Archive for November, 2015

Amazon’s 8 days of holidays sale starts Friday: deals include Kindles, Fires

November 18, 2015

Amazon’s 8 days of holidays sale starts Friday: deals include Kindles, Fires

In this

press release

Amazon announces upcoming deals for the holidays, starting this Friday, November 20th and going through Black Friday, November 27th.

They aren’t telling us when particular deals will happen during that window, and they will often last a short amount of time and sell out quickly.

They are really pushing the

Amazon Mobile Shopping App (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ve linked the Android tablet app, but you can also get it for iOS. This one is compatible with our Fire tablets and my (now discontinued) Fire Phone.

Why do you want it?

One thing is that there will be more than 150 app only deals available from Thanksgiving through December 9th (not all of them at once…they’ll be released sporadically during that period). The sales will start at 3:00 PM PM to 11:00 PM PT.

The other one though, and this seems like it could be a game changer, is the “Watch a Deal” feature. It looks to me like you’ll say you want to be notified when  particular deal starts, and you’ll get a notification.

If you are going to track this yourself, one big site is

http://www.amazon.com/blackfriday (at AmazonSmile*)

One other logistical thing: members of

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

will get early access to some deals…deals which, hypothetically, could sell out before non-Prime members see them.

So, what are some of the relevant “eight days” deals?

  • Kindle Paperwhite $99.99
  • $30 off Kindle and Kindle for Kids Bundle
  • The new Fire tablet, normally $49.99, for $34.99
  • $25 off Amazon Fire TV
  • $15 off Amazon Fire TV Stick and Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (the Stick is the least expensive way to get partial access to the Alexa Voice Service…and you don’t need the Voice Remote do do it, if you use the Alexa app on your SmartPhone

There will be many other deals. I’m just guessing, but I’m sure there will be many on e-books. I would also expect them to offer a Prime discount (maybe for a multi-year subscription), and something for Kindle Unlimited (again, could be multi-year, or a bundle with a Kindle or Fire). I think we’ll hear about some very short term or conditional deal on the Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). Those are all just guesses, though. 🙂

If you aren’t a Prime member, I’d consider it. It depends on what you spend, of course, but it could easily pay for itself this holiday season.

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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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Scientific study compares bedtime reading risk from iPad, iPhone, PW1

November 17, 2015

Scientific study compares bedtime reading risk from iPad, iPhone, PW1

Oh, I’m very interested in your feedback on this one!

I’ve written many times about the difference between how a

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

or other frontlit device (the Voyage, and some other EBRs…E-Book Readers) versus how a backlit tablet, like the

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black(at AmazonSmile*)

or other backlit devices (the other Fires, a SmartPhone, a computer, a TV, and so on)

work, in terms of lighting.

On a backlit device, the lighting is behind the screen: what you see is between your eye and the light source.

On a frontlit device, the light is on the same side of the screen that you are. A light is pointed at the screen and bounces off…the same way that you can read when using a desk lamp, or the sun.

I find the Paperwhite and Voyage to be the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had…including paper.

A lot of people are concerned about how reading on a screen may be affecting their sleep habits. They have heard about “blue light” keeping them up at night, by messing with your biological system (perhaps they have heard that melatonin is involved).

I’ve always believed that the Paperwhite was not as bad…that reading on my Fire in bed would be more likely to keep me awake than reading on my Voyage.

Well, there’s now been a scientific study which produces some interesting and specific data…but I’m not sure I follow or agree with their conclusions:

Bigger, Brighter, Bluer-Better? Current light-emitting devices – adverse sleep properties and preventative strategies by Paul Gringras, Benita Middleton, Debra J. Skene, and Victoria L. Revell in Frontiers of Public Health

They tested the light emissions from an iPad, an iPhone, and a Paperwhite first gen. You can read the specifics of the models…I want to encourage you to look at the original report.

Here is a sort excerpt from the results:

“All the LE devices shared very similar enhanced short-wavelength peaks when displaying text. This included the output from the backlit Kindle Paperwhite device.”

That’s right: they found that the Paperwhite and the iPad had similar outputs in a measurement they suggested would negatively impact your sleep.

Many of the measurements they did were quite different for the iPad and the Paperwhite…about an order of magnitude (ten times) different. However, I guess those aren’t the wavelengths they consider impactful.

They also tested two remediation strategies: one hardware, one software.

The hardware one was for the user to wear goggles that filtered light.

The software one was to have the device go into a “sleep mode”, and shift the colors of the output.

Obviously, asking people to wear goggles to bed would not be an easy cultural  shift. If we could get people to do that sort of thing, they’d be wearing helmets when driving their cars…that would save a lot of lives, from what I’ve heard. 🙂

The software fix makes more sense to me.

I love that the “nightstand” clock on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7″ has red numerals!

I have superior night vision, which may be connected to my color vision deficiency  (“partial colorblindness”). When my Significant Other first met me, the light on my nightstand was a 25 watt red lightbulb…that was plenty for me.

So, I know I’m not typical. 🙂

I know, though, that a color shift could matter to even me as to how bright a light seems.

I have to say, my Voyage does not seem like it is keeping me up at all. I read a few “pages” in bed, and I’m ready for sleep…well, there is a big nighttime routine before that that is about half an hour, but the Voyage doesn’t seem to keep me up any more than a p-book (paperbook) did…less, I’d say.

My guess is that we may see a mode like this in the future, touted by the device manufacturers. There are all some things that do this, some settings on some computers, some apps.

My sense of the study is that their methodology for gathering the technical data was reasonable, for a small sample.

I’m not sure that that data does, though, cause the problems they suggest. I’d like to see studies with people actually using a frontlit device versus a backlit device and how it affected their sleep.

Oh, that’s one other thing: the study refers to something some of you already noticed…they say the Paperwhite is a backlit device, and it’s not. That doesn’t make me doubt their measurements, but does show a certain…lack of precision.

What do you think? Have you noticed any difference if you switched from a backlit device to a frontlit one when reading before going to sleep? How does it compare to reading with a nightstand light? If you do read the journal article, feel free to tell me and my readers what you think about it 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.

The three tiers of readers

November 15, 2015

 The three tiers of readers

There was a time when only the rich could read.

Literacy was actively limited. It was illegal to teach some groups of people to read.

For example, there is this bill from 1830 in North Carolina:

A Bill to Prevent All Persons from Teaching Slaves to Read or Write, the Use of Figures Excepted (1830)

Books were also very expensive: rare, hand-crafted items.

Certainly, Gutenberg was one of the most important changes, in the mid-15th Century. The new tech made books more easily reproduced, and more widely distributed.

The early 19th Century, with the Industrial Revolution, brought a new level of literacy and leisure…cheap books in “low brow” genres flourished: penny dreadfuls in England, and later (into the early 20th Century), dime novels in the USA.

Another major change came in the 1930s with the rise of paperbacks: inexpensive, “mass market” versions of the same books that came out in relatively expensive hardbacks. That was the notable change from the penny dreadfuls and dime novels: while mass market paperbacks did have genre novels, it was also possible to read the same content as the upper class.

In the 21st Century (especially following the release of the Kindle in 2007), e-books further democratized books. Super low cost distribution transformed publishing from being mostly in the hands of a few companies that could afford to develop and distribute p-books (paperbooks) to something anyone could do.

However…

Those traditional publishers (tradpub) still exist, and still have a concentration of power. There is still prestige in owning books. As reading competes with other forms of entertainment, it hasn’t simply become what television was before “pay TV”, where almost everyone could see the same shows.

I’m seeing indications of a three-tiered market for books. This is not something I’m saying definitively exists right now. It’s a hypothesis for what may be happening, and how things may develop.

If things do turn out to follow this pattern, it will matter to you as a reader.

Publishers and retailers would develop for and market to the different tiers differently. Since advertising is now very channeled (different people see different things), you might not even be aware of a book you would otherwise want to read.

What I’m going to do next is lay out the characteristics of the three tiers of readers. I’m also going to poll you, to see which one you think you might be. I also want to be clear…you could be more than one, but my guess is that one of them will be the strongest affiliation for you.

Top Tier

  • Price point: ten dollars and up
  • Buying window for new releases: right away
  • How much they read: usually reading one book, but might take a couple of weeks or more to read a novel
  • High end brand user: more likely to use an Apple tablet than an Amazon one, but may own a Kindle Voyage or other top of the line EBR (E-Book Reader) in addition
  • Authors: John Grisham, Michael Connelly
  • Publishers: the tradpubs, limited release editions from specialty houses
  • Discovery: old media, especially magazines and newspapers, like the New York Times
  • Summary: doesn’t compromise, likes paying more to get a book right away

Middle Tier

  • Price point: under ten dollars, but still costing something. $1.99, $2.99, $0.99, $4.99 are popular
  • Buying window for new releases: waits for them to go on sale, but will likely read a favorite author within a year or two of release
  • How much they read: usually at least a book a week, may be more than that
  • Doesn’t worry about having the very best brand: wants value for the dollar. Still wants functionality. Reads e-books on an Amazon device, but more likely to have a Paperwhite than a Voyage
  • Authors: Marko Kloos, Jana Aston
  • Publishers: many independents through Kindle Direct Publishing and other sources; some tradpubs, but mostly backlist and frontlist on sale
  • Discovery: the Amazon website, Goodreads, word of mouse (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media)
  • May use subsers (subscription services, like Kindle Unlimited ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*))
  • Summary: committed reader, but money matters. Willing to experiment to save some money

Lower Tier

  • Price point: almost always zero (including getting gifts from others)
  • Buying window for new releases: release day doesn’t really matter
  • How much they read: constantly, but quite likely to abandon books before they are finished. Doesn’t waste time on a book they don’t like
  • Reads on a SmartPhone,  a computer, or a cheap tablet. May have an inexpensive EBR, maybe one they got as a gift. Doesn’t have the latest generation
  • Authors: people you’ve never heard of (and possibly they’ve never heard of), but also a lot of the classics which are free because they are public domain
  • Publishers: indies, especially authors who self-publish
  • Discovery: digs around for book bargains, uses Project Gutenberg, Twitter, free book forums, the public library. Update: reader Kacey Llano made the excellent point that some Lower Tier readers will use the same discovery as the Upper Tier readers. They’ll find out about a newly published, frontlist, tradpub book…and then go to the public library to get it (or to go on a waiting list for it). They still aren’t directly spending the money for the book
  • Summary: passionately committed to reading, but doesn’t care about the status of having read the latest book. It’s not so much about what you read: it’s the reading itself that matters

Those are my initial ideas on it. I’m interested in your feedback on it, which may help to refine it. For example, I think the top tier readers may use subsers…and may have several subscriptions, but don’t end up using them very much. Middle tier readers may use the public library.

Let’s do the poll next…if you think you are equally two or more tiers, you can choose more than one.

Update: reader Kacey Llano asked me if this was about your reading habits or how much you spend, in terms of choosing a tier. It’s about how much you spend. My whole thinking on this is about the marketing of the books. If you get the books from the public library, the publisher has to market to the library, not directly to you. Certainly, they could try to get public buzz to influence a library to buy a license, but I think they would be more likely to market to top tiers and directly to libraries (or library suppliers).

 

Now, what do you think? Am I underestimating how much Top Tier readers read? Are there other strata you would suggest? What other characteristics identify these three? Is it too soon to figure out where marketing is going to go for e-books? If these are right, how do you see it affecting publishers, retailers, and readers? 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.

 

12 of the 20 USA Kindle store paid bestsellers are in Kindle Unlimited

November 15, 2015

12 of the 20 USA Kindle store paid bestsellers are in Kindle Unlimited

It feels to me like

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

keeps becoming more and more valuable.

I’ve been a happy member of KU since it started. It’s a subser (a subscription service)…you pay $9.99 a month, although we have been able to buy longer periods at a discount (expect to see some deals on this, at least for Prime members, during this holiday season).

There are 1,144,062 books in the program right now, and it keeps growing.

Certainly, those aren’t the “top tier” books, for the  most part…relatively expensive, new titles from the Big Five USA trade publishers.

However, there are a lot of popular books (and solid backlist titles).

I was looking at the

Best Sellers in Kindle eBooks (at AmazonSmile*)

and was surprised to see that fourteen of the top twenty are in KU.

My first thought was that they might books in the

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

but certainly, that didn’t really account for fourteen. 😉

This one caught my eye (at number 3):

Learn JavaScript VISUALLY
by Ivelin Demirov

It’s in KU, or it’s $0.99. 4.6  stars out of 5, and 263 customer reviews…nice!

Let’s take a quick look a that top 20:

Title KU? Price
The Short Drop No $5.99
Pretend You’re Mine Yes $0.99
Learn JavaScript VISUALLY Yes $0.99
Mechanic Yes $0.99
Rogue Lawyer No $14.99
Roommates Yes $1.99
The Crossing No $14.99
The Einstein Prophecy Yes $1.99
The Bad Buy Arrangement Yes $0.99
Christmas in Good Hope No $5.99
Arrogant Playboy Yes $0.99
Prince Albert Yes $0.99
Life and Other Near-Death Experiences Yes $5.99
Troublemaker No $13.99
Undercover Love Yes $2.99
Bear fur Hire Yes $0.99
The Good Neighbor Yes $4.99
Mine to Tell Yes $3.99
Call Me Killer Yes $0.99
Clara’s Law No $1.99

Update: I wanted to comment more on these figures.

I’ve been writing recently about three tiers of readers, and I plan to do a separate post on that…but I think this top twenty is illustrative of the hypothesis.

Three out of twenty of these books cost more than $10, and would clearly appeal to what I call the top tier of readers.

I want to be very clear: I’m not saying those are better readers, or even the more important readers in terms of the market. 🙂 It’s really a question of price strata and quantity of purchases.

The other seventeen of these would fall into the second tier: people who spend some money for books, but are willing to buy from less traditional publishers, and to wait for other books to go on sale.

What about the third tier?

Those are the ones who almost never pay for books…and they have their own bestseller list at Amazon:

Top 100 Free Best Sellers (at AmazonSmile*)

Some of those books, by the way, are highly rated. For example, Rebel by Elle Casey has 4.5 stars and 371 customer reviews.

More on these three tiers in an upcoming 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.

Surviving “The End”: advice for literary characters (part 2)

November 14, 2015

Surviving “The End”: advice for literary characters (part 2)

“Welcome back!

This is the second in my lecture series on how to survive your first novel here at Fictional Characters University. If you missed the first one, well, you might want to have a talk with your placement counselor.

Here’s a link to the recording of the first one, in case you want to review it later:

Surviving “The End”: advice for literary characters (part 1)

You’ll find it in your reference materials, and online at my FCU homepage.

Just to refresh your recollection, I’m Thackeray “Tack” Carlson. I’ve been in 23 novels, and a heap of adaptations, and I made my first appearance in 1936.

You might think 23 puts me into a rarefied category, but you know what? Just being in two novels does that. We characters don’t have much of a life expectancy…not one percent of us make it past our first novel and on to a second one.

You’re all here because you are hoping to be one of the lucky ones.

Well, let me tell you…there is a lot of luck involved.

Sure as daylight in Dallas, though, it’s not just luck. There are things you can do to up your odds. There are no guarantees: it doesn’t matter how good a case I’ve made in court, you never know what’s going to happen in that deliberation room.”

“Professor Carlson?”

“Tack is fine…I’m not on the faculty here, just a guest lecturer.”

“Um…I was wondering. As a fictional lawyer, don’t you know you are going to win every case?”

“Well, let’s just say I’ve won my fair share…some people might say more than that. No question, I’ve got it easier than my real world counterparts, but I’ve lost a few cases. I guess the difference is that when I lose, something good always comes out of it. Wouldn’t satisfy my fans if it didn’t. As I was saying, there are some guidelines for getting to number two.

Last time, I talked about embracing change. You need an origin story. You see, we fictional folks are extraordinary. That’s what makes us worth reading about. People are going to want to know what made you that way. They want to see a path from every day to once in a lifetime. That doesn’t mean they want to walk that path…most of them are just fine with the troubles and tribulations they have now. It just helps them sympathize and yes, believe in you, if they can see how you got there.

Does anybody remember what I said I was going to talk about this time?”

“Be the same.”

“Yep. Thanks for paying attention last time…or for cheating off the website on your SmartPhone. Either one shows initiative.

You see, I don’t want to set you up just to get to two books…I want you to do a series. You have to figure out what makes a reader want to find out more about you…and what makes them satisfied when they do.

What’s your name, ‘be the same’?”

“Antares Nebula”.

“Science fiction?”

“Young adult. My name’s meta: I’m a kid from a hunter/gatherer culture who got adopted by geek parents.”

“Okay. You knew the topic of today’s talk…do you mind if I use you to illustrate a point?”

“Go ahead…I’m used to that.”

“What’s the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse?”

“Silver.”

“I’m impressed! I wasn’t sure you’d know.”

“I’ve got the internet. Besides, my parents taught me to be interested in everything, and John Reid’s one of the original superheroes.”

John Reid? Are you sure?”

“I wanted to keep it simple. I’ve found I have a tendency to confuse people.”

“Got it. Well, the point is, you knew the name of his horse. Lots of people do. Does your family have a car?”

“No. We’re part of the sharing economy…we don’t like to own stuff.”

“I understand. Do you know anybody who has a car?”

“Some people at my Mom’s work.”

“What are the names of their cars?”

“You mean like the model?”

“No, the individual car. Since we’re talking about the Reid family, like the Black Beauty.”

“I don’t know.”

“Has any of them had more than one car since you’ve known them?”

“Sure. My Mom’s co-worker totaled hers.”

“That’s too bad.”

“It really wasn’t…long story, and one I probably shouldn’t talk about in class.”

“We don’t want to get anybody in trouble. Did she get the same kind of car?”

“No.”

“Was anybody shocked that she got a different car?”

“Not really.”

“What if the Lone Ranger drove that same car?”

“The Lone Ranger doesn’t drive a car.”

“Exactly, thank you. The Lone Ranger doesn’t drive a car. The Lone Ranger rides a horse named Silver. The Lone Ranger also wears a mask. The Lone Ranger uses silver bullets, and doesn’t shoot to kill. All of those are things that make the Lone Ranger, well, the Lone Ranger. Readers expect to see those elements when they see the Lone Ranger.”

“What about Tonto?”

“Hold on to that thought…I’m going to come back to that.

Real worlders aren’t defined the same way…they are much more complex. Think about it: how many words describe one of us when a reader first meets us? How many data points? It would be unusual if readers knew more than about five things about us after that first encounter. I’m a mixed race lawyer cowboy with a horse named Seafounder. That defines me.

When a real worlder meets another real worlder, they have probably a hundred data points or more: height, hair color, eye color, accent, shoe brand, where they sit in the room, what car they drive, brand of clothes, perfume or cologne or whatever, and so on.

Change one of my characteristics and I might be twenty percent different to the average reader. Change one characteristic about a real worlder, and it’s only maybe one percent.”

“Question?”

“Are you asking one, or did you want me to ask you one?”

“Um…asking. It’s not really important, though.”

“I was just kidding you…let’s let the class decide what’s important. That’s what the readers do when we speak, anyway.”

“I was just wondering: why is your horse’s name Seafounder?”

“Well, I don’t know about everybody else, but I think that’s a great question…especially since it lets me give you a great answer. My original author’s name is Buck Tooson, but as I mentioned last time, her real name was Mary Prydudd. Anybody know what kind of name that is?”

“Welsh?”

“You got it. Anybody here speak Welsh? No? Worth a shot…I’ve noticed every year that these classes are getting to be more diverse. ‘Cyfiawnder’ is Welsh for ‘Justice’. Buck figured, rightly I think, that folks would have anglicized that, so Cyfiawnder become Seafounder. Now, I know a lot of you probably don’t see a connection between being a lawyer and justice, but Buck did, and I do, too. Good story, right? Thanks again for asking.

Let’s see…oh, yes.  So, you don’t to go against what people expect to see. I call the principle, ‘Ride the same horse’.

Does that sound boring?

It doesn’t have to be…although be careful about what your author wants to make part and parcel of your main characteristics. You want it to be flexible enough to work in a lot of situations. Remember, you can refuse to pick up that buggy whip, if that’s what the author wants you to do. If you are really uncomfortable with it, they can tell.”

“I don’t want to be the same all the time.”

“There are some options for taking a personality vacation every once in a while. You can go undercover as someone else. You can have a dream sequence. You can go off canon…you know, in parodies and fan fiction, unofficial adventures. Just don’t overdue it.

Now, who asked me about Tonto?”

“That was me.”

“What’s your story?”

“I bake cupcakes that change people’s lives. You see, I have deep insight into the problems people have, and I bake a specific cupcake with particular flavors, ingredients, and decorations that act as a catalyst to send them in a new direction.”

“That’s different. Who else is in the bakery with you?”

“I’m pretty much it, at least as the story goes so far.”

“Do you see the same people, after you change them?”

“No.”

“Nobody helps you? There are no recurring characters besides you? You don’t have a Tonto?”

“Not in eleven short stories, and not in the latest draft of the novel. Is that a problem?”

“Let’s just say that’s going to be the topic of my next lecture in this series: Rule #3: have interesting friends and/or enemies. See you all then!”

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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

E-books at my public library

November 13, 2015

E-books at my public library

I check in, from time to time, on my local public library’s site to see how their adoption of e-books is going.

I’m not likely to borrow one, by the way. My reasoning for that is pretty simple:

Before I go on, you might wonder why there are waiting lists at all. Can’t the library just make more copies for their readers? Not for books under copyright protection. They pay for a license to loan those books, and they are limited as to how many “copies” they can loan out at a time.

I consider this library to be pretty big…it’s the library for the county, and the one that I have used when I would check something on paper.

I’m going to limit this to fiction first…it’s easier to look at that way.

They have 4,816 Kindle books.

Interestingly, they have 5,220 ePub books…more of those.

The most popular book is The Girl on the Train. They have 24 “copies”…and a waiting list of 11 people per copy. If we figure it takes a week for one to become available (and it certainly might not work that way…people are reading it simultaneously. Still, on the other side, some people will more than a week to read it), the wait time would be very roughly about six weeks.

Here are the most popular fiction titles:

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins | 24 copies | 11 waiting per copy
  2. The Martian by Andy Weir | 22 copies | 11 waiting per copy
  3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | 24 copies | 7 waiting per copy
  4. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee | 12 copies | 12 waiting per copy
  5. Make Me by Lee Child  | 6 copies | 16 waiting per copy
  6. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by Lee Lagercrantz | 8 copies | 18 waiting per copy
  7. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah | 9 copies | 15 waiting per copy
  8. X by Sue Grafton | 4 copies | 15 waiting per copy
  9. Gray Mountain by John Grisham | 15 copies | it says zero are available, but doesn’t list how many are waiting per copy
  10. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham | 3 copies | 19 waiting per copy

You could be waiting a looong time for Rogue Lawyer!

If any of you are librarians (I think some of you are), I’m curious…how hard it is to adjust the number of licenses you have? I assume it is quite difficult…that there is a fair amount of process to go through to add or subtract licenses.

The first book which is available without a wait is #12, which is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn…8 of 25 copies available. It’s been a #1 New York Times bestseller, and has been popular (and was the inspiration for a hit movie). Still, it’s worth noting that it is more than three years old.

Through the top one hundred, the vast majority of them have a waitlist.

3,002 of the books are available without waiting: about 62%.

These are the subjects they list for fiction:

Fiction(5227)
Romance(2401)
Literature(1523)
Historical Fiction(999)
Mystery(735)
Suspense(703)
Thriller(621)
Fantasy(470)
Christian Fiction(220)
Science Fiction(185)
Short Stories(135)
Humor (Fiction)(105)
Erotic Literature(93)
African American Fiction(73)
Classic Literature(71)
Western(65)
Horror(49)
Juvenile Fiction(34)
Mythology(13)
Urban Fiction(13)
Drama(9)
Poetry(7)
Non-English Fiction(6)
Young Adult Fiction(5)
Science Fiction & Fantasy(4)
Chick Lit Fiction(3)
Comic and Graphic Books(3)
Travel Literature(2)
Young Adult Literature(2)
Business(1)
Folklore(1)
Foreign Language(1)
Sociology(1)

There are 1,566 non-fiction titles, in these 50 subjects:

Nonfiction(1747)
Biography & Autobiography(592)
History(415)
Business(135)
Sociology(126)
Politics(120)
Religion & Spirituality(103)
Self-Improvement(101)
Travel(98)
Cooking & Food(80)
Family & Relationships(73)
Humor (Nonfiction)(73)
True Crime(72)
Military(70)
Performing Arts(68)
Essays(63)
Science(62)
Health & Fitness(59)
Psychology(57)
Literary Criticism(36)
Medical(30)
Art(29)
Computer Technology(29)
Sports & Recreations(28)
Reference(26)
Nature(24)
Music(21)
New Age(21)
Philosophy(19)
Careers(18)
Home Design & Décor(15)
Law(15)
Pets(15)
Technology(14)
African American Nonfiction(13)
Crafts(13)
Gardening(13)
Study Aids & Workbooks(13)
Finance(11)
Education(10)
Gay/Lesbian(9)
Women’s Studies(9)
Language Arts(8)
Entertainment(7)
Photography(7)
Mathematics(6)
Self Help(5)
Architecture(3)
Transportation(3)
Antiques(2)

I think it’s great that people can get new and popular books (eventually) through the public library!

If you want to check out what your library has, you may want to go to

https://www.overdrive.com/

If you are okay with older books, Amazon itself has a lot.

What do you think? Do you borrow e-books from public libraries? What’s the longest you’ve waited for one? 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Heads up! Limited Time Offer on Fire tablets through 8 PM Pacific: Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Playset

November 12, 2015

Heads up! Limited Time Offer on Fire tablets through 8 PM Pacific: Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Playset

 

There is a limited offer available right now (for owners of Fire tablets with Special Offers) for a physical playset (not an app) of Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Attack Battle Game. I called it a “playset” in the headline because it fit better. 🙂 It’s $16.99…60% off the list price, although Amazon usually sells it for $22.27, which is 47% off. It’s 4.1 star out of 5, with 155 customer reviews.

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Fire tablet owners.

What happens is you can get a text to alert you to an upcoming deal (details in the links below). You don’t get much warning…maybe an hour.

The deal also appears on the sleep screen of your Fire, and you can find it under Offers on the homescreen (all the way at the end). That will disappear when the sale is over.

Then, you say you want to “learn more”. You’ll get to a screen with a countdown clock. As soon as the clock gets to zero, you need to click to have a chance to get it.

They have typically been selling out in seconds, although this one looks like it will last the hour.

Here is information on the program:

As I’ve written before, I look at these LTOs (Limited Time Offers) sort of like buying a lottery ticket: I don’t expect to get one (win), but its exciting if I do! Of course, the “ticket” doesn’t cost me anything.

These LTOs are one of the best arguments for having Special Offers…and yes, a good argument for having a  Fire (at AmazonSmile)!

Did you get one? Do you have any other comment on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

One more thing: I’ve had a couple of readers say on past offers that they never even saw the offer. As far as I know, these go out to every eligible Fire tablet in the USA. A few possibilities occur to me:

  • They either bought a Fire tablet without Special Offers, or bought out of the offers later. You have to be subscribed to those in order to get these deals
  • They weren’t connected to wireless in time for it to update
  • They didn’t check the Offers tab (I don’t always see it on the sleep screen)

It might not have been any of those, but those three would have done it.

===

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 The Best Books of 2015

November 11, 2015

Amazon’s The Best Books of 2015

It’s here!

The Best Books of 2015 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I honestly look forward to these lists each year. As a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I like to see what they pick. That’s not because I think they necessarily are the best books, or even are books I am likely to read. It intrigues me. 🙂

It’s also a place I may discover books to buy for other people, and that’s important.

As part of that, it’s key that this isn’t simply a list of 100. It’s a whole storefront. There is a list of the top 100, but you can also see their “best” in a lot of categories:

  • Arts & Photography
  • Audiobooks
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & Investing
  • Children’s Books
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Cookbooks, Food & Wine
  • Crafts, Home & Garden
  • Fashion
  • Kindle Singles
  • History
  • Humor & Entertainment
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Nonfiction
  • Romance
  • Science
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Teen & Young Adult

picks from celebrities, Editors’ Holiday Gift Picks, Best Debuts, and more!

They sent me a press release

Amazon Unveils the Best Books of 2015, Heralding Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies as the Best Book of the Year

with some interesting tidbits in it.

I want to highlight this one:

“Debut authors in the Top 100: 22”

While this list isn’t limited to Kindle e-books, the expansion of independent publishing that e-books enabled has, I’m sure, affected how debut authors are seen. Since authors don’t need to go through the established channels, it allows the unestablished to break out…and then sometimes go tradpub (traditional publisher), sometimes not.

This is specifically

The Top 100 in Kindle Format (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I have read…exactly zero of them. 😉

That doesn’t meant that I think that some of them might not be the best books of the year. There are some there I would like to read.

It’s more that my pattern of reading isn’t likely to include a book the same year that it is released any more.

What do I read?

  • Books that are gifted to me. Those are usually pretty specialized, and may be my family buying from my Wish List. Those don’t tend to be frontlist, newly published titles
  • Public domain books: generally older
  • Books I get from Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), Amazon’s subser (subscription service). Again, those don’t tend to be published this year, at least the ones I choose to read

I recently wrote about a jump in books priced $14.99:

Percentage of books priced $14.99 in USA Kindle store leaps up

In that piece, I wrote about us moving more towards a tiered system of readers:

  • Top tier: pay premium prices for new, brand name releases
  • Middle tier: pay for some books, but don’t pay the top prices for new novels…they read independently published books, books that were on sale, books through KU (this would be my tier)
  • Lower tier: read free books

This list is definitely geared toward the top tier reader in that system. Only two of the books are under $5 at time of writing:

  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie (which is also available through KU…the only one on the list, I believe)
  • The Wonder Garden by Laura Acampara

Most of the books, by far, are over $9.99.

Here are the top 10:

  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  • H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • Purity: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
  • Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The average price at time of writing of those top ten? $14.24

Amazon doesn’t appear to have favored books it has published, with the exception of the category for Kindle Singles noted above.

I know I’m interested in the analysis, but I also know you may be more interested in the actual books. 🙂

Please let me know what you think of the choices, and especially, if there were others you would have listed. You can let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Special note: the person who recently arranged

An ILMK interview with Adrian Liang, Amazon Books Editor

has also offered to reach out for me to someone involved with creating this list.

If you have particular questions you would like me to ask them, if I get that opportunity, also let me know that in the comments.

I’m curious, so I’m going to include a couple of polls:

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.

 

Deja vu saves money for you! 3 day sale on non-Voyage Kindle EBRs (ends Wednesday)

November 10, 2015

Deja vu saves money for you! 3 day sale on non-Voyage Kindle EBRs (ends Wednesday)

Think back…way back…to the day before Halloween! 😉 I ran this post:

3-day sale on Kindle EBRs (except Voyage): $20 off

about a 3-day sale that was $20 off on Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…not Fire tablets). Well, they are doing the same sale again, less than two weeks later!

That’s right: you can save $20 ahead of the holidays (although not that much ahead).

This sale ends on Wednesday (November 10th), and you don’t need to be a Prime member for this one.

Here’s what I said last time:

Amazon’s three day sale (probably just in the USA) is on these models:

Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $59.99 (down from $79.99) | 4.2 stars out of 5 | 12,244 customer reviews

The $20 off also means you could get it without the Special Offers ($79.99, down from $99.99) for the same price you would normally pay for an ad-supported model.

This is the entry level model, and it’s a good one. Here are some of the differences between this and the Paperwhite (which I’ll link below):

  • No frontlighting, so you read it like you would a p-book
  • Fewer pixels per inch (167 versus 300), so the image isn’t as sharp (but I would say sharp enough for most casual reading…you might notice it with images, like graphs)
  • Available only in wi-fi…no wi-fi and 3G option (for more money)
  • A bit less heavy, a bit thicker

Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle, 2-Year Accident Protection, Kid-Friendly Blue Cover (at AmazonSmile*) $79.99 (down from $99.99) | 4.0 stars | 61 reviews

This is like the above, but includes a ruggedized cover and an extended warranty…since each of those costs $20, this is a big savings, even without the discount.

Certainly something to consider for a gift.

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99 (down from $119.99) | 4.5 stars | 7,313 reviews

The Paperwhite (this is the latest generation) is a great model Kindle! I’d say it may be my favorite (price and everything taken into account), with the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) being second…well, wait, lack of TTS makes that a tighter battle. For sight-reading, it’s my favorite. 🙂

Why would you literally pay $100 more (right now) for a top of the line

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

?

You do get a few more things:

  • Adaptive light sensor
  • Page press buttons (in addition to touchscreen…these all have touchscreen)
  • Quite a bit less heavy and a tad smaller

Will there be more sales before the holidays?

Sure, that’s likely, although we are getting closer. In fact, I’d be surprised if there weren’t more sales. I would also think there may be shortages, though…this is a sure thing right now.

I’m not sure I’ve said it here in a post (as opposed to a comment), but I do read on a Voyage now. I don’t find it that different from my PW3, but I pretty much just use it to read one particular book before going to sleep. 🙂

Enjoy (whether for yourself or for a gift)!

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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Read the book before you see the…play

November 10, 2015

Read the book before you see the…play

When an author writes a book, one possible source of future income is an adaptation.

Most people think of movies, or TV shows, and certainly, there can be significant money there.

When we look at the top ten US all-time box office champs, it turns out that not that many of them are based on books (if we don’t include comic books/graphic novels).

  1. Avatar (original)
  2. Titanic (original: based on a real event)
  3. Jurassic World (ultimately based on a book)
  4. Marvel’s The Avengers (based on comic books)
  5. The Dark Knight (based on comic books)
  6. Star Wars – The Phantom Menace (original)
  7. Star Wars (original)
  8. Avengers Age of Ultron (based on comic books)
  9. The Dark Knight Rises (based on comic books)
  10. Shrek 2 (ultimately based on a book)

It occurred to me, though: many of the longest-running Broadway shows (and other plays) are based on books.

Let’s take a look at those longest-running Broadway shows:

  1. The Phantom of the Opera (based on a book)
  2. Chicago (based on another play based on a reporter’s writings)
  3. Cats (based on a book)
  4. The Lion King (based on a movie)
  5. Les Misérables (based on a book)
  6. A Chorus Line (original)
  7. Oh! Calcutta (original)
  8. Mamma Mia! (based on songs)
  9. Beauty and the Beast (ultimately based on a book)
  10. Rent (based on an opera)

As you can see, a lot more plays are based on books…if I kept going, I’d run into more. 🙂

Why is this?

I think attending a play is more like reading a book than when you go to a movie.

Reading is largely imagination (even though they do cheat with things like italics and bold). 😉

So are plays.

They are inherently pretty unreal…you can see a lot of things when you are in a theatre (all the time), that requires a willing suspension of disbelief.

Now, movies also are unreal…the way that time tends to jump around, for instance.

I suppose one could also argue that movies are two dimensional, and plays are real people…so plays are closer to reality.

I think that you are almost always aware that the stage actor is not actually the character…I think you are more actively engaged watching a play.

That’s just an idea, though. 🙂

I do like the idea of it being reality based. Plays can be very representational, unrealistic. They can compress time, and audiences accept that.

If a movie has a significant time jump (forward or backward) they usually explicitly explain what happened.

What do you think? Is watching a play more like reading a book than watching a movie is? 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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