Archive for April, 2016

Amazon’s Q1 financials: Phase 2 crushes expectations!

April 29, 2016

Amazon’s Q1 financials: Phase 2 crushes expectations!

I used to always be able to correct people when they would say that Amazon did something just because they were all about profits…since the e-tailer never used to make any. 😉

Well, that’s changed. 🙂

Amazon’s latest financial report was a huge improvement.

Here’s the

press release

and here is where you can listen to the

webcast

after doing a free sign-in. By the way, I always put “independent” for my organization.

As has usually been the case, Amazon’s sales are up a nearly incomprehensible amount for a company which is already this big…in this case, 28% to $29.1 billion dollars (comparing 2016 Q1 to 2015 Q1).

Sure, that’s impressive…but investors have been waiting for years for profits.

That’s clearly established now (it had already started).

Let me quote this in a short excerpt:

“Net income was $513 million in the first quarter, or $1.07 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $57 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, in first quarter 2015. “

That’s right…from a $57 million loss to a $513 million dollar gain!

I always say that I’m not good at predicting how investors will react, but I’d be surprised if we don’t see a rise in Amazon’s stock price over the next  couple of days at least.

A lot of things were improved…and I think this is particularly interesting when it’s not necessarily the trend. Apple didn’t have a good report, for example.

I was happy to have them mentioning things I care about as a customer: Prime; the Echo family; Fire tablets; and even a Kindle EBR** (E-Book Reader). That doesn’t always happen.

Some elements of note:

  • More than twice as many Fire tablets were sold  compared to Q1 2015. Certainly, the lowest priced one is part of that, so that doesn’t mean necessarily twice the revenue…but that’s still a lot of growth for one of Amazon’s hardware lines
  • They talked a lot about how effective Prime is, how much they are investing in it…and there was a question that they declined to answer about maybe a new category of benefit for Prime. One possibility to me is gaming…there’s a lot free now, but giving Prime members access (even short-lived) to the more console type games would be big
  • With all of what they’ve done, including the raise in Prime membership fees, Amazon was number 1 in customer satisfaction and in corporate reputation

Now,  I’m just focusing on what we as retail customers see…Amazon Web Services is another big driver of success, as well as third-party sales, and other elements that make Amazon what I call  the “Infrastructure of the Internet”.

As you can see in this

CNN Money graph

at time of writing, Amazon was up nearly 70 points, more than 10% in after hours trading. It will be interesting to see what happens for the rest of the week and beyond.

I’m not concerned that Amazon is going to get complacent soon, incidentally. I think they are reveling in the impact of their innovation and risk-taking.

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

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :)

** People who have tried the new Oasis seem to be impressed with the experience. I’m quite disappointed that Amazon as not given people an option to buy it without animal leather being part of the deal. While that’s the case (and I have confirmed with Amazon that it is the case), I, and other people who don’t use leather for philosophical reasons, won’t be purchasing it (I also don’t link to it). I’m sure Amazon will eventually offer us the offer of non-animal leather (or less satisfactorily, without a battery-embedded cover, which would give us less battery life than the Voyage)

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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AAP-reporting publishers losing children/YA e-book sales: down 43.3% YoY

April 28, 2016

AAP-reporting publishers losing children/YA e-book sales: down 43.3% YoY

I think I’d better first explain the initialisms in the headline. 🙂

The AAP is the

Association of American Publishers

It gathers statistics from over 1,500 USA publishers, and traditionally, has been considered a good source for information about what is happening with publishing (and by extension, reading) in America.

However, it’s worth noting that I’m not part of it. 😉

I know, I know…you aren’t either, probably. 😉 However, I am a publisher, in a very small way…just my own works. Anyone who makes books for the public to purchase is a publisher, and I feel confident in saying that there are over a 150,000 in the USA. That would mean the AAP might have stats from 10% of the publishers…and it could be a lot lower than that.

Anybody who writes a book and puts into the Kindle store using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is a publisher.

Prior to e-books gaining popularity after the introduction of the Kindle in 2007, there was a lot of investment involved in publishing a book. Very few entities had the resources, and the access to distribution (connections with and acceptance by brick-and mortar bookstores for one…I’m a former manager).

E-books can be published and be equally available for purchase by an individual investing no money as by one of the Big 5 publishers.

That means that the AAP may be decreasingly reflective of what people are purchasing and reading.

To be clear, I’m not saying that reduces their relevancy: the most influential and bestselling books still tend to be published by tradpubs (traditional publishers)…it’s just that you can’t consider the AAP’s data now as being a steady state indicator of the popularity of e-books.

I’m setting that up because if it was a constant  measure, the stat in the headline might be terrifying if you thought it was reflective of reading overall, and concerning if you thought it reflected e-book adoption.

Children/YA is a segment of books intended for children and “Young Adults”. Many of those books are read by adults…The Hunger Games is a good example.

YoY is short for “Year over Year”: in the case, how did 2015 sales compare to 2014 sales?

According to this

Book Business report

and other sources, overall book sales were down YoY, and trade books (the kind you would have bought in a bookstore…not tetbooks and such) were up slightly.

Reported e-book sales were down, with children’s/YA’s sales down by close to half.

According to a graph in the article, it looks like paperback/mass market book rose more in dollars than e-books dropped.

What’s happening here? Are e-books a failed experiment?

I certainly don’t think so. 😉

My guess is that, especially young adult, e-book sales are market shifting to independent publishers who don’t report…and perhaps more importantly, to subsers (subscription services), including Amazon’s own

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

Certainly, when I was a “young adult”, KU would have been terrific for me. Some YAs are almost obsessive readers…they want to read a lot of books. That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get some books outside of KU, but you could read ten books a week at a manageable cost. My record is 3 1/2 novels in a day. 😉

For young children, Amazon continues to improve FreeTime Unlimited. It might not seem like e-books are a good fit for young children, but they can certainly be one element.

I don’t want to take too much away from the Book Business article (I recommend you read it), but I do want to point out one other thing.

Downloaded audiobooks are way up.

While this may be a coincidence, that has tended to be the case since text-to-speech (TTS) was introduced in the Kindle 2.

Publishers blocked TTS access** after influencing Amazon to give them that option…one argument has been, presumably, that the presence of TTS competes with the sale of audiobooks.

I’ve suggested that it may do the opposite…that TTS may accustom people to listening to books, even though the experiences of listening to an audiobook or TTS are quite different.

There may be other factors. I’m sure a lot more people listen to audiobooks because of their inclusion in KU…but I don’t think those listens will count as sales of downloadable audiobooks (although I’m not sure).

Still, I think it’s hard to argue that TTS has significantly hurt audiobook sales.

My intuition is that children and young adults are reading more than they were five years ago…it’s just not being reported to AAP as much.

Bonus note: Amazon financials call is today (4/28) a 5:00 PM Eastern:

Webcast link

I’ll report on that later.

Bonus deal: the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) is $5 off (which makes it $34.99 for it without a voice remote, $44.99 with one). Without a voice remote (and using the free app), this is the least expensive way to get the Alexa Voice Service, most associated with the Echo. They are doing this to celebrate 100,000 reviews and it is for a limited time.  Makes a great gift…

What do you think? Have e-book sales peaked? Is this one year just a fluke, because there wasn’t a new breakout Young Adult series in 2015? Is there a difference in appropriateness for e-books for Young Adults and children versus adults? What is the role of the AAP in the future? 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :)

** A Kindle/Fire with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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.

May 2016 Kindle book releases

April 27, 2016

May 2016 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 largely returned 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 7,059 (at time of writing…a significant 846 more than last monh):

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

Of those, by the way, 1,119 (168 more than last month) are in

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

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

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Amazon no longer does the “New and Popular” search as a default, but does “Featured”. Presumably, a human being picks those titles in some way…and the list is clearly not the same.  This month, again, Kindle First titles dominate.

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!

  • Blood Defense (Samantha Brinkman Book 1) by Marcia Clark
  • Freedom of the Mask by Robert McCammon
  • Don’t Believe a Word by Patricia MacDonald
  • The Thief’s Daughter (The Kingfountain Series Book 2) by Jeff Wheeler (KU)
  • 15th Affair by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
  • Blood Flag: A Paul Madriani Novel by Steve Martini
  • 100 Years: Wisdom From Famous Writers on Every Year of Your Life by Joshua Prager and Milton Glaser
  • The Cthulhu Wars: The United States’ Battles Against the Mythos (Dark Osprey) by Kenneth Hite and Kennon Bauman
  • Kitten Kaboodle (Zoe Donovan Mystery Book 20) by Kathi Daley
  • Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Patriots by David Fisher
  • Murder Frames the Scene: A Hawai’i Mystery by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl
  • Lisa Murphy on Play: The Foundation of Children’s Learning by Lisa Murphy
  • The Emperor’s Revenge (The Oregon Files)by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • D-Day (Time Patrol)May by Bob Mayer (KU)
  • LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  • Herbert Hoover in the White House: The Ordeal of the Presidency by Charles Rappleye
  • Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold and Robert Osborne
  • Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky
  • The Sorcerer’s Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Brooklyn Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Neighborhoods & Noshes, Culture & the Cutting Edge by Ellen Freudenheim and Steve Hindy
  • The Strength of Sensitivity: Understanding Empathy for a Life of Emotional Peace & Balance by Kyra Mesich
  • Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby
  • J.J. Abrams: A Study in Genius: The Unofficial Biography by Neil Daniels
  • The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
  • The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb
  • The Drowned Detective by Neil Jordan
  • Workplace Research: Conducting small-scale research in organizations by Zina O’Leary and Jennifer S. Hunt
  • In Praise of Simple Physics: The Science and Mathematics behind Everyday Questions by Paul J. Nahin
  • Stranger in the Mirror: The Scientific Search for the Self by Robert V. Levine
  • Steampunk Soldiers: The American Frontier (Open Book) by Philip Smith and Joseph A. McCullough
  • The Apartment by Danielle Steel
  • Archie 1000 Page Comics 75th Anniversary Bash (Archie 1000 Page Digests) by Archie Superstars
  • Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Martin-Lugand
  • Holy Heroes: The Gospel According to DC & Marvel by Scott Bayles
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill

Feel free to suggest other books being released in May in the USA Kindle store. If you are the author, or are otherwise connected with the production or publishing of the book, I’d appreciate you saying so. That won’t stop me from publishing the comment, but it should be in your own words and not an ad.

Enjoy!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :)

** A Kindle/Fire with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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 #139: Paperwhite on sale for under $100, Google settlement case over

April 25, 2016

Round up #139: Paperwhite on sale for under $100, Google settlement case over

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

The Google settlement is settled

I’m not convinced that everybody likes reading about the legal cases around e-books. I do try to keep things eclectic, so if you don’t like reading one topic, one you do like will come up pretty quickly.

I was happy to see the end of the Apple case not too long  ago, with the Supreme Court declining to hear the case, meaning that Apple lost in the case brought against it (and five big publishers, but they’d already settled) over the use of the Agency Model in e-book pricing.

Another case which has gone on for many years it the one with Google scanning books. The case against them was brought in part through legal action of the Authors Guild…and that’s one of the raison d’êtres for the AG. They legally defend authors’ rights.

Well, in this case, the Supreme Court declining to hear the case means that Google’s scanning of books  is “Fair Use”, so they can keep doing it.

New York Times article by Adam Liptak and Alexandra Alter

Fair Use is a very tricky area of the copyright. Copyright is deliberately fuzzy…which I do find frustrating. Someone can do something, believing that’s  it’s allowed under Fair Use, and have it ruled not Fair Use. Similarly, a rightsholder may think something is not Fair Use (which is what happened here), and have it ruled Fair Use.

Those are the two cases that were really outstanding…I’m sure there will be more in the future. 🙂

I’ve gone from a Fire Phone to a Galaxy S7 Edge and…

I’m one of the few people who paid close to $200 for an Amazon Fire Phone when it was first released. It was, simply, not a success for Amazon.

It had some cool features, certainly…people were often impressed by the “dynamic perspective”, where it had a bunch of cameras that could tell the position of your head, and would change what you were seeing as you moved your face.

However, I didn’t like it as much as my old Galaxy S4.

Well, I wasn’t that disappointed when it finally died. The touch screen stopped working…not  much you can do with a modern phone without a touchscreen.

I debated a few options…I’m allowed at work to use my company iPhone as a personal phone, too. That would save some money, but we need to keep the account for another phone on the account, and dropping one phone from a plan like that doesn’t save you that much money. Besides, I like having two phones. 🙂 I joke about it, saying that my pockets can call each other. 😉

Another choice would have been to see if the touchscreen could be fixed…but that would probably have been $150. If I’d loved the phone, I might have considered that, but…

The third option was to buy a new phone…which we did. The Galaxy S7 had been getting great reviews.

I’ve had it for about a week…and I do love it! Some features may be on other contemporary SmartPhones, not sure. The camera is great: I’m very impressed that it pretty much autofocuses instantly. They’ve also clearly thought about  user interface: one example is that there is a still button and a video button both visible  in the camera…you don’t have to switch modes.

It’s also got very robust multitasking…I’d say it may be easier to switch between programs than it is on my Windows 10 laptop. I can also have two apps showing at the same time.

Battery life is very good. I can keep a clock showing on the screen all night…and it only takes about 3% of the battery charge.

As to the edge feature (you can rub the phone, lightly, while it’s off, and notifications appear on the edge…sort  of like Aladdin’s lamp), it is kind of gimmicky, but can be useful.

The screen is big, which can be both a plus and a minus. For the first time, I can actually see myself reading a book on my phone in the Kindle app. The app does not have text-to-speech, but does have Amazon’s speed reading feature, Wor Runner. It also does do white text on a black background (often my preference), although there is also a soothing black on a sort of mint green that’s appealing.

Another nice thing there is a “notification” of the book I was reading on the homescreen of the phone…I can go directly to the book when I wake up the phone!

Another cool thing which some other phones have, I think: it will let me sign into some websites using a fingerprint…easier than passwords and usernames. 🙂

The last thing: this has made me abandon the Amazon Appstore on my SmartPhone. When they stopped having a Free App of the Day, even though it was to give us the superior Amazon Underground, it eventually (after months) trained me to stop looking at the appstore every day. On this phone, I’m using Google Play (which does have a lot more apps). One app I’m loving is FxGuru…it lets you put very sophisticated CGI effects into real video…our dogs “encountered” a T Rex at the dog park today, for example. I used to be a hobbyist with Super 8mm film, and did some special effects there. I’m amazed at how smart these effects are…the T Rex, for example, appears to know where the ground is…it doesn’t float up in the air. That app is not in the Amazon Appstore.

400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death

For some reason, there have been lots of articles about the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. I doubt that Shakespeare  can be lauded enough, but you don’t usually see a lot of honor paid based on when someone died (rather than when they were born).

I’ve done some Shakespeare in my day, and was fortunate enough to get some Shakespearean analysis education as a result.

Many people have heard of iambic pentameter…that’s a line of five sets of two beats: daDum daDum daDum daDum DaDum. It’s not that hard when you get the feel of it:  I’ve actually improvised in iambic pentameter. 🙂 I was doing a show, and an understudy was on with me. The understudy, unfortunately, didn’t know the part very well. The other actor had a cue line for us to exit the stage, and didn’t know it and sort of panicked and didn’t remember that we were supposed to go. I said, “I think the time has come for us to leave.” That’s iambic pentameter. 🙂

People tend to think of Shakespeare as stuffy, but that wasn’t the case at all. Once you understand the slang and such, is that some of the shows are quite lowbrow and slapstick…and “naughty”. I recommend

Shakespeare’s Bawdy (Routledge Classics) (at Amazon Smile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Shakespeare can seem very modern. The most amazing thing to me, though, is the versatility. If Shakespeare were alive today, the bard would have TV screenwriting credits on Two Broke Girls, Game of Thrones, The History Channel, and House of Cards. 😉

Item available “Exclusively for Prime members”

Amazon really wants people to be Prime members!

We think of us getting advantages for being Prime members…but there may now be major disadvantages to not being one.

According to this

Gizmodo article by Andrew Liptak…hm, related to Andrew above

and other sources, really popular items may only be available to purchase if you are a Prime member…the DVD of The King’s Speech is one that I’ve confirmed, and Grand Theft Auto V was mentioned (but I didn’t see the information there).

According to the article, Amazon confirms it…and points out that people can do a one-month membership for free. Of course, you can’t keep getting the free month whenever you want…you’d eventually have to join to get some items directly from Amazon (third-party sellers may still sell it to you through Amazon).

Kindle EBRs on sale

It’s a limited time sale, but three Kindle EBR (E-Book Readers…non-Fires) are on sale right now. I’m going to copy in what I said when they were on sale for the same prices back in November of last year (it was a good sale then and it’s a good sale now):

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. :)

What do you think? Is it smart for Amazon to restrict the purchase of certain items to Prime members? How do you feel about the Google settlement…and where Fair Use will go in the future? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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: “popular best sellers”

April 23, 2016

Today’s KDD: “popular best sellers”

In a recent post

Recent price drops…and do you still care as much?

I polled my readers:

Do you care as much as you used to care about when a Big 5 book goes on sale?
  • Yes…they are so high-priced now, I don’t tend to buy them unless they go on sale  64.29%
  • No…I’m not as interested in them as I used to be  21.43%
  • I never bought Big 5 books enough to care  12.5%
  • I don’t know  1.78%

Well, the nearly two-thirds of you who care may be thrilled with today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

!

😉

They are considerable discounts on popular bestsellers from the Big 5 tradpubs (traditional publishers).

You might have been waiting for these books to on sale for yourself, or you might want to buy one or more of them as a gift (you can delay delivery until the appropriate gift giving occasion).

Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button…for one thing, this probably only applies in the USA.

All prices and review counts below are at time of writing.

Titles include:

  • The Martian by Andy Weir $4.99 (27103 customer reviews)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn $4.99 (42873  customer reviews)
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown $1.99 (2724 customer reviews)
  • Grey by E.L. James $4.99 (1271 customer reviews)
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert $4.99 (1017 customer reviews)
  • The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey $2.99 (2172 customer reviews)
  • Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates $3.99 (1414 customer reviews)
  • Gathering Prey $3.99 (Prey #25) (3580 customer reviews)
  • The Maze Runner $3.99 (7328 customer reviews)
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart $3.99 (2211 customer reviews)
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman $2.99 (1790 customer reviews)
  • Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber $4.99 (1121 customer reviews)
  • Thirteen Reasons Why $2.99 (3069 customer reviews)
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut $1.99 (2329 customer reviews)

Enjoy!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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.

10 books for Earth Day 2016

April 22, 2016

10 books for Earth Day 2016

Today is the 46th annual Earth Day, recognized in nearly 200 countries.

Founded in part in response to the Santa Barbara oil spill, it helped popularize a movement which later resulted in a variety of efforts to protect the global environment.

Books can (and have) uniquely influence and inform people about these issues.

Many environmental issues can be simultaneously too big and too small to be experienced in our daily lives. Too small because they may be very localized, or below our levels of awareness. How many bees live in your neighborhood? Is it as many as it was a decade ago? You aren’t likely to know…the activity of bees doesn’t impact your commute to work. A book can allow you to bring into focus lives and processes outside your own.

I’ve always been aware of animals. My family has made fun of our travel pictures. When I was a child, we traveled to some pretty exotic places. My parents thought that was important…that we see different cultures and environments, and consequently, our family resources had that as a priority. We might go to a city with a thousand years of history, and I would come back with a picture of…a lizard and a pigeon. 😉 I didn’t even take many photographs of my family, just animals who were likely ignored by the people who lived there.

Wherever we went, we would go to the zoo. I remember a particular orang in a Japanese zoo. This orang was stacking rocks carefully…several little piles of them. Tourists were fascinated, leaning over the fence to look. The orange would cast sidelong glances at them. I noticed that the people who appeared to be regulars were standing back a few meters (maybe ten feet) from the fence, so I suspected something was up. All at once, the orang scooped up a pile of rocks and threw them at the crowd! Then the next pile, and the next, and the next! No one was hurt, and the regulars had a good laugh about it.  This was obviously a regular activity.

Back at home, my proudest achievement (outside of family) was hand-taming a wild scrub jay. Scrub jays are smart and brave, but it still took months. Initially, the bird would hop towards my offering (a tiny bit of bread), then hop away. Once it would take the bread, I moved the bread closer until it was on my hand. Eventually, I could literally open the door to my apartment and whistle a special tune. The bird would fly in from across the street…into the apartment and land on my hand. It would sit on the bar on my typewriter which was designed to hold the paper flat.

Most movingly, I hadn’t seen the bird for a while…and then it showed up outside my apartment door (which I would commonly leave open…it opened into an inner courtyard. The bird had a baby! The bird I knew swept the baby into the apartment with a wing (“Here, darling, this is where you get food.”). That didn’t go all that well. Understandably, the baby panicked. No one was hurt, and I have always been grateful to the parent bird for that.

Even today, I take pictures of animals at work or on walks at the weekend. We have a “wall” (a social site for comments and pictures) at work, designed to promote fitness, and I post them there. Here’s one from last week at our favorite dog park, Point Isabel in Richmond, California:

Reflected Egret

Reflected Egret

I see some lizards regularly at work…they sun themselves along the path to my car in the parking lot. I can tell them apart, and have named a few. The first one I recognized,  I called “Taylor” (as in “Liz(ard) Taylor”). I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Taylor on successive years. When another one appeared, that one was naturally “Burton”. A third? “Fischer” (as in Eddie Fischer). My Significant Other asked me if I was going to name lizards after all of Elizabeth Taylor’s spouses…I said that there weren’t that many lizards. 😉

Taylor and Burton

Taylor (foreground) and Burton

In another area, there was first another lizard (these are Western fence lizards, I believe). That one is “Morrison” (as in Jim Morrison…”The Lizard King”). When I saw a second with Morrison, that one became (Janis) “Joplin”.

We are vegetarians, we don’t use leather, we recycle…and we read e-books. 😉

Why is the last one Earth Day friendly?

I’ve seen analyses about e-books versus p-books (paperbooks) in terms of ecological impact. In some cases, the process of making paper for books can use a lot of mercury. Electronics, of course, aren’t usually ecologically friendly when they die, but Amazon does have a recycling program.

Amazon’s recycle your device page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)

Generating electricity (needed to charge our Kindles) can be challenging, although we don’t need to do that as often as we used to have to do.

However, driving (and sometimes flying) the physical books around may have the biggest impact. From the publisher to a warehouse, from the warehouse either directly to you (if from Amazon or another e-tailer) or to a store, that is generally done with traditional vehicles.

Actually, the biggest factor is the human one. 😉 People can make choices, and that’s where books like the below come into the picture.

* Silent Spring by Rachel Carson…this isn’t the only Carson book in the Kindle store, and there is at least one book intended to refute Silent Spring
* A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation from Round River by Aldo Leopold
* The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
* The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Ranchers Are Tending the Soil to Reverse Global Warming by Kristin Ohlson
* Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (Edward Abbey Series Book 1) by Edward Abbey
* Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
* Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition by Marc Reisner
* Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall
* John Muir: Nature Writings (Library of America) by John Muir
* The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

That’s ten! There are many others, of course. If you would like to suggest others to me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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.

 

Authors are nice people

April 21, 2016

Authors are nice people

I originally considered a more “click-bait” title for this post: “Are authors nice?” I decided not to do that, because from my own experience, some certainly are.

It’s interesting…writing is, generally, a non-social activity. Most writers, I’m sure, write in isolation…maybe with the door closed. We see fictional representations of authors’ families knowing not to “disturb” them while they are writing. Those stories are written by, well, authors, so you would think they would know. 😉

I can write with my Significant Other in the room, typically, but it can really bring me out of the flow if I get asked a question.

Fiction authors can “create their own friends”. 😉 Of course it isn’t the same, but it’s a complete misunderstanding that authors completely control their characters. For characters to be effective, they need to have character…which includes them “refusing” to do something out of character.

It seems very likely that some authors become authors in part because they are uncomfortable with flesh and blood people. They aren’t comfortable socially, but they are still instinctively driven to explore social situations.

Some authors appear to fit that stereotype, perhaps becoming virtual recluses (J.D. Salinger, Harper Lee, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Pynchon…).

It’s different for contemporary authors. In today’s social media climate, many authors communicate regularly with fans, and are much more open. Amanda Hocking comes immediately to mind…one of my favorite Twitter feeds (although there hasn’t been as much textual content recently, it seems).

There have always been nice authors, though. 🙂 Writing fiction (and even much of non-fiction) requires empathy…you have to understand how people feel.

I’ve had  a few experiences where authors were kind to me, and I wanted to share them with you.

I want to be clear here: these three experiences had nothing to do with me being a writer. In each of these cases, I can guarantee you the authors were already established…and had no idea who I was. 🙂 I was just part of the public…I say that to eliminate any possibility that they were being nice to me because of what small influence I may currently have as a blogger.

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

I’ve been interested in “cryptozoology” since I read Gardner Soule’s The Maybe Monsters when I was in elementary school. That led to an interest in all sorts of things “Fortean”, and in critical thinking and why people believe what they believe.

Loren Coleman is a titan of the field, having written several truly significant and bestselling books. The author appears on television shows and radio.

Importantly, Coleman is also dedicated to public service, and is famously generous with other interested people (well-known and not)…not always the case in that topic (or in many others, of course). One example? Creation of the

International Museum of Cryptozoology

which is currently being expanded in Maine. Loren is often there in person, speaking to schoolkids and adults alike.

The museum didn’t exist many, many years ago when I started an online presence which I called “Weird World”.

It turned out that Loren Coleman had already used the name for (as I recall) a TV pilot which didn’t go to series.

It would have been easy for an established author like that to simply make me, at the time a “nobody”, stop using the name.

Instead, Loren gave me permission to use it.

That wasn’t necessary. That didn’t give Loren Coleman any advantage. It was just an act of creative generosity.

I did start calling it “Bufo’s Weird World” to differentiate it, but I’ve never forgotten that act of unnecessary kindness.

Forrest Ackerman (at AmazonSmile* )

“Uncle Forry” was a science fiction fan from the 1930s. Forry is credited with having been the first “cosplayer” (wearing a costume to one of the very first science fiction conventions), coined the term “sci-fi”, and was most legendarily the editor of “Famous Monsters of Filmland”. I’m sure my love of puns comes in part from “4E”, although Oz and Alice helped as well.

There are many prominent filmmakers today who credit Forry and Famous Monsters for inspiring and encouraging them.

I was young and at a World Con. I had a ride to the airport…so I spent the remainder of my money on the last day in the “Dealer’s Room”.

Then my ride left without me.

I had no way to get to the airport. I didn’t have credit cards…I had nothing at that point.

I saw Forry across the room (I was a Famous Monsters subscriber).

I had some Super 8 rolls of film I hadn’t shot yet.

Not sure what to do, I went over to Forry and asked if this celebrity wanted to buy some of my unexposed rolls. 🙂

Naturally, Forry asked me why, and I explained my dilemma.

“Uncle Forry” gave me ten dollars.

No way to know I wasn’t scamming. No way to know I’d actually use it to get to the airport. Just out of…humanity.

Years later, I happened to see Forry Ackerman at another convention…and returned that $10.

Perhaps most heartwarming to me, Forry said, “Oh, you were that [person].” I was surprised that I was remembered…it had certainly been a few years.

Sort of like Loren Coleman, Forry had a museum…the family house. 🙂 It was called the “Ackermansion”, and strangers would be taken through to see thing like a real Bela Lugosi Dracula cape, or an armature from King Kong.

The irreplaceable  collection was eventually broken up and sold off…something that can still spontaneously strike me with sadness. That’s right…out of nowhere, I can be sad about a garage sale. I think they may regret it now, but I’ve always been  disappointed that one of the millionaire “monster kids” of the 1960s who became huge successes in later decades, didn’t buy it and keep it together.

Michael R. Hicks (at AmazonSmile*)

This situation is a bit more modern, and perhaps different…but I’m still very grateful.

When I wrote my first book for the Kindle store, I didn’t know much about formatting an e-book. I’d taught computer programming, so I do know tech, but each technology is its own thing.

I didn’t know how to do an Active Table of Content (AToC), where you can click/tap and go to a chapter.

As I recall, Michael Hicks answer my question at what was then Amazon’s DTP (Digital Text Platform), now Kindle Direct Publishing.

Again, no selfish reason to do that for Michael Hicks…it was just being kind.

Out of that kindness, I did read the In Her Name book…which is what converted me to reading on a Kindle. It was a great book (the series as since been…reconstructed, so that particular volume isn’t available that way).

In all three of these cases, it was simply an author being nice to a stranger…proof for me that (at least some) authors are nice. 🙂

What do you think? Do you have stories of authors being nice to you? Feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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.

 

 

Echo and Tap on sale today only

April 20, 2016

Echo and Tap on sale today only

Amazon was #1 in the Reputation Institute’s U.S. Reptrak 100 report (they often finish at the top of these sorts of things…which is great!) and to celebrate, they are doing a 1 day sale (they’ve done that before, too).

The

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is $153.71 (normally $179.99)

and

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*) $111.01 (regularly $129.99)

This is probably only in the USA, and they say it is only for today.

We use our Echo every day, and I’m surprised, but I use the Tap every day at work.

The Dot, by the way, is not on sale.

I’m going to get this post out right now so my readers on the East Coast have a better chance of seeing it. I may add to it, though.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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.

R&D presentation at Be-Leaf-Er

April 19, 2016

R&D presentation at Be-Leaf-Er

Scene: a parallel universe. Johannes Gutenberg’s family was killed in the uprising in 1411, and movable type and the inventor’s other innovations did not see realization in that period. Movies were introduced 100 years ahead of our time, and visual media became the main way of communicating ideas. Reading and writing existed, of course, but it wasn’t the way anybody did business. Nikola Tesla, working in an unlikely in our world ongoing partnership with Thomas Edison, made motion picture cameras with sound household items by the start of the 20th Century. At the dawn of the 21st Century, a new technology arrived which was able to mass produce many pages of the written word bound together, and the paper book as part of pop culture was born. Each book was expensive…an individual copy of a novel could cost $100. Since the Industrial Revolution had still happened, and there was no special demand for paper, there aren’t forests designated for publishing the way there are in our reality. One company, Be-Leaf-Er, has dominated the nascent paperbook market. They did this in part by trying something about which there had been a great deal of skepticism: original works, rather than adaptations of movies. “No one will want to spend hours reading a story unless they are already familiar with it,” was a common objection. Books went from being twenty-page movie summaries to something more closely resembling the novels we know on our Earth. As we join our story, the R&D (Research & Development) Department is about to unveil their latest generation of the paperbook…

In a small conference room at Be-Leaf-Er headquarters, “Flicks”, the Vice President of Engineering, is smiling broadly and nearly bouncing up and down, even though seated at the table. Nikoleen Eddson, CEO, is watching a video on a small screen which has automatically popped up from the tabletop. Also present is Marketing Chief, Greene Bawkes.

Nikoleen:  “Okay, Flicks. I’ve watched your report…I’m anxious to see the actual item.”

Flicks: “Do I just show it to you, or should there be some sort of protocol…?”

Greene: “This isn’t a sales pitch, Flicks. I want to see what your team’s been whispering about for the past six months.”

Nikoleen: “Actually, Greene, I wouldn’t say this isn’t a sales pitch…”

Flicks swallows nervously

Greene: “Oh, come on, Niki…we’re already committed. If you didn’t think we were going to do it, you shouldn’t have teased it in that vidnail.”

Nikoleen: “I still want to be sold. I’m going to get a lot of questions about this…I have to be enthusiastic.”

Greene: “Just get on with it, Flicks.”

Flicks: “Well, here it is…the Sliver.”

Greene: “We’re not calling it that…it’s not a very pleasant thought, is it? It’s the Whisper.”

Flicks: “Um…okay, here’s the Whisper.”

Flicks hands the Whisper over to Nikoleen

Nikoleen: “I don’t…whoa, what just happened?”

Flicks: “You rotated the spine. I’m really proud of my team on that one. See, if you go from sitting up to laying down, you can turn the spine so you can keep the text perpendicular to the wall in any position.”

Nikoleen: “I’ve never seen anything like that. That is cool.”

Greene: “Why is that better than tilting your head? Who lays down and keeps their head in the same position it was in when they were sitting up?”

Flicks: “Well, they never could before…maybe now they will.”

Greene: “Keep going…what else does it do?”

Flicks: “I’m sure you can tell, CEO Eddson.”

Nikoleen: “I don’t see it. Bawkes, you try it.”

Bawkes takes the Whisper and feels the pages carefully

Bawkes: “Are the pages waterproof? People have really been wanting that.”

Flicks: “Nope.”

Nikoleen: “Stain proof? Washable?”

Flicks:  “No, they are still paper. It is the pages, though. Give up?”

Nikoleen: “Just tell us, Flicks.”

Flicks: “You’ll love this, Bawkes! The pages are 20% thinner then they were before!”

Bawkes: “Thinner? I’ve looked at something like 47,000 customer vids…no one ever said the pages were too thick.”

Flicks:  “But…this was really hard to do! We managed to maintain the tensile strength…I think we’ve even improved it with a multidirectional grain which resists tearing. No more paper cuts and the book is two percent lighter!”

Nikoleen: “I thought you said twenty percent.”

Flicks: “The pages are 20% thinner, but most of the weight of the book is in the spine. The rotating spine added some weight, but we not only compensated for that we improved on the overall strain on our customers.”

Nikoleen: “Bawkes, have people complained about the weight?”

Bawkes: “A few…statistically insignificant. Not as many as complain that they can’t find the volume buttons.”

Flicks looks crestfallen

Bawkes: “I can tell you some things I do hear about. People don’t like that you took away the index and the table of contents…are those back?”

Flicks: “They would add to the weight.”

Bawkes: “Niki, have you given any more thought to letting people read it out loud?”

Nikoleen: “It’s not worth fighting with the modios about it…they are worried that if we let people read it out loud, they’ll start acting it out and turn it into something you share with other people, like your kids. They don’t want the competition.”

Bawkes: “That doesn’t give us much to work with.”

Nikoleen: “Relax, Flicks…you’re not in trouble. It’s as much my fault as yours. Next time, Bawkes, I want you working with the design team from the beginning. I want you sharing with them what you hear from our customers. I take responsibility for this…I’m the leader, it was up to me to guide this process. The question is, what do we do now? Flicks, how does the production cost compare to the Twigless?”

Flicks: “It’s a lot less! We can produce them for about 63% the cost.”

Nikoleen: “Maybe if we introduce it as a budget model…”

Bawkes: “No way! We’re going to raise the price! Tack a hundred bucks onto it…making people think it’s really special! I mean, it is…unique. Yeah, we can do something with that. It’s like those weird Blur Shoes or the Ergo-Fork. They’re expensive because…they take more work to make, not because they work better.”

Nikoleen: “Bawkes, I like it. Start working on a press vid. Put some sculptors in it…they get paid a lot of money for what’s basically a hunk of rock. They’ll get it. Yeah, it’s a work of art…”

Flicks: “CEO Eddson?”

Nikoleen: “Yes, Flicks?”

Flicks: “Do you want to look at our folding pen now?”

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option

April 18, 2016

Amazon reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option

More to follow, but Amazon is reportedly offering month to month membership to Prime starting Monday morning, $10 99 per month. There would also be a separate $8.99 a month Prime video only option. That would compete directly with Netflix and Hulu. This may be very popular, especially around the holidays. The annual membership would still be available and that would make it at a considerable savings over month-to-month.

Update: I’m surprised that there hasn’t been an Amazon press release on this yet, but I’ve been able to see the terms by logging out of Amazon, then going to Amazon Prime, and following the workflow as though I wanted more information on the thirty-day free trial.

That means this is real…and it’s really significant.

There are now three plans:

  • $8.99 a month for just Prime Video
  • $10.99 a month for full-featured Prime
  • $99.00 for a year of full-featured Prime (a roughly 25% discount)

The $8.99 a month means that Prime Video is going head-to-head against Netflix (which ranges from $7.99 without HD or Ultra HD and only screening on one screen at once to $9.99 for Standard ((which is reported the most popular)) which includes HD and screening on two screens at once to Premium for $11.99, which has Ultra HD and screening on up to four screens) and Hulu (which $7.99 with commercials, $11.99 without them).

We subscribe to, and use, all three.

While much of the reporting has been about the Prime Video only option, the month-to-month Prime seems like it could also have a very large impact.

It’s a big plus for Amazon if people buy a month and then stick with it.

It’s not so good if people cancel their annual memberships (or don’t renew them), and then only subscribe to it during heavily shipping periods, like the holidays or back to school.

Prime membership has been like a gym membership for Amazon: they sell potential, not actual use. 😉 Some people may go months without using their Prime membersips…which means Amazon gets the money that month for nothing. Arguably, though, Amazon is covered that way for the heavy shipping months.

I checked the

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

page, and at this point, you can still only give the annual membership.

I would give one month memberships, if I could. It’s perfect for co-workers, for example. I think I can say I would give many more one-month memberships to

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

though. Hard for me to imagine a much better $9.99 gift for a child than unlimited access to over a million books!

What do you think? Is the month to month Prime Video a challenge to Netflix? Hulu (I think this is less the case…for us, Hulu is more about current TV shows)? Would you subscribe and subscribe repeatedly to Prime to only use it when you need to do a lot of shipping? Will people who subscribe month to month just tend to stay with it…perhaps earning Amazon more money than the annual membership they’ve been selling? 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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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