Archive for December, 2017

Today’s KDD: the Goodreads synergy we hoped we would get

December 30, 2017

Today’s KDD: the Goodreads synergy we hoped we would get

There were a lot of concerns when Amazon bought

Goodreads

the social reading network more than four years ago. When I polled my readers in this post

Amazon buys Goodreads

though, they were overwhelmingly positive or undecided:

  • 44.17% I’m excited! It should be a great combination
  • 43.33% I don’t have an opinion yet

Today’s

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

is “Goodreads Choice Awards, up to 80% off select winners & finalists o Kindle”.

Those are awarded by readers themselves, not by critics and committees. They say: “…the only major book awards decided by readers”. Well, I assume committees and reviewers actually read books, but I get what they mean. 😉

There are some great books listed! Remember that you can buy these today at this reduced price, and then schedule them for the proper gift-giving occasion. You can even send it to yourself, print them out, and give whenever you want (I did that this holiday season). Ready to start your shopping for the 2018 holidays…or just spending a gift card? 😉

Oh, and check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze (the last one in VAM…Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged reality)…it’s just for today, and may not apply in your country.

Here are just some of the titles:

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson | 4.6 out of 5 stars | 2,095 customer reviews at time of writing | $3.99
  • How to Be a BAWSE by Lilly Singh (YouTube’s Superwoman)
  • Warcross by Marie Liue
  • From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon | 4.7 stars | 3,976 reviews
  • Theft by Finding by David Sedaris
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
  • The Chillbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
  • The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
  • This Is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe
  • The Daily Show: An Oral History by Chris Smith
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith)
  • Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird
  • Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
  • The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
  • Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong by Angela Saini
  • A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming
  • The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia
  • Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger
  • Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Enjoy!


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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It’s Digital Day 2017!

December 29, 2017

It’s Digital Day 2017!

Amazon did their first “Digital Day” (digital content sale, basically) almost a year ago, on December 30, 2016.

Just as there were last year, there are some great deals, listed here:

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

I’ll list some of the Kindle specific books shortly, but first a quick comment on the sale itself.

Obviously, with digital content, Amazon isn’t clearing out stock, the way a store (I’m a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore) might do to lower their inventory for perhaps a smaller tax assessment. It’s also possible that a physical store overbought for the holidays: I did overbuy on occasion, although I’d say I tended to be pretty good. I knew a local celebrity was going to be a talk show, for example, and ended up with way too many copies. 🙂

It is possible that licenses are running out at the end of the year, but I really think it’s more about the same things it would be for physical stores: gift cards, returns, and competition.

A lot of people got

Amazon Gift Cards (at AmazonSmile*)

for the holidays. In my

The gifting poll 2017

42% of the responses said that they had given or planned to give one…and 64% wanted to get one. 😉 That wasn’t the only discrepancy like that: it seemed to me like more people planned to give physical books (33%…the highest format), but wanted to get e-books (46%…the highest format). There may still be a perception factor there, that people see p-books as being more valuable.

I did get some non-Amazon, general gift cards…and I spent them at Amazon. 🙂  Sort of: what I did was buy things at Amazon, and I’ll use the gift cards for routine purposes instead (like at the grocery store). I bought a “sand tip” for my cane…sort of like a snowshoe in function. I have several canes for different purposes: I do feel like The Penguin with umbrellas, except it is with canes. 😉 I’ve joked with my Significant Other that I should get a quiver. I also bought the

Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile*)

Unfortunately, my first generation one is not compatible with my new Galaxy S8 phone…and I definitely miss it! I watch video (Netflix, Hulu) in VR quite often, especially when I exercise doing my “floor work”. It’s the underrated “killer app” for VR: it looks so much better than on my TV, and with Netflix, the screen will follow me as I roll over to switch sides.

People also did returns (Amazon has generous return policies, generally), and that puts cash/store credit at their disposal.

The competition is with those physical stores and online stores which are reducing inventory…

You’ll find all sorts of items, including movies, videogames, comics, and apps…often at 50% off or more. There is even a Dollar Deals section, where items are $1 or less! Here’s a link for e-book Dollar Deals:

e-book Dollar Deals (at AmazonSmile*)

If that isn’t already filtered for you, you should see a filter or a tab.

There are some big name authors in the Dollar Deals including Fern Michaels and Debbie Macomber.

Here are some of the e-books in the featured sale:

  • The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz $4.99
  • Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as told by Christian by E.L. James $4.99
  • The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz $2.99
  • My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella $2.99
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari $2.99
  • The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts $1.99
  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti $2.99
  • The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver $2.99

Enjoy!


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.

A personal look back at 2017

December 28, 2017

A personal look back at 2017

I will be doing my usual look back at the The Year in E-Books (this will be the ninth) and The Year Ahead for 2018, but I wanted to do something different here.

While I do certainly share my opinions and some of my interests here, and from time to time, talk about my life (Bufo’s Life ), I don’t feel like I say all that much about myself.

That’s on purpose.

I always want this blog to be able to help as many people as it can. I don’t want it to be that people of one particular opinion or another or driven away from it because of disagreements with something that doesn’t have to do with the topic at hand.

I also want it to be a safe place, a place where people are judged not by their inherent characteristics or broadly by their lifestyle choices, but by their thoughts and feelings on a topic. It may be silly, but I feel like if I talk about things like my age or gender, it makes other people feel like they should do the same…which may intimidate some from sharing on topic thoughts.

I should be clear: I don’t do it that way in life, or even in my other most active blog, The Measured Circle. Oh, I still don’t say much personal in TMC, but I do use gender-specific pronouns. 😉

Why am I doing it in this post?

I’m not sure. 🙂

One of my concerns for my “performance” in 2017 is that I haven’t been writing enough narrative in this blog. I’ve been doing the daily “Bookish Birthdays“. That means I am publishing a post a day, which I hadn’t been doing, and I’ve gotten some good feedback on them…but it doesn’t say much outside of the facts.

ILMK had its lowest ranking since I’ve been recording those this year, and I suspect that may be part of it.

I get why it’s attractive to me. It’s similar to the “collector’s instinct”. I like a challenging routine, it feels good to me. Producing a daily post which takes work and judgment gives those “micro-rewards” that make me want to keep doing it. It’s like the joy of alphabetizing; I think I’ve told this story before, but I had a videostore employee approach me after I’d been in the store for maybe 45 minutes moving movies around (slightly). The employee trepidatiously asked me what I was doing, and I explained that I was alphabetizing the movies. “But they’re already alphabetized…” Me: “Oh, the ‘As’ are in the ‘A’ section, but they aren’t alphabetical within the section…I’m fixing that.” (That’s approximate from memory).

I’m currently writing three daily posts…one for work, and they take more than an hour. I sleep a relatively small amount (I’ve checked that with my doctor…seems to be okay), so I do have more time than most people. However, I like to say that “Work expands to fill the available time.”

I do know how to manage time: in fact, I teach others to do it, and I know I’m effective. I train medical people, and I had one case with a doctor who was regularly leaving the clinic a few hours after it closed. Charting (writing down what happened) is essential, and takes time to do properly. Doctors also get a lot of communications about things, both from inside the organization and from the people they see.

I spent about an hour with that doctor talking about time management techniques (there is some overlap with technology, but that’s not all it is).

About three weeks later, that doctor was leaving about an hour after the clinic closed, which is about right. It took three weeks to clean up and to ingrain habits.

However, just because you understand how to do something doesn’t mean that you consistently do it. 🙂 Do you think Steph Curry’s shooting coach is a better shooter than Steph? It’s not necessary to be the best at something, or even particularly good at it, to help others get better.

That’s not to say that I’m bad at it, either. 🙂 I haven’t written a narrative post on this blog in several days, but our adult kid was visiting, and we had a lot of family things to do. I love writing this blog and interacting with you, but family does come first (and my Significant Other and adult child support that).

Speaking of which, let’s do the first revelation…

I’ve mentioned that we have a big lifestyle change coming. My Significant Other is going to retire, starting January 12th. There are certain implications around retirement, so I didn’t want to say that was the change. In this post, though, I will.

We can do it, but it will be very different…and it is purposefully uncertain right now as to details. My SO has been in the same industry for decades, and has worked many twelve hour days. The time had just come.

It will cut our income roughly in half (we make about the same salary, despite doing very different things).

As you can imagine, that’s a challenge.

We did some things to save some money: one was closing out a storage space for which we’d been paying. Those boxes went in the garage for now (which we don’t use as a garage anyway).

I sort of tried to do this earlier this year, and it didn’t happen…but I’m going to use our neighborhood website to organize a “Giveaway Day”. For it to work, it will have to be promoted, in a way similar to our neighborhood garage sale (which is sponsored by a realtor, since it brings people into the neighborhood.

My idea is to have lots of things out on the street where people can just pick them up. Why not sell them? Some items just don’t fit that profile. I don’t know that we’ll get any tax deductions, since organizations probably won’t leave receipts. Also, I’m well aware that professional resellers (garage sales pros, eBay experts) will come by and get the high value items.

We’ll set it up so we have one of our twice a year extra garbage pick ups the next day. I think that will work well.

We also need to cut back on spending: fewer trips, for example. We may not buy as many gadgets, although hypothetically, when I buy a new Amazon gadget and write about it, that can be an investment. When people buy gift cards from the link at the end of this post and then use them at Amazon, that really helps.

We are looking forward to this. I don’t have plans to retire for at least five years: I’ll be the income and the benefits. I also really like what I do. My SO asked me years ago what my retirement plan was, and I said, “I plan to die at work.” That didn’t go over well. 😉 I am now convinced that I will retire at some point…which will mean writing more.

Regardless, that’s a change.

Revelation #2: I’ve mentioned having a chronic condition and walking with a cane, but I haven’t said what it is. I have an arthritic hip, and it’s a deteriorating condition. It simply won’t get better, and function will continue to get worse. When I first got the cane, I had someone ask me if it was for show. It’s obvious now that it isn’t. I have quite the “rolling walk”…my left leg is effectively now quite a bit longer than my right one, and that also continues to increase. When I stand (which I can’t do for very long), I have my left leg bent and my right leg straight.

The obvious question I get is, “Aren’t you going to do a hip replacement?” I have no fear of an operation, and I did meet with an ortho surgeon this year for an evaluation. The interesting thing is that I have no chronic pain with it. It just doesn’t work very well, and I will get acute pain…changing direction suddenly, getting bumped, putting on my sock or getting into the car: those can all cause pain, but I don’t have it just in normal routine. It also doesn’t last long.

I was told that the purpose of the hip replacement is really to relieve pain. It doesn’t fully restore function. When people get a lot of function back, it’s because pain was stopping them from doing things.

It’s also better to wait if you can, apparently, since the hips wear out. Waiting longer might mean fewer surgeries.

When I get my annual check-up in February, I am going to ask about getting a disabled sticker for the car. I haven’t done that before, but my ability to step up on a curb and that sort of thing has gone down. It’s not so much distances; it’s stairs, curbs…places where I need to raise my leg and therefore engage my hip. The special parking places are sometimes the only ones which don’t require a staircase, and they have ramps for wheelchairs.

There have been times I’ve thought that having a wheelchair would be easier…even cool. 🙂 As you can tell, I don’t have a lot of ego about my appearance. A wheelchair would now make me significantly faster when I go those distances. I’m not there yet, but that might be in my future.

My condition has also reduced the amount of aerobic exercise I’m doing (my physical therapist basically banned quite a bit of my daily routine). I had a pretty good weight intake/outgo balance (I had lost about forty pounds ((18kg)) at one point). I’m refinding that, but I’m confident in it. I may have put on ten pounds or so again, but I’ll get that back off, and I’m not gaining out of control.

This coming year, then, I’m likely to see deteriorating health…and more time with my happier SO. Pluses and minuses. 🙂

Okay, have to head to work. I have a lot of writing to do in the next couple of weeks, plus I’m still working on the book, Because of the Kindle. Things will get easier when I’ve “lapped the year” in Bookish Birthdays (I think that’s in September), and when I’ve done “On This Date in Geeky History” for the whole year. Some things I want to get written soon:

  • Popular pre-orders for January
  • The Year in E-Books
  • The Year Ahead
  • My monthly Snapshot on January 1st
  • My annual Snapshot
  • I want to do a summary of “Geeky Good-byes” (and catch up the listings) on the The Measured Circle blog
  • I have maybe another three posts to write for TMC

Oh, wanted to mention: we got two new SmartPhones! We got Galaxy S8s, when they were buy 1 get 1 free. My SO needed a new one (the current phone goes back to work, and we don’t have a landline), and my screen had developed a flaw…and for the first time ever, I dropped my phone and cracked the screen.

Two surprises came with that: I hadn’t realized it had a new power cord connector (meaning I needed adapters for places I have cords), and my Samsung Gear doesn’t work with it. I’m replacing the Gear (I do a lot in VR and some in AR) with the new one…that’s really a holiday gift.

Hope your year was a good one, and next one is better! 🙂


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.

My Echo Spot is here: it’s cute!

December 24, 2017

My Echo Spot is here: it’s cute!

Well, it looked like it wouldn’t be here by the 25th but my

Echo Spot (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)

arrived at the Amazon Locker today!

Regular readers may notice I said “my” rather than “our”; my Significant Other is not really a fan of Alexa, and this one will end up going to my office. 🙂

First impressions:

It is far more elegant looking than the original

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

While the Echo Show is my favorite Echo device currently, it is kind of clunky…reminiscent in that way of the first generation Kindle, even having somewhat of a wedge shape.

I traveled with the Show to a family wedding so one of my relatives with a mobility issue could “attend”, but it wasn’t that easy.

How the Echo Show kept our family together at a wedding

The new one is about the size of a Magic 8 Ball, I think, and my black one (they also come in white) sort of looks like one…although I believe it is lighter than that liquid-filled toy/oracle. 😉

Yes, the screen is much smaller than the Show, and the sound is not as good to my ear (but it does do Bluetooth and line out).

Picture showing relative sizes of the Echo Spot and the Echo Show

The biggest thing I had to change on it was to make it brighter. The screen is a touchscreen, and you can swipe down from the top to get to settings. There are quite a few settings:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • Home & Clock (I changed it to a digital style clock from the analog default style…you know, one with hands)
  • Display
  • Sounds
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Device Options (this is where I changed it to my preferred Celsius for temperature)
  • Restrict Access (you can block Prime Photos and/or Movie Trailers)
  • Things to Try
  • Help
  • Accessibility
  • Legal & Compliance

There are also more settings in the Alexa App (on your phone).

You can do everything you can do with Alexa devices generally.

Watching a video on it is…like watching a video on a phone. It’s doable, just depends on your taste for that.

Where I expect it to perhaps shine at work is bringing it to meetings so a remote person can attend on it. It will fit in my laptop case (although it’s fair to say that I do use a relatively large one).

Set up was easy, but updating took more than ten minutes.

One thing is that it didn’t know my wi-fi password: that seems pretty random to me as to when a new device knows the one I’ve stored with Amazon and when it doesn’t.

There are three physical buttons on the top: volume down, deafen (turn off the microphone), and volume up.

At $129, there may not be massive adoption. However, if it got down to $50, I think we’d see homes with several of these as a video intercom system, and more commercial uses as well. There might be one in each hospital room, for example…allowing guests to visit remotely.

I’ll let you know more after I’ve had it for awhile…family stuff the next few days, so it may be after I have it at work next week (although feel free to ask questions in-between). I’d learn more at more before that, but our now adult kid is visiting…and doesn’t like Alexa listening, so we deafen them all. Makes things a lot harder for me…but I won’t say that my SO isn’t happier that way. 😉

Bottom line: my feeling is that it will become a daily part of my life at work, but that at this price, it won’t be a big hit right away. It’s certainly possible that it will take some market share away from the Show.

One other interesting thing that happened recently: I went to send something to the Amazon Locker we usually use…and got a message that the locker was full! That’s never happened before.


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.

 

 

The gifting poll 2017

December 23, 2017

The gifting poll 2017

No doubt about it: I love to give books as gifts! I also love to get them. 🙂

When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I saw lots of people buying books for gifts. That certainly intensified for the end of the year holidays, but it did happen throughout the year. There were some occasions that upped the sales: Mothers’ Day (more so than Fathers’ Day) and graduation time were two. However, people frequently asked about what books would make gifts for others throughout the year…they were popular for birthday gifts, for one thing.

The holidays weren’t like they were when I managed a game store, where 80% of our sales could happen in the last six weeks or so of the year (and the first week of the next year…exchanges and gift cards).

It was still important, though! While “serious readers” buy books at any time, I would bet that most books are bought by people who don’t read a book a week…and yes, often as gifts.

So, I thought I’d do a poll, and I hope to repeat it in future years for comparison. Perhaps it will become as popular as that other holiday poll…the Festivus Pole. Oh, wait, that’s spelled differently. 😉

This poll has several questions, and when in doubt, go with what you think the spirit of the question is. 🙂 For example, don’t get hung up on whether your gift-giving event this time of the year is a holiday that counts or not, or a holiday at all. I’d say any annual event that happens in the last two months of the year (and the first week or so of the next year) counts…birthdays, anniversaries, and so on.

Giving e-books and other books

Getting e-books and other books

Giving other related gifts

Getting other related gifts

Other questions

Do you have other comments about giving/getting books as gifts? Are there other questions you think I should have asked? 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!

* 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.

Web browsing comes to Fire TV!

December 21, 2017

Web browsing comes to Fire TV!

Well, well, well!

That’s not what WWW usually means…that’s “World Wide Web”, but both are relevant. 😉

I was quite surprised to see on our

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (New Pendant Form Factor) | Streaming Media Player (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

that I could download either (or both) Amazon’s Silk Browser and Firefox!

That takes care of Google pulling the YouTube app starting January 1st. 😉

That was the first thing I tried on the Silk browser…and it worked just fine.

I didn’t find the controls quite intuitive, but they worked. You use the Fire TV remote…and if you have the Voice Remote, you can enter search terms by speaking.

You an add bookmarks, and you can request the desktop version, but I didn’t find that necessary.

You can turn off safe searching…I wasn’t sure that would be an option on this device. It does appear you can also delete history and other “evidence”. Hey, some people are going to want to know!

You can sign into Silk.

The settings seem quite extensive.

It basically defaulted me to Bing as a search engine, but by going into the Advanced settings, I could also choose Google, Yahoo!, Ask, or AOL.

You can use parental controls.

This is honestly a complete game changer! It’s going to take a lot more exploring than I have time for right now, but with the current sale price of $54.99, I could actually do away with a computer for some consumption uses. Creation would be more difficult without a keyboard, but that might even be an option with a Bluetooth keyboard (haven’t tried that yet).

I’ll have to see if it works on our Fire TV stick as well…but well done, Amazon!

Update: it does work on our Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile*) (currently on sale for $34.99). I also tested it with the Fire TV app on my phone…voice input, no voice remote needed. Importantly, that also does give you an onscreen keyboard, and you can tie a Bluetooth keyboard to a phone. The Firefox app has YouTube right on the home screen, so it’s an easy click to get there.

I’ve seen this pooh-poohed by tech writers…I don’t think they get it. It does give Amazon an end around on Google turning off the YouTube app on the Fire TV on January 1st, and quite an effective one. That’s just one small piece of it, though. I haven’t tested it, but I could definitely see attending a Webex meeting (where I was mostly observing on my TV…and still being able to work on my laptop.

I think some tech writers (many are excellent) think average people want more than they do from innovations…but I may also sometimes overestimate adoption, I’ll admit.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think about it 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 (Enwoven)!

* 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.

Read the book first: 2018

December 19, 2017

Read the book first: 2018

Every year, I like to give you a heads up on movies coming out the following year which are based on books.

Why?

A lot of people like to read the book before they see the movie…I’m one of those.

A book doesn’t spoil a movie for me, but the reverse can be true. Generally, a book is more complex: deeper and more characters, more plot points, more complexity. That doesn’t mean that a movie is never better than the book…I can think of a few examples (I would argue Soylent Green over Make Room! Make Room! and Rollerball over the original short story…although, perhaps those haven’t aged well. How about the original Planet of the Apes?).

If you prefer to see the movie first, that’s fine: I’m not judging. 😉

It’s also worth noting that, if we exclude comic books, the biggest box office movies aren’t typically based on books. Award-winning movies certainly may be, and some book-based books are also blockbusters (The Hunger Games, Harry Potter).

Here are some of the movies scheduled to be released in 2018 which are based on books (if I link to something, and I won’t have time to link to most of them this morning, it will be the book in the USA Kindle store):

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

A beloved book, director, and stars…virtual fingers crossed!

Ready Player One (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Ernest Cline

This is likely to be one of the biggest movies. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg, after all. However, Spielberg directed movies haven’t always been giant hits…just mostly. 😉

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Natalie Portman stars, and the trailer has been getting buzz.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (original book by Michael Crichton)

Is this based on a movie, or based on a movie based on a movie based on a book? 😉

Maze Runner: The Death Cure by James Dashner

Third in the series based on the young adult dystopian source

The Irishman (based on  I Heard You Paint Houses) by Charles Brandt

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star in this movie based on a non-fiction book about what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.

Mary Poppins Returns (based on books by) P.L. Travers

People are going to expect it to really be based on the Disney musical, but I’m hearing some things which suggest there might be a bit less “sugar” in it…

Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

Continuing the adaptations…

12 Strong by Doug Stanton

War non-fiction, starring Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, William Fichtner…

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Jennifer Lawrence in action mode, directed by Francis Lawrence (no relation), who directed The Hunger Games. Some people are referring to it as the Black Widow (Marvel) movie we haven’t gotten yet…

And a quick listing…

  • The Meg
  • Mortal Engines
  • Good Omens
  • Zeroville
  • Ophelia (based on Hamlet)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • The Bell Jar (weirdly listed as a “Comedy, Drama”)
  • Vanity Fair
  • Storm Boy
  • Break My Heart 1000 Times
  • Yardie

Are you happily (or nervously) anticipating others? 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!

* 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.

 

The book(store) thief: when people stole from my bookstore

December 17, 2017

The book(store) thief: when people stole from my bookstore

During my morning Flipboard read, in part looking for articles to flip into the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard, I was intrigued by this

ELECTRIC LIT post by Jo Lou

The premise is that the author interviewed indie bookstores (well, presumably, people in them) 😉 about which books were most stolen. The author then says, “…with authority that there are three types of book burglars”.

I’m a former bookstore manager, and for me, the basic premise of the article doesn’t match my experience.

They start out by saying that it wasn’t like stealing gummy bears, and that which books people stole would tell you something about the “literary tastes” of the thief.

This makes a very big presumption that the person stealing is doing it for personal consumption.

While I’ll write about some instances which do suggest that was the case, I’m confident that the vast majority of the book theft in my store (I actually had more than one store…I didn’t own them, I managed them) was for simple resale for cash.

One disclosure first: my managing days were a long time ago. It’s possible that human nature and American economics have completely changed in the intervening years. 😉

So, how can I deduce that people were stealing for resale rather than to read them themselves?

Let me give you two examples of why I think so…you can draw your own conclusions.

Poacher Piles

We would find stacks of expensive (photo books, art books) laying on a shelf…maybe ten of them. I referred to those as “poacher piles” to my team. What would happen is that someone would surreptitiously pile the books up like that…then they would wait until the coast was clear between that shelf and the front door, and then take them and leave.

The books were not really thematically grouped…it was more about being expensive hardbacks.

What could they do with them?

Back then, you could get maybe 25% of the list price for a new, likely to sell hardback, from an unscrupulous used bookstore (which could sell them for 50%). For a $50 book, you could get $12.50. For ten of them, you could get $125…not a bad sort of theft.

We know that some used bookstores bought without checking that the sale had a proper provenance. While I was managing, we were having a major book convention coming to San Francisco (I was just south of there). The local police ran a sting on a used bookstore ahead of time, partially, I would say, to show they were making an effort.

They would sell the bookstore boxes of books…with the shipping labels on them for a different bookstore. Clearly stolen (although this was a sting, again).

As I recall, the owner actually just yelled out in the store: “I need ten copies of the new Stephen King book…somebody want to steal them for me?” Something like that.

Used bookstores were supposed to ID sellers…that one didn’t. Let me be clear, many used bookstores were undoubtedly ethical, but the ones which would buy stolen books weren’t hard to find.

One interesting stratagem which resulted in poacher piles. A person would come in, looking destitute. They would ask something like, “Where are your expensive books?” If a clerk went to help them and show them where they were (we wanted to help everybody), there would be another person in the store…in a three-piece suit. The second person was the actual thief.

The Purloining Professor

We had a regular customer, who we would see every few weeks. This customer was a professor at a local university. It would always be a sale of a variety of books…something which would make sense for a professor to buy (at least, in the popular imagination).

The professor would pay for them: no problem there.

We then saw a news story. The police had caught this same professor at the San Jose Flea Market (a big venue…lots of sellers) selling multiple copies of the same books. Again,  clearly stolen…and clearly being stolen to sell for cash.

How did the professor do it?

We had several stores in the area (I worked for a chain…note that the article interviewed indies, which can be chains, but I again disclose that my store may have been seen as different from a “mom and pop” or fan-owned store). The professor would visit one of them in the morning and buy books. The professor would take the books out of the bag. Then the professor would visit another one of our stores, with the empty bag and the receipt (probably hidden on entry).

The professor would then steal the same books from each of the other stores in the area. If stopped or questioned, the professor had a receipt for those books…hard to argue with that.

Also, it’s important to note: this professor was also a con artist. The “con” in “con artist” is short for “confidence”. We were confident that this was a “good person”…chatted with us, reliably paid us for books. We didn’t have a particular reason to suspect them of crime.

I think it’s hard to argue that those cases tell us very much about the literary tastes of the person stealing. It’s also sort of a business, meaning that they were a disproportionate percentage of the books stolen from us (our goal was 8% “shrinkage”…shoplifting, employee theft, and damage combined…I had heard that at the time, bookstores were the most shoplifted type of store, because of the easy sale).

One case of an attempted theft of something which appeared to me to be for personal use may be instructive here.

I noticed a young person with a magazine under their shirt.

I stopped them, and had them produce it.

It was a magazine with gay sexually explicit images. Very unlikely that was for resale: magazines weren’t worth much in a used bookstore, especially not current issues. The person stealing was terrified, my inference was that if people found out, it could be dangerous. I just had them give it back…I didn’t call the police.

Calling the police, by the way, would have been futile in that case anyway.

A shoplifter had not committed a crime until they left the store with their (actually our) items. That made it quite difficult. We could catch somebody with books under their clothes like this, and all we could do was ask them to put it back. We could tell them they were never welcome in the store again (if they came back, it was trespassing, and we could call the police), but it would have been a real logistical challenge to keep a list like that.

Now, it is different if they brought in tools…that makes it burglary. When the author of the ELECTRIC LIT piece used the term “burglar”, I think that was a loose use of the term. In the case of the Purloining Professor, that was burglary, because the bag is a tool.

Another one that made me think it was probably for personal use?

Someone would come up to the counter to return a book. The new bestseller they bought was actually a different book inside the dust cover. Perhaps it was a $2.99 “remainder” inside a $25 top selling novel dust cover.

What would have likely happened there is that someone swapped the dust covers to buy the bestseller…they perhaps couldn’t afford the new book. We would unknowingly ring up the book as the remainder.

It was also likely that some people stole books for the game of it, not because they couldn’t afford it. My speculation is that they assumed we had insurance that would replace it, so being “clever” wasn’t “hurting anyone”.

All of this is about p-books (paperbooks). In the early days of popular e-books (after the release of the Kindle ten years ago), there was a lot of pirating going on. There still is some, of course, but I don’t think it’s as big as it was (just my intuition). Generally, when those books were made available on the internet, the releaser didn’t charge for them. That might tell us more about what they think is important to make freely available. In some cases, those free books were to entice people to a site where they either saw advertising or paid for other things, but they were often just out there.

In summation, I don’t think which books are being stolen tell us which books the person stealing is reading or likes to read.

One more note: I didn’t use the term “thief” throughout this piece, except in the title (where it is a play on The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak | at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*. I try to be careful not to define people as “things”. A person isn’t a thief…a person is a person who steals. We have that policy at work: we don’t refer to people as “the disabled”, we refer to them as “people with disabilities” (and there may be other terms as well, but they aren’t nouns). Referring to someone as a noun suggests that they just are that thing, and can’t be changed. That’s going to seem ridiculous to some people, but when you define something, you imbue it with a lot of power. It not only has its own characteristics, it gains the characteristics of an entire class.

Bonus deal: what a great Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)! If you are a piece buyer (buying books one at a time, as opposed to having a subscription service, basically), there are really good prices, and great for gifts today. They are “Top fiction reads for $3.99 or less”.  I’ll particularly point out that you can get each of the three books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy for $2.99…under $10 for all three. Yes, you could pay that for a month Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) and read them and lots and lots of other books…but we all know people who wouldn’t complete the trilogy in a month.


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.

Amazon Charts: 2017 This Year in Books

December 16, 2017

Amazon Charts: 2017 This Year in Books

Note: this post was originally mistakenly posted in my The Measured Circle blog. I wanted to make sure my readers here got to see it.

This is another great example of something which has happened “Because of the Kindle” (I’m writing a book by that name…you can still share your opinions for possible inclusion): Amazon has much better analysis of what readers are actually, you know, reading. 😉

While undeniably, some people find this creepy, your Kindle can save how far you are in a book. By looking at that in the aggregate (not how much did so-and-so read how quickly, but the whole group of people), Amazon can give us an accurate sense of what people read as opposed to what they buy (“bestsellers”).

There are a number of reasons why that information is interesting. It doesn’t just have to do with people buying books they never read: I would say more importantly is what people re-read.

Many people re-read books…a lot. It may also be current events (both in their lives and more globally) that make them want to re-visit a book.

We can see that in this new “article” from Amazon:

Amazon Charts: 2017 This Year in Books (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The top ten most read books are really dominated by the “backlist”, not recently published…some are decades old. #1 is The Handmaid’s Tale and #2 is Stephen King’s It (both driven by media adaptations). “A Game of Thrones” (that’s the title on the cover) is on the top ten…as are four Harry Potter books. Origin by Dan Brown is a recent title…at #9.

I’m guessing that the Harry Potter books and It are being heavily re-read, as opposed to first time readers.

They also give us a breakdown by area of the United States (states/territories). There are some fascinating data there, although it’s a little unclear to me as to when they are measuring reading and when they are measuring sales. I’ll point out that Utah was one of the Top 10 Reading Spots (Kindle reads per capita, it looks like)…but was one of only four where The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t the top seller (Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer ((at AmazonSmile*)) beat it out there…but Sanderson does have a Utah connection. The book was also a NYT bestseller, and one of the fastest read, according to another section of this article). Two of the other locations where Margaret Atw0od’s book doesn’t top the list are Guam and Puerto Rico. I think what I available through Hulu is different in those territories (not individual programs, but types of services), so that might affect adoption of the app there.

There is a lot more information on that page! I may expand this later…it’s definitely worth checking out!

Let me and my readers know what stands out to you by commenting on this post!

Thanks, Amazon!


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 (December 11) to…

December 11, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (December 11) to…


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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