Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite

Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite

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

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update 5.4.5

Amazon has released a new update for the KPW2:

Update 5.4.5 for Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile* Benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can wait and it will eventually happen on its own (that can be weeks), or you can go to the above link and update manually

It brings three main changes:

  • Sync on Your Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile): honestly, I’m not quite clear what the difference is here. I usually don’t bounce between devices when reading, and since my Significant Other and I may be reading the same book at the same time (so we can talk about it afterwards), we have Whispersync turned off. I’m not clear on what this is doing now that it didn’t do before. One interesting thing, though. I’ve always recommended that people return to Home after a reading session if they may need to sync, and the video on this page recommends the same thing
  • “When viewing a PDF in pan-and-zoom mode, you will now see a small preview window in the margin of the screen”: this one sounds helpful!
  • Read While Your Book Ships (at AmazonSmile): for those of us who answer questions on the official Amazon forums, there is a tendency (which can be avoided, with effort) to develop canned responses. One thing has always been about where you find sample in the Cloud. We would say they weren’t stored in the Cloud: I’ve likened it to getting a free sample at Costco…there’s no record of that in your account, either. 😉 One reason is that it lessens costs to not do the processing of the transaction and the storage of the sample. Well, now, when you buy a p-book (paperbook), you can often choose to “Start Reading Now”, and you get the sample of the e-book on your Kindle (so you can read while the p-book is on the way). Those samples (and only those samples), are going to be available in the Cloud: Read While Your Book Ships (at AmazonSmile)

Video: “When the Words Stop”

Thanks to EBOOK FRIENDLY for the heads up on this great video!

When the Words Stop by Epic Reads

I think a lot of you will appreciate it…it’s a humor piece about that deflated feeling you have when you finish a book…when the words stop. Back in the paper days, I remember feeling a great anxiety sometimes when I realized there was only maybe ten percent of the book left to go. With an e-book, I have to say, I find so often that it ends much before the percentage would indicate (because of back matter, or a preview, or something like that), that I can’t really judge it. I’ve had books finish at maybe 66%! This is funny and worth watching, in my opinion.

Gold Box Deal: $100 off Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 4G LTE

This is a today only deal (that’s how GBDs work):

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

It’s $100 of the models with 4G (like a cellphone connection to wireless, instead of just wi-fi…this has both). I tried having 4G on one of my Fire models, and didn’t find it was worth the monthly service plan cost to me. However, I’m in a pretty techie area, and there is a lot of wi-fi around here. For some people, having 4G makes a big difference in convenience, and they are willing to pay for it. It’s also nice for people who aren’t as techie, but want to be connected…no wi-fi required to use it (if you have a signal for 4G at home, you don’t have to enter passwords or anything to connect).

The least expensive configuration of this deal is $229…which makes it the same initial cost as having a wi-fi only version.

Kindle Unlimited mini-roundup

I’m still going to write another big post on Kindle Unlimited soon (following this one)

It’s official! Kindle Unlimited is here with 639,621 titles

including what I think the impact will be on authors (some will benefit…a lot), but I did want to hit a few high points:

  • Audiobooks: I’ve seen interest in the comments on the blog in the audiobook part, and that is something that makes KU stand apart from other subsers (that’s what I call subscription services) .ike Oyster and Scribd). As is, unfortunately, not uncommonly the case with Amazon, people want to do it…but have trouble finding instructions on how to do it. I’ve done it successfully, but it wasn’t as easy as going to “audiobooks” in KU and picking one. What I did was first find an e-book in KU that was set up for “Whispersync for Voice”. You can do that with this link: Kindle Unlimited Whispersync for Voice titles (at AmazonSmile). The e-book has to say that it is “with narration”, otherwise you might pay extra for it. I downloaded the e-book (one that I’ve read before, by the way…I don’t like listening to audiobooks if I haven’t already sightread the book). Once I’d done that, the audiobook was available to my Audible app…including on my Galaxy S4 (which should be, sadly, replaced later this week by my Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile). I’m not sad to be getting the phone: I’m excited for that! I’ve just really liked the S4). So, the counterintuitive part was getting an e-book I wasn’t going to read so I could get the audiobook. After that, it worked fine. One of my readers commented that they couldn’t get the audiobook part to work, even with help from both Kindle and Audible reps…but I still don’t quite know why. Might have been a different phone, or they weren’t following the above sequence
  • How authors get compensated: I will do a big post on authors and KU generally, as I’ve mentioned, but for indie (independent authors) using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, they split part of a pool fund (the same way they get compensated for borrows from Amazon Kindle Owners” Lending Library)…but they don’t get the cut until the borrower has read ten percent of the book. Tradpubbed (traditionally published) authors will have a different deal, and we won’t know the details…the publishers don’t usually release royalty contract terms. I did check, by the way: if someone borrows your book, reads ten percent of it (triggering the royalty), return it, borrows it again, and ten percent of it again, you don’t get a second royalty…in case you were planning to game the system 😉
  • Confusion for people who are both KU members and KOLL eligible: this has been very confusing, engendering many threads on the forums! I’m hoping they make this clearer…and soon. The KOLL has not gone away, and there hasn’t been an indication that it will. The BUTTON to borrow for free, however, has gone away in many cases. What I understand at this point is that, if you’ve already borrowed your KOLL book for the month, the button will convert to a “Read for Free” button, and it will be one of your KU borrows instead (assuming the book is in both programs). If you don’t have KU, clicking the button will take you to some place to sign up. If it actually works that way, that’s not too bad. However, I did see “The Artist” on the forum say that they had not yet borrowed a KOLL book in the month…and clicking “Read for Free” made it the KOLL borrow. That would be bad: what you want to borrow from the KOLL and what you want to read from KU may not be the same. You can have up to ten books out from KU at a time, and when you return one you can get another one. That seems to me like a generous amount for one person (unless, perhaps, you are going on a trip where you won’t have wireless access), but if you have five people on the account (and there is no limit), you may often bump up against that simultaneous ten limit

Wow! There is a lot happening (Fire Phone for hardware, KU for services), but what do you think? Have you ever feared reaching the end of a book? I know people who don’t want to buy a book unless there are more books in a series, just to try and stave off the eventual “separation”.  Do you find 4G worth it for a Fire? Are you weighing keeping Audible versus going with KU? 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! :) 

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.


8 Responses to “Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    I need to watch more carefully, but I think the PW1 may already have the new sync variant, as does the Audible app (I think). I’ve been meaning to set up some scenarios and test to see what is going on, as the logic can get surprisingly complex (multiple devices, each of which can be online/offline when you leave off reading and switch devices, etc.).

    The point is that it can track ‘most recent’ position across devices, and not just ‘furthest position read’. If you are reading a reference book, for example, you’d probably be jumping around in there, and it is not useful to go to ‘furthest read’ position as that may have been an article you read months ago that just happens to be towards the end of the book, rather than one you read more recently towards the front. More logical to pick up where you left off. ‘Furthest read’ often coincides with ‘most recent’, but not always.

    But that’s why you get a prompt asking what you want to do. The sync message includes device name, a time stamp, and reading location. For example, my wife and I are reading the same book, so I ignore the sync messages that appear for her device and only pay attention to those coming from the devices I’m switching between.

    As it has been, you have to go to Manage Your Content and Devices to ‘clear furthest position read’ when sync gets messed up, or you want to re-read a book, which is kind of a pain (and is not available for personal documents). So I welcome the idea that you can go to the most recent location and still stay in sync. Just hope they are doing it ‘correctly’.

  2. Barbara Berry Says:

    Still using Paperwhite 1st Generation (very happily, I might add). Have the latest update but am interested in knowing the date of the update. Amazon says “now” in their verbiage. They do not document “sync to latest page read,” but I think it may have it. In any case, the differences between PW1 and PW2 seem minimal. I do sync with my Kindle Fire 2nd gen. which I bought for text-to-speech.

    On another topic–I’ve had no problems with Facebook on the Fire (a bit klungy perhaps), but I couldn’t get Lexulous games I played on FB on my computer. I received a message that they weren’t available on Kindle although available on Samsung Android phone. The other day, for some reason I tried the Lexulous icon again, received the choice of Lexulous or Facebook. Chose Facebook, and, voila, I was able to access my FB games. Perhaps other frustrated FB Lexulous players would like to know!

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    I’m not sure the information is entirely accurate, but had an article explaining the various terms for KU payouts. For example, apparently Amazon pays out full royalty for tradpub books where the publisher did not agree to participate (e.g. Hunger Games), as soon as a customer ‘borrows’ the book (and before 10% is reached). That way it is covered under current contract, since it becomes a subset of a ‘sale’. Of course they cannot afford to have too many of those. Some fall into ‘opt in’ terms like Open Road Media, and get paid full price at the 10% mark. Presumably neither of these types of payments depletes the ‘pool’ Amazon sets aside for Amazon Select pubauths.

    Still I wonder about the possibilities of ‘gaming the system’. What is to prevent someone from organizing a campaign to borrow a book, jump ahead past the 10% mark, and return it (essentially going through the motions of reading without actually doing so)? Thus artificially inflating ‘sales’ and share of the pool? That is not so feasible with KOLL given one-book-per-month, but now borrowing and returning is ‘unlimited’. Also it seems KU payouts favor shorter books that can be ‘consumed’ faster.

    Have you looked at the ‘top 100’ lists lately? Looks like about 50% are KU titles. No doubt that is displacing tradpub titles and impeding ‘discovery’ a bit. Wonder if that will result in more tradpub participation. After all if they can get paid the same as a sale, rather than out of the ‘pool’, that seems like a great deal (presumably if the customer purchases the book later Amazon gets to keep the whole thing though).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I think Amazon will just squash people gaming the system…and some false positives will occur.

      I’ll look at the top 100 again, do an analysis. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I do hope they fix the confusion about the KOLL books soon because right now it’s impossible to tell which ones are in the KOLL without scrolling through page after page after page from the KOLL link in the Kindle Store. I think as long as I keep the previous KOLL book on the Kindle, I won’t get an accidental borrow because you always get that “do you want to return the previous book” warning first. I hope that will still be the case. I think I would have preferred it if Amazon had eliminated the KOLL altogether and given a monthly discount of a dollar or two for Prime members who wanted to go with KU.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Yes, it’s confusing. 🙂

      I think it’s possible that the KOLL will go away, and that something with the KU will get folded into Prime. I’d be surprised if they tiered the prices, since they haven’t done that yet. They may need to wait until publishers are sort of more settled in with KU, and we see how much business it will do.

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