Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Amazon Introduces Updated Sharing with Instant Previews for Kindle Books

June 25, 2015

I am just on my phone, so I am going to share this email that Amazon sent to me. I may update this later.

Amazon Introduces Updated Sharing with Instant Previews for Kindle Books

 

Kindle readers can share quotes and recommendations with specific friends, using their favorite mobile apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, texting, and more

 

Friends who receive a share can instantly start reading a free book preview right from their phone, tablet, or PC—no need to sign up, sign in, or install an app 

Start sharing today from the Kindle for Android app, and coming to Kindle e-readers and other devices later this year

 

SEATTLE, WA—June 25, 2015—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced a new Kindle sharing experience that makes it simple for people to have conversations about great books—using the mobile messaging apps they already love, and even with people who have never used Kindle before. Kindle readers could already share quotes and recommendations with all their friends on Facebook or Twitter, and now they can start a conversation with specific people. And clicking on a book recommendation or shared quote now lets people start reading instantly, much like typical links to articles and videos. Here’s how it works:

 

From a Kindle book, easily share quotes, highlights, and recommendations with specific friends.

Share via popular mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as email, texting, and more.

Share today from Kindle for Android, and coming to Kindle e-readers and other devices later this year.

Friends who receive a share can instantly start reading a free book preview right from their phone, tablet, or PC—no need to sign up, sign in, or install an app.

“The perfect quote in a book isn’t always the perfect quote for your whole social network. Now it’s easy to share exactly what you want in a Kindle book with exactly who you want,” said Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President, Kindle. “Kindle makes it easy to chat about the books you’re reading, whether it’s making a recommendation or sparking a conversation about a quote you loved. And friends who receive the share can instantly start reading a free sample of the book—no sign-up, no sign-in, and no app to install.”

To learn more about the new sharing features announced today, visit http://www.amazon.com/bettersharing (http://www.amazon.com/at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*).

Update: I’ve tested this…it’s easy, and works well.

One of the biggest applications I can see for this is authors using it to promote their work…

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.

The most reviewed Amazon devices

June 21, 2015

The most reviewed Amazon devices

There are a lot of things you can say (and think) about Amazon product reviews.

Might some of them be from “sock puppets” (fake people created by the product manufacturer to write good reviews)?

Sure.

Could some reviews by for political purposes…say something is bad when really, you disagree with the philosophy of it or its creator?

Absolutely.

Might some be compensated without the review reader’s knowledge?

Undoubtedly.

However,  I think that many, most likely the majority, of reviews are from people sincerely giving their opinions.

Actually, that doesn’t matter much when doing a comparison of the number of reviews of similar products. It seems likely that the noise to signal ratio is going to be similar for similar products.

When we are talking about Amazon hardware, though, we do need to take into account that they cover more than a seven year period, so it may be reasonable to assume that the general evolution of customer reviewing has an impact. My guess is that more recently introduced items might have more reviews for that reason.

With all of that taken into account, I still think that looking at the number of reviews for Amazon hardware can give us an indicator of customer engagement.

I think that more reviews suggests more engagement with the device.

I have been absolutely shocked at the number of reviews that the Amazon Echo has gotten in a time period which is less than two days: 16, 371 a time of writing!

There are different circumstances here, since only people who got an invitation could get the device directly from Amazon (some people bought them off eBay and that kind of thing), but this still seems huge!

Here are the number of reviews for other current Amazon hardware:

  1. Fire TV Stick: 43,379
  2. Kindle Paperwhite 2: 41,872
  3. Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3): 42,733
  4. Amazon Fire TV: 29,415
  5. Kindle Fire HDX 7: 28,700
  6. Fire HD 7: 26.467
  7. Kindle Fire 1st generation: 23,722
  8. Kindle Paperwhite 1: 21,587
  9. Fire HD 6:  18,480
  10. Kindle 2: 18,260
  11. Amazon Echo: 16,371
  12. Kindle Fire 2nd generation: 14,289
  13. Mindle (my name for the fifth generation Kindle): 13,688
  14. Kindle Touch: 9,199
  15. Mindle Touch (my name for the current “entry level” Kindle): 9,197
  16. Kindle 1: 8,011
  17. Fire HD Kids Edition: 7,548
  18. Fire Phone: 7,231
  19. Kindle Voyage: 5,554
  20. Kindle DX: 5,272
  21. Kindle Fire HDX  8.9: 4,604

Update: I’ve added non-current models, and integrated them above.

I have to say, I found myself nodding in confirmation at some of the order above.

Clearly, there is some correlate with price. The least expensive item is at the top, pretty much (configurations matter) the most expensive at the bottom…but that isn’t a through line.

Numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5? I use those every day. Number 21? Yes, probably my least favorite one that I owned (it was quite big…mine was stolen in a home break-in, but I had it long enough to understand it pretty well).

The Echo is going to jump way up: remember, it hasn’t even been released to the general public yet.

It’s possible that I’ve missed something above, and I don’t have all the shadings, but I am finding it an interesting ranking!

What do you think? Does number of reviews even matter? If it does, is it a measurement of customer engagement in any way? Would you say that the rankings reflect in any way how much you engaged with these devices? Is the number of Echo reviews so skewed by the roll-out methodology that it is hyper-inflated…or deflated? Will the Echo become part of people’s lives, or is this mostly due to early customers being Prime members (and presumably, more aligned with 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! :) 

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.

On Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”)

May 4, 2015

On Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”)

May Fourth is Star Wars Day, just because of the above pun. :)

I took a look at it last year in February

The e-books are strong in this one…Star Wars for the Kindle

and specifically, in a search for

Star Wars in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

got 1,559 results.

Today, I’m getting 2,128!

That’s up by about a third, about 500 titles.

Of course, with a new movie coming out later this year, that could be having an impact.

Generally, these are from big publishers…but there are some that concern me.

I try to be careful not to falsely accuse anyone of anything.

There are, though, some Star Wars titles which are available through

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

which would strike me as odd if they are actually authorized titles.

Now, Lucasfilm has generally been tolerant of fanfic (fan fiction), although it needs to be that…not sold for profit, in competition with authorized Star Wars books.

Disney, though, is emphatically not known for not asserting its rights.

I knew of a college which was doing Peter Pan. They tried to be careful not to infringe on the Disney version in the promotional posters.

However, they got a notice from Disney…they had used “Disney Dust” on the poster (I think to show where Tinkerbell had flown by, even though it didn’t depict her).

They were told to they had to get all of the posters back from around town, with an allowance of something like 10 percent for ones that had fallen down.

That’s how I remember the story.

At our (now adult) kid’s elementary school, the children would bring in movies that the class would watch when it was raining and they couldn’t go aside.

The school got a cease and desist from Disney lawyers…and only from Disney, not from other studios. It’s a public performance in that case, and this was a private school…so arguably, the students were paying to see the movies.

People always ask me how Disney knew…presumably, one of the parents (or other legal guardian) alerted them, or it was an employee of the school.

I think you can even get bounty on doing things like that, sometimes.

Honestly? I’m guessing there might be a purge of allegedly infringing titles as we get closer to The Force Awakens in December.

The fifth-ranked book in the listing (sorted by New & Popular) is one of these titles…and listed at $2.99. It says it is fourteen pages long, and some of the reviewers mention how short it is.

Six of the twelve reviews at time of writing (exactly half) are 1-star reviews. Interestingly, five of them are five stars…

It appears that one author has twelve KU-eligible Star Wars titles…three of which have an average rating of 1-star.

They range in price from $4 to $6.99.

I do hope that someone from Disney notices them, if they are unauthorized and infringing. Not that I want anything bad to happen to someone, but just that the books are withdrawn from sale. When my own work has been infringed, that’s all I really wanted.

Could they be unauthorized and not infringing?

If they are parodies, yes, but they don’t appear to be that. A parody has to be a form of criticism of the original work to be considered Fair Use, and these don’t look like that.

It’s possible that they are authorized…but given what the reviews are saying about the quality of the books, I wouldn’t expect that to be the case.

In this case, it’s also very likely that trademarks are involved…I can’t imagine that hasn’t been done.

Update: one of today’s

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

is up to 80% off (each) for any of 25 Star Wars books.

There are some interesting titles in this promotion…none of the ones which I suggested above might bear review by the rightsholders, of course. :)

A few stand-outs:

  • Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown (4.7 stars out of 5 | 781 customer reviews)…and Vader’s Little Princess, also by Brown
  • Star Wars Omnibus Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1 by
    John Jackson Miller (Author), Dave Marshall (Editor), Brian Ching (Illustrator), Travel Foreman (Illustrator), Dustin Weaver (Illustrator), Harvey Tolibao (Illustrator) (collecting issues 0-18 of the Marvel comic (4.7 stars | 19 reviews)
  • Star Wars: Rebel Force: Target [Kindle Edition]
    Alex Wheeler (3.6 stars | 5 reviews): this is the first in this series (others in the series are also part of this deal…note that this one is also in Kindle Unlimited). I’m a little disappointed that the Han Solo book is “Renegade”, the Luke Skywalker book is “Target”, and the Princess Leia book is “Hostage”. Renegade is something you do. Target is someone else attempting to do something to you. Hostage makes you the (generally inactive) item in a conflict between two other entities…that doesn’t define this atypically portrayed princess for me very well

You might wonder why this was an update: the blog runs on Greenwich time (since I have readers all over the world), and Amazon runs on Pacific time. So, I did first publish this on May the Fourth…it just wasn’t May the Fourth yet in Seattle. :)

What do you think? What do you want to have happen to someone who infringes? Is a withdrawal of sale enough, or do you want to see penalties? Financial costs, jail, or both? If a work is set in the world of Star Wars, but does not use existing plots, do you think that is infringing? 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.

 

Amazon introduces Amazon giveaway

February 10, 2015

More to follow, because I am just on my phone right now.

Amazon has introduced a new way to both get giveaways and to do giveaways.

These are for physical items, and I want to get this out right away so you have a chance to try for the first ones.

press release with links

Update: here are the very informative FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Amazon Giveaways FAQs

This post originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

The bestselling USA Kindle store books…in Spanish

February 8, 2015

The bestselling USA Kindle store books…in Spanish

One of the knocks on the USA Kindle store in the beginning (back in 2007) was the lack of books in Spanish and other non-English languages.

That’s an understandable concern.

While something like one out of ten people in the USA is considered a “Spanish speaker” (speaks Spanish at home), and we are, I think, the fifth largest Spanish speaking country in the world, we didn’t have as many as ten thousand Spanish books in the USA Kindle store until the summer 2011 (about three and a half years after the Kindle store first opened).

Now, that situation has changed.

In my most recent monthly Snapshot (taken on February 1st), there were 125,505 “Spanish edition” books in the USA Kindle store.

Looking at the percentage of the total, we see:

  • February 2010: 2,548 Spanish books out of 415,100 = .06%
  • February 2015: 125,505 Spanish books out of 3,178,962 = 3%…about 50 times as high a percentage

What Spanish books there were initially seemed to me to be mostly public domain books, with some translations of current books.

I wanted to see if that had changed: has the USA Kindle store started carrying books which are not only in Spanish, but serve the Spanish speaking market(s)?

I thought it might. In December of 2011, Amazon opened a Kindle store in Spain. My hypothesis was that having that would accelerate the number of books available in Spanish, and that those might then make their way to the USA store.

Well, looking at the

Spanish books in the USA Kindle store by bestselling (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

that seems to be the case!

I should point out first that I don’t speak Spanish. :) I use Spanish as an example to get what I am guessing is the best case for a non-English language in the USA store.

I know a bit about Spanish language literature, just from my reading, and I’ll research (which is fun for me) things I don’t.

I shouldn’t have been quite so dogmatic above that I don’t speak Spanish, actually.

I used to speak it near at about a tourist level, and I find I can still read it to some extent. I don’t always need Google translate to understand a news story, although there may certainly be words I don’t know.

For example, when our adult kid was home a couple of years ago, we had telenovelas on TV…oh, and German YouTube and Turkish movies…did I mention my kid is a linguist? ;) I could understand it well enough to say, “She doesn’t like him, right?” Although at one point, a couple of kids on the show were watching their mother on a TV singing competition, and things started levitating around the room. My kid explained that they were telekinetic…gee, how had I never learned the Spanish word for telekinesis? ;)

Another great example: I was an actor many years ago. We were going out to schools, doing an interactive version of the Wizard of Oz…we would have kids come join us on stage to be part of the show.

At one school, we were told that there were two groups of kids who only spoke Spanish.

I volunteered to take a group, and so did the actor playing the Wizard.

We did okay…but we did run into some vocabulary issues! I couldn’t figure out “haunted forest”, so I went with “arboles misteriosas” (mysterious trees…or close to it). The other actor asked me for “Wicked Witch”…I suggested “bruja mala”. Couldn’t fake “flying monkey”, though…I had to mime it. :)

Here we go!

1. Mafalda Y Las Fiestas (Mafalda and the Holidays) by Quino

This is an Argentinean comic strip from the 1960s. While Mafalda’s look reminds me of Little Lulu, my understanding is that this is a strip which also appeals to adults…sort of like Calvin & Hobbes or The Simpsons in that way. It was popular outside of Argentina, but I’m still impressed that country has the number one spot, when there are so many Spanish speaking countries with a strong literary history and which are more commonly translated in the USA. Mafalda is also available in English in the store.

2. Adulterio (Adultery) by Paolo Coelho

This one is translated…but from the  Portuguese, not from English.   Coelho is from Brazil…and the translated version of The Alchemist was a big hit in the USA as well. This is a title just from last year, 2014, showing that the selection has moved beyond classics.

3. El Asesinato de Pitágoras (The Assassination of Pythagoras) by Marcos Chicot

According to the product page, this was the bestselling e-book in Spanish in the world in 2013. It’s a murder mystery with historical characters. Chicot is from Spain.

4. Merriam-Webster’s Spanish-English Translation Dictionary

Well, not exactly a book in Spanish…

5. El capital en el siglo XXI (Capital in the 21st Century) by Thomas Petty

Very popular in English as well…

6. La isla de las mariposas (Butterfly Island) by Corinna Bowman

7. El Círculo (The Circle) by Mario Escobar

This one is also available through Kindle Unlimited, which has quite a few books in Spanish.

8. Cien años de soledad (100 Years of Solitude) by Gabriel García Márquez

Very popular around the world (including in the USA), and a multiple-reward recipient.

9. Trucos para escribir mejor (Tips for Writing Better by Carlos Vastas

10. El umbral de la eternidad (Edge of Eternity) by Ken Follett.

This one was a popular book in Engish…very popular.

That was an interesting survey of the books for me! I’m happy to see it’s a somewhat cosmopolitan selection. The topics and “feel” of the books will be different.

Moving a bit closer to “every book every written) being in the Kindle store. :))

Enjoy!

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.

Heads up! LTO 1230 PM Pacific Belkin WeMo

November 24, 2014

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Belkin WeMo Switch for $25. Deal starts at 3:30 PM ET/12:30 PM PT.

On my phone so more later

Cheap Reads for Kindle: Free Books and Low Priced Reading Options

October 19, 2014

Cheap Reads for Kindle: Free Books and Low Priced Reading Options

You know, sometimes Amazon.com seems like Doctor Who’s TARDIS**: it’s bigger on the inside. ;)

It just seems like you can’t possibly know it all…it’s constantly changing, and every once in a while, I’ll turn left at an aisle I know and end up in something I’ve never seen before.

I’ve written before about a number of these “Amazon aisles”, but I just ran into this one when answering a question for someone:

Cheap Reads for Kindle: Free Books and Low Priced Reading Options (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They’ve subtitled it “From free classics to great deals, there’s a book for every budget on Kindle.” and I think we know that’s true.

There are over 50,000 free books in the USA Kindle store, typically.

Read a book a week, and that would keep you going for about a thousand years (assuming they didn’t add more to it…which they do).

Read a book a day, and you still have well over a hundred years.

The trouble, of course, is something I write about quite a bit: discovery.

How do you find “good books” to read for free? I put that in quotation marks because I don’t tend to make that kind of distinction. I usually find something of value in every book I read…so I would say that there are “better books” for me, but not usually a duality of “good” and “bad”.

The navigation on this page includes:

Popular Ways to Save

  • Kindle Daily Deals
  • Monthly Deals, $3.99 or Less
  • Kindle Unlimited

Top Rated Free Books

  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & Money
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Teen & Young Adult

They also link to

Kindle Book Deals (at AmazonSmile*)

where books are on sale, but not necessarily super cheap.

On the “Cheap Reads” page, they feature and link to free public domain (not under copyright protection) books at Amazon.

It’s interesting because some of those books are featured in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subser (subscription service…you pay by the month for an “all you an read” program), and some aren’t.

I think the Kindle Unlimited ones may be ones with added material (a foreword, new illustrations) which creates a new copyright.

Regardless, this is a good Amazon aisle to use to pick up the least espensive books at Amazon…and Amazon promotes getting free books.

Why would they do that, when it costs them something to provide a book to that customer?

Simple…it likely makes people spend more money on those higher profit items, which they might be buying through Prime.

I think that’s why we get a lot of free stuff from Amazon…to make us loyal, and to make Amazon the place to which we turn to buy, well, pretty much everything.

Enjoy!

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

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

** The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) is a time and space craft use by the Doctor on the Doctor Who TV series. In that case, it literally appears to be bigger on the inside…the outside looks like a police call box, but the inside is huge…and bit mysterious.

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.

August 2014 Kindle book releases

August 1, 2014

August 2014 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 3,683 (at time of writing) August releases in the USA Kindle store:

August 2014 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

One interesting thing before I get into some individual titles: the first four (sorted by new and popular) are the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month!

Since Prime members can already be reading one of these (even though they aren’t officially released until August) at no additional cost, you can see how that would drive up their popularity as compared to actual pre-orders. Still, I think that’s the first time.

The other thing is that there are some Kindle Worlds titles way up on the list, and those are part of Kindle Unlimited. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay…books!

Night Moves (at AmazonSmile)
by Nora Roberts
pre-order for August 4 (first Kindle issue of 1985 title)
romance – historical
$5.38

One of the most popular authors…period.

The Evolution and Equilibrium of Copyright in the Digital Age (Cambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law) (at AmazonSmile)
edited by Susy Frankel and Daniel Gervais
pre-order for August 31
law – intellectual property
$76.80

Okay, this isn’t for everybody…but I don’t like to just list super popular books. :) There are quite a few books from Cambridge being released on August 31st in the USA Kindle store.

Doing It (at AmazonSmile)
by Melvin Burgess
pre-order for August 31
fiction – young adult
$7.99

This is a Carnegie medal winning young adult novel (think the Newbery in the USA), but it sounds like it would get challenged as inappropriate a lot in school libraries…if those who would challenge can figure out the British slang. ;)

Election Administration in the United States: The State of Reform after Bush v. Gore (at AmazonSmile)
edited by R. Michael Alvarez and Bernard M. Grofman
pre-order for August 31
politics
$9.99 ($85 in print)

Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles) (at AmazonSmile)
by Nicole Conway
young adult – fantasy
$3.49

I thought it might be related to Pern…it’s not.

Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 ( at AmazonSmile
by Dav Pilkey
pre-order for August 26
children’s
$7.39

Often a challenged books in libraries. There is a Captain Underpants movie scheduled for release in 2017…

Sidewinders: Bleeding Texas (at AmazonSmile)
by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone
pre-order for August 5
fiction – Western
$5.49

J.A. is Bill’s nephew (Bill died about ten years ago, I think).

The Serpent and the Rope (at AmazonSmile)
by Raja Rao (translated by John Murray
pre-order for April 15
contemporary fiction
$9.99

Enjoy!

One more thing: in preparing this small selection, I was struck by how few of the Big Five publishers books I was seeing. That seemed quite unusual, and it actually worried me that negotiations might be keeping a high number of them out of the store. That could still be the case, but I did search by HarperCollins, and by Schuster (to find Simon &), and found books from both publishers scheduled to be released in August. While there still could be some being withheld, there are some scheduled.

That could just mean that they are dropping in relative popularity, so I’m not running across them as easily…hard to say, exactly. I’ll try to keep an eye on it.

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

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

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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.

Heads up! LTO on Fire at 3 PM Pacific. ..Coffeemaker for $20

July 22, 2014

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Hamilton Beach Coffeemaker for $20. Deal starts at 6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT.

Amazon’s infinite stockroom

June 28, 2014

Amazon’s infinite stockroom

This may be one of Amazon’s biggest disruptions yet…and it could really benefit small publishers.

According to this

The Bookseller article by Benedicte Page

Amazon UK is pushing for new contract conditions with small publishers.

One of them I don’t like, and could run afoul of anti-competition agencies. That’s the so-called “MFN” (Most Favored Nation) requirement.

Essentially, having an MFN means that you can’t sell your product at a lower price anywhere else. In this case, it would mean that publishers would have to give Amazon as good as they give anybody else…including themselves.

MFNs haven’t been inherently found to be illegal, but they were a problem in the legal action taken against the Big 5 publishers for conspiring to raise e-book prices.

It feels to me (and I’m not a lawyer) like restraint of trade, since it controls what you do with another entity. That may be subtle, but I think it’s different from paying somebody for exclusive rights. Again, it’s just my feeling about it, but exclusive rights says, “Sell this just to us.” An MFN says, “We will control the pricing even when we are not part of the sales chain.”

The other rumored condition, though, is far more significant as far as I am concerned.

When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, we would  occasionally  have someone come in who wanted us to carry a book they had self-published on a contingency basis.

In that situation, we don’t pay them anything for the book unless it sells.

They think that doesn’t cost us anything, which would demonstrate a lack of understanding about retail, as far as I was concerned.

In a brick-and-mortar, one of the biggest things you are battling is rent. Every day a book sits on a shelf, you lose money, because you have to pay the rent on the space under that book.

That’s one reason why books may turn over pretty quickly: if a book sold five copies the first day, three the second day, and one the next day, you might return it to bring in something hotter.

So, contingency was never risk free for the store.

However, what if the book did sell well? Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Books have a short sales cycle in a store. There just aren’t that many people who are going to come into a bookstore every day, and you have a core of regulars. If a bunch of your regulars buy a book as soon as it is released, they don’t buy it again, typically. Book sales are front loaded in most (but not all) cases. You need the book when it is hot…waiting a week can really cut into sales.

So, I would say to the self-publisher: “If I need ten more of these tomorrow, could I get them?”

Their answer would always be, “No.” It might take them weeks to get more printed.

That was why I would tell them I couldn’t carry it. A traditional publisher could drop ship me books that fast…certainly within a couple of days.

If a Random House author went on a local radio talk show (which was a huge driver of book sales), I could ask for a hundred more and get them while people still wanted them.

The little, independent publisher simply couldn’t compete, because they didn’t have the supply infrastructure.

That’s also been true online.

If you want a p-book (paperbook) from a small publisher, it might take weeks for Amazon to get it, even if they can then send it to you in two days.

Amazon has a solution (according to sources).

They are reportedly telling the small publishers that, if the publisher is out of stock, Amazon wants the right to print the book themselves.

Amazon has a huge “print on demand” operation already:

CreateSpace

I think most of the writing I’m seeing about this doesn’t adequately recognize what a game changer this would be.

Let’s take an easy example.

An author publishes a horror novel with a small press.

They print 500 copies, which seems likely to be adequate.

Stephen King writes about loving the book.

Suddenly, demand is huge.

Amazon could sell 10,000 copies tomorrow…but the publisher only had 500 for everybody…and it will take them two weeks to print more.

Under the reported proposal, the publisher has given Amazon the file from which to print the book, and Amazon just prints it themselves and gets it to the customers.

The publisher still gets paid.

My guess is that Amazon doesn’t need to charge them much (anything?) for having had to print it. The cost of printing a book is actually a small portion of what creates the consumer price. There are a lot of people costs (editors, cover artists, the author), marketing costs, and other things involved beyond the paper and ink.

The book now shoots up the bestseller list, and becomes an even bigger hit (competing strongly and directly with large publishers’ products).

If Amazon couldn’t print the book, they would likely lose the vast majority of those sales…some people would wait for it, but I think most would not.

Now, in the writing about these contract proposal rumors, the feeling is that publishers are pushing back against this one.

They don’t want Amazon to control the process…they may be concerned (not unreasonably) that the quality of the book might suffer. In the scenario that I’ve proposed in the past that new novels might cost $50, that includes them being printed in a much higher quality way than we usually see now…or that we would expect from print on demand.

What this does, though, is level the playing field between small publishers and the big tradpubs. Amazon becomes the back-up “factory” for the little guys.

In the same way that we’ve seen huge successes in e-book publishing for independents (where no factory is necessary), we would see gains for small publishers in p-books.

I also don’t see this being a problem under anti-competition laws.

This would further weaken the bargaining power of the Big 5 with Amazon, since little pubs could also have blockbusters.

I suspect this will come to the USA as well, if it hasn’t already.

What do you think? Would this be as big a deal as I think it would be? Will publishers push back against it to keep Amazon from having too much control…even if it might benefit them? What can the Big 5 do to maintain their marketshare? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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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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