Archive for September, 2011

Updates: credit card notice, library lending

September 25, 2011

Updates: credit card notice, library lending

Update: Credit Card Notice

Original post (September 23, 2011):

Was Amazon wrong to do this?

I recently wrote about a concern that one of my readers brought to me. The reader had turned on the Kindle, and it displayed a notice that there had been a problem with a credit card, and an order had not gone through.

The post got a lot of response, especially on Polldaddy.com. I don’t normally get very many comments there.

I ran a poll, with these results so far:

===

What do you think about Amazon putting a bad credit card statement on a Kindle?

It’s way out of line 45.03% (77 votes)
I’m not sure 10.53% (18 votes)
It seems fine to me 44.44% (76 votes)

Total Votes: 171

===

As you can see, the votes are pretty split. If I was a Customer Service manager at Amazon, though, that would be a major red flag. It’s not a single elimination tournament. If even 5% of your customers are upset by something you are doing, you need to look for other ways to approach it.

Sure, there is some balancing…if 99% of people think something is a good practice and one percent hate it, you don’t juts switch it to make the 1% happy…you don’t want to make the 99% unhappy. However, you can look for a way to make the 100% happy. You also have to look at the degrees of passion…if 5% hate it and 95% think it is just pretty good…you’ve got to look at the pluses and minuses to changing it.

I’ve heard more from this reader about what has happened, and I was given permission to update you.

First, one interesting thing was that the message did appear on all the Kindles/Kindle apps on the account. That meant, in this case, that my reader’s kid in college saw the message…which prompted a worried phone call. I believe these may have appeared even after the credit card issue was cleared up.

Second, I noticed that those messages were different (unless there was another screen we didn’t see on the Kindle). My reader was kind enough to send me pictures, but I think the one I’ve shared is enough at that point. One difference was that the title of the book was listed…for me, I think that makes it more intrusive. We share a Netflix account with our kid, and I always find it weird to see the “recently watched” information. My kid is more of the “sharing generation”, and I don’t think is bothered by that: but I would turn that off if I could.

These other methods also had links for contacting the company. That may be because doing so in Kindle for PC or on a SmartPhone is easier. Again, that might have been on the message on the Kindle, but it wasn’t in the picture I got.

So, my reader was pretty upset.

The good next step is that my reader spoke to Amazon and was transferred to a Supervisor.  My reader reported that the Supervisor said that they understood why the reader was upset…and that the Supervisor would also have been upset. My reader appreciated that response. Further, the reader was given a purchase credit and told that the Supervisor

“…would make sure it was brought up in the next management meeting and steps would be taken to modify the process.”

That’s one of the things I like about Amazon!  I thought it was great when Jeff Bezos publicly apologized for Amazon removing unauthorized copies of a George Orwell book from people’s Kindles…he even called it “stupid”. Quick: who is the CEO of Barnes & Noble? When have you seen Barnes & Noble make a public apology for something? I’m not just picking on Barnes & Noble…you could pick many retail companies and ask these same questions.

I want to stress that I’ve always had good Customer Service in Barnes & Noble stores…I’ve just had less than empathetic responses (in my opinion) from B&N online and by phone.

I don’t know that we’ll know if Amazon changes this policy…unless somebody gets a different kind of a notification and lets us know. It will also likely take a bit of time to make a change.

I also want to say that I’ve written this post without questioning the accuracy of what my reader has told me. As I mentioned in the other post, I know there is a possibility that this isn’t accurate, but that isn’t my intuitive sense of it. I don’t see a particular practical reason for somebody to do it, and my assessment is that this is most likely someone who was genuinely upset…and who is now getting some resolution.

It’s possible that Amazon even saw your poll responses and comments, and that what you said has been a heads up for them as well.  Thanks for taking the time to express yourself!

If I hear more about a policy change, I’ll you know.

Update: Public Library Lending

Original post (September 20, 2011):

Flash! Kindles in Beta for public library lending on some sites

I’ve been reading my first public library book on my Kindle, and I wanted to return to the topic a bit (and I’ll probably do a Frequently Asked Kindle Questions on it).

I’m reading

Arrival City

by David Saunders. It’s a really interesting nonfiction look at a worldwide phenomenon, involving people from rural areas moving into “arrival cities” on the outskirts (or sometimes inside) large cities. Those arrival cities become a key growth factor for the city and for the “villages”…people who succeed there start businesses, and send money back to the villages. It’s well documented, and challenged my stereotypes of those sorts of “tent cities” (although they may be much more than tents). It suggests that governments may wrongly perceive these as detriments.

Is my reading it from the library a lost sale?

Nope.

I can say pretty confidently I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. It wasn’t even on my radar. It’s $13.99 in the Kindle edition…I don’t have a cutoff price, but that’s high enough that it wouldn’t have moved to the front of the line (over free public domain books, for example).

My mentioning it on the blog may even result in Kindle store sales they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten: not everybody has public library lending yet. For example, public library lending is not available outside the USA yet, to my knowledge, and people outside do read this blog. One or more of those may sample the book…and may end up buying it.

I did find the process pretty easy. I wanted to list here a very high level sense of how you get public library books on your Kindle or Kindle app:

  1. Get a library card
  2. Go to http://search.overdrive.com/ and click on Library Search and enter your zipcode to find your library
  3. Select a book that says it is available for the Kindle
  4. When you order the book, you’ll be taken to Amazon to choose the device to which you want it sent. If it’s a Kindle 3 or a reader app, it will show up there wirelessly. For a Kindle 1, Kindle 2, or Kindle DX, you download the book to your computer and then sideload it to your Kindle’s Documents folder using your included USB cable

There are some interesting factors to it. The sites for different libraries seem to vary considerably…not just in selection, but in how you search for titles, how long you can keep the book, and so on.

Yes, it’s much easier to get the books wirelessly. 🙂 That may also get people to get more free reader apps and/or to upgrade their Kindles.

The libraries’ collections already seem to be growing.

Okay, so here is a negative, but this may be mostly for me. 🙂 I like to read several books at the same time (not precisely the same time, of course)…to skip from one to another. However, since I have that library book, I feel like I need to concentrate on that one and get it done quickly…since other people may be waiting for it. 🙂 It’s sort of like the pressure to watch something on Tivo before it gets deleted to make room for something else. 😉

I also wanted to mention that I started two threads in the Amazon Kindle community to try to gather some data.

In this one:

How many e-books does your public library have?

I asked people to list how many e-books their libraries had and how many were actually available. I’ve had over 100 responses so far, but more than the numbers, it’s been interesting to see how the sites differ. I can easily see fiction versus nonfiction, and available versus not available. That hasn’t been true for everybody.

I also think it significant that some people suggest that the fact that their library is in a rural area, they’d be less likely to have e-books. I wouldn’t think that’s the case…I would think that rural libraries, with a lower concentration of people, would benefit more from digital distribution…and might find it cheaper. Of course, the penetration of EBRs (E-Book Readers) may be different in cities and rural areas, but I don’t know that.

In this thread:

Public librarians: what has been your Kindle/Overdrive experience?

I asked public librarians to give their experiences. I asked these questions as a prompt:

1. Did your library have to make a decision to add the Kindle format, or did it happen automatically if you already had Overdrive?

2. Is there an additional fee to the library to offer Kindle editions? Do you have to buy additional licenses?

3. Did Overdrive notify you of the change?

KDD had the first response, and it boiled down to: the library got Kindle versions automatically with no notification and at no additional cost.

However, KDD also observed the possibility that fees for Overdrive (the service that connect patrons to libraries for digital material) may go up as usage rises.

I really thought the library thing would be no big deal, that it was mostly to be competitive with other EBRs…but the implementation on the K3 is so easy that I can certainly see it regularly entering my reading mix.

As one of my regular readers and commenters, Tom Semple, pointed out, the new Sony has the ability to get Overdrive books directly from the device. That’s an update I’d like to see…right now, I plan on browsing the books and doing the “checkout” from my computer. I’d like to be able to do it from the Kindle, though. It’s worth pointing out that it would require a software update (we know one is coming, at least for ad-supported Kindles, but I suspect for more than that)…this one didn’t. I think that’s also why you can do public library related activities (like returning a book when you are done…drat, I’ve got to hurry in case someone is waiting!) from the Kindle. I don’t think the Kindle itself knows it is a library book.

There you go…two updates on previous stories. Feel free to let me know what you think about them.

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

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Freebie flash! Restoring, Zen, Science…and more (including a game)

September 25, 2011

Freebie flash! Restoring, Zen, Science…and more (including a game)

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and none of them block text-to-speech access. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Grid Detective
from Amazon Digital Services
size: 601kb

This one is am active content game, and is only available for Kindle 2s, 3s, and DX’s, and only in the USA. I debated putting this into a separate post, but decided to include it here. 🙂

A Touch of Night
by Sarah A. Vogt, Sofie Skapski
by Naked Reader Press (independent?)
size: 388kb
categories: fiction; romance; fantasy; historical

Gaze of Intent
by Brin Castle
published by Caldwell Press (independent?)
size: 37kb
categories: fiction; fantasy; contemporary

Restoring Hope (Native American Romance Series Book 1)
by Ruth Ann Nordin
independent
size: 278kb
categories: historical romance

The Zen Experience
by Thomas Hoover
published by Penguin
size: 743kb
categories: religious studies; history

Building Data Science Teams
by DJ Patil
independent
size: 176kb
categories: computers & internet

Praise Jerusalem
by Augusta Trobaugh
published by Bell Bridge
size: 582kb
categories: contemporary fiction

The Rich Man
by Miroslav Halás
independent
size:90kb
category:short stories

Natural Order (Fiction Friday)
by Michael Jasper
published by UnWrecked Press (independent?)
size:50kb
categories: fantasy; contemporary

Smoking Some Crack with Whitney Houston
by German Alcala
independent
size:36kb
categories:unavailable

The Wall
by Kanmi Iyanda
published by MyAppitude (independent?)
size: 1367kb
categories: fiction

Meet the Madfeet (Fiction Friday)
by Michael Jasper
published by UnWrecked Press (independent?)
size:51kb
categories: epic; fantasy

Without A Word
by c. Kevin Provance
independent
size: 167kb
categories: fiction

One Step Closer
by Iain Rowan
published by infinity plus (independent?)
size: 78kb
categories: short stories

Favored Son: A Short Novelette
by Joshua Scribner
independent
size: 35kb
categories: fiction; horror; ghosts

Cigs, Bolan & Strange Men With Guns (Prequel #1) (Assassination Series)
by Gayle Ramage
independent
size: 20kb
categories: fantasy

Sunda Cloud (K-Cycle Series)
by Kat Duncan
independent
size:89kb
category: mysteries & thrillers; suspense

Where is Paradise?
by Aliya Anjum
by Kolachi (independent?)
size: 17kb
categories: short stories

Ink
by Mark Graham
published by Gelastic Press (independent?)
size: 103kb
categories: fantasy; contemporary

Skidmark and Mudbeam (Fiction Friday)
by Michael Jasper
published by UnWrecked Press (independent?)
size: 44kb
categories: fiction; horror

Prime Pickings (An Eater Short)
by Richard Raley
independent
size: 42kb
categories: short stories

#baphomet: a short story
by Marcin Wrona
independent
size: 24kb
categories: fiction; fantasy

Marcus In Iraq
by Sonia Rumzi
published by Heart Press (independent?)
size: 107kb
categories: fiction; war

Bi-Quinary Rescue
by Gerald M. Weinberg
independent
size: 61kb
categories: science fiction

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

Governor Brown signs California/Amazon sales tax compromise

September 24, 2011

Governor Brown signs California/Amazon sales tax compromise

Governor Jerry Brown of California has signed a compromise with Amazon regarding compelling the Seattle-based company to collect California sales tax.

http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=17232

It’s a remarkable development, and one which was not at all certain to occur.

I’ve written about this previously, but this makes it official.

Amazon is dropping a petition drive to overturn California’s “Amazon law” which would have compelled it to collect California sales tax at the time of sale for sales going into California (on products which would have been taxable there if sold in a store…not on e-books).

Amazon also agrees to bring ten thousand jobs to California, and there is talk of them opening fulfillment centers in the state.

What did Amazon get in exchange?

The internet retailer does not have to collect sales tax in California…until September 15, 2012.

That gives time for a national sales tax policy (such as the “Main Street Fairness Act”) to get passed, which would override California’s law.

What does this mean for former Amazon Associates in California (which includes me)?

After all, Amazon dropped the program (through Amazon pays advertising fees to individuals and organizations that use special hyperlinks to direct buyers to Amazon) in California in response to the law California had passed…which is now suspended. My guess is that they’ll restart the program…and soon. Whether a federal law is passed or not, the presence of Associates in California after September 15, 2012 makes no difference. I should say, “Most likely.” The Main Street Fairness Act might not pass, and something else might. I doubt anything else will make advertisers into a “nexus” that forces a company to collect sales tax. If nothing passes, Amazon has to collect sales tax anyway.

The Associates are a good thing for Amazon: we drive business their way. The Associates are also a good thing for California, in my opinion: we pay income tax on those fees.  The argument against it is that people buy online from Amazon rather than buying the same thing in California…and then that they don’t pay their “use taxes” on their annual taxes, which is what they hypothetically should be doing.

However, it would be hard to demonstrate that people wouldn’t just go ahead and buy online, even with tax collection.

So, I’m guessing we’ll see the Associates program restored by Monday.

There is also a rumor out there that Amazon is going to announce the AmTab (Amazon Tablet…that’s just my slang for it) on Wednesday. They’ve called a press conference in New York for that day, according to online stories:

GadgetBox MSNBC article

Having the Associates back up and running for the launch of the AmTab would make a difference, I believe, in the early sales. Obviously, I’d be favorably affected by that personally, but I don’t think that’s swaying my speculation too much. 😉

My best guess: California Associates restored by Monday, AmTab announced on Wednesday…and I get one quickly and tell you about it. 🙂

Amazon could also be announcing something else, but the timing seems about right.

What do you think about Governor Brown signing? What do you think will happen with a national sales tax policy? Is the AmTab going to be announced Wednesday? Feel free to let me know.

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

Was Amazon wrong to do this?

September 23, 2011

Was Amazon wrong to do this?

Picture this. You turn on your Kindle, and this is displayed:

Displayed on the Kindle

I’ve obscured the name and the order number, of course.

What would you think?

What if other members of your family or other people saw it?

That’s the question here.

First, not that it makes a difference, but this was probably a mistake, from what I’ve been told. The credit card shouldn’t have had a problem. The problem was reportedly resolved with a two minute phone call.

Should there have been a phone call or an e-mail instead?

What about the language that was used?

My reader also reports that more than ten hours after the problem was resolved on the phone, the message was still appearing when the Kindle is first turned on.

When I first turned on my Kindle after purchase, the welcome letter appeared…i assume it’s a similar mechanism.

So, my reader was very upset…they considered it embarrassing, and (these are my words) sort of like trespassing…and advertising a problem that wasn’t really a problem.

I said I would ask you what you thought about it:

My guess is that many of you agree with my reader.

It reminded me of Amazon removing unauthorized copies of a George Orwell book from people’s Kindles. They later compensated people, and Jeff Bezos made a public apology (using the word “stupid” to describe the action). They said they would never do it again in the same circumstances.

I’ve said it before: I think Amazon is brilliant in a lot of ways, but they don’t always take into account how people are going to feel about things…you know, your typical geek. 😉

This might be one of those cases. I don’t think Amazon was legally wrong to do this…they just didn’t think about the emotional response.

Now, one of the things I like about Amazon is that they did apologize about the Orwell thing. I’ve always said,

“What’s the difference between an amateur and a professional? The professional knows how to fix the mistakes.”

Mistakes still get made, no matter how long you’ve done something…but a pro can keep going, knows how to adjust.

Amazon may hear about this…so your voice does matter here. If people thing this is a bad idea, they may change it.

I also need to address this: is there a chance that this is a false report? Sure, that’s possible, but I think it’s pretty unlikely. I don’t know this reader personally, but it would take a bit of work to put the Amazon logo on a document like that.  I also cropped the picture…I could see more of the Kindle. My intuitive sense is that this reader is telling the truth…I hope my reader doesn’t mind that I’m raising the issue of veracity, but I’m sure that will occur to some people. Let’s presume it’s an accurate and honest report and go from there.

I think one issue is the likelihood that other people will see something on your Kindle. That wouldn’t be very likely in my family, but my SO and I both have our own Kindles. If we only had one, it would be more likely, I think.

Should Amazon use the Kindle to send you account messages? Would you rather get an e-mail, a phone call, or a Kindle message?

Please feel free to let me know what you think. I’d be particularly interested to hear if you’ve seen a similar message…or had any message displayed on your screen like that.

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

Read the book first #1

September 22, 2011

Read the book first #1

I know I’ve said many times how much I don’t like spoilers…my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised.

However…

If I’m going to both read a book and see a movie, I want to read the book first. Oddly, I’ve never had a book spoil a movie for me, but I’ve had the reverse be true.

That might not be true for you. I know part of it probably is that I don’t visualize when I read. I’ve written about this before, too, but I don’t see the characters (or hear their voices) when I read. I also know that puts me in the minority (again). 😉

I remember when my Significant Other and I saw the first Harry Potter movie. My SO said Harry’s chin was wrong. I didn’t think that, because Harry’s chin hadn’t been described in the book. Messy black hair, glasses, and a scar…check.

The time when I found out that I was unusual in this was when I had read a book (back in the paper days), and then my SO was reading it. I asked my SO about how the book was going and I was told, “I’m having trouble reading it because when I hear this one character, I hear [the actor] Darren McGavin.” I said, “What do you mean?” “When I hear the voice, I hear Darren McGavin.”

Me: “You hear the character’s voice?”

SO: “You don’t hear the character’s voice?”

We had one of those classic committed couple “discussions” about which one of us was crazy. 🙂

Well, as you know, I like to do the research.

I was teaching different groups of people most days at that point, training computer software.  I started polling them.

It turned out that about fifteen percent of the people didn’t visualize the characters or hear the voices when they read.

So, that meant I was the weird one. 🙂

Actually, it varied quite a bit. In an advanced PowerPoint class, pretty much everybody would visualize. In an advanced Excel class, not very many people would.

I’ve had long discussions about this with people, and some of them seem to think it’s impossible for me to enjoy books without seeing the events. I get involved in it…it’s just all conceptual.

Oh, I do admit that sometimes I visualize a scene…if it’s poorly written. That surprises people, too…they think a well-written book is more likely to take you “into the scene”. For me, though, if something is not well-written, I may have to work out the logistics of the scene…where’s the window out of which that character jumped? Why couldn’t somebody stop that person…what was in the way?

The upshot of this long introduction is that, if I’m going to see a movie, I try to read the book first. 🙂

Here are some books that have upcoming adaptations…in case you feel the same.

The Hunger Games (book)
The Hunger Games (movie)

Suzanne Collins’ trilogy has been wildly successful (Collins is a member of the Kindle Million Club). The movie is headed to the big screen in a big way. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) directs Jennifer Lawrence, and a host of stars: Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and more. Scheduled for release March 23, 2012 in the USA.

The Hobbit (book)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected (movie, part 1)
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (movie, part 2)

The book is being broken into two movies (December 14, 2012, and December 13, 2013).  A lot of the creative team from the hit Lord of the Rings movies has been reassembled, including director Peter Jackson, co-screenwriter Fran Walsh, and many of the actors. Hard to see how they couldn’t be big hits.

A Princess of Mars (book)
John Carter (movie)

There have been many movies and multiple TV series based on Burroughs’ Tarzan, and a series of movies based on Pellucidar series (in the 1970s). His Mars (or Barsoom, as the locals call it) series of books has been popular. However, making a movie out of it is a challenge…important characters are humanoid, but not human…which is tough to pull off. In 2009, there was a version with Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Traci Lords…but I’m betting you didn’t see it. The March 9, 2012 big screen version is different.  It’s being directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo), and was sort of thought of as Pixar’s first live-action movie…but it won’t be released as a Pixar production (but as a Disney one). The stars are big: Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, and Samantha Morton, among others. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) plays John Carter, and Lynn Collins (True Blood) is Dejah Thoris. They’ve worked together on a movie before: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book)
Oz: The Great and Powerful (movie)

The Wizard appears in several of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and in fact, his character evolves a great deal. Since this is a prequel to the first book, though, I’m only linking it to that one. Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies) directs James Franco and Mila Kunis (and yes, Raimi fans, Bruce Campbell appears). The March 8, 2013 release may be pretty dark…the first book (which is actually one of my least favorites in the series…I’m a big Oz fan) is harsher than the later ones, so that may not be inappropriate (even though it could surprise some people).

The Woman in Black (book)
The Woman in Black (movie)

Susan Hill’s 1983 novel has been made into a long-running play, and had a television adaptation written by Nigel Kneale. The big buzz here is about Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) having the lead. Movie buffs will also be interested to know that this is from Hammer, the studio that made the Christopher Lee Dracula movies. Release date: February 3, 2012

Cogan’s Trade (book)
Cogan’s Trade (movie)

George Higgins has been adapted before (The Friends of Eddie Coyle). Now, this 1974 novel re-teams director Andrew Dominik and star Brad Pitt (the worked together on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).  Other stars include Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini…I’m guessing they aren’t going for the Yo Gabba Gabba! crowd. 😉

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (book)
What to Expect When You’re Expecting (movie)

This one is a bit odd. The book, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, is a non-fiction work for expectant mothers. I sold quite a few of them when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore. The movie is a romantic comedy, with Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, and Matthew Morrison (from Glee), among others. It’s due to be delivered on May 11, 2012.

Les Misérables (book)
Les Misérables (movie)

This is a movie of the musical of Victor Hugo’s 1862 classic. Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directs an all-star cast: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and his King’s Speech star, Helena Bonham Carter. Geoffrey Rush (also from King’s Speech) and Emma Watson are rumored to join the cast.  Since this one isn’t released until December 7, 2012, Watson won’t be in a box office battle with her Harry Potter co-star Radcliffe.

Robopocalypse (novel)
Robopocalypse (movie)

Steven Spielberg directs from Daniel Wilson’s science fiction novel…that’s enough to guarantee a hit. 😉 It’s not due until 2013, and no real casting news yet.

Life of Pi (book)
Life of Pi (movie)

Yann Martel’s Man Booker prize-winning novel is being directed by Ang Lee and stars Tobey Maguire. David Magee, Oscar-nominated for Finding Neverland, takes on the difficult task of adapting a book known for the richness of its language…never an easy task.

There are literally hundreds of other movies based on books in the works. I did limit myself to books with Kindle versions (and where text-to-speech access has not been blocked by the publisher). Let me know if you found this interesting…if you did, I may do another one later. 🙂

Oh, and I’ve had some interesting discussions about whether movies are ever as good as (or better than) the book…I say yes. That’s for another time, though.

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

It’s official! Kindle public library lending is here

September 21, 2011

It’s official! Kindle public library lending is here

Of course, you knew about it already…I wrote about it when it was in Beta, but Amazon has now announced the arrival of public library lending for the Kindle:

Amazon Kindle community thread

Here is the official page:

http://www.amazon.com/kindle/publiclibraries

I’ll update this later, but I wanted to give you the official word. 🙂

Update: I went to the Help page at Amazon, and that has some more detail.

Kindle Public Library help page

Here are a few key points:

  • Only in the USA
  • Only delivered via wi-fi or by downloading using your computer and then using the USB to “sideload”
  • It works with all Kindles and apps (including the Cloud Reader), but note that it will only be wireless to a Kindle if the Kindle has wi-fi
  • You can see the status of the loan at http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle and possibly at the library’s site
  • Terms (such as the length of the loan) may vary by library
  • Availability will vary by library
  • “This feature will become available to libraries nationwide in the coming days.”

Update 2:

The option was not available at my library when I checked…oh, an hour or so ago, but it is now.

I selected a book and put it in my cart (that might vary for you). It took my to Amazon, where I selected the device to which I wanted it sent.

I then checked at
http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

It shows there (sorry, I’m not in a place where I can do a screenshot) and says, “public library” by the title. Clicking on the plus box next to the title, it tells me the date the loan expires and there is a link so I could buy the book from Amazon if I wanted.

The Actions menu has an interesting set of choices:

  • Read Now (which would be in the Cloud Reader)
  • Deliver to my… (this did allow me to send it to other devices on the account, including my Kindle for Android app. That’s important, because I’d heard before that library licenses generally had one simultaneous device license…it appears to me that you can read the same library book on more than one device at the same time on the same account)
  • Purchase this book
  • Download & transfer via USB (that’s what the K2/KDX/K1 owners will need to do…wireless delivery is only by wi-fi)
  • Return this book (which suggests I could return it early…that’s nice, it will keep the waiting lists shorter)
  • Delete from library (not quite sure what that does here…I presume it would be my library, not the public library ;)).  That same option is on non-public library books

I’m not in a place where I have wi-fi right now…so I sent it to my Android. That was quick and easy…it showed up in my Kindle for Android.

I also downloaded the Overdrive app to my Android phone:  curiously, it doesn’t seem to know about that book. I did originally order it for the Kindle, but you would think it would know I have the book checked out of the library. I haven’t played around with that app enough to know if I’m not looking in the right place.

Getting the book was very easy…no software to download. When I posted before and it wasn’t really set up yet, it had asked me to download software…but that was for EPUB.

This is a nice plus for the Kindle. When we looked at competitive advantages, this was one the Kindle lacked that other devices had…at least in the USA, that’s no longer true.

Update 3:

I got into a wi-fi area, turned wireless on for my Kindle, and received it just like any other book or blog. It is definitely on two devices on my account at the same time, and it opened on the Kindle to where I had read on my phone.

There wasn’t a marker on the book (such as we see for “new” or “audio” on my Kindle to indicate it was a library book.

When I right-clicked on it, I got the same choices I would get for a book I bought from Amazon.

Update 4: thanks to patrinka in the Amazon Kindle community for posting this link:

http://overdriveblogs.com/library/2011/09/22/how-to-get-library-ebooks-on-the-amazon®-kindle

Overdrive has put up an instructional video on how to get library books on your Kindle.  It doesn’t explain how to sideload for anything other than a Kindle 3, though. For that, you can use

http://www.amazon.com/kindletransfer

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

George R.R. Martin joins the Kindle Million club

September 20, 2011

George R.R. Martin joins the Kindle Million club

Martin’s Million

George R. R. Martin has joined the “Kindle Million Club”, having sold more than a million books in the Kindle store.  That’s pretty much the way Amazon puts it. I’m assuming there have been a million purchases of his titles in the Kindle store. Each license purchase typically comes with six simultaneous device licenses…but I don’t think they are counting each SDL as a sale. 😉

He joins

  • Stieg Larsson (The Girl Who…)
  • James Patterson (Alex Cross)
  • Nora Roberts (over 100 novels: multiple RITA romance award winner)
  • Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse)
  • Lee Child (Jack Reacher)
  • Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games)
  • Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch)
  • John Locke (Donovan Creed)
  • Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum)
  • Kathryn Stockett (The Help)

Martin is the author of the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which is the basis for the HBO series, Game of Thrones (for which Peter Dinklage just won a best supporting actor in a drama Emmy).

Congratulations to George R.R. Martin!

He has some nice things to say in this

Amazon press release

How hard is it to sell a million books?

Well, the best-selling authors in the world have sold more than 100 million books. There are probably more than fifty of those authors. Still, it’s a great accomplishment.

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

Flash! Kindles in Beta for public library lending on some sites

September 20, 2011

Flash! Kindles in Beta for public library lending on some sites

It looks like we are getting to close to public library lending for the Kindle!

My public library site now lists the Kindle as a compatible device (although it says it is in Beta. Beta is a testing mode that typically happens just before a full release…some people may be “Beta testers”.

Public Library Site Showing Kindles as Compatible Devices

Note that although I didn’t include the DX, it was on that page, too…that would have just made it too big to get this screenshot.

It may be hard for you to read, but the file types listed are:

  • EPUB
  • PDF
  • OEPUB
  • OPDF
  • MP3
  • WMA (apparently shown as an audiobook)
  • WMA (apparently shown as music)
  • WMV (which is for movies?!)

The O prefix probably stands for “open”, since the EPUB and PDFs are shown both with and without a closed padlock.

The “more information” link just gave me specs on the Kindle (size and weight, that sort of thing).

The Product Page link took me to an interesting Amazon page…it showed comparisons of the Kindles, rather than being the product page for a specific Kindle:

Kindle comparison page

Fascinating! I went through the process of check-out. First, I had to find a book I can add to my cart, instead of being put on a waiting list for it. You’ll find that isn’t easy to do, I think.

Go to

http://www.overdrive.com

and put in your zipcode to get started.

It wanted me to download software to my computer for Adobe EPUB…presumably, I would download the file there and transfer it to my Kindle. However, I know my Kindle can’t read EPUB with DRM…Digital Rights Management (yet).

That does appear to be the way it will work, though…it looks like our Kindles will get EPUB with DRM support. That makes sense with some of the things they’ve said, like libraries not needing to buy a new set of licenses for Kindles.

Does that mean we’ll be able to get EPUB books with DRM from other sources? I would guess it will, but it’s just a guess.

Well, this ought to make the waiting lists a lot longer! 😉

Check you public library through Overdrive.com and see if you see the Kindle as an option yet…

I would think the feature will come pretty soon…probably not much reason to keep it in Beta very long.

Positive people, get ready for a new (if limited) option! Complainers, I’m expecting to read what you have to say as well… 🙂

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

Freebie flash! French, Vegetarian, Light, Zombie and more

September 19, 2011

Freebie flash! French, Vegetarian, Light, Zombie and more

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and none of them block text-to-speech access. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Switching to Mac: The How-To Guide
by Vook
size: 116kb
categories: nonfiction, business & investing

Videogames: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 572kb
categories: nonfiction, games

Talk to Your Kids About Sex: The Video Guide [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Vook
size: 63,371kb
categories: nonfiction; advice & how-to; health, mind, & body

Talk to Your Kids About Sex: The How-To Guide
by Vook
size: 96kb
categories: nonfiction; advice & how-to; health, mind, & body

Note the difference on file sizes between this one and the enhanced version…

Vegetarian Indian Cooking: The How-To Guide
by Nitaisundara dasa
published by Vook
size: 168kb
categories: cooking, food, & wine; vegetables & vegetarian

The 1940s: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 433kb
categories: nonfiction, history

The 1950s: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 399kb
categories: nonfiction, history

The 1960s: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 475 kb
categories: nonfiction, history

The 1970s: A Brief History (Enhanced Version) [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Vook
size: 45,980kb
category: nonfiction, history

The 1980s: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 316kb
categories: nonfiction, history

The 1990s: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 472kb
categories: nonfiction, history

The 2000s: A Brief History
by Vook
size: 368kb
categories: nonfiction, history

Yellowstone National Park: A Visitor’s Quick Guide
by Vook
size: 442kb
categories: nonfiction, travel

Yoga for Stress Relief: The How-To Guide
by Vook
size: 86kb
categories: nonfiction; advice & how-to; health, mind, & body

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: Video Game Guide [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Vook
size: 72,364kb
categories: nonfiction; games

Space Shuttle: A Brief History (Enhanced Version) [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Vook
size: 54,960kb
categories: nonfiction, science

Tim Pawlenty: A Politician’s Journey
by Vook
size: 593kb
categories: nonfiction; biographies & memoirs

Shanghai: A Brief History (Enhanced Version) [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Vook
size: 29,241kb
categories: nonfiction; history

Tokyo: A Brief History (Enhanced Version) [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video]
by Vook
size: 33,316kb
categories: nonfiction; history

In the Light of You
by Nathan Singer
published by Tyrus Books (independent?)
categories: literary fiction

The Everything Soup, Stew, and Chili Cookbook (Everything (Cooking))
by Belinda Hulin
published by Adams Media
size: 769kb
categories: nonfiction; cooking, food, and wine; meals; soups & stews

The Son of Man
by Charles W. Johnson
size: 528kb
categories: genre fiction; thrillers; suspense

French Quarter: Hot in the City, Book 1
by Lacey Alexander
published by Samhain
size: 419kb
categories: contemporary romance

Samhain product warning:

“Warning: Contains sizzling hot sex any way she wants it—and a man (or two) more than willing to show her the ropes. Let the good times roll, baby!”

Zombie Joe and the pogo stick legs
by Geltab
size: 14kb
categories: humor

Note the size…

One Foot in the Grave-A Holiday Short Short Story
by J. Steven York
published by Tsunami Ridge (independent?)
size: 49kb
categories: fiction; fantasy

An Outrider’s Tale (Fiction Friday)
by Michael Jasper
published by Unwrecked Press (independent?)
size: 47kb
categories: fiction; fantasy; epic

Just Another Day in Paradise
by Katherine Tomlinson
independent
size: 208kb
categories: genre fiction; anthologies

Realms of the Red Rabbit (Realms of the Red Rabbit series, Book 1)
by Laura Eno
independent
size: 392kb
categories: science fiction; adventure

Realms of the Red Rabbit-Jake (Realms of the Red Rabbit series, Book 2)
by Laura Eno
independent
size: 309kb
categories: fiction; fantasy; epic; world literature; mythology; children’s

They Call the Wind Muryah
by Gregory Marshall Smith (Author), C.J. Ellisson (Editor), Sydney Jelinek (Editor)
published by Red Hot Publishing (independent?)
size: 382kb
categories: fiction; fantasy; contemporary

A Miracle in Shreveport (Fiction Friday)
by Michael Jasper
published by UnWrecked (independent?)
size: 50kb
categories: fiction; fantasy; historical

Dark Tidings: Volumes I & II
by Gregory Marshall Smith (Author), Shontrell Wade (Editor)
published by Red Hot Publishing (independent?)
size: 405kb
categories: genre fiction; horror

The Man Who Murdered Himself: A Short Story
by Nancy Fulda
independent
size: 20kb
categories: fiction; short stories

Song of the Vampire
by Carole Gill
independent
size: 41kb
categories: genre fiction; horror

Committed: A Short Story
by N. Primak
independent
size: 170kb
categories: children’s fiction; literature; short story collections

The Doll House: Inventory
by Richard Roberts
independent
size: 56kb
categories: fiction; fantasy

Immaculate Fetish
by Jamie Antonia Symonanis
independent
size: 605kb
categories: science fiction; adventure

Redcoat
by David Crookes
independent
size: 553kb
categories: genre fiction; historical

A Reluctant Vampire
by Carla Krae
independent
size: 26kb
categories: fantasy; historical

Awkward Memoirs From Actual India
by Romi Moondi
size: 45kb
categories: humor; essays

How to Make Love to a Woman
by A.M. Elm
published by Gray Cadence (independent?)
size: 76kb
categories: fiction; short stories

Wet Work (A Greg Kelton Story)
by Brian Springer
published by Ann Egan (independent?)
size: 60kb
categories: genre fiction; mysteries & thrillers

I Zombie I
by Jack Wallen
published by Autumnal (independent?)
size: 452kb
categories: genre fiction; horror; occult

Some Secrets of the Qur’an
by Harun Yahya- Adnan Oktar (Author)
published by Global (independent?)
size: 136kb
categories: nonfiction; religion & spirituality; Islam; Quran

Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles)
by Susan Bischoff
independent
size: 334kb
categories: children’s; love & romance

HOSTILE WITNESS (legal thriller, thriller) (The Witness Series)
by Rebecca Forster
independent
size: 409kb
categories: genre fiction; romantic suspense

Legwork (Casey Jones Mystery Series)
by Katy Munger
independent
size: 454kb
categories: genre fiction; mystery & thrillers; women sleuths

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

Hardback sales are…up

September 18, 2011

Hardback sales are…up

The Association of American Publishers has done an extensive study of the changing publishing landscape.

The news may be better than you think.

People are buying more books, and presumably reading more.

That’s not just e-books, where the growth has been explosive. People are buying more hardbacks, too.

This page:

http://www.publishers.org/bookstats/formats/

summarizes the shifting marketshare and sales of the different formats.

Not surprisingly, e-books have grown amazingly from 2008 to 2010.

According to the report, unit sales of e-books jumped over 1000% in those two years.

Total net unit sales of hardbacks during that period went up 5.6%.

However, and this really caught my eye, net revenue for hardbacks during that period was only up 0.9%. The unit growth rate was six times faster than the revenue growth rate.

They are making less per hardback.

Could the concerns that prompted the publishers to adopt the Agency Model be right? Are the lower prices for e-books driving down the prices people are willing to pay for hardbacks?

The other big story about formats, to me, is one that I’ve told you about previously. Mass market paperback sales are crashing. During that three year period, unit sales were down 16.8%. Mass markets had the niche of being cheaper and more convenient…e-books are taking over that spot. I think we can reasonably expect mass market paperbacks to be a specialized product within a few years…that it won’t be a regular thing for all major books to come out in mass market paperback.

As I’ve also mentioned before, that’s going to impact e-book prices. Right now, the e-book price tends to drop when the currently available new paper version goes down in price. If the mass market paperback isn’t issued any more, that’s a price drop we won’t get. I do expect e-book prices to fluctuate more rapidly than paperbooks ever did, based to some extent on demand.

I also ran another interesting breakdown on the figures.

Average publisher revenue on a hardback in 2010: $8.72.

Average publisher revenue on an e-book in 2010:  $7.70.

Publishers made more average net revenue on a hardback than on an e-book in 2010.

That’s not profit, though…that’s net revenue (the net is after returns, presumably). Still, I’m a bit surprised it’s that close.

Average net revenue for mass market paperbacks in 2010: $4.01.

Average net revenue for trade paperbacks (those are the larger paperbacks): $4.79.

One last thing, and then I’ll direct you to the website…there is a lot of analysis there I haven’t shared, of course…don’t want to take too much away from them.

Here are net unit sales for 2010, in ascending order by format:

  • E-books: 114 million
  • Mass market paperbacks: 319 million
  • Hardbacks: 603 million
  • Trade paperbacks: 1.1 billion
Would you have picked trade paperbacks as the most popular format? When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, they were a fringe part of the store…we sold them, but we sold many more mass markets and hardbacks.
Times change…but I’m happy to see more people reading. See? E-books have made reading cool again. 😉
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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