Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Books and the budget blueprint

March 19, 2017

Books and the budget blueprint

This is a post about books.

I’m not using it to tell you whether or not to support the current Presidential administration…that’s your choice. You may read what I post here, and use that to help you decide whether you agree or disagree with the budget proposal presented by the administration, what is called a “budget blueprint”. One reason why I am writing this, even though I try to stay away from politics in this blog for the most part, is that this isn’t a final budget at this point. There’s going to be a lot of debate over it, and it may or may not change significantly. You could still influence it, by contacting your congresspeople. You might tell them you want changes, or you don’t want changes, or specific changes you want…or you might not do anything at all. 🙂 Up to you…

Now, it would be reasonable to point out that I haven’t ever written about a Presidential budget blueprint before, in the close to eight years I’ve been writing this blog. Obviously, the previous ones were all under the same President, and this one is under a different President. However, I’m very confident that no other budget has had this direct an impact on federal funding of the creation of books (through direct support of authors) and libraries. There are a lot of programs which may affect literacy and therefore future book markets, but I’m going to stick with authors and libraries.

It’s also the first time that I’ve seen this many authors publicly taking a stand for or against a budget blueprint. We also talk about authors in this blog, and there are likely to be some names involved that you know.

First, here’s a link to the document, so you can read it yourself if you like:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

Here is a short excerpt from this government document:

“The Budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including: the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “

I”m going to highlight three of these:

  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities

This budget blueprint proposes eliminating all funding for those three agencies. While it is hypothetically possible that funding could come in from other sources (I would guess that private donation would be legal), it’s likely that their activities would be, at the least, less than they had been previously and might stop completely.

We’ll take a look at each of these.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services

Official Website

Self-description from website:

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries (link is external) and approximately 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.”

Activities list on the website:

https://www.imls.gov/news-events/project-profiles

One project which ties into books/publishing/authors (note: my selection of a project is subjective; my goal is to find one that relates closely to the topics of this blog):

Open eBooks

Summary from the website: “The Open eBooks Initiative: Giving the Power of Reading to Those who Need it Most
May 31 2016 Eastern
Launched earlier this year, the Open eBooks initiative has garnered support and praise for its goal of helping children discover a love for reading through more open access to eBooks.”

The National Endowment for the Arts

Official Website

Self-description from the website:
“The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.”

Activities List on the Website:

Artistic Fields: Literature

This is a list of NEA Creative Writing Fellowship Winners who later won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and/or the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction:

https://www.arts.gov/fact-sheet/creative-writing-fellowship-winners-and-national-awards

The National Endowment for the Humanities

Official Website

Self-description from the website:
“Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.”

Activities List on the Website:

Divisions and Offices

One project which ties into books/publishing/authors:

Common Heritage

Summary from the website:

“America’s cultural heritage is preserved not only in libraries, museums, archives, and other community organizations, but also in all of our homes, family histories, and life stories. The Common Heritage program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country’s heritage and preserve it for future generations. Common Heritage will support both the digitization of cultural heritage materials and the organization of public programming at community events that explore these materials as a window on a community’s history and culture.”

Full disclosure: I have used the Chronicling America digitized archive of newspapers, funded by the NEH, for my Flipboard magazine, The Weird Old Days.

For authors and organizations expressing an opinion, see this

PEN.org page

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!

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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March 2017 Kindle book releases

February 24, 2017

March 2017 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 5,830 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in March 2017 (more than 1,500 more than last month):

February USA Kindle Store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,142 (292 more than last time) are in

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

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month. Amazon doesn’t do these by popularity any more, they do them by featured…and this month, it doesn’t look like those are the Kindle First books.

Some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (four of the top five). I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay, books!

  • In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen | 4.4 stars out of 5 | 406 customer reviews
  • Pilgrimage to Murder: A Medieval Mystery set in 14th Century London (A Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery) by Paul Doherty
  • Only the Truth by Adam Croft
  • Extracted (Extracted Trilogy Book 1) by RR Haywood
  • Nutrition and the Autonomic Nervous System: The Scientific Foundations of the Gonzalez Protocol by Nicholas Gonzalez and Linda Isaacs
  • Signature Wounds by Kirk Russell (note: while this author’s books might make good adventure movies, the “Call me Snake” actor’s name is Kurt Russell)
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter (The Ingrid Winter Misadventure Series) by J.S. Drangsholt and Tara F. Chace
  • Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland by Sid Luft and Randy L. Schmidt
  • Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm (Duck and Hippo Series Book 1) by Jonathan London and Andrew Joyner | 4.6 stars | 224 reviews
  • Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure by Brandon Mull and Brandon Dorman
  • Black Obsidian by Victoria Quinn
  • Rebels & Runes: An Urban Fantasy Novella Collection by Monica Corwin and Alexis Kade
  • Double Up (A Davis Way Crime Caper Book 6) by Gretchen Archer
  • The Arrangement 23 (SERIES FINALE – The Ferro Family) by H.M. Ward
  • Trump the Establishment: The Elitists Never Learned in 2016 by Don Surber
  • The U.S. Navy’s Secret Space Program and Nordic Extraterrestrial Alliance (Secret Space Programs Book 2) by Michael Salla and Robert Wood
  • She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green
  • The Nasty Women Project: Voices from the Resistance by Erin Passons
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (I believe this used to have text-to-speech access blocked, but this version doesn’t! I would add this to my Recommended Presidential Reading List) | 4.3 stars | 2,333 reviews
  • How the H*ll Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016 by P. J. O’Rourke
  • Murder, Stage Left (The Nero Wolfe Mysteries) by Robert Goldsborough
  • The Principle of Non-contradiction in Plato’s Republic: An Argument for Form by Laurence Bloom
  • Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free by Susan Peirce Thompson Ph.D.
  • The Dance of the Possible: the mostly honest completely irreverent guide to creativity by Scott Berkun
  • Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
  • A Phule And His Money (Phule’s Company Book 3) by Robert Asprin and Peter J. Heck
  • Misunderstanding at Pemberley: A Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Pride & Prejudice Variation by Anna Grantham
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands: Dark Waters by Richard Dansky

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in March 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as an ad).

Enjoy!

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! :) 

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.

Rumor & refutation: Amazon stopping support for OG Kindles?

February 12, 2017

Rumor & refutation: Amazon stopping support for OG Kindles?

This one evolved pretty quickly.

There was a rumor that Amazon was no longer supporting the original and second generation Kindles…that they could no longer be registered, meaning that if you reset one to factory defaults, you couldn’t register it again.

When I saw the story at first, I thought it might be possible, but it seemed unlikely. I was guessing there might be some confusion with the update that was required last year to keep accessing some things:

Update your Kindle or lose access on it to your Cloud, the store, and other Kindle services

I also figured I would have gotten an e-mail: we still have a first gen (OG, by the way, can stand for Original Generation) registered. 🙂

This

article in The Verge by Andrew Liptak

sums it up.

It’s interesting to read the story, and it does show what happens sometimes when an Amazon rep may be…imprecise, or sometimes I think they may be underinformed.

Bottom line: according to the story (read it all the way through) this may be a temporary glitch, and Amazon is not stopping people from registering Kindle 1s and 2s.

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! :) 

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.

February 2017 Kindle book releases (and another great KDD)

January 22, 2017

February 2017 Kindle book releases (and another great KDD)

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 5,830 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in February 2017:

February USA Kindle Store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 850 (70 fewer than last time…but there are fewer total titles, too) are in

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

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (but not as high as last time). I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay, books!

  • The Shame Myth: 7 Steps to Advance in Your Career, Relationships, and Purpose by Eddie H. Park and Hyo Kim
  • Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
  • Minecraft: Diary of a Minecraft Herobrine Box Set Book 1 – Book 6 (Minecraft, Minecraft Diary, Minecraft Seeds, Minecraft Secret, Minecraft Traps, Minecraft Building, Minecraft Potions) by Alton Roberts (also available through Kindle Unlimited)
  • Cape Harriet Series Box Set Vol 1 (Books 1-3): Clipper Beach, Wicked Summer, Christmas Morning by Roma Brooks
  • Psychology of Learning and Motivation
  • The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again by Todd Starnes
  • Tillie Madison vs Reality by P.L. Winn (KU)
  • Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #4 by Matthew Manning and Jon Sommariva
  • The Walking Dead #163 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
  • Murder in the Mail: A Diane Dimbleby Cozy Mystery by Penelope Sotheby (KU)
  • Open Grave: a Beacon Falls novel featuring Lucy Guardino (Beacon Falls Mysteries Book 3) by CJ Lyons
  • Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaele Frier and Aurelia Fronty
  • Arab Spring Then and Now: From Hope to Despair by Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn
  • The Innovation Mentality: Six Strategies to Disrupt the Status Quo and Reinvent the Way We Work by Glenn Llopis and Jim Eber
  • The Side Hustle: How to make extra income with just 4 hours per week by J, Jonathan (KU)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts by Nintendo
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Fields of Fire (Frontlines Book 5) by Marko Kloos
  • My Desk is Driving Me Crazy: End Overwhelm, Do Less, and Accomplish More by Sue Rasmussen
  • Reprogram Your Weight: Stop Thinking about Food All the Time, Regain Control of Your Eating, and Lose the Weight Once and for All by Erika Flint
  • The Night Bird by Brian Freeman
  • Ansel Adams: An Autobiography by Ansel Adams and Mary Street Alinder
  • Sweet Tea at Sunrise (A Sweet Magnolias Novel) by Sherryl Woods
  • Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era) by Charles B. Dew
  • Gig Posters Volume 2: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century by Clay Hayes
  • The Wind’s Twelve Quarters: A Story by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq by Dahr Jamail and Amy Goodman
  • King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict (Revised Edition) by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias
  • Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight
  • Rules of Thumb: A Life Manual by Tom Parker

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in February 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as an ad).

Enjoy!

Bonus sale: today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has some well-known’ books! This is definitely a case where I would consider buying some as gifts…you can delay the delivery until the appropriate date, or have them sent to yourself and print them out for whenever you want to give them. Titles (and there are 37) include:

  • Five (!) kids’ series starters from Rick Riordan! You can get the first books in: The Trials of Apollo; Percy Jackson and the Olympians (The Lightning Thief); Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard; The Heroes of Olympus; The Kane Chronicles (some of these have thousands of positive reviews)
  • Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
  • I Can Read books, including Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Biscuit, Pete the Cat, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flat Stanley…
  • Killing Trail: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima

Enjoy!

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! :) 

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.

January 2017 Kindle book releases

December 22, 2016

January 2017 Kindle book releases

Correction: this post was originally incorrectly labeled as December 2016 releases, when it actually reflects January 2017 releases. My apologies for the error. Within the post itself (past the headline), it correctly identified the scheduled release date.

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 6,518 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in January 2017:

January USA Kindle Store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 920 (219 fewer than last time) are in

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

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Amazon no longer does the “New and Popular” search as a default, but does “Featured”. Presumably, a human being picks those titles in some way…and the list is clearly not the same.  Continuing last time’s trend, they aren’t dominant.

The other thing is that some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list (but not as high as last time). I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay, books!

  • Below the Belt (A Stone Barrington Novel) by Stuart Woods
  • Allora (The Silver Ships Book 7 of 7) by S. H. Jucha
  • The Piper: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Story by Charles Todd
  • Winter Roses by Diana Palmer
  • Selfienomics: A Seriously Funny Guide to Living the Good Life by Revant Himatsingka
  • Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere by C. Donald Ahrens and Robert Henson
  • Surgical Technology for the Surgical Technologist: A Positive Care Approach by Association of Surgical Technologists
  • The Final Day (A John Matherson Novel) by William R. Forstchen
  • Waterloo: The Aftermath by Paul O’Keeffe
  • World Civilizations: Volume I: To 1700 by Philip J. Adler and Randall L. Pouwels
  • Sold to Miss Seeton (A Miss Seeton Mystery Book 19) by Hamilton Crane and Heron Carvic
  • The Wild Cards Collection: Books I–V by George R. R. Martin and Wild Cards Trust
  • Trust Me (The Last Stand) by Brenda Novak
  • Criminal Justice in Action: The Core by Larry K. Gaines and Roger LeRoy Miller
  • Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Great Responsibility (Amazing Spider-Man (1963-1998)) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
  • Enchant: Beauty and the Beast Retold (Romance a Medieval Fairytale Book 1) by Demelza Carlton
  • Hope’s Peak (Harper and Lane) by Tony Healey
  • Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
  • Fate of Perfection (Finding Paradise Book 1) by K.F. Breene (I just read this one as our Kindle First selection. It was worth reading, with some good characterization and world building. Not perfect, but I did look forward to getting back to it when I was reading it)
  • Feversong: A Fever Novel by Karen Marie Moning
  • Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
  • The Undercover Witch (MAGIC, Inc. Mysteries Book 1) by Gina LaManna
  • 1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry by Andrew Bridgeford
  • The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters by Helen Jacey
  • The Mistress by Danielle Steel
  • Stop Me (The Last Stand) by Brenda Novak
  • The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston
  • Never Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Good Night, Baby Animals You’ve Had a Busy Day: A Treasury of Six Original Stories by Karen B. Winnick and Laura Watkins
  • Freedom in the World 2016: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties by Freedom House
  • The Past in Visual Culture: Essays on Memory, Nostalgia and the Media by Jilly Boyce Kay and Cat Mahoney
  • Creating Music: What Children from Around the World Can Teach Us by Patricia Elaine Riley

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in January 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as an ad).

Enjoy!

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! :) 

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.

November 2016 Kindle book releases

October 25, 2016

November 2016 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 6,987 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in November 2016:

October USA Kindle Store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,139 (120 fewer than last month are) in

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

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Amazon no longer does the “New and Popular” search as a default, but does “Featured”. Presumably, a human being picks those titles in some way…and the list is clearly not the same.  Continuing last month’s trend, they aren’t dominant.

The other thing is that some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay, books!

  • Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Book 24) by Patricia Cornwell
  • The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan by Dahr Jamail and Chris Hedges
  • Sherlock: A Study in Pink #6 by Steven Moffat (Author), Jay (Illustrator), Claudia Iannicello (Illustrator)
  • Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by Misuzu Kaneko and Toshikado Hajiri
  • That Voodoo That You Do by Ann Yost
  • When Memory Comes by Saul Friedländer and Claire Messud
  • Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb
  • Crashing the Party: An American Reporter in China by Scott Savitt
  • I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb
  • Good Behavior by Blake Crouch
  • Showstoppers!: The Surprising Backstage Stories of Broadway’s Most Remarkable Songs by Gerald Nachman
  • Maigret’s First Case (Inspector Maigret) by Georges Simenon and Ros Schwartz
  • The Collectible LEGO Minifigure: Values, Investments, Profits, Fun Facts, Collector Tips by Ed Maciorowski and Jeff Maciorowski
  • Pieces of Soap: Essays by Stanley Elkin and Sam Lipsyye
  • This Is That: Travel Guide To Canada by This is That and Pat Kelly
  • To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History by Lawrence Levy
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Shadow of Victory (Honor Harrington Book 19) by David Weber
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Feel free to suggest other books being released in September in the USA Kindle store. If you are the author, or are otherwise connected with the production or publishing of the book, I’d appreciate you saying so. That won’t stop me from publishing the comment, but it should be in your own words and not an ad.

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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! :)

** A Kindle/Fire with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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.

ZDNet uncovers an apparent massive gaming of the Kindle publishing system

October 4, 2016

ZDNet uncovers an apparent massive gaming of the Kindle publishing system

There is what appears to be a great bit of investigative journalism in this

ZDNet article by Zack Whittaker

I don’t want to take away from them so I’ll just hit the very highlights.

It appears that one person used a sophisticated computer system to both publish inexpensive and low content e-books and open many, many accounts to download them when they were offered free, and perhaps to purchase them.

That drives up the books’ rankings.

That in turn creates real sales, even if only for a short period.

According to the article, this generated literally millions of dollars in royalties.

I’ll let you read the article, which I highly recommend.

What I’m going to do here is talk about this from a broader perspective.

There seem to me to be two main points here

First, it’s the idea of “fake” reviews.

These are probably pretty common, although Amazon does crack down on them.

They likely fall into three broad categories:

One is so-called “sock puppets”. That’s when an author, or someone else with a fiduciary interest in a book, pretends to be someone else (or has friends/family/coworkers pretend to be someone) to talk up a book.

I’ve seen this happen, sometimes not so subtly. Someone might post on the Amazon Kindle forum, or even in a comment to this blog, something like, “XYZ is a great novel! I’ve never read anything better. I was so surprised and it blew my mind.” While I often don’t know where a piece of fiction I am writing is going when I start, I can’t say I’ve ever been surprised reading one of my works after I finished it. 😉

I’ve seen this be done in a clumsy and unsophisticated way, but it can also be done in a very difficult way to discern.

The second source is, I would guess, purchased reviews.

That differs because they are more like mercenaries than loyal citizens.

This could be a literal payment for a good review (Amazon has caught people doing that before), or it might be an exchange. For example, two authors might write each other good reviews, even if they haven’t read the other’s book.

Reviewers are supposed to reveal if they got an e-book for free from the publisher when they review it. I’m sure not everybody does.

I pointed out the appropriateness of revealing it when some of my readers got free copies of my sibling’s first novel

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

If they got it from me, they probably wouldn’t have to reveal it (although I still think it’s a good thing to do), but if Kris Calvin paid for it, my understanding is that they should. Since readers couldn’t be sure if it was me or Kris who paid for it, I feel they should reveal…and I was happy when I saw that at least one of them did.

The third group of reviews are those with an ulterior motive…a political agenda might be one reason. For example, people of one political party might write that another party’s candidate’s book was poorly written or inaccurate, when they hadn’t even read it. I’ve seen something similar happen with people with a social issue do the same thing.

Those, I think, are the three main sources of fake reviews.

I said there were two main points…here’s the second.

This shows the value of reviews and purchases on Amazon.

The vast majority of people don’t write reviews of books they read…but this strongly suggest that doing so can make a difference. Please consider doing so for books you read that you like (or don’t like).

Oh, and more thing…many returns would have probably sunk this system.

You can “return” a USA Kindle store book for a refund within seven days of purchase by going to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

If you return an anonymously high percentage of items (unspecified, of course), Amazon might ask you to call them before returning items, rather than being able to do it yourself.

Still, if you get a significantly deficient book, it makes sense to return it.

Of course, this is also an argument for downloading a sample before buying an e-book…but I’ll admit I rarely do that.

I also don’t return e-books…I’m not sure I ever have, but I’m not 100% positive. I think I might have returned one I accidentally bought which had text-to-speech access blocked by the publisher.

I generally have a pretty good idea what a book will be like before I get it, I’d say…certainly, if I’m paying for it.

I think I can tell quite a bit from the reviews…and that doesn’t mean I just go by the highest averages, or get dissuaded by the lowest ones. I always take a look at the low rankings to see if the reasons they give are ones with which I might agree; often they aren’t.

There will always be people who will try to game the system. I’m not going to judge whether this was legal or not…I don’t know enough about what the agreements were, and whether there might or might not be fraud involved. It certainly sounds like it might violate Amazon’s Terms of Services…and there were apparently efforts being made to conceal the activities, which is not a great argument for having confidence in the legitimacy of your actions.

I will again suggest you read the post: it wouldn’t surprise me if it is in contention for award consideration at some point, if it all holds up.

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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

What would get you to stop reading? Yeah, me neither

September 25, 2016

What would get you to stop reading? Yeah, me neither

Some people seem to be suggesting that Americans are reading fewer books.

I don’t buy it.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t intuitively feel that someone who reads books regularly is going to stop and replace it with other media.

Now, certainly, some life situations can change the amount of leisure reading you do. Changing a job can affect it, for one thing.

I do think that there are indicators that people are buying fewer books from publishers measured by the Association of American Publisher (AAP), but that’s not at all the same thing.

For the AAP measured (AAPm) publishers, there does appear to have been a downturn, according to this

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

and other sources, the AAP’s latest StatShot reports shows that sales of adult trade books (the kind of books you would have bought in a bookstore…not textbooks and such) are down 10.9% at AAPm in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2015.

That is a significant drop…but my guess is that a lot of that is sales (or at least obtaining) migrating somewhere else. That could be books from indies (independent publishers) as well as downloading freebies.

I could easily a ten percent shift in the past year…even though it doesn’t have to be the full 10.9%. Some of the drop could be from the coloring book fad peaking.

The biggest change I see is a drop of 40.5% in children’s/young adult’s e-books.

I think young adult e-books can be particularly affected by

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

I would guess that borrows from Amazon’s subser (subscription service) probably aren’t counted in the AAP figures.

I also think e-books are growing the number of books read…just not from the AAPm.

That has to do with convenience mostly, but I can say that I go through books a lot faster using text-to-speech (software which reads books aloud to you). Some tradpubs block the TTS access, which could slow down their sales some

The big tradpubs have also raised prices (they control consumer prices now, although Amazon can discount in some cases.

What do you think? Are people reading more or few books…and why? 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

October 2016 Kindle book releases

September 24, 2016

October 2016 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 7,876 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in October 2016:

October USA Kindle Store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,259 (179 fewer than last month are) in

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

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Amazon no longer does the “New and Popular” search as a default, but does “Featured”. Presumably, a human being picks those titles in some way…and the list is clearly not the same.  Different from last month, but the way it had been going before that, they aren’t dominant.

The other thing is that some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

In October, there tends to be a lot of brand name author big titles. Books can take a while to build up steam, and publishers want to have the gift books solidly in the market by Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). Gift books benefit from word of mouth and from reviews…meaning people have already finished it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be good indie (independently published) books, too, but you may see more expensive, tradpubbed (traditionally published) books in this listing than I often do.

Okay, books!

  • Take Me Home (A Callaway Novella) by Barbara Freethy
  • The Whistler by John Grisham
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Obsidian Chamber (Agent Pendergast series) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Beard Science (Winston Brothers Book 3) by Penny Reid
  • Escape Clause (A Virgil Flowers Novel) by John Sandford
  • Order to Kill by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills
  • Sex, Lies & Serious Money (A Stone Barrington Novel) by Stuart Woods
  • Terrifying Tales: 13 Scary Stories for Children by David and Shawn Kobb (KU)
  • Hero by R.A. Salvatore
  • The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  • Winter Storms (Winter Street) by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Earth-Shattering Events: Earthquakes, Nations, and Civilization by Andrew Robinson
  • The Greatest Album Covers of All Time by Barry Miles
  • His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae (Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016) by Graeme MaCrae Burnet
  • Otherlife Awakenings: The Selfless Hero Trilogy by William D. Arand and Tamara Blain (KU)
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
  • Blood on the Tracks (Sydney Rose Parnell Series Book 1) by Barbara Nickless
  • The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith
  • Pharaoh by Wilbur Smith
  • Darkest Journey (Krewe of Hunters) by Heather Graham
  • Birds, Beasts and Relatives (The Corfu Trilogy Book 2) by Gerald Durrell (one of my favorite authors)

Feel free to suggest other books being released in September in the USA Kindle store. If you are the author, or are otherwise connected with the production or publishing of the book, I’d appreciate you saying so. That won’t stop me from publishing the comment, but it should be in your own words and not an ad.

 

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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! :)

** A Kindle/Fire with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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.

Did Pew just find that nearly twice as many paperbooks are read as e-books?

September 12, 2016

Did Pew just find that nearly twice as many paperbooks are read as e-books?

I keep seeing various things which seem to suggest that e-book growth has stagnated…that it had a meteoric rise from when the Kindle was introduced to something like 25% of the market, and then has hit a plateau.

That narrative certainly wouldn’t fit what I thought would happen.

Quite simply, I think e-books are generally better for most people, in terms of simple recreational reading of novels or popular non-fiction.

There are all sorts of advantages: the increasable font size, how portable e-books are, the ability to look up words, the way it can remember where you were without a bookmark, and so on

Sure, there are some disadvantages as well, but I honestly think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

At the very least, p-books aren’t twice as good as e-books for the most popular kinds of reading.

Pew regularly surveys Americans on their reading habits, and looking at it comparatively from year to year, it isn’t obvious that there is the same kind of explosive growth.

Taking a look at this year’s

Book Reading 2016 report

as summarized by Andrew Perrin, there is a lot of interesting information (based on their survey).

I don’t want to take too much away from it. I’ll mention that I was surprised that the younger the age segment, the higher percentage of them say they have read an e-book. My impression, in the beginning, was that e-books appealed more to older readers. The benefits one gets from e-books apply more to typical seniors than to Millenials.

I suspect that this change, if it is one, may have to do with a trend to read e-books on SmartPhones and other non-reading dedicated devices, as opposed to EBRs (E-Book Readers). My guess would be that SmartPhone use is more prevalent among younger people…I don’t tend to read e-books on my phone, because the screen is simply too small (among other reasons).

What I’ve seen as the main headline from this report, when it has appeared in the blogosphere, is soe variant of this which appears in the actual report summary:

“…print books remain much more popular than books in digital formats”

I think people writing those headlines may have missed something.

While it may be true that 54% of respondents reporting having read a “print book” in the past 12 months, only 28% having read an e-book, that doesn’t mean that about twice as many p-books were read as e-books.

My intuition is that serious readers are more likely to read e-books than casual readers…they also benefit from the advantages (especially the storage and portability) more.

Let’s say that a serious reader reads fifty books a year and a casual reader reads ten books a year. The latter number is actually high, but let’s go with it.

Next, let’s say that 75% of e-books are read by serious readers.

That would mean that serious readers read 37.5 e-books a year and 12.5 p-books.

The casual read would read 2.5 e-books and 7.5 p-books.

That would make 40 e-books versus 20 p-books.

That seems more accurate to me. I also think e-book growth will continue, especially since younger people seem to be reading them the most.

I do recommend you read the report (it’s not very long). I’d love to discuss some of the other points, if you want to ask me about them. You can do that, and tell me and my readers what you think about what I’ve said, by commenting on this post.

Bonus thought: is a refresh coming to the Echo line? Amazon has announced a September 14th event of some kind for the UK, and some people think that might be the Echo coming to the UK. The Echo Dot (I use one every day) is no longer available, with no indication of when it might be coming back in stock.

You can still get the

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

or the

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

We might hear more on the 14th than some are currently guessing…Amazon is good at that.

By the way, this is an interesting third party device! It’s a

Portable Battery Base for Echo (Use Echo anywhere) (at AmazonSmile*)

For $49.99 at time of writing, you can run your Echo off this base for something like 5 hours…without plugging it into power! The Tap is still more portable, but for many people, this would serve that purpose. It also enables you to talk to it from across the room, which you can’t do with the Tap.

The reviews are very good, with 4.6 stars average out of 5 with 145 customer reviews.

This might be a fun gift for somebody who has already been “Alexified”. 😉

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! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.


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