Archive for August, 2012

Amazon patents dualume tablet

August 31, 2012

Amazon patents dualume tablet

Backlit devices are good at animation.

Reflective devices are good at battery life.

Back on December 11 of 2009 (coming up on three years ago), I coined the term “dualume” in this blog to designate a device that used both methods of displaying text and images.

A patent from Amazon


dated August 30, 2012, is getting some attention. A tweet from Joe Wikert about a Mashable article showed up in my Flipboard morning read (although I’d seen something about it yesterday).

The device would have two screens, front and back. You’d be able to “push” an image from one side to the other…swapping between a reflective screen and backlit screen.

I know some people think I’m just an Amazon fan, but that sounds like it would not be a popular thing to me.

Entourage tried a two-screen device like that, although the screen were side-by side like two pages of a paperbook, not front and back. It was relatively expensive and heavy, and eventually failed in the market…it wound up being cleared out for $80 on, which is owned by Amazon.

Let’s say Amazon solves those problems, and the device is reasonably priced and not excessively heavy.

I’m having a tough time imagining how I would hold that device. When I hold my Kindle Fire, three or four fingers are usually contacting the cover which at that point is covering the back of the device.

I don’t like to put my fingers on the screen, even though I have to do that to interact with it. I use a stylus sometimes, and I do think we’ll see a gestural interface for tablets where we don’t have to touch them, but just wave our fingers over them, Minority Report style.

I don’t want to have to hold my device by the screen.

Also, how do you put it down? I wouldn’t put my Fire face down on a restaurant table. What happens when both sides are face?

It reminds me of something which I think originally appeared in Omni Magazine. The idea was that, since toast always lands buttered side down, and a cat always lands on its feet, you could strap a piece of toast buttered side up on a cat’s back, drop it, and it would hover in mid-air. 🙂

If the screen is on both sides, how do you cover it? I can see some sort of retracting cover that you slide aside, but it seems like a lot of work.

I can picture a commercial, licensed by Amazon from Devo:

“When you want to read a book…you must flip it!

When you want to watch a show…you must flip it!”


When I wrote about Apple’s filing, more than a year ago, for a screen that could switch in situ between the two lighting methods, that made a lot more sense to me.

The Amazon patent is two things stuck together. The Apple patent transforms from one thing to another.

Centaur…or werewolf? I think, in this case, I’m going with the werewolf. 😉

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


Round up #109: Fire sold out, Agency Model cash settlement

August 30, 2012

Round up #109: Fire sold out, Agency Model cash settlement

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Settling Agency Model publishers agree to consumer cash pay-out

According to this article

Massachusetts’ AG (Attorney General) Martha Coakley has announced part of the settlement that may be approved from three of the publishers accused of conspiring to affect e-book prices under the Agency Model.

Affected consumers in Massachusetts would split up two million dollars out of a total sixty-nine million.

As is often the case in these situations, might guess is that might mean you would get a check for a few dollars.

This is not yet approved, and pay-outs wouldn’t happen right away (but it wouldn’t be long).

The compensation would be a lot less significant than the change in the business model going forward.

One of the interesting questions would be how having settled might advantage those publishers, versus the ones that keep fighting (along with Apple).

A couple of the publishers cited legal costs as seriously affecting their bottom lines in recent financial reports.

Apple can fight pretty much forever…hey, they just won an over a billion dollar settlement against Samsung, right? They’ve got the cash.

Macmillan and Penguin are rolling the dice by not settling, throwing in their lot with Apple. If Apple wins, they win…and they won’t have been part of the pay-out referenced by Coakley.

If Apple loses, or the case just goes on for years, they lose a lot of competitive ground to those who did settle (Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster).

Here’s the official statement from Coakley’s office:

press release

Thanks to reader Diane Fowler for alerting me to this story….I had already seen it in Flipboard, but I really appreciate it when people take the time to link a story for me.

Amazon Appstore opens in Europe

In this

press release

Amazon announces that the Amazon Appstore is now available in the U.K., Germany,France, Italy and Spain.

This could certainly be in advance of the Kindle Fire going international, which is one of the things that might be announced at a presser by Amazon on September 6th.

You can get it here:

Kindle Fire sold out

While I was writing  this Round up, a new press release from Amazon announced that the  Kindle Fire is sold out!

press release

In it, Jeff Bezos says:

“Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.”

There’s your clear (almost) announcement of a new Fire or other Android tablet being announced soon!  That means I’m going to shoot this post out now, so you know. 🙂

Update: just a little more speculation/analysis on the Fire being “sold out”. That surprised me: I had anticipated that the current model (um, yesterday’s current model) would continue to be available, but at a reduced price. This could mean an actual discontinuation of it…or it might be that they had to turn over the production chain to a different model for now, and will bring this one back. It’s a bit odd that Amazon would go almost a week with their top seller unavailable. I can see a few possibilities for doing that:

  • They don’t make that much money on the Fire unit, so they can have it out for a week without a huge loss
  • They want to clear out refurbs
  • They’ll announce a new model before September 6, and use the Sixth as the hands-on introduction (and include other announcements)

What do you think? 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.

paidContent: “Exclusive: Amazon NY signs deal to sell its ebooks through other retailers”

August 30, 2012

paidContent: “Exclusive: Amazon NY signs deal to sell its ebooks through other retailers”

When I was a bookstore manager, we used Ingram as one of our sources. Through the Ingram Content Group, they also now distribute e-books to major sites, reportedly including Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

Now, paidContent, in this

exclusive article

reports that Amazon and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s

New Harvest

has signed a deal with Ingram, which includes e-books.

Let me stop here and recommend that you read the article.

Now, let’s talk a bit about what this could mean. It may mean that Barnes & Noble will carry e-books  essentially published by Amazon…for the NOOK.

That could also mean that B&N would carry the paperbooks (they’ve been reluctant to carry books when they can’t carry all the formats) in the stores…which would in turn motivate other brick-and-mortars to carry them.

If  this is all true, it’s a blow for traditional publishers. Amazon is increasingly showing them that the Seattle-based e-tailer is less dependent  on them.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out…

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

Round up #108: Textbook costs, costly speech

August 30, 2012

Round up #108: Textbook costs, costly speech

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Costly speech

“Let me tell you what I think about that!”

“Sure…but from now on, you have to tell everybody you are a two-toed sloth with tennis elbow.”

“I…wait, what?”

“That’s our rule. You can say something, but you have to tell the world you are what we say you are. Oh, and not only that, we can say you said whatever we want…about anything.”

“Um…never mind.”

This just seems bizarre to me. It’s one of those things where I say, “When did that become okay?”

I read posts on other blogs, and sometimes, I want to comment.

WordPress makes it pretty easy. You do have to give an e-mail address, but it isn’t displayed to anybody except the blogger. You say you want to comment…you do. That’s about it.

I keep running into things that just seem…well, ridiculous to me.

For example, I recently wanted to comment on a post by Alicia Duryee at AllThingsD:

“Managing Expectations for Amazon’s Upcoming Kindle Event”

I just wanted to explain the difference between backlighting and frontlighting, because I think that’s useful for people to know.

I was going to comment:

“It will be interesting to see what Amazon announces! One technical point: a “glow” reflective screen device would not be backlit, it would be frontlit. With backlighting, the image you see is between you and the source of illumination. You look directly at the source of light with backlighting. The backlight has to compete with light hitting the screen from the front…the sun, for example. With a reflective screen device, you see what is on it by light bouncing off the screen: the same way you read a paperbook. The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight adds a light source in front of the image you are reading, and that’s what a lit RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) would do.”

However, it wanted me to sign in to post.

I don’t like to create accounts just to leave a comment. I admit that I have an advantage in having another forum (this blog), but that just seems like work.

I was given the option to log in with Twitter. Check out the permissions, though:


This application will be able to:

  • Read Tweets from your timeline.
  • See who you follow, and follow new people.
  • Update your profile.
  • Post Tweets for you.


Say huh?

If I make a comment, they can change my public profile? They can tweet on my account (and presumably, people will think the statement came from me)?

That’s an awful lot of integrity to give away, just to make a comment!

It really makes me doubt anything anybody tweets…there’s a good excuse next time somebody makes a…regrettable tweet.

“Hey, I didn’t post that…must have been some site where I’ve commented.” 😉

Maybe that’s just me, and there were other ways to log in…but I was surprised.

US News & World Report: “How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up”

How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up

This is a great, lengthy article by Danielle Kurtzleben about the cost structure of textbooks…and how the prices are growing so much faster than overall price  growth.

There are a number of things in it that can be applied to any e-books. It explains why it isn’t the cost of materials that determines the consumer price of a book.

Here is one of the really key points:

“The single greatest contributor to the price of a textbook is a used textbook…”

That’s from Bruce Hildebrand, executive director of higher education at the Association of American Publishers.

When someone buys a used paperbook rather than a new paperbook, it contributes to higher prices for paperbooks.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the inability to sell a “used” e-book is significantly keeping e-books cheaper. 🙂 However, you can bet that if used e-books became a reality, publishers would use that to raise the prices on them.

I highly recommend this article.

PW: B&N Will Rise or Fall with Content

B&N Will Rise or Fall with Content

“Content is king.”

That’s been said before. If you have a super cool EBR (E-Book Reader), but you don’t have the content people want (and they can’t get it somewhere else), it’s going to be tough to make that sale.

If books become less platform-dependent, that may be less the case…but right now, you need books people  want to make money with your EBR.

It’s amazing to me how bookselling has become dependent on blockbusters. When I managed a bookstore, yes, we depended on bestsellers.

However, it’s now become that a few books sell massive amounts. We could look at Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and 50 Shades of Grey as prime examples.

By themselves, they can buoy the industry.

That’s different from Stephen King having a big bestseller…at the same time that John Grisham has one.

Amazon knows that exclusivity matters. They recently put out this

press release

saying that Kindle-Exclusive books have been purchased, downloaded, or borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library over 100 million times.

I’ve seen this misreported as being all Kindle Direct Publishing books. They specifically mention the 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain (starting Cop Hater). Those are published by Amazon’s traditional publishing mystery and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer. They said it’s been downloaded 250,000 times since December. That’s a significant figure for backlist titles.

What is Barnes & Noble publishing exclusively?

My Little Pony

Seriously…this is hipper than it sounds. 🙂 It’s also the beginning of a series of books they’ll publish from Hasbro, which could include G.I. Joe, Transformers…and Mr. Potato Head.

The content piece is an interesting article by Jim Milliot, and looks at how brick-and-mortar bookstores are helping Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

What do you think? Am I overreacting to turning over my Twitter account to post a comment? Is B&N still leading on children’s e-books? Do textbooks cost too much, or is it a reasonable price for a limited market item? 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.

It’s ILMK’s third birthday!

August 28, 2012

It’s ILMK’s third birthday!

The first post in this blog was published on August 28th, 2009.

It’s been a wonderful journey so far, and I’ve really enjoyed writing for you and all the great exchanges I’ve had with the commenters!

I thought you might be interested in some statistics, but before I do, I want to especially thank those of you who subscribe through the Kindle store. Even though it’s only ninety-nine cents a month, it’s the combined royalties from those subscriptions that really make it possible for me to devote the time and energy to writing ILMK. Certainly, it’s a lot of fun and rewarding in other ways, but it would be harder to justify devoting this big a chunk of my life to it if it wasn’t providing for my family (which comes first for me) in some way.

For those of you who don’t subscribe, you’re still absolutely welcome! I don’t expect everybody to subscribe through the Kindle store…certainly, some of you can’t for various reasons (like being outside the USA and the UK, or having an app, rather than a hardware Kindle, that doesn’t support Kindle store blog subscriptions). I feel especially gratified when someone takes the time to comment and tell me that something I wrote helped them, or amused them, or that they respectfully disagreed with it. 🙂

If you click on a link here, or retweet, or mention the blog, thank you.

If you just read the blog and it makes your world brighter in some way, you don’t need to tell me or anybody else about it…just the sense that it happens makes me a happier person.

To thank you all, I’m giving away

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1

today only, August 28th, 2012.

Note: check that the price is free before buying the book. There may be a mismatch between when you read this post and when Amazon makes it free based on my request.

Now for some statistics:

  • All time views per WordPress: 818,482
  • Number of posts: 1,710
  • Number of comments: 8,763
  • Busiest day: December 27, 2010
  • Highest rank in Kindle store blogs & newsfeeds: #1*
  • Days in the top 100: 1,085
  • This morning’s rank: #8

Ten most popular posts/pages:

  • Home page / Archives
  • What to do if your Kindle is lost or stolen
  • Word up! Using the Kindle’s dictionary
  • Which Kindle 3 should you get?
  • Flash! My Kindle 3′s screen fails
  • Flash! Some Kindle owners report freezing/rebooting problems with K3s
  • Kindle trouble-shooting #1
  • Flash! Sleep mode pictures (screensavers) on the K3
  • Which Kindle do you have?
  • Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special Collections edition

Top recent commenters (based on the past 1,000 comments):

  • Bufo Calvin
  • Edward Boyhan
  • Lady Galaxy
  • Zebras
  • rogerknights
  • Pam

Top views by country since February 25, 2012:

  • United States 102,662
  • United Kingdom 6,784
  • Canada 2,444
  • Australia 2,056
  • Germany 791
  • India 712
  • Saudi Arabia 652
  • Brazil 585
  • Spain 519
  • Russian Federation 426
  • Ireland 422
  • France 378
  • Philippines 370
  • Italy 359
  • Slovakia 351
  • Japan 324
  • New Zealand 323
  • Czech Republic 309
  • Poland 295
  • Singapore 285
  • Taiwan 278
  • South Africa 276
  • Switzerland 259
  • Hong Kong 233
  • Mexico 213
  • Romania 211
  • Netherlands 196
  • Ukraine 179
  • Colombia 175
  • Hungary 171
  • Republic of Korea 166
  • Turkey 164
  • Israel 155
  • Thailand 153
  • Malaysia 152
  • Viet Nam 150
  • Belgium 140
  • Argentina 129
  • Portugal 125
  • Austria 116
  • Sweden 115
  • Indonesia 112
  • Bulgaria 103
  • Pakistan 95
  • Bahrain 94
  • Denmark 92
  • Norway 89
  • Iceland 85
  • Dominican Republic 76
  • Greece 75
  • Egypt 75
  • United Arab Emirates 68
  • Croatia 64
  • Finland 64
  • Chile 58
  • Trinidad and Tobago 58
  • Peru 56
  • Serbia 53
  • Venezuela 49
  • Slovenia 47
  • Costa Rica 45
  • British Virgin Islands 43
  • Puerto Rico 40
  • Georgia 33
  • Lithuania 32
  • Ecuador 31
  • Malta 29
  • Belarus 29
  • Kenya 29
  • Barbados 27
  • Nigeria 25
  • Estonia 25
  • Bahamas 24
  • Latvia 24
  • Jamaica 23
  • Guatemala 21
  • Bangladesh 19
  • Qatar 19
  • Cyprus 17
  • Sri Lanka 15
  • Netherlands Antilles 15
  • Ghana 14
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 14
  • Paraguay 13
  • Kuwait 13
  • Nepal 12
  • Lebanon 11
  • Panama 10
  • Cayman Islands 9
  • Cambodia 9
  • Guam 9
  • Macao 8
  • Honduras 8
  • Luxembourg 8
  • Bolivia 8
  • Cuba 8
  • Angola 8
  • Jordan 8
  • Mauritius 8
  • Macedonia 8
  • Morocco 8
  • Nicaragua 8
  • Isle of Man 7
  • Moldova 7
  • Uruguay 7
  • Albania 7
  • Saint Lucia 7
  • Virgin Islands 7
  • Anguilla 7
  • Mongolia 6
  • Oman 6
  • Belize 6
  • Azerbaijan 6
  • Algeria 6
  • United Republic of Tanzania 6
  • Iraq 6
  • Guyana 6
  • Benin 6
  • Tunisia 5
  • Dominica 5
  • Rwanda 5
  • American Samoa 5
  • Jersey 5
  • Bermuda 5
  • Sudan 4
  • El Salvador 4
  • Andorra 4
  • Namibia 4
  • Afghanistan 4
  • China 4
  • Zimbabwe 4
  • Gibraltar 4
  • Armenia 4
  • Syrian Arab Republic 4
  • Myanmar 3
  • Fiji 3
  • Kyrgyzstan 3
  • Northern Mariana Islands 3
  • Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 3
  • Brunei Darussalam 3
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic 3
  • Cape Verde 3
  • Vatican City 3
  • Uganda 3
  • Kazakhstan 2
  • Djibouti 2
  • Senegal 2
  • Turks and Caicos Islands 2
  • Mozambique 2
  • Montenegro 2
  • Antigua and Barbuda 2
  • Gambia 2
  • Vanuatu 2
  • Papua New Guinea 2
  • Palestinian Territory, Occupied 2
  • Ethiopia 2
  • Suriname 2
  • Grenada 2
  • Palau 2
  • Aruba 2
  • Maldives 1
  • Swaziland 1
  • Malawi 1
  • Liechtenstein 1
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1
  • Zambia 1
  • French Polynesia 1
  • Guernsey 1
  • Côte d’Ivoire 1
  • Haiti 1
  • Botswana 1
  • Cameroon 1
  • Yemen 1
  • Sierra Leone 1
  • Eritrea 1

*I always like to tell people about when I passed both the Huffington Post and The Onion Blog on the same day. 🙂

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

Round up #107: Prime passes Super Saver, nice words if you can pay for them

August 28, 2012

Round up #107:  Prime passes Super Saver, nice words if you can pay for them

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

The New York  Times: “The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy”

The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy

Who knew there was so much money in sock puppetry?

In this great article in the New York Times by David Streitfeld, one particular person who wrote reviews for money for authors made up to $28,000 a month!

These are those online reviews you read…not ones like the New York Times publishes. 😉

Todd Rutherford charged $99 for one review, $499 for twenty reviews, $999 for fifty reviews.

Eventually, the business fell through when it was detected.

It’s a good, lengthy article…I recommend it.

This is somewhat of a tricky subject, with a lot of subtlety. If you think it should be illegal to pay for a good review, does it matter to you if the person who wrote it actually thought it was good? Let’s say here that it isn’t the author writing the review under fake names…real names, just good reviews influenced by money.

Is it different if someone is sent a review copy? After all, that has value. Of course, in that case, the reviewer doesn’t usually get a suggestion on what to say…they get the review copy whether the review is good or bad. What happens if the author who sends it says, “Hope you like it!” Is that different?

It’s interesting that we are so influenced by reviews…I do think that’s the case, and yes, I look at reviews on Amazon before I get something. I’m guilty of not writing many reviews myself, outside of the blog.

Prime passes Super Saver Shipping

You know how I keep saying that the Kindle Fire is in part a “Prime primer”? 😉 I haven’t used that term before, but I do say that Amazon’s strategy is, to some degree, about “diapers and windshield wipers”.

Prime is clearly growing. In this

press release

Amazon says that more items are now shipped with Prime than with Super Saving Shipper. The latter is free shipping when you get up to $25 worth of specific items in a single order.

People using Prime may be a better thing for Amazon. Certainly, Prime members spend a lot with Amazon…on top of the $79 a year that the typical Prime member pays for the service.

There are quite a few interesting statistics, but this one in particular caught my eye: 96.4% of the Prime Instant Video catalog is viewed every week. That seems astonishing to me…that’s a very broad consumption for over 20,000 items.

What’s the most watched TV series through Prime Instant video?

Downton Abbey

It was interesting, because I recently ran into a thread with some apparently offended that a movie they ordered was in French with English subtitles…that was described as “old school”. However, the most viewed movie through Amazon Prime is subtitled:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (English subtitled)

That suggests that while the school may be old, it is still well attended. 😉

Amazon Cloud Drive arrives in the UK

In this

Engadget article

they point out that the Cloud Drive has arrived for UK Kindleers. Just as in the US, they get 5GB of storage for free. For you UKindleers, here’s the information: Help Page

You can buy additional storage, but they don’t apparently let me see the information unless I log into the site.

This is not the Cloud Player…it doesn’t play your music, it’s just storage for your files.

This could certainly partly be prep for a Kindle Fire expansion to the UK, which I think may be announced (along with other things) at the September 6th Amazon presser.

The Book that Won’t Wait

Well, here’s one solution for that ever-growing TBR (To Be Read) pile…

CTV article

You buy a book. What would motivate you to move that book to the front of the list?

After all, that can make a difference for the author…reading one book may get you to read other books by that author, and there can certainly be timing involved in marketing and such.

How about…a book where the ink disappears two months after you open it?

Believe it or not, that’s what “The Book that Can’t Wait” is.

It’s an anthology, and I can see how it appeals to the authors.

I’m just not sure how it appeals to the readers. 🙂 As far as paperbooks go, I’ve always kept mine. I certainly wouldn’t want them to disappear.

However, there is a parallel with something I read on my Kindles…magazine subscriptions through the Kindle store.

Unless I choose to “keep” an issue (which means I have to use up my memory to store it), magazines generally have a “rolling seven” philosophy. You have the current issue, and six back issues. When the next issue is downloaded, the oldest one is automatically made not available to you.

I have to say that does get me to prioritize those magazines over books, sometimes.

However, I should also say…I don’t like it. 🙂 That’s one thing that Zinio (which I use on my Kindle Fire) does better…they store all my back issues for me.

Cool infographic on Mashable

Check this one out:

It’s about reading statistics, and there are some really interesting things in it…I highly recommend it.

I don’t want to take too much away, so I’ll just mention a couple of things:

They make a point about 82% of e-book readers living in cities. Well, I think that’s only slightly above the percentage of people who live in cities in the US…period. I think it tends to run about 80/20, so that’s not that exciting a statistic. Unless I’m missing something, living in a city does not make you more likely to read an e-book than living in a rural area…based on percentage.

It did surprise me that science fiction was a more read genre than romance…the latter was also beaten by Christian fiction.

Anyway, I really recommend you take a look. It will be fine on the Kindle Fire, but I think you’ll be able to see it without all the colors on a reflective screen Kindle (RSK). I’ll test it after I publish this.

Update: no Buy buttons for Kindle Touch

It’s worth noting that you can’t buy a Kindle Touch directly from the USA Kindle store today…it’s not just that they are out of stock, but they don’t even have a button to “add to cart”. It’s not unreasonable to speculate that those buttons may not return before September 6th…when Amazon may announce a successor. I checked all the other current models: they all had “add to cart” buttons.

Any comments on any of these stories? Would you buy a book with disappearing ink? Would you accept $5 to write a review for an online site…if you weren’t told what to write? If you are in the UK, did you notice the arrival of the Cloud Drive? Do you care about it? Oh, and how excited are you about the possibility of a Kindle Fire in the UK? 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.

Sale: back to school RSK study aides for $0.99 cents each

August 27, 2012

Sale: back to school RSK study aides for $0.99 cents each

It’s been a while since I’ve written about active content for RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything but a Kindle Fire, at this point).

Amazon is having a special sale through September 3rd on “Kindle Study Aides”. These will only work, according to them, the ones below work on the Kindle Touch, Mindle (the $79/$109 in the USA model), Kindle Keyboard, and Kindle DX.

As always, double-check that price before clicking the “Buy” button.

Again, these will not work on the Kindle Fire…it has a different operating system. There are also plenty of free games and apps for the Kindles, it’s just that these are on sale.

There are also more of these back to school apps on this page, but they aren’t available for all of the above models. Some are just available for the: Kindle Keyboard, Mindle, and Kindle DX; and some are just for the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle DX. Those are interesting mixes…the Kindle DX basically has the same software as the Kindle 2, not as the Kindle Keyboard (formerly informally known as the Kindle 3).  My guess if it works on a Kindle DX it will work on a Kindle 2 (for those of you who still have one), but that’s just a guess and not a guarantee.

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

Today’s KDD: over 400 books for students!

August 25, 2012

Today’s KDD: over 400 books for students!

I don’t report every Kindle Daily Deal, but lately, it seems to me like Amazon has really ramped up the value.

I don’t know if there is something specific driving that strategy, but hey, I’m not going to argue with it. 🙂

Today’s deal is nearly 450 books for students! Now, they aren’t all $1.99…some of these are textbooks, and a couple of them are over $100. However, they are all deeply discounted.

They seem to be defining a “student” somewhat broadly, which is fine with me. I  consider myself a lifelong student (although that doesn’t qualify for me for a discount at the movie theatre). 😉 I always say, “The more you know, the more you know there is to know.”

Some of the books would be more appropriate for educators than for their students…and some would just be fun for anybody interested in information.

Here are just a few that caught my eye:

Again, those are just a few…I don’t know how many people will even get to look at all 448 titles before the deals expire at the end of today. 🙂

Here’s the whole list:

Student eBook Sale

If you want to call out any other specific ones you notice, feel free to comment on this post…I’m sure my readers would appreciate it.

Note: prices  can vary geographically on these things, so always check the price before you click that buy button. If you do buy one and think you were charged too much, you can always “return” a Kindle store book within seven days for a refund. Go to and click or tap Actions.

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

Round up 106: Authorobots, Happy birthday KDD

August 24, 2012

Round up 106: Nimble Books, Happy birthday KDD

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Happy birthday, Kindle Daily Deal!

The Kindle Daily Deal is one-year old today (hmm…I think one year is the pixel anniversary). 😉 To celebrate, they are repeating 25 titles that have been the KDD before. The price is $1.99 each, which seems to be standard now. I know at least one of these was $0.99 the first time, but this is still a good deal.

KDD 25 for the 1st

There are some good titles in here. Here are just a few:

DoJ’s latest response in the Agency Model action

I think this case has more filings than a nail salon (rimshot!). 😉

In this latest


the Department of Justice responds to concerns expressed by Apple, Penguin, Macmillan…and Barnes &  Noble and the American Booksellers Association (even though the last two aren’t even really part of the case).

I can sum it up in six words:

“Aw, go sit on an egg.”


Basically, the DoJ says that the comments don’t have merit (and explains why), and asks for us just to get to the decision, already.

I thought Apple had a point the last time about contracts being terminated with Apple before Apple had gone to court.

However, the DoJ handily refutes that by pointing out that the contracts have the clause that allows the publishers to terminate the contract with a thirty day notice (basically), meaning that the government isn’t changing the terms.

That makes a big difference, and satisfies me on that point.

A couple of quotations (although you might enjoy the whole statement):

“Suggestions that the antitrust laws are of no use when it comes to e-books are especially remarkable in light of the unmistakable consumer harm that resulted from the conspiracy in this case. The conspirators eliminated the “wretched $9.99 price” that so attracted the reading public and so infuriated publishers…”

“…the Court should reject the suggestion that the “public interest” is determined by the ability of interested parties to muster the largest number of comments in a Tunney Act proceeding. Certainly, it is not unprecedented for parties to oppose a settlement because they have a stake in an anticompetitive status quo”

I have to admit that the DoJ does seemed to be surprised and astounded a lot by what the other folks say…at least, they write it that way. It reminds me of Renault in Casablanca saying, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”  🙂 I’m not at all saying that the DoJ was participating, as was the case in that classic movie. It’s just that their shock seems a bit…theatrical.


We all know it’s going to happen eventually…we’ll read books written by computers. Oh, it will be some time before they write good novels, although I can see how they could learn to do that. They could start with something like the Harlequin formula, and then learn to judge people’s reactions to it and adjust based on that before full publication. Certainly, a neural net could be applied to this task, but that’s just geeky. 🙂

Non-fiction, though? We don’t have to wait for that, it’s here.

You can go to

answer four (!) questions, and have it assemble a book for you from Wikipedia…which they then sell for you and you get a royalty.

No, it’s not really writing anything new, it’s “combining” things that already exist.

It is, in a sense, more of a robotic research assistant than an author, but you still end up with a book.

I think natural language production (and understanding) is going to quantumly increase in the next few years.  While we didn’t have HAL 9000 by 2001, 2021 may not be out of the question (in terms of conversational capability).

It’s really not that different from what the free Flipboard app does for me, or what your Tivo does by making suggestions based on what you’ve been asking to see.

We’re talking “instant books” on current events being available in seconds. Somebody appears in the news who wasn’t famous yesterday, and you get a book telling you all about them within a minute of you requesting it.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be as good as a human…they won’t have the perspective (not right away, anyway). I think these “robobooks” will be part of the average person’s reading mix quite soon.

Brick-and-mortar news

Just a little bit on a couple of stories about independent book stores…

The first one makes it clear that you run an independent bookstore because you love it, not because you plan to make a lot of money. That’s one reason they can survive…it was never about the bucks, it was about the books. 😉

The second one just really struck my fancy. It was about a local bookstore which is basically revived every year at the state fair…you know, like donkey rides led by faux pioneers. 🙂

It reminded me of my story, A Trip to the Bookstore.

Catching up with Andrys Basten and A Kindle World

Andrys Basten’s

A Kindle World blog

has always been a strong recommendation of mine. Lately, Andrys has been particularly good. One thing was reporting rapid changes in Amazon’s Kindle product pages, suggesting a change. Another one has been an evaluation of the restated requirements for the Department of State EBR (E-Book Reader) deal. These can not be called anything except good solid reporting. I’d recommend you check them out.

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

Amazon press conference: September 6, 10:30 AM Pacific

August 23, 2012

Amazon press conference: September 6, 10:30 AM Pacific


Amazon has scheduled a presser (press conference) for Thursday, September 6  at 10:30 AM Pacific Time…in Santa Monica, California.

Reuters via Chicago Tribune

Of course, this might have nothing to with new Kindle/tablet hardware…but, oh come on! 🙂

There’s not much reason to make people physically travel somewhere unless it’s so they can (ooh) touch new hardware. That makes you cool at the next…um…LAN party, right? 😉

Santa Monica is also an interesting choice…not East Coast. Does that suggest any sort of connection in the presentation to maybe Hollywood? Maybe…traditionally, publishing is thought of as being in New York. Doing this on the West Coast might suggest books are not going to be the centerpiece…

Needless to say, I’m very excited!

There are so many possibilities! I’m not sure what they’ll roll out all together…they might go big time and announce reflective screen Kindles (frontlit) and tablets. I don’t think we’ll hear about a phone this time. It wouldn’t surprise if they also announce European distribution of the Fire (or whatever the Fire is at that point). I would expect a lowering in price of the current Kindle Fire…perhaps even without the announcement of a new model (but I’m hoping we get both).

I’ll keep you informed…

Let’s see…how many minutes in a day? Might want to start a countdown in my head… 😉

Update: Rather than me speculating on what’s coming, I thought I’d run a poll and see what you think. 🙂 Your choices are being randomized, and you can vote for as many as you want. Don’t worry about the names I’ve suggested…I’m just not convinced that a large screen tablet would be called a Fire (but it probably would). Don’t see the choices you want? Feel free to comment on the post to add more.

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

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