Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Barnes & Noble outsources NOOK development, cloud management

April 8, 2016

Barnes & Noble outsources NOOK development, cloud management

It’s the end of an era.

In this

press release

Barnes & Noble announced that they are outsourcing “…cloud management and development support for NOOK software” to

Bahwan Cybertek (BCT)

a very experienced company in many countries and with major partnerships, including with Oracle and Microsoft.

As a result of this, B&N will be shutting down a couple of offices, in Santa Clara and Taiwan, at the end of this July.

This could¬† be a very good thing for NOOK owners…and by extension, a good thing for Kindle owners.

It was always a risk for Amazon to do hardware and software…and a bigger risk for Barnes & Noble. It’s just not their area of expertise…you know, like publishers trying to figure out how to price books for consumers.ūüėČ

Amazon had muuuuuch bigger resources to bring in people with the expertise, and in other ways to find the resources.

Barnes & Noble just didn’t.

Turning over this work to BCT will conceivably mean a more mainstream, reliable approach. It’s possible it will be less innovative, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Yes, it means that the development will not be driven by a bibliocentric company…but tech companies do things all the time for other industries.

If, and I’m just speculating, it makes for a better NOOK line, that could drive Amazon to better Kindle/Fire products through competition.

My guess is that it might make the Amazon devices even more out of the box…while still needing to be competitively reliable.

We’ll see what happens.

By the way, to give a sense of scale, Barnes & Noble says

“In the first quarter of fiscal 2017, the company expects to record severance charges and transition related costs of approximately $6 million.”

I think Amazon sneezes six million dollars.ūüėČ

Overall, I feel good about this. It seems to mean that NOOK users will not be hurt…that the platform won’t simply disappear, but will not only survive but thrive.

How does this affect the Barnes & Noble stores, and the NOOK Books?

Certainly, in the short run, it helps them. The NOOK has been a major anchor on the stores, and this cuts that ballast loose. It lets B&N concentrate on other things…like games and toys.

What do you think? Is this a good decision by B&N? What does BCT get out of it? Will this make a difference for Kindle/Fire owners? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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’s 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime

February 25, 2016

Amazon’s 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime¬†

Amazon sent me an e-mail that they have¬†added their latest “100 books” list:

Amazon’s 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This list really intrigued me!

While I consider myself an eclectic reader, books about understanding your own behavior (and that of other human beings), especially in business situations, are amongst my favorites.

This is a sort of fuzzy categorization…you don’t usually see a section for “Leadership & Success” in a brick-and-mortar bookstore (I’m a former manager of one), and they make the point in their e-mail to me that there are “surprise adds” ¬†in this list.

They were nice enough to send me a version I can copy and paste (although I tweaked the formatting):

Title Author
1 #GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso
2 A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61) Eckhart Tolle
3 Andrew Carnegie David Nasaw
4 Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! Tony Robbins
5 Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Elizabeth Gilbert
6 Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street John Brooks
7 Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Revised and Expanded): The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Lack of Focus, Anger, and Memory Problems Daniel G. Amen M.D.
8 Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition: All Your Favorite Original Stories Plus 20 Bonus Stories for the Next 20 Years Jack Canfield
9 Choose Yourself! James Altucher
10 Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion Gary Vaynerchuk
11 Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck Jon Acuff
12 Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Daniel H. Pink
13 Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time Brian Tracy
14 Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Ashlee Vance
15 Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ Daniel Goleman
16 Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Greg McKeown
17 Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done Larry Bossidy
18 Find a Way Diana Nyad
19 First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently Marcus Buckingham
20 Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
21 Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success Thomas J. DeLong
22 Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Steven D. Levitt
23 Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life Stuart Diamond
24 Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity David Allen
25 Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In Roger Fisher
26 Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success Adam M. Grant
27 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t Jim Collins
28 How to Win Friends & Influence People Dale Carnegie
29 How Will You Measure Your Life? Clayton M. Christensen
30 Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition Robert B. Cialdini
31 Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading Martin Linsky
32 Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Sheryl Sandberg
33 Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Chip Heath
34 Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
35 Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions) Marcus Aurelius
36 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol Dweck
37 Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics Richard H. Thaler
38 Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Dr. Seuss
39 Outliers: The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell
40 Personal History Katharine Graham
41 Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Dan Ariely
42 Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain
43 It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership Colin Powell
44 Siddhartha Hermann Hesse
45 Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Simon Sinek
46 Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson
47 StrengthsFinder 2.0 Tom Rath
48 Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert
49 Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction Philip E. Tetlock
50 Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else Geoff Colvin
51 The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing:  Violate Them at Your Own Risk! Al Ries
52 The 48 Laws of Power Robert Greene
53 The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich Timothy Ferriss
54 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change Stephen R. Covey
55 The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
56 The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World (Art of Happiness Book) Dalai Lama
57 The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books) Pico Iyer
58 The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life Avinash K. Dixit
59 The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything Guy Kawasaki
60 The Art Of War Sun Tzu
61 The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine Michael Lewis
62 The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: “On Robustness and Fragility” (Incerto) Nassim Nicholas Taleb
63 The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism Olivia Fox Cabane
64 The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right Atul Gawande
65 The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know Katty Kay
66 The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials) Peter F. Drucker
67 The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Third Edition Warren E. Buffett
68 The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded Michael D. Watkins
69 The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt T.J. Stiles
70 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable Patrick Lencioni
71 The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) Don Miguel Ruiz
72 The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are Brene Brown
73 The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Shawn Achor
74 The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun Gretchen Rubin
75 The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers Ben Horowitz
76 The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business Clayton M. Christensen
77 The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition) (Collins Business Essentials) Benjamin Graham
78 The Last Lecture Randy Pausch
79 The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries
80 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Marie Kondo
81 The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) Hal Elrod
82 The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play Neil Fiore
83 The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Charles Duhigg
84 The Prince (Dover Thrift Editions) Niccolò Machiavelli
85 The Prophet (A Borzoi Book) Kahlil Gibran
86 The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth M. Scott Peck
87 The Road to Character David Brooks
88 The Secret Rhonda Byrne
89 The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams Deepak Chopra
90 Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman
91 Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Ron Chernow
92 Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be Marshall Goldsmith
93 Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson Mitch Albom
94 Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders L. David Marquet
95 Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance Jonathan Fields
96 Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives Dan Millman
97 What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful Marshall Goldsmith
98 Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength Roy F. Baumeister
99 Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person Shonda Rhimes
100 Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future Peter Thiel

I’ve actually written about a few of these before…here’s one instance:

A book I’m reading now: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Let’s see…of these, I’ve read:

  • Freakonomics
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • Predictably Irrational (I highly recommend this one)
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • The Art of War
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (worth reading)
  • The Last Lecture
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow

There are a few others about which I’m not sure.:)

Off the top of my head, I’d also recommend

  • Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
  • The Man Who Lied to His Laptop by Clifford Nass
  • Brain Rules by John Medina

Interestingly, I would guess I was more influenced by fiction than by any of these.:) I still look at the Doc Savage oath from time to time, which says in part:¬†“Let me strive, every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right, and lend my assistance to those who need it with no regard for anything but justice…”

What do you think of the list? Are there others you would recommend? 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.

 

Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: February 2016

February 2, 2016

Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: February 2016

Amazon does the Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which used to discount four books a day (often general fiction, a romance, a science fiction/fantasy book, and a kids’ book). Now, it seems like it is generally more books than that, and not categorized.

They also¬†do¬†Monthly Kindle Book Deals for $3.99 or less each¬†(at AmazonSmile). There used to be about 100 of them, but there are ten times that now: 311¬†at the time of writing…904 fewer than last month. I think last month was so high because they carried some of them over from the holiday sales in December.¬†They are up to 85% off…but some of them are more than the normal $3.99 top limit. Weirdly, the most expensive one I found was $12.99 (which is¬†down sixty-five cents from last month), and did not appear to be discounted…I thought that might be a fluke last time, but having it happen four¬†months in a row is a pattern. This time, there were also¬†two titles higher than $3.99…better than last month where there were two pages.ūüėČ

Those prices only apply to the USA, and one weird thing is that some of the books seem to sell out at that price sometimes (or become unavailable for some other reason).

Another thing is that 113¬†(557 less¬†than last month…which is actually also a considerably lower percentage)¬†of these are available through

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

Amazon lists that information prominently…and it’s now commonly a filter in search results. If they are, then you need to consider whether it is worth buying them…even at these low prices. While they are in KU, you can, if you are a subscriber (and there’s a free month available right now), read them at no additional cost. There are, of course, advantages to owning books, especially if you want to re-read them. A book could move out of KU at any time. Even if you think you want to own it, if you are a KU member, you could always read it first to make sure.ūüėČ I will mark them with KU.

By the way, in the new version of the

eReaderIQ advanced search

you can make KU a filter. So, you can search for books by an author, a keyword, an average customer review which you can read as part of your KU membership…nice! I’m not associated with eReaderIQ except as a user (we have had some correspondence), but I do think it is the most valuable website for Kindleers.

I’m going to list some of the books in this sale that caught my eye…I’m not necessarily recommending them, but I do think they are interesting.

The ones I link (if I actually link to specific books) also don’t block text-to-speech access**…but I think blocking it is becoming rarer.

  • The Hope Beach Collection: Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, Seagrass Pier (The Hope Beach Series)¬†by Colleen Coble
  • The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry¬†by Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette
  • Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look¬†by Pat Kirwan and David Seigerman
  • The Paradise Trilogy¬†by Ted Dekker
  • Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government¬†by Dr. Larry Arnn
  • My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands (A Chelsea Handler Book/Borderline Amazing Publishing)¬†by Chelsea Handler
  • One Night: Promised (The One Night Trilogy Book 1)¬†by Jodi Ellen Malpas
  • A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism…by Joseph Loconte
  • The Perfect Assassin¬†by Ward Larsen
  • Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men: An Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self¬†by Stephen Mansfield and William Boykin
  • Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies¬†by J. B. West and Mary Lynn Kotz
  • Nonviolent Communication¬†by Marshall B. Rosenberg and Deepak Chopra
  • The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution¬†by Patrick Cockburn
  • Against All Enemies (A Jonathan Grave Thriller Book 7)¬†by John Gilstrap
  • Fly By Wire: A Jammer Davis Thriller¬†by Ward Larsen
  • Delights and Prejudices¬†by James Beard and Julia Child
  • What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine¬†by Danielle Ofri
  • No Quarter Asked¬†by Janet Dailey
  • Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy¬†by Peyton Manning and Archie Manning
  • Splintered¬†by A. G. Howard (and other books in the series)
  • Black Like Me: The Definitive Griffin Estate Edition¬†by John Howard Griffin and Robert Bonazzi
  • 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life: A Psychologist Learns from His Patients What Really Works…by Henry Cloud
  • The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs¬†by LeAnne Campbell and T. Colin Campbell
  • The Addictocarb Diet: Avoid the 9 Highly Addictive Carbs While Eating Anything Else You Want¬†by Bruce Roseman and Kenneth Paul Rosenberg
  • January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month That Changed America Forever¬†by James Robenalt and John W. Dean
  • Sleep in the Woods¬†by Dorothy Eden KU
  • Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact¬†by Steven Kotler KU
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins¬†by Katherine Paterson
  • I Am Crying All Inside: And Other Stories (The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak Book 1)¬†by Clifford D. Simak and David W. Wixon (also available through Kindle Unlimited: KU)
  • The Fight in the Clouds: The Extraordinary Combat Experience of P-51 Mustang Pilots During World War II¬†by James P. Busha
  • The Language of Hoofbeats¬†by Catherine Ryan Hyde KU
  • Tracks of Her Tears (Rogue Winter Novella Book 1¬†by Melinda Leigh KU
  • Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life¬†by Gladys Hunt
  • Silent Cry: The True Story of Abuse and Betrayal of an NFL Wife¬†by Dorothy J. Newton and Sheila Walsh
  • Graveyard of Memories (A John Rain Novel)¬†by Barry Eisler KU
  • Crimes Against Magic (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 1) (and other books in the series)¬†by Steve McHugh KU
  • If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer¬†by The Goldman Family and Pablo F. Fenjves
  • Mr. Ferris and His Wheel¬†by Kathryn Gibbs Davis and Gilbert Ford
  • You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up¬†by Lisa Jakub
  • Ferment Your Vegetables: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Making Your Own Pickles, Kimchi, Kraut, and More¬†by Amanda Feifer
  • War Brides¬†by Helen Bryan
  • Dawn (The Xenogenesis Trilogy Book 1)¬†by Octavia E. Butler KU
  • Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life¬†by Mark Goulston
  • The House by the Sea¬†by May Sarton and Beverly Hallam

It’s definitely worth looking at the list: I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find a gift for somebody here (e-books from the Kindle store can be delayed until the appropriate gift giving¬†occasion).

I noticed a few themes: ¬†there were a number¬†of faith-based books, books about sex, and vegetarian cookbooks. Hmm…I don’t think that’s a matrix.ūüėČ

If there were others you’d like to mention for me and my readers, please comment on this post.

Prime members, don’t forget to pick up your

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

You can get one of the six (same as last month…previously, it had been four)¬†books to own (not borrow) for free‚Ķthese are books which will be actually released next month. The choices this month are:

  • The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy Book 1)¬†by Joe Hart (thriller)
  • Ghost Gifts¬†by Laura Spinella (romantic suspense)
  • North of Here¬†by Laurel Saville (contemporary fiction)
  • Little Sister (A James Palatine Novel)¬†by Giles O’Bryen (international thriller)
  • Winter Men¬†by Jesper Bugge Kold, K.E. Semmel (war fiction)
  • All the Lasting Things¬†by David Hopson (literary fiction)

People like to know which one I pick…and this month, I could have gotten several of them. Last month, I had Alexa (in our Amazon Echo) randomly pick one…that one was okay. I think I’m going with North of Here. Might work well for my Significant Other on the treadmill, which is one of the goals.ūüėČ It does look like it might be downbeat, though…we’ll read those, but I don’t think that making people feel bad equals literary significance.:) I may need to rethink my approach to this. These books all become part of KU, so maybe I should make the decision based on what other people in my account in the future may want to read, not what we want to read right now…

Enjoy!

 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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ 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.

LTO on Fire tablets: power bank for $15.99

January 6, 2016

LTO on Fire tablets: power bank for $15.99

Limited Time Offer on Fire tablets, running out quickly: power bank (recharge mobile devices on the go) for $15.99.

I’m on my phone so this is just a heads up before they are gone.

Amazon’s weird (but fun) holiday stats 2015

December 28, 2015

¬†Amazon’s weird (but fun) holiday stats 2015

This is one of the things I look excitedly anticipate at the holidays!

It’s a tradition (well, at least what we call a “tradition” in the digital era)ūüėČ that, Amazon, famously close to the vest on sales figures, breaks with that at the end of December…sort of.:) They do a

press release

where they do give us some pretty clear figures (“…more than three million new members worldwide joined Prime during the third week of December alone.”) and then give us other stats that are striking and funny, but not specifically numerical.

That’s fine with me.ūüėČ I like their real world analogues.

For example:

  • The total number of hours customers spent reading The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir in 2015 on Kindle is equivalent to more than 1,000 trips to Mars on the Curiosity rover
  • The books read by kids in Amazon FreeTime this holiday season would reach Mt. Everest‚Äôs peak more than 10 times if put in a straight line in their physical form

I think you’ll be amused if you check some of the non-book related ones.

Now, let’s parse a bit more what they told us:

  • Prime did well! That’s important to Amazon’s overall success, which affects readers. I’ve said before that Amazon’s most important product is happy and satisfied customers, and Prime members tend to be that
  • The All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6‚Ä≥ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi ‚Äď Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) was one of the three most ordered items with Prime FREE one-day shipping. I wrote recently about how it sold much better than the¬†Kindle Voyage¬†(at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…and the latter is not mentioned in the press release
  • Amazon device sale were “…up 2x over last year‚Äôs record-setting holiday”. Does that mean twice as many? It seems like a bit of an odd way to say it. I could also see it meaning that if three were sold last year, nine were sold this year (up two times 3 then plus 3 then plus 3 again). Regardless, good year.:) It’s also evident that EBRs (E-Book Readers) and even tablets weren’t Amazon’s dominant selling devices. The Fire TV family appears¬†to have excelled
  • The most gifted Kindle book “during the holiday season” was Rath’s Deception (The Janus Group Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*) by Piers Platt. ¬†That’s fascinating to me! I would have expected (and I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager) for it to be a traditionally published brand name author, and a somewhat expensive book. Instead, this is a $2.99 book which appears to be independently published. Not only that, it’s available through¬†Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), meaning that members of Amazon’s subser (subscription service) can read it at no additional cost. My guess is that there is an interesting story behind the marketing of this book…maybe I’ll try to find out what that is. If anyone knows Piers Platt, feel free to let the author know I’m interested in what marketing strategy was used, and that I’d like to share the success story with my readers. I also plan to read the book myself, now…it also has good reviews
  • The book most borrowed through KU in all of 2016 was No Ordinary Billionaire (The Sinclairs Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*) by J.S. Scott. Importantly, while this is a traditionally published book, it was published by Amazon. In my recent¬†The Year in E-Books¬†2015, I noted that this year was much more about Amazon becoming less dependent on the tradpubs (traditional publishers)…and based on this and the previous point, that seems to be working

Love this annual press release!

By the way, for contrast, this

Seeking Alpha post by Clark Schulz reports that Barnes & Noble’s stock is down by more than 5% “Post-Christmas”.

One more thing while we are on the holidays.

I got two Kindle books as gifts…and have finished one of them already.:) I read every day, but it’s been a while since I started and finished a book in just a couple of days.

The one I finished was

21st Century Dodos: A Collection of Endangered Objects (and Other Stuff) (at AmazonSmile*) by Steve Stack

It was ninety-nine cents, on my Amazon Wish List…and I loved getting it! I think some people hesitate on an inexpensive gift like that, or think that it’s better to get something not a Wish List. I like gifts which surprise me, too, but this was a¬†terrific¬†little gift.

It’s about things which are “going extinct”…not species, but lifestyle-type things. That is something in which I’m especially interested…I may write something on it myself at some point (I’ve had a name for my possible work for years).

Something that I hadn’t realized, though, was that the book was British…very, very British.ūüėČ That’s fine with me (I read a lot of British writing), but it did mean that we didn’t share the same cultural ¬†experiences. For example, the nostalgic candies in the book were things I never had. Some Americans might also be confused by some terms which appear many times: “came a cropper” and “punter”.

“Come a cropper” (or the past tense above) basically means to fail at something. Let’s see…Americans might say it “went belly up”.

Oh, here’s a good write up on it:

The Phrase Finder entry

“Punter” is used in a way that I would say is derogatory…and I would have read it as something like “slacker”. All of the “punters” in the articles are losers in the situation, I’d say. With a quick bit of research, it has to do with making a risky bet…or being the customer of a prostitute. I suppose there is some similarity¬†in meaning there…

The fact that they are used repetitively is perhaps due to the articles coming from a blog. I use the same phrases much more often on this blog than I would if I was sitting down and writing a 200 page book. Part of that is that if you read a book and the same phrase appears twenty times, you might be seeing in multiple times in an hour. If I use a phrase twenty times over the course of 200 posts on the blog, you might encounter a duplicate every ten days or so.

Duplication can also build familiarity. Many of us fans of Doc Savage are happily to repeatedly see Doc’s eyes described as “stirred pools of flake gold”.

The other book I got was

Cryptozoologicon: Volume I (at AmazonSmile*) by by Darren Naish (Author), John Conway (Illustrator), C.M. Kosemen (Illustrator)

This one was also from my Wish List, also appreciated! Not far enough into it yet to have much of an opinion…

What do you think? Do you like getting books from a wish list? Are you reluctant to give something specific like that…or do you, perhaps, look for something ¬†similar but not the same? Is Amazon becoming less dependent on tradpubs…and will the time ever come when they really don’t need them? What can the publishers due to counteract that…and perhaps become less dependent on 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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ 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.

First discount on Kindle Voyage! Only for Prime members (PW3 also discounted)

November 4, 2015

First discount on Kindle Voyage! Only for Prime members (PW3 also discounted)

Amazon introduced the top of the line

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

more than a year ago (in September of 2014). People who have them tend to like them: 4.4 stars out of 5 average rating, with 7,404 customer reviews at time of writing.

While it doesn’t have audio (so no text-to-speech…a major drawback for me), it is otherwise pretty objectively superior to the

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6‚Ä≥ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi ‚Äď Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s lighter, smaller (with the same screen size), and has “page press” buttons.

However, while the PW3 has gone on sale repeatedly in the last year, the Voyage hasn’t been playing that game.

Right now, though, either of the two are $30 off for a limited time…but only for

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

members.

That brings the Voyage, in its least expensive configuration, down to $169.99…and the PW3 to as low as $89.99. That’s only $10 more for the PW3 than the entry level Kindle…which doesn’t have the frontlighting that made the PW the most comfortable reading experience I’d ever had (including paper).

I get why Prime may not make sense for some people…but if you can afford the investment in it, and you spend enough at Amazon, it can make a lot of sense. Prime members get so many things, including early access to some of the Black Friday sales.

I’m only guessing, but I would think that if you spend $500 in a year at Amazon on new items (not from the Marketplace), Prime is likely to be a cost benefit to you. I haven’t done the calculations, but that’s my feeling.ūüėČ

They don’t say how long this sale will last, but if you are in the market for a new EBR (E-Book Reader), especially for the holidays, this is a good deal.

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.

Lightning deal on Fire tablets: kitchen utensils & e-book

October 27, 2015

Lightning deal on Fire tablets: kitchen utensils & e-book

Sorry this will be super brief: I am just on my phone. I will update this later but part of this is a special early deal for Prime members, so I can’t wait.:-)

Check on your Fire tablets for an offer. You will probably need to be connected to wireless to see it. Depending on your model, you may have a tab that says offers or something like an app.

This is five kitchen utensils plus an e-book.

More later.

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

Found in translation

October 14, 2015

Found in translation

I’ve never read Jules Verne, Miguel de Cervantes, or Karel ńĆapek.

Oh, I’ve read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Don Quixote, and War with the Newts, of course.

I just haven’t read them in their original languages (French, Spanish, and Czech).

Even though our adult kid is a linguist, I’m simply¬†not fluent enough (if at all). I can blunder through an article in Spanish, and I did three years of Russian in high school. On the latter, I wanted to be able to read some research being done in the then Soviet Union…but I didn’t really become conversational.

I did learn all of Mangani, the language the “apes” speak in the Tarzan books, but that’s not the same thing.ūüėČ

So many of the classics so many of us have read are translations!

I’ll admit, I don’t generally pay much attention to who the translator is of a book. I probably should pay more attention to that. Translated books often seem…stilted to me. I think they tend to use the “correct” language in English, when ¬†the author is being slangy in their own.

I knew someone who was a translator. Out of curiosity, this person put “hit the road” (an American English idiom meaning to get on your way) into an online translator (this was more than a decade ago) and had it translate it to French…and then translated it back from French to English using the same software.

The result was “pummel the avenue”.:)

I just tried the same experiment with Google translate…and the retranslation was rendered properly as “hit the road”.

Amazon’s traditional publishing wing has had an imprint devoted to translating works into English for some time:

AmazonCrossing
AmazonCrossing homepage in the Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)

It has been very successful for them…one of their biggest successes has been

The Hangman’s Daughter (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Oliver Pötzsch

and its sequels.

The first book, nearly five years on, is still in the #250 paid bestsellers in the USA Kindle store.

There are 809 books published by AmazonCrossing in the USA Kindle store:

AmazonCrossing books in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile*)

Generally, they seem to be well-reviewed (there are exceptions), and there are some with thousands of reviews.

I just recently read one I got as one of the

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

Prime members can generally get one a month (sometimes it’s two) for free to own.

The one I read was

The Capital of Latecomers (at AmazonSmile*) by Nena Nenova (and translated by Vladimir Poleganov)

I would say the translation was pretty good…I wasn’t thrilled with the book itself, although there were some interesting elements.

Clearly, Amazon also thinks AmazonCrossing is working.

They sent me this

Press Release

announcing a fresh $10 million investment “… over the next five years to increase the number and diversity of its books in translation”.

Interestingly, they now have a website where authors/publishers can submit books for the program. You can do that here:

https://translation.amazon.com/submissions

They are looking for books in these categories:

  • Fantasy
  • Historical Fiction
  • Literary Fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction

Looks to me like they have around fifty languages from which they will translate (if the book is selected).

Amazon has been a leader on globalizing its e-book devices (they dominated the NOOK on that). They have also been an important way for authors/publishers to reach readers, both as a platform (Kindle Direct Publishing) and as a traditional publisher.

This combines those two strengths.

Amazon could certainly publishes books in the original languages…and in several other languages eventually.

They don’t list the terms on the submission site: that may be negotiated on an individual basis.

I think this is important.

It’s a great goodwill thing for Amazon’s relationships with other countries…even if books aren’t a huge part of their revenue stream.

What do you think? Do you like reading translated books? Do you seek out individual translators? Do you know someone who has had a book published and translated? If so, what was their experience like? Feel free to let me and my readers know 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‚Äôll 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)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ 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.

When did it become Amazon Freetime unlimited?

September 16, 2015

When did it become Amazon Freetime unlimited?

Back in 2012, Amazon announced Kindle Freetime Unlimited, as I wrote about in this post:

Amazon introduces Kindle FreeTime Unlimited

I was looking in the Kindle store, and noticed that it was gone…and replaced by Amazon FreeTime unlimited.

The link from the storefront was redirected to

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

That’s interesting…and a bit concerning.

The new page focuses much more on videos than on books, although they do get mentioned. They say:

“Personalize each kid’s experience with profiles, and let them watch where they want to – on Fire Tablets, Kindle eReaders or Fire TV”

Now, they also ¬†mention reading…although they put apps in front of ¬†books.

Branding matters…a lot.

Is Amazon moving away from the Kindle brand in favor of just being Amazon?

At  least in this case, they are.

They did already step away, when they changed the Kindle Fire tablet into just “Fire tablets”.

This may tie into Amazon’s rumored $50 tablet…we should get a hardware announcement within the next month or so (I’m think it will come before the end of the month).

If you asked most people what they thought “Kindle” signified from Amazon, I think they would say “e-books”.

I don’t at all think Amazon will stop supporting e-books. I also expect that, for now, they’ll keep producing EBRs (E-Book Readers), in addition to tablets.

Five years from now, will Amazon still be making  EBRs?

I’m not sure about that…especially if screen technology greatly improves.

If the two technologies merge, so we get super long lasting batteries, color, video, and a comfortable reading experience, I think the public would think of it as a tablet, not as a Kindle…and that Amazon would brand it that way.

We’ll see…

What do you think? Why did Amazon change the name? ¬†The word “Kindle” is a powerful brand for them…how will they use it in the future? 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.

#ForceFriday…and Amazon doesn’t make a star out of Star Wars books

September 4, 2015

#ForceFriday…and Amazon doesn’t make a star out of Star Wars books

Today is “Force Friday”, which is basically a way to introduce new merchandise to tie into the upcoming Star Wars movie.

There are long lines at stores, some of which opened at midnight.

I figured Amazon would have a big promotion on it, and they did…right on the home screen.

They featured toy lightsabers, collectibles, videos, clothing…even home and kitchen (Death Star ice cubes, anyone?).

You know what wasn’t featured?

Books.

This despite the fact that Aftermath by Chuck Wendig was released today, and will likely be a New York Times bestseller (as some other official Star Wars books have been before).

I’m away from my resources, so I may add in links later, but there are well over 2,000 results in a search for “Star Wars” in the USA Kindle store. There are nearly 700 in Kindle Unlimited (although this week generally be unofficial).

Star Wars novels have been an important part of the merchandising since the beginning, and, well, a long time ago, in Seattle far, far, away, Amazon was a bookstore..ūüėČ

That doesn’t mean Amazon doesn’t have Star Wars books…as I mentioned, they have thousands. It just means they aren’t featuring them.

Why not?

Books, generally, are a low profit item…especially if you are discounting them. That’s part of why we see the putative physical bookstores (I’m a former manager of one) like Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million reporting growing profits for non-book items.

Also, books may not be that much of an impulse item on the website…book buyers may seek them out more specifically than a new toy, and may order then directly from their devices (although I didn’t see a link there, either).

May the Force be with you…even if the books aren’t on the front page.ūüėČ

One other thing…I tweeted today about some of the things that Alexa (the “parse-onality of the Amazon Echo) knows about Star Wars with one of the Alexa hashtags I created…#alexaknows…the other one is #teachalexa.

If you have an Echo, try saying…

“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”
“That’s not a moon…” (I’ve heard more than one answer.)
“Did Han shoot first?”
“May the Force be with you.”

There is at least one more, but it might be a bit too spoilery in a post.ūüėČ

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


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