Archive for the ‘Flash posts’ Category

Change in Agency Model?

January 1, 2012

Change in Agency Model?

Well, this is interesting!

I’m working on my monthly Snapshot of statistics about what’s happening in the USA Kindle store.

One of the things I examine is the Kindle store prices of the New York Times hardcover fiction bestsellers.

Most of those will say

“This price was set by the publisher.”

due to something called the Agency Model.

Well, while I was going through it this morning, I noticed titles that are from publishers who are (were?) part of the Agency Model that don’t say that.

There may be some sort of glitch…or there may actually be a change in the Agency Model.

Hey! I just went to list books for you, and they are back to showing as Agency Model titles. One was a Doubleday (Random House) and another was Little, Brown (Hachette).

Unless I was mistaken (which is possible), this could mean that they are preparing for a switch. Not too many people would be seeing something at 6:00 AM on New Year’s Day!

Well, I’ll check again later. As I work on the Snapshot, I’ll notice it.

Hmm…unlike a lot of people, I’m not particularly impaired this morning 😉 , but it is morning…not my best time of the say. It’s possible it was a temporary fluke  or I saw it wrong. We’ll see. Could be nothing, but…

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

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Specials today: Life of Pi, Where’s My Water?

December 26, 2011

Specials today: Life of Pi, Where’s My Water?

I don’t usually just list the specials, but these two seemed particularly good.

First, the

Kindle Daily Deal

today is

Life of Pi

for ninety-nine cents (discounted from $8.99).

This Man Booker Prize winner is challenging and charming, and has been very well-received. I’ve read it myself…I think you are going to run into the situation where somebody at some time on your account is going to mention it as “something I always wanted to read.”  It’s also going to be an important movie in December of 2012 (directed by Ang Lee and starring Tobey Maguire).

For Kindle Fire owners (or people with other Android devices), the

Free App of the Day

is the very popular Disney title,

Where’s My Water?

you try to help Swampy the Alligator (who lives under a city) get water.

I bought it today, but haven’t tried it yet. I just know I’ve heard about it repeatedly…

These deals are only good for today (December 26, 2011) and may not be available outside the USA (that’s definitely true of the app), but there are always new deals at Amazon. 🙂

If you have an opinion about either of these, feel free to share by commenting on this post.

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

Woot (today only) has Kindle DX for $199.99 + $5 shipping

December 22, 2011

Woot (today only) has Kindle DX for $199.99 + $5 shipping

Jump on this one!

One of my readers, Philip Jackson, was nice to alert me to today’s

http://www.woot.com/

special!

Woot is owned by Amazon, and does one daily special…and it tends to sell out.

Today it is a refurbed Kindle DX for $199.99 plus $5 shipping!

That’s the larger, 9.7″ Kindle E Ink model.

If you bought it new from Amazon directly, it would be $379.

I don’t see it refurbed directly from Amazon right now.

It doesn’t ship with a wall charger, but it does have the USB cable.

I’m also not positive that it’s the international model, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. It says

“The experimental Web browser is not currently available for some customers outside of the U.S.”

and

“Connectivity: HSDPA modem (3G) with a fallback toEDGE/GPRS; utilizes Whispernet to provide wireless coverage via AT&T’s 3G high-speed data network in the U.S. and partner networks outside of the U.S.”

Update: confirmed, this is the international model:

Global Coverage: Enjoy wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries”

If you’ve always wanted a Kindle DX, don’t let this go by…could sell out at any time.

The KDX is the only model I don’t have…I’m thinking about this. The question is whether I need one as a reference to ask questions…I don’t see many KDX specific questions. I know there are those of you who love the KDX…

Anyway, don’t hesitate if you know you want it.

Thanks, Philip!

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

Free 2-day shipping on Kindles extended: order by 12/21 8:00 PM PDT

December 20, 2011

Free 2-day shipping on Kindles extended: order by 12/21 8:00 PM PDT

Amazon is extending free two-day shipping on Kindles to the continental U.S..

If you order it by December 21 (this Wednesday) at 8:00 PM Pacific, they guarantee delivery by Christmas (which is Sunday).

They talk about it in this

press release

Those are the currently available Kindles (but they don’t mention the Kindle DX 9.7 inch…they say the “Kindle family”. Apparently, the Kindle DX has become like Chuck Cunningham on Happy Days…the older brother who was mysteriously never mentioned again after the second season).  Those are:

I don’t think it matters if they are Special Offers or not…the Special Offers definitely qualify.

They also mention that the Kindle Fire has been the #1 bestselling item at Amazon for twelve weeks running. That always amazes me…a $199 item sells more units than, say, AA batteries? Of course, there are many brands of AA batteries, but that still seems odd to me.

Also touted: the new ability to choose a delivery date for e-book gifts, which I’ve written about previously.

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

Kindle Fire update reportedly appearing: Update…you can officially download it

December 20, 2011

Kindle Fire update reportedly appearing

Update: you can now officially get the update

here

I’m starting to get reports of the Kindle Fire update being out there.

One person (who wrote me in private e-mail…if you want credit, let me know) said it was 6.2.1, and that it allows deleting from the Carousel.

Consider this a preliminary heads-up. I’ll update it when I have something more significant.

I have been syncing and powering my Kindle Fire off and on to try to prompt the update. 🙂

Update: Joseph K. Naneville has posted what appears to be a link to the update in this

Amazon Kindle community thread

The link is this:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/kindle-fire-updates/update-kindle-6.2.1_D01E_3103920.bin

Now, I want to be very clear. This hasn’t been, as far as I can tell, officially announced by Amazon. There is, hypothetically, a risk in trying this file. I don’t know anything about Joseph. The address is consistent with other updates.

I did, however, try it myself.

I used the free app

WiFi File Explorer PRO

which I’ve reviewed in this earlier post (along with a number of other apps) to wirelessly transfer it into the Kindle Fire‘s kindleupdates folder.

I then shut down the Kindle, by holding in the power button for several seconds.

When I restarted it, I went to

Settings Gear – More – Device, Update Your Kindle

Update Your Kindle had not been enabled until I did the power down, by the way.

The update took, oh, maybe a minute, and involved a restart.

Let’s take a look at what I see that is different:

  • The first thing was that the available memory in the Device display is now split between apps and everything else. I’d always wondered about that…the way Amazon states the memory, it was “80 apps” and something else, suggesting it was always partitioned (having a certain amount of memory dedicated to apps). That’s also what I had heard from some people…they’d reached an app installation limit while there was still memory available to them on the device. I show 1.17 GB available for apps, and 5.37 GB available for “internal storage”. I saw this first because I was checking the update
  • My system version is now 6.2.1_user_3103920
  • I long pressed (hold your fingertip on it for about a second) an item on the Carousel that was not downloaded to the device. I got a choice to “Remove from Carousel”. That’s a big one! You could remove questionable titles so other people didn’t see them. However, my literally thousands of Cloud titles were there…might take a while (not that I have that many questionable titles) 😉 Note: the book still shows on the Books tab (I figured it would…you have to have some way to download it). So, somebody doing a “deep dive” into your Kindle could still see it. It does stop the casual viewer, though
  • I’m not sure if this is new, honestly, but on the Newsstand, I can long press and get a choice to “Show Back Issues”
  • Under Settings Gear – More, there is now a choice for Restrictions. You enter a password there (if you elect to use it). That then (by default) password protects your wi-fi. Is this intended for “parental controls”? This warning certainly seems to indicate so: “Be sure to disable Wi-Fi before giving the device to your child.” Honestly, that’s a bit “nanny-ish” to me…I think I can make that decision reasonably based on my child. I think I would have said something like, “If you would like to disable…” When this is on, there is a key icon that appears up by your battery. Oh, and it appears to have turned off my wi-fi…even when I disabled the restrictions. I had to manually turn it back on again…no big deal, though
  • I haven’t seen anything for Collections or text-to-speech
Performance changes (if any) will become more apparent as I use it more. If you notice anything, feel free to let me know. 🙂

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

You can now reset your Kindle password yourself

December 16, 2011

You can now reset your Kindle password yourself

Well, are we sensing a trend here? 🙂

Yesterday, I told you that you can now “return” a Kindle store book (within seven days of purchase) directly from the Manage Your Kindle page

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

Well, I was answering a question in the Amazon Kindle community about resetting your Kindle password.

When I do that, I often check the Amazon Help pages, to see if anything has changed.

It had. 🙂

You can now reset your Kindle device’s password yourself!

Amazon help page

We used to have to contact Kindle Support to have them reset your password:

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

They would remotely reset your Kindle to factory defaults.

It’s important to understand what that means before I tell you how to do it yourself.

When you reset to factory defaults, you lose all the personalization you’ve done to your Kindle (but not Kindle software updates).

That means:

  • You’ll lose any personal documents on your device
  • You’ll lose your internet bookmarks
  • You’ll lose memorized wi-fi networks
  • You’ll have re-register your Kindle (I think that’s right)

However, if you can’t get into your Kindle, it doesn’t do you much good anyway. 🙂

How do you reset it yourself?

According to this

Amazon help page

you enter the password

resetmykindle

and hit enter.

Now, you might be thinking right away, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having the password? Isn’t it like locking the door to your house, and then parking a battering ram in your driveway?

Only if your house is set to self-destruct if you open the door without the key. 😉

You put a password on your Kindle to protect information on the device. You may have personal documents on there with financial data…or just not want people to know you are reading certain books.

If someone steals your Kindle and resets it, they can’t get that information…the reset wipes it all out.

Of course, it does make the Kindle easier to resell or re-register…but if you’ve reported the lost Kindle to Amazon and asked them to “blacklist” it, it can’t be registered with them anyway.

I recommend that you keep passwords somewhere secure. In the case of your Kindle password, you probably have it for protection if someone outside your house gets your Kindle, so inside your house might be okay. Some people and companies lock up their passwords in a bank self deposit box. You can pick what’s safe, but I’d put them somewhere you can get them…just a suggestion.

The trend here is to move the power into our hands, rather than making us contact Kindle Customer Support to do things for us.

One of my regular readers and commenters, tuxgirl, speculated about resetting the “furthest page read” ourselves…I suspect that’s coming (if it’s not here already and I just haven’t stumbled across it yet).

This is good for us and good for Amazon.

Why good for Amazon?

People don’t always think about the cost of customer support. That’s one of the biggest expenses for a company after a product is sold…particularly in the case of digital products, where the physical costs of a return are low.

Gee, I wonder if the New York Times will spin this as “Customers locked out of Kindles, rendering the devices so much dog doo-doo! Amazon caves to existential anguish, possibly lowering nation’s Prozac use, leading to collapse of pharmaceutical industry!” 😉

I’d sum it up this way: “Thanks, Amazon!” 🙂

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

You can now return books directly from the MYK page

December 16, 2011

You can now return books directly from the MYK page

Thanks to one of my readers, Vince, for the heads-up on this!

Ah, that magic Manage Your Kindle page!

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

They keep adding interesting things.

A new one?

You know how you can “return” a Kindle store book within seven days of purchase for a refund? Last time I checked, by the way, that’s something that neither Barnes & Noble nor Sony allowed.

What we used to have to do was contact Kindle Support. I recommend using

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

When you do that, they know who you are, and things go more quickly.

Now, though, you can return a book directly from the MYK page!

Take a look at a book you’ve bought within the last seven days. It may have to be a book for which you paid…it may not work with free books.

When you click the Actions choice on your right, you should now see

Return for Refund

as an option.

I took a chance and clicked it, and saw this:

As you can see, I’ve opened the dropdown selection list, so you can see what the choices are.

As an author/publisher, I really hope they’ll tell us what the choices are on these returns. That might help us improve our books.

I also notice that they don’t have a choice for “didn’t like it”. I think this may actually cut down on returns…people will feel like they need to select one of these, even though they can pick “other’.

Also, if you pick “better price”, I wonder if they’ll just offer to give you the difference? That could also reduce returns.

Another big improvement from Amazon at no additional cost!

Thanks again, Vince!

Update: thanks to one of my readers, Liz, who pointed out a typo in one of the internet addresses I listed. It has now been corrected.

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

Two KDP only titles in Amazon’s 2011 top ten best sellers

December 12, 2011

Two KDP only titles in Amazon’s 2011 top ten best sellers

In this

press release

Amazon announces its

10 bestselling books of 2011

These sales combine Kindle editions and print editions, and only count “paid units” (freebie downloads don’t contribute).

Remarkably, two of the top ten were independently published through Kindle Direct Publishing without print editions:

The Mill River Recluse (#4)
The Abbey (#9)

Take that, traditional publishers! 🙂

This is really a significant achievement.

Yes, we have to temper our enthusiasm by noting that this is based on units sold, not dollars. Random House likely grossed a lot more on

A Dance with Dragons

by George R.R. Martin (in the series on which the Game of Thrones HBO series  is based) than Darcie Chan did at ninety-nine cents with The Mill River Recluse (literary fiction) or Chris Culver did with The Abbey (mystery) at $2.99.

Did they profit more?

Interesting question.

The costs for the independent books are likely much lower.

Looking at it as an author is another question. If all of Culver’s sales were at $2.99, and Culver met the other requirements (allowing text-to-speech, lending) for the 70% royalty rate, that’s about $2.08 per sale.  At $14.99 for A Dance with Dragons, Martin may top that. If the royalty is 25% of monies received, that’s…$2.62 (Random House would get 70% of the $14.99, Martin would get 25% of that). That’s just speculation, though.

If we look at the list just for Kindle books for 2011, we can see the

Kindle 100 bestsellers for 2011

On that list, The Recluse and The Abbey are one and two.

It’s fascinating…the book that’s number one overall is only number six here. That’s a biography of Steve Jobs, and many predicted it would be number one. I am wondering if the fact that the publisher is blocking text-to-speech access on that book affected its sales. A couple of the books that are higher than that one do block TTS access, though.

I hope to get a chance to do in-depth analysis on this later, but I do see a number of books on the list that were independently published. For now, let me just list a few authors I see who fit that category:

  • Rick Murcer
  • Amanda Hocking
  • John Locke (more than one title)

Also interesting: there are Kindle Singles on the list as well.

It’s important to note that these are just the sales at Amazon…sales at other outlets (online and in stores) aren’t counted.

Yes, I do think I want to dig more into this with price points and such, but I wanted to let you know now. 🙂

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

Reports: new Kindle for Android update doubles memory use

December 7, 2011

Reports: new Kindle for Android update doubles memory use

Thanks to Allyson Bright Meyer in the Kindle community for the heads-up on this!

Amazon Kindle community thread

It is being reported that there is a new update for Kindle for Android (3.3.0.405) that is considerably increasing the memory used.

I’m on the road and can’t investigate this much until later today.

My Samsung Captivate has not updated yet…I’m on 3.2.0.35.

If you are having a problem with this, try going to your main menu on your device, going to settings, going to Applications and clearing your cache. You could also try clearing your data, but that would likely remove your books from your device as well.

I’m typing this on my phone …my Fire wouldn’t let me edit the body of the post for some reason.

Let me know if you run into this.

Update: before updating, my memory use was:

Total 21.29MB

Applications 0.00B

Data: 16.71MB

That’s on my Samsung Captivate (and it’s not on the SD card)

My Cache is 4.58MB

I don’t use it very much, so I was willing to experiment for you. I’m hoping it doesn’t mess up my other apps, though!

First, I cleared the cache. That did not remove my books from the device (and that’s what I expected would be the case).  My notes and marks and last page read were also preserved.

I then had an update available on my phone for Kindle for Android.

Updating took…oh, twenty seconds or so.

It asked me if I wanted to replace the existing application…I said OK.

The warnings:

  • Storage (Modify or delete SD card contents)
  • Network communication (full internet access)
  • Phone calls (read phone state)
  • System tools (prevent phone from sleeping, retrieve running applications)
I clicked Install.
Installing took about 15 seconds.
I clicked Open.
It took a relatively long time to open (maybe 15 seconds, again).
What’s New:
3.3
  • Support for reading PDF documents
  • Phone users: customize your reading experience with new margin and line spacing controls
  • Support for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) phones
  • Several bug fixes
My books were preserved, my last page read was preserved, my notes and marks were preserved.
My new memory readings:
Total: 31.20MB
Applications: 13.39MB
Data: 17.82MB
Nothing in the Cache.
So, my data size increased about a meg, but my applications size increased more than 13 MB.
Interesting stuff…I think we may see an Amazon press release on this, since it brings PDF to the phone. Hard to say, though.

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

Kindle (Fire) Software Update Version 6.2

November 30, 2011

Kindle (Fire) Software Update Version 6.2 

Kindle Software Update Version 6.2 is now available for the Kindle Fire.

That means, by the way, that we have averaged one update a week so far…I hope they don’t cancel this show after thirteen episodes. 😉

It should happen automatically, but here’s what I did:

I made sure I was connected to wi-fi. I tried updating it by doing a sync, but nothing seemed to happen with the version.

You can check the version by doing

Settings Gear* – More – Device

You are probably on 6.1 right now.

I was going to do it manually by going to the

Kindle Fire Software Update 6.2 page

but then it occurred to me to just shut it down (hold the power button in for a second or so) and restart it.

That did it…when it was coming back on, it went through the process flawlessly.

They don’t tell us exactly what this does, but they do mention some things, like magazines.

I can tell you one thing: it feels much more responsive.

Getting into the Device part to check the version was notably quicker.

I started to check some other things for you.

Ah, this is interesting! Whichever webpage is the active page in the Web tab is displayed on the Carousel…but not all the pages I have open or other ones I have visited! That’s a big plus.

All of my archived books are still on my Carousel.

Okay, I’m going to warn you on this one! When I went to

Settings Gear – More – Help & Feedback

there was a noticeable bright flash when I switched tabs to go to, say, Feedback. It only happened the first time in each session, but it was bright! I have particularly good night vision (I think that’s related to my having some color vision deficiency), so bright lights bother me more than most people. Still, you’ll see it.

I don’t see any other major changes…I’ve just run through all of the main menus.

I’m still finding that the Back button doesn’t always respond, but everything else seems more responsive.

Subjectively, the sound may be a bit louder…I’m not going to swear to that one, though.

Check it out and let me know if you notice anything else.

* Amazon officially calls what I call the Settings Gear “Quick Settings icon”, but I don’t think people will find it if I call it that.

Update: thanks to reader Malcolm Northrup for pointing out that I didn’t say this was the Kindle Fire right at the top of the post. What happened was that I’d used my own title for the article, and then decided I’d better use Amazon’s official name for the update. I didn’t realize, when I copied and pasted, that it didn’t identify the hardware. Thanks, Malcolm!

Update: here’s a brilliant change! When you have the keyboard open, you’ll see a number on the top row of letters. If you “long press” one of those keys (hold your fingertip down for about a second), it will type that number. That saves you pusing the 123!? button…it’s much easier. Pretty cool…but wait, there’s more! 😉 If you do that on a letter that has variants, you can long press to choose the variant. For example, let’s say you want to type the Spanish letter eñe…you can just long press the letter “n”. Try it with the letter “o”…you may be surprised. 🙂 Besides the number 9, there are eight variants…just slide your finger along to pick the one you want. I’m impressed!

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


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