Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Start looking for your Apple e-book settlement payout

June 21, 2016

Start looking for your Apple e-book settlement payout

Some, perhaps many, of the readers of this blog are going to start seeing payouts from the Department of Justice’s action against Apple for e-book pricing tactics.

This is in addition to a payout you may have received previously. There was more than one legal action (many of the states’ Attorneys General also settled with publishers). The DoJ originally went after 5 of the then Big 6¬†publishers (not Random House, who initially didn’t go along with the “Agency Model”)…there are only 5 of them left after Penguin and Random House combined (not, unfortunately, using my suggested name of “Random Penguin”).ūüėČ The publishers settled; Apple fought it and eventually did not prevail (and¬†that might have been affected by the absence on the US Supreme Court).

I’m not seeing anything on Amazon’s site yet, at least about this new payout (the previous payout is on a Help page).¬† I would expect that we will get e-mails about it.

Here’s the

press release

from Hagens Berman the “…consumer-rights class-action law firm” which worked with the DoJ and Attorneys General in this case.

If you took the payout last time, you should just automatically get it this time (if you are entitled to one).

How much you get depends on what you bought, when you bought it, and where. It could be pretty substantial, though. It’s $6.93 for a qualifying New York Times bestseller and $1.57 for other e-books.

My understanding is that how you use the credit will not be mandated…you won’t have to spend it on e-books, although many of you will.:)

I’ll be curious: I’d appreciate it if you comment on this post to let me and my readers know when you get an Amazon e-mail about this.

Oh, and for my readers outside the USA (I have readers all around the world), this doesn’t impact you, since it was a legal action inside the USA.

Enjoy your settlement money! So many options! The Big 5 will probably get a short term¬†benefit from this…but it would be interesting if consumers chose to buy books from other companies, or perhaps they can use the money for

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

and read and discovered a lot of non-Big 5 authors. ;)¬†Not sure it will even be an option, but that might be a good way to test out KU (if you are comfortable with how authors get¬†paid…I’m sure not all of my readers are).

Update: I’ve gotten my e-mail…I’m pleased with just over $40! Amazon chose to indicate that the e-mail was copyrighted, so I won’t reproduce it for you (if an e-mail is not indicated as private or otherwise protected, my understanding is that the recipient can reproduced it without permission…again, just my understanding of it). The key things are that it shows up as a credit in your account, and although they direct you to the Kindle store, it does appear that it would work for things that a gift card would generally do (not periodicals, but most things). You have one year to use, according to the e-mail, by order of the court. By the time I looked at it, it was gone.:) A Subscribe & Save order (we love that…we “subscribe” to physical items we get regularly, like dog food and toothpaste, and get a 15% discount) and another order took it. So, it did behave like a regular gift card.

Several of my readers have reported their amounts (see the comments)…thanks, readers! They’ve ranged from $1.57 to close to $200.

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

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

*¬†I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the 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.

 

It’s over for Apple: Supreme Court denies certiorari in e-book pricing case

March 8, 2016

It’s over for Apple: Supreme Court denies certiorari in e-book pricing case

It’s the end of the line.

I’ve been writing about this literally for years, and it has been a very important story. It’s also been perhaps a tale of unexpected consequences.

First the quick headline, then some thoughts about it.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Apple (and a bunch of other cases) “cert”. What that means is that they did not certify that Apple’s loss at a lower court level in a case brought against it by the United States Department of Justice over e-book pricing deserved additional review.

The lower court’s¬†ruling was clear enough that it didn’t need to be re-examined.

Even simpler: Apple loses.

Consumers will get some credit to buy e-books.

Now, let’s look at the stories within the story.

Apple is vulnerable

The DoJ also went after the biggest U.S. trade (the kinds of books you would have bought in a bookstore…not textbooks and such) publishers…all of which settled.

Apple fought on, and many people figured Apple had the resources to fight on as long as they wanted.

The thought was that Apple is so big, has so much money, and does so many court cases that, unlike the publishers, it was worth it for them to keep pouring money into this.

One again, they lost.

I’m not sure, but it’s possible the vacancy on the Supreme Court affected this. I’ve read that Justice Scalia would likely have supported Apple…and if this needed a majority and it was split (they don’t tell us much when they deny cert), that would have done it.

The tradpubs made a crucial strategic error

Here was the situation:

Amazon entered the very marginal e-book market (Sony was in it, but not much was happening in the USA with e-books) in 2007.

Part of their strategy was to promote that most bestsellers and new releases would be under $10…considerably less than the hardback equivalents (at least based on the publisher’s suggested retail price…but even discounted, those hardbacks were often above $10).

To do that, they clearly often sold the books at a loss: they paid more to the publisher than they got from the customer.

The publishers didn’t like that.

One of¬† their biggest concerns was “price value perception devaluation”. Who would pay $25 for a hardback when, according to Amazon, $9.99 was the right price for a popular new release novel?

While it does cost somewhat less to produce an e-book than a hardback (an early analysis said it was about 12.5% lower, as I recall…many of the costs, such as editing, lay-out, legal are the same), the margin on hardbacks (the profit you can make) was higher…and they were selling a lot more p-books (paperbooks).

What could they do, though? Realistically, if they wanted to be in the exploding e-book business, they pretty much had to go with, and cooperate with, Amazon, which absolutely dominated the market.

Then, in the tradition of tempting ApplesūüėČ , the maker of the iPod offered the tradpubs (traditional publishers) a path.

Apple was getting ready to release a new device…a small, flat, super-portable¬† computer. There were precedents in fiction (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s PADD, for one), but what would become the massively successful iPad was a big project.

The hardware innovator wanted to include books as part of the package and launch. It’s questionable if they really were that focused on the books in and of themselves, or whether they saw them more as a selling point for the device. If Apple hadn’t been introducing the iPad, would they ever have launched the iBooks store?

They wanted to get¬† the prestige of having the major publishers onboard, and they knew those companies weren’t happy with Amazon.

Apple offered to let the publishers set the prices the consumers paid (within certain parameters) through something called the “Agency Model”.

The Agency Model is not, in and of itself, illegal. The DoJ alleged that Apple and the tradpubs coordinated in its use to raise e-book prices…that was the problem.

In my opinion, the tradpubs made a very big error.

They accepted the plan, and raised  e-book prices on the most popular titles.

Why was it a mistake?

I’m seeing so many stories reporting this as it slowing the growth of the e-book market…perhaps critically wounding it.

I don’t think that’s what happened at all.

What it did was cede the market, in large part, to indies (independent publishers).

Indies had a very hard time having much of an impact on p-book sales. I was the manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore…it just wasn’t practical for us to carry independently published books, for the most part. They didn’t have the resources to make selling their books practical. If I needed 100 copies in two days, they couldn’t do it, for example.

E-books changed all that.

You didn’t need book factories and distribution Godzillas. You didn’t have to fight for shelf space…it was pretty much infinite.

Indie e-book sales were present before the Agency Model came into being in 2010, but I think that move by the publishers and Apples greatly accelerated the market growth for the “outsiders”.

When I did an analysis of USA Kindle store bestsellers in January 2012, three of the top twenty them were from indies:

Top 20 analysis January 22 2012

When I did a similar analysis in January of this year, the story was different: none of the top ten were from Big 5 publishers.

None of the top 10 bestselling USA Kindle store books are from the Big 5

That’s not exactly apples to apples (so to speak), but it seems very clear to me.

At least at Amazon, the Big 5 share of the market for bestsellers has significantly eroded.

I think the tradpubs thought that raising e-book prices would mean that they would make more money…because people would keep buying their books at the same rate.

Instead, many readers instead discovered other options…and they’ve stuck with them.

You can’t undo that discovery.

The news stories reporting e-book slowed growth are actually reporting the Association of American Publishers reporting slowed growth…which might be more than offset by indies (although those stats are hard to get).

I think the publishers may also have wanted to “teach Amazon a lesson”. They did: they taught Amazon that the e-tailer could do its own publishing, at least for e-books, and do very well.ūüėČ Brick-and-mortar bookstores didn’t, for the most part, want to carry Amazon’s p-books, but in e-books, they are often at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list (thanks in part to Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)).

It’s about journalism

This case would have been very different without journalism.

Journalist Walt Mossberg was chatting with Steve Jobs at the iPad launch…and Jobs said that e-book prices would be the same at the then launching iBooks store and Amazon.

All Things Digital post by Kara Swisher

That was major evidence against Apple.

I think it’s also important to note that, while Mossberg had mainstream credentials, this was much more a new media incident. It wasn’t a sit down interview. It wasn’t even an ambush interview at Apple’s front door. It was a casual exchange which was recorded on a handheld, shaky Flip cam (remember those?), and then posted online.

You can watch the video (the e-book exchange is right at the beginning) in that Kara Swisher post (I’m relinking for those using screen readers: All Things Digital post by Kara Swisher).

I think those are the three main stories. It’s possible the pay-out to we consumers will boost the e-book business…we’ll get a credit to buy more e-books, as I understand it, not cash.

While this has been an important story, and I’m happy to have been able to provide whatever help to people in understanding it and its implications that I could, I won’t deny some relief in seeing its conclusion.

What do you think? Have questions? Do you think this was a good decision? How does it affect the future of e-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

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

 

Round up #315: Big retailer on campus, Kindle indie wins Golden Globe

January 12, 2016

Round up #315: Big retailer on campus, Kindle indie wins Golden Globe

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

From Kindle indie to Golden Globe

Congratulations to Andy Weir!

The adaptation of

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

which was published as a ninety-nine cent Kindle indie (independently published book), after having been given away as a serial, won a Golden Globe this weekend!

That marks a considerable change in the industry.

Now, it is important to point out that it was traditionally published (tradpubbed) in-between, but that demonstrates one model for tradpubs for the future.

They may be able to take fewer chances themselves on unknown authors or offbeat topics, and instead, let indie authors take the (considerably lower) risks. After a book demonstrates having a market, then they can bid for it and get their machines in motion.

It won for Best Motion Picture РComedy or Musical, one of the top two whole movie awards.

There has been quite a bit of commentary about it having competed in the comedy category, but that’s like the categories that show up for books on Amazon…the people behind the property choose where to submit them. This was my tweet on that:

“Don’t be an Earthist, Tim. We don’t judge what you think is funny.” –Martin O’Hara on win at

ūüėČ

It’s also likely to get significant Oscar nominations on Thursday.

I want to additionally¬†note that Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle also took top honors. That’s important, because it proves that Transparent wasn’t a fluke…that Amazon is an important player in original video. That affects us as readers because what affects Amazon generally can also impact what they do with regards to books and e-book readers/tablets.

How Amazon is ending Barnes & Noble’s college store business

One of Barnes & Noble’s (relative) bright spots has been their university stores.

They have often been the place on campus to get…well, a lot of things, going beyond books to pens, paper clips, t-shirts, and other items.

As laid out in this

Amazon press release

I think Amazon has really figured out how to disrupt their model.

They started in 2015 but are moving up a bit by opening at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s not to minimize Purdue or UMass (or their other two locations), of course, but it is an “ivy league” location.

Students can order by noon and pick up items the same day in a staffed location.

That’s great, but they are also making it a practical working and social site:

“In addition to mobile-enabled, self-service package pick up, it will be the firstAmazon pickup location to feature communal work spaces with interactive media pods where students can connect their laptops and mobile devices to TV monitors for presentations, brainstorming, studying, and collaborating.”

Gee, are they going to sell coffee and really hurt Barnes & Noble’s core business?ūüėČ

No, but they are opening in the dining facility! They won’t need to sell coffee.

They are expanding this to two more universities this year…Berkely and Davis (also in my area).

I think this model could very well in other areas, like business parks. I don’t think you’d see it in shopping malls…but if it is a destination where you are already, I think it could be huge.

Strong rumor: new, portable, cheaper Echo

In this Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

Amazon to Release Portable Version of Echo Speaker in Coming Weeks

(if the link only shows you part of the story, try pasting the title of the story into Google)

they give some details on a rumored little sibling of the

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

This is now definitely an e-books story, by the way, since the Echo now does text-to-speech in addition to audiobooks.

It would fit into your hand…and would not need to be plugged in to work! It would charge up, and then you could carry it around with you.

You would need to push a button on it to get it to listen to you…the battery drain would reportedly be too much to have it listening¬†all the time.

I would definitely want one!:)

I put this in the “strong rumor” category, because the WSJ is pretty reliable…and they have convincing sounding details (code name: “Fox”).

I’m also looking for Alexa to come to my Ford Fusion, and it sounds like that might be on the way as well.

Oh, and I want Alexa on my phone.:)

See, one of the things they’ve done is make Alexa a central repository for some things for me, like a Shopping List and a To Do. I can read those and manually edit them in the app on my phone…but I can’t talk to Alexa through my phone.

Big things are coming!

Fourth generation Fires are getting updated to Fire OS 5 soon

I was excited to see a notification from Amazon appear on my (now discontinued) Kindle Fire HDX that it would be updated to Fire OS 5 soon…I have that on our newest generation Fire, and it’s a big improvement.

However, they sent it by mistake.:)

I got a e-mail from Amazon that said in part:

“Recently we sent a message to your Amazon Fire tablets about a software update coming soon. We wanted to clarify that this update is for your 4th generation Fire tablet and will start rolling out in the coming weeks.”

My 7″ HDX is a third generation…they did a 4th generation 8.9″ HDX, the 7″ HDX is a 3rd generation.

You can tell which version you have here:

Which Fire tablet do I have? (at AmazonSmile*)

Update to Kindle for iOS

Amazon sent me some information about a new update for Kindle for iOS (Apple devices):

  • Native Social Sharing ‚Äď ¬†This feature makes it easier than ever to recommend a book to a friend or chat about a funny quote. Kindle book readers (or senders) can recommend the book or share a quote from the book with whomever they want – one friend, a group of friends, or more. Customers can choose from the apps they use every day to chat with friends like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as email, texting, and more.
  • Parallel downloads ‚Äď up to 3 books will download at the same time, allowing customers to get to their content faster
  • Audible player adjustments ‚Äď remove the (X) from the Audible player bar to simplify the CX and align with other platforms”

I think the big one for most people there will be parallel downloads! Currently, you have to wait for one book to download, then the next one starts.

I’ll be looking forward to that coming to other Kindle platforms!

What do you think? Would a place to pick up Amazon packages, and to use multimedia and wi-fi, work in an office park? Why would someone shop at a B&N university store if this was available? Have you tried text-to-speech on yur Echo yet (by the way, I expect that to come to the Fire TV family soon)? Does it bug you that Apple mobile devices get some features before other devices? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

* 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.

Apple takes e-book pricing to the Supreme Court

September 18, 2015

Apple takes e-book pricing to the Supreme Court

“Never give up, never surrender!”
–Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, played by Jason Nesmith, who in turn is played by Tim Allen
Galaxy Quest
screenplay by David Howard, Robert Gordon

The Department of Justice case against five of the biggest USA trade publishers and Apple was settled so long ago (June of 2013) that the settlement-induced injunction against the Agency Model has expired for the publishers (and a modified version is back in effect).

The only party that didn’t settle was Apple.

They are good at fighting in court…and they have enough money to do it for pretty much as long as they want.

Well, until the options run out, anyway.

The Supreme Court is the final option in this case.

In this

Apple document filed with the Supreme Court

Apple requests an extension of a month to file their case to the Supreme Court…they currently have until September 28th of this year, they’d like it to go through October 28th.

Why do they need another thirty days?

They’ve been busy.:)

This isn’t the only legal issue in which Apple is involved, and there are only so many world-class, Supreme Court worthy lawyers available to work on them.

Given that they say, “This question is exceedingly important to the United States economy…” it does make one wonder a bit about their priorities.ūüėČ

Apple’s primary argument appears in section 2, which includes

“Before Apple entered the e-books market, Amazon held almost 90% of the market for e-books, which Amazon sold for use on its closed Kindle system.”

Therefore, according to them, they needed to work with the publishers to be able to challenge that market control, which “…suppressed competition and innovation”. Essentially, the assertion goes, Amazon’s low pricing (sometimes charging customers less than what Amazon paid to the publisher) made it unattractive for other people to enter the market (who couldn’t afford to do that), and threatened to result in publishers not making e-book available.

Both of those may be true.

That wouldn’t justify an illegal action, of course…the question here is whether the earlier court decisions (the initial ruling against Apple by Judge Denise Cote and an appeal) against Apple were done on a valid basis.

It’s worth reading their case for the extension.

What does all of this mean for we readers?

Either Apple has September 28th or October 28th to file this request to the Supreme Court…the latter if the Court grants an extension.

My understanding is that if they don’t grant the extension, that might also indicate a rejection of the appeal.

If the appeal doesn’t happen, Apple owes something like half a billion dollars. That’s a lot of money, but they could handle it.

If the appeal was upheld, and the early decisions were overturned (which could take some time)?

It’s a vindication for Apple, and they don’t owe the money…but, and I’m not an expert, I don’t think it results in any particular actions going forward. I don’t think it changes how e-books are priced, for example. It could affect how future negotiations go on other issues.

I’ll keep an eye on it, but honestly, I’ll be happy when there is closure on this.:)

For a good analysis, I recommend this

Forbes post by Roger Parloff

What do you think? Will the Supreme Court grant the extension? Will they hear the case? What does it mean if Apple wins…or loses? Do you even care at this point?:) Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Note: I plan to do another post on the new Amazon hardware in the couple of days, following yesterday’s initial coverage:

Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2

I intend to do something like a buying guide, to give you a sense of why you would pick one over another, why you might or might not want to upgrade, and what other options you might have. 

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

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.

Apple’s appeal denied: SCOTUS bound?

July 2, 2015

Apple’s appeal denied: SCOTUS bound?

It says something about the size of your company when you can say that you aren’t really concerned about the nearly half a billion dollar you stand to lose…it’s the principle¬†of the thing.ūüėČ

Quick recap first:

When Apple was going to introduce the iPad, five of the then six biggest USA trade publishers (trade books are the books you would have bought in bookstores…not textbooks and such) switched to the “Agency Model” for e-books. In the Agency Model, the publisher is the official seller of the book (not the retailer, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble)…and the publisher sets the price the customer pays for the book. They offered that as the only arrangement to Amazon, which fought at first, but eventually adopted the model.

The United States Department of Justice went after Apple and the publishers for anti-competitive actions.

The five publishers settled.

Apple took it to court.

Apple lost.

Apple appealed Judge Cote’s decision.

According to this

Yahoo News post by Aaron Pressman

Apple lost this round, in a two-to-one decision.

Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, despite having settled, joined the appeal…essentially arguing that the restrictions placed on Apple also affected them.

I recommend you read the

decision

Here is a key section in a small excerpt:

11 We conclude that the district court’s decision that Apple orchestrated
12  a horizontal conspiracy among the Publisher Defendants to raise ebook prices is
13¬† amply¬† supported¬† and¬† well‚Äźreasoned,¬† and¬† that¬† the¬† agreement¬† unreasonably
14  restrained trade in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act.  We also conclude that the
15  district  court’s  injunction  is  lawful  and  consistent  with  preventing  future
16  anticompetitive harms.

Continuing, the court is, shall we say, unimpressed with the arguments presented:

17    Significantly,  the  dissent  agrees  that  Apple  intentionally  organized  a
18  conspiracy among the Publisher Defendants to raise ebook prices.  Nonetheless,
1  it  contends that Apple was entitled to do  so because the  conspiracy helped it
2¬† become¬†an¬† ebook¬†retailer.¬† ¬†In¬†arriving¬†at¬†this¬† startling¬† conclusion¬†‚ÄĒ¬†based¬†in
3¬† large¬†measure¬†on¬† an¬† argument¬†that¬†Apple¬†itself¬†did¬†not¬† assert¬†‚ÄĒ¬†the¬†dissent
4  makes two fundamental errors.  The first is to insist that the vertical organizer of
5¬† a¬†horizontal¬†price‚Äźfixing¬† conspiracy¬†may¬† escape¬† application¬†of¬†the¬† per¬†se¬†rule.
6  This  conclusion is based on a misreading of Supreme Court precedent, which
7  establishes  precisely  the  opposite.

I have skimmed the entire decision and the dissent, and will probably get through all of it in the next week or so.

The judicial dissent to the decision, to me, doesn’t seem to be defending what Apple did specifically (saying it was a good thing), but arguing that the majority misapplied the law.

Where does it go from here?

Apple could pay about $450 million…consumers would get some money.

Apple could appeal, getting to the Supreme Court…which might, as is argued in the Yahoo piece, decide in Apple’s favor, at least based on the current makeup of the court.

I’m not a legal expert, although I do follow things at the Supreme Court, somewhat. My intuition is that SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) might simply decline to hear the case. I think it depends, to some extent, as to whether the or not the Supreme Court agrees with the dissent in this most recent decision: was the law misapplied.

Otherwise, the bar is pretty high. You appeal a decision asking the higher court to determine if what the lower court did was right…it’s not exactly about your “innocence or guilt”, it’s about the competence of the lower court.

The lower court is, in a way, innocent until proven guilty. When you argue your Supreme Court case, we start with the assumption that the lower court was correct…and the appellants have to ¬†prove it wasn’t.

It’s worth noting that the Agency Model is back. It wasn’t the Agency Model itself (much as I dislike it personally) that was the problem, according to the DOJ: it’s that it was used collectively to control prices.

Why do I dislike the Agency Model?

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, so I freely admit that I could be prejudiced…but I want the retailers to compete on prices. I want Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble to set their own prices as a way to affect sales…not have the publisher set the same price for all stores. The new version of the Agency Model at Amazon modifies that a bit, allowing Amazon to do some discounting…but, as a customer, I like stores having pricing as a tool.

What do you think? Will Apple appeal? If they do, will they win? How invested are you in getting money from Apple over e-book pricing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

* 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 #279: abandoned Goldfinch, Apple to win appeal?

December 17, 2014

Round up #279: abandoned Goldfinch, Apple to win appeal?

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

Mass market paperback sales down 30%…in one year

According to this

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

e-book sales continued to gain on printed books.

I’ve written before about how e-books have largely taken over the market niche of mass market paperbacks, seen as the inexpensive way to get books.

The growth for e-book sales isn’t as meteoric as it was. For adult trade books (the ones you buy in bookstores…not textbooks…that’s also where the 30% drop happened in mass market paperbacks), they grew half a percent year over year. Still, that’s growth…where other formats saw losses.

Children’s books (including Young Adult) seem to be compensating, meaning growth for the year.

Worth noting: the market share for e-books for adult trade is about half what it is for children’s books. That’s something else I’ve observed before: I think adults currently like to give physical books to kids, but I think in ten to twenty years, that will have changed considerably.

Could Apple win its e-book case on appeal?

Well, well, well.

It looks like it is possible (some even think likely) that Apple will win its appeal of its conviction in the Department of Justice’s e-book case. There is a lot of buzz on this: here is one article

SF Gate article

Essentially, they argue that Judge Denise Cote blew it, and misinterpreted the law.

What happens if Apple does win?

It doesn’t invalidate anything else that’s already happened, as I understand it. The other publishers which have settled gave up the right to appeal (again, I’m not a lawyer, but that’s my lay understanding of them making the agreement). The states’ Attorneys General case is also separate.

An Apple attorney made an interesting argument that the prices went up after the Apple deal because Amazon had been using its monopolistic power to keep prices low.

For me, that’s why the appeal might fail. Typically, anti-trust law is used to protect consumers, not producers (like publishers). I’m not sure a court is going to find that a monopoly which is making things better for consumers is doing something wrong…not that I’m saying Amazon was a monopoly in e-books (just really, really big).

We’ll keep an eye on this.

“…the book is back”

The book never went away.:)

Oh, in some segments it shed its corporeal body and became a being of light (digital, at least), but the book has always been there…and I my strong guess is that more people are reading books now than they were five years ago.

The headline quote, though, is from this interesting

The Guardian article by Robert McCrum

and is attributed to James Daunt, Chief Executive of the Waterstones bookstore chain in the UK.

I supposed one could say the business leader is “undaunted”, but that could get me in trouble in China.ūüėČ

I recommend the article. I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, so perhaps it’s a bit more in my wheelhouse, but I think anyone might find it intriguing.

Waterstones has stabilized, and may see growth.

We can’t say the same thing about Barnes & Noble at this point.

I wonder if chain bookstores are going to be more likely to thrive outside the USA?

Digital adoption in many countries is actually higher than in the US…but that doesn’t necessarily go for e-books. The last I heard, the Japanese were slow to adopt them, for example.

Bestselling doesn’t mean most completed

Kobo has released (although I’ve looked, and can’t seem to find the full report) data on which books are bestselling for them in 2014…and which ones are completed the most.

That might be creepy, but yes, an e-book platform can typically tell how far you’ve read into a book (at least up to your last sync).

After all, how else could Amazon let you sync to the “farthest page read”?

According to this

The Guardian article by Alison Flood

fewer than half of the people (44%) who start reading Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winner

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

finish it.

The article suggests that might be because of the length, but they also note that only 28% of readers of Solomon Northrup’s

Twelve Years A Slave (at AmazonSmile*)

finish it, and that’s about a quarter the length of Goldfinch.

I suspect it has more to do with people who aren’t serious readers getting those bestselling books, and often as gifts.

A lot of books are given as gifts. You can see how someone might give Northrup’s book as a gift to someone who loved the movie. That recipient might intend to read all of it, but just might not have the habit (and skill) of reading a book to start to finish.

Does it take skill?

I think so. I think those of us who read a lot have a lot of skills in finding the time and opportunity to do it!

Like a lot of things, you need to practice to be a great reader…many people can read, but not many people can average several books a month.

I also think people buy some of those bestsellers aspirationally: they’d like to read the book, they think they would be a better person if they read the book…the reality just overwhelms the intent.

I guess I’m saying that bestselling books are more likely than micromarket books to be started by someone who just isn’t likely to finish any book.

As I’ve written before (I’m saying that a lot this time! I guess that happens after more than five years of writing the same blog), I always finish every book I read…eventually.

I know that’s not true for many of you…you feel like you are wasting your time if you keep reading a book you don’t like. There are other books to read.

I understand that attitude…it’s just sort of the principal of the thing for me.

For example, I just finished reading a book…and I gave it one star in my

Goodreads revies

something I’ve never done before. According to Goodreads, that means I “didn’t like it”. Well, that’s true…despite thinking that it was well-written in some ways, I was offended by it. That’s not easy to do: I’m not somebody who is easily offended.

I have to say, though, that I was sorry when a commenter said they had deleted it unread based on my review.

I don’t want to hurt the author with the review…but I did want to give my honest opinion of it.

I read the whole book. Others might like it (it has an average of over three stars out of five at Goodreads, and 3.5 stars at Amazon).

I know, I know: I haven’t named the book here. When I polled my readers, book reviews by me weren’t one of their favorite parts of this blog, so I started doing them at Goodreads. I think naming the book here might have a bigger impact on it…if you are curious, you can read the review at the link above.

At any rate, I’m not surprised that the bestselling books are not the most finished.:)

What do you think? Are mass market books doomed? Are bookstores saved? Are you more likely to finish a book you bought for yourself than a book someone else gave you? Will Apple win on appeal? Should they? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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 #268: KU and KOLL, Apple check?

September 11, 2014

Round up #268: KU and KOLL, Apple check?

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

Thanks to the readers who have inspired some of today’s stories!

Borrowing from the KOLL when you are a KU member

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Tom Semple for this!

It’s still not quite a solution, but it does give me more information to give Amazon…they are supposedly still trying to figure it out.

I am an eligible Prime member, so I should be able to borrow a book a calendar month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). I could do it (and did do it…every single month) before I became a member of

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

Since, then, I’ve been unable to borrow a book through the KOLL, at least as far as I knew. When I went to a book in the KOLL, it would only let me borrow it through KU.

Not a huge deal…but it did mean that I had effectively lost a benefit of Prime.

Well, Tom suggested a specific book which is part of the KOLL and not part of KU. Those are going to be few and far between, I think. The book is one which I do think is excellent, but which I won’t link (and I don’t think it’s necessary to mention it for the sake of this story). I’m not linking it because the publisher has chosen to block text-to-speech access in the Kindle edition…I read it in paper, years ago.

On that one, I do get the option to borrow it through the KOLL.

That’s definitely not the way it is supposed to work…I should be able to borrow books that are in both populations either way, at least some of the time.

Still, useful info…thanks, Tom!

Did Amazon drop the price on the Fire Phone because of the Apple announcement?

I recently wrote about Amazon’s

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

being reduced over 99% from about $200 to about $1 (both with a two-year contract).

A reader, Stephen, asked (perhaps rhetorically) if the price drop was because of Apple’s recent announcement (of two new iPhones and the Apple Watch).

I actually think it’s pretty unlikely that was the specific impetus.

This announcement doesn’t change the landscape much. Apple already had a better phone, as far as many people were concerned. While the new iPhones have some improvements, I can’t say that this announcement was something Amazon hadn’t anticipated when they initially priced the phone.

I’m happy for Apple that the announcement was generally well received…and it’s good for Amazon to healthy competitors.

However, I don’t think the Fire Phone was intended as a direct competitor to a top of the line iPhone…Amazon doesn’t need to knock the iPhone out to keep the Fire Phone viable…that’s not their target market space.

Also, Amazon made their announcement before Apple made theirs…

Apple Settlement: you may get a check

Lady Galaxy, regular reader and prolific (and most welcome) commenter, copied and pasted an e-mail purporting to be from Amazon about an Apple settlement.

I also received that e-mail, and will post that for you here. Lady Galaxy had asked if that was legal: yes, my understanding is that unless someone tells you that an e-mail is private, you have the right to publish it. IANAL (I Am Not a Lawyer), but I think that’s right.

The e-mail appears to be legitimate, and other news sources have reported it as such.

Here is most of it:

Dear Kindle Customer,

We previously emailed you about Settlements between several eBook publishers, State Attorneys General and private plaintiffs. On March 25, 2014, Amazon made credits from the proceeds of those publishers’ Settlements available to eligible customers. You can learn more about those publishers’ Settlements by clicking here.

The Attorneys General and private plaintiffs have now settled similar claims against Apple Inc. The court where those claims are pending has directed us to send the following legal notice to you to advise you of your rights in the Apple Settlement. If you have any questions about this notice, or your legal rights, please visit the E-book Lawsuits website or call the phone number listed at the end of this notice. Amazon’s customer service will not be able to answer questions about your legal rights in the Apple Settlement.

Thanks for being a Kindle customer.

==========================================================

Notice ID Number: [deleted]

Legal Notice
Benefits from E-books Settlement with Apple
Para una notificaci√≥n en Espa√Īol, llamar o visitar nuestro website.
Records indicate that you are eligible for a payment from a Settlement reached by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs with Apple Inc. (‚ÄúApple‚ÄĚ). The Apple Settlement resolves Plaintiffs‚Äô claims for money damages against Apple in antitrust lawsuits about the price of electronic books (‚ÄúE-books‚ÄĚ). Amazon has not been sued in these cases. It is providing this notice as a service to its customers.

What the Apple Settlement Provides
The Apple Settlement provides for three possible outcomes, depending on the decision of an appeal of the District Court‚Äôs July 10, 2013 finding that Apple violated the antitrust laws (‚ÄúLiability Finding‚ÄĚ). First, if the Court‚Äôs Liability Finding is upheld, Apple will pay $400 million to Eligible Consumers. Second, if the Liability Finding is sent back to the District Court for further consideration of whether Apple violated the antitrust laws, Apple will pay $50 million to Eligible Consumers. Third, if the Liability Finding is reversed, Apple will make no payments.

If Apple is required to pay Eligible Consumers under either of the first two options and if the Court approves the Apple Settlement, you will receive an automatic credit to your customer account. The credit can be used for the purchase of products or services sold by Amazon. The amount of your payment, if any, will be determined based on the qualifying E-book purchases identified by Amazon in your customer account.

How to Receive your Benefit
If Apple is required to make a payment to Eligible Consumers, you do not need to do anything to receive your credit unless you change your email address. (If you do change your email address, you should update your Amazon profile or visitwww.EbookLawsuits.com and click on the ‚ÄúUpdate Your Contact Information‚ÄĚ link.) Because you are pre-qualified, your credit will be applied to your account by Amazon automatically, and you will receive another email letting you know when it‚Äôs available. If you bought E-books from more than one retailer, you may receive other notices with different instructions on how to receive a payment.

If Apple is required to make a payment to Eligible Consumers, you also will have the option to receive a check instead of your credit. You can request a check by calling 1-866-686-9333, or going to the Apple Settlement website listed below, and clicking on the Check Request Option link on or before October 31, 2014. Be sure to reference the Settlement ID number found at the top of this email. Customers who received a check from the earlier E-books settlements do not have to re-submit a check request for the Apple Settlement. However, if your mailing address changes before you receive your check, please visit www.EbookLawsuits.com and click on the ‚ÄúUpdate Your Contact Information‚ÄĚ link to update your mailing address.

Your Other Rights
You can choose to exclude yourself from the Apple Settlement and keep your right to sue Apple on your own. If you exclude yourself, you can’t receive any benefits from the Apple Settlement. Your written Exclusion Form must be postmarked by October 31, 2014.

If you don’t exclude yourself, you can submit objections about the Apple Settlement. Your written objections must be postmarked by October 31, 2014.

Please visit the Apple Settlement website below for detailed information on how to submit a valid Exclusion Form or objection.

The Court will hold a hearing on November 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. to consider whether to approve the Apple Settlement. You or your own lawyer may ask to appear and speak at the hearing. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so please check the website below for additional information.

For more information:
Call 1-866-686-9333 or Visit www.EbookLawsuits.com

==========================================================

(c) 2014 Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

Reference: [deleted]

Notice that it says you don’t need to do anything. That’s what I’d do at this point, unless you feel like you need to go to one of the sites indicated to do something. Before you do that, I would verify with Kindle Support that this is real:

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport (at AmazonSmile*)

What do you think? Was Amazon lowering the Fire Phone’s price in response to the anticipated (at that point) Apple announcement? Is it an act of desperation because of possibly low sales, or had they perhaps always intended to drop the price like that? How important is the KOLL to you, if you are a Prime member? Why do you think Amazon sent out that e-mail (if they did), before there was anything definitive to announce? Could it have been an attempt to tarnish Apple following their big announcement? Do you think Amazon has a hardware release on the horizon? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post…and thanks again to the commenters who inspired today’s stories!

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

* 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! :) 

** 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.

 

Round up #243: under $50 Kindle, blogs on Fire

March 4, 2014

Round up #243: under $50 Kindle, blogs on Fire

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

Mindle under $50, Paperwhite under $100

“Today only” per Amazon, two popular models of the Kindle are $20 off:

Kindle, 6″ E Ink Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (Black) (what I call the “Mindle” (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and the

Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

That brings the least expensive version of the Kindle down to $49, and the least expensive Paperwhite down to $99.

The twenty dollar discount still applies if you decide not to let advertisers support your purchase (if you get it without Special Offers), it’s still $20 less than it would have been. For some people, this basically means that they’ll get the “ad-free” version for the price they would normally pay for the one with ads.

It does not apply to the Paperwhite 3G.

According to Amazon, this is to celebrate National Reading Month.

This offer may not apply in your country (I have readers around the world…which is so cool!), so check the price before you buy.

This is a good deal! Having a “guest room Kindle” worked out very well for us, and you might consider that.

Does this indicate new models are coming soon? Perhaps…there have been rumors of a new Paperwhite. However, unless they release a color version later this year (which I think is a possibility), I doubt the next generation would be so much better that you’d be sorry you got this. It could have some new features, and it could be cheaper…hm, a sound-equipped Paperwhite might make me back off that statement.

Regardless, right here, right now, this is a good price.

Are Kindle store blogs finally coming to the Kindle Fires?

This blog has typically been in the top ten in the USA Kindle store (thanks, subscribers!), although we do sometimes drop to still being in the top twenty.

However, the number of subscribers went down after the introduction of the Fire tablets.

Naturally, that could be because of some factor intrinsic to the blog, but I don’t think that’s the case…my ranking hasn’t changed considerably at the same time that the number of subscribers dropped, suggesting that everybody else at the top was dropping right along with me.

I think one main reason was because you haven’t been able to have your Kindle store blogs delivered to your tablet. If someone switched to mostly using a Fire for reading, I can understand them not wanting to pay for a blog which wasn’t being directly delivered (even if it is only ninety-nine cents a month).

I am sure that some readers have continued to subscribe just to support my efforts, for which I am truly grateful.

Now, a sharp-eyed reader alerted me to something in a private comment (thanks!) which strongly suggests that situation might change!

If you go to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle (at AmazonSmile)

and click or tap

Subscription Settings

you’ll see a column for “Deliver future editions to” for each of your subscriptions. There is an “Edit” link, that you can click to choose a device.

Checking those options, our Fires are now listed!

However, if I actually choose a Fire, it says:

“Upgrade Your Device

To start reading I Love My Kindle, you must first install the latest software update for HDXter. Once installed you may deliver this title to your Kindle. For detailed instructions on installing the free update please visit¬†Kindle Support.”

My device is updated.:) It just recently updated to 13.3.2.1, which is the current version.

Since that message is there, that strongly suggests that having the Fires listed is not a mistake…just premature.

Now, it’s possible that they intended to implement it with the last update and didn’t manage it somehow, and that they could abandon it…but I’m going to hold out hope (virtual fingers crossed) that this is coming soon. I hope there is a new update that also addresses the wi-fi instability (I have that) and text-to-speech stopping at some images, both of which appears to have happened after a previous update. There are a lot of things I love about my Fire, but this wi-fi thing does give me friction every time I use the device.

Apple appeals

Apple said that they were going to appeal the decision against them in the DoJ (Department of Justice) action that found them guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices.

Regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy gave me a link to an article with both a summary and the original filing:

Apple Insider post by Mikey Campbell

I waited to post about it (it was filed on February 25th) until I read at least a substantial portion of the filing…I don’t like to go just by what a summary says, and I didn’t think there was any real time pressure (or likely, surprise) here.

The filing says:

“Apple‚Äôs entry as an e-book retailer marked the
beginning, not the end, of competition.” [emphasis in the original]

Okay, that’s something you could try to argue. Were there more options from which people could buy e-books after the introduction of iBooks? Yes. Were there more price options? No.

That, for me, is key.

The Agency Model, which came into play at the same time (and the DoJ argues was…led, at least, by Apple) homogenized the prices at the existing retailers, largely eliminating price competition (which has returned, as I showed in a recent post, since the accused publishers all settled with the DoJ).

I’m often surprised by the…pugnacious language in legal filings. I always expect them to be polite and in carefully restrained language. That’s just not the case, often, and shows my own prejudices, rather than the reality. So, I’m not going to claim that this is unusual when Apple says:

“The court repeatedly applied the wrong legal standards, which led it to jump to the false conclusion of a price-fixing conspiracy from Apple‚Äôs lawful, unilateral, and procompetitive business activities.”

This next one is an important claim. The accusations included conspiracy. If Apple independently offered the same deal to multiple publishers, and if the publishers independently decided it was a good deal, that’s not a conspiracy. The issue becomes if they worked as a group to set the price the same, as I understand it:

“Apple never met or spoke with more than one publisher at a time.”

Here’s where Apple has an interesting argument:

“At those very first meetings, the court found, Apple ‚Äúwillingly joined‚ÄĚ a pre-existing publisher conspiracy. Dkt326.113;
see also

Dkt326.129 (‚ÄúApple made a conscious commitment to join a scheme with the Publisher Defendants‚ÄĚ).

This finding forms the bedrock of the court’s entire decision, and is demonstrably wrong. The undisputed record reflects that Apple had no prior dealings in the publishing industry and that everything it knew it had gleaned from public sources
‚ÄĒ like reports inThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal
‚ÄĒ none of which reported on a conspiracy”

In other words, Apple is arguing that if there was a conspiracy between the publishers, they weren’t part of it.

That is actually a hypothetical possibility.

Apple could have “unilaterally” suggested a deal to each of the publishers.

The publishers could then have consulted with each other (hypothetically conspiring) to take the deal…and even suggested similar terms to Apple.

Could Judge Cote’s decision be overturned on that basis (and on their suggestions of improper use of inadmissibility, and possible prejudice)?

I think that is a possibility.

Would that bring back the Agency Model?

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think so. The publishers settled, and took deals. I believe they’d be bound by the deals, even if Apple successfully got their verdict overturned. The publishers dropped out of the case before the verdict.

I’m not 100% on that, though: if you are a lawyer, I’d be interested to hear what you think on that score.

I also think that the response to the appeal may be strong and definitive, refuting Apple’s allegations.

The beat goes on…

Amazon workers will be heard by Supreme Court

In this

Salon.com article by Andrew Leonard

it is reported that a case brought by Amazon workers is going to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The basic argument is that Amazon warehouse workers have to spend a long time going through Security, and aren’t compensated for that time.

While it might seem obvious (let’s say you have to spend three hours a week at work doing something that your employer requires you to do to have the job) that workers should be paid for that time, it doesn’t work out that way.

Suppose you are required by your employer to park in a certain lot. That lot is fifteen minutes away from your place of employment. When you get there, you clock in…they aren’t going to pay you for your time from the parking lot to the door, even though you basically have no choice.

Whether they should (in an ethical sense) pay you for that time is not the specific legal issue: it’s whether they have to do it.

The article suggests that this Court will not be likely to rule against Amazon.

If they did, I think it would just accelerate Amazon’s use of robots (they own a robot company that does this sort of thing) in the warehouses.

They might have to (in the worst case for them scenario) pay back wages to a lot of people…and then they might just say, “Fine, people are too expensive,” and get rid of a lot of staff.

Amazon has been touting the number of jobs they’ve been creating, but there is a real debate about the quality of those jobs.

What do you think? If Amazon is proven to be treating their employees unfairly at some point, and if they don’t rectify it, would that affect your shopping? Will Apple win on appeal? Would you subscribe through the Kindle store to blogs on your Fire? Would you switch the delivery of a current subscription? What new feature could Amazon release on a non-Fire Kindle that would make you want to upgrade? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

*¬†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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the 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 #238: Yo, Joe! Adobe obsoleting some EBRs

February 5, 2014

Round up #238: Yo, Joe! Adobe obsoleting some EBRs

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

Bloomberg: “Apple Inc. (AAPL)¬†faces as much as $840 million in state and consumer antitrust claims related to electronic-book deals”

According to this

Bloomberg article by Patricia Hurtado and Christie Smythe

Apple may end up owing close a billion dollars in the State attorneys general e-book price-fixing case.

Apple is appealing.

However, to put that in perspective, that is more than PG&E’s entire profits for 2013 (Fortune listing).

There was another hearing on Tuesday about a separate case, the DoJ (Department of Justice) case.

As a result of that case, there was a monitor appointed to keep an eye on Apple. Apple has complained about it, and this hearing was about that.

According to this

Fortune article by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

it looks like the monitor may stay in place, but with new rules.

A real American fanfic?

Okay, Kindle Worlds isn’t really fanfic (fan fiction), but it made for a fun headline.ūüėČ

According to this

press release

Amazon has licensed seven more “Worlds” for

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

One in particular stands out to me, and gives me hope for some exciting opportunities in the future.

That’s G.I. Joe.

Yes, they mostly mention characters from the 1980s (and forward…including the recent movies,¬†¬†presumably, although purely movie characters might not end up being part of this), but this is still a licensing of a “nostalgia brand”.

If this does well (and I suspect it might), that might lead to licensing of more properties which I have suggested before, like The Addams Family and The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

The other new licenses:

  • Veronica Mars: this is the popular TV series, and soon to be Kickstarter-funded movie. Interestingly, Amazon’s Prime Instant Video has the exclusive streaming rights right now, and I think that probably played into the deal
  • Ravenswood: Kindle Worlds already had Pretty Little Liars…they pick up the spin-off
  • The Abnorm Chronicles, from the Marcus Sakey novel, Brilliance (at AmazonSmile)
  • The Lizzy Gardner Files, from the Theresa Ragan book series (at AmazonSmile)
  • Quantum and Woody, and Eternal Warrior, adding to the Valient Entertainment comics worlds

They join (with the number of KW titles so far):

  • The Vampire Diaries (113)
  • Silo Saga (70)
  • Pretty Little Liars (36)
  • The World of Kurt Vonnegut (34)
  • Harbinger (25)
  • John Rain (19)
  • Gossip Girl (18)
  • Wayward Pines (13)
  • The Foreworld Saga (11)
  • Archer & Armstrong (10)
  • Bloodshot (10)
  • Unity (9)
  • Shadowman (5)
  • XO Manowar (5)
  • The Dead Man (3)

Update on  Give a Kid a Kindle

Nominations for a child to receive a free Kindle from me have been open for more than a month, and we have one so far:

[Nominee #1] is a ninth grade student who comes to class every day with a stack of books. [Nominee #1] seems to read very rapidly, perhaps a book a day, and [Nominee #1] checks out stacks of library books so that [Nominee #1] has enough to read. [Nominee #1] would benefit from a Kindle because [Nominee #1] could read free classics and not have to carry around a stack any longer!

The ability to recommend one (or more) of the nominees will begin on March 1st, and nominations will continue through March 31st, with the Kindle being award in April.

I’m hoping to get more nominations…I suspect there may be a significant uptick when recommending is available, and I think there may be a rush of entries towards the end.

I’d appreciate you letting people know about the opportunity.

I also appreciate that people have offered to help in some way with the giveaway (either through money or through contributing a Kindle), but I need to keep this simple, so there are no tax or legal complications. I want to be able to continue to do this in the future.

If you know of a child to nominate, you can do so at

Give a Kid a Kindle

Kindle Fire wi-fi connection wonky again

For quite a while, it seemed as though the problems I was having with my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile)

staying connected has somehow resolved themselves.

However, in the past few days, they are back. I need to toggle wi-fi on and off pretty often…at least several times a day.

My sense is that an update to the KFHDXs is imminent. I ran into someone who said they were told that an update was coming to fix a text-to-speech problem. For some people, on at least some books, the TTS stops at the end of each chapter. That wasn’t true before,but I have experienced it. That can be a problem: my drives are certainly sometime more than a chapter long, so having it stop part way is…inconvenient.

In addition to other upcoming features they’ve mentioned (press release), I’m hoping for bug fixes for both of these issues.

Manage Your Kindle update

Speaking of updates, I wrote about changes to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page¬†back on January 19th. Well, they are still rolling out…and there has been a lot of negative reaction to them.

Lots of people don’t have the new look yet, or, like me, only have it in some places. Different browsers, different devices…that can all apparently affect it.

Amazon, which is, I think, getting better at communicating with customers, posted this

Amazon Kindle forum announcement

to basically say, hey, if you don’t see it yet, you should eventually.

What speed do you read?

Staples has a fun test you can take at

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/technology-research-centers/ereaders/speed-reader/

to see how quickly you read, and how that compares to the national average.

It includes comprehension.

I see a considerable flaw in the test.

It uses a particular public domain book (I don’t want to tell you which, so it doesn’t prejudice your test.

I was familiar with the book, which probably made it easier to answer the comprehension questions (I got them all correct).

According to this, my reading speed was 460 words per minute…84% faster than the national average, and somewhat above the average college student.

Again, according to the page, the world speed-reading champion is more than ten times that fast.:)

There are a lot of other factors involved (I used a mouse to scroll, for example), but I still think it is fun. You don’t need to sign up, so if you’re curious, I’d recommend this.

GOODEREADER: “Adobe has Killed e-Readers”

According to this

GOODEREADER article by Michael Kozlowski

Adobe is making changes in April that will require an update to a device for it to be able to access Adobe Digital Editions books. The big problem there is that many devices (especially from defunct product lines) won’t get the update:

“Unless thousands of app developers and e-reader companies update their firmware and programming, customers will basically be unable to read books they have legitimately purchased. In effect, Adobe is killing eBooks and e-readers.”

I would presume that, if someone bought a device that had the update, people would still be able to access those books.

Still, this is somewhat ironic for people who were always pushing for Amazon to license EPUB for their Kindles, so that we wouldn’t be “trapped in the walled garden” of Amazon.

Amazon devices, if they had licensed it, would presumably get the update, but I think there is an argument to be made here that companies that benefited directly from people buying books are likely to support those formats and security. Companies that aren’t the book sellers may be less likely to do so.

Following an “industry standard” makes you less dependent on updating your product for your customers…

We’ve seen another issue with Adobe in the last couple of years, when they stopped supporting Flash on new mobile devices…making it require a workaround to get it to work on a Kindle Fire.

My guess is that a lot of people will take the opportunity to migrate to other devices, including Kindles.

What do you think? Will Apple eventually prevail? How’s your Kindle Fire’s wi-fi stability? How did you do on reading speed test? Would you want to write a G.I. Joe story? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* 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.

Collections come to a Kindle reader app

September 18, 2013

Collections come to a Kindle reader app

Well, well, well!

One of the main concerns people express when they go from an RSK (a Reflective Screen Kindle…not a Fire) to a Fire is that they don’t have a way to organize their books on the device. There have been some third-party (not Amazon) apps to try to address it, but they’ve had real limitations.

In this Amazon Kindle Forum thread

What’s New in Kindle for iOS Version 4.0?

they announce changes to the iOS (mobile Apple devices) app.

Most of it is appearance and interface (how it looks and menu changes), but the Collections addition is new functionality.

We have it on current RSKs: it lets you create “Collections” (sort of like folders in Windows, although they work differently) such as “To Be Read”, “Romance”, or whatever you want.

Does this mean it will come to other apps…Blackberry, Windows for PC, Windows for Mac, Android…and the Kindle Fire?

Well, it shows that they are working on Collections, but you can’t easily take something you built for iOS and presto changeo make it work for another platform. It would be like…designing a play in American football, and trying to use it in rugby.ūüėČ The basic goal might be kind of the same, but how you get there is very different.

My guess is that the next generation of Kindle Fire (which I think may be announced soon maybe might have Collections, and this again shows that there is an effort to get Collections into apps…but we’ll see.

They haven’t updated the page on Amazon yet, but the iTunes listing does show the information on 4.0:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id302584613

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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