Round up #268: KU and KOLL, Apple check?

Round up #268: KU and KOLL, Apple check?

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

Thanks to the readers who have inspired some of today’s stories!

Borrowing from the KOLL when you are a KU member

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Tom Semple for this!

It’s still not quite a solution, but it does give me more information to give Amazon…they are supposedly still trying to figure it out.

I am an eligible Prime member, so I should be able to borrow a book a calendar month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). I could do it (and did do it…every single month) before I became a member of

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Since, then, I’ve been unable to borrow a book through the KOLL, at least as far as I knew. When I went to a book in the KOLL, it would only let me borrow it through KU.

Not a huge deal…but it did mean that I had effectively lost a benefit of Prime.

Well, Tom suggested a specific book which is part of the KOLL and not part of KU. Those are going to be few and far between, I think. The book is one which I do think is excellent, but which I won’t link (and I don’t think it’s necessary to mention it for the sake of this story). I’m not linking it because the publisher has chosen to block text-to-speech access in the Kindle edition…I read it in paper, years ago.

On that one, I do get the option to borrow it through the KOLL.

That’s definitely not the way it is supposed to work…I should be able to borrow books that are in both populations either way, at least some of the time.

Still, useful info…thanks, Tom!

Did Amazon drop the price on the Fire Phone because of the Apple announcement?

I recently wrote about Amazon’s

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

being reduced over 99% from about $200 to about $1 (both with a two-year contract).

A reader, Stephen, asked (perhaps rhetorically) if the price drop was because of Apple’s recent announcement (of two new iPhones and the Apple Watch).

I actually think it’s pretty unlikely that was the specific impetus.

This announcement doesn’t change the landscape much. Apple already had a better phone, as far as many people were concerned. While the new iPhones have some improvements, I can’t say that this announcement was something Amazon hadn’t anticipated when they initially priced the phone.

I’m happy for Apple that the announcement was generally well received…and it’s good for Amazon to healthy competitors.

However, I don’t think the Fire Phone was intended as a direct competitor to a top of the line iPhone…Amazon doesn’t need to knock the iPhone out to keep the Fire Phone viable…that’s not their target market space.

Also, Amazon made their announcement before Apple made theirs…

Apple Settlement: you may get a check

Lady Galaxy, regular reader and prolific (and most welcome) commenter, copied and pasted an e-mail purporting to be from Amazon about an Apple settlement.

I also received that e-mail, and will post that for you here. Lady Galaxy had asked if that was legal: yes, my understanding is that unless someone tells you that an e-mail is private, you have the right to publish it. IANAL (I Am Not a Lawyer), but I think that’s right.

The e-mail appears to be legitimate, and other news sources have reported it as such.

Here is most of it:

Dear Kindle Customer,

We previously emailed you about Settlements between several eBook publishers, State Attorneys General and private plaintiffs. On March 25, 2014, Amazon made credits from the proceeds of those publishers’ Settlements available to eligible customers. You can learn more about those publishers’ Settlements by clicking here.

The Attorneys General and private plaintiffs have now settled similar claims against Apple Inc. The court where those claims are pending has directed us to send the following legal notice to you to advise you of your rights in the Apple Settlement. If you have any questions about this notice, or your legal rights, please visit the E-book Lawsuits website or call the phone number listed at the end of this notice. Amazon’s customer service will not be able to answer questions about your legal rights in the Apple Settlement.

Thanks for being a Kindle customer.


Notice ID Number: [deleted]

Legal Notice
Benefits from E-books Settlement with Apple
Para una notificación en Español, llamar o visitar nuestro website.
Records indicate that you are eligible for a payment from a Settlement reached by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs with Apple Inc. (“Apple”). The Apple Settlement resolves Plaintiffs’ claims for money damages against Apple in antitrust lawsuits about the price of electronic books (“E-books”). Amazon has not been sued in these cases. It is providing this notice as a service to its customers.

What the Apple Settlement Provides
The Apple Settlement provides for three possible outcomes, depending on the decision of an appeal of the District Court’s July 10, 2013 finding that Apple violated the antitrust laws (“Liability Finding”). First, if the Court’s Liability Finding is upheld, Apple will pay $400 million to Eligible Consumers. Second, if the Liability Finding is sent back to the District Court for further consideration of whether Apple violated the antitrust laws, Apple will pay $50 million to Eligible Consumers. Third, if the Liability Finding is reversed, Apple will make no payments.

If Apple is required to pay Eligible Consumers under either of the first two options and if the Court approves the Apple Settlement, you will receive an automatic credit to your customer account. The credit can be used for the purchase of products or services sold by Amazon. The amount of your payment, if any, will be determined based on the qualifying E-book purchases identified by Amazon in your customer account.

How to Receive your Benefit
If Apple is required to make a payment to Eligible Consumers, you do not need to do anything to receive your credit unless you change your email address. (If you do change your email address, you should update your Amazon profile or and click on the “Update Your Contact Information” link.) Because you are pre-qualified, your credit will be applied to your account by Amazon automatically, and you will receive another email letting you know when it’s available. If you bought E-books from more than one retailer, you may receive other notices with different instructions on how to receive a payment.

If Apple is required to make a payment to Eligible Consumers, you also will have the option to receive a check instead of your credit. You can request a check by calling 1-866-686-9333, or going to the Apple Settlement website listed below, and clicking on the Check Request Option link on or before October 31, 2014. Be sure to reference the Settlement ID number found at the top of this email. Customers who received a check from the earlier E-books settlements do not have to re-submit a check request for the Apple Settlement. However, if your mailing address changes before you receive your check, please visit and click on the “Update Your Contact Information” link to update your mailing address.

Your Other Rights
You can choose to exclude yourself from the Apple Settlement and keep your right to sue Apple on your own. If you exclude yourself, you can’t receive any benefits from the Apple Settlement. Your written Exclusion Form must be postmarked by October 31, 2014.

If you don’t exclude yourself, you can submit objections about the Apple Settlement. Your written objections must be postmarked by October 31, 2014.

Please visit the Apple Settlement website below for detailed information on how to submit a valid Exclusion Form or objection.

The Court will hold a hearing on November 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. to consider whether to approve the Apple Settlement. You or your own lawyer may ask to appear and speak at the hearing. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so please check the website below for additional information.

For more information:
Call 1-866-686-9333 or Visit


(c) 2014, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved., 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

Reference: [deleted]

Notice that it says you don’t need to do anything. That’s what I’d do at this point, unless you feel like you need to go to one of the sites indicated to do something. Before you do that, I would verify with Kindle Support that this is real: (at AmazonSmile*)

What do you think? Was Amazon lowering the Fire Phone’s price in response to the anticipated (at that point) Apple announcement? Is it an act of desperation because of possibly low sales, or had they perhaps always intended to drop the price like that? How important is the KOLL to you, if you are a Prime member? Why do you think Amazon sent out that e-mail (if they did), before there was anything definitive to announce? Could it have been an attempt to tarnish Apple following their big announcement? Do you think Amazon has a hardware release on the horizon? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post…and thanks again to the commenters who inspired today’s stories!

 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! :) 

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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.


10 Responses to “Round up #268: KU and KOLL, Apple check?”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I’m pretty sure that smartphone pricing has more to do with carrier contracting and subsidy considerations than phone manufacturer desires. A recent tear down of the Fire Phone estimated that its Bill Of Materials (BOM) cost is $205. I suspect that AT&T wanted the subsidized and un-subsidized prices to align with the pricing of other flagship smartphones in the AT&T store.

    It would not surprise me to learn that Bezos might have wanted a lower price point. After a few weeks at $199 subsidized and $650 un-subsidized with apparently truly miserable sales forced the price adjustment (to $0.99 subsidized; $450 un-subsidized). Whether this was Amazon’s or AT&T’s call, we’ll never know.

  2. ellenuw Says:

    I’m holding out on the Fire Phone for two specific reasons:

    1) Never by tech (or cars) in first model year and, more importantly,

    2) I don’t want to switch from my current carrier to AT&T. I am happy with my current carrier and see no reason to change. Especially to AT&T as their coverage is spotty in my area. It’s not about the phone it’s about the carrier.

    if Amazon had released something similar to the Fire Phone with only wifi and no voice or 3G or 4G line for the Kindle Fire price I probably would have bought it, even though it is first model year because of Amazon ‘ s excellent customer. Basically, a 5 inch Fire tablet would ring quite a few of my bells.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, ellenuw!

      1) Never say never. 😉 For me, cars and many forms of tech are quite different. I expect to have a car for quite a long time…hopefully, ten years or so, although I do drive a lot. With a lot of tech, I may upgrade to the next model a year later. That’s not typical for everybody, but because I write about Kindles (and other Amazon hardware, but not as much), I plan on that. That will only happen if there is some significantly new feature. Right now, I am satisfied with my Kindle Fire HDX and my Kindle Paperwhite 2, and for personal use, I’m feeling no urge to upgrade. Won’t mean I won’t, though, if there is some unprecedented feature.

      Second, with cars, it is still mostly about hardware (although that’s shifting). I expect my Fire Phone to get significant feature updates within the next year.

      Third, I’m okay with a subperfect situation. 🙂 I would not have wanted to sit on the sidelines with the Kindle for a year: that first year was worth the money paid for the device, even though you can get a lot more now for a lot less. I’ve said before, “If you were waiting for the perfect car, you’d still be riding a horse.” 😉

      The carrier is very important. I was already with AT&T, so that wasn’t an issue for me. AT&T did one very good thing for me. The service at our house was bad, so we told them…and they gave us a microcell tower! I think those are usually about $300. Now, service at home is great…and it’s okay on the road around here.

      I’m not sure there’d be much of a market for a Kindle Fire with a screen which is only one smaller and costs the same amount. Were you also picturing it as being as narrow as a phone?

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    RosettaBooks also has some fraction of books that are in KOLL and not in KU. Still they are difficult to find. For example search ‘RosettaBooks Arthur C Clarke Collection’ and you will see a few mixed in.

    Too bad Advanced Search does not recognize keywords such as ‘kindleunlimited’ or ‘koll’ (or rather those attributes are not in the metadata that search looks at). Then you could specify ‘koll -kindleunlimited’ to pull these out. Seems it would not be that hard for amazon to add those attributes to search.

    Amazon may have been contemplating a price drop for Fire Phone all along, but I believe the timing correlates with the iPhone launch. Perhaps that timing was just at AT&T’s insistence, wanting to milk profits for as long as possible. Now they have iPhone 6 to sell.

    Nate Hoffelder’s the-digital-reader blog reports a rumor that there was a ‘budget’ version of the Fire Phone that was nixed by AT&T. Too bad, I would have been interested in that. I don’t need (or pay for) 3D, firefly, mayday, as cool as those features might be.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      If you start your search at the Advanced Search, you may then find you have further filters with checkboxes in the results…I do, but with Amazon, you can never be sure that other people have what you have. 🙂

      My own sense is that the price drop would have happened anyway. Doing the day before doesn’t get you as much publicity…they would have gotten more out of it (and it would have been more positive) doing it a week sooner.

      What would a Fire Phone do for you, if it didn’t have dynamic perspective, Firefly, or Mayday? What would define the device for you?

  4. ellenuw Says:

    I’m holding out on the Fire Phone for two specific reasons:

    1) Never by tech (or cars) in first model year and, more importantly,

    2) I don’t want to switch from my current carrier to AT&T. I am happy with my current carrier and see no reason to change. Especially to AT&T as their coverage is spotty in my area. It’s not about the phone it’s about the carrier.

    if Amazon had released something similar to the Fire Phone with only wifi and no voice or 3G or 4G line for the Kindle Fire price I probably would have bought it, even though it is first model year because of Amazon ‘ s excellent customer. Basically, a 5 inch Fire tablet would ring quite a few of my bells.

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