Archive for December, 2016

The Year Ahead: 2017

December 31, 2016

The Year Ahead: 2017

This is my annual post where I look ahead to the next year. I’ll make some predictions, but I’ll warn you ahead of time…I don’t always get things right. ;) That said, I see that I did quite well with my “speculations” last year…not as well with the predictions. I count my hits and misses on the predictions, where I didn’t do as well, but I’m happy that someone who read my post last year wouldn’t have been surprised by some of the things that happened. 2017 is generally seen as likely to be volatile and unpredictable, but we’ll see. The new Administration does impact a lot of things that have to do with this blog. It’s intriguing that the President-Elect has a commercial history primarily tied up in the physical world, and has expressed skepticism about computers…and yet, used new media extensively and has an advisor who is coming from the digital world. Hard to say how that might affect e-books and publishing, but I’m thinking that I can still see some of the trends. First, let’s look at how I did in my predictions and speculations last year:

Prediction: “Kindle Splash”: Amazon introduces a water resistant Kindle

Miss. I have to admit, this shocks me the most (and might shock someone literally if they dropped a Kindle in the water). 😉 Why hasn’t Amazon done this, when Barnes & Noble and Kobo have? I don’t know…perhaps they don’t consider it important, or maybe it adds weight they don’t want. I was also wrong when I said, “While I would love to see Amazon introduce an EBR with audio (for text-to-speech, especially) that doesn’t feel to me like it is going to happen…I think that’s migrated to the tablets, although a stand-alone wearable for text-to-speech still seems possible.” They actually did, in a way, return TTS to EBRs: the most recent All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) has Bluetooth, which allows TTS to work by pairing wirelessly with an external speaker.

Prediction: Continued international expansion of content development and discovery

Hit. I specifically predicted that Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) would expand beyond the USA, Canada, and Mexico, and that happened. It’s now also available in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom…looks like everywhere except Holland. I suggested that Kindle Scout might expand to other countries, and I don’t think it did, but that wasn’t the main prediction.

Prediction: Amazon moves into the news business

Miss. This didn’t happen…and in retrospect, that makes some sense. The Washington Post and Amazon are separate, but joined by Jeff Bezos. The WaPo was really a presence this year, and perhaps that is a disincentive for Amazon to get strongly into the news business (although I suppose that the Echo’s Flash Briefing counts).

So, one out of three ain’t…great, but it isn’t terrible. 😉 This isn’t a case of three coin flips…there are hundreds of possibilities, so getting one right is decent. However, I expect my predictions to do better than that. The more speculative, well, speculations are a place where I feel like I take more chances, but let’s look at how they did for 2016:

  • I don’t think the Apple case will get to the Supreme Court in 2016…that’s probably too fast. However, it is possible the Supremes would decline to consider it…I think, though, it doesn’t happen during this Presidential election year
    • The Supreme Court did decline to hear the case (probably impacted by the death of Justice Scalia)
  • I think that equal collection legislation could happen in the next administration (whoever the President ends up being)…there is enough bilateral support for it, but nobody wants to give anybody ammunition during the election. Hold that off for 2017
    • Nothing did happen this year, so this one is right so far 🙂
  • Barnes & Noble will continue to sink…I think they could limp through the year, even after what I think will be a disappointing holiday season report
    • They’ve been sinking, especially in regards to the NOOK. We’ll see what the holiday report is
  • Prime continues to be a big priority, getting us more content
  • Fire TV and the Echo will have great years. We’ll see the Echo “Skills  store” expand considerably
    • Exactly…the Skills store now has over 5,000 skills. I should have called it the “Alexa Skills” store, but even though thinking of it as the Echo hasn’t been around that long, I still need to break that habit
  • Virtual Reality could have some book tie-ins…imagine going to Hogwarts in VR, or playing in The Hunger Games. However, I’m unconvinced VR is ready for Prime Time…although I think Microsoft’s Hololens will have industrial application
    • This didn’t happen as much as I thought…but more on that later in this post
  • Amazon could have AI (Artificial Intelligence) produced content, which might tie into the news service above. They could also use AI to do book summaries on Amazon product pages
    • We aren’t aware of this happening…although it could be without us knowing it. 🙂
  • Amazon could consolidate their three social reading sites: Goodreads, Library Thing, and Shelfari. I like Shelfari, but I think it would be most at risk of being absorbed
    • Yep…Shelfari was absorbed

Time for me to take a deep breath and make predictions (and speculations) for 2017!

Amazon VR

I have had a Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for about a week now, and am completely sold on the technology. With my device, you put a SmartPhone (only certain models work with it) into a headset…basically, like a SCUBA mask. You aren’t seeing the world around you…and then you see a virtual world that knows where you are looking. It’s more sophisticated than that, but it’s an amazing experience.  I took it to family parties, and got the same sort of reactions with relatives from the age of about 13 to about 90.

It’s been made pretty easy to use…I would say it is considerably further along towards mainstream, smooth use than the Kindle was when it was first released. It knows when you put it on and take it off, for example…you don’t have to turn it on. The only problem I had was initially getting the phone in the headset: I should have realized I had to take my very slim silicon case off it, and I had to put in an adapter.

There was a notable lack of Amazon presence. Netflix had an app (and Hulu just added one in Beta)…and it’s like watching your show in a movie theatre, almost. VR may really hurt the big screen TV market. It’s a much better video experience for me to watch on my headset than in my “real life” family room. No question, we need Prime video.

Another thing I was seeking right away? A book reader. That might sound strange: read books in virtual reality? You bet! Virtual Reality (which doesn’t show you the real world at the same time) and Augmented Reality (which overlays virtual objects on the real world…you still what’s happening) will, I think, become a new normal for many people. Having an additional device to read books may seem redundant. Color for books in VR? Not an issue at all…that’s easy. Large print? As large as you want! Lighting? Never a problem. Walk into a book like Gumby? Entirely possible.

The possibilities for non-fiction are really exciting. Tap (or just stare at…when I’m on Samsung Internet in VR, I have “gaze select” where I can set a time for how long I stare at something before it clicks it) a graph in the book, and it becomes large enough for you to read. See a reference to a place and select it and walk around it (I’ve found walking around Chernobyl really fascinating).

I did find a reading app…you can see screen shots from it here:

chimera reader

It does ePUB books.

Unfortunately, as you can see in one of the screenshots, the page (just one page at a time) is directly in front of you…it sort of looks like a movie poster on a wall (without a wall). There is a nice looking library environment, but the reading experience (including how you turn the pages) is just not enjoyable.

Amazon could move into the VR app world this year. Prime Video is a no brainer, and Prime Music could also work well. The surprise one might be a Kindle app, which lets you read e-books and e-magazines. Imagine choosing to read in a comfortable sitting room, in a library, on a sailing ship, or on top of a mountain…whenever you wanted to do that. No distractions around you, and all of your books. They could make it look like you have the book in your hands…and maybe you choose an edition. Oh, picture this! You are reading your book…and sitting in the room with you, also reading (you aren’t interacting with them) are Mark Twain, Jane Austen, and Oscar Wilde!

Amazon VR software is my prediction this year. I do need to note that I was able to enter a world of The Man in the High Castle already, based on the Amazon TV series, but I think this will go beyond that.

What about VR hardware?

I won’t make that a solid prediction, but I certainly think it is possible. Amazon dominated in EBRs (E-Book Readers) when it solved the problem of having to have the device cabled to get books…they went wireless. The problem Amazon could solve in VR? Interoperability. They could make a headset which would fit either an Android or iPhone (and maybe Windows phones). That seems like it shouldn’t be too hard with some adjustable parts and an adapter. A phone-powered VR set is relatively inexpensive (mine sells for under $100, but has been on sale for a lot less than that), which is a good market spot for Amazon. There are two other concerns which Amazon could address. People worry about not being able to see the real world easily when in VR. My set already does “camera passthrough”, so I can see through the phone’s camera without taking off the headset (although it’s odd…sort of like you are underwater). There should be a one tap choice for that. It could also happen automatically in an emergency…your smoke alarm could trigger it, for example. The other thing is how isolating it can be…I haven’t done anything social in it, but Amazon could make it easier for you to see the other people around you (as avatars). Of course, that’s not an issue if it is AR (Augmented Reality) instead…the book appears to be in your hands, but you see the world around you.

My Kindle books anywhere I want, with me being in a reading spot of my choice? Yes, please.

The prediction is Amazon apps for VR, with a possibility of Amazon VR hardware. Ooh, and Alexa for my VR! I want that, too! (I know, greedy, greedy). 😉

An ancillary: a section at Amazon for VR “experiences” (games and apps), which they don’t have now.

More Bluetooth enabled Kindle EBRs

2016 was big for Kindle EBR models, and 2015 hadn’t been. Maybe they are going to start doing that…alternate years for Kindle EBR introductions of an evolutionary nature, rather than every year.

I’ll predict that the full current range of Kindle EBRs gets refreshed with Bluetooth capable models. That would be an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary change. With Alexa expanding rapidly (including probably some different type devices, at least one with a screen), and the possibility of VR hardware, this may not be the year for a whole new model in the EBR line-up. Yes, I’d like to see a water-resistant model, although I’m not going to predict that. 😉 I think we are likely to get new editions of current models rather than a brand new model. If any model is at risk of retirement, I think it’s the Voyage. I also think they may finally sell the Oasis without a requirement to buy an animal leather cover as well.

Copyright Reform

Even though it may be a busy first year of the administration, I think we’ll hear something concrete about copyright reform. There was recently this Judiciary Committee report, but that is just a set of recommendations. My guess is that the reforms will have to do with reshaping the office (clarifying the reporting structure, maybe eliminating the Registrar), and that there will be commerce-friendly reforms proposed…and set in motion. I won’t count this as a hit unless it looks like proposals have been accepted and it is a real plan. We could certainly see movement towards a fully searchable online database of copyright records. “Small claims court” for copyright? Maybe. I expect we will see proposals about “orphan books” (books that are still under copyright protection, but aren’t “in print” and for whom no rightsholder can be located to authorize an edition). I think this administration would make it easier to create those editions, even without locating the rightsholder.

We’ll go with those as the three predictions…and see if I do better than one out of three. 😉

Next, I’ll do some speculations…

  • There will be more than 10,000 Alexa skills by the end of the year at Amazon.com…I think 25,000 is certainly possible, and I wouldn’t be shocked by 100,000
  • Barnes & Noble finds a new CEO…and then maybe it pretty much implodes. It might also stumble along, or even largely jettison books and become more of a restaurant
  • Alexa becomes capable of suggesting apps, so you don’t need to know what apps exist first. If you say, “Alexa, when does Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 arrive?” and you don’t have a flight tracking app installed, it will give you a list of possible apps to answer the question and you pick one and it answers it. It can’t just pick an app for you…app publishers wouldn’t like that
  • The USA Kindle store breaks five million titles…before April 1st (I would actually figure February)
  • Amazon announces a store presence in Cuba and/or Russia, or at least, plans for them
  • Amazon continues to explore brick-and-mortar, opening the Amazon Go “checkout-less store” to the public, and maybe three more Amazon Books stores
  • Drone delivery…in the UK before the USA (the latter may not happen this year, but I think the UK will…maybe another country too, Spain, perhaps)
  • A high level, known executive leaves Amazon for another company
  • George R.R. Martin releases the next “Game of Thrones” (A Song of Ice and Fire) book, and it becomes one of the top ten fiction books of the year

I think I’ve said enough…some of those are pretty out there! One thing I can say very confidently about 2017…it won’t be boring! 😉

What do you think will happen in 2017, in topics of interest to the readers of this blog? Do you want me to speculate about something I haven’t mentioned? 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! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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 The Measured Circle 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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Amazon’s first “Digital Day” is here…and there are some great deals!

December 30, 2016

Amazon’s first “Digital Day” is here…and there are some great deals!

During the holiday season, Amazon had repeated discounts on their devices. It was impressive how they kept those going…not in “flash sales” where people might have missed the opportunity, but ongoing significant savings on their most popular items.

Now that millions of people have the devices, they need to start using them…and that means content.

To be clear, I don’t think that Amazon needs people to buy a lot of content to make a profit on those devices…it’s not about that. The profit on digital content tends to be quite low. Amazon needs people to be customers, and ideally wants them to be Prime members. Then, they buy physical items (what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”) where more profit is made. They also become Amazon’s most important “product”: happy customers. 🙂 I call them a product, because Amazon can make a lot of money selling access to them (in terms of advertising, a marketplace for third party creators and distributors, payment services, and so on).

I think that’s one of the points of

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

Get people as deeply embedded with Amazon on possible.

If I could make every single payment to every single person/entity to whom I own money, from the IRS to the dentist to my local restaurant, through Amazon, I’d be ecstatic. I trust Amazon to handle my payments, and I’d just as soon not keeping giving out my information to other groups.

This is also something different from what I would see when I was a brick-and-mortar retail manager (bookstore, gamestore). This isn’t a “clearance”, really, since these are digital items. There is some effort to maintain storage and access to digital content (check many people’s e-mail inboxes to see), but it’s not like storing physical items in a rent-expensive store. Some of the items could have a limited sales cycle…if a videogame puts out a new version every year, for example, you might want to push the 2016 edition before the 2017 edition comes out…a bit like cars.

Interestingly to me, the extended sale they did on

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

isn’t happening today, and there are no device deals (beyond a bundle).

There are some discounts on services, and that makes sense as well.

So, what do they have? Let’s start at a high level:

  • “Top 2016 Kindle Authors $3.99 or less”…David Baldacci, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Nicholas Sparks (including The Notebook): these are continuing some great sales they’ve been having lately! You can find them at that Digital Day link, or as today’s Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
  • Best of 2016
  • “Pass the Popcorn”
  • 50% off or more
  • “build, battle & game on”
  • more for your money
  • “start here content for new devices”
  • family time
  • “spin, swipe & play”
  • “dollar deals”
  • digital day featured deals

Now, some specifics:

  • $10 towards Amazon Music Unlimited (this one is just free, and follows the normal thirty day free trial)…you are not then committed to continue with the service. They say this is while “supplies last”. I’ve been happy with the music included with my Amazon Prime: it rarely doesn’t have something I want. However, this is tempting to try it out…
  • Rent 24 movies for ninety-nine cents each: The Shallows, The Hangover, The Outsiders, The Neverending Story, Magic Mike, each of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies (ninety-nine cents each, not for all of them)
  • Up to $10 off your first three Lyft rides
  • 95% off Office Suite Premium
  • Free Iron First Graphic Novel
  • spend $50, get $15 off an Airbnb gift card (code: AIRBNB15)
  • 67% off three months of Tidal Premium (note that this is a direct competitor to Amazon Music Unlimited)
  • $5 to spend when you purchase Minecraft: Pocket Edition
  • $5 albums, including Michael Jackson Number Ones, Journey’s Greatest Hits, The Best of Simon & Garfunkel, Gunslinger by Garth Brooks, Hero by Maren Morris, We Got It from Here by a Tribe Called Quest
  • 50% off Image Comics sale (which includes The Walking Dead and Saga…6,000 titles on sale through January 2)
  • First month free then 50% off next 5 months on Daily Burn streaming workouts

Some of these are going to look confusing, because they are discounts on in-app purchases. For example, when you click or tap on Daily Burn, all you see is that it is a free download…the discount is on the membership you purchase within the app.

There are some things today that seem to me to really make sense…freebies, and things you would only use once (like 2016 tax preparation software).

For other types of content, I think this is a great time to assess whether a subser (subscription service) might make more sense. Should you buy e-books on sale…or consider buying access with Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…or just go with what you get included with your (likely) Prime Membership with Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)? When I see an exciting opportunity to get a bargain, one of my first reaction is generally, “Is there a way I can avoid spending money completely in this situation, and end up feeling that was a better deal? Is there an alternative deal available?”

I would say check out the sale. I’d appreciate you letting me and my readers know if you do feel like you got a deal…or if you have an alternative suggestion…by commenting on this post.

I’ll also be interested to see if other businesses do sales do compete. In the past week, I’ve made a $30 purchase for content outside of Amazon, and gotten free content from that source. Yes, this is a tease, but I’ll write more about that soon…and why I think Amazon may be in that business in a significant way in the next year.

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! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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 The Measured Circle 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 Year in E-Books 2016

December 29, 2016

The Year in E-Books 2016

Every year, I look both backward and forward. This is my annual post, looking at what happened this year. If you want to see the details, please see the ever-expanding ILMK E-Books Timeline. For posts in this series for previous years, see The Year in E-Books category. For a more numerical comparison between 2015 and previous years, I plan on doing my Annual Snapshot January 1st.

Well! This was a very different year than 2015!

I commented that 2015 wasn’t about hardware, but this year was really quite balanced between hardware and services and software for readers.

There were three significant EBR (E-Book Reader) introductions.

April saw the Kindle Oasis, a radical redesign to the morphology of the device, at a premium price. Part of that premium included that you could only purchase it with an animal-leather cover (which meant that some people, including me, wouldn’t buy it) which helped power it. It got some very good reviews. It was one of Oprah’s Favorite Things…Oprah had a big impact on making the original Kindle a success.

May gave us a special Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle – Includes Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi and Special Offers, Kindle Audio Adapter, and $19.99 Account Credit (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which returned a way to do text-to-speech (TTS) to a Kindle EBR.

In July, the least expensive Kindle got Bluetooth…allowing for TTS through an external speaker: All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

In terms of sales, those were likely eclipsed by Echo devices (which do read books to you, as of January of 2016) and Fire TV devices (which also have Alexa…and can also read to you), but certainly, that’s a good amount of EBR development.

Especially for Prime members, there was a lot going on in terms of content!

Some other stories from 2016:

  • I appeared on Len Edgerly’s The Kindle Chronicles twice, in February and October
  • Amazon merged Shelfari into Goodreads
  • The Supreme Court basically ended Apple’s e-book appeals…and some Kindle customers got money from the settlement
  • Older Kindles had to be updated or they would lose wireless connection to Amazon
  • Kindle EBR software got updated, giving us a new homescreen, and Page Flip was considerably upgraded
  • Amazon continued community support, with Amazon Inspire for schools and the Kindle Reading Fund
  • Kobo introduced the Aura One
  • Changes were clearly coming to copyright, prompting a lot of statements from creators and distributors

Generally, this was a good year for Kindleers.

I think it’s clear that 2017 is going to be a year for change in a lot of fields…and I’ll make some guesses in my Year Ahead post about e-publishing, e-reading, and Amazon.

What do you think? Did I leave out anything big? Should I have talked more about how some bestsellers went up in price? What stood out to you about e-books in 2016? 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! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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 The Measured Circle 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.

“How you spent during your winter vacation”: Amazon’s holiday results

December 28, 2016

“How you spent during your winter vacation”: Amazon’s holiday results

You can have fun when you are doing well…and you’ll do better when you are having fun. 🙂

I genuinely believe that…fun is a positive correlate for success, although some people seem to think that success depends on being as serious as you possibly can.

Amazon reflects that when they do their annual report of their holiday sales, with goofy (but impressive) statistics.

This year, in addition to sending me the regular press release, they sent me some extra “Reading Data Points”…and nicely agreed to let me share them with you.

I’ll reproduce them verbatim below, but I’ll call out a few points myself first.

  • Fascinating to me that the bestselling book on Amazon in 2016 wasn’t a novel, or even short stories, but a script: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). As a former professional actor, I’ve always enjoyed reading scripts (both intended for stage and screen), but as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I can tell you that they usually aren’t big sellers. This again shows the Power of (Harry) Potter. I think it’s legitimate to say that the Harry Potter series got a lot of people, especially children, reading who might not have done it with such fervor without it (echoing the Oz books at the start of the 20th Century). Perhaps this book will encourage some people to read more scripts (although I’d say there is an economic advantage in having both a script and a novelization in the market). I do see that one of the bestsellers in books at Amazon.com for the holidays was also a script (and also by J.K. Rowling…and also in the Potterverse): Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (at AmazonSmile*)
  • The most highlighted passage is from a non-fiction book. That’s interesting to me…are you more likely to capture a quotation from non-fiction book or a fiction book (taking into account the amount you read of both)? Even though I’ve published a book of quotations (The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)), I’m not sure what the answer is for me. I would think I might loan more credence to non-fiction…but I think they generally aren’t likely to be written in as entertaining a way as fiction, meaning that a fiction book might have more available quotations
  • Also intriguing: they cite a statistic on which books were given five stars rating from people who had never given a five star rating before. They don’t say, though, whether those people had ever rated any book before. That would make a big difference to me. If the rater had always given three stars or fewer and this time gave five, that says something. If this is their first review, we don’t know if they won’t rate everything five stars…

=== (Amazon’s information below)

Reading Data Points

  • The bestselling book on Amazon in 2016 was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Special Rehearsal Edition Script by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
  • The secret’s out: The top foodie book Kindle customers are reading this holiday season is Anthony Bourdain’s genre-defining classic, Kitchen Confidential, currently available in Kindle Unlimited.
  • The #1 passage Kindle readers are highlighting from bestselling 2016 memoir When Breath Becomes Air is:

◦       “Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.”

  • Blame it on Brangelina: The #1 magazine downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 by Kindle customers was People.
  • If you add up all readers of every book in Prime Reading since it was launched, the Kindle book with the most total daily readers in the program was The Atlantis Gene, the first title in the popular technothriller trilogy that’s earned more than 6,000 5-star reviews.
  • Love is in the air year-round for Prime customers: The top non-fiction book downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 was The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.
  • In 2016, more than 3 million readers took the Goodreads Challenge and have read a collective 38.1 million books this year.
  • High Fives: The NightingaleThe Butterfly Garden, and A Man Called Ove received the most 5-star reviews in 2016 from Amazon customers who had never before given a book 5 stars.
  • The highest rated audiobook of 2016 on Audible is Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, and narrated by the author.
  • The bestselling audiobook of the year on Audible was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, narrated by Claire Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher.
  • Authors answered more than 26,000 reader questions on Goodreads in 2016.

 

 

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Alexa Devices Top Amazon Best-Seller List this Holiday – Millions of Alexa Devices Sold Worldwide
Sales of Amazon Echo family of devices up more than 9x over last year’s holiday season

Echo Dot is the best-selling, most gifted item on Amazon.com with millions sold worldwide since launch

Alexa devices made up top-selling products across all categories on Amazon.com including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet and Amazon Echo

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 27, 2016– (NASDAQ: AMZN) — This 2016 holiday was the best-ever season for Amazon with devices including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet and Amazon Echo topping the best-sellers list. Customers purchased and gifted a record-setting number of devices from the Amazon Echo family with sales up over 9x compared to last year’s holiday season and millions of Alexa devices sold worldwide this year.

“Echo and Echo Dot were the best-selling products across Amazon this year, and we’re thrilled that millions of new customers will be introduced to Alexa as a result. Despite our best efforts and ramped-up production, we still had trouble keeping them in stock. From turning on Christmas lights and playing holiday music to shopping for gifts and asking for help with cookie recipes, Alexa continues to get smarter every day,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “We couldn’t have made this holiday season possible for customers without the dedication and hard work of our customer service, transportation, and fulfillment associates along with our carrier partners – it’s amazing to see the teams come together to serve customers during the holidays. On behalf of Amazonians all around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and the very best for the coming year.”

Holidays with Alexa:

·       Alexa helped mix hundreds of thousands of cocktails this holiday season with Tom Collins and Manhattans being the most requested drinks from skills like The Bartender, Mixologist and DrinkBoy.

·       Chocolate chip and sugar cookies were the favorite recipes from Alexa skills like Food Network and Allrecipes.

·       Home Alone and Elf were the most requested holiday movies with Alexa.

·       Alexa helped play millions of holiday songs this year, and the top songs were Jingle Bells (1999 – Remaster) by Frank Sinatra, All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey and Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano.

·       What was Alexa asked to cook? The most popular cooking tips requested on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were turkey, prime rib and chocolate chip cookies.

·       Who played the most holiday music with Alexa? Customers in Seattle, New York and Chicago asked “Alexa, play holiday music” more than any other city in the U.S.

·       Who turned on Christmas Lights the most with Alexa? Customers in Seattle, San Diego and New York asked, “Alexa, turn on Christmas lights” more than any other city in the U.S.

·       What games were the most requested with Alexa this holiday? Alexa entertained families with popular games like Jeopardy!, Twenty Questions and The Magic Door.

Amazon Prime:

·       More than one billion items shipped worldwide with Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon this holiday season.

·       More people around the world tried Prime this holiday season than any previous year.

·       The fastest Prime Now delivery on Christmas Eve took 13 minutes and was delivered at 9:05 p.m. to a Prime member in Redondo Beach, California. The order included a Tile Slim Item Finder and a Tile Mate Key Finder.

·       December 23, 2016 was the biggest day ever for Prime Now deliveries worldwide and members ordered 3x more items compared to last year with one and two hour delivery worldwide. Echo Dot, Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick and Oreo Cookies were some of the most popular items ordered that day in the U.S.

·       The last Prime Now order delivered in time for the holiday was delivered at 11:59 p.m. on December 24, 2016 to a Prime member in Irvine, California. The order included a Heated Mattress Pad, NyQuil and Afrin Nasal Spray.

·       Prime members in Dallas, Texas ordered more items with Prime Now than any other city in the U.S. this holiday season.

·       The last Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery order from Amazon.com that was delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at 10:23 a.m. on December 24, 2016. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in Richmond, Virginia at 2:42 p.m. – the same day.

Mobile Shopping:

·       More than 72 percent of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday.

·       Shopping on the free Amazon mobile app grew by 56 percent this holiday, worldwide.

·       On Cyber Monday, Amazon customers worldwide purchased about 46 electronics per second on a mobile device.

·       On Cyber Monday, Amazon customers worldwide purchased about 36 toys per second on a mobile device.

Amazon Operations:

·       December 19 was the peak worldwide shipping day this holiday season.

·       In the U.S., more than 200,000 full-time and seasonal associates made the record-breaking shipping season possible.

·       In the last two years, Amazon launched operations at over a dozen new facilities, many of which house robotic technology.

·       Amazon fulfillment centers in San Marcos, Texas and Kent, Washington, as well as two Polish fulfillment centers, in Poznan and Wroclaw, shipped more than one million items in a single day.

·       There are now 45,000 robotics units working alongside Amazon associates in more than 20 fulfillment centers.

Amazon Digital Media:

·       The most streamed Amazon Original Series over the holidays was Goliath.

·       The most streamed Amazon Original Movie over the holidays was Love & Friendship.

·       The most watched TV series (non-Amazon Original) streaming on Prime Video this holiday was The Night Manager.

·       The most watched movie (non-Amazon Original) streaming on Prime Video this holiday was Eye in the Sky.

·       Customers listening to holiday music on Amazon Music more than tripled this year, compared to 2015.

·       The most streamed holiday song on Amazon Music was It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams.

·       Michael Bublé – Christmas was the most played holiday album on Amazon Music this season.

·       Amazon Music is the exclusive streaming home for all 16 studio albums by the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history, Garth Brooks – since his debut to streaming exclusively on Amazon, Brooks has become one of the top-streamed artists on Amazon Music.

·       The hours that kids spent interacting with educational content in Amazon FreeTime this holiday season was enough time to sail around the earth more than 6,000 times.

·       Popular FreeTime Unlimited holiday titles enjoyed by kids in the U.S. 2016 were Holiday Jokes (Hah-larious Joke Books), Elsa’s Ice Puzzles – FreeTime Unlimited Edition, and Caillou’s Winter Wonders.

·       The top foodie book Kindle customers are reading this holiday season is Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, currently available in Kindle Unlimited.

·       The #1 magazine downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 by Kindle customers was People.

·       The top non-fiction book downloaded in Prime Reading in 2016 was The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.

·       In 2016, more than 3 million readers took the Goodreads Challenge and read a collective 38.1 million books this year.

·       Authors answered more than 26,000 reader questions on Goodreads in 2016.

·       The highest rated audiobook of 2016 on Audible is Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, and narrated by the author.

·       The bestselling audiobook of the year on Audible was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, narrated by Claire Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher.

Holiday Fun Facts:

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Hamilton: the Revolution collectible books and Hamilton albums to give every patron at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City a copy for 96 consecutive shows.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough 4K TVs to reach the peak of Mount Everest more than 9 times.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough KitchenAid Mixers this holiday to make nearly 7.5 million cookies at once.

·       On Cyber Monday 2016, Handmade at Amazon saw a 200 percent increase in sales versus Cyber Monday 2015.

·       If each Amazon.com customer who purchased Pokémon Sun and Moon this holiday spent at least an hour a day playing the game since its release, our customers would have spent the equivalent of more than 24 thousand lunar cycles capturing Pokémon.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough copies of the Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection to play consecutively for more than 300 years.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Hasbro Connect 4 Games this holiday season to give each resident of Dallas, Texas a single disc from the game.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Sphero Star Wars BB-8 App-Controlled Robots to roll as a relay around the Earth more than two times before the batteries run out.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Razor Jett Heel Wheels this holiday to roll a fully loaded space shuttle to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Wilson footballs this holiday to give every fan at a sold-out Seahawks game a chance to throw a pass like Russell Wilson.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough golf balls this holiday that, if lined up, would equal the length of Pebble Beach golf course four times over.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased more Marvin the Moose dog toys this holiday than the number of actual moose in New England.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough copies of The Secret Life of Pets that if each one were a tennis ball, they would fill Central Parkover two and a half feet deep.

·       Amazon.com delivered enough men’s jeans to fill one Olympic-size swimming pool.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough ugly Christmas sweaters for every seat at all three NCAA College Football Playoff games.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough running shoes to run 18,603 times around the globe.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased 2.5 million watches – that is a watch purchased every 1.5 seconds this holiday season.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased 10,451 carats of diamonds, which is equal to 6.5 Russian Kokoshnik Tiaras, one of the Queen of England’s most famous tiaras.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased the weight of a grizzly bear in gold and the weight of a rhinoceros in silver.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Etekcity camp lanterns this holiday to replace the beacon lights on top of the Eiffel Tower nearly 11 times.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough luggage to fill 20 Boeing 747 airplanes.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough electric vehicle home charging kits to make 2,196 emissions-free trips around the globe in a year.

·       Amazon.com customers purchased enough Char-Broil’s The Big Easy Turkey Fryers to cook 225,000 pounds of turkey.

Holiday Best Sellers (Amazon.com only):

·       All Categories: Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablet, Amazon Echo

·       Amazon Launchpad: Watch Ya’ Mouth Family Edition – The Authentic, Hilarious, Mouthguard Party Game, Tile Mate – Key Finder. Phone Finder. Anything Finder., Anki Overdrive Starter Kit

·       Audio & Accessories: Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones, AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music

·       Automotive: Hopkins Mallory 26″ Snow Brush with Foam Grip, Battery Tender Junior 12-Volt Battery Charger, Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (36 pack)

·       Baby: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy, Nuby Octopus Hoopla Bathtime Fun Toys (Purple), Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether (Yellow)

·       Beauty & Grooming: Philips Sonicare Essence Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush (White), Philips Norelco Multigroom Series 3100 with 5 attachments, Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush Powered by Braun

·       Books: Diary of a Wimpy Kid # 11: Double Down, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, First 100 Words

·       Camera: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera, AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag, GoPro HERO5

·       Fashion: Levi’s Men’s 501 Original Fit Jean, Fossil Emma Large Zip RFID Wallet, kate spade new york Cedar Street Cami Convertible Cross-Body Bag

·       Grocery: The Original Donut Shop, Regular, Medium Extra Bold, Keurig K-Cups (72 Count), San Francisco Bay OneCup, Fog Chaser (80 Single Serve Coffees), KIND Nuts & Spices, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

·       Handmade: First Christmas in New Home Wood Ornament, Personalized Nameplate Gold Bar Necklace, World Travel Map Pin Board

·       Home: BLACK + DECKER 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac, Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat, Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray 2-Ounce Bottle (Original Scent)

·       Home Improvement: WBM Himalayan Salt Lamp, 3M Indoor Window Insulator Kit, Woods Outdoor 24-Hour Photoelectric Timer

·       Home & Personal Care: AmazonBasics AA Performance Alkaline Batteries (48-pack), Bounty Select-a-Size Paper Towels, Huge Roll (12 Count), Cottonelle Ultra ComfortCare Big Roll Toilet Paper (12 Count)

·       Kitchen: RTIC 30 oz. Tumbler, Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker (6 quart), Keurig K55 Single Serve Coffer Maker

·       Luxury Beauty: stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme Dryer

·       Movies: The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection

·       Music (CDs & vinyl): A Pentatonix Christmas, Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), Blue & Lonesome

·       Musical Instruments: Blue Yeti USB Microphone, Kala Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit (Amazon Exclusive), Singing Machine Top Loading CDG Karaoke System with Sound and Disco Light Show

·       Outdoors: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, Etekcity 2-pack Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern with 6 AA Batteries (Black, Collapsible), Yeti Coolers Rambler

·       Patio, Lawn & Garden: iDevices iGrill Mini, Bounty Hunter BHJS Junior Metal Detector, Snow Joe Telescoping Snow Broom with Ice Scraper

·       PC: SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC UHS-I Card with Adapter, Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, AmazonBasics Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) to HDMI Adapter

·       Pets: KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Dog Toy Medium Dog Toy (Brown), GREENIES PILL POCKETS Soft Dog Treats, Chicken (Capsule, 15.8 oz), Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food – Gravy Lovers – Poultry & Beef Variety Pack, 3-Ounce Can (Pack of 24)

·       Smart Home: TP-Link Smart Plug, Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit, Samsung SmartThings Hub

·       Sports: Spalding NBA Street Basketball, Bushnell Falcon 7×35 Binoculars w/ Case, Simply Fit Board

·       Tools: TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge, MagnoGrip 311-090 Magnetic Wristband, DEWALT DW2166 45-Piece Screwdriving Set with Tough Case

·       Toys & Games: Hasbro Pie Face Game & Pie Face Showdown Game, Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit, Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

·       TV: Samsung 32-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV, Avera 32-Inch 720p LED TV, Samsung 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV

·       Video Games: Pokémon Sun – Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Moon – Nintendo 3DS, Final Fantasy XV – PlayStation 4

·       Wearable Technology: Garmin vivofit Fitness Band, Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch, Samsung Gear VR – Virtual Reality Headset

·       Wireless: AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable (6 Feet), WeMo Light Switch, Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

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Another great holiday season for Amazon, and with much less controversy than last year (when there were concerns expressed about items selling out)!

Do you have any thoughts on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

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

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 The Measured Circle 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.

 

“What do I do with this thing?” Learning to love a new tech

December 28, 2016

“What do I do with this thing?” Learning to love a new tech

I grew up loving a really old school technology…paper books. 😉

It’s not easy to switch to a new tech. It would be if they just, you know, worked, but that’s never been the case.

Even when I got the first generation of the Kindle, it took me a whole book before I got used to it and fell in love. 🙂

I was skeptical about the concept of e-books…like many people at the time, I confused the container (the p-book) with the book itself (the words, and how they are presented). That doesn’t mean that p-books don’t have intrinsic value, but that is separate from the book.

Recently, you may have gotten a new technology. The big one for this year for many people will be Alexa devices, especially the Echo family:

This is really a new class of tech, and it’s just beginning, so it’s unclear to people. That was very clear to me when I was with family, and a quite technically literate relative who had been living with Alexa for some time was excited about Google Home because you could just ask it questions, “…like a Google search”. I explained that you could do the same sort of thing (it’s not really a web search, but it function in the way that was being postulated) with Alexa. This relative had had no idea.

Alexa in that house is mostly for home automation…turning lights on and off and such, and I’m guessing for music.

That tends to be true for most people with technology: you find out what something does in a satisfactory way for you, and then you just have it do that…you don’t explore other options if it’s a practical use device.

I think of myself primarily as a trainer at work, but I also do “performance improvement”.

I’m amused by some of the approaches in that field.

One is to find the peak performers, and then propagate to other people the peak performer’s techniques…as if there was one best answer, and that person had discovered it.

When it comes to practical use technology (not being employed in a technology-focused field), that’s not how it works at all. I try to explain to them that if you come back to those peak performers in three months, they’ll be doing it differently. They like novelty: they are always looking for new ways to do things, even when what they already know is satisfactory.

I work in the medical field. Most clinicians don’t want to think about the technology they use…they want it to be like the soundtrack in a movie. Most of the time, you don’t even realize it’s there…although you might have some moments when it seems great!

Those folks? They don’t want novelty in their tech…but once they get used to a new technology, they love it.

Part of using a new technology, then, is keeping your expectations low…let it succeed in increments. I also work on “wellness” at work, and I often tell people: “Keep you goals small and your dreams big.” 🙂 Don’t expect to master everything about a technology at once. With an e-book reader, I had to just read a book…not expect to do everything with it at once.

Also, don’t expect a new tech to completely replicate an old tech. There will be things it can’t do. After all, if it replicated it exactly, it would be the same…and you wouldn’t need it. 😉 There are advantages and disadvantages to pretty much everything

An EBR (E-Book Reader) doesn’t do everything a p-book does…and vice versa.

However, you do need to be able to get it to the point where you are interacting with it…and that’s where some tips can help. I’m going to link to some posts about that for Alexa and for EBRs, but I want to give you another case in point.

I just got my first Virtual Reality (VR) headset for the holidays, the

Samsung Gear VR (at AmazonSmile*)

Now, I’m quite techie…I explain technology for a living. Still, it took me more than a day to really get it to where I was amazed by it. Oh, I had other people trying it, from about age 13 to 90, and they all enjoyed it.

I needed, once I got a chance, to download some games and apps, and to get the hang of using it. I’ll probably write a “first impressions” post this week (in my The Measured Circle blog).

I would definitely have read some “Gear VR 101” materials before I even put it on my head (I did read warnings), but I was just too (wonderfully) busy with family. I checked

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

for a book, but nothing caught my right away.

So, I’m going to link you to a few posts which may be helpful for you.

Here’s something I wrote about Alexa:

“Hello, Echo!” Getting to know Amazon’s Alexa

This is the most popular blog on ILMK (this blog) right now…and it does tend to stay pretty popular:

Got a new Kindle? Here’s the most important thing to know

Here’s a link to the whole “New Owners” category:

New Owners

I’ve also had a couple of readers point me to this

The Washington Post article by Hayley Tsukuyama

It’s called “Did you just open a brand new home hub? Read this first.”

This will all get easier in the future. Amazon is already making part of set-up easier…it can store Wi-Fi passwords for you, so you won’t have to put those in for some new devices.

My phone uses stored information to help me join new websites…filling in my address for me, for example.

Undoubtedly, your phone will begin doing your set-up for you…perhaps with the help with of your Alexa-type device.

Do you have any great stories about getting used to tech? Do you have any tips for people who have gotten their first Kindles, or other tech? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

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

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 The Measured Circle 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 Kindle Daily Deal (KDD) and “Deal of the Day”: big bestsellers at great prices!

December 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal (KDD) and “Deal of the Day”: big bestsellers at great prices!

This will be one of the biggest days of the year for Kindle store e-book downloads, and with these deals, no wonder!

You can get to them as part of today’s

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

which also has additional titles.

Seriously, these are some of the best-known titles to ever show up on the KDD! Buy them for yourself (many people get Amazon Gift Cards ( at AmazonSmile*) today, or just want to fill new devices), or you can buy them as gifts. In the latter case, you can delay them for the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or send them to yourself and print them for whenever you want.

Titles include:

  • Go Set a Watchman (the controversial companion book to To Kill a Mockingbird) by Harper Lee | 11,378 customer reviews
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho | 9,770 customer reviews
  • News of the world by Paulette Jiles
  • The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
  • The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr
  • The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • The English Girl by Daniel Silva
  • I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
  • Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber
  • Flawless by Heather Graham
  • The Bailey Flanigan Collection by Karen Kingsbury
  • The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • Come Away with Me by Karma Brown

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! :) 

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.

Reading in the car

December 24, 2016

Reading in the car

This is a day when a lot of us readers may be traveling by car…and perhaps taking longer trips than we usually do. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I can have some pretty long drives during my normal work activities (certainly, an hour isn’t unusual). However, today and tomorrow we are getting together with friends and family and will be driving to atypical destinations.

It may also be that you aren’t the one actually driving when you usually are, and instead you are a passenger (or vice versa).

While, naturally, you may have conversations and sing songs (in our case, we’ve done “West on the freeway, and over the bridge, to Grandmother’s house we go!”), you certainly may be reading, too.

There are two real ways you could be doing that. One is sight-reading, which is what most people think of as reading. The other one would be listening, either to audiobooks (pre-recorded by the author or an actor reading the book) or text-to-speech (software which reads the book in a streaming manner…not pre-recorded). Most people prefer audiobooks, which are true performances, like seeing a movie. I’ve certainly enjoyed some, but my preference is text-to-speech…unless I’ve already read the book. I don’t like the narrator interpreting the characters for me, so TTS feels more to me like sight-reading.

Let’s talk about sight-reading first.

Some people do have trouble reading in a moving car, and there was a time when people thought that was particularly an issue with some Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) models. There was a thought that it had to with the area around the screen…it can be harder to read when you are aware of the world outside the words passing by.

I’ve heard less about that in recent years, and the appearance of the devices has changed, so perhaps that is less of a thing. I’d be interested to hear if you used to have that problem with EBRs and no longer do.

A sight-reading thing where an EBR can be much less disruptive than a p-book (paperbook) is with the lighting. My most comfortable reading experience has been with the

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) (currently on sale for $99.99)

and

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

I assume the experience is similar on the Oasis, although I haven’t bought one because it hasn’t been available without getting an animal-leather cover.

Why does it matter?

The technology that these three use shines the light at the screen, not at your eyes from behind the words (which is what a tablet or phone does…that’s why those are called “backlit”). You are reading it by the light reflecting off the screen…the same way you read a p-book.

That tends to create less ambient light in the car…which is better for the driver (I assume you aren’t sight-reading when you are the driver…although I have seen people doing that on the freeway). More light in the car makes it harder to see outside of the car when it is dark. That’s both from light “glaring” on the window, and because your eyes will adjust to the brighter light by letting in less light, which makes it harder for you to see in the dark outside the car.

So, an EBR is probably safer in the car than a p-book and having the dome light on. 🙂

Now, in terms of listening (audiobooks and TTS are effectively the same in terms of technique)…you need a device which can do it, a book where the publisher hasn’t blocked the access (in the case of TTS), and you’ll probably want to tie it into the car’s audio system.

I usually listen on a now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX, but any of the Fire tablet models do TTS and audiobooks, including the least expensive one

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (currently on sale for $39.99)

While none of the current Kindle EBRs have speakers or a headphone jack (which is how you use the Aux cable), the newest ones have Bluetooth (a short range wireless connection), so that’s an option with current cars.

You can tell if a book has TTS available to you are not on the book’s Amazon product page…it will tell you whether or not the TTS is “enabled”, which is misleading. Publishers don’t need to do anything to make TTS work…it just works, unless they do something to make it not work. That means I can (and do) listen to work documents and personal documents sometimes. There are also technologies which are designed for people with print challenges where the blocking doesn’t matter, but that’s not the majority of the population at this point.

How you connect it will depend on your car. Generally, modern cars will have Bluetooth which is fine.

You might also be using a cable to an AUX jack, and with some older cars…it gets more complicated. 😉

Obviously, multiple people listening to different books out loud in the same car could be confusing, so headphones may also be an option.

You might also be reading magazines on tablets…and you might borrow those just for that reason from

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

or

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

Regardless, have fun at your destination…and with reading, getting there can be half the fun (as an old ad for the Cunard cruise lines used to say)!

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! :) 

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.

January 2017 Kindle book releases

December 22, 2016

January 2017 Kindle book releases

Correction: this post was originally incorrectly labeled as December 2016 releases, when it actually reflects January 2017 releases. My apologies for the error. Within the post itself (past the headline), it correctly identified the scheduled release date.

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 6,518 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in January 2017:

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

Of those, by the way, 920 (219 fewer than last time) 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.  Continuing last time’s trend, they aren’t dominant.

The other thing is that some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (but not as high as last time). 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!

  • Below the Belt (A Stone Barrington Novel) by Stuart Woods
  • Allora (The Silver Ships Book 7 of 7) by S. H. Jucha
  • The Piper: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Story by Charles Todd
  • Winter Roses by Diana Palmer
  • Selfienomics: A Seriously Funny Guide to Living the Good Life by Revant Himatsingka
  • Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere by C. Donald Ahrens and Robert Henson
  • Surgical Technology for the Surgical Technologist: A Positive Care Approach by Association of Surgical Technologists
  • The Final Day (A John Matherson Novel) by William R. Forstchen
  • Waterloo: The Aftermath by Paul O’Keeffe
  • World Civilizations: Volume I: To 1700 by Philip J. Adler and Randall L. Pouwels
  • Sold to Miss Seeton (A Miss Seeton Mystery Book 19) by Hamilton Crane and Heron Carvic
  • The Wild Cards Collection: Books I–V by George R. R. Martin and Wild Cards Trust
  • Trust Me (The Last Stand) by Brenda Novak
  • Criminal Justice in Action: The Core by Larry K. Gaines and Roger LeRoy Miller
  • Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Great Responsibility (Amazing Spider-Man (1963-1998)) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
  • Enchant: Beauty and the Beast Retold (Romance a Medieval Fairytale Book 1) by Demelza Carlton
  • Hope’s Peak (Harper and Lane) by Tony Healey
  • Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
  • Fate of Perfection (Finding Paradise Book 1) by K.F. Breene (I just read this one as our Kindle First selection. It was worth reading, with some good characterization and world building. Not perfect, but I did look forward to getting back to it when I was reading it)
  • Feversong: A Fever Novel by Karen Marie Moning
  • Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
  • The Undercover Witch (MAGIC, Inc. Mysteries Book 1) by Gina LaManna
  • 1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry by Andrew Bridgeford
  • The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters by Helen Jacey
  • The Mistress by Danielle Steel
  • Stop Me (The Last Stand) by Brenda Novak
  • The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
  • Never Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Good Night, Baby Animals You’ve Had a Busy Day: A Treasury of Six Original Stories by Karen B. Winnick and Laura Watkins
  • Freedom in the World 2016: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties by Freedom House
  • The Past in Visual Culture: Essays on Memory, Nostalgia and the Media by Jilly Boyce Kay and Cat Mahoney
  • Creating Music: What Children from Around the World Can Teach Us by Patricia Elaine Riley

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in January 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as 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! :) 

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.

“I found it through ILMK” 2016

December 20, 2016

“I found it through ILMK” 2016

There is no longer a challenge in having enough to read.

The issue is in having things that you want to read.

One of the things I want for this blog, I Love My Kindle (ILMK), is for it to help people with discovery. That’s discovery both of books and of devices. It could be that it is a book of which you’ve never heard, or (and I would guess this is more common) a sale on a book.

The interchange I have with commenters on this blog is one of my favorite things about it…that covers a wide range of topics, but I do especially like it when someone says I helped them find something!

I thought this year, for the first time, I’d go back through the comments and share some where ILMK readers said they found something through it. That may help others. It might help you find gifts or items for yourself. Note that prices mentioned may certainly not be the same for you now. The commenters may be responding to a one-day sale I reported, or the item may have the same price in your country (and indeed, may not be available there). Discovery just leads you to the encounter…what you do there is up to you. 🙂

“Got my iClever speaker today and as you said, it works great. Thanks for that tip!”
—Karen Salmons, December 4
Item: iClever BoostSound Portable IP65 Waterproof Outdoor/Shower Bluetooth Speaker with 12hr Playtime (at AmazonSmile*)

“Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been meaning to read “The Fireman” By Joe Hill. I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the list. Grabbed it.”
–Genre Book Reviews, November 28
Item: The Fireman (at Amazonsmile*)

“One of the books I picked up about a month ago was “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a family and Culture in Crisis” which had been on my wish list for awhile. You featured it when Amazon had a daily deal for memoirs. I can really identify with the family history of having grandparents move out of Appalachia to a factory town. While telling the story of his life, he gives insight to what has happened to our country as the economy has shifted away from factory jobs leaving behind many, many towns where no comparable paying jobs moved in to replace them. It is currently in the running for best memoir & autobiography at Goodreads.”
–Lady Galaxy, November 22
Item: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (at AmazonSmile*)

“Well, I just ordered “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams, which you listed above, so that’s one! I’m sure there were others.”
–rogerknights, November 20
Item: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (at AmazonSmile*)

“Have to say, among most reviews I went through online, yours is detailed and well explained. Thank you so much! Paperwhite it is for me!🙂”
–JC, October 16
Item: All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

  • “I passed on the Dot the last time it was offered, and am getting one this time They are preparing for construction next door, and are digging constantly, so we have to keep the windows shut, air conditioning running, and two air purifiers running, and I notice my SO turning up living room Echo super loud probably to listen from our bedroom, so this is an affordable way to add Alexa to our bedroom, if he finds the sound too tinny for the small amounts of time he would listen in there, I will invest in a speaker.”
    –Zebras, November 15
  • “Although I recently sold my Dot I still quickly ordered a 6 pack of the 2nd gen Dot’s. I am giving them away for Christmas to our adult kids and one Grandchild. That is only four total but since I could use four why not just get a six pack. I’m not really sure what I’ll do with the other two. I love the speaker you linked above. Is the sound good? I might order that and keep one of the new Dot’s myself for the sole purpose of listening to music or audiobooks while in the shower in the mornings.”
    –Phink, November 15
    Item: All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
    Item: iClever BoostSound Portable IP65 Waterproof Outdoor/Shower Bluetooth Speaker with 12hr Playtime (at AmazonSmile*)
  • “I did already buy a copy, so I don’t need a copy for myself. If you have extras, I would certainly gift a copy to a friend who’s a passionate reader of mysteries on kindle, and this book seems right up her alley. I’m very happy for your sibling’s impressive awards.”
    –Amy, August 26
  • “Bufo, thank you and your sister Kris. I received my link to Amazon, downloaded “One Murder More” and have been eagerly devouring it. As I read, I find myself trying to “figure it out” which to me indicates a high degree of involvement. The book is very enjoyable and I look forward to many more in this series and/or written by Kris. In addition to the plot, characters and descriptive language, I really appreciate the quality of the writing. A book with language errors really annoys me. This one is very well written, extra enjoyable. [Okay, yes, I confess. I was a teacher. But mostly French. Writing and lit my last six years.]”
    –Barbara Berry, August 16
  • “I already have the book and enjoyed reading it very much, so I just want to say “congratulations!””
    –Lady Galaxy, August 16
  • “Kris, I loved the book! Can’t wait to see wbat Maren is up to in the next novel.”
    –Jennifer Martin, July 3

Item: One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) [This is worth explaining a bit. My sibling wrote a first novel, and I mentioned it, and then we did a giveaway when it won a major award. I’m assuming anybody who wrote about it heard about it through ILMK. 🙂 I should point out that it’s sold pretty well, so that may not be the case. I’m also not including people who hadn’t indicated that they had already read it).

“Thanks to you, I just bought “The Mystery Monsters” ($1.27 used paperback). I has only one review, titled, “You haven’t lived until you’ve read this.”

“The Mystery Monsters” is $196, used hardback.”
–rogerknights, July 2
Item: The Mystery Monsters (at AmazonSmile*)

  • “I wanted to thank you for the heads up regarding the sale of books from McFarland Publishing. As a result I have purchased a few of their e-books: “Television Horror Movie Hosts”, “Universal Horror, The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931-1946”, “Keep Watching the Skies!, American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties”, “A History of the Doc Savage Adventures”, “Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937 to 2012”, and “The Heritage of Heinlein, A Critical Reading of the Fiction”. Good reading ahead🙂”
    –John Aga, June 10
  • “OH this is awesome. Thanks for the heads-up! These are texts that can be priced to the point that they may not be affordable at all, not in any great quantity.$3.99 is shockingly low for some of these books. Good for gifts, as you note, although I agree with you that these are generally best for tablets, not a general e-reader.The first book that caught my attention is: Oscar Wilde in Quotation: 3,100 Insults, Anecdotes and Aphorisms, Topically Arranged with Attributions I will definitely be getting this one for myself.In your list, the one on Heinlein caught my attention; I’m going to take a look and see if that’s for me.I am now off to comb through these pages. Thank you!”

Item: There are a bunch here. 🙂 This was a big sale on McFarland publishing books, and I also bought several of them myself

Thanks to my readers for letting me know that I helped them find books/devices!

I also appreciate it when readers recommend books/items…I’ve read some great things myself that way.

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! :) 

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 announces “Digital Day” content sale December 30th

December 19, 2016

Amazon announces “Digital Day” content sale December 30th

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Roger Knights for the heads-up on this!

Amazon has just announced a new sale called

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

for December 30th, 2016 (Pacific time).

The timing makes a lot of sense: many people will have new devices, gift cards, and store credit from returns. An argument could be made that it could be a few days earlier (and December 25th and 26th will still be huge sales days), but it could be a quieter time. It’s a Friday before what will be a holiday weekend for many people…that may be a heavy internet use day.

You can sign up for e-mails at that Digital Day (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) site (I did), and they show some of what will be on sale there now. They mention e-books, although they are mostly showing visual media. One thing which is shown that might particularly appeal to readers of ILMK is

Texture (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s a subser (subscription service) for magazines…an “all you can read” access option. It’s not going to work on your Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) but will work on at least modern Fire tablets.

I’m sure there will be good e-book deals, too…although that’s true every day. 🙂

Thanks, Roger!

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! :) 

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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