Archive for the ‘Globalization’ Category

Irish edition books in the USA Kindle store

March 17, 2015

Irish edition books in the USA Kindle store

I pay some attention to the number books in languages other than English in the USA Kindle store.

It’s possible my  curiosity about that is enhanced because our adult kid is a linguist.:)

Still, it sometimes seems strange to me which languages have more books.

I decided to take a look at how many books said they were “Irish editions”:

Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Foreign Languages : Other Languages : Irish : (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Turned out there was a grand total of…16.

There are 106 “Swahili edition” books.

There are over 133,000 “Spanish edition” books.


I went to (the United Kingdom store) and there were 131 results.

That brings up a question I see a lot on the Amazon Kindle forums: “Why can’t I buy books from” or one of the other sites.

People don’t see the reason why they shouldn’t be able to buy e-books from any of the sites…they can buy p-books (paperbooks) from the UK site, for example.

Well, it has to do with copyright…and with how digital sales are evaluated.

Most (but not quite all) countries in the world recognize in some way the ability of an author to control the use of their created works (within certain limitations).

The author traditionally then licenses the works to publishers, who sell it to the public.

Those rights are normally licensed by format and by market (which could be an individual country, but might be more).

So, it could be that Publisher A licensed the e-book rights for XYZ book in England, and Publisher B licensed the e-book rights for that same book, XYZ, for the USA.

If Publisher A crosses the territories and sells the book in the USA, they’ve violated the agreement…and could be in big trouble.

“But,” you say, “you mentioned people buying p-books intended for Britain in the USA…how does that work?”

Basically, the p-book sale is considered to have taken place where the store is. The store might need an export license, but they could send it to you.

Remember that the publisher didn’t sell the book to someone in the USA…the store did. The publisher did not sell it outside of their licensed market.

With e-books, though, the sale is generally considered to have taken place where the purchaser is.

If a publisher who is supposed to be selling to England sells an e-book to someone in the USA, they’ve crossed territories.

That’s the main difference between e-books and p-books on this.

How do they know where you live?

They might judge it on where your credit card is processed. They can do it other ways, and yes, sometimes they are wrong about it.

You can change your country setting at

under Settings.

I wouldn’t do that unless you are actually living in that other country, though. I wouldn’t want to be committing fraud by misrepresenting where I was. They could likely figure that out if nothing else matches the country in which you say you live.

Another issue can be “public domain”. Not all countries have the same copyright term. A book which is in the public domain (owned by the public…not under copyright protection) in Australia (like George Orwell’s 1984) may not be in the USA. That particular book created quite a problem for Amazon, when a version intended for Australia was accidentally made available to Americans…and then Amazon took it back from people.

I think their intentions were good, and they compensated people more than they had originally paid for it (and they promised never t do it again). There are people who are still soured on Amazon over it, though, so you can imagine what it might be like if Amazon didn’t make good faith efforts to sell the books in the proper markets.

I do think the selling of global rights is becoming much more common (even though it might cost the publisher more initially), so this may become less of an issue over time.

Bain sult as!

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 #285: reading declines, Kindle Unlimited expands to Canada and Mexico

February 13, 2015

Round up #285: reading declines, Kindle Unlimited expands to Canada and Mexico

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

Kindle Unlimited launches in Mexico and Canada

As a publisher (I only publish my own works…which I would guess is true of most Kindle Direct Publishing authors) who has books in

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

Amazon just informed me that KU is expanding to Canada and Mexico!

That’s exciting…I like having it very much. It’s an “all you can read” plan, $9.99 a month in the USA. Here’s the link for the information page

Kindle Unlimited in Mexico

where it is 129 pesos a month, and for

Kindle Unlimited Canada

where it is $9.99 (Canadian) a month.


Echo videos from Phink, one of my readers

One of my regular readers and commenters, Phink, recently got an Amazon Echo, Amazon’s ambient computing device. It’s an always on voice input device which plays music, answers all kinds of questions, and more.

Phink has posted what I think are a couple of the best videos I’ve seen so far about the Echo. They aren’t really reviews, they are demonstrations of what the device can do. If you are interested in the Echo, I think they are definitely worth watching to see what your experience might be like.

I appreciate Phink sharing these! I’ll be happy to write about the Echo, but my delivery date still says between May 27th and July 2nd.

Publishers Weekly: No Panic Over 15 Percent Drop in Christian Fiction Sales

Christian fiction has been a strong category of seller, but from 2013 to 2014, according to this

Publishers Weekly article by Ann Byle

sales dropped 15%. The article goes on to say why the publishers aren’t worried about that…I guess they have faith. ;)

Video news

I thought I’d group a couple of things together here…a mini-round up. ;)

First, this is just odd to me, but Amazon Studios is working with Sid and Marty Krofft to do a reimagined pilot of one of their series. The Kroffts were really gonzo “kids’ show” producers in the 1970s, although they did a lot more than that.

So, what gets the reboot? The most popular H.R. Pufnstuf? The wacky Lidsville? Electra Woman and Dyna Girl? Nope…Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. This may take a lot of reimagining…Sigmund’s parents were parodies of Archie Bunker and Phyllis Diller, and I just don’t think that’s going to fly with today’s audiences. Hoping they stick with the Johnny Whitaker theme song, though. :)

press release

Second, Fire TV, which is both the

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

and the

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

have added a bunch of apps, including the much talked about Sling TV (which may enable some people to drop cable…by paying for a much more focused package), TED (great, though-provoking lectures…this one is free), and Fox Sports GO.

press release

Only 40% of 17 year olds read at least one a week for fun

I do think that e-books have enabled and encourage a lot of people to read more, but stats like the ones in this

EBOOK FRIENDLY post by Ola Kowalczyk

are troubling.

It’s nothing particularly new…as kids get older, fewer of them report reading for fun.

Part of that may be that they have to read so much more for school…a high schooler presumably has a lot more assigned reading than a nine-year old. If they are enjoying that reading, it would probably still not be reported as “reading for pleasure”.

What’s troubling is the decline across age groups since 1984.

It’s possible that there was a big decline (let’s see…video games, maybe?) for a while, and that e-books are, in fact, increasing reading.

Still, the Common Sense Media data reported on here (and shown in an infographic) is not especially encouraging. On the good side, more than a quarter of homes have an EBR (E-Book Reader…they mention Kindles and NOOKs. That would not include tables, like the Kindle Fire).

Big update for Kindle for iOS (4.7)

In this

Kindle Forum thread (at AmazonSmile*)

an update for the iOS (Apple mobile…iPhones, iPads) app is announced.

It includes eTextbooks and the “Book Browser” feature that brings you information about the book (new for iPhones).

Flipboard redesigns Flipboard for the web

This is a big improvement!

I’ve written about my free Flipboard magazines here before.

I read it in the

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

app, which I read every morning on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

For my readers who didn’t have Fires, though, I know the experience trying to read them in a browser on a PC wasn’t great.

Well, if you’ve tried it before, check it out again at

I like what they’ve done it with it: it looks much better, and seems to be less resource intensive.

Hope you enjoyed my birthday! ;)

We had a great time…we went to Point Isabel in Richmond (rated as one of the top ten dog parks in the world)…our dogs love it there! We also get about an hour walk, two or three miles. I went to doctor yesterday for an annual check-up, and to the DMV to renew my license. When I did the DMV thing, I realized that my weight is down about 55 pounds since I last did a driver’s license! I’m down about 40 pound in the last two years, thanks to the free app I reviewed here:

Review: MyFitnessPal

Well, that, and a lot of work. :) I figure another year and I’ll be in good shape.

Then we tried a new restaurant, and the food was good.

After that, we saw The Theory of Everything. That’s one of the Best Picture nominees we hadn’t seen. I thought it was good, and was glad I had done my personal

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

predictions before I saw it. When you think a movie is good, it can skew your predictions…you tend to think the Academy will like it better than you might if you had not seen it.

I also got a book…always a good thing! I’ll wait until I’ve read a bit before I say anything about it, and I’ll likely do a Goodreads review.

Hope it was a great day for you, too!

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.


The bestselling USA Kindle store books…in Spanish

February 8, 2015

The bestselling USA Kindle store books…in Spanish

One of the knocks on the USA Kindle store in the beginning (back in 2007) was the lack of books in Spanish and other non-English languages.

That’s an understandable concern.

While something like one out of ten people in the USA is considered a “Spanish speaker” (speaks Spanish at home), and we are, I think, the fifth largest Spanish speaking country in the world, we didn’t have as many as ten thousand Spanish books in the USA Kindle store until the summer 2011 (about three and a half years after the Kindle store first opened).

Now, that situation has changed.

In my most recent monthly Snapshot (taken on February 1st), there were 125,505 “Spanish edition” books in the USA Kindle store.

Looking at the percentage of the total, we see:

  • February 2010: 2,548 Spanish books out of 415,100 = .06%
  • February 2015: 125,505 Spanish books out of 3,178,962 = 3%…about 50 times as high a percentage

What Spanish books there were initially seemed to me to be mostly public domain books, with some translations of current books.

I wanted to see if that had changed: has the USA Kindle store started carrying books which are not only in Spanish, but serve the Spanish speaking market(s)?

I thought it might. In December of 2011, Amazon opened a Kindle store in Spain. My hypothesis was that having that would accelerate the number of books available in Spanish, and that those might then make their way to the USA store.

Well, looking at the

Spanish books in the USA Kindle store by bestselling (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

that seems to be the case!

I should point out first that I don’t speak Spanish. :) I use Spanish as an example to get what I am guessing is the best case for a non-English language in the USA store.

I know a bit about Spanish language literature, just from my reading, and I’ll research (which is fun for me) things I don’t.

I shouldn’t have been quite so dogmatic above that I don’t speak Spanish, actually.

I used to speak it near at about a tourist level, and I find I can still read it to some extent. I don’t always need Google translate to understand a news story, although there may certainly be words I don’t know.

For example, when our adult kid was home a couple of years ago, we had telenovelas on TV…oh, and German YouTube and Turkish movies…did I mention my kid is a linguist? ;) I could understand it well enough to say, “She doesn’t like him, right?” Although at one point, a couple of kids on the show were watching their mother on a TV singing competition, and things started levitating around the room. My kid explained that they were telekinetic…gee, how had I never learned the Spanish word for telekinesis? ;)

Another great example: I was an actor many years ago. We were going out to schools, doing an interactive version of the Wizard of Oz…we would have kids come join us on stage to be part of the show.

At one school, we were told that there were two groups of kids who only spoke Spanish.

I volunteered to take a group, and so did the actor playing the Wizard.

We did okay…but we did run into some vocabulary issues! I couldn’t figure out “haunted forest”, so I went with “arboles misteriosas” (mysterious trees…or close to it). The other actor asked me for “Wicked Witch”…I suggested “bruja mala”. Couldn’t fake “flying monkey”, though…I had to mime it. :)

Here we go!

1. Mafalda Y Las Fiestas (Mafalda and the Holidays) by Quino

This is an Argentinean comic strip from the 1960s. While Mafalda’s look reminds me of Little Lulu, my understanding is that this is a strip which also appeals to adults…sort of like Calvin & Hobbes or The Simpsons in that way. It was popular outside of Argentina, but I’m still impressed that country has the number one spot, when there are so many Spanish speaking countries with a strong literary history and which are more commonly translated in the USA. Mafalda is also available in English in the store.

2. Adulterio (Adultery) by Paolo Coelho

This one is translated…but from the  Portuguese, not from English.   Coelho is from Brazil…and the translated version of The Alchemist was a big hit in the USA as well. This is a title just from last year, 2014, showing that the selection has moved beyond classics.

3. El Asesinato de Pitágoras (The Assassination of Pythagoras) by Marcos Chicot

According to the product page, this was the bestselling e-book in Spanish in the world in 2013. It’s a murder mystery with historical characters. Chicot is from Spain.

4. Merriam-Webster’s Spanish-English Translation Dictionary

Well, not exactly a book in Spanish…

5. El capital en el siglo XXI (Capital in the 21st Century) by Thomas Petty

Very popular in English as well…

6. La isla de las mariposas (Butterfly Island) by Corinna Bowman

7. El Círculo (The Circle) by Mario Escobar

This one is also available through Kindle Unlimited, which has quite a few books in Spanish.

8. Cien años de soledad (100 Years of Solitude) by Gabriel García Márquez

Very popular around the world (including in the USA), and a multiple-reward recipient.

9. Trucos para escribir mejor (Tips for Writing Better by Carlos Vastas

10. El umbral de la eternidad (Edge of Eternity) by Ken Follett.

This one was a popular book in Engish…very popular.

That was an interesting survey of the books for me! I’m happy to see it’s a somewhat cosmopolitan selection. The topics and “feel” of the books will be different.

Moving a bit closer to “every book every written) being in the Kindle store. :))


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.

More than half a million non-English books in the USA Kindle store

January 19, 2015

More than half a million books non-English books in the USA Kindle store

One area where we continue to see growth is in the number of books in the USA Kindle store in languages other than English.


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

part has 511,843 titles at the time of writing.

The languages breakdown this way:

Those “other languages” cover quite a range…and these categorizations don’t necessarily capture all of the titles.

This how Other Languages expands:

When I checked about a year ago

Non-English books in the USA Kindle store

there were 80,230 Spanish books listed…so in one year, it has increased by about 45%.

I think we will continue to see more and more books in languages other than English.

It’s not as simple as someone translating a book, by the way. Even a book available in another language at a different Amazon site, can’t just be made available in the USA Kindle store without licensing it.

There are 3,301,270 books in Amazon’s Kindle store for Spain at time of writing. Those aren’t all in Spanish, I’m sure, but certainly, there are a lot more books in Spanish in the Spanish store than there are in the USA store.

I believe global rights are becoming more common when books are licensed from the author or the author’s estate.

However, that still doesn’t mean that every book in a language will be made available at every site.

In some cases, the publisher may believe that the book is only appropriate in certain countries. A book specifically about a popular telenovela star might not sell well in the USA when it might in Mexico, for instance.

You might figure, “Why not make it available anyway?” I can understand that idea, but there are costs involved with selling a book, including Customer Service.

I’d love to see every book available everywhere, but that’s just unlikely to happen.

By the way, as an example of another language, there is a Klingon translation of Hamlet in the store. Text-to-speech is not enabled on it, though, so I’m not linking to it.

That’s an interesting point by itself.

You need to have an appropriate voice available for a language to work well with TTS. If you try to use an English speaking TTS voice with Spanish, you’ll get massive mispronunciations.

That’s not just because of the difference in vowel sounds.

The way that TTS works is that a voice artist reads lots and lots of material into a system.

Where the system can match up what was read to what’s in the book, it can use that…which is why things like both “Kansas” and “Arkansas” can be pronounced differently, and why there actually is some inflection in phrases.

For more information on that, see

An ILMK interview with September Day, the voice of the Kindle Fire HD

Increasingly, we are getting software that can do better translation, but again, that could fall afoul of copyright laws. Making and marketing a new translation of a book under copyright protection in the USA generally requires authorization. I’m not quite sure how that would work if it was done in a streaming fashion, though, without the translation being set into a “permanent” form. My guess is that might be okay, similar to the way that you don’t need for permission for text-to-speech, but do need it for a recorded audiobook.

I will check back on these counts again in the future.

Bonus story: this

GeekWire article by Todd Bishop

links to a podcast where they had the

Amazon Echo

on as a guest.

They were doing it tongue in cheek, but this was one of the better demonstrations of what the Echo can do that I’ve seen…er, heard. ;)

I thought I might do something like that (using a synthesized voice to ask the Echo questions) when I eventually get one, and I may still.

Join more than 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” 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.

Non-English books in the USA Kindle store

January 29, 2014

Non-English books in the USA Kindle store

Amazon has more sites than just

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

However, you can’t just buy e-books from those other sites if you want to do that.

A lot of people complain about that in the Amazon Kindle forums, but there is a good reason behind it (at least, with laws set up the way they are now).

Authors traditionally license the rights to sell their books to publishers. They normally license them by format (someone who licenses the rights for the hardback doesn’t automatically get the e-book rights or the audiobook rights) and by territory. The latter might be an individual country, but it could be a lot more than that (all of Africa, perhaps)…just depends on what is worked out.

If the publisher who licensed the right to sell a book in France sells it to somebody in the USA, they could be in serious trouble. That’s particularly true if a different publisher licensed the USA.

A lot of people counter that with the ability to buy paperbooks from other Amazon sites, but that’s quite different. With a paperbook, the store buys it from the publisher first, then sells it to the customer. If the store is able to export it, that’s fine…that’s not where the publisher sold it.

With an e-book, the sale doesn’t happen until the customer buys it…the store didn’t buy it first. The sale is basically considered to have taken place where the customer is (although it’s a tad trickier than that).

So, while the German site has over two and a half million books (many of which, I am guessing, are in German), that doesn’t mean all those same books are available to customers using

I checked the state of foreign language books at back in November of 2009.

Kindle spoken here

These were some figures I got then:

I got those results by searching for the language followed by the word “Edition”. For example, I would have searched for “French Edition”.

Amazon has since expanded the way it lists foreign language books. This is what it says now:

  • Spanish (80,230)
  • German (142,958)
  • French (40,986)
  • Italian (31,324)
  • Japanese (17,538)
  • Portuguese (19,382)
  • Chinese (2,895)
  • Afrikaans (1,716)
  • Russian (260)
  • Other Languages (5,722)

Now, just to give a more consistent comparison, I’ll search for “German Edition”. Doing it that way, I got 143,043…not that far off, and it might have some false positives.

So, honestly, we can say that the numbers have exploded! There are about seventy-five times as many German books, just to stick with one language!

If we compare that to the overall growth rate of the USA Kindle store, this is much, much higher. I recorded the titles in store count on December 1, 2009 as 385,484. On January 1 of 2014, I recorded 2,351,290. While that is a lot of growth (there are about six times as many books…more than doubling every year), it’s not even a tenth the rate of German book growth.

My search for “Swahili Edition” gives me 104 versus 5…more than twenty times as many.

I think that the number of books where companies get global licenses has also greatly increased, and that may have something to do with it. It costs the company more initially, or at least I would assume that’s the case, but can certainly be worth it.

Here’s a link to

Foreign Languages in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

  • Genießen Sie!
  • Disfrute!
  • Kufurahia!
  • Amusez-vous!
  • Enjoy!

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.

Aussie awesomeness! Amazon opens a localized Kindle site

November 12, 2013

Aussie awesomeness! Amazon opens a localized Kindle site

Good on ya, Amazon!

I’ve seen many threads in the Amazon Kindle forums complaining about Kindle e-book prices and availability in Australia.

Well, according to this

press release

Amazon has just opened a localized Australian Kindle store at

You’ll now have your own Kindle Daily Deal, local authors, and local curation.

Hm…looking at it, though, the prices for some books are still a lot higher than they are in the USA.

Other books, though, are reasonably priced.

The Paperwhite is available in Australia, and Amazon says:

“All new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX now on sale in Australia
Amazon also announced that the new Kindle Fire HD is available starting today at a suggested retail price of AU$189 at Dick Smith and Big W stores. The 7” Kindle Fire HDX will be available starting November 26 at a suggested retail price of AU$329 and the 8.9” Kindle Fire HDX will be available starting December 10 at a suggested retail price of AU$479. Read the press release about the new Kindle Fire HDX at”

You are opening with over two million titles…by contrast, when the USA store opened in 2007, we didn’t have 100,00.

Australians have enjoyed having shorter copyright terms (which meant that some books are legally available free because they are in the public domain in Australia, when they aren’t in the public domain in the USA), and now you have your own Kindle store, too. :)

I know I have Australian readers…enjoy!

By the way, I don’t see any mention yet of which countries’ residents can use this site (localized sites sometimes cover more than one country). No mention of New Zealand that I’ve seen, but I haven’t dug very deep yet.

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 #210: KPW search tip, France’s stance

October 5, 2013

Round up #210: KPW search tip, France’s stance

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

Dans votre visage, Amazon!*

While Amazon has  benefited from some legal actions in the USA (notably the Department of Justice action against five publishers and Apple, and the State Attorneys General suit against the publishers), that’s not the case everywhere…notably in France.


The Guardian article by Angelique Chrisafis

gives you a pretty good rundown on a recent action by one house of government there that limits the discounting that Amazon (and hypothetically other online booksellers…but we know who they mean) can do…and they sort of count free shipping as a discount.

It’s intended to help brick-and-mortar bookstores compete, and is part of France’s long tradition of trying to provide cultural support within its borders.

I think you are going to know how I feel about this. You don’t protect your culture by making books more difficult to afford and obtain. That’s especially true if you think  your culture goes back more than five years or so…brick-and-mortars have a much harder time stocking the backlist than Amazon does.

While it isn’t an excuse, less affordable and available books do, I think, lead to more piracy (in the world of paperbooks, that includes counterfeits, which are surprisingly common in some places).

Today: “8-year-old flags ‘sexist’ children’s books; bookstore takes notice”

Personally, I’d like to see Amazon carry anything that’s legal, in terms of books.

I don’t really want them making editorial choices about what options I have.

However, there are some people complaining about the book mentioned in this article by Morgan Brasfield

It sounded really ridiculous…and an 8-year was moved to tears by seeing them in a store.

They are two “survival guides”…one for boys, and one for girls.

I’m going to briefly quote the article:

“In the boy version, the chapters covered topics such as “How to Survive a Shark Attack,” “How to Survive in a Desert,” and “How to Survive Whitewater Rapids.”

The girl version addressed such issues as “How to Survive a BFF Fight,” “How to Survive a Fashion Disaster,” and “How to Survive a Breakout.””

Yes, these are recent books (not available in Kindle editions). I wanted to see what people were saying on Amazon…

Girls Only: How to Survive Anything
by Martin Oliver (illustrated by Daniela Geremia)

had the lowest possible rating a solid 1 star out of 5. That was with eleven reviews.

This one

Boys Only: How to Survive Anything
again by Martin Oliver, although illustrated by Simon Ecob

had 2.3 out of 5 with three reviews.

Ban the book (ironic given the timing around Banned Books Week)?

I think most of you would say no. I could see how it could be absolutely instructive to sit down with your kids (of both genders) and discuss this book…

Kindle Paperwhite tip: searching

I’m still exploring my new Kindle Paperwhite, which is the second generation. I did a complete menu map (linked above), but that doesn’t mean I tested everything at that point.

Both the first generation and second generation Paperwhites (I have mine open side-by-side right now) have a magnifying glass at the top of the home screen that you can use to search.

They also both have dropdowns where you can choose what to search.

Here’s the difference, though:

Gen 1:

  • My Items
  • Kindle Store
  • Dictionary
  • Wikipedia

Gen 2:

  • My Items
  • All Text
  • Kindle Store
  • Dictionary
  • Wikipedia

Notice that in both of them, you can search for a word in the dictionary. That’s something people had wanted earlier, and it works pretty well.

The Gen 2 adds All Text…which means you can test to see if all of your books are  indexed.

Let me just explain indexing on the Kindles briefly. When you put a book on a Kindle, the device “reads” the book to figure out where the words are in it. It might make a note that “cat” appears at location 200, 355, 1420, that sort of thing.

That’s how it can find those words when you search for them.

As you can imagine, reading the book and building that index is energy intensive. If  you put a bunch of books on your Kindle in short order, you might want to leave it plugged in overnight…it can index while it sleeps.

How do you know if an e-book on your device hasn’t been indexed yet?

Search for a nonsense word (I use something like “xxy”).  When it gives you the result, it will tell you if there are any unindexed books yet…and which ones they are.

On the KPW2, switch to All Text when you do that search.

ON the KPW1, you can have it search My Items.

That’s likely to make the searches faster on the KPW2 when you search under My Items, since it only searches titles and authors.

Cutting the cable?

We used to get cable TV channels on a TV in our bedroom without a cable box. We weren’t stealing them…I think we paid something like $5 a month for some time, and we always let the cable company know that we had that TV.

Now, though, due to regulation changes (as I understand it), we suddenly don’t get any cable TV channels on that set (we do get some radio channels).

So, we are considering using the Fire in that room to provide content, and cutting way back on which cable channels we get (and perhaps dropping cable altogether).

We’ll look at that carefully. I watch a lot of cable news. One solution to that is

US TV Free

which I’m using now. I can get some interesting news channels, including Russia Today (which is in English and intended for American audiences) and the BBC.

It’s not perfect: it ends up buffering sometimes. Still, it’s a good choice.

I also use

DroidTV – Free Trial

I pay about $3 a month for it.

That has a lot of current shows. You have to wait for downloads…sometimes for hours before it happens, but you can do “season passes”.

I do believe both of these are legal: I wouldn’t use them otherwise.

I’m watching right now by running an HDMI cable from my Kindle Fire 8.9″.

I think it’s very likely that Amazon will release some TV device before the end of the year, that will use the Miracast that will be available on my Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi. Mine is scheduled to come October 18th…they’ve been pushing back the date for people ordering now. Order one today (at time of writing), and they now think October 21st. This is the one I think will be the most popular model, and may be really popular.

I’m speculating that Amazon might release two TV devices: an inexpensive Miracast stick that works with the Kindle Fire (it would probably plug into your HDMI port on your TV, and then you could wirelessly mirror from your Kindle Fire HDX), and a somewhat more expensive set-top box that has a lot of content options.

Here is a

Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

that speculates on the box, but doesn’t mention a stick. If you can’t see it from the above link, try searching for “Amazon Readies Set-Top Box for Holidays”.

We’ll see what happens…

Scribd responds to my questions

I want to thank Scribd for responding to my questions about their new subscription (“all you can read”) e-book service.

It’s $8.99 a month, and HarperCollins has signed up with it, meaning that you can get well-known content…although it will be backlist, not the absolutely current bestsellers, you would be likely to find things to read.

I’m not signing up for it myself, for two reasons.

I asked this:


Bufo Calvin
Oct 03 04:48 pm (PDT)

I have one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the Kindle store (I Love My Kindle) and had just started a write-up on your subscription service, but I have two key questions before I complete that.

1. You indicate it is compatible with the Kindle Fire, but the user is directed to Google Play (which does not recognize a Kindle Fire) for the Android app. The app is available on 1Mobile, but do you also make it available directly on your site?

2. When I tried a sample, I did not see an option to use text-to-speech. That’s important to my readers: is it available through your app?

Thank you for your attention to these questions.


They responded (quickly and courteously) with this:


Hello Bufo,

Thank you for reaching out to us. I spoke to our engineering team and we currently do not support Kindle through our app, because Google Play Store is required as you said. We have submitted an application to Amazon, but it’s still being reviewed by Amazon. The app will not work with Kindle e-ink, but will work with the Fires if/when it’s approved.

Regarding your second question, we do not support text-to-speech, unfortunately. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best regards,
Kay Jong
Scribd, Inc.



That shouldn’t stop you. This isn’t a case of someone blocking text-to-speech access, but simply not providing it. I use TTS too often myself to ignore the lack of it, but I have no moral objection to not including it. While I’d like every device to be accessible to everyone, I don’t think that’s a requirement for every app and every device in every circumstance.

As to not being in the Amazon Appstore…well, it may be later. Contrary to what some people say, Amazon does not “wall you into their garden”. You can get the Netflix app, for example: a direct competitor.

You could get the app now, from 1Mobile, or you could when I checked earlier.

Update: I meant to include the Scribd page…you can get all the info (and see what books are available) from links there:

My guess is that this will succeed, and that we’ll see more subscription e-book services. It’s possible Amazon will do one (and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is not all you can read, of course: it’s up to one book a calendar month).

Some of you might be thinking, “Amazon won’t do that…they want you to buy the books.” Well, yes, they’d prefer that…but they really want you to buy physical goods (“diapers and windshield wipers”) where there is more profit, and tying you into a subscription service (especially if it was linked to Prime) would help with that.

What do you think? Have you already cut the cable? If not, what would be necessary to get you to do it? Do you pay more than $100 a month for cable? Is it okay to sell a sexist book to kids? Do protectionist laws help or hurt book culture? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

* I was using Google translate to try to say, “In your face, Amazon!” Not sure how close it is, given the idiomatic nature of the expression.

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

Round up #201:

August 30, 2013

Round up #201:

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

Special note: I’m away from my normal resources right now, but have been able to jump on a computer for a short time. I hope you are enjoying the posts which I wrote ahead of this period. I may be somewhat less responsive than usual for a few more days, but I’ll do what I can. :) I’m doing most things with my Kindle Fire and a Bluetooth keyboard, but copying and pasting is more difficult there than on a PC, as is working with multiple tabs in the browser.

24 great deals “for students” in Kindle Daily Deal

This is the main reason I trekked (not that far actually) to a computer this morning.

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal includes one ostensibly for students, but I think just about everyone will find something they like.

As always, check prices before you click or tap that “Buy” button…these deals may not be available in your territory, and it’s possible for books to move in and out of the list.

Some that I noticed:

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
  • A Fatal Inversion by Ruth Rendell
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

As you can see, it’s quite a mix. I think they picked books they thought (no doubt through datamining, perhaps through Amazon Student) which books they thought would appeal to college students, not just ones that might be specific to college interests.

Hola, Mexico!

Amazon has both opened a Mexican Kindle store and opened up Mexico to Kindle Direct Publishing users.

press release on Kindle Mexico store
press release on Kindle Mexico KDP

Mexican customers will also be able to buy Kindles in Gandhi stores (brick-and-mortar).

Mexico has a rich literary history…their copyright term is longer than ours, last time I checked.

This may also mean more Spanish language books in the US Kindle store.


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

Round up #195: The Howler,

August 11, 2013

Round up #195: The Howler,

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

Problems at Amazon today

There are two big problems being reported at Amazon today.

One is with the

Manage Your Kindle


It’s not loading all of people’s items. I tested it, in addition to seeing the comments in the Amazon Kindle forum, and yes, that’s the result I get as well. One thing that isn’t showing is my recent purchases…even searching for them doesn’t find them.

This could be a problem, if you are looking to return a Kindle store book within seven days of purchase (which is an option with Amazon…last I checked, you can not return e-books at any time for any reason to Barnes & Noble, Sony, or Kobo).

If you need to return one, contact Kindle Support at

Go ahead and call them, or have them call you (my favorite option).

Another problem was happening with the Amazon Appstore for me. It wasn’t letting me buy anything…instead, it was giving me this message:

“We’re sorry

We’ve run into a technical error. Please try again later.”

That was shopping from my computer. That seems to have resolved…it’s working again. Whoops! Now it’s not…it seems to be intermittent.

Regular readers know I tend to be optimistic, and my thought here is that these problems might have happened because they are making improvements to the functionality.

I keep hoping for an ability to separate user profiles at Manage Your Kindle…maybe that’s coming.

On the other hand, maybe somebody spilled coffee on a server. ;) Information and Guides for International Kindle Users

I just ran across this site:

Assuming the information is accurate (and so far, it seems to be), I really like this.

I have readers from around the world (according to my WordPress 2012 annual report, I had readers from 189 countries last year).

Not everybody is served equally with Kindles and Kindle content. That may be due to local laws, necessary infrastructure, making the deals, and so on.

Well, with, you can put in your country, and it will show you one of four levels of service, from No Support to Full Support.

I went there specifically to check Albania (I was checking something to do with the new keyboard language support we can download). It is listed as “Medium Support:”

“Amazon currently ships the Kindle to your country, and you can use the free 3G Whispernet service on the device.

There is a $2 fee on most books over the original cost of the title.”

The site looks pretty good, and the interface works well so far. We might disagree on grammar a bit (“Amazon do not currently” versus “Amazon does not currently”), but outside of that, I found it quite valuable.

Something different for the FAOTD (Free App of the Day)

This is the free app of the day, and it seems truly innovative, while the graphic design is also good.

The Howler

It’s a sort of steampunk puzzle game, where you manipulate a hot air balloon to pass over obstacles, deliver devices, and so on.

Here’s the really cool thing, though: you can control it with your voice!

Not by giving voice commands, like “go up”. You do it with volume…as you get louder, the balloon goes higher.

I’ve been playing today (I waited until my Significant Other left the house) ;), and I find myself doing long sustained notes…sort of like Gregorian chants. :) I haven’t gotten the hang of dropping a package yet, but I can fly the balloon (it gets into wind currents) and land it on something.

The drawing style is also cool. It was all literally drawn on hand, on paper. They say it took a year to create.

Also unusual: the setting is Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

While I do expect some people will find the voice control too difficult (I have pretty good control), you can use touches as well.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t miss this one!  Even at the normal $1.99, I’d say it is worth it, but if you can get it for free (check before you click that Buy button…if it’s there for you today), even better.

1st English language bookstore in Cuba since the revolution

I thought this was a fascinating

AP story by Peter Orsi

The first paragraph really sets it up:

“Cuba’s first English-language bookstore offers a selection that would just about stock the lobby of an average Vermont bed and breakfast. Next to what’s available in English elsewhere in Havana, it might as well be the Library of Congress.”

This is going to be a very tricky enterprise. There are a lot of things you just can’t openly say or sell in Cuba, and I’m sure it will be watched carefully.

It’s kind of hard for many of us to imagine in the USA that your reading options can be that limited by your government, so I’m sure it will be a welcome store…if people aren’t afraid to shop there.

In case you’re wondering, Cuba is currently “No Support” at (see above).

An illegal option (and for that reason, I’m not linking to it) might be the new Pirate Bay browser, which is specifically designed to get around government blocking of the site (which I would describe as unashamedly streaming infringing materials). They don’t agree with current copyright laws. The reason I’m mentioning it is to show that individuals could get around government “blockades” of e-books. This comes up from time to time, when people are worried about having books only as digital files…that they would be easier to control than paper copies. I’m just not convinced that is the case. If you had to secretly print and distribute one hundred paper copies of The Art of War, or you had to secretly copy and distribute one hundred digital copies, which would be harder to detect? They both have their advantages, but I can certainly see law enforcement finding a house with a copier churning out that many copies (if that was illegal).


I’ve mentioned before that I like the blog, EBOOK FRIENDLY, and they have collected some nice cartoons in this post:

I think some of you will appreciate the one on public transit…

What do you think? Having any trouble with Amazon today? Have you tried The Howler? Do you think I shouldn’t even mention Pirate Bay…or that I should have provided a link? Have questions about international availability of Kindles and/or content? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

Round up #194: Detroit libraries, Kindle Fire updates now available from Amazon

August 9, 2013

Round up #194: Detroit libraries, Kindle Fire updates now available from Amazon

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

Barbara Mertz (aka Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) has died

The mystery novels under the name Elizabeth Peters (including the Amelia Peabody books) have been very popular…as have been the books of Barbara Michaels, including the Georgetown series.  Those were both pennames for Barbara Mertz, who also wrote non-fiction about Egypt under her real name,

Barbara Mertz has reportedly died at the age of 85.

CBS News article

Update for Kindle Fires now available at Amazon

I wrote recently about being worried about my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless 32GB updating to the 8.4.5 version, which was breaking Flash video in non-Amazon browsers.

I updated that post when I had heard that 8.4.6 was out there, and that it didn’t have the same problem.

Well, my Kindle Fire did update last night…and I’m happy to report that Flash video is working fine in Maxthon (my preferred browser). In fact, it seems like it is working better, but it’s too soon to really tell that.

If your Kindle Fire hasn’t updated, it likely will soon now. You can also get the update from

Kindle Software Updates

and install it manually (they have instructions there on it).

Since it’s on that page, we also know what they tell us it does. :)

  • You can now choose Brazilian Portuguese for your device language (Home – swipe down – More – Language & Keyboard – Language…that brings us to eleven languages and variants)
  • You can download new keyboard languages (Home – swipe down – More – Language & Keyboard – Keyboard – Download Keyboard Languages). That’s a fascinating change! There are thirty-seven languages there, and even with a linguist in the family, I can’t tell you what they all are (since they are listed in their languages. They do include Russian and Tagalog, Hinglish and Magyar…quite a few choices. While this will greatly expand the usability of the Kindle Fire, this ability to download the languages is what’s intriguing me. That suggest to me that we could possibly get the same thing with accents and languages for text-to-speech…not that we don’t likeSeptember Day‘s Salli, of course, but more choices there could again expand the language accessibility. Could this also suggest a launch of a Fire in even more countries? Well, last I heard, it was already available for 170 countries, so maybe not
  • Multicolor highlights (highlight something in a book with your finger or stylus, and you’ll now be given four different highlighting colors from which to choose)
  • Share notes & highlights from a Print Replica textbook. The particularly interesting piece here is that you’ll be able to share them via e-mail…that could be the start of something big for Amazon. Not just e-mailing, of course, but texting (in the future). I frequently e-mail stories to family members from my morning Flipboard read. I know e-mail isn’t the choice method of communication for many New Millenials (which is why I’m also thinking texting, in the future), but tweeting and Facebook updates don’t work for everybody either

All in all, I’m happy Amazon fixed the problem with Flash before posting the updates.

Update: here are screenshots of the keyboard languages available for download, and some best guesses (not all mine…my adult kid who is a linguist helped, as did someone else) as to what they are. If you can correct any of them, I’d appreciate it:






Bahasa Indonesia
Bahasa Malaysia
Catala – Catalan
Cestina – Czech
Dansk – Danish
Eesti – Estonian
Euskara – Basque
Galego – Galician (spoken in Spain and some other countries)
Hinglish – Hindi/English hybrid (although I believe some other languages are involved)
Islanski – Icelandic
Latviesu – Latvian
Lietuviskai – Lithuanian
Magyar – Hungarian
Nederlands – Dutch
Norsk – Norwegian
Polski = Polish
Portugues europeu – European Portuguese
Pу́сски;й – Russian
Romana – Romanian
Shqipe – Albanian
Slovencina – Slovak
Slovenscina – Slovak
Suomi – Finnish
Svenska – Swedish
Tagalog – Phillipino
Tiếng Việt – Vietnamese
Türkçe – Turkish
ελληνικ;ά – Greek
Казаk – Kazak
Україн;ська – Ukranian
Белару;скі – Belorussina or White Russian

Two varieties of Chinese (I’m assuming Cantonese and Mandarin)
I know there can be cultural sensitivities in some of these identifications…if there is something you think should be corrected there, please let me know. No offense is intended, and I freely admit I might be ignorant of some of the issues.

Summer Reading Snapshot: libraries and kids across the nation

This is a great

Publishers Weekly article by Karen Springen

which talks with children’s librarians in

  • Cleveland
  • Orlando
  • Cincinnati
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • New York
  • Boston
  • St. Louis
  • Kansas City, Mo
  • Detroit

about their planned Summer events, and what the “Big Reads” are for the kids this Summer.

As we all know, Detroit has had a lot of issues lately. I liked this quotation from Lurine Carter, coordinator of children’s and teen service at the Detroit Public Library:

“Life is very serious, not only in Detroit but all over. We try to relieve their minds. We want the library and the reading to be a pleasant getaway.”

I recommend the article, particularly if you are looking for books for your own kids to read.

Google play making a big…er, play for textbooks

There are so many clear advantages to e-textbooks that it seems inevitable to be that they become the standard format.

  • The weight of paper textbooks, especially when students can’t get to a locker between classes, is genuinely a health issue
  • The increased ability to be accessible (text-to-speech, increasable text size) is important
  • The ability of them to be updated easily over the years
  • The fact that they don’t wear out…which makes renting a really viable option
  • The relatively lower cost
  • Annotation without degradation
  • Search
  • Sharing supplemental material
  • X-ray

That doesn’t mean that getting them to be adopted is easy, but Google is likely to make it a bit more attractive:

Google Play Textbooks

I don’t see that they are bringing any stand-out features that aren’t available in

Kindle eTextbooks

but just the fact that it is Google may influence some schools.

Hearing in the Apple “penalty phase” today

Judge Cote has been ruling incredibly quickly in the Apple e-book price fixing case. That doesn’t mean we will hear something today…but Judge Cote will.

There is a hearing today for the DoJ’s (Department of Justice’s) proposed penalties for Apple, according to this

The Verge article by Greg Sandoval

and other sources. I’ve written before about how far-reaching the DoJ proposal seems to be. The five Agency Model publishers think it’s too much…but they aren’t exactly uninvolved parties (they settled with the DoJ in the same case). Others think it’s appropriate.

It will be very interesting to see what Judge Cote does. I think it’s possible that part of it is approved and part of it isn’t, but we’ll see. I’m not sure if Judge Cote would then send them back to rethink it or what can happen.

Librarians in the Movies

This site was right up my alley!

Librarians in the Movies: an Annotated Filmography by Martin Raish, Brigham YOung University

It’s a pretty extensive list…given my love of books and movies, I did find it fascinating (and I had seen a number of them). It’s not being maintained anymore, but is still interesting. Let’s see…any movies this Summer with librarians in them? Hm…

Have any thoughts about these stories? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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


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