Today’s KDD: Love the Movie? Read the Book ($2.99 or less each)

February 21, 2015

Today’s KDD: Love the Movie? Read the Book ($2.99 or less each)

One of today’s Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is any of eighteen books on which  movies have been based for $2.99 or less each.

Well, Amazon has fudged that a bit by including more than one book for the same movie. :)

There are also many other books on which movies have been based which are available at Amazon…large numbers of them for free (public domain titles, like Dracula, Moby Dick, and so on).

Still, this is an interesting set.

The fact that a movie was made from a book does say something about it.

Even though the movie may be significantly different from the book (and that can be a good or bad thing), there is still something in the book that got people to put money into an adaptation.

Let’s take a look at the options in this sale…remember to check the price before you click or tap that Buy button. Prices are for today, and may not apply in your country.

Life of Pi
Yann Martel
4.3 out of 5 stars | 6,020 customer reviews
Movie: Life of Pi (2012)
Oscar wins (I presume this sale is to tie into the Oscars tomorrow): Directing; Cinematography; Score; Visual Effects
Additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Adapted Screenplay; Editing; Sound Mixing; Sound Editing; Original Song; Production Design
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman
4.5 stars | 1380 reviews
Movie: The Princess Bride (1987)
Oscar wins: none
Additional Oscar nominations: Best Score
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited

All the King’s Men
by Robert Penn Warren
4.3 stars | 328 reviews
Movie: All the King’s Men (1949)
Oscar wins: Best Picture; Best Actor; Best Actress
Additional Oscar nominations: Supporting Actor; Director; Writing; Editing
Movie (2): All the King’s Men (2006)
Oscar wins: none
Additional Oscar nominations: none
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited

The Post Office Girl
by Stefan Zweig
4.3 stars, 61 reviews
Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Oscar wins: not known at time of writing (nominated this year)
Additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Directing; Original Screenplay; Cinematography; Editing; Production Design; Costumes; Hair and Makeup; Score

Beware of Pity
by Stefan Zweig
4.6 stars, 72 reviews
For all movie information, see immediately above

On the Waterfront
by Budd Schulberg
3.8 stars | 6 reviews
Movie: On the Waterfront (1954)
Oscar wins: Best Picture; Best Actor; Best Actress; Directing; Writing; Cinematography; Art Direction; Editing
Additional Oscar nominations: Support Actor (three nominations: Karl Malden, Rod Steiger; Lee J. Cobb); Score

How to Train Your Dragon (11 books in the series, priced individually)
by Cressida Cowell
First book: 4.4 stars | 250 reviews
Movie: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Oscar wins: none
Additional Oscar nominations; Animated Feature; Score
Movie: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Oscar wins: too soon to tell (nominated this year)
Additional Oscar nominations: Animated Feature

The Boxtrolls
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Note: this is not the book credited as the source of the movie…that’s Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow
4.8 stars | 10 reviews
Movie: The Boxtrolls
Oscar wins: too soon to tell (nominated this year)
Additional Oscar nominations: Animated Feature

For more books on which 2015 Oscar nominated movies were based, see

2015 Read the Oscar nominees

The polls are still open (through today) for

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

but this is where we stand right now on our group predictions for this year’s Adapted Screenplay Oscar:

  1. The Imitation Game (Graham Moore): 76% chance
  2. The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten): 73% chance
  3. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle): 60% chance
  4. American Sniper (Jason Hall): 47% chance
  5. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson): 44% chance

Don’t like the group’s predictions? There is still to play in this free game! ;)

What do you think? What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book? Is there a movie you think was better than the book? What book do you still think should be made into a movie which hasn’t been? 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.

Round up #286: new Dr. Seuss, kindlereunion

February 20, 2015

Round up #286: new Dr. Seuss, kindlereunion

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Mayday saves the day!

I have said many times that I consider Amazon’s nearly instant onscreen tech help for some Fire devices to be one of the greatest Customer Service innovations in years.

It was proven for me again yesterday.

Two “third party” apps on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

wanted updates, and I did it.

You can install apps from places outside Amazon…contrary to what you might hear, Amazon is quite open to you using “competitors'” products. It’s a simple settings change, to allow installation of apps from “unknown sources”.

Naturally, you assume the risk for doing that…the apps will not have been vetted by Amazon to make sure they work and won’t damage your tablet.

I only do it with very few apps, where I trust the studios.

In this case, it was Zinio, which I use to read Fortean Times (which Amazon does not carry), and Maxthon, which is my browser of choice.

Well, after the updates, neither of them would launch!

They appeared to be on the device, but when I would try to open them, they just wouldn’t.

I tried a few troubleshooting things on my own:

  • I tried restarting the device
  • I tried opening them both from the Carousel and from the Apps tab
  • I tried clearing the cache and force stopping them
  • I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Maxthon
  • I finally cleared the data on Maxthon…that’s not too bad with that program, since my “favorites” are all stored on their server. The only thing I lost was my “Quick Access” choices…that’s not hard to fix
  • I downloaded Maxthon fresh from their website

Since none of that worked, I called Mayday.

At first, it was clearly baffling.

Some things would indicate it was on the device, some wouldn’t. For example, there was an icon on the Carousel (with an exclamation point on it…a trouble indicator). It showed on the Cloud tab, not on the device tab. Now, an item can be on the Carousel and not be downloaded, but things were just weird.

Finally, the Mayday rep suggesting syncing with Amazon. I hadn’t thought of that…since Zinio isn’t stored in Amazon’s Cloud. I did get Maxthon from there at some point, when it was available.

That did it!

Don’t ask me why, but after a simple sync, they were both fine.

I’m going to go with what’s called the Engineer’s Law or the Law of Pragmatism: “If it works, it’s true.” ;)

I think Mayday is great for people who are not techies, but even for someone who is quite knowledgeable like me, it can be terrific.

KindleReunion.com

Sometimes, I get comments on very old posts…so most people will never see them.

In most cases, they are fake comments…what I call Eddiecoms.

I got one recently on one of my most popular posts

What to do if your Kindle is lost or stolen

It recommended the use of a site called KindleReunion.com.

I thought it was worth sharing my response with a wider audience:

“I appreciate the suggestion, and I checked out the site.

That seems unsafe to me.

One of the main reasons someone steals something like a Kindle is to get personal information and in other ways take advantage of the person who lost it.

kindlereunion arranges a connection between a Kindle loser and an apparent finder…and it seems to me they share your e-mail address.

You put in your serial number and an e-mail address as a loser. Another person, who is a finder, puts in a serial number and their e-mail address. The site says

“Once the system finds a match, both parties will receive an e-mail so they can arrange the exchange of the Kindle.”

So, here’s the scenario:

You are at the airport, and someone steals your Kindle while you are going through Security.

Naturally, you have it password protected and you deregister it and have it blacklisted (as indicated in the post on which you commented).

They enter the serial number as a finder.

kindlereunion (and my intuition is that their heart is in the right place) e-mails you both (after you enter as a finder), and connects you two.

The thief then has a number of ways to go.

“I’m on the other side of the country. Why don’t I just mail it to you? What’s your address?”

“Let’s meet and I can give it to you.”

“I’d send it to you, but I don’t have the cash to mail it. See, I put in an airport locker, but I lost the key. They want $40 to replace the key before they’ll give it to me.”

You can probably imagine a lot of other scenarios…

That’s why a recovery service like ReturnMe maybe worth it…it protects your personal information. TrackItBack, unfortunately, is out of business at this point (it’s been about five years since I wrote that post).”

A new Dr. Seuss

Following on the heels of the announcement of a never before published Harper Lee novel (written before To Kill A Mockingbird…I would consider it an early draft which was massively revised, based on what I’ve heard):

Go Set a Watchman (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

comes the news that we are going to get a new Dr. Seuss picturebook!

It’s coming in August, and while a Kindle edition is not yet available for pre-order, my guess is that one will show up soon. I’ll link to the page for one you can pre-order, and eventually, a Kindle edition is likely to be linked on that page:

What Pet Should I Get? (at AmazonSmile*)

I’m not hearing a lot of controversy about this one, like there has been about Go Set a Watchman (some people worry that Harper Lee doesn’t fully understand or approve of what is happening…my guess at this point is that is unlikely), but the provenance on this one is very different as laid out in this

USA Today story by Maria Puente

ILMK Flipboard Magazine passes The Measured Circle

Just since my most recent

Update on my free Flipboard magazines: 1000s of ILMK readers!

the free ILMK Flipboard magazine has caught up to and passed the The Measured Circle Flipboard magazine!

ILMK has 2800 viewers and The Measured Circle has 2621.

I would guess that by the next time I give an update, there will also have been 100,000 “flips” in ILMK.

I don’t know that the recent update to the Flipboard PC browser version mattered to that…but I suspect it will help with getting readers.

Recently, one of my relatives wanted to start getting ILMK on a tablet, but didn’t want to get other news stories (as you do with Flipboard). I installed the free

gReader app (at AmazonSmile*)

I also tested it out myself…seems to work fine for the simple purpose of reading blogs.

Adding subscriptions was a snap, and you download for offline reading, share, and use a white on black viewing mode, if you want.

Now, I’m always very grateful to people who subscribe to this blog through the Kindle store. That ninety-nine cents a month (well, my cut is about thirty cents) is honestly one of the things which makes the blog possible…thanks, subscribers!

However, Amazon still doesn’t make the blogs available to tablet users. I’m sure some of my readers are still paying the ninety-nine cents a month just to support me, and reading the blog on a Fire.

If they do that, I want to give them a good experience.

I do love Flipboard, but if all you want to do is read blogs, well, gReader seems like a good way to go.

What do you think? Are you excited for a new Dr. Seuss? Have you had a great Mayday story? Did you lose a Kindle…and then have the finder return it? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

Amazon’s 100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime

February 18, 2015

Amazon’s 100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime

Lists of books are popular features.

It’s interesting to me that that is the case.

After all, I doubt I’ve ever seen a list where I didn’t think there were omissions and questionable inclusions.

Perhaps that’s the point.

They spark a reaction, and reactions can mean engagement…and engagement can mean purchasing.

Not all lists are about purchasing, of course, and even an Amazon list of books like the brand new

100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

isn’t about immediate conversion of sales.

In some ways, it’s about Amazon’s positioning as knowledgeable about books…knowledgeable and credible, which are not synonyms. You can be knowledgeable and have no one believe you (ask Cassandra), and you can be credible without having a lot of knowledge on a topic.

When I’ve trained trainers, I’ve even taught the latter…how to be credible.

A few quick notes on that:

  • Use numbers…that always impresses people. For example, if I was teaching an Excel class many years ago, I could be in front of people who thought they knew Excel quite well. I could say (back then), “There are 256 columns in Excel…does anyone know how many rows? 65,536.” That gave me instant credibility…even if it was just a memorized fact. It doesn’t have to be a complicated number: “There were seven castaways on Gilligan’s Island.” That may get people counting to confirm…and when they do, they are impressed with you
  • When in doubt, use big words. That also makes you sound credible…not approachable or relatable, necessarily, but it does help with credibility. :) That’s only true if you use them correctly…well, if somebody knows what the word actually means, that is. I have to reset my reaction when someone uses the word “decimated” (often “absolutely decimated” or “completely decimated”) to indicate a nearly complete reduction. “Decimated” technically means “reduced by one tenth”. If there were 100 soldiers, and you reduced it to ninety, you decimated that group. At least, that’s what it used to mean…my now adult kid who is a linguist has convinced me that it is usage that matters. I still have the emotional reaction, but I can reset it :)
  • Use the jargon. I work with medical folks, and when I can use a word that they use appropriately, it really ups my credibility
  • Speak quickly. Again, this is just when you are establishing credibility, not when you are training a concept. Most people don’t think you can lie at high speeds…that you have to think about what you are saying too much. If you excitedly say something, smashingallthewordstogether, people will think you are being honest. Don’t believe me? Try saying something really slowly and deliberately out loud…it will likely sound even to you like you are lying
  • Be imperfect. Pause, use an “um”, look to the ceiling (up to the left, typically), laugh at yourself for what you just said…those can all make you seem genuine, and not rehearsed

Now, clearly, you can’t just follow techniques to gain credibility…you need to be reacting in the moment and have empathy for what your audience is feeling.

That said, I come across as credible in person…and it can be a problem for me.

I’ve been a boss.

I’ve said to people something like, “Now, I don’t know yet if this is going to happen, so don’t hold me to it, but it’s possible that we are going to xyz.” I’ve then had people telling others we were going to xyz, and saying, “Bufo said so.”

That means I have to be careful about what I say. :)

I was being observed by one of my favorite managers, and in debriefing a class, the manager said at one point, “Then you did that hypnosis thing you do,” and just went on to another point.

I said something like, “Wait, what? What hypnosis thing?”

I realized later that I do use something like “guided imagery”.

Never, by the way, for nefarious reasons!

It’s just as important and difficult (sometimes) to make people believe in something which is true and good for them as it is to make them believe in something which is false and bad for them.

That said, let’s talk about this list. :)

I do like biographies and memoirs, but I like a lot of things. ;)

Here’s the list from Amazon, and whether or not I’ve read them:

  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers: no
  • A Long Way Home by Ishmael Beah: yes
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: no
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: no
  • American Caesar by William Manchester: no
  • American Lion by Jon Meacham: no
  • American Prometheus by Kai Bird: no
  • American Sniper by Chris Kyle: no
  • American Sphinx by Joseph J. Ellis: no
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: no
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: yes
  • Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy: no
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain: yes
  • Ball Four by Jim Bouton: no
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright: no
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin: yes
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin: no
  • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall: no
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey: no
  • Cash by Johnny Cash: no
  • Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie: no
  • Chronicles by Bob Dylan: no
  • Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert: no
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose: no
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron: no
  • De Profundis and Other Personal Writings by Oscar Wilde: no
  • Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller: no
  • Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade: no
  • Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama: no
  • Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp: no
  • Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston: no
  • E-Mc~2 by David Bodanis: no
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: no
  • Endurance by Alfred Lansing: no
  • Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill: no
  • Helen Keller: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller: yes
  • I Am Malala by mlala Yousafzai: no
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: no
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: no
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith: no
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain: no
  • Knock Wood by Candice Bergen: no
  • Life by Keith Richards: no
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela: no
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: no
  • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens: no
  • My Life in France by Julia Child: no
  • Naked by David Sedaris: no
  • Napoleon by Andrew Roberts: no
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass: no
  • Night by Elie Wiesel: no
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin: no
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac: no
  • Open by Andre Agassi: no
  • Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen: no
  • Personal History by Katharine Graham: no
  • Robert A. Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro: no
  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs: no
  • Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford: no
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand: no
  • Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan: no
  • Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov: no
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: no
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman: no
  • Tennessee Williams by John Lahr: no
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone: no
  • The Andy Warhol Diaries by Andy Warhol: no
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein: no
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X: no
  • The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll: no
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: no
  • The Color of Water by James McBride: no
  • The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman: no
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: no
  • The Diary of Anais Nin by Anais Nin: no
  • The Diary of Frida Kahlo by Carlos Fuentes: no
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: no
  • The Gulag Archipeligo by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: no
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: no
  • The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans: no
  • The Last Lone Inventor by Evan I. Schwartz: no
  • The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr: no
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara: no
  • The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester: no
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris: no
  • The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder: no
  • The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer: no
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston: no
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: no
  • This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff: no
  • Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow: no
  • Touching the Void by Joe Simpson: no
  • Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck: no
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: no
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes: no
  • Updike by Adam Begley: no
  • Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) by Stacy Schiff: no
  • West with the Night by Beryl Markham: no
  • Wild Swans by Jung Chang: no
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed: no

Well, I’ve only read five of these, but I have to say, I was very impressed with some of them. The Helen Keller book is amazing. A Long Way Home was devastating, but great. The Mark Twain book was so modern and so clever.

Certainly, though, there are many others I might list which I have read and which in some small way, let me live someone else’s life for a while.

Amazon knows that, and one of the synergies of their having purchased the social reading website Goodreads, is that they can do a curated list like the above and let people contribute to a crowd sourced one…which they have done:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/85102.100_Biographies_Memoirs_to_Read_in_a_Lifetime_Readers_Picks

You can vote on and add titles to that one.

Without at all claiming that they are the best, here are some other biographies/memoirs which come to mind for me:

  • A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell…and indeed, several of the Durrell books (not available for the Kindle)
  • A Job for Superman by Kirk Alyn…Alyn was Superman in the serials, and this book has some great stories! I bought it from Alyn at a science fiction convention, and that may have colored my perception of it. :) Still, I remember some of the stories easily. There was one where Alyn is talking about a scene carrying, I think, Lois Lane out of a burning building down steps. “Action!” Runs down the steps, but they have to reshoot the scene (smoke or something). Another take. Another problem. Another take. Another take. Another take. Eventually, the director says, “Superman, you’re slowing down.” Alyn explains that the actor is heavy, and the director says something like, “Actor? You’re supposed to be carrying a dummy!” That was part of the perception of Alyn on set as being Superman. Two more. :) Superman is animated flying, but they are standing around (very common on a set). Alyn asks what is happening, and they say they are trying to figure out how Superman is going to take off. Alyn, who was a ballet dancer, says, “I can jump over the camera.” Well, this is a tall camera! They don’t believe their star, but Alyn does it. Alyn points out, amused, that Superman takes off from a ballet position. ;) The last one was when They did have to do a close up of Superman flying. What they did was build a chest plate with wires, and Alyn would lay in it with legs (and hips) held straight out. That’s right…the plate didn’t get to Alyn’s hips! Picture doing that for a minute or more while they did the shot. Better, lie down on a table with your hips off the edge and try it…
  • Books by John A. Keel and Hans Holzer…very different people, very different writing style, sort of connected both writing about “paranormal” things. They are both field investigators and both bring you a feel for what it is like being there
  • Philip Jose Farmer’s “mythographies” of Doc Savage (Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (at AmazonSmile*)) and Tarzan

I could keep going. :)

One last thing, so those of you with Kindle Unlimited can read biographies and memoirs at no additional cost as part of your membership:

Kindle Unlimited Biographies & Memoirs sorted by most reviewed (at AmazonSmile*)

Don’t have Kindle Unlimited yet? It’s worthy of consideration, in my opinion:

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

What do you think? What are your favorite biographies and memoirs? I know people who say they don’t like to read non-fiction…what books do you think would convince them? These sorts of books also fit into Common Core…does this show the value of that program? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus deal: pre-pay for three months of Sling TV ($20 a month) and get a Fire TV Stick for free, or $50 off a Fire TV!

Sling TV and Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s the “cable cutting” way to get some TV networks at a cheaper price than paying for a full cable package.

Don’t want Sling TV? The Fire TV is also $15 off at time of writing, making it $84 instead of $99.

I use a Fire TV every day, and a Fire TV Stick some days.

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

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.

What makes a book not a movie?

February 18, 2015

What makes a book not a movie?

“…it is our expression that there are no positive differences: that all things are like a mouse and a bug in the heart of a cheese. Mouse and a bug: no two things could seem more unlike. They’re there a week, or they stay there a month: both are then only transmutations of cheese. I think we’re all bugs and mice, and are only different expressions of an all-inclusive cheese.

Or that red is not positively different from yellow: is only another degree of whatever vibrancy yellow is a degree of: that red and yellow are continuous, or that they merge in orange.

So then that, if, upon the basis of yellowness and redness, Science should attempt to classify all phenomena, including all red things as veritable, and excluding all yellow things as false or illusory, the demarcation would have to be false and arbitrary, because things colored orange, constituting continuity, would belong on both sides of the attempted borderline.

As we go along, we shall be impressed with this:

That no basis for classification, or inclusion and exclusion, more reasonable than that of redness and yellowness has ever been conceived of.

Science has, by appeal to various bases, included a multitude of data. Had it not done so, there would be nothing with which to seem to be. Science has, by appeal to various bases, excluded a multitude of data. Then, if redness is continuous with yellowness: if every basis of admission is continuous with every basis of exclusion, Science must have excluded some things that are continuous with the accepted. In redness and yellowness, which merge in orangeness, we typify all tests, all standards, all means of forming an opinion—

Or that any positive opinion upon any subject is illusion built upon the fallacy that there are positive differences to judge by—

That the quest of all intellection has been for something—a fact, a basis, a generalization, law, formula, a major premise that is positive: that the best that has ever been done has been to say that some things are self-evident—whereas, by evidence we mean the support of something else—

That this is the quest; but that it has never been attained; but that Science has acted, ruled, pronounced, and condemned as if it had been attained.”
–Charles Fort
writing in The Book of the D*mned (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When I am asked for my philosophy of life, I sometimes respond that I am a Fortean.

What is a Fortean?

A follower of Charles Fort, who I have quoted above.

Saying you are a Fortean, though, is always a bit of a joke.

You see, according to Fort, you can’t really “be” anything to the exclusion of anything else.

Everything is simply a different degree of everything else…there are no hard and fast “things” in Fort’s writings.

Start with a Fortean, and eventually, you’ll find an element that takes you to “another” philosophy, and from that one to another, and then another, and another, and eventually, you end up back with your Fortean.

Fort said, “One measures a circle, beginning anywhere.” That’s the source of the name of one of my other blogs, “The Measured Circle”. Unlike this one, which does have some artificial constraints on subject matter, I write about whatever I want there. :)

This is a joke I wrote years ago: “Question: why did the Fortean cross the road? Answer: there aren’t two sides.”

Let’s say there was a North side and a South side. If you stand exactly in the middle where are you…North or South? If neither, how do you define that middle? Can’t you keep widening it, until both sides are considered as one?

That’s a whole lot of philosophy to get to the point of this post. ;)

Right now, most people have unbreachable, rigid concepts which separate, say, a book and a movie.

In the future, though, will that continue to be true?

If I asked you to define a movie, you would probably come up with something about a moving visual image.

Some books have that now…from animated covers to enhanced editions which may actually include movie clips and other videos.

Let’s say there is an enhanced edition of a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., which includes video of the I Have a Dream speech.

Is that not a book?

Even if 80% of the book is the written word?

You would probably define a book as something about, well, written words.

When you are reading subtitles in a foreign language movie, is that a book?

Most people would immediately say no.

It’s a movie…with subtitles.

That enhanced e-book? It’s a book…with video.

What is an audiobook?

I tend to think of an audiobook as just as much a book as a p-book (paperbook).

It’s still the author’s words…you are just consuming them differently.

If someone is print disabled and listens to the great works of classical literature, do you not consider them well-read?

As technology expands, I think the lines will blur.

We may come to expect the ability to see video in books.

We may also find it natural to pause a movie of Alice in Wonderland and bring up the text of the corresponding chapter to the scene which we are watching.

We might pick up again after the scene we read, or continue where we left off.

Part of it might be an opera.

Now, I have to admit, this really appeals to me, but I like lots of things happening at once…I like to say that I love chaos. :)

Most people don’t.

I would guess most of you would not want your books, especially your fiction books, to have video, audio, and more.

However…

You are fine with italics and bold, which are visual effects.

You may be okay with a map being in a book, or a “family tree” for a complex multiple generation work.

Do you like footnotes, endnotes, and/or cross references?

What if instead of having things like, “Said Pat”, there was a little picture of the speaker at the beginning of each paragraph of dialogue?

What if the picture moved?

What about a separate font color for each of ten characters? That would be expensive to do in the old days, but not so expensive for an e-book on a tablet.

I’m really just ruminating on this, but I think books will become much more dynamic than they are now, with more interactivity and more media.

Not every book, and not for every person. There is a certain…calmness in just reading the printed word.

I just don’t know how long that’s going to be the popular mainstream, though…

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!

* 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.

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 17, 2015

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 16th, 2015 was Presidents’ Day in the USA.

That’s still something I consider to be a combined holiday.

When I was a kid, we got Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday as two different holidays.

That mattered to me, because my birthday happens to be the same as Abraham Lincoln’s. That meant that my birthday was always a day off from school…and we could invite my friends to a party accordingly. ;)

Then, they decided that having two Presidential holidays was too much, so they combined it into one day honoring all of the Presidents.

I still took my birthday off this year, though. :)

So, in case a day of scholarly reflection on and discussion of our Chiefs of State (that’s how you spent the day, right?) ;) whetted your appetite for more, I thought I’d take a look at the Kindle store to look for the most reviewed books about the Presidents. Note: I did do a bit of choosing to get a book which really focused on the President, or at least not on several Presidents. Otherwise Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln would have shown up for several Presidents as the most reviewed in the search. ;)

  1. George Washington: George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
    by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
  2. John Adams:
    John Adams
    by David McCullough
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
    by Jon Meacham
  4. James Madison: James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
    by Lynne Cheney
  5. James Monroe: The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  6. John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  7. Andrew Jackson: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
    by Jon Meacham
  8. Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841
  9. William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 9th President,1841
    by Gail Collins and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  10. John Tyler: John Tyler, the Accidental President
    by Edward P. Crapol
  11. James K. Polk: A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
    by Robert W. Merry
  12. Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor: The American Presidents Series: The 12th President, 1849-1850
    by John S. D. Eisenhower and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  13. Millard Fillmore: Yo, Millard Fillmore! (and all those other Presidents you don’t know)
    by Will Cleveland and Mark Alvarez
  14. Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857
    by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Michael F. Holt
  15. James Buchanan: James Buchanan: The American Presidents Series: The 15th President, 1857-1861
    by Jean H. Baker and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  17. Andrew Johnson:
    Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy
    by David O. Stewart
  18. Ulysses S. Grant: Grant
    by Jean Edward Smith
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
    by Roy Morris Jr.
  20. James A. Garfield: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
    by Candice Millard
  21. Chester A. Arthur:
    Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: The 21st President, 1881-1885
    by Zachary Karabell and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  22. Grover Cleveland: The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea…
    by Matthew Algeo (Kindle Unlimited)
  23. Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893
    by Charles W. Calhoun and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  24. Grover Cleveland (again)
  25. William McKinley: The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
    by Scott Miller
  26. Theodore Roosevelt: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  27. William Howard Taft: The Roots of Modern Conservatism: Dewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party
    by Michael Bowen
  28. Woodrow Wilson: Wilson
    by A. Scott Berg
  29. Warren G. Harding:
    Warren G. Harding: The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923
    by John W. Dean and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  30. Calvin Coolidge: Coolidge
    by Amity Shlaes
  31. Herbert Hoover: Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath
    by George H. Nash (Kindle Unlimited)
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
    by Jon Meacham
  33. Harry S Truman: Truman
    by David McCullough
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World
    by Evan Thomas
  35. John F. Kennedy: Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson: The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV
    by Robert A. Caro
  37. Richard Nixon: The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
    by Rick Perlstein
  38. Gerald Ford: Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977 by Douglas Brinkley and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  39. Jimmy Carter: Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis
    by Jimmy Carter
  40.  Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries
    by Ronald Reagan
  41. George H. W. Bush: 41: A Portrait of My Father
    by George W. Bush
  42. Bill Clinton: Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas
    by Edward Klein
  43. George W. Bush: Decision Points
    by George W. Bush
  44. Barack Obama: The Amateur
    by Edward Klein

That was fun and interesting! I tried to avoid books labeled as fiction, and I’m guessing I did. I wouldn’t have thought that the President who wrote a book on another President and who had two books on this list would have been…George W. Bush. If I’d thought about it, I might have gotten that, though. Jimmy Carter is another President with a book on the list. One reason for that might be that more recent books tend to be reviewed more…just the nature of when book reviews became possible at Amazon, and that people don’t tend to write reviews of books they read a long time ago.

Bonus deal:

Disney app sale for $0.99 each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is a good deal which might be ending today on more than ten Disney apps…in some cases half off, in some cases two thirds off.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite book you have read on a President? I stayed away from fiction, but what about something with a President as a character in fiction? 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.

New York Times bestseller analysis February 2015

February 15, 2015

New York Times bestseller analysis February 2015

I do a big analysis of the USA Kindle store every month in my Snapshots.

From time to time, I also do a bestseller analysis, but that tends to focus on the Kindle store bestsellers.

Today, I thought I’d look at the New York Times bestsellers…which is quite a different list from the Kindle store bestsellers.

I’m going to keep it down to just hardback equivalent fiction.

First, let me note this. Of the top twenty from the NYT, only three of them appear in the top twenty in the USA Kindle store:

  • The Girl on the Train (#1 at NYT, #5 in the Kindle store)
  • Big Little Lies (#13 at NYT, #12 in the Kindle store)
  • All the Light We Cannot See (#2 at NYT, #13 in the Kindle store)

Why the difference?

Part of it is the power of Amazon’s Kindle First program, where eligible Prime members get to get one (or two) soon to be published books for free each month…books published by Amazon, by the way. Those books dominate the Kindle list.

Another thing? There are three “Fifty Shades” book in the top twenty at the Kindle store. One reason people say they like their Kindles is that someone else can’t tell what you are reading unless you choose to show it to them. It may be that people are more comfortable reading a book like Fifty Shades of Grey on an EBR (E-Book Reader) or a tablet than in paper.

Here’s the analysis of the New York Times bestseller hardback fiction equivalents, from the most popular on down (they list twenty):

Title Price HB Price HB List Publisher KU TTS X-Ray Word Wise Lending Stars Reviews
The Girl on the Train 8.99 16.17 26.95 Penguin No Yes Yes Yes No 4.2 1807
All the Light We Cannot See 11.99 16.20 27.00 Scribner No No Yes Yes No 4.6 7209
The Nightingale 14.99 16.79 27.99 Macmillan No Yes No No No 4.8 229
Trigger Warning 14.99 17.17 26.99 HarperCollins No Yes No No No 4.5 19
Private Vegas 9.99 21.17 28.00 Hachette No Yes Yes No No 3.7 158
Gray Mountain 9.99 14.18 28.95 Random House No Yes Yes Yes No 3.7 10411
Crash & Burn 11.99 20.93 27.95 Penguin No Yes No No No 4.4 96
Saint Odd 9.79 16.80 28.00 Random House No Yes Yes No No 4.6 571
Funny Girl 11.99 16.77 27.95 Penguin No Yes No No No 3.7 56
The Boston Girl 11.99 15.60 26.00 Simon&Schuster No No Yes Yes No 4.0 412
The Escape 9.99 17.45 28.00 Hachette No Yes No Yes No 4.6 3,046
First Frost 12.99 14.29 25.99 Macmillan No Yes Yes No No 4.5 190
Big Little Lies 3.99 16.16 26.95 Putnam No Yes Yes Yes No 4.6 5706
Hope to Die 5.99 14.50 29.00 Hachette No Yes No No No 4.6 1874
Descent 9.43 19.68 25.95 Algonquin No Yes Yes No No 4.2 197
Cold Cold Heart 11.99 18.02 27.95 Penguin No Yes Yes No No 4.3 128
Leaving Time 10.99 14.00 28.00 Random House No Yes Yes Yes No 4.3 3978
Everything I Never Told You 10.99 15.22 26.95 Penguin No Yes Yes Yes No 4.1 1045
Insatiable Appetites 8.99 20.47 27.95 Penguin No Yes Yes No No 3.5 177
The Goldfinch 11.89 18.00 30.00 Hachette No Yes Yes Yes No 3.7 19876

The Kindle versions average $10.69, and range from $3.99 to $14.99.

The average hardback price at Amazon is $16.98 (more than half again as much…and more than $6 more), and the average list price (the price the publishers puts on the book) is $27.63.

The average savings of the e-book over Amazon’s discounted hardback price is $6.28…and the biggest one is $12.17!

I think you really have to consider the relative values to spend that much more for the p-book, assuming you already have a device on which to read it (or are comfortable using a free Kindle reading app).

No book which was in the NYT hardback fiction top twenty is not available through the Kindle store…but none of them are available through

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

though. That’s not a ridiculous thing to check…there has been a New York Times bestseller which was also available through KU, Amazon’s “all you can read” subser (subscription service).

In two cases, the publisher (Simon & Schuster…Scribner is an imprint) has inserted code to block text-to-speech access**. That means that 90% of the books do not block it.

19 of the books are from the Big Five US trade publishers (Putnam is an imprint of Penguin Random House)…Algonquin is an imprint of Workman. That certainly wouldn’t be the case on the  Kindle store bestsellers! Amazon as a traditional publisher is responsible for many of those, and at least one appears to be independently published.

Fourteen of the NYT titles have X-Ray (Amazon’s onboard background information feature). Not quite sure why one book has that and another one doesn’t.

Nine of the books have Word Wise. That’s a relatively new feature, which explains “difficult words” in situ. I think all tradpubbed (traditionally published) books will likely have it, at least those with text (as opposed to words in images, like a graphic novel or an illustrated children’s book).

None of the books are “lending enabled”…you can’t loan them to someone not on your account, without lending a physical device. That can work well: we keep a “guest Kindle” for that purpose, when people are visiting. You can share books with people on your account, and with some people not on your account (by using the “Family Library”).

Overall, this seems pretty good to me, but the Kindle bestsellers have it all over the NYT bestsellers in terms of enabled features. The NYT books probably account for a bigger chunk of revenue (and possibly, but not necessarily, higher unit sales), but this again gets around to the question: does Amazon need the tradpubs?

For now, the answer is probably yes. Just as Amazon spends millions of dollars getting well known movies and TV shows for Prime video (while still developing their own), the presence of the best-known books not only gives them credibility and keeps their regular customers happy, it attracts the occasional book buyer…with the opportunity to turn them into Prime members (which is what I think Amazon wants…that, and it wants to be the “infrastructure of retail”, connecting customers to everything they buy…regardless of from whom).

As Amazon needs the tradpubs less and less, though, it gives them more and more bargaining power…which could help us readers in the long run.

I don’t think that particularly makes Amazon too powerful…people could still buy those tradpubbed books from other sources, so it wouldn’t be like it was a “monopoly” on books.

What do you think? Why are the NYT bestellers such a different list from the Kindle store bestsellers? Why aren’t the Fifty Shades books (at least one of them) on the NYT list? Is it maybe just because the Kindle store list updates more quickly, and that at least one of the books will be on there next week? If so, how important is that…Amazon’s ability to not only have a book while it is hot, but not need to invest in stock before you know the value (a big problem when I was a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager)…and then to promote it without potentially waiting a week like the NYT? Has the presence of “Word Wise” affected your buying decision on a book? 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! :) 

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

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

 

Limited time: Free App of the Day “Bundle”

February 14, 2015

Limited time: Free App of the Day “Bundle”

Amazon’s doing another one of their Free App of the Day “bundles”. I put the “bundle” in quotation marks because it isn’t really a bundle…that would mean you could get all of them with one click or tap, and you have to click or tap each one you want.

As usual, there are some good ones here!

Free App of the Day bundle (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is likely to around only a day or two, so if you want any of them, don’t hesitate too long. Remember that with apps, you can also buy them and have them go straight to your Cloud…you don’t need to put them on a device until (and if) you want to use them. I’m going to list the list prices, just so you know how much you are saving, but these are all free (at time of writing in the USA):

  • OfficeSuite Professional 8 (this has been my Office app of choice…I can use it to read and do light editing of Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. I use this for work in addition to home) | 4.0 stars out of 5 | 2,622 customer reviews | list price: $19.99
  • Battery HD Pro 4.8 stars | 1,008 reviews | $3.91
  • Relax Melodies Premium 4.7 stars | 2,454 reviews | $2.99
  • Trivia Crack (Ad Free) | 4.4 stars | 893 reviews | $2.99
  • Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | 4.5 stars | 75 reviews | $29.99
  • Cut the Rope: Experiments | 4.3 stars | 601 reviews | $-.99
  • 80 Days | 3.7 stars | 61 reviews | $5
  • Sleep as Android Unlock | 4.3 stars | 26 reviews | $4.45
  • Sorcery 2 | 4.6 stars | 30 reviews | $5
  • Doodle Jump | 4.4 stars | 226 reviews | $0.99
  • Shazam Encore | 3.4 stars | 451 reviews | $4.99
  • Runtastic PRO GPS | 3.2 stars | 158 reviews | $4.99
  • Guitar PRO | 3.2 stars | 21 reviews | $6.59
  • DoggCatcher Podcast Player | 3.9 stars | 54 reviews | $2.99
  • Listure | 3.5 stars | 11 reviews | $1.99
  • MeteoEarth | 2.9 stars | 17 reviews | $4.99
  • Pocket Yoga | 4.1 stars | 158 reviews | $2.99
  • Food Substitutes | 4.2 stars | 32 reviews | $0.99
  • Caveman Feast | 4.5 stars | 20 reviews | $2.99
  • Buy Me a Pie Grocery List Pro| 4.2 stars | 8 reviews | $2.99
  • A Scientific and Financial RPN Calculator | 3.9 stars | 113 reviews | $2.30
  • Back to Bed (I’ve played this one on our Fire TV) | 3.0 stars | 198 reviews | $4.00
  • Stellarium Mobile Sky Map | 4.1 stars | 364 reviews | $2.58
  • Glow Hockey 2 Pro | 4.1 stars | 364 reviews | $0.99
  • Ski Safari: Adventure Time | 3.5 stars | 166 reviews | $0.99
  • Sworkit Pro – Personal Trainer | 4.4 stars | 282 reviews | $0.99
  • Tunable | 3.8 stars | 86 reviews | $1.95
  • Hidden Object: Be My Valentine | 3.9 stars | 16 reviews | $1.99
  • Speed Reading Trainer | 4.1 stars | 96 reviews | $1.99
  • Travel Interpreter | 3.7 stars | 122 reviews | $9.99
  • Smooth Sync for Cloud Calendar | 4.6 stars | 31 reviews | $2.65
  • Monsters Ate My Condo | 3.9 stars | 91 reviews | $0.99 (from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim)
  • Simple Camera | 3.8 stars | 32 reviews | $0.99
  • Delicious: Emily’s True Love | 4.0 stars | 4 reviews | $4.99
  • Smart RAM Booster | 3.5 stars | 169 reviews | $2.58
  • mSecure Password Manager and Secure Digital Wallet | 3.7 stars | 307 reviews | $9.99
  • Bag It! | 4.5 stars | 1,375 reviews | $1.99

Remember, I’ve only listed the prices for comparison’s sake…these are all free while the sale is on. Note: check the price before you click or tap that Buy button…the price may not apply in your country, or the sale might have ended.

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.

For Valentine’s Day: most reviewed books with “love” in the title

February 14, 2015

For Valentine’s Day: most reviewed books with “love” in the title

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I don’t think I’ve ever used one of my own tips more than when I figured out how to get search results at Amazon to be ranked by most reviewed!

I’m always looking for interesting ways to do book discovery, and this “most reviews” search tends to give me ones which I think are well-known or impactful within a category.

This time, I used the Kindle advanced search to find

USA Kindle store books with love in the title by most reviewed (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There were 56,459 results, out of 3,216,657…about 2%. Seems like love is alive and well. ;)

Here are the top ten at time of writing (I’m writing ahead by a couple of days, so I can concentrate more on my Significant Other on the 14th):

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (at AmazonSmile*)
by Gary D. Chapman
4.7 stars out of 5 | 4,955 customer reviews at time of writing
$7.95 | available through Kindle Unlimited (KU)

Interestingly, the most reviewed book by far is not a romance novel, but non-fiction. The author has a radio show about relationships. The publisher has also chosen as one of the categories “Christian living”…I have noticed that faith based books often get a lot of reviews, and often get quite good ratings.

Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (at AmazonSmile*)
by Elizabeth Gilbert
3.6 stars | 3,555 customer reviews
$7.99

A very popular book, which became a Julia Roberts movie…neither of which are reviewed particularly well, but clearly, the book has generated a lot of interest. I’m thinking some of you might have guessed this one. :)

The One You Love (Emma Holden Suspense Mystery Trilogy, Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Paul Pilkington
3.8 stars | 3,455 reviews
free

The top reviewed “love” novel is listed as a thriller, not a romance. Maybe not so much of a surprise: hm, who was it that observed that if you wanted to read news stories about love, you should turn to the crime pages rather than the wedding announcements? I’m not finding that right away.This is a case of the “first one free” in a series.

Love You Forever
by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw
4.4 stars | 3,055 customer reviews
$3.16

It looks to me like the words in this book could be accessible to text-to-speech, but they are not. I’m not sure if they were blocked or if they appear in the book as images, so I’m not linking.** I found this book really quite horrifying when we had it when our kid was a kid. It’s a bit like Bridge to Terabithia or The Red Pony in that way…I’m sure it’s traumatized a lot of people. Still, many folks love it.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Expanded Edition: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (at AmazonSmile*)
by Steve Harvey
4.3 stars | 3,105 reviews
$4.99

Yes, that Steve Harvey…and it’s been the inspiration for two movies so far.

Redeeming Love (not linked because the publisher, Random House, blocked text-to-speech access**)
by Francine Rivers
4.8 stars | 2,788 reviews
$7.99

I thought this one might be categorized as a romance, based on the cover. Nope, it’s Christian historical fiction. Gee, somebody should make up a saying about judging books by their covers… ;)

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (at AmazonSmile*)
by Erik Larson
4.2 stars | 2,403 reviews
$5.99

A memoir…so it does look like “true love” is trumping fictional love, for the most part. ;) Takes place in part in 1933 Berlin…sounds interesting!

Flat-Out Love (at AmazonSmile*)
by Jessica Park
4.4 stars | 2,293 reviews
$3.99 | available through Kindle Unlimited

Finally! One actually categorized as a romance! ;)

Archer’s Voice (Sign of Love Book 4) (at AmazonSmile*)
by Mia Sheridan
4.9 stars | 2,457 reviews
$3.99

That’s a remarkably high rating with that many reviews! They say it was a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, and despite the title saying it is part of a series, it is a standalone romance (gee, is that a contradiction in terms?). ;) Based on the cover, I’m guessing they don’t mean Sterling Archer…

Ugly Love (not linked because the publisher, Simon & Schuster, has blocked text-to-speech access**)
by Colleen Hoover
4.7 stars | 2,040 reviews
$7.99

Categorized as “women’s fiction”.

And then there were ten!

Regardless of what your current romantic situation is, I wish you a lovely day.

 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 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.

Round up #285: reading declines, Kindle Unlimited expands to Canada and Mexico

February 13, 2015

Round up #285: reading declines, Kindle Unlimited expands to Canada and Mexico

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Kindle Unlimited launches in Mexico and Canada

As a publisher (I only publish my own works…which I would guess is true of most Kindle Direct Publishing authors) who has books in

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

Amazon just informed me that KU is expanding to Canada and Mexico!

That’s exciting…I like having it very much. It’s an “all you can read” plan, $9.99 a month in the USA. Here’s the link for the information page

Kindle Unlimited in Mexico

where it is 129 pesos a month, and for

Kindle Unlimited Canada

where it is $9.99 (Canadian) a month.

Chri

Echo videos from Phink, one of my readers

One of my regular readers and commenters, Phink, recently got an Amazon Echo, Amazon’s ambient computing device. It’s an always on voice input device which plays music, answers all kinds of questions, and more.

Phink has posted what I think are a couple of the best videos I’ve seen so far about the Echo. They aren’t really reviews, they are demonstrations of what the device can do. If you are interested in the Echo, I think they are definitely worth watching to see what your experience might be like.

I appreciate Phink sharing these! I’ll be happy to write about the Echo, but my delivery date still says between May 27th and July 2nd.

Publishers Weekly: No Panic Over 15 Percent Drop in Christian Fiction Sales

Christian fiction has been a strong category of seller, but from 2013 to 2014, according to this

Publishers Weekly article by Ann Byle

sales dropped 15%. The article goes on to say why the publishers aren’t worried about that…I guess they have faith. ;)

Video news

I thought I’d group a couple of things together here…a mini-round up. ;)

First, this is just odd to me, but Amazon Studios is working with Sid and Marty Krofft to do a reimagined pilot of one of their series. The Kroffts were really gonzo “kids’ show” producers in the 1970s, although they did a lot more than that.

So, what gets the reboot? The most popular H.R. Pufnstuf? The wacky Lidsville? Electra Woman and Dyna Girl? Nope…Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. This may take a lot of reimagining…Sigmund’s parents were parodies of Archie Bunker and Phyllis Diller, and I just don’t think that’s going to fly with today’s audiences. Hoping they stick with the Johnny Whitaker theme song, though. :)

press release

Second, Fire TV, which is both the

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

and the

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

have added a bunch of apps, including the much talked about Sling TV (which may enable some people to drop cable…by paying for a much more focused package), TED (great, though-provoking lectures…this one is free), and Fox Sports GO.

press release

Only 40% of 17 year olds read at least one a week for fun

I do think that e-books have enabled and encourage a lot of people to read more, but stats like the ones in this

EBOOK FRIENDLY post by Ola Kowalczyk

are troubling.

It’s nothing particularly new…as kids get older, fewer of them report reading for fun.

Part of that may be that they have to read so much more for school…a high schooler presumably has a lot more assigned reading than a nine-year old. If they are enjoying that reading, it would probably still not be reported as “reading for pleasure”.

What’s troubling is the decline across age groups since 1984.

It’s possible that there was a big decline (let’s see…video games, maybe?) for a while, and that e-books are, in fact, increasing reading.

Still, the Common Sense Media data reported on here (and shown in an infographic) is not especially encouraging. On the good side, more than a quarter of homes have an EBR (E-Book Reader…they mention Kindles and NOOKs. That would not include tables, like the Kindle Fire).

Big update for Kindle for iOS (4.7)

In this

Kindle Forum thread (at AmazonSmile*)

an update for the iOS (Apple mobile…iPhones, iPads) app is announced.

It includes eTextbooks and the “Book Browser” feature that brings you information about the book (new for iPhones).

Flipboard redesigns Flipboard for the web

This is a big improvement!

I’ve written about my free Flipboard magazines here before.

I read it in the

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

app, which I read every morning on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

For my readers who didn’t have Fires, though, I know the experience trying to read them in a browser on a PC wasn’t great.

Well, if you’ve tried it before, check it out again at

https://flipboard.com/

I like what they’ve done it with it: it looks much better, and seems to be less resource intensive.

Hope you enjoyed my birthday! ;)

We had a great time…we went to Point Isabel in Richmond (rated as one of the top ten dog parks in the world)…our dogs love it there! We also get about an hour walk, two or three miles. I went to doctor yesterday for an annual check-up, and to the DMV to renew my license. When I did the DMV thing, I realized that my weight is down about 55 pounds since I last did a driver’s license! I’m down about 40 pound in the last two years, thanks to the free app I reviewed here:

Review: MyFitnessPal

Well, that, and a lot of work. :) I figure another year and I’ll be in good shape.

Then we tried a new restaurant, and the food was good.

After that, we saw The Theory of Everything. That’s one of the Best Picture nominees we hadn’t seen. I thought it was good, and was glad I had done my personal

2015 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

predictions before I saw it. When you think a movie is good, it can skew your predictions…you tend to think the Academy will like it better than you might if you had not seen it.

I also got a book…always a good thing! I’ll wait until I’ve read a bit before I say anything about it, and I’ll likely do a Goodreads review.

Hope it was a great day for you, too!

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.

 

Happy my birthday, 2015!

February 12, 2015

Happy my birthday, 2015!

February 12th is my birthday, and continuing a tradition, I’m giving you presents!

This is to thank you for making another year of my life richer. I have a lot of fun writing this blog, and I sometimes get to help people…and what could be better than that?

Part of KDP Select (the program through which users of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing make books available for eligible Prime members to borrow through the KOLL…Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) is the ability to make books free for five days (they need not be consecutive) in a ninety-day period.

Please check that a title is free for you before buying it.

I have asked Amazon to make them free on February 12, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. I think they may also only be free to customers in the USA.

Some might be fun to give as a little Valentine’s Day present…you can buy it today as a gift, and schedule delivery for the 14th.

So, you can click on the titles before, but please make sure it is free when you click the 1-click buy button.

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When this one was first published in December of 2012, it was the number one bestselling book of quotations at Amazon…including paper! That didn’t last long, but it was fun while it did. :)

Love Your First Generation Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet (at AmazonSmile)

This one has been a bestseller. It was written before the Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, so it doesn’t match up exactly with those. If you do have the first generation Fire, though, I think you’ll find it useful.

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition)(at AmazonSmile)

This has some fun stuff…and other things that are out of date. If you want The Happy Little Bookworm, this one has it. :)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile)

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m coming up on the five year anniversary of the blog, and I’m considering doing a “best of” book. I’d include the posts that are less time-dependent, I think…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know.

Remember, double-check that they are  free to make sure before buying.

Happy birthday! ;)

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.


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