Archive for the ‘Round-ups’ Category

Round up #136: E-book sales down per AAP, 100 essential non-fiction books

January 28, 2016

Round up #136: E-book sales down per AAP, 100 essential non-fiction books

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

Amazon’s 4th Quarter 2015 Earnings Conference Call Thursday at 2:00 PM Pacific

People are excited about this one…and it should be telling. Yes, the stock market has been having a rough time, but my intuition is that investors will like this. I won’t be able to listen to it live tomorrow, but I’ll get to it as soon as I reasonably can.

If you’d like to listen to the conference call, you can do it here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=97664&eventID=5215069

Oops!

One of my regular readers and commenters, Man in the Middle, recommended this article to me on copyright:

Freedom of Expression and Morality Based Impediments to the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights by Mark J. Randazza

It is a very interesting paper, discussing the effect of countries disqualifying a work from copyright protection if it is “immoral” (or illegal…they don’t say anything about fattening). ;)

Content-wise, I can say I think I’m more along the European concepts of copyright than American.

So, the “oops” here was that I told Man that I planned to listen to it using text-to-speech (TTS) in the car on a commute.

It’s a PDF, and I planned to listen to it using the free app,

ezPDF Reader PDF Annotate Form (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I downloaded the PDF (portable document file), e-mailed it to myself, got in the car…and it wouldn’t open in EZ PDF! Quite odd…I’d never had that happen before. I tried a few different options, but with the limited time I had (I was off to work) I switched to

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

which my Significant Other had borrowed through

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

My SO said “enjoyed” wasn’t the right word (it’s not a happy book), but thought it was good.

So, that was okay, but I was a bit puzzled. EZ PDF couldn’t locate it on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX.

Then I realized what had happened.

Instead of e-mailing it as an attachment to myself (which I would then download to my KF), I had e-mailed it directly to the Kindle…which causes it to be converted.

It the text-to-speech (TTS) on my Kindle Fire worked with PDFs, or with the converted PDF, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Just a mistake on my part. :)

Amazon’s first Superbowl ad

Amazon has never bought a Superbowl ad before, but they have and it has been posted here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y-4pGhRxek

What is it for? Amazon Prime? The Fire tablets? The Kindle Voyage? Fire TV?

Nope, it’s for the

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

The Echo, which I cover most extensively in another blog of mine, The Measured Circle

does do sports, but Superbowl ads aren’t really about sports.

I’ll let you watch it, if you want, but I’ll say this: it has two celebrities…and it massively under uses the Echo. :) Somebody is writing down a list, which the Echo could remember them, and sync between devices.

I’ve finally gotten my SO to start using an Echo shopping list with me…we can each add things to it (either through the Echo verbally, or on our phones directly) and we can both see what’s on it and cross things off.

Works pretty well. :)

Lot of Echo news and rumors…I’ll be writing something in The Measured Circle pretty soon, and I’ll link to it here. One thing: we are about to be able to say that it has “hundreds of Skills” (like apps) available for it.

It’s been busy at work, though, and I’m working on another big project I hope to reveal in mid-February. Last night, I literally fell asleep while writing this post. :) It was right about when it was time for me to go to bed anyway, but that was…interesting. ;) It’s one reason my SO is starting to convince me that I might want to retire some day…I want more time for writing!

AAP report doesn’t split out mass market paperbacks from trade paperbacks

This report from the AAP (Association of American Publishers) was a particularly interesting one:

http://publishers.org/news/aap-statshot-publisher-net-revenue-book-sales-declines-20-through-third-quarter-2015

It says that revenue from book sales was down 2% in the first three quarters of 2015. E-book sales were down over 11%.

Why would that be?

There would be a number of factors, but as I’ve been noting in some of my analysis, Amazon’s bestselling e-books don’t tend to come from the kinds of publishers who would be part of the AAP.

They come from indies (independents), but also from Amazon’s own traditional publishing imprints. I assume they aren’t part of the AAP, although I don’t know that for sure.

Intriguing to me was that they didn’t separate out mass market paperbacks (the small ones I think most people still of as a paperback…about the size of your hand) and trade paperbacks, which are larger…they tend to be about the same height as a hardback novel/popular non-fiction.

The MMPs have been crashing in sales…e-books sort of took their niche of being relatively inexpensive and portable. So, the paperback category was up…but my guess is that was trade’s gains overbalancing MMP’s losses.

That’s probably why they didn’t separate this time, but have in the past.

2+2=literature

I love this!

In this

The Guardian article by Alison Flood

a study is reported where mathematicians studied novels…and determined that they were not only subject to mathematical analysis, but had pretty specific results. They resembled fractals and multifractals.

I know some of you are running the other way, but I thought it was really cool!

You can suggest: the 100 essential non-fiction books

Still at the Guardian, this

article by Marta Bausells

invites readers to suggest essential non-fiction books. This is tied into Robert McCrum’s new list, although it seems like that list is already finished.

I read a lot of non-fiction (although I read fiction as well…I read a lot of things).

That would be tough for me!

I’d have to really think about it, and what I wanted books on the list to do and be.

My first thoughts are to books which give insight into Homo sapiens, both as a species and individuals.

My first gut reaction would include:

  • The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris
  • The Book of the D*amned by Charles Fort
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

However, I then think I’d want my list to be broader…books that gave historical insight (in a different way than Diamond), for example.

Hmm…I’ll have to think about that.

The Independent: “Can we guess how old you are based on the books you have read? Take the quiz”

It was fun to take the quiz in this

The Independent article by Roisin O’Connor

but apparently, at least the answer for me was, “No, you can’t.” ;) They were way off…at least a third of my age off.

Of course, that makes me a bit happy…I like being atypical. ;)

You can give it a try…let me know if it works for you.

My guess is that it won’t tend to work. A couple of years ago, I wrote

You’re showing your age when you say, “You’re showing your age”

It seems even more true to me now.

What do you think? What are the essential non-fiction books…and what does that mean? Have you been using your Echo for books…audiobooks or text-to-speech? What will be reported in Amazon’s financials call? What would you have done with Amazon’s first Superbowl ad? 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! :) 

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 #315: Big retailer on campus, Kindle indie wins Golden Globe

January 12, 2016

Round up #315: Big retailer on campus, Kindle indie wins Golden Globe

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

From Kindle indie to Golden Globe

Congratulations to Andy Weir!

The adaptation of

The Martian (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)s

which was published as a ninety-nine cent Kindle indie (independently published book), after having been given away as a serial, won a Golden Globe this weekend!

That marks a considerable change in the industry.

Now, it is important to point out that it was traditionally published (tradpubbed) in-between, but that demonstrates one model for tradpubs for the future.

They may be able to take fewer chances themselves on unknown authors or offbeat topics, and instead, let indie authors take the (considerably lower) risks. After a book demonstrates having a market, then they can bid for it and get their machines in motion.

It won for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, one of the top two whole movie awards.

There has been quite a bit of commentary about it having competed in the comedy category, but that’s like the categories that show up for books on Amazon…the people behind the property choose where to submit them. This was my tweet on that:

“Don’t be an Earthist, Tim. We don’t judge what you think is funny.” –Martin O’Hara on win at

;)

It’s also likely to get significant Oscar nominations on Thursday.

I want to additionally note that Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle also took top honors. That’s important, because it proves that Transparent wasn’t a fluke…that Amazon is an important player in original video. That affects us as readers because what affects Amazon generally can also impact what they do with regards to books and e-book readers/tablets.

How Amazon is ending Barnes & Noble’s college store business

One of Barnes & Noble’s (relative) bright spots has been their university stores.

They have often been the place on campus to get…well, a lot of things, going beyond books to pens, paper clips, t-shirts, and other items.

As laid out in this

Amazon press release

I think Amazon has really figured out how to disrupt their model.

They started in 2015 but are moving up a bit by opening at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s not to minimize Purdue or UMass (or their other two locations), of course, but it is an “ivy league” location.

Students can order by noon and pick up items the same day in a staffed location.

That’s great, but they are also making it a practical working and social site:

“In addition to mobile-enabled, self-service package pick up, it will be the firstAmazon pickup location to feature communal work spaces with interactive media pods where students can connect their laptops and mobile devices to TV monitors for presentations, brainstorming, studying, and collaborating.”

Gee, are they going to sell coffee and really hurt Barnes & Noble’s core business? ;)

No, but they are opening in the dining facility! They won’t need to sell coffee.

They are expanding this to two more universities this year…Berkely and Davis (also in my area).

I think this model could very well in other areas, like business parks. I don’t think you’d see it in shopping malls…but if it is a destination where you are already, I think it could be huge.

Strong rumor: new, portable, cheaper Echo

In this Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

Amazon to Release Portable Version of Echo Speaker in Coming Weeks

(if the link only shows you part of the story, try pasting the title of the story into Google)

they give some details on a rumored little sibling of the

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

This is now definitely an e-books story, by the way, since the Echo now does text-to-speech in addition to audiobooks.

It would fit into your hand…and would not need to be plugged in to work! It would charge up, and then you could carry it around with you.

You would need to push a button on it to get it to listen to you…the battery drain would reportedly be too much to have it listening all the time.

I would definitely want one! :)

I put this in the “strong rumor” category, because the WSJ is pretty reliable…and they have convincing sounding details (code name: “Fox”).

I’m also looking for Alexa to come to my Ford Fusion, and it sounds like that might be on the way as well.

Oh, and I want Alexa on my phone. :)

See, one of the things they’ve done is make Alexa a central repository for some things for me, like a Shopping List and a To Do. I can read those and manually edit them in the app on my phone…but I can’t talk to Alexa through my phone.

Big things are coming!

Fourth generation Fires are getting updated to Fire OS 5 soon

I was excited to see a notification from Amazon appear on my (now discontinued) Kindle Fire HDX that it would be updated to Fire OS 5 soon…I have that on our newest generation Fire, and it’s a big improvement.

However, they sent it by mistake. :)

I got a e-mail from Amazon that said in part:

“Recently we sent a message to your Amazon Fire tablets about a software update coming soon. We wanted to clarify that this update is for your 4th generation Fire tablet and will start rolling out in the coming weeks.”

My 7″ HDX is a third generation…they did a 4th generation 8.9″ HDX, the 7″ HDX is a 3rd generation.

You can tell which version you have here:

Which Fire tablet do I have? (at AmazonSmile*)

Update to Kindle for iOS

Amazon sent me some information about a new update for Kindle for iOS (Apple devices):

  • Native Social Sharing –  This feature makes it easier than ever to recommend a book to a friend or chat about a funny quote. Kindle book readers (or senders) can recommend the book or share a quote from the book with whomever they want – one friend, a group of friends, or more. Customers can choose from the apps they use every day to chat with friends like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as email, texting, and more.
  • Parallel downloads – up to 3 books will download at the same time, allowing customers to get to their content faster
  • Audible player adjustments – remove the (X) from the Audible player bar to simplify the CX and align with other platforms”

I think the big one for most people there will be parallel downloads! Currently, you have to wait for one book to download, then the next one starts.

I’ll be looking forward to that coming to other Kindle platforms!

What do you think? Would a place to pick up Amazon packages, and to use multimedia and wi-fi, work in an office park? Why would someone shop at a B&N university store if this was available? Have you tried text-to-speech on yur Echo yet (by the way, I expect that to come to the Fire TV family soon)? Does it bug you that Apple mobile devices get some features before other devices? 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! :) 

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 #314: Discovery Zone, A Truth Worth Tellin’

December 19, 2015

Round up #314: Discovery Zone, A Truth Worth Tellin’

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

This is how Kindle Unlimited should work

I read a good book recently.

Now, that shouldn’t be a rare thing. :) I often say I’ve never read a bad book, and I do believe that. I think I’ve gotten something good out of every book I’ve read…although there have been parts of books I haven’t liked and certainly, there have been some with massive flaws.

That doesn’t mean I’m uncritically accepting, or think that all books are equal. ;)

It was refreshing to read a novel that I felt had a strong voice, good plotting, and wasn’t gimmicky.

That book was

A Truth Worth Tellin’ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
by Toni Teepell

This isn’t a case where I know the author at all, or had even heard of the book.

What happened was that my Significant Other wanted a new book to read (especially on the treadmill).

We are happy members of

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

Amazon’s subser (subscription service). People pay $9.99 a month (although there have been discounts for longer subscriptions) for an “all you can read” service. You can have up to ten books out at a time, and multiple people on the account can be reading a book at the same time.

We like to do that. :)

If we both read the same book, we can then talk about it later…it’s a social thing.

I looked for a book, and I started by looking for Southern fiction. That’s something my SO particularly likes…both more serious, like Pat Conroy, and funny, like Fannie Flagg.

I think I searched for “Southern fiction” in Kindle Unlimited, then limited it to Contemporary Fiction, and then sorted by average customer review.

I skipped what appeared to be romance (I read that sometimes, but it’s not my SO’s preference)…the publishers pick the classifications, by the way.

Then, the cover of A Truth Worth Tellin’ caught my eye…and it currently has 18 customer reviews, all 5-star.

I don’t want to build this up too much, ;) but that was a good rating…so we tried it.

It is, in a sense, a bit old-fashioned. By that I just mean that it isn’t saying, “Hey, look at how I’m disrupting the traditional novel by adding graphic sex, non-linear storytelling, and characters you hate!” ;) I’d say it could have been written in the 1950s…not in a bad way. :)

It was interesting: I didn’t even look at the price of it until I started writing this post. It’s $4.99.

I’m hoping that some of you read it and enjoy it…both for your benefit and for the author’s.

When people criticize KU, they tend to bring up the alleged lack of well-known novels (although there are actually a lot of famous books, they don’t tend to be current bestsellers). A Truth Worth Telllin’ (a first novel) exemplifies the argument for KU as discovery for lesser known novels.

And of course, if you borrow it, read a bit of it, and don’t share my opinion, you can just move on to another book…

Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an argument for permanent copyright

More than five years ago, I published what may be my most controversial post:

Should copyright be permanent?

In it, I explored the idea of making copyright permanent in exchange for greater Fair Use provisions.

In other words, an author and the author’s estate would continue to control the commercial use of a creation (which might, of course, include having licensed it to a publisher) in perpetuity, but the work could be used for educational and research purposes generally without compensation.

That’s the simplified version.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides.

One thing I hear from people is that a work staying in copyright deprives society of a common culture…that te world (or, at least the USA) should own works like Shakespeare and Alice in Wonderland.

Well, I have to point out: is Star Wars any less of our shared culture than Romeo and Juliet?

Do people know “May the Force be with you” less than they know “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Do they talk about Star Wars less than they do about Shakespeare? Are fewer kids named after Star Wars characters and actors than Romeo & Juliet ones? Well, okay, there are a lot of Romeos out there…but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many Lukes and Leias born in early 1978. ;) There also aren’t that many Mercutios…

You might guess it’s because Star Wars is more contemporary…but, based on the original copyright terms in the USA, it would have been in  the public domain by now (the original term was 14 years, renewable once for a total of 28, if the author was still alive…not as probable then as it is now).

Three quick tips

  • On a touchscreen device, “long press” (hold your finger or stylus on something for about a second) for more options
  • Menus often look like three horizontal lines on top of each other
  • To get help, you can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

Help other readers find books

Just a reminder about

ILMK Readers’ Recommendations: book discovery zone

There will be many people new to KU in the next couple of weeks, especially since you can

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

You can help them out by going to the Book Discovery Zone and “voting” in the polls to endorse books, and by narratively suggesting books I can add.

Skipping the Flip(board)

Ooh, this was tough for me!

I skipped my morning

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

read this morning, although I will do it later today.

Why?

To avoid Star Wars spoilers. :)

My favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and it can be hard to do. For that reason, I really don’t like spoilers, myself…and I also think they are…well, when done intentionally, I would consider them morally wrong.

Let me be clear: I don’t mean when you accidentally reveal a twist in a story, or when you do it without thinking about it.

I mean when people do it intentionally.

I read an article recently where the writer recalled standing outside of a movie in the Star Wars franchise, shouting the twist at people before they entered the theatre.

To me, it’s a form of intellectual bullying. That’s not to minimize traditional bullying. I think, though, it comes from similar impulses. You are using your superior power (knowledge, in this case), to take something away from someone else.

I love discussing movies (and books), but only when everybody present wants to do that.

I also think there is no statute of limitations on spoilers.

I believe that a nine-year old reading The Wizard of Oz in 2015 has the right to the same experience of the book as a nine-year old reading it in 1900 had.

I’ve been very pleased to see that mainstream media, and much of social media, has recognized the value of avoiding spoilers with regards to SW: TFA.

However, Flipboard (at least the way I have it configured) contains many non-traditional sources, and I’m guessing there will be spoilers in it this morning.

We are seeing the movie at 11:25 this morning…so I’ll read Flipboard after we’ve seen it. ;)

Jeff Bezos is one of Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of 2015

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer) has had an interesting year: space news, an attack on the Amazon work culture, and an explicitly political comment.

Here is an

ABC video

of Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of 2015” segment with Bezos.

What do you think? How did Jeff Bezos do on Barbara Walters? What will happen to Amazon after Jeff?  Should people make references to plot twists openly (for example, jokes about maybe the Wizard of Oz in relationship to public figures), or should there be spoiler alerts? Have you discovered any books or authors through KU? Feel free to tell me and my readers 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 #313: what kids’ authors read as kids, lots of sales

December 11, 2015

Round up #313: what kids’ authors read as kids, lots of sales

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

Fire tablet accessories sale

Yes, there will be people getting their first Fire tablets this year (especially the Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) ), but a lot of people already have them.

Not to worry: Amazon is having a sale on

Fire tablet accessories 50% off and more (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are a lot of cases and covers (including the origami cover, which is my daily use cover…I like it a lot). Check to make sure it is the right generation for the device.

In addition to that, though, they have other things including screen protectors, and some adapters…hypothetically, you could display a 4th Gen Fire on a computer monitor, for example.

Amazon devices are still on sale

While the least expensive Fire tablet is not on sale right now (but remember, it’s only about $50), a lot of Amazon devices are!

Amazon Device deals (at AmazonSmile*)

The one that is ending soon is the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

for $84.99 ($15 off), which ends Saturday (December 12th).

There are tablets on sale, and EBR (E-Book Reader) bundles.

Amazon’s best-selling Kindle books of 2015

I may do a whole post on this, but I thought I’d go ahead and include a link in this round-up:

Amazon’s Best Sellers of 2015 in Kindle Books (at AmazonSmile*)

I think most of you will have heard of most of the top 20.

This is different from what’s linked in this (which is what the post might actually cover…I’m asking for some clarification from Amazon first):

press release

at

http://www.amazon.com/bestsellingbooks2015 (http://www.amazon.com/bestsellingbooks2015

That list only includes books released in 2015…and combines e-books and p-books (paperbooks).

Amazon dominates this part of the literary world…

According to this

The Guardian article by Alison Flood

Amazon’s imprint for translated works

AmazonCrossing (at AmazonSmile*)

“…published three times more translated fiction in the US this year than its nearest competitor.”

Yes, this is a British paper, but they are writing about the USA.

They seem to be bucking a trend of possibly declining sales in translated works…which would surprise me.

I would think people would be more interested in reading books from other cultures…but perhaps they are reading them more in the original languages…but maybe not. ;)

Some of the

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

have been translated.

Translating books is a real art unto itself…which is part of why a new translation qualifies for a new copyright in the USA.

Children’s books authors’ favorite books they read as children

I loved this

Publishers Weekly article compiled by Diane Roback

It showed the deep and sometimes quirky connection that the authors had with books.

I wonder, though, how different that is from most people.

Their relationship to books feels familiar to me. :)

I wish all children could have that connection to books, but I know it doesn’t happen. Some of it has to do with opportunity, and some of it has to do with family culture.

I do think books are becoming more available to those with less, but I still fantasize about a world where every child reads, and loves, books.

I think that will be increasingly possible because of e-books, but…

Take 25% off any p-book

Amazon has a special promotion where you can take

25% off a p-book (at AmazonSmile*)

…pretty much any p-book (although the most you can get off is $10, but that’s still a lot!).

You enter this code: 25OFFBOOK

The sale ends at December 14, 2015 at 02:59am EST.

I know many of my readers read both e-books and p-books. Honestly, I don’t…I do sometimes pick up one  of the roughly 10,000 p-books I have on shelves in our house to check something, but I don’t read them cover to cover.

It’s just much easier for me to read e-books…easy to carry, easier for my vision.

If I could digitize all the books, I’d donate the ones I could. Some are rare, and should go to someone who will preserve them. Not valuable, for the most part, but rare.

Would I keep any of them?

Maybe…and it’s hard for me to think about getting rid of any of them! :)

8 Most Controversial Novels Ever Published

Open Road may be my favorite publisher right now.

Not only do they publish important backlist titles as e-books, and with features readers want (including text-to-speech access and often, availability through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)), but they clearly love books.

Take a look at this

Open Road article by Jessica Ferri

about controversial books.

I wouldn’t fault this list…I think you’ll generally think that the books on here are reasonable choices. Sure, you can argue most controversial, but this is a list written by someone who understands books.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite translator? How did books affect you as a child? 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! :) 

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 #312: e-books and public libraries, sharing economy and books

November 24, 2015

Round up #312: e-books and public libraries, sharing economy and books

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

Best Buy to have Fire 7″ for $34.99 on Black Friday

According to this

online ad scan

Best Buy will have the

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

for $34.99 ($15 off) on this Friday, Black Friday. Well, it says Black Friday, but their doors open at 5:00 PM on Thanksgiving, then close at 1:00 AM on Friday, then open again at 8:00 AM on Friday. This is a “doorbuster”, so they could run out…and the price may not be available online. This is also unofficial at this point.

We also expect Amazon to have the same device at that price…but we don’t know when or for how long.

Some other unannounced but likely Black Friday deals on Amazon devices (again, unofficial, and may be in limited supply and for a limited time):

  • Wal-Mart, Meijer: Fire TV Stick for $24.99 ($15 off)
  • Best Buy, Staples: Fire TV for $74.99 ($25 off)

Before the Hunger Games: How Young Adult Books First Became a Category

I love stories about how pop culture became pop culture (and how it sometimes disappears, although that’s less likely nowadays).

This is an interesting

Time article by Merrill Fabry

No doubt, the Young Adult category is huge right now…but according to this article, we can really trace it back to 1929 and a New York Public Librarian Mabel Williams. Whenever it seems like it’s always been here, I always like to see where it came from. ;)

When the Sharing Economy Comes to Publishing

This

Publishers Weekly opinion piece by Chris Twyman

examines the changes in publishing in a thoughtful and different way.

This isn’t about crowdfunding, but about how feedback can affect the actual writing of a book.

It’s not going to be the only way that things work: I think there will be a heteogeneity of publishing techniques, with traditional publishing still having a piece of it.

Again, check this one out…you’ll care about how your books come to be in the future: it will affect your reading options.

How libraries are meeting patrons [sic] needs in the digital age

Informative statistics in this

EBOOK FRIENDLY article by Ola Kowalczyk

on e-books and digital use and public libraries.

What percentage of public libraries would you guess use “eBooks and audiobooks”? According to this infographic (powered by Overdrive), it’s 95%. They also reported a 20% in the number of e-books and audiobooks  borrowed over 2014**.

National Book Awards for 2015

The National Book Awards have been announced. You can see all the winners, nominees, and long list here:

Official Site

The four winners are:

  • Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (fiction)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (non-fiction)
  • Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (poetry)
  • Challenger Deep by Neil Shusterman (young people’s literature)

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 paragraph was clarified thanks to a comment from regular reader and commenter alanchurch

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 #311: Orwell, Open Road

October 29, 2015

Round up #311: Orwell, Open Road

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

Getting comfortable with the 7″ Fire tablet

I’ve had the

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99

for about a week now, and I feel like I have a pretty good sense of it.

I would describe the device itself as serviceable, and the Fire OS 5 (which will come to some older models) as superior.

I certainly miss having dictation for the keyboard, and trace typing (like Swype…you drag your finger around to make words). I use both of those a lot on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7 (which is still what I’ve been using most of the time.

The biggest problem I’ve had with it, and I called Kindle Support to check it with them (no almost instant onscreen Mayday help), is that I can’t use it as a nightstand clock.

My Kindle Fire HDX is my nightstand clock. I have it (unplugged, just running on battery) next to the bed. The native clock app has a nightstand mode. The numbers are red, it’s dim, and it stays on all night. It takes about half the battery charge, which is fine…it charges up quickly enough in the morning.

With the new Fire, the clock app has a Night Mode…but it doesn’t override the autosleep timing! In other words, when I’m sleeping, it’s sleeping, too: no display. I don’t know about you, but I want to be able wake up groggily in the middle of the night, glance over, see what time it is….and decide if it’s appropriate to wake up the rest of the way and get out of bed. I don’t want to have to wake up the tablet to decide that.

One issue is that you can’t set the autosleep on the device to “Never”, which is my preferred setting. I’ll put my devices to sleep when I choose. :)

It’s a minor irritation, and I’m still using my KFHDX7 next to the bed.

Outside of that, it’s pretty good. I’d feel fine with having it for a guest or in  doctor’s waiting room. We don’t call them that any more, by the way…it’s a negative connotation.. They probably say you are “in the lobby”, in the “reception area”, or just “out front”. I loved a cartoon that I saw years ago which has a patient saying to the doctor, “If you want me to be more active, why have I been sitting in your waiting room for forty-five minutes?” ;)

Jane Friedman sounds like someone I would like to know

Jane Friedman is the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Open Road Media.

That’s been one of the best publishers for e-books. They typically publish backlist titles (older titles…the books that aren’t in the front of the catalog), and they secured the e-book rights for those when the bigger tradpubs (traditional publishers) were still hadn’t really awakened to the need.

In this

The Bookseller post by Porter Anderson

Friedman talks about the philosophy of the company.

I agree with a lot of it!

It’s definitely worth a read: this is a company that is still “…chasing profitability”. It has a clear-eyed view of the glory of resurrecting p-books (paperbooks) for the digital era. Plus, the good-humored CEO has close to 10,000 p-books at home…I can empathize. ;)

Orwell again

One of the most infamous incidents for Amazon and the Kindle was when they removed copies of a certain edition of George Orwell from customers’ Kindles.

No doubt, the irony of it being George Orwell added to the coverage of it.

Amazon apologized, compensated customers, and even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called it “stupid”. They said they wouldn’t do the same thing in the same circumstances again, and to my knowledge, they haven’t.

Now, my understanding is that what happened was that a publisher had this book in the Kindle store, but specifically for the Australian market where the books are in the public domain (no longer under copyright protection, so no permission is needed). Amazon apparently accidentally made them available in the USA, where they were (again as I understand it, unintentionally on the publisher’s part) infringing on the rights of the estate.

In trying to rectify that, Amazon reached into customer’s devices, and deleted the unauthorized file.

Possessing that file on your Kindle, by the way, was not illegal. In

Dowling v United States

the Supreme Court of the U.S.A. found that possession of infringing copies of a copyrighted work was not the same as possession of stolen goods (despite people commonly conflating the terms “theft” and “infringement”, they are different…that’s not to say that one is less “bad” than the other, but they aren’t the same).

One of my first posts, more than six years ago, was a parody about this situation:

All’s Well That Orwells

Well, recently, there’s been another story involving Orwell’s works and alleged infringement.

In this

TorrentFreak post by Ernesto

it’s reported that “internet radio host Josh Hadley” had some designed removed from an online retailer (one I’ve used) because of a complaint supposedly from the Orwell estate.

The design had the number 1984 prominently, and I think most people would see it as a clear allusion to the Orwell book.

However, allusions are not illegal…and you can’t copyright a title.

You can trademark it, but that doesn’t seem to me to be what’s being suggested here.

On the basis of the limited information in this article, it does appear to have been an overreach…the kind for which Disney has been famous.

The retailer is within their rights (and may be wise) to remove an item when they receive a legitimate looking claim of infringement.

They are under no obligation to carry anything. If they did continue to distribute something after having been told it was infringing, and that did turn out to be the case, they could be liable.

So, irritating as it might be, someone can make a claim of infringement, and most retailers would, I think, remove the item.

I’ve made a claim like that myself to Amazon, and a work (which was infringing) was removed.

I did have to attest that I was the copyright holder, and I had to send them evidence. Amazon could have hypothetically gone after me if I had lied to them (and I didn’t and I don’t). :)

Just based on what I’ve seen, Hadley was probably within rights to make the design.

The retailer was within rights not to carry it.

If the estate did not file the complaint in good faith…I’m not sure what the legal ramifications could possibly be. Restraint of trade?

I’ve had the same sort of thing happen to me a couple of times when I was reasonably sure I wasn’t infringing.

One was a t-shirt design where I used a public domain illustration. Somebody complained, I guess, and it doesn’t even have to have been the rightsholder.

I basically shrugged about it.

The other one was more amusing.

We did a t-shirt that said, “Frickin’ panda heads”. Yes, that was a reference to playing on the Wii Fit. I don’t think that’s an infringement…but, oh well.

It might be different if I was designing t-shirts for a living…if my family depended on it. Then, it might be worth fighting for it.

For me, it wasn’t.

Supergirl and Pat Savage

I know some of my readers are fans of Doc Savage, who is one of my fictional heroes. If you are, you might be interested in a piece I recently wrote in The Measured Circle:

Supergirl is a hit! Thanks (again), Doc Savage

What do you think? Should I have fought the takedown notices, in order to defend people who do rely on it? What should retailers do with infringement claims? Do you use a tablet a nightstand clock? Do you have an app you like that overrides the global sleep setting? 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! :) 

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 #310: Amazon sues over false reviews, membaca lebih banyak buku

October 19, 2015

Round up #310: Amazon sues over false reviews, membaca lebih banyak buku

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

Follow up to a recent post on translations

I recently wrote

Found in translation
about Amazon’s commitment to their AmazonCrossing imprint, which translates works.

Following that, Amazon sent me this, which does not appear in their normal press release archive:

AmazonCrossing Announces Spotlight on Indonesian Literature 

Amazon Publishing commits to publish Indonesian authors beginning in 2016

Spotlight part of $10 million investment to increase publication of international books into English

SEATTLE—October 15, 2015—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—AmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, today announced a commitment to publish exceptional works of literature from Indonesian authors translated into English beginning in early 2016. The announcement coincides with Indonesia’s participation as Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.

Indonesian titles planned for publication include:

  • Nirzona, a love story by Abidah El Khalieqy, set against the backdrop of the Aceh tsunami, a rare moment in recent history when the world’s eyes turned to Indonesia
  • English-language originals The Oddfits and The More Known World, the first two titles in the Oddfits series from Indonesia-born Tiffany Tsao, a translator and past Indonesia editor at large forAsymptote Journal
  • Paper Boats, a new adult love story written in glittering, quotable prose from popular novelist, actress, and singer Dee Lestari
  • A new edition of Laksmi Pamuntjak’s acclaimed A Question of Red and her latest, Aruna and Her Palate, which follows a food writer’s travels through Indonesia
  • Hummingbird, a stunning work of magical realism from Nukila Amal

“AmazonCrossing is committed to bringing great authors and stories to a global audience, and our spotlight programs have offered an opportunity to focus attention on a range of books from specific countries—something we plan to do more of as part of our continued commitment to the translation imprint’s expansion,” said Sarah Jane Gunter, Publisher of AmazonCrossing and General Manager of International Publishing, referring to previous programs showcasing literature from Iceland, Brazil, and Finland. “Indonesia’s contributions to world literature are not often available to English-language readers and this spotlight reiterates AmazonCrossing’s commitment to bringing stories into English from languages less frequently seen in translation.”

“I feel like my writing and I are difficult to categorize,” says author Tiffany Tsao. “The Oddfits resists classification in many respects. And as someone affiliated with multiple cultures and places, I don’t fit easily into ready-made boxes either. I’m so incredibly happy to be working with a publisher adventurous enough to give oddness a chance.”

The Indonesia spotlight program follows similar AmazonCrossing programs in past years featuring literature from Finland, Iceland and Brazil. The Finnish spotlight program included Katri Lipson’s European Union Prize for Literature-winning literary thriller The Ice Cream Man, as well as books by Leena Lehtolainen, Jari Järvelä, Marko Hautala, and Risto Isomäki. The Brazilian spotlight program launched in 2013 and has included the release of a dozen books of full-length fiction and short stories from Brazilian authors including Luiz Ruffato, Cristovão Tezza, Josy Stoque, and Eliane Brum. In 2012, the Iceland spotlight program included ten Icelandic books, three of which—The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helgason, The Flatey Enigma by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson, and House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson—became Kindle Top Ten best sellers.

The AmazonCrossing editorial team is accepting submissions in mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, memoir, science fiction and fantasy categories. Please visit translation.amazon.com/submissions for more information and to propose titles for translation.

Amazon Publishing is a brand used by Amazon Content Services LLC and Amazon Media EU Sarl.

About Amazon Publishing

Amazon Publishing is the publishing arm of Amazon.com. The Amazon Publishing family has 14 imprints: 47North, AmazonCrossing, AmazonEncore, Amazon Publishing, Grand Harbor Press, Jet City Comics, Lake Union, Little A, Montlake Romance, Skyscape, StoryFront, Thomas & Mercer, Two Lions, and Waterfall Press.

About Amazon
Amazon.com opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

_____________________

Amazon also did this press release (which is in the public archive):

Amazon Announces Winner of the Second Indie Literary Contest for Spanish-Language

The winner was Myriam Millán, with her title

La Hija del Dragón: Ganadora del Concurso de autores indie 2015 (Spanish Edition) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s available for $0.99, and at no additional cost for members of

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

I’ve been a happy member since it started. :) It’s been worth the $9.99 a month for my family.

I’m very happy to see Amazon not only working on globalization, but also embracing multiple languages.

Amazon sues over 1,000 fake reviewers

In a way, this is another follow up.

I recently wrote

The Sunday Times investigation shows bought reviews on Amazon

Well, now it turns out Amazon is suing 1,114 fake reviewers, according to this

Forbes article by Cheryl Connor

and other sources.
.
As explained in this

Seattle Times article by Jay Greene

this is Amazon’s second suit this year over false reviews.

Lawsuits are probably the right tool here. As I wrote before, it’s not clear that writing a false review for money is a criminal act, but a lawsuit could work, since Amazon could show damage. I’m not a lawyer, but that’s my understanding of it.

New Amazon Echo/Alexa round up

I alert my ILMK readers when I write new articles in another blog of mine, The Measured Circle, about the Amazon Echo and Amazon’s Alexa voice services.

This is my latest:

Alexa/Echo Round up #3: sports update, Alexa enabled phone calls on first 3rd party Alexa-enabled device

What do you think? Should Amazon be suing people who make $5 for a false review? What, if anything, should they do about false reviews? Do customer reviews actually make sense? Are you familiar with any Indonesian literature? Is there another culture you’d like to see get a focus from Amazon? 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 #309: cool reading, peripheral problems

September 29, 2015

Round up #309: cool reading, peripheral problems

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

An author on the cover of People

I do think that in the past, oh, ten years or so, authors have become a bit more cool.

Generally, when people think pop culture, it’s movies, TV, and music. Videogames, while sometimes the biggest revenue generators, are too introspective for a ton of coverage…and they don’t feature human beings about which magazines can gossip. ;)

That last point might, I suppose, help to explain why books are less likely to be featured in pop culture coverage.

Oh, all the popcul mags do it some. The book coverage may be my favorite part of Entertainment Weekly, and regular readers know I use the term “People Magazine books” for the very popular mainstream titles.

That’s why I was honestly a bit surprised to see

Jackie Collins

get the full cover of the October 5th issue of

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

Certainly, Collins was a (very) popular author, and does have a Hollywood tie-in (with sibling Joan and some minor acting experience)…that might have had some influence.

However, there was a special circumstance: they had an exclusive interview from just a few days pre-mortem.

Still, they obviously thought readers would be familiar with Collins.

People Magazine readers would also know Stephen King, John Green, J.K. Rowling, and perhaps another ten or so authors (excluding authors who are well-known from other fields, including movies, TV, music, and politics).

Now, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t have known some authors in the past: Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway…but I do think there has been a shift. I’d like to say that the impact of the Kindle on the e-book market since its release in 2007 may have impacted the “cool ratio” of reading…but that’s just speculation. ;)

The problem with peripherals

I think it’s understandable that companies producing gadgets focus on the gadgets themselves. I recently wrote about

Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2

There wasn’t a lot of talk about the peripherals: power supplies, remotes (although I was pleased to see that the game controller for the Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition ((at AmazonSmile*)) has a headphone jack ((Dolby enabled)), one of my favorite features of some models of Roku).

I do think that matters…it’s been perhaps my biggest frustration with some gadgets which I otherwise like very much.

I really like the inexpensive

ARCTIC P324 BT (Black) – Bluetooth (V4.0) Headset with Neckband – Headphones with integrated Microphone – Perfect for Sport (at AmazonSmile*)

that I use with our Fire TV, and at work with my Kindle Fire HDX, my laptop, and my phone at times.

That’s the alternative to the headphones that plug into the remote that I mentioned above.

The sound is good, the microphone works…the only negative to the device itself, really, is that the battery seems to discharge pretty quickly even when I’m not using it. If I don’t use it for a couple of days, I still need to plug it in to charge before I use it again.

I can live with that, though.

The weird thing is that it came with a simple carrying case. The headphones fold, and fit into something…oh, about the dimensions of an old audiocassette, except as thick as about four of them.

Shortly after I had the headphones, the zipper broke on the carrying case.

I can still use the case…it goes in my laptop case with me to work, so that pretty much keeps it closed.

It is, though, disappointing: I paid for the case (not much, certainly), and it doesn’t do what it was supposed to do.

How about Amazon hardware?

Amazon did a great job with the headphones for the Fire Phone…I use mine a lot (the Fire Phone is still my daily use SmartPhone). Since that device is now not in their current line-up, though, it’s hard to count tht as a win. ;) There may be people at Amazon who said, “You know, if we hadn’t spent that much development money making good headphones, the Fire Phone would have been a hit.” ;)

I’ve never really been impressed with the chargers for the Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) and Fire tablets. The EBR chargers notoriously end up having the coating peel away from the raw wires…I’ve had that happen many times, and I need to replace them.

I don’t find that they fit very well, and they don’t charge very quickly.

That’s why I use the third party

Pwr+ Extra Long 6.5 Ft AC Adapter 2.1A Rapid Charger for Fast Charging Hd, Hdx 6″ 7″ 8.9″ 9.7″ Tablet and Phone, Tab Power Supply Cord (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s $14.90 right now…a reasonable price, as far as I’m concerned. Amazon’s PowerFast charger is $19.99…and seems much slower.

The Pwr+ works great…until it doesn’t work at all. ;)

I went back and looked: they seem to last me a few months, and then they just die. That’s not Amazon’s fault, of course.

Then, there are the remotes for the Fire TV.

I just had (another) one die.

That’s happened at least twice now. The first time, it was at under warranty.

This last one was a voice remote which I got when the Fire TV was first released…in April of 2014.

Amazon wouldn’t replace it, which is fine…they did give me a $5 credit towards some other things.

I could replace it for $30…but I have the 2nd generation

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99

on order now, and that will have a voice remote.

Is it a big deal that the remote stops working?

Yes! :)

You can’t tell the box what to do without communicating with it, of course…its just a paperweight without some sort of control.

Fortunately, I have the free

Amazon Fire TV Remote App (at AmazonSmile*)

on both my Fire Phone and my Kindle Fire HDX tablet.

It works pretty well…even does voice search. That should be how people can pay $40 for the

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) $49.99 with voice remote, $39.99 with standard remote

new generation, and get the Alexa Voice Service (like we have on the Amazon Echo ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)).

Still, I’m often charging my phone or tablet when I would be watching that Fire TV Stick, so it’s a bit inconvenient. Naturally, when we have true wireless device charging (which I believe is coming) so we don’t need to plug in the devices at all, that would solve that problem, but that’s in the future).

Tom Clancy quotation via Kindle Nation Daily

I liked this one:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1082917348392890

:)

What do you think? How important are peripherals to your feeling about a device? Is reading cooler because of e-books? 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! :) 

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 #308: authors watch, free Oz

September 12, 2015

Round up #308: authors watch, free Oz

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

I read more than fifty of these novels…and they may be headed to the big screen

I’ll give you some clues before I tell you, just for fun. :)

This was a very popular series of books.

I read all of them.

I started reading them because our kid (actually a kid at that point) was reading them. However, I also enjoyed them.

The author has also had some success with other books.

There has already been a TV series, and we have the boardgame.

One of the stars of the TV series has also played a superhero in the movies.

The plot is reminiscent of one of my favorite fictional characters, Buddy Baker, who first appeared about thirty years before the first book.

The author is generally known by two initials and a last name.

The series is…

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

According to this

The Mary Sue post by Dan Van Winkle

(and other sources), Universal is looking at developing a feature movie from the 1990s hit about kids who can become animals…but that really simplifies it. It’s a lot more dark and harrowing than that sounds.

Universal is where you want your movie to be right now…they are having an amazing year! It’s one of the best box office years (especially measured by profitability) for any movie studio ever. Jurassic World, Pitch Perfect 2, Straight Outta Compton…and no real dogs (although the Ted 2 box office was lower than many people expected.

I’ll be keeping my eye out for this one…

Wicked is free

Thanks to

Books on the Knob

for the heads up on this one!

Free at time of writing in the USA Kindle store is

Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years Book 1) (Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years Book 1))
by Gregory Maguire

It is a bleak take on the Wizard of Oz series, and not intended for children.

Regular readers know I’m a big fan of the Oz books, and have written some about Oz (I have a book I’d like to write which is tied to Oz…it’s not in the front of the list, though). You can read my thoughts about Wicked (on which the popular ((so to speak)) musical was based) here: Wicked, Oz, and reimagining public domain works.

By the way, this appears to be free because of Amazon’s price matching policy (in this case with Barnes & Noble)…another way Amazon serves us as customers. You can even report higher price somewhere else on book’s Amazon product pages.

Authors watch TV? Who knew? ;)

Some people like to present this scenario that reading and watching TV are at odds…that they are bitter enemies, and it’s usually presented as the noble mental warrior being assaulted by a scourge of uncouth barbarians.

I don’t see it that way. :)

I read. I watch TV.  I watch movies. I like old time radio. I listen to music. I love talking to people.  One of my favorite things is to encounter wild animals in nature.

Put simply, I like input.

I’m not the only one that feels that way.

Those authors who write the books the literati love? Some of them watch TV, too. ;)

In this

FLAVORWIRE post by Alison Herman

ten writers’ favorite TV shows are listed. Well, not necessary favorite, despite the title, but shows they like.

I found it fascinating!

Take a guess: Joyce Carol Oates has been nominated five times for the Pulitzer. What show(s) influence that famed intellect?

Which author picked the CW’s Supernatural?

It’s a fun read…

The Bookseller: “A manifesto for trade publishing”

This was an interesting piece:

The Bookseller post by Alastair Horne

Essentially, it recommends that trade publishers (the people who publish the kinds of books you would buy in bookstores…not textbooks and such) should be looking at education publishers to see how they have adapted to the changing market engendered by the rise of e-books.

It makes a good point, in my opinion, although it’s not very specific.

“He who must not be mispronounced”

What do a talk show host and an evil wizard have in common?

I remember years ago when I was managing a brick-and-mortar bookstore.

I heard a parent upbraiding a child for mispronouncing a word.

I said, kind of matter of factly, “You know, that’s the sign of a reader.”

Parent: “What”

Me: “It means your child has read the word, but never heard it pronounced.”

That’s not verbatim, but at that point, the parent started praising the kid. :)

I think all of us who are serious readers have done that at some point, especially with foreign words.

I know I thought “writhe” was pronounced to rhyme with “with” for a long time, for example.

Well, J.K. Rowling has recently confirmed that the name Voldemort has a silent “T” at the end (as it would if was French):

According to this

EW post by Jessica Goldman

and other sources, that name (which canonically should not be pronounced at all, I suppose) should be something like “VOHL-du-mohr”…not saying the terminal “T”.

It appears that it was the first movie that cemented in readers’ eyes…er, ears…that the “T” is said.

Jim Dale pronounced it the French day in the first two audiobooks, then did it the movie way, from what I’ve heard (which was not be listening to the audiobooks).

An amusing cartoon

I thought this cartoon was funny:

EBOOK FRIENDLY

B&N stock down more than 20%

Since I recently wrote about Barnes & Nobles’ most recent financial report day before yesterday, the largest bookstore chain in America saw it’s stock drop more than 20%.

There was a tiny “dead cat bounce” (where it went very low, and came back a bit, then steadies itself at a significantly lower level).

You can see the chart here:

http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=BKS>

It’s particularly informative to check the box that will show you a comparison to the retail segment in general…which stayed reasonably level during that time.

What do think? Is Barnes & Noble doomed? Were you or was someone you knew a fan of Animorphs? Have you ever read a book/series because your child was reading it? Does watching TV make you less likely to read? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Round up #306: Overdrive “page turners”, KU gets a Big 5 publisher (slightly)

September 3, 2015

Round up #306: Overdrive “page turners”, KU gets a Big 5 publisher (slightly)

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

A tradpub tests the KU waters

In my The Year Ahead: 2015 post, I speculated in a “shaky” way that at least one of the Big 5 traditional publishers would test the waters by putting some books in Amazon’ subser (subscription service…a flat fee, “all you can read” membership),

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

” I do think this is possible, especially if it is in a limited way. For example, Macmillan might just make some backlist titles, but not the frontlist.”

Well, in this

The Digital Reader post by Nate Hoffelder

it’s pointed out that Simon & Schuster has done just that…but in a really limited way.

Two of Vince Flynn’s popular Mitch Rapp novels (the oldest and the most recent) are available for KU readers to borrow at no additional cost.

This is an important “philosophical” breaking of what felt like an embargo. I’m sure they’ll look carefully at how it affects the sales of those two titles, and other inspired sales (more books by Flynn, for example), but whether it is good or bad, it’s still a quantum shift.

My guess? We’ll see more Big 5 titles in KU by the end of  the year, although I’d be surprised by any really large scale participation.

Changes in the video streaming market

Many of my readers watch streaming video…both on Amazon devices, such as my

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

and as part of Amazon Prime.

Amazon spends a lot of money on licensing video, and what happens there will affect Amazon generally.

Recently, there have been major changes!

Amazon previously enabled Prime members to download some videos to their Fire tablets (I’ve watched Warehouse 13 that way, for example). Now, some other Android and IOS users can also download them.

Amazon Expands Prime Video Downloads to iOS and Android Platforms—The First and Only Subscription Streaming Service to Offer This Feature

That’s a big deal! You can’t do that with Netflix…download some movies and TV shows to watch offline (when you are on a plane, or for your kids on a car trip, for example).

One important question: does this mean that pushing the hardware of the Fire tablets is now less important  to Amazon than getting people to be Prime members even when using other company’s devices?  I think yes. I don’t think Amazon is abandoning tablets or EBRs (E-Book Readers), but hardware development may be becoming more focused at Amazon, as I mentioned recently.

There are a number of players (so to speak) in the streaming video market, but let’s mention four and the changes for them recently:

  • Amazon has just expanded downloading, as above…which is a competitive advantage
  • Hulu just announced a new plan: for $4 more per month ($11.99 from $7.99), you can watch almost all videos commercial free! This is huge for me…we watch some currently running series on Hulu, and it was irritating to have the same sort of commercial breaks you would have on ad-supported TV. We upgraded immediately, and watched So You Think You Can Dance without commercials last night…glorious! I have nothing against advertising (my Significant Other and I have gone to the Clios, the advertising equivalent of the Oscars, more than once), but when I’m paying specifically for TV, it feels like I’m paying twice to watch ads. I’ve taught Project Management, and one of the things to consider is that your time is worth money. If you take your annual salary, you can get it down to minutes…and you should count that when, for example, you need to walk over to printer and perhaps wait in line for it. Let’s say you make $50,000 a year. Even if you figure you work every minute of every day of the year, you can still figure your time is worth maybe ten cents per minute. Will I save 40 minutes a month not having commercials on Hulu? you betcha! At roughly eight minutes per half hour, we saved about 24 minutes last night, I think (I think it is a ninety minute show). All of that is very rough calculation…let’s just say it was so much more pleasant. :) Hulu may have about the same number of commercial minutes as a traditional broadcast, but not the same number of commercials…you see the same ones over and over again
  • Netflix: very significantly, they are going to let a deal lapse with Epix. Basically, they are going to stop carrying a lot of major movies, like The Hunger Games series. Variety might think this is a good idea, but I don’t. Netflix is becoming an original content network in some ways. While original content can be great (I am enjoying the Daredevil series), it’s a far bigger risk. I sometimes just want to watch a major movie…even if it’s older. Those movies are going to Hulu…and it also gives Amazon a positional advantage
  • Apple is reportedly looking at getting into original content…that’s part of why it’s scary for Netflix to count on original content

Netflix has been the powerhouse (people use it as a way to define other things…literary subsers are often called the “Netflix of books”), but I think this is a move in the wrong direction. Prime is many, many things, but even if you got it just for video, it’s only $8.25 a month. Prime video will rise with the downloading, Hulu will rise with ad-free and Epix, and Apple will rise if it introduces original content in the rumored way. What’s going to be new and different for Netflix?

Amazon never stops innovating…and there will likely be some very interesting announcements before the end of the year.

Overdrive is now listing most borrowed e-books from public libraries

I’m not really a user of the public library for e-books.

I have borrowed a couple to test it, but there two main reasons for my lack of use:

  • The selection just isn’t that great. Bestsellers might have a waiting list of  months (libraries have a limited number of licenses, meaning that only so many people have the book at the same time…just like with p-books ((paperbooks))). Other books I want to read are often not available. I have lots of books available to me, especially as a Kindle Unlimited member. The public library just doesn’t have anything that draws me into the additional complication necessary to get one from them, as opposed to getting books from Amazon or that I already own
  • I don’t want to take away from people who can’t otherwise afford books. Yes, public libraries are for everyone…I got massive and perhaps not undeserved pushback when I suggested that tradpubs might be willing to make e-books available to people for free on a needs-tested basis. In other words, the books would not be available for general public library check-out, but would be available to people who could show that they are below the poverty line or otherwise unable to purchase. That sort of plan was announced, as I reported earlier this year: Obama’s plan for needs tested library books…where have I heard that before? ;). However, since that isn’t generally the case, I feel bad taking using up one of the  library’s licenses to read something which I could otherwise afford, becoming an impediment to someone who can’t afford it

Here is

Overdrive’s Page Turners from your local library

It’s about e-books and audiobooks…neither of which actually have pages, of course, but you know…it gets the point across. ;)

The five most borrowed in August were all major bestsellers (including Go Set a Watchman and Grey). Hopefully, that’s a message for publishers: lots of borrowing from public libraries doesn’t meant that your book won’t be a bestseller.

Dash! Ah-ah…ruler of  the universe!

That headline was a reference to the Queen theme from the Flash Gordon movie with Sam Jones, and…never mind. ;)

Amazon Dash buttons (at AmazonSmile*)

While it’s going to be a bit of a stretch to tie this into e-books (don’t worry, though, I’ll do it…I’m much more mentally flexible than I am physically flexible) ;) it shows part of Amazon’s direction.

They sent me this in an e-mail:

Amazon Dash Button – Program News:

  • We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from both customers and partners.
  • We’re moving into the next phase of the program today.
  • We’ve come off the invitation platform, making the program more broadly available—it’s open to all Prime members now.
  • We’re kicking off a new pricing offer – Prime members can purchase each Dash Button for $4.99 and with their first button purchase we’ll give back $4.99 to their account.
  • Of course, Dash Button customers also get the same low prices that they see online sold by Amazon.
  • We’re adding new brands and products – we will launch 11 new brands for Dash Button with new categories like gum and trash bags, table wear, and nutritional supplements.
  • We are being thoughtful as we scale the program and we’re focused on increasing the breadth of the categories for customers.
  • With these new additions, Dash Button is now available for 29 different brands, representing more than 500 products for Prime members to choose to purchase with the press of a button.
  • New brands:

o   Ice Breakers Mints

o   Orbit Gum

o   GREENIES Dental Chews and GREENIES Pill Pockets Treats

o   Hefty Trash and Storage Bags

o   Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

o   Ziploc Brand

o   Depend

o   Finish Dishwashing Detergent

o   Digestive Advantage Probiotic Supplements

o   Dixie tableware products

o   Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein

  • We’ve heard customer usage feedback including:

o   I like how easy it is to order commonly used items quickly. In my case, baby wipes. When I notice I am getting low on the wipes I can very easily and quickly order more by simply pushing a button. A simple push button is much easier to operate than getting the computer or phone out, especially when holding a baby in the other hand. Additionally, I also like that the button has color coded LEDs to tell me whether or not the order went through. It makes it so much easier.

o   I can put it anywhere, which means that I can have it where I’m most likely to notice that I need to reorder. My Gillette dash button is on my bathroom mirror where I shave. When I put the last blade on my razor, it’s right there for me to place the next order immediately, before I forget.

o   I’ve placed the Dash buttons where I normally place the toilet paper and cleaning products to remind me when to order the items.  Whenever I’m low on the product I just press the Dash Button and it’ll arrive in a couple of days.  My girlfriend and I announce when we get the chance to press the button because we’re excited whenever we get the opportunity to press it…it’s fun and efficient. 

It’s the opposite of a multifunction device, like the Amazon Echo. One button, one function…sort of like Amazon’s very successful 1-click way of buying things online.

How could this relate to e-books?

I could see having something like a virtual dash button for e-books (or perhaps a physical one). You push (or click or tap) one labeled “Stephen King” or “Romance”, and you get a new one delivered to your account. It could even be a virtual button on the Kindle/Fire homescreen. It might have to check the price with you first (although you could just review it in your confirmation method), it might have to be configured for your tastes and cost parameters, and it would only be able to eliminate books Amazon knows you already own…but I certainly might use it! That’s especially true if it was curated in some way…tap a button for a J.K. Rowling recommended fantasy book,  for example.

I’m not sure I made the stretch there, but I tried. ;)

My sibling’s book now has over 50 reviews on Amazon…and a 4.8 star average

I just want to congratulate my sibling, whose first novel

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

50 hardback copies of which are also being given away through Goodreads right now

One Murder More on Goodreads

for getting over fifty customer reviews on Amazon…with a remarkable 4.8 star average out of 5!

None of my books have gotten anywhere close to that, of course. :)

The Kindle edition is now $4.99.

To broaden this out a bit, it’s worth noting that the book is sales ranked #289,949 paid in the Kindle store. Great reviews, blurbs from top selling authors…and still, I think I can objectively say it hasn’t really broken out (although that number is very respectable…easily top ten percent).

If that’s going to happen, it could still happen at the holidays. For a first time novelist, it can take more than a year for a book to build momentum. This is also the first in a series…and it sometimes takes several books in a series for it to find an audience.

Regardless, congratulations!

An Echo/Alexa article

I told you I’d let you know about Amazon Echo/Alexa articles I publish in The Measured Circle. I hope to do a big round-up soon (there have been a lot of things happening), but I did do this one recently:

Shopping with your Amazon Echo
Have a comment on any of these stories? Feel free to share it with me and my readers!

* 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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