Round up #144: Prime Air, read more live longer?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Publishing Perspectives: “Sisters in Crime on Diversity: Multiculturalism, They Wrote”
I found this
It’s about a recent report from
about diversity within their group of mystery writers.
The whole question of diversity is an interesting one…and one that’s been in the news repeatedly recently.
Do people of similar nature (gender, ethnic background, sexual preference) have similar perspectives? More importantly, do they lack perspectives that people of different (diverse) natures would have?
If someone believes that’s true, than finding out that a group of content creators or “influencers” being less diverse than the general population means that the works produced by that group underrepresent perspectives in society.
This survey (which is available at the SinC website) compared self-reported categorization of the membership with census data (with the exception of LGBT ((Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender…although it is generally used in a more inclusive manner than that, including those who identify as “gender fluid”, or example)) identification, which used another comparison study).
All of the groups were underrepresented by the authors under this methodology except for two.
SinC members (the survey was sent to 3,400 members; SinC is in fifty states) were reported as 93% “White, non-Hispanic”, compared to 62% of the general population…half again as many.
LGBT self-reported at 6%, compared to 3.8%…158% (somewhat higher than the above).
One more, and then I’ll recommend you read the study. I was surprised that people with a disability were underrepresented. I would expect writers with disabilities to be overrepresented…a person can write for a living with limited mobility. I can certainly see how someone who had a change in mobility status would choose to be the writer they perhaps always wanted to be. I’ve walked with a cane for maybe a few years now…it does make doing my day job marginally more difficult. Perhaps being a successful writer nowadays may require a lot of travel, to go to book festivals and such…I know my sibling, author of
does travel to those sorts of events frequently.
HDXter, the work horse
When I was a kid, you figured that you bought household appliance and it would last for generations of devices, but human generations. 🙂 It was entirely possible that you would get your grandparents’ vacuum cleaner or refrigerator to use.
While the term had been around for a few decades, it was really in the 1950s that “planned obsolescence” became a popular concept. The basic idea is that companies would intentionally design their products so that the consumer would want to replace it, probably with a newer model from the same company.
Car companies have understood that.
Apple’s phone business has arguably depended on it.
It’s funny, but emotionally, when I buy a Kindle or a Fire tablet, I feel (not think) that I will have and use it for decades.
Oh, I expect to buy new models when they come up, but that is largely to write about them for you, my readers. I’ve certainly bought them because I’ve been curious about a new feature, but I expect the old ones to still be around and be part of my life (if I don’t give them away).
Regular readers may remember we had a break-in a few years ago and had a bunch of our Kindles/Fires taken:
However, I have and use daily a Kindle Fire HDX (now discontinued). HDXter (“H-Dexter”) is the Kindle/Fire I use the most…it’s the one that comes to work with me, the one that does text-to-speech in the car. I use a Voyage and a Paperwhite at home as well, but HDXter has served me incredibly well.
It’s been in Amazon’s own Origami cover, and yes, it’s been dropped or fallen a few times.
Updates have affected it, which is nice…I got the new Page Flip version, for example, which is brilliant.
I have one of the current gen Fires, but I like HDXter better at this point: it fits my needs.
Reading is life
“Serious readers” may feel like we get to live more by reading books, but one of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, linked me to this
which reports on a study that says that regular readers literally live longer.
Here’s the key in a short excerpt:
“Compared with those who did not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.”
They reportedly controlled for other factors (readers may be disproportionately part of other groups with average longer life expectancy, including women and those of greater financial means, for example).
There may be a number of reasons for that…it may reduce stress, acting as a form of meditation. I think empathetic people tend to be more emotionally fit, and there have been other studies which suggest that readers tend to be more empathetic.
“Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Amazon!”
While Amazon’s drone delivery program isn’t happening in the USA yet (it will likely happen in other countries first, due to our approval process moving more slowly), Amazon has launched Prime Air…and it’s a cargo jet!
You can see pictures of it in this
Amazon would clearly like to be able to control the delivery process from store to door. They also are using “Amazon Flex” drivers, sort of like Uber for Amazon package deliveries, for those final miles (they recently delivered the hardback version of the new Harry Potter book between midnight and 2:00 AM…creating some speculation, including here, that it might be some other secret product launch…it wasn’t).
I pity folks at package delivery companies who have based their business projections on how much Amazon was going to use them. It’s a tiny percentage at this point, I’m sure, but if Amazon expands control of self-delivery, it could even cause layoffs at those companies, I would guess.
Stock prices of traditional publishers are…
…doing just fine, thank you.
You might guess that publishers are in trouble…I’ve reported on the rise of indies. However, that’s one of the things about being professional companies with a long history: they understand how to make money, even if how they do it isn’t as “sexy” as just selling more copies of books.
has a nice look at stock prices, showing that their PWSI (Publishers Weekly Stock Index) has gone up a lot faster than the Dow Jones Industrials.
They break it down by individual companies, and some of the strong players might surprise you…Barnes & Noble (they don’t just include publishers, but B&N has had some “house branded” books before) is up 30.3%…Amazon, by comparison, is up 5.9%. However, it’s a lot easier to rise in percentages when you have a much, much smaller starting number. 🙂
What do you think? Are tradpubs gains short term, or can they survive and thrive? Would you rather have Amazon deliver your packages, or UPS/Fed Ex/USPS? Should the author pool reflect the general population? Should reading be part of fitness/longevity plans? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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* 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.