Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

Men’s Interest magazines in the USA Kindle store

March 6, 2015

Men’s Interest magazines in the USA Kindle store

I was looking at the “Special Offers” on my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)

I should probably first say something about that. :)

There is often some…imprecision in how people describe Kindles (and Fires) with Special Offers.

You don’t have to pay something to get the ads removed: the ads reduce the cost of the device.

That’s how it was right from the beginning: when Amazon introduced the Special Offers program (just about four years ago…April 11th 2011, to be exact), it reduced the cost of the device by $25.

Basically what happens is that advertisers subsidize your purchase of the device. You agree to see ads (implicitly) in exchange for a lower price.

If you change your mind (or got the device as a gift), you can pay the difference and stop the ads.

However, I’ve gotten a lot of great deals with the Special Offers! That’s particularly true on the Fires, where we sometimes get these massive discount (more than 80% at times) for a very, very short time. It can even be that if you hover over the button and tap it as fast as you can, they can still be sold out.

The models with Special Offers are generally more popular than the ones without them.

People who don’t want them think they may be intrusive…but they are so unintrusive, I often miss something. :)

That’s why I go to Offers to see what is there (it’s all the way on your right on the homescreen).

One of them this time was for

Men’s Interest magazines (at AmazonSmile*)


That’s always been a weird idea to me, that books and magazines would be sold to people based on the customers’ genders.

Yes, when I managed a brick and mortar bookstore (and this was some time ago) we had a “Men’s Adventure” section.

Notice I always say that I managed the store…I didn’t own it, and that section was there when I took over.

That category was also often printed on the book by the publisher.

I have to be honest: I didn’t notice many women buying books from that section…or men buying Harlequin romances.

I’m sure there were women reading Remo Williams and men reading Iris Johansen, but that fact wasn’t commonly shared by them with everyone in the store. ;)

That was then, though…this is now.

Is there really a marketing advantage for Amazon to put a Special Offer on everyone’s Fires, and suggest that it is more likely to appeal to a minority of people (there are more women than men in the USA…and statistically, they tend to read more and buy more books, I believe)?

I was curious as to what they labeled as “Men’s Interest”.

I should clarify that: most likely, the publishers pick the categories. Amazon creates the categories, though.

Looking at the magazines by bestselling, they go like this:

  1. Sports Illustrated…I know they’ve worked on increasing their female audience. Professional athletics organizations across the country have tried to do that as well
  2. Rolling Stone: I don’t really see popular music as appealing particularly to men!
  3. Maxim: okay, I would guess their readership is primarily male
  4. Popular Science: this particularly concerns me. There is so much effort being done to get women more involved in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). No particular reason this should appeal more to men. I remember there was a controversy years ago with a talking Barbie that used a chip instead of a string. One of things Barbie said was, “Math class is hard.” As I recall, Mattel had to take that one out because of complaints…since Barbie is more likely to be owned by girls than by boys
  5. Men’s Health: I could give you that one…it’s right in the title
  6. Outside Magazine
  7. Outdoor Life: I don’t see either of these as not appealing to women. Of course, you could say that “Men’s Interest” doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting to women, too, but then what would be the point in using the label? I suspect it might be for people who are shopping for men, rather than for the men themselves
  8. Money Magazine: I don’t see any reason for this one. In fact, I’d be surprised if the readership is overwhelmingly male
  9. Backpacker: I wouldn’t say that I even automatically picture backpackers as male. If you say “backpacker” to me, I just don’t have that as a default concept
  10. The Family Handyman…hard to say.

Some of the other topics?

  • Cars
  • Guns
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (really? I would bet that more women read mysteries than men do)
  • Golf
  • Fighting (wrestling, martial arts)
  • Shutterbug…seriously?

I’m not going to pretend to know what marketing works better for Amazon.

If it was my site, though, I don’t think I’d have that category…or a “women’s fiction” category, for that matter.

Generally, I would want to categorize the works by the works themselves, rather than the intended audience (read: “market”).

The exception to that might be children’s books, I suppose. I have to think about that one.

Let me put this out to you:

Have you been helped in purchasing by having something labeled by gender? Did you ever walk into a bookstore, and look for a “man’s section” to buy a gift? If you ran a bookstore (including a website), how would you categorize the books? Have you “felt funny” about buying a book when you clearly weren’t the intended target market? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: reader Steve made an interesting comment, which prompted me to check what is listed under “Women’s Interest”. If the same magazines were listed in both places, would that make it more reasonable? My feeling would still be no…for me, it’s about the idea that the magazine will particularly appeal to one gender. Saying it particularly appeals to both genders is saying nothing, except as a “double force” marketing ploy.

A “double force” is a magic trick stratagem (and it is used by con artists as well). Basically, it means that you appear to have a choice in something, but you really don’t.

For example, the magician cuts a deck of cards. The magician then asks you to pick one half. If the magician wants Half A and you pick Half B, the magician says, “Okay, we’ll remove that one.” If you pick Half A, the magician says, “Okay, we’ll use that one.” You felt like you controlled the situation…but you didn’t.

Here are the top ten (at time of writing) magazines listed under Women’s Interest:

  1. Us Weekly
  2. Prevention
  3. Southern Living
  4. Cooking Light
  5. Women’s Health
  6. ShopSmart
  7. More
  8. The Knot
  9. Brides
  10. Women’s Adventure

There are far fewer magazines in the Women’s category than in the Men’s, interestingly enough.

The only magazine that overlaps?

eFiction Magazine (at AmazonSmile*)

Fiction should appeal to both, in my opinion…but I don’t see a reason to label it as both appealing specifically to men and specifically to women. Maybe there should be a “Humans” section? ;) Of course, I wouldn’t want to discriminate against non-humans who read…artificial intelligence, and some dogs (including one that belongs to a sibling of mine…the dog helps with a disability, and can read a few commands), among others. ;)

 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.

The longest pre-orders

September 17, 2011

The longest pre-orders

This is one of those weird things that I just don’t get.

You can pre-order books in the Kindle store. That in itself is a bit strange to me, unless they are free when you order them. You can get a book in sixty seconds, usually…why pre-order it? As I’ve discussed before, I do get the fun in having one show up that don’t even remember ordering. Generally, though, I figured you mostly pre-ordered a paper book so you could get it on the release date…or because you were getting a lower price. With paperbooks, it helped publishers (and retailers) a lot for you to pre-order…they had to figure out how many books to print or to stock: that’s not a factor with e-books. It also helps drive up first day sales, of course, and that helps. :)

What’s the reasoning, though, when you are waiting for a pre-order for years?

I’ve noticed that sort of thing from time to time in the Kindle store. Once, it was because the book was going to fall into the public domain at that time. So, the future publisher was sort holding the spot for when they could publish it without paying royalties to the author or the author’s estate.

What explains this one, though?

PC Technician Street Smarts: A Real World Guide to CompTIA A+ Skills


The pre-order is scheduled to be delivered on October 5, 2021.

Yes…because clearly, what’s relevant in a computer technician’s life will be relevant a decade from now. ;)

The paperback is in stock, published October 5, 2009…twelve years to the day before the Kindle edition is scheduled to be published.

One reasonable hypothesis is that it is just a typo…that Sybex (the publisher) intended to be published October 5, 2011…just typed a two instead of a one.

I’m not sure that a mistake like that helps sell a computer technician book…that field of endeavor doesn’t really favor mistakes. ;)

This one is also weird:

Mistresses of Henry VIII

Here’s the Kindle publication history/schedule:

Kindle Edition, July 27, 2011 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2010 $12.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2010 $9.99
Kindle Edition, February 1, 2000 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2020 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2010 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2010 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2010 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2010 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2020 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2020 $10.00
Kindle Edition, December 26, 2020 $10.00

Several editions scheduled for the same day? Maybe each edition focuses on one mistress? ;) Presumably, Henry the VIII isn’t going to get any more mistresses between now and then…

By the way, the cover image appears to be for a different book: curiouser and curiouser. That same cover image is also used for this book scheduled for December 26, 2020:

Test book

There’s also a whole series of what appear to be kids’ books, called the Shenanigans Series…that are due to be published on September 15, 2020. The paperbacks are available now…maybe they are pre-programming nostalgia?

Anywhere, there are a lot of strange eddies in the Amazon river…this is one of them…

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

Atavistic geographic tendencies

July 3, 2011

Atavistic geographic tendencies

I regularly read p-books (paperbooks) for decades, and I’ve been regularly reading e-books not even a tenth of that time.

Still, I feel like I’ve generally made the transition. I don’t look around for a bookmark any more. I never try to reach for the page to turn it.

Recently, though, I did notice one thing that I still do which is a residual of my paperbook days.

In those days, I used to keep at least one book in each room. One room had thousands, and several rooms had…more than twenty. However, as I went from room to room, there was a book there for me to read.

Yes, I tended to read several books at the same time…still do.

So, what am I doing now that’s based on my paper habits?

I went to lunch at a particular cafeteria. I work in a lot of locations, so I may not be in the same cafeteria all that often. I sat down with my tray, woke up my Kindle…and opened a particular blog.

The same blog I read the last time I was in that cafeteria…and the time before that.

I pretty much haven’t read that blog anywhere else.

Just as if had been a magazine or a paperbook I had left in that room.

I thought about it, and realized there is another book I tend to read just in one room.

There is no reason to do that with the Kindle…I have all those books available to me in all those places.

I think that’s just a leftover way of doing things.

What about you? Do you still find yourself doing things the paper way? Feel free to let me know. :)

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

So many ways to read

September 25, 2010

So many ways to read

This was just interesting.

Not too long ago, I was on BART, our local subway system.  I, of course, had my Kindle out to read.  I was standing in the back of the car, so it happened that I could see a number of people.

Just to my right was a person writing in a paper composition book…you know, the ones with those cardboard, black and white mottled covers.  I didn’t look at what was being written, of course, but I would guess a diary or some such.  It didn’t seem like notes on something. 

To that person’s right, someone else was reading on a smartphone.  That appeared to be a book.

Immediately to my left, another person had out a big hardback book…I think a novel. 

Not far away was someone reading on a Kindle 2 (I have a K3).

A couple of rows ahead, there was a mass market paperback.

I could also see a laptop, but I’m not sure the person was reading something so much as working on something.

I looked around for a chiseled stone tablet, but didn’t see one.  ;)

Just fun to see…reading, reading, everywhere…

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


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