Do readers have to worry about a war on porn?

July 16, 2016

Do readers have to worry about a war on porn?

Reading is freedom.

You can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything…if you have a book.

In a grey area, I will tend to be on the side of greater freedom of expression.

I want people to be able to march and speak in support of ideas I find absolutely antithetical to my personal morality…there are things I support that would have gotten people thrown into prison or tortured for supporting a century or more ago.

When there was a concerted effort to suppress comic books, as well documented in

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

there were people who thought it served public morality to keep comics away from children. There were literally public bonfires to burn them. It’s one reason why some older comics are so valuable today.

Certainly, there were people who classified them the way that some people classify pornography today.

I’m talking, at this point, about legal, consensual, adults only participating explicitly sexual material. Not coerced, not children, nothing like that.

That’s why it is chilling to me when I see efforts to suppress pornography.

Lately, there have been stepped up efforts in that area.

One of the political parties recently said that pornography was a public health crisis. During a public health crisis of certain kinds, people can be involuntarily quarantined. It’s a powerful terminology, not just a literary review.

Starbucks and McDonalds are talking about blocking pornography on their Wi-Fi networks that customers use in the stores.

Now, understand: that doesn’t mean that I want a child being able to see porn on someone’s tablet. You should have to keep it not visible (or audible) to other patrons…and I think that’s true regardless of what you are watching. A lot of parents don’t want their kids watching violent content. The same could be said for some political material. There are privacy screens you can put on a monitor, which makes it virtually invisible to people not directly behind it…we used that in medical areas where I work to protect patients’ medical information.

That’s where some people might right away see a divide. Pornography doesn’t typically refer to the written word, it usually means something visual. However, there is no reason why it can’t, and books have been banned or restricted because of their words.

I know some people probably think I’m a prude. I don’t write the word d*mn in this blog without the asterisk…and I don’t use language like that in my real life either. I don’t have a problem quoting someone else who has used it. I don’t have a problem with reading sexually explicit content, although I like to know it will be in the book. That’s why I warn people…it should be up to you if you read it.

Not up to a store or a political party.

That’s my opinion, but what do you think? 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Imagine sharing a book with 829 other…children

July 14, 2016

Imagine sharing a book with 829 other…children

When I was a child, I was fortunate in that I had books which were my own.

In fact, although it was true for some things like encyclopedias, I don’t remember sharing books with my three siblings, unless we specifically “loaned” one of our books to someone else.

I feel like I always had books that were mine in my room. I still have some of those self same copies in our library.

I’m guessing some of my readers had that same situation.

Having books was empowering.

Now, picture living in a poor neighborhood.

Your  parents want you to be able to read books. Through a lucky break, you have $5 to spend. Let’s say you won a writing contest at school.

Your parents would take you to your neighborhood bookstore…but there isn’t one.

Your local food market, not really a grocery store, doesn’t carry books.

There is exactly one place you can get books…the dollar store.

They are mostly cheap reprints of public domain books that will likely fall apart in a year (or “remaindered books” that didn’t sell).

You remember seeing a copy of Treasure Island there last time your family bought a box of cereal.

When you get there, though, it’s gone.

There isn’t a single children’s book available.

A recent study by New York University, reported in this

New York University article

found that in Anacostia,, a poorer area of Washington D.C. there was one children’s book available to purchase per 830 children.

The study also found that even “borderline” poverty communities had many more books than those with high poverty rates…and middle class neighborhoods had many, many more books.

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore owner, I can tell you that books are expensive to sell…especially cheap versions. You are paying rent for the space under that book, and it isn’t a small amount of space.

Books can also be service intensive (which also costs money). When you are buying a  jar of pickles, you have a pretty good idea what you are getting. You don’t need a clerk’s help.

Books are different. It can easily take ten minutes to sell one book.

Now, there are three things that might be alternatives to having books for sale in your neighborhood.

One is your public library. That can work…but there aren’t a lot of public libraries in poor neighborhoods, and they have limited number of books…you might be on a waiting list. You may also need an address in order to check out books, and not everybody has one. You might be able to get books from your public school library, but again, it might not have many copies. As part of an educational project, I spent some of my childhood school days in a public school in Ocean Hill-Brownsville in New York, which is a poor neighborhood. There weren’t a lot of books available for kids there.

Another is buying over the internet…but you probably need a credit card (or debit card) for that, you need that address…and you need a safe place to receive mail.

The third one? E-books.

Yes, you need something on which to read them…a phone, and EBR (E-Book Reader), a tablet, a computer.

Access to those may be more available than you think.

You might be reading public domain e-books on a computer in a public library, but it’s somewhat of an option.

Non-public domain e-books can usually only be checked out by a limited number of patrons at a time.

E-books are of the better options…but I have to say, the study was discouraging.

I gave away a Kindle through this blog a while back (with readers helping select a child to get it), and I’ve donated one, and both of those felt great! However, that doesn’t make much of a difference.

Hm…maybe I’ll do a giveaway of a subscription to

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

That would let a child read books like Harry Potter…and I could certainly do a month of that pretty easily (although they would need an e-mail address). I’ll think about that one.

Shopping using AmazonSmile and designated a children’s literacy promoting organization as the beneficiary of the half a percent of the money you spend donation from Amazon.

Still, we have to be grateful for the opportunities we’ve had. The divide of book availability based on income levels appears to be widening, at least in terms of physical books. I do think e-books can help…but I can’t help being sad about it and wanting to do what I can to help.

What do you think? Did you have your own books as a child? Do you have a favorite charity that gives books to underprivileged children? Do you think my giving KU subscriptions makes sense? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

How to save almost $100 on Kindle Unlimited today…and it’s not obvious

July 12, 2016

How to save almost $100 on Kindle Unlimited today…and it’s not obvious

Hello,

Here’s a copy of the chat transcript you requested:

Initial Question: How do I get the 40% off on Kindle Unlimited as part of Prime Day (being a Prime member)?

10:15 AM PDT Chinmay(Amazon): Hello, my name is Chinmay. I’m here to help you today.
Firstly, I’d like to thank you for being a Prime member.

10:16 AM PDT Chinmay: As I understand that you want to purchase the kindle unlimited subscription with discount. Right?
<snip>
10:18 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Correct.
<snip>
10:19 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Yes, that’s right. An Amazon press release said KU would be 40% for Prime members today, but I’m not seeing that reflected online.
Sorry, for 40% off, not 40%.:)
10:21 AM PDT Chinmay: Thanks for waiting.
10:21 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Sure!
10:22 AM PDT Chinmay: Please click on the link below to purchase the subscription with discount https://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/ku/gift_landing (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) [NOTE: I’m using a different link than they sent me]
10:23 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: That doesn’t show the discount, though…24 months shows as $239.76, which is still $9.99 per month.
10:23 AM PDT Chinmay: The discount will automatically get applied to 24 months of subscription.
10:24 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Oh…that will show up at checkout? May I share that link with other people? Is that good for all day today (through midnight Pacific)?
10:24 AM PDT Chinmay: Yes, sure.
it will apply to check out.
10:24 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Perfect, thanks!
10:24 AM PDT Chinmay: You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you?

10:25 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Nope, that’s it!
10:25 AM PDT Chinmay: My pleasure helping you today. We are always here to help you.

To close this window, please click the “end chat” link.

Have a great day!!
10:25 AM PDT Bufo Calvin: Love Amazon, Prime, and the customer service!:)
10:25 AM PDT Chinmay: Please do not forget to click on END CHAT.
Bye!!
Thank you.

Note that this was set up as buying it as a gift, but I put in the e-mail address under which we currently are KU members, and it worked just fine.

The discount did not show until the very final step, just before payment. It had offered me another discount before that with a new credit card, but that was irrelevant and I ignored it.

At checkout, it showed a “Prime Savings” of $95.90, making two months of KU $143.86…about $5.99 a month instead of the normal $9.99 a month. We did this during last year’s Prime Day, so  that works.:)

Check the price before you finalize the order…this may be only for the USA, and I think it’s only for 24 months.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

 

Prime Day preview…and how to find out about more

July 12, 2016

Prime Day preview…and how to find out about more

Tick…tick…tick…ka-ching!

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

is about seven and a half hours away as I write this (starting at midnight Pacific time Monday night/Tuesday morning).

We now know some of the deals, which I’ll highlight shortly.

There will also be many we don’t know about yet. You’ll be able to find out about them at that Prime Day link, but that does mean you have to go there.

If you are like I will be, you are more likely to be near your SmartPhone or tablet than near your (home) computer tomorrow.

The first thing to do is make sure that you have the free Amazon shopping app

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

which is also available through Google Play and the Apple Appstore.

Amazon recommends that you go into the settings for your app, which are usually not in the app itself, but in the Settings on your phone. On my Galaxy S7 Edge, it’s: Applications – Application Manager – tap the Amazon Shopping App – Notifications – Allow Notifications – More. Check that you have notifications turned on for Your Recommendations and for Your Watched & Waitlisted Deals.

This will give you “push” notifications to let you know when sales are happening…not all sales, not even all the sales you want, but you are likely to hear about some possible things of interest.

Amazon would also like you to set up a new Wish List and add at least one item to it…my understanding is that will also tend to inform your recommendations for those notifications. I’ve done that myself.

That’s a couple of ways to track…oh, and you might want to follow me:

Follow Bufo on Twitter

It’s going to be a lot easier for me to tweet deals I notice than to start a post here and periodically update it throughout the day. You can unfollow me afterwards, if you want.:) I’d really appreciate it if you went to Amazon to buy the item from the

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

link here, but it’s more important to me that you get the deal.😉

Okay, here are some interesting deals I expect to happen. That doesn’t mean that they’ll all be available for the full 24 hours, by the way…some of them might sell out quickly, although Amazon has been stressing that they are better prepared this year than last (when quite a few people on social media complained about that, and about the selection). As I often caution you, check the price before you click or tap that Buy button. Not all of the countries in which my readers reside get Prime Day, and for the ones that do, the prices will vary from Amazon site to Amazon site.

Oh, and remember that you need to be a Prime member to get these deals, but you can get the free 1-month trial (and then cancel, if you want, but I don’t think you’ll want to do that). You can sign up here:

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

You can also shop directly from your Echo device. You’ll be able to get the

Fire HD 10, 10.1″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

for $129, 43% off…and you get an additional $10 off your first eligible Amazon order on your Echo device over $20. There will be other good deals…check

http://www.amazon.com/alexadeals (at AmazonSmile*)

but then order them by asking Alexa. “Alexa, order…”

There will be lots more!

I also appreciate that they mention

http://www.amazon.com/bestfriends (at AmazonSmile*)

which I didn’t even now existed! It might be new. You can send pet supplies (from a list) to an organization, described in part this way: “Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters…” We will definitely look at that.

One of the other great deals will be on

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

You will be able to save up to 40% on this subser (subscription service). We are happy members and have given a membership as a gift. It’s an “all you can read” program, where you can have up to ten books out at a time from many more than a million titles, which includes some famous books (like the original James Bond books and the Harry Potter books).

This will likely be the biggest day of the year for Amazon.

It’s also expensive for Amazon. When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, we really amped up our resources for the holiday season…hiring new people, including temps, for one thing. We also needed more bags.:) Amazon will also have to ramp up resources for Prime Day, and then ramp up again for the holidays.

It’s well worth it for them, though, if people become Prime members or solidly stay Prime members. Prime members spend more, and they spend more on those bigger margin physical items (which I call “diapers and windshield wipers”).

I think it’s funny, but I’m genuinely excited about Prime Day…like the night before a holiday!

I’ll be ready to tweet.:) If you see great sales and want me and my readers to know, you can comment on this post, or . me (@bufocalvin) and I may retweet it…I’ll be at my day job, but I’ll check when I can.:)

Have a price-cut Prime Day!😉

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

“It’s discounted…just trust us”

July 10, 2016

“It’s discounted…just trust us”

This is a fascinating

New York Times article by David Streitfeld

The main thrust of the article?

Amazon is eliminating list prices from many product pages.

As a former retail manager, that seemed odd to me at first, especially for a discounter to do.

A number of people re-flipped the article from my free ILMK magazine at Flipboard so it has caught the attention of other people as well.

First, what are we discussing?

The “list price”, similar to the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is what the publisher suggest that the price of a book should be in a store (or online).

Nobody is mandated to use that price…it’s possible a book never sells for the list price, although small bookstores may certainly do it.

It’s valuable as a comparative measure…if the list price of a book is $20 and one store sells it for $20 and another sells it for $16, most people will feel like they are saving $4 by shopping at the discounter (and they are, if they have already committed to buying the book, and if the cost of buying it is the same…for example, the cost of gas is the same if you are going to a physical store).

One of Amazon’s three tenets is price (the other two are selection and customer service).

I decided to take a look at the

Monthly Kindle Book Deals for $3.99 or less each (at AmazonSmile)

which I wrote about here:

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

I checked some of the tradpubbed (traditionally published books).

Interestingly, this is promoted as “up to 80% off”…but sure enough, I wasn’t seeing the list prices on the product places.

However, I could see it on the deals’ page, before I tapped on an individual title.

That means that if you get to the book, you can’t see how much Amazon could be saving you.

I think they may be experimenting with this, but how could it be a positive for them?

I suppose it could get people to stop thinking about price. That would give Amazon two advantages I could see.

If you aren’t thinking about price and list price, you aren’t thinking about the competitors.

That’s where I am with Amazon. I don’t tend to comparison shop any more: I just want to buy from Amazon. It’s so much easier…I trust them with my credit card information and shipping address. I can order right through our

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

just using my voice.

They don’t need to entice me based on a single discount.

I’m fine with that.

I’ll shop around if I’m not satisfied with Amazon’s price, but that would be the decision not to buy something from Amazon…I think price isn’t much influencing my decision to buy something.

The other thing is that, by not having a list price shown, it would make it easier for them to raise the price in the future. You would notice if a book went from $5 below list to $3, but you might not as easily notice a book going from $6.99 to $8.99.

Now, I’m not saying that’s the plan, but to me, this is a major shift away from Amazon promoting itself on the basis of being a discounter. It moves the more towards what I’ve said they want to be…the “infrastructure of the internet”.

What do you think? Does it bother you that Amazon might not show list prices? Do you think they’ll stay with and expand this strategy? Do you think of Amazon as a discounter now, and comparison shop before you buy something? 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Shop through your Echo device and get a great deal on a Tap today

July 8, 2016

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160708005141/en/

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I love my Kindle blog

New Kindle with Bluetooth audio: first impressions

July 8, 2016

New Kindle with Bluetooth audio: first impressions

Wow!

That’s my first impression of the

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which was just released and arrived today.

It’s $79.99 right now with ad-support. I like the feel of it, even though the bevel (the area around the reading area) is going to seem big to some people.

The thing I wanted to know about right away, and tested, was the Bluetooth connectivity.

I connected it via Bluetooth to our

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

The process was easy, even if not that intuitive (you had to hold the power button in for just so long, then put two fingers spread out on the screen).

Once it was set up (paired), voila!

It read a book to me, using text-to-speech.

Now, it’s important to note that this is working with “Voice View”…it’s also going to read out to you each button you touch, since it’s designed for those with print challenges. You hold and press a button for it to recognize it and tell you what it is, and then typically you double tap to make it happen. So, yes, it is more contacts for each action.

TTS on an EBR (or, um, from an EBR to a speaker), though? A very welcome return!

Once it was paired, it was very simple: any time I turn on Voice View, my Tap connects immediately and starts working. Turn it off, and the Tap disconnects. Note that the Voice View option is under Device Options in Settings, not under Reading Options (since it’s not just about reading, but all the menus).

The new Page Flip feature also works well.

This device doesn’t have a light, so that doesn’t match up to the Paperwhite…and when the Paperwhite gets Bluetooth (as I’m sure it will), that will overshadow (so to speak) this one.

This, though, is a great first hour!

I haven’t been able to test the TTS with an e-book where the publisher has blocked access…I don’t want to buy one of those, and the sample I tried for one didn’t have the access blocked, so I’m not sure.

I have more testing to do later (Is there a way to play an audiobook/music? Does it do immersion reading, where it lights up the words as I reads them?), but I wanted to share this with you right away.

I will say that the screen doesn’t seem as responsive as my Paperwhite or Voyage…but I did really like the package graphic.:)

Let me know if you have specific questions…I expect to explore it more this weekend.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year

July 6, 2016

Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year

I am going to put this in the “strong rumor” category, even though it seems to come from one source:

Good E-Reader post by Michael Kozlowski

That’s because it’s a source I like who is writing with confidence.

According to the post, Amazon will likely release an 8″ color Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader…not a backlit tablet, like a Fire) utilizing Liquavista for the holidays this years.

There have been rumors about this almost since the Kindle was announced in November of 2007, and they picked up more when Amazon bought

Liquavista

in 2013 as related in this

Reuters article by Alistair Barr

So, does all this pent-up demand for a color Kindle mean guaranteed success?

Nope.:)

You see, since the Kindle was released, Amazon has also started selling

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

You can get a full color Fire tablet for less than the least expensive grayscale Kindle…about $30 less.

In fact, on the

Amazon devices bestseller list at time of writing (at AmazonSmile*)

the most popular Fire tablet is more popular than the most popular Kindle EBR, which is the

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

Those are both behind the

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) (#1)

and the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (#2)

The obvious question: why introduce a color EBR when you already have a color reading device?

Well, EBRs usually have some real advantages over backlit tablets, the two biggest ones being perhaps the much, much longer battery charge life and the ability to read it in bright sunlight. An EBR with equivalent colors to a backlit tablet, but with the performance capabilities of a Kindle, would be a big hit…provided the price was acceptable to consumers.

Aye, there’s the rub!

The ability to produce some sort of color EBR has been around for years, but nobody has done it successfully in the market.

I would buy it, partially to be able to write about it for you…but I’d also be curious about it myself!  I’m looking forward to getting the

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which has audio via Bluetooth, restoring text-to-speech to a current model Amazon EBR. I’m expecting to write about it before Monday (should be in my hands Friday). I’m assuming new models will have that capability as well.

I haven’t bought the Oasis, because you can’t buy it without an animal leather cover at this point, as I wrote about here:

My biggest disappointment with Amazon to date

I would otherwise, despite the relatively high cost.

The Oasis is number #41 on the Amazon devices list…it had done well initially, but it looks like demand might have slackened. It’s possible that the market for a nearly $300 EBR just wasn’t that big.

That’s going to be the key for a new color Kindle, if Amazon does introduce one: the price.

If the color Kindle is close to an equivalent grayscale Kindle, I think people will pay the difference for the most part. If not…

What is “close to” specifically? I thought I’d get a sense of that from you. In this poll, assume everything else is pretty much the same (including battery charge life, which would be quite a technical accomplishment).

Again, this is only a rumor. However, Good E-Reader is more tied into the European market than I am, and Liquavista was a Dutch company, so they could have good sources on this. My intuition is that they are probably right, although not necessarily this year (even though that would be good timing, and seems more probable than waiting for next year).

What do you think? Would you care about a color EBR? What makes that attractive to you? What if the color was muted compared to a Fire tablet? What if it cut battery charge life down to, oh, a week (at an hour reading a day)? 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!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

Amazon’s 2nd annual Prime Day is coming July 12th!

July 4, 2016

Amazon’s 2nd annual Prime Day is coming July 12th!

I guess you really know you’ve made it when you can make up your own holiday…and enough people celebrate it so it gets to a second year.😉

Amazon did that last year with

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

which was on July 15th, 2015.

This year it is on July 12th (the second Tuesday…last year it was the third Wednesday, so we can’t predict for next year).

It was big…really big. According to Amazon peak sale rates were higher than for Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year in the USA).

They said they sold 4,000

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

in fifteen minutes.

One of the best deals last year was a discount on

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

It worked out to $5.99 a month for the best deal…a great savings over the normal $9.99! Look for that again this year, at least on July 5th and July 12th.

So, what is Prime Day?

Very simply, it is special sales just for

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

members.

The advice I gave last year

Get the most out of Prime Day

look to me like it should all still be valid.

In this year’s press release

Prime Day 2016 – More Than 100,000 Deals Worldwide Exclusively for Prime Members on July 12

they give us some hints.

One of the biggest thing is that, although it is Prime Day, they are going to have things happening starting tomorrow (July 5th) and running through the 12th.

I expect it will be even bigger this year. Prime members (even those on a free trial month) in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and Austria will have more ways to access…including through Echo devices.

There are special promotions for listening to Prime Music, uploading pictures…details are on that

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

and they may add new ones throughout the week.

I’ll be keeping an eye on it…my Amazon sense is tingling! 😉

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

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

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

Interview with Kris Calvin, author of One Murder More: one year on

July 3, 2016

Interview with Kris Calvin, author of One Murder More: one year on

Note: Kris Calvin, who is interviewed below, is my sibling. I’ve been keeping readers of ILMK informed about the Kris’ experience as a first time author. I do not, though, have any financial interest in the book. We have had discussions about the book and the business, but that’s the extent of my involvement

ILMK: It’s been a bit over a year since the debut publication of your first novel, One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), a Maren Kane mystery. I appreciate you taking the time to check in with the readers of ILMK.

You mention a lot of books on your Twitter feed, so you must have had some thoughts about what it was like to be an author before One Murder More was published. What, if anything, has turned out pretty much the way you expected?

Kris Calvin: I’m not one of those people who thought “I had a book in me” or “always wanted to be an author”. I’ve been an avid reader all of  my life, but never gave any serious thought as to what it would be like to be on the other side of that partnership.  So, in that sense, all of it has been surprising. If I had to choose one thing, it would be how much I want to be writing whenever I’m doing something else, and yet how difficult it can be when I sit down to write to actually begin.

ILMK:  How important do you think it is as a writer that you are still reading as much as you do?

Kris Calvin:  It’s essential, I can’t write unless I’m  also reading. It’s kind of like priming the pump. I average about 2 to 3 novels a week. Conversely, although many of my author friends find that watching television series is another way to spur their creativity, if I watch TV or movies it seems to create a barrier to my putting words down on the page.

ILMK: In addition to reading and writing, it’s clear that you travel to a lot of literary events. Some of my readers know what’s it like to attend these as an audience member, but what it is like as an author? Do you see some of the same authors at different events?

Kris Calvin: Literary events  run the gamut,  from a  single author reading his or her work in front of 10 people in  a local bookstore to massive international conferences where many hundreds of authors and readers gather for several days of back-to-back speeches, interviews and panels, and all kinds of venues in formats that fall in between the two.

Attending as an author varies in experience, depending on timing and related goals. When I’m launching a new book I’ll spend the bulk of my time promoting it, often doing a signing and connecting with readers. If not, my schedule is more relaxed—I might  sit on a panel that is topic-related,  for example about creating a strong woman protagonist or writing a political thriller. But most of my time is spent doing the same thing I would do as a reader: attending other writers’ panels with the hope of being entertained and learning something! 

ILMK: One Murder More has gotten great reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.7 stars out of 5 with 87 customer reviews. Take a look at this graph of the number of reviews the book has been getting.

OMM Review Distribution.JPG

Not surprisingly, the most reviews happened when it was first released, but the number of reviews has been trending upwards again this year. What have you done to maintain interest in the book?

Kris Calvin: The recent spike may be related to my doing a number of events, including speaking at rotaries and book clubs in-person and via Skype. These aren’t often large groups, but they are friendly and responsive and we have a lot of fun! I  don’t push purchasing my books when I speak, I share my experiences writing and in politics but I do specifically ask attendees to leave an honest review if they  get a chance to read the book. I think many folks don’t know that they can review a book on Amazon even if they buy it elsewhere, so maybe giving them that information has also helped.

ILMK: Generally, marketing must take some real time and energy. How do you prioritize your time between writing and marketing?

Kris Calvin: I’m a morning person, so that’s when I write.  It’s when my creative energy is best. I don’t do much direct marketing, but I’m aware that being active on social media connects me with people, some of whom then try out my books!  So I do that later in the day. 

ILMK: I understand that you are currently working on the second Maren Kane mystery. Was the plan always to make it a series?

Kris Calvin: I enjoy reading series a great deal, not only mysteries and thrillers but also sci-fi fantasy, and because I  work in politics in my day job I have no shortage of  motives for murder and mayhem!  I don’t outline, but I have a  premise in mind for the next five Maren Kane books. 

ILMK: Some authors have written several books in a series before releasing the first one. In your case, you are hearing from readers about what they like before you write the next Maren Kane mystery. How do you think that will affect it? Are there characters who may get more story line because the readers liked them more than you might have expected?

Kris Calvin: Each time I do an event with readers I ask them who their favorite and least favorite characters are, and what they might like to see happen to Maren and her friends next.  I’ve gotten lots of good ideas that way, although I also found some plot twist that I was already working onto be unpopular and  decided to rethink them! For example,  Polly, Maren’s British-born best friend, was sadly a victim of Sacramento  gang violence in the first draft of the second book. When I raised this at one event a woman told me she was going to start a #SavePolly  campaign as she couldn’t stand to see her go! So now Polly’s only been injured, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to be fine…

ILMK: You’ve also already had published a Maren Kane short story in the anthology, Tinsel and Temptation (at AmazonSmile*). How do short stories fit into the mix in your writing life?

Kris Calvin:  This story that you reference, That Merriest Murder, was the first short story that I’ve ever written,  at least since high school, and I’m not sure I wrote any then.  The most challenging part for me was the inability to put in false leads and “red herrings”  like I would normally do in a full-length novel. I felt like it would be obvious who the murderer was if I didn’t have room to create those alternate suspects.  You were quite helpful with that!  I don’t  know if you remember, but we had a discussion around that time about my frustration and you told me that short stories are fundamentally character-driven: that if I could create a compelling character, readers wouldn’t mind so much that the puzzle wasn’t as difficult.  That seems to have turned out to be true, as I had readers of that story tell me that they figured out who the murderer was, but that they enjoyed it nonetheless!  Since then I’ve written a second short story which is not out yet, and I greatly enjoyed the process.  It doesn’t require as much deferral of gratification  for the author as  writing a 300-page book! 

ILMK: One Murder More was published as an e-book, as a hardback, and now as a paperback. Do you find any differences in the reader reaction from the different formats? Do you do special marketing to appeal to readers of different formats?

Kris Calvin: It was my publisher’s idea to start with a hardback, as they feel it is the preferred format for reviewers. I’ve also since learned that it’s favored by many libraries.  I think they were right that that enabled me to get more attention for the book at launch. However, I think the typical consumer prefers to pay less for a new author’s work, and that makes both the paperback and the e-book far more appealing. The paperback is my favorite, I really like the way that it came out in terms of production value, we were able to add more “praise quotes” than we could at launch, which is fun,  and silly as it is to say, it’s much more lightweight and easy for me to carry around. I generally have a paperback copy of my book tucked in my purse to share with people that I meet who say they are avid thriller and mystery readers.  In terms of marketing, the only difference is I did a $.99 promotion for the e-book and that clearly had an effect. It lifted it into the top 100 Mystery and Thriller series out of approximately 64,000 titles in that category, and although it didn’t remain there,  sales  are still elevated.  Since my  primary goal is to gain readers,  having an available e-book at a low, low price is a really great way to do that. [Bufo’s note: the ninety-nine cent sale is still happening at time of writing, but I don’t know how long it will last]

ILMK: Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

Kris Calvin: If writing has taught me anything, it’s that it’s important to stay curious. As I mentioned, I didn’t begin writing my book because I “knew” that I wanted to be an author. I was just curious as to whether I could use the twist I had thought of to craft a mystery like the ones that I enjoy reading.  I’ve tried other things before this, running for local office, owning a vintage clothing store.  They were both interesting, but neither one landed as my “passion” the way writing has.  I know that being “a dilettante” is often viewed negatively, but I think there’s something to be said for dabbling in a number of different things until you find the one that truly lifts your heart.

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

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

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


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