Round up #146: get a free Echo or Fire Tablet with a subscription, big Fall books
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble
B&N announced their financials for the 1st quarter. Overall, it was bad…and the NOOK was worse.
According to CNN Money
the stock has been down for three straight days (although today was bad for the stock market overall).
The media response wasn’t better than the investors’ response. For example, there is this one:
When people commented on the NOOK, it was pretty much that it was time to give up on it.
GOODEREADER had a more sophisticated take on it:
According to this press release
sales declined 6.6%…and “NOOK sales, which include digital content, devices and accessories, declined 24.5%”.
As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I was…intrigued by some comments on the call…you can read
although you may need to do a free registration to read the whole thing.
Leonard Riggio, who really built what we now know as Barnes & Noble was on the call as CEO, although that’s apparently a stopgap position.
It’s not often that you hear “terrible” and “…worse I have ever experienced in 50 years I have been in this industry” on a financial call!
I am unconvinced that, as Riggio suggests, there has been a downturn in sales because of the Presidential election which will reverse itself in time for this year’s holiday season.
Riggio says: “…we look forward to a great holiday series, which will begin this year in the post-election period when I expect what I call this retail malaise to be over.”
I would expect the election to be driving up sales, not down. I doubt very many people are going to say, “I would buy a book, but I’ll watch the debate instead”. Some people will read books about the candidates and the election who don’t read books at other times.
And reversing in time for the holiday sales? The election is November 8th. Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is November 25th. Regardless of result, I don’t expect the country to be in a jubilant, confident mood that quickly after this divided an election.
I have respect for Riggio…but I think this will be a tough holiday season for books at Barnes & Noble.
We bought a computer…actually, we bought two
While our now adult kid has been happy with a Lenovo, and a lot of people are, I haven’t loved ours. I type pretty quickly (I’ve been tested in the 90s WPM…Words Per Minute, although I’m not that fast now), and I’ve just never liked the keyboard. I don’t think it was picking up my keystrokes quickly enough.
My Significant Other also really needed a new computer…the plan was that I’d replace the Lenovo, and my SO would use it (it’s been decent except for the keyboard).
We really prefer buying things from Amazon, but I needed hands on to make this decision. I’d tried a few at Costco, but the key arrangement was bizarre. In particular, some of them put the backspace pretty much out of reach without leaving the home row…that doesn’t work for me.
So, it was off to Best Buy.
They were very helpful, and not too pushy.
I ended up with an ASUS for myself, which I’m using right now…and it’s a world of difference. I paid more for it than I had originally thought (about $900).
My SO also loved a Vulcan…and that was under $200!
It’s already helping put more words into this post…just what you wanted, right? 😉
“Alexa, show me Star Trek”
Yesterday, I celebrated the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, not only with a post on The Measured Circle blog:
but by watching the first aired episode, The Man Trap (although it was in the remastered version).
Alexa voice search has been on the
for a while, but a new update rolling out now is bringing it to over 75 apps, including Netflix and Hulu.
You also will be able to control the playback using your voice.
has probably been the least reliable piece of technology I’ve ever owned. Every one of them I’ve had has broken fairly quickly, without abuse. It’s not just the batteries, by the way. That’s been the only disappointing part of the Fire TV experience for me.
Fortunately, you can do Alexa voice control on the Fire TV by using the free Fire TV app on your SmartPhone.
Note that this doesn’t mean that you can directly control your Fire TV with your Echo…I keep hoping for that. I do have my Echo set up to work with my
through IFTTT, but that’s a considerable investment and isn’t easy to do technically.
Scarlett Johansson and Tim Curry will read to you
Speaking of the Echo (and we use all three of that family…an Echo, a Tap, and a Dot), Amazon is letting you listen to Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland read by Scarlett Johansson and Journey to the Center of the Earth read by Tim Curry for free through your Echo during September.
Just say, “Alexa, read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from Audible” or “Alexa, read Journey to the Center of the Earth from Audible”.
Get a free Echo with a Princeton Review subscription
If you subscribe to Princeton Review Study Course for the SAT, Princeton Review Study Course for ACT, or Princeton Review Homework Help, you get a free Echo!
Now, that’s not cheap…the Homework Help is $399 for a year, but if you are subscribing any way…
Another “device with subscription” offer?
for $89.95 and get a free Fire tablet.
With Texture you have unimited access to over 175 magazines, including many well-known ones…and that includes back issues and downloads.
The app only has a 3.6 star rating in customer reviews out of a possible five. Looking at the reviews, it seems to me that if it works for you, it’s well worth it. Some people don’t like the formatting, and some people had trouble getting it to work at all.
You can cancel within seven days (you won’t get the tablet, of course), so it might be worth testing. The terms are reasonable: your subscription will work on both Android and Apple, and can be shared between five devices.
Amazon’s Fall Reading list
We all know there are only four really good seasons for reading books…winter, spring, summer, and fall. 😉
Fall is often for more serious books for many people…summer is more for popcorn books. That’s not how I read myself, but that’s the way a lot of people do it.
Amazon’s editors have made recommendations:
This is where you can do your holiday shopping!
However, while there are 719 hardbacks listed, there are only 42 Kindle editions listed. Still definitely worth a look.
That was a lot of ground in these short pieces. Have opinions on any of them? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
Update: this post was improved because of a comment from regular reader and commenter Harold Delk…thanks, Harold!
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* 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.