Round up #179: updates, DRM that changes the words

Round up #179: updates, DRM that changes the words

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

Playing “Hangman”…

Amazon claims in this

press release

that its publishing division has had a million seller. It’s significant that Amazon could, with its traditional publishing business, sell enough of a work to challenge the Big Six publishers. As I wrote about a couple of years ago in A Tale of Two Middles, that’s one way that Amazon can potentially work around the publishers. The e-tailer has tended to lose when going up against them (text-to-speech, and the Agency Model, for two examples), but as indicated in the current Apple trial, the publishers are worried about Amazon gaining more power and luring away their authors.

Congratulations are definitely due to Oliver Pötzsch, who is the author featured in the press release.

However, this isn’t exactly Stephen King territory yet.

Here’s the telling part of the press release:

“… the first Amazon Publishing author to sell 1 million copies in combined print, audio, and Kindle English language editions worldwide.”

That’s right…this is not the same thing as selling a million copies of a hardback book: it combines hardbacks, paperbacks, audiobooks, and e-books. This is also the combined figure for three different titles (the fourth, The Poisoned Pilgrim: A Hangman’s Daughter Tale, can be pre-ordered for July 16th, 2013).

Still, this is no small accomplishment, and can’t make those other tradpubs any happier.

Steve Jobs in the Apple trial

We are winding down in the Apple Agency Model trial, and today, Eddy Cue talked about Steve Jobs role, as reported in this

AllThingsD article by Peter Kafka

Honestly, I looked at another article first to bring you, but it was too tacky. Steve Jobs didn’t always do things with which I agreed, certainly, but I do think that respect is reasonable here.

Cue talked about how Jobs got into the iBooks project, once it was decided it was a go…including picking Winnie-the-Pooh as part of the launch.

It looks like we’ll have closing arguments on Thursday, and I would expect there to be a decision fairly quickly…I like Judge Cote, and I don’t think this will get stretched out for months.

As this point, I do think it’s possible Apple will prevail…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of years…”

Just doesn’t have the same ring as the original, right?

Well, according to this article by Janko Roettgers

Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute is working on an anti-piracy DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme that would change words in books so that you could identify which copy belong to whom, as a way to combat piracy.

Wait, what? 😉

I mean, I’m sorry, but authors sweat blood sometimes picking just the right combinations of vowels and consonants to tell their tales. I can’t imagine that this kind of “finger-printing” is going to be embraced. I hope-I hope-I hope… 🙂

Netflix to introduce user profiles

The video giant has figured out that not everybody on the same account has the same tastes. 😉

Huffington Post article by Alexis Kleinman

My adult kid and I share an account (my Significant Other just doesn’t use it), and that does make for some odd recommendations. For one thing, my kid is a linguist…we aren’t even always watching things in the same language! We don’t know quite how it will work yet, but it is supposed to be here by the end of the summer.

Why report on that?

We’re still waiting for Amazon to get something like that going for Kindle accounts. Yes, we have FreeTime for the Kindle Fire, and parental controls on the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything but a Fire at this point), but we could certainly use something simpler. My SO is not going to read the Doctor Who book I borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library this month, so it just sort of clutters things up.

I mentioned that we might see more software/service changes from Amazon this year than radical hardware changes (although I would figure that we’ll get new hardware), and this “profiles within accounts” kind of thing could certainly attract a lot of people.

Kindle for Windows 8 update

In this Amazon Kindle forum thread

Kindle for Windows 8 update 2.0

Amazon announced a new version of Kindles for Window 8. It’s bringing quite a few new features:

* Ability to search from inside a book
* Redesigned home screen and in-book navigation
* Easier bookmarking
* Filtering of Notes and Bookmarks
* Option to sample recommended books
* Live Tile displays of the book you’re reading
* Updated view options menu, library and search views

I’ve seen quite a few threads where people complain about the limited functionality of this version, so this should help. I’m intrigued by “filtering of Notes and Bookmarks”…I’ll look for more info on that.

Kindle Paperwhite update 5.3.6

They also announced the

Kindle Paperwhite Update Version 5.3.6

While it appears to have brought some other minor changes, this is the big new feature:

* Improvements when buying from a book sample – While reading a sample of a book, you can view the price of the full book and purchase from the reading toolbar with one tap

That seems nice…we all want things that make it easier for us to spend money with Amazon, right? 😉 Well, if it’s money you were going to spend anyway, making it easier is a plus for the consumer.

How to support a blog

I do get asked about this, and I’m reluctant to bring it up. I don’t accept payment for ads (any ads you ever see here are added by WordPress, and they get the money. You don’t see that in the regular blog feed, I think, but I have seen it on individual articles on the website.

You can certainly subscribe (thanks, subscribers!) if the blog is in the Kindle store…but that doesn’t work for a lot of people (if you are outside the USA, I think, or if you are using a reading app).

I’ve had people ask me if I accept donations, or if they can just send me money. I’m not a non-profit, and reporting money given to me for the blog on my taxes would really befuddle me.

One thing you can do: if the blog has a link for Amazon Gift Cards, that can be a good way to do it. You can buy gift cards for other people, or you could just buy them and apply them to your account. That’s a pretty painless way to help out. 🙂 It doesn’t change what you pay for anything at all.

As long as I’m writing about this (and so I can get back to something where I feel more comfortable), let me talk about Amazon Gift Cards a bit…I often see questions from people who are confused about how they work with Kindle books.

There are no Kindle gift cards…there are Amazon gift cards with pictures of Kindles on them, but when you buy a gift card with a picture of a birthday cake, that doesn’t mean you can only buy cake. 😉

You apply the gift card to your account.

The way that we buy books in the Kindle store is with “1-click”. 1-click will draw from any available gift card balance on your account until it is exhausted, then go back to whatever 1-click payment method you’ve designated (if any).

Let’s say somebody gives you a $25 gift card, and you want to spend it on books. You apply it to your account, and someone else on your account buys, oh, mouthwash (I’m not suggesting anything about their personal hygiene here, by the way). 😉 If they use 1-click, it will take away from that gift card balance.

You aren’t asked if you want your gift card balance applied to your current Kindle store purchase, because you would have to click on something to do that…and it’s called 1-click. 🙂

That’s why some people have an account just for Kindle purchases, so they can keep them separate.

Infographic of mysteries in different US states


Ebook Friendly article

has a nice infographic from Open Road with e-book mysteries in different states in the USA.

I have to say, I’ve never gone to this site before, and I’m impressed! I don’t follow a lot of sites on Twitter, but I’m going to start following this one, which will put it in my Flipboard read in the morning.

I’m going to explore

more, and then report back to you on it. I always figure there is room for a lot of good writing on the web about e-books, EBRs (E-Book Readers), and publishing. You’ve probably noticed that I tend to link and credit…I like being a place you can find the good work that others do. 🙂

What do you think? Is changing words in a book an acceptable way to combat piracy? Will you just be happy when the Apple Agency Model trial is over, however it goes? 😉 Am I making a mistake when I promote other sites, or do you like it? 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.

14 Responses to “Round up #179: updates, DRM that changes the words”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    The Fraunhofer Institute DRM concept is completely absurd, so much so that I wonder if it is a hoax and not a real proposal. The Fraunhofer Institute is a real organization but I could not find any info on their website that references this particular thing.

    I’m underwhelmed by the Paperwhite update but that’s because I rarely download samples any more. Empirically, I have found that 1) I don’t read many of them, 2) too often, samples are not ‘representative’ enough, and 3) I almost never buy immediately after reading a sample, if at all. So for me samples==clutter and time away from reading what I’ve already acquired.

    Instead, I just add books of interest to my Wish List and periodically review and prune that (with a browser), which seems a more efficient way to arrive at a purchasing decision than plowing through samples (often all I need to do is see the title to know it is something I’ve lost interest in reading). Plus within the one week return window, there is always the option to get a refund if one is unhappy with any given purchase. I know publishers study ‘conversion ratios’ of samples and think that it tells them something about how to make books more ‘purchaseable’, and maybe they are right, I just think it represents only a fraction of purchase workflows.

    But I would love to see you do a poll on this to find out how important samples are in arriving at a purchasing decision!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I may do a post with polls soon…I’ll definitely consider adding polls about samples if I do.

      My guess is that samples have only ever prevented me from buying something. 🙂 Some authors interview well, and then I might check a sample and it’s not what I expected it to be. I also think that bad proofing can be revealed in a sample, and might prevent purchases as well.

      That said, I love the idea of samples! I’d be concerned if publishers stopped them…

  2. Zebras Says:

    Hey Bufo:

    In response to Tom’s wondering how important samples are in terms of the purchasing decision. I have gotten in to the habit of reading the sample to eliminate some of the hasty decisions I might make about a discounted book. If I start reading, and the writing doesn’t flow, etc. Delete! On non-discounted books that I hear about, I get the sample, and if it passes muster, I keep the sample on a particular kindle as my wish list, and I’ll check amongst those first when its time to look for my next prime borrow.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Yes, i think the question of samples versus buying habits is an interesting one…thanks for sharing!

  3. stephanieberget Says:

    I love the fact that you link to other interesting articles. Great blog.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, stephanieberget!

      I appreciate the kind words! I like linking and giving other people the credit when they’ve done something good. 🙂

  4. Ana Says:

    Just to let you know, Nook for PC and Nook for Mac are back up on the B&N website.

  5. Poll Party #3 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Fun and information about the Kindle and the world of e-books « Round up #179: updates, DRM that changes the words […]

  6. poisonalice Says:

    I’m really curious to know what else was updated on the Paperwhite with the latest upgrade besides the samples change because besides that I’m not noticing anything different at all. Or was that the only change made with the upgrade? I would think they wouldn’t have a software upgrade just for adding one minor feature like that (though I’m finding it comes in very handy, SO mych nicer than going to the product store page any time you just want to check the price of a book!) I’m definitely loving the Paperwhite though. Didn’t think I’d like the touchscreen compared wih my old Keyboard Kindle but I’m finding that I prefer the touchscreen keyboard more! And I don’t see the big deal about the lighting, there’s no booklight on the market that’s going to give anywhere near as even lighting in comparison so I think people need to quit whining so much abot a couple small spots of not as bright lighting thats unnoticeable after the first few minutes using the thing. I also noticed that the shadowing doesn’t appear if you have the light at the right level for the lighting in the area you’re in at the time. Apologies for any mistakes as I’m writing from my Kindle teehee. I just newd to figure out some way to get blogs on here without subscribing like through a feed and I’ll be all set for a while.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, poisonalice!

      Amazon doesn’t tell us about specific bug fixes that happen, and typically not much about enhancements to existing features. In this case, they said:

      “We have a new, free software update available for Kindle Paperwhite. The software update will be delivered wirelessly and includes a feature enhancement and general improvements for your Kindle Paperwhite.”

      We get frequent software updates for our devices, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂 Sometimes, they don’t even include new feature, so this doesn’t surprise me. This new feature should also increase purchases, so that makes it worthwhile to them. 🙂

      • poisonalice Says:

        Thanks for such a quick reply! I agree with you, I do see the new feature increasing book sales. I just don’t know why they don’t add a list of each update’s tweaks to the software on the update’s webpage, kind of like the list of tweaks that you see when installing software updates on your PC. It does make sense that that with such frequent updates they don’t list every single little tweak on every software update though, though they could also offer a “technical” page for people who like reading all that kind of technical information. I just figured out one thing too, they might not do that to prevent people from making hacks, or at least make it hardr, and make it harder for other companies to reproduce their products I would think Amazon tries to protect their place in eReader sales as much as possible, especially now that many people are just using tablets to read on (though I can’t imagine reading books on a tablet as I can’t read even just a long article on my PC as it hurts my eyes too much, I would never be able to read eBooks on anything other than an eInk device.). I’ve heard the new Paperwhites are better than their Nook equivalent though, so I don’t think Amazon has to worry too much about their place in the eReader market. And one thing I’ve yet to find is a list of Paperwhite features that aren’t listed in the user guide not found on other Kindles. The must be at least one or two nifty “hidden” features not in the guide.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, poisonalice!

        I often respond pretty quickly, but it just depends. 🙂 Contrary to a question I get asked from time to time, despite an often more than full-time job, my family, and my writing activities, I do sleep.;) I usually do respond within a day, though.

        Your question about Amazon publicly detailing the updates is good enough that I’m going to go ahead and do a post on it later today. I’ll credit you for asking it.

        Methinks you underestimate yourself with this:

        “I can’t imagine reading books on a tablet as I can’t read even just a long article on my PC as it hurts my eyes too much, I would never be able to read eBooks on anything other than an eInk device”


        I was surprised to find that I now do most of my sight-reading on my Fire, although that’s largely due to the convenience of having it with me when I go out (I don’t carry both my Fire and an RSK…Reflective Screen Kindle ((anything but a Fire at this point)) with me typically). Reading on a tablet is quite different from reading on a desktop computer…part of that is the ability to control the brightness more easily. Another issue is the width of the screen; my understanding is that part of what tires your eyes reading on a PC is all that “panning and scanning” they have to do.

        I’ll also address your question about “undocumented features” in that post.

        One quick question for you: are you new to this blog as a reader? I’m going to assume that, but I do like to be accurate. 🙂

      • poisonalice Says:

        Hi. I’m very flattered that you mentioned me in your most recent post. I wrote a comment on that post but did the dreaded “hit the big red X” except I hit the back button and my entire comment (and it should be obvious my comments are NOT short lol!) disappeared into the ether 😦 About my readership…I think I could best describe myself as both old and new. I read your blog a lot beginning when I first got my (1st) Kindle Keyboard and had your blog bookmarked on the browser, but somewhere between replacements (3 over a period of 2 1/2 years not including the original one or my new Paperwhite, which I got with promo credit I had no clue was on my account and was the exact amount that a new K3 would’ve been when it was last sold new, I think I might have been comped with my last replacement with my terrible luck even though I did get a new one for free. And the last replacement was given to me out of warranty and NOT at all average. I think they felt bad for me lol.) I lost the link and couldn’t transfer my files to my PC from the last one I got a replacement for because the hardware busted too (which happened with my last K3, the last time I tried turning it on the device heated up super hot, and you know they don’t heat up even wih prolonged use. I hope I don’t put anyone off from buying one though. My case is very unusual and even with my terrible luck I’m still faithful to the Kinde 😀 ) and my PC didn’t even recognize the device when plugged in. I was lucky that I backed up files stored on it because I downloaded books from Smashwords and Project Gutenberg directly on my Kindle and would back up my files after every tme I downloaded non-Kindle books, but I hadn’t made a backup after making a list of bookmarks in Notepad so I lost all of them. I went about a year without reading your blog (I have a terrible memory and also followed a few friends’ blogs too…which reminds me…) and just a week ago I saw your blog in the Kindle blogs and it reminded me to follow you again hehe. This time though I’m following you on my WordPress account so even if I accidentally delete the bookmark I’ll still be following you in WordPress. I know that was a long and involved explanation but it could’ve been even more so.
        As far as reading on an LCD device, reading on a tablet wouldn’t be too different for me. I have screwed up eyes, an astigmatism in one, the other has an ocular edema and the blood vessels that are supposed to run parallel to the ocular nerve coming out of the eye instead are twisted all around the nerve (which is something I would’ve been born with.) On top of that, I get ocular migraines and have chronic acute glaucoma (I was diagnosed with glaucoma at 16, which is extremely rare), and only have 30% peripheral vision in the eye with the astigmatism and my pupils dilate in reaction to lighting faster than average. If I wasn’t such a freak of nature (my eyes are the least of my problem…) I would totally agree with you and would even give tablets a try. The most normal thing wrong with my eyes are my seasonal allergies and even then, my eyeballs peel when my allergies get terribly bad. And I just turned only 33…but at any rate. Apologies for the length of my comments particularly this one!

  7. Why doesn’t Amazon tell us everything in the updates? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] I recently reported, Amazon released an update to version 5.3.6 for the Kindle Paperwhite. They announced the […]

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