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

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.

6 Responses to “Round up #163: a Wicked sweet deal, Amazon doesn’t like short shorts?”

  1. Steve Says:

    I started, but did not finish the first book in the Wicked series. It is in no way a kids book or suitable for sensitive adults. I may go back and finish it, but I decided to move it pretty far down my reading list — but I did not remove it. It asks interesting questions and the viewpoint is certainly intriguing. As to suitability for older kids … I don’t know. I wouldn’t try to forbid my 18 year old daughter from reading it (and it wouldn’t upset me to catch her reading it), but neither will I recommend it to her. Then again, as anyone with teenagers know, to keep her from reading it, all I have to do is strongly suggest that she read it.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Steve!

      Well, I appreciate hearing that! I’m probably still going to read the first one, given the Oz connection, and I’ll judge it myself…but it’s good to hear your opinion on it.

      I figured it wasn’t for kids, but I wanted to get the opinion of people who had read it.

  2. liz Says:

    I most certainly would NOT recommend Wicked for older kids; in fact, I’d hesitate to recommend it for adults. It’s got a lot of sexual imagery that is unnecessary and offensive language. That in itself would not be enough for me to dislike a book, but the story was so poorly written (sudden story jumping, lost characters, etc.) that I was very frustrated and felt by the end of the book like I had completely wasted my time reading it. There are only a few books I can say that about – I usually find something in them that made reading them worthwhile. Check out some of the one-star reviews of Wicked to see if this sounds like something you really want to spend your time on (and if those kinds of images are really what you want in your mind – some really nasty stuff goes on in this book). Of course, at this deal’s price, you’ll spend the same for the whole series as I spent on the first book, but I feel that there are so many worthwhile books in the world that should be read, I don’t want to waste my time reading horrible books (I had bought the second book in the series before I read the first, but it’s never going to be read by me now). Granted, there are many 5-star reviews, so maybe you’d actually find it delightful.

    I love the Wizard of Oz series; I haven’t read them all, but they’re so filled with magical fun, I want to read the rest. The Wicked series borrows the character names from Oz, but bypasses the actual characters and definitely leaves out fun and magic. I would waste another 2 dollars on any of these books, myself.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, liz!

      Good to know! I’m going to give it a shot, and see what happens.

      I do recommend reading the original Oz books…that is one of the very few pieces of literature I will re-read. 🙂

  3. jjhitt Says:

    I did read Wicked and tend to think of it as a flawed masterpiece. The first third is unnecessarily and gratuitously vulgar. (And my very low standards are just this side of the gutter.)

    But it did pick up and I found it a book where I would think about parts of it long after I’d finished it. That to me is one of the true signs of good storytelling.

    It’s other glaring flaw is the story comes to a grinding screeching halt in the last chapter. Not attempt at closure, just a end to the story.

    I bought all four books on sale this weekend, buy they are no where near the top of my reading list.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      I’m sure I’m going to try it…I’m interested to see how it strikes me.

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