Ultimo Round-up #1 (for February 2018)

Ultimo Round-up #1 (for February 2018)

This is my first attempt at a replacement for my


series of posts, which I had done monthly for close to eight years. I’m not doing them in part because Amazon changed its search results, and honestly, while I enjoyed doing all the math and thought I got useful insights out of it, my sense was that many of my regular readers just found it a wall of words. 😉

What I’m going to try to do instead is look at what happened in the preceding month (“ultimo” basically means in the previous month). As an experiment, I’ll be interested even more than usual in your feedback, which you can give me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Amazon Press Releases in February 2018

Amazon press release archive

  • Amazon kicked off the month with a great financial report, which saw the stock price soar upwards, hitting $1,500 a share. That certainly wasn’t following the broader trend of the market
  • Whole Foods, in particular how it interacts with Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), was featured in a couple of press releases. Prime members can get 5% off when using the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card, and customers in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach (at least some areas of those cities) could get Prime Now delivery of some Whole Foods items…which meant free two-hour delivery of qualified items with a $35 minimum order
  • The Bosch TV series, based on the books by Micheal Connelly ( at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) was greenlit for its fifth season
  • Amazon also announced a new series based on Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas (at AmazonSmile*), the first book in the Culture series
  • In a specifically book announcement, Amazon has a new imprint, TOPPLE Books, helmed by Jill Soloway (who led Amazon’s breakout series, Transparent). According to the press release, it will “…spotlight the voices of women of color, gender non-conforming, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer writers”. It’s listed at the Amazon Publishing site, but the link isn’t live yet

Outside of official press releases, there is always buzz about Amazon in the news…here are some things from February 2018:

  • Amazon is going to sell UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) bouts (pay per view) through Amazon Video
  • A survey suggested more than half of Amazon customers would use an Amazon cryptocurrency (although it isn’t clear to me that they realized that “Amazon Coins” already exist…at least for videogame purchases (CNBC article)
  • Amazon’s healthcare initiative continue to make news (as a reminder, I’m not commenting on that because my “day job” is in that industry and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do so publicly)
  • Amazon layoffs in Seattle made the news, although there was a tendency to tie that into automation (including the Amazon Go “just walk out” store concept). This Money article does point out that Amazon employs over half a million people, has thousands of job openings, and reportedly hired more than 100,000 people in 2017. They are also reportedly going to bring 2,000 jobs to the Boston area
  • Amazon may have spent a billion dollars buying Ring, which makes video doorbells. Amazon already has a home vidcam (tied into the ability to have Amazon deliver your packages inside your house), but that one is really for in the house (pointed at the door). I think this is a good match (I don’t know that’s it’s a good buy)…tying your video doorbell into your Echo Show or Echo Spot, so you could see who was at the door easily, makes a lot of sense to me

Some other miscellany:

  • Today (March 2nd…Dr. Seuss’ birthday) is Read Across America Day (Official Site)
  • Author Penny Vincenzi reportedly died on February 25
  • Author Cynthia Heimel reportedly died on February 25
  • Dolly Parton donated her 100 millionth book (and we applaud the singer!)
  • Harper Lee’s will was unsealed…and some readers of it were unsettled
  • Prime Music launched in India
  • Author Terry Goodkind caused a bit of a flap commenting on the cover of the fantasy author’s own book

There are over 6,000,000 titles in the USA Kindle store…

I’m interested in your opinion of this to shape how (and if) I do something similar at the beginning of next month. Are there things you would like to see covered more or less extensively? Please 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.


7 Responses to “Ultimo Round-up #1 (for February 2018)”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I think what I miss the most from your monthly analysis is the tracking or pricing.

    I know that not much new has been happening with the Kindle lately, but it would be nice if your “ultimo” roundup could suss out some kind of information about the Kindle. You used to give details about software updates. The info about Harper Lee’s estate was interesting. Somehow I’d missed that.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      The tracking and pricing are what’s been impacted by Amazon making their results fuzzy. That’s precipitating this change.

      I do have a Kindle thing I’ll write about soon, but yes, there is a lot less news there than there was years ago…

      I’m glad the Harper Lee thing was interesting! I do want to work to up the “interesting” quotient over where it’s been lately…the Bookish Birthdays are popular with the broader audience of the internet, but I want to serve my readers first.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I just got an update last night on my kindle Oasis (to 5.9.4) — it’s mostly stability updates, but there is one new feature: the ability to display the current time at the top center of each page you are reading — very handy. You get to it via the “Aa” menu option where you can set things like font sizes, page margins, etc.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Interesting, thanks! I do like to have the time showing on my books…I know not everyone does. 🙂

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    This is certainly an improvement.

    I’d still like to see some numbers, but at the beginning of the post — not at the end

    What I’d like to see is a birds-eye view of the whole Amazon bookstore — not just eBooks.

    Specifically, in addition to the titles in the Kindle store, I’d like to see total numbers of books in the whole Amazon bookstore broken down by hardback, paperback, kindle, audible, etc. Perhaps also some counts for the popular genres: romance, mystery, Sci-Fi, etc. (I’ll let you decide what other categorizations might be of interest).

    All of this information is easily obtained from the advanced search function on any Amazon bookstore page.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I’m glad it was better for you.

      Your last statement used to be true, but isn’t any more…and that’s why I’ve been forced to make a change. I wrote about that in this post:


      I used to be able to simply obtain numbers, and now I just get fuzzy results.

      If I run the Advanced Search for your suggestions, I’ll get very approximate results, which seem unlikely to change very quickly and therefore won’t provide comparative value the way they used to do.

      Here are a few examples:

      * Running a search for Kindle format, I’m told there are over 300,000 results
      * Running a search for Science Fiction and Fantasy (without regard for format), I’m told there are over 600,000 results
      * I tried to burrow down to what was likely to be a relatively small number, and still got a fuzzy result: over 1,000 results for Books : Science Fiction & Fantasy : Fantasy : Arthurian
      * I searched for my own titles, and got a specific result: 7

      My guess is that’s the level of granularity now: if it’s under 10, it’s to “the nearest one”, or precise. If it’s over 100 but under 1000, it’s to the nearest 100. If it’s over 1000 but under 10000, it’s to the nearest 1000. Not sure, but I just don’t have the precision to show meaningful changes. Amazon is not going to hit the next million level for Kindle books more than once or twice a year.

      The loss of that precise search results will necessitate some experimentation to find something suitable. I appreciate your suggestions…

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    For me the numbers I mentioned, and I’d like to see are exactly the fuzzy numbers (“more than”. My interest/objective would be to get magnitude numbers of the different categories relative to each other — not exact counts. It would be interesting to just see (for example) roughly how the numbers of Kindle books relate to hardbacks, paperbacks, popular genres. Just knowing the magnitudes in the different categories interests me — not the exact numbers.

    Hope that clarifies my comment. The magnitude numbers are obtainable from advanced search — just as I stated in my original comment.

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