Round up #270: “Amazon Idol”, Unlimited Finds #1

Round up #270: “Amazon Idol”, Unlimited Finds #1

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

Unlimited Finds #1

I do think that

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

has the potential to reshape the bestseller lists (at the Kindle store) by next year, and, along with other subsers (subscription services), really change people’s reading habits.

I’ve seen people make what I think is a mistake, and dismiss it as being “just independently published titles” (not that there would be anything wrong with that, in my opinion).

It’s much more than that.

I recently ran across a book in KU

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales (at AmazonSmile*)

of which I had sold many copies when I managed a brick and mortar bookstore.  I wasn’t the only one: it was a New York Times bestseller.

If you are a KU member, I’d certainly consider this one…it’s non-fiction, and I knew people who loved it. I add KU books to a wish list I have for that purpose…I’ll probably borrow this one at some point.

If you aren’t a KU member? $8.63 at time of writing.

I’ve seen somebody recently say that you would “never” see New York Times bestsellers in KU. Well, okay, that might have been ones on the current list.

That doesn’t really work either. The #1 NYT bestselling non-fiction hardback is in KU right now:

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (at AmazonSmile*)

It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s that high in part because it is in KU. That gets it more exposure at Amazon, and more reviews…this one had a lot of other coverage, but I would guess it contributed.

I took a quick look, and it might be true that there aren’t any current NYT adult fiction bestsellers in KU…but I do think that will change by holiday season of 2015. Partially that’s because I expect KU to start driving those lists…

Wish with Tweets

Amazon’s Wish List feature is becoming more and more robust.

In this

press release

today, they announced “Wish with Tweets”.

If you reply to a tweet (on Twitter) that has an Amazon product link in it, and you include the hashtag


it will automatically add it to your wish list (presumably, the default one).

You do have to do a little set up, but it isn’t hard…and you might have already done it to take advantage of


so you can add something to your cart to buy it yourself.

Here are some other features of Amazon Wish Lists that they, well, listed in the press release:

  • NEW Save-A-Photo: With the new Save-A-Photo feature, customers can snap a picture of anything from anywhere and save it to their Amazon Wish List.
  • Universal Wish List Add-on: The Amazon Wish List is truly universal. Customers can add anything from any online site to their Amazon Wish List with a simple add-on available for any browser.
  • Don’t Spoil My Surprises: This feature does not reveal to the Wish List creator which items have been purchased, so every gift is truly a surprise. However, once an item is purchased from an Amazon Wish List, other shoppers will see only what remains on the Wish List – avoiding duplicate gifts.
  • Virtual Notes: Customers can save an idea and search for it later by adding a virtual note to an Amazon Wish List. Jot down anything and give friends and family a little gifting inspiration.

Here’s some more information: (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon’s new crowd-sourced publishing…with guaranteed advance

This is fascinating!

According to this

The Digital Reader post by Nate Hoffelder

Amazon is launching a new publishing program for indies (independent authors)…and they’ve already been approaching Kindle Direct Publishing authors about it.

The basic idea is that authors submit never-before-published books (including covers).

Amazon posts a few pages of it.

People “vote” on them, and the winners are reviewed by Amazon and may be chosen to be traditionally published by Amazon…with a minimum advance of $1,500.

I would guess North of 90% of indies publishing through KDP never see $1,500.

The terms actually seem pretty good to me, with decent reversion provisions:

“Easy reversions: After two years, your rights in any format or language that remains unpublished, or all rights for any book that earns less than $500 in total royalties in the preceding 12-month period, can be reverted upon request – no questions asked.”

Essentially, if Amazon can’t promote it to the point you make $500 in the prior two years (after the first year), you can take the book back and do whatever you want with it. Indie publish it, sell it to somebody else…up to you.

Oh, and people who nominate a book that gets published? They get a free e-book copy.

You can sign up for the mailing list here for more info:

Updates on Amazon’s New Publishing Program mailing list (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s important to note that this is not crowd-funding…the readers don’t have to pay to get it published (like would happen on Kickstarter, for example). Amazon takes on the costs.

It’s more like a competition reality TV show.

My guess?

This will work.

They’ll get higher quality books, choose them, polish them, promote them…authors will see it as lower risk, with middle and up rewards…which is worth it.

Why would it not work?

If Amazon doesn’t choose enough for publication. If people invest in writing a review of a book, and it doesn’t get chosen, they might think it is some sort of trick.

Speaking of tricks, it’s going to be pretty hard to game the system, since it isn’t just the “voting”that counts…it’s still up to the judges.

Kindle Fire HDX update


Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

updated yesterday to version

This appears to be an incremental update…no big new features, just bug fixes and performance enhancements.

I haven’t noticed anything yet…if you have, let me know.

This could also have included foundations for changes which will come, including the Family Library.

I asked Amazon about FL…their upcoming feature that will allow sharing books with other people not on your account. At this point, they aren’t revealing which content will be involved (my guess is that it will be similar to Kindle Unlimited) or who will be eligible for sharing (I’m thinking it might be the “in the same household” rule they use for some other things, but not sure).

What do you think? Will “Amazon Idol” be successful? Would you participate, if you are an author? Am I overestimating the impact of KU on the market? Do you think it will change what you read…will you read more backlist books and indies, for example? Have you used #AmazonCart…and do you think you’ll use #AmazonWishList? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

 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.

One Response to “Round up #270: “Amazon Idol”, Unlimited Finds #1”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I wasn’t aware of the twitter cart and wishlist links until I read this morning’s PR — I printed out the details for later consideration. My Amazon account & Twitter account (I don’t have/will not have a FB account 😀 ) are linked. I used to use that on my KT to post ratings of finished books to Twitter. When I got my PW2, the option to post ratings to Goodreads became available — that seemed more relevant than Twitter.

    I’m slowly building up my coterie of people to follow on Twitter — I read their posts occasionally — I almost never post myself — maybe someday (:grin). I don’t think I’ll see many tweets eligible for hashtag delivery to my cart or wishlist — so I doubt I’ll use it much.

    I basically have 3 wishlists:
    — Wanted on Kindle
    — Will buy someday on kindle
    — A non-book general merchandise wishlist

    Your post today has gotten me to thinking about my wishlist usage. The first (Wanted on Kindle) was for pBooks not available as eBooks. That was an issue years back — not so much lately — I haven’t added to it in over two years. I think I’ll retire that one.

    When cloud collections came along, 3 device-oriented collections got merged together, and my ToBeRead pile ballooned from around 15 to over 50! It’s now down to 35. I told myself a couple of months back that I was going to buy no more books until the TBR collection got under 20. Anything that seemed interesting (and in the past would get purchased) now goes onto the “Will buy someday on Kindle” wishlist.

    There have been exceptions (:grin) and so the TBR decline is going slowly. Looking at my TBR today I noticed that there are 3 titles on there that I started to read and then just stopped because they weren’t all that enjoyable. Two of these have been in that state for more than a year! It’s like being told to eat your spinach (although it would be for me bananas — I detest bananas :grin) — I feel once started a book should be finished. Well today I’ve decided enough is enough: I’m going to the end of these ebooks; give them 1-star ratings; and moving them into my “AlreadyRead” cloud collection — so there!

    As to star ratings I’ve found that I mostly only use 3: 3, 4, and 5 stars — I give out relatively few five stars (I have to finish the book with a smile on my lips); most get 4 stars, and the really bad get three. I’ve been thinking I ought to spread them out more, but for books I’ve finished reading, gradations finer than three are too difficult/time consuming to figure out. With today’s decision at least one star will get an admittedly limited workout!

    As to “Amazon Idol” this is just a takeoff on what they are already doing with their in-house produced television pilots.

    As to whether AI or KU gain a lot of traction, and change the publishing industry as we know it (:grin), It’s far too early — these things need to marinate for a year or two. How the Hachette thing, the strikes in Germany, and all the other bad news issues facing Amazon eventually work out will probably have more to do with acceptance of new ideas put forth by Amazon than anything else.

    It’s a shame really: the bigger you get, and the more influence you supposedly have, the more suspicion your moves encounter, and your new ideas may thus die aborning.

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