You tell me…what do you like in ILMK?

You tell me…what do you like in ILMK?

I write this blog because it’s fun.  That’s not the only reason, but that’s the main one.  If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it. 

I also think I’m performing a public service.  I’m a big advocate of people reading, and yes, people need help to get the most out of their Kindles.  I like helping people…that’s fun, too.

Yes, I also get some money from it.  It’s not ten percent of my income for a year, although it has been growing.

It’s true I want to please my readers…sure, that’s part of what makes it fun.  🙂 

I write eclectically…I like to have a variety of tones and topics.  Any time I write anything, I know that somebody isn’t going to like it.  My hope is that every few days, you do get something you like.  If you subscribe through the Kindle store, each post costs you about three to four cents.  What I want is that you think you get your ninety-nine cents a month worth…even if you thought one particular post wasn’t worth four cents.  😉

I pay attention to what people say about the blog, and a couple of people have noticed a change in the mix over time.

That’s true.  When I started this in August of last year (2009), I had more tips.  There’s a simple reason for that: I’ve already covered all the basics.  I don’t want to just re-run the same post…if I’ve written about the Kindle dictionary, and nothing has changed, I don’t want to just re-write the same material.  So, inevitably, the “tips” mix has gone down.  As new features are introduced, or if I find something new, or if Amazon changes something else, that gives me a new “tips” topic.  I’ll be writing about the two major updates we are getting this year (one for increased accessibility, and one for better organization).  I write about other devices too, but I’ll freely admit I don’t know them as well as I know Kindles.  I can close my eyes and, at pretty much any time, reach my arm out and pick up my Kindle.  I can’t do the same thing with a nook or a Sony.

What I’m going to do in this post is talk about the different categories of posts I’ve been doing.  I know what my most popular posts are.  However, there are a lot of factors that affect that.  Some topics attract people who aren’t regular readers, for example.

On each of several topics, I’m going to tell you what I think about them, and then let you answer a poll question.  I wanted to keep the poll simple: do you want to see more of these, are there about the right amount, or do you want to see fewer?  You are more than welcome to make a comment to the post to tell me more specifics. 

I’m not going to just list the categories…I want to know a bit more about your areas of interest, not just how I cover them. 

Tips/How to

This is one of my favorite categories to write, no question.  This is where I tell you how to do something with your device…download a book, play music, get to your notes, that kind of thing.  There is a limit as to how many of these there are, though…at some point, if nothing changed, I would have written about absolutely everything you can do.  🙂  Fortunately, things do change (typically getting better, in my opinion). 

Free book listings

A fairly new feature has been the Freebie Flash.  I describe a bit about books which have been recently listed for free in the Kindle store.  I also profile sources outside of Amazon where you can get free books.  I don’t know how much people like this.  I think that the fact that so many free books are available for the Kindle (and other e-books) is a major argument in the devices’ favor.  I haven’t heard much about it, though, so I don’t know if people like it or not.

I’m going to ask about the two separately, since the feel is pretty different:

The inside of e-publishing

I’ve written a lot about this recently…because a lot has been happening, mainly.  This is opening up the hood, and looking at what drives the books you have to read.  This includes the contracts between booksellers like Amazon and publishers, as well as legal matters, like the Google settlement.  It’s not about your EBR (E-Book Reader) specifically, but about the content.  I find this fascinating, but I assume some people sort of glaze over.


I love writing the humor posts!  I have fun doing it, and I know some people like them.  However, I suspect some other people just find them a diversion from why they read the blog.  I hope those folks are willing to just stick their fingers in their ears and say “lalalalala” until the next post.  🙂


Everyone once in a while, I write a post that isn’t exactly humor, but is more fiction generally.  For example, I did a short vampire piece around Halloween, I did a “Kindle Carol”, and I did a contemporary Sherlock Holmes story.   I like those, but they’ve been referred to as “ravings”.  😉  I could just move those sorts of things to my other blog, The Measured Circle, and that’s my inclination.   That blog is by definition eclectic.  I’m curious what you think, though.

Recent Kindle releases

This is a fairly new feature, and they are pretty hard to do.  I think it’s fun and interesting, and I’ve gotten some good feedback.  I just list some recent releases…although I look for an interesting set of titles.


Yes, I’m a geek…I love crunching the numbers.  I particularly like it when I have a hypothesis, examine the data, and have it turn out I was wrong.  I know, that’s all science-y of me, right?  So, I’ll just go in and check something…I find some very interesting (to me) trends that way.  I’m going to include the monthly Snapshots in this.  That’s where I’ve been tracking the prices, for one thing.  I’m sure there are some people who don’t like the math and graphs, though.


Sometimes I speculate about what will happen, and sometimes I comment on what is happening.  I know that’s all some blogs have, and that’s perfectly fine.  I didn’t particularly start the blog to have a soapbox.  I do have one issue I mention pretty often: the blocking of text-to-speech access to books, which I think it disproportionately disadvantages the disabled.  I don’t mind that other people may have a different opinion on that, and I’m not trying to change yours.  It’s just an important issue to me, and it’s going to influence what you read here.  I don’t deliberately link to books from companies that block text-to-speech…that’s probably the main impact on you.  I’ll be interested to see what you say about opinion posts…


I’ve done a few posts where I make recommendations for books (and more rarely, other things, like blogs or websites).   What’s your recommendation on my recommendations?  😉

Well, those are some of the main types of posts…I haven’t listed everything.  I’ll look forward to seeing what responses I get.  If you have other suggestions or comments, feel free to let me know. 

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

39 Responses to “You tell me…what do you like in ILMK?”

  1. robert zimmerman Says:

    The link to the polls did not work for me so I was glad to see the polls repeated on this comment page.

    Bob Z

    • bufocalvin Says:

      The polls do work better from the website version…it’s a little weird for me, because there are both Kindle readers and web readers.

      I like you both equally. 😉

  2. Al Says:

    The polls didn’t work for me in a RSS feed, but did in the browser.

  3. kehalvor Says:

    Hi Bufo: Thanks for doing this – I can’t speak for others, but here’s how I answered your questions. Overall, I like your mix of stuff and definitely, if there are specific things I don’t enjoy reading, I skip them. You certainly make it much more than worth the small amount I pay every month.

    So, while I sort of hated the idea of “criticizing” by saying there should be more of or less of something, I viewed your poll more of as – I really like this (not really that there should be more of, because I figure you should write what you feel moved to write) and vice versa, if I don’t really like something much, I said less of (actually, since I didn’t want to say less of for much, a couple times I said the level was OK even if I don’t enjoy something).

    OK, so, yes, I’m a survey researcher (scientist-professor) by day. Perhaps some people would have been more comfortable with Love/like/neutral/don’t like/really don’t like — or something along those lines (note, I didn’t say “hate”)

    Anyway, I really like how you write. I particularly enjoy the posts where you reason through your analysis/update/explanation/description (for ex. of the publishing world). You just have a really neat way of explaining things. Thanks for a great blog! Kathy H

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks, Kathy!

      That is the coolest job!

      I appreciate your concern. I particularly didn’t want to use “like/don’t like”, because I thought that would make people more uncomformtable. 🙂 This makes it a little more third person…they can tell me to cut back on something “for my own good”, rather than just what they personally like. 🙂

  4. Wanda Alsup Says:

    I enjoy the blog and feel I get my $.99 worth. The free books I have downloaded more than make up for the cost of the blog. I look forward to the new posts.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wanda!

      I appreciate the kind words, and I’m really happy you feel you get your money’s worth.

      I love all the free books we can get for the Kindle, and it’s great to hear from somebody else who is getting to read them, too. 🙂

  5. EllKCee Says:

    Hi, Bufo, Just wanted you to know that out of the four daily blogs I receive on my Kindle 2 I save yours for last–the best. I enjoy all your posts. You’re so informative, I’m always learning something new. I’ve had a Kindle for 2 years and doubt I’ll ever read a paperbook again. I love my Kindle too.

    I was considering an iPad, especially since Amazon is going to have a Kindle app for it. But the monthly charge for 3g has me stalling. I cannot see having the iPad without 3g capability. Amazon doesn’t charge for 3g. However, if I thought Amazon was going to come up with a tablet in the next year or so I would definitely wait. Then I read where HP is coming out with a tablet soon. Who knows, maybe Amazon will put a Kindle app on it. And I’m waiting to hear if they’re going to have a monthly charge. By the way I have an iPod and iPhone, so I’m very familiar with Apples’ apps. Anyway, I think I’ll just sit back and wait and see what springs up in the next year. Like you said, it’s going to be very interesting and exciting to watch.

    Keep the great blogs coming, Lynda

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks so much, Lynda! I’m really pleased. 🙂

      You are what some people call an “iOwner”, since you’ve got the Pod and the Touch. Not all iOwners are going for the iPad, although I believe that a recent survey indicated that they are more likely to do that than non-iOwners.

      I don’t like paying monthly service fees, and avoid it where I can. If I got an iPad, I think I’m where there is enough free wi fi available that I’d go that route. However, there would be that one time I was on vacation and regretted not having 3G, I’m sure.

  6. EllKCee Says:

    Hi, again, I forgot to mention one of the most important services you do and that is to fully support TTS. Although I have pretty good vision, with glasses, I’m 68 and my old eyes get tired at night when I like to read. I use the TTS feature all the time and will never buy a book again that does not have this wonderful feature. Consequently, I read a lot more books than I ordinarily would, and that can only be good for publishers. Why can’t they see that? I would think, that if they’re smart, a lot of publishers will be reading your blogs.

    And I love your free book suggestions. But I do pay for books also. Thanks again, Lynda

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks, Lynda!

      Text-to-speech access is an important issue to me. I’m sure my mentioning it as frequently as I do costs me some readers, and I certainly don’t mention some flashy books that get a lot of publicity. I was very sorry recently not to post something a well-known author sent me, because it linked to a book with TTS blocked. That’s a cost I’m willing to pay…I do not judge people for buying books with TTS blocked: I think it’s a complicated and personal decision. But I’m not comfortable increasing the incomes of publishing companies that have made that decision.

  7. Wanda Alsup Says:

    The Agency Model limits fair competition. Is this the same as price setting in any other industry and isn’t that illegal?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wanda!

      It would be clearly illegal for the publishers to get together as a group and have them all decide on the same price. That’s price-fixing.

      That’s not what’s happening here. It isn’t Penguin and Macmillan saying, “A New York Times bestseller should be $9.99.” The agency model has Macmillan setting a price for its own book, which would be legal.

      Let’s say you want to buy a dress at Macy’s. Macy’s corporate tells all of the different Macy’s to sell that dress for the same price. Is that legal? Yes, because they are all Macy’s.

      The agency model says that Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony are just processing the sales. You are actually hypothetically buying the books from the publisher…so it doesn’t matter where you do it.

      That’s the idea…but since the result is anti-competitive, it’s possible that a legal challenge will be made at some point.

  8. chris Says:

    I too have problems using polls on my Kindle.

    I enjoy ILMK and look forward to reading it every day. Especially enjoy tips and ebook/publishing news. This blog is one of my favorites as I enjoy a good sense of humor and this one definitely has it.


  9. Wanda Alsup Says:

    I keep a word file on the computer that contains tips and info on how-to things for my Kindle. Recently, my Kindle needed to be charged but would not restart properly. I could not remember how to “soft start” it. That info, which came from your “How to Tips & Tricks”, is in my word file. I also copy your tip of the day from your blog into that file.
    Thanks for all the background information. It has been helpful more than once.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wanda!

      That’s so nice of you to say! I’m glad it’s been helpful. 🙂

  10. Wanda Alsup Says:

    My husband & I travel on a Gold Wing motorcycle with a small trailer. Space is at a minimum. I was just about finished reading a book on my Kindle. I was able to take all 170 downloaded books with me. I loved being able to pick a new book to read from such a great variety.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wanda!

      Yes, I love that, too…even though I’m not on a motorcycle. 😉

      You may want to look at some of the tougher cases that are being released…the M-Edge Guardian and the KlearKase, but you may be okay. Avoid putting pressure on the screen, if you can.

      • Wanda Alsup Says:

        I have a leather cover for my Kindle. I think it protects it just fine. I try to pack it in my duffle bag between my shirts. It is so nice to have it along on trips.

  11. Wanda Alsup Says:

    I just ordered a new Kindle DX but it has not arrived yet. I have a perfectly good Kindle that I received for Christmas last year & I absolutely love it. I still like to read a pbook now & then. They smell different & I like to turn real pages sometimes. I am going to give my old Kindle to my son. He reads more than I do & would probably like the newer version better, but he won’t fuss. Afterall, he gets a free Kindle. If we share an Amazon account, I know we can both order books but is there some way to set the account so he pays for his & I pay for mine?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wanda!

      That sounds great! I gave my old Kindle to my SO (Significant Other), and we love both having one…and being able to share books. 🙂

      Regardless of who orders the books, they’ll all belong to the account (both of you, at this point, and other people if you add them later).

      I assume your son is an adult, or at least able to pay for things on his own. When more than one person is on an account, there are two main ways to divide the payments pre-purchase.

      1. Have two credit cards on the account

      The problem with this one is that you have to change the credit card for your 1-click at

      That can be a bit awkward. From what you say, I’d default it to his, and then you would change it to yours before your order…and then one of you would change it back to his afterwards.

      2. Gift certificates. The 1-click draws from a gift certificate/gift card balance before going to the credit card. You can actually pull the credit card off the account and just use gift cards, if you want, or one of you could contribute gift cards for each purchase (they can be done in odd amounts, like $9.99).

      Both of those are a bit clunky. It may be better just to have it all on one credit card, and then pay the other person back…

      • Wanda Alsup Says:

        Thanks for the info. I agree that it would just be easier to keep a ‘you owe me’ tab on the joint account. Guess we will just have to sit down & decide what we want to do.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Wanda!

        It’s definitely worth a discussion…sharing an account it a great thing, but it pays to think about paying. 😉

  12. Wanda Alsup Says:

    This question is in reference to the recent software upgrade for Kindles. I like being able to create Collections and understand the various ways to sort. I would like to be able to sort the items within each collection in different ways. I have a Collection called ‘Information’ where I store user’s manual’s & other informational items which I want to sort alphabetically. In another collection I have a list of books that I want to sort by author. Is this possible? I don’y want to re-sort each time I open a collection.

  13. Wanda Alsup Says:

    I have a Kindle DX that I purchased in July. I have noticed that the wording on the push buttons for Home, Menu etc have already faded to the point that they are difficult to read. I know what the buttons are but someone not familiar with them might have a problem. Is this a problem other people have noticed & is anything being done by Amazon to correct this issue? I put a coat of clear nail polish over the words to keep them from fading more but may have waited too long to do so.

  14. Wanda Alsup Says:

    Up date on the Kindle DX faded print on the Home, Menu, Back & next page & previous page. I contacted Amazon & they stated that they had not heard of this problem. However, they offered to replace the DX but I didn’t think that was necessary. The also offered a 10% refund on the price. That’s not much but I did accept the offer. Thought you might like to know the outcome. By the way, I used the link you supplied, thank you.

  15. Wanda Alsup Says:

    Something strange is happening on my Kindle. I currently have 10 Collections and items are sorted By Collections. When I want to read a book, I move it from the collection to the main screen. Never have had an issue doing this. I am currently reading ‘A Dog Named Slugger”. I ‘woke’ the Kindle up, the book was no place to be seen. It was not in any collection. I sorted by Most Recent & it appeared. When I resorted to Collections it disappeared again. The number of items in Collections did not change. The book only shows when things are sorted by Most Recent. Any idea what is happening?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Wanda!

      That does sound odd. Even when you go through all the pages on your Kindle (so that you get to the one that says Archived Items), you don’t see it?

      Try restarting it:


  16. Wanda Alsup Says:

    The restart worked. I knew I could do that but forgot what the exact steps were. Thanks

  17. Wanda Alsup Says:

    With all the new versions of Kindles that are on the market I feel like some of the older models are orphaned. I have a Kindle DX which I bought it because it had a better screen resolution, at that time. There have been software changes for some models but nothing for the DX. It is the most expensive & it frustrates me that no updates have been included for it, such as page numbers etc. I don’t want to spend more money just to have a different EBR that will soon be out of date.

  18. Wanda Alsup Says:

    I am giving my SO either a Kindle Fire or I-Pad 2 for Christmas. The Fire is priced best but I am not sure it will give him the ease of use that an I-Pad will. I don’t want him to be frustrated that he can’t do what he wants. He takes lots of photo’s & has several e-mail accounts to track. Plus one web-site he posts to frequently. I am leaning towards the I-Pad 32GB but sure don’t like the price. Comments please

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Wanda, thanks for writing!

      One crucial question: are you willing to pay for a 3G dataplan for the iPad 2? If you are, then the iPad 2 would be easier to use, because it would connect in more places more easily.

      If you are comparing wi-fi only to wi-fi only, that’s different. Apple’s products are known for being easy to use, although the Kindle has also been pretty easy.

      If your SO wants to take pictures with the device, then it’s simple: the Fire doesn’t have a camera, the iPad 2 has two of them (front and back).

      If you want to store lots of pictures actually on the device, the iPad 2 is going to be better (and more expensive).

      As to e-mail, my guess is that they won’t be terribly dissimilar. The Fire is supposed to group all of your webmail together:

      “Stay in touch using our built-in email app that gets your webmail (Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL etc.) into a single inbox. Import your messages and contact lists from other email accounts. Additional email apps are available in our Amazon Appstore for Android. ”

      As to posting, they both have virtual keyboards. That’s a place where the 3G could be a real plus, though. The Fire will likely get him to the site faster, with the new Silk browser.

      From your description, my guess is the iPad 2 will give him a better experience…but you’ll pay for it.

  19. Wanda Alsup Says:

    I have decided to go with an I-Pad because my SO will want to use it more like a laptop and the Fire won’t do what will make him happy. Price hurts tho.

  20. Wanda Alsup Says:

    Back to the drawing board & have decided on a new laptop. Pricey

  21. What do you like in ILMK? 2013 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] You tell me…what do you like in ILMK? […]

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