Round up #282: KDP EDU, sale on Prime

Round up #282: KDP EDU, sale on Prime

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

Amazon Prime on sale for $72 on Saturday January 24th only

It’s a big deal that one of Amazon’s original TV series, Transparent, won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical series.

Big enough that Amazon is celebrating…in two ways.

On Saturday (January 24th), non-Prime members can watch all ten episodes for free…binge watch!

If they decide to become Prime members (or if anybody wants to become a new Prime member), they can do so for $72 for the first year, instead of $99.

Why $72?

It was the 72nd Golden Globes. Gee, too bad it didn’t win the first year…it would have only cost a dollar! 😉 Oh, wait, in 1943, they didn’t have an award for TV series…or, pretty much, TVs. The first year for TV comedy was 1969, and The Governor and J.J. beat The Carol Burnett Show, Love American Style, Laugh In, and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour…the Globes: always picking the shows with lasting value. 😉

If you want to take advantage of either or both of these deals, you can go here: (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Getting people to sign up for Prime is exactly why Amazon is spending money making these sorts of TV series…and this year, they’ll also be making theatrical movies.

Renewal will be at the usual rate. I don’t see any plus here for current members, but we already get rewards enough. 🙂

If you’ve been on the fence about Prime, now’s the time…

Speaking of a 24 hour deal…James Patterson’s exploding book

I totally misunderstood this story until I really read it.

I’d heard that James Patterson was making a book which would “explode” after 24 hours.

I thought that was a clever gimmick. I figured it was an e-book that would corrupt the file, so it couldn’t be read. That way, you’d have to binge read it, and then you couldn’t share it with anybody (even by sharing your device).

No, this is something different.

According to this

The Independent article by Adam Sherwin

the book will actually literally explode…apparently, with a bomb squad in attendance.

What’s that going to cost you?

About $300,000.

Okay, probably not you. 😉

You also get a stay in a hotel, an expensive dinner, and solid gold binoculars.

Does this author know how to market or what?

This story is getting tons of publicity for

Private Vegas (at AmazonSmile*)

which you can pre-order right now for delivery on January 26th.

What a clever marketing scheme! If nobody pays $300,000 for it, Patterson will still have gotten a lot of benefit (in terms of publicity) from the coverage.

Two big tech stories which might affect us readers

While Google has been readying the virtual reality device Oculus Rift, Microsoft just opened a huge new door with its announcement of an augmented reality device (coming soon), the Hololens.

It’s kinda sorta related to Windows 10, which is going to be massively different from Windows 8.x (they are skipping the number nine…that’s how different it is!). For one thing, W10 will have Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

I think I may need to explain the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality before I tell you how this could be used for readers.

In virtual reality, you are submerged in a simulated world. In the case of the Oculus Rift, you wear a helmet like device. Everywhere you look, you see the simulation…and nothing else. You don’t see the real world.

I don’t think that has much application for readers, although I suppose it might. You could project the words in front of you, or read an intangible book, but I think that would be a lot of work to go through just to read something.

With augmented reality, you see both the illusion and the real world…simulated items appear in place with what is really around you.

The Hololens, which will be more like goggles, are like sunglasses…you can see through them.

I’ve used AR (Augmented Reality) apps on my phones…they are processed through the phone’s camera.

I’ve tagged little flying robots when I was walking on the Golden Gate bridge, and I can read signs that are automatically translated for me.

That second one is Word Lens, and Google is just integrating it into their translation services. You look through your camera at a sign in, say, Spanish, and you can read it in English.

It’s not hard to do, but I find you do have to hold it pretty steady.

That would be one possible use for the Hololens and books. You could pick up a book in one language, and instead, you would see the words in a language of your choosing. As you turned the page, it would be aware of it and translate the next page.

Another possibility, as I mentioned to regular reader and commenter Edward Boyhan, is that they could satisfy both people who “like the feel of a book in their hands” and people who want the convenience of e-books.

You could have a blank p-book (paperbook). The Hololens could make it appear that there were words on the pages…and it could be different books at different times.

Another thing it could do: give you dictionary look-up in a p-book. Hold your finger on a word in that fifty-year old paperback you have, and it detects the gesture and displays a definition. Yes, the Hololens will detect gestures…giving you Minority Report-like powers.

I think this is a year we may be looking at life-changing technologies being introduced…much more than last year. The Hololens, the Amazon Echo, and the Oculus Rift…things won’t be the same.

The other big technology for us is wireless transmission  of power.

I’m not talking about setting your Kindle/Fire down on a pad…that’s not a practical way to use it.

I’m talking about sitting on the couch for a marathon reading session…and having your device charge at the same time. Carry your Kindle with you while you go to the kitchen and cook (you do that now, right?) and it will still be charging while it in range.

No consciously charging your tablet every night!

This is something that I said was

Tech we still need

back in 2010.

The other two things I mentioned?

Self-driving cars (which are here, but not marketized yet), and mass knock out (no closer, as far as I know).

Wireless transmission of power does look like it is finally really going to be here!

In this

The Seattle Times article by Jeff Gelles (which may have been in The Philadelphia Enquirer first)

they talk about three different companies which are close to having this in our homes.

I think it will happen within the next couple of years, although you are likely to need some sort of receiver on your gadget, so it wont just work with everything.

It may also not work with something that requires a lot of power, like a washing machine…but you don’t tend to move those around very much so it’s not such a big deal.

Much more important for our mobile gadgets.

The future is almost here…but by definition, that’s always true. 😉

Kindle Textbook Creator

Amazon is expanding its independent publishing platform in what might turn out to be a really significant way, as noted in this press release:

Amazon Launches Kindle Textbook Creator

You upload a PDF, and you can have these features:

  • Multi-Color Highlighting—Highlight and categorize key concepts for easy reference.
  • Notebook—Capture key passages, images and bookmarks and automatically add them to the notebook. Students can add their own notes and easily access them from one location.
  • Flashcards—Create flashcards and study important terms, concepts, and definitions in each chapter with a simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Dictionary—Find definitions and Wikipedia information for difficult terms to improve retention.
  • Buy Once, Read Everywhere—Read eTextbooks on the most popular devices students use, including Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and smartphones, Mac, and PC.

Note that non-Fires aren’t included on this list, since they can’t do everything on that list…but this could be big!

You can get up to a 70% royalty, like other KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) books. This is called KDP EDU:

I have relatives who have written textbooks. I don’t know that I immediately see this for something like a high school class, but I can see it for people who want to market textbooks to the broader market…or, perhaps more significantly, professors who want to make books for their students (who may or may not be physically present in their classes).

What do you think? Does James Patterson being such a marketer affect the way you assess the quality of the books? Would you worry about power going wirelessly through you (my Significant Other has mentioned that)? Is there a market for independently published e-textbooks? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

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.

6 Responses to “Round up #282: KDP EDU, sale on Prime”

  1. Joe Bowers Says:

    Wireless transmission of power, eh? Sounds like an episode of the old British TV series, “The Avengers,” dealing with “broadcast power.” Or course, some villain put it to nefarious purposes!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joe!

      “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed.”

      Ah, yes…the Positive Negative Man, I think.

      Gee, I wonder how many people think of that show when they hear “The Avengers” now. 😉

      Of course, we could go back to Nikola Tesla…

      • Joe Bowers Says:

        Yes, I think that’s the episode, I was drawing a blank, kind of thinking of the Cybernauts, but browsing a list of episodes I didn’t catch it. Thanks, Bufo.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Joe!

        There is a great moment in one of the Cybernauts episodes, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. And hey, those episodes had Christoper Lee, right?

        I have to guess I’m one of the few people who thought of The Winged Avenger episode when I saw Birdman…

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I guess I’ll add two items to “tech we still need”. Both of these are related, and both have (if performance can be dramatically improved) the potential to revolutionize the availability and usage of energy in our economy.

    Living in Florida as I do, and having lived through the hurricanes of 2004/5 my interest centers around energy distribution to and in private dwellings, but these advances will have broader impact than that (cars and devices come immediately to mind).

    The first is dramatic improvement in solar energy, and in particular the efficiency and cost of photo-voltaic cells. When I first started looking at solar panels about 5-6 years ago, panels could generate about 10 watts/sq ft. Since then costs have come down nicely on those kinds of panels, but also efficiency has improved to 20 watts/sq ft — although these latter panels are very expensive.

    Over the next 5 years electricity generated in this manner should become cheaper than utility power (and without subsidies) — research in this area is furious, and new results are announced almost daily (I get a daily email summary of research in this and related areas). In addition to changing the economics of household energy, this will lead to a very decentralized distribution mechanism, and will mitigate many of the concerns about the vulnerability of the current power distribution grid. At some point local electric utilities will become resistant to this, and they could slow things down.

    The sun doesn’t always shine, and solar won’t get very far without some means of storing large amounts of electric power. My second tech has to do with energy storage — in particular batteries and/or fuel cells. As intense as the research on solar panels is, it is nothing at all like what’s going on in the energy storage realm — primarily driven by device needs, and electric vehicles. By the end of 2015 there are at least two companies who plan to come to market with storage cells with twice the energy density of the best lithium ion cells (although presumably very expensive). By 2020 some are predicting new chemistries (like Lithium sulfur) that will push that up to 4-5 times current capabilities. If true, that will truly be transformative.

    But beyond energy density other things need improvement: recharge times (very important for cars), number of recharge cycles, and costs. Forgetting costs, there are things in labs today that can recharge in 2-5 minutes. Maximum recharge cycles with some of the new chemistries are problematic, but there is much going on at nanotechnology scales in materials research to get a handle on this.

    For fuel cells the issues (beyond cost) have to do with fuel formulations, how do you get/create and store the fuel, and general fuel cell efficiency. In general fuel cells can generate lots of power — much more than batteries, and one could imagine a scenario in which every house has a concrete pad alongside it containing the whole house A/C (as is pretty much the case everywhere here in FL today), and a fuel cell capable of cutting the cord completely from the local electric utility.

    Couple that with complete intra-house wireless power distribution, and houses of the future will be radically different (maybe even quicker to build).

    • VickiL Says:

      As an electric car owner, I’d be very interested in a lot of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. I’d particularly like to see wireless charging for our cars, where they charge as we drive them, never running out of electricity during our travels. With that solution, the barriers to mass-adoption of electric cars would be effectively removed.

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