Archive for the ‘Kindle Voyage’ Category

In-book options: Kindle Voyage and the least expensive Fire tablet

March 19, 2016

In-book options: Kindle Voyage and the least expensive Fire tablet

One of my most popular posts has been

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

However that one was written back in July of 2014, so I thought I’d take a look at two of the current generation.

In this case, I’m using the top of the line Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader)

Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $199.99

and the least expensive Fire tablet

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99

It might seem odd that I’m taking the most expensive in one category and the least expensive in the other, but in terms of the options, they’ve really homogenized the experience across a given model line.

I’m using the same edition of the same book on both: it’s a version of Alice in Wonderland which I’ve been using for demos since the first Kindle was released…it’s not available any more, though.

Okay, let’s compare!

The Aa button

On the Voyage:

  • 8 font sizes
  • 7 fonts
  • 3 line spacing options
  • 3 margin options

On the Fire:

  • 12 font sizes
  • 8 fonts (Helvatica Light is the additional one)
  • 3 line spacing options
  • 3 margin options
  • 4 color options
  • Brightness slider

The Fire wins on this one. The color in particular matters to me…I often read with white font on a black background, although I also like the Sepia scheme.

Sharing options

The Voyage
  • Goodreads
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
The Fire
  • Goodreads
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • E-mail
  • Bluetooth

This one also goes to the Fire.

Notes

The Voyage

  • Tap the screen, tap the menu, tap Notes
  • Yours | Popular | Public
  • Note are shown. You can delete or share (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter)

The Fire

  • Tap the screen, tap the notebook (one step fewer)
  • I only seen mine here initially
  • Delete, favorite

There may be more to this somewhere else on the Fire, but despite it being easier to get to on the Fire, the Voyage gave me more options, so this one goes to the Voyage.

Settings

The Voyage

  • Shop Kindle Store
  • Vocabulary
  • Settings (device settings)
  • Notes
  • Landscape Mode
  • About This Book
  • About the Author
  • Sync to Furthest Page Read
  • Reading Progress
  • Word Wise

The Fire

  • Popular Highlights
  • About This Book
  • Auto-Download Companion Audiobooks
  • Text-to-Speech
  • Whispersync for  Books
  • Notifications
  • Word Wise
  • Magazine Page Curl

This is a bit mixed, but I like what I see on the Voyage better…I’m going to call it a wash, though, because different things are in different places on the devices.

Navigation

The Voyage

  • Beginning
  • Page or Location
  • Cover
  • Chapters
  • End

The Fire

  • This one has a combined menu. Go to does page or location. Also here…
  • About This Book
  • Search
  • Sync
  • Switch to Audiobook (the Voyage doesn’t have audio
  • Go to Beginning
  • Before You Go
  • Cover
  • Chapters
  • I can also go directly from here to my library

Got to give this to the Voyage…more interesting options.

Long-pressing the word “perhaps”

The Voyage

  • Dictionary definition
  • Wikipedia
  • Translation (16 languages)
  • Highlight
  • Note
  • Share
  • Search (This Book, All Text, Kindle Store)
  • Report Content Error

The Fire

  • Wikipedia
  • Translation (16 languages)
  • Dictionary
  • Color
  • Note
  • Copy
  • Share
  • Search in Book
  • Search the Web

Hm…I like having “Report Content Error” on the Voyage, but being able to copy and paste on the Fire is a real advantage. No winner.

Other unique options

The Voyage

  • Page flip, which lets you look ahead in the book without changing your place

The Fire

  • Word Runner (speed reading one word at a time)
  • Syncing with an audiobook/immersion reading

These are too different to call. I personally don’t really use any of them. 🙂

The Fire can also use enhanced books to play video, and show images/charts in color.

Overall

While it may seem from this that the Fire Tablet has more options, and it does, the Voyage is still a more comfortable read for me.

That has to do with the screen technology.

The Fire tablet is backlit: the light is behind what you are reading, shining into your eyes.

The Voyage has the light in front of the screen, pointing at the screen. You read it the same way you read a paperbook, with the light reflecting off the object.

Another advantage of the Voyage is the battery life…weeks rather than hours.

For me, it’s pretty simple.

If you just want to read text, the Voyage is better.

If you are looking at images, want sound (text-to-speech or audiobooks), and want other features (apps, music, video, web), and want to save money, you go with the Fire.

I do most of my reading on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX tablet, but I also read every day on a Voyage and sometimes on a Paperwhite.

I hope that’s helpful. If you have other questions, or want to share your thoughts with me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

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

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 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 #276: PRH on subsers, Boehner blocks

November 15, 2014

Round up #276: PRH on subsers, Boehner blocks

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

No Active Content for the Voyage?

This question had come up before, but according to this

post in The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder

Amazon is not planning to add Active Content for the

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

their flagship model.

Hoffelder reports having been told by Amazon that their “…focus is on building the best purpose-built reading devices.”

I suppose I can understand as a goal, but Active Content is one of those really non-intrusive things. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t. Games have been on the Kindles since the very first one in 2007 (although the games on that one were hidden…I played Minesweeper on mine, though). It’s an interesting decision.

There are over 1,500 customer reviews for

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

in the USA Kindle store, with an average rating of 4.3 stars (out of 5). There have been ten reviews at time of writing in November 2014…and almost all of them were five stars.

It’s currently ranked #2,397 free in the Kindle store…out of 64,497, making it in the top 4% of sellers.

My guess is that this really has more to do with associated expenses (adapting the Amazon published ones for new models, customer service) than it really has to do with what customers say. However, I have had e-mail exchanges with the person listed by Hoffelder, and that person has always seemed nice and knowledgeable to me…so I’m sure there is some evidence for what the rep says.

$80 worth of apps free through Saturday 11/15

While I probably do more reading on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

than I do anything else (counting text-to-speech as reading…which I do), it certainly isn’t a “purpose-built reading device”.

I’m sure some people would argue that Amazon is turning away from Active Content to encourage people to buy Fires…but I think they’d be happiest if people had both. 😉

For those of you who do use a Fire and want apps, Amazon has a promotion going on through today (Saturday) with $80 worth of apps being given away. They are calling it an

App Toolbox (at AmazonSmile*)

Note that not all of these will work on a Fire tablet (the ones that don’t may work on the Fire Phone, if you are one of the rarities like me who owns one). 😉

Titles include:

  • Office Calculator Pro: 4.4 stars, 172 reviews
  • MathsApp Graphing Calculator: 4.4 stars, 63 reviews
  • EasyTether: 4.3 stars, 861 reviews
  • Open Document Reader: 5.0 stars, 3 reviews
  • Oxford Dictionary of English: 3.5 stars, 8 reviews…normally $24.99

and twelve more.

Amazon and others advocate for Equal Collection Legislation

It’s been a while since I’ve written about this issue, but it’s back in the news.

Congress is considering a bill which would mean that sales tax would be collected on online purchases in a way similar to how it is collected now in brick and mortar stores.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble both support the current legislation, along with many other entities.

The

National Retail Federation

has sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, urging passage. Unfortunately, every link on their website to that letter is failing for me…they may be overwhelmed because of the coverage.

Why does this matter now?

If the current bill isn’t passed before the new Congress takes over in January of 2015, it’s dead…and they have to start all over (again).

It might surprise you that Amazon and B&N are on the same side on this.

Amazon has argued for it before. They don’t want there to be lots of different rules about how this happens all over the country: they want one clear sales tax collection policy (not rate, policy) at the national level.

This (and previous bills) bill is not about people owing more taxes, but it would certainly mean that many people pay more.

Check the sales tax category (linked at the end of this post) for more information, but essentially, what happens now is that many people are supposed to pay tax on things they buy on the internet…and they don’t. Every year, my family adds more when we pay our State taxes for those uncollected taxes…it would be far easier if they just collected them at the time of purchase.

Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to track your in-store purchases yourself to figure out what sales tax you owed?

Amazon has repeatedly said that when they are in situations where sales tax is collected on their purchases, it doesn’t hurt their market share.

I believe that. Oh, that’s not to say that some people might buy very expensive items from Amazon to avoid having sales tax collected. Of course, they might be quite surprised if they ever get audited…not having paid that will not get you invited to the IRS offices for tea. 😉 It might get you invited somewhere else less pleasant, though…

According to this

The Hill article by Bernie Becker

Speaker Boehner is blocking the bill, despite some significant bipartisan support.

It’s worth noting that not every state would collect sales tax on e-books anyway (California doesn’t, when they are delivered electronically…at least, that’s how it was last time I looked), but this still could affect Kindleers.

PRH C.E.O. doesn’t like subsers

Generally, I’ve found Random House to be pretty forward thinking…but this

The Bookseller article by Benedicte Page

makes me question that.

C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer) Tom Weldon of Penguin Random House makes several statements.

One of them has to do with keeping e-book royalty rates the same, but the headline item is really about not believing in subsers (subscription services), like Amazon’s

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

In this short excerpt, Weldon is quoted as saying:

“We are not convinced it is what readers want. ‘Eat everything you can’ isn’t a reader’s mindset. In music or film you might want 10,000 songs or films, but I don’t think you want 10,000 books.”

Well, as someone with something like 10,000 paperbooks on my shelves, I beg to differ. 😉

Certainly, it usually takes longer to read a book than it does to listen to a song or watch a movie, so you might think you need access to fewer…but you still need to make the choices as to which ones to consume.

While I think there is a lot future in curation (people, and perhaps software, picking books that you are likely to like), having a variety is important now.

Let’s say you like 1% of the books that are published each year. 10,000 gives you one to enjoy every three days. That’s a pretty good pace.

I think subsers are a big part (but not the only part) of the book market in the next few years, and I suspect Random House may come on board with it. Weldon didn’t rule it out, although the CEO thought they were more likely to succeed in emerging markets. If they did there, that might encourage them to join in more developed markets.

I recommend the article: see what Weldon has to say about PRH selling directly to consumers…I think what’s said there is wise.

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

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

 

Updates bring new features to some Kindle EBRs

November 14, 2014

Updates bring new features to some Kindle EBRs

Amazon had told us they were coming, and in this

press release

they announce that new features are available for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…non-Fires).

They will come automatically over-the-air, or you can get them by going to

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

If you do it manually, be careful to pick the update for the right model of Kindle.

Here are the specific models they have announced have the new updates. This doesn’t mean that older models absolutely won’t get them, although that is possible.

What are these new features?

  • Word Wise (at AmazonSmile*) (click links for screenshots): definitions of “difficult words” automatically appear above the words. You can then tap to see more information. You can control how many of these appear by using a slider. This may be particularly useful for children and for those learning English as a second language. It’s not going to be available on every book, but some popular books already have it. I’m sure you’ll be able to turn this off, in case you find it vexatious (annoying) 😉
  • Family Library (at AmazonSmile*): this allows you to share books from one account with a set number of people from another account. This will also only be certain books. This is a huge change, and we’ll have to see how the implementation is
  • Kindle FreeTime Unlimited: this is the subser (“subscription service”. You pay $2.99 a month, and your child gets access to curated content at no additional cost
  • Expanded X-Ray for Books (at AmazonSmile*): X-Ray gives you information about the characters, terms, concepts and more in the book which you are reading. Now you’ll be able to browse the pictures in a book and the meaningful passages as well.
  • Deeper Goodreads Integration (at AmazonSmile*): Amazon owns the immensely popular social reading site. Looking at this, it appears that this will have more of an impact when you are in the Goodreads app/function on your device than when you are reading a book. For example, it doesn’t appear to me that your reading status will automatically update as you read the book (I’d like to see that feature…with an ability to mask it, of course), but you will be able to buy books (not quite yet) directly from the Goodreads function
  • Enhanced Search (at AmazonSmile*): when you search for something, you’ll get results from your library, from the Kindle Store, and from Goodreads
  • About This Book (at AmazonSmile*): it’s unclear to me yet if this will work when you aren’t connected to wi-fi, but it definitely has some things people have talked about since the Kindle 1 in 2007. It will give you series information, author information (and in the screenshot, it shows a way to sign up to be notified when new books by that author are released), “mentioned in this book” (that looks like other books), and contrary to what I said above 🙂 gives you a way to at least update Goodreads with the fact that you are currently reading it

I’ll install this on our Paperwhite 2 and test it out.

One interesting note: the links above for each of the features also include links to the Fires. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every Fire gets every one of these features, or even that any of them do…they may just link to all products on the “Press Resource” pages.

Note that this is Amazon, as they often do, giving us more at no additional cost…thanks, Amazon!

If you’ve checked these out or have questions about them, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this page. Which of these do you think you’ll use? What do you wish they had done which they didn’t (I figured I’d ask the question before people volunteered, as they always do 😉 )?

 

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

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

Kindle Voyage ad: Bezos=Nemo?

September 27, 2014

Kindle Voyage ad: Bezos=Nemo?

Amazon has posted a new

ad on YouTube

for the

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

their upcoming (in pre-orders now) top of the line EBR (E-Book Reader).

I like the ad: it’s slick, and is all about the product. They don’t type their customers demographically (which they’ve done in the past…early Kindle ads were often filled with young people) or knock down their competition (as they did with the “pool ad”).

It’s what I want an ad for a Kindle to be, in many ways…touting the reading, and what reading does for you, as well as pointing out a few of the technological things.

They show some text from a book in it, and I recognized it: it’s from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne.

Interestingly, that got me thinking.

Some people point to Captain Nemo as a James Bond type super villain…type “megalomaniacal” and “Nemo” into a search engine, and you’ll find several definitions of the character.

However, there is an argument to be made that although Nemo was a brilliant thinker, working outside the box, using new technology…the ardent environmentalist took a wrong turn into violence, but was trying to do good in the world.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is a brilliant thinker working outside the box, using new technology, and I believe, trying to do good in the world.

Has the CEO made that wrong turn into harming others as a means to an end? You’ll certainly find people who think so.

That’s why I found that book an…intriguing choice.

I’m unconvinced, though, that Amazon thinks that carefully about what associations people will make. When they named the Kindle the “Kindle” originally, they appear not to have anticipated the association people would make between “kindling” and burning books…that used to be something I’d see on the internet.

Without spoiling 20,000 Leagues (I think there is no statute of limitations on spoilers…a ten-year old reading it for the first time today deserves the same joy of discovery today as they did a hundred years ago), I want to put a couple of quotations here, and let you consider their possible connection (at least metaphorically) to Amazon.

Here’s one that I think points up how some people see Amazon as a company…the fascination with it:

“In every place of great resort the monster was the fashion. They sang of it in the cafes, ridiculed it in the papers, and represented it on the stage. All kinds of stories were circulated regarding it. There appeared in the papers caricatures of every gigantic and imaginary creature, from the white whale, the terrible ‘Moby Dick’ of sub-arctic regions, to the immense kraken, whose tentacles could entangle a ship of five hundred tons and hurry it into the abyss of the ocean. The legends of ancient times were even revived.”

Legends of ancient times…like the Amazon warriors, perhaps? 😉

As to Jeff, there is this riposte from Captain Nemo…is it that hard to imagine Jeff Bezos reacting similarly if someone in a meeting said, “But real business people don’t do it that way”?

“I’m not what you term a civilized man! I’ve severed all ties with society, for reasons that I alone have the right to appreciate. Therefore I obey none of its regulations, and I insist that you never invoke them in front of me!”

I do think Amazon, while undeniably imperfect, has brought a tremendous amount of good to the world. I’m a former brick and mortar bookstore manager, and a very minor author (although this blog is reasonably popular), and I think the book industry needed to be shaken up. I think that Amazon has made it so more books are available more easily to more people, and that is a good thing.

So, does Bezos=Nemo? Certainly not…but there a few similarities. 😉

What do you think? Am I underplaying Amazon’s negatives? Strikes in Germany, open letters against them by famous authors, complaints from small publishers…are these legitimate responses to ruthless policies? On the other hand, has the way that Amazon has enabled authors to bypass the tradpubs (traditional publishers) and make a living writing been a great benefit to readers? Would you compare Jeff Bezos to some other literary character or historical person? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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.

 


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