Archive for the ‘nook’ Category

EBRs beyond Amazon: January 2016

January 23, 2016

EBRs beyond Amazon: January 2016

When the Amazon Kindle was first introduced in November of 2007, there were already more than ten devices dedicated to reading e-books in the US market…it’s just that none of them were doing much here. :) Even Sony, which was a powerhouse in the consumer electronics market, had them…and that included with a non-backlit screen.

Amazon revolutionized the market with their $400 device…having an E Ink screen was important, but there were really two other things which moved it from a techie, niche device to a more mainstream one (at least among readers).

One was the ability to wirelessly download books. Having to cable your device to a computer to get a book was a considerable hurdle to many people.

The other one was…that it was Amazon. :) Now, there was intense skepticism among tech writers that Amazon could successfully introduced hardware, but there wasn’t any skepticism among readers that Amazon could sell them books.

Before the Kindle, the e-book market was techies.

With the Kindle, the e-book market was readers.

Over time, I’ve written about a number of non-Amazon devices…and they aren’t all still around.

I leave the links on the website, even though some of them don’t go anywhere, partially to preserve the list historically. For those of you using screen readers, and even those without, I know it can be difficult to click on a broken link. I’ll go through and re-label those or do something with them to explain the situation.

Here are the links (again, some of these may not go anywhere):

So, in the USA, for non-backlit EBRs (which is part of how I define an EBR now), it’s largely the Kindle, the nook, and the Kobos.

Part of that may be that people have transitioned reading e-books to tablets…you can get a tablet cheaper than an EBR, and have color, text-to-speech, audiobooks, and animation (for enhanced e-books). The sight-reading experience for me is better on a non-backlit device (I usually read on two different ones a day), but because of text-to-speech, I’d say most of my reading is on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX. That’s not just because of using TTS…since that’s my device that does TTS and I usually use that for hours every weekday, it’s the device I carry with me. When I do sight-read at work, it’s on my Kindle Fire.

Okay, let’s take a look at what is available currently (not used or refurbished) from those three companies.

Amazon

I read on a Paperwhite and a Voyage (two different rooms), and like them both.

The basic Kindle above doesn’t have a light.

The Voyage has a different way to change pages than the Paperwhite.

We may get a new model or more from Amazon this year…I’ve predicted they’ll do a “waterproof” one.

Kobo

  • Kobo Touch 2.0 $89.99
  • Kobo Glo HD $129.99
  • Kobo Aura H20 $189.99

Kobos are seen as being quality devices, and I would consider them perhaps the strongest competitor (going into the future) for the Kindle.

Their Touch is $10 more than the basic Kindle (which also has touch), and the Glo is $10 more than the Paperwhite.

The H20, though, is $10 less than the Voyage…and it is “waterproof”.

Also, those prices are compared to the lowest Kindle prices…and some people don’t want to see ads on their devices in order to get them initially at a discount. If you don’t want the ads, the Kobos are cheaper.

nook

  • NOOK (they have been inconsistent on capitalization) GlowLight Plus $129.99

Frontlit, touchscreen, waterproof, and it does DRM ePUB (Digital Rights Management protected) which the Kindles don’t.

So, what would I recommend?

First, I wouldn’t go with the nook, unless you are already heavily invested in nook books. I just don’t think you can count on the company’s future, especially with regard to EBRs. The company name might be around for a long time, and the nook name may be on tablets, but I think it’s a risk. Also, right from the beginning, the customer service for the devices has been markedly superior (both in execution and policies) for the Kindle over the nook. If you already have nooks and want to stay with this, this is a good model with some nice features.

The Kobos are, from what I understand (I’ve never owned one), good devices and their owners like them. I think Kobo is a much more stable company than Barnes & Noble (looking at EBRs for the latter for sure). I don’t think this is a bad choice, but…

I’d go with the Kindles. Again, Amazon’s Customer Service is great on these, and they fit pretty nicely into the Amazon ecosystem, which you may be using for other things. I also like them as devices. :) For most people, I would go with the Paperwhite. Having the light (it’s a frontlight, not a backlight) is really worth it over the least expensive model. The Voyage is a bit nicer, and there’s nothing wrong with going for that. Again, for most people, though, I think they’ll see the Paperwhite as a better value.

If I look at this again two years from now, I’m not convinced we’ll have the nook (it should survive this holiday season, but might be eliminated in 2017), but I do think we’ll have the Kindles and the Kobos. I don’t see somebody else getting into the market right at this point, although that might happen if reflective screen technology gets a lot cheaper. We may also still see some sort of “dualume” screens, that have both reflective and backlit screens, or reflective screens may add color and/or animation as their technology improves.

What do you think? Did/do you own a non-Kindle EBR? How do you feel about it? Have I left off an EBR in the USA? Am I underestimating Barnes & Noble’s future involvement with EBRs? 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!

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.

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble: Q2 financials…not looking good for NOOK books

December 4, 2015

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble: Q2 financials…not looking good for NOOK books

Should we still care what happens at Barnes & Noble?

Yes.

Competition from the NOOK has apparently driven some interesting improvements in Amazon devices over the years (there was a frontlit NOOK before the Paperwhite, for example), features for e-books (B&N had lending first),  Amazon’s price matching them on e-books, and Amazon has followed B&N in dropping the price on hardware.

I think that influence has considerably weakened, though, and may continue to do so.

The NOOK has been tanking, and for a while, I thought that NOOK Books might continue online after the NOOK hardware ceased to be a brand (B&N doesn’t make the tablets any more, but there is a NOOK name).

However, this

press release

makes me more pessimistic about the NOOK Books.

Specifically, there is this, which I will briefly excerpt:

“NOOK sales of $43.5 million decreased 31.9% due primarily to lower content sales.”

Not primarily due to hardware, but to content.

Content for the NOOK is more than just e-books (there are apps, for one), but I was a bit surprised to see that.

Comparable store sales, excluding the NOOK drag, were pretty steady…only down .5%.

That doesn’t mean that p-books (paperbooks) are going to save e-books, though. They mentioned lower online sales…and increase in wages in the stores.

As a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I’ve mentioned before, you are fighting three things primarily: rent; wages; and “shrinkage” (shoplifting, employee theft, and damage).

Those are your challenges…but you also have to be a place (nowadays) where people are willing to pay more money than they would pay online to support you.

It doesn’t look like Barnes & Noble is doing that successfully, at least as far as books are concerned.

Toys are going well for them. :) That is, looking at 2015 growth versus 2014 levels.

A reader sent me a link to this

Seeking Alpha post by Lutz Muller

in a private e-mail. It’s called “Barnes & Noble’s Problems Are Self-Inflicted”, and that’s the basic premise, supported by interesting charts.

The thrust is that B&N is doing worse than the print book business generally.

While the article does start out with what I would consider a debatable statement (“Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is the only remaining brick-and-mortar mass retailer of books…”) with which I would think Books-A-Million would disagree, I agree with most of what it says.

Check out the first chart in particular, showing the relative rise in what appears to be online sales of p-books perhaps combined with e-books, and brick-and-mortar bookstores.

To be clear, I think bookstores can survive and thrive in the coming decade.

They need to have personality and they need to be a destination shopping experience.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Barnes & Noble at this point is that.

I also managed a brick-and-mortar game store, and my sense is that B&N’s toy/game sales are benefiting by being in a bookstore. I think it gives them a patina of respectability for some people that going to a Toys R Us might not have.

If B&N was just a toy/game store, I’m not convinced they’d survive…they’d be battling Costco, Walmart, Toys R Us, and, importantly, the online retailers…like Amazon.

When I managed a gamestore, we would give you a hands-on experience. We knew the games (we had game nights for the employees), and we’d open a box to show it to you, if you wanted. We did have a shrink wrap machine in the back, so if everything was still good, we could shrink wrap it again.

That wasn’t my idea (I wasn’t the owner, I was a manager), but I certainly had the authority to take something out of stock rather than shrink wrap it again, if I thought it wasn’t as good as new.

I thought that store was a good shopping experience…and customers generally liked shopping there. There were several branches, including one in the Embarcadero in San Francisco (that one was mine). We did a lot of business with German tourists, who were buying role-playing game elements not yet released in Germany.

That was only a small part of what we sold…we also sold boardgames, chess sets, Go, Mah Jongg, darts (a small, but intricate part of the selection), and more.

We did some radio advertising (I was in a commercial).

We had media coverage of an event I designed, the Great Game Race.

If it had been a bookstore? It could make it, with proper management…maybe not in the Embarcadero, though. ;)

Back to B&N…

I don’t claim to be good at predicting what will happen to stock, but I think this is not good for B&N tomorrow. Some people might go bargain shopping after a drop, but honestly, I wouldn’t be investing in it.

Amazon will still have challengers…remember how entrenched the big  publishers were before e-books. Amazon has an increasing amount of the infrastructure of the internet, but would it be harder to  disrupt them than it was to disrupt the near totality of the big publishers in the brick-and-mortar bookstores?

Again, I would say yes. :)

Amazon is a lot more flexible.

It’s more of an idea (several ideas, actually) than one existing process.

I think they can swivel in a way that the big publishers and brick-and-mortar stores couldn’t.

Barnes & Noble has tried some things…I don’t know that they are the right things, but they did make an effort.

What do you think? Was Barnes & Noble a victim of circumstances, or was it their inherent vulnerabilities? Will they survive? If so, in what form? How does all this affect Amazon…and us as readers? 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!

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.

Barnes & Noble introduces a new NOOK EBR

October 21, 2015

Barnes & Noble introduces a new NOOK EBR

Today is

Back to the Future Day (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

but I feel like I’m going back in time writing about a significant new NOOK model of EBR (E-Book Reader…not a backlit tablet). ;)

I think the last one was just about two years ago.

This one, the NOOK Glowlight Plus, is really an improvement.

It’s now “waterproof and dust proof”.

Kobo has a waterproof model…and Amazon doesn’t.

Now, I don’t think that’s enough to get anybody to switch from Amazon to B&N, and I’d be surprised if there is a huge market for first time EBR buyers at this point.

This one is $129.99…remember that it is competing for first time e-book customers with tablets, like the

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

which is only $49.99…38% the price of the NOOK Glowlight Plus. Buy a six-pack of Fire 7s, and get them for less than a third the cost of the NOOK Glowlight Plus.

If you weren’t sure if you’d like e-books, my guess is that you would start with a multi-function device at a third of the cost. It wouldn’t actually be a great comparison to an EBR, but how would you know?

How does this compare to the

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

?

Well, the PW3 is on a special sale for $99.99…but it’s normally $119.99 for an ad-supported model, $139.99 without the discount for seeing ads on the lockscreen. It makes the price comparable…$10 cheaper with ad-support, $10 more without them.

Let me link to information on the NOOK before I go ahead:

press release

Official Site

User Guide

Tech Specs

  • The dots per inch (you can think of that as a good measure of image quality) is the same: 300 dpi.
  • The NGL+ has 2.5 GB of memory available for “NOOK Store content and side-loaded content (out of a total 4GB). The Paperwhite 3 has 4GB…but it doesn’t say how much is required for the system
  • The NGL+ is 6.4″ by 4.7″ by .34″ (thickness) and weighs 6.9 ounces. The PW3 is 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ (169 mm x 117 mm x 9.1 mm) (so, a bit longer and thicker, and a tad narrower) and 7.2 ounces for wi-fi only (7.6 for wi-fi and 3G…you need more hardware): this goes to the NGP+
  • Both use a micro-USB connector for charging and connecting to a computer
  • Both have wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n. The NOOK says it has “a” as well. The Paperwhite also says it has “…support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)”
  • The NGL+ says it can read ePub and PDF, and show the following graphics: JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP. The PW3 says “Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion”
  • The NOOK claims to have a built-in anti-glare screen protector

Overall, I’d say they are comparable technically. People will be attracted by the waterproof claims…no more Ziploc bag at the beach or in the bathtub!

Barnes & Noble also gives you some free content (in addition to a $5 credit): “Content bundle includes three (3) free NOOK Books from a choice of 25 and three (3) free NOOK Magazine or NOOK Newspaper single issues from a choice of 25.”

To be very clear, I’m not suggesting it makes more sense to get this than the Kindle. Amazon has a lot of things going on for it on the software and features side, that B&N just doesn’t have. Customer Service in B&N physical stores was generally good for me, but I’ve had…less than optimal service from the online parts of it.

If you are already committed to the NOOK, though, and are looking for an upgrade or to add another device to your collection, this is a good bet.

Does this mean that Amazon will develop a waterproof Kindle EBR?

I honestly don’t think Amazon is feeling much pressure from other EBR manufacturers at this point.

After all, the Kobo Aura H20, a waterproof model was introduced last year.

That’s not to say that competition doesn’t matter at all…I’m just guessing that as far as the state of the EBR market, there isn’t a lot of direct comparison of different brands going on with consumers any more. The “stickiness” of SmartPhone brands is, no doubt, quite large. Not many iPhone users would cavalierly switch to an Android phone…or vice versa.

I think that’s even stronger with EBR users.

You can’t use an app designed for an iPhone on an Android device, and that affects your library. However, it’s generally far easier to migrate to the other version of app than it is with e-books. An app might cost ninety-nine cents where an e-book might cost $9.99. It just makes it harder to switch over.

Sure, you could read your Kindle books in a free Kindle reading app…but you don’t install apps like that on an EBR. A tablet is a different story, and I do think people are more flexible on brands there.

Amazon may even have a waterproof Kindle in the works…maybe even for introduction for this holiday season. I just don’t think they are going to see the press release about the NOOK GlowLight Plus and suddenly say, “Gee, folks, we’d better get cracking on something similar.” ;)

What do you think? Were you surprised that Barnes & Noble introduced a new EBR? Do you think that three years from now, Barnes & Noble will be a viable competitor in the e-book world? Would waterproof be an important quality for you in an EBR? Are you now or have you been in the past a NOOK user? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 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 #307: B&N stock drops, Siri can run your Apple TV

September 10, 2015

Round up #307:  B&N stock drops, Siri can run your Apple TV

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

 

Amazon expands Kindle Scout worldwide

Amazon sent me this

press release

which announces that the

Kindle Scout program

is expanding to other geographical territories. Amazon says it’s “…Europe, Canada,Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, India and more”.

Authors submit never before published novels.

Readers read excerpts, and recommend which ones get traditionally published by Amazon. You can have up to three nominations at a time.

If one of your current nominations gets published, you get a free copy.

That’s all good for customers.

I also think it’s a good deal for authors.

Has it been successful?

Amazon says, “Kindle Press books have an average Amazon Customer Review of 4.48 stars across 2,709 reviews.”

That sounds pretty good!

For more insight on the program, see

An ILMK interview with The Behrg, author of the Kindle Scout winner Housebroken

Apple TV adds Siri…come on, Alexa!

The Apple announcement today had several interesting things, but the one that most impressed me was the voice control of Apple TV with Siri. I’ve seen it said that it’s not that big deal, it’s similar to what already exists in Voice Search in

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

It seems quite different to me: it doesn’t only find things (and in much more natural language than Fire TV’s current search), it actually does things…it’s voice control, not just voice search.

I’ve been saying I expect Alexa control of the Fire TV this year.

Well, here’s something interesting:

The Fire TV (linked above) is “currently unavailable”.

Will they release a new version with integrated Alexa, the voice service currently only available on

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

?

If they do, will there be a downloadable app (or simply an update) for current Fire TVs?

I suspect the answer is likely to be both…but I certainly expect the capability to arrive…and likely to be announced before the end of this month.

The good news for Barnes & Noble…they sold more toys…

Barnes & Noble announced financials…and it wasn’t good, and many investors dumped the stock.

Here is the

Seeking Alpha transcript of the call

and here is Barnes & Nobles’

press release

In terms of the NOOK and NOOK books…well, it continues to be bad. B&N says

“…NOOK sales decreased 22.4% to 54 million for the quarter. Digital content sales declined 28% to 37 million on lower unit volume…”

Close to a quarter of sales is bad, period.

Core comparable bookstore sales (that excludes NOOKs and such) did rise 1%, but that wasn’t enough to stop a more than 25% loss in the stock’s value.

Bottom line…it just doesn’t look good for B&N.

What do you think? Is B&N doomed? If it survives, what will it look like? Would you want voice controls for e-reading (“Open Alice in Wonderland”, “Open something funny…)? What stood out to in the announcement from Apple? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Thanks to regular reader Joe Bower for a comment which improved this post.

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

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

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

Barnes & Noble’s financials for fiscal year 2015

June 27, 2015

Barnes & Noble’s financials for fiscal year 2015

Barnes & Noble just had a financial year end on May 2nd, and they have released the numbers.

There are some interesting indicators here, although I don’t claim to be an expert at this stuff.

Oh, that doesn’t mean that they were growing…overall, consolidated revenue year over year was down 4.9%.

However…

I think they may be making some smart moves.

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, and I have said all along that physical bookstores can survive, and some of them can thrive.

It’s pretty simple.

They can’t beat online in selection…you’d have to have a giant “back room”, and that would cost too much in rent (one of three major factors you are fighting: rent;  salaries; and “shrinkage”, which is shoplifting, employee theft, and damage).

They can’t beat online in price…the overhead is much higher in a physical store…and it keeps getting higher.

So, what’s left?

Service and the shopping experience.

People have to want to knowingly pay more for your books, because they like you.

B&N is, for the second year, doing a “Get Pop-Cultured” event throughout July.

It mostly celebrates geeky things: Star Wars, time travel (including Doctor Who and Outlander), and manga. I thought it was more appropriate to cover it in one of my other blogs, so you can see more details here:

Geek out in July at Barnes & Noble

As a proud geek and with that bookstore manager experience, I can tell you: it looks to like they’ve put together some great IRL (In Real Life) events! People who go to them probably won’t want that branch to close.

Now, those aren’t really tied into books, although there are books for all of those. They aren’t pretending that those days are about books. During the call, Mike Huseby, the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) said as reported in this

financial call transcript from Seeking Alpha

“Beyond books, our toys and games and gift merchants continue to curate and impressive selection of products that appeal to our customer base as reflected in the growth of these departments, which continue to outperform other categories. Toys and games in particular grew 16% on top of the 12% increase of a year ago.”

That’s clearly part of their future. The margin on those physical items is much higher, and there can be a very different experience in buying a game or toy in person (I also used to manage a game store).

That doesn’t mean that they’ve abandoned books, even if their regular bookstore core sales did drop a bit.

One of the events, on July 13th, will feature readings of all of

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile)

They say

“The read-a-thon will feature a variety of special guest readers, including authors and local celebrities…”

Note that it is  “local celebrities”…that’s important, and part of the formula for success. Here in the Bay Area, it wouldn’t surprise me if one or more of the Golden State Warriors get involved, for example.

The next day will see the release of what will be one of the big books of the year

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

the first time published related novel to TKaM.

Okay, the obvious question for this blog: what about the NOOK?

It was terrible.

Device and accessory sales were down fully two-thirds for the year: 66.7%.

Digital content sales dropped more slowly, which makes sense…down 27.8% for the year.

Why does it make sense?

Even though people are largely away from buying NOOK devices, people who still have them continue to buy books for them.

As the devices fail over the next five years or so (or get lost/stolen or become severely outdated), those e-book sales and others will also decline.

Personally, I don’t expect NOOK hardware to come back strong. The e-books might find a market on other devices and other delivery systems.

The college bookstore sales (excluding new branches) were up 0.1% for the year…but  Amazon has started into that market, so that’s dicey at best.

You can read the

press release

for more details.

My guess? The NOOK disappears eventually, B&N stores stick around but morph into being less about books and more about other merchandise and events. That may be a threat to comic book stores…

In this

CNN Money chart

investors seem unimpressed…the stock was down 2.98% over the past five days.

What do you think? Will B&N survive as a brick-and-mortar? Can they transform into a Big Bang Theory friendly business…and should they? Will books continue to be part of their brick-and-mortar business…in a way bigger than they are in your typical comic book store? Will you go to their events (maybe James Patterson day on the 26th)? Whither the NOOK? Are you over B&N or would you be sorry to see them go? 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!

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

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

Round up #287: Barnes & Noble now, PTA powered by Kindle

March 4, 2015

Round up #287: Barnes & Noble now, PTA powered by Kindle

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

National PTA Family Reading Experience powered by Kindle

Amazon sent me an e-mail about this one, and it is fascinating!

March is National Reading Month, and while I’d like to see a lot more adults reading a lot more books, the focus is mostly on children.

The National PTA (Parent Teacher Association) has a program called the Family Reading Experience…and Amazon and the Kindle are quite involved in it:

http://www.pta.org/familyreading

In fact, I was intrigued by how involved.

This isn’t just a passive “throw some money at the problem”.

EBRs (E-Book Readers) are touted on the infographic about what encourages children to read.

Perhaps more interesting was this video, linked on the PTA page:

National PTA Family Reading Experience Engages Families in Literacy (video)

I’ve never seen a better recommendation for the Kindle as a positive force for literacy.

Recently, Amazon has gotten particularly good at promoting non-Fire Kindles for use for kids…see this page:

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

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble

While sailing on the sea of commerce, Barnes & Noble has been struggling to stay afloat.

They’ve certainly been trying different things, and they aren’t sunk yet.

That’s despite the NOOK, which has been a drag on their sales for some time.

We had heard that they were going to separate the NOOK business into a separate business…throw the anchor overboard.

Well, now, as reported in this

Slate post by Alison Griswold

and other sources, they’ve decided to throw the boat overboard and keep the anchor. ;)

What do I mean by that?

They are going to spinoff the Barnes & Noble Education business (the college bookstores, mostly) into its own publicly traded business.

press release

Why would they do that, when the college businesses have been the part of the three part business (college, NOOK, and retail) that is doing well? Is it because Amazon has started to move more into the college bookstore business, and there are other challengers? I don’t think so.

They way they are doing it, it is a boon to stockholders (who get stock in the new company), and that’s a good thing right now. Since they made the announcement, the stock has jumped more than 7%.

Second, well…I think it’s possible that they may want to dump the losing parts and keep that one.

Yep, sell off the bookstores…I could see that happening.

As to the NOOK…I don’t see them getting out of the e-book business, but they might get out of the branded hardware business.

Speaking of which…

They’ve also completely revamped their NOOK for Android app:

press release

Shopping will be easier (I do find that clunky even in Amazon’s Kindle store on a Fire), and you’ll be able to set up profiles and individual shelves.

I could see this kind of strategy continuing to work for the near future.

Sell books on other people’s devices, and work on the user interface so it’s enjoyable and efficient.

What’s next? A replicator under your bed?

Amazon’s already got physical delivery down to one hour (at least in Manhattan).

Amazon announces Prime Now: delivery in an hour

They’ve talked about using drones (although there are still regulatory hurdles on that).

Now, according to this

Wall Street Journal post by Greg Bensinger

and other sources, Amazon has applied for patents related to 3D printing items for customers…even from inside delivery trucks.

At this point, 3D printing is limited as to what it can produce (plastics work well…food has been done), and it takes a while to make something.

Still, I can just imagine electric Amazon trucks that just consistently cruise around neighborhoods. You’d get quite used to them. After all, electric vehicles are quiet…I drive a hybrid, and when I’m in electric vehicle mode, I still sometimes really surprise pedestrians.

A small plastic piece breaks on your printer (assuming you would still use a printer). You order it from Amazon (perhaps using your Amazon Echo).

The truck (it could even be an autonomous, self-driven vehicle) “prints” that piece and delivers it to you.

Now, would it be able to do that faster than Prime Now?

I’m guessing no.

However, as a former brick and mortar bookstore manager (and I managed a couple of other types of stores as well), the idea of not having to stock rarely ordered items is very exciting…and economically valuable.

In the bookstore, we’d had this old, yellowed, crunchy, single copy of a paperback on the shelf for years.

When somebody finally bought it, the inventory system wanted to order another one to replace. :)

That’s a place where human override was important.

We had likely lost money on that sale.

Remember that we were paying rent for the space under that book for all that time.

From time to time, employees probably had to straighten up (“merchandise”) that shelf.

If this was a book we could have returned for credit, we would have done that…but not every publisher allows it.

I could have thrown it away or donated it somewhere, I suppose, but I have faith in books. :)

This is years away, certainly.

I can also envision homes having an Amazon 3D printer in them. You order it, Amazon charges you what is basically a licensing fee for the design and maybe for the raw material (although I could see customers providing that), and it prints right then and there.

Actually, that could work quite well. You could even hold up an item to a visual scanner, and if Amazon had the deal with the “rightsholder” for that item, it could reproduce it for you.

There’s got to be some good way to tie this into gaming and toys…because that’s where innovation often happens first.

Naturally, some people may also relate this to POD (Print On Demand) for paper books…and that could work also.

What do you think? If Barnes & Noble continues as a digital enterprise, when would you buy a NOOK book rather than a Kindle book? Should the PTA have partnered with a specific company? It’s National Reading Month…why not recommend a book you think would help a child become a lifelong reader? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

 

Microsoft gives up on the NOOK: a tipping point for B&N?

December 5, 2014

Microsoft gives up on the NOOK: a tipping point for B&N?

“To B&N or not to B&N…that is the question.” ;)

Barnes & Noble released their 2015 second financial quarter information

press release

and while things could have been worse (the college store segment actually had increased sales), reaction to it has not been good.

Revenue overall was down (year over year) by 2.7%, and that included a drop in the retail segment by 3.6%.

However, the NOOK segment (which includes NOOKs, accessories, and e-books and other applicable digital content) was down 41.3%, which is huge.

The devices were especially down, and as this short excerpt shows, B&N thinks that dragged down the content part:

“The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $64 million for the quarter, decreasing 41.3% from a year ago.  Device and accessories sales were $18.7 million for the quarter, a decrease of 63.7% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume.  Digital content sales were $45.2 million for the quarter, a decline of 21.2% compared to a year ago, due primarily to lower device unit sales. “

The Microsoft/Barnes & Noble relationship has been interesting, to say the least.

In 2011, Microsoft sued B&N over the NOOK.

In 2012, Microsoft pumped $300 million into B&N’s NOOK business…which some people saw as possibly the lifesaver a sinking B&N needed.

Now, Microsoft is out of there…freed of obligations regarding the NOOK.

While B&N has tried to make that into a good thing, I don’t see how it really can be.

Seeking Alpha has

four articles today about Barnes & Noble

and none of them are positive takes on the report (although one of them is a transcript of B&N’s web call about the financials).

Competition is a good thing, so I’m not pleased to see B&N weakening.

Sony, which used to be one of Amazon’s major competitors in the EBR (E-Book Reader) market, is gone for the USA for those devices.

For EBRs, I’d say that Kobo is Amazon’s one really big competitor (if the NOOK fails).

Amazon has competitors on the tablet front, of course, and definitely on the phone front.

They are battling Chromecast and Roku for streaming devices. The Echo seems to be distinctively different from other Bluetooth speakers, although I suppose one could argue that it competes with other (relatively) high end wireless speakers.

Overall, today’s information doesn’t make me optimistic for B&Ns future…

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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

Round up #274: Americans’ fear, hardware sales

October 23, 2014

Round up #274: Americans’ fear, hardware sales

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

Hardware sales

There are a lot of sales lately on hardware from Amazon.

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation – 3rd) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

$179…$20 off

This the model I use every day…and I like it well enough that I’m not looking to upgrade to this year’s models (although I’m hoping to get to review them for you).

In fact, I’m watching the World Series right now on mine, using the free

FOX Sports GO (at AmazonSmile*)

app. It looks great, by the way!

I saw some interesting reviews of the app…some may have been written for an earlier version, since it works fine for my Fire HDX. I also saw someone saying that it would kill cable…nope. I had to sign into our cable provider before it would let me watch.

I can also mirror it to my TV, using my Fire TV.

Right now, there is a sale on a bundle of the Fire HDX and the Fire TV:

Amazon Fire TV & Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Wi-Fi 16GB with Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

$259

If you think of the FHDX as $179, that makes the Fire TV $80…$20 off. That’s $40 off both!

I like my Fire TV a lot, too…this might be a case of you keeping both (they go together very well, thanks to the mirroring), or giving one or both as gifts at the holidays.

That deal is so good they are limiting it to one to a customer…while it lasts.

The

Amazon Fire Phone, 32GB (AT&T) (at AmazonSmile*)

which isn’t my favorite Amazon device at this point…but it does work as my phone, it’s available for as little as…free (with a plan).

Meanwhile, you can get a refurb (refurbished) Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ with 4G…for as little as $159!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFKC9UO/ref=gb1h_rlm_c-3_4282_1b6b5d9c?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_t=701&pf_rd_s=center-new-3&pf_rd_r=109CTB24BCY6KJRT4A18&pf_rd_i=20&pf_rd_p=1952684282

To use the 4G (which is like a cellphone connection…it’s another way to connect to the internet, in addition to the wi-fi it can also do), you’ll need to pay for a dataplan…but$159 for an 8.9″ device is a really good deal.

This is the model that has an HDMI out, so you can show what’s on your tablet on your TV using a cable (if your TV has an HDMI in…most modern TVs will). That’s a plus, in just needing a cable. However, some apps will detect the HDMI cable and refuse to play…the Xfinity app used to do that for me.

The refurbs have the same warranty as new ones.

New 10.1″ NOOK tablet

You think 8.9″ is big?

Barnes & Noble and Samsung have just announced a 10.1″ tablet:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1

It’s $299.99 (with a $50 rebate), and comes with $200 of NOOK content (they pick, not surprisingly).

Yep, they are still in the game…

A charter for readers’ rights

I have to say, this

CBC article by Jason Proctor

strikes me as truly bizarre.

Certainly, it’s reasonable to write an article setting out what you think should be the rights of readers…I was expecting something to balance what the authors have recently been saying, and what the publishers and retailers say.

This one just has some very odd points.

Before I do that, let me say…the title actually says “reader’s rights”, and maybe that’s appropriate. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be plural, but just this writer’s personal pet peeves. ;)

Second, the photo that they have of a Kindle is the original, 2007 model.  Perhaps Proctor would be a bit less anti-Kindle if the current models were compared to paper?

Maybe not…

I’ll just mention the first complaint: movie tie-in editions. Yep, Proctor doesn’t like it that you can buy a copy of a book with pictures of the actors from the movie on the cover.

I think, perhaps, Jason Proctor doesn’t realize how much movies affect sales of books, and how much they can turn movie watchers into readers. This strikes me as a kind of literati snobbery…if you aren’t a “pure reader”, don’t be a reader at all.

I’d rather encourage everybody to read…and if a movie is a gateway to reading, great! I suspect it wouldn’t have been too hard to find an edition of the book without the movie cover, if you wanted to do that.

You can add your own comments as they build this list at

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/book-lovers-unite-a-plea-for-a-charter-of-reader-s-rights-1.2791581

I might do that, but I’d want to do it in a positive way. Of course, one of mine might be:

1. The right to read any edition of any book, even one with a movie tie-in cover, without having anyone look down on me and try to discourage me from reading ;)

British perspective on USA and book banning

I don’t want to suggest that there is only one British perspective on…well, anything. :) Just like there wouldn’t be only one American perspective on anything.

However, it does say something when a person from outside your group is stating that they are looking at you in that way…as an outsider.

This

The Guardian article by Mary O’Hara

The article looks at books being challenged in America (challenged in libraries, school curricula, that sort of thing) for being “anti-capitalist”.

I’m not sure that it’s a widespread problem, but it happens…remember that this isn’t censorship by the government, but individuals and groups requesting that books be withheld from readers.

I think the article reasonably makes its point: I believe that some people don’t want people reading books which go against “American values”.

I think that attitude is a non-productive one. As I’ve said many times on the blog before, I want people to be exposed to ideas which are the opposite of mine. I don’t want those ideas to slink around freely in the shadows: I want to shine the full light of day on them, and let people see them for what they are.

In the past, industry groups have imposed these sorts of rules on themselves. The old Comics Code Authority included a provision that “…Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.”

In the USA, we’ve never applied a standard like that to books. Certainly, Huck Finn wouldn’t have passed a restriction like that, just to name one.

According to this article, this is being applied to non-fiction in addition to fiction.

People often ask on the Amazon Kindle forums how they can tell which books are “R rated”, or something like that.

The answer is simple: none of them.

The movie industry has its own rating system.

The music industry has its own rating system.

The videogame industry has its own rating system.

The book publishing industry does not…and I don’t think it is likely to establish one.

However, just because the publishers aren’t getting together to label books, that doesn’t mean that private groups aren’t doing it.

Those groups may also go after schools and libraries.

I’m not quite sure if the article is suggesting that this is an American flaw…that it is something which wouldn’t happen in the UK.

We have always had different standards. American movies have tended to be more lenient with violence and stricter with sexual content than European movies (and TV).

The Boris Karloff Frankenstein was given an “H certificate” in England…rating it too horrific for those under 16 years of age (this wasn’t universally ((no pun intended)) enforced).

I must say I found it an interesting perspective, and I think you may as well.

What do you think? Are Americans (not the government) more likely to try to block counter-culture material than Britons? The article really focuses on how the block can be against portraying poverty…do we only want our children to read through rose-colored glasses? Does a 10.1 inch tablet interest you…and will the NOOK brand still be around a year from now? Should Amazon bring out a tablet that large? What about an EBR (E-Book Reader) that size? What would you put on a list of “readers’ rights”? 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.

Comparing the bestsellers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

October 21, 2014

Comparing the bestsellers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble

There was a time when the bestsellers at Amazon for the Kindle and at Barnes & Noble for the NOOK were pretty similar.

There were some few exclusives which made a difference, but the lists were pretty much the same.

No more.

Amazon clearly impacts its own bestseller list. That may be by publishing their books themselves, or putting them on sale, or making them part of the Kindle First program (which are books both published by them and “on sale”…they are actually free for Prime members ((one book a month)) and yet to be published.

No question: if you are with Barnes & Noble and not with Amazon, you are missing out on some very popular books.

Let’s take a look:

Kindle Rank Title Kindle $ NOOK Rank NOOK $ Diff
1 My Sister’s Grave 4.99 N/A
2 Gone Girl 4.99 1 8.99 4
3 Gray Mountain 11.99 13 14.99 3
4 The Fire Seekers 4.99 N/A
5 The Glassblower 4.99 N/A
6 Leaving Time 4.99 2 12.59 7.6
7 Stepbrother Dearest 3.99 41 3.99 0
8 I Love How You Love Me 4.99 26 4.99 0
9 Sleep Tight 1.99 N/A
10 Ruin Part Two 0.99 345 0.99 0
11 The Best of Me 4.99 7 4.99 0
12 Medicine Men 0.99 N/A
13 The Cycle of Arawn 0.99 6 0.99 0
14 Burn 4.99 13 12.99 8
15 Ruin 0.99 1386 0.99 0
16 The Heroes of Olympus Books Five 9.99 14 10.99 1
17 Yellow Crocus 3.99 N/A
18 Down and Out 3.99 75 3.99 0
19 Captivated by You 7.99 14 7.99 0
20 Blood Magick 6.99 57 8.99 2
Total 25.6

While there have been some excellent NOOK devices, and they have led in some innovations (notably lending and frontlighting), there is no question that if you backed Barnes & Noble against Amazon (and we’ll just treat it as a two horse race now), your money was in the wrong place (as a reader).

You can’t even get six of the top twenty Amazon sellers, and if you did buy all the ones you could, you would pay $25.60 more. On average, that’s $1.60 a book more, but you could pay as much as $8 more.

Well, I’m glad I looked at that!

Originally, when Amazon started  aggressively  pursuing exclusives, I did think it was Amazon versus B&N. Now, I tend to think of it as Amazon versus the traditional publishers…and interesting mind focus, I’d say.

I know some of you have both NOOKs and Kindles (and Kobos, and some others).

Update: one of my regular readers and commenters, Edward Boyhan, asked me what it would look like if I did the comparison the other way…with the NOOK Books top 20. I originally intended to do that last night, but the frailties of the flesh overwhelmed the intent of the will (in other words, I was too tired). ;) I did eyeball it first, and I didn’t see a book on the B&N list that I didn’t think Amazon would have…and that was right (for the top 20). I created the table this morning:

NOOK Rank Title NOOK $ Kindle Rank Kindle $ Diff
1 Leaving Time $2.99 6 4.99 $2.00
2 Cut to the Bone $1.99 37 1.99 $0.00
3 Gone Girl $8.99 3 4.99 -$4.00
4 Day After Night $10.93 4191 9.32 -$1.61
5 Captivated by You $7.99 20 7.99 $0.00
6 The Best of Me $7.99 11 4.99 -$3.00
7 Holland Springs Box Set $0.99 74 0.99 $0.00
8 The Highlander’s Bride $0.99 102 0.99 $0.00
9 Desired: Club Sin $0.99 85 $0.99 $0.00
10 Deadline $11.99 24 10.99 -$1.00
11 Be For Me $0.99 153 0.99 $0.00
12 Someone Else’s Love Story $1.99 193 0.99 -$1.00
13 The Blood of Olympus $10.99 15 9.99 -$1.00
14 Burn $12.99 17 4.99 -$8.00
15 The Cinderella Murder $10.99 609 10.99 $0.00
16 The Circle of Ceridwen $0.99 308 0.99 $0.00
17 The Geneva Trap $7.51 23,400 6.15 -$1.36
18 Gray Mountain $14.99 2 11.99 -$3.00
19 The Pearl that Broke Its Shell $1.99 146 1.99 $0.00
20 Killing Patton $11.04 32 11.04 $0.00
Total -$21.97

Every top twenty NOOK book could be bought at Amazon as well. The price differentials were still overwhelmingly in favor of Kindleers (over NOOKers).

The number one NOOK book is cheaper at B&N than it is at Amazon…but that typically doesn’t last, since people can alert Amazon on the book’s product page about the differential, and they tend to match the prices.

Glancing at it (and I have a pretty good eye at doing that way), it appears to me that when the prices are the same, generally, that book is ranked relatively lower at Amazon. That isn’t always the case, but my intuition is that a book which $0.99 at both Amazon and B&N is pushed lower at Amazon by the presence of the Kindle exclusives.

I would also guess that the number of people who decide whether to buy a e-book at Amazon or B&N based on the price is pretty low. If they have the respective companies’ EBRs (E-Book Readers), they don’t really have that choice. However, they could have both companies’ apps on a tablet, for example, and then they could choose.

What do you think? This holiday season, will people choose to buy NOOKs as their very first EBRs (E-Book Reader), or is it mostly coasting on customers it already? Are Amazon’s exclusives something that has driven you to become more of an Amazon user? 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.

Barnes & Noble partners with Overdrive on magazines for public libraries

October 9, 2014

Barnes & Noble partners with Overdrive on magazines for public libraries

In this

press release

Barnes & Noble announced today that they are partnering with Overdrive to make magazines and newspapers available through public libraries which can be read on NOOKs and NOOK apps.

Public libraries have quite a variety of e-media available (although it varies greatly from location to location).

Many of them have e-books, of course, but they also have audiobooks, videos…even comics.

Some of them have magazines now: Zinio, which I use on my

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

which I use to read Fortean Times, does it, although not with all magazines (at least not at all branches).

If you have the NOOK app on your device, you could use this (if your public library is participating…important ifs, there, both of them).

You could install the NOOK app on your PC, for example, and borrow just a current issue of a magazine, if there was a particular article you wanted to see.

I would love it if the Kindle Newsstand would do this as well!

There are times when I just want to read that one article…maybe a comparison of EBRs (E-Book Readers). I don’t want to keep it after that…I just want to get the information.

Buying a single issue can be more expensive than subscribing for a month and then canceling, oddly enough.

Take

National Geographic Magazine (at Amazon Smile*)

for example, to which we do subscribe.

You can get a trial month for free (which would probably get you the current issue you wanted).

You can subscribe for $1.99 a month (and cancel at any time, even keeping that “copy” on your device).

Or you can buy the current issue…for $4.99.

Hmm… ;)

It’s nice to see that B&N is still trying new things, still pushing the race for customers to higher speeds.

That’s only good for us as Amazon customers.

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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