Archive for January, 2017

“When will the book be available in paper?”

January 31, 2017

“When will the book be available in paper?”

Customer: “I’d like ten copies of ‘Bregalad’s Story’ in hardback.”

Bookseller: “Sure. Plant this pinecone and come back in ten years.”

😉

I recently wrote about how

George Orwell’s

1984 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is sold out as a physical book at Amazon:

1984 is sold out in hardback & paperback at Amazon…but Kindleers can read it for free

(one of my readers, alanchurch, pointed out that it can also be purchased as a Kindle e-book, besides reading it for free).

That got me thinking…

One of the biggest complaints when the Kindle was first released in late 2007 (so we are coming up on a decade of Kindling later this year) was that many of the books people wanted weren’t available as e-books, although they could get them in paper. At the time, many people were thinking of replacing the books they had in paper (or having them in both formats), or getting the latest releases.

When the USA Kindle store opened, there were fewer than 100,000 titles. It took quite a while before we could routinely get the latest releases, and well-known backlist (older) titles were scarce.

Now, ten years later, 1984 is an example of the opposite: a well-known backlist title only available as an e-book from Amazon. To be clear, 1984 isn’t out of print: it’s just out of stock. However, that’s something that’s to be expected. Paper doesn’t grow on– scratch that. 😉 Paper comes from a natural resource, and those are almost by definition limited.

It’s possible that some acceptable synthetic paper for books will be developed, but that hasn’t happened at a commercial level yet.

I think it’s likely that we will increasingly see shortages in physical books. Another reason is that published books can be gotten much more quickly and in many markets, more than they used to be. That puts more demand on the supply, and while I’m not sure, I’d be surprised if they are able to produce books (after they are written, edited, designed, and formatted) a whole lot faster and in greater quantities.

I did a bit of an analysis of this in 2009:

Ghosts of p-books past

As an update, I took a quick look at the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, which I had analyzed before.

Looking at the

Xanth series page (at AmazonSmile*)

they list 35 titles (that’s not how I would do the series, by the way).

Of those, 18 say they are available in Kindle (about 51%).

16 of the 35 had “get it by” dates for physical books, indicating that they are in stock, or at least can be ordered for quick delivery (about 46%).

The other p-books may be available to purchase used or from third-parties, of course, but I’m really looking at books you can order new directly from Amazon.

Two of the books with “get it by” dates are not available in Kindle format…about 6%.

Three of the books available in Kindle format do not have “get it by” printed books…so while it isn’t by much, more books are available in e-book and not in p-book than the other way around.

Another major change over time has been the number of books available only in e-b0ok form…books which have, in many cases, never been published in paper.

Those are commonly “indies”: independently published titles, often by the authors themselves. They may, by the way, be available in “print-on-demand” form, which may counter the trend which I am discussing to some extent.

Many of those books now sell quite well.

I’m not suggesting that more books are available in e-book than p-book right now.

There are now 5,029,411 titles in the USA Kindle store. There are now 21,907,515 paperbacks (not paperbooks…paperback format) listed as available new from Amazon.com.

Over time, though, I think it’s likely that we will see a higher percentage of cases where a popular book is unavailable in printed form and available in a Kindle format.

What do you think? If popular books are increasingly unavailable in printed format and available in e-book, will that speed e-book adoption? What impact will print-on-demand have? How impactful is it when someone reads their first book in e-book form…did that convert you to at least a “sometimes” e-book reader? Is synthetic paper a viable option? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

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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Titles/band names which came from books: a quiz

January 29, 2017

Titles/band names which came from books: a quiz

I recently wrote about the sudden popularity of George Orwell’s 1984 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*):

1984 is sold out in hardback & paperback at Amazon…but Kindleers can read it for free

There were some great comments in response (reading and responding to respectful comments is one of my favorite things about doing this blog).

One of them questioningly connected the CBS reality show Big Brother with 1984.

That interested me, and shouldn’t have surprised me.

It’s one of the reasons I place no statute of limitations on spoilers. 🙂 I am as careful about spoiling The Wizard of Oz or Citizen Kane as I am about a movie in theatres now. People enter pop culture awareness all the time: children growing up, people coming from different cultures, people who have just gotten into reading (as one example).

It’s quite possible that the majority of people in America today first encountered the phrase “Big Brother” meaning a…surveilling authority through the TV show, not through the book. I used to do Shakespeare on stage, and I remember seeing something that suggested more people watch a single episode of the most popular sitcom of the day than have seen all of Shakespeare’s plays live on stage…combined through history.

If a creator chooses to use a phrase from a book as a title, I don’t think they generally intend to usurp the popular association. I think they tend to use it ironically, or to have their readers and potential readers be informed by the allusion.

I named my own book of quotations

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

after a quotation from a movie (The Thing). I didn’t think most people would make the connection right away, but that some people would.

Given that this is the case, that much of an audience may encounter the quotation before the source, I thought it would be fun to do a little quiz. 🙂

In each of these cases, I knew the original source before it was used as a title for another work. For that reason, I think I assumed that other readers did, too…but that was certainly presumptuous on my part.

I’ll give you ten titles (and I’ve decided to include band names) taken from books (that could include things like fairy tales, possibly…written word works might be the best description. They won’t have originated in visual media, like TV and movies). See how many of the original sources you know! Feel free to make your guesses in comments to this post if you’d like others to see it. No fair looking it up before you do so, though: let others try to guess using just their own minds. 😉

Tell you what I’ll do: if you make a comment guessing at at least one of these, and we’ll have to use the honor system that you didn’t research them, I’ll put you in a pool to get a free e-book gift of The Mind Boggles (if you tell me you might want one in the post…be aware that I’ll need to send it to the e-mail address listed privately when you post. My readers don’t see your e-mail address, but I do). I’m going to figure right now on gifting up to five copies, but might flex that depending on how many “players” there are. Note also that you’d have to be in a place where you can get a gift from the USA through Amazon.com.

I’m not going to base it on how many you get right, because again, it would be easy to look them up. If I get more than five qualifying requests, I’ll randomize (unless I decide to give more).

Your comment must be made before I publish the answers…probably in a few days.

Okay, here we go!

  1. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  2. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  5. The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth
  6. The Doors (the name of the band…and the origin of the name of the book on which the band name was based)
  7. The band Steppenwolf
  8. The band Veruca Salt
  9. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  10. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

How many of these do you know? Ready, set, and then let’s go! 😉

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.

 

1984 is sold out in hardback & paperback at Amazon…but Kindleers can read it for free

January 27, 2017

1984 is sold out in hardback & paperback at Amazon…but Kindleers can read it for free

George Orwell’s

1984 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is currently “Temporarily out of stock” in hardback and paperback at Amazon, and that’s getting some media coverage.

It’s widely believed that the dystopian novel (written in 1948…which reportedly is why 1984 was chosen as the year of the future) sales’ spiked massively after people saw a parallel between a term used by a member of the President’s administration and the Orwellian term of “Newspeak”. I think it’s reasonable that there was a connection: there hasn’t been a new movie or TV adaptation, a big sale, a sequel, or a death related to it, all of which can cause an uptick in sales for a book.

So, given that there is also likely to be a waiting list at a public library for the p-book (paperbook), does that mean people can’t read it right now to get the perspective?

Thanks to e-books, the answer is no.

1984 is available as part of

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

which is Amazon’s subser (subscription service) for e-books. If someone is already a member (we’ve been happy members since it launched), they can read it as part of their $9.99 a month price (it has also been discounted from time to time) at no additional cost. If someone isn’t a member…they can get a trial membership, and could hypothetically cancel after reading 1984 and before the money came out the first time.

Do you have to own a Kindle?

Again, no.

There are free

Kindle reading apps (at AmazonSmile*)

for a multitude of devices.

This is important, and not just from a retail point of view.

I have talked about the legal market so far, but imagine that what we are talking about is a document in opposition to a totalitarian government (I say totalitarian because they tend to suppress the free exchange of information…most small “d” democratic countries allow the populace to buy books critical of the current government).

It is much easier to control the exchange of physical books than of e-books, as I wrote about roughly six and a half years ago in

Fahrenheit 111000011

There was a lot of concern expressed when Amazon removed copies of (ironically) 1984 from owners’ Kindles back in 2009, and which was the subject of one of my first posts in this blog (and one which got a mention from Stephen Windwalker (@Windwalkerhere) back then, perhaps helping spur interest in ILMK):

All’s Well That Orwells

People were afraid that e-books could mean that control of literature might be concentrated in very few (or even one) organization.

In that case, my understanding is that what happened was that a company that published the book for Australia, where it is in the public domain (no longer under copyright protection), did not intend it for the USA market (where it is still under copyright protection). Amazon accidentally made it available in the USA, and the e-tailer removed the copies which people had purchased.

Amazon CEO (Chief Executive Officer) called it “stupid” and customers were more than compensated for Amazon’s error.

Still, if Amazon decided not to sell that book or some other one, would that control the literature, affecting opposition thinking?

E-books can be illegally distributed pretty easily…I am not advocating that, of course, but it can be done. Those could be e-books of what was published in paper: someone could take a picture of each page, for example, and then “publish” that as a pdf.

What if a government shutdown all access to the internet, and outlawed every kind of electronic device?

Well, yes, that would hypothetically be possible, but would really impact their economic viability…even China doesn’t do that. Internet access in some countries is very limited, but people often still have electronic devices so hand-passed media would still be a distribution channel.

Would it be easier to make and distribute digital copies…or paper copies? I think that seems obvious…electronics could be done in a much simpler way.

This example of 1984 being easily available legally in e-book form right now and not available easily as a physical book is one example of the difference in distribution…and how it would be harder to suppress.

Two hundred years from now, it’s possible that p-books will have survived and e-books won’t have…but if your concern is the ability to spread information to affect a modern government right here and right now, e-books are going to be more effective.

Bonus deal: for a limited time, Amazon is giving a 10% discount when you buy two Fire tablets, and a 15% discount on two Fire cases:

Fire Tablet (at AmazonSmile*)

Some restrictions apply (although it appears to apply to all current models), and it may not apply in your country or still be in effect when you check…so do check that it is available (there should be a banner at the top of the page) before you check-out.

The deal currently is that you use a promo code of FIRE2PACK for the devices and CASE2PACK for the cases.

What do you think? How did people make the connection between what they heard in the news and an almost 60 year old science fiction novel? Are e-books harder to suppress than p-books? Is a bigger fear that a government would subtly alter a book, rather than censor it altogether? Has a current event ever prompted you to read an older book for perspective? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

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.

Who reads for fun?

January 25, 2017

Who reads for fun?

“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”**

Anybody who thinks time moves in a linear fashion doesn’t subscribe to an internet newsfeed. 😉

I actually love it when somebody comments on a post I wrote years ago (as has happened a few times recently). Sometimes, somebody wants to correct me because of something that has changed in the intervening time, but that’s okay when it’s done respectfully…it just helps clarify the situation for other people who might stumble across the story.

In my morning

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

read the morning, the

Pew Research: Book Reading 2016

showed up. I do look forward to their report every year, but I realized this one was familiar…and that I had written about it (and the coverage of it) back in September.

However, you can read the report now, which I’m not sure was the case at the time…it might have been more of the summary.

So, since it popped up, I wanted to read it again and in more detail.

I can say, I’m pretty good at spotting trends in numbers. I’m not a visual person. It used to frustrate people who would bring me an Excel chart on which they had worked for hours, and I’d say, “Can you just show me the numbers?” I remember someone doing that…showing me this great colorful chart (I have some color vision deficiency, which might have something to do with this…and I don’t visualize when I read, as I’ve discussed with my readers on this blog before), and me asking for the numbers. The person basically said, “You won’t be able to tell from that.”

I looked at the numbers for a few seconds, pointed to one, and said, “That one’s low.”

On the chart (which I hadn’t read), I think that one might have been circled and had an arrow and a highlight, something like that.

Don’t get me wrong: I think charts are great, and I know how to make visually arresting ones…they often just don’t impress me as much as the numbers.

So, looking at this report, there was a particular number that stood out.

There are a lot of interesting data in the report…what formats people read, which classes of devices they use for e-books, how many books they read, and so on.

The one that seemed to really show a divergence?

The number of books people read “for pleasure”. I used “for fun” in the headline, just because I like the feel of that better…but is reading a horror novel really fun? I think it is for people, while “pleasure” has some other connotations for me. Regardless, you can read this as “for pleasure” if you like. 😉

I’m going to break this down by their categories, and tell you what the “spread” is…what the gap is between the lowest percentage figure and the highest one:

  • Gender: 8%
  • Race: 15%
  • Age: 5%
  • Education: 36%
  • Income: 12%
  • Population density: 4%

Obviously, education has the biggest gap. 56% of people who have less than a high school diploma said they read for fun; it goes consistently up until “College+” is at 92%.

Note that they surveyed adults, so this isn’t just a case that the people in the survey were reading for school at the time, and therefore not reading for pleasure. The less than high school group only had 33% reading a book for “work or school”…”College+” was 72%. That is, of course, an even bigger gap at 39%, but I would guess that’s less under the control of the person. My guess would be that fewer people who have less than a high school diploma are in either school or a job which requires reading books.

What does it mean?

Well, it does tend to refute something I’ve thought…that requiring people to read specific books, and high school generally, might discourage people from reading for fun. The more education one has, which suggests that one has had more assigned reading, the more likely one is to say that they read for pleasure.

Another relatively big gap is reading for work or school correlating with income…that one is 32%.

Still, it’s interesting to me that more education means more reading for pleasure…or, I suppose (and this is also significant), it might be the other way around. People who read more for pleasure may be able to read more (and/or read in a better way) assigned material, meaning that they go farther down the education path.

What do you think? How did having assigned reading affect your reading for fun? Have you changed your opinion of that over the years? We probably all know people without much education who read a lot for pleasure…is there something you think makes the difference for them? 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!

* 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! :) 

** I’ve told this story in this blog once before, but it was years ago…and it’s still a good story. 😉

My best weird story was when I was in high school.

I had a history teacher I liked…we got along well. I remember asking if I could teach the causes of the Civil War one day, and was allowed to do that…it went very well.

So, one Friday, this teacher told a joke in our class: “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” Yes, they do…fruit flies like all kinds of fruit. 🙂

I thought that was funny, and repeated it to friends.

Monday morning, the teacher told the same joke. The teacher looked and me and said, “You’re not laughing.”

I said, “I thought it was funny on Friday.”

The teacher denied telling it on Friday…and the rest of the class denied hearing it. I was thinking they must have forgotten it, and then the teacher said, “It was in Herb Caen this morning.”

Herb Caen was a famous San Francisco area columnist, and I checked…sure enough, it was there Monday morning, and not Friday (I’m not sure I have the particulars right, but the basic story is right).

The people to whom I’d told it Friday? They remembered me telling it to them…and telling them I’d heard it in that teacher’s class.

Interesting that it was that joke…seems apropos.

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.

February 2017 Kindle book releases (and another great KDD)

January 22, 2017

February 2017 Kindle book releases (and another great KDD)

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 5,830 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in February 2017:

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

Of those, by the way, 850 (70 fewer than last time…but there are fewer total titles, too) 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.

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!

  • The Shame Myth: 7 Steps to Advance in Your Career, Relationships, and Purpose by Eddie H. Park and Hyo Kim
  • Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
  • Minecraft: Diary of a Minecraft Herobrine Box Set Book 1 – Book 6 (Minecraft, Minecraft Diary, Minecraft Seeds, Minecraft Secret, Minecraft Traps, Minecraft Building, Minecraft Potions) by Alton Roberts (also available through Kindle Unlimited)
  • Cape Harriet Series Box Set Vol 1 (Books 1-3): Clipper Beach, Wicked Summer, Christmas Morning by Roma Brooks
  • Psychology of Learning and Motivation
  • The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again by Todd Starnes
  • Tillie Madison vs Reality by P.L. Winn (KU)
  • Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4 by Matthew Manning and Jon Sommariva
  • The Walking Dead #163 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
  • Murder in the Mail: A Diane Dimbleby Cozy Mystery by Penelope Sotheby (KU)
  • Open Grave: a Beacon Falls novel featuring Lucy Guardino (Beacon Falls Mysteries Book 3) by CJ Lyons
  • Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaele Frier and Aurelia Fronty
  • Arab Spring Then and Now: From Hope to Despair by Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn
  • The Innovation Mentality: Six Strategies to Disrupt the Status Quo and Reinvent the Way We Work by Glenn Llopis and Jim Eber
  • The Side Hustle: How to make extra income with just 4 hours per week by J, Jonathan (KU)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts by Nintendo
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Fields of Fire (Frontlines Book 5) by Marko Kloos
  • My Desk is Driving Me Crazy: End Overwhelm, Do Less, and Accomplish More by Sue Rasmussen
  • Reprogram Your Weight: Stop Thinking about Food All the Time, Regain Control of Your Eating, and Lose the Weight Once and for All by Erika Flint
  • The Night Bird by Brian Freeman
  • Ansel Adams: An Autobiography by Ansel Adams and Mary Street Alinder
  • Sweet Tea at Sunrise (A Sweet Magnolias Novel) by Sherryl Woods
  • Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era) by Charles B. Dew
  • Gig Posters Volume 2: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century by Clay Hayes
  • The Wind’s Twelve Quarters: A Story by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq by Dahr Jamail and Amy Goodman
  • King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict (Revised Edition) by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias
  • Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight
  • Rules of Thumb: A Life Manual by Tom Parker

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 February 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!

Bonus sale: today’s

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

has some well-known’ books! This is definitely a case where I would consider buying some as gifts…you can delay the delivery until the appropriate date, or have them sent to yourself and print them out for whenever you want to give them. Titles (and there are 37) include:

  • Five (!) kids’ series starters from Rick Riordan! You can get the first books in: The Trials of Apollo; Percy Jackson and the Olympians (The Lightning Thief); Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard; The Heroes of Olympus; The Kane Chronicles (some of these have thousands of positive reviews)
  • Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
  • I Can Read books, including Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Biscuit, Pete the Cat, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flat Stanley…
  • Killing Trail: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

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.

Today’s KDD: current affairs

January 20, 2017

Today’s KDD: current affairs

Once again, a very interesting

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

with some well-known titles at great prices!

Amazon did choose to tie into today’s events in Washington by doing “political” books…but from several viewpoints, which I think is a good choice.

Remember that you can buy the books at today’s discounted price as a gift, and either delay delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print the gift out to give whenever you want (even wrap it, if that’s your choice).

Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last in Virtual Reality) that Buy button: prices may not apply in your country, for one thing.

Titles in this sale include:

  • Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders | 4.7 stars out of 5 | 435 customer reviews |$3.99
  • Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank | 4.5 stars | 299 reviews
  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer
  • No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
  • Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great–and Why We Need Them More Than Ever by Eric Bolling
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman
  • The America We Deserve by Donald Trump
  • The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide to Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious…by Eliot Nelson
  • America Ascendant: A Revolutionary Nation’s Path to Addressing Its Deepest Problems and Leading the 21st Century by Stanley B. Greenberg

and they do have some “counter-programming” deals, without an obvious connection to current events:

  • The Widower’s Wife by Cate Holahan
  • Wind River Wrangler (Wind River Series Book 1) by Lindsay McKenna
  • The Hydrogen Sonata (A Culture Novel Book 10) by Iain M. Banks
  • The Killing Season: A Novel (Carter Blake) by Mason Cross

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! 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! :) 

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 next chapter in Microsoft and e-books

January 18, 2017

The next chapter in Microsoft and e-books

I’ve been seeing quite a bit of reporting this morning on an

MSPowerUser report by Mehedi Hassan

which shows what appears to be a new e-bookstore coming to Windows 10.

At least in the “mainstreamy” tech news, I haven’t seen them referring back to Microsoft’s history with e-books which is, so to speak, storied. 😉

If we start with something recent, Microsoft had invested something like $300 million in Barnes & Noble and the NOOK in 2012…and then, by 2014, was outta there:

Microsoft gives up on the NOOK: a tipping point for B&N?

That was after Microsoft had sued Barnes and Noble in 2011…over the NOOK.

I do think this e-bookstore, as shown, is a serious blow to B&N’s digital literature business…but that’s a bit like discovering a burned out lightbulb on the Titanic. 😉 Not only is Microsoft no longer supporting B&N, they are taking the life raft and slapping them with it. 😉

Just as many reporters aren’t mentioning Microsoft’s history, I don’t think most customers are going to remember .lit and MSReader.

What were those?

Back in 2000, Microsoft released software for reading e-books, MSReader (the book format was .lit). That was seven years before the first Kindle release. It was one of the big formats at the time, and people had faith in Microsoft.

In 2011, four years after the introduction of the Kindle, Microsoft killed MSReader, which sort of stranded people who had purchased .lit books (although they still worked…while you had software with which to read them. Some people converted them to other formats). That left a sour taste for some customers…but I don’t think that’s going to have an impact on the new implementation (which I do think is likely to be real).

If we ignore the past and act like Microsoft is just getting into the e-book market, do I think this will be a success?

Sure…as long as their expectations aren’t too high.

Basing all this on that MSPowerUser report (which I recommend), Windows 10 users will buy books just like they buy apps, videos, and music. There will be a book section. You can buy it right there…and read it in Microsoft Edge (their newest browser), which has EPUB support.

Books shown in the story are from tradpubs (traditional publishers), and include current well-known titles.

They also clearly show that the books will be available on both desktops and mobile (tablets).

The convenience of it is going to convince some people. I think it’s important to note culturally that it puts e-books right into the mix with other digital content. I think it helps illustrate that books are not endangered. 🙂 My intuition is that more books are being read than were being read, say, ten years ago. It may be harder to track that, since books have moved out of being probably 90% controlled by under ten large companies (there used to be “Big Six” of publishers in America, now the Big 5) to hundreds or thousands of tiny publishers (often just the author).

I don’t think it particularly hurts Amazon…it’s not going to much easier to buy a MS book than a Kindle book, even on a Windows 10 device. Microsoft is, interestingly, becoming more of a pop culture ecosystem than it was…but it doesn’t match what Amazon can do for a customer, in part because Amazon can deliver “diapers and windshield wipers”.

One interesting thing: I saw right off a commenter asking if Cortana (Microsoft’s digital assistant, like Siri/Alexa/OK Google) will be able to read the e-books…the way that Alexa can read Kindle store books (unless blocked by the publisher) and play Audible audiobooks. That wasn’t apparent.

Looks like we are likely to see this in April of this year.

Speaking of books still being part of our lives, the TV network Nickelodeon has just introduced

Nick Jr. Books at the Apple Appstore

This looks like an interesting implementation. Part of it is including tips for parents…for example, book club type questions you can ask after your child reads a book.

Interestingly to me, this is not a subser (subscription service)…it’s a “piece purchase” plan, where you pay for each book. You do get three books for free when you first get the app, but that’s an incentive, not a pattern. I saw a concern expressed about that by a commenter…who thought $2.99 was too much for a book. I think subsers are particularly good for kids…many kids read very quickly, and they may have diverse, fickle, and unpredictable interests. 😉

Books are interactive, and can be read offline. There is a reward system (badge style), and overall, it appears to me that they have been thoughtful about this.

It isn’t currently in the

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

or, for that matter, at Google Play.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be there eventually…despite what some people say, Amazon has always carried (some) competitors’ apps in their appstore, including Netflix and Hulu.

I think reading (yes, book reading) is alive and well…and likely to actually be growing.

What do you think? Are more kids reading…and more adults? Will five-year olds now be reading more at 25 than 25 year-olds now? How about at sixty-five? Will you use Windows 10’s new e-bookstore? Do you remember MSReader, and if so, does that affect your feelings about the new store? What about piece buying versus subsers for kids? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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! :) 

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.

Amazon: “We are facing some technical issues from our end which prevents publishing blogs. “

January 17, 2017

Amazon: “We are facing some technical issues from our end which prevents publishing blogs”

Some of my readers reported to me that two of my blogs had not been delivered to their Kindles in some time.

That’s happened to me before, and it’s quite frustrating, as you can imagine.

I’ve been publishing my blogs the same way for years now, starting with this one in August of 2009. When it fails to deliver to my paid subscribers, I can honestly say it isn’t because of something I’ve done.

When I get alerted to it happening, I let Amazon know…and usually, it’s a pretty good fix.

I do subscribe to my own blogs, but I feel a bit bad in this case that I hadn’t checked the delivery for months on my Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers). If I had, I would have noticed.

At any rate, it appears to be something different this time, more widespread than the past.

I said:


I have been informed by my readers, and have confirmed on my own device, that two of my Kindle store blogs have not been delivering to paid subscribers, despite posts being published. My publishing method has not changed, and my third blog is publishing properly.

The two blogs in question, along with their last delivered post date are:

221B Blog Street (ASIN: B0031ERD9S) (last delivered date: November 2, 2016) (posts have been published typically every day during that period)

The Measured Circle (ASIN: B0038JEN4Y) (last delivered date: September 21, 2016) (approximately 15 posts have been published since then).

I have appreciated when this has happened in the past and Amazon has been able to investigate and resolve the situation.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Bufo Calvin


This was Amazon’s response:


Hi Bufo,

Sorry to hear about this.

We are facing some technical issues from our end which prevents publishing blogs. Our technical team is working on it with high priority and we will keep you posted once the blog is published.

I appreciate your patience.


I edited it very slightly to fix a typo. 🙂

This seems to suggest that it is all blogs…but I think ILMK has been delivering (although there was a period not too long ago when it didn’t).

I wanted to share this with you, although it may seem like one of my favorite Ashleigh Brilliant lines: “Inform all troops! Communications have completely broken down” (I’m not sure about the punctuation). 😉

People who pay to subscribe do sometimes read the blog other ways, so they’ll see this. If this blog is delivering, they may see it as well.

I’ll keep you informed…

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! :) 

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.

A great Google Chrome extension for eReaderIQ

January 16, 2017

A great Google Chrome extension for eReaderIQ

I have often referred to

eReaderIQ

as the best resource for Kindleers on the web.

I’m not associated with the site, although we have had e-mail correspondence (just as a user making suggestions).

They have a number of free services:

  • You can track a Kindle store book to see when it drops in price an amount you specify
  • You can track an author
  • You can be notified when a book first becomes available for the Kindle
  • You can search the Kindle store in a much more sophisticated way that Amazon gives you

Well, I was excited to see that there is a new “extension” for the Google Chrome web browser!

This is a free little program that you add to Chrome, and when you are on a Kindle store book page, it brings some of the functionality of eReaderIQ into your Kindle store experience.

My favorite thing is that I can see the price tracking.

It’s possible they’ll give me permission to post a screenshot here (or send me one…I haven’t contacted them yet), but I’d suggest you try it yourself (it’s free).

What this means is that I can see if a book has ever been on sale before, and when. That can help you guess if it might go on sale again…no guarantee, but if it goes on sale periodically, that can be an indicator (as can be if it never goes on sale).

You can also choose to track it right there…very convenient. 🙂

The easiest way to get it is to be in Chrome, and go to

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ereaderiq-integrator/epjfabiijflnfmjjhanhddglfhokheae

Alternatively, go to the Chrome Web Store and search for eReaderIQ (it’s called eReaderIQ Integrator).

Enjoy!

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.

 

Kindle blogs at Amazon.com

January 14, 2017

Kindle blogs at Amazon.com

It’s been quite a while since I posted about

Blogs at Amazon.com (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Oh, I track how many there are every month, as part of the Snapshots, but I think I last wrote about the top ten blogs in late 2014.

You can get a free trial subscription for 14 days, and you can choose to subscribe. For example, subscribing to this blog is $0.99 a month. I’m thankful for my subscribers! Some of them have been with me since the beginning, back in 2009, and it definitely makes a difference. Thanks, subscribers!

Okay, here are the top ten (out of 15,985) at time of writing:

  1. Free Kindle Books and Tips by Michael Gallagher
  2. The New York Times – Latest News
  3. Free Books OnKindle
  4. Huffington Post
  5. Free books for Kindle
  6. Two Minute Conservative
  7. Taki’s Magazine
  8. LRC Blog
  9. National Review: Articles
  10. Kindle Nation Daily

12. I Love My Kindle

Looking through the next blogs, there are actually several blogs that appear to be at least focused on free books for your Kindle. I can’t argue about that too much, since that was the title of my first book. 😉

Michael Gallagher’s blog was also #1 in 2014…and had been the previous time as well.

Some of these look new to me.

It’s worth noting Stephen Windwalker’s Kindle Nation Daily: I believe it may be the longest-lived Kindle-focused blog at Amazon.com.

In terms of ratings/reviews, Michael Gallagher does have 3.9 stars out of 5 with 162 customer reviews, which is quite good. I’m proud that ILMK has 4.2 stars with 41 reviews. It’s the only blog in the top twenty with at least 10 reviews and 4 or more stars.

In terms of my other two blogs:

221B Blog Street (the adventures of Holmes and Watson…one chapter at a time!) (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s highest listing is #726 in Arts & Entertainment Kindle blogs. 🙂

It does have a perfect 5-star rating…but with only two reviews.

I never expected it to be very popular, but I really like that it recreates in  a sense the way that Holmes & Watson were originally published…serialized. I only do the public domain stories, and do them in order…once chapter or short story a day.

When I’ve gone through the set, I do publish my Holmes parody, which is four posts. I’m proud of that one, too. 🙂 I wanted to submit it for an Edgar, but I think I was too late that year. It’s a modernized Holmes & Watson…and I did do it before the Cumberbatch version. 🙂

It’s not hard for me to do (I just have to keep cycling the publication dates of the posts…two weeks takes me maybe five minutes), and there are some people who like it.

The Measured Circle

Nobody’s ever reviewed TMC at Amazon.com, but I do get comments and retweets, so I know it is read at to some extent.

I really like doing it: it’s eclectic. I’d say the main focus has become geeky entertainment. I do also write about robotics and other tech there from time to time, and I’m about to start writing more often about Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality.

It’s also the branding and heart of  The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project. They’ve really been improving The History Project (having major backers doesn’t hurt, I’m sure), and I do think there’s a possibility it could “break” this year. I’ve been working on it, too.

It’s highest ranking is #98 in Kindle Blogs – Humor & Satire…and #306 in Kindle Blogs – Arts & Entertainment, putting it considerably above 221B Blog Street.

I’ll mention one more:

A Kindle World

That’s Andrys Basten’s blog, 4.1 stars with 10 reviews.

Andrys has done some of the best writing about the Kindle, with surprising technical information and insightful thoughts.

A paid subscription to a Kindle store blog means that you can have it delivered to your EBR (E-Book Reader) automatically…I think some of my readers read their blogs before they get out of bed or at night before sleeping.

That’s it! If you have any blogs to suggest to me and my readers, or other thoughts you would like to share, feel free to comment 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.

 

 


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