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

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

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.

5 Responses to “Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night”

  1. haley Says:

    Some authors already do this–giving books away for a limited time.

    If intrestested in FREE e-books go to
    its a website where you…
    -type in your email
    -choose your book genres (horror, mystery, young adult, etc.)
    -choose where you buy e-books (ie. amazon, barns&noble, apple, etc)
    -and you will be sent either daily, weekly or monthly update of books which the author has set out free for a limited time

    -the email will have a link to take you to the store you picked out (amazon, barns&noble, apple, etc) and then you purchase a book for $0.00. No tax or shipping b/c its an E-Book.

    Its a good way to get FREE books from some really great authors.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, haley!

      I’m one of those authors. 🙂 Not a Bookbub one…I tried that as a customer, didn’t find much that I liked that I couldn’t find more easily on my own. I mentioned Bookbub in a post about a year ago.

      By the way, my readers will want to know: are you connected with them, besides being a user of the site?

      What I meant was that I do give away my books from time to time…I think I’ve given away thousands of “copies” (really licenses, since they are e-books through the Kindle store). My guess is that when I do that, they may show up on Bookbub, since I’m guessing they search Amazon. I just didn’t pick today as one of the days.

      When I wrote my book on how to get free E-Books for your Kindle (years ago…it was my first), Bookbub hadn’t been started…there are now so many options, my book really became out of date.

      Thanks for wanting to help my readers with more information!

  2. D. Knight Says:

    This is partially related to the topic (well, this is a round up): there is a free interview with Agatha Christie available at Audible

    The sound quality is poor, but it’s very interesting.

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I wish they had put mysteries in one group of 100 and thrillers in another. There are enough of each genre to easily reach 100. Even though I’ve read only of of the thrillers in the list, I’ve seen quite a few of the movies based on the books.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I really hate lists like this. The hubris of “for a lifetime” is appalling. No list is ever going to catch everyone’s (anyone’s) idea of titles to be read in a lifetime — this is sheer balderdash (or something :grin).

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