My favorite Kindle e-book sale is back! KDD is the student deal (338 books up to 90% off each)

January 26, 2016

My favorite Kindle e-book sale is back! KDD is the student deal (338 books up to 90% off each)

Today’s

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

is any of 338 books “for students”, up to 90% off.

I put the “for students” in quotation marks, because that seems like a very loose definition for me…there is probably something here for just about anyone. After all, hopefully, we are still students of one kind or another, right? ;)

I took a quick look back…it does look like they tend to do this in January. That’s sort of in the middle of a traditional school year, and they don’t need to (ever) clear out stock on e-books, so I’m not sure why…but I’m not going to look a gift course in the mouth. ;)

Remember also that e-books can make great gifts! You can buy them now at the discount, and specify that they be delivered on the appropriate gift giving occasion. You can also have the e-mail sent to yourself, print it out, and wrap it, if you’d rather.

Something I also noticed as I started to look through these: very few, if any, are part of

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

So if I buy any, they are likely to be as gifts…but I may also put some on my wish list.

Here are some that caught my eye:

  • The Associated Press Stylebook 2015 by Associated Press $1.99
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg $1.99
  • Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell by John L. Casey $2.99
  • The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire by Susan P. Mattern $3.03
  • Rethinking the Sales Force: Redefining Selling to Create and Capture Customer Value by John DeVincentis and Neil Rackham $1.99
  • Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips) by Mignon Fogarty $3.99
  • Practical Electronics for Inventors, Third Edition by Paul Scherz and Simon Monk $1.99
  • Web Scraping with Python: Collecting Data from the Modern Web by Ryan Mitchell $5.49 (and lots of other O’Reilly books)
  • Debugging Teams: Better Productivity through Collaboration by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman $3.99
  • The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care by Clayton M. Christensen and Jerome H. Grossman M.D. $1.99
  • Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present by Christian Sahner $2.99
  • Python Playground: Geeky Projects for the Curious Programmer by Mahesh Venkitachalam $4.49
  • Hello, Startup: A Programmer’s Guide to Building Products, Technologies, and Teams by Yevgeniy Brikman $6.49
  • The Murder of William of Norwich: The Origins of the Blood Libel in Medieval Europe by E.M. Rose $4.99
  • Principles of Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Edition by R. Shankar $4.84
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War: New Edition by Hew Strachan $5.99
  • To Be Loved by Berry Gordy $2.99 (gift for a music fan?)
  • Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath by Herbert Hoover and George H. Nash $1.99
  • Lucy Stone: An Unapologetic Life by Sally G. McMillen $5.99
  • Most Wanted Particle: The Inside Story of the Hunt for the Higgs, the Heart of the Future of Physics by Jon Butterworth
  • The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (The Oxford Series…by Lisa Moses Leff $5.99
  • Arianna Huffington Shares the Secrets of Political Blogging Success: Making it in the Political Blogosphere by Tanni Haas $1.99
  • Digital Filmmaking for Beginners A Practical Guide to Video Production by Michael Hughes $1.99
  • Buying the Vote: A History of Campaign Finance Reform by Robert E. Mutch $4.99
  • City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950 by Valerie J. Matsumoto $4.99
  • The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London by Hannah Greig $3.99
  • The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Genetic Mystery, a Lethal Cancer, and the Improbable Invention of a Lifesaving…by Jessica Wapner and Robert A. Weinberg $2.99
  • Lies They Teach in School: Exposing the Myths Behind 250 Commonly Believed Fallacies by Herb Reich $1.99
  • 101 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius 2/E by Brad Graham (and other Evil Genius books) $1.99
  • The Art of Talking to Anyone: Essential People Skills for Success in Any Situation by Rosalie Maggio $1.99
  • Flicker: Your Brain on MoviesNov 3, 2014 | Kindle eBook
    by Jeffrey Zacks $3.99
  • Aha!: The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World by William B. Irvine $2.99
  • The Greatest Empire: A Life of Seneca by Emily Wilson $3.99
  • The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why it Had to Be Reborn by Lucio Russo and Silvio (translator) Levy $4.99
  • The Real Truth about Success: What the Top 1% Do Differently, Why They Won’t Tell You, and How You Can Do It…by Garrison Wynn $1.99
  • The Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities by Jim Haudan $1.99
  • The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience (Philosophy of Mind) by Jesse J. Prinz $4.99
  • Proceed, Sergeant Lamb by Robert Graves $1.99
  • Specters of Revolution: Peasant Guerrillas in the Cold War Mexican Countryside by Alexander Avina $4.99
  • The Political Economy of Violence against Women (Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations) by Jacqui True $4.99
  • Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s Green Agenda will Dismantle America by Brian Sussman $3.99
  • Build Your Own Autonomous NERF Blaster: Programming Mayhem with Processing and Arduino by Bryce Bigger $1.99
  • Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance After Valkyrie by Randall Hansen $3.99
  • Survival of the Nicest: How Altruism Made Us Human and Why It Pays to Get Along by Stefan Klein and David Dollenmayer $1.99

Remember that this sale is just for today, and may not apply in your country: check the price before you click or tap that “Buy” button. All price are as of the time of writing.

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

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

“Could you recommend a book? No, not that one!”

January 25, 2016

“Could you recommend a book? No, not that one!”

You shopped at your local bookstore because, well, it was local. ;)

However, that wasn’t the only reason.

I’m a former manager of a brick and mortar bookstore, and there was a lot more to it than the traditional “location, location, location”.

We didn’t really have the competition of the internet…but there were quite a few bookstores in the area. I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, and driving twenty minutes is like walking down the hall to most people. ;) Within twenty minutes, there were probably ten bookstores (counting chains and independents).

What could we do to get people to shop with us?

Well, Amazon sums it up nicely:

  • Selection
  • Service
  • Price

It’s not that easy to increase the selection. The store is only so big, and piling more books into the store doesn’t work very well. For one thing, they won’t be displayed as well. More importantly, some books are going to sit in the store longer..and you are paying for rent every day they are there. The longer a book is in your store, the less profit you make.

Price may also be hard to affect very strongly. Lowering your price is going to lower your profit. Yes, we would compete on prices on bestsellers (for example), but that’s a segment where people actually would compare prices. Most people weren’t comparing prices on the vast majority of books. That’s one reason stores really don’t like “showrooming”, which is relatively new. “Customers” use their SmartPhones or tablets to compare prices, and may buy the book somewhere else (even ordering it online).

The place it was easiest for us to compete was on service.

Certainly, that included product knowledge.

I recommended (not required) that my employees read a book from every section in the store, and I did actually do that myself.

That helps…and one thing with which it helps is recommending a book.

I think that, traditionally, that’s something people associate with bookstores…being able  to ask for a recommendation.

It’s pretty tricky, as you can imagine. I was always amused when somebody would ask for a recommendation just based on age an gender…as though all people of the same age and gender liked the same books. :)

Being able to recommend books (and other items) which you would like is one of the most sought after and researched tools for internet e-tailers.

There are different approaches to that.

I heard somebody from Pandora and somebody from Netflix discussing this on the radio years ago.

At Netflix, they looked at your viewing habits versus other people’s. If what you rated highly matched what ten other people rated highly, and those ten people all rated a movie which you hadn’t indicated you had seen highly, it would make sense to recommend it to you.

Amazon does that with “people who bought this also bought…”

In that situation, you don’t care why people like it…there isn’t any analysis of that.

The Pandora approach was quite different.

Music experts would determine the “musical DNA” of a song. That might range from factors like “sad” and “happy” but also thing like “jangly guitars”.

I suspect Amazon uses a combination of these two.

Recently, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s recommendations for me appear to be getting better…that might be illusion (I’m a very small sample of one), and it’s pretty subjective…but it wouldn’t surprise me if they have made progress.

A great recommendation engine would really tend to make you stay with a company…I think most people would realize that if they went to a new company, it wouldn’t know them as well.

With e-books from the Kindle store which you read on your device, they can get can get quite a bit of information…they can tell if you finish a book, for example. Definitely, rating books is taken into account.

I think the improvement in recommendations (if it actually exists) might come from my being a happy

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

member. I think they can probably tell quite a bit from what I browse, and how far I read into a book (and how quickly).

However, they still sometimes get it quite wrong…it might even be amusingly so.

They can recommend items to me which would upset me…as a simple example, I’m a vegetarian and I don’t smoke…I don’t want them to recommend cigars or steak to me. :)

You can actually help them make better recommendations for you.

On any Amazon page, you will usually see at the top a link for Your Account, and within that for Your Recommendations.

At the top of that screen, you’ll see a choice for

Improve Your Recommendations

Note: Amazon always careful to say that not everything is in the same place for everybody, but this should be on this page.

On that page, you can “Edit Your Collections”

  • Items you’ve purchased
  • Videos you’ve watched
  • Items you’ve marked “I own it”
  • Items you’ve rated
  • Items you’ve marked “Not interested”
  • Items you’ve marked as gifts

Within this, you can rate the products, say it was a gift, or most importantly, “remove from recommendations”.

Not every one of those categories has the same choices…you can go to “Videos you’ve watched” and “remove this from watched videos”.

So, if you were just curious and clicked on a title that, um, might be embarrassing if someone else in the house knew about it, you could remove it from your watched videos.

I’ve had people say that they haven’t seen that big of an impact from editing their recommendations, but I think it’s worth a try.

Hope that helps!

If you have any comments  on recommendations, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post. What was the best recommendation you got from Amazon? What was the funniest? I’m curious…

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

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

EBRs beyond Amazon: January 2016

January 23, 2016

EBRs beyond Amazon: January 2016

When the Amazon Kindle was first introduced in November of 2007, there were already more than ten devices dedicated to reading e-books in the US market…it’s just that none of them were doing much here. :) Even Sony, which was a powerhouse in the consumer electronics market, had them…and that included with a non-backlit screen.

Amazon revolutionized the market with their $400 device…having an E Ink screen was important, but there were really two other things which moved it from a techie, niche device to a more mainstream one (at least among readers).

One was the ability to wirelessly download books. Having to cable your device to a computer to get a book was a considerable hurdle to many people.

The other one was…that it was Amazon. :) Now, there was intense skepticism among tech writers that Amazon could successfully introduced hardware, but there wasn’t any skepticism among readers that Amazon could sell them books.

Before the Kindle, the e-book market was techies.

With the Kindle, the e-book market was readers.

Over time, I’ve written about a number of non-Amazon devices…and they aren’t all still around.

I leave the links on the website, even though some of them don’t go anywhere, partially to preserve the list historically. For those of you using screen readers, and even those without, I know it can be difficult to click on a broken link. I’ll go through and re-label those or do something with them to explain the situation.

Here are the links (again, some of these may not go anywhere):

So, in the USA, for non-backlit EBRs (which is part of how I define an EBR now), it’s largely the Kindle, the nook, and the Kobos.

Part of that may be that people have transitioned reading e-books to tablets…you can get a tablet cheaper than an EBR, and have color, text-to-speech, audiobooks, and animation (for enhanced e-books). The sight-reading experience for me is better on a non-backlit device (I usually read on two different ones a day), but because of text-to-speech, I’d say most of my reading is on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX. That’s not just because of using TTS…since that’s my device that does TTS and I usually use that for hours every weekday, it’s the device I carry with me. When I do sight-read at work, it’s on my Kindle Fire.

Okay, let’s take a look at what is available currently (not used or refurbished) from those three companies.

Amazon

I read on a Paperwhite and a Voyage (two different rooms), and like them both.

The basic Kindle above doesn’t have a light.

The Voyage has a different way to change pages than the Paperwhite.

We may get a new model or more from Amazon this year…I’ve predicted they’ll do a “waterproof” one.

Kobo

  • Kobo Touch 2.0 $89.99
  • Kobo Glo HD $129.99
  • Kobo Aura H20 $189.99

Kobos are seen as being quality devices, and I would consider them perhaps the strongest competitor (going into the future) for the Kindle.

Their Touch is $10 more than the basic Kindle (which also has touch), and the Glo is $10 more than the Paperwhite.

The H20, though, is $10 less than the Voyage…and it is “waterproof”.

Also, those prices are compared to the lowest Kindle prices…and some people don’t want to see ads on their devices in order to get them initially at a discount. If you don’t want the ads, the Kobos are cheaper.

nook

  • NOOK (they have been inconsistent on capitalization) GlowLight Plus $129.99

Frontlit, touchscreen, waterproof, and it does DRM ePUB (Digital Rights Management protected) which the Kindles don’t.

So, what would I recommend?

First, I wouldn’t go with the nook, unless you are already heavily invested in nook books. I just don’t think you can count on the company’s future, especially with regard to EBRs. The company name might be around for a long time, and the nook name may be on tablets, but I think it’s a risk. Also, right from the beginning, the customer service for the devices has been markedly superior (both in execution and policies) for the Kindle over the nook. If you already have nooks and want to stay with this, this is a good model with some nice features.

The Kobos are, from what I understand (I’ve never owned one), good devices and their owners like them. I think Kobo is a much more stable company than Barnes & Noble (looking at EBRs for the latter for sure). I don’t think this is a bad choice, but…

I’d go with the Kindles. Again, Amazon’s Customer Service is great on these, and they fit pretty nicely into the Amazon ecosystem, which you may be using for other things. I also like them as devices. :) For most people, I would go with the Paperwhite. Having the light (it’s a frontlight, not a backlight) is really worth it over the least expensive model. The Voyage is a bit nicer, and there’s nothing wrong with going for that. Again, for most people, though, I think they’ll see the Paperwhite as a better value.

If I look at this again two years from now, I’m not convinced we’ll have the nook (it should survive this holiday season, but might be eliminated in 2017), but I do think we’ll have the Kindles and the Kobos. I don’t see somebody else getting into the market right at this point, although that might happen if reflective screen technology gets a lot cheaper. We may also still see some sort of “dualume” screens, that have both reflective and backlit screens, or reflective screens may add color and/or animation as their technology improves.

What do you think? Did/do you own a non-Kindle EBR? How do you feel about it? Have I left off an EBR in the USA? Am I underestimating Barnes & Noble’s future involvement with EBRs? 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!

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.

February 2016 Kindle book releases

January 22, 2016

February 2016 Kindle book releases

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

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

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances.

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 5,405 (at time of writing) February releases in the USA Kindle store:

2016 February USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 837 are in

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

That’s a higher percentage…there are 317 fewer books overall, but 90 more KU.

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

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month.

Amazon no longer does the “New and Popular” search as a default, but does “Featured”. Presumably, a human being picks those titles in some way…and the list is clearly not the same. This time, we are back to them dominating the top…although Identical Disaster by C.M.  Owens breaks the streak by being the third one listed.

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

Okay, books!

  • The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler (KU)
  • The Billionaire’s Touch (The Sinclairs Book 3) by J. S. Scott (KU)
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg
  • Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’ve Got Henchmen by Richard Roberts (KU)
  • Lightning Lingers (Lightning Strikes Book 2) by Barbara Freethy
  • Over You (A Mr. Darcy Valentine’s Romance Novel) by H.M. Ward and L.G. Castillo
  • The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
  • A Shade of Vampire 23: A Flight of Souls by Bella Forrest KU
  • Will’s True Wish (True Gentlemen) by Grace Burrowes
  • My New Teacher and Me! by (“Weird”) Al Yankovic and Wes Hargis
  • The Secret Language of Sisters by Luanne Rice
  • The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
  • Social Media Made Me Rich: Here’s How it Can do the Same for You by Matthew Loop
  • Gladstone’s Games to Go: Verbal Volleys, Coin Contests, Dot Deuls, and Other Games for Boredom-Free Days by Jim Gladstone
  • Brotherhood in Death: In Death by J. D. Robb
  • The Book of the Beast (The Secret Books of Paradys) by Tanith Lee
  • The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace by Pedram Shojai
  • The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers by Joseph Hickman and Jesse Ventura
  • Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: A Life In Music by Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger
  • Cometh the Hour (Clifton Chronicles) by Jeffrey Archer
  • Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by John Gimlette
  • Jane and the Waterloo Map (Being a Jane Austen Mystery) by Stephanie Barron
  • How To Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life by Ruth Goodman
  • Land of Shadows: A Medieval Mystery (Medieval Mysteries Book 12) by Priscilla Royal
  • Baseball Prospectus 2016 by Sam Miller and Jason Wojciechowski
  • Calamity (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Starflight by Melissa Landers
  • Dining at The Ravens: Over 150 Nourishing Vegan Recipes from the Stanford Inn by the Sea by Jeff Stanford and Joan Stanford
  • Breakdown: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman
  • Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner and David Fisher
  • Blood In Her Veins: Nineteen Stories From the World of Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter
  • The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It by David A Carbonell and Sally M. Winston

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! :) 

** A Kindle/Fire 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.

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

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

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Amazon shutters Shelfari

January 21, 2016

Amazon shutters Shelfari

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post

Comparing Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing

Amazon owns Goodreads and Shelfari, and has a stake in LibraryThing.

I speculated this:

“…they might shut down Shelfari (another social reading site which Amazon owns), and fold it into Goodreads.”

Well, it’s happening now.

It was announced here:

http://www.shelfari.com/moveToGoodreads/ShelfariAndGoodreads

Goodreads is much bigger, and the vast majority of people won’t be negatively affected.

However, my readers are not “most people”. ;)

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of you are Shelfari users…as am I.

In terms of the books, they are making the transition pretty easy. There’s a tool where you can merge your Shelfari books with Goodreads, and you can also export the informationy as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file, if you like. With the CSV, you can import them into Excel or many other spreadsheets, if you prefer. You can, of course, do both.

Be aware that the export might take a while…they are saying it could be a couple of days. They plan to complete the transition by March 16th of this year, so you do have some time.

However, I haven’t found anything addressing the continued survival of my favorite part of Shelfari: the “Book Extras” entered by users. This is what I noted about them before:

===

  • Description
  • Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis
  • Summary
  • Characters (35 of them listed)
  • Popular Covers
  • Quotes
  • Settings & Locations
  • Organizations (in the book)
  • First sentence
  • Table of Contents
  • Glossary
  • Themes & Symbolism
  • Series & Lists
  • Authors & Contributors
  • First Edition
  • Awards
  • Classification
  • Notes for Parents
  • Subjects
  • Popular Tags
  • Links to Supplemental Material
  • Movie Connections
  • More Books Like This
  • Books Influenced by This Book
  • Books That Cite This Book
  • Amazon Customers Who Bought This Book Also Bought

There are also sections which are hidden by default: Errata; Books with Additional Background Information; and Books That Influenced This Book. I’m not quite sure why those are hidden. There is a “hide spoilers” checkbox which is selected by default (I really appreciate that!), but unchecking it didn’t make them show up.

===

As a database person, I love that! I contributed a bit to, for example, the A Princess of Mars page.

Goodreads has user-editable character descriptions and settings, but that’s about it…and they aren’t as rich at this point.

I’m going to write to

support@goodreads.com

to see if there are plans to migrate that.

I really hope they do!

While it would increase the size of Goodreads, and therefore might slow down some things (particularly on mobile), I think it would considerably enhance the value of Goodreads…and a lot more people would contribute to the Book Extras.

Heavy, long time users of Shelfari may have greater concerns.

They may be more concerned with what happens with the “Community” features, especially groups. Will those migrate?

Those people may be particularly passionate, however, when we look at actual numbers, they just aren’t that big for a company at the scale of Amazon. This is the “most active” group under genres:

YA Books that Adults Should Read
4868 members | 1575 group books | 8507 discussion posts

I never want to see anything that anybody has written disappear. I honestly emotionally feel that when I put something on the internet, it will be there forever.

Logically, and experientially, I know that’s not true.

I’d put a lot of time and effort into the Sci-Fi Channel’s (now Syfy) community pages years ago…I was pretty proud of some of my writing in certain areas. That got shut down…I tried to save what I could, but some was lost.

For example, I’d written a nice piece on what I call the “Discovered Destiny” genre…where the main character finds out that they have some unusual nature, powers, and responsibility. Harry Potter is an example, but there are lots of them.

I’m going to try to get more information about what will transition here, as I mentioned, and I’ll share it with you if I do.

I completely understand Amazon doing this…that’s why I predicted it. :) It makes more sense to have one site rather than two, even when they are complementary. Like most people, though, I always want the best of both worlds. :)

What about LibraryThing?

I think it’s safe for now.

It’s ownership is in a different class, and it has a lot more members than Shelfari did.

I checked and there hasn’t been much news coverage on this…I wanted to make sure you heard about it, so you can take appropriate action.

What do you think? Were you a Shelfari user? Would you care about having the data features I mentioned on Goodreads, or would that make it too busy? When you write something on the internet, do you think it is forever, or ephemeral? If the latter, do you back it up yourself? 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!

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.

“Where is your old release section?”

January 20, 2016

“Where is your old release section?”

For many decades, there has been a basic assumption in retail: “new” matters.

It’s been considered one of the most powerful words you can pick in an ad…or on a package. You’ll see it underlined, in bigger font, with an exclamation point.

When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, no question: we promoted new titles.

We put them in the window.

We had “wishing wells” (those carefully arranged essentially circular stacks of one titles with a hole in the middle) of new titles.

Publishers set higher suggested retail prices (“list prices”) for new titles, and even with discounting, you would expect to pay more for a new Stephen King than for one that was ten years old.

I’ve seen people really upset when a thirty year old book was set at, say, $9.99 as an e-book on Amazon.

Certainly, there were some reasonable factors involved.

One was the desire to read something you hadn’t read before. You might have read every Stephen King book published so far…that gives you a higher desire for a new book, and more demand can equal higher prices.

Another one was wanting to avoid spoilers. People were in line at midnight to read the new Harry Potter (or a century earlier, they wanted to be the first to get the new Oz book) in part so they could read it before they heard about some essential plot point.

All of this has meant that a list like the New York Times bestseller list would reliably almost always be comprised of new titles.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that may not still be the case…at least for e-books, and especially for one way of getting them.

As a hypothesis, that make some sense to me.

The USA Kindle store averages more than a 1,000 books added a day. You can’t possibly have read everything out there…so you aren’t caught up. You can no longer read all of the new books in a topic you like…almost regardless of topic.

Similarly, for spoilers, they are just less likely to happen…with this many books available, the plot points of any given novel are less likely to be discussed.

The rise of the indie (independently published) book is yet another point. Tradpubs (traditionally published) books are a tiny minority of the books being published today, but they still dominate the p-books (paperbooks). The paperbook sales are what people see on bestseller lists (at least that’s what most people notice)…and those tend to be the new releases from the tradpubs, just as they have been for a very long time

How important is newness for the USA Kindle bookstore bestsellers? How does it compare to p-book bestsellers in the USA Amazon store?

The place where it really stood out to me (prior to analysis) was in

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

I was looking for a KU book for my Significant Other in a hurry, so I went to the KU storefront…and noticed that the top books were older.

As is my tendency, I didn’t want to just go with my “feel” for it…I decided to do an analysis to see how “newness” might vary between the USA Kindle store, p-books at Amazon.com, and KU.

Before I actually do this analysis for you, I’m sure one factor might mess it up…the dominance of

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

on the bestseller list.

I’ve asked Amazon if the free books in Kindle First available to Prime members affects their bestseller rankings…I haven’t gotten an answer yet, so I think I may run it with and without them.

Okay, let’s take a look.

I’m only going to look at paid bestsellers, not free ones.

I think I’ll go with the publication date given on the Amazon product page. That will not correlate to the original publication date, but I think makes some sense. When an older book is first published in Kindle format, I think it’s often treated by readers as though it was a new book…even if it was first published in paper half a century or more ago.

USA Kindle store

Rank Months old
1 -1
2 37
3 57
4 4
5 -1
6 -1
7 -1
8 10
9 -1
10 5
Average 10.8

USA Kindle store without pre-publication (Kindle First)

Rank Months old
2 37
3 57
4 4
8 10
10 5
11 3
12 24
13 0
14 0
15 0
Average 14

Most popular in Kindle Unlimited (they don’t give ranking numbers, but this is the order they displayed)

Rank Months old
1 1
2 4
3 8
4 48
5 1
6 48
7 5
8 14
9 29
10 16
Average 17.4

Overall Amazon.com books (may include Kindle format sales)

Rank Months old
1 14
2 60
3 6
4 0
5 0
6 9
7 78
8 6
9 65
10 34
Average 27.2

New York Times fiction hardback bestsellers

NYT Ranking Months old
1 0
2 12
3 20
4 3
5 11
6 3
7 2
8 2
9 6
10 4
Average 6.3

Interesting!

I knew there would be some older books on the New York Times bestseller list, because books can stay on that list for some time.

KU books were somewhat older, but not as much as I had anticipated. I suspect that what I saw before was “featured” titles (which featured Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) rather than “most popular”.

The overall Amazon bestsellers were older than I would have guessed…there were a couple of particularly older ones which pushed those back…and they weren’t popular fiction or non-fiction. I hadn’t counted on that.

I do think backlist (older books), indies, and even public domain will tend to claim more of the market over the next ten years or so, and that subsers (subscription services) may also influence that.

What do you think? What’s your intuitive sense of your own reading? Do you place a higher or lower premium on buying a book to read, or is it about the same? Have you found yourself reading more indies and public domain? This may also have an impact: are you now more likely to buy a book and then read it later (perhaps much later) than when you bought primarily p-books? I do think that has been true for me…I might buy a book on sale (although I tend now to go with KU and books given to me as gifts), and then it would be in the TBR (To Be Read) “pile” for some time. 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.

A Day of Service (book related)

January 19, 2016

A Day of Service (book related)

As I write this, it is Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day where I am on the West Coast of the USA.

It’s a relatively new holiday at the Federal level…this is the thirtieth anniversary of its observation.

As such, there aren’t a lot of traditions around it. There are sales, and some people have the day off work.

Where I work, as well as a lot of places, this is a “Day of Service”. I was working today, but many of my co-workers will have spent the day volunteering or doing other types of community service. Here’s a

Voice of America article by Alberto Pimiento

about that part of it.

In case you’ve ever wondered what you can do to help others which is book/Kindle related, I thought I’d make a few suggestions.

Read a book for Librivox

Volunteers (no special training needed) record reading public domain (not under copyright protection) books out loud. Those recordings are then made available for free.

You only need to do a chapter at a time, but you can read a whole book if you want.

This isn’t easy, but it is highly impactful!

There are other ways to volunteer at Librivox, if the reading doesn’t seem like something you’d like to do.

https://librivox.org/pages/volunteer-for-librivox/

Story Time at your public library

Your local public library may be happy to have you come in and read to the kids!

I know people have also give demonstrations of using an EBR (E-Book Reader) at libraries…if you are comfortable you could volunteer to do that.

Be a Distributed Proofreader for Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is one of the great cultural organizations. They digitize public domain book and make them available for free.

If you read public domain books (I do) on your Kindle/Fire, they most likely initially came from Project Gutenberg.

One way that people can help is to proofread a file after it has been digitized.

You get a page of the digitized version, and a scan of the original page. Then, you compare them and give notes.

You can volunteer for that here:

http://www.pgdp.net/c/

Projects through Volunteer Match

Volunteer Match will find opportunities for you (and you can also list opportunities).

I just looked for “books” in Chicago (I don’t live there, I just sort of picked it at random), and got six choices…with some very cool options!

These results were all done in person, but the site will also find “virtual” opportunities, which you can do from home…I found 84 opportunities in the Education & Literacy category:

https://www.volunteermatch.org/search?v=true&k=books&sk=&na=&partner=&usafc=&categories=34&submitsearch=Search&advanced=1#k=books&v=true&categories=15&categories=15&s=1&o=relevance&l=Chicago%2C+IL%2C+USA&r=virtual&sk=&na=&partner=&usafc=&categories=15

Looking at it, I do have to say that “virtual” isn’t entirely accurate…some, such as driving a bookvan, were limited to certain locations.

In addition to personal time, there are a number of ways you can donate.

Perhaps you have largely switched to e-books, and have p-books (paperbooks) you can donate. One way t do that would be to set up a

Little Free Library

I’ve written about those before, and I have seen them (and left a book). It’s a little outdoor structure where people can take books you (or other people) have left, and can leave their own.

You can usually donate your books to the public library, where they will commonly sell them at a book sale to raise funds.

You could donate an older Kindle/Fire you have.

You could buy a new Kindle or Fire and donate it…I’ve done that. It’s less expensive than it used to be:

You can shop at

;) For every $100 you spend on eligible items at Smile.Amazon, the e-tailer will donate half a percent to a non-profit of your choice. There are many, many book-related charities there.

Those are a few ideas; if you have others, just have other ideas, 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’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.

Prime on sale this weekend for $73

January 16, 2016

Prime on sale this weekend for $73

For new members,

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

is on sale this weekend (through 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday, 1/17) for $73 for your first year instead of $99.

Prime is great and keeps getting better!

Among the benefits:

  • No additional cost two-day shipping on many items
  • No additional cost streaming (and some downloading) of a wide variety of videos
  • No additional cost streaming of lots of music
  • One free Kindle book a month to own from a very small set
  • No additional cost unlimited photo storage

You can also now do add-on subscriptions for video services…for example, you could add on Showtime for $8.99 a month. As the Millenial Hulk might say, “It’s cable cuttin’ time!” ;)

Update: I meant to include why they are doing this. :)

They are doing it to celebrate

Mozart in the Jungle (at AmazonSmile*)

which just won two Golden Globes (Best Television Show – Comedy or Musical, and Best Actor in the same category).

You can watch it as part of Prime at no additional cost…it’s also the second Amazon Studios TV series to be recognized.

Among other Prime movies and TV shows…

  • Interstellar
  • Ex Machina (came out in 2015, Oscar-nominated)
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (the one before last year’s)
  • Selma (particularly good for this weekend, but I thought it was brilliantly directed for any time of year)
  • The Craft
  • True Blood TV series
  • Firefly TV series

I did want to include something in this post for people who are already Prime members, and I haven’t written about this yet.

This holiday, I got a

HooToo Wireless Travel Router, USB Port, High Performance- TripMate Nano (at AmazonSmile*)

It was something I wanted to try…my Significant Other didn’t quite get what it was, but it’s been great for me!

It’s a little router…I’d say two of them could just about fit in your palm.

It does a number of things, but here’s a key one. You can plug in an internet cable (like you might have in a hotel or at work), and it creates its own wi-fi network, with its own password.

Yep, I can just go into a hotel, plug the cable into my HooToo, plug the HooToo into power (USB)…and that’s it. All of my devices would just log into it…and it’s fast!

I haven’t tested it in a lot of situations, but so far, I’m quite impressed!

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing…$17.99!

I know, that’s a lot of exclamation marks for me, but like I say, I’m happy with it at this point.

It’s not going to give you internet where you don’t already have it…but I could take our

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

to a hotel with us…gee, wouldn’t you just love being in the room next to ours? ;)

When people visit your home, you could also use this…and not give them the password to your regular wi-fi.

As I mentioned, it does other things…media streaming, storage, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Is this just how I feel about it?

4.3 stars (out of 5) with 1,187 on Amazon…

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.

Concepts of Copyright

January 16, 2016

Concepts of Copyright

You are a reader.

What books you have to read depends, to a large degree, on copyright.

If there was no copyright protection, arguably, a lot of existing books would suddenly become available to you for free.

One of the questions, though, would be how it would affect future books.

Could someone make a living writing books if anyone could reproduce them and sell them with nothing paid to the author?

It is possible.

People might make a point of paying the author to support them.

Many people, though, wouldn’t, of course.

The USA didn’t invent copyright…it was at the least inspired by England’s Statute of Anne. America’s copyright came about 80 years afterwards, but even the idea that copyright belonged in the courts was derivative.

The copyright clause from 1787 explains the reasoning this way:

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

There was a lot of discussion of the clause at that time…and the discussion still goes on today.

The way it is written, it doesn’t say anything about a natural right to the copyright…that authors should own their creations because they created them.

It says it is to “promote the Progress”: I think we can safely say that means to encourage the production of new works.

With that idea, it goes basically like this:

“Authors will not create if they can’t have compensation for having created their works, so we offer them protection for a limited time.”

After that, the works then become available to everybody.

How long should that term be?

That’s where some of my readers, have a very definite idea.

I respect these readers a great deal, and am…impressed by their passion.

I wanted to take a post to explore this a bit more.

First, I do want to bring up one thing that to me seems quite weird.

In much of the world, including the USA, the copyright term is based on the author’s life plus a certain number of years.

I’m open to a lot of things, but I particularly don’t like that one. :)

It seems inherently ageist and unfair, and I’m surprised that there haven’t been legal challenges to it.

It’s simple.

If you publish a book when you are 90 years old, and the copyright term is Life+70 years (which it is in the USA right now), you and your estate will be able to make a lot less money on it than if you published it when you were 20.

People also talk about Life+70 as being designed for the author’s kids to become mature adults.

So, should a childless author get a shorter copyright term?

The other reason I don’t like life+ systems is it makes it much harder to tell if something is in copyright or not. You can’t just look at the publication date and know.

My readers haven’t proposed that change (to a finite term), by the way.

I think a finite term would tend to “promote the progress”. Some books take a considerable amount of time and effort to create, especially some non-fiction. While a 90 year old might have the same passion to create as a 20 year old, the money they could get for the book would be less…because the publisher would have a shorter time to make money.

If there is a finite term, how long should it be?

Ah, there’s the rub. ;)

Proponents of shorter terms (as short as fourteen years) may believe that we have a shared culture. They may point out that, if Shakespeare was still under copyright, poorer people would have less access to it.

I think that’s a reasonable point…I read a lot of public domain works which I got legally for free.

However, those of lesser means can read in-copyright books now…through public libraries and donations, often from the publishers.

When I’ve explored the idea of permanent copyright (which would require amending the Constitution, so it’s very unlikely), I have suggested that, in exchange, greater Fair Use rights would be made available. I would allow the use of copyrighted books for scholastic study without compensation, for one thing.

Let’s ignore permanent for now.

What would be different if copyright was fourteen years versus if it was fourteen hundred years?

With the fourteen year term, you would be able to read a book published today for free in about a decade and a half.

That sounds good…but it seems obvious to me that publishers would have to do something different to make anything like the same amount of money they make now.

One option would be to charge a lot more money for the book. If a book can sell for, oh, one-fifth the amount of time it can now (at least, sell with compensation to the publisher), one could hypothetically charge five times as much for it to make the same amount of money.

That, of course, doesn’t work very well. :)

You wouldn’t sell the same number of copies.

Let’s go with $10 as a price for a new e-book novel (you can pay a lot less than that, of course, but we are really looking at the traditional publishing model right now). If the book cost $50, would as many people pay for it?

Nope.

Would piracy also increase?

Very likely.

Licensing might also tighten. We have what I consider to be quite generous licensing terms right now from the Kindle store. Typically, six people on the account can be reading the same book at the same time for one purchase price (what you are purchasing is a license). You could have 100 people (or more) on the account, and they could all read the same book…just, usually, not all at the same time.

If the rights are for a much shorter time, I would expect them to want to crack down on “serial reading”, where one person (or set of people) read the book, then another person does. I expect that my descendants can read my ebooks…clearly, with a fourteen year term, that’s not going to happen as much the same way. They’ll read the books for free.

As a purchaser, the value of the book goes down considerably if it’s only good for a relatively limited time…why not wait?

The value comes in reading it before other people, and while it is “hot”.

It becomes a luxury.

The value has gone down in terms of multiple readers with shorter terms, which could drive down the price, but the prestige has gone up, which could drive up the price.

Read the current Stephen King for $100, or one from the year 2000 for free? There would be people who would pay the $100, but there would be fewer of them.

I want to return at this point to the purpose of copyright.

I would say there are two basic conceptions here:

  • It is a business license
  • It is to protect a natural right

As a business license, it makes sense that it can be for a limited time. The only considerations, really, have to do with money. Authors are granted a limited term to have exclusive rights to the work so they can make money on it to encourage them (and others) to write more works, which benefits the culture.

After that limited time, the book becomes the property of the public, and becomes part of our shared culture.

The “natural right” concept says that the author created the work, and has a natural right to control its use. In that case, it seems to me that an unlimited copyright is a reasonable possibility.

One argument against the natural right means permanent argument is that the natural right only exists for the creator, and some extend it to the creator’s children. That creator’s children part supposedly explains life+70: seventy years is a reasonable approximation of life expectancy, so it means that if an author writes a book, dies right away, and has an infant child, that child can be supported by the book throughout its expected life. I find that a pretty unlikely scenario, personally.

Some people don’t like that properties end up under the control of a corporation: they say it then becomes “profits in perpetuity”, and that it likely is no longer benefiting the author or the author’s  descendants.

They wouldn’t want Disney or Sony determining how Mark Twain is used by the world, for example.

They also see it as benefiting an entity which has done nothing to deserve it.

The author, though, chose to license the rights to the publisher. If the author has control over the work, why isn’t that something they should be able to control? The longer the copyright term, the more potential value to the company, the more the likely purchase price will be. Authors should theoretically make more money when the copyright is longer, in terms of licensing fees.

It also seems to me that Disney has done a great deal of work on perpetuating the value of Mickey Mouse. The example of Mickey is often brought up in copyright discussions. We go back to Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon (1928). The Disney company has undeniably lobbied to have the copyright terms extended when Steamboat Willie’s protected end time was nigh. A 1998 act is sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Mickey Mouse Act”.

I’m not talking about those lobbying efforts as things Disney has done with Mickey…although that does show time and effort.

They have carefully promoted the character.

They have built on it over time.

Anybody who doesn’t think the Disney corporation is a large factor in why we even think the rights to Steamboat Willie are valuable…well, I’d be interested in hearing the arguments that without the Disney corporation, Mickey Mouse would be equally as valuable today as it would be if copyright had run out on Steamboat Willie in 1942 (or 1956…the original 14 year copyright term was renewable once).

Another argument in favor of earlier public domain status is that it allows more creative works to happen. People can then build upon the earlier works.

Two iconic examples of that are West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet) and Forbidden Planet (based on The Tempest).

The argument goes that those wouldn’t exist if the original Shakespeare works weren’t in the public domain.

I’m not convinced of that.

If the creators of those works had to license the originals, would that have made been an impossible hurdle or unreasonable burden?

Sure, it would have been up to the rightsholder. If the hypothetical “We Bought Shakespeare Corporation” didn’t like science fiction, or didn’t want the social commentary of West Side Story to happen, they could have refused the rights.

That is a perfectly legitimate argument: that’s a point I understand, about not wanting a limited group to control how something which is part of our shared culture to be used.

I also think it isn’t as simple as to say that when something is in-copyright, creativity is stymied.

Let’s say you wanted to take the beloved Archie Andrews characters (Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and so on), and put them into a violent zombie comic. That would be up to the publisher…and Archie Comics allowed just that with the popular and critically-acclaimed

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

If Archie had been in the public domain, anyone could have created an Afterlife with Archie type comic, of course…but how many people would ever have seen it? Since it was under license (being in-copyright) to a major distributor, it could get comic book store distribution…and the company spent money on promotion and quality control.

What about Superman flying or the existence of Kryptonite? Both brought to the company from outside, both approved by the company (see my article, xxy).

Remember, also, that in the USA, parody is protected by copyright. There are also some rights around “fanfic” (fan created fiction), at least where characters are not trademarked. What allows both of those? Fair Use. I do think that balancing longer copyright terms with greater Fair Use provisions is a possible balance.

Stepping away from the corporations for a minute, another argument I hear is that people don’t want there to be a class of people who are well off through inheritance, in this case, inheritance of intellectual property rights. That’s an interesting question of social engineering. My own feeling on that is that it should apply in a similar manner to other property rights. If intellectual property rights have limited inheritance, so should other property rights. I’m sure there are people who would agree with that:  I’ve seen serious proposals for a 100% death tax: you die, and your property goes to the government, which then uses it to for the public good…including taking care of orphans, presumably.

I think that sort of discussion is beyond the scope of this post. ;)

Oh, I also hear people say that authors are only able to create their works because of the society in which they grew up, and that the audience for their works exists because of society. The public paid for their educations, and the readers can read because of the school system. When people say that, I wonder…do they think someone who immigrated here as adult and then wrote a book should get a longer copyright term, because they don’t have to “reimburse” society for the public schooling? ;) Do we really educate people only as a loan for the good they can do society, and they should have to pay it back? What if someone calculated the costs of their education, then paid the government that money, then wrote a book…should they be entitled to longer copyright terms?

I’ve gone on quite long enough, but I do want to make one more point.

The 14 year term came about in 1787.

What was the intent of that length?

Presumably, it had something to with exploitation of the value of the created work, and the point at which it would benefit the public for it to be free to copy

I would suggest that neither of those are the same today.

There are so many more revenue streams today than there were in 1787.

One of the most significant is movie/TV adaptation.

Publishers, and authors, can make a great deal of money from licensing the rights for the kind of media adaptations which just didn’t exist in 1787.

If the copyright term was fourteen years, how often would a movie or television studio simply choose to wait fourteen years before spending significant money on the production? A book might not become popular for a few years after publication, which makes it a shorter time from interest to screen.

Of course, on the flip side, how many movie studios would pay $200m to make a blockbuster movie…when it would be free to distribute in fourteen years? I’m guessing you could say good-bye to movies like Star Wars:  The Force Awakens and Jurassic World  if the copyright term was significantly shorter.

At any rate, this is all a very complex topic. I’m not decided on anything (although, as I mentioned, I really don’t like life+ terms). There are people who have it as a matter of faith (they believe they will never change their minds) that copyright terms should be short, or that there should be no copyright, or that it should be permanent. I’m not one of those folks.

I know, as a writer myself, I’m probably emotionally prejudiced in favor of longer terms. I do feel like I should own my creations (although I 100% accept the idea of Fair Use, including where my own works are concerned). I can set aside emotional prejudice, though: I suppose that’s one reason I’ve been on three juries in the past ten years. ;)

I’m very interested in what you think about this. I have no doubt many of my regular readers are skipping this one, and waiting for something lighter in the next post…which is okay by me. Others of you are deeply interested and will want to express your opinions to me and my readers. Feel free to do so by commenting on this post.

 

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** 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. In this particular case, text-to-speech is not available, but that will be due to a technical issue. The “text” is actually part of the illustrations, and not available to TTS.

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.

Book related 2016 Oscar noms (and two you can watch with Amazon Prime)

January 14, 2016

Book related 2016 Oscar noms (and two you can watch with Amazon Prime)

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning: I cover those pretty extensively in The Measured Circle, another blog of mine:

2016 Oscar noms

However, I did think it was worth noting book-related nominations here…you might want to read them, and yes, movie adaptations effect which books are available to us. While most authors can’t count on an adaptation, it’s clearly part of the appeal to publishers…can the rights be sold for a movie, TV show, videogame, and so on?

Before I do that, I wanted to mention something I thought was cool. :)

I could actually watch two of the Oscar-nominated movies right away as part of

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

I could do it on my (now discontinued) Kindle Fire HDX, or really, any of the Fire tablets (or my now discontinued Fire Phone).

I’d be more likely to watch them on our

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

or our

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

We use one of each. :)

The two movies are:

Ex Machina (at AmazonSmile*)

which was nominated for Special Effects and Original Screenplay (note: this one is NSFW…Not Safe For Work, with nudity and violence)

and

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (at AmazonSmile*)

which was nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling.

Only one of those was based on a book…we’ll get there next. :)

Again, you can watch those at no additional cost as part of your Amazon Prime memberships. Other nominees are available on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go (for no additional cost streaming).

Okay…books credited as being the basis (at least in part) for 2016 Oscar-nominated movies:

Best Picture nominees:

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge (at AmazonSmile*) by Michael Punke
Room (at AmazonSmile*) by Emma Donoghue (who also wrote the screen adaptation)
Brooklyn (at AmazonSmile*) by Colm Tóibín
The Martian (at AmazonSmile*) by Andy Weir (originally published in novel form as a Kindle indie)
The Big Short (The Big Short (at AmazonSmile*) by Michael Lewis

Lead Actor nominees:

TRUMBO (at AmazonSmile*) by Bruce Cook
The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (not linked due to text-to-speech being blocked**)
The Danish Girl (at AmazonSmile*) by David Ebershoff

Lead Actress nominees:

Carol (at AmazonSmile*) by Patricia Highsmith
Room (see above)
Brooklyn (see above)
45 Years (In Another Country: Selected Stories) (at AmazonSmile*) by David Constantine

Supporting Actor nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Big Short (see above)

Supporting Actress nominees:

The Danish Girl (see above)
Steve Jobs (see above)
Carol (see above)

Directing nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Big Short (see above)
Room (see above)

Adapted Screenplay nominees (all listed above):

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Animated Feature nominees:

When Marnie Was There (at AmazonSmile*) by Joan G. Robinson

Cinematography nominees:

Carol (see above)
The Revenant (see above)

Editing nominees:

The Big Short (see above)
The Revenant (see above)

Production Design nominees (all listed above):

The Martian
The Revenant
The Danish Girl

Costume nominees (all listed above):

The Revenant
Carol
The Danish Girl

Score nominees:

Carol (see above)

Song nominees:

Spectre (based on characters by Ian Fleming)
Fifty Shades of Grey (at AmazonSmile*) by E L James

Sound Mixing nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)

Sound Editing nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)

Visual Effects nominees:

The Revenant (see above)
The Martian (see above)

I thought I’d mention that the last Hunger Games movie was shut out, which did surprise me a bit. :) I thought it was likely for Makeup and Hairstyling at least.

I was also pleased that only one out of these books had text-to-speech access blocked.** That was nice! I recently wrote to another author to inform them about TTS being blocked on a book which I might otherwise have read. That didn’t work last time, but I feel better doing it. :)

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** A Kindle/Fire 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.


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