Archive for April, 2012

Barnes & Noble teams up with Microsoft, splits off NOOK & College

April 30, 2012

Barnes & Noble teams up with Microsoft, splits off NOOK & College

Is this the end of the chain bookstore as we know it?

Quite possibly (sorry, Books-A-Million…I’m not ignoring you but you do feel different than a Borders, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Crown Books).

Since this story is (largely) about books, it may take an hour or two before you see it on the news, but this really is a big story.

I don’t see the press release on the Barnes & Noble website yet…I’ll link it when it shows up there. I’ve only gotten it as an e-mail.

Here is the key thing:

“The new subsidiary, referred to in this release as Newco, will bring together the digital and College businesses of Barnes & Noble.  Microsoft will make a $300 million investment in Newco at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake. Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new subsidiary, which will have an ongoing relationship with the company’s retail stores. Barnes & Noble has not yet decided on the name of Newco.”

Boom! Microsoft pumps a bunch of cash into Barnes & Noble.

One of the very interesting parts will be what that “ongoing relationship” with the retail stores will be.

Sure, NOOK software will be quickly available for Windows 8. That opens up many more users for B&N (although Windows users generally may already be using the Kindle app and the B&N reader app).

This may worry some of you:

Andy Lees, President of Microsoft said:

“Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re on the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

If you don’t want your reading revolutionized, sorry. 😉

I want to get this out to you right away, but I do expect the story to develop a great deal over the course of the day. What is it going to mean for Amazon and Apple? For Book-A-Million? For independent bookstores? It will be intriguing to watch stock movements today.

The news will solidify when B&N and Microsoft host a webcast at 8:30 AM Eastern Time this morning (about 45 minutes away as I write this).

That’s probably when it will break.

Update: the press release is on the B&N site now:

Press Release

The same press release is on the Microsoft site:

Press Release

Update: Yes, the story has broken:

Wall Street Journal article

CNBC article

AP via Seattle PI

Update: I thought I’d give you a little background on two parts of this.

First, something that’s involved is Microsoft having sued Barnes & Noble. That was announced on March 21 of 2011:

The basics of the claims have to do with the Android system allegedly infringing on Microsoft’s patents.


Foss Patents blogpost

gives you a pretty good overview.

Those suits can go on for a very long time, and this was still progressing.

This deal settles the legal situation between the two of them. It might seem odd that Microsoft is paying the money if it was the one suing. B&N may be paying them money for using the patents, which may make the amount that Microsoft pays effectively less.

The other thing is that Microsoft used to sell e-books.

They had a .lit (short for literature) format, which they introduced in the year 2000, and which they were phasing out. I wrote about it in this

earlier post

Microsoft may have just been too far ahead of the game. In 2000, e-books were obviously used mostly on computers…we didn’t have tablets and EBRs (E-Book Readers).

They still have an active website

Microsoft was allowing people to download the application until August 30th of this year, although materials basically had stopped being sold on November 8th of 2011.

That’s both good and bad, in my mind. It shows that Microsoft was interested in books a long time ago (in tech years), and may still have people with experience (even though it may be largely run by B&N).

The bad news shows a willingness to abandon a format in the commercial market…

As always, I’m interested in your opinions on this.  Feel free to comment on this post.

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


Big Best Buy sale: buy a Fire, get a Mindle for $39.99

April 29, 2012

Big Best Buy sale: buy a Fire, get a Mindle for $39.99

I’m writing this on my Kindle Fire at Starbucks, so I’ll polish it a bit later.

In today’s Best Buy ad, they have what is very close to a “buy a Fire, get a Mindle half off sale “.

This deal is good through May 5th.

Update; Okay, I’m on a netbook extending and polishing this. 🙂

Here’s a link to the ad:!/tablets+amp+ereaders

They also have a Kindle Touch 3G (not just wi-fi) for $149.95…and then they give you a $40 gift card.

3G is nice to have: it means you can connect in a lot more places, not just places with a wi-fi network.

It also looks like these are good online…and they have free shipping on everything at (with a couple of small disclaimers) through May 7th.

Oh, and I confirm something I wrote about previously: Walmart is giving a $30 gift card with the purchase of a Mindle:

Walmart ad

This is valid today, Sunday May 29, through May 5th.

If you buy a Fire also, the Best Buy deal is about $10 better. If you don’t, obviously, the Walmart ad is better on the Mindle. Best Buy has a good deal on the 3G Touch, though.

Do these two deals suggest something is coming soon from Amazon in terms of new hardware? Maybe, but Mothers’ Day is traditionally a big sales period for books, and that likely means EBRs (E-Book Readers) as well.

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

Today only: 100 legacy mysteries for $0.99 each

April 29, 2012

Today only: 100 legacy mysteries for $0.99 each

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal is interesting:

100 Kindle mysteries for $0.99

It’s not only the Kindle Daily Deal, it’s the Gold Box Deal…Gold Box Deals usually aren’t Kindle items.

When I went to see which mysteries they were, I first checked for current, popular authors. That’s not what I saw (we’ll probably starting getting more of those in these sorts of deals when the Agency Model suit settles).

However, I also wasn’t seeing works by what might be called “nouveau authors”. Those would be authors who have only recently started having their books available for purchase, largely due to e-publishing.

These were older authors, although they may not be well-known.

I decided to go with “legacy” books…they are our legacy from the paper days, when they were first published.

Certainly, in some of these cases, they probably go back to pulp (not necessarily these specific works).

I like that term: “legacy books”, so I expect I’ll use it again in the future (although I’ll define it again…I know it bothers some people that I constantly define the terms I use, but I do that to accommodate people ho are encountering them for the first time, or who have forgotten).

A legacy book was originally published in paper (pulp, paperback, hardback) prior to 2005 (when e-books began to be really considered, although it was 2007 before the Kindle transformed the market).

The books in today’s deal s are all from a publisher called

Prologue Books

I checked out that website: not every publisher/imprint has a curator! Here’s a short excerpt from that curator, Greg Shapard:

“A great story is a great story. Prologue has got some great stories for you—mysteries, thrillers, some dark, some comic; downbeat noir and frantic chases; subtle suspense and sophisticated tongue-in-cheek; some with wise-cracking detectives and scheming sexpots, some with average joes in a tight situation. These are stories that take you somewhere and take you quick. If you haven’t read these authors before, you’re in for a treat—a timeless treat.”

So, who do we have?

Fletcher Flora

Fletcher Flora was published in the 1950s and 1960s, both with novels and in magazines. Flora wrote three books as Ellery Queen. but I think you’ll get a sense of these novels from the titles.  🙂

Park Avenue Tramp
Wake Up With a Stranger
Leave Her to H*ll
Killing Cousins
The Hot Shot
The Brass Bed
The Seducer

Whit Masterson/Wade Miller 

Badge of Evil (This book was adapted for the Orson Welles movie, Touch of Evil)

William Campbell Gault

The Wayward Widow (Joe Puma)
End of a Call Girl (Joe Puma)
Night Lady (Joe Puma)
The Bloody Bokhara
The Hundred Dollar Girl
Day of the Ram (Brock Callahan)

Vin Packer/Marijane Meaker/M.E. Kerr

Girl on the Best Seller List
The Evil Friendship

Charles Runyon

Kiss The Girls and Make Them Die

Richard Deming

Peter Rabe

Ed Lacy

Ornie Hitt

Frank Kane

Robert Colby

In the Vanishing Room

Update: thanks to my readers wvstampman and adelaideb for comments which helped improve this post.

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

Excerpt: The Scarecrow of Oz

April 29, 2012

Excerpt: The Scarecrow of Oz

It amazes me when I go back and re-read L. Frank Baum’s Oz series as to just how contemporary it seems at times. Take this excerpt from The Scarecrow of Oz, first published in 1915. There is a character called the Pessim who would fit right into some of the online forums I’ve seen. 😉 You may be surprised that the main characters in the excerpt aren’t Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion. This is another place where Baum was contemporary: it’s a crossover. Baum wanted to stop writing the Oz stories, and made a couple of attempts to do so. Trot and Cap’n Bill had already been in two novels by this point, but hey, putting them into your most popular series couldn’t hurt, right? 😉  I hope you enjoy this: if you do, you can read the whole book for free:

The Scarecrow of Oz

If you are willing to spend ninety-nine cents, though, you can get the “famous fourteen” L. Frank Baum Oz books, plus the first of the Ruth Plumly Thompson ones:

The Complete Wizard of Oz Series


Chapter Five

The Little Old Man of the Island

A few steps brought them to the shed, which was merely a roof of boughs built over a square space, with some branches of trees fastened to the sides to keep off the wind. The front was quite open and faced the sea, and as our friends came nearer they observed a little man, with a long pointed beard, sitting motionless on a stool and staring thoughtfully out over the water.

“Get out of the way, please,” he called in a fretful voice. “Can’t you see you are obstructing my view?”

“Good morning,” said Cap’n Bill, politely.

“It isn’t a good morning!” snapped the little man. “I’ve seen plenty of mornings better than this. Do you call it a good morning when I’m pestered with such a crowd as you?”

Trot was astonished to hear such words from a stranger whom they had greeted quite properly, and Cap’n Bill grew red at the little man’s rudeness. But the sailor said, in a quiet tone of voice:

“Are you the only one as lives on this ‘ere island?”

“Your grammar’s bad,” was the reply. “But this is my own exclusive island, and I’ll thank you to get off it as soon as possible.”

“We’d like to do that,” said Trot, and then she and Cap’n Bill turned away and walked down to the shore, to see if any other land was in sight.

The little man rose and followed them, although both were now too provoked to pay any attention to him.

“Nothin’ in sight, partner,” reported Cap’n Bill, shading his eyes with his hand; “so we’ll have to stay here for a time, anyhow. It isn’t a bad place, Trot, by any means.”

“That’s all you know about it!” broke in the little man. “The trees are altogether too green and the rocks are harder than they ought to be. I find the sand very grainy and the water dreadfully wet. Every breeze makes a draught and the sun shines in the daytime, when there’s no need of it, and disappears just as soon as it begins to get dark. If you remain here you’ll find the island very unsatisfactory.”

Trot turned to look at him, and her sweet face was grave and curious.

“I wonder who you are,” she said.

“My name is Pessim,” said he, with an air of pride. “I’m called the Observer.”

“Oh. What do you observe?” asked the little girl.

“Everything I see,” was the reply, in a more surly tone. Then Pessim drew back with a startled exclamation and looked at some footprints in the sand. “Why, good gracious me!” he cried in distress.

“What’s the matter now?” asked Cap’n Bill.

“Someone has pushed the earth in! Don’t you see it?

“It isn’t pushed in far enough to hurt anything,” said Trot, examining the footprints.

“Everything hurts that isn’t right,” insisted the man. “If the earth were pushed in a mile, it would be a great calamity, wouldn’t it?”

“I s’pose so,” admitted the little girl.

“Well, here it is pushed in a full inch! That’s a twelfth of a foot, or a little more than a millionth part of a mile. Therefore it is one-millionth part of a calamity—Oh, dear! How dreadful!” said Pessim in a wailing voice.

“Try to forget it, sir,” advised Cap’n Bill, soothingly. “It’s beginning to rain. Let’s get under your shed and keep dry.”

“Raining! Is it really raining?” asked Pessim, beginning to weep.

“It is,” answered Cap’n Bill, as the drops began to descend, “and I don’t see any way to stop it—although I’m some observer myself.”

“No; we can’t stop it, I fear,” said the man. “Are you very busy just now?”

“I won’t be after I get to the shed,” replied the sailor-man.

“Then do me a favor, please,” begged Pessim, walking briskly along behind them, for they were hastening to the shed.

“Depends on what it is,” said Cap’n Bill.

“I wish you would take my umbrella down to the shore and hold it over the poor fishes till it stops raining. I’m afraid they’ll get wet,” said Pessim.

Trot laughed, but Cap’n Bill thought the little man was poking fun at him and so he scowled upon Pessim in a way that showed he was angry.


The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum was originally published in the USA in 1915, and is in the public domain in that country. This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Round up #80: Amazon spoils Mockingjay, Walmart

April 28, 2012

Round up #80: Amazon spoils Mockingjay, Walmart

Walmart offering Kindle deal for Mothers’ Day?

I was sort of holding off on this, hoping to get a confirmation before I ran it, but it looks like it might not be known for sure until Sunday…and some of you just might be shopping for Kindles this weekend for Mothers’ Day (or other reasons).

S. Bain, in this

Amazon Kindle community thread

linked to this image:

It’s supposed to be a “leaked” ad for Walmart, presumably for their this weekend. It shows that if you buy a Mindle for $79 during the sale period, they’ll give you a $30 Walmart gift card.

A few important points:

  • We don’t know if this is even a real ad
  • If it is, we don’t know if Walmart would have changed it or not by then
  • We don’t know if it’s a national ad
  • You’d be shopping at Walmart, and not everybody wants to do that

The question came up about Amazon price-matching.

First, Amazon doesn’t promise to price-match most things. If you click on the link on most pages to report a lower price, it says

“Found a lower price? Let us know. Although we can’t match every price reported, we’ll use your feedback to ensure that our prices remain competitive.”

Second, the price of the Mindle would still be $79…that would be the price match, not $49.

Still, that’s an attractive deal. You could use the $30 for accessories, like a cover or a light.

I’ll keep checking the for the ad, and update this if I see it.

Amazon spoils Mockingjay

Okay, some of you know this about me…I really don’t like spoilers. My favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and taking that away from somebody is…let’s go with inappropriate.

When a newspaper spoiled a big Star Wars secret, above the fold (so it showed in newspaper stands), I never bought that newspaper again.

Well, I’m glad I hadn’t seen this before I got my first Kindle!

I’m going to do something atypical here, and not recommend that you read the article…because ironically, the article about the spoiling reproduces the spoiling…and even comments on it!

Without giving away the details, the basic story is that there was a big ad on a public transit vehicle for the Kindle…and it showed the opening paragraphs of Mockingjay, the third book in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series.

It would be different if it was the first paragraphs of the first book…that just gets you started, it doesn’t tell you about events before you would discover them in the course of the series.

I know, it was some advertising agency’s decision, and I’m not holding Amaozn responsible…but if that was my first contact with the company, it might have been different.

Bloomberg: A Pair of Kindle-Killers Surpass Amazon: Rich JaroslovsTrg article

Rich Jaroslovsky writes about two devices: the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight (TM) and the Galaxy Tab 2.

I personally don’t think that the Galaxy Tab 2 is a direct competitor to the Fire…oh, it’s in the same class, certainly, but at this point, if you aren’t tied to a content supplier, I don’t really think it’s a one-to-one. That’s just my opinion on that, though…feel free to disagree, I’m not very solid on it. 🙂

As to the GlowLight (TM), yes, Barnes & Noble stole a march on Amazon…again. It has happened before…the NOOKColor beat the Fire handily to market, but the Fire was, I would say, considerably superior.

I’m expecting Amazon to come out with a glow light (not TM) 😉 reflective screen Kindle this year…at least one.

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

Selling more, making less: Amazon’s Q1 2012 report

April 26, 2012

Selling more, making less: Amazon’s Q1 2012 report

You know, it amuses me when some people paint Amazon as this greedy corporate monster, just piling up huge profits at the expense of society.

Really? If that’s the case, they’re seriously bad at it. 😉

It would be like a tyrant punishing people by giving them paid vacations to Disneyland…

Let’s leave the “expense of society” out of it for now, because that’s pretty hard to judge and somewhat subjective.

How about profits?

In this

press release

Amazon says that net income for the first quarter of 2012 was down a whopping thirty-five percent from the first quarter of 2011.

This certainly isn’t a surprise: they’ve been spending like crazy in that past year. They launched a very different hardware product in the Kindle Fire. They’ve been signing deals for videos for Prime. They’ve been paying millions of dollars to publishers when customers borrow their books.

Sales are way up: thirty-four percent comparing the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2011.

It always seems a bit weird to me how the stock market reacts.It isn’t how you did: it’s how you did compared to how they thought you would do.

“Wow! You didn’t flunk that class and got a D? Let’s party!” 🙂

Amazon stock is going up on this news, because people thought their income loss would be more than it was and/or that their sales would be lower.

CNN Money: “Amazon blows estimates away. Stock surges.”

Amazon is a long term investment. They are building the future, and that might be at the expense of the present.

Let’s be honest: Apple made a lot of profit in Q1. If you have a short-term view, if you are looking at current state, Apple is doing better.

However, if you are looking at where things may be ten years from now, that might be different. Will Apple continue to transform the businesses in which it is the leader? Sure, that’s possible. Will Amazon do that? I’d bet on it. Yes, I might lose big…but I would think that Amazon will be the top of the heap or buried at the bottom, not in the middle.

They will have been right or they will have been wrong…but they won’t have been asleep.

Update: this is an amusing

TechCrunch article

about the Q&A section of the conference call. That’s often the most interesting part, although usually, not much concrete comes out of it. Nothing big slipped out of the call and into the news.

Update: I thought one interesting exchange in the Q&A was the one about how much of Amazon’s sales (around the world) are subject to the same sales tax or VAT tax as brick-and-mortars. The answer was about 50%. Of course, in the USA, they can claim Nevada, which doesn’t have sales tax. 🙂 The follow-up was asking whether that had slowed sales…and the answer was essentially no. You would think, then, that Amazon might support a national sales tax policy…and they do, publicly and very much so. 🙂

They have posted the recording:

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

Tor goes DRM free

April 25, 2012

Tor goes DRM free

This one is fascinating news!

Tor books

has announced

that all of its e-books (both in the USA and the UK) will be DRM (Digital Rights Management) free by July of 2012.

It’s a bold move by a major publisher (Tor is part of Macmillan) and this will be watched closely by the industry.

Let’s start out with what it means.

DRM is typically accomplished by inserting code into a book file (in this case) to control its use.

For example, DRM might prevent someone from copying a file, or converting it to another format, or accessing it through text-to-speech.

Many people on the internet have expressed distaste (and that’s putting it mildly) for the concept.

Releasing a book DRM free means that purchasers can buy it from the Kindle store and convert it for use on a NOOK.


It doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want with the file. You are still bound by laws and your license agreement.

Here is what I think people may not see as the unintended consequence of this: more legal prosecution of pirates (even unintentional ones).

That’s what I have liked about DRM (although there are things I don’t like). It’s a preventative measure, not a punitive one.

It doesn’t stop serious pirates, we know that.

Suppose you buy a book file, and your license agreement says you can’t copy it for anybody else. Of course, you haven’t read that. 🙂 If there is an electronic prohibition, when you send it to your grandparent, you get a call: “It says I can’t use it.” You say, “Oh, well…sorry about that.”

If there is no electronic prohibition, your grandparent opens it.

The publisher could, hypothetically, go after you for that violation…and that might not be pretty.

Those are the choices: prevention or prosecution, basically.

Amazon gives publishers using their Kindle Direct Publishing the choice to include DRM or not. I don’t know what the statistics are as to how many do. It’s odd to me that it doesn’t say it explicitly on the product page…I’d like to see a lot more things on the product page, but that’s a different issue.

So, are you likely to care about what Tor books does?

I think so.

They do mostly science fiction and fantasy…and well known ones, at that.

There is a major movie being made of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, for release November 1st of next year. That’s a Tor book…and a widely-read one. I’d be willing to say it is some young people’s favorite book.

Here is a search for

Tor books in the Kindle store

Other imprints of theirs are included

Oh, and they do say that the books “…will be available from the same range of retailers that currently sell their e-books”. That certainly suggests you’ll still be able to get them at Amazon.

There is some interesting back story on this, since I think Macmillan formerly cracked down on Tor releasing some books without DRM.  Does this signal a shift? If it works for Macmillan, will other big publishers follow?

It will be interesting to watch.

What do you think? Will these books get a sales boost? Will there be a crackdown on infringement? Is this the beginning of open e-books being the norm? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Round up #79: movies on Touch, Send to Kindle for Mac

April 24, 2012

Round up #79: movies on Touch, Send to Kindle for Mac

Send to Kindle for Mac now available

In this

Amazon Kindle community thread

Amazon announces that Send to Kindle has come to the Mac.

That’s significant in a couple of ways.

Not only does it show that Amazon is continuing to work to give us more capabilities (at no additional cost), it also shows that they take the time to notify us…in a customer forum.

I often go back to that as a reason why I like Amazon…customer service.

I was recently made a “Kindle Forum Pro”, which gives me a badge in the forum. It’s based on forum member ratings, and I think they said they reassess it every quarter.

I don’t like the name of the title, actually, because a “pro” to me suggests that I’m getting paid for it.

I’ve also seen the sincerity of one of the Kindle Forum Pros called into question by other posters…the suggestion was actually made that the “pro” got the badge by toeing the company line! I’m surprised at how eager people are to put negative interpretations on things.

Okay, back to the announcement. 🙂

We’ve had Send to Kindle for the PC since January 13 of this year, and it is a nice feature.

It allows you to send documents to your Kindles easily. The announcement says:

“From Finder, simply drag and drop one or more documents on to the Send to Kindle icon on your Dock or launch the application and drag and drop one or more documents on to it. From Finder, you can also control-click on one or more documents and choose Send to Kindle. From any other application that can print, select Print and choose Send to Kindle.”

You can get the Send to Kindle software here:

Touches that Movie You

Everybody knows you can’t watch movies on an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle), right?

Well, you certainly can’t watch full video, like you would see on Netflix (which just had a worrying financial report, by the way…could Amazon Instant Video be having an impact?) or Hulu.

Thanks to T. Kaya in this

Amazon Kindle community forum thread

for the heads up on this

YouTube video

which shows a Kindle Touch doing animation…sort of.

It’s very limited animation…it doesn’t even rise to the level of an old Speed Racer cartoon. 😉

It’s more like a flipbook…there are a few images showing an action taking place, and your mind feels in the gaps.

Of course, that’s what happens with all video…but how smooth it is has to do with how many “frames” a second you see.

That’s the current limitation with E Ink and animation…it just takes too long to “draw each screen” to get a very fast FPS (frames per second) rate.

So, you see the gaps.

The dark flashes we periodically get would also make this less effective.

Still, the video is cool…it’s like building a cruise ship out of ping pong balls. It’s not the equivalent of the real thing, but just the ability to do it is impressive. 😉

Shipping News

Amazon started shipping the Kindle Touch internationally on April 20th, seven days early, according to this

press release

Barnes & Noble is also shipping their NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight (TM) ahead of time, according to this

press release

This is something I expect to have come to a future RSK as well…it’s front-lighting you can turn on and off. B&N is ahead of Amazon on it, and is pushing it for Mother’s Day (which is traditionally a big bookselling holiday).

It’s a nicely-written press release, and does say that there are demo models in the stores. They also said there has been “very strong pre-order demand”, which is good to hear, even if a bit imprecise (no less so than Amazon often is, of course).

LYKF update available

My book, Love Your Kindle Fire, now has an update available if you are a previous buyer at your


Go to the page, search for the title…and you’ll see a link that says

update available

In the


button, you’ll also see a choice to

Update this title

They do warn you:

“Please note: When we send you the updated version, you will no longer be able to view any highlights, bookmarks, and notes made, and your furthest reading location will be lost.”

I’d recommend that you do it, but it’s up to you. I added a new section on the keyboard which I think is helpful, and it’s been updated for 6.3.

I suspected the update was coming when the “bookstream” (live chat) disappeared on my Kindle Fire for this title in the last day or two.

I tried opening the book on my Fire, and it didn’t instantly update (although the MYK page said it had been sent).

I closed the book, did a sync with Amazon

Settings Gear – Sync

and then when I opened it, it had updated.

This ability to get updated titles (and as an author/publisher, to make them available) is really remarkable.

For more on that, see this

previous post

Language Optimized Storefront

Oh, that sneaky Manage Your Kindle page!

Amazon keeps adding more treasure there, and not telling us about it. That would be very disconcerting to a Dungeons and Dragons player…when you clear a room, it usually stays cleared. 😉

They’ve now added this:

“Language Optimized Storefront
This setting will optimize the storefront on your Kindle in the language that you choose. Please note that this change will take up to 48 hours to take effect, and is only available for customers residing in the United States.”

I haven’t tested this because, although my Significant Other speaks much better Spanish than I do, I think the change might be…disconcerting. 🙂 I remember when I finally convinced my SO I needed a GPS in the car, since I drive all over the place in my job (reasonably often to places I haven’t been before). My SO didn’t want something in the car “telling me what to do”. 😉

So, I had it in the car, and my SO went to use it the first time…and I forgot I’d set it to kilometers! Yes, I live in the USA, but I’m that geeky. Needless to say, that was a big “oops” on my part… 🙂

Ironically, at this point, I don’t use a GPS (that one eventually failed)…I use my phone instead.

If you do try this out, I’d appreciate an assessment…and I’m sure my readers would as well.

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

No NOOKs allowed…a very exclusive club

April 24, 2012

No NOOKs allowed…a very exclusive club

One of the things people worry about with e-books is a single company controlling access to a well-known book.

Unlike some other concerns that get expressed, this is indisputably true.

Amazon even has a special section for

Kindle eBook Exclusives

Now, no question, some of those books go through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (mine do), and may be exclusive because they are part of the KDP Select program (which is how books by independent publishers get into the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library…KOLL…from which eligible Prime members can borrow up to a book month at no added cost).

I used the phrase above “well-known”, though.

I started looking at this, and I was surprised at how many of them I actually have in paper.

If I expand that to “well-known authors”, it gets even more interesting.

Let’s say you are a Stephen King fan. You can not have a complete collection unless you buy from Amazon.

That doesn’t mean you need to buy a Kindle…you could have a free Kindle app and still own the book.

I’m sure there are people who don’t like the idea of this.

Of course, it’s commonly been true that you couldn’t own a particular work unless you were willing to buy from a given publisher. If you didn’t like Random House, or Penguin, or Simon & Schuster, you might not be able to have a complete collection of one of your favorite authors, either.

I don’t think people are as aware of the publishers as they are of the stores.

If you didn’t like Barnes & Noble, you could have bought the book from Borders, or Crown, or Walden…you know, when those three all existed. 😉

While Barnes & Noble has had exclusives in the stores, they usually aren’t the frontlist sort of things.

Is it really that different that Amazon has exclusives for e-books?

Well, let’s take a look at some of the ones that caught my eye…that might help you decide.

The Gift of Fear
by Gavin de Becker

This book was a number one bestseller and spent months on the New York Times list.

I have it in paper, read it, and thought it was really interesting.

The basic idea has to do with trusting your instincts in detecting people who may be dangerous.

That may sound like it encourages prejudice, but it isn’t that.

De Becker is a security expert for celebrities, businesses, and governments agencies.

One of the things I remember is the author saying that people commonly feel someone is a threat before they are attacked. It’s that we tend to want to ignore it. De Becker suggests that if you feel like you should cross the street to avoid somebody, do it. Yes, it may be embarrassing, and yes, you could be wrong…but that might be better than being right and not avoiding the situation.

This is a book of practical advice from someone who deals with these actual situations.

Seventh Heaven
by Alice Hoffman

Hoffman is the author of Practical Magic, which became a movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. Hoffman has continued to write popular books.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and other Clinical Tales
by Oliver Sacks

A nonfiction classic, I remember how popular this was when I managed a brick-and-mortar store. Sacks is a psychologist and neurologist, and these are case studies, written in a style for a layperson.

Blockade Billy
by Stephen King

King undoubtedly helped launch the Kindle with another exclusive (a shorter work featuring a Kindle called UR), but later approved of “windowing” a book (releasing the e-book considerably after the paperbook) and has had text-to-speech access blocked on some books.

The Year of the Jackpot (The Galaxy Project)
by Robert Heinlein

Think you’ve read all of this science fiction master’s work? Maybe…

Brideshead Revisited
by Evelyn Waugh

That’s right…if you want to read this classic as an e-book, you have to get it from Amazon.
Love Medicine
by Louise Erdrich

Erdrich is a beloved American writer, a finalist for Pulitzer, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. This book was popular in my bookstore.

The Abominable Snowman (Choose Your Own Adventure #1)
by R.A. Montgomery

These gamebooks were all the rage…and they are still great fun. You read a story and make a choice. Based on your decision, you go to a different part of the book and the story continues. This works really well on the Kindle Fire, by the way…the jump to the next segment is pretty immediate. It works well on an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) too. 🙂

Bio of a Space Tyrant Vol. 1. Refugee
by Piers Anthony

Anthony may be best known for the pun-filled, whimsical Xanth series, but this is another popular one (and it’s not just this first book in the series that is exclusive to Amazon as an e-book).

The Wingless Bird
by Catherine Cookson

Cookson is one of the most popular writers ever…period.

So, what do you think? Is it bad for society that Amazon has the exclusive e-book deals for these books? Is that just a matter of good business? Amazon presumably pays more to get an exclusive deal on proven book…is that where they should be putting their resources? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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

Kindle magazine bestsellers April 22 2012

April 22, 2012

Kindle magazine bestsellers April 22 2012

I haven’t looked at this in a while, so it was interesting to see.

One of the big selling points of the Kindle Fire was how good magazines were going to look on it.

Well, the bestsellers are affected by Kindle Fire editions…but the RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) editions are still strongly represented. Do you read magazines on your phone? It seems like it would be small, but I’d be interested to hear about it if you do.

We subscribe to National Geographic…and it does look beautiful on the Fire. My Significant Other waits for the next issue to read at the gym. I read those, and a couple of other magazines…but not ones for which we pay through the Kindle store. I get one through Zinio, and the other is a freebie I get for subscribing to the paper edition.

When you subscribe to these, you get a fourteen day free trial (which is generally going to be one magazine). You pay for them by the month (not an annual subscription), and you can typically buy a single issue.  The single issue may cost you more than a month’s subscription will, though.

You can share magazine subscriptions with other compatible devices on your account. We read NatGeo on two Kindle Fires, but only pay one subscription price, for example.

Okay, here are the top ten bestsellers:

#1. Reader’s Digest
published since 1922
available for
Kindle Touch
Kindle Keyboard
Kindle DX
Kindle (2nd Generation)
Kindle (1st Generation)
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)
Kindle for Android

RD is famous for having short little pieces, like jokes and true stories, often contributed by readers.

#2 National Geographic Magazine
published since 1888
available for
Kindle Touch
Kindle Fire
Kindle Keyboard
Kindle DX
Kindle (2nd Generation)
Kindle (1st Generation)
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)
Kindle for Android

For us, this is well worth $1.99 a month. On the Fire, the pictures are stunning (and you can pinch and spread them…I’ve done that to show the Fire’s capabilities). The articles are often in-depth on very narrow exotic topics, and I do find that fascinating.

#3 Cosmopolitan
published 1886 (this incarnation basically since 1965)
available for
Kindle Fire
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)

Cosmo is probably best known for the “Cosmo quizzes”…and these are NSFW (Not Safe For Work). Let’s just say that some people may be happy that the cover doesn’t show when reading this on a Fire. 😉

#4 Shape
published since 1981
available on
Kindle Touch
Kindle Fire
Kindle Keyboard
Kindle DX
Kindle (2nd Generation)
Kindle (1st Generation)
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)
Kindle for Android

You can pay to subscribe, or you get it free with the paper edition (P+D…Paper Plus Digital).

It’s a health and exercise magazine marketed for women…they note that not all images from the paper edition may appear in the Kindle edition.

#5 OK!
published since 1993
available on
Kindle Fire
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)

This one is just focused on celebrities and “entertainment gossip”.

Interesting! When I went from the first five to the full list, I had a different order…and it included the app versions. What I did was list the most popular ones I hadn’t listed yet that were not apps. That’s not to say that the app version isn’t is good,  but it’s definitely a different thing.

6. Us Weekly
published since 1977
available on
Kindle Fire
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)

More celebrities…”they’re just like us!” So, if you want a picture of Bradley Cooper stopping to tie a loose shoelace, or Jennifer Aniston putting a cup of coffee on the roof of the car to open the door, this is the magazine for you!

7. Maxim
published since 1995 (in the UK, 1998 in the USA)
available on
Kindle Fire
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)
Kindle for Android

This is what is called a “men’s magazine”, as opposed to Cosmo (above). The main difference in the covers? The people in the covers on Cosmo are more likely to wear pants… 😉

8. The Economist – US Edition
published since 1843
available on
Kindle Touch
Kindle Fire
Kindle Keyboard
Kindle DX
Kindle (2nd Generation)
Kindle (1st Generation)
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)
Kindle for Android

Hm…I wonder how many times Cosmo, Maxim, and The Economist are on the same list? 😉

9. Harvard Business Review
published since 1922
available on
Kindle Touch
Kindle Fire
Kindle Keyboard
Kindle DX
Kindle (2nd Generation)
Kindle (1st Generation)
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)
Kindle for Android

Oh, okay, good…The Economist will have somebody to sit with in the Kindle Newsstand cafeteria. 😉

10. Star
published since 1974
available on
Kindle Fire
Kindle for iPad (Version 2.9 or later)
Kindle for iPhone (Version 3.0 or later)

This is a celebrity tabloid (P+D)…definitely the shallow end of the news pool, and I’m sure they like it that way. 🙂

Well, that’s the top ten! There are a lot of other choices, and as I mentioned, you can get them other places, too.

I really like it when a magazines offers both “page view” and “text view”. The former is a replica of the print edition…ads and all. The latter includes pictures in the article, but otherwise, seems a lot easier to read. When I was compiling the list, I noticed that some indicated that…good to know ahead of time, even with a free trial.

It’s worth noting that if you want to cancel a subscription, you do it at

Then, click Subscription Settings.

The other thing I’ve seen confuse people is that the magazine will continue to be paid by the credit card you used when you bought it, even if you change your 1-click method. You change that in that MYK page, then Kindle Payment Settings.

One last thing: this is the post I mentioned that I was writing, and then lost. The order of the magazines changed rapidly in just a couple of days…I didn’t expect it to be quite so dynamic. 🙂

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


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