Archive for April, 2013

How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

April 29, 2013

How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

I see a lot of confusion about what it means when you “buy an e-book” in the Kindle store (or from many other online e-tailers).

Some people think it should be the same as when you buy a physical copy of a p-book (paperbook).

Others say, “You are only renting it.”

Neither one really describes the situation very well.

What you buy (which you own, in the same way you own that p-book copy) is a license to read the book, under certain specific conditions to which you agree when you buy that license.

Let’s try a different analogy.

Suppose you get a gym membership.

You then have the right to go in and use a treadmill.

It’s not a specific treadmill…you may even be able to use your “license” at any one of a number of gyms in the same chain.

You pay…the gym’s responsibility is to have a treadmill you can use.

If the treadmills are all down on one day, you can probably get a pro-rated discount on your gym membership that month.

Now, in that situation, would you expect to be able to sell the treadmill to your neighbor?

No, because you don’t own the treadmill…you own the right to use it.

Are you renting the treadmill?

No, that would suggest you take home a specific individual treadmill for a set amount of time. If it has a scratch on it, you are stuck with that scratched one (although you might be able to exchange it).

You are buying the right to use a treadmill at the gym.

To make this analogy work, we need to make the model a bit different from what you most commonly see at a gym.

Most people pay an annual membership, or a monthly membership, and then they don’t pay per machine.

The annual membership is the equivalent of Amazon Prime. Just on the e-book part of it, you don’t pay for each e-book you use from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. You pay an annual fee (which has significant other benefits…shipping, and Prime videos), and then you get to “use” up to one book a month.

People chafe at that one book limit: the gym doesn’t say you can only use the treadmill once a month (although it might not be available to you at, say, two in the morning).

Prime streaming video works more like your typical gym…unlimited use of the resources (machines/videos) that are in the gym for an annual fee.

However, the e-book system outside of Prime is different.

You pay a licensing fee for an individual book, and then you have access to that one as much as you want. You can think of it as a lifetime gym membership for that one type of machine…you don’t pay $100 a month for the gym, you pay $10 for a lifetime membership for treadmills.

In this analogy, a specific book (say, The Hunger Games) is like the whole class of treadmills…each type of machine (elliptical, stair stepper) is a different “title”.

Do you own the right to read The Hunger Games when you “buy it” in the Kindle store?

Yes.

Not just to one copy of The Hunger Games…that’s one of the big advantages of e-book licensing. If you bought a treadmill, brought it home, and then through your own negligence, broke it, you are out of luck on it. That copy is yours, and your responsibility.

If you are at the gym and break the treadmill, you can just move to another treadmill.

There are, of course, also disadvantages of e-books compared to p-books.

As I mentioned above, you can’t sell the treadmill you use at the gym to somebody else.

The gym can also determine what rights you have to share your use. They might allow you to bring a guest to the gym on a “day pass”, but might only allow you to do that with that specific individual one time (if you brought Steve Rogers in once as a guest, you can’t use your guest privilege with Steve Rogers again).

They might also say you can only use your guest privileges once…that’s similar to the lending systems we have with e-books with some e-tailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) where you can only lend an e-book once ever.

We also get the equivalent of a family membership at the gym. Typically, up to six devices can license the same e-book at the same time for one download price. You can think of that as your “family membership” letting you bring up to six people to the gym on the same day for your monthly fee. The licensing is actually better than the gym, since the gym typically makes you specify people who are the family members, and the Kindle store licensing doesn’t care who has devices on your account, or if those people are constantly changing.

Not only can’t you sell the treadmill you use, you can’t sell your rights to use the treadmill to somebody else. The gym controls access to the treadmill. You can’t pay $100 a month to use the gym, and then turn around and have somebody pay you $50 for your rights to the gym that month. Your gym card probably has your picture on it, and identifies you as the person who bought the rights.

That’s like DRM (Digital Rights Management).

This analogy also holds up with the question of what happens to your e-books if Amazon goes out of business at some point (knock virtual wood). 😉

It would be like what would happen if you had that lifetime membership to your gym, and it went out of business.

You wouldn’t have access to your books/the treadmills.

It’s possible another gym would honor your card, and then get you to renew with them in some way…somebody could buy the assets of an Amazon that went under, although it would be a big undertaking.

I’m pretty confident that Amazon is going to be around for some time, although of course, I can’t guarantee that.

When you buy an e-book in the Kindle store, you buy the right to read the book, not a copy of the book. You aren’t renting the right to read it (which would suggest there was a limited timeframe). You own the right, not a copy.

You agree to the Terms of Use, just as you would agree to the gym’s rules (no gum, and wipe down the machine after you use it).

I hope that helps clarify it a bit. If you have any questions or comments, 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.

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Round up #163: a Wicked sweet deal, Amazon doesn’t like short shorts?

April 28, 2013

Round up #163: a Wicked sweet deal, Amazon doesn’t like short shorts?

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

Bufo, you’ve just been to Disneyland for your anniversary…what are you going to do next?

Ummm…somehow, that seems like a paradoxical question. 😉

We had a great trip! I’ll write about it more extensively in The Measured Circle, but I thought I’d mention a couple of Kindle specific things here.

First, our hotel was about two miles (about 3.22 kms) from the gate. We don’t mind walking (my Significant Other does it a lot), but that did mean we walked eight miles one day just getting to and from the park twice.

I’m in decent shape…aerobically, that was fine. However, the middle of my mid-back got quite tired.

I figured out what that was when my SO took my “utility vest” (a photojournalist’s vest that I typically wear on weekends…”utility vest” is a nod to Doc Savage) to give me a bit of a rest, and said, “What do you have in this thing?!”

Well, one of the things I have in it is my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless 32GB. It fits (barely) in a pocket, with a cover on it. The device itself weighs 20 ounces…one and a quarter pounds (.57 kilograms). The cover weighs another 8 ounces. Plus, I had my wallet, my keys, a SmartPhone…I’m not as used to walking that distance, and the weight was just too much. I ended up (very, very reluctantly) leaving my Fire (and my keys) locked in the safe in the hotel room the next day…that worked much better.

That was never a problem with my RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles), and even my six-inch Fire HD would have been a lot lighter (6.1 ounces lighter, to be exact).

We did, though, use both the Disneyland MouseWait app and the Vegetarian Disneyland – How To Find Great Vegetarian Food at Disneyland book. The latter was helpful, even though a lot of the vegetarian food in the park is “junkier” than we eat. I ended up using them sometimes on my SmartPhone, after I didn’t bring the Fire. The Amazon Appstore and Kindle store licensing meant that it didn’t cost me anything more to do that…that was nice. 🙂

I did us the Fire quite a bit at the hotel, with my Bluetooth keyboard. One interesting use: I might be up when my SO wasn’t, and I could use the CNN App to watch live news with closed captioning. That worked when I was exercising.

I also got some reading done, of course. 🙂 In terms of a narrative, I was mostly reading Gun, with Occasional Music. It has some interesting concepts, and I may write more about it later. I’m glad I got it for $1.99…it’s $9.39 right now.

While, of course, my attention was riveted on my SO during our anniversary trip, I did take advantage of reading time when my SO went to the gym. 😉

A Wicked Sweet Deal

It does seem odd that I’ve never read the Wicked series, by Gregory Maguire. I”m a big Oz fan, and recently wrote the first in a series,

Bufo in Oz: was Dorothy’s house used as a weapon?

in which I argue that there is considerable evidence in the original book that Dorothy’s house landing on the Wicked Witch of the West wasn’t an accident, but was a deliberate attack by the “Good Witch Alliance”. 😉

I’ve read a lot of Oz books, including non-canonical ones, but I’d just never gotten to these (or seen the musical, for that matter).

That’s why I was pleased to see that one of today’s Kindle Daily Deals was all four of the Maguire books, for $1.99 each. You can buy one or all four…if you did the latter, you are getting the set for $7.96.

As always, check the price before you hit that Buy button…it may not be offered in your country, and the price might have changed before you read this.

I don’t know if they would be good for older kids, but you might consider this as a gift for an adult Oz fan.

AmazonLocal deal: “Free Voucher to Purchase Select Kindle Books for $1 Each”

Here’s another deal:

http://local.amazon.com/national

You have to get the deal in the next four days or so, and then you can redeem it (by May 7th)  for up to twenty of a specific set of books for $1 each.

The books, and the details of the deal, are listed here:

Exclusive Offer for Amazon Local Customers: 20 Kindle Books for $1 Each

I wouldn’t describe the titles as super well-known, but it doesn’t cost anything to get the voucher, and then you can decide to use it or not.

Amazon doesn’t like short shorts?

A blogstorm got started over a possibility that Amazon was going to ban Kindle Direct Publishing titles that were under 2,500 words.

That is a complaint I see sometimes: readers upset because they bought something and didn’t realize how short it was going to be. That’s one of the reasons I’ve encouraged Amazon to put the word count (which could be done automatically) on the book’s Amazon product page, so you could tell before you buy it. Page count doesn’t tell you (and isn’t always available, I think), and KB size  is greatly affected by images, among other things. A word count would be a reliable indicator of length (except for things like comics and graphic novels).

I haven’t gotten an e-mail like that, but I don’t think any of my works are that short. 2,500 words is traditionally about 10 pages of a paperbook (although that obviously varies).

Well, Nate Hoffelder has some nice reporting on this in this

The Digital Reader

article, which appears to debunk the concerns. I think Nate’s idea that it might just have been one Amazon rep responding to one specific complaint might be right.

I wouldn’t want Amazon to ban titles of a certain length…I think that should be up to the market to determine. However, putting the word count on the product page makes sense to me. That saves people from having to “return” something which they think is too short. Oh, you can do it easily by going to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

within seven days of purchase, and clicking or tapping the

Actions…

button.

Still, it would be better if you didn’t have to do even that…and processing transactions does cost Amazon money, even if it isn’t much. Customer Service also would be a cost to them.

I’d also like to see them put the clipping limit on the product page…publishers limit how much you can “clip” of an e-book (I think it’s typically five to ten percent), but you basically find out about it now when you hit the wall…like Wile E. Coyote running into a painting of a tunnel. 😉

Cory Doctorow wants to know what you know, Amazon

I’m sure many of you know who Cory Doctorow is…and you can probably guess that I don’t always agree with the author. 🙂 I do recommend this

The Bookseller article

in which Doctorow reports concerns that e-tailers aren’t sharing data (like sales data) with publishers.

Well, I have to say, as an independent publisher (it’s just me here, but because I make my books available to the public, I’m a publisher) going through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, I get excellent sales data.

I see the sales of my books every day…I can see them multiple times a day if I want.

If you want to see sales data, you can do that in more than one place…both at the KDP pages, and at your Amazon Author Central page:

https://authorcentral.amazon.com

It’s certainly possible that Amazon doesn’t give that information to traditional publishers…although they have to give them sales data at some point, even if it isn’t pretty much real time as it is with KDP.

One other possibility is that Doctorow’s publisher does have the data, even if Doctorow doesn’t…that’s just speculation on my part, though. It might be like the accounting methods that are supposedly used in Hollywood. 😉

I ran into something like that when I was a retail manager in a chain store.

I’d previously managed a bookstore, and was pretty much brought into a gamestore to try to up the sales.

I had it carefully explained to me where the bonuses would be…at what sales levels.

That holiday season (I got there not too long before that), I worked as long as 160 hours a week in the store. I didn’t want to make my Assistant Managers work sixty hours for the wages they were getting.

My SO and I had it figured out, and we thought there was a healthy bonus coming.

When we saw it, it wasn’t anywhere near what we thought it would be.

I asked about it, and was told, “You bought the bags.”

Me: “What?”

Company: “We rotate which store buys the bags for the whole chain. In December, you bought the bags, and that was a big expense.”

That’s paraphrased, of course.

While that certainly might be reasonable (they probably could get a bigger bulk discount on the bags that way, and everything counts in retail), it has become slang in our family…when something turns out to be less than we expected, we say, “Well, you bought the bags…” 😉

My Daguerreotype Librarian

This is one of the coolest sites ever!

http://mydaguerreotypelibrarian.tumblr.com/

When you go to a Tumblr site, it is mostly images, some very short videos, and sometimes, some real text.

This one celebrates librarians of the past…who really deserve it!

I know this one probably won’t look great on an RSK, but you might want to visit it on your computer. It should work fine on a tablet, though.

So, what do you think? Do  you find the 8.9″ Fire just too heavy for a daily use device? How cool are librarians? 😉 Without spoiling anything, is the Wicked series okay for older kids? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

Thanks for your patience: last chance on 3 free books!

April 28, 2013

Thanks for your patience: last chance on 3 free books!

Regular readers might have been expecting this, although I’m not going to do it every time I go away. 🙂

I’ve been away for a few days, and although I wrote ahead so you’d still get a post every day (and believe, me that’s not easy), I appreciate you being patient if my responses have been a bit slower. I really make an effort to respond to questions and most comments made to this blog in a timely manner, and think I typically do a pretty good job.

So, to make up for my absence, I am going to make a couple of my books free. 🙂

There is a bit of a twist this time.

I’ve decided to pull some books from the Kindle store.

Now, you might reasonably wonder why that it is. It seems like it would make sense to just always keep every book available there…after all, I’m not having to store the copies somewhere. Amazon just fills the order digitally.

I sort of figure any book I ever see in the Kindle store will be there forever, even though I know from personal experience that isn’t true.

In this case, the three books have become outdated. That’s an issue with writing guidebooks to technology…it changes, and it can be more work to update something than it is to do something new.

So, what I did a while ago was combine the three books into one volume, which I could offer for ninety-nine cents.

That volume hasn’t been a big hit, but keeping that one there keeps the books “in print”, so to speak.

The other ones? The individual books?

I could just leave them…but why have a ninety-nine cent version and three things that are the same for $2.97?

More importantly, I get returns on my first book, the one about free book for you Kindle.

Now, that’s always been true. I think people have gotten it, got the information out of it, and then taken advantage of Amazon’s generous seven-day “return” policy* on Kindle books.

I suspect, now, that some of them are being returned because they are unsatisfactory.

I don’t like that. 🙂

Therefore, this will be the last hurrah! It’s your last chance (for the foreseeable future) to get those three books as individual volumes…and it won’t cost you anything.

It’s honestly hard for me to do this…I am still getting some sales and borrows from them, and it feels…almost disrespectful to them. 🙂 I know that’s silly, though. I’m keeping the door open: I could put them back on sale at some point.

Oh, and if you download one and then I pull it from the store (which is the plan), you can still download it from your archives to new devices: my pulling it doesn’t affect that.

Please check that the book is free before you download it. To make it easier for my international readers, I’m making the free period go for two days (Sunday, 28/4 and Monday 29/4).  However, that depends on Amazon doing it, and you might see this after that point.

One other thing before I give you the links. 🙂 I know some of you might be worried about downloading free books, because of Amazon’s change in the policy on that.

I don’t think I’ll have 20,000 downloads this month, so I think I’m safe. 🙂

For more information on that, see my post in The Writers’ Guide to E-Publishing, Not so freely free: Amazon’s 20K/80% vision.

Here are the books:

Free Books for Your Kindle

This was the first book I published in the Kindle store, way back on March 11, 2008! It does still show you how to get free books, but I’m sure some of it is obsolete, and it doesn’t have all of the current options.

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions (June 20th, 2009)

Again, the issue here is that much of the information has changed. There are still some general conceptual things that are worthwhile.

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition) (May 30th, 2009)

This one has a lot of fun stuff in it, including The Happy Little Bookworm.

Well, I have to admit…I’m having second thoughts already, and this won’t even post for a week. 🙂 I think it’s the right thing to do, though, and I do want to show my appreciation to you.

If you are interested in getting the three in one version for ninety-nine cents (or borrowing it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), that’s here: The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle.

Enjoy!

* You can “return” any Kindle store book within seven days of purchase for a refund. That’s one of the reasons I recommend the Kindle over other devices: last time I checked, neither Barnes & Noble nor Sony allowed returns of e-books at any time for any reason. You can even do the return yourself, by going to http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle. Find the book there, then click or tap “Actions…” If you are within seven days of purchase, you’ll see the option to return it.

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

What do you like in ILMK? 2013

April 27, 2013

What do you like in ILMK? 2013

Regular readers know that I’m always asking for your opinion. 🙂

I typically put something at the end of a post, and prompt you to comment on what I’ve written.

I also, from time to time, ask your opinion about what I should be writing.

Now, I know that part of the attraction of a blog like this is that it is personal…that who I am affects what I write and what you read. For that reason, I can’t simply write what people ask me to write. I have to write what feels real to me, and that I think can both help people and keep me creatively satisfied.

That doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t shift the focus to more of what people want and less of what they don’t.

I polled my readers a bit more than three years ago

You tell me…what do you like in ILMK?

and based on those responses and other subsequent questions and answers, I have made changes.

For example, I’ve stopped doing as many excerpts from public domain works of fiction. I still do those from time to time, but not as many.

I know I can’t please all of the people all of the time, and I’m not trying to do that. That’s part of why I make an effort to keep the blog eclectic: I really try not to write about the same thing two posts in a row, although when something big is happening, it does happen sometimes.

I was saddened recently when someone commented that they were going to stop reading the blog because I was writing too much about the Kindle Fire.

I wasn’t sad that they had commented: I appreciated that, really. I wish that they had commented before deciding to drop it…that’s my natural tendency. I try to change something before I give up on it…sometimes, that has worked out very well.

I did go back and check in that case: I’d written one purely Kindle Fire post (a menu map) and one app review in the past ten. Apps don’t do you any good on an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle…anything but a Kindle Fire), but they do also work on other devices running Kindle apps…Android phones, for example, and the app about which I wrote is also available on iPhones, Blackberrys, and more. Not every app is available for every device, but yes, you can’t use an app on your RSK.

That’s another part of the balance. I have people who read this blog who are old hands at the Kindle, newbies to it, people who use the Kindle app on a PC or a Mac…and people from all over the world. It isn’t possible to always write things that are of universal interest, so I hope readers accept that not every post will be applicable to them. That’s part of why I try to stick to that “no two posts the same in a row” guideline. For subscribers (thanks, subscribers!), I really try and make it worth their ninety-nine cents a month. Hopefully, if one of those posts seems like it wasn’t worth the three and a third cents it costs you (approximately), another one is worth more than seven cents. 😉

I’ve also started adding little “bonuses” at the ends of some posts, particularly those which might appeal to a smaller audience. It might be a bonus sale, like one of the Kindle Daily Deals…those appeal to a pretty wide spectrum of my readers (but not everybody…for example, they may not apply outside the USA. In 2012, I had readers in 189 countries, according to WordPress).

I think those help, but I do want to hear what you think. I’m going to poll you, but also please feel free to comment on this post if you’d like to give me more information. You can ask me to keep the comment private, if you like…that’s up to you. I get private comments from time to time (I’ve gotten them about the content of the blog), and I don’t publish those to the blog (I review every comment before it gets published).

So, here we go!

Let’s start out with categories of posts…these won’t match up exactly with the categories you can see when you go the blogsite: the latter tend to be more narrow.

Sales

Category link: Sales (and others)

I write specifically about things where the price is reduced temporarily. That might be a Kindle Daily Deal, or Amazon’s monthly 100 books for $3.99 or lower. I try not to just list them, but to give you some insight about them, even if it’s just that I found a subset interesting. I do think this is one of the things that can really save you money. Still, I could see how someone might think they could get that information elsewhere, or that that isn’t personalized by me enough, or that the sales aren’t available to that person, or that it seems too commercial. In the polls, I’m going to include free books…that can be the ultimate sale, of course…unless the book is always free (as is the case, generally, with public domain books).

Tips

Category link: Tips

There are several sub-categories to this, but this is basically when I tell you about things that can help you use your Kindle or the Kindle service better. That includes things like alerting you to new or old features (the Menu Maps are one way I do that). I really like these, but honestly, I’ve covered a lot of stuff already. 🙂 That’s one reason I like it when Amazon introduces new features, say, through an update…gives me something new where I can help you.

News

Category link: News

For the purposes of this poll, I’m going to include news about traditional publishing houses, copyright and other legal issues, and so on. Think of it of something of more general interest, rather than specifically how you use your device. While it may affect you, it is more about the information. One place I do a lot of this in the Round-ups, where I do shorter pieces and often direct you to other news sources.

Analysis, Opinion, Humor, Reviews, and Bufo’s Life

I’m lumping a bunch of things together here, but they can be broadly thought of as my really original material. Analysis (such as the Snapshots I do every month has to do with me looking at something, and often applying number crunching to it. Opinion (and the newer category called Thoughtabouts) are me just thinking about things, mostly. I didn’t really intend to write reviews when I started this blog, but I have done those and gotten good response to them. I do humor pieces as well, and from time to time, I tell you some things about my life. While you might see things about what I write about in sales or news somewhere else, these are really going to uniquely be seen here. They are different enough, though, that I’m going to approach the polls a bit differently in this section:

Topic Categories

I wanted to ask you more broadly about topics. I’ll do two polls here, one for wanting more of it, one for wanting less.

Whew! I know that’s a lot of questions…just answer the ones you want. I also know that this doesn’t come close to covering everything…feel free to give me and my readers more information by commenting on this post.

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

Amazon announces 1st quarter results: the more they sell, the more they lose

April 26, 2013

In this press release:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1811383&highlight=

Amazon announced their 1st quarter results.

As is not unexpected, their sales were way, way up…22%, and of course, this is now a well-established company, so that’s amazing.

According to my calculations, that means that by 2039, every sales transaction in the world will go through Amazon…including when your kid “sells” a  tooth to the Tooth Fairy. 😉

At the same time, net income was down 37%.

They are just going to figure out a way to sell fewer items, or they are never going to make any money. 😉 Just kidding, of course…there are other outgoing expenses besides selling things.

Still, while Amazon customers cheer the great deals they get (including “no additional cost” items through Prime), many Amazon investors are probably smacking themselves in the forehead…again. 🙂

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

Pay with your preferences

April 26, 2013

Pay with your preferences

We are going to need to work out some new economic system for our content.

Quite simply, there are a lot of people now who don’t pay for content, and won’t going forward.

Oh, they may buy some things, but the regular, daily books/movies/TV/apps/music? Not really.

There are plenty of places to get free ones of all of those, if you aren’t particularly picky (and even if you are).

So, there is going to be a real challenge both for when you buy one thing at a time (like we typically do with e-books) and for “all you can eat” plans, like Netflix.

What can we do?

Pay with something else besides money.

There is something that we have which is clearly valuable to companies: the information about what we prefer.

Advertising something is easy. It used to be hard to reach people…picture a new restaurant in a small town in the 1920s.

Now, it’s simple. You can put something out there that is in reach of hundreds of millions of people with very little cost.

The problem is that you still have to be able to reach the specific people who are buying what you want to sell (very few things are of universal interest).

Let’s say you make, oh, a Doctor Who cat play structure. You need to reach people who like cats and Doctor Who. You can show the product to a million people without reaching anybody who will buy it.

For a seller, being able to identify who is a likely purchaser is worth a lot. Those people not only are more likely to actually buy it, they may be happy to get your ad and will want to see more from you.

One way to determine what you are likely to buy is to look at what you have bought in the past.

Amazon can do that no problem. As I’ve written about before, Amazon already does this. You can opt-out of “interest based ads”, but if you don’t, Amazon can already use your buying history (and other things) to let sellers know what to  advertise  to you. The advertiser doesn’t need to get to know who you are personally…Amazon could charge them to make their ad visible to people who have bought X from Amazon before, without revealing who you are as an individual (Amazon is famously protective of its customers’ privacy).

I’m going to call that “direct evidence” of the likelihood of you buying something…you’ve bought something similar before, or browsed to pages about that type of item.

Another big indicator of what you might buy, though, are your interests…what we can call the “indirect indicators”.

A seller wouldn’t need to figure out the logic. You don’t have to know why people who watch a particular show buy a particular item…just that they do.

A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences called

Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior

got quite a bit of play. It showed that it was possible to predict a person’s political party and sexual orientation based on their Facebook likes.

It wasn’t 100% accurate, but it was pretty good at it…certainly, valuable enough for advertising purposes.

I would guess that what we read/watch/listen to has similar predictive qualities, even if they might not as good (I don’t know if they would be or not).

Haven’t you ever made a judgement about somebody based on the media they consume?

So, imagine this as a scenario:

Amazon (or Apple or Google) has you a customer. You agree to let them share what you read (although perhaps not you as an individual…see above).

That company then sells that information to advertisers, and shows you ads you want to see.

That’s already largely happening.

Now, I’m going to take this one step farther.

Amazon pays a content producer to make something (let’s say a book, although the bigger money would likely be in visual media). Why? They test the book to see what groups of people like reading it, and how that predicts their purchases.

Amazon sells that information to advertisers…for more than what it gave to the content producer.

The consumer doesn’t pay money for the book…they pay with their preferences.

I think there’s a possible system there.

Not everybody would have to along with it (many people wouldn’t). There are people who would still opt to pay $9.99 for an e-book, and $100 a month for cable, rather than have their information shared.

My guess is that a lot of the things that we get for free now might dry up in that system…unless you paid with your preferences.

One of the questions would be whether selling the preference information would make enough to pay for the production of , for example, a blockbuster movie. My intuition is that it would: look at how much people pay for Superbowl ads.

Putting out a movie also can mean a lot of sales in ancillary goods, and I would still think people will pay for things like t-shirts in the future.

That might mean that Amazon wouldn’t have to finance the entire production cost.

I can also see people being worried that the works being created would be skewed towards predictability rather than art, but much of what you see is already molded by forces other than pure art. For example, Iron Man 3 will, as I understand, basically have two versions…one of which is more attractive for China (a huge and growing movie market).

I’m just kicking this idea around…what do you think about it? Do you think the current systems will endure? Are there other good viable models? How would you sell this idea to people if it was going to be widely-adopted? 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.

Eddiecoms #6: “You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you”

April 25, 2013

Eddiecoms #6: “You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you”

This is one in a series of posts about what I call “Eddiecoms”. You can see more detail about what these are in earlier posts on the topic, but it boils down to this. These are ads intended to promote something, disguised (often not very well…my favorite one recently was a post by someone listed as “Similar Internet Site”) as comments on something I’ve posted. I test a comment in a couple of ways before deciding it is an Eddiecom, including doing a Google search for the same wording. When I do use Google, I’ll sometimes find hundreds of instances of the same comment on different blogs, ones which are often unrelated in topic.

“Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and
let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its
a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.”

This one came up in Google more than 8.5 million times. The comment was also made on a post with no pictures. It is reasonbly well-written, though, which isn’t always the case. I suspect that what some of these may do is simply clone a genuine comment.

“Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with
SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.
If you know of any please share. Kudos!”

A paltry two and a half million Google results…SEO in this case is “Search Engine Optimization”, and I would think this is simply a clone…except that ending with “Kudos” in that case is strange…perhaps they edited out a comment that was specific to the post.

“This is the right site for anybody who would like to find out about this topic.
You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will
need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that has
been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!”

“Hi there, I found this blog once, then lost it. Took me forever to occur back and discover it. I wanted to view what comments you got. Very good blog by the way”

“I am truly happy to read this website posts which consists of plenty
of useful data, thanks for providing such statistics.”

“Hi there friends, its great post on the topic of teachingand fully
explained, keep it up all the time.”

When I did the Google search, I actually also found this one with “Hello, mates” instead of “Hi there friends” in the beginning…interesting international adaptation.

“This piece of writing is in fact a good one it assists new the web visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.”

This one also has some variations…they are getting smarter. 🙂

“It was developed by Walter L. Pizza crust, bread, pancakes, and any food that contain sugar should be taken out and erased from the list of foods one can eat. Consider the following statistic.”

That is where it stopped. This one was promoting the “paleo” diet. Gee, I wonder if Walter L. Pizza and Charlie T. Wheat were friends? 😉

“Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.”

“At this time I am going to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming over again to read other news.”

More than 115,000 results on that one…

“Fantastic website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community forums that cover the same
topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!”

Nicely written…over five million times. 🙂 That’s the one from “Similar Internet Page”: I’ll bet that person got teased in school! 😉

“Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.”

“Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog.
An excellent read. I will definitely be back.”

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

Hey there, iThere, ho there! Disney and e-media

April 24, 2013

Hey there, iThere, ho there! Disney and e-media

My Significant Other and I are going to Disneyland to celebrate our 25th anniversary!

I’m going to be perhaps less responsive for the next few days (burglars, this does not mean our house is empty) 😉 , so I’m writing ahead a few posts to keep this blog rolling.

I’ve been a fan of Disney for a long time…I got a share of stock when I was 12, and it helped us do our first down payment on a place to live. 🙂

They are a huge company, and own, have stakes in, or control,  much of our pop culture: Marvel; Pixar; The Muppets; ESPN; ABC; and Lucasfilm, to name a some brands.

This is a company that has been around for close to ninety years. Have they adapted and embraced the digital era? Do they affect what you e-read today?

Yes!

I want to focus on the books in this post: I’ve recently heard from someone who was concerned about the amount of time I spend on things that don’t work on the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles)*, and I do want to be aware of that.

Before I plunge into Publisherland, 😉 let me just deal with of their other content that you might be using on Kindle devices:

Disney Kindle Fire apps in the Amazon Appstore:

There are fifteen of these at the time of writing, although they aren’t all compatible with all models. Those include the very popular Where’s My Water? and Where’s My Perry? apps. Interestingly, many of them are free, and they don’t all tie into the Disney characters. I think one clever thing is a couple of Temple Run apps that are specific to Disney movies: Brave and Oz the Great and Terrible. Those are ninety-nine cents each.

Disney Animation Studios Prime Instant Video

Not surprisingly, there are lots of Disney videos available, but you might be surprised that the ones I’ve linked above are available at no additional cost for eligible Prime members. Right now, it looks like it is just episodes of Phineas and Ferb…but they are popular. 🙂

Disney MP3 Albums
Hollywood Records MP3 albums

Hollywood Records is Disney’s adult music arm, but be careful…there are “false positives” in the above search, and not all of them are Disney. It might all stretch your definition of “adult” with Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato prominently featured.

Okay, on to the books…

The Disney Publishing Group includes Hyperion, and Marvel.

Here’s a search:

Disney books in the Kindle store

Well, as I went to write this, it was disappointing! I knew Hyperion published some really well-known children’s books, but the big ones have text-to-speech access blocked!

I’ve never communicated with Disney about that issue, but I will now. I had a reader who was recently annoyed about me bringing up the text-to-speech thing, and we had a nice exchange of comments where I explained it. I sometimes forget that it’s been years since I wrote something here (I’m not at all good with chronology).

The short version is that the publisher has to insert code into the file to block access to text-to-speech (if they do nothing, it works), which I feel disproportionately disadvantages the disabled. I do think it’s a personal decision, though, so while I don’t link directly to the books, I don’t think less of you if you purchase them. I generally give a link to the full search (as I’ve done above), and then you can make the call yourself.

Here are a few Disney books without TTS blocked:

Perfect Scoundrels
by Ally Clark

This is a well-reviewed teen book (4.8 out of five stars with 72 reviews at time of writing).

Kingdom Keepers VI
by Ridley Pearson

Pearson is a New York Times bestselling author, and this series of young adult books bring classic Disney villains into the real world (specifically, Disney parts of the real world) where they are fought by the “Kingdom Keepers”. I haven’t read one, but they do sound intriguing…

Ariel: The Birthday Surprise (Disney Princess Early Chapter Books)

Be Our Guest
by Theodore Kinni

Disney does non-fiction…and this one sounds like an interesting guide to Disney’s customer service concept.

Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered
by Dave Smith

This is official Disney trivia. I think I met Dave Smith many, many years ago, but don’t know him personally.

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
by Andrea and Brian Pinkney

Now I want to change gears a bit, and mention some things that aren’t done by Disney, but are done by other people about Disney.

I do want to mention one app here before I get to some books.

Disneyland MouseWait

That’s a free app we’ll be using on our trip, but it’s fun even when you aren’t at Disney. It shows you the wait times for the different rides..in real time. 🙂 It’s a social app: the information is entered by users. However, there is a lot more to it than that…for example, people post pictures to the app…I think it would be great if Disney would put a few webcams in the park, but I do think some people may want to feel like they are more private than that when they are there.

Here’s a search for

Disney Travel books

You’ll see all kinds of things, including tips on saving money.

This book in particular:

Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland
by David Koenig

may tell you more than you want to know. 😉 It may take some of the magic out of the Magic Kingdom…not by revealing secrets of how they do things, but the nitty gritty. Hm…let’s just say that Mickey isn’t the only rodent in the park…

The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom
by Chris Stodder

Here’s another good one! As you know, Disneyland changes, and this one has the details. I can still sing the Carousel of Progress song (“There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow…”) I don’t remember the flying saucers, but I once read a terrific article about the physics of how they failed, and it was fascinating. They hovered on air (like little bumpercar hovercrafts), and when people bounced up and down in them, it set up a vibration that ended up shutting off the air…meaning the ride was often out of commission. I don’t if this book explains that, but I’m sure it talks about the ride itself. 🙂

Well, have a great few days! I’ll be checking in from time to time, and I’ll be able to approve your comments if you make them.

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

“Book! Book!” said the dog

April 23, 2013

“Book! Book!” said the dog

I love animals and I love books.

There has been some talk recently (and I’ve indulged in it myself) about the role of dogs in books (versus cats on the internet).

I thought I’d take this post to mention some of my favorite literary dogs.

Toto, from the Wizard of Oz series, is certainly front and center.

I’m sure many people’s image of Toto comes from the portrayal by Terry, a cairn terrier (who was reportedly “paid” more than many of the human actors) in the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie.

That portrayal is not far off: Toto is very much a dog’s dog, and has to restrain instinctual responses (like not chasing the Queen of the field mice), but manages it.

Something that I particularly admired about Toto was revealed in the eighth Oz book by L. Frank Baum, Tik-Tok of Oz.

Toto had already been to Oz…and so had other animals from the Outside World (including a Billina, a yellow hen, and Hank, a mule).

It isn’t until the end of this eighth book, though, that it is pointed out to Dorothy that other Outside animals who come to Oz are able to speak like humans…but Toto hasn’t.

When Betsy Bobbin (another arrival from the Outside World questions that, Ozma (the ruler of Oz) points out that Toto should be able to speak, and must just be choosing not to do so.

“Do all the animals in Oz talk as we do?”

“Almost all,” answered Dorothy. “There’s a Yellow Hen here, and she can talk, and so can her chickens; and there’s a Pink Kitten upstairs in my room who talks very nicely; but I’ve a little fuzzy black dog, named Toto, who has been with me in Oz a long time, and he’s never said a single word but ‘Bow-wow!'”

“Do you know why?” asked Ozma. “Why, he’s a Kansas dog; so I s’pose he’s different from these fairy animals,” replied Dorothy.

“Hank isn’t a fairy animal, any more than Toto,” said Ozma, “yet as soon as he came under the spell of our fairyland he found he could talk. It was the same way with Billina, the Yellow Hen whom you brought here at one time. The same spell has affected Toto, I assure you; but he’s a wise little dog and while he knows everything that is said to him he prefers not to talk.”

“Goodness me!” exclaimed Dorothy. “I never s’pected Toto was fooling me all this time.” Then she drew a small silver whistle from her pocket and blew a shrill note upon it. A moment later there was a sound of scurrying footsteps, and a shaggy black dog came running up the path.

Dorothy knelt down before him and shaking her finger just above his nose she said:

“Toto, haven’t I always been good to you?”

Toto looked up at her with his bright black eyes and wagged his tail. “Bow-wow!” he said, and Betsy knew at once that meant yes, as well as Dorothy and Ozma knew it, for there was no mistaking the tone of Toto’s voice.

“That’s a dog answer,” said Dorothy. “How would you like it, Toto, if I said nothing to you but ‘bow-wow’?”

Toto’s tail was wagging furiously now, but otherwise he was silent.

“Really, Dorothy,” said Betsy, “he can talk with his bark and his tail just as well as we can. Don’t you understand such dog language?”

“Of course I do,” replied Dorothy. “But Toto’s got to be more sociable. See here, sir!” she continued, addressing the dog, “I’ve just learned, for the first time, that you can say words—if you want to. Don’t you want to, Toto?”

“Woof!” said Toto, and that meant “no.”

“Not just one word, Toto, to prove you’re as any other animal in Oz?” “Woof!”

“Just one word, Toto—and then you may run away.”

He looked at her steadily a moment. “All right. Here I go!” he said, and darted away as swift as an arrow.

I always considered that very intelligent…hiding that ability as long as things were going well enough without it. There are times, certainly, when I jump in (during a meeting, for instance) with something when things don’t really need it. I think many of us could learn from Toto’s example. 😉

Once the ability is revealed, Toto does speak…but I’m not really sure things are better off because of it. 🙂

In addition to dogs, we’ve had cats as pets (and I’ve had quite a few other species). With one particular cat, Leo, my family used to joke that Leo and I spoke “Felinglish”, a combination language (feline and English). Oh, I didn’t meow, but I understood very well what Leo was saying. I could prove it. Leo would come into the room and meow, and I could tell my Significant Other what the issue was (e.g. “Leo says the water is low in the bowl”) and it would be. I couldn’t always understand Leo…but I can’t always understand people, either. 😉

Speaking of speech and dogs, there was also Jip from the Doctor Doolittle stories.

Doctor Doolittle (and yes, I’ve been called that a few times) learned to speak with animals, and had a number of them as companions.

This is a great section from The Story of Doctor Doolittle, showing how Jip interprets the world:

Then Jip went up to the front of the ship and smelt the wind; and he started muttering to himself,

“Tar; Spanish onions; kerosene oil; wet raincoats; crushed
laurel-leaves; rubber burning; lace-curtains being washed–No, my mistake, lace-curtains hanging out to dry; and foxes–hundreds of ’em–cubs; and–“

“Can you really smell all those different things in this one wind?”
asked the Doctor.

“Why, of course!” said Jip. “And those are only a few of the easy
smells–the strong ones. Any mongrel could smell those with a cold in the head. Wait now, and I’ll tell you some of the harder scents that are coming on this wind–a few of the dainty ones.”

Then the dog shut his eyes tight, poked his nose straight up in the air and sniffed hard with his mouth half-open.

For a long time he said nothing. He kept as still as a stone. He
hardly seemed to be breathing at all. When at last he began to speak, it sounded almost as though he were singing, sadly, in a dream.

“Bricks,” he whispered, very low–“old yellow bricks, crumbling with age in a garden-wall; the sweet breath of young cows standing in a mountain-stream; the lead roof of a dove-cote–or perhaps a
granary–with the mid-day sun on it; black kid gloves lying in a
bureau-drawer of walnut-wood; a dusty road with a horses’
drinking-trough beneath the sycamores; little mushrooms bursting through the rotting leaves; and–and–and–“

Oh, and of course there is Nana, from Peter Pan!

Mrs. Darling loved to have everything just so, and Mr. Darling had a passion for being exactly like his neighbours; so, of course, they had a nurse. As they were poor, owing to the amount of milk the children drank, this nurse was a prim Newfoundland dog, called Nana, who had belonged to no one in particular until the Darlings engaged her. She had always thought children important, however, and the Darlings had become acquainted with her in Kensington Gardens, where she spent most of her spare time peeping into perambulators, and was much hated by careless nursemaids, whom she followed to their homes and complained of to their mistresses. She proved to be quite a treasure of a nurse. How thorough she was at bath-time; and up at any moment of the night if one of her charges made the slightest cry. Of course her kennel was in the nursery. She had a genius for knowing when a cough is a thing to have no patience with and when it needs stocking round your throat. She believed to her last day in old-fashioned remedies like rhubarb leaf, and made sounds of contempt over all this new-fangled talk about germs, and so on. It was a lesson in propriety to see her escorting the children to school, walking sedately by their side when they were well behaved, and butting them back into line if they strayed. On John’s footer days she never once forgot his sweater, and she usually carried an umbrella in her mouth in case of rain. There is a room in the basement of Miss Fulsom’s school where the nurses wait. They sat on forms, while Nana lay on the floor, but that was the only difference. They affected to ignore her as of an inferior social status to themselves, and she despised their light talk. She resented visits to the nursery from Mrs. Darling’s friends, but if they did come she first whipped off Michael’s pinafore and put him into the one with blue braiding, and smoothed out Wendy and made a dash at John’s hair.

No nursery could possibly have been conducted more correctly, and Mr. Darling knew it, yet he sometimes wondered uneasily whether the neighbours talked.

He had his position in the city to consider.

Nana also troubled him in another way. He had sometimes a feeling that she did not admire him. ‘I know she admires you tremendously, George,’ Mrs. Darling would assure him, and then she would sign to the children to be specially nice to father.

I actually played Nana on stage, many years ago. I was Smee in the same production, although I must say Nana was the more admirable character. 🙂

Those are a few of my favorite literary dogs…how about you?

This post is dedicated to Marty, a member of our family who passed away yesterday. In his honor, I include below the announcement I sent to our family:

As I think you know, Marty has had a lot of physical problems. He’s been blind, epileptic, diabetic, and had an eye removed.

 Recently, he’s had a chronic congestive condition.
About a week ago, his seizures became much more common and a lot more intense.
We were considering starting him on an anti-seizure medication, but today, it was apparent that his time had come, and he is no longer with us.
While I’ll admit to having been reluctant to get a pug at first, over time, Marty really became my buddy (although he was always [our kid’s] dog first…that’s a choice he made very early on).
Marty had a great enthusiasm, and what I would describe as real joy in some simple things. We all remember when [my Significant Other] held out a five dollar bill for him to smell, kind of as a joke, and he grabbed it and starting prancing around with it, quite happy. We did get it back from him…before he could head off to PetSmart. 😉
When we moved into one house, there was a metallic sculpted cat head on a stake as a garden decoration. Marty would find it and bring it into the house, again, very happy. So, we would stick it back in the yard…in different places. He’d always eventually find it again.
It was also quite funny when we took him to [our now adult kid’s] elementary school (yes, we had him a long time). We had put a collar and leash on him, but didn’t think about the fact that his neck was as big as his head. He just stepped backwards, and was out of the collar! It wasn’t a problem, but we learned to use a harness on him after that, sort of like one you would put on a guinea pig.
There are so many good memories with him. Our animals tend to get nicknames…one for him was “Buddha Boy”, because he would sit up on his butt next to you on the couch, leaning back (without his front legs touching anything) sort of looking like Buddha. That was also the “My Buddy” position. I said he looked like “Camel Poop” shortly after we got him (I was thinking partly of the fawn color), and that kind of stuck as well.
After he went blind (which is not that uncommon with pugs), he was so good about it. This was not my first experience with a blind dog (Kimba had gone blind as well), but Marty was just so even-tempered about everything. If he walked into something, like the vacuum cleaner, he would just pause and then go around, unconcerned. We would say he would just say, “Huh.” 🙂
We’re going to miss him.

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

May 2013 Kindle book releases

April 22, 2013

May 2013 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.

May is a big month for books…it’s the unofficial start of summer, and just as we start to see the movie blockbusters, some of the books show up for that Memorial Day weekend as well.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 2,274 (at time of writing May releases in the USA Kindle store:

May 2013 USA Kindle store books

I won’t intentionally link to individual books which block text-to-speech. However, I’m very happy (and heartened) to tell you that this time, only one of the books I took a look at it had the access blocked. That’s a big improvement (in my opinion), and that includes books from major publishers that used to block it routinely.

Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
pre-order for May 14

Undoubtedly, this is going to be a biggie. Brown is the author of the Da Vinci Code (and others), and this features the same main character. You’d probably see this a lot on the beach…if you could see what people were reading on their devices. 😉

Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
by Charlaine Harris
pre-order for May 7

This is supposed to be the last book in the Sookie Stackhouse series (the inspiration for the True Blood TV series).

Deeply Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel
by Dean Koontz
pre-order for May 28

Odd Thomas has been a popular series for the horror writer.

A Delicate Truth: A Novel
by John le Carré
pre-order for May 7

Very popular writer, for decades. I liked this story on him which ran recently in the New York Times: John le Carré Has Not Mellowed With Age.

The Rithmatist
by Brandon Sanderson
pre-order for May 14

This one looks interesting! It’s the first young adult novel from Sanderson (Mistborn, co-author of the last Wheel of Time book).

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
by T. Colin Campbell with Howard Jacobson
pre-order for May 7

Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery
by Walter Moseley
pre-order for May 14

The return of Easy Rawlins!

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness
by Mike Johnson, illustrated by David Messina
pre-order for May 15

This is a comic book series (in one volume) (check available devices to see if you can get it for yours) which is a lead-in to the new movie…which is a sequel to a reboot to a TV series from is getting to be close to fifty years old…feelin’ it yet? 😉

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 3
pre-order for May 14

See, you can reboot something, or it can live again as a comic book series…or app…or audiobook…or…dang, you just can’t kill these old pop culture properties! Where’s a slayer when you need one? 😉 Actually, I love that pop culture is forever, although I’m still waiting for a big screen version of Herbie Popnecker (which I still think could be a big ((no pun intended)) hit).

The Man Who Seduced Hollywood: The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown’s Most Powerful Lawyer
by B. James Gladstone, with a foreword by Robert Wagner
pre-order for May 1

You need a big inside Hollywood book for the summer, right?

In Her Majesty’s Name: Steampunk Skirmish Wargaming Rules (Osprey Wargames)
by Craig Cartmell, illustrated by Fabien Lascombe
pre-order for May 21

You don’t have to actually play a war/role-playing game to enjoy reading the rules. I’ve certainly done that (although I should mention that I use to manage a game store, in addition to a bookstore…we weren’t just RPGs, though). The description of this one makes it seem as though the author is grounded in the appropriate literature…certainly might be worth a sample for you Steampunk fans (no samples until the release, usually).

A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley
by Neal Thompson
pre-order for May 7

Ripley was a true original, and certainly influenced pop culture. I used to see the comics, and went to the museum.

Leopard’s Prey (A LEOPARD NOVEL)
by Christine Feehan

Romance from a #1 New York Times bestselling author

Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization
by K. Eric Drexler

Well, you know…it’s the little things that count. 😉

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (The Liberation Trilogy)
by Rick Atkinson
pre-order for May 14

For some people, summer and a big old history (wait, can you have new history?) 😉 go hand in hand. This one is 896 pages in paper…but don’t worry, it won’t make your Kindle heavy.

The Art of Thinking Clearly
by Rolf Dobelli
pre-order for May 14

I love this kind of stuff! Eventually, we might even get thinking figured out…

Well, there’s enough to get you started. Are you excited for any of these? Do you have another book coming out in May you’d like to recommend? Do you read a lot over Memorial Day, or is that more for movies and outdoor pursuits? 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.


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