Archive for May, 2015

Trivia in the Kindle store

May 31, 2015

Trivia in the Kindle store

I love trivia!

I’ve had books about it for years.

When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I had a publisher’s rep who had been a five-time Jeopardy champion (that was the limit back then)…and in casual things, I could win. 🙂 So much of Jeopardy is about the buzzer, though, so there’s no way to tell how well you would do on the show.

I was the only person to have twice judged the Millard Fillmore Trivia Hunt. That was a great event! It was put together as a team competition for high school students. The teams would get a set of questions on a Friday, and then have the weekend to find the answers (no internet was available)…and then on Monday, there would be a judging.

That’s how I first got involved: I helped teams. 🙂 While I often knew the answers offhand, the contest required that you document them. My being able to answer the questions helped them figure out where to look for proof.

I think one of my favorite parts was the teams’ lawyers (again, one of the students) would have to argue for their answers. You could prove yourself right…and perhaps equally importantly, you might disprove other people’s answers.

There were two arguments where I would still maintain that we were right and other people were wrong, but we didn’t win that (although we got credit, too).

One was in the category of Musical Cities, and the clue was, “A famous shoeshine boy** worked here.” I was sure right off that the song was Chattanooga Choo Choo…even though the shoeshine boy wasn’t famous, it was the only one that would be likely to fit.

So, the official answer was Chattanooga.

However, we argued that was incorrect…the right answer is New York City.

Why?

The shoeshine boy is in the beginning of the song:

“…is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?”

“Yes, yes….Track Twenty-Nine.”

“Well, you can give me a shine.”

Later in the song, we learn this:

“You leave old Pennsylvania Station about a quarter to four…”

Penn Station, of course, is in New York City…so that’s where the “shoeshine boy” works.

Chattanooga should be an incorrect answer…but they accepted both.

The other one was a question about two people (at the time) who had been made honorary citizens of the United States.

I knew them: Winston Churchill and the Marquis de Lafayette.

We argued (on my advice) that  the Marquis de Lafayette should not be ruled as a correct answer, since that’s really a title, not a name. You can’t just say the “President of the United States” when you are looking for which one did something. We said that the only right answer should be Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette.

Again, both answers were accepted. 🙂

You can tell: I enjoy trivia.

I often light-heartedly give trivia points in the Amazon Kindle forums, too.

There is a section for

Trivia books in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are 1,522 books at time of writing, and 835 of them are part of

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

It’s interesting to me, because many of these titles are tied to a particular topic.

For example, there is a book with 5,100 questions about Star Wars!

5,100-Question Mega-Ultimate Star Wars Quiz Book
by Erin Neidigh

It’s  only $40.69. 😉

That’s not the most expensive one, though…that would be

Now You Know Absolutely Everything: Absolutely every Now You Know book in a single ebook Doug Lennox (Author), Catriona Wight (Illustrator)

at $99.99.

The most reviewed book is

The Big Book of American Trivia by J. Stephen Lang.

I looked for the Fred L. Worth books, but they aren’t available in the Kindle store.

Hm…I have to say, I’m finding a lot of books I don’t really think of as trivia books….well, let’s say trivia quiz books. There are a lot of books (like the Imponderables series, which I really enjoyed) that have odd facts, but that’s not the same thing.

I would like ones with pop culture and wider trivia, and not just on one thing. 🙂

I’ll have to dig some more.

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite trivia questions…I’ll provide the answers soon, but feel free to guess in the comments. One rule: you can’t look them up, you have to just know. 🙂

  • What is the one foreign capital named after a U.S. President?
  • What is the only city on two continents?
  • What is the deepest lake in the world?
  • What is Forsythe P. Jones’ nickname?
  • What is Templeton Peck’s nickname?

One of these could be argued, but follow what I learned in F.O.M.F. (Friends Of Millard Fillmore): give the answer you think I want. 😉

Feel free to throw in trivia questions for me in the comments, if you like. I’ll see if I know them, but I’ll admit that I’m not as good as I was a couple of decades ago…

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! :) 

**Certainly, arguably, ‘Shoeshine Boy’ is not a term you will hear nowadays…it is in the song, and that brings us to what I have called before the The Chronological Cultural Context Conundrum

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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Echo now connects to Google calendar

May 29, 2015

Echo now connects to Google calendar

Update: as June 23rd, the general public can now pre-order Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) with an “in stock” date of July 14th.

I am just on my phone so just a quick note on this.

You can now connect your Amazon Echo to your Google calendar.

You do this in settings, calendar services.

Once you do, you will be able to verbally ask your Echo questions like these:

“Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?”
“Alexa, what’s on my calendar tomorrow at 9PM?”
“Alexa, what’s on my calendar Saturday?”
“Alexa, when’s my next event?”

I will test this out when I get home.

Update: this is a fascinating expansion of the Echo’s capabilities!

It was interesting to me that I couldn’t connect the Echo to my Google calendar until I was home with the Echo. That makes some sense, but I would have guessed I could do it through the app without needing the Echo…apparently not true.

Also interesting: it knew my Google account (I didn’t have to enter it), even though the e-mail address is not the one I use with Amazon. I suspect it took the information from my phone. I actually have two different Google accounts with different e-mail addresses (I use one for home, one for work), and it picked my home one.

Setting that up was easy, and it was ready to go.

Sure, hearing my appointment is nice, but here’s the thing: this allows me to send things from outside of the Echo to the Echo.

My Significant Other and I could agree that, say, 7:47 is a time we used not actually for appointments, but for communications.

I could then set up an appointment for 7:47 and call it, “I’ll be working late…please feed the dogs, and I’ll miss you.” Then, my SO could say to Alexa, “What’s on my calendar for 7:47?” and the Echo would give that message.

This is just the beginning…much more to come. I think we will get the ability to add things to the Google calendar verbally, but again, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Bonus story:

Have to give you something on books, right? 😉

Here are some recent price drops (found through http://www.ereaderiq.com/drops/

  • Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert: $4.50 (41% off)
  • Waiting for Morning (Forever Faithful Book 1) by Karen Kingsbury: $6.63 (34% off)
  • Gossip Girl #7: Nobody Does It Better: A Gossip Girl Novel by Cecily von Ziegesar: $5.49 (39% off)
  • Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? by Eugene Cho: $3.90 (61% off)
  • Murder on the Champ de Mars (An Aimée Leduc Investigation Book 15) by Cara Black: $9.78 (35% off)

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.

New! Kindle for Kids bundle

May 29, 2015

New! Kindle for Kids bundle

Amazon sent me an e-mail about this one, and it’s an interesting combination:

Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle, 2-Year Accident Protection, Blue Kid-Friendly Cover (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They are setting this up for being “in time for summer”, and it is that. 🙂

Honestly, I think a lot of kids become life long readers during the summer. That’s an interesting debate, and perhaps for another time…but I think kids are more likely to get into the habit when they are “free range reading”, rather than when they are following a curriculum which requires book reports or other analysis.

What do you get for $99?

You get the latest generation of the entry level Kindle, the one I call the “Mindle Touch”. That’s normally $79 for the ad-supported model (“with Special Offers”), but this is without the ads…so that would be $99 right there.

You also get a cover in a choice of five colors:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Green
  • Purple

The say the cover is worth $19.99.

The third thing is a Square Trade extended 2-year warranty, also worth $19.99.

Amazon says you are saying $39.98…they actually are wrong. 🙂 Since you are getting it without the ads, you are saving $59.98 ($20 for the ad-free version, plus getting the cover and the warranty).

I’ll alert them to that…maybe they mean it is the ad-supported version, but I don’t think so.

Then, the page does a nice job of going into the benefits of Kindle FreeTime (which is free on the device). That lets parents/legal guardians do a lot of things…control which books are accessible, set goals, kids can get badges…it’s nice. 🙂

They also say that kids can search with images, rather than words…they can apparently tap an image of a princess or a dinosaur to search the book. I’d be very interested in seeing those images, and what cultural choices they made. One obvious question: can they search for a prince, or just a princess? When they search for a car, what does it look like?

Gee, I wonder if Amazon will ever have those images be sponsored…so kids click on Sleeping Beauty for a princess (and Disney pays for the privilege) or a SmartCar for the car 😉 Pure speculation, folks….nothing behind the curtain. 😉

At the bottom of the page, they recommend some specific books.

I do think this is a good deal.

I would say it is most appropriate for younger kids. If I was looking at responsible ten-year old, and I could afford it, I’d go with the

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

and a family subscription to

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

However, that would be quite a bit more money. I’d be okay with them seeing ads (I’d lock down the purchasing with the parental controls anyway), so that’s $119 for the device. I’d recommend some sort of cover. We like the Fintie covers

Fintie Kindle Paperwhite SmartShell Case – The Thinnest and Lightest Leather Cover for Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Both 2012 and 2013 Versions with 6″ Display and Built-in Light) (at AmazonSmile*)

That model is $13.99 at time of writing…and comes in forty colors and patterns, some of which are perhaps more kid friendly than the single color style of the bundle cover.

It would depend on the kid, I suppose, but I’d skip the warranty in most cases.

Still, that’s a lot more money…plus the $9.99 a month for KU.

Part of it depends on how soon you think you’ll need to replace the device. I think the Paperwhite is a fine device, and could last a child for several years…but it might depend a bit on what gets introduced in the future and how “necessary” that seems. 😉

If you just to really introduce a younger, active child to reading, Amazon’s bundle is worthy of consideration.

Bonus story: Amazon is now doing free same day delivery in fourteen metro areas for Prime members. It’s not every item (but they let you filter search results for eligible items), and you need to have at least $35 worth of items and order by noon (typically). If same day isn’t available, you get free one-day delivery.

Yowza!

That’s quite an improvement at no additional cost for Prime members where it is logistically possible.

The fourteen metro areas (you still need to be in an eligible ZIP** code) are:

  • Seattle/Tacoma
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Phoenix
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • Indianapolis
  • Tampa Bay Area
  • Atlanta
  • Washington D.C.
  • Baltimore
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Boston

You can check your individual ZIP code here:

Amazon Free Same-day Shipping (at AmazonSmile*)

Our adult kid is eligible! We aren’t. Still, it’s the recipient ZIP code that matters, so we could send something the same day.

For more information, here are the

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) (at AmazonSmile*)

I realize there are some reasons you might still go to the local store (trying on clothes, or something which isn’t eligible for this, or it’s under $35)…but I do think this will cut into local stores somewhat.

What do you think? How long do you expect a Kindle to last nowadays? Is a Paperwhite worth that much more than a Mindle Touch? How young a child would you let have access to Kindle Unlimited…recognizing, of course that children vary a lot? Would you buy the warranty? 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! :) 

**ZIP is actually an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, so it should be all in capitals

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.

Penguin Random House: heading for Hachette style fight…or joining KU?

May 27, 2015

Penguin Random House: heading for Hachette style fight…or joining KU?

Reports in the media suggest we may be heading for another

Hachazon War

with Amazon playing hard ball (hardback?) with Penguin Random House, the largest of the Big 5 USA trade publishers (trade books are the ones you bought in bookstores…not textbooks and such). Articles such as this

The Guardian article by Jennifer Rankin

suggest, not unreasonably, that we may be looking at another public and prolonged contract negotiation dispute. That involved Amazon making it harder to get books (both e-books and p-books…paperbooks) from Hachette, another of the Big 5. The e-tailer allegedly pulled pre-order options, kept prices high, took books off sale, and suggested that customers buy other books right on some books’ Amazon product pages.

PRH is the last of the Big 5 in this round of negotiations…Amazon has already reached agreements with Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and yes, Hachette.

Yes, that sort of war is possible…but little old optimist me wants to suggest another possibility. 😉

Random House has always been willing to stand alone from the other tradpubs (traditional publishers).

Sometimes I agree with them and see it as a benefit to readers, sometimes I don’t…but I have always admired their strength of conviction.

I disagreed with Random House when they blocked text-to-speech access in all of their e-books (at least, that was their officially stated policy).

I agreed with them when they were the lone member of the then Big 6 (their merger with Penguin reduced it to five) to stay out of the Agency Model agreement which also involved Apple (and resulted in successful action by the U.S. Department of Justice).

Interestingly, in both cases, Random House eventually reversed their positions…widely allowing TTS access and joining the Agency Model.

Even though that’s the case, they both show Random House’s willingness to lead.

I think it’s possible that these negotiations may involve another opportunity for PRH to lead.

They might become the first of the Big 5 to join

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

That’s Amazon’s subser (subscription service). You pay $9.99 a month for “all you can read” access to close to one million books (we should pass that before the end of the summer, I think).

I’m a happy KU member….even without the presence of the Big 5.

I still see threads from time to time in the Amazon Kindle forum asking if KU is “worth it”.

That’s going to depend on your use patterns.

For example, if you have more than one user of your account, KU is worth more to you than if you have just one.

You can have up to ten books out at a time.

That mean that, easily, my Significant Other and I can both be reading different KU books at the same time. It’s much more likely that I’m reading several and my SO is reading one, but you get the idea. 🙂

A family of four could save even more.

I also find that what it does it have me reading a selection of different, somewhat more expensive books. There are so many free and low cost books that I don’t need KU to have just something to read. What it means is that I’ll read a book that costs maybe $7.99 and up which I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

You might be surprised that there are books that are that expensive in KU…it seems like many people think that KU books are all indies (independently published), which are typically a lot cheaper than that.

That’s simply not true.

While we don’t have the Big 5 (yet), we do have well-known, tradpubs and well-known books. Publishers already participating include:

  • W.W. Norton (Moneyball)
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (the Lord of the Rings, What If?…which was in KU and a New York Times bestseller at the same time)
  • Scholastic (The Hunger Games)
  • Mariner (Life of Pi)

However, it’s also clear that having the Big 5 in there would bring in more readers.

It’s not that the Big 5 are completely averse to subsers…some are involved (at least with the backlist…older books) in Oyster and Scribd.

I think that some participation in KU would be a very good thing for the Big 5. It’s going to increasingly become a source of discovery. You don’t need every one of your books in there. Having short stories in a popular series could be a big draw, and could lead people to buying the series (not just for themselves, but for gifts).

It would take guts, though, for a Big 5 tradpub to join KU. It could not help but be seen as a signal. Joining another subser? That can be seen as a statement against Amazon, not necessarily pro-subser (which worries some authors). Joining KU? That’s an endorsement of subsers generally.

In my annual

The Year Ahead: 2015

I predicted (shakily) that a Big 5 publisher would join KU this year.

I used Macmillan as an example, but Random House (now PRH) was always the most likely to blaze the trail.

The two might not be announced together…general contract agreement and KU participation. It might make sense to separate them by a bit. Amazon also may not announce a general agreement, but it will get into the media.

I would guess that they may also be trying to do this by summer. That’s a great time to promote KU, when people often have more time to read (not just students, but people going on family or other vacations).

We’ll see what happens, but I do think this would be cool! 🙂

What do you think? Does it matter to you if a Big 5 publisher gets into KU? If one joins, will others follow? Will we have a…Random House Rumble like the Hachazon War? Will Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com settle with PRH at the same time? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to reader and commenter rogerknights for a comment which improved 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.

 

 

Our library with photos

May 25, 2015

Our library with photos

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a very visually oriented person.

However, I know that lots of people (probably the majority) like to see pictures, in addition to just have me using words to describe something. 😉

I’ve mentioned our floor to ceiling library many times in the blog. Those of you who picture things when you read (I generally don’t…again, I know I’m in the small minority on that) have probably created all sorts of images.

I’m guessing most of them are much more grandiose than the reality. 🙂

I knew someone who had a really impressive library…more than one floor, with a spiral staircase and ladders on tracks.

Our is furnished with “as is” bookshelves from Ikea…some of them cost as little as $5!

We also use the room as a guest room sometimes. I would love, love, love to be at somebody’s house and stay in a library! Dream come true…

Anyway, here are some photos (taken today) of our library…

This first one is just a general shot of one of the sections:

Library1

That object you see in your bottom left corner? That’s the bed. It’s a small room, so that’s also where you can sit while you are reading, if you want. We went with a literary theme, and bought pillows and a comforter for it to match:

LibraryBed

Here is more of a closeup of a small section:

Library Closeup

One more shot of another section:

Library2

This is one wall, to give you the scope:

LibraryWall

Finally, this an unusual item, and one of my favorite things I own. 🙂 It’s a magazine rack. As I recall, I bought it from a place going out of business, but I know it was a small, local, sort of general store I patronized. I think the owner might have built it, and I believe I paid five dollars for it. Moving it through several homes over decades has probably been pretty silly, but I like it.

LibraryMagazineRack

I asked my Significant Other before I shared these, and I tried not to do it where the room might look too messy (even though the books could be neater).

That’s why you aren’t seeing the shelf under the window. 😉 That one has some non-book items on top of it. Well, I should say, “non-book related items”. As you can see, I do keep some small things on the shelves, usually related to the category. The Lost in Space robot is in front of my science fiction/fantasy section.

You might look at this and wonder how I can find anything.

First, I tend to just remember where things are. My SO likes to tell the story about when my SO asked me where the taxes from a certain year were. I said something like, “They are on the top shelf of the bookshelf under the window, third pile from the right, about two thirds of the way up, next to something yellow.” 🙂

Second, the shelves are separated by category, which narrows it down.

Third, some sections, like science fiction/fantasy are alphabetized: that one is alphabetical by author, and within that by title.

When I alphabetize titles, I follow Leonard Maltin and treat numbers as though they are spelled out. So, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is in the “T”s, as though it was “Twenty Thousand Leagues”. That’s because sometimes it is spelled out, sometimes it isn’t. 😉

It’s also not quite as simple as that.

In some cases, I treat the series as if it is the author…Star Trek is one of those. The Doc Savage books have their own section in the library…they take up quite a bit of one of the bookshelves.

I also know some of you are cringing because I don’t have separate science fiction and fantasy sections. 😉 I’ve mentioned how I treat that before.

For me, any fiction which is intended to take place outside of consensus reality is fantasy. Within that, there is Science Fiction (which is possible within the framework of consensus science but isn’t happening now…for example, travel to Mars via rocket) and Fantasy, which isn’t (traditional magic, for example). I’m sure that regular readers won’t be surprised that I don’t find those categories to be hard and fast, though. 😉

It often comes down to intent, including the intent of how the author wants it perceived. An author may want FTL (Faster Than Light) travel of a hardware spaceship through conventional space to be believed to be scientifically possible, or for telepathy to be scientifically based. We can’t really judge intent, though, so it seems somewhat subjective to me.

Therefore, I lump all fantasy together on the shelves.

Even defining fantasy can be tricky. I include works as fantasy if the audience perceives it as fantasy, even if it is later shown in the work to have been a trick. Again, that’s pretty fluid.

My main goal in putting them together is to make it easier to find something when I want it. That’s more important to me than being strictly correct…so free association counts. 😉

I do have some rare items, and as you can perhaps tell, I don’t have humidity controlled, behind glass kind of storage. Is that irresponsible? It doesn’t feel like it. I have been able to keep books in good shape…not pristine, mint condition, but I don’t have these books to resell them (then it would matter), but in some cases to preserve them, and I am doing that.

Will this room ever go away and everything be in digital?

I suppose it might…at this point, it makes me nauseous to consider it. 😉 If the books I owned were already preserved in digital, I would then consider donating them to some place that would do actual preservation work. I would have to find somebody I thought would respect them…not just treat them as cultural artefacts. I might go so far as to say that I want someone who would love them.

I should also say, I’ve mentioned having ten thousand books on shelves in our house…they aren’t all in this room. Just about every room in the house has at least one bookshelf.

Well, now I’ve bared my shelves to you. 🙂

I think you can see why some of the titles might be controversial, but I decided I was more comfortable with you than with someone coming to inspect the house for some reason…

This is also a long way from having books piled on the floor, which I used to do. 🙂

How about you? If you have anything you want to share about how you have your p-books, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to a reader who improved this post with some copy-editing and chose to remain anonymous. 🙂 That’s one thing I’m finding with this new computer. I have to hit the keys harder than I’ve been doing, so a letter got missed. I have to see if I can adjust the feel of the keys…might be able to do that. If not, I’ll have to learn to pound the keys like it was ragtime. 😉

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 #297: Bookcon, Alexa plays a game

May 24, 2015

Round up #297: Bookcon, Alexa plays a game

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

Copy text on the Kindle Fire HDX

When did this happen?

People have often asked about copying text from a Kindle book. They want to paste it somewhere else…an e-mail, a Word document, that kind of thing.

The answer in the past has usually been to highlight it in the book, then go to

https://kindle.amazon.com

From there, you could copy and paste.

Not very convenient.

I was just highlighting something in a book I was reading on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

by “long pressing” (hold your finger or stylus on something on the screen for about a second) and dragging ove what I wanted, when I was that one of the choices was to “copy”.

When I tapped the copy button, it told me it was copied to the clipboard.

The “clipboard” is what Microsoft calls the place where something is temporarily stored when you copy something and then paste it somewhere else.

Back before we had Windows, I created something similar for myself…I called it the “bucket”, but the idea was the same. 🙂

I could then go to the native e-mail program, start a new message, and long press again to paste.

I was also able to paste it into a new document in

OfficeSuite Professional 7 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Well, this will make things a lot more convenient! It also makes the Fire tablet a much more capable device for work and school.

I am on version 9.8_1– of the Amazon Kindle app.

When I copied on Kindle for PC, it would give me a citation (identify the source of the book), but I’m actually glad this one doesn’t do that. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind having the option of the either one of the two…

A game you can play with your Amazon Echo

Back when the Amazon Kindle was first introduced in 2007, one question we would get was whether or not it played games.

It did, actually…I wrote about that back in 2010:

It’s the games Kindles play

There was a hidden version of “Minesweeper”.

Certainly, you may want to use your EBR (E-Book Reader) only for, you know, reading, but I think it’s nice to have the option. 😉

I’m guessing that the

Amazon Echo

Amazon’s “ambient computing” device (you talk to it…it does stuff) is going to have a general release in early July. That’s based on them not taking invitations any more, on it saying it is in stock on July 8th, and on them asking for video testimonials for it.

I’m sure people will ask if you can play games with it.

I asked mine it if played games, and it didn’t have an answer.

However, I tried:

“Alexa, scissors, paper, rock.”

Alexa responded with: “OK, let’s play. 3… 2… 1… scissors!”

Each time I ask, it responds with one of the three play options…and I don’t know which one it will choose.

In case you don’t know:

  • scissors cuts (wins over) paper
  • paper covers (wins over) rock
  • rock smashes (wins over) scissors

If you both “throw” the same choice, no one wins.

Have fun!

Oh, and for those of you who were curious…Alexa did not respond to the Big Bang Theory variant, “scissors, paper, rock, lizard, Spock”. 😉

Update: thanks to regular reader and commenter Phink for giving me the proper order to say the sequence…it should be “rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock”.  Then the Echo played the game! I’d never played it that way before, and interestingly, we both threw Spock. 🙂 I also didn’t know that it had originated before the Big Bang Theory, with Sam Kass and Karen Bryla. Thanks, Phink!

For more conversations I have had with the Echo, see

Alexa says

Yes, I did reference WarGames, and say, “Alexa, shall we play a game?” 😉 That didn’t get me much, but when I said, “Alexa, play global thermonuclear war,” the Echo responded, “I’d rather play chess.”

We bought a new computer…

…and we didn’t buy it from Amazon.

Honestly, I really wanted it to buy it from Amazon…not least because I could buy it at

http://smile.amazon.com

and get Amazon to donate some money to my designated non-profit (fifty cents per $100 I spend).

I also have credit at Amazon from doing our taxes through Turbotax (you can get a bonus on your refund if you take part of it as an Amazon gift card), and we have Prime, for free shipping.

Add it that I just like Amazon 🙂 and there’s usually no good reason to buy something big anywhere else.

In this case, though, I get e-mails from TigerDirect (I’ve used them in the past).

We’d already pretty much decided on a Lenova laptop.

Some of you may remember that we bought an Asus two-in-one not too long ago (it converts from a tablet to a laptop by means of a detachable keyboard).

The problem with that one?

The keyboard is really too small.

I type pretty well, and typing is what often moves me from using my Fire to something else.

I just can’t do it comfortably enough on that Asus.

It’s still a valuable device for us, and I use it in addition to a desktop we’ve had for many years…and that is, well, let’s call it geriatric. 😉

This laptop (I’m using it now) is more of a replacement for the desktop, eventually.

TigerDirect had Lenovo G50s for about $100 less than Amazon…and more memory.

I tried to get one once, and it sold out to quickly.

So, when one came up again, I went for it.

Earlier, I had pointed out to my Significant Other that getting one from Amazon would be free shipping…and my SO asked, perfectly reasonably, “Will the shipping be $100?” 😉

Nope…the shipping was about $9.

Just made sense to go with TigerDirect in this case.

I did install the Kindle app on it…you knew I was going to get back to the Kindle eventually, right? 😉

The Kindle app for Windows 8.1 does look beautiful! I’m not often impressed with the graphic design of an app, but I was with this one.

The one negative right offhand was that

Creepy Archives Volume 1 (Creepy Archives Box Set) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

wouldn’t open, and told me it wasn’t compatible with this version of the Kindle app.

I’d already read it, but I just thought it would look good on this big screen. 🙂

“A Podcaster’s Passion for Ebooks”

This is a great

article by Len Edgerly

who does The Kindle Chronicles podcast (I’ve appeared on it, but not for years).

Len has been reporting on Kindles and e-books longer than I have, and brings an informed and compassionate viewpoint (a rare combination).

I enjoyed this piece, and I think you will, too.

HuffPost: “8 Books to Read Over A Long Holiday Weekend”

I know the weekend’s more than half over, but you weren’t going to read just one book, right? 😉

Huffington Post Oprah Winfrey Network article

I think it’s an interesting set of choices…always a tough thing to do.

Bookcon is next week

I’ve mentioned before (although I’m not sure that I’ve done it in the blog) that I find it interesting that we have great celebrations for movies and TV, and not much for books.

I do understand that: reading is a very intimate activity, and so is writing.

However…

Authors seem to me to have become more pop culture friendly in the past decade or so.

Also, I think that authors have become more of a brand name…more associate with the movies based on their books.

I would guess that most even casual moviegoers know John Green and Nicholas Sparks, in addition to knowing Stephen King.

This is the second year of

Bookcon

which is done by the same people who do New York Comic Con, among other things.

I think they are doing a good job!

It looks exciting, it looks fun…it looks “now”!

Sure, the literati might not approve of it. Mindy Kaling and Nick Offerman might not be put at a literary tea with Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse…but why not? It would make for one interesting conversation. 😉

Check out their site…gee, I wonder if there will be cosplay as literary characters?

What do you think? Did you plan out a book (or more) to read this weekend? Are you going to Bookcon? Is it okay to make books pop culture, or should they be “elevated”? Do you ever copy text from a Kindle book to something else? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

I Love My Kindle | Fun and information about the Kindle and the world of e-books

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: up to 80% Off Popular Summer Reads

May 23, 2015

Today’s KDD: up to 80% Off Popular Summer Reads

One of today’s Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is any of fifteen “Popular Summer Reads” up to 80% off.

What makes a great summer read?

Well, I suppose you could make some selections based on release date. Summer is traditionally a big reading time…hypothetically, people have more time to read, especially students. It’s not just young people out of school, though. Many people take vacations during the summer, and that can be a great time to read.

That’s interesting…you would think that summer is about being active and being outdoors. You can read outdoors, of course. Oh, not as easily on a tablet as with a p-book (paperbook) or on an EBR like the

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

which you can read in bright sunlight just as easily as in a darkened room.4.4 s

There is, though, also that sense that summer is a time apart from your normal life. Maybe that’s ingrained in us from those school days. Maybe it’s that in some parts of the world, it really is nicer to travel in the summer.

Regardless, this set of books has some that would be good any time of year. 😉 Remember that you can buy these as gifts at these low prices, and delay the delivery until the appropriate gift giving occasion.

As always, check the price before you click or tap that “Buy” button. These prices are just for today, and may not apply in your country.

Titles include:

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen | 4.4 stars out of 5 | 6,853 customer reviews | $1.99 at time of writing
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri | 4.1 stars | 951 reviews | $2.99
  • The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan | 3.6 stars | 1,841 reviews | $1.99
  • Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (no, this is not in the public domain) 😉 | 4.4 stars | 1,101 reviews | $2.99
  • This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury | 4.7 stars | 148 reviews | $1.99

That’s just ten percent of them. 😉

Enjoy!

What do you think? What was one of your favorite summer reads? Do you feel like the season in which you read the book made a difference? Did you ever re-read a book in a different season and interpret it differently? What other books in this set would you recommend? 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.

June 2015 Kindle book releases

May 22, 2015

June 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.

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 5,519 (at time of writing) June releases in the USA Kindle store:

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

Of those, by the way, 858 are in

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

about 16% (a bit lower than last month).

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 one of these (even though they aren’t officially released until April) 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 some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are 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!

  • The Master Magician (The Paper Magician Series Book 3) by Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from Mystery Writers of America by Mary Higgins Clark and Lee Child
  • Connect: The Secret LinkedIn Playbook To Generate Leads, Build Relationships, And Dramatically Increase Your Sales by Josh Turner
  • Dirty Boys of Summer: Alphas, Billionaires, Bikers, and Jocks by Gennifer Albin and Evangeline Anderson (keep your eye open for this sort of thing…more than ten books in an omnibus for ninety-nine cents. I’m seeing more than just this one)
  • Tom Clancy Under Fire (A Jack Ryan Jr. Novel) by Grant Blackwood
  • In Plain Sight (Sisterhood) by Fern Michaels
  • Finders Keepers: A Novel by Stephen King
  • Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World H*llhole by Ann Coulter
  • The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Power of Meow by David Michie
  • Isn’t That Rich?: Life Among the 1 Percent by Richard Kirshenbaum and Michael Gross
  • Some Were In Time: Shift Happens Book Two by Robyn Peterman
  • Target Israel by Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson
  • The Phantom Bully (Star Wars: Jedi Academy #3) by Jeffrey Brown
  • Downton Tabby (The Pampered Pets Series) by Sparkle Abbey
  • The Prince of Minor Writers: The Selected Essays of Max Beerbohm by Max Beerbohm and Phillip Lopate
  • No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness by Michelle Segar
  • The Gentle Art of Murder: Dorothy Martin investigates (A Dorothy Martin Mystery) by Jeanne M. Dams
  • The Cost of Courage by Charles Kaiser
  • Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer and August Cole
  • The Paranormal Conspiracy: The Truth about Ghosts, Aliens, Mysterious Beings and the Deepest Longings of Your…by Timothy J. Dailey
  • Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran by Nina Ansary
  • Margery Allingham’s Mr Campion’s Fox: A brand-new Albert Campion mystery written by Mike Ripley by Mike Ripley
  • The English Spy by Daniel Silva
  • Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition by Nisid Hajari
  • The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes by Zach Dundas
  • The Deeper Genome: Why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye by John Parrington
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison
  • A Stolen Childhood: A dark past, a terrible secret, a girl without a future by Casey Watson
  • Storm and Steel (The Book of the Black Earth) by Jon Sprunk
  • Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion by Gary D Chapman
  • Blood Sisters (Katie Maguire) by Graham Masterton
  • Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
  • Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos

Well, again…quite the mix!

June 1st also marks the publication of one of my siblings’ first novel:

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Fascinating to watch how it’s doing as we get within ten days! Reviews from “regular readers” (as opposed to well-known authors and such) have started to show up at Amazon. Those will be from people who were part of the crowd sourcing campaign, who got the book pre-release. We were talking about it yesterday, and I mentioned that I don’t think I can fairly review it (given the relationship). Oh, I think I’d do okay at separating myself, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to do it. 🙂

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.

Reflections: 5 ways e-books are better

May 21, 2015

Reflections: 5 ways e-books are better

I didn’t think I would like e-books.

I was wrong.

Regular readers have heard me say that before. My first Kindle (one of the very first generation, which was released in 2007) was a gift.

Now, I’d had a very long history with paperbooks (p-books).

I’d been a bookstore manager, I used to travel with a separate suitcase just for books, I always had an “emergency book” with me (in case, tragedy of tragedies, I finished one while I was away from the house and had nothing to read), I had a floor to ceiling library (in a room which our kid eventually noticed was bigger than our kid’s bedroom), and owned books that were 100 years old.

That doesn’t mean I was a rich person who indulged in books as a hobby.

Those floor to ceiling bookshelves? They weren’t built-ins. We bought them “as is” from Ikea…some of them were as low as $5. Yep , five dollars for an assembled bookcase.

They don’t all exactly match, and we bought some of them with scratches and other imperfections.

I figured, hey, you aren’t going to see those anyway. I was right on that…the shelves are often two deep, with another layer with the books sideways on top.

Our best friends have said they will never help us move again, because of all the books. 🙂

I sometimes had the same book in several editions (The Wizard of Oz), for example, because I liked the actual morphology and design of the books, not just the words in them.

Like a lot of book people, I sort of dismissed e-books. Oh, I wouldn’t say I was dismissive of them, and I wouldn’t have denigrated anybody for reading them…they just seemed…ephemeral.

According to Isaac Bonewits, author of

Real Magic (at Amazon Smile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the Law of Contagion in magic (Bonewits has done non-fiction analysis of how magic is believed to work) is

“Objects or beings in physical or psychic contact with each other continue to interact after separation.”
http://www.neopagan.net/AT_Laws.html

I, irrationally, felt that physical books had a special connection with me.

I wouldn’t say I actually thought that was the case, but I felt it.

Books that I had since I was a child seemed almost alive to me, like old friends.

If I knew a book had been owned by someone else in particular, I felt (not thought, felt) that it was “imbued with their essence” in some way.

E-books? They weren’t going to have any of that.

However, I was willing to give it a try…you know, like augmented reality of Stephen King’s “3-D sound book” decades ago. I didn’t think it would actually become part of my life, but it would be fun to experience. Sort of like…you don’t take a roller coaster to work, but they can be great on vacation. 😉

Well, I would never have predicted that I would do all of my regular reading with e-books!

Yes, I go back every once in a while to look something up in one of my p-books, but my day to day reading? That’s all e.

Why is that?

Part of it, I think, is that I am good at changing my positions.

I’m always open to other ideas.

I love looking at a behavior of mine, sometimes one of which I am completely unaware, and finding a better way…and most importantly, being able to make that shift (and love it).

I want to be very clear: I didn’t change to e-books to be trendy. 😉 I certainly did it before it was a trend, for one thing, but also, logically, I think they are better for my day to day reading.

Not better in every single circumstance. There is nothing wrong with reading p-books, and I want to see them all preserved. I don’t like art made out of books, where the books are destroyed in the process (like plates with embedded book covers…I’ve seen that sort of thing at arts and crafts fairs).

However, if I just want to read a book? It’s always an e-book now.

Here are five reasons why.

1. Text-to-speech

I would have laughed at the idea that I would like software reading me a book! This has been the biggest boon, the biggest shift. I typically listen to TTS for hours a week in the car. The technology has gotten much better over the years, which helps…but the main thing, as I like to say, is that driving is no longer “wasted non-reading time”. 😉 If I’m in a position where I can as easily sight read as listen to text-to-speech, I’m going to sight read. That’s not always the case, though. Much of technology becomes adopted because it is “better than nothing”. That’s going to be the case with robots (which I write about quite often in my The Measured Circle blog. Is a robot caregiver in the home better than a licensed social worker for an autistic child? No. Is it better than nothing? Absolutely! You can’t afford to have a social worker in every autistic child’s home, and I can’t sight read while I’m driving. I would not consume books anywhere near as quickly as I do because of TTS. I think publishers make a mistake when they block the access, partially for that reason.

2. The invulnerability of e

When I read a p-book, you usually can’t tell it has been read. I don’t even break the spine on a mass market paperback. That is, though, hard work. I love that when I read an e-book, I can’t degrade it! When someone is using our guest Kindle, they can’t mess up “my copy” of the book. I used to keep several copies of some books around (like The Man of Bronze, the first Doc Savage book) so I could just give them to people, rather than loaning them a copy. I didn’t want to have to worry about the damage…with e-books, that’s never an issue.

3. Increasable text size

This has become more important for me over time. As I write this, I am wearing one dollar glasses from the dollar store (I now also buy very inexpensive reading glasses from Amazon, but these literally came from a dollar store). I do tend to wear them when I read on a Kindle…but it’s really nice not to have to do that. I’d probably be into large print books now if I were reading p-books…and those are expensive, physically larger, and not always available.

4. Simultaneous Device Licenses

The ability for us to have the same book on multiple devices at the same time for one download price has changed (for the better) my reading relationship with my Significant Other. When a new Stephanie Plum comes out, we now read it at the same time (thanks to TTS, I tend to finish first, but we start at the same time). We can talk about it afterwards. I’d never read a Stephanie Plum before the Kindle. My SO would read one…and then give it to a sibling or someone else. Reading a book is one of the most intimate acts there is (just you connecting directly to the author through the words). Talking about a book with someone else, therefore, reveals some of your inner self. I wouldn’t have thought about this being a benefit of e-books, but it really is.

5. You ain’t heavy…you’re my e-book

It’s absolutely amazing to be able to easily carry ten books with me and switch back and forth whenever I want! I always tended to be reading more than one book concurrently. I would often have a book in each room in the house, and just read whichever one was where I was. I kept that emergency book I mentioned above in the car, and then I might have two with me. I love, love, love being able to bounce around! With access to wi-fi (which is common where I am), I can also download more if I want. One big reason why the Kindle exploded the e-book market and other devices hadn’t (there were more than ten EBRs…E-Book Readers available in the USA market when the Kindle was released) was that you could download wirelessly. Before I got the Kindle, I still thought of reading an e-book as either doing it on a computer, or plugging a device into a computer, downloading the book and transferring it over a period of perhaps minutes…with very little capacity on the device to hold books. I thought e-books weren’t more convenient than my home library, I thought they were less so. The Kindle completely inverted that: e-books are far more convenient for me than p-books! I think my SO had the best line. In the early days of the Kindle, someone sneeringly said to my SO, “I like the feel of a book in my hand.” My SO replied, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” Exactly.

Those are just five of the reasons, and there are more. I would miss each and every one of those if I had to go back to just p-books.

How about you? Think back…what have been the biggest advantages for you of e-books? Did you first try an e-book as a lark, as an experiment…or did you already know you would like them? 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!

* 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.

Obama’s plan for needs tested library books…where have I heard that before? ;)

May 20, 2015

Obama’s plan for needs tested library books…where have I heard that before? 😉

Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re wrong…and sometimes, you are just ahead of the curve. 😉

About two and a half years ago, I got one of the most…oppositional responses I’ve ever gotten to this post:

What should the role of public libraries be?

In it, I reiterated something I said in the blog about a year before that…on February 3, 2013:

Random House continues its commitment to unrestricted public library lending

In that one, I said:

“I still think that what may happen in the future is that all of the publishers may allow e-book lending…and a needs-tested basis. In other words, for people who are “certified poor” in some way (one possibility would be proof of enrollment in some appropriate government program, such as food stamps), the publishers would allow them to borrow e-books for free.

Publishers could do that directly, or might do it through a public library system or even through retailers like Amazon.

Publishers have always donated books (and gotten write-offs for it), and I think they would participate in a program like that.”

That might not have been the first time I’d brought up that idea in the blog, but it’s a clear statement of it.

Well, President Obama recently basically announced that plan:

FACT SHEET: Spreading the Joy of Reading to More Children and Young Adults

They’ve gotten commitments from the Big 5 USA trade (trade books are the ones  you bought in bookstores…not textbooks and such) publishers (Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan) to make e-books available to low-income children through an app.

Those are also major e-books (including Dr. Seuss)…and I think many of them are not currently available to the general public through public libraries (as e-books), or have pretty serious restrictions put on the libraries.

There’s also a push to get libraries and schools connected to high speed internet (at least 99% of them) by 2018

Whitehouse.gov ConnectED

through the ConnectED program.

Add to that working to get every kid a library card, and yes, that’s pretty much what I thought would happen.

I just thought it too soon. 😉

Actually, I didn’t make any kind of prediction as to when it might happen, and I thought it might take a while.

In the intervening time, more tradpub (traditional publisher) books have gotten into public libraries (although it’s felt like they’ve been dragged, resisting all the way in some cases), and restrictions have…loosened.

I’m still okay with the idea that low-income people could have access to free books that people with more income pay to get.

Now, I totally get the idea that a public library should be all of the world’s information available to everyone equally for free. That’s certainly the ideal.

I just don’t think it’s achievable at this point.

I also still think that if the Obama administration were to say that the Big 5 needed to make those books free through public libraries without needs testing, it simply wouldn’t happen.

I’d rather have some people be able to get them that way than no people.

It also seems like a practical investment to me.

There is evidence that kids exposed to more books end up making more money (and perhaps paying more taxes to the government).

Hm…I’d be interested to know if that doesn’t have a sort of saturation point.

My intuition is that, if you take a child with access to zero books and give them access to 1,000, it makes more of a difference in earning potential than if you take a child with access to ten thousand books and give them access to 1,000 more.

That’s just my guess, though…don’t have the studies to back it up.

Having this happen for the kids makes me feel good…and yes, I’m glad I suggested it here in the blog.

Gee, maybe if I last long enough, that idea I had decades ago for a decimal time system will catch on.

I’m not holding my breath on that one…not even for a kilosecond. 😉

What do you think? Is this program a good thing? Will it really happen? What difference does it make to give a low-income child access to books versus a child of means? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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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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