not be able to be said about all of the “Founding Fathers”).

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Dead Men Tell No Tales”

Actually, if they be Robert Louis Stevenson, they do.  What ye think ye be knowing about pirates, may be owing a great deal to Treasure Island…

Sorry, it’s hard to avoid that “talk like a pirate” thing.  🙂

This book did introduce a lot of the popular conception of pirates, including parrots on the shoulder and treasure maps.  It also brings us one of the great characters in what is essentially a children’s book, Long John Silver.  He’s a more complex character than one commonly encounters in “kids’ books”.

While there have been a number of adaptations, Robert Newton’s  portrayal of Long John Silver in a 1950 Disney version give us pirates saying, “Arr”, among other things.

by Jane Austen

Austen’s second book in the top ten is much lighter than Pride and Prejudice, considered by many a comedy.

The heroine, Emma, has been played by both Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale.  Probably unknown to some fans, Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, is an adapation of Emma.

Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know
by Hamilton Wright Mabie

While uncredited in the Kindle store, Mabie writes a long introduction to this selection of fairy tales from various sources.  Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Anderson, and the Arabian Nights, and Charles Perrault are all represented. 

You’ll find many familiar tales, but don’t expect the Disney versions. 

Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen

Austen’s third (!) novel in the top ten shows that she is one of the most beloved authors in the English language.  Sense and Sensibility is the story of the Dashwood sisters, and how they have to balance logic and emotion…even almost two hundred years later, that is still an issue in a lot of people’s lives.  Expect to hear a lot more about this book as it hits its bicentennial next year.

The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

Wilde’s personal life sometimes overwhelms people’s knowledge of his writings.  His ad lib wit was legendary, and the time he spent in jail, convicted of “gross indecency” with other men, may be what most people think of first.

However, in this novel, the story is frightening and rich.  This is not a light and easy read, but beautifully crafted with a story as well.   Movie versions sometimes simply set it up as a horror story, but it’s not like a monster movie…the “monster” is defined by the evil in a person rather than by claws and fangs.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne

Like any great science fiction novel, the characters are as important as the gadgets.  Captain Nemo (who was popular enough to be brought back in later works), is a megalomaniac, a person who wants to change the world to make it more the way he thinks it should be.   Arguably, he is a terrorist…he is literally trying to terrorize people into behaving the way he wants.

Many people know the story from the 1954 Disney version with James Mason, although that may not convey the political nature of the original novel very accurately.  It does have a heckuva a giant squid fight, though. 

War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

People jokingly refer to the size of this book, and it is certainly an epic.  Originally written in Russian, this book and others by Tolstoy (and other writers) make the Cyrillic character set one of the most requested for the Kindle.  The novel is a thoroughly researched account of how the events leading up to the War of 1812 affect five families. 

Well, that’s the top ten as I write this.  All of them are free, by the way.  🙂

If you want some more suggestions, see this thread from the Amazon Kindle community.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.  If you are reading this blog for free and would like to support it, just click here and then shop at Amazon.

Flash! Kindle blogs to go international?

February 26, 2010

Flash!  Kindle blogs to go international?

Stephen Windwalker’s great blog, Kindle Nation Daily, has a very interesting post about how you can read Kindle blogs (like this one) using the free Kindle for PC app.

 He reports being told that Kindle blogs are coming soon to all the non-K apps (PC, Blackberry, iPhone, iPod touch…soon, to Macs…and presumably, for the iPad).

For me, one of the exciting implications is that non-US customers may be able to get Kindle store blogs! 

Right now they can’t, and unfortunately, that makes some sense.  Amazon has to pay for wireless use (they don’t directly charge readers), and apparently, it’s quite a bit more expensive abroad than in the US.  Blogs are wireless-intensive: when you get the blog each day, it usually has the last ten posts.  That’s tens of pages a day, and they may have graphics.

Here’s how I think it could work.   You are in, say, the UK.  You subscribe to the blog for your Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac (coming soon) app.  You aren’t allowed to get it wirelessly there, but you can get it delivered to that device wired.   They can also allow the UK folks to download a blog for a Kindle to their computers (they can do that with books now) , and then transfer via USB.

That is something I think we’ll see…a bettter way to “sync” your Kindle with a folder on your computer.  It works okay now, but they could make it easier for non-techies.

Even if foreign subscription isn’t part of what Windwalker was told, it’s still exciting that people who are using the Kindle for iPhone app will be able to subscribe.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.  If you are reading this blog for free and would like to support it, just click here and then shop at Amazon.

Getting help with your Kindle questions

February 26, 2010

Getting help with your Kindle questions

“Hey, pal…you ever think about getting some professional help?”

I love answering your questions.  That’s one of my favorite things to do in life.  I can’t always answer everything, of course, but it’s great when I can.  When I can’t, I often learn something myself in the process…whether my search is ultimately successful or not.

Amazon does have a highly-rated Customer Service department, and they have a special group that deals with Kindle questions.

I’ve used them myself, and generally had good results.

In this post, I’m going to go over the various ways to get help when you have Kindle questions.  I see a lot of people saying it’s hard to contact them, and I suppose they could make it easier.  It is in the User’s Guide, which is sent with your Kindle.  I think it might make sense for them to put it into a menu, maybe in Settings (or just in the general menu).  I know the negative for that is that they could only really give you a phone number effectively on the Kindle.  Calling a toll-free number costs Amazon money, of course, and they’d probably rather you had the option to contact them by e-mail (I’ll go through all that below).  Still, I think it might make sense for them.


Advantages: it’s easier to discuss an issue, especially if you are going to troubleshoot a problem, when you have somebody “voice to voice”. 

Disadvantages: you won’t have a record of what was said…although they do.  I had a Customer Service rep cite other times I had contacted them and why.  If you are calling from outside the US, it isn’t a free number.  They don’t charge you for the service, but your telephone service provider may charge you.

In the US: 1-866-321-8851

Outside the US (toll charges may apply): 1-206-266-0927

Have your Kindle and your power cable when you call.

You can also have them call you, which is a really cool feature.  You start from your computer (you may have to log into your Kindle account) to make the request:

Contact KCS

You can do this in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, or the Virgin Islands.

You put in a reason, and most people say you get the call in seconds.


Advantages: you have a record of what was said.  There are no toll fees.  It can be done from anywhere in the world.

Disadvantages: you don’t get an immediate answer.  If the agent has questions for you, you’ll have to go back and forth over possibly days to resolve the issue.

You can also send them e-mail, starting at that same spot:

Contact KCS

You’ll see tabs there for e-mail or phone.

They say they answer most e-mails with in 12 hours.  I’ve had that happen, although I’ve also heard about people saying that they never got an answer.

One funny thing: they don’t let you say you have more than one Kindle version.

I would explain as explicitly as you can.  Tell them exactly what you were doing and what you saw.  Tell them what model of Kindle you have (they have a dropdown).  Tell them if the Kindle was plugged in or not (if it’s a Kindle operation issue).

Self service

You can search for answers on your Kindle, since you probably have the User’s Guide there.  On anything except the K1, I’d open the UG first before you search, so you don’t search the entire device. 

You can also search online at:

Kindle Online Help 

One other quick tip: when in doubt, try the Menu button.  🙂

Kindle Customer Service Q and A forum

This is honestly something I think Amazon has done poorly (for those of you who think I never say anything bad about them).  😉

In early October 2009, Amazon started a new forum on the website.  It’s called the Kindle Customer Service Q&A Community.  I think most people assume from that customers are going to ask questions and Customer Service is going to answer them.

That’s not what happens, though.  Amazon Kindle Customer Service posts announcements from time to time.  They initially said that was once a week.   It doesn’t seem like it has anywhere near that often.  When they do post, it is good information, typically.

Otherwise, customers post questions, and generally, it is customers that answer them.  I want to especially single out Fool for Books.  Fool (and I don’t mean any disrespect when I say that…I usually treat people’s screen names like they were real names…mine is both), has a 97% helpful rating, which is huge, and often answers the questions.  In case you are wondering, my rating is only 81%.  🙂

So, if you ask a question in this forum, you’ll probably get a good answer…but it won’t be from Kindle Customer Service.  They almost never directly respond. 

That’s not what seems to be suggested by the “ad” for this forum in the main Amazon Kindle community.  It says,

“Find answers to your Kindle questions from Amazon customer service representatives…”

Yes, you may be able to find the answers from CS, and you can ask questions, but you can’t ask a question and get an answer from CS, usually.

Most people would be better off just asking the question directly in the

Amazon Kindle community

That’s a much more active place.  Now, the disadvantage is, well, it’s a lot less on topic and a lot meaner, sometimes.  Typically, I think people who want to denigrate posts want a larger audience, so they don’t tend to hang out in the Q&A forum. 

Now, I want to be clear: the Amazon Kindle community is overwhelmingly positive, and people almost always get good help.  However, sometimes, there are threads or posts that are just…not nice.  It’s not moderated…anybody can post anything.  From time to time, Amazon will go in and delete something, or warn somebody, and there are Guidelines.  If people don’t follow those guidelines, there can be consequences…but they won’t happen right away.

This is where I recommend you ask your questions, though, if you are happy with unofficial answers.  It’s generally useful and often fun.  🙂

There are other Kindle communities as well.  I don’t know as much about them, honestly, and they are not hosted by Amazon (which you may consider a good or bad thing).

 One of the best known one is:


You can search there.

I do like and use:

MobileRead Wiki

You can also search there, and they do have information on other EBRs (E-Book Readers) as well as Kindles.

One other thing: you can try searching this blog, or asking me a question.  🙂  If you aren’t sure where to ask, just comment the About page.  I get an e-mail notification on every comment, and tend to get to them pretty quickly, I’d say.  You will need to do that from the website version, at

Do you have any other resources you find particularly helpful?  Feel free to let me know!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.  If you are reading this blog for free and would like to support it, just click here and then shop at Amazon.

Whoops! Are you an accidental pirate?

February 25, 2010

Whoops!  Are you an accidental pirate?

No parrot?  Check.  No eyepatch?  Check.  No pegleg?  Check.  No single earring?  Okay, we’ll let that slide.  😉

Factoid: pirates wore a single earring because they thought it would improve their vision (important on the high seas) through acupuncture.

So, apparently, you aren’t hanging out in Tortuga in the 17th Century.

But you might be a pirate.

The issue is downloading unauthorized books that are still under copyright in your jurisdiction.

That can be harder to tell than you think.

This is one of the weird issues with the way that the internet reaches across the world…but laws don’t.

You could easily go to a site hosted in, say, Australia, and download a book that is legal for residents of that country.  If you are in the US, though, it could be illegal. 

First off, should you care?  I think so.  I want to follow the laws…since I want the protection of the laws, I think I should follow them as well.  That’s going to be your decision.  I think it’s wrong, and certainly don’t support it.

Second, are you going to be prosecuted for it?  That’s another question entirely.  Generally, prosecutions are for distribution of copyrighted materials, rather than for purchasing.  You are pretty much allowed to assume that someone has gotten the necessary rights clearance.  If you buy a paperbook in a bookstore (remember those?) 😉 , you are allowed to assume that the appropriate clearances have been obtained for photos appearing in that book. 

However, if you know that the material you are buying is illegal, that could be a problem.  You’ll rarely find pirate sites that tell you that an e-book file is illegal.

Note, though, that many free sites include statements about the books.  They may tell you that the book is legal in countries where the copyright term is Life+70, for example.

At that point, it seems incumbent on you to check.  Again, I don’t think you’d get in trouble if you downloaded one by mistake…if that happens, just delete it, in my opinion.  However, if you do want to comply with the law, you should know what it is.  🙂


If you are in the US, figuring out whether something is in the public domain or not can actually be tricky. 

The easy one is books first published in the US prior to 1923.  You’re okay with those…and that is a lot of books, certainly.

After that, it’s harder. 

If the book was published after 1977, it’s almost certainly not in the public domain.  The only exception is books published between 1978 and March 1, 1989 which were published without a proper copyright notice, and didn’t fix the problem.  That’s going to be a tiny group.

For books published between 1923 and 1977, it depends on whether it was published with a proper copyright notice, and whether or not it was renewed.

It would be great if you could just go online and check, but the Copyright Office doesn’t have everything online yet.  You can search here.  That’s certainly not comprehensive, though.

I really recommend the site, Public Domain Sherpa.  It has a great diagram for US copyrights, and an even more useful calculator that will ask you a series of questions, and then let you know when a (generic) book would fall into the public domain (in the US).

This site, ibiblio, has a lot of information about individual books.  However, again, it’s not 100 percent.   

If you want to be as sure as possible, you can go to Washington, D.C., and go through the Copyright Office’s card catalogue.  The other choice is to pay the Copyright Office to search for you, but that isn’t cheap.  It’s $165 an hour, with a minimum of two hours ($370).  If you want to do that, you can start here

I’d love to see the Government get all of these records on line.  Yes, they’d lose that $370 for two hours fee, but I think it would end up helping the economy overall.  A lot of the books that were not under copyright would be issued in new editions…certainly many would be free, but others would be for pay…which means sales tax, in a lot of cases.   States making money on taxes presumably alleviates some costs for the feds.

One other key point for the US: that Life+70 thing (copyright goes for the life of the author plus seventy years) only applies to books published after 1977.

Now, let’s say you are a US publisher (even independent) and you’ve digitized a book which is in the public domain in the US.  Are you safe putting it for sale on a website? 

Well, this one is a little fuzzy.  If you put it for sale on a server in the US, that appears to make a difference.  If it’s in the public domain in the US, it’s in the public domain in most countries.  Most countries tend to be Life+70 or Life+50.  If a book is in the public domain in a Life+70 country, it’s in the public domain in a country that is Life+50 (because that’s a shorter term).  If an author died in 1930, a Life+70 country would make the book in the public domain in 2001, while a Life+50 country would make it in the public domain in 1981.

However, remember that the US is only Life+70 for books published after 1977, so that complicates things.

The only countries I know about that are longer than Life+70 are:

Guatemala (Life+75)

Honduras (Life+75)

Mexico (Life+75 or Life+100 for works published after July 22 2003)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Life+75)

 Columbia (Life+80)

Spain (Life+80 for works from 1897-1987)

Cote d’Ivoire (The Ivory Coast) (Life+99)

Other Countries

The whole Orwell book controversy reportedly came about because the books were in the public domain in one jurisdiction, and not in the US. 

I have to be clear, check your own county’s laws, to be sure.  I can give you a basic idea here, but I’m basing a lot of this on a Wikipedia page. 🙂

Generally, Asia and Africa have Life+50, but so does Canada.  Australia breaks the Life+50/Life+70 thing in 1955…if the author died before 1955, it’s Life+50…after, Life+70.

Generally, Europe is Life+70. 

Take a look at the Wikipedia page, then when in doubt, check with your country’s copyright office.

My guess is that this whole thing will become much more standardized in the future.  Commerce, especially digital commerce, is becoming more cosmopolitan, and it’s just going to benefit countries to have their works available in more places. 

So, for now, if you are in the US and it was first published prior to 1923, you are okay.  If you use one of the really majory sites, like those at Project Gutenberg or their Affiliates, you are probably okay, within the appropriate country.  They do their own vetting and are high profile enough that if they made a mistake, we’d probably hear about it.  If you are in the US, though, be aware that downloading from Gutenberg Australia, for example, may not be okay.

That was easy, right?  😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! ILMK reviewed at The Blog Inspector

February 24, 2010

Flash!  ILMK reviewed at The Blog Inspector

That’s one of the cool things about having a blog…you can see incoming links, and that may lead you to some interesting sites.  ILMK was just reviewed in The Blog Inspector:

The Blog Inspector review of ILMK

ILMK got a rating of “Innocent”, which is the equivalent of Good (the top rating). 

I loved what the Inspector said was bad about the blog…it’s one of the things I like about it.  🙂  I do try and keep it varied, so I don’t mind that people find good and bad things in it, as long as they think it is worthwhile overall.   

I can’t wait to see what they say about The Measured Circle…I’m thinking that may not be up their alley…

I’d tell you more about The Blog Inspector, but apparently, being undercover is important to Inspector Bloggity…and I respect that.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! Press release from the British Library

February 24, 2010

We heard a little while back about a deal that the British Library had made to make works available for the Kindle.

The British Library has now put out a press release talking more about the deal.

I’m really excited about this!  I read a lot of 19th Century literature, and that’s what’s involved here.  This release will make many books available that people currently can’t get easily.

I love that it includes “penny dreadfuls”, which certainly weren’t considered great literature in their day.  A lot of things I like are treated as ephemera, and virtually no one is making an effort to preserve them.  I have materials like that in my private library…I won’t say nobody else has them, certainly, and not very many people would want them.  🙂   I’m hoping to digitize them myself, at some point.

The works include A Strange Story by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.  Lytton (as the library cites his name) was very popular, and we still see his influence today.  He gave us the phrases “the pen is mightier than the sword” and the “almighty dollar”.  His fictional ideas reportedly influenced the Nazis, and supposedly, Snoopy in Charlie Brown took the line “It was a dark and stormy night” from B-L. 

Some of his books have been pretty easy to find (you can get The Coming Race for free from the Kindle store…and in EPUB or PDF (or mobi) at FeedBooks here).

That’s just a taste of the 65,000 works this will make available.  For people who don’t have Kindles (for which all of these will be free), you can get them in cheap paper editions.

This is all very interesting and may be a direct response to the Google Books settlement.  There is no question that this is legal…it’s all works in the public domain.  Some of the language in the press release is reminiscent of comments Google has made about how their project brings books to the world. 

It does make one wonder why the books aren’t also being released in other  formats that would be accessible on more devices or free online.  I assume ther is some remuneration involved.   What do you think about that?  Are you okay with only people with a certain brand of EBR (E-Book Reader) being able to get the e-book version of these works?  Feel free to let me know…

UPDATE: One of my readers, Bonnie, pointed out that the works would be available on the free apps, which means people could read them on PCs, iPhones, iPod touches, Blackberrys…soon, Macs, and from what we’ve heard, the Apple iPad.  I don’t know that they would be free outside the US that way, but it is an excellent point.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Recent Kindle releases #2

February 24, 2010

Recent Kindle releases #2

It’s all about the books, right?  So, here is a listing of some recent Kindle releases. 

I’m trying to show you some real variety.  That’s one of the advantages of the Kindle…you don’t just have to read the tried and true (although you can, of course).   I think I’m safe saying that there is at least one thing on here…that you’d never read in a million years.   

A few little caveats:

  • Schedules change: books may be added or release dates changed. 
  • I don’t deliberately list books from companies that block text-to-speech, although it’s possible something will slip on to the list.  I try to be pretty careful, but things do change
  • I don’t list prices primarily because they can change (and do).  However, I’ve gotten from very inexpensive up to more than fifty dollars

If you’d like to check yourself (we may not have the same parameters for book choices), you can use this search:

February 2010 Kindle releases

I list the author, the publisher (some people care about that), the number of device licenses, and the category or genre. 

The number of device licenses is the number of devices on which you can simultaneously have the book for one purchase price.  I actually have a question in to Amazon legal right now to pin down a question on that, but that’s the basics of it.   If it says “unlimited”, it was probably published independently through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. 

I take the genre from the Amazon product page…books often have several categories listed, so I just pick the one I like best. 

Oh, and of course, you can get a free sample first…that may be a good idea if it’s an author you haven’t read before.

You may also want to look at the size of the file…some of these may be quite short.  You can figure a “normal length” book is somewhere around 800 KB.

The 69th Week 
By Dr. Larry Richards
Published by Tate Publishing 
Device licenses: 6
Category: Religious fiction

This is a large-scope novel with demons preparing for a war.

The Doctor is In(sane): Indispensable Advice from Dr. Dave 
by Dave Hepburn
Published by
Greystone Books

Humor by a general practitioner, that looks like it’s going to range over some different topics.

Geosynchron (Book Three of the Jump 225 Trilogy) 
by David Louis Edelman
Published by Pyr (part of Prometheus Books)
Device licenses: 6
Genre: Science fiction

Some of you may know Prometheus as a publisher of Skeptical books (that’s a position that challenges paranormal claims, essentially).  Pyr is a science fiction publisher, and this is the third and concluding book in a cyberpunk series.

Princess Bea 
by Leonard David Goodisman
Published by Tate Publishing
Device licenses: 6
Genre: Children’s Chapter Book

It’s nice to see new children’s books for the Kindle.  This one is a fantasy with a young princess on a magical journey.

Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal 
By Mark W. Johnson
Published by Harvard Business Press
Device licenses: 6
Genre: Business

A book on bringing transformational growth to your company.

120 JAM & JELLY RECIPES eBOOK Preserves Cookbook 
By eBook-Ventures
Device licenses: 6
Genre: cookbook

Jams and jellies? You may want to keep your Kindle in a ziploc bag (or cool waterproof cover) for this one! 🙂  This company is bringing a number of cookbooks to the Kindle.

The 28th: A Record of War Service in the Australian Imperial Force, 1915-19, Vol. I Egypt, Gallipoli, Lemnos Island, Sinai Peninsula 
By Herbert Brayley Collett
Publisher: unknown
Device licenses: unlimited
Genre: history

There’s no book description…but I think the title probably says it pretty well.  I’m guessing this is a war memoir.  There are a number of books with a similar graphic design in the book image, so they may come from the same place.

Africa to Easter Island (One World Tongue)
By William G. Davey
Publisher: unknown
Device licenses: 6
Category: Linguistics

This looks like an interesting one, although it’s a little hard to determine.  It is listed under linguistics, but also under history.

Be Yourself Seduction 
By Jim Slatin
Publisher: unknown
Device licenses: unlimited
Category: self help

This book is only 38K, which is quite small.  The author’s other books include ones on health issue, like Athritis Joint Pain and Blood Pressure Health…and colon cleansing. 

Blue-Tail Fly 
By Donald Ammer
Published by Fido Publishing 
Device licenses: unlimited
Category: Horror

Gotta say, creepy cover.  🙂  This is a short story…the Fido site lists 9,400 words, so traditionally, something like 37  pages.

Building the Perfect WordPress Blog 
By Short
Published by Unique Enterprises
Device licenses: 6
Category: How-To, Business

A WordPress blog is what you are reading right now.  🙂  This one is certainly not perfect, and I do find quite a bit of mystery in the process.  I don’t know if this book would actually clear all that up, but there certainly is a place for something on the topic.

iPhone Programming Exercises: SQLite
By Norman McEntire
Published by Servin Corporation
Device licenses: 6
Category: Computers

Hey, who doesn’t love a programming book, right?  😉

The Legend of La Tormenta 
By Cyntia Zeuli
Published by ArcheBooks 
Device licenses: unlimited
Genre: Adventure

I’ll tell you, I’ve got to link you to the official website description  on this one.  🙂   It’s got pirates, and voodoo…

Well, that’s a pretty broad selection.

A couple of interesting observations: I’m seeing a lot of books that appear to be public domain.  Amazon hypothetically doesn’t allow that through the Digital Text Platform (DTP), but these may not be coming through that avenue.  The last one I listed, the La Tormenta one, has a price of $3.99 for th e-book at the publisher, and $9.99 for the Kindle book.   That’s an odd one.  If a publisher wants the 70% level, they can’t price the book lower anywhere else.  Some possibilities: they don’t care about the 70% because they are charging so much more; one of the prices is a mistake; they’ll raise the website price when the 70% goes into effect.  At Amazon, though, it says that the Digital List Price is $9.99…I guess the publisher could be offering it under list, certainly.


This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Freebie flash! Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking

February 23, 2010

As usual, I don’t vouch for this book, and it comes from a company that is not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech.   As a promotional title, it may not be free for long.

Dead Witch Walking  (The Hollows #1)
by Kim Harrison
Published by HarperCollins

Here’s a chance to get the first book in a popular series for free…and it has bonus material!  The bonus material is a preview of the 8th book in the series, Black Magic Sanction (which can be pre-ordered, but is due on the Kindle on April 6, 2010).

I get asked sometimes why books are offered for free, especially a book like this that is selling well.  If you like it, the hope is that you’ll buy other books from the author or in the series…that’s why they give you the first one.  It’s a relatively inexpensive form of advertising for the publisher, with probably a high sell-through rate, and really good customer relations value.

Oh, this one is about vampires and stuff.  😉

It’s a modern paranormal mystery, if you want to get a bit more specific. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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