Archive for April, 2014

Mothers’ Day 2014 device sale

April 29, 2014

Mothers’ Day 2014 device sale

This is a big sale! I could say it’s a “mother of a sale”, but that might be a bit tacky. 😉

You can get a Kindle for under $50, a Paperwhite for under $100, a Fire for $119, and an HDX for under $200!

The amount of the discount varies by model, but these are all new from Amazon.

I don’t know how long the sale will last…but you don’t need to be buying one for a mother to get it. 😉

What’s not discounted? Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Kindle Paperwhite with 3G.

By the way, the Kindle DX is not available new directly from Amazon again…might be gone for good, but that’s always hard to tell.

Limit one to a customer on the above offers, I believe.

You may also want to get Mom an accessory. There is an additional 20% off on select Kindle accessories…although the sale doesn’t start until May 3 (and runs through May 11).

  • “On the product detail page for a Kindle Fire tablet or Kindle E-reader, under the “Add to Cart” button, check the box next to the discounted Kindle Accessories you wish to purchase. Accessories available at a discount will display discounted pricing next to the regular price. Click “Add to Cart” to add your selected accessories to your Shopping Cart along with the device.
  • Click “Proceed to checkout”.
  • The 20% discount will be applied to your Kindle Accessories.
  • Click “Place your order” by May 3, 2014 for Kindle E-readers and May 11, 2014 for Kindle Fire tablets and enjoy your savings.”

Accessory deal detail page (at AmazonSmile)

What if you don’t want to buy another Kindle right now?

You might want to

Create Your Own Kindle Accessories (at AmazonSmile)

You can upload your own image to be turned into a cover (or skin…the options vary)! That could be a great Mothers’ Day gift. They aren’t necessarily inexpensive, but this can make a truly unique gift. It could just be a theme picture, or it could be your mother’s favorite family picture…

* 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! :) 

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.

To Kill a Mockingbird going legally e July 8

April 28, 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird going legally e July 8

Update: now available for pre-order!

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile) $9.99, text-to-speech access not blocked

This is such exciting news!

Ever since the Kindle was released in 2007 (and honestly, before), readers have wanted to experience To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (at AmazonSmile: benefiti a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) as an e-book.

For many of us, it’s just because that’s the way we read books now. It’s not necessarily about the e-book bringing us something different: it’s that we want TKaM in our libraries, and our libraries are now digital.

For others, e-books bring an accessibility that p-books (paperbooks) do not. It might be because of the increasable font size, or physical difficulty with holding a paperbook, or just the inability to store a large number of p-books.

It won’t surprise me if this becomes one of the top 100 e-book bestsellers of the year.

As I’m writing this, it can’t yet be pre-ordered for its July 8th release date…either through Amazon or at the HarperCollins website.

When you can, though, I’ll link to it…assuming they don’t block text-to-speech access, which I think is very unlikely with this book.

Shockingly, according to this

AP story in USA Today

Harper Lee herself made a statement about it.

One narrative has been that Harper Lee regretted that the book was out there at all, and that people just didn’t want to approach her about making the book even more widely available.

The statement suggests that’s not the case.

The author is quoted in the article as saying:

“I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries,” Lee, who turned 88 on Monday, said through her publisher. “I am amazed and humbled that Mockingbird has survived this long. This is Mockingbird for a new generation.”

In the past, when that new generation searched for To Kill a Mockingbird e-books, they either found analyses/study guides of/for the book (and there are many in the Kindle store), or pirated copies (ones produced without legal authorization).

At

eReaderIQ’s most watched

list, where you can sign up to be notified when a book has been Kindleized, To Kill a Mockingbird is (and has been) number one.

The top ten there?

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  4. The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird (50th Anniversary Edition)
  6. Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy
  7. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
  8. The Far  Pavilions  by M.M. Kaye
  9. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  10. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey

Why aren’t all of these books in e-book form already? After all, Amazon early on stated a goal of “every book ever published”.

The key thing is copyright.

Most (but not quite all) countries recognize the right of an author to control (within certain limits) what they have written.

The authors then traditionally license the rights to sell their works to companies (publishers). They have done that by format (e-book separately from hardback separately from audiobook, and so on) and territory (some times a country, sometimes a larger geographical area).

If the author has not licensed the rights, they stay with the author (or the author’s estate) as long as the book would be under copyright protection.

Prior to about 2005, e-book rights were not commonly negotiated…in part because there wasn’t much of a market for them.

So, if a publisher licensed the p-book rights for the USA from an author, they didn’t automatically get the e-book rights. That means that the publisher would have to go back to the author/author’s estate for a new negotiation…where they would be in competition not only with other publishers, but with (increasingly) the author publishing the e-book themselves.

It’s those negotiations that can hold up the legal version of the e-book.

In the beginning, several big name authors resisted e-books…they may not have seen them as a good way to experience the books, or they may have been waiting for the market to mature so they knew how much to ask for them.

Ray Bradbury and J.K. Rowling famously held out…and then changed their minds later.

Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife actually is available legally as an e-book…just not through Amazon:

https://zolabooks.com/modals/book/the-time-travelers-wife

Eventually, unless the laws change, the other books will fall into the public domain. That is, they will no longer be under copyright protection, and the public will own them.

Anybody, at that point, can publish the book…without the author getting royalties, or having any quality control.

I don’t think a lot of authors are holding out under principle any more. I think they realize that not releasing the book legally adds to piracy. People, I believe, would prefer to buy the book legally where they regularly get e-books, than look for an illegal copy (which they may not even realize is illegal) somewhere else.

As I’ve said before, I think that the more you love books, the more you love e-books. I believe that deliberately not releasing a book as an e-book inconveniences unnecessarily people with physical challenges. I understand the desire to make a statement that you want to support physical bookstores (I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager), but if you believe that p-books are more desirable, then they can beat the competition without you making it a one-horse race.

Regardless, I’m happy to see that this is happening during Harper Lee’s lifetime. I want the author to see the benefits: not just financial benefits, but the joy of seeing new readers of your work, and people getting to return to a favorite who might otherwise find it difficult to do so.

* 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! :) 

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.

 

Does Amazon love us TOO much?

April 28, 2014

Does Amazon love us TOO much?

The name of this blog is “I Love My Kindle”, but I’ve never really felt like that was a one-way street…I mean, that would be kind of pathetic and stalkerish, right? 😉

I’m a former retail manager, and I have to say, Amazon does a whole lot of things for its customers that not everybody does…and that arguably, they don’t have to do.

Sure, you could cynically say that it’s to keep us as customers so we’ll spend money…but people spend money with companies that don’t do as much.

Amazon is willing to spend a lot of money to buy goodwill…so much that it makes a lot of investors uneasy.

My guess is that we’ll see Amazon stock rebound this week, but the narrative in the blogosphere right now is that, based on Amazon’s recently reported Q1 financials, investors are fed up and selling the stock.

They want more money, not just happier customers.

Now again, my guess is that the stock will bounce back up to where it was pretty quickly…but I’ve never claimed to be a Wall Street savant.

My feeling is that Amazon could take quite a few perks away from us, and the majority of people would not stop (or even cut back on) using them.

At least not at first.

After a while, if a more attractive alternative appeared, people might switch…which they wouldn’t do while feeling that Amazon amour. 😉

What I thought I would do is ask you would you would be willing to give up, if it meant keeping Amazon solidly around and growing.

Imagine that we are in a stockholder meeting. The stockholders are demanding that Amazon stop being so generous to their customers, or they are going to bail.

Which of these things, even if it would make you sad to see them go, would you be willing to offer up to be sacrificed (or reduced…for example, the 30 day return policy on Kindles might go to ten days)?

I deliberately haven’t listed everything (there are a lot!), and I’m not suggesting that any of these specific things might happen…but I’m sure some stockholders see each of these as an unnecessary expense.

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

* 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! :) 

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.

Are you eligible for $50 off a Kindle?

April 28, 2014

Are you eligible for $50 off a Kindle?

Check this link:

$50 off a Kindle? (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)

I don’t know if this is real, but it appears to be…a special offer for some people for $50 off a Kindle (which would bring the “Mindle” down to $19).

I can’t see it, because I’m not eligible. If I go to the site I linked above, it says, “We’re sorry, you are not eligible for this offer.” That at least shows that there was an offer of some kind.

I first read about it in this

Amazon Kindle forum thread (at AmazonSmile)

I don’t know what would make one person eligible and another person not (there are conflicting stories in the thread), but I’d appreciate hearing about it if you are.

I’m going to get this out now, since the offer (if it exists) could end at any time.

* 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! :) 

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.

Book sales: Gold Box for book clubs, Big Deal

April 26, 2014

Book sales: Gold Box for book clubs, Big Deal

When I wrote

10 ways Amazon saves us money on e-books

I didn’t mention Gold Box deals…but if the deals are on e-books, they are typically overlapping with the

Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Today, there a couple of deals advertised on my

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

I want to call out…even though they aren’t the only book deals on there. 😉 You don’t need a Kindle Fire to get these deals, by the way, but this does show one reason why Special Offers models tend to outsell the equivalent non-ad-supported model. Some deals are exclusive to them (like yesterday’s Limited Time Offer on a 32GB memory card), but sometimes, it’s just a good place to get the news.

The first one is a Gold Box deal and a Kindle Daily Deal (linked above), so it is only good for today. It also may not be available in your country: always check the price before you click or tap that Buy button. In the Amazon Kindle forums, somebody recently asked which price they should believe: the one they see on an ad page, or the one on the Amazon product page. It’s the one on the Amazon product page: you might be seeing an ad for the USA, when you are in another country. On the product page (the one with the Buy button), it knows who and where you are, and you’ll see the correct price for you.

If you ever do get charged the “wrong” price (one you weren’t expecting), you can “return” a Kindle store book within seven days of purchase for a refund. You do that at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

which is why there really isn’t much incentive for Amazon to do a “bait and switch”, contrary to what you hear from some people. It costs money (not much, but some) to process a sale and return…and it costs them more in customer goodwill (and that’s very important to people) if customers feel they have been “tricked”.

So, the Gold Box/Kindle Daily deal is any of 43 highly-rated

Book Club Favorites (at AmazonSmile)

for $1.99 each.

There are some interesting books in this bunch…and I’d be curious as to how they determined which ones are “book club favorites”.

  • The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, 4.3 (out of 5) stars, 2,414 customer reviews…that’s a high rating with that many reviews!
  • Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
  • The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan
  • Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  • The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo

Worth looking at the list…I can see how these could spark conversation, which I suppose is one of the key points of a book club.

The other group is 427 books (at the time of writing…books might go in and out of the sale), up to 85% off. No uniformity of price like the above, and we do have some of the “usual suspects” during this sales. This one goes through May 11. I do want to say that, surprisingly to me, I found it easiest to run through the list on my Fire (rather than my desktop). To actually buy them, it would be easier on the desktop, because I want to see if text-to-speech access has been blocked…and that doesn’t appear on the first screen when you tap a book on the Fire (you have to tap again to go to Amazon to see that). Still, scrolling through the list is easier than loading one page, then the next page, then the next, and so on.

The Big Deal (at AmazonSmile)

Here are some that caught my eye:

  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer $2.99
  • The Joe Dillard series box set by Scott Pratt $1.99 4.7 stars, 67 reviews
  • Gun Games by Faye Kellerman
  • Breakfast of Champions (and several other Kurt Vonnegut books)
  • Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich (regular readers know I love animals, and this one is non-fiction. My proudest achievement, outside my family, is having hand-tamed a wild scrub jay…I could literally open the door to my apartment, whistle a certain whistle, and the bird would fly into the room and land on my finger. Yes, it took months) 😉
  • The Walk (and other books) by Lee Goldberg
  • Hold the Dream (and other books) by Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America 1932-1972 by  William  Manchester
  • Cro-Magnon (non-fiction) by Brian Fagnan
  • Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell (the short inspiration for The Thing from Another World…and John Carpenter’s bizarre version)
  • Perry Mason books by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Better Than Fiction: True travel tales from great fiction writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) (includes stories from Joyce Carol Oates and Alexander McCall Smith)
  • White Bones by Graham Masterton
  • Happy Hour is 9 to 5: How to Love your Job, Love your Life, and Kick Butt at Work (Your Best Self) by Alexander Kjerulf. I understand this one: I wake up in the morning and say, “Oh boy, I get to go to work today!” 🙂 I remember one of my employees saying, when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, that they couldn’t wait to get home. I said, “You are home. You spend more time awake here than anywhere else.” 😉
  • Winter Soldier (and other Marvel Comics). Note: like many graphic novels and comics, they may show that text-to-speech is not enabled. That doesn’t mean it was blocked by the publisher (I don’t buy books where that is the case), but that the “text” is part of the image and can’t be accessed by the software. Might be something for a fan of the current Captain America movie
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic by Katie Cook (illustrated by Andy Price). Yo, bronies!
  • Bob Books by Bobby Lynn Maslen, illustrated by John Maslen. I’m buying these! We’ve given the paper versions of these elementary kids’ books, and it makes sense for us to have them in our library for when kids might borrow a Kindle. These might be very good gifts (you can delay the delivery of a Kindle gift for an appropriate date). They have several sets in the deal. Oh, I see they aren’t available for Paperwhites and other non-Fires, but are available for our Android phone…and the Kindle Cloud Reader. If you con’t have a Fire, you might want to download the free Kindle Cloud Reader so you can buy these
  • Books by Winston Churchill
  • The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully (Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write) by Arielle Eckstut, David Henry Sterry
  • Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures by Richard A. Lertzman, William J. Birnes (full disclosure…I’ve done some work with Bill Birnes with a non-profit, but don’t know Birnes outside of that)
  • The Golden Straw by Catherine Cookson
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (Pulitzer Prize winner)
  • Dreaming in Chinese by Deborah Fallows (gifted this one to our adult kid, who is a linguist)
  • Hot Money by Sherryl Woods
  • Now, Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty (basis of the Bette Davis movie)
  • How Life Imitates Chess by Garry Kasparov
  • The Zinn Reader by Howard Zinn
  • Call of the Jersey Devil by Aurelio Voltaire: 4.7 stars, 64 reviews for this humorous cryptofiction
  • Mesmerized by Alissa Walser (translated by Jamie Bulloch): I think some people still use that term to mean…stunned in fascination by something. Franz Mesmer was a real person, often linked with hypnotism (although that’s not the same as “animal magnetism). This is a novel featuring Mesmer

Whew! That’s just a small portion. If you want to let me and my readers know about others in the sales, feel free to comment on this post (if you are personally connected to the book, besides as a reader, please mention that).

Enjoy!

Update: I’ve updated this post with more books. 🙂

* 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! :) 

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.

Heads up! Limited time deal on MicroSOFT memory card for $5 at 3 o’clock Pacific

April 25, 2014

Heads up! Limited time deal on 32GB MicroSOFT memory card for $5 at 3 o’clock Pacific

I have limited resources right now so I need to be brief. If you have a Kindle Fire check the special offers for a deal that starts at 3 o’clock p.m. Pacific on a memory card. I will add links to this post later.

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Kindle Fire owners.

What happens is you can get a text to alert you to an upcoming deal (details in the links below). You don’t get much warning…maybe an hour (about half an hour in this case).

The deal also appears on the sleep screen of your Fire, and you can find it under Offers on the homescreen (all the way at the end).

Then, you say you want to “learn more”. You’ll get to a screen with a countdown clock. As soon as the clock gets to zero, you need to click to have a chance to get it.

They have typically been selling out in seconds. In this case, I wasn’t in a place where I had a wi-fi connection…although this is one I would have liked to have gotten to have to give as a gift at the holidays.

Here is information on the program:

As I’ve written before, I look at these LTOs (Limited Time Offers) sort of like buying a lottery ticket: I don’t expect to get one (win), but its exciting if I do! Of course, the “ticket” doesn’t cost me anything.
These LTOs are one of the best arguments for having Special Offers…and yes, a good argument for having a  Fire (at AmazonSmile)!

Did you get one? Do you have any other comment on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

===

* 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! :) 

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.

Amazon Q1 2014: sales up, net income up, operating income down

April 25, 2014

Amazon Q1 2014: sales up, net income up, operating income down

In terms of sales, Amazon is like the giant chicken heart in Arch Oboler’s old time radio show Lights Out: it just keeps growing, and growing, and… 😉

In this

press release

Amazon reports its first quarter financials for 2014.

You can also go from a link there to hear the conference call…often, the question and answer part is the most interesting, but I have to say, they’ve gotten very good at deflecting questions.

The first, amazing thing, is that the sales are up 23%!

Well, maybe not amazing for Amazon, but for pretty much anybody else? Off the charts!

I’m not super sophisticated on market analysis, but to my eye, the losses didn’t seem as bad.

The net income increased. That’s not as important as the operating income, as I understand it, and the latter did decrease 19%. This time, some of the expenses are obvious…and the launch of the Fire TV, among other things, is building a platform for the future.

In the press release, Jeff Bezos says,

“We get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers, and 2014 is off to a kinetic start…”

I’m not sure every investor hears that and thinks, “Oh, goody…” 😉

As a customer, though? Woo-hoo!

I like kinetic (keeping things in motion).

Digital is still in the beginning stages (as Bezos likes to say, it is still day one). I don’t want people to stand still…at least not yet.

Bezos also revealed in the press release that Netflix has signed on to the voice search on the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s big news! With voice search available (eventually) for Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu+, they are covering the biggies.

In terms of the Fire, they are also making it easy to develop games for it…and maybe we’ll get some book-related apps, too. 🙂

Speaking of books, their highlights doesn’t address much in that area for US consumers. Yes, they acquired comiXology, which is big for comics fans. They mention that they are doing an Amazon Publishing thing in Germany, and mentioned the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library in passing.

Don’t think they’ve given up on that, though. Books are (and I think will continue to be) part of who they are. I’m guessing we will see a new Paperwhite pretty soon, and there are more cool things they can do with e-books.

I think we have to honestly say, though, that if you asked 100 people on the street to define Amazon.com, not very many of them would say “an online bookstore” any more.

It’s more about hardware (phone soon?), consumer products…and groceries.

They just introduced something I find a bit weird:

Prime Pantry (at AmazonSmile)

Prime members can order what would be grocery store items.

That sounds good, right?

Well, what’s a bit baffling at this point is that we could already do that. We get quite a few things like that, especially through Subscribe & Save. Subscribe & Save isn’t part of Prime, but being a Prime member doesn’t stop us from doing it. 😉

When you subscribe, you don’t pay shipping, and you get a discount.

With this new Prime Pantry thing, you fill up a box…and then pay $5.99 on top of your annual $99 fee.

At this point (and I haven’t dug through the items much), I don’t see why I would buy from Amazon Pantry, when I can get them with no shipping cost…oh, and faster if they are Prime, by the way. I can usually get Prime items in two (business) days at no additional cost…this could take four or so.

If we look at Amazon’s three core values, we can look at how they might make this appealing:

  • Selection: I think that’s the key. One thing they may be doing here is letting you buy smaller amounts. You may not want to buy ten things of deodorant every six months, when you can buy just one as you need it. They may also start taking things off of Subscribe and Save and Prime generally, making them only available through Prime Pantry (or full price shipping). Prime Pantry might manage to absorb a bunch of those “Add-On” items…it can be annoying to have to get to a certain order total to be able to buy an Add-On item
  • Price: we start out with the premise that it is going to cost about $6 more. If they could give us discounts which made it cost more than $6 less, people might do it (but that does require pretty sophisticated thinking). They already have an exclusive coupons section
  • Service: that’s where they can make this work, I think. It has to seem a lot easier to get it through Prime Pantry. I’m not quite sure how they can do that yet, but they have to really work on the ease of the interface and search. For example, it could suggest when you might need to re-order something. I see that they do have a “buy from past purchases” section…but it only counts Prime Pantry purchases, so I don’t have anything there yet

The other possibility is that they are going to make it a lot better…that this is just an example of “launch limitations”. They could simply improve Prime Pantry (maybe including fresh foods…as a gateway to getting you on Amazon Fresh, when it gets to your town), or make general Prime/Subscribe & Save worse. I wonder if they would fold Subscribe and Save into Prime Pantry, somehow?

We’ll just have to see what happens…don’t worry, I don’t think alphabet soup will ever be the only “book” Amazon carries. 😉

Overall, it looks like initial Wall Street reaction to this report is pretty good. I think the exclusive HBO deal Amazon just signed really made them a mainstream video player in investors’ eyes, and I think Fire TV is seen as a real possibility to get app income.

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t really expect Amazon to succeed with hardware…they are now leaders in that area, as far as consumers are concerned.

Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad sales are perceived as weakening…

Let me wrap up with this: I’m glad I’m not directly competing with Amazon… 😉

* 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! :) 

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.

Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night

April 23, 2014

Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night

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

It’s World Book Night!

April 23rd (Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday, Cervantes’ deathday) is World Book Night, when select books are given away.

Why is it book night?

There was already a World Book Day, where kids were given tokens for books…this was for grown-ups, and night-time is supposedly more grown up (you know…like Nick at Night or Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, which is night-time).

Specially produced copies of books are given away by “givers”, and the authors waive their royalties.

I think it’s a wonderful thing! It occurred to me (too late to do it), that I could do a free day for at least one of my titles to coincide. I’ll plan on that next year.

For more information, see

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/faqs

I also thought this was an interesting

The Guardian article by Alison Flood

about authors reading from other authors’ letters, including one from Kurt Vonnegut.

From 1 star to 5 stars? HBO GOGOGO!

I love it when having a positive attitude gets proven to have been the right thing!

See, as a basically optimistic person, I get to have fun looking at something…I’m enjoying life! Pessimists, well, they often seem to be having a sour taste. If it turns out that something was a negative, that doesn’t seem to make them happy…if anything, they seem to be more upset when they are right than when they are wrong. 😉 Hm…I’ll have to look for some positive things about pessimism and cynicism. If not, I’m in danger of being pessimistic…about pessimism. 🙂

In this case, I recently wrote about the number of 1-star reviews which came out about the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which launched without HBO GO:

Don’t judge a box by its content

I said,

“One of the interesting things is that Amazon included HBO GO in its comparison table…showing that they didn’t have it.

Why do that?

I think it’s because they are likely to get it.

Why don’t they have it already?

They have to negotiate it.”

Well, even non-Fire users will apparently benefit from the result of those negotiations!

According to this

press release

HBO GO is coming to the Fire TV later this year. That allows current HBO subscribers to watch the current episodes.

However, and I would argue with greater impact (and probably costing Amazon a lot of money), Amazon Prime members are also going to get exclusive subscription streaming access to a bunch of older HBO shows!

That’s at no additional cost over the Prime fee.

People are really going to have to start thinking about how much it is worth it to see things when they first come out…and this could seriously contribute to “cord cutting” (ditching cable/satellite for streaming options).

Let’s say you want to watch True Blood (you know, because you like literary adaptations). 😉

If you want to watch current episodes as an HBO subscriber, you pay  for a monthly package from your cable/satellite provider which includes it as a “premium channel”.

The cost of that can easily be more than the cost of a Fire TV (depending on the package, which you might bundle with phone and internet)…and that’s per month.

If you are willing to wait a few years, you could watch them at no additional cost on your FTV if you have Prime.

I think Prime is worth it just as a shipping service (many items for two-days for free), but even if you treat it just as a video streaming service, that’s going to be a lot cheaper.

Remember that this is an exclusive deal (for subscription services…you may still be able to buy the episodes one by one from other places, and they will be on HBO platforms).  That means they won’t be available on Netflix or Hulu+. Gee, did the Fire just get more attractive? 😉 Here’s a bit more about what it will mean:

Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming access to:

  • All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favorites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
  • Epic miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
  • Select seasons of current series such as Boardwalk Empire, Treme andTrue Blood
  • Hit original movies like Game Change, Too Big To Fail and You Don’t Know Jack
  • Pedigreed documentaries including the Autopsy and Iceman series,Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and When the Levees Broke
  • Hilarious original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis CK and Bill Maher

The multi-year deal will bring additional seasons of the current series named above, along with early seasons of other series like Girls, The Newsroom andVeep to Prime members over the life of the deal.”

This idea of patience being rewarded also goes for books, of course. I expect Amazon to launch a subser (subscription service) for books for grown-ups this year, although they often surprise me. I think we’ll end up seeing a model somewhat like this for publishing: lots of access to backlist titles through subscription services, and you pay for new releases.

How do they pick these lists? It’s a mystery… 😉

Amazon just put out a list of

100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile)

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, questioned some of the choices (and especially some of the non-choices), and that’s inevitable on any list like this.

Looking at it, my mind initially went for mysteries, and there are certainly many here that are more in the thriller camp.

I’m not quite sure why those two get lumped together.

Mysteries, by definition (at least my definition) are cerebral at heart. The mystery is about figuring out the mystery. In a classic mystery, you use your own brain power to try to figure out the answer.

Thrillers, on the other hand, tend to be visceral and emotional. There may be somebody to stop, but it’s not so much about figuring it out.

Does the same person who likes Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell like Frederick Forsythe and Charles Bukowski? Certainly, maybe, but I think statistically, they appeal to different people.

They cheated and put all of Holmes in one volume, but it was nice to see kid’s books represented: Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys…but only one of each series, not like with Sherlock.

Including From H*ll, the graphic novel by Alan Moore about Jack the Ripper? Intriguing.

I think there was probably a conscious effort to include “quality” literature, including The Name of the Rose and Rebecca.

No Perry Mason, though?

A list like this also always gets skewed by including only one title per author (except for the cheating Holmes one above). It’s certainly possible that Agatha Christie deserves more than one spot here. Oh, they did get around that in a clever way. Here is one of the listings:

“Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Gabriel Garcia Marquez” (emphasis added)

😉

My guess is that they accidentally got the name on there, and then ran a check for multiple titles by the same author, which failed.

What do you think? What was left off the list? What is on it that surprised you? Do you ever plow through a list like that? Rebecca still isn’t in Kindle format…I wrote about that more than three years ago:

Why Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca isn’t in the Kindle store

Are you helping out on World Book Night? What do you think of exclusive content deals, like Amazon getting the HBO shows? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* 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! :) 

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.

Harris poll: E-book readers read more

April 22, 2014

Harris poll: E-book readers read more

Years ago, I remember saying that “…the more you love books, the more you love e-books.”

Initially, people who read e-books were treated by some “serious readers” as…inferior. It was somehow insulting, or even anti-literature, that we would read the same words that the other person was reading, but not in the same “container”.

I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I thought my Significant Other had the best line. When somebody saw my SO reading a Kindle and sneeringly said, “I like the feel of a book in my hand,” my SO replied, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” 😉

While there certainly may be some tactile (and olfactory) things that we lose, the simple fact is that you can have more books available to you more often with e-books.

Now, this

Harris poll

backs up the assertion that e-book readers read more.

My guess, by the way, isn’t that the e-book medium itself makes you read more, although that’s possible. I think it’s that the people who read a lot are attracted to EBRs (E-Book Readers).

After all, if you only read a book in a month, you don’t see the same benefit you would if you normally carried two or more books with you everywhere (which I did).

Here’s a short excerpt with one of the most interesting statistics:

“Interestingly, there appears to be an intersection at work between how Americans read and how much they read. Those who read either more or exclusively in the e-book format are more likely to read over 20 books in an average year (30%) than either those who read more/only in hard copy (18%) or those who read in both formats equally (21%). They also report a higher average readership per year than either hard copy hardliners or equal-opportunity readers (22.5 books vs. 16 and 15, respectively).”

There is a lot more to the poll, including gen-gen (generation and gender) breakdowns.

I don’t want to take too much away from it (I recommend you read it), but I do want to mention this.

Only 6% of the respondents said that they read e-books exclusively.

I would put myself in that category (although I am reading a p-book…paperbook…right now, that’s really a fluke, and I don’t consider it normal).

I’m guessing a significant number of you do, too…although I’m also guessing I have a lot of “mixed media” readers (some p-books, some e-books).

Why do I read just e-books (despite having something like 10,000 p-books on shelves in our house)?

No question, the ability to increase the font size is part of it. My vision isn’t what it used to be, and I can wear glasses (I buy cheap ones, and scatter them around the house), but it’s nice not to have to do that.

Another big, big issue for me is text-to-speech. I use it typically for hours a day in the car…I much prefer that to the radio.

Third, there’s the portability. I tend to bounce from book to book, rather than reading one straight through. On Goodreads, I show myself as currently reading more than ten books. Part of that is because I never abandon a book…so if I’ve started it, and haven’t finished it, I consider myself to be currently reading it.

However, I am actively reading (every day or two)…certainly three books.

A fourth reason: free public domain books!

I could keep going. 🙂

The key thing: those who read e-books read more (on average)…and they report that the amount that they read is increasing.

Again, it’s a bit hard to separate that out without more information. Serious readers might always tend to report themselves as reading more…I just don’t know that.

I will say, though, that book lovers love books…and e-books give us the opportunity to have more books and more access to them.

What do you think? Are you reading more or less than you used to read, or is about the same? What makes you choose to read an e-book over a p-book (and vice versa)? Will e-books reverse the trend of declining reading rates eventually? 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. 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.

Round up #250: $5 Audible credit, challenging Underpants

April 21, 2014

Round up #250: $5 Audible credit, challenging Underpants

250? Wow! 😉

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

Captain Underpants challenged more often than 50 Shades of Grey in 2013

The good news for many people will be that the American Library Association reported about a third fewer “challenges” to books in 2013 than in 2012: 307 versus 464.

The list is, as always, a bit puzzling to me. It may have to do with the age of the kids. Perhaps a school library that would carry Fifty Shades of Grey is less likely to be scrutinized by people who would complain than one that would carry Captain Underpants.

However, looking at my post on the 2012 books:

Should any books be banned? Banned Books Week 2013

they are actually in the same positions they were then…Captain Underpants #1, 50SoG #4.

One thing that does stand out to be when I analyze the

report from the American Library Association

is that one of the top ten, the Bone series of graphic novels (they count it as one listing) by Jeff Smith is challenged on the grounds of…political viewpoint.

I haven’t read these, but I know it’s a series of graphic novels set in a fantasy world: I wonder what the politics are from which you want to protect your child? “Don’t let my kid read that book! They might end up voting for a dragon for President!” 😉

Here’s my analysis of this year’s challenges:

2013ChallengedBooks

U.S. Customers: $5 coupon for Audible

Thanks to Books on the Knob for the heads-up on this one!

Customers of Audible in the United States can get a $5 credit, but you need to act quickly (it ends Monday).

http://www.audible.com/promo/offer/1763?bp_o=false&AID=10273919&PID=3512156&source_code=COMA0213WS031709&p=LISTENUP

I’m not much of an audiobook person (I prefer text-to-speech: I don’t like the narrators interpreting the characters for me), but I know a lot of people do like them. Audible is owned by Amazon, and it’s easy to play Audible audiobooks on your Kindle devices…at least, the ones which do audio at all.

Enjoy!

What happens to the rights when a publisher goes bankrupt?

This

Publishers Weekly article by Calvin Reid

may seem a bit “inside baseball”, but it’s important.

A major independent publisher, MacAdam Cage went bankrupt.

Let’s say you were an author, and you had licensed the rights to publish your book to them.

They are out of the publishing business.

Can you license the publishing rights to somebody else?

Not right away…and not all of the rights, apparently.

The authors of the books in this case (and they include Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, among other well-known titles) have gotten their p-book (paperbook) rights back…but not the e-book rights.

That’s because the e-book rights were apparently farmed out to another company…which didn’t go bankrupt, but which, according to the article, may not be paying the authors royalties for those books (that’s an allegation…I don’t know if it is true).

Well, at least it suggests more strongly that e-book rights and p-book rights are separate, which will tend to benefit authors. What a mess, though! Some may see this as an argument for independent publishing…

I’ve ordered the Fire TV Game Controller

I am liking my

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

a lot! I had debated whether or not I was going to order the

Amazon Fire Game Controller (at AmazonSmile)

and now I’ve decided to…er…mash the button? 😉

I would be, by the most generous definition, a casual gamer. I actually rarely play video games. My Significant Other, a bit oddly to me, plays them much more…particularly Candy Crush.

However, I am planning to write a small guide to the Fire TV, and I really need the controller to test out some of the apps…and, you know, the tax refund came in. 😉

While I was able to order it now and get the special deal that gives you 1,000 Amazon coins (basically, $10 for purchase of apps and in-app buys), and their new exclusive game, Sev Zero, I’m not going to have it for a while…it is sold out.

Expected delivery?

May 13th.

Riggio sells some Barnes & Noble stock (which then loses value)

Leonard Riggio, who is basically the architect of the modern (last forty years or so) Barnes & Noble, sold stock in the company, dropping down to a 20% stake.

BloomergBusinessWeek article

Riggio said it was partially for “estate planning”…but it may not help to suggest “after death” plans and Barnes & Noble in the same breath. 😉 Following the announcement, the stock dropped more than 10%…and unlike when Amazon drops after a financial report sometimes, I don’t expect it to immediately bounce back up to where it was.

I don’t know who, casual investor or serious player, is thinking B&N is a great place to put their money right now.

What do you think? If you were an MBA (Master of Business Administration) student and I gave you an assignment to come up with a plan to save Barnes & Noble, what would you do…and how high a grade do you think you could get? 🙂 When you hear a book has been challenged, does that make you more or less likely to buy it? Have you ever sight read a book, listened to the audiobook, and saw the movie…and thought the audiobook was best of the three? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* 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! :) 

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.


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