Round up #255: authors’ insults, HBO ruh-roh

Round up #255: authors’ insults, HBO ruh-roh

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

Simon & Schuster joins Oyster

I’ve written before about testing out Scribd, one of the big subsers. That’s what I call subscription services…the “all you can read” plans for e-books.

They aren’t all “all” you can read, but the basic idea is that you pay a flat fee, and then can select from e-books to read at no additional cost.

Amazon does that, in quite a limited way, with the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). Eligible Prime members with a hardware Kindle can borrow up to a book a calendar month as part of their $99 a year Prime membership.

Amazon also does it with Kindle FreeTime, but that’s for kids.

Simon & Schuster joining Oyster is a big deal, even if it just for their backlist (books that are at least a year old, basically).


The Next Web article by Josh Ong

talks about the addition (Oyster already has HarperCollins), and has this interesting line:

“As it gains traction, Oyster could represent a viable alternative to Amazon, which has secured a dominant position in the ebook space.”

The very big presumption there is that Amazon doesn’t take them head on.

My guess is that Amazon does just that: starts a subser for adults this year, and I’d be very surprised if they aren’t working industriously on it as I type this.

When might it happen?

I think they may tie it into a hardware announcement.

Now, in recent years, Kindle hardware announcements have come late in the year, that wasn’t always true. The DX, for example, was introduced on a May 6, and the Kindle DX Graphite on a July 1st.

I think a great time to launch a subser would be as we go into summer reading…subsers are not really gift items (although I assume they could be gifted), so waiting for the holidays isn’t necessary.

Yes, I could see that happening: perhaps in conjunction with a new Paperwhite, and then hold off on a tablet announcement until that prime shopping season in October or so.

Oh, and there may be a phone announcement too, but I don’t see this being tied to a phone.

Could it be tied into Prime? Absolutely. Not limited to Prime, necessarily, but an advantage for Prime owners (a strong discount, perhaps). Prime is the game, I think, for a lot of the retail business for Amazon.

We shall see…

In the mean time, this

Oyster blog post

points out that this adds Stephen King and Hemingway. The blog, by the way, is poorly punctuated (“Im”, “youre”), but a blog is different from a book in that regard. Still, when it is a commercial tool to promote your service to literary types, it might be better to proofread it a bit more carefully…

To be fair, the “Im” is, I think, quoting Hemingway, so perhaps Papa had it wrong…but there are no quotation marks and no “sic”.

Nebula Award Winners

The Nebulas have just been awarded, and I’ll let this

The Mary Sue post by Becky Chambers

point out something that all of the fiction winners have in common. It’s an inherent characteristic, and I don’t really like to make a point of those…although I do it sometimes. 🙂

The article also has links to some of the stories which you can read for free online.

The Nebulas are awarded by the

SFWA…Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

If you are interested in earlier winners as well, you can shop at

Amazon’s Nebula Winners Kindle store page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

“Mommy, why is that vampire naked?”

It’s a big deal that Amazon just added some of HBO’s backlist to Prime streaming.

Now, Prime members can watch older seasons of True Blood and Rome, for example, at no additional cost.

I’m not sure that everybody is aware that those series include nudity and sexual content.

Knowledgeable Prime Video users are probably aware of

where you can centrally set content restrictions based on ratings.

You can require a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to watch video in these categories, as one setting: R, NC-17, TV-MA, Unrated, Not rated.

You can even be specific as to which devices have the restriction, and which don’t. That means that if the adults want to watch True Blood freely, they can…while the kids can’t get into it on their Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*) (or Rokus, for that matter) without knowing the PIN.



You know where that doesn’t work?

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

Yes, as far as I can tell (and I’ve asked Amazon), you can block purchasing on a Fire TV, but can’t block content based on ratings.

That seems like a considerable weakness, compared to the Roku!

There is no question to me that the Fire TV is intended as a family device…there are a lot of kid-friendly apps, for example.

Hopefully, they get something out soon that allows the blocking…although I wonder if it is technical, since it doesn’t work on the XBOX either.

Summing up: you can block purchasing on the Fire TV by changing a setting on the Fire TV itself, but you can’t block content based on ratings.

HuffPo interactive chart with authors insulting each other

While I am capable of very cutting remarks, I don’t tend to insult others publicly. My Significant Other knows I have fun doing it in a joking way to the television at home, but I don’t really desire to hurt actual people. I like Jeopardy, for example, and will make comments about the people on the show. I’ve even suggested that we do a t-shirt that says, “It looks like you’ll be going first in Double Jeopardy.” 😉

Writers, of course, can be very creative with words (gee, I wonder why?) 😉 so their insults about each other can be quite entertaining…


Huffington Post interactive chart by Jan Diehm

lets you click on links between authors to see those not so bon mots…

What do you think? If Amazon offered a subser with tradpubbed (traditionally published) books which were a year old or more, would that affect your purchasing of new releases? Are there any literary awards which prompt you to read specific books? Have you ever tried to read all of a category of award winners? Do you have fun insulting other people in public? Or, perhaps, are you like me, and are more likely to make self-deprecating comments? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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.


3 Responses to “Round up #255: authors’ insults, HBO ruh-roh”

  1. Lisa Says:

    In case you missed it, I wanted to point out that Scribd has added the same Simon and Schuster titles that Oyster has: I am currently in the midst of a Scribd trial and like it so far, but the reader is more bare bones than I would like. On the plus side, they have recently updated the app to include highlighting, etc.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lisa!

      I appreciate the heads-up. I did know that Scribd had those books as well.

      In terms of bare bones…until it supports text-to-speech, I won’t be returning to it. If it did, I would certainly consider it. I did let them know that, by the way. 🙂

  2. Amazon announcement storm: precursor to hardware announcement? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Round up #255: authors’ insults, HBO ruh-roh […]

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