Round up #257: things like us, Colbert & King

Round up #257: things like us, Colbert & King

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

For my UK readers: KFHDX 20% off is having a Kindle Fire HDX sale through 12 June:

Kindle Fire HDX (from

You can get the 7″ (gee, do you call it a 17.78 centimeter?) from £159.20, a savings of about £40.

The 8.9″ is from £263.20 (a savings of about £66).

You can also get the first generation (so, not the current one) Kindle Fire HD 7″ for £99! That’s a savings of £60.

We aren’t having an equivalent sale in the USA, but I thought my UK readers might appreciate the alert. 🙂

It’s ba-ack! The Kindle DX available again new from Amazon

Thanks to Andrys Basten of the

A Kindle World blog

for the heads up on this…and it would have been tough to find!

The larger (9.7″) non-Fire Kindle is back on sale new from Amazon…and for a good price of $199.

Kindle DX

You are definitely dealing with older technology here, but it a large screen non-backlit device with text-to-speech (although an older and less sophisticated version than we have on the Kindle Fire HDX) and a physical keyboard.

Maybe I should find somebody with a different first name…

You know how, for some people, e-books made books a whole lot cooler?

Well, we know that book issues are part of the mainstream…because celebrities are commenting on the Hachazon War (that’s what I call the disagreement going on between Amazon and Hachette, a publisher).

First, let’s mention Stephen Colbert, who did a pretty lengthy (3 minutes and twenty seconds) segment on the Hachazon war:

Comedy Central video clip

Colbert’s books have been affected by Amazon’s “tactics of mass inconvenience”, causing delays in getting the faux pundit’s books.

The weird thing is that you can get Kindle editions of the books right away…but they appear to only be the enhanced versions (meaning they’ll audio/video content). The two in particular that I’m seeing have text-to-speech access blocked, so I’m not going to link to them…but they say they are only available on these devices:

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
Kindle Fire HDX
Kindle Fire HD(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire HD(1st Generation)
Kindle Fire(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire(1st Generation)
Kindle for Windows 8
Kindle Cloud Reader
Kindle for Android Phones
Kindle for Android Tablets
Kindle for iPad

Since they list no non-Fire hardware Kindles, it makes me think these are only available as enhanced versions…and it is possible that that is a different deal with Hachette.

If you want the hardback new from Amazon, you have to wait: “Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks.”

However, here is something else interesting. On the product page, you can get a used copy from Amazon for $9.50…and they’ll ship it with Prime!

Used books usually don’t go Prime (where you pay nothing additional for two-day shipping beyond your annual Prime fee).

That’s a fascinating approach on Amazon’s part!

The publisher, of course, doesn’t get an additional cut for a used book…and the author gets no royalty.

Amazon has found a way to get you the book (albeit, a used copy) just as quickly as if you bought it new…and pay Hachette nothing when you do it.

Colbert was funny, and put a lot of effort into this, I’d say. I did like this line (which I’ve edited slightly from the live delivery):

“This is a big blow to my bottom line because Amazon controls around fifty percent of all book sales. That’s right: thirty books a year.”

Colbert also has a printable sticker you can put on a book that says, “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon.” You can get it at the site above.

That reminded me of the statement that Psychotronic Video used to put on the cover: “Still not a part of AOL Time/Warner”.

This segment clearly presents the authors as victims. The piece doesn’t make Hachette blameless, but mostly mentions Amazon.

I did think it was nice that they arranged a deal with Powell’s Books (one of the great bookstores) so you can order the book through the Comedy Central website above.

Sherman Alexie recommended boycotting Amazon until this was over.

The other famous Stephen who recently commented on the Hachazon War is Stephen King.

I was reading (as I do every week)

Entertainment Weekly (at AmazonSmile)

(specifically, the June 13, 2014 issue), and the cover had a link (I’m reading it on my

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

to a commentary by the prolific author called, “Stephen King Sounds Off on Amazon” (which is actually a sidebar on a longer article by Karen Valby about the Hachazon War).

I’m not seeing it as available on the EW website, but I’ll give you a small excerpt:

“In a sense, it’s like a hoodlum in the protection racket strong-arming one small-business owner so that all the other owners on the street — we could call it Book Street — will fall into line.”

While I have found some statements aligning with Amazon, I’d be happy to find one by somebody who has a voice outside of books and the publishing/bookstore world. Stephen King is an author, of course, but is known to people who…gee, how do I put this…don’t read.

Amazon has recovered from other public relations issues in the past (such as the removal of an unauthorized George Orwell book from people’s Kindles…although I just saw someone raise that on the Kindle forum again, without mentioning what I thought was a good resolution and apology), and if the gadget which is announced in about a week and a half is buzzy enough, it may turn the narrative.

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung for future tablets

NOOK tablets did not go well for Barnes & Noble. People doubted that Amazon could do hardware at all before the Kindle…after all, it wasn’t their area of expertise. However, they did do it quite successfully.

For B&N, it makes sense to turn over tablet manufacturing to an experienced partner (resulting in a co-branded device)…and Samsung is a good choice for that.

PC Mag post by Angela Moscaritolo

In fact, my intuition here is that Samsung may greatly improve the NOOK tablet reading experience…which might drive improvements in Kindle tablets as well.

Why does Samsung want to do it?

Why not? 🙂

They get to be seen as saving Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, and people appreciate that. They don’t have to invest a lot of money…it sounds to me like they’ll basically take existing hardware and add NOOK software to it. Of course, you can already get NOOK software on a Samsung tablet…but they will brand it that way.

While B&N hypothetically gives up the income stream from NOOK tablets, it hadn’t really been working out as a plus…

Kiva robots going to work at Amazon

Robots to the left of me
Robots to the right of me
Into the Amazon warehouse rolled the ten thousand…

Thanks to the reader who alerted me in a private e-mail to this

EXTREMETECH article by David Cardinal

I write about robots (and lots of other things) in my

The Measured Circle blog

and “flip” lots of articles about them into the free

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

Well, this brings together Amazon and robots.

Amazon spent a lot of money (about $775 million) for a robot company, as I wrote about back in 2012:

I, Amazon: the e-tailer buys a robot company

The article has a great video of the Kivas at work, but also points out some important things.

Sure, people worry about humans losing jobs to robots…and that undeniably happens. The thing is, though, that people also gain jobs because robots are working…and they may be jobs which are better suited (and feel better) for humans.

Robots aren’t cheap, but there are some huge savings involved with them. You often hear people say that they don’t get sick, although they do need maintenance. They don’t need some kinds of leave, though…and they don’t need raises.

Perhaps not as obviously, the Kiva robots can cut down on utility bills. They probably don’t need lights, for example, and from what I’ve read, you don’t have the same air conditioning issues (which has been one of the major complaints for humans working in Amazon warehouses…they can get hot!). They aren’t like mainframe computers, which often need quite a bit of climate control.

Isn’t that a weird thought?

Tourist: “Hi, I’m here for the Amazon warehouse tour.”

Tour Guide: “Great! You’ll need these night-vision goggles, and this personal-cooling suit.”

Tourist: “My what and my who?”

Tour Guide: “This warehouse has been optimized for our silicon-based workers. What do you see through this window?”

Tourist: “That’s a window? I thought it was a TV that was off.”

Tour Guide: “No, that’s the interior of the fulfillment center. It’s just that dark.”

Tourist: “Can’t you turn the lights on?”

Tour Guide: “There aren’t any lights.”

Tourist: “Um, okay. Why the suit?”

Tour Guide: “Well, the suit isn’t strictly necessary, but it is about 40 degrees in there.”

Tourist: “Wait, didn’t you say it was a cooling suit?”

Tour Guide: “Oh, sorry…forty degrees  Celsius. It’s about…104 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Tourist: “Why so hot?”

Tour Guide: “That’s just because of the temperature outside…we don’t heat the floor.”

Tourist: “I’m from Phoenix, I won’t need the suit. How long does the tour take?”

Tour Guide: “About seven to nine minutes.”

Tourist: “That’s it? Don’t we get to see the whole place?”

Tour Guide: “That is the whole place…well, all of it where a giant biped like you will fit. The rest of it is all Kiva height.”

Tourist: “You know, I think I’ll skip it.”

Tour Guide: “Suit yourself. The next shuttle for downtown is in two hours.”

Tourist: “Two hours? I knew I should have driven!”

Tour Guide: “You can’t…there’s no parking lot.”

Tourist: “No parking lot?”

Tour Guide: “No need for one. Do you know how much land like that costs? Not to mention the expense for damages, the danger to people walking to and from…this is much simpler.”

Tourist: “What about you? Where do you park?”

Tour Guide: “Oh, I don’t park. I just live here. I’ve got everything I need…and AmazonFresh brings me my groceries. It’s actually cool. I’m the only human most of these Kivas have ever seen.”

Tourist: “I wonder if they think all human beings look like you…”

Tour Guide: “I doubt that’s the case.”

Tourist: “Yes, that’s silly. Robots don’t think.”

Tour Guide: “They think…they definitely think. They just don’t think about things which are insignificant to them…”

Speaking of thinking, what do you think? Will Samsung keep the NOOK brand for tablets alive? Will B&N farm out the non-tablets to somebody else? Will Amazon ever run out of Kindle DXs…or replace them with another big screen non-backlit device? Feel free to tell me and my readers 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! :) 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.

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