Archive for the ‘Kindle Unlimited’ Category

25% off Kindle Unlimited through Sunday

February 9, 2016

25% off Kindle Unlimited  through Sunday

Sales on

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

have been quite rare, but there’s one going on right now for St. Valentine’s Day!

It’s 25% off pre-paid plans.

That’s

  • 6 Months: $59.94 – Now $44.95
  • 12 Months: $119.88 – Now $89.91
  • 24 Months: $239.76 – Now $179.82

I’ve been a happy member of Amazon’s subser (subscription service) for e-books  since it debuted.

I looked immediately to see if we could buy it at the discount to add on to our current pre-paid plan, but not too surprisingly, you can’t. The terms of the deal include:

  • Customers who are on a monthly plan and have previously purchased a pre-paid plan that is currently associated with their account and customers who have purchased multiple pre-paid plans that are currently associated with their account are not eligible.
  • Existing Kindle Unlimited subscribers with monthly subscriptions who have not previously purchased a pre-paid plan are eligible for this promotion. For those subscribers who choose to participate, automatic renewals will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the monthly package purchased and will automatically restart at its conclusion.

I definitely think it’s worth it, but I should explain that a bit.

Normally, you are paying $9.99 a month for an “all you can read” selection. You can have up to 10 titles out at the same time on one account (and typically, you could have an individual title on six devices on your account at the same time).

That’s out of 1,228,126 titles at the time of writing (in the USA…that’s what I’m discussing today).

One of the big things I see with this is that I get books I wouldn’t have read otherwise…often due to price.

I like public domain books, and I could read all I want without spending a dime, I think, by just reading those free out of copyright titles.

However, there are certainly in-copyright books I’d like to read. 🙂 I put some on my wish list for family members to see on gift giving occasions, but there are others that I’d just like to read.

So, with KU, it’s not that I get a book for which I would have paid for free (well, technically, for no additional cost)…it’s that I read different books.

My Significant Other, who isn’t a big fan of technology, is now also downloading KU books, mainly to read on the treadmill. 🙂

I’ve recommended KU books a number of times in the past…see the

category of ILMK posts.

Today, though, I thought I’d let you know what we actually have out right now. I think that may give you some ideas, and my feeling is that some readers like to see that little window into our lives. 🙂

I copied this from the listing…the dates are the dates borrowed. If it’s one I’ve read or am reading, I’ll give you some thoughts.

Before I start, here is an obvious question: why do we still  have the books if I’ve finished reading them? I tell myself that I’ll review all the books I read on Goodreads, but I don’t always get to it. I think I do tend to indicate I’m currently reading them, so at least there is that. You can follow my reviews on Goodreads here:

I do make an effort to write an “artful” and helpful review, which why I don’t just crank them out.

Okay, on to our borrowed books!

When I Found You
Ryan Hyde January 22, 2016

The Short Drop
Matthew FitzSimmons January 22, 2016

Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy from Mars
Daniel Pinkwater January 14, 2016

I’ve finished reading this one, and I did enjoy it. Pinkwater writes what are seen as young adult and children’s books, but I would say they are Baby Boomer informed. They are goofy and surrealistic. I wouldn’t say this was the best one, but it was worth it.

The Man Who Fell to Earth
Walter Tevis January 6, 2016

David Bowie was perfectly cast in the movie, and if I’d read the book, it was a long time ago. This was a case where both the movie and the book were good. I’d actually say the book had some superior elements, but this was a good, cynical read.

A Truth Worth Tellin’
Toni Teepell December 11, 2015

I really enjoyed this one, and it’s not science fiction or fantasy. 🙂 This is a book that could find an audience and become well-known, but it’s just a question of whether or not it breaks through.

Angles of Attack (Frontlines Book 3)
Marko KloosSeptember 25, 2015

I read all of these military science fiction books (well, the first three main books), and they were both old-fashioned (as in 1950s) and more modern. They have more character development and more human interaction elements than you might anticipate. Again, worth reading

Experiencing Lithuania: An Unconventional Travel Guide
Columbia Warren June 20, 2015

I had relatives going to Lithuania, and I was looking for something that wasn’t the typical guidebook. This fit the bill: it was much more experiential…what a friend would tell you who came back from living there. The only major gap I saw was no mention of the Three Stooges (the actual brothers, Moe, Curly, and Shemp are of Lithuanian descent). That’s a quibble; I thought it was fun and useful.

A King of Infinite Space (Long Beach Homicide)
Tyler Dilts September 6, 2014

Earth: An Alien Enterprise: The Shocking Truth Behind the..
Timothy Good August 14, 2014

Good’s Above Top Secret was one of the most popular books about UFOs and secrecy, and they are entertainingly written. I wouldn’t say it’s going to convince anybody who isn’t already leaning strongly in favor of the idea (not just of UFOs being genuine alien craft or some kind, but of the government covering it up). If you are in that camp, or if you want to just read it as entertainment, it works.

Whether this is for St. Valentine’s Day or not, I would think about this. We gave KU to a related family…mainly for the two kids, but the adults will get to use it, too. 🙂 I think that might have been my favorite gift that we gave this last holiday season.

Enjoy!

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! :) 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.

Advertisements

Round up #314: Discovery Zone, A Truth Worth Tellin’

December 19, 2015

Round up #314: Discovery Zone, A Truth Worth Tellin’

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

This is how Kindle Unlimited should work

I read a good book recently.

Now, that shouldn’t be a rare thing. 🙂 I often say I’ve never read a bad book, and I do believe that. I think I’ve gotten something good out of every book I’ve read…although there have been parts of books I haven’t liked and certainly, there have been some with massive flaws.

That doesn’t mean I’m uncritically accepting, or think that all books are equal. 😉

It was refreshing to read a novel that I felt had a strong voice, good plotting, and wasn’t gimmicky.

That book was

A Truth Worth Tellin’ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
by Toni Teepell

This isn’t a case where I know the author at all, or had even heard of the book.

What happened was that my Significant Other wanted a new book to read (especially on the treadmill).

We are happy members of

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

Amazon’s subser (subscription service). People pay $9.99 a month (although there have been discounts for longer subscriptions) for an “all you can read” service. You can have up to ten books out at a time, and multiple people on the account can be reading a book at the same time.

We like to do that. 🙂

If we both read the same book, we can then talk about it later…it’s a social thing.

I looked for a book, and I started by looking for Southern fiction. That’s something my SO particularly likes…both more serious, like Pat Conroy, and funny, like Fannie Flagg.

I think I searched for “Southern fiction” in Kindle Unlimited, then limited it to Contemporary Fiction, and then sorted by average customer review.

I skipped what appeared to be romance (I read that sometimes, but it’s not my SO’s preference)…the publishers pick the classifications, by the way.

Then, the cover of A Truth Worth Tellin’ caught my eye…and it currently has 18 customer reviews, all 5-star.

I don’t want to build this up too much, 😉 but that was a good rating…so we tried it.

It is, in a sense, a bit old-fashioned. By that I just mean that it isn’t saying, “Hey, look at how I’m disrupting the traditional novel by adding graphic sex, non-linear storytelling, and characters you hate!” 😉 I’d say it could have been written in the 1950s…not in a bad way. 🙂

It was interesting: I didn’t even look at the price of it until I started writing this post. It’s $4.99.

I’m hoping that some of you read it and enjoy it…both for your benefit and for the author’s.

When people criticize KU, they tend to bring up the alleged lack of well-known novels (although there are actually a lot of famous books, they don’t tend to be current bestsellers). A Truth Worth Telllin’ (a first novel) exemplifies the argument for KU as discovery for lesser known novels.

And of course, if you borrow it, read a bit of it, and don’t share my opinion, you can just move on to another book…

Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an argument for permanent copyright

More than five years ago, I published what may be my most controversial post:

Should copyright be permanent?

In it, I explored the idea of making copyright permanent in exchange for greater Fair Use provisions.

In other words, an author and the author’s estate would continue to control the commercial use of a creation (which might, of course, include having licensed it to a publisher) in perpetuity, but the work could be used for educational and research purposes generally without compensation.

That’s the simplified version.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides.

One thing I hear from people is that a work staying in copyright deprives society of a common culture…that te world (or, at least the USA) should own works like Shakespeare and Alice in Wonderland.

Well, I have to point out: is Star Wars any less of our shared culture than Romeo and Juliet?

Do people know “May the Force be with you” less than they know “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Do they talk about Star Wars less than they do about Shakespeare? Are fewer kids named after Star Wars characters and actors than Romeo & Juliet ones? Well, okay, there are a lot of Romeos out there…but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many Lukes and Leias born in early 1978. 😉 There also aren’t that many Mercutios…

You might guess it’s because Star Wars is more contemporary…but, based on the original copyright terms in the USA, it would have been in  the public domain by now (the original term was 14 years, renewable once for a total of 28, if the author was still alive…not as probable then as it is now).

Three quick tips

  • On a touchscreen device, “long press” (hold your finger or stylus on something for about a second) for more options
  • Menus often look like three horizontal lines on top of each other
  • To get help, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

Help other readers find books

Just a reminder about

ILMK Readers’ Recommendations: book discovery zone

There will be many people new to KU in the next couple of weeks, especially since you can

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

You can help them out by going to the Book Discovery Zone and “voting” in the polls to endorse books, and by narratively suggesting books I can add.

Skipping the Flip(board)

Ooh, this was tough for me!

I skipped my morning

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

read this morning, although I will do it later today.

Why?

To avoid Star Wars spoilers. 🙂

My favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and it can be hard to do. For that reason, I really don’t like spoilers, myself…and I also think they are…well, when done intentionally, I would consider them morally wrong.

Let me be clear: I don’t mean when you accidentally reveal a twist in a story, or when you do it without thinking about it.

I mean when people do it intentionally.

I read an article recently where the writer recalled standing outside of a movie in the Star Wars franchise, shouting the twist at people before they entered the theatre.

To me, it’s a form of intellectual bullying. That’s not to minimize traditional bullying. I think, though, it comes from similar impulses. You are using your superior power (knowledge, in this case), to take something away from someone else.

I love discussing movies (and books), but only when everybody present wants to do that.

I also think there is no statute of limitations on spoilers.

I believe that a nine-year old reading The Wizard of Oz in 2015 has the right to the same experience of the book as a nine-year old reading it in 1900 had.

I’ve been very pleased to see that mainstream media, and much of social media, has recognized the value of avoiding spoilers with regards to SW: TFA.

However, Flipboard (at least the way I have it configured) contains many non-traditional sources, and I’m guessing there will be spoilers in it this morning.

We are seeing the movie at 11:25 this morning…so I’ll read Flipboard after we’ve seen it. 😉

Jeff Bezos is one of Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of 2015

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer) has had an interesting year: space news, an attack on the Amazon work culture, and an explicitly political comment.

Here is an

ABC video

of Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of 2015” segment with Bezos.

What do you think? How did Jeff Bezos do on Barbara Walters? What will happen to Amazon after Jeff?  Should people make references to plot twists openly (for example, jokes about maybe the Wizard of Oz in relationship to public figures), or should there be spoiler alerts? Have you discovered any books or authors through KU? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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.

Round up #306: Overdrive “page turners”, KU gets a Big 5 publisher (slightly)

September 3, 2015

Round up #306: Overdrive “page turners”, KU gets a Big 5 publisher (slightly)

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

A tradpub tests the KU waters

In my The Year Ahead: 2015 post, I speculated in a “shaky” way that at least one of the Big 5 traditional publishers would test the waters by putting some books in Amazon’ subser (subscription service…a flat fee, “all you can read” membership),

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

” I do think this is possible, especially if it is in a limited way. For example, Macmillan might just make some backlist titles, but not the frontlist.”

Well, in this

The Digital Reader post by Nate Hoffelder

it’s pointed out that Simon & Schuster has done just that…but in a really limited way.

Two of Vince Flynn’s popular Mitch Rapp novels (the oldest and the most recent) are available for KU readers to borrow at no additional cost.

This is an important “philosophical” breaking of what felt like an embargo. I’m sure they’ll look carefully at how it affects the sales of those two titles, and other inspired sales (more books by Flynn, for example), but whether it is good or bad, it’s still a quantum shift.

My guess? We’ll see more Big 5 titles in KU by the end of  the year, although I’d be surprised by any really large scale participation.

Changes in the video streaming market

Many of my readers watch streaming video…both on Amazon devices, such as my

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

and as part of Amazon Prime.

Amazon spends a lot of money on licensing video, and what happens there will affect Amazon generally.

Recently, there have been major changes!

Amazon previously enabled Prime members to download some videos to their Fire tablets (I’ve watched Warehouse 13 that way, for example). Now, some other Android and IOS users can also download them.

Amazon Expands Prime Video Downloads to iOS and Android Platforms—The First and Only Subscription Streaming Service to Offer This Feature

That’s a big deal! You can’t do that with Netflix…download some movies and TV shows to watch offline (when you are on a plane, or for your kids on a car trip, for example).

One important question: does this mean that pushing the hardware of the Fire tablets is now less important  to Amazon than getting people to be Prime members even when using other company’s devices?  I think yes. I don’t think Amazon is abandoning tablets or EBRs (E-Book Readers), but hardware development may be becoming more focused at Amazon, as I mentioned recently.

There are a number of players (so to speak) in the streaming video market, but let’s mention four and the changes for them recently:

  • Amazon has just expanded downloading, as above…which is a competitive advantage
  • Hulu just announced a new plan: for $4 more per month ($11.99 from $7.99), you can watch almost all videos commercial free! This is huge for me…we watch some currently running series on Hulu, and it was irritating to have the same sort of commercial breaks you would have on ad-supported TV. We upgraded immediately, and watched So You Think You Can Dance without commercials last night…glorious! I have nothing against advertising (my Significant Other and I have gone to the Clios, the advertising equivalent of the Oscars, more than once), but when I’m paying specifically for TV, it feels like I’m paying twice to watch ads. I’ve taught Project Management, and one of the things to consider is that your time is worth money. If you take your annual salary, you can get it down to minutes…and you should count that when, for example, you need to walk over to printer and perhaps wait in line for it. Let’s say you make $50,000 a year. Even if you figure you work every minute of every day of the year, you can still figure your time is worth maybe ten cents per minute. Will I save 40 minutes a month not having commercials on Hulu? you betcha! At roughly eight minutes per half hour, we saved about 24 minutes last night, I think (I think it is a ninety minute show). All of that is very rough calculation…let’s just say it was so much more pleasant. 🙂 Hulu may have about the same number of commercial minutes as a traditional broadcast, but not the same number of commercials…you see the same ones over and over again
  • Netflix: very significantly, they are going to let a deal lapse with Epix. Basically, they are going to stop carrying a lot of major movies, like The Hunger Games series. Variety might think this is a good idea, but I don’t. Netflix is becoming an original content network in some ways. While original content can be great (I am enjoying the Daredevil series), it’s a far bigger risk. I sometimes just want to watch a major movie…even if it’s older. Those movies are going to Hulu…and it also gives Amazon a positional advantage
  • Apple is reportedly looking at getting into original content…that’s part of why it’s scary for Netflix to count on original content

Netflix has been the powerhouse (people use it as a way to define other things…literary subsers are often called the “Netflix of books”), but I think this is a move in the wrong direction. Prime is many, many things, but even if you got it just for video, it’s only $8.25 a month. Prime video will rise with the downloading, Hulu will rise with ad-free and Epix, and Apple will rise if it introduces original content in the rumored way. What’s going to be new and different for Netflix?

Amazon never stops innovating…and there will likely be some very interesting announcements before the end of the year.

Overdrive is now listing most borrowed e-books from public libraries

I’m not really a user of the public library for e-books.

I have borrowed a couple to test it, but there two main reasons for my lack of use:

  • The selection just isn’t that great. Bestsellers might have a waiting list of  months (libraries have a limited number of licenses, meaning that only so many people have the book at the same time…just like with p-books ((paperbooks))). Other books I want to read are often not available. I have lots of books available to me, especially as a Kindle Unlimited member. The public library just doesn’t have anything that draws me into the additional complication necessary to get one from them, as opposed to getting books from Amazon or that I already own
  • I don’t want to take away from people who can’t otherwise afford books. Yes, public libraries are for everyone…I got massive and perhaps not undeserved pushback when I suggested that tradpubs might be willing to make e-books available to people for free on a needs-tested basis. In other words, the books would not be available for general public library check-out, but would be available to people who could show that they are below the poverty line or otherwise unable to purchase. That sort of plan was announced, as I reported earlier this year: Obama’s plan for needs tested library books…where have I heard that before? 😉. However, since that isn’t generally the case, I feel bad taking using up one of the  library’s licenses to read something which I could otherwise afford, becoming an impediment to someone who can’t afford it

Here is

Overdrive’s Page Turners from your local library

It’s about e-books and audiobooks…neither of which actually have pages, of course, but you know…it gets the point across. 😉

The five most borrowed in August were all major bestsellers (including Go Set a Watchman and Grey). Hopefully, that’s a message for publishers: lots of borrowing from public libraries doesn’t meant that your book won’t be a bestseller.

Dash! Ah-ah…ruler of  the universe!

That headline was a reference to the Queen theme from the Flash Gordon movie with Sam Jones, and…never mind. 😉

Amazon Dash buttons (at AmazonSmile*)

While it’s going to be a bit of a stretch to tie this into e-books (don’t worry, though, I’ll do it…I’m much more mentally flexible than I am physically flexible) 😉 it shows part of Amazon’s direction.

They sent me this in an e-mail:

Amazon Dash Button – Program News:

  • We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from both customers and partners.
  • We’re moving into the next phase of the program today.
  • We’ve come off the invitation platform, making the program more broadly available—it’s open to all Prime members now.
  • We’re kicking off a new pricing offer – Prime members can purchase each Dash Button for $4.99 and with their first button purchase we’ll give back $4.99 to their account.
  • Of course, Dash Button customers also get the same low prices that they see online sold by Amazon.
  • We’re adding new brands and products – we will launch 11 new brands for Dash Button with new categories like gum and trash bags, table wear, and nutritional supplements.
  • We are being thoughtful as we scale the program and we’re focused on increasing the breadth of the categories for customers.
  • With these new additions, Dash Button is now available for 29 different brands, representing more than 500 products for Prime members to choose to purchase with the press of a button.
  • New brands:

o   Ice Breakers Mints

o   Orbit Gum

o   GREENIES Dental Chews and GREENIES Pill Pockets Treats

o   Hefty Trash and Storage Bags

o   Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

o   Ziploc Brand

o   Depend

o   Finish Dishwashing Detergent

o   Digestive Advantage Probiotic Supplements

o   Dixie tableware products

o   Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein

  • We’ve heard customer usage feedback including:

o   I like how easy it is to order commonly used items quickly. In my case, baby wipes. When I notice I am getting low on the wipes I can very easily and quickly order more by simply pushing a button. A simple push button is much easier to operate than getting the computer or phone out, especially when holding a baby in the other hand. Additionally, I also like that the button has color coded LEDs to tell me whether or not the order went through. It makes it so much easier.

o   I can put it anywhere, which means that I can have it where I’m most likely to notice that I need to reorder. My Gillette dash button is on my bathroom mirror where I shave. When I put the last blade on my razor, it’s right there for me to place the next order immediately, before I forget.

o   I’ve placed the Dash buttons where I normally place the toilet paper and cleaning products to remind me when to order the items.  Whenever I’m low on the product I just press the Dash Button and it’ll arrive in a couple of days.  My girlfriend and I announce when we get the chance to press the button because we’re excited whenever we get the opportunity to press it…it’s fun and efficient. 

It’s the opposite of a multifunction device, like the Amazon Echo. One button, one function…sort of like Amazon’s very successful 1-click way of buying things online.

How could this relate to e-books?

I could see having something like a virtual dash button for e-books (or perhaps a physical one). You push (or click or tap) one labeled “Stephen King” or “Romance”, and you get a new one delivered to your account. It could even be a virtual button on the Kindle/Fire homescreen. It might have to check the price with you first (although you could just review it in your confirmation method), it might have to be configured for your tastes and cost parameters, and it would only be able to eliminate books Amazon knows you already own…but I certainly might use it! That’s especially true if it was curated in some way…tap a button for a J.K. Rowling recommended fantasy book,  for example.

I’m not sure I made the stretch there, but I tried. 😉

My sibling’s book now has over 50 reviews on Amazon…and a 4.8 star average

I just want to congratulate my sibling, whose first novel

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

50 hardback copies of which are also being given away through Goodreads right now

One Murder More on Goodreads

for getting over fifty customer reviews on Amazon…with a remarkable 4.8 star average out of 5!

None of my books have gotten anywhere close to that, of course. 🙂

The Kindle edition is now $4.99.

To broaden this out a bit, it’s worth noting that the book is sales ranked #289,949 paid in the Kindle store. Great reviews, blurbs from top selling authors…and still, I think I can objectively say it hasn’t really broken out (although that number is very respectable…easily top ten percent).

If that’s going to happen, it could still happen at the holidays. For a first time novelist, it can take more than a year for a book to build momentum. This is also the first in a series…and it sometimes takes several books in a series for it to find an audience.

Regardless, congratulations!

An Echo/Alexa article

I told you I’d let you know about Amazon Echo/Alexa articles I publish in The Measured Circle. I hope to do a big round-up soon (there have been a lot of things happening), but I did do this one recently:

Shopping with your Amazon Echo
Have a comment on any of these stories? Feel free to share it with me and my readers!

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

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

The “I want to own my content” argument about Kindle Unlimited

August 20, 2015

The “I want to own my content” argument about Kindle Unlimited

I recently saw someone saying that they didn’t want to join

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

because they wanted to own their content.

With KU, you don’t own the books.  You pay $9.99 a month (but you can get a first month free) to get access to well over a million books.

Certainly, there are arguments in favor of owning books…I think I own over 10,000 paper books (and several thousand e-books).

For books, owning them has pretty much been the option in the past…outside of the public library or borrowing from friends and family.

That may be why many people don’t like the idea that if you leave KU, you no longer have access to books you’ve borrowed from there (you can keep a book as along as you like…until you stop being a member).

However, I think that just about everybody pays for access to content without owning it.

One obvious example: going to the movies.

When I go see a movie in a movie theatre, I don’t own that movie. I still enjoy it, and I understand that I paid for the experience of the movie…not for ownership.

Of course, when it comes out later on home video (a DVD,  a digital download, and so on), I can buy it if I want.

The same is true with KU.

If you want to buy a book you’ve read through KU, you can do that.

I think people also have the sense that when they are KU members, that $9.99 should cover all of their reading…that’s not my case, and there is no reason it should be.

I own DVDs…and I go to the movies.

We pay for cable (and Netflix and Hulu)…and as above, we have DVDs. 🙂

I think many people nowadays are more comfortable with paying for access than with ownership. That’s supposedly more true with Millenials (born roughly from 1981 to 1997)  than with Baby Boomers (born roughly between 1946 and 1964, but these dates are pretty fluid). I don’t know if that’s the case. I suspect that many older people are becoming very comfortable with paying for access. That can come with smaller living spaces, or with a sense or less stability.

I also wonder if people are less concerned with inheritance. When our now adult kid gets my p-books (paperbooks), I know that some of that will be a burden (although our kid prefers p-books to e-books, they aren’t going to want all of these!).

 Obviously, you don’t have the same logistical issue dealing with e-books that are owned that you do with p-books, but I think there may be a mental shift going on about building up an estate.

Do I think everybody should be KU members?

No…if you only read a couple of books a year, it’s not worth it.

If you read at least a few books a month, though, I’d consider it.

I maintain a KU Wish List at Amazon, so I can easily find things to read from there. Just to give you an idea, here are five books on it:

  1. The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis (inspiration for the David Bowie movie)
  2. Live and Let Die (James Bond) by Ian Fleming (this is the second book…I’ve already read the first one through KU)
  3. A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (famous account of the Titanic)
  4. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
  5. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

Those are all books I would certainly have considered buying at some point…perhaps if I had seen them used.

My list also has books on it like

Tarzan Meets Kong by Owen Leonard

I don’t expect that to be of the same quality as the above books (although I’m open to the possibility)…but it might be a fun enough read to get it as part of the ten books we can have at once.

What do you think? Is owning your content important to you? What’s the difference between going to a movie, or reading a KU book? If KU means you are reading books you wouldn’t have bought, what’s the difference? What makes a book borrowable, but not ownable? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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.

“A dime at a time”: why does Amazon limit us to ten borrows at a time with Kindle Unlimited?

July 27, 2015

“A dime at a time”: why does Amazon limit us to ten borrows at a time with Kindle Unlimited?

I’ve been a happy member of

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

since Amazon introduced it in mid-July last year (so it’s a bit over a year old at this point).

It’s what I call a “subser”: a subscription service. You pay a flat rate, and how much you read doesn’t affect that.

Why do I like it?

Interestingly, I’m not sure I’m saving money overall. The key difference is that I’m reading books which cost more than I might have paid  for otherwise. In the old days, I’ve paid $100 for a single book. Now, I tend to read books which were free to me (I like 19th Century literature), that I got on sale for under, say, $3, or that were gifts.

That means that there are a lot of books which cost more than $3 which I wouldn’t read without KU.

I haven’t moved all of my reading into KU…I’ve enhanced what I read.

That also means that for me, it’s not about volume…how many books I read with KU. It’s about which ones I read.

That said, there are two of us actively using this account: my Significant Other is the, well, other one. 🙂 We’ve had four books we are actively reading at once: two for each of us. By actively reading, for my SO that means having two on a plane…it’s a case of serial reading (finish one, start the next). I normally have several books going at the same time…I like to bounce between them. 🙂

Why does the number matter?

During

Prime Day

Amazon gave Prime members the opportunity to pre-pay for KU…at a considerable discount.

Did we do that?

You betcha! 🙂

I’m confident that many people joined KU that day who might not have done so before.

They might also have jumped on it more precipitously than they might have. I don’t mean they made a bad decision…they just might not have researched it as thoroughly as they would have if they didn’t have the time pressure of a same day decision.

One of my regular readers and commenters, Man in the Middle, mentioned being surprised by one of the limitations of Kindle Unlimited: you can only have up to ten books out at a time.

I’m sure that’s a surprise to quite a few people who joined on Prime Day…so I thought it was worth expanding on my response.

Two things I want to get out of the way first.

I referred to it as the “dime at a time” rule…with a dime standing in for the number ten. 🙂 I’m guessing some of my readers may not know…in the USA, a “dime” is our ten cent piece. It comes (indirectly) from the Latin meaning “tenth part” (it’s the tenth part of a dollar). “Decima” also gives us “decimate”…which contrary to the way it is usually used now, does mean “nearly wiped out”. It means “reduced by one tenth”. Taking a cue from our adult kid who is a linguist, I’ll say it “meant” that rather than “means”. 🙂

Second, I’ve seen people on the Kindle boards question the use of the term “unlimited”, since there are limitations…even calling it false advertising. I think it reasonably communicates the product. You can’t read a book which hasn’t been written yet through KU: is that an unfair limitation? 😉 You can’t read books which aren’t part of the program…there are a lot of limitations.

Okay, let’s talk the economics here (that’s your favorite part, right? When I get all mathy on you?). 😉

Amazon pays publishers so you can have books to read in KU.

There are two types of publishers in this case.

There are publishers (and they might be just the author…if you make your books available to the public, you are a publisher) which use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Those publishers are paid by the page you read. It used to be that they got paid for the who book once you’d read ten percent, but now it’s pro-rated.

The other type of publisher is a traditional publisher (which I call a tradpub). We  don’t know for sure how they get paid…and it may not be the same for all of them. It’s possible they are paid like a purchase. It’s also possible that they are paid a flat fee (like ten thousand dollars for a year, regardless of number of borrows).

Let’s work with the indies…the Big 5 of the USA trade (those are the kind of books you would have bought in a bookstore…not textbook and such) aren’t participating in KU yet (although I still think at least one may put at least some of their backlist titles into KU this year). Also, we know the numbers. 😉

Well, sort of.

The amount that the KDP publishers get varies from month to month. They divide a pool of money, so how much each borrow gets depends on how many borrows there are. If the pool is ten million dollars and there are a total of ten million borrows (not just your book…all of the books in the program), each borrow gets you one dollar. If there were five million borrows, each borrow gets you $2…and so on.

That amount has been around a couple of dollars.

Let’s make this easy and call the pay out a penny a page read…a 250 page novel, read all the way through, gets a royalty of $2.50. That’s probably in the ballpark.

Amazon (without the pre-pay discount) is getting the money for 999 pages a month using that measurement: if we call it thirty days in a month, Amazon breaks even (not counting costs of sale) at about thirty-three pages read a day.

That sounds reasonable…committed readers may read more than that, casual readers (who may not be the best market for KU) typically read considerably fewer.

At thirty-three pages a day and 250 pages in a book, you finish a book about every seven and a half days…call it once a week, and that’s about four and a half books a month.

Of course, a lot of people want to have more than one book on their devices at the same time…I usually have about ten. Even in the case of novels, as I mentioned, I go from one to another. That’s even more true with non-fiction. It does seem okay to me that I can download ten a time if I want, and return one and get another one when I want. Unless I’m going on vacation somewhere where there is no wi-fi (as if!) 😉 for a week or so, that works for me.

Here’s where it gets interesting…well, hopefully, more interesting.

The dime at a time limit isn’t per person…it’s per account.

If you have five people on your account, you still have that ten book limit…meaning you could each have two books at a time (on average).

That’s starting to get a bit tighter…but again, that’s not unreasonable to me.

How many people/devices can you have registered to your account?

That is unlimited!

Okay, okay…not literally unlimited. They might object if you had, oh, ten billion people on your account…since there aren’t that many people on the planet, and they might challenge the legitimacy of non-humans. 😉

Also, and this is important, you can’t have you people on your account for commercial purposes. In other words, you can’t charge people to join your account and make a profit. It’s certainly okay to cost share…you just can’t be doing it as a business.

We’ll say you have…fifty people on your account.

Amazon would lose a lot on money on that!

You’d pay $9.99 for a month.

We’ll say all fifty people read on average thirty-three pages a day.

Amazon would pay out…$495 that month. Not a viable model.

Naturally, it would be unusual for someone to have fifty people on their account.

Also, there is likely a significant portion of KU users who use it hardly at all.

The low users subsidize the high users…but that can only go so far.

That’s why there has to be a limit to simultaneous borrows…and not one for sequential borrows. You can’t assign a novel to three people and have it read three times as quickly…well, you could, but most people wouldn’t.

One person reading a hundred pages a day loses Amazon money on that KU subscription…but that would be less of a problem than twenty people on the same account reading 33 pages a day.

Hope that helps explain it…having several people on your KU account will usually give you more benefit than having one, but having fifteen won’t.

What do you think?  What is your favorite thing about KU? How many Kindle books do you have on your device? Do you find the dime at a time rule limiting? If you don’t have KU, why not? Do you have other KU questions? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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 a million books in Kindle Unlimited

June 17, 2015

More than a million books in Kindle Unlimited

I’ve been a happy member of

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

Amazon’s “all you can read” subser (subscription service) which is $9.99 a month.

The number of books available through it has been growing pretty rapidly, and I noticed today that it is over one million titles (in the USA Kindle store).

When the entire Kindle store launched back in 2007, it didn’t even have 100,000 titles…this is ten times as many!

Now, interestingly, in my

Snapshot: June 1 2015

there were 3,530,378 total titles, and 984,701 in Kindle Unlimited (27.9%).

Today, those numbers are 3,588,503 and 1,006,072 (28.0%).

Let’s see: that’s 58,125 titles added overall and 21,371 added to KU…so about 36.7% of the books added were added to KU.

That’s a lot!

I’m still guessing one of the Big 5 trade publishers may join KU this year (at least with some of their backlist), but that wouldn’t up the total numbers all that much. The tradpubs (traditional publishers) are a tiny minority of the books published to the Kindle store each month. They are a lot more of the money generated than they are of the units sold, of course.

I find that there are plenty of books I want to read in KU, and that it does tend to encourage me to read books which are more expensive.

We’ll see how Amazon’s new royalty plan changes what’s in KU (it may mean fewer short books), which I wrote about recently:

Pay by the page read: Amazon revolutionizes royalties

Let’s see…by the end of next year, it wouldn’t surprise me if a third of the books in the Kindle store are in KU…

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.

Penguin Random House: heading for Hachette style fight…or joining KU?

May 27, 2015

Penguin Random House: heading for Hachette style fight…or joining KU?

Reports in the media suggest we may be heading for another

Hachazon War

with Amazon playing hard ball (hardback?) with Penguin Random House, the largest of the Big 5 USA trade publishers (trade books are the ones you bought in bookstores…not textbooks and such). Articles such as this

The Guardian article by Jennifer Rankin

suggest, not unreasonably, that we may be looking at another public and prolonged contract negotiation dispute. That involved Amazon making it harder to get books (both e-books and p-books…paperbooks) from Hachette, another of the Big 5. The e-tailer allegedly pulled pre-order options, kept prices high, took books off sale, and suggested that customers buy other books right on some books’ Amazon product pages.

PRH is the last of the Big 5 in this round of negotiations…Amazon has already reached agreements with Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and yes, Hachette.

Yes, that sort of war is possible…but little old optimist me wants to suggest another possibility. 😉

Random House has always been willing to stand alone from the other tradpubs (traditional publishers).

Sometimes I agree with them and see it as a benefit to readers, sometimes I don’t…but I have always admired their strength of conviction.

I disagreed with Random House when they blocked text-to-speech access in all of their e-books (at least, that was their officially stated policy).

I agreed with them when they were the lone member of the then Big 6 (their merger with Penguin reduced it to five) to stay out of the Agency Model agreement which also involved Apple (and resulted in successful action by the U.S. Department of Justice).

Interestingly, in both cases, Random House eventually reversed their positions…widely allowing TTS access and joining the Agency Model.

Even though that’s the case, they both show Random House’s willingness to lead.

I think it’s possible that these negotiations may involve another opportunity for PRH to lead.

They might become the first of the Big 5 to join

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

That’s Amazon’s subser (subscription service). You pay $9.99 a month for “all you can read” access to close to one million books (we should pass that before the end of the summer, I think).

I’m a happy KU member….even without the presence of the Big 5.

I still see threads from time to time in the Amazon Kindle forum asking if KU is “worth it”.

That’s going to depend on your use patterns.

For example, if you have more than one user of your account, KU is worth more to you than if you have just one.

You can have up to ten books out at a time.

That mean that, easily, my Significant Other and I can both be reading different KU books at the same time. It’s much more likely that I’m reading several and my SO is reading one, but you get the idea. 🙂

A family of four could save even more.

I also find that what it does it have me reading a selection of different, somewhat more expensive books. There are so many free and low cost books that I don’t need KU to have just something to read. What it means is that I’ll read a book that costs maybe $7.99 and up which I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

You might be surprised that there are books that are that expensive in KU…it seems like many people think that KU books are all indies (independently published), which are typically a lot cheaper than that.

That’s simply not true.

While we don’t have the Big 5 (yet), we do have well-known, tradpubs and well-known books. Publishers already participating include:

  • W.W. Norton (Moneyball)
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (the Lord of the Rings, What If?…which was in KU and a New York Times bestseller at the same time)
  • Scholastic (The Hunger Games)
  • Mariner (Life of Pi)

However, it’s also clear that having the Big 5 in there would bring in more readers.

It’s not that the Big 5 are completely averse to subsers…some are involved (at least with the backlist…older books) in Oyster and Scribd.

I think that some participation in KU would be a very good thing for the Big 5. It’s going to increasingly become a source of discovery. You don’t need every one of your books in there. Having short stories in a popular series could be a big draw, and could lead people to buying the series (not just for themselves, but for gifts).

It would take guts, though, for a Big 5 tradpub to join KU. It could not help but be seen as a signal. Joining another subser? That can be seen as a statement against Amazon, not necessarily pro-subser (which worries some authors). Joining KU? That’s an endorsement of subsers generally.

In my annual

The Year Ahead: 2015

I predicted (shakily) that a Big 5 publisher would join KU this year.

I used Macmillan as an example, but Random House (now PRH) was always the most likely to blaze the trail.

The two might not be announced together…general contract agreement and KU participation. It might make sense to separate them by a bit. Amazon also may not announce a general agreement, but it will get into the media.

I would guess that they may also be trying to do this by summer. That’s a great time to promote KU, when people often have more time to read (not just students, but people going on family or other vacations).

We’ll see what happens, but I do think this would be cool! 🙂

What do you think? Does it matter to you if a Big 5 publisher gets into KU? If one joins, will others follow? Will we have a…Random House Rumble like the Hachazon War? Will Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com settle with PRH at the same time? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to reader and commenter rogerknights for a comment which improved 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.

 

 

Top 10 Kindle USA bestsellers jump almost $3

March 27, 2015

Top 10 Kindle USA bestsellers jump almost $3

Well.

The last time I did an analysis of the USA Kindle store top ten bestsellers (on January 9th of this year), they averaged $4.10.

Today, that’s jumped almost $3 to $7.09.

That’s an increase of about 72%…in under three months.

There may be a seasonal impact there…prices are often low in January, I think, because there is a lot of competition for gift card/returns money.

However, I think there may be another contributing factor here.

Here’s my analysis:

Title Price Publisher KU? TTS? X-Ray? Word Wise? Lending? WSV Stars Reviews
The Girl on the Train $6.99 Penguin No Yes Yes Yes No Yes 4.1 9,685
The Stranger $10.99 Penguin No Yes No No No Yes 4.4 41
The Six Wives of Henry VIII $1.59 Grove No Yes Yes Yes No No 4.7 377
Maude $1.99 Indie Yes Yes Yes Yes No No 4.4 5,507
Younger $4.99 Amazon No Yes Yes No No Yes 4.0 484
All the Light We Cannot See $12.99 S&S No No Yes Yes No Yes 4.6 9,873
Dead Wake $12.99 Random No Yes Yes No No No 4.6 223
NYPD Red 3 $9.99 Hachette No Yes Yes No No No 4.7 107
The Longest Ride $5.39 Hachette No Yes Yes Yes No Yes 4.6 4,658
Ready Player One $2.99 Random No Yes Yes Yes No Yes 4.6 5,085
Average/% Yes $7.09 90% 90% 90% 60% 100% 60% 4.47 3,604

Last time, fewer than half of the books were from the Big 5 largest USA trade publishers (trade books are the kind you buy in bookstores, as opposed to textbooks and such).

This time, it’s seven of them (Grove isn’t one of the Big 5, although it is a traditional publisher which has been around for a long time).

My guess?

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

may have something to do with that.

None of the Big 5 are participating in Amazon’s subser (subscription service), where you pay $9.99 a month and you can read as many books as you want…well, perhaps that should be “as you can”. 😉 You are limited to having ten books out at a time, but hey, if you can read three and a half books a day (that’s my personal best for novels), you can read your roughly 108 books that month at no additional cost.

Many of the non-Big 5 books are in KU.

That may mean that non-Big 5 books are not being purchased as much, since so many of them (including books like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Life of Pi) can be borrowed.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the actual number of sales of e–books at Amazon is going down…if the bestselling books aren’t selling as many as they used to do.

That rise in price is due partly to tradpubs (traditional publishers) tending to price their books higher than indies (independent publishers). More tradpub representation typically means higher prices (although that’s a great price for Ready Player One…we just found out that Steven Spielberg is going to direct the movie adaptation for Warner Brothers).

We may also start to see a rise in tradpub prices…if buying a book (as opposed to having access to it) is seen as a luxury, people may be willing to pay more for it.

We may head back to the pre-paperback days, when books were largely owned by the better off, and seen as a sign of status.

That would be owned by, in the future situation: not read by.

Certainly, KU has been around for a while now, and the economics of publishing may (at to some degree) start to shift because of it.

The only KU book in the bunch, Maude, was also a bestseller back in January.

It’s now been designated with a new badge at Amazon: it’s one of the

Kindle Unlilmited All-Star Books and Authors (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s an interesting new feature!

Amazon describes it this way:

“Kindle Unlimited All-Stars are the most popular titles and authors in KDP Select. Each month we determine the most popular by adding up the number of books sold, borrows from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and the number of books read in Kindle Unlimited.”

That’s a fascinating set of parameters. Presumably, the bestseller list only counts sales, not borrows. I can understand that…but it intrigues me that they also count books which were read (a KU author doesn’t get paid until you’ve read 10% of the book).

What if someone borrows a book in January, but doesn’t read it until February? I’ve waited that long.

Does it count twice…once for the borrow, once for the read?

Does reading it count more?

If this is a KU thing, why are sales included at all?

Looking at their lists (they do it be different genres), I’m not seeing the well-known books which are part of KU.

I’ve tried to tell you about those from time to time…former New York Times bestsellers in KU, for example.

For me, that’s definitely part of the selling point. I’m always thrilled to see a book or an author I have in paper in KU…I’m excited that other people can read those books as part of KU.

My guess is that people who have become KU members are, for the most part, staying KU members.

At this point, it seems to get better every month…so if it was worth it the first month, why isn’t it worth the second month, and so on?

I also don’t think KU members tend to stop buying books…they probably do both (again, the majority of people is my guess), but they might buy fewer books.

I expect to hear some very laudatory things said about KU in a future Amazon financials report…perhaps without giving numbers, though. 😉

What do you think? Is KU making it so that fewer indies are top sellers at Amazon? Is that a bad thing? Do you think the publishers might be compensated more by KU (we’ve heard reports both ways)? Will we develop two tiers: people who buy tradpubs, and people who use subsers? Will any of the Big 5 join KU this year (in my look ahead to 2015, I thought that was a possibility)? 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.

The most reviewed books in Kindle Unlimited

March 10, 2015

The most reviewed books in Kindle Unlimited

Don’t let anybody tell you that there aren’t popular books available in

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

That’s Amazon’s $9.99 a month subser (“subscription service”).

Yes, you may not see the most current most popular books in the country…at least, when you are looking at the p-book (paperbook) charts.

The biggest publishers (the “Big 5”) aren’t participating…although I’ve speculated that at least one of them will this year.

That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t books that have been popular!

I thought I’d look at the books with the most reviews…that, I find, tends to give me the most mainstream titles.

I’ll tell you, if I had listed the top ten or twenty or even fifty and asked people what they had in common, I doubt that KU would have come to mind. 😉

If you walked into a brick-and-mortar bookstore and these titles were on the shelf, I don’t think you’d feel like you were in a post-apocalyptic world.

Sure, you might ask where the New York Times bestseller section was, and be told that the store didn’t have one (although at least one book has been in KU while it was a current NYT bestseller).

I suppose it might feel more like one of those little, non-chain bookstores…where it was more about quality and some quirkiness than being what’s happening now.

Here’s a link to

Kindle Unlimited sorted by most reviews (at AmazonSmile*)

which, by the way, has 891,998 titles at the time of writing…more than ten times what the USA Kindle store had when it first opened. 😉

  1. The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins | 4.6 stars out of 5 | 23,323 customer reviews
  2. Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins | 4.3 stars | 18,767 reviews…this third book in the series most ties into the most recent movie, which, I think, explains why it beats the number two book in the series.
  3. Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins | 4.7 stars | 15,877
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, Book 1) by J.K. Rowling | 4.8 stars | 10,060 reviews
  5. Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal (Libro 1) (Spanish Edition) by J.K. Rowling | 4.8 stars | 10,060 reviews (happy to have one in a non-English language towards the top…but it seems like a bit of cheating to have the same review count. A translation is not the same as the original; it even gets a separate copyright)
  6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Japanese Edition) by J.K. Rowling | 4.8 stars | 10,060 reviews (I will say, though, when I’ve wanted to learn a foreign language, I found two things particularly good…comic books, and the phone book ((yes, it’s been a while)) 😉 In the phone book, I would go to the Yellow Pages…those often seemed to have pretty natural language, with pictures, of fairly common items)
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, Book 3) by J.K. Rowling | 4.7 stars | 9,652 reviews
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, Book 7) by J.K. Rowling | 4.7 stars | 9,652 reviews (Book 3 and Book 7 have the exact same numbers of reviews? That seems suspicious to me…and this doesn’t appear to be an omnibus edition)
  9. The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller (The Origin Mystery, Book 1) by A.G. Riddle | 4.2 stars | 9,240 reviews (I’m guessing this is the first one many of you didn’t know, but it’s popular)
  10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien | 4.7 stars | 7,780 reviews
  11. The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1) by Lois Lowry | 4.3 stars | 7,772 reviews (old or new, books that get labeled as “Young Adult”, appropriately or not, have a lot of reviews here. I’m guessing that has something to do with the demographics of people who tend to write reviews on Amazon, but I don’t know)
  12. War Brides by Helen Bryan | 4.2 stars | 7,253 reviews (one of these things is not like the others) 😉
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, Book 5) by J.K. Rowling | 4.5 stars | 7,073 reviews
  14. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume by J.R.R. Tolkien | 4.7 stars | 6,780 reviews (if I was getting something from KU and could get an omnibus edition, I would tend to do that…it takes up fewer of your maximum number of borrows you have at one time)
  15. The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien | 4.7 stars | 6,870 reviews (see, something is rotten in the state of Amazon. 😉 The odds that an individual book would have the same of reviews (as long as it is a substantial number) as one of the books in the series seem as low as Khazad-dûm 😉

Looks like at this point, we can say that there are three series to rule them all…The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

There are lot of other books in Kindle Unlimited, but these have all crossed over from serious readers to the mainstream…

Enjoy!

 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! :) 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.

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.

Chri

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

https://flipboard.com/

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.

 


%d bloggers like this: