Archive for December, 2010

Freebie flash! Catching, Queen’s, Unknown, Hunted, Woman, and more

December 31, 2010

 Freebie flash! Catching, Queen’s, Unknown, Hunted, Woman, and more

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Catching Caroline
by Sylvia Day
publisher not listed

It’s a vampire romance, but it’s really odd that the publisher isn’t interested.   It does have that “Lending:Enabled” line, so I wonder if that glitches somehow?  Either that, or Amazon published this novella…but that seems strange, as well.  They do publish books, but not usually this sort of thing.

The Blood That Bonds
by Christopher Buecheler
publisher unknown

Free again (it was free in October)…vampires

Two Rivers
by T. Greenwood
published by Kensington (a genre and romance publisher)

Literary fiction

Mistress by Mistake
by Maggie Robinson
published by Kensington (a genre and romance publisher)

Hunted by Others
by Jess Haines
published by Zebra (part of Kensington, a genre and romance publisher)

The Queen’s Dollmaker 
by Christine Trent
published by Kensington (a genre and romance publisher)

The Perfect Woman
by James Andrus
published by Pinnacle, the “commercial fiction” (incl. thrillers and true crime), imprint of Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher)

Into the Unknown
Wilderness #55
by David Thompson
published by Leisure Books Publishing, (part of Dorchester, a publisher of romance, horror, Westerns, and thrillers)

Yes, that’s right…55 books in the series!  Take that, J.K. Rowling!  😉  I see people asking for Westerns (you can get many older ones for free)…I don’t know if this is really going to appeal to Zane Grey readers, but maybe.

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


Barnes & Noble: Millions of NOOKs sold

December 31, 2010

Barnes & Noble:  Millions of NOOKs sold

Barnes & Noble announces some interesting things in this

Press Release 

First, I’ d have to say…it’s very carefully written.  That’s not a bad thing, but people are going to read it as saying something different from what it is saying.

For example, you may see headlines that B&N says they have sold more e-books than paperbooks.  What they actually said was:

“…now sells more digital books than its large and growing physical book business on…”

That’s through the website, not through the stores.

I also liked this one from CEO William Lynch:

“NOOKcolor became the gift of choice over the holidays for people who love to read everything – books, magazines, newspapers, children’s books and more – in rich, beautiful color…”

If you stop fifteen words into it, that makes it sound like people who love to read chose the NOOK.  I don’t know how they actually prove this statement…the way it is stated, if you like to read newspapers in black and white, you don’t count.  🙂

One other nice figure, and then I’ll suggest you read the press release: they say they sold one million NOOKbooks on Christmas Day alone!  That includes downloads for their apps, and I don’t know if it counts free books, but that is still impressive.

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

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special book lending edition

December 31, 2010

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special book lending edition

Q. Can I loan Kindle books that I have bought to other people?

A. Yes.  Amazon enabled Kindle book lending on December 30, 2010.

Q. Do I have to get my Kindle updated to have that ability?

A. No.  Lending takes place through Amazon’s servers, and that has already been updated.  Nothing needs to happen on your Kindle.

Q. Can I lend any book I want?

A. No.  It’s up to the publisher on each book.

Q. But I bought the book, right?  I should be able to loan any book to anybody I want, just like I do with a paperbook.

A. When you buy a copy of a paperbook, that’s what you buy…that copy.  You can do anything you want with it: loan it, sell it, give it away…burn it.  When you “buy a book” in the Kindle store, you are buying a license, and are bound by the terms of the license.

Q. I don’t remember reading any license.  Where is it?

A. It’s your Terms of Service with Amazon.   Variable elements for each title will generally be on the book’s product page at Amazon.  You may also be bound by copyright law, and there may be additional rights statements in the book.

Q. Product page?

A. That’s what you get when you search for the book at Amazon.

Q. So it will tell me there whether I can loan the book?

A. It will tell you if you can loan it.  It does not mention it if you can’t.  If it’s a book you bought previously, it will tell you at the top of the page that you can lend it.  If you haven’t bought it before, it will tell you in the product details…usually about half way down the page.

Q. So I can tell before I buy the book if I can loan it?

A. Yes.  It’s on the product page.

Q. I don’t want to have to look through the store to figure out which books I’ve bought that I can loan.  Can I see that somewhere else?

A. Yes.  You can go to

Click the plus box on the row for the book.  If you can lend it, there will be a button that says “Loan this book”.

Q. I tried that, but I didn’t see a button.

A. That means you can’t lend that book.  It’s up to the publisher.

Q. How many books can be loaned?

A. That’s hard to say at this point.  Amazon hasn’t given the books a separate section in the store.  It’s probably similar to Barnes & Noble…that’s about 50% for fiction e-books. 

Q. Why would it be similar?

A. The publishers presumably offered basically the same deal to Amazon and to Barnes & Noble.   Other elements of the program are similar to Barnes & Noble’s LendMe program for their NOOK.

Q. What other elements are there?

A. You can only loan a book once.

Q. Once to the same person?

A. Once ever.  If you buy a copy of Alice In Wonderland and loan it to your mother, you can not loan it to your sister later.

Q.  But my sister and I read the same Kindle books all the time.  Does this change that?

A. No.  You are probably on the same account.  People on the same account can read the same book for a single purchase price.

Q. Does this change anything else I’ve been doing?

A. No.  You can do everything you’ve been doing before.  If you don’t choose to use the lending program, nothing is different. 

Q. Why would the publishers limit it to one time?  I can lend a paperbook as much as I want. 

A. It’s up to the publisher…they are probably concerned about losing sales if they allowed unlimited lending.

Q. Can I only lend to my family members?

A. No, you can lend to anyone you want.  It could be a complete stranger.

Q. Won’t people set up ways to do that on the internet?

A. Yes.  There are already places to do that.

Q. Won’t that cost the publishers sales?

A. It might.

Q. Does the person have to have a Kindle for me to loan the book to her or him?

A. No.  They don’t even have to have a Kindle reader app.  If they don’t have one, they’ll be directed to a place to get a reader app.

Q. Directed how?

A. When you lend a book to someone you send a special e-mail to them that has a link to the book. 

Q. How do I do that?

A. You can do that from your Manage Your Kindle page (see above) or from the book’s product page.

Q. So someone would have to have my e-mail address to lend me a Kindle book?

A. Yes.

Q. What if I don’t want to borrow it?  What if I already have it, for example?

A. You won’t be able to accept the loan if you already have gotten the book from the Kindle store.  You also won’t be able to accept the loan if the book is unavailable to your country.

Q. So, if I buy a book in the US that isn’t available in Canada, I can’t loan it to a Canadian?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Can a Canadian lend to a Canadian?

A. No.  At this time, booklending can only be initiated within the USA.

Q. What if I just don’t want to read the book?

A. If you don’t accept the loan within seven days, the book becomes available to the lender again.  They can then try to lend it to someone else.

Q. Can I refuse the loan offer so they get it back faster than the seven days?

A. It doesn’t appear so.

Q. You said “becomes available”…what does that mean?

A. When you have loaned a book to someone else, it is not available to you.  That’s similar to a paperbook.

Q. Does it disappear from my Kindle?

A. It won’t be available to you through your archives or Manage Your Kindle for download.  If it’s on your Kindle and your wireless is on, you’ll see a message that items were “removed”.  You’ll see a note next to the title in your homescreen that is “[on loan]”.   If you try to open the book, you’ll get a message that it is on loan instead of the book.

Q. You said “your wireless is on”.  If my wireless isn’t on, will I still be able to read the book on my Kindle?

A. Yes.  If you have your wireless off when you lend the book and the book is on your Kindle, you can continue to read it.   When you sync the next time, though, it will go into the “loan mode”. 

Q. So if I just don’t turn the wireless on for the two weeks of the loan, we can both read it?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that against the rules?

A. I haven’t seen anything that says that.

Q. Okay, so I can’t read a book if I’ve loaned it and I’ve had my wireless on.  How long might it be before I can read it again?

A. The person has seven days to decide about the loan, and then fourteen days to read the book, so the maximum is 20 days.

Q.  What if the person hasn’t finished the book by then?

A. The book will still be “returned” to you.

Q. What if they don’t turn the wireless on?

A. Unknown.  The book may lock itself without using the wireless.

Q. Could I loan the book to the person again so they can finish reading it?

A. No.  A book can only be loaned once.

Q. What if the person finishes the book early?  Can they return it early?

A. Yes.  They would go to that Manage Your Kindle page, click the plus next in the book’s row, and choose to delete the book.

Q. Would I be able to read it again then? 

A. Yes.

Q. How would I know I could read it again.

A. You’ll get an e-mail.  You can also go to that Manage Your Kindle site to check on the status of the loan.  You’ll see if the loan has been accepted, and if it has, when it will run out.  A borrower can go there too, to see how long the loan is.

Q. Is there any kind of warning that the loan is going to end?

A. Yes.  The borrower will get a “courtesy notice” on her or his Kindle three days before it ends.

Q. Does Barnes & Noble have this fourteen day limit, too?

A. Yes.

Q. What if the person didn’t finish the book, or just liked it, and wants to buy it?  Is there an easy way to do that?

A. Yes. Clicking on a book you have borrowed in your Archived Items will bring up a link to buy the book (once the loan has ended).

Q. Does this have anything to do with borrowing books from a public library?

A. No.

Q. So, if I don’t want to use this, I don’t have to use it.  If I loan a book to somebody, I can only loan a book once, and I can’t read it while it is on loan unless I keep the wireless off…is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Where is the information from Amazon on this?


Q. I published a book through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform.  What do I need to do to make my book lendable?

A. It’s lendable now.  If your book is in the 70% royalty program, you have to allow lending.  If your book is in the 35% royalty program, you have to go to the Digital Text Platform site and opt out of it for each title, under Rights and Pricing

Q. If I opt out, what happens to loans that are already happening?

A. Opting out will only affect future purchases.  For more information on your DTP publications and lending, see

DTP book lending help

This is one in a series of posts of Frequently Asked Kindle Questions.

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

The Year Ahead: 2011

December 31, 2010

The Year Ahead: 2011

I recently looked back at the year in e-books…there were tons of changes, of course.  I figured it was time to look ahead.

First, though, let’s see how I did when I looked ahead to 2010.

Overall, I think I did okay.  Here were my predictions then:

More platforms for Kindle books

Status: hit

This one was easy, but it definitely happened.  I speculated about a Kindle reader app for Android, for example, and that’s here.

The nook will get a major software update

Status: hit

I’m calling this one a hit…they did do a big update, in addition to adding the NOOKcolor.

Kindle DX International will be released

Status: hit

No new six inch model for the Kindle

Status: miss

I thought they’d update the K2, but they introduced the K3 as well.  That’s a definite miss…I didn’t see the best-selling Amazon store item ever coming down the pike

Color E Ink

Status: mixed

I thought there would be a well-known color E Ink EBR (E-Book Reader)…but that the Kindle would not have a color screen in 2010.  I got the latter, but I’m not going to claim the former.

Dualume/Dual screen devices

Status: hit

I said there would be devices with two screens, one E Ink and one backlit…and that they might be expensive.  The Entourage eDGe is just that…at $549, it fits the relatively expensive prediction as well.

Market Share Shift/Independent publishing will rise

Status: unknown

I was predicting a shift towards independent publishers, and I think that has happened…but without sales figures, it’s hard to tell.  We may get a better sense of what happened in 2010 later in 2011.  I thought Random House might slip for blocking text-to-speech…but then, others of the Big Six started blocking it.  Random House balanced that by not doing the Agency Model.  Made it harder to assess.

E-book Boom

Status: hit

I could have been even more optimistic…it’s amusing that I said, “500,000 at least” in the Kindle store when it’s closer to a million than 500,00.  I overestimated the review of e-books in major outlets, but I was right about older e-books becoming available.  I said that e-books would grow to “at least ten percent” of the US publishing market.  That’s going to be very close to on target.

Enhancing the Kindle

Status: mixed

I was right that we would get an organizing system, and that it would be like tagging rather than a drag and drop folder system.  I was right about Kindle book gifting and password protection, but wrong about parental controls, customizable sleep mode pictures, and installable character sets (for different languages).

Access to more books for the Kindle

Status: miss

I thought Amazon might enable DRM EPUB and thereby lending from public libraries.

Academic adoption

Status: mixed

I overestimated this, but we have seen some more adoption of e-textbooks.  Tablets are helping with that, and at least one school issued all students a Kindle.  I thought the MLA would have an academic citation format, just as the APA does, but that didn’t happen.

Thoughts for 2011

An Amazon Android Tablet

I think this is going to happen, and could be a really big success.  The Kindle 3 is Amazon’s bestselling product of any kind ever in its history.  There is certainly room for them to introduce a backlit, web-surfing, movie-streaming tablet.  I wouldn’t want it to be called a Kindle (I want that reserved for reading-centric devices)…I’ve been suggesting it be called the Amazon Current.  I’d want it promoted as “Kindle Powered”, or something along those lines.  They’d promote it for their streaming video service, among other things.  I think the Kindle has established Amazon as a hardware maker…even to the point where that would appeal outside of serious readers.  It wouldn’t be a replacement for a Kindle for that serious reader group, but an addition to it.  Non-serious readers would go for the tablet.  Could it compete with other tablets?  Yes, I think it could…it wouldn’t be the top tablet, but there would be a place for it.  It’s funny, but I think it could be marketed as super-easy to use…it could be many technophobe’s first real internet device.  Apple was originally marketed as easy compared to Windows, but I think non-technies see it as a brand of the techno-elite.  Could the device have a different operating system than Android?  Maybe.  I’m thinking this may happen for a couple of reasons, but one is the recent press release from Amazon where they talked about how well the Kindle 3 sold.

Jeff Bezos said:

“We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions.”


“…people don’t have to choose”

Amazon also hired somebody recently who could help with this, and they previously bought a touch-screen company.

This could also be a larger screen…which might spell trouble for a new gen of the larger Kindle DX.

Web-E-Books become more popular

Amazon is going to enhance its Kindle for the Web to include entire books.  This may be how casual readers choose to read e-books.  Having a tablet to access a book on a website might work well for a family of both serious readers and casual readers.  The casual person doesn’t need hardware specifically for reading, but can read on a tablet…like my hypothetical Amazon Current.

The Agency Model goes away

I don’t feel really secure in this, but I think it’s possible.  It’s likely to happen when the first year of its use is up at the end of March of 2011.  That’s would lead to a new negotiation…and Amazon has indicated that the people who have set higher prices have seen a slip compared to people who didn’t.  I also think that legal action (such as the investigation by the Attorney General of Connecticut) may make it easier to just not renew than to get into the bad publicity and a fight about non-competitive actions.  Simply drop it voluntarily, and that all goes away, most likely.

Ruling on the Google Settlement/Orphan Books Legislation

Why we don’t have a ruling on the Google settlement yet, I don’t know.  Orphan books legislation could make many more books available and really be a boost to the US economy.  Essentially, what it would mean is that, if a publisher can’t find someone to stake a claim to an out-of-market book, they can go ahead and digitize it and sell it.  I don’t agree with that policy, personally, but I can certainly see it happening.  The current administration would be seen as pro-business, which is good for them.  The Republicans wouldn’t be as likely to strongly contest this, so it’s something they could get passed before the election becomes too front and foremost.

The iPad 2

This is a gimmie.  🙂  I won’t count it in my hits next year.  😉

E-book Market and the Kindle store

I think the Kindle store could hit two million titles by the end of 2011.  I think e-books could be 25 percent or more of the US publishing market by the end of 2011.  I also expect non-US and foreign language availability to greatly increase.  E-magazines will gain a strong presence on tablets.  Mass market paperbacks will continue to see market share erosion.

More text-to-speech access

I’m not saying we’ll see the blocking of text-to-speech access go away entirely (although I’d like to see that).  Still, I’m noticing more books from companies that previously blocked that have the access.  Companies may not announce it, because they want to reserve the option…but they may quietly move away from blocking it.  If Random House splashily stopped blocking it, it would be a big move market-share enhancing move for them, though, and others would follow.

More active content

Games are big sellers in the Kindle store, and I think we’ll see a lot more of this.  Some of it will just be ported over from cellphone apps.  I think Dusk World shows real promise…we will probably see more interactive graphic novels like that.  I think we’ll also see more utilities…datebooks, stock trackers, that kind of thing.

Enhancements to the Kindle

I’m sticking with parental controls as a prediction.  Amazon is really pushing the multi-Kindle household, and people will start  complaining in a big way about this if their kids are reading pornography that an adult on the account downloaded.  I can see this as a culture wars issue.  TVs have v-chips…e-books may need to have something.  I don’t think a v-chip type product is the answer.  I think perhaps having Collections for each of the Kindles or devices on the account.  The parent would put the books in the Collection, and that’s what the child could access.  Alternatively, there could be optional passwords on the Collections.  I think we’ll see the mysterious microphone on the K3 come into play.  It may be for recording voice notes, it may be for voice navigation (which would be a big plus for people with certain disabilities)…it may be for both.  I think we’ll get better descriptions of the books on the Kindle, and more integration with Shelfari, which is owned by Amazon.  That means more (optional) social networking.  I think the apps will continue to improve, and that we’ll get more features there. 

As I said last year, I predict we’ll see things I haven’t predicted.  🙂

What do you think?  Will we see a sub-$100 Kindle?  Will there be a fourth-gen Kindle?  What’s Barnes & Noble going to do (besides sell a ton of NOOKcolors)?   Will we see the Harry Potter books as e-books, maybe to tie into the last movie?  Will we have color E Ink?  Will dedicated E Ink readers get swamped by the new tablets? 

Feel free to let me know.

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

Flash! Kindle book lending is here

December 30, 2010

Flash! Kindle book lending is here

They said it would be here by the end of the year, and Amazon made it a day to spare.  🙂

It is now possible to lend some Kindle books to people not on your account.  People want this, partially become it emulates something people were used to doing with paperbooks.

This is something that Barnes & Noble has had some time, and that they call LendMe.

The program is fairly similar, but Amazon has done some interesting things with the idea.

Here are the details:

Lending Kindle Books help page

When you own a Kindle store book, you’ll be able to lend it once (ever) for fourteen days.  You can do that from the

page.  However, intriguingly, you can also do it from the book’s Amazon product page.  If you’ve previously purchased the book, you’ll see a subtle little hyperlink at the top, under where it tells you that you have previously purchased the book.  It says

“Loan this book to anyone you choose”

All you do is put in the person’s e-mail address.  You can put the person’s name and add a comment, but you don’t need to do that.

That person does not even need to have a Kindle…or for that matter, a Kindle reading app for you to offer them the loan.  If they accept the loan, they’ll be taken to a place to download an app.

The loan is for fourteen days, but the book can be returned early (from that Manage Your Kindle page).  The lender can’t read the book while it is on loan.

You can’t successfully loan the book to someone if it is unavailable in that person’s country.

You can’t successfully loan the book if the person already has it.

Whether you are allowed to lend it or not is up to the publisher.  That’s true under Barnes & Noble’s program as well.

Can you tell if a book is lendable before you buy it?  Yes, it will say that in the Product Details (under the Amazon Standard Identification Number…ASIN).

I’m going to look at this in more detail, but I’ll send it now to give you the heads-up.

EDITED TO ADD: I want to be really clear about this.  If you loan the book to one person once, you can not loan it to that person again or to anyone else.  Don’t lend a book to someone just to try this out this morning, unless you really want to lend it and won’t want to lend it again. 

Update:  I’ve started looking at which books have this.  I went through the top ten bestselling paid books (not freebies), and I saw two that were enabled.  Overall, though, the percentage will be much higher. 

For one thing, I assume that independent publishers enrolled in Amazon’s 70% royalty program will have to make their books lendable.  Those publishers agree to participate in programs in the Kindle store (like text-to-speech), and this will presumably be one of those.   UPDATE: All books in the DTP automatically got lending.  As a publisher, you can opt out of it for future purchases by going to the DTP and selecting that…but only for books in the 35% royalty plan.

UPDATE: I’ve done a more thorough post on this here.

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

Key Kindle concepts #1

December 30, 2010

Key Kindle concepts #1

In this blog, I’ve given you tips, and I’ve answered Frequently Asked Questions

Those tend to be step-by-step Kindle instructions (especially the former).

As an educator, though, I’ve always found that the big picture is the most important thing.

I thought I’d take this post and give you some of the main ideas…the key Kindle concepts…that will give you a better idea what’s happening when you do follow those step-by-steps.

Local versus Networked

This is something that we didn’t have when we were reading paperbooks.  The Kindle is a receiving/transmitting device.  There are things that are on the Kindle…and then things you get by connecting to Amazon’s servers (and other places, sometimes). 

When you download a book to the Kindle, geeks like me say you have a “local” copy. 

Once your local copy is on your Kindle, you do not need to be connected to the internet or to Amazon to read it. 

Let’s go through this a bit.

When you are shopping in the Kindle store, the bookfiles start out on Amazon’s server.  When you buy it, you specify a device to which Amazon should send it.  It downloads to that device.  You now have that local copy.  What is locally on your Kindle is shown on your Kindle’s homescreen.

The local copy is entirely on your Kindle.  You can read it while not connected to the wireless. 

Amazon also puts a copy in your archives, which are Amazons servers.  That copy is available for download to any of the devices on your account (until you reach the simultaneous device license limit…that’s usually six). 

To make it so it isn’t confusing about what’s locally on your Kindle and what’s being store for you by Amazon, the list of things in your Archives that shows on your device doesn’t also show things that are in your homescreen. 

So, the file is stored on Amazon’s servers in your Archives.  What does your Kindle have to do to get it?  Connect to the server (Home-Menu-Sync & Check for Items). 

Your Kindle also doesn’t know what is in the archives unless it connects to the server.  If your Kindle does a restart, it may forget what was in the server…you have to connect and sync again before it knows.

You can also use an internet-connected computer to get to the Amazon servers.  If you download a file to your computer, you can “sideload” it to your Kindle (transfer it to the Kindle using the included USB cable).

Done locally: reading a book; storing your annotations (notes, bookmarks, highlights); and storing your Collections.

Collections and annotations and last page read information are also backed up to Amazon’s servers (although you can opt out of that), but you don’t need to connect to the servers to have them.

Done by connecting to the servers/internet: getting books from your archives; downloading books (and other content, like blogs and newspapers) from the Kindle store; sending information from one device on your account to another (like the last page read information if you are using Whispersync); visiting websites; and getting software updates from Amazon.

The books belong to the account

I see a lot of confusion about this one.  When you buy a book in the Kindle store, it belongs to that account…not to a person, and not to a device.  That may sound funny, but it’s important. 

When a Kindle is deregistered from an account, it doesn’t “own” the books any more.  It can’t download them again from Amazon’s servers.  If there is a local copy (see above) it will keep that…but basically because Amazon presumably doesn’t know it’s there.  🙂  Your Terms of Service with Amazon say that you must delete Kindle store content from a Kindle before giving it or selling it to someone not on your account.

However, it’s also important that it doesn’t belong to an individual person.  I’ve written before about how to ensure that your Kindle library is inherited.  All you have to do is make sure that someone in the next generation knows how to access your account.  I always recommend that you give a trusted person your username and password.  That could be a family member or a lawyer, for example.  If you have access to an account and then someone else on it changes the password, Amazon is not going to give you access to the books on another account.  You might be able to argue about it in court somewhere, but if you don’t know the password to the account and your device isn’t registered to it, Amazon doesn’t give you access to the books.

The publishers are responsible for the books

Generally, Amazon doesn’t produce the books you buy from the Kindle store.  The books are produced by the publishers, and sent to Amazon.  If there are typos, Amazon didn’t put them there.  If it’s a bad translation, Amazon didn’t do it. 

Amazon can’t even put the books in the store…that’s up to the rightsholder.  It isn’t Amazon’s fault the that the fourth book in a series isn’t available when 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are. 

Amazon does rarely remove a book from the store.   One reason why they may do that is if the book is poorly formatted.  Amazon may ask the publisher to fix it if they get complaints.   Amazon isn’t, though, allowed to fix the mistakes itself.

Amazon does quite a bit to protect us from poorly-formatted books.

  • You can download a free sample before buying
  • You can “return” a book within seven days of purchase for a return

It is worth noting that Amazon does publish some books through its AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing divisions.

Those are a few of the big picture ideas.  Hopefully, that gives a better sense of the “why” behind the things you do with your Kindle.

Disagree with me about these concepts?  Have other things where you just don’t understand why it is the way it is?  Feel free to leave me a comment.

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

News: “Amazon’s Kindle opens new chapter for publishing industry”

December 29, 2010

News: “Amazon’s Kindle opens new chapter for publishing industry”

Los Angeles Times:

Amazon’s Kindle opens new chapter for publishing industry 

We don’t see a lot of interviews with Amazon executives, except for Jeff Bezos getting out there from time to time.

Russ Grandinetti is the head of Kindle content, and as such, he’s particularly important to the reading choices we have.

Let me start out with saying that the set-up for the interview has some serious inaccuracies. 

“Until this year, Amazon insisted that all new releases sold at its store be priced at $9.99 or less.”

This is not only incorrect, it reinforces a misconception people have…not a good thing in reporting.

Amazon had said that most bestsellers and new releases would be $9.99, unless marked otherwise.  That’s very different: even before the Agency Model, we had some books (certainly new releases not yet on the bestseller list) that were over $9.99.

The reason that matters is that Amazon is treated as though it had done a “bait and switch” or “false advertising” over the fact that some e-books are over $9.99…when they had never said that no books would be over that price. 

It also talks about a “promise in October” to give independent publishers who use Amazon’s DTP (Digital Text Platform) a 70% royalty.  Um…the promise was made on January 20, and went into effect June 30…where does October enter into it?

So, let’s skip the intro (although I always recommend you read the articles), and talk a little bit about what Grandinetti had to say.

One of the interesting ideas was that Amazon chose a proprietary format so that it would be easy to export it to other platforms.  In other words, it’s easier to make reading apps for a Blackberry and an Android device if you control the format, not if Adobe does (which would the case with EPUB, for example).  That’s an interesting statement, although I’m not sure everyone will buy it.

I’m going to give you one more direct quotation:

“It’s not surprising that publishers who are raising prices are losing market share relative to publishers who decided to keep prices low. Customers aren’t stupid. Ultimately, the market will drive prices.”

I’d love to see those statistics.  As a consumer, I’d certainly hope that higher prices mean lower sales, but that’s not always the case.   When I last ran the number of December 1 (I run them at the start of every month in the Snapshots category), 14 of the 20 New York Times hardback fiction equivalents were over $9.99.  That doesn’t immediately make a market erosion clear for books at those prices, but it’s a complicated calculation…particularly when we don’t get sales figures.

I’d recommend you read the article to see what else Grandinetti has to say.

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

Freebie flash! Phenomenal, Deadly, Danger, Conspiracy, After, Winners, Justice

December 29, 2010

 Freebie flash! Phenomenal, Deadly, Danger, Conspiracy, After, Winners, Justice

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Conspiracy in Kiev
by Noel Hynd
published by Zondervan (a faith-based publisher)

This is the first in a trilogy of Russian-themed thrillers from Hynd.

Danger in the Shadows 
by Dee Henderson
published by Tyndale House (a faith-based publisher)

Free again…this is a well-reviewed on Amazon (82 5-star reviews out of 135) suspense novel.

Phenomenal Girl 5
by A.J. Menden
published by Love Spell (part of Dorchester, a publisher of romance, horror, Westerns, and thrillers)

Tired of vampire romances?  How about a superhero romance?

The Winners Manual 
by Jim Tressel
published by Tyndale House (a faith-based publisher)

The Ohio State football coach shares his philosophy.

Deadly Sanctuary
by Sylvia Nobel
published by Nite Owl (publishes Sylvia Nobel’s mystery novels)

Free again

The Justice Game
by Randy Singer
published by Tyndale House (a faith-based publisher)

Singer is a Christy Award winner…and this is a legal thriller.

Happily Ever After
Deep Haven #1
by Susan May Warren
published by Tyndale House (a faith-based publisher)

Religious romance…

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

Five great Kindle resources

December 28, 2010

Five great Kindle resources

There are lots of folks who have just recently gotten Kindles…welcome to the Klub!

You may have already had yours for a couple of days.  Most people will be up and reading quickly…the basic operation is easy.  I think that’s one of the keys to its success.

However, you may be looking for more in-depth information.  You may also have just run into some questions.

I’m going to list in this post some places I use regularly which I think will be helpful for you…whether you are a “newbie” or an experienced Kindleer.

The User’s Guide

Kindle Documentation

It’s not as comprehensive as some of the other resources, but it has some great information.  One of the nicest things is that, using the link above, you can read it online on your computer (as a PDF).  If you have the free Acrobat Reader (you can not install it on your Kindle, just your computer), that means you can get to it even when your Kindle is non-responsive.  You can also search it.  It’s the official information, and I do return to it from time to time…Amazon also updates it.  It should be available to you as well on your Kindle.

This is not an Amazon site, but hands down the best Kindle resource on the web.  Oh, it’s not for answering questions…it has other wonderful features.  It’s from the folks who do Jungle-Search, and was formerly known as KindeIQ.  If you are a Kindle user, you need to be using this site.


First, they list all of the promotional free books at Amazon, and update that frequently.  You can even sign up for free e-mail notifications.  Do I tell you about them?  Yes, but we do it in different ways. 

Second, you can get free notifications when a Kindle store book drops in price.  This can be a huge money saver.  See a title you’d love to get, but don’t like the price?  Just enter it here, and they’ll send you an e-mail when it drops the percentage (or more) that you set.  Books do tend to go down when the paperback is released, but e-book prices also fluctuate quite a bit. 

Third, you can sign up to be notified for free when a book is Kindleized.  Books are added to the Kindle store at a mad pace: the US store averages something like 1000 a day.  If you search for a favorite and it’s not in the Kinde store, add it at eReaderIQ.  They’ll let you know when it happens.  I expect the pace of conversion to increase over time.

Fourth, it is the best way to search the Kindle store…by title, by price, by publisher, by topic…lots of options.  When I say it is the best, I routinely use it instead of Amazon. 

Get free stuff, save money, find the books you want…wonderful!

The Amazon Kindle community

Do you want unofficial answers to your questions?  Do you want to benefit from the experience of other Kindleers?  Do you want to read limericks?  I’ve never been in a better online community.  Answers tend to be posted very quickly and in a friendly way.  Yes, there is some nastiness sometimes…it is the internet, after all.  😉  Do follow the guidelines, though…that helps.  I find a lot of breaking news there.  Amazon does post there sometimes, and you can easily tell what is official and what isn’t.  You can search it for answers to the questions, or just start your own discussion (serious or silly).   I created a Welcome Thread for it…you may just want to start there. 

Kindle Customer Service

Amazon’s Customer Service is very highly-rated…and I’ve found the Kindle part of it to be even better.  You can reach them starting here:

One of the coolest things is that you can click a button to have them call you.  My phone usually rings within a second or so, and I’m talking to a person within a minute.  There are some things only they can do for you (like resetting the last page read in a book), but you can call them with questions.  For some reason, some people have trouble finding the information: that’s why I linked to it above.  Be aware that the UK store has different contact information. 

For people who bought from anywhere besides :

Inside the US: 1-866-321-8851

Outside the US:  1-206-266-0927

Inside the US is toll-free…outside is not.  You can call them if you got your Kindle from or from Staples, Target…wherever.

You can also e-mail them, but I find that calling gets me a better response.

Kindle Help Pages

These are in the same place you go to get to Kindle Customer Service:

I’m counting this as a different one, though, because you can do a self-service search.  It’s not the friendliest search I’ve ever seen, but this is an important place.  It is the official word…and it changes…a lot.   If they change the rules about something, this is where it is going to be.  That’s happened several times since I’ve had my first Kindle.  It’s a good place to search, and to refer people for answers about fees, licensing, operations, and so on.

I also do want to suggest you contact me with questions. 

You can search the website version of the blog:

but you can also leave me a question.  You can comment on the About page, or any post you want.  If you want me not to publish the post (in other words, if you want the public not to see it), just let me know in your comment.  I can see your e-mail address from the comment (other people can’t), so I may even contact you directly.  I get an e-mail when there are comments, and I check this often. 

You  can also publicly contact me through

my Amazon Author Central page

That’s a public forum…you can post there and other people can see it.

There you go…five of the best Kindle resources (in no particular order, by the way). 

That’s not to suggest that you are going to need to use them…as I said at the beginning, the basic use of the Kindle is pretty intuitive.  However, you may have questions beyond the basics…those are fun, in my opinion. 

People sometimes preface things by saying that they have a “dumb question”.  In my years as an educator, I’ve never heard (or read) a dumb question that was sincerely asked.  I’ve said before, I consider asking questions one of the best indicators of intelligence we have.  🙂

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

Freebie flash! Amazing, Disney, Public, Expanded, Mind, Life, Truth

December 28, 2010

Freebie flash! Amazing, Disney, Public, Expanded, Mind, Life, Truth

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Mysteries 
by Sherry Seethaler
published by FT Press (a business publisher)

This one is free again…for the third time, I think. 

The Truth About Starting a Business
by Bruce Barringer
published by FT Press (a business publisher)

Free again

The Rules of Life, Expanded Edition: A Personal Code for Living a Better, Happier, More Successful Life
by Richard Templar
published by FT Press (a business publisher)

Clearing the Mind for Creativity
by John Kao
published by FT Press (a business publisher)

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations
by Deirdre Breakenridge
published by FT Press (a business publisher)

In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
by Sinclair Ferguson
published by Reformation Trust Publishing (a faith-based publisher)

Walt Disney’s Way
by New Word City
published by FT Press (a business publisher)

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

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