Round up #191: certified refurbished Kindles, Google Chromecast

Round up #191: certified refurbished Kindles, Google Chromecast

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

Google introduces Chromecast, new Nexus 7

It was announced today…and it’s already sold out.

What is it?

Google Chromecast

It’s a small device you plug into the HDMI port on your HDTV. It then uses another device, such an iPhone or an Android phone to show video on the TV…wirelessly.

It apparently will work with Netflix and YouTube.

It could enable some people to “cut the cable”, and stop paying for cable TV.

How much does it cost?

$35.

That’s cheaper than a Roku, cheaper than some other alternatives.

Assuming it works well (and it’s too soon to tell), this could be a real game changer.

There are some obvious questions for us:

Will it work with a Kindle Fire?

My guess is that it will. From what I’m reading, I don’t think you need an app specifically for Chromecast on your device. I think the Netflix app on our Kindle Fires might work with it.

Will it work with Amazon Instant Video (including Prime streaming)?

Don’t know.

Will it display a game while we play it? Not sure. This isn’t true mirroring, like you get with the HDMI cable…that shows you everything that’s on your screen…unless it is blocked by the app (which is the case with some content from Xfinity).

If it’s blocked to an HDMI cable, will it be blocked to this? Not sure.

As you can tell, it is too soon to tell much…but this may be a very big story.

This

Google Blog article

has a video for it, and another announcements. There is a new version of Jelly Bean (an operating system), a new Google Play App…and the new Google Nexus 7 (being introduced July 30th in the USA for $229).

It looks to me like evolutionary change, rather than revolutionary…better sound, better screen. I’m not yet seeing features that are shocking. 🙂

Salon interview with Martin Amis

This

Salon article by Jane Graham

is a nice, lengthy interview with author Martin Amis. I quite enjoyed it…I’d love the bit in which Amis compares different authors to the type of hosts they would be if you appeared in their homes. Amis wants to make things pleasant for the reader…and doesn’t think some authors (and names are named) do. 🙂

“Here’s how Amazon self-destructs”

This is another

Salon article

this time by Evan Hughes.

It’s been getting some play in the blogosphere, but honestly, I think it depends on a basic intellectual fallacy.

The argument is that Amazon is going to put brick-and-mortar bookstores (I’m a former manager) out of business, and then Amazon is doomed because people depend on the stores to discover books:

“According to survey research by the Codex Group, roughly 60 percent of book sales — print and digital — now occur online. But buyers first discover their books online only about 17 percent of the time. Internet booksellers specifically, including Amazon, account for just 6 percent of discoveries. Where do readers learn about the titles they end up adding to the cart on Amazon? In many cases, at bookstores.”

Um, yes…they depend on bookstores now.

Just as the book sales themselves have shifted to online, the discovery of books can (and has been) shift to being online.

It’s a case of mistaking form for function, and I’ve commented on that before.

It’s like when someone would say, “I want an SD card slot in my Kindle Fire!”

That’s not what they really want. They want the functionality of an SD card slot. If there was another way to easily store and access information, would they really care that it wasn’t that specific technology? I don’t think so.

It would be like saying, “CD players will never be popular because so many people own vinyl records.” The CD players themselves changed the percentage of vinyl records being bought…and Amazon (and other e-book retailers) can change the way people discover books.

They are still looking for the best ways, but it is going to work…someone will really crack it.

It also seems obvious to me: as people buy more books (e-books and p-books…paperbooks) on line, the value of the brick-and-mortar as a showroom will diminish.

Suggesting that Amazon is hurting itself by diminishing book discovery in brick-and-mortars (and therefore diminishing book buying) only works if some other mechanism doesn’t replace it…which seems like an unnecessarily reductive assessment of social behavior.

Australian officials decline to investigate e-book price fixing

Thanks to mobileread (which is one of the most valuable sites about e-books and EBRs (E-Book Readers) for the heads up on this

Financial Review article by James Hutchinson

The European Union already dealt with the e-book price fixing issue. The US Department of Justice recently won against Apple over the alleged (now found evident in court) conspiracy (and got the publishers to settle), although there will be appeals.

What about Australia?

Well, Nick Xenophon, and independent Senator there, asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to look into possible misdeeds connected with e-book pricing.

The Commission replied, “…the conduct of concern occurred in the US and we note that conduct is being sanctioned by the regulator in the US”.

Wait, what? 😉

I don’t think the behavior has been sanctioned…since Apple was just found guilty in Federal court. I know the prices for e-books aren’t the same in Australia that they are in the USA (although some of that may have to do with taxes and the like), but I would think that decisions are made in Australia…prices don’t just get set in the USA and then transferred unfiltered to Australia.

The door wasn’t closed, but the case wasn’t opened, either.

Weirdly, to me, they give over the last part of the article to Jon Page, former President of the Australian Booksellers Association, who thinks investigators shouldn’t look at Apple, but just at Amazon. Take a look at the statement yourself, but that seems strange to me…why not look at them both, if you think there’s a problem?

Certified Refurbished Kindles from Amazon

I think this makes sense for a lot of people.

Amazon is now selling

Certified Refurbished Kindles

That means that they are used, but they have been inspected, repaired if necessary…and they come with the exact same warranty as new Kindles!

Not only does that mean you can get a Kindle Paperwhite for $104 (although they are out of stock on that one right now), you can also get discontinued models, like the Kindle Touch.

Personally, I would not hesitate to do this…I like a refurbished model, just like I like a used car from a reputable source (we’ve bought from rental agencies on the latter). No, it’s not new…but it goes through more of a check. If a Kindle is a lemon and you buy it new, it doesn’t work. What do you do with it? You send it back…and Amazon assesses it. If it’s unfixable, it’s gone. If it’s fixable, so it works like new…it’s refurbished. You just have to be okay with someone else having tried it first.

What do you think? I have readers in Australia…do you think action should be taken there to investigate e-book prices? Would you buy a refurbished Kindle, or is it worth more money for a new one? Are you intrigued by Chromecast? 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.

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9 Responses to “Round up #191: certified refurbished Kindles, Google Chromecast”

  1. rogerknights Says:

    “The Commission replied, “…the conduct of concern occurred in the US and we note that conduct is being sanctioned by the regulator in the US”.

    “Wait, what?

    “I don’t think the behavior has been sanctioned…since Apple was just found guilty in Federal court.

    “Sanctioned” ordinarily means “ratified” or “approved”; but it can also mean “penalized”! I think it’s one of those words with opposite meanings, where context gives a clue as to which one’s right, like “cleave.”

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roger!

      Excellent point! I should have thought of that, and I’m glad you did. It’s also possible that in Australia, the latter meaning is more common, but I don’t know that.

      In your interpretation (which makes sense), the Commission is saying, “The USA already punished them…we don’t need to do it, too.”

      However, that presumes on their part that a similar anti-competitive action wasn’t taken in Australia…

  2. Phink Says:

    This is interesting. The refurbished Kindle Touch is both $59 and $89 for the Wi-Fi only version. Perhaps I missed something but it sure seems to me to be the same one. I imagine they are different grades such as $59 being good condition and $89 very good but it does not say that, even when you click on the page.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      I’m not seeing that. The only $59 one I see is the “Mindle”, not the Touch.

      They should all be the same “grade”, since they are all certified to work and look like new…

      • Phink Says:

        You are right. I am so goofy. I saw the color and thought it was the touch because the mindle was black. That’s because I had the black one and forgot I had a choice in colors. Sorry about that. Speaking of the Mindle I once owned. I had 4 kindles and decided I could not possibly use them all so I gave my mindle away in order for someone who could not afford a kindle might read more. I would like to encourage everyone who has a kindle they are not using to consider giving the gift of reading to others.

  3. Karin Says:

    I rarely go into a bookstore now that I have my Kindle. I am finding books very easily. I read the reviews from my Kindle, and look at “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought” section, which has been very helpful. Personally, I find it easier for find new authors and books than every before from the Amazon website and the Kindle itself, and I don’t have to drive 30 minutes to go to the bookstore.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karin!

      I’m with you. 🙂 It’s not just the thirty minutes…it would also be the gas. I used to absolutely love going to bookstores (yes, even when I worked in one), and might spend hours in one. I’d be hard-pressed to come up with the last time I was in a brick-and-mortar bookstore…

  4. jjhitt Says:

    I’m one of the SD slot people. If there is another way store, access and MOVE my collection, I’m all for it. But it has to be portable and cross-platform. I want my library to be apocalypse-proof.

    Bookstores? I don’t shop or browse them anymore. I’ll go there for signings and other events. But I discover most new books online or by recommendation.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      I suppose it would depend on the type of apocalypse. 🙂 Is it more likely your SD card would survive, or Amazon would survive? Okay, okay, probably your SD card. However, before the apocalypse, I think it’s much more likely that Amazon’s servers have your book for you than that your SD card is safe. So, I guess you can bet on the apocalypse (SD card) or non-apocalypse (Amazon)… 😉

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