Round up #272: Fire update coming, Mindle Touch questions?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
I have a Mindle Touch
I plan to write a review by Monday, but I wanted to let you know that Amazon has loaned me a
Mindle Touch (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
That’s the new $79 model. I called the old “entry level” model a “Mindle” (for minimum Kindle), and this one has a touchscreen, so…Mindle Touch.
Interestingly, Amazon refers to it in a few places as a 7th generation Kindle.
I’m guessing they are counting it this way:
- Kindle 1
- Kindle 2
- Kindle 3 (AKA Kindle Keyboard)
- Kindle Touch
- Kindle Paperwhite
- Mindle Touch
That would make sense to me: the Kindle DX was basically the same software as the Kindle 2…same generation, even though it was a different size.
Anyway, I thought I’d mention it in case you have any questions before I send it back. I’ve never asked them for review copies before, but really, I’m quite satisfied with our Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*) and our Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at this point…just didn’t want to buy new ones. After all, I’m apparently one of the very few people to pay close to $200 for the Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) recently…that’s a chunk of budget. 🙂
I’ve also asked for a Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for review…if I get one, I’ll let you know.
Amazon announces Fire OS 4…on my device
I got a letter from Jeff Bezos on my KFHDX7 this morning…I’m assuming many other people did, too. 🙂
It’s alerting me that the devices will be updated (for free) to Fire OS (Operating System) 4 in “the coming weeks”. That will be on the new generation of Fires, but I’m sure won’t be on the first generation.
What is it bringing?
- Profiles (to the USA, UK, and Germany): every “family member” (Amazon usually doesn’t require proof…you know, like DNA sequencing) 😉 can have a profile, including “individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, page in the book, spot in a movie, and game levels”. This ties in, in a way, with the Family Library which is coming, which will let us share books with people not on our accounts (we don’t know exactly what limitations that will have yet)
- Office Documents: we’ll get WPS Office, so we can edit Microsoft Office documents (including creating new ones). It’s going to integrate with the Cloud Drive
- Longer Battery Life: better battery management when sleeping
- New Weather and Calculator Apps
- Full-Screen Immersive Mode: apps and games will full the full screen in “immersive mode”
- Backup & Restore: it will be interesting to see exactly what this done. It doesn’t look to me like it will mirror your entire device (your personal documents, which books you’ve already downloaded from your Amazon account), but can do “device settings, email and wireless configuration, notes, bookmarks, and more…” I never find the transition to a new device very difficult (I don’t keep a lot of content actually on my devices), but this may make it easier. It would be nice to get a new device and already have it on my network without having to enter a password, for example
Did you notice that Family Library wasn’t on the list? I assume that’s because that isn’t part of Fire OS 4, and that it will work with a much wider range of devices. This update could also affect the Fire Phone…and possibly, in some way, Fire TV.
Why send this announcement now, ahead of time? I think, in part, Amazon’s trying to patch its reputation going into the holiday season…and caring for customers with devices already helps them decide to buy newer devices.
Amazon sends more info on their crowd-sourced publishing program
I also got an e-mail from Amazon this week about their upcoming program. It explains it pretty well (and I’ve mentioned it previously). The basic idea is that authors can put up a sample of a complete but unpublished novel, readers “vote” on them, and Amazon will select some for publishing…paying at least a $1,500 advance. We could use a few more details, but I think this may work very well for Amazon…although it isn’t without risk (the main one being that it is seen as being fair). Here’s that e-mail:
Thanks for subscribing to receive updates on Amazon’s new publishing program! We’re excited to announce that we’ll be opening for submissions in a couple weeks.
We’ll be welcoming submissions for English-language books in Romance, Mystery & Thriller, and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres. Any adult with a valid U.S. bank account and U.S. social security number or tax identification number is eligible.
It only takes 15 minutes to complete a submission. Here are the things that you should prepare to successfully submit your book:
- Complete, never-before-published manuscript & book cover image – We’re looking for 50,000 words or more in Word format and a book cover image that reflects the essence and uniqueness of your book. Make sure your work is ready for others to read. Only the first pages will be posted to the website (approx. 3,000 words).
- Book one-liner – A very short pitch (no longer than 45 characters) for your book that will be used on the homepage and throughout the website. Think of examples like “Space opera meets the Middle Ages” or “How far will one woman go to save her family?”
- Book description- Help readers understand the content and quality of your book. Keep the description to 500 characters or less.
- Your bio & picture – Give readers a chance to learn more about you. You will also have a chance to answer relevant questions regarding your book and personal story in a short Q&A section.
We’ll also ask you to review and accept our submission and publishing agreement that grants us a 45-day exclusivity period to post your excerpt and tally nominations. If chosen for publication, you will receive a $1,500 advance, 5-year renewable term, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions, and Amazon-featured marketing. If not, you automatically get all your rights back at the end of the 45-day exclusivity period.
We’ll send you an email as soon as we’re open for submissions. Looking forward to hearing from you!
I don’t have a book written already that will fit this. I suspect it will have somewhat of a soft start: my guess is that people will write books specifically to try them for this program. Some folks have books sitting around…but how many of them won’t have independently published them already before they heard about this program?
You can contact Amazon about it here:
Put in the subject “Question about Amazon’s new publishing program”.
Amazon still working on the KOLL/KU problem
Amazon’s been getting more information from me about the issue with being both a
Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
member and a Prime member eligible to use the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).
If you are both (which I am), at least some people (including me) are finding it very difficult to impossible to borrow a KOLL book. All of the books which are in both the KOLL and KU only seem to want me to borrow them through KU. If a book is in the KOLL and not in KU (a quite small number, from what I can tell), then I could do it…but that’s not much of a benefit. It doesn’t bother me that much…I’m not a Prime member because of the KOLL, it’s just a nice perk. Still, it doesn’t seem to be working the way Amazon wants it to work…and it does feel like a bit of a takeaway.
I’ve given them information about my experiences with it…I’ll let you know if they let me know that they’ve figured anything out.
Seeking Alpha round-up
I continue to be impressed with the quality of stories about Amazon at Seeking Alpha. Here are some recent ones:
Update: Fire Phone And Kindle Voyage Developments by Paulo Santos
Santos sees both the Fire Phone and the Kindle Voyage as underperforming, and indicative of Amazon’s customers not being able to be brought to profitable price points.
2 Reasons Why Amazon Will Never Make Money by Shock Exchange
The two reasons? They don’t know how, and they don’t wanna. 😉 They recommend selling the stock.
How Amazon.com Got Into Yet Another Fight, This Time With Greenpeace by Paulo Santos
Santos starts out by apologizing for writing about Amazon so much. 🙂 This one did interest me, though: Amazon has had a rep as being an environmentally conscious company…not someone you would expect Greenpeace to actively target.
However, Santos noticed a massive drop in ratings for the Fire Phone…and thinks it is due to an active 1-star campaign by the non-profit.
I generally like Greenpeace, but this raises an interesting question for me: should you go after a company by rating one of their products at 1-star? What does their policy (with which you disagree…details on that in the article) have to do with the quality of the device? I don’t rate books as 1-star because the publisher chooses to block text-to-speech access…I don’t buy the book, but it doesn’t feel…honest to rate the book 1-star on that basis.
What do you think? What do you want me to check on the Mindle Touch? Is rating a product 1-star because of a policy something with which agree? Does it make a difference that this is an Amazon product, rather rating, say, an e-book not from Amazon 1-star because the price it too high or it isn’t available in your country? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.
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* 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.