Archive for February, 2015

Why Power/Rangers matters to readers

February 27, 2015

Why Power/Rangers matters to readers

I like parodies.

I even have a category for parodies I write on this blog.

I’ve done Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes (I think that may have come out the best), Star Trek, Leave it to Beaver, and more.

There is a significant difference between the first two above and the last two.

The first two are public domain works (well, most of the original Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes, for sure…that’s a bit complicated), and the latter two are still under copyright protection in the USA.

The United States Copyright Office specifically lists a parody as something which has been found to fall under “Fair Use”, meaning that authorization from the rightsholder need not be obtained.

FL-102

Essentially, Fair Use is recognized as a kind of criticism…you point out the flaws in something by exaggeration, commonly.

That’s not protected in all countries.

In the past, I think one reason we saw a lot of Canadian comedians working in the USA was a difference in parody protection.

Recently, a “grim” version of the Power Rangers was made in what is commonly called a “fan film”…a parallel to “fan fiction” (often shortened to “fanfic”).

It criticized the idea of teenagers being chosen as warriors…and what might happen to them afterwards.

I watched it on YouTube.

Our now adult kid was into Power Rangers (the version being parodied here…the first popular US incarnation, not any of the myriad Japanese ones), so I was pretty familiar with the canon.

I thought it was well done.

Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) star.

Now, it’s important to note, that this is not a funny version…a parody need not be funny to be protected, or to be a parody. It needs to be, as I understand it, an imitation which would not be confused with the original, but comments on it (typically through some sort of warping of the original).

Fan films and fanfic are often characterized by people as not being for commercial purposes. It is possible to have protection even for something done for commercial purposes…look, for example, at parodies on Saturday Night Live or Mad Magazine, both of which are commercial enterprises.

So, why does all of this matter for readers?

First, Vimeo took the video down…then quite a bit later, YouTube did (despite it being in their most popular videos for days, which is quite a feat).

Producer Adi Shankar said in part that having the video was protected by “free speech”, and parody.

That’s something I hear from time to time…that when Amazon chooses not to carry a book, it’s a violation of free speech.

It’s not part of the constitutional of free speech.

Legal “free speech” has to do with what the government does, not what private companies do.

It means that the government can’t shut down your parody, based on current case law, as I understand it (I’m not a lawyer). A private company can decide not to carry something…pretty much for whatever reason they want.

As I looked into this more, it looks like YouTube may have taken it down because of the use of the music, which is not the original version.

That’s different…it’s quite a bit harder to argue that the use of a melody is a parody of that melody.

Weird Al Yankovic gets the rights to the music, from what I know (although, and I don’t know this, that might not have always been the case).

Vimeo and YouTube have no legal obligation to keep any video available.

My interpretation would be that Power/Rangers was legal…but there are tons of legal videos that YouTube doesn’t carry.

Moving this to books…

You can write a parody of something.

You can publish that parody.

Nobody has to sell it to the public for you or distribute it to the public for you.

You can write fan fiction.

If it criticizes a work, you can distribute it…the government is not going to arrest you for it.

That doesn’t mean a bookstore (brick and mortar, like I used to manage, or internet, like Amazon) has to make it available.

I found this Huffington Post interview with producer Adi Shankar important and interesting (and, incidentally, NSFW…Not Safe For Work, having profanity):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/26/adi-shankar-power-rangers-bootleg-film_n_6764594.html

One thing Shankar says:

“I moved to America when I was 16 because this country was f*cking awesome, because of the First Amendment, because of freedom of speech…”

Absolutely.

However, we do have to be clear about what that means.

We can’t claim that free speech forces a commercial enterprise to sell something or give it away…the First Amendment constricts the government, not companies.

I’ve also seen this referred to as a “bootleg” (it’s in the page name at the HuffPo).

It’s not that, either.

A bootleg is an unauthorized recording done in a covert manner…someone records a movie in a movie theatre, for example, and then distributes that version.

Bootleg used to refer to hiding illegal liquor in your bootleg, as I recall it.

There was nothing in this fan film (according to the producer) that was original material, so nothing was bootlegged.

The term “cover” has also come up.

In a “cover”, one band/singer plays the music of another band/singer.

I haven’t completely verified this, but I always understood that those were done because the original musicians were a minority who were subject to commercial discrimination (stores wouldn’t carry records by certain races, for example…or perhaps, if they did, they would put them in what was literally called a “race music” section, where they wouldn’t sell to the mainstream). You need an “acceptable” face to put on the cover of the album…so someone else would record what was often a pretty faithful version of the original.

That also extended to radio stations not playing music.

“Covers” have later lost that sense of “covering up” the original artist.

Power/Rangers is also not a cover. In the original use of “covers”, the original songs were licensed…even though those contracts might arguably have been exploitative, they still existed. They were done with some sort of legally defensible authorization.

Power/Rangers does not duplicate a Power Rangers episode shot for shot, which a cover would do (or would nearly do).

It’s a brand new story line.

It is a parody.

I understand YouTube taking down the video, and I believe they have a legal right to do so.

The chilling effect does concern me a bit, though. Some companies (studios, publishers) and some authors go after parodies, and can influence distributors into not carrying them, and artists into not creating them.

I want people to feel free to criticize politicians and popular culture works through the use of parody…free, at least, from legal prosecution.

I don’t mind if they have to fight for distribution…just as creators of non-parodies do.

Interestingly, Adi Shankar is not “just a fan”. Shankar is a legitimate commercial producer, including such projects as Lone Survivor with Mark Wahlberg, Dredd with Karl Urban, and The Grey with Liam Neeson.

Shankar could fight this, and might have the power to do so.

I don’t see a path where the Supreme Court would rule that a store/distribution platform would have to carry a specific parody.

I can see something that might make companies less willing to go after fanfic and fan films, if this becomes a headache and a public relations black eye.

That’s probably unlikely, though.

All of this could strengthen Amazon’s own

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

program.

The works there are authorized by the rightsholders.

No author will get a cease and desist from a publisher because of a Kindle Worlds title.

Yes, the rightsholders get to set up rules for the world if they want, and if a work doesn’t fit it, well, you’d have to go a different route.

Still, there’s a lot in the Power/Rangers story that could impact us readers.

What do you think?

What’s your favorite literary parody (at AmazonSmile*)? Bored of the Rings, perhaps? What should Amazon do if a rightsholder challenges a book on copyright grounds? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

 

First Kindle Scout books now available for pre-order

February 25, 2015

First Kindle Scout books now available for pre-order

I’ve written before about Kindle Scout, Amazon’s innovative “crowd advised” publishing program.

Essentially, authors submit a completed but unpublished book to the program.

Readers can read a sample…and decide if they should endorse the book for  publication.

If Amazon chooses to traditionally publish the book (advised but not bound by the readers’ choices), it’s a regular sort of publishing contract.

Part of a publisher’s responsibility (actually, a very big part) is to promote and market the books.

Well, I recently got a press release advising me that the first Kindle Scout books are now available to be pre-ordered (and being published on March 3rd 2015).

press release

The press release links to each of the ten upcoming books, which is nice.

It also gives a link to

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/selected

where you can see all 23 books selected so far, both the ten which can be pre-ordered now, and the thirteen “in production now”. The latter includes Housebroken by The Behrg, so we can’t link yet, as we said we would do (when possible) when we published this

ILMK interview

Outside of that, I’m not finding any easy way to find them in the Kindle store.

Searching for “Kindle Scout” just gets you Kindle books with the word “Scout” in the title, that sort of thing.

I can’t find an “aisle” for Kindle Scout in the Kindle store yet…either on my phone or on my computer.

My guess is that they just haven’t built it, but that they will.

I would.

I would want Kindle Scout to be a brand for Amazon customers, not just for readers who participate as Kindle Scouts, and authors who are part of the program.

There is an argument to be made (isn’t there always?) that you want the books to be seen as being just like any other book. After all, they don’t put out “various artists” albums of American Idol winners (“American Idol’s Greatest Hits”).

Oh wait…yes, they do. 😉

American Idol music (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Amazon can (and I think should) do the same thing.

The books can be promoted as individual books by individual authors, and it can be promoted as a group brand…by putting a link on the e-books homepage, by linking on each of the product pages for the individual books, maybe by doing a “sampler”, and so on.

The fact that a book was discovered by Amazon through Kindle Scout should be a plus for buyers and readers.

I make that differentiation (buyers and readers), because these books will be available through

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

I might try one there…hm, not quite sure how the payment for these authors will be impacted by a borrow. For independently published authors using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, it can be better (sometimes, significantly better) to have your book borrowed rather than sold, depending on the price. The higher the price, the better the borrow is by comparison. That’s because you get the same price for each borrow as an indie, regardless of the list price.

Remember that you can’t “pre-borrow” a book…if you plan to get it from Kindle Unlimited, you need to wait until it has been released (March 3rd, in this case).

Here are the ten books:

It will be interesting to see how these do in terms of sales (and reviews)…I’ll check on them later to see.

What do you think? Are you going to buy any of these? Sample them? Borrow them through Kindle Unlimited or the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library)? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

Today only: 15% off Fire tablets

February 24, 2015

Today only: 15% off Fire tablets

There is a special sale today:

15% off Fire tablets (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They are promoting these prices:

Not included on the splash page is the

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile*)

but I assume that’s because it is already on sale at $199 versus $239…which is about 17% off. 🙂

We have an HD 6 at home as a “guest Kindle”, and my Significant Other and I each have a Kindle Fire HDX 7″, which we use every day.

I don’t think this suggests that any change is coming in the lineup…they just do sales like this from time to time.

As  usual, check that price before you click or tap the Buy button: prices may be different in your country.

Join thousands 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.

March 2015 Kindle book releases

February 24, 2015

March 2015 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have started to return to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances…I’ll have to dig into that effect.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 6,122 (at time of writing) February releases in the USA Kindle store:

March 2015 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

One interesting thing before I get into some individual titles: the first four (sorted by new and popular) are the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month!

Since Prime members can already be reading two of these (even though they aren’t officially released until October) at no additional cost, you can see how that would drive up their popularity as compared to actual pre-orders. The top four being Kindle First was also true the last time I did one of these.

The other thing is that there are some Kindle Unlimited titles way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

  • One Wish by Robyn Carr
  • 7 Brides for 7 Bodies (Body Movers) by Stephanie Bond
  • H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • Claimed (Servants of Fate #2) by Sarah Fine (KU)
  • A Shade of Vampire 11: A Chase of Prey by Bella Forrest (KU)
  • Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf (Forgotten Realms: Companions Codex) by R. A. Salvatore
  • Extinction Edge (The Extinction Cycle Book 2) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Aaron Sikes (KU)
  • Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier
  • Fiscal Regimes and the Political Economy of Premodern States by Andrew Monson and Walter Scheidel
  • Teen Legal Rights by David Hudson
  • American Poetry after Modernism: The Power of the Word
    by Albert Gelpi
  • Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys Through 34 Nations, Clusters of Nations, Continents, and…
    by Martin J. Gannon and Rajnandini (Raj) K. Pillai
  • The Flavia de Luce Series 6-Book Bundle by Alan Bradley
  • Teaching with Tablets by Helen Caldwell and James Bird
  • Striking Beauties: Women Apparel Workers in the U.S. South, 1930-2000 by Michelle Haberland
  • The Mossad: Six Landmark Missions of the Israeli Intelligence Agency, 1960-1990 by Marc E. Vargo
  • The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century by Angela E. Stent
  • One Day in the Life of the English Language: A Microcosmic Usage Handbook by Frank L. Cioffi
  • Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming in Jamaica
    by Matthew Parker
  • Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss
  • Figures of Fear: An anthology by Graham Masterton
  • Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters by Tom Hayden
  • The Next Species: The Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man by Michael Tennesen
  • Dorothy Must Die: The Other Side of the Rainbow Collection: No Place Like Oz, Dorothy Must Die, The Witch Must…by Danielle Paige
  • There Is Simply Too Much to Think About: Collected Nonfiction by Saul Bellow
  • Werewolf Cop: A Novel by Andrew Klavan
  • Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do by Daniel T. Willingham
  • The Discreet Hero: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa and Edith Grossman
  • Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell
  • The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures by William deBuys
  • The Art of War Visualized: The Sun Tzu Classic in Charts and Graphs by Jessica Hagy
  • Archie in the Crosshairs (The Nero Wolfe Mysteries) by Robert Goldsborough
  • Kingdom Keepers New Series I (Kingdom Keepers: The Return) by Ridley Pearson and Disney Digital Books
  • Cranky Ladies of History by Garth Nix and Jane Yolen

Well, that’s a pretty mixed set for you!

Enjoy!

Join thousands 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.

Checking in on Manage Your Kindle

February 23, 2015

Checking in on Manage Your Kindle

One of the most important resources an Kindle owner has is the Manage Your Kindle page.

Well, that used to be true…now it’s called the “Manage Your Content and Devices.” 🙂

I assume that’s because the new tablets aren’t called “Kindle Fires” any more, but simply “Fires”.

Not only that, other devices appear as well…my Fire Phone, our Fire TV, our Fire TV stick. I’m guessing our Amazon Echo will appear there as well, although it hasn’t yet (our delivery date still has, as the early end, the end of May).

Whatever you call it, I like to check in on this page from time to time, to see if anything has changed…and it often has.

One thing to note before I get into it: what you see and what I see may not be quite the same.

Amazon is big on “A/B testing”: you give different people different interfaces (and sometimes, different features), to see how well they work and how much people like them.

It’s usually not huge: it could be that a button appears on the top for me, and on the side for you.

Also, which browser you use may matter. I’m using Maxthon, my browser of preference, although I also use Chrome, Internet Explorer, Silk, and SeaMonkey.

We all get to the page the same way, though. I’ll give you the shortest URL (Uniform or Universal Resource Locator…web address), although there are others:

http://www.amazon.com/myk

For me, I see three tabs, and a link to Help. I’ll take them in the order they appear for me:

Your Content

This is where I see things I’ve purchased (including for free) from Amazon on this account, personal documents I’ve uploaded, and resources they give me (like dictionaries for the Kindle).

The first thing I see are two dropdown menus for “Show”.

The first one of those defaults to “Books”, and then gives me these other choices:

  • Books (purchased from the Kindle store)
  • Kindle Unlimited (you may not have that if you aren’t a member…it shows me which books I’ve borrowed under that plan)
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Audiobooks
  • Music
  • Apps
  • Instant Video
  • Docs (personal documents I’ve uploaded)
  • Active Content (games and apps for non-Fire Kindles)
  • Dictionaries & User Guides (provided by Amazon)
  • Pending Deliveries

Next to that is a dropdown menu which says “All”. That presumably modifies the choices you make in the first dropdown, and not all choices will apply to all content categories. For Books, I see:

  • All
  • Purchases (including free)
  • Samples (this is relatively new, that samples are stored in the Cloud)
  • Rentals (yes, you can rent books…textbooks)
  • Loans
  • Borrows (this is showing me Kindle Unlimited…and ones I got from public libraries)

The next thing I get is a way to sort what shows:

  • Purchase Date: Newest-Oldest (default)
  • Title: A-Z
  • Title: Z-A
  • Author: A-Z
  • Author: Z-A
  • Purchase Date: Oldest-Newest

New here is a toggle to “Show Family Library” or “Hide Family Library”. When it is toggled to “Show”, you can Add to Library and Remove from Library.

There is also a search box you can use to search items

For individual books (or other content), there is a checkbox. When I check a book, I can then Deliver it somewhere or Delete it. I can check more than one book, and take the same action on multiple books (although I’ve heard from people that it can get overwhelmed…I’ve heard of a limit of ten at a time, but I have not tested that recently).

NOTE: if you delete a book from your Cloud, you are surrendering the licence for which you paid (or which you got free). If you do that, and anyone who is on your account now or may be on your account in the future wants to read that book, they’ll have to purchase it again…if it is still available.

I don’t delete books from the Cloud…it would be like throwing out a paperbook.

I know some people do,  though.

This ability is one of the reasons why you have to know the account username and password to get into MYK. Many people have accounts set up where some people are “users” and other people are “managers” (that’s just my name for it). The managers have access to MYK; the users don’t.

In addition to “Deliver” and “Delete”, there  are buttons for actions on individual books.

Tapping one (I’m using a touchscreen device…you might be clicking it), I can see

  • The title (which I can tap to go to the book’s Amazon product page)
  • The author
  • My purchase date
  • The price
  • A link for Order Details
  • Deliver
  • Delete
  • Download & Transfer via USB (you can put books on your device this way, if the device can’t connect to wireless)
  • Clear furthest page read
  • Read Now
  • Manage Family Library

Other choices may appear: for example, if you are within seven days of purchase, you’ll typically get a choice here to return your Kindle book for a refund.

The book line item will also list the Title | Author | Date of purchase…and if an update is available, it will indicate it to the left of the date.

It appears to me that this is an “infinite page”…as I scroll down, more titles appear. That’s also new.

The action buttons continue to appear that the top as I scroll down…that’s a good thing, even though it likely slows down the scrolling.

Moving on to

Your Devices

I see all the devices (hardware and apps) registered to the account.

They appear to be Fire tablets and non-Fire Kindles first in alphabetical order by name, then other hardware (Fire TVs and sticks first for me, then the Fire Phone), then apps.

As you select each device, you’ll see options below it…and those will depend on what the device is capable of doing.

For example, we have a 2007 original Kindle registered (more than one, actually). The options for that are:

  • Edit the name
  • Deregister
  • Set as default device (this is somewhat new)
  • Edit the e-mail address (this address is used to send items to this device, not to send regular e-mail to it)
  • The type
  • The Serial Number

Looking at the

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

I use every day (mine is named “HDXter”, which I pronounce like “H-Dexter”), I see first a dropdown for Device Actions:

  • Deregister
  • Set as default device
  • Remote Alarm (this is nice…even if the volume is turned off, you can make your HDX make a not entirely unpleasant beeping noise…so you can find it if it is lost around the house. If you do find it, you can stop the beeping…otherwise, it goes for two minutes. You will, I assume, need to have wireless on for that to work)
  • Find Your Tablet (this will actually locate it physically…I just  tried it, and it was quite close…certainly close enough so I would know it was at home)
  • Remote Lock (could be useful if someone steals your device…but they may not connect it to wireless)
  • Remote Factory Reset (this would wipe everything off your device, including personal files you put on it…system software updates you had done would not be affected)

Those last three or four might also be used by account managers to…work with account users. For example, a legal guardian could hypothetically lock a child’s device…or see if the device is at home where it was “supposed to be”, rather than, say, at the park…

Then I see

  • Email address (editable)
  • Special Offers status (editable…that wasn’t on the K1 above, because it didn’t do Special Offers)
  • Type
  • Serial Number

Last tab…

Settings

  • Digital Payment Settings (you can edit your 1-click Payment Method through a link here…again, this is fairly new)
  • Country Settings (you can see where they think you live, and you could change it…but you still need to have something that evidenced where you live, such as the country location of your bank. This has to do with copyright and licensing)
  • Households and Family Library: you can add 1 adult here who is not on your account to share books, apps, games, and audiobooks…both of you have to be present when you are doing that. You can also add up to four children
  • Newsstand Subscription Settings (there is a link here to Manage Your Subscriptions, such as unsubscribing or changing a payment method…changing your 1-click above does not change the payment method for a subscription)
  • Kindle Unlimited Settings (you can unsubscribe here, and it tells you when you next payment will be)
  • Device Synchronization (it’s good to have this on if you read the same book on different devices, like a tablet and a phone. If two people on the same account read the same book at the same time on different devices ((which we do sometimes)) it’s good to keep this off)
  • Automatic Book Update (you can turn this off…if it’s on, and an update comes out for a book, it will just happen without asking you…I keep this off)
  • Language Optimized Storefront (you can currently choose English or Spanish)
  • Personal Document Settings (you can edit the e-mail addresses for your devices here), turn on or off Personal Document Archiving (I keep this on….it means that if I use “Send-to-Kindle”, the document will be added to the Cloud so it is available to other devices on the account), Whispernet Delivery Options (you can choose whether or not your personal documents will deliver over 3G/4G if you have it, or just on wi-fi…you could be charged for a 3G/4G delivery), and the Approved Personal Document E-mail List (you choose here what e-mail addresses are allowed to send documents to your devices…prevents “spam”). There is also a list of your previous charges here
  • A link to Manage Whispercast Settings (Whispercast is a special service designed for businesses and organizations)
  • A link to Your AmazonLocal Vouchers
  • The last thing on this page is Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations…the key thing here is that you can view or edit your browsing history at the botttom

Whew!

As you can tell, there is a lot of “self service” provided by Amazon! Good self service can be part of excellent customer service.

If you have any questions or thoughts about this, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

Today’s KDD: Love the Movie? Read the Book ($2.99 or less each)

February 21, 2015

Today’s KDD: Love the Movie? Read the Book ($2.99 or less each)

One of today’s Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is any of eighteen books on which  movies have been based for $2.99 or less each.

Well, Amazon has fudged that a bit by including more than one book for the same movie. 🙂

There are also many other books on which movies have been based which are available at Amazon…large numbers of them for free (public domain titles, like Dracula, Moby Dick, and so on).

Still, this is an interesting set.

The fact that a movie was made from a book does say something about it.

Even though the movie may be significantly different from the book (and that can be a good or bad thing), there is still something in the book that got people to put money into an adaptation.

Let’s take a look at the options in this sale…remember to check the price before you click or tap that Buy button. Prices are for today, and may not apply in your country.

Life of Pi
Yann Martel
4.3 out of 5 stars | 6,020 customer reviews
Movie: Life of Pi (2012)
Oscar wins (I presume this sale is to tie into the Oscars tomorrow): Directing; Cinematography; Score; Visual Effects
Additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Adapted Screenplay; Editing; Sound Mixing; Sound Editing; Original Song; Production Design
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman
4.5 stars | 1380 reviews
Movie: The Princess Bride (1987)
Oscar wins: none
Additional Oscar nominations: Best Score
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited

All the King’s Men
by Robert Penn Warren
4.3 stars | 328 reviews
Movie: All the King’s Men (1949)
Oscar wins: Best Picture; Best Actor; Best Actress
Additional Oscar nominations: Supporting Actor; Director; Writing; Editing
Movie (2): All the King’s Men (2006)
Oscar wins: none
Additional Oscar nominations: none
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited

The Post Office Girl
by Stefan Zweig
4.3 stars, 61 reviews
Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Oscar wins: not known at time of writing (nominated this year)
Additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Directing; Original Screenplay; Cinematography; Editing; Production Design; Costumes; Hair and Makeup; Score

Beware of Pity
by Stefan Zweig
4.6 stars, 72 reviews
For all movie information, see immediately above

On the Waterfront
by Budd Schulberg
3.8 stars | 6 reviews
Movie: On the Waterfront (1954)
Oscar wins: Best Picture; Best Actor; Best Actress; Directing; Writing; Cinematography; Art Direction; Editing
Additional Oscar nominations: Support Actor (three nominations: Karl Malden, Rod Steiger; Lee J. Cobb); Score

How to Train Your Dragon (11 books in the series, priced individually)
by Cressida Cowell
First book: 4.4 stars | 250 reviews
Movie: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Oscar wins: none
Additional Oscar nominations; Animated Feature; Score
Movie: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Oscar wins: too soon to tell (nominated this year)
Additional Oscar nominations: Animated Feature

The Boxtrolls
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Note: this is not the book credited as the source of the movie…that’s Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow
4.8 stars | 10 reviews
Movie: The Boxtrolls
Oscar wins: too soon to tell (nominated this year)
Additional Oscar nominations: Animated Feature

For more books on which 2015 Oscar nominated movies were based, see

2015 Read the Oscar nominees

The polls are still open (through today) for

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

but this is where we stand right now on our group predictions for this year’s Adapted Screenplay Oscar:

  1. The Imitation Game (Graham Moore): 76% chance
  2. The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten): 73% chance
  3. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle): 60% chance
  4. American Sniper (Jason Hall): 47% chance
  5. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson): 44% chance

Don’t like the group’s predictions? There is still to play in this free game! 😉

What do you think? What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book? Is there a movie you think was better than the book? What book do you still think should be made into a movie which hasn’t been? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

Round up #286: new Dr. Seuss, kindlereunion

February 20, 2015

Round up #286: new Dr. Seuss, kindlereunion

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

Mayday saves the day!

I have said many times that I consider Amazon’s nearly instant onscreen tech help for some Fire devices to be one of the greatest Customer Service innovations in years.

It was proven for me again yesterday.

Two “third party” apps on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

wanted updates, and I did it.

You can install apps from places outside Amazon…contrary to what you might hear, Amazon is quite open to you using “competitors'” products. It’s a simple settings change, to allow installation of apps from “unknown sources”.

Naturally, you assume the risk for doing that…the apps will not have been vetted by Amazon to make sure they work and won’t damage your tablet.

I only do it with very few apps, where I trust the studios.

In this case, it was Zinio, which I use to read Fortean Times (which Amazon does not carry), and Maxthon, which is my browser of choice.

Well, after the updates, neither of them would launch!

They appeared to be on the device, but when I would try to open them, they just wouldn’t.

I tried a few troubleshooting things on my own:

  • I tried restarting the device
  • I tried opening them both from the Carousel and from the Apps tab
  • I tried clearing the cache and force stopping them
  • I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Maxthon
  • I finally cleared the data on Maxthon…that’s not too bad with that program, since my “favorites” are all stored on their server. The only thing I lost was my “Quick Access” choices…that’s not hard to fix
  • I downloaded Maxthon fresh from their website

Since none of that worked, I called Mayday.

At first, it was clearly baffling.

Some things would indicate it was on the device, some wouldn’t. For example, there was an icon on the Carousel (with an exclamation point on it…a trouble indicator). It showed on the Cloud tab, not on the device tab. Now, an item can be on the Carousel and not be downloaded, but things were just weird.

Finally, the Mayday rep suggesting syncing with Amazon. I hadn’t thought of that…since Zinio isn’t stored in Amazon’s Cloud. I did get Maxthon from there at some point, when it was available.

That did it!

Don’t ask me why, but after a simple sync, they were both fine.

I’m going to go with what’s called the Engineer’s Law or the Law of Pragmatism: “If it works, it’s true.” 😉

I think Mayday is great for people who are not techies, but even for someone who is quite knowledgeable like me, it can be terrific.

KindleReunion.com

Sometimes, I get comments on very old posts…so most people will never see them.

In most cases, they are fake comments…what I call Eddiecoms.

I got one recently on one of my most popular posts

What to do if your Kindle is lost or stolen

It recommended the use of a site called KindleReunion.com.

I thought it was worth sharing my response with a wider audience:

“I appreciate the suggestion, and I checked out the site.

That seems unsafe to me.

One of the main reasons someone steals something like a Kindle is to get personal information and in other ways take advantage of the person who lost it.

kindlereunion arranges a connection between a Kindle loser and an apparent finder…and it seems to me they share your e-mail address.

You put in your serial number and an e-mail address as a loser. Another person, who is a finder, puts in a serial number and their e-mail address. The site says

“Once the system finds a match, both parties will receive an e-mail so they can arrange the exchange of the Kindle.”

So, here’s the scenario:

You are at the airport, and someone steals your Kindle while you are going through Security.

Naturally, you have it password protected and you deregister it and have it blacklisted (as indicated in the post on which you commented).

They enter the serial number as a finder.

kindlereunion (and my intuition is that their heart is in the right place) e-mails you both (after you enter as a finder), and connects you two.

The thief then has a number of ways to go.

“I’m on the other side of the country. Why don’t I just mail it to you? What’s your address?”

“Let’s meet and I can give it to you.”

“I’d send it to you, but I don’t have the cash to mail it. See, I put in an airport locker, but I lost the key. They want $40 to replace the key before they’ll give it to me.”

You can probably imagine a lot of other scenarios…

That’s why a recovery service like ReturnMe maybe worth it…it protects your personal information. TrackItBack, unfortunately, is out of business at this point (it’s been about five years since I wrote that post).”

A new Dr. Seuss

Following on the heels of the announcement of a never before published Harper Lee novel (written before To Kill A Mockingbird…I would consider it an early draft which was massively revised, based on what I’ve heard):

Go Set a Watchman (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

comes the news that we are going to get a new Dr. Seuss picturebook!

It’s coming in August, and while a Kindle edition is not yet available for pre-order, my guess is that one will show up soon. I’ll link to the page for one you can pre-order, and eventually, a Kindle edition is likely to be linked on that page:

What Pet Should I Get? (at AmazonSmile*)

I’m not hearing a lot of controversy about this one, like there has been about Go Set a Watchman (some people worry that Harper Lee doesn’t fully understand or approve of what is happening…my guess at this point is that is unlikely), but the provenance on this one is very different as laid out in this

USA Today story by Maria Puente

ILMK Flipboard Magazine passes The Measured Circle

Just since my most recent

Update on my free Flipboard magazines: 1000s of ILMK readers!

the free ILMK Flipboard magazine has caught up to and passed the The Measured Circle Flipboard magazine!

ILMK has 2800 viewers and The Measured Circle has 2621.

I would guess that by the next time I give an update, there will also have been 100,000 “flips” in ILMK.

I don’t know that the recent update to the Flipboard PC browser version mattered to that…but I suspect it will help with getting readers.

Recently, one of my relatives wanted to start getting ILMK on a tablet, but didn’t want to get other news stories (as you do with Flipboard). I installed the free

gReader app (at AmazonSmile*)

I also tested it out myself…seems to work fine for the simple purpose of reading blogs.

Adding subscriptions was a snap, and you download for offline reading, share, and use a white on black viewing mode, if you want.

Now, I’m always very grateful to people who subscribe to this blog through the Kindle store. That ninety-nine cents a month (well, my cut is about thirty cents) is honestly one of the things which makes the blog possible…thanks, subscribers!

However, Amazon still doesn’t make the blogs available to tablet users. I’m sure some of my readers are still paying the ninety-nine cents a month just to support me, and reading the blog on a Fire.

If they do that, I want to give them a good experience.

I do love Flipboard, but if all you want to do is read blogs, well, gReader seems like a good way to go.

What do you think? Are you excited for a new Dr. Seuss? Have you had a great Mayday story? Did you lose a Kindle…and then have the finder return it? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

Amazon’s 100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime

February 18, 2015

Amazon’s 100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime

Lists of books are popular features.

It’s interesting to me that that is the case.

After all, I doubt I’ve ever seen a list where I didn’t think there were omissions and questionable inclusions.

Perhaps that’s the point.

They spark a reaction, and reactions can mean engagement…and engagement can mean purchasing.

Not all lists are about purchasing, of course, and even an Amazon list of books like the brand new

100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

isn’t about immediate conversion of sales.

In some ways, it’s about Amazon’s positioning as knowledgeable about books…knowledgeable and credible, which are not synonyms. You can be knowledgeable and have no one believe you (ask Cassandra), and you can be credible without having a lot of knowledge on a topic.

When I’ve trained trainers, I’ve even taught the latter…how to be credible.

A few quick notes on that:

  • Use numbers…that always impresses people. For example, if I was teaching an Excel class many years ago, I could be in front of people who thought they knew Excel quite well. I could say (back then), “There are 256 columns in Excel…does anyone know how many rows? 65,536.” That gave me instant credibility…even if it was just a memorized fact. It doesn’t have to be a complicated number: “There were seven castaways on Gilligan’s Island.” That may get people counting to confirm…and when they do, they are impressed with you
  • When in doubt, use big words. That also makes you sound credible…not approachable or relatable, necessarily, but it does help with credibility. 🙂 That’s only true if you use them correctly…well, if somebody knows what the word actually means, that is. I have to reset my reaction when someone uses the word “decimated” (often “absolutely decimated” or “completely decimated”) to indicate a nearly complete reduction. “Decimated” technically means “reduced by one tenth”. If there were 100 soldiers, and you reduced it to ninety, you decimated that group. At least, that’s what it used to mean…my now adult kid who is a linguist has convinced me that it is usage that matters. I still have the emotional reaction, but I can reset it 🙂
  • Use the jargon. I work with medical folks, and when I can use a word that they use appropriately, it really ups my credibility
  • Speak quickly. Again, this is just when you are establishing credibility, not when you are training a concept. Most people don’t think you can lie at high speeds…that you have to think about what you are saying too much. If you excitedly say something, smashingallthewordstogether, people will think you are being honest. Don’t believe me? Try saying something really slowly and deliberately out loud…it will likely sound even to you like you are lying
  • Be imperfect. Pause, use an “um”, look to the ceiling (up to the left, typically), laugh at yourself for what you just said…those can all make you seem genuine, and not rehearsed

Now, clearly, you can’t just follow techniques to gain credibility…you need to be reacting in the moment and have empathy for what your audience is feeling.

That said, I come across as credible in person…and it can be a problem for me.

I’ve been a boss.

I’ve said to people something like, “Now, I don’t know yet if this is going to happen, so don’t hold me to it, but it’s possible that we are going to xyz.” I’ve then had people telling others we were going to xyz, and saying, “Bufo said so.”

That means I have to be careful about what I say. 🙂

I was being observed by one of my favorite managers, and in debriefing a class, the manager said at one point, “Then you did that hypnosis thing you do,” and just went on to another point.

I said something like, “Wait, what? What hypnosis thing?”

I realized later that I do use something like “guided imagery”.

Never, by the way, for nefarious reasons!

It’s just as important and difficult (sometimes) to make people believe in something which is true and good for them as it is to make them believe in something which is false and bad for them.

That said, let’s talk about this list. 🙂

I do like biographies and memoirs, but I like a lot of things. 😉

Here’s the list from Amazon, and whether or not I’ve read them:

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers: no
  • A Long Way Home by Ishmael Beah: yes
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: no
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: no
  • American Caesar by William Manchester: no
  • American Lion by Jon Meacham: no
  • American Prometheus by Kai Bird: no
  • American Sniper by Chris Kyle: no
  • American Sphinx by Joseph J. Ellis: no
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: no
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: yes
  • Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy: no
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain: yes
  • Ball Four by Jim Bouton: no
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright: no
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin: yes
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin: no
  • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall: no
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey: no
  • Cash by Johnny Cash: no
  • Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie: no
  • Chronicles by Bob Dylan: no
  • Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert: no
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose: no
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron: no
  • De Profundis and Other Personal Writings by Oscar Wilde: no
  • Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller: no
  • Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade: no
  • Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama: no
  • Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp: no
  • Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston: no
  • E-Mc~2 by David Bodanis: no
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: no
  • Endurance by Alfred Lansing: no
  • Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill: no
  • Helen Keller: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller: yes
  • I Am Malala by mlala Yousafzai: no
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: no
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: no
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith: no
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain: no
  • Knock Wood by Candice Bergen: no
  • Life by Keith Richards: no
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela: no
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: no
  • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens: no
  • My Life in France by Julia Child: no
  • Naked by David Sedaris: no
  • Napoleon by Andrew Roberts: no
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass: no
  • Night by Elie Wiesel: no
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin: no
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac: no
  • Open by Andre Agassi: no
  • Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen: no
  • Personal History by Katharine Graham: no
  • Robert A. Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro: no
  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs: no
  • Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford: no
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand: no
  • Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan: no
  • Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov: no
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: no
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman: no
  • Tennessee Williams by John Lahr: no
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone: no
  • The Andy Warhol Diaries by Andy Warhol: no
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein: no
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X: no
  • The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll: no
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: no
  • The Color of Water by James McBride: no
  • The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman: no
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: no
  • The Diary of Anais Nin by Anais Nin: no
  • The Diary of Frida Kahlo by Carlos Fuentes: no
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: no
  • The Gulag Archipeligo by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: no
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: no
  • The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans: no
  • The Last Lone Inventor by Evan I. Schwartz: no
  • The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr: no
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara: no
  • The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester: no
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris: no
  • The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder: no
  • The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer: no
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston: no
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: no
  • This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff: no
  • Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow: no
  • Touching the Void by Joe Simpson: no
  • Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck: no
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: no
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes: no
  • Updike by Adam Begley: no
  • Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) by Stacy Schiff: no
  • West with the Night by Beryl Markham: no
  • Wild Swans by Jung Chang: no
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed: no

Well, I’ve only read five of these, but I have to say, I was very impressed with some of them. The Helen Keller book is amazing. A Long Way Home was devastating, but great. The Mark Twain book was so modern and so clever.

Certainly, though, there are many others I might list which I have read and which in some small way, let me live someone else’s life for a while.

Amazon knows that, and one of the synergies of their having purchased the social reading website Goodreads, is that they can do a curated list like the above and let people contribute to a crowd sourced one…which they have done:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/85102.100_Biographies_Memoirs_to_Read_in_a_Lifetime_Readers_Picks

You can vote on and add titles to that one.

Without at all claiming that they are the best, here are some other biographies/memoirs which come to mind for me:

  • A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell…and indeed, several of the Durrell books (not available for the Kindle)
  • A Job for Superman by Kirk Alyn…Alyn was Superman in the serials, and this book has some great stories! I bought it from Alyn at a science fiction convention, and that may have colored my perception of it. 🙂 Still, I remember some of the stories easily. There was one where Alyn is talking about a scene carrying, I think, Lois Lane out of a burning building down steps. “Action!” Runs down the steps, but they have to reshoot the scene (smoke or something). Another take. Another problem. Another take. Another take. Another take. Eventually, the director says, “Superman, you’re slowing down.” Alyn explains that the actor is heavy, and the director says something like, “Actor? You’re supposed to be carrying a dummy!” That was part of the perception of Alyn on set as being Superman. Two more. 🙂 Superman is animated flying, but they are standing around (very common on a set). Alyn asks what is happening, and they say they are trying to figure out how Superman is going to take off. Alyn, who was a ballet dancer, says, “I can jump over the camera.” Well, this is a tall camera! They don’t believe their star, but Alyn does it. Alyn points out, amused, that Superman takes off from a ballet position. 😉 The last one was when They did have to do a close up of Superman flying. What they did was build a chest plate with wires, and Alyn would lay in it with legs (and hips) held straight out. That’s right…the plate didn’t get to Alyn’s hips! Picture doing that for a minute or more while they did the shot. Better, lie down on a table with your hips off the edge and try it…
  • Books by John A. Keel and Hans Holzer…very different people, very different writing style, sort of connected both writing about “paranormal” things. They are both field investigators and both bring you a feel for what it is like being there
  • Philip Jose Farmer’s “mythographies” of Doc Savage (Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (at AmazonSmile*)) and Tarzan

I could keep going. 🙂

One last thing, so those of you with Kindle Unlimited can read biographies and memoirs at no additional cost as part of your membership:

Kindle Unlimited Biographies & Memoirs sorted by most reviewed (at AmazonSmile*)

Don’t have Kindle Unlimited yet? It’s worthy of consideration, in my opinion:

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

What do you think? What are your favorite biographies and memoirs? I know people who say they don’t like to read non-fiction…what books do you think would convince them? These sorts of books also fit into Common Core…does this show the value of that program? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus deal: pre-pay for three months of Sling TV ($20 a month) and get a Fire TV Stick for free, or $50 off a Fire TV!

Sling TV and Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s the “cable cutting” way to get some TV networks at a cheaper price than paying for a full cable package.

Don’t want Sling TV? The Fire TV is also $15 off at time of writing, making it $84 instead of $99.

I use a Fire TV every day, and a Fire TV Stick some days.

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

Join thousands 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.

What makes a book not a movie?

February 18, 2015

What makes a book not a movie?

“…it is our expression that there are no positive differences: that all things are like a mouse and a bug in the heart of a cheese. Mouse and a bug: no two things could seem more unlike. They’re there a week, or they stay there a month: both are then only transmutations of cheese. I think we’re all bugs and mice, and are only different expressions of an all-inclusive cheese.

Or that red is not positively different from yellow: is only another degree of whatever vibrancy yellow is a degree of: that red and yellow are continuous, or that they merge in orange.

So then that, if, upon the basis of yellowness and redness, Science should attempt to classify all phenomena, including all red things as veritable, and excluding all yellow things as false or illusory, the demarcation would have to be false and arbitrary, because things colored orange, constituting continuity, would belong on both sides of the attempted borderline.

As we go along, we shall be impressed with this:

That no basis for classification, or inclusion and exclusion, more reasonable than that of redness and yellowness has ever been conceived of.

Science has, by appeal to various bases, included a multitude of data. Had it not done so, there would be nothing with which to seem to be. Science has, by appeal to various bases, excluded a multitude of data. Then, if redness is continuous with yellowness: if every basis of admission is continuous with every basis of exclusion, Science must have excluded some things that are continuous with the accepted. In redness and yellowness, which merge in orangeness, we typify all tests, all standards, all means of forming an opinion—

Or that any positive opinion upon any subject is illusion built upon the fallacy that there are positive differences to judge by—

That the quest of all intellection has been for something—a fact, a basis, a generalization, law, formula, a major premise that is positive: that the best that has ever been done has been to say that some things are self-evident—whereas, by evidence we mean the support of something else—

That this is the quest; but that it has never been attained; but that Science has acted, ruled, pronounced, and condemned as if it had been attained.”
–Charles Fort
writing in The Book of the D*mned (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When I am asked for my philosophy of life, I sometimes respond that I am a Fortean.

What is a Fortean?

A follower of Charles Fort, who I have quoted above.

Saying you are a Fortean, though, is always a bit of a joke.

You see, according to Fort, you can’t really “be” anything to the exclusion of anything else.

Everything is simply a different degree of everything else…there are no hard and fast “things” in Fort’s writings.

Start with a Fortean, and eventually, you’ll find an element that takes you to “another” philosophy, and from that one to another, and then another, and another, and eventually, you end up back with your Fortean.

Fort said, “One measures a circle, beginning anywhere.” That’s the source of the name of one of my other blogs, “The Measured Circle”. Unlike this one, which does have some artificial constraints on subject matter, I write about whatever I want there. 🙂

This is a joke I wrote years ago: “Question: why did the Fortean cross the road? Answer: there aren’t two sides.”

Let’s say there was a North side and a South side. If you stand exactly in the middle where are you…North or South? If neither, how do you define that middle? Can’t you keep widening it, until both sides are considered as one?

That’s a whole lot of philosophy to get to the point of this post. 😉

Right now, most people have unbreachable, rigid concepts which separate, say, a book and a movie.

In the future, though, will that continue to be true?

If I asked you to define a movie, you would probably come up with something about a moving visual image.

Some books have that now…from animated covers to enhanced editions which may actually include movie clips and other videos.

Let’s say there is an enhanced edition of a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., which includes video of the I Have a Dream speech.

Is that not a book?

Even if 80% of the book is the written word?

You would probably define a book as something about, well, written words.

When you are reading subtitles in a foreign language movie, is that a book?

Most people would immediately say no.

It’s a movie…with subtitles.

That enhanced e-book? It’s a book…with video.

What is an audiobook?

I tend to think of an audiobook as just as much a book as a p-book (paperbook).

It’s still the author’s words…you are just consuming them differently.

If someone is print disabled and listens to the great works of classical literature, do you not consider them well-read?

As technology expands, I think the lines will blur.

We may come to expect the ability to see video in books.

We may also find it natural to pause a movie of Alice in Wonderland and bring up the text of the corresponding chapter to the scene which we are watching.

We might pick up again after the scene we read, or continue where we left off.

Part of it might be an opera.

Now, I have to admit, this really appeals to me, but I like lots of things happening at once…I like to say that I love chaos. 🙂

Most people don’t.

I would guess most of you would not want your books, especially your fiction books, to have video, audio, and more.

However…

You are fine with italics and bold, which are visual effects.

You may be okay with a map being in a book, or a “family tree” for a complex multiple generation work.

Do you like footnotes, endnotes, and/or cross references?

What if instead of having things like, “Said Pat”, there was a little picture of the speaker at the beginning of each paragraph of dialogue?

What if the picture moved?

What about a separate font color for each of ten characters? That would be expensive to do in the old days, but not so expensive for an e-book on a tablet.

I’m really just ruminating on this, but I think books will become much more dynamic than they are now, with more interactivity and more media.

Not every book, and not for every person. There is a certain…calmness in just reading the printed word.

I just don’t know how long that’s going to be the popular mainstream, though…

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 17, 2015

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 16th, 2015 was Presidents’ Day in the USA.

That’s still something I consider to be a combined holiday.

When I was a kid, we got Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday as two different holidays.

That mattered to me, because my birthday happens to be the same as Abraham Lincoln’s. That meant that my birthday was always a day off from school…and we could invite my friends to a party accordingly. 😉

Then, they decided that having two Presidential holidays was too much, so they combined it into one day honoring all of the Presidents.

I still took my birthday off this year, though. 🙂

So, in case a day of scholarly reflection on and discussion of our Chiefs of State (that’s how you spent the day, right?) 😉 whetted your appetite for more, I thought I’d take a look at the Kindle store to look for the most reviewed books about the Presidents. Note: I did do a bit of choosing to get a book which really focused on the President, or at least not on several Presidents. Otherwise Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln would have shown up for several Presidents as the most reviewed in the search. 😉

  1. George Washington: George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
    by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
  2. John Adams:
    John Adams
    by David McCullough
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
    by Jon Meacham
  4. James Madison: James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
    by Lynne Cheney
  5. James Monroe: The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  6. John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  7. Andrew Jackson: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
    by Jon Meacham
  8. Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841
  9. William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 9th President,1841
    by Gail Collins and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  10. John Tyler: John Tyler, the Accidental President
    by Edward P. Crapol
  11. James K. Polk: A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
    by Robert W. Merry
  12. Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor: The American Presidents Series: The 12th President, 1849-1850
    by John S. D. Eisenhower and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  13. Millard Fillmore: Yo, Millard Fillmore! (and all those other Presidents you don’t know)
    by Will Cleveland and Mark Alvarez
  14. Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857
    by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Michael F. Holt
  15. James Buchanan: James Buchanan: The American Presidents Series: The 15th President, 1857-1861
    by Jean H. Baker and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  17. Andrew Johnson:
    Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy
    by David O. Stewart
  18. Ulysses S. Grant: Grant
    by Jean Edward Smith
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
    by Roy Morris Jr.
  20. James A. Garfield: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
    by Candice Millard
  21. Chester A. Arthur:
    Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: The 21st President, 1881-1885
    by Zachary Karabell and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  22. Grover Cleveland: The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea…
    by Matthew Algeo (Kindle Unlimited)
  23. Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893
    by Charles W. Calhoun and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  24. Grover Cleveland (again)
  25. William McKinley: The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
    by Scott Miller
  26. Theodore Roosevelt: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  27. William Howard Taft: The Roots of Modern Conservatism: Dewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party
    by Michael Bowen
  28. Woodrow Wilson: Wilson
    by A. Scott Berg
  29. Warren G. Harding:
    Warren G. Harding: The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923
    by John W. Dean and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  30. Calvin Coolidge: Coolidge
    by Amity Shlaes
  31. Herbert Hoover: Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath
    by George H. Nash (Kindle Unlimited)
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
    by Jon Meacham
  33. Harry S Truman: Truman
    by David McCullough
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World
    by Evan Thomas
  35. John F. Kennedy: Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson: The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV
    by Robert A. Caro
  37. Richard Nixon: The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
    by Rick Perlstein
  38. Gerald Ford: Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977 by Douglas Brinkley and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  39. Jimmy Carter: Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis
    by Jimmy Carter
  40.  Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries
    by Ronald Reagan
  41. George H. W. Bush: 41: A Portrait of My Father
    by George W. Bush
  42. Bill Clinton: Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas
    by Edward Klein
  43. George W. Bush: Decision Points
    by George W. Bush
  44. Barack Obama: The Amateur
    by Edward Klein

That was fun and interesting! I tried to avoid books labeled as fiction, and I’m guessing I did. I wouldn’t have thought that the President who wrote a book on another President and who had two books on this list would have been…George W. Bush. If I’d thought about it, I might have gotten that, though. Jimmy Carter is another President with a book on the list. One reason for that might be that more recent books tend to be reviewed more…just the nature of when book reviews became possible at Amazon, and that people don’t tend to write reviews of books they read a long time ago.

Bonus deal:

Disney app sale for $0.99 each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is a good deal which might be ending today on more than ten Disney apps…in some cases half off, in some cases two thirds off.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite book you have read on a President? I stayed away from fiction, but what about something with a President as a character in fiction? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.


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