Round up #242: Prime prices to rise in the UK, Gold Box deal on Kindle books

Round up #242: Prime prices to rise in the UK, Gold Box deal on Kindle books 

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

Gold Box Kindle book sale, today only

Gold Box Deals can be all kinds of things, but sometimes they are on e-books. That’s the case today:

Gold Box Deal of the Day: 50 Top-Rated Kindle Fiction Books, $1.99 Each (at AmazonSmile*)

There are some well-known books in there (top-rated doesn’t always equal well-known), including books by Louis L’Amour. There’s a pretty good variety: I’d recommend you take a look.

Updates for both generations of Kindle Fire happening?

While they aren’t available for manual download yet, from what I can see, and they haven’t been announced, I’m seeing people on the Amazon Kindle Forums talk about new updates for Kindle Fires…and it may be for all generations and models.

They wouldn’t be the same updates for the different gens, and they wouldn’t have the same features, most likely.

What I really want is a bug fix for my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When I first got it, the wi-fi connection was great.

After an update that brought more enterprise network capability to it (I’m not saying that was the cause, but it might be), I usually have to toggle wireless on and off…many times a day. I’ve never counted, but I would guess I’ve done it ten times today already…and that’s with having taken the dog to the dog park for a couple of hours. 😉

I’ll keep you informed: if you’ve been updated recently, I’d like to hear about it.

When they are available for manual download, they will be at (at AmazonSmile)

Amazon set-top box coming in March of this year?

I’ve written before about how I think a TV gadget of some kind may be coming from Amazon this year, and this

Re/code (formerly AllThingsD) article by Peter Kafka

has created a buzzstorm.

Many people are reporting it, even though there is nothing official.

I do think this is likely…and that it may include both video content and games.

There are a couple of related stories which strengthen it.

Amazon has been pinning down more exclusive streaming video deals, and that’s going to be a big point for sales.

In this

press release

they announce that Amazon is going to be the “…exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming all past seasons and episodes of the popular MTV series Teen Wolf”.

Teen Wolf has quite a following, and I have watched it. It’s an interesting, very differently-toned adaptation of what was first the comedic Michael J. Fox movie. Don’t worry, though…Styles is still funny. 😉

It surprised me that Amazon would be able to pin that down, taking it away from other services.

I suppose it shouldn’t have, though. The same press release says,

“Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX drama The Americans, CBS summer blockbuster series Under the Dome and later this summer, Extant. Other hit TV series exclusives include Veronica Mars, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits and Covert Affairs. Prime Instant Video also offers an exclusive collection of kids shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. that customers won’t find on any other online-only subscription service, including favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues, and The Bubble Guppies. “

I’d say the odds are pretty good that most TV consumers have at least heard of some of those.

Pumping up the content exclusives (and the content generally) would be an important thing to do before launching a service/device.

In the UK and Germany, Amazon just announced a merging of Lovefilm (roughly equivalent to Netflix…Amazon bought it a while back) and Prime, according to this

24/7 Wall St. article by Paul Ausick, via Yahoo! Finance

and other sources.

The price is taking a big jump: in the UK, it’s going up the equivalent of roughly fifty dollars a year, from a close to USA equivalent of about $81 to an equivalent of about $131.

However, people will be able to make some choices about what services they get, affecting the price. The $131 equivalent will be the full platter. You could order just the Prime Instant Video “side dish” for $10 equivalent a month. However, that works out to only $11 less for the year…so, if they could give you installment payments for Prime, who wouldn’t go for the shipping benefits, too?

Will something like this happen in the USA?

Well, we already have Prime Instant Video as part of our Prime price, but yes, Amazon said it might raise prices on Prime in the USA…and I think they will (I’m guessing $20).

This could also clearly tie into a set-top box or other TV gadget.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon is in the midst of its “pilot season” for original works.

press release

Viewer feedback helps determine which pilots become original series on Amazon.

The only one that was interesting to us so far (and much more to me than to my Significant Other) was Chris Carter’s (The X-Files) The After. It was an interesting cast with some intriguing concepts and imagery, although it did feel unfinished, which is often the case with a pilot. Full disclosure: my Significant Other knows a parent of the editor of that episode, and yes, that’s why my SO even watched. 😉 I probably would have watched anyway…

Amazon Pilot Season (at AmazonSmile)

Speaking of visual media, I am doing my annual BOPmadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) again. You are all invited to play. 🙂 It’s all free, and the more people we have, the better we usually do as a group. I’m doing it technically a different way this time, using SurveyMonkey, rather than sending out Excel spreadsheets. You can get the information and the links here:

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

Oh, and something else that may tie into a possible Prime price hike for the USA…one of my readers sent me a heads-up (thanks, reader!) in a private e-mail to this

Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

It suggests that Amazon is looking to make deals with other major retailers. The retailers products would be listed at Amazon, and buyers could use their Amazon accounts and Prime benefits to get them. The other retailer would then pay Amazon.

That would be huge for Amazon! They would really be becoming the “everything store”, and they would know so much more about you. As a consumer, I would think it would be great. It doesn’t quash competition on prices…other retailers could still undercut Amazon’s prices. It just makes it much easier logistically.

That’s putting more and more power in Amazon’s hands, though, and some people won’t like that. If Amazon got hacked, it would expose a lot more data.

Still, overall, I think shoppers will love this…and competitors will submit to it.

Bookstores: more in the USA, fewer in the UK

I suspect some of this has to do with definitions, but this

The Guardian article by Sarah Butler

talks about independent bookstores in the UK dropping to under 1,000…they say

“The number of independent bookshops gracing British high streets has fallen below 1,000 – a third fewer than nine years ago, amid cut-throat competition from supermarkets, Amazon and ebooks.”

At the same time, the ABA (American Booksellers Association), in this

American Bookselling article

lists (with contact information…addresses and websites) 44 stores which were added to the ABA in 2013.

That’s a good sign of vitality in the USA.

Some of these are additional branches of existing stores, but many are not. They also listed a number of stores which changed hands…another reasonably good sign. That means that someone thought the business was worth buying, rather than it just going under.

Check out the list…you might find someone in your neighborhood. 😉

Which books would you add to the “classics” category?

I’ve written before about how I feel about classics…and been a bit challenged on it, too. 😉

This is a fascinating list from Jason Diamond at Flavorwire:

The New Classics: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon

My guess is that you’ll see something there that intrigues you…I recommend that you check it out.

Maybe it’s from my years as a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, but I do tend to think that a true classic needs to be in the public domain. 🙂 That’s one thing many people expect when they look for classics…that they aren’t under copyright protection any more (although they pay for copies in a store, of course).

Update on Give a Kid A Kindle

We are about a week a way from when you will be able to recommend nominated children to be the one to get the Kindle which I plan to give away. I’m hoping that once the recommendation process happens, I’ll get more nominees…just because I want more stories exposed (I think that’s good for people to see).

I do have one nominee so far, so at least I know I’ll be giving away a Kindle…

What do you think? What defines a classic book? Would you buy a set-top box from Amazon? Why haven’t more people nominated kids for a free Kindle? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

11 Responses to “Round up #242: Prime prices to rise in the UK, Gold Box deal on Kindle books”

  1. Phyllis Simpson Says:

    Regarding the wifi problem that my Kindle Fire HDX 7″ also suffers from, I have spent a good deal of time trying to work with Amazon on a solution to the problem. They had me call AT&T several times and try different things on my Netgear network settings. I couldn’t tell any of it helped, but thought it was worth a try. After giving much thought to the problem, I found that there were always a lot of push notifications to be cleared everyday about frequent news events from my USA Today APP. So I turned them off and then before I go to bed I turn the wifi off completely, not just the airplane mode. Then I plug it in to recharge for the night. The next morning I unplug it and turn on the wifi and it has seldom had a wifi issue when I do that. I have not testied it when I am on another location network so I don’t know how it will work there. I agree it has been very frustrating, inspite of all the suggestions and help I have received from Amazon’s helpful support team. I too hope they have a fix for the problem, as I imagine we aren’t the only ones dealing with this. I really like my Kindle Fire HDX7″ and think it will be more fun to use when this problem is resolved. There are so many good things about it to enjoy. I love the fact the screen seems to repel finger prints. I seldom have to clean it.

    I hope this will help. I appreciate your always helpful blog.

    Phyllis Simpson

  2. Kerry Montgomery Says:

    I got an update today for my 8.9 HDX. A poster in the discussions forum posted a link. It’s not available by the device option ‘check for updates”. You have to force it. Sometimes my connection would last 20 minutes, and more often a minute or two. I was getting very frustrated; however, since the update earlier today, it hasn’t dropped at all. In fact I was able to watch a full episode on prime streaming video! A first without interruption!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kerry!

      Woo-hoo! I have seen that link posted, but you need to be a bit careful with those. I have used them before, but I’d rather wait for the manual update to be posted at Amazon. For one thing, I want to see what they say is in the update so I can write about it. 🙂

      Have you noticed any other changes?

  3. Kerry Montgomery Says:

    I really can’t detect any obvious changes except the WiFi connection issue. Although the processing seems faster and a quicker touch to response action, but that could be that I’m simply excited over the major bug fix, so everything seems better! 😉

  4. Elaine Glogau Jordan Says:

    I haven’t noticed any wifi issues.what exactly is the problem you are having? Is it only while streaming video?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Elaine!

      Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to happen when I’m actively using the internet…I’ve never had it happen while streaming a video (although others have reported that).

      I’m not quite sure how “exact” you want me to be. 🙂 What happens is that it will be connected to a wi-fi network (commonly, my one at home, but that’s not the only one). Then, although it continues to say it is connected to that network, and the signal indicator looks strong (with no “x”), it won’t connect. On the advice of Mayday, I toggle wi-fi off and on, and that restores the connection. I have also restored it by toggling airplane mode off and on.

      I would guess it happens every couple of minutes of network idle time…often adding up to tens of times in a day.

      For example, I might check something at a website, then read a chapter, then go to check a website…and have to toggle.

      There were no problems like that when I first got the device. Like many other people, it appears to have happened following a software update.

      I’m hearing encouraging things from people who have gotten the (currently unannounced and not available for manual download through Amazon) update…virtual fingers crossed. 😉

      Update! It’s now available for download…I’m going to do it now and announce it.

  5. Elaine Glogau Jordan Says:

    Interesting.I have the hdx 7 inch 64gb and have never had this issue.I stay connected to my Wi-Fi all the time and go back and fifth between games, reading, internet and it stays connected. I did have my fire upgrade last night automatically…..
    Hope your issue gets resolved soon

  6. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well I just checked my KFHD89, and I have the latest update. Not sure if they updated second gen KF’s. I will say that I have never noticed any WiFi issues since I’ve had the device — although I have had some with other devices.

    I think my problems were router related, and since I replaced my router, WiFi has been constantly on for two months solid without a single drop. I don’t do much video streaming on any of my WiFi devices, however — so maybe I’m not a good example :grin.

    New Classics: maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but I find list like these (and your recent list of 100 books for a life) to be slightly irritating. I recognized hardly any of the titles on this list, and those that I did recognize, certainly wouldn’t appear in “my” list of classics.

    I don’t read much non-fiction, and I generally dislike “message” books whether fiction or non-fiction. It’s probably just age 😀

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      My wi-fi was quite good, initially…not sure of the impact of the update yet.

      The list thing is interesting…I’ve certainly gotten caught up in it in the past, but not as much now.

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