Round up #258: WSV for apps, access instead of ownership

Round up #258: WSV for apps, access instead of ownership

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

Mayday heyday

I’ve said:

“Having a tablet without Mayday is like having a car without a windshield: it doesn’t matter how fast your car is, or how cool it looks, if you can’t see how to get where you’re going.”

Amazon has just put out this new

press release

with some very interesting (and positive) information about the live on-screen tech help for the

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

They say that 75% of contacts about the KFHDX come through Mayday…and that the average response time is 9.75 seconds.

Imagine getting knowledgeable help in under ten seconds by walking into a chain brick-and-mortar bookstore! Not very likely…and I used to be a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager. Our store was small enough that we were likely to say “Hi” to you as you walked into the store, although not always (we might have been on the floor helping somebody else or merchandising). In a Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million, though? You’ll probably either need to wait in line at the front to ask a question, or work your way through the aisles to an advice desk…where you may still need to wait for somebody.

They tell several anecdotes in the press release, including somebody getting help with Angry Birds, and a rep singing Happy Birthday (I’ve wondered before if Amazon pays royalties when that happens…).

It is one of my major reasons to recommend the Kindle Fire HDX…and I think it is the future of Customer Service (although, I suspect that Artificial Intelligence responses will be part of this sort of instant help eventually).

I did just recently have a reader comment on getting someone through Mayday that they had difficulty in understanding. That’s the first time I’ve heard that, and I’ve used Mayday several times myself without an issue like that.

Whispersync for Voice added to apps

In another

press release

Amazon announced an update to their free reading apps for Android and for iDevices which brings Whispersync for Voice to them.

WSV allows you to switch between sight-reading a book and listening to an audiobook.

While I use text-to-speech often for the same purpose (listening in the car, sight-reading at home or on a break at work), I really don’t use WSV.

As regular readers know, I’m not a big fan of audiobooks…unless I’ve already read the book. I don’t like the actor/author interpreting the characters for me. I like TTS better because it is generic, which I know seems odd to some people.

Still, WSV seems to be a success for Amazon, and I’m sure many of you will be happy to hear this. Once again, Amazon gives us more at no additional cost.

To find which books you already own as e-books that having matching reduced cost audiobooks under the WSV program, you can go to (at AmazonSmile)

Music studios probably don’t want to hear this…

With yesterday’s implementation of

Prime Music (my post on it)

I can’t imagine buying music for myself again.

That’s how the world has changed for a lot of people.

I have something like 10,000 paperbooks on shelves in my home. I have…oh, more than a 100 DVDs.

I definitely was somebody who owned things for the sake of owning them.

Now (and isn’t this modern of me?) 😉 I’m generally good with paying for access instead.

I’ve been using Prime Music since yesterday. I’m listening to it right now…The Andrews Sisters are singing, and it’s a song I have bought in the past. It’s part of the Prime Playlist

50 Great Swing Era Songs (at AmazonSmile)

It’s sort of like listening to a radio station…with no ads. 🙂

I consider myself a pretty eclectic music listener, just as I think of myself as an eclectic reader (although I do have some preferences, I can read pretty much anything). With Prime Music, there are plenty of things I want to hear…and in many categories. I may listen to the Taiko (Japanese drumming) album I see later this day, but I also listen to contemporary music.

Do they have everything? No.

Do they have enough? Looks like it. 😉

I feel the same way about video. There is enough TV and enough movies for me to watch through Prime and Netflix (and legal free online sources) that I’m trying to see a path where I would buy a DVD for myself…and not finding one.

I suspect that Amazon could (and may this year) introduce a book subser (subscription service) where I feel largely the same way.

It’s been quite a mental shift for me to not need to watch a specific video or listen to a particular tune…and I think I’d get there with books.

That would really change the economics of things, if many people did that.

We might end up with ten percent of the number of new books being released each year by the tradpubs (traditional publishers)…and the cost going up a lot.

I’ve talked about $50 as a reasonable price for a new hardback novel in the future (as a possible scenario).

If subsers take off, I could see that going to $100.

Early access would become a true luxury.

Sure, there would be some specials on things like that, but you’d have the “golden gateway” crowd, which pays more to “get in” first, then the average person, who pays monthly or annually for a subser and gets books that are a year old or so…and disadvantaged people, who get them free from sources like the library, but perhaps even slower than that. Of course, the libraries could have them as quickly…if governments support them paying licenses that the publishers consider reasonable.

What do you think? Are we seeing and will we continue to see a shift towards people paying for access rather than ownership? How will that affect the production of content? Do you find that it’s happened for you? What has your experience been with Mayday (if any)? Are you a Whispersync for Voice user? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* 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.

4 Responses to “Round up #258: WSV for apps, access instead of ownership”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    Actually what has changed with the Kindle apps for iOS and Android is that they now support synchronized read-and-listen (on the Fire they call this ‘immersive reading’). These apps have always participated in WSV, the idea that you can listen to the audiobook (with Audible app or Fire/Kindle audiobook player) and then use a Kindle device or app to pick up reading the text where you left off listening, or vice versa. I do use this ‘media switching’ with some frequency where I have the option to do so.

    However, I have only used read-and-listen reading mode occasionally on my Fire, because I do about 90% of my reading on Paperwhite. Moreover, I read considerably faster than I can listen to it being read out to me (with TTS or with an audiobook). So ‘immersive’ reading slows me down (though if I were more patient, maybe I’d indeed find it more ‘immersive’ and rewarding .

    The main advantage of audiobooks for me is that they allow me to read while engaging another activity, such as driving, doing chores, when I cannot get to sleep, or exercising. It’s more about fitting in more reading than I’d otherwise be unable to do. Occasionally I do find listening more enjoyable in some respects due to the “performance”. (It is rare that I find a reader distracting, but sometimes I have trouble hearing some of them because I have road noise to deal with and if their dynamic range is great, I cannot find a volume level that is not too loud and allows me to hear words and phrases that are spoken softly.)

    But there are other benefits to synchronized read-and-listen. Sometimes when I am listening to an audiobook, I wish I could refer to the text and perhaps highlight and or share something. The Audible app lets you create a bookmark with a note attached, but that’s not associated with the text, just a reading position. If I’m listening to the audiobook with the Kindle app, now that is just a matter of pausing playback and doing the usual. And there’s also Xray etc that I can refer to, which Audible app doesn’t give you. So this is ‘enhanced audiobook listening’. And I can now do this with the same device I use for listening to audiobooks with (iPod Touch).

    In terms of audiobook vs text to speech, audiobooks offer another operational advantage: if you use a headset (or I’m guessing Bluetooth to your car stereo) with a pause/play button, this works with the ‘read-and-listen’ mode. It does not work with TTS, you have to fumble around to pause playback, including perhaps unlocking the screen in order to do so. Not so good if you are driving and need to take a call.

    This scenario also crops up if more than one device is connected to the same BT audio (say a phone and your Kindle Fire). When an incoming call comes in, the BT device will pause playback of the ‘music’ source to take the call, and resume playback when the call ends. But when Fire in TTS mode does not pay attention to the notification, so TTS doesn’t automatically pause/resume. But it will if it is playing an audiobook. Perhaps Amazon can fix that but it is probably a very low probability of their doing so.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I really appreciate that thorough explanation! I can now understand the change better, and some of the advantages. In fact, if they could “port” some of those advantages to TTS (text-to-speech), that would be wonderful. 🙂

  2. rogerknights Says:

    I’d love it if they went to a subscription service for audiobooks. They’re too expensive now, and they take up too much space.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roger!

      Excellent idea! I doubt that a lot of people really want to listen to an audiobook multiple times (although I don’t really know). I think that’s one where just having access to it would be enough for most consumers.

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