Round up #140: Megapacks in KU, B&N’s future?

Round up #140: Megapacks in KU, B&N’s future?

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

Barnes & Noble’s  “Investor Day Conference”

There is an intriguing press release from Barnes & Noble to announce a June 23rd webcast (beginning at 9:00 AM) the morning after they release financials…which they will do after the market close. My guess is this is something really major…it could be that they are being sold, broken up, or shutting down a major operation. While this blog is “I Love My Kindle”, I have had readers who were NOOK users (as well as people I’ve known “in real life”). I don’t know what this will mean for NOOK (they’ve been inconsistent in capitalization) owners. My intuition is that someone will continue to service NOOK book accounts, a least for a while.

Amazon Video Direct

Amazon is doing to the video market what it did to the e-book market, and going directly after YouTube at the same time. They’ve already got Prime Video, which they recently gave a monthly option, at less than the typical Netflix subscription. They’ve included add-on options, so you can get major video sources, including Showtime and Starz, by paying more to add them to your Prime Video (and there are free channels as well). Amazon’s add-on subscriptions page (at AmazonSmile*) The new service, announced in this press release is a major initiative. Content creators can set up an account and reach Amazon Prime and other Amazon members…and get compensated in four different ways:

  • Included in Prime Video at no additional charge to tens of millions of Prime members
  • Available as an add-on subscription through the Streaming Partners Program
  • Offered as a one-time rental price or a one-time purchase price
  • Available to all Amazon customers ad-supported

This flexibility is going to attract mainstream studios, YouTube creators, and hobbyists alike. Amazon makes promotion, distribution, and payment easy. In some ways, this parallels their successful Kindle Direct Publishing program: one way to get paid is through a pool, just like KDP. You’ll get Amazon’s powerful infrastructure, which will, for one thing, give you analytics. Yes, Amazon gets a cut…but I think many creators will accept that they deserve one. In addition to people who may migrate from YouTube, I think you’ll see brand new content…including channels geared specifically to books and to Amazon devices (I would think, for example, that Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles could do this effectively. While I’ve been on the show ((TKC 392 KINDLE BLOGGER BUFO CALVIN)), I’m not connected with TKC). I’d be interested to see Amazon connected this to Goodreads,  which they also own. Importantly, this is not just for the USA: Germany, Austria, UK, and Japan will also be part of the distribution. The last one may be particularly big, of course, but they all have markets for video. If you are interested in making content available, start here: https://videodirect.amazon.com/home/landing and for more information, see this page: https://videodirect.amazon.com/home/help

 

I’m not adding this to my own list of activities right now…I’m stretched thin as it is, especially with getting The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip up to speed. I could consider it in the future…I probably wouldn’t appear in videos, but I could see doing “how tos” or book/media commentaries. I haven’t seen anything about an exclusivity requirement, but I’ve asked for a clarification on that.

Get Alexa on your iPhone (or other IOS device) for $4.99

Up until now, the least expensive way to get Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service (the personality of the Amazon Echo( (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*))) was to buy the Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for about $35. Now, you can get Alexa on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (there might be version requirements, of course) for $4.99! I’ve done it myself with my work iPhone (I’m allowed to install non-work apps on it…I pay for them myself, of course):

Lexi at iTunes

I’ve been testing it for the last day or so. You log into your Amazon account…and it knows your Alexa settings! I was quite pleased that it could, with no set up, control the same home automation our Echo, Amazon Tap, and Echo Dot can do. It knew my calendar, and did my Flash Briefing. The one thing it didn’t do was play Prime Music…I have an iPhone 5S, so maybe that’s different on a 6. I really, really want this on my Galaxy S7 Edge, but not yet. This shows it can be done, and what I’m hoping is that Amazon makes it part of the free Alexa app. Oh, one thing: it isn’t always listening (Siri can be set to do that). I launch the Lexi app, and hold and press on the screen to talk to it. Congratulations to Thaddeus Ternes and Bluetoo Ventures for a valuable addition to the AVS family!

Update: I asked it to read me an Audible book, and it said it was going to do so…but it didn’t after at least a minute.

The Megapacks are in Kindle Unlimited

The Megapack series are curated collections: H. Beam Piper (I happen to be reading some Little Fuzzy right now); dragons; “girl detectives”; and so on. They are typically ninety-nine cents…but they are also available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers at no additional cost: Megapacks in KU My experience with them is that their quality control is pretty good, and the curation is thoughtful. These are often going to be public domain works, but those can be my favorites.🙂 Customer rating averages are usually 4.0 or higher out of 5. Another argument for KU…sure, you could get often get these works for free, but I find it worth it for someone else to have done that work for me…especially if I don’t have to pay anything extra for beyond my KU $9.99 a month.

What do you think? Is Barnes & Noble done? Are they moving into an exciting new phase? Are the physical bookstores at risk…and if so, how would you feel if they closed or changed significantly away from books? What has your impression been of the Megapacks, if you’ve read one?

 

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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.

4 Responses to “Round up #140: Megapacks in KU, B&N’s future?”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Most of the analyses I’ve read in the mainstream & technical press say that Amazon Direct Video is targeted at “professional” video producers. There are some hoops to jump over (mixed metaphor I know :grin), that will discourage the occasional & hobbyist creators which make up the bulk of the content on YouTube. Examples mentioned were music video distributors like Vimeo, and some television or cord cutting entertainment developers.

    Given that there is now an Alexa API, phone apps providing Alexa access from a variety of phone ecosystems may soon appear.

    Although I have heard that the existing Alexa API is somewhat limited.

    As you may know there is also a non-Amazon H/W product manufacturer that is including Alexa into their product (Triby — see:
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/triby-first-non-amazon-product-to-feature-alexa/ )

    Maybe someday Alexa, Cortana, and Siri can all get together and have a coffee klatch?😀

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!
      who
      There are a lot of those content providers who have “channels” who could go with Amazon…people like The Slow Mo Guys, How It Should Have Ended, and a bazillion beauty tips channels.🙂 I wasn’t thinking of people who put up videos mostly for their friends and family, but people who want to have a “public following”. Some of those may never have done it on the existing sites, but will do it with Amazon (maybe loyal Amazon customers).

      You can also see my post on the Triby from another blog of mine, The Measured Circle.🙂

      https://measuredcircle.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/alexaecho-round-up-3-sports-update-alexa-enabled-phone-calls-on-first-3rd-party-alexa-enabled-device/

      You can use it in a very limited way to make phone calls…

      Interesting to me, on your last statement, that you didn’t mention Google’s, even though it may be the most used. I find it quite odd that they don’t name it. It makes it much harder for someone to employ the kind of whimsy you did.🙂

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        To be clear the articles I read seemed to think that Amazon’s video offering is targeted at those who want to monetize their videos — not merely increase their visibility. Amazon has apparently laid out 4 ways to do this including advertising. Amazon will get a cut of any revenues generated.

        In order to participate not only do you have to create a special account with Amazon, but you must provide them with a variety of IRS-related info — that says to me this is meant to target more business-oriented users.

        Most seemed to believe that Amazon is only targeting a very specific part of the YouTube universe.

  2. Amazon@home | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Round up #140: Megapacks in KU, B&N’s future? […]

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