Round up #291: HarperCollins/Amazon deal, $20 off Paperwhite

Round up #291: HarperCollins/Amazon deal, $20 off Paperwhite

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

Book collecting: how has the presence of e-books affected it?

I’ll admit to being surprised by this

Wall Street Journal post by Steven Rosenbush

I have collectible books…oh, not books worth thousands of dollars, but I’ve paid $100 for a single book.

I’ve also “collected” all of a single series, although that’s not quite the same thing.

What would I guess would have happened to the collectible book market in the past few years?

I thought prices would have gone up.

My intuition is that people will see the rise in e-books as meaning that there will be fewer p-books (paperbooks) to collect in the future. Lessening supply with the same demand could mean a rise in prices.

I also figured there would be an “endangered species” mentality. Falsely, I think, there was this sense that p-books were simply going to disappear.

Remember that p-books decay. Different quality p-books (in terms of materials used and production methods) decay at different rates, but pages can become brittle with age.

If they are actually (gasp!) read, the situation is even worse for them.

I’ve had people surprised that I could read a mass market paperback and still have it look like new at the end, and that’s not how it is with most people. The spines get broken, people “dog ear” pages, things get spilled on them,they get exposed to the elements…people tout p-books as one of the great technological innovations of all time, and that’s reasonable…but they aren’t invulnerable.

If we stopped making p-books, the world supply of them would dwindle over time, and I thought that would be the collectors’ collective vision.

Nope, according to this article, the business has been stable.

To me, that’s a bad omen for the future of p-books.

On the other hand, collectors aren’t the same as readers (although there is some overlap). A collector (especially one doing it for investment purposes) sees the book as an object…not as a story. If this physical object was signed by someone, or owned by someone,  or is rare in some way…that all makes it more valuable for a collector, but not particularly for someone just wanting to read the contents.

Regardless, I do think there will continue to be a market for collectible p-books…and I do think we’ll eventually see prices rise, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

Will subsers be the new MMPs?

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, said something that got me thinking about the role of subsers (subscription services) in the future.

Let’s say a novel is released today. We’ll say the hardback is list priced (the price the publisher puts on it) at $25, and the e-book is priced at $12.99.

A year from now, the trade paperback comes out at $15.

Does the e-book drop?

Not necessarily.

A year later, the mass market paperback (MMP) comes out at $9.99.

Then, yes, I’d expect the e-book to at least match that price, if not go a bit lower.


There is a possibility that publishers simply stop issuing MMPs for popular novels.

I think it’s a possibility that books come out at a price like $25 (although I’ve suggested before that some new novels could get as high as $50), then maybe drop some after the first year…let’s say $20.

Then, that’s it.

The e-book comes out at perhaps $12.99…and doesn’t drop (except for sales).

Where do “casual readers” get that book? After all, they are a big part of the market.

They get it after it is on the “frontlist” (that would depend on its success, but let’s call it two years for a popular book…I expect to see fewer books altogether, and the ones from tradpubs…traditional publishers…to stay on the New York Times bestseller list longer on average) when it becomes part of a subser, like

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

MMPs were not really released for people who wanted to own a book or gift a book. They were really intended to be read and then to fall apart…which is not that different an experience from reading a book as part of a subser but not owning it.

I’m  just kicking around this idea, but I do think it’s a possibility.

HarperCollins and Amazon reportedly reach a deal

Four down, one to go.

It’s possible that at some point, a tradpub and Amazon will part ways…but today is not that day.

According to this

New York Times article by David Streitfeld

and other sources, Amazon and HarperCollins have reached an agreement which will keep the publisher’s books in the e-tailer’s store.

While these deals don’t really become public, it sounds like all four of the Big 5 who have come to terms (Penguin Random House hasn’t, yet…that doesn’t mean they are fighting, it may just not be time) have pretty much the same thing.

The publisher sets the price (yes, this is the Agency Model), and Amazon can incentivize them to discount the books.

Publishers haven’t yet figured out how to do without Amazon…and  while Amazon is becoming less dependent on tradpubs over time (Amazon published books regularly top their own bestseller lists…in the Kindle store), they are still in business with them big time.

I think that eventually, that business may consist of backlist titles…which could largely be in subsers (see above).

For now (and this is a multiyear deal), things continue.

Amazon Financials on April 23rd

According to this

press release

Amazon will do its next quarterly financials call on April 23rd at 2:30 PM Pacific.

I think this may be a particularly interesting one…they seem to be pushing a bit into a new direction. We’ll see…

Paperwhite 2 $20 off today


Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*)

which is the current model, is $20 off today. That makes it under $100 ($99, to be precise) for the lowest priced configuration.

This is the model of Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) that I use every day.

I like it enough that I chose not to go to the Kindle Voyage…and from everything I’ve heard, I don’t regret that decision at all.

I’m quite happy with both that and my

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

These are both devices which do what they are designed to do very well…I’ve been quite satisfied with them both.

I can contrast that with my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

and our

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


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

The Fire Phone is a serviceable phone, but I did like my Galaxy better.

The Amazon Fire TV is good…better than our Roku (which we’ve stopped using). I do expect it to get quite a bit better.

The Fire TV Stick is noticeably not as good as the Fire TV. It takes it much longer to load something, for example, the video stutters quite a bit (it’s on the same network at the Fire TV), and I find I need to restart it every couple of days (by holding in the select and play buttons together for about ten seconds).

The only big thing I see missing in the Paperwhite is sound (especially for text-to-speech, which I use every workday), and for my Kindle Fire HDX, it would be nice to have a rear-facing camera.

I would say this Paperwhite deal is a good one…if you are looking for a gift (they may discount it again for Mothers’ Day), or for a Guest Kindle…or even if you are just ready to replace an older model (keeping in mind the lack of audio), this is a good buy.

What do you think? What’s been your favorite Kindle/Fire model so far? Penguin Random House has always been a bit of an outlier…how will their negotiations with Amazon go? When will a publisher break with Amazon…if ever? What gadgets (including non-Amazon) have you had in your life which achieved the state of satisfying you? 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.


16 Responses to “Round up #291: HarperCollins/Amazon deal, $20 off Paperwhite”

  1. jjhitt Says:

    I wonder if the Paperwhite’s price cut was influenced by Kobo’s announcing a reader that has the same display as the Voyage for $129. I’ve always liked the Kobo hardware and user interface.

    The website, however, has always looked like a class project.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      Well, we have seen Amazon respond to actions by competitors before, so that’s possible. It doesn’t feel like it to me, but that’s just intuition. 🙂

  2. Zebras Says:


    This Friday’s Shark Tank description says someone is proposing something that will revolutionise e-books. In case you don’t watch the show regularly, that’s one for you to see. Not every idea proposed on the show is a good one, but I am dying of curiosity to see what else can be done to e-books or e-readers, not sure of the wording now that I am thinking upon it.

    My favorite Kindle model has turned out to be my Mindle, the original one, I miss a little the lack of sound, but for straight reading, the buttons are great, the weight of it is great for holding, the font is easy to change, etc.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      I appreciate the heads up!

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a whole episode, but I’ll try to catch that one.

      I enjoyed my Mindle, but I did find the interface with it difficult…a lot of arrowing around to get anything done.

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    My favorite Kindle is still the Kindle Keyboard (K3) using software version 3.3. They ruined it when they “upgraded/downgraded” it so that all text is fully justified. I prefer left justification so there are no big gaping holes in the middle of the line using larger font size. It balances well in the hand. It’s comfortable to hold, and I can input letters into the physical keyboard faster than I can on the touch screen keyboard of the Voyage. My least favorite Kindle is the DX. I bought it for the larger screen, but it’s just clunky and heavy. The page turn bars are on one side only. The software hasn’t been updated in ages. I’m not fond of the Voyage either. It’s too small and cramps my hand. Does this make me Goldilocks? Voyage is too small. DX is too big. K3 is just right! I’ve never used a Fire. If I get a tablet, it will be an iPad because I “think different!”

    I dread the day that all three of my K3’s stop working.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      The K3 was a popular and I would say beloved, model. 🙂 It was better than the Paperwhite in having audio…but the lighting on the Paperwhite makes it the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had, including paper.

      I have to say that, given its market impact, isn’t liking the iPad the mainstream thing to do? 😉 I’ve never quite been able to get over “think different” instead of “think differently”, although I can come up with formulations where it is proper grammar. I’ve also never forgiven Apple for what they did with e-books, so that’s left a bad taste in my mouth.

      I use an iPhone for work, but I’m not likely to buy an Apple product for my own use.

  4. Tom Semple Says:

    I love Fire Stick (which just got update for ‘XRay’, yay!). I do have some occasional issues with streaming with 3rd party apps, but for the most part, Amazon content streams smoothly, even in what is a challenging wifi environment (a townhouse with a couple of dozen overlapping wifi networks).

    As for Fire TV being more robust than Fire Stick, keep in mind that router placement and antenna orientation relative to the device can make a critical difference in the strength of the connection. The antennas radiate in a toroidal pattern, and anything in the ‘polar’ regions or too close to the router can have a weak signal to work with. For example, in our more or less ‘vertical’ townhouse, reception upstairs was poor until I pointed the antennas so their axes were parallel to the floor and perpendicular to the walls shared with neighbors (picture a large doughnut filling the space). In a more horizontal floor plan, you should orient the antenna axes vertically. Ideally you would also have some space between the router and walls to minimize ‘reflective’ interference.

    Wifi devices are also going to vary in sensitivity depending on the orientation of their antenna. You might find that the Fire Stick reception improves if you rotate it to the right position (just as some of us used to do with rabbit ears on our TV), or use an extender cable so it is further from the TV (which otherwise might shield or interfere). Someone should do a ‘wifi analyzer’ app for Fire TV to help with this optimization.

    Of course the ideal situation for Fire TV is to wire it directly to the router, since it has an Ethernet port.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I appreciate the suggestions. I’ve seen the issue with Hulu especially, which does seem to be more of a resource hog on both devices.

      The Fire TV also just has better hardware…it’s not all just about reception. YouTube, for example, loads much more quickly on the Fire TV than on the Fire TV Stick, which I don’t think is wi-fi related.

      I wasn’t aware that you could rotate the Fire TV Stick…I’ll take a look at that.

      It seems to be more of an issue as the cache fills up in an app…if we watch hours of streaming video, the Fire TV Stick may lock up in an app (like Hulu, again), and the Fire TV doesn’t.

      I’m planning to swap them in the house at some point, if I don’t buy a later generation when one is issued. That would give me more sense of the variables.

  5. Tania Marshall Says:

    I got a $99 Paperwhite last week and I’m loving it. My everyday reader had been my Keyboard but it’s so slow to boot up and search for anything. With 730 book titles on it, I have to reboot it periodically…. I do prefer to keep all my books on it in my collections, which are somewhat available on my other devices, but not exactly. The Keyboard also did not serve for bedtime reading, I used my Fire HDX for that, but the light was too bright even at the lowest setting. The Keyboard does have text to speech.

    The Fire HDX is super responsive. Quick for books, music, websites, games and video. I loved it so much, I replaced my Fire HD 8.9 with and HDX model. The 8.9 does have a rear facing camera, but I feel silly holding up a huge tablet. I just use my phone if I’m not carrying my “real” 35mm camera. Both my HDXs have 32 GB, but honestly, the 8.9 model is not as responsive as the 7″ one. It gets hung up on my favorite casino game frequently which does not happen on the smaller Fire. I still prefer to use the larger one for magazines and for showing off my delightful grandchildren’s photos stored in the Cloud. My ideal device would be an 8.9 sized Fire/paperwhite combo with an SD slot or other input device so I would not have to have more than one device.

    I’m seriously loving the Cloud unlimited photo storage. It’s easy to just copy all my photo files to the folder on my desktop, then access them on my phone and tablets on the go. All photos taken with my phone are uploaded to the cloud as they are taken. I can go to my desktop then edit or share them without having to physically connect my phone to the computer. I’m going on a road trip soon and plan to upload my 35mm photos to the cloud daily to ensure there’s a backup copy. Roadtrip gadgets will include the 8.9 HDX tablet, the Paperwhite and my laptop (for the photo uploading). I would bring my Firestick, but hubby is a TV remote hog.

    I am quite pleased with my Fire TV stick. Got it for about $20 and it works well with my Galaxy phone and Fire tablets. It has skipped occasionally, but nothing too bad. I’ve only had to unplug to reboot twice in the past several months.

    Lastly, there’s my Echo. I’ve had it since November and Amazon keeps on improving the features. It is part of my daily life and I will miss it when I’m on vacation.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tania!

      Wow! I appreciate that thorough field report.

      Last things first: why not take the Echo with you? Sounds like you will have wi-fi, so it should work fine for you.

      I typically only keep about ten Kindle store books on any of my devices, so I don’t see the slow down you describe. Having the books in Cloud collections seems to work fine for me (and my Paperwhite 2 has that available, as does my Kindle Fire HDX 7″).

      I really like being able to take pictures with my Fire Phone, and then see them on our TV through the Fire TV Stick! I just have to remember to turn on wi-fi when I get home on the Fire Phone so it syncs.

      I wasn’t a big fan of my 8.9″…it was just too big to be convenient for me. My 7″ literally fits in my pocket (I have big pockets on the weekends), but the 8.9″ was a stretch for that.

  6. Angelo B. Says:

    Hi Bufo,

    An individual’s choice of device (or anything else for that matter) is a personal decision and one can be perfectly happy with any phone, e-reader, or tablet, regardless of reviews, features, etc. As a wise man once said, “The best [fill in device type] is the one that makes the user happiest.”

    Having said that, all three of the e-ink Kindles (K3, Paperwhite 2, Voyage) in this household make the user very very happy.

    I also own a Fire HD 7, which replaced a 2nd gen. Fire tablet. It’s a very good tablet for the money, but does not hold a candle to the iPad, even at the price difference.

    I use the Fire TV and Fire Stick and have had no significant problems with either. I find the vast majority of Roku apps to be of such limited appeal that they are effectively useless. Hopefully there are more apps headed to the Fire TV.

    Simply stated, it’s time for Amazon to admit the Fire Phone a dud and lay it to rest.

    The most versatile, dependable, useful (and therefore indispensable) device I have ever owned is the iPhone.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Angelo!

      I’m a bit confused by your comment, and I apologize for that.

      In the first part, you seem to be suggesting that I was saying one thing was objectively better than another, but that’s not the way I feel…and I’ve written about that specific topic before. Are you perhaps quoting me on the “one that makes the user happiest”? It does sound like something I might say, but I’m really not sure.

      I guess let me clarify. I like the Paperwhite 2 better for myself for sight reading than I did earlier Kindle models…but I don’t like the lack of audio. I would guess every model was somebody’s favorite. 🙂

      After that part of your statement, you seem to suggest that Apple products (specifically, the iPhone and the iPad) are objectively better than other similar devices…that seems to be contradicting your earlier postulate about happier people.

      I use an iPhone for work: I had a Galaxy. I greatly preferred my Galaxy…much easier for me to use, for one thing. There are things I prefer about my Fire Phone to my iPhone, although I have some trouble getting some apps.

      I don’t find the iPhone to be as intuitive. For example, there’s that things where the apps all start wiggling, and then you can do something with them…that doesn’t seem obvious to me. Trying to turn sounds off, and putting the device into airplane mode, both seem more complicated than on the Android devices I’ve used.

      For me, it’s always perfectly find that two people assess two different devices differently. You find your iPhone to be versatile, dependable, and useful. I find the same thing about my Kindle Fire HDX. I can make my iPhone work…but don’t like it all that much. For one more example, the Fire Phone has a Swype keyboard automatically…I’m guessing I can install one on the iPhone, but it’s harder to have to do that. You, though, might find an Android phone counterintuitive. My adult kid tried an Android….and returned it, just finding it too hard to adjust after using an iPhone.

      I’d be curious about your arguments as to why it would be better for Amazon to give up on the Fire Phone. than to continue to sell it and improve it. Do I think it was a mistake to release a high end phone? Yes, I think they would have been better off with a utilitarian inexpensive phone with a good Amazon infrastructure.

      I think we may see another Fire Phone model in the next year or two, and I think that we may see integration between the Fire Phone and the Amazon Echo that make the Fire Phone a better seller.

      I think the Echo will be one of the big consumer tech stories of the year (along with the Apple Watch and Oculus Rift going consumer), and it could raise the Fire Phone’s profile along with it.

      We’ll see, though…you enjoy yours, I’ll enjoy mine, and everybody will be happy. 🙂

      • Angelo B. Says:

        Hi Bufo,

        No, no, I’m definitely not suggesting you were were saying one thing is objectively better than another; that paragraph was merely a preface to my own subjective remarks about specific devices. It was intended to reinforce the idea that you, I, or anyone else all have the right to like or dislike, buy or not buy, any device, while at the same time respecting opposing opinions.

        For example, you and I disagree on the iPhone, which you find nonintuitive and I believe is the single greatest piece of technology (so far) of the millenium. And that is perfectly fine. Your tablet of choice is the Fire; mine is the iPad. Also perfectly fine. Aside: those functions (and more) you believe are not obvious are all directly accessible from any app or screen with a simple swipe.

        I’m sorry you thought I was trying to say that Apple products were objectively better than similar devices. I would not make such a blanket statement. Subjectively speaking, for me, the iPhone and iPad meet my needs better than the competition. That’s all I was saying. And based on sales, I am not alone.

        I do believe that the Apple Watch will in the long run be judged as unnecessary and overpriced.

        My negativity toward the Fire Phone is based strictly on its initial price vs. features and functionality. Question: which smartphone would you give up to switch to a Fire Phone? Answer: Probably none. OK, maybe a Windows phone 🙂

        I’m sure we could both go on. I hope you’ll agree it’s been a good discussion.

        Best regards,

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Angelo!

        Excellent! Our initial interaction in this may have been one of imperfect interpretation, but I think we both think similarly about the difficulty of objective valuation.

        As to your likely rhetorical question 😉 I gave up a Galaxy to switch to a Fire Phone. However, I’m an unusual case, in that I did it partially to write about it for my readers. For me, the Galaxy was a better phone.

        Yes, I agree! It’s been a good discussion, and I hope to hear more from you in the future.

  7. Tania Marshall Says:

    Echo won’t be coming on the road trip since the longest we’ll be staying in any one place is 3 nights and my hubby will watching TV sports in the hotel room. I’m bringing noise cancelling headphones to listen to Prime Music or audio books s from my phone or tablet. I can also stream Prime videos – maybe – sometimes the hotel WiFi is not that great.

    You prompted me to take a lot of books off my Kindle Keyboard in order to speed it up. Off went all the books I have already read, reference books and several other categories. About 300 titles and it’s working better. I still like it to to organize my unread books and deciding what to read next.

    I have about 25 unread books on my Paperwhite and just a few novels on my tablets. I do keep several knitting references on my 8.9 and magazines. That’s probably why it’s slower than the 7″ HDX. But with 32 GB memory on each, I still have around 20 GB available, so it should not act sluggish. I do not have downloaded music or videos on my tablets. I stream that content. My Galaxy S3 phone has a 32 GB card in addition to its 16 GB memory. I have about 12 GB of music stored there so if I have no WiFi access, I can listen to music without using my streaming data allowance. I save that to make the phone a WiFi hotspot for my tablets if I want to download something on the go. Will be car passenger for hours at a stretch, so this is handy.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tania!

      Do you use

      Clean Master


      I find that can help a lot with the Fire tablets.

      I keep my To Be Reads in the Cloud, for the most part…and in a specific Cloud collection. I always keep at least a couple of books I haven’t started on my device, so I don’t get stuck. I have wi-fi at home (which many people do), so I don’t find any trouble with downloading another book before I need it. Of course, if you are going to be without wi-fi when you travel, that’s different…I used to carry a suitcase just for books, and I do download more books before I go on a trip.

      You also might want to consider downloading some Prime videos if you think wi-fi will be spotty…but of course, they do take up a lot of memory. I’ve also gotten public domain videos from for trips.

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