Archive for March, 2017

April 1st: equal collection across the nation

March 30, 2017

April 1st: equal collection across the nation

I’ve written quite a bit about sales taxes and Amazon in this blog…I even have a category for it. ūüôā

Sales Tax

It’s been a tumultuous topic, with lawsuits and threats and compromises and back-and-forths.

The basic issue has to do with when you buy items from Amazon: do you pay sales tax at that point or not? If you don’t, would you have paid sales tax if you’d bought the same item in a local brick-and-mortar store?

As I say, it’s complicated. ūüôā

States can compel organizations (like Amazon) which have a physical presence in their states (it’s called a “nexus”…it might be a building, but a sales force counts, too) to collect sales tax at the point of sale.

The way it’s been done has been very irregular in different states.

So, there were repeated attempts at the Federal level to standardize internet sales tax collection…which Amazon favored, so they weren’t dealing with thousands of different tax jurisdictions (in some places, like Alaska, it gets to the municipal level).

Well, due to a couple of things, as of April 1st 2017 (about a month from now), Amazon will be collecting sales tax in every applicable state in the USA. I say “applicable” because not every state has a statewide sales tax (Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon don’t, and Alaska has that municipal tax instead).

One of the biggest things which has pushed this is that Amazon has been getting a physical presence in more places, and is probably looking to expand. Some of that is “fulfillment centers” (warehouses, although they are more than storage), and some of it is actual brick-and-mortars stores (including pop up stores).

I also think it seemed less likely that the Federal government was going to pass a major new regulation on commerce.

Does this mean you’ll suddenly start paying tax on Kindle books on April 1st?

Probably not.

Generally, states don’t collect sales tax on e-book sales (mine, California, doesn’t), which are seen as more of a contract than an item being sold. It does mean that if you buy a physical item from them you might, if its taxable. Kindle EBRs, like the¬†Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile*) (which is $30 off for Prime members in the USA at time of writing) would usually be taxed.

Now, I do think this is a good thing for consumers. I’ve seen this really misreported, saying that consumers are going to start paying sales tax. I was very happy when Amazon started to collecting sales tax in California. Before that, I had to spend quite some time calculating what I owed for Amazon taxes on my state income tax each year.

In most cases, you probably (check with a tax attorney if you aren’t sure) owe something like a “use tax” if you don’t pay a sales tax at time of purchase.

Hypothetically, it wasn’t how much you paid…it was when.

Many people, of course, just didn’t pay that use tax on their income taxes…which potentially risked legal consequences, even though being caught was probably unlikely.

I’m happy to see this behind us, at least for now (things could always change).

What do you think? Are you surprised it happened without Federal action? Do you think this will encourage states to start taxing e-books? Will make this make a difference about where you shop? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.


Just a quick comment on Samsung introducing the Galaxy S8 today: yowza! ūüėČ They’ve been having a tough PR (Public Relations) time lately, with an exploding device last year, and a scandal in the Executive office…but they still are way ahead of Apple in the iPhone marketshare. They’ll have to do a lot to recover…and this phone does a lot. There is a Kindle presence on the Samsung, so at least there’s a tie-in…but if it all works the way it’s supposed to work, it’s going to be significant new phone. If you want to read more, there’s a lot of information on the¬†official site.

April Hamilton’s Love My Echo also has some interesting information about why this might be a bad time to buy an Echo… Love My Echo blog.

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.

Prime discounts on Kindle EBRs: buy 2 Voyages, save enough for Prime for a year

March 28, 2017

Prime discounts on Kindle EBRs: buy 2 Voyages, save enough for Prime for a year

It always seemed to make sense to people that

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

got discounts on Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers). Early on, in fact, many people thought that Prime members should get a Kindle EBR (back when there was only one model) for free. The thinking was that the device existed to sell e-books, and introducing people to e-books through a free Kindle would…um, “kindle” the market, so to speak. ūüėČ

Well, people don’t need to be introduced to e-books any more. That doesn’t mean that the market share won’t grow…I think it still will, and considerably, over the next ten years (if we include electronic books regardless of how they are read, including in Virtual/Augmented Reality).

My sight reading is mostly done on Kindle EBRs: I read a Voyage in bed, and I read on a Paperwhite in other places in the house. My Significant Other reads on a Paperwhite. I also sometimes read on the entry level Kindle.

Some of my sight reading is done on a now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX7 tablet: I don’t bring an EBR with me to work. My text-to-speech reading, which I do for usually hours a week in the car, is done on the KFHDX7.

My favorite reading experience is on the Paperwhite, although I like the Voyage, too.

So, it’s nice to see this morning that Amazon, for a limited time, is offering Prime Members discounts on three out of four of their current Kindle EBRs:

My recommendation would be the Paperwhite…I consider the Voyage incrementally better, but I think for most people, it’s not $60 better. All are good, though.

Not on sale? The top of the line Oasis. It’s still not possible to buy it without an animal leather cover directly from Amazon, so I’ve never tried it. It’s also roughly twice the price of the Voyage right now at $289.99…I do understand that people like the feel of it better.

My guess is that this sale won’t last long…and I don’t think it necessarily portends new models.

If you aren’t a Prime member, this is a good incentive to try it. As a Prime member, one of the benefits is

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

which lets you borrow from over a 1,000 titles (a few of them really well-known).

You could get an EBR at a discount and lots of books to read…a good combo. ūüôā

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.

April 2017 Kindle book releases

March 28, 2017

April 2017 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 5,830 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in March 2017 (more than 1,700 more than last month!):

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

Of those, by the way, 1,153 (11 more 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 doesn’t do these by popularity any more, they do them by featured…and this month, it doesn’t look like those are the Kindle First books.

Some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (four of the top five). 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!

  • Ready to Pull the Retirement Trigger?: Your Strategic Guide to Retire With Confidence by Mary Sterk
  • Wayside School Complete Collection: Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Wayside School Is Falling Down, Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar and Adam McCauley
  • Huntress (Life After Book 1) by Julie Hall (KU) | 4.9 stars out of 5 | 43 customer reviews
  • They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East by Mindy Belz | 4.8 stars | 64 reviews
  • Cache Lake Country: Or, Life in the North Woods by John J. Rowlands
  • Big Book of Who: Baseball: The 101 Stars Every Fan Needs to Know by The Editors Of Sports Illustrated Kids
  • Finding Our Forever (Silver Springs) by Brenda Novak
  • The Tao of Pug by Nancy Levine and Wilson the Pug
  • Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom: Witty, Wicked, and Wise Reflections on Well-Lived Lives by Lois P. Frankel and Lisa Graves
  • Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer
  • Ragged Edge: A US Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion by Michael Zacchea and Ted Kemp
  • Finding Shelter: Portraits of Love, Healing, and Survival by Jesse Freidin
  • The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College (Naked Roomate) by Harlan Cohen
  • Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by Pablo Hidalgo
  • The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell (KU)
  • Ask Anyone: A Romance Novel (A Trinity Harbor Novel) by Sherryl Woods
  • New York Times Story of the Yankees: 1903-Present: 390 Articles, Profiles & Essays by The New York Times, and Dave Anderson
  • The Peregrine: 50th Anniversary Edition: Afterword by Robert Macfarlane by J. A. Baker and John Fanshawe
  • Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War by Lynne Olson
  • A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr. | 4.5 stars | 775 reviews
  • The Bush Crime Family: The Inside Story of an American DynastyApr 11, 2017
    by Roger Stone and Saint John Hunt
  • The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell

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 March¬†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.

Today’s KDD: “$3.99 or less on standout Kindle deals”

March 26, 2017

Today’s KDD: “$3.99 or less on standout Kindle deals”

Today’s

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

is any of twenty-one titles for $3.99 or less each.

They call it “standout” titles, and I’m not quite seeing an objective, parameter-based thread. They are generally high-rated, and some of them have a lot of customer reviews (even over 1,000).

Definitely worth considering the list! Do check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last in virtual/augmented reality); the price may not apply in your country.

Remember also that you can buy the book at the discounted price and either delay the delivery to the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print out to give (even wrap) whenever you want.

Titles include:

  • Foreign Agent (Scot Harvath) by Brad Thor
  • Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  • Manitou Canyon (Cork O’Connor) by William Kent Kreuger
  • My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Under the Light (Field Party) by Abbi Glines
  • The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
  • Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova (made into a movie)
  • Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
  • The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki
  • Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley) by Alice Clayton
  • Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
  • The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  • The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
  • A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
  • Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon
  • The Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly
  • Carry Me Home by Diane McWhorter
  • On Her Own Ground by A’Leila Bundles

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.

Medium adds a subser option for $5 a month

March 24, 2017

Medium adds a subser option for $5 a month

I do think subsers (subscription services) are a big part of e-publishing in the future.

We have been happy members of

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

since it debuted.

However, just as there are only a handful of popular subsers for video, it’s not going to be easy for companies to make it.

A new entrant into the market is not a new publisher, but a new option.

Medium

which publishes lots of articles and is well-known, has just introduced their $5 a month subser:

https://medium.com/membership

It doesn’t end the existing model, but it’s more of a premium tier. You get exclusive stories, early access to the latest changes to the interface, and (this one is nice) an offline reading list…you can read articles when you aren’t online.

I’d be happy to be wrong on this, but it just doesn’t seem attractive enough to me.

Kindle Singles sort of serve the same purpose. If you want whole magazine, you can get

Texture

for $14.99 a month…and you can read some magazines for free with Kindle Unlimited.

I occasionally hear from some writers that they’ve just published in Medium…but I’ve never really looked at it. If you’ve used Medium, convince me: why would someone pay $5 for an additional helping of Medium?

Mini round-up

  • If you have an iPhone, the Amazon shopping app is upgrading this week, giving you full Alexa access by typing the microphone. I’ve tested it: it turned my lights on and off, answered questions, reported my calendar items, played Prime Music, and I know it can read books out loud. It’s going to come to the shopping app for Android, too
  • I know at least one of my readers uses Vudu, a video company. They’ve added a new feature which will make it much easier (The Verge post by Chris Welch ). You scan the UPC code on a DVD (it will be on the case) you own, pay $2 (for standard definition, $5 for an upgrade to high def…these are the basics, there are more varieties), and (if it’s one of about 8,000 titles), you get a digital version you can watch
  • Do you want a reader for free public domain books? I’ve been playing a bit with AIReader. It has lots of features: text-to-speech (with a lot of variability for speed), tons of appearance adjustments, dictionary, translation, and more. It links to ManyBooks.net, so there are quite a few books, and it could read other books you’ve downloaded. Like many independent apps, though, figuring out how to use it is a bear! I’m quite technical, and I feel like I’m doing a lot of trial and error to even get to menus. There was Help when it first opened (not sure how to get back to it)…riddled with typos. It’s unfortunate to me that so often, something which may be good software (or certainly adequate) doesn’t have the basic customer interface capabilities. That’s not to say that this isn’t worth it, or that you might not really enjoy it…that’s the issue for me. It’s part of why getting something from an established, big company, even it it doesn’t have everything you want, can be worth it…if it’s easy to use. There is a lot of friction in this app that makes it more for a dedicated user than a casual one. If you try it yourself, I’d be interested in your opinion

What do you think? Do you like Medium? Would you pay for a premium tier? Do you think publishing subsers will be a significant thing? Which is weirder: a platypus or a pangolin? ūüėČ 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.

My Kindle Fire HDX has been a great device for over four years…and that’s a problem :)

March 22, 2017

My Kindle Fire HDX has been a great device for over four years…and that’s a problem ūüôā

I think must people expect a gadget to last a year or two nowadays.

That’s very different from the way it used to be, when you might be able to count on inheriting your grandparent’s vacuum cleaner (and washer, and refrigerator, and…).

I use my Kindle Fire HDX every day, often for hours a day (since it reads to me in the car). Knock virtual wood, but it’s been one of the most reliable pieces of technology I’ve had. It does what it does quite well.

I have the

Fire, 7‚Ä≥ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB ‚Äď Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

but it’s really just a back up and guest device. I like the interface, but it’s a bit muddy by comparison.

So, I’m satisfied with it: why is that a problem?

Apps are evolving past it.

I have a morning routine, and that’s included the CNN app (as one of different news sources I check, in part for my Flipboard magazines).

I wrote to them recently, because the Tech section clearly hadn’t been updating…even when there were tech stories in other sections.

Then, maybe a week ago, it couldn’t display an ad on the Featured section…and wouldn’t show me any stories in that category.

About a week, it informed me that my version of the app was no longer supported, and to download the newer version.

That didn’t work, either.

So, I can’t really blame them.

As hardware becomes more capable, software evolves to match it. As the apps begin to push the edge of the capabilities of the hardware, the machine again gets better to match (and surpass) it.

Then the software evolves again, making for a virtuous cycle.

It’s a bit like…imagine that you’ve been going to your favorite movie theatre for years, and it’s the mid-1920s.

You love that place. The ushers know you by name. The organist plays like Lon Chaney in Paris. They program it really well.

You go every weekend, and it’s well worth your two bits.

1927 comes along, and Al Jolson ad libs a line…the talkies are born.

In the next town over, a theatre is wired for sound.

Even if your theatre wanted to wire for sound, they just aren’t set up for it.

You stay loyal, and enjoy every minute of it.

This goes on for another five years…in 1931, you are tempted by Frankenstein and Dracula (you’ve read the books, and saw Lugosi on stage), but your theatre is so…comfortable.

Eventually, though, all the movies you want to see have sound, and spoken dialogue.

You can’t blame the studios if they aren’t making silent movies any more. You can’t blame your theatre…it’s just as good as it ever was. You can’t blame the new theatre: your theatre was cutting edge once, too

That’s the problem with long-lasting gadgets…eventually, the content will outgrow it.

I expect to keep using HDXter for some time…but I’ll have to start thinking about a new one, too.

What do you think? Do you have any hardware that outlasted its compatible content? How long should a tablet last? 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!

* 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: “Up to 85% off New York Times best-selling books on Kindle”

March 19, 2017

Today’s KDD: “Up to 85% off New York Times best-selling books on Kindle”

Today’s

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

is another winner!

If you are what I call a “piece buyer”, where you will pay for an individual book one at a time (as opposed to using a “subser”…subscription service, like¬†Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)), you can find some great deals in this one-day sale. I would guess that even people who just look occasionally at the New York Times bestseller list will recognize several author names…and some of these are fairly recent books.

Remember also that you can buy these at the discounted price and either delay the delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print it out to (wrap and?) give whenever you want.

Check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last in virtual/augmented reality) that Buy button. Prices may not apply in your country, for one thing.

Titles include:

  • Never Never by James Patterson
  • The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nona George
  • The Residence by Kate Anderson Brower
  • Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
  • After You by Jojo Moyes
  • Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich (not the most recent Stephanie Plum novel, but close)
  • Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
  • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • In the Woods (Durbin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
  • Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles #6) by Jeffrey Archer
  • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  • Shaken by Tim Tebow
  • Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
  • Think Better, Live Better by Joel Osteen
  • The Spy by Paulo Coelho
  • What We Find by Robyn Carr
  • Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • White Rage by Carol Anderson, PhD
  • The Bainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
  • Inner Engineering by Sadhguru
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • Bill O’Reilly Legends and Lies: The Real West by David Fisher
  • Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson (I sometimes refer to mainstream books as “People Magazine books”…and I literally read about this book in People)
  • The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith H. Beer
  • Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild
  • Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler
  • West with the Night by Beryl Markham
  • The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas
  • In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett
  • Blackout by Sarah Hepola
  • Under Siege by Stephen Coonts
  • Daughters of Smoke & Bone by Lani Taylor
  • They Call Me Supermensch by Shep Gordon
  • Let Me Tell You About Jasper by Dana Perino
  • Scorched Earth by Michael Savage
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  • Bare Bones by Bobby Bones
  • Radical Remission by Kelly A. Turner PhD
  • Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1) by Janet Evanovich
  • Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
  • When Nobody Was Watching y Carli Lloyd
  • Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
  • Alive by Piers Paul Read (big hit book about a rugby team surviving a plane crash in the Andes…like some other books on this list, it was a #1 NYT bestseller)
  • The Last Jew of Treblinka by Chil Rajchman
  • Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Dereliction of Duty by H.R. McMaster
  • All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
  • I Want My Epidural Back by Karen Alpert
  • Waiting to Be Heard by Amanda Knox
  • My New Orleans, Gone Away by Peter M. Wolf
  • Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin (an important horror novel which became a popular movie)
  • Assegai by Wilbur Smith (Courtney Family Adventures #13)
  • Fated (The Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noel

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.

Books and the budget blueprint

March 19, 2017

Books and the budget blueprint

This is a post about books.

I’m not using it to tell you whether or not to support the current Presidential administration…that’s your choice. You may¬†read what I post here, and use that to help you decide whether you agree or disagree with the budget proposal presented by the administration, what is called a “budget blueprint”. One reason why I am writing this, even though I try to stay away from politics in this blog for the most part, is that this isn’t a final budget at this point. There’s going to be a lot of debate over it, and it may or may not change significantly. You could still influence it, by contacting your congresspeople. You might tell them you want changes, or you don’t want changes, or specific changes you want…or you might not do anything at all. ūüôā Up to you…

Now, it would be reasonable to point out that I haven’t ever written about a Presidential budget blueprint before, in the close to eight years I’ve been writing this blog. Obviously, the previous ones were all under the same President, and this one is under a different President. However, I’m very confident that no other budget has had this direct an impact on federal funding of the creation of books (through direct support of authors) and libraries. There are a lot of programs which may affect literacy and therefore future book markets, but I’m going to stick with authors and libraries.

It’s also the first time that I’ve seen this many authors publicly taking a stand for or against a budget blueprint. We also talk about authors in this blog, and there are likely to be some names involved that you know.

First, here’s a link to the document, so you can read it yourself if you like:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

Here is a short excerpt from this government document:

“The Budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including: the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “

I”m going to highlight three of these:

  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities

This budget blueprint proposes eliminating all funding for those three agencies. While it is hypothetically possible that funding could come in from other sources (I would guess that private donation would be legal), it’s likely that their activities would be, at the least, less than they had been previously and might stop completely.

We’ll take a look at each of these.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services

Official Website

Self-description from website:

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation‚Äôs 123,000 libraries (link is external) and approximately 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.”

Activities list on the website:

https://www.imls.gov/news-events/project-profiles

One project which ties into books/publishing/authors (note: my selection of a project is subjective; my goal is to find one that relates closely to the topics of this blog):

Open eBooks

Summary from the website: “The Open eBooks Initiative: Giving the Power of Reading to Those who Need it Most
May 31 2016 Eastern
Launched earlier this year, the Open eBooks initiative has garnered support and praise for its goal of helping children discover a love for reading through more open access to eBooks.”

The National Endowment for the Arts

Official Website

Self-description from the website:
“The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.”

Activities List on the Website:

Artistic Fields: Literature

This is a list of NEA Creative Writing Fellowship Winners who later won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and/or the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction:

https://www.arts.gov/fact-sheet/creative-writing-fellowship-winners-and-national-awards

The National Endowment for the Humanities

Official Website

Self-description from the website:
“Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.”

Activities List on the Website:

Divisions and Offices

One project which ties into books/publishing/authors:

Common Heritage

Summary from the website:

“America‚Äôs cultural heritage is preserved not only in libraries, museums, archives, and other community organizations, but also in all of our homes, family histories, and life stories. The Common Heritage program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country‚Äôs heritage and preserve it for future generations. Common Heritage will support both the digitization of cultural heritage materials and the organization of public programming at community events that explore these materials as a window on a community‚Äôs history and culture.”

Full disclosure: I have used the Chronicling America digitized archive of newspapers, funded by the NEH, for my Flipboard magazine, The Weird Old Days.

For authors and organizations expressing an opinion, see this

PEN.org page

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

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

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Promoting reading…by spoiling books?

March 18, 2017

Promoting reading…by spoiling books?

Part of my routine in the morning is to go through

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

and “flip” articles into my free Flipboard magazines, including the

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

I have flipped literally over 40,000 stories into the ILMK magazine (41,486 at time of writing).

Sometimes, I flip something into it…and then delete it. That can happen if I flip one into ILMK that I intended for one of my other Flipboard magazines…their position in the interface can change, and so sometimes positional habits get the best of me. That happened this morning (I fixed it quickly).

The other thing is that I tend to flip them before I read them…I can usually see the headline and the first paragraph or two, which is enough to get the sense of it. I read most of the articles…and sometimes, when I do, I may see some reason I want to delete it. I really debate it if the post contains an “obscene word”…something that seems like it’s making a good, reasoned argument, may include the “f word”, for example. That gives me pause, since I don’t warn people ahead of time. I debate some posts over whether or not they are too “racy”…I will report on porn if the issue seems to me to be about censorship, for instance, but if it has a picture that could get you in trouble at most offices, I’ll skip it. I like to try to be inclusive, but I follow the principle of “when in doubt, leave it out”. I figure it’s better to omit something which may have some interest than to include something which offends (although everything may offend somebody).

There is an area of omission where I don’t have much debate: spoilers.

Let me clear what I mean by that. A “spoiler” reveals a plot element to someone who hasn’t already read a book (or watched a movie or TV show, and so on) without warning.

It’s quite different from analysis, which I love. I’ve looked intently at works, talking about every tiny point…but with a warning first.

My favorite thing in media is to be surprised, and as I’ve said before here, that’s not that easy. It’s not that I’m always right about what is going to happen, but I’ve typically considered it as a possibility (I’ve just thought about a lot of possibilities).

I also say there isn’t a statute of limitations on spoilers…I’m not perfect on this, but I try not to give away the Wizard of Oz or Shakespeare, for that matter. An eight-year old encountering the Wizard of Oz for the first time today has just as much right to enjoy it as an eight-year old who read it in 1900, in my opinion.

Why do people spoil books?

I have some speculation…

Some people appear to actually do it maliciously. I’ve seen it happen where that appears to be the case, and more than once. “Rosebud is <snip>, people!” That might come out of nowhere, in a forum. It’s a form of intellectual or emotional bullying…using superior power (knowledge of what happens…and knowledge is power) to force that superiority on somewhat less powerful.

In some cases, there is an assumption: “Everybody knows that.” Shared knowledge is a great bonding agent. It cements a group…we are part of the same group because we know and understand the same things the same way. Geeks like me do that all the time: we’ll reference some relatively obscure character or story. However, that’s different from spoiling…saying, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” and looking for recognition is very different from revealing the big shocker from that same universe. Saying, “If I only had a brain…” is different from revealing the twist there.

In today’s society, it’s always possible that your public words will reach an audience who doesn’t know what you and your friends know…it might be a child, or someone from outside your culture, or a reading newbie in the case of books.

All of this is also different from accidental disclosure. If you are eating lunch after seeing a movie and discussing with your friend who saw it with you, you aren’t consciously trying to spoil it for the people in the next booth. If we do that, I tend to talk in low voices, and I usually hold the details for the car or for home…but that sort of thing isn’t what I was seeing this morning that made me delete this

Adweek post by Angela Natividad

from the ILMK Flipboard magazine.

It’s called

“This Bookstore‚Äôs Clickbait Headlines on Facebook Are Actually the Plots of Classic Novels
Finally, a noble use of an iffy strategy”

I saw that, and the first headline wasn’t a spoiler. So, I flipped it.

Then, when I read it, there were a couple that were really classic spoilers.

I stopped my exercise (I can flip articles while I do some of my exercise routine), and got on the computer so I could efficiently delete it.

Now, the idea of this is pretty clever. It makes sense that Adweek is writing about “clickbait”. Clickbait is a term referring to an internet headline intended to make you want to click a link to get to something else. “You’ll never believe what this celebrity did in public!” “The five secrets you need to get rich…and one thing you must never do!” “Jane Austen’s mystery death – was she poisoned by arsenic?” (that last one is a real one this week, from the Telegraph). Some websites are paid per page view…so they just need to get you there (it’s also why they may make you click through a whole bunch of pictures to get to some sort of punchline, like a quiz score or an offer…they could put all those questions on the same page, of course).

It’s also entirely possible that the people who see those clickbait (which they call “litbait”) headlines really are part of the “literati”…after all, it is a bookstore doing it, and perhaps only well-read people frequent their Facebook page.

It wasn’t specifically the practice of the independent Dallas bookstore

The Wild Detectives

that concerned me about the post, or I wouldn’t have flipped it in the first place. ūüôā It was that the Adweek post itself contained the spoilers.

I actually really like the idea that people go from a single enticing headline to getting the entire public domain book for free! It’s clever and fun to modernize the concepts of the books to make them more relatable (without changing the original book). Looking at the website a bit, it seems like a great bookstore (and I speak as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager), with extensive engagement by bookloving employees.

I’m happy to publicize The Wild Detectives in this post…without taking away the wonder that is Romeo & Juliet or The Picture of Dorian Gray from somebody.

What do you think? When is it okay to reveal a twist in a book in public? My adult kid doesn’t care about spoilers…do you? Do you warn people before you discuss a plot? Does a bookstore having a clever website with original writing encourage you to actually shop there? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Today only: 10x the normal donation from AmazonSmile!

March 16, 2017

Today only: 10x the normal donation from AmazonSmile!

Shopping day!

The reason for this is great: Amazon is #1 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, but the reward is even better!

I frequently bring up

http://smile.amazon.com

on this blog…I mention it at the end of almost every post.

What happens is that you shop at that site, just like you normally would at Amazon. You select a non-profit (and there are a ton of them…including ones that promote literacy, but a very wide variety), and ordinarily, half a percent of your eligible purchases (lots of items are eligible) are donated by Amazon to that non-profit. For $100, that’s fifty cents. A small amount, but it can make a big difference for some groups.

Today (March 16th) only, Amazon will donate 5%…$5 on $100 of purchases!

We have a dog toy in our cart, but we’ll definitely buy it and some other things to benefit our current non-profit, Sitters without Borders. That one was recommended by our now adult kid who lives in the Boston area…it provides babysitting for low income parents there so they can more easily attend college. We’ve supported other causes through AmazonSmile in the past…Loren Coleman’s International Cryptozoology Museum, Palo Alto University…sometimes, it’s even thematic (I may want a purchase of a particular item to benefit a particular type of non-profit.

Remember that there is no cost to you to shop at AmazonSmile…and Amazon makes the donation, so you aren’t even giving your information to anyone different. That does mean that Amazon takes the tax write-off, not you, but to me, that’s a small thing. I can still donate directly, if I want…this doesn’t change that relationship.

It’s up to you, but if you haven’t tried AmazonSmile, today is the day to…shop ’til you help! ūüôā

Thanks, Amazon!

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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