Archive for the ‘Reader Apps’ Category

Round up #172: new features for a Kindle app, people who haven’t read a good (or any) book lately

March 25, 2018

Round up #172: new features for a Kindle app, people who haven’t read a good (or any) book lately

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

Today’s KDD: “Up to 80% off New York Times best sellers & more”


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

has really top brand name authors and other well-known titles! I’m quite impressed…titles include:

  • Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: City of Endless Night (Agent Prendergast) | 4.3 out of 5 stars | 615 customer reviews |  $4.99
  • Robyn Carr: What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing) | 4.5 stars | 512 reviews | $1.99
  • James Patterson: All-American Murder | 4.1 stars | 232 reviews | $4.99
  • Sara Paretsky: Fallout (V.I. Warshawaski | 4.2 stars | 242 reviews | $1.99
  • David Baldacci: Guilty (Will Robie) | 4.5 stars | 4,232 reviews | $2.99
  • Clive Cussler: Shock Wave (Dirk Pitt) | 4.5 stars | 868 reviews | $0.99
  • Stephenie Meyer: The Chemist | 4.3 stars | 2,066 reviews | $3.99
  • Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins:
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Christina Baker Kline by A Piece of the World
  • Boundaries by Henry Cloud
  • Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines
  • Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  • Let Trump be Trump by Corey Lewandowski
  • You Say it First by Susan Mallery
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • The Black Witch by Laurie Forest
  • Wanted by Maya Blanks
  • The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
  • The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Walk to Beautiful by Mr. Jimmy Wayne
  • Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard
  • Willow Brook Road by Sherryl Woods
  • Private #1 Suspect by James Patterson

iOS Kindle app updated

The iOS Kindle app (for iPhones and iPads) was recently updated (March 19) to 6.5, and there are two particularly stand-out new things to me.

One is “infinite scrolling”. That’s something people wanted even back when the Kindle was first introduced in 2007. What that means is that rather  than reading it like a book, whiere you see a certain amount of text and then change to another block of text (like flipping a page on a p-book…paperbook), you can just scroll through the whole book, like one continuous webpage. I definitely see the attraction of that, even though it moves you further away from the “paper behind glass” feel.

The second one for me is that they’ve added an Arabic dictionary. There is a sense to me that Amazon may be working on an expansion into countries with a lot of Arabic-speakers, although Netflix also recently added more Arabic support. It is a top ten language in the world (I’ve seen both fifth and sixth largest cited) with hundreds of millions speaking it as their first language, so it’s worth noting that there are people outside predominantly Arabic speaking countries who also might like to read in Arabic.

The other two things they noted was swiping down in the library to refresh it, and support for split screen view on iPads.

Alexa, the protocol droid?

This was an interesting

Yahoo! Finance article by JP Mangalindan

It doesn’t surprise me that Amazon is working on Alexa doing real-time translation. It can do some minor pieces of that now through “skills”, but there are a lot of AI solutions for “universal translation” not far away (and some that work somewhat now).

What was more intriguing to me was the suggestion that Alexa would change what it gave you as a “translation” if you told it the role of the person. This can be very sticky in language (our adult kid is a linguist, and it’s an interest of mine): many people use overly familiar language, for example, when formal might be more appropriate.

This ties very much into their

Cleo skill (at AmazonSmile*)

What happens is that you have a conversation in a language of your choosing with Alexa. Alexa speaks English, you speak your language. What you are doing is teaching Alexa. It’s a crowdsourcing thing, and you actually get points. 🙂 While this should let Alexa learn about more natural language, there is also a serious risk that people will try to teach Alexa things as a joke…as Monty Python might say, “My hovercraft is full of eels.” 😉 However, I always believe the majority of people will have good intentions…so if enough people use Alexa, it should be fine.

I used to be “fluent” in Mangani, the language the “apes” speak in the Tarzan series of books. There aren’t that many words, and fortunately, the syntax is exactly the same as English. 😉  I couldn’t answer the sorts of questions Alexa will ask, though.

I have no doubt Alexa will learn Klingon…

Anyway, back to the protocol part: I assume this also means that Alexa could give you an idea of what to say in English in certain situations. “Alexa, I forgot our anniversary…” “Alexa, my boss caught me stealing…” 😉

Speaking of speaking, I really wasn’t pleased when our Alexa switch to the new “Brief Mode”. Instead of answering me with “Ok”, Alexa plays a note…a sort of muted “bing bong”; I’m fine with that being an option, but it opted me in without asking me. It told me it did it, but then it was done. I much prefer the “Ok”…it’s part of what makes Alexa special for me. I did go back into the Settings and Alexa Voice Responses to turn it off again.

I would really like Alexa to respond in a whisper when I speak to it in a whisper…I’ve been hoping with that for a while. 🙂

Does nostalgia not work for movies based on young adult novels?

While the market for movies based on young adult novels has generally cooled from the halcyon Hunger Games days, I’m wondering a certain part of it.

A Wrinkle in Time can be argued to be a box office disappointment. It has a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, 53% on Metacritic, and 4.2 out of 10 on IMDb. This despite it being a beloved book with a cast of stars and a respected director.

That made me think of another recent movie that didn’t meet expectations for ticket sales: Ender’s Game. It was 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, 51% on Metacritic, and 6.7 on IMDb. The domestic gross was about $62 million on a reported budget of $110 million.

The Giver had a domestic gross of about $45 million on a reported budget of $25 million. It was 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, 47% on Metacritic, and 6.5 on IMDb.

I suppose we could go back to the 1939 version of the Wizard of Oz (even though that’s more of a children’s book series than a young adult series). It wasn’t a box office blockbuster when it was first released, and many readers didn’t like some of the things that had been done with it (and they especially didn’t like Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion).

Just wondering…

Almost a quarter of American adults report not having read a book in the past 12 months

There are some very interesting stats from this year’s Pew report on who hasn’t read a book:

article by Andrew Perrin

There are six categories, and the biggest disparity occurs in education. The three slots are: high school or less; some college; and college+. The difference between the highest and the lowest is 30%: 37% of people high school or lower reported not having read a book, where only 7% of “College+” say so. I’ll mention one more before leaving it to the article…adults fifty or older actually reported reading a book significantly less often (28% versus 20%) than younger people.

I’ll mention that fewer people are non-readers than was true in the past couple of years…

What do you think? Why are people reporting they are reading more? Are you going to help Alexa learn a language (or more than one)? Do you want e-books to try to emulate p-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!

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!

* 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.


Flash! Amazon updates iPad/iPhone Kindle app

January 11, 2011

Flash! Amazon updates iPad/iPhone Kindle app

Amazon has just updated its

Kindle for iPad app


free Kindle for iPhone/iPod Touch apps

There are some exciting additions here!

  • Instant word lookup, similar to the dictionary lookup on Kindle devices
  • Finish downloading a book in the background (meaning you can do something else on iOS 4 devices
  • Support for some non-Amazon book files…this one is huge, it means you get access to Project Gutenberg and files.  I don’t see where they’ve told us the formats yet.  Some of it appears to do with web-e-books (you can open files in Safari), but you can also transfer files from iTunes.  This may mean you can use personal documents, but I’m not sure yet
  • Zoom has been improved
  • There’s a “new book indicator”…I assume this is something that tells you when a book has been downloaded and not opened yet.  I don’t think it means it is an improvement to an existing book indicator.  The Kindle tells us when books are new to the device

Kindle for iDevices help page

If you download the update, feel free to share your experiences by commenting on this post.

No, I don’t know if the upgrades are coming to the Blackberry, Android, or Windows 7 apps.  🙂

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

Flash! Amazon to introduce reader apps for more tablets

January 4, 2011

Flash! Amazon to introduce reader apps for more tablets

Amazon says in this new

press release

that they’ll be releasing apps for Windows and Android tablets.  They already have an app for the iPad and for Android phones.

This isn’t a surprise…Jeff Bezos said quite some time ago that the Kindle and Kindle e-books are two different markets.  That’s why there wasn’t a “contract” deal with the Kindle, where you might buy the device, pay a monthly fee, and have books included in that fee.  He didn’t want to marry the two markets that much.

I think the press release is also part of preparation for a possible Amazon tablet (which I’ve suggested could be called the “Amazon Current“).  They seem to be preparing Kindle users mentally for the idea that a backlit device isn’t a bad thing 🙂 , and that they could own both a Kindle and a table. 

Dorothy Nicholls, the Director for the Amazon Kindle, is quoted in the press release as saying, “Many people are buying both a Kindle and an LCD tablet computer…”

A recent JP Morgan survey said that 40% of iPad owners also own a Kindle…and more plan to do so.

Isn’t that nice for Amazon? 

Wouldn’t it be even nicer if that was a Current and a Kindle?  🙂

Amazon has services that would work great on a tablet…streaming video, MP3 downloads…they sell videogames already.

While this press release doesn’t prove anything about a possible Amazon tablet, it is suggestive.

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

Flash! Kindle for Android updated, new features

September 23, 2010

Flash! Kindle for Android updated, new features

You don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle store books.

You can get a free “reader app” and read them on a PC, a Mac, an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod touch, a Blackberry, and Android devices.

Those readers don’t have all the features of the Kindle (including the reflective E Ink screen, text-to-speech, and some Kindle store items), but they are being improved over time.

In this

press release

Amazon announces updates to the Android version.

  • You will now be able to search within your books by text…or voice.  The latter is interesting: that might be one of the uses for the currently inactive microphone on the K3s. 
  • “Seamless” Wikipedia look up
  • Locking landscape/portrait orientation
  • Look up book descriptions in Shelfari (a readers’ social networking site owned by Amazon)
  • Add, edit, and delete notes and highlights, and sync them to other devices on your account

Customers who already have the app should get the update automatically. 

For more information, see

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

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