Archive for November, 2017

Has blocking text-to-speech access ended?

November 29, 2017

Has blocking text-to-speech access ended?

This is great news if it’s what has really happened!

Regular readers know I’ve been writing about the issue of publishers blocking text-to-speech access for many years. This post

The Disabled Deserve to Read

from 2009, explains it in depth.

Basically, when Amazon introduced the Kindle 2, it included “text-to-speech”, software which reads the book out loud to you.

I was quite wrong 🙂 when I thought publishers would embrace that.

It costs the publishers nothing, and it meant that people would consume books more quickly. I typically listen to text-to-speech for hours every week in the car, meaning that I need more things to read more often, since driving is no longer “wasted non-reading time”, as I like to say.

The publishers, apparently concerned that text-to-speech access would cut into audiobook sales (I don’t think it does), got Amazon to allow them to insert code into the book files to prevent the access.

I made the decision not to purchase books with TTS blocked…and not to link to them on this blog. I did write the publishers and let them know what I was doing and why. I started out not mentioning the books at all, but I understand that it’s a personal decision as to whether or not you are going to buy those books, and it’s quite complicated. I decided that if I listed them but didn’t link to them, I wasn’t helping sell them directly, and that worked for me.

That has certainly meant, though, that I haven’t read some books I would like to read, and haven’t promoted some books to you I thought you would like.

Yesterday, I was looking at the great

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

(there’s another good one for series starters today)

and happened to notice that

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (at AmazonSmile*)

no longer had TTS blocked!

That was good to see! I’ve wanted to read it since it was released, but it’s always (at least when I’ve looked at it) had TTS blocked. It has 4.6 stars out of 5 with 5,744 customer ratings at time of writing, which is very high.

That book is from a publisher which at one point was blocking all their books by policy, but it hasn’t been consistent.

I have seen books released without the TTS block get it later, so I wanted to check a book which both my Significant Other and I really enjoyed (that doesn’t always happen). I was going to suggest it to you, but after we’d read it, the text-to-speech was blocked. I even wrote the author to raise the issue (so the author could raise it…they aren’t the ones who directly decide in a traditional publishing situation, usually).

Well, when I checked

The Rosie Project by Grant Simsion (at AmazonSmile*)

it also no longer had TTS blocked! This one is 4.4 stars, but with 10,299 customer reviews.

I started checking other titles.

All the text titles I checked said that the text-to-speech was “enabled”. I’ve always found that a bit misleading: nothing needs to be done to “enable” TTS access…that’s why I can use it with personal documents, even simple text files.

Now, I did some sophisticated searching and did find some titles which said they were “not enabled”, but those were graphic novels. TTS can’t read the words in word balloons, for example, because they aren’t text in the way it needs it…they are images.

I haven’t tested enough to know that TTS-blocking code is no longer being used…but things are looking good so far.

Why the change?

One possible factor is that Amazon has started listing whether or not books are accessible to screen readers.

Screen readers do text-to-speech, but they also do more. One big thing they can do is read the “ALT text” which can be provided to describe images for people with print challenges. I do that with some of the images I insert…I try to do it with all of the ones I import. All screen readers do text-to-speech, but text-to-speech doesn’t do everything that screen readers do…like all cats are mammals, but not all mammals are cats. 😉

For more information, see this

Accessibility for Kindle help page (at AmazonSmile*)

Update: the most important thing about the listing of screen reader accessibility is that screen readers are unaffected by the code which blocks stand-alone text-to-speech. If a publisher blocks TTS, a screen reader can still read the book out loud…at least, that’s my understanding.

One thing I don’t know at this point is what happens if you bought a book with text-to-speech blocked. When we bought books (like The Rosie Project) where it wasn’t blocked, and then they blocked it later, it still wasn’t blocked for us. I was kind of figuring that was because you got what you bought…they could have updated the file on the cloud, which would have affected us (if you allow automatic updates, that is…that’s an option). They wouldn’t have reached into people’s Kindles and changed downloaded copies (they learned their lesson on that years ago, when they removed 1984 from Kindles when it was apparently accidentally sold outside of the intended market).

I’m really excited about this! Even if it hasn’t been an issue for you, it will simplify what you read in ILMK, if it’s true and not temporary…


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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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“Today only – The biggest Kindle Daily Deal of the year, up to 85% off”+KU up to 40% off (for some people)

November 27, 2017

“Today only – The biggest Kindle Daily Deal of the year, up to 85% off”+KU up to 40% off (for some people)

Today’s

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

is being advertised as the biggest one of the year…and at the time of writing, there are 452 (!) titles in it.

I’m not going to have time to get through all of them before I get to work, but I am seeing these authors with at least one book and I’ll list some titles:

  • Daniel Silva
  • Nora Roberts
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  • Game of Thrones (#1) by George R.R. Martin…for $1.99

They are also advertising

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

for up to 40% off…but when I try to buy it (as an existing member), it says I’m not eligible.

This looks like the deal I reported a couple of days ago…which disappeared before one of my readers got to it:

Today: up to 40% off Kindle Unlimited (and other deals)

I suggested to that reader that maybe what I saw was a mistake for something that should have been a Cyber Monday deal…and that appears to have been the case.

The deal might not apply in your country, of course…check before you buy.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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.

 

Kids are growing up with talktech being normal

November 27, 2017

Kids are growing up with talktech being normal

We’ve gotten way beyond kids just being “digital natives” (growing up with digital technology) now. 😉

In this

Washington Post article by Hayley Tsukayama via L.A. Times**

they cite the example of Yana Welinder’s kid trying to say, “Alexa”…before being able to say, “Mama”.

That really gave me a smile, because something like that happened in my house (and it was my “fault”).

I have a sibling who is eight years younger than I am. Before my baby sib could talk, I would flick a light switch on and off, carefully enunciating the words “On” and “Off”.

The result of that was that my sibling’s first word was “On”.

My parents weren’t particularly amused, even though it was used contextually (often with a pointing finger).

I recommend the article, which goes more into depth (but not very deep) on some of the possible concerns.

What will it mean as kids grow up with lots of devices in their homes, and devices which perform essential functions, that respond to spoken requests (and with spoken responses in many cases)?

Will they feel like they are being slighted when other devices don’t respond? Will the assumption be that everything is able to talk, and some things just choose not to do that?

On the other hand, they almost certainly will treat

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

(which, at time of writing, are on sale for as low as under $30) as “social actors”. In other words, they will consider the device’s feelings, and have a sense of intent in what it does.

Many (probably most) adults do that with technology now. I strongly recommend

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines (at AmazonSmile*)

by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen, which uses that principle to delve into human interpersonal dynamics…I read a lot of books on that sort of thing, and this has one of the best explanation of how you build teams that I’ve ever seen.

I understand that there can be an issue with soldiers and law enforcement officers anthropomorphizing anti-bomb robots…and wanting to save the robots when they are in “danger”.

Today is the 31st anniversary of the release of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in the USA, and the article pointed to a scene in that movie…although that scene also has occurred to me independently around these issues.

This is really just a short gag and doesn’t affect the plot, but I’ll still give you a minor

SPOILER ALERT

The Enterprise crew are in 1986 (that’s on the posters), and Scotty (and McCoy) are trying to work with a computer of the era.

This scene shows Scotty trying first to address the computer verbally:

YouTube video

Of course, I could also just say to our Echo Show, “Alexa, play ‘Star Trek Hello Computer from YouTube'”…and I did to test it. 🙂 Oh, the Echo Show does have YouTube videos back, by the way, but they don’t show full screen…that’s what Google didn’t like, because it took away advertising and recommending other videos, I think.

END SPOILER

I think I’ve also mentioned this on the blog before, but I have often pointed out to people how the original Star Trek series was way ahead of us in transportation (the warp drive, the transporter), ahead of us in healthcare (but we are catching up), but way behind us in computers (at least, the standard computer on the Enterprise).

When Captain Kirk would ask a simple question, it would take the computer a few seconds to answer it…and you could actually hear relays closing!

Yes, there were some super intelligent computers, but they weren’t standard. In one episode (Tomorrow Is Yesterday), the computer is much smoother and has a definite personality…but that was anomalous, and wasn’t desired.

I don’t see the ability to talk to our devices going away for the next decade at least. As long as verbal communication remains one of our main ways to communicate our desires (it would take a lot to change that…just texting isn’t going to do that, although brain-machine-interfaces, which could effectively result in technological telepathy…techepathy(?) might), we’ll want to do speak with our tech…besides just chastising a computer or car.

I would expect that within the next five years, we’ll be able to speak as smoothly and successfully with our main personal devices as we can with most humans. That will require:

      • Better “artificial empathy”. We are getting that now…devices understanding how we feel. I love a free app from Microsoft, Seeing AI (currently only available for iOS, so I use t on my work iPhone. It’s designed for those with visual impairments, but its also just fun (and has significant benefit for people who have difficulty determining emotions in others, as some people with autism can have). I can take a picture of a person, and it will guess their gender and age (it’s almost always been within four years for me), and will tell me if they look “happy”, “neutral”, and so. Our talktech will be able to tell if we are angry or happy (maybe not with 100% accuracy…but humans don’t hit 100%, either), and adjust the responses accordingly
      • This has started, but they are beginning to recognize us as individuals. That’s obviously something we do with humans…and our talktech needs to be able to do this more reliably
      • It will also need to figure out context…is the voice generating person right next to them? Yelling from another room? On a recording? Something I really want is that, if I whisper to my Alexa device, it whispers back. 🙂 I’m sometimes talking to our Echo when my Significant Other is asleep. I can whisper and it understands me…but “Okay” is quite loud!
      • It will also need more languages and slang…it’s pretty facile with accents, in my experience, but it will become much more cosmopolitan and culturally diverse. I once heard of a doctor who told a patient that the patient would need to find another doctor…because the first doctor couldn’t understand the patient’s (English) slang!

If that gets too sophisticated, that could make for an interesting situation…it’s possible your child and your talktech will be develop their own language…which you won’t be able to understand…

Update: I forgot to address something I’ve mentioned previously in the blog, that we are donating an unopened Echo Dot to a children’s center (I’m hoping to drop off that donation, which includes other things, tomorrow). I think it’s important that possibly disadvantaged children also get exposed to this technology. I will include instructions on how to turn off voice purchasing (Menu-Settings-Voice Purchasing). They’ll also want to be careful about which experiences are enabled. I don’t think they can, through software, stop requests which include explicit music…that might require monitoring.

What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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! :) 

** Thanks to a reader who sent me a link to this story in a private communication…always appreciated! By the way, I linked to the L.A. Times instead of the (Jeff Bezos’ owned) Washington Post because the WaPo limits you to three free articles a day…and I didn’t want you to use one up unnecessarily…the world of paywalls! That one does seem like one possible strategy…

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: up to 40% off Kindle Unlimited (and other deals)

November 25, 2017

Up to 40% off Kindle Unlimited (and other deals)

I watch for this one!

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

is 40% right now…specifically, a 24 month subscription is $143.86 (just about $6 a month). A 12 month subscription is 33% off: $80.32.

You can do this if you already have a subscription…this is the way it has been in the past. There is a restriction if you have “…purchased multiple prepaid plans that are currently associated with their Amazon accounts”, although I’ve never figured out exactly what that means. I think you have to have two plans at the same time.

You can also gift this, and we have done that as well. $80.32 for 12 months for a family gift is not much. You can have up to ten books at a time, and typically, each book can be on six devices at the same time…so that can work well with a family of four, for example.

We’ve been happy members of KU since it was introduced, and even though are finances are changing, we are going to continue this (I’ll get the 24 month subscription today). It’s true that

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

which is included in

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

has about 1,000 (currently 1,037) titles, KU has 1,809,900 (!) at time of writing!

I would be surprised if you couldn’t find ten books a month to read that you thought were worth it…that doesn’t mean you’d like every book, but the same is true if you were piece buying one book at a time.

While they won’t usually be the current New York Times bestsellers, there will be books of current interest (The Handmaid’s Tale, for example) as well as older (The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings) titles, and lesser known ones.

I just recently read and really enjoyed

Space on My Hands by Fredric Brown (at AmazonSmile*)

after I had mentioned Fredric Brown in the

Bookish Birthdays

category, and one of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, mentioned that book was available.

I hadn’t read it: it’s a collection of Brown short stories, and each one would have made a good classic Twilight Zone episode. 🙂 My only problem with the book was…it was too short. 😉

I also liked

The Naturalist (Theo Cray #1) by Andrew Mayne (at AmazonSmile*)

kind of like The Rosie Project meets Stephanie Plum.

That’s just one of today’s deals! This is Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend, after all. 😉

The

Amazon Device Deals (at AmazonSmile*)

are amazing today!

You can get the 7″ Fire tablet for $29.99, and so is the Echo Dot. The Fire TV Stick is $24.99. The Kindle Paperwhite is $30 off at $89.99.

Other daily deals include:

  • Tegu magnetic wooden blocks 40% off
  • 30% off select Bowflex fitness products
  • Up to 30% off some radio-control toys and drones…including live video drone

Lots of deals! It won’t be the end of discounts after Monday, but I think you are taking a big risk if you think that anything which is at least 30% off today is going to get lower in the next month. It’s possible, but I would think they’ll be “lightning deals” or part of bundles if they do happen.

Oh, I wanted to mention one more product recently introduced (and therefore not no sale) by Amazon!

Echo Buttons (at AmazonSmile*)

This would be a great gift for someone who already has an Alexa device (and who likes social games)…they can’t already have them, unless they ordered them just recently. In my family, we don’t buy things for ourselves when we get close to the holidays, if they are potential gifts. 🙂

For $19.99, you get a two-pack of what are basically wireless “buzzers”…you can “buzz in” to answer a question (asked by your Alexa device during a game). They work with many Echo devices (including first generation), and you can have up to four working with a device at once. They require batteries but they do come with them, so you’ll be able to play right away.

Going on my wish list. 😉


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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.

Black Friday’s KDD: 103 bestsellers

November 25, 2017

Black Friday’s KDD: 103 bestsellers

Today’s

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

is a Black Friday deal…yes, I know I’m getting this out late in the day, but, you know, family traditions. 🙂

It’s 103 (!) titles…and I’ll list some which caught my eye:

  • Echoes in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 44) by J. D. Robb | 4.8 stars out of 5 | 1,624 customer reviews at time of writing | $3.99 | it was also released this year
  • Swink (Landry Family Series Book 5) by Adriana Locke | also available from Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at no additional charge
  • Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance | 4.7 stars | 2,243 reviews
  • The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore
  • Distortion (Moonlighters Series Book 2) by Terri Blackstock
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson | 4.6 stars | 1,947 reviews
  • Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon | NYT bestselling horror novel | Bram Stoker Award winner
  • Harvest Moon (A Virgin River Novel Book 15) by Robyn Carr
  • Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Book 1) by James S. A. Corey
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
  • The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown
  • These Old Shades (Alastair-Audley Book 1) by Georgette Heyer
  • Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert
  • Moonlight Cove (A Chesapeake Shores Novel) by Sherryl Woods
  • The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals—and Other Forgotten Skills by Tristan Gooley
  • Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
  • The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques
  • Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin Lee
  • The White Album: Essays by Joan Didion
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
  • World History: Ancient History, United States History, European, Native American, Russian, Chinese, Asian, African, Indian and Australian History, Wars including World War 1 and 2 [3rd Edition] by Adam Brown (KU)
  • Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
  • The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  • Trap Line by Carl Hiaasen and Bill Montalbano
  • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Remember that you can buy these today that this discounted price, and either delay the delivery for the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or send it to yourself to print out and give whenever you want (even wrapped, perhaps).


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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.

10 sales at Amazon at time of writing

November 24, 2017

10 sales at Amazon at time of writing

Sandisk memory products sale (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Ends at midnight Pacific on Thursday. I saw savings over $100 on a couple of (expensive) items…but lots of savings on even smaller memory disks.

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile*) $24.99 instead of $39.99

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $29.99 instead of $49.99 (last year for Black Friday it was $5 more)

Fire HD 10″ (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99 instead of $149.99…$50 off!

Zmodo wireless security camera sale (at AmazonSmile*)

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $179.99 instead of $229.99…another $50 off. This is a big part of our lives.

Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99 instead of $79.99

Amazon Dash buttons…half off, so $2.49, and you still get $5 credit! (at AmazonSmile*)

So, Amazon is basically paying you to get a Dash button! Only valid for Prime members

Kindle magazine deals…up to 93% off! (at AmazonSmile*)

Today’s Deals page (Today’s Deals page) (at AmazonSmile*)

All kinds of sales here, including lightning sales which might last an hour (or less, I think). I didn’t want to post any of those on this post since, like me, you may have family events tonight and not see it in time. 🙂 If you do see something you want to mention to me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post…but hopefully, people realize that the price may have changed by the time they see it.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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.

Happy bookish birthdays (November 21) to…

November 22, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (November 21) to…

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

All aboard 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

Great savings and a great time to give to those less fortunate

November 21, 2017

Great savings and a great time to give to those less fortunate

We have a family tradition for Black Friday which we really enjoy. We do go physically into stores, early in the morning. However, we have a budget and are specifically shopping for Toys for Tots. After we buy the toys (and books), we take them to a local fire station and drop them off.

It gives us such joy to do that! While our own financial situation is going to change soon, this is something we expect to be able to keep doing.

We think pretty carefully about what we are getting…we want to “fill in the gaps” on what might be donated, for one thing. We try to get some teen things (they tend to get fewer things donated than for younger kids). We like getting brands: even though a child may not have much money or a secure home, they know who Wonder Woman is. We’ll probably get at least one fidget spinner this year. 😉 No batteries, not a lot of pieces (so it’s easy to take from home to home), we like something which might change someone’s life (a world map, a magic trick, a toy veterinarian kit…) and of course, books fit that well.

There are a number of wa,ys you can benefit non-profits when shopping from Amazon.

The easiest thing, which you can do all year round, is shop at

Smile.Amazon.com

It feels just like shopping at Amazon…because you are shopping at Amazon. 🙂

Same prices, same payment methods, same address book, same lists…

The only difference is that you designate a non-profit (and you can search for one…there are many!) and Amazon donates half a percent of your purchases of eligible items (lots of items are eligible) to them.

That’s fifty cents on a $100 purchase. That may not sound like much, but it can make a big difference, especially to a smaller non-profit. Over sixty million dollars have been donated by Amazon

You can change your non-profit whenever you want. We are currently designating Sitters without Borders, and over $15 has been donated to them because of our purchases.

You can click or tap where you designated recipient is, and see what your impact has been (how much to the current designee, how much total has been donated on your behalf).

While this next one isn’t as easy, it allows you to give something which is really needed…and you may get a tax benefit. With Smile.Amazon, Amazon is making the donation and gets any benefit. With this one, you are making the donation. I don’t want to advise you on taxes, so if you aren’t sure, check with whatever or whoever you might use for tax advice.

This
Cloud for Good article by Ashley Papp

takes non-profits through the process of setting up an

Amazon Wish List (at AmazonSmile*)

The harder things about it are that you can’t find them as easily (as far as I can tell, you just have to search) and that you are paying specifically for the item.

If you know the name of the group, then you just enter it as if you were searching for an individual’s name. When I put in “Library”, I found a number of options. When you do this, you are getting them exactly something they need, which can be a lot more valuable than a few dollars.

There are a couple of options! You can also directly donate things…we sort of ended up with an extra unopened

All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and are donating it to a local children’s center (where kids typically go after school, not where they live). I’ll include instructions telling them how to block voice purchases. I think this could make a big difference, both in accustoming children to an emerging technology, and in answering questions for them.

So, as you are saving money with holidays on

Amazon Devices (at AmazonSmile*)

and Black Friday sales are available now, you can benefit non-profits buying them through AmazonSmile, and perhaps use some of your savings to donate through an Amazon Wish List.

Do you have other great ways you like to give? Have you or someone you known been the benefit of a gift from a stranger? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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.

Decade 1: the first ten years of the Kindle

November 19, 2017

Decade 1: the first ten years of the Kindle

Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Jeff Bezos, has referred to the company still being on “Day 1”. In fact, in this year’s letter to stockholders, Bezos said

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
Amazon site with letter and video

Well, if Day 2 is stasis, that means Day 1 is change…and since Amazon first introduced the Kindle

Introducing Amazon Kindle (press release)

on November 19, 2007 (ten years ago), a lot has happened!

I’m working on a book, Because of the Kindle, which will cover the period (largely reproducing posts from this blog, but also including new material). It’s important to me that other people’s opinions also be included, and I’ve extended the amount of time that people can share them with me for possible inclusion at first publication through Monday November 27th. I had originally thought I would have the book out for today, but I had a big technical problem…and quite simply, the book is going to be much bigger than I originally thought. Thanks to everyone who has already given their opinions! Please consider adding your own (or more of your own…more than one is okay), and let other people know! I’m not reaching out to current Amazon employees, but I would love to include more authors, bookstore owners/managers (I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager myself), bloggers, podcasters, reporters, publishers, and of course…readers.

As I’ve been going back through the blog, and doing some other research, I’ve been reminded about some of those things and events. In this blog, I’ll hit some highlights, some things which may spark some memories for you, or illicit some curiosity. I’ll also give you some stats because, hey, who doesn’t like statistics? 😉

Let’s start with this easy one:

Amazon Devices

The Kindle was the first Amazon device. It was actually considered quite a risk: Amazon was a retailer, not a manufacturer. It’s safe to say that it was “Because of the Kindle” that Amazon was able to go on and try other devices. As of today, it stands at twenty. That’s also based on how Amazon displays them  when I click on the categories from the

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

I could count them as a lot more if I broke it down to “flavors”…memory size, communication methods, and so on, but I think that works. The most recent Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) is considered ninth generation…so they’ve introduced a new generation about once a year (and I’m actually writing this on November 18th…could be interesting things tomorrow).

Nostalgia break: do you remember…?

  • The scroll wheel? It was the first way we interacted with our Kindles. You turned a wheel to move the cursor only up and down on the “page”, then pushed it to select
  • The 5-way controller? It was the mighty follow up to the scroll wheel. It was like a little joystick
  • Now, we use touch screens…

Decade 1 titles in store

When the USA Kindle Store debuted, there were fewer than 100,000 titles…now there are about 5.8 million. That’s an average of about 1,500 titles added…per day! Note also that there are now fourteen Amazon country sites. There is significant title overlap between the stores, but I believe there are also titles unique to each store.

Nostalgia break: do you remember…?

  • Kindle NowNow? On the first generation Kindle, you could enter a question (about pretty much anything) and a paid human being would answer it. They also later tried live human Amazon device support with the original Mayday, which was highly promoted. Pretty quickly, the “face on the screen” went away
  • Playing Minesweeper? Alt+Shift+M started a Minesweeper game…and Gomoku was also available. Of course, we had “Active Content” in early models, and some of those were free and some you purchased. For a while, that was a big part of the Kindleer experience.  January 19, 2010: It’s the games Kindles play

EBR Price

With the Kindle 1, the most expensive price and the least expensive price were the same, since there was only one: $399. Currently (and everything I’m doing here is based on what is available new directly from Amazon), the least expensive one is $79.99 and the most expensive one (with all the options) is $349.99. There have been cheaper Kindles, too. You do get a lot more, including the front light. Memory is another obvious difference. The Kindle 1 had 250 MB of internal storage, which they said could hold about 200 books (non-illustrated, really). The version I listed as most expensive above had 32 GB…based on the same book calculation, it could hold 128 times as many, roughly.

Controversies and We Asked For It

  • We originally couldn’t gift books to people…we can now
  • The Kindle was originally only available in the USA…it’s now available in many countries
  • We couldn’t lend books…we can now (but I don’t think it happens very often)
  • Amazon added text-to-speech in the Kindle 2…and the publishers pushed back. There were actually demonstrations over it
  • Amazon removed an edition of 1984 from people’s Kindles…they later apologized
  • The Department of Justice and (separately) States Attorneys General took action against Apple and big publishers for pricing policies under something called the Agency Model. Customers eventually got settlements
  • Amazon removed the “Buy” buttons from Macmillan books in a dispute…it had to do in part with “windowing”, delaying the release of Kindle books after the hardback’s release
  • Publishers restricted public library e-book use…there was a lot of variability on that
  • Some authors resisted having their books in e-book form initially, notably J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter books were later available through a special website), Audrey NIffenegger (available now), Harper Lee (books now available), and Ray Bradbury (who reportedly said that e-books “…smelled like burned fuel”…books are now available)

That’s a bit of a random summary of the first decade!

I want to really congratulate Amazon on the success of the Kindle, and thank them for everything it has done for me!

The book will go into a lot more depth…remember that you may be part of it if you complete the thought, “Because of the Kindle…”

Just for a fun finish: do you know what these mean? I’ll link to my posts with an explanation:


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

All aboard 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.

 

Round up #166: signed books, Because of the Kindle pushed back

November 16, 2017

Round up #166: signed books, Because of the Kindle pushed back

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

National Book Award winners 2017

The National Book Foundation’s National Book Award winners were announced yesterday:

Official Site

Congratulations to the winners!

Because of the Kindle won’t be out on November 19th

In part because of our recent internet outage (but that’s not the only reason), my next book won’t be out on the 10th anniversary of the Kindle on November 19th. I will do a special post (a “First Decade Snapshot”?) which will commemorate it, and will perhaps serve as a preview of the book.

The good news is that means you can still get me your thoughts! My guess is I won’t publish it before December 1st, and it might be a week or so into that month.

I would have liked to have had it out on November 19th, but it is going to be much bigger than I thought originally. I like how it is shaping up…it was fun to think about “Topaz” files again. 😉

In fact, it’s likely to be so big (it could be perhaps, the equivalent of 1,000 pages) that I may price it at $2.99 rather than $0.99 (and I do intend it to be part of Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)).

I’m interested in your feedback on that, too, since I’m planning to put 20% of the gross royalties into giveaways on this blog. At $0.99, I get about 35 cents per sale. At $2.99, I get $2.09. I have to double-check that I check all the other boxes, but I think that’s right. So, I have to sell about six times as many at roughly a dollar than at roughly three dollars to have volume outweigh the price point. I’m ignoring, in this calculation, royalties from KU. Any thoughts?

It just simply wasn’t going to be ready. It’s not easy to make the decision to hold it back (I’ll potentially miss out on some publicity, and I’m likely to miss Black Friday interest), but I didn’t want to put out something that was clearly incomplete. It’s more important to me that people get value out of it than that it gets the maximum sales.

On the bad side: my Significant Other has to put up with my focus on the book for longer. 😉

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble…

On Thursday, November 30th (a week after Black Friday this year), at 10:00 AM Eastern, Barnes & Noble will announce their Second Quarter financials.

The morning timing is interesting…if companies expect to report bad numbers, they sometimes want to do it when the market is closed (to minimize the one day market stock impact). It’s possible that the numbers aren’t all bad…although I don’t expect the NOOK line to have recovered much.

It will be webcast here:

http://investors.barnesandnobleinc.com/events.cfm

They are also repeating a really interesting holiday promotion…literally hundreds of thousands of autographed books:

Barnes & Noble Announces the Return of Over a Half-Million Autographed Books from Acclaimed Authors Just in Time for Black Friday press release

These are genuinely big name authors. They list all these for Black Friday:

 

Adult Fiction Signed Editions

  • In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
  • The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • End Game by David Baldacci
  • You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody) by Alec Baldwin
  • The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
  • The Alchemist (25th Anniversary Edition) by Paulo Coelho
  • Two Kinds of Truth: A Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
  • Enigma: An FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter
  • Typhoon Fury: A Novel of the Oregon Files by Clive Cussler
  • The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
  • Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich
  • Dark Legacy: A Carpathian Novel by Christine Feehan
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Vengeance by Newt Gingrich
  • Camino Island by John Grisham
  • The Saboteur by Andrew Gross
  • Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  • Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill
  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • To Be Where You Are: A Mitford Novel by Jan Karon
  • The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel by Dean Koontz
  • The Princess Saves Herself in This One (B&N Exclusive Edition) by Amanda Lovelace
  • Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber
  • Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
  • The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
  • The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
  • Deep Freeze: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  • Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
  • Rest in the Mourning by r.h. Sin
  • A Beautiful Composition of Broken (B&N Exclusive Edition) by r.h. Sin
  • Whiskey Words & a Shovel by r.h. Sin
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  • Artemis by Andy Weir
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Adult Nonfiction Signed Editions

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie
  • Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden
  • F*ck, That’s Delicious by Action Bronson
  • Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
  • Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
  • I’m Fine… and Other Lies by Whitney Cummings
  • What Does This Button Do?: An Autobiography by Bruce Dickinson
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives (B&N Exclusive Edition) by Ree Drummond
  • Unqualified by Anna Faris
  • Blessed Life: My Surprising Journey of Joy, Tears, and Tales from Harlem to Hollywood by Kim Fields
  • Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures by Joely Fisher
  • Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
  • The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success by DeVon Franklin
  • Note To Self by Connor Franta
  • What Is It All But Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man by Art Garfunkel
  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore
  • The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt
  • I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart
  • Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
  • Pretty Fun: Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition by Kate Hudson
  • Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Soar! Build Your Vision from the Ground Up by T. D. Jakes
  • Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
  • Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans by Brian Kilmeade
  • Why We Don’t Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little B*tches by Dr. Denis Leary
  • The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane
  • Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem by Bill Nye
  • Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working for Your Good by Joel Osteen
  • Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi
  • Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman
  • Unshakeable : Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins
  • It Takes Two: Our Story by Jonathan and Drew Scott
  • Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano
  • Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova
  • On Power: My Journey Through the Corridors of Power and How You Can Get More Power by Gene Simmons
  • You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
  • Two’s Company: A Fifty-Year Romance with Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business by Suzanne Somers
  • Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir by Amy Tan
  • Raising Trump by Ivana Trump
  • Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
  • Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay & a Few of My Other Favorite Things by Loudon Wainwright III
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • A Sick Life: TLC ‘n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
  • Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
  • Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink
  • The Seat of the Soul (25th Anniversary Edition with a Study Guide) by Gary Zukav

Signed Editions for Teens

  • Thirteen Reasons Why (10th Anniversary Edition) by Jay Asher
  • The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
  • Girling Up by Mayim Bialik
  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • The Twisted Ones (Five Nights at Freddy’s) by Scott Cawthon
  • Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy by Serena Valentino
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • The Book Thief (Special Anniversary Edition) by Markus Zusak

Signed Editions for Young Readers

  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
  • Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty
  • Minecraft: The Island by Max Brooks
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  • The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer
  • Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
  • Spy School Secret Service (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Spy School Series #5) by Stuart Gibbs
  • The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
  • I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • In the Deep Blue Sea: Jack and the Geniuses Book #2 by Bill Nye
  • Wonder B&N Exclusive Edition by R. J. Palacio
  • The Dark Prophecy (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #2) by Rick Riordan
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 3: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
  • The Bad Beginning: Book the First (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
  • Little Bigfoot, Big City (B&N Exclusive Edition) by Jennifer Weiner
  • The Audition by Maddie Ziegler

Signed Editions for Kids

  • Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett
  • River Rose and the Magical Christmas by Kelly Clarkson
  • She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
  • The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt
  • Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes by Kimberly and James Dean
  • Through Your Eyes: My Child’s Gift to Me by Ainsley Earhardt
  • Princesses Wear Pants by Savannah Guthrie
  • My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly
  • Be Brave Little One by Marianne Richmond
  • Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
  • The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Thank You Book (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

This is genuinely a reason to visit a Barnes & Noble.

Now that Amazon has physical bookstores, I’ve wondered if they’ll start doing book signings…I’ve seen (and been impressed by) the new one in Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek (across the Bay from San Francisco), California:

The new Amazon Books opened in Walnut Creek California today…and I was there!

They had a number of things that people have come to associate with bookstores…coffee and comfy chairs, for two. Book signings could make sense…

What do you think? Are Amazon bookstores too small for book signings? Are signed books exciting for you personally? As gifts? What do you think will come out of Barnes & Noble’s financial report? $0.99 or $2.99 for Because of the Kindle? What do you think has happened (for you and for the world) Because of the Kindle? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

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

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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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