Round up #295: greedy readers, living tree book

May 13, 2015

Round up #295: greedy readers, living tree book

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

Piers Anthony for the Kindle

Piers Anthony is one of the most popular fantasy writers.

Many people have read the Xanth books, which some liken to the Oz series. Certainly, a love of puns is a commonality. ;)

There are 206 (!) titles listed on

Piers Anthony Amazon Author Central page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and 78 in Kindle editions (including books in the uber-popular Xanth series, the Incarnations of Immortality series, and the Bio of a Space Tyrant series).

Interestingly, there are 49 available through

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

including some well-known ones (Chthon, and yes, some Xanth).

Piers Anthony is a fun read! If you haven’t tried it, and you are looking for something light for the summer (or the Memorial Day weekend), this is a good bet. I would also guess Anthony has made readers out of many children.

An interesting consequence of having the Echo: listening to more audio

I consider myself a content omnivore, consuming lots of different media.

In the car, I usually listen to text-to-speech (TTS) on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

However, I used to listen to other types of audio a lot more: talk radio, old time radio, and music.

Having the

Amazon Echo

has meant that I’ve started to listen to audio at home again. For example, I’ve had it play the talk radio station to which I used to listen. I still don’t like the amount of ads, and I pick my times so I tend to get news, but it’s nice to have the local information.

I’ve also had it play me

The Kindle Chronicles

by Len Edgerly.

Review: The Kindle Chronicles podcast

It’s a brilliant podcast about the Kindle…gentle, insightful, and with really major guests.

I’ve been on it a couple of times, although I did make a slip of the tongue once which I suspect has kept me off the guest list since. ;)

Regardless, I highly recommend it…but wasn’t much of a podcast listener. Too much work to download a podcast and listen to it.

Being able to just say, “Alexa, The Kindle Chronicles podcast on Tunein,” and have it start playing is great! No charge, no booting up…I can easily start it during my exercise routine.

Living tree book

One TLA (Three Letter Acronym…we geeks even have an acronym for acronyms) ;) you may see in Kindle discussions is DTB…which stands for “Dead Tree Book” meaning a paperbook. I prefer the term “p-book”, since it gives parity to “e-book” (although nobody seems to use “a-book” for audiobook).

There are some ecological challenges with e-books, certainly, but I many are uncomfortable with the harvesting of trees that happens for most p-books.

Now, there is a p-book you can plant…and it becomes a tree!

This

Huffington Post article by Kimberly Yam

has a video of it.

You can get it from Amazon:

MI PAPA ESTUVO EN LA SELVA (at AmazonSmile*)

Gee, for some reason, you can physically plant isn’t available as an e-book. ;)

More reading, more money

Do you think Gordon Gekko, the fictional character who famously said, “Greed is good,” stopped reading for fun by the age of 17?

No way!

Okay, “fun” might have meant The Art of War and The Prince, but still. ;)

This is a great infographic (and introduction):

Reading Among Teenagers is Declining

from EBOOK FRIENDLY and the ever-reliable Piotr Kowalczyk.

It’s about the

BookUp program

from the National Book Foundation.

That’s a free program to get children reading more.

The numbers may be truly startling.

If I told you that one out of four children had stopped reading for fun by the age of 17, you might just say, “See? That’s what all this technology and SmartPhones has done to us!”

I think you’d be right to be worried…but we’re just getting started.

Well, that’s the number from thirty years ago.

The number today?

Fifty percent!

Half of kids aren’t reading for fun by the age of seventeen.

Part of it may be not seeing it as an economic benefit…when it clearly is.

Sure, it may be that kids who read more or who have lots of books in the home may have other benefits as well…they don’t say if they’ve controlled for that.

However, since you can get books for free (from the public library…and tens of thousands of e-books are free), it’s hard to argue that it isn’t worth a try.

I’ll just quote one thing:

“Reading for pleasure increases GPA more than required school reading.”

I’m not quite sure how you would come to that conclusion: where is the control group that didn’t have required school reading?

Regardless, I think that reading for fun makes people more empathetic (there are studies which support that), and I think that can be helpful in advancing in the work place.

Books Aren’t Dangerous

This seems like a great campaign, but I’ll caution you, I don’t know the bona fides of it yet.

http://booksarentdangerous.com/

According the site (with details to follow later), you post (this is on Tumblr, so I assume you have to do it on Tumblr) a picture of yourself holding a book that changed your life (or that you would recommend) with the hashtag, #booksarentdangerous.

When you do that

“For every picture posted, a book will be donated to an underserved school or library.”

This goes from May 12th-May 26th.

I’ll point out that there isn’t a cost to do this (outside of the exposure), and whether books actually get donated or not, you could positively impact other people.

I only see four posts so far, and only three of them during the program…I’ll check back on it to see if it increases. I’d love to not only see more schools getting books, but to see what books people post.

What do you think? What’s your favorite Piers Anthony book/series? If you read an author first in Kindle Unlimited, have you then gone on to buy books by that author? I’ve suggested before that I think e-books are increasing reading, but the infographic cited above refutes that…which way do you think it is going? What’s the right motivation to get kids to read? What’s the societal impact if kids are indeed not reading books as much? 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.

Poetry in the Kindle store

May 12, 2015

Poetry in the Kindle store

I do enjoy good poetry
It dances in my mind
It seems like there is mo’ for me
And makes me feel refined

;)

I’m not quite sure why so many people have an aversion to verse.

I’ve seen it run the gamut from people who think it is too high brow and la-dee-da, and those who think it childish and silly.

The truth is, just like prose, there’s a wide variety of poetry, which can appeal to many readers.

Some of it can be quite dark (Poe, for one), and some of it is genuinely funny.

One of the books that I liked enough as a child to seek out and buy again as an adult (I have multiple siblings…I didn’t end up with all the books) :) was

The Birds and the Beasts Were There (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

a poetry anthology edited by William Cole.

It has poems about scientifically recognized animals…and not. It’s a pretty wide ranging anthology, linked thematically, but not necessarily stylistically.

Unfortunately, it’s not available for the Kindle.

Fortunately, though, at the time of writing, there are 79,128 titles in the category

Poetry in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile*)

Okay, that’s only about 2% of the 3,484,407 titles in the Kindle store…but you could read one a day (if they didn’t add any more) and last for over 200 years. :)

27,736 of those are available at borrow at no additional cost as part of

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

Breaking them down by category (and remember that a book can be in up to three categories, so the total might not match the number above), it looks like this:

  • Contemporary (2,187)
  • American (12,497)
  • Anthologies (3,113)
  • Religious & Inspirational (6,508)
  • Women (3,081)
  • British (5,198)
  • Asian American (88)
  • Love Poems (2,694)
  • African (813)
  • Ancient, Classical & Medieval (1,812)
  • Asian (1,154)
  • Australian & Oceanian (546)
  • Caribbean & Latin American (1,369)
  • Chinese (108)
  • Epic (1,486)
  • French (865)
  • German (449)
  • Irish (54)
  • Italian (430)
  • Japanese & Haiku (881)
  • LGBT (363)
  • Middle Eastern (531)
  • Norse & Icelandic Sagas (44)
  • Russian (348)
  • Spanish (690)

Certainly, a large percentage of these books are filed under “American” poetry, but I think poetry is particularly difficult to translate. It often relies on very specific sounds and intonation of the words and language.

I have to say, I think anthologies may be the best way to go if you aren’t used to poetry (and perhaps, even if you are). I think you want to be able to…shake off one set of rhythms and move on to another one, which is not as easy to do if the poems are all by the same person.

I’m going to suggest this one:

The Best of Poetry: Thoughts that Breathe and Words that Burn (In Two Hundred Poems) (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s only $2.99, and is available through Kindle Unlimited. It’s 4.5 stars out of five, although it’s worth noting that it only has 15 customer reviews.

I really like the introduction, and I’ve read through the choices. While this is not about contemporary works under copyright protection, it has, I would say, a decent variety for different times.

If you are interested in sampling poetry, this could be a good place to start.

The way it’s arranged, you may just want to read it from front to back, rather than skipping here and there.

Enjoy!

What do you think? Do you read poetry? Is there a book of poems (or a poet) you would suggest someone read? Can you still recite poems you read as a child? 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!

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

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

The “I know these authors!” page is live

May 10, 2015

The “I know these authors!” page is live

Today is Mothers’ Day in the USA, and just a quick note before I join the festivities. :)

My mother has a book at Amazon. :)

That was the real motivation to get the

I know these authors!

page published today. I’m very proud of my mother, and this was one little thing I could do to honor her.

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.

Today’s KDD: more than 50 books by best-selling authors $2.99 (or less) each

May 10, 2015

Today’s KDD: more than 50 books by best-selling authors $2.99 (or less) each

Today is one of the big book-giving occasions of the year, and one of today’s Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is any of more than fifty (!) books from best-selling authors for $2.99 or less each.

As always, remember to check the price before you click or tap that “Buy” button: these are only supposed to be good for today, and the prices may not be valid in your country (Hello, readers around the world!).

It’s interesting…they don’t usually identify sales as by best-selling authors, as opposed to best-selling books or series. You might think that could mean lesser known books by the authors, but there are some blockbuster titles here.

There may be several books in the same series, and there are some authors only represented by one book here.

I just want to remind you that these sales are great ways to get gifts. You can buy a book at the sale price and delay the delivery of it until the appropriate occasion. So, you could buy someone a series of books now, and then have them arrive at the start of summer, for example, or even for a birthday or the holidays.

Authors include:

  • John Grisham, with four books in the Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer, series. I can see this being given to a child to read during the summer (that is the intended audience)
  • L.J. Sellers, with eleven books in the Detective Jackson series
  • Robert Crais, with three Elvis Cole novels
  • Mary Higgins Clark with Weep No More My Lady and I Heard That Song Before
  • Eoin Colfer with the mega-popular Artemis Fowl
  • Sara Shepard with four books in the Pretty Little Liars series (the basis for a popular TV series)
  • Jack Coughlin with seven books in the Kyle Swanson Sniper series
  • Liane Moriarty with Three Wishes and The Last Anniversary
  • Matthew Reilly with The Great Zoo of China

and more…enjoy!

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

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

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

Round up #294: 100% royalty rate, Kickstarter goal reached

May 10, 2015

Round up #294: 100% royalty rate, Kickstarter goal reached

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

Book project funded!

I recently wrote about one of my sibling’s Kickstarter campaign to fund a new book (A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics). I’m happy to announce that the goal has now been reached!

If you did (or you do…even though they’ve reached the goal, the project goes through May 23rd) pledge at least $5, you should be getting the Kindle version of the book in September.

Thanks for at least taking a look!

I know these authors! page

I’m hoping to make public the “I know these authors!” page on the ILMK blogsite soon. If I do know you (see the post linked above as “recently wrote” for what I mean by that), please remind me and if possible, give me a link to your Amazon Author Central page, so I can include you.

Day 3 of the Amazon Echo

On Thursday, I wrote about my

Amazon Echo: first impressions and menu map

I’ve been using it since, and thought I’d give a few more impressions and anecdotes:

  • I am impressed with its conversational abilities, although they are still quite limited. I tried, “Alexa, to be or not to be?” Alexa replied, “That is the question.” I’m glad that a joke wasn’t made out of that one. I asked, “Alexa, who’s the fairest of them all?” and got a great response: “Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas, she is more fair than thee.” Hm…actually, I believe that’s from the Disney movie. I thought it might be from a public domain source
  • If you plan on getting one when they become publicly available, I’d start adding Prime music to your library now (if you are a Prime member). That’s free to do, and it makes it much easier for the Echo to play it. Add Prime Playlists, Prime Stations, individual songs, whatever. No charge for that (beyond your annual Prime membership). You might be tempted to add everything ;) but that might actually make it harder for the Echo to find what you want. I haven’t quite figured out what it does if there are two different songs with the same name, for example…does it pick one, or give me a choice? Prime Music (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
  • Whether you have an Echo or not, you may find this Prime playlist interesting (if you are a Prime member): Echo Favorites (at AmazonSmile*). It’s “regularly updated” with the songs most listened to on the Echo. It’s a fascinating list! Sure, you have Uptown Funk and All About That Bass, but there is also Chopin and Beethoven! I’m sure some people might find that jarring, but I like it as an eclectic mix
  • I did take the Echo to work, even though I figured I wouldn’t be able to get it on the guest wi-fi network there (you have to acknowledge terms, and there really isn’t a way to do that). What worked really well was that when I plugged it back into power at home, it just worked on my home wi-fi network again. I didn’t have to select it or anything…nice!
  • The app (I have it on my Fire Phone, but I assume it is basically the same on an iPhone, Android, and so on) has a lot of cool information! For example, you can go to the menu (three horizontal lines), choose Now Playing, and then tap “History”. Looks to me like is going back to the first song I played! I can play a song right from there, create a new station, or buy the song (as opposed to listening to it as part of our Prime membership)
  • I’ve sent one real piece of feedback through the app (Menu-General Feedback), and got a response quite quickly. I said this: “I am enjoying our new Echo very much. I did want to make a suggestion which would make it feel much more natural. You could introduce the option to put it into conversation mode. Once there, you would not have to say “Alexa” to get it to pay attention to what you said..That would continue until you took it out of conversation mode, or until it was quiet for a certain period of time. For example, that would allow you to ask a question, get an answer, and then say thank you and get a response without having to say “Alexa, thank you.” Getting it into conversation mode could be accomplished with a natural language sentence, like “Alexa, let’s talk.” As you know, the remote already works that way…you don’t have to say Alexa.”
  • To clarify something (thanks for commenting, readers): all you really need to use the Echo is a wi-fi network. To set it up, you’ll need either an app you download (to your Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad)) or the ability to use a browser on your computer. I would say you pretty much need the app to do many functions (for example, you can’t delete an item from to the To Do List from your Echo, I believe), but you don’t need any other connectivity than w-fi. The Bluetooth lets you do additional things, but you don’t need to set up anything in your house to make that work
  • I’m still thinking this is one of the really big tech stories of the year (after it gets released to the general public…I’m guessing mid-July), and that it’s a talked about gift at the holidays (not forgetting the Apple Watch, of course). I hope they can have enough available!

Kindle Unlimited keeps growing

Just saying…I think we’ll have one million titles in Kindle Unlimited for the USA market before July 4th (might be as early as June 1st, but that’s pushing it).

100% royalty rate

Yep…read that one again.

According to this

Publishers Weekly article by Calvin Reid (obviously no relation, but I could take that as an attractive imperative) ;)

Gatekeeper Press gives independently-published authors 100% of the sale price of the book.

How do they make money?

By charging for services…for example, proofreading is $6.50 per 1,000 words.

This seems to be a legitimate business: they’ve been mentioned in the mainstream media (according to the site), and generally, it looks good when I look at the site.

Searching for “Gatekeeper” as a publisher, I found 38 results at Amazon. I found one ranked at 391,164 in the Kindle store…really, that’s pretty good. It’s in about the top 12%.

If you are an indie, I would consider this as one of your options. It may be worth it to pay someone to improve the quality of your book, if what you really want is sales and not just to communicate.

An infographic of pen names

I sometimes have people assume that Bufo Calvin is a pen name. It’s my real name…on my driver’s license, how the IRS knows me, all of that. :)

This

infographic at Electric Literature–WHODUNIT: A HISTORY OF NOMS DE PLUME

has some really interesting things to say about pen names…who, how much, and why. I’m not sure I buy all of the “whys”, but it’s still an interesting bit of work. They credit another site…but when I click on the link, I’m just taken to a place to buy toner (the ink for printers and such) as far as I can tell. I didn’t dig around that other site much…I’d just view it on the Electric Lit site.

What do you think? Are you okay with authors using different pen names for different sorts of works? Is that just legitimate marketing, or do you feel it is deceptive? Did you pledge for my sibling’s book? Have you ever supported another Kickstarter project for a book? Oh, and I can’t forget my other sibling’s book coming out June 1st…One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). Currently ranked in the 500,000s at time of writing, I do think it will do reasonably well when it is released…getting some good blurbs. :) If I know you, please remind me soon…thanks!

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.

The Big Deal: Kindle books up to 85% off through May 24th

May 9, 2015

The Big Deal: Kindle books up to 85% off through May 24th

Amazon saves us money on e-books in so many ways, but I do think it’s fun when they do the Big Deal. It’s over 500 books this time (529 at time of writing…almost 100 more than last time!).

The Big Deal: Kindle Books Up to 85% Off (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

These are typically e-books which are genuinely on sale…they aren’t just cheap to begin with. :)

When the sale is over, they tend to go back up in price…although they may be reduced again later, of course.

Remember, as always, that you can buy e-books as gifts and delay the delivery until the appropriate date. You can also print out the gift and just hold on to it, so you have something to wrap. ;) In that case, you don’t really need to specify to whom it goes, so these can also be good “emergency gifts” (we always keep a few of those around).

Do check the price before you click or tap that “Buy button”…these prices may not apply in your country (and I have readers in a lot of countries) :) and I think it’s possible for books to go in and out of the set.

One more thing: some of these books are also available through

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

as part of the $9.99 monthly membership. It feels to me like Amazon sometimes uses the sales to promote KU, although there are now enough KU books that it may just be coincidence. On the other hand, they may be able to more freely discount the books which are in KU, so that may be part of it as well.

Here are some that caught my eye:

A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut and Daniel Simon
4.2 stars | 261 reviews

Against All Odds by Chuck Norris and Ken Abraham
4.6 stars out of 5 | 400 customer reviews

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy by S.D. Perry
4.6 stars | 393 reviews

This is the first book in a series…yes, the videogame/movie inspiration.

Perfect Summer (The Lone Stars Book 1) by Katie Graykowski
4.5 stars | 230 reviews
Also available through Kindle Unlimited (KU)

Cinnamon Roll Murder (Hannah Swensen series Book 15) by Joanne Fluke
3.9 stars | 291 reviews

The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance by Louis Borgenicht M.D. and Joe Borgenicht (might be good for an expectant Mom for Mothers’ Day…)
4.7 stars | 242 reviews

True Detective (Nathan Heller Novels) by Max Allan Collins
4.3 stars | 195 reviews
1st book of 15
KU

Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
4.2 stars | 192 reviews

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
3.6 stars | 74 reviews
KU

Going on my KU Wish List!

Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups by Richard Belzer and David Wayne
4.0 stars | 161 reviews
KU

Yes, that Richard Belzer…

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli
4.0 stars | 148 reviews

What You Wish For by Fern Michaels
4.4 stars | 118 reviews

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg
4.4 stars | 106 reviews

After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Crimescape Book 1) by Marilyn Bardsley
3.8 stars | 98 reviews

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine by Danielle Ofri
4.5 stars | 191 reviews
My Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/882763732

The Great Trek by Zane Grey
4.4 stars | 89 reviews
KU

One of the great Western writers of all time…

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard
3.7 stars | 57 reviews

Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
4.5 stars | 49 reviews

Midnight Cowboy (RosettaBooks Into Film) by James Leo Herlihy
4.2 stars | 48 reviews

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon
4.6 stars | 46 reviews

Bang the Drum Slowly (RosettaBooks Sports Classics Book 7 by Mark Harris
4.4 stars | 45 reviews

Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion) by Margery Allingham
4.1 stars | 34 reviews

Those were just some of them, of course…if you see another in the deal you want to recommend to my readers, you can comment on this post.

Enjoy!

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’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.

KDEASY: free, sophisticated management for your Kindle

May 8, 2015

KDEASY: free, sophisticated management for your Kindle

Update: I can not recommend the use of this software at this time. I asked an apparent representative about the purported ability to copy a book from one Kindle to another and read it. If the book is protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management), as most books in the Kindle store are, that should not work. Stripping the DRM would generally be illegal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 in the USA, as I understand it. The response I got was,

“As per your question, “If KDEasy is used to transfer a book from one Kindle to another, how is it able to be read on the other Kindle?”

I don’t think it’s a good idea to discuss a lot about this, however, you can have a try. :)

We create this program to make Kindle easier to use, that’s our goal.”

Not wanting to talk about something which is possibly a crime makes me too uneasy about the product to suggest you use it.

One of the issues people have had with Kindles since the beginning is managing the content.

Some people keep thousands of books on one device. That’s not my style: I tend to keep about ten (maybe twenty) Kindle store books on a device…I keep the rest in the Cloud. That’s not going to work for everybody. Part of it depends on how accessible wi-fi is to you. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and even when I’m away from home, wi-fi is often there for me.

Even in my case, though, the interface provided by Amazon for a Kindle is nothing to Periscope home about. ;)

A lot of people use

Calibre

a free program to manage e-books. I’ve tried it, and it works, but it still isn’t really Kindle focused.

I had recently flipped an article mentioning

KDEASY

into the

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

and I was approached by the company (I wasn’t given any compensation or anything from them, just a suggestion I look at it and an offer to answer questions).

They call KDEASY a “toolkit”, and that’s a good description.

It’s a free program you download to your computer (PC or Mac). Then, you connect your Kindle to your computer and you can use the software. Oh, they list the supported models this way:

“Kindle 3(Keyboard), Kindle 4(5-way controller), Kindle Touch, Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite (2). With firmware version under and not include 5.4.5″

I haven’t used it as much as I’d like yet, but I wanted to go ahead and give you information about it now. I may write about it again in the future.

The download was easy. I did need to make sure I had a device with a USB port and a compatible operating system. :) That shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

It did want to update the operating system on my

Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That went quite smoothly, but honestly, it made me a bit uncomfortable. Will what it did interfere with updates from Amazon in the future? I honestly don’t know that yet. If it did, I’d reset the Paperwhite to factory defaults…it doesn’t take me long to restore it. I don’t believe I have violated the Terms of Service at this point…my guess is that it didn’t modify Amazon’s software, but added new things.

Note that you have to have the Kindle plugged into the computer when you launch KDEASY for it to work.

It asked to back up my books, which I allowed it to do (to my computer). Even if you have thousands of books, that’s not going to be a ton of memory on most computers…unless you have a lot of graphically intense items (picture books, graphic novels, magazines).

The program looks nice…the graphics are good, it’s easy to read.

There are five main functions:

  • Library
  • Collections
  • Cleaner
  • Transfer
  • Free Books

In this first post, I’ll just look at the library function. What do the others do (which I plan to cover in later posts)?

  • Collections lets you create Collections (essentially, book organizations tools, like folders) on the computer rather than on your Kindle…and then they will appear on the Kindle
  • Cleaner not only “cleans up your device”, but downloads metadata (author, title) from major sources on the web
  • Transfer is to transfer books between the Kindle and a computer, and from there to another Kindle. I haven’t yet tested their claim that “The transferred Kindle books can be read on any Kindle perfectly.” I’m also a bit concerned about the legality of that, at least in the USA. I’m not going to try that part of it until I do some more research
  • Free Books: that’s a source for you to download free books from them to your device

Information on the library screen

  • Model
  • Available storage
  • Books in kindle
  • Serial Number
  • Kindle Email Address
  • “Jailbreaked” (yes or no)
  • Wifi Address
  • MAC Address
  • Firmware Version

It’s quite nice to easily have that information available. It includes a picture of the device model.

On the library page it shows me the books, with covers.

If you double-click on a book, you can edit the metadata.

That’s something people really want to do!

It lets you change the way the author is listed, for example. Some publishers (who may be just authors) accidentally listed the name of the author backwards, so the Kindle then displays it in an alphabetical sort by first name instead of by last name…even though most books get it right.

A common thing for titles is that the publishers enter it in a way that a title sorts by the word “The” or “A” at the beginning of the title…you can fix that in the metadata.

You could also change the title of the book…hm, I suppose that might be a way to help “hide” certain titles when someone is glancing at your device.

You can additionally edit the publisher, the ISBN, the language, and the “Publish Date”. The last one might be useful, since the publication date is often when it appeared in the Kindle store, not when it was first published. So, a 19th Century title may look like it came out in the 21st Century.

I made a point of it saying “Publish Date” above, because I think it’s worth noting that the language is sometimes a bit off…perhaps written by someone for whom English was not the first language, or perhaps its just a non-American usage I don’t know.

You can also add a description.

I haven’t found the book description on the Kindle itself. My metadata changes were visible.

Here is what I would say at this point:

The concept is very good, and may make many of you love your Kindle more.

I’ve had some problems with the execution. I created a Collection on the computer. It appeared on my Kindle properly (showing the three books which I had added to it), but the Collection within KDEASY showed there were three books in it.

I’ve had trouble scrolling in the program on the computer…seeing my Collections in the sidebar navigation is difficult. I move the scrollbar, tried arrow up and down, page up and page down, and couldn’t get the one I wanted to display (typically, the Collections don’t move at all…sometimes it jumps to the bottom). In fact, looking at it now through Display Preferences, I’m not seeing that KDEASY Collection within KDEASY at all…and interestingly, while I was writing this article, it also disappeared from my Kindle.

My Kindle also appears to be running more slowly, and it froze at one point to where I had to restart it. Let me emphasize that I do not know if that’s because of this software: it could be a coincidence. It has only been happening since I started to use KDEASY, though.

Let me bottom line this for you for now. It’s not for the average user, who isn’t an early adopter willing to deal with technical imperfections.

If you are the adventurous sort, you may find this really interesting.

My guess at this point is that they’ll get things smoothed out, and that people will find it an attractive management option.

What do you think? If you do play around with it, please feel free to share your impressions with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Amazon Echo: first impressions and menu map

May 7, 2015

Amazon Echo: first impressions and menu map

My

Amazon Echo

is here!

Regular readers may have noticed that I said “My” on this one…I usually say, “Our” to include my Significant Other…but my SO doesn’t really like the idea of the Echo, at least not yet. :)

What is the idea of the Echo?

Well, it’s two main things.

It is a Bluetooth speaker…and quite a nice one. My SO was out of the house when I was testing it, and has exceptional hearing, so I will be interested in my SO’s opinion…but for me, it sounds good.

There was someone else here, who remarked on the quality of the sound.

Bluetooth means that it connects short-range wirelessly to Bluetooth connected devices…for most people, that would be SmartPhones, tablets, could be laptops, TV devices (like the Fire TV), and other things that aren’t really relevant here (keyboards, mice, headphones).

Second, though, and to me, cooler, is that it is an “ambient computing” device.

What that means is that you can use it in one of the big ways you use a computer…but you don’t have to think much about doing it.

It listens to you…quite well. I do naturally project (I’m a trainer), but speaking pretty normally, it could hear me easily across the room.

You can then ask it questions, or tell it to do some limited things.

It understood me right out of the box.

Oh, about taking it out of the box. You plug it in. You download the

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

if you haven’t already (I had).

You follow the very simple instructions…you will need the password for your wi-fi network (if your wi-fi network is password protected).

That’s about it.

A demo video ran in the app, and I was off to the races!

Let me give you my subjective impressions first…

The sound is good. Update: my SO has come home now, and thinks it is the best music sound we have had from any device. We’re not super audiophiles, but my SO is including a Fire tablet and our TV in that.

The ability to play music from Prime and other sources is outstanding. I have it playing Huey Lewis right now (so it is playing that when my SO comes in…Huey is a fav). I just had to say, “Alexa, play some Huey Lewis” and start it shuffling it…whether or not I have it in my music library. That’s because I’m a Prime member, and it’s available through Prime. Everybody will be Prime members who have gotten them from Amazon at this point.

It does great with some questions, but it’s inability to understand some can be a bit frustrating. That’s improving every day.

It’s heavier than I expected. :) That’s actually a good thing…it seems very solid. I’ve put it on an end table…and our terriers do get up on that table from the couch sometimes. I’m not worried about it…they aren’t going to knock it over, I think.

I really like that you do have to pause slightly after you say “Alexa”. Why? So that it doesn’t start listening why I use Alexa in the middle of the sentence, talking to someone about the device.

Okay, let’s get a bit more systematic.

I can see there is a microphone off button on the device itself, but outside of that, I haven’t done anything with the device except plug it in to power and put it on a table. It’s sleek looking, and the lights on it are cool (blue lights circle the top of the cylinder when it is listening).

The remote looks very much like the remote for our

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

Not quite the same, but it has the familiar microphone symbol, and then a circular control functions ring.

You can hold down the microphone and talk to it to speak to the Echo.

You might wonder why you would use a remote.

Well, I’m in a different room right now…the Echo is in the family room, and I’m in the den (where I commonly write). The Echo did hear me when I spoke loudly…but not once I had the music going. The remote easily sends my communications to the Echo in the other room (maybe thirty feet away with no closed doors, but with a wall in the way.

The other manual buttons on the remote

  • play/pause (>||
  • skip ahead (>>)
  • skip back (<<)
  • volume up (+)
  • volume down (-)

work like you would expect with music.

Batteries were included for the remote (easy to get the back off and insert them).

Oh, one nice thing: using the remote, you don’t need to use the “Alexa” wake word…you can just talk to it.

The remote also comes with a handy magnet cradle…I’m using it right now (I have a magnetic board in the den). The magnet sticks (super strongly…it was hard to remove), and the remote fits inside that.

It is, as I think many people know, plugged in all the time.

Okay, that’s the key hardware.

I’m going to share how well it’s been understanding me, then I’ll go through the menus in the app.

It keeps a record of our “voice interactions” in the app. Let me run through some things I’ve said, and how it responded:

  • “Alexa, what’s the weather?” It gave me a nice response for our local area (it knows my location in part, I assume, because we are Prime members…it came registered to the account). It gave it for a town over, but that’s fine. It said, “In *** it’s 76 degrees with clear skies and sun. Tonight, you can look for just a few clouds in the sky, and a low of 49 degrees.” The only thing for me was it only gave the temperature in Fahrenheit, and I prefer Celsius
  • So, I asked, “Alexa, what’s seventy six degrees in centigrade?” It responded, “76 degrees Celsius is 168.8 degrees Fahrenheit.” I’m impressed that it understood that I meant “Celsius” by “Centigrade”, but that wasn’t what I was trying to determine. However, my question was arguably ambiguous, and most people using the device (which is only available in the USA and only by invitation at this point) would mean it that way it interpreted it, I think
  • I followed up with, “Alexa, what is seventy six degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius?” and it got that right, “76 degrees Fahrenheit is 24.44 degrees Celsius”
  • “Alexa, play some Prime music.” “Here’s a Prime Playlist you might like, Earbud Vacation: West Coach Beaches”
  • “Alexa, where is the nearest Ikea?””Sorry, I didn’t understand the question I heard”
  • “Alexa, what time is it?” Correct
  • “Alexa, what’s the date?” Correct
  • “Alexa, who plays Captain America?” “Sorry, I don’t know the answer to your question.” However, it gave me a way to go to Bing in the app, which did have the answer (several answers…Chris Evans is just the most recent)
  • I could not get it to understand “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
  • “Alexa, who is on first?” “That’s what I keep telling you! Hu’s on first, Watt’s on second.” That’s pretty impressive…it’s an old Abbott and Costello routine about baseball players
  • “Alexa, to be or not to be?” “That is the question.”
  • “Alexa, who put the bomp in the bomp shoo bomp shoo bomp?” (that’s how it heard what I said) “Sorry, I didn’t understand the question I heard”
  • “Alexa, play some big band music.” Played Swing Jazz playlist from Prime, which was a good choice
  • “Alexa, play some Bruno Mars” Started right off with Uptown Funk
  • “Alexa, play some Creedence Clearwater.” I was impressed that it got this right (it shuffles music from the artist), since I deliberately left off “Revival”
  • “Alexa, who starred in The Avengers?” It didn’t know
  • “Alexa, who starred in Gone with the Wind?” “The stars of Gone with the Wind include Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, George Reeves, and Hattie McDaniel.”
  • “Alexa, play Old Time Radio.” It did start playing an old time  radio show, although it was in the middle of it…I think it was from a TuneIn station
  • “Alexa, play Star Wars” It played the end theme, which worked well
  • “Alexa, how many calories in a carrot?” It game me a long answer, with lots of different kinds of carrots…reasonable
  • “Alexa, what are some quotations from Casablanca?” It didn’t know that, but it could tell me who starred in Casablanca, how tall Humphrey Bogart was (in metric and English), where Humphrey Bogart was born, what Humphrey Bogart’s first movie was, and when that movie was released. I did have to say “Alexa” at the beginning of each of those questions, and I stated the question fresh…I didn’t say, “Where was Humphrey Bogart born?” get an answer, and then say, “How tall was he?”
  • I got it to play some sound effects…for example, I said, “Alexa, play a dog barking”. It did, however, identify the track first. I think if I’d had it in my library, that might have been easier for it
  • “Alexa, how long is the Golden Gate Bridge?” Correct
  • “Alexa, what is Stephen King’s latest book?” “Stephen King’s latest book is Lisey’s Story”
  • “Alexa, what was the score of the Giants game?” It gave me the score…and the app gave me the box score, which was great.
  • “Alexa, who is Bufo Calvin?” Interestingly, it got “Bufo” correct in the app, but it heard “Calvin” as “Kelvin”, and couldn’t find an answer

That gives you some idea.

Now, menus!

The menu button is three horizontal lines (which is standard with Amazon).

  • Home (announcements)
  • Now Playing (Player, Queue, History…interestingly, the history is quite extensive, letting you Create a New Station based on a song you’ve played, or Shop Digital Music Store). You can also start playing music again, and see who the artist is
  • T0-do Lists (and a number showing you the number of items). Tap that, and you can mark something done, move an item to the Shopping List, or Delete item
  • Shopping list (similar to To-do list
  • Timer (you can also set one manually in the app). This, by the way, is where you remove items. If you ask the Echo to remove an item, it tells you to go to the app
  • Alarm (you can also set one manually)
  • Your Amazon Music Library: Playlists|Artists|Albums|Songs|Genres…and a search for your music
  • Prime Stations
  • Pandora
  • iHeartRadio
  • Tunein

Settings has sub-menus, so I’m going to do that one separately here:

  • Bufo’s Echo: Update Wi-fi | Bluetooth | Remote (so you can make it forget your remote, if you get a new one) |Echo device name (mine came named “Bufo’s Echo”. I could change that, but it wouldn’t change the “wake word”, just how I see it referenced at Amazon) | Echo device location (mine actually was wrong, but I fixed it…that should take care of the weather thing of being in a nearby town) | Wake Word (you can choose Amazon or Alexa…we say “Amazon” too much for that to make sense right now. They are going to add more) | Metric measurements (Yay! I didn’t know you could do that! I may change it, although I do have to consider my Significant Other in that one) | Sounds (Alarm and Timer Volume) | Wake up Sound (if you want to turn on a confirmation for that…it’s defaulted off) | End of request sound (again, if you want a confirmation that it realizes you are done speaking…defaulted off) | Echo is registered to…(and a Deregister choice) | Echo software version (I’m on 2392) | Serial number
  • Set up New Echo (it will just automatically start looking for a new one…you can cancel)
  • History (this is aplace you can see all of your voice interactions)…one disappointment here, is that it doesn’t give me a way to get back to the Bing search easily
  • Under Account, we have
  • Music Services: Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Tunein (you can link to accounts for Pandora and iHeartRadio if you have them)
  • Voice Purchasing (this appears to just be for music at this point, but eventually may hopefully be for more). You can turn it on or off, set up a pin (which you’ll say aloud to confirm a purchase), and you can go to your 1-click settings
  • Flash Briefing: it came defaulted to NPR, but you can also use BBC News| ESPN Sportscenter | Economist | NPR Business Story | NPR Technology Podcast | TMZ News. That will play it in the original voice. I preferred hearing text-to-speech in Alexa’s voice. You can choose categories, although I didn’t find a way to change the order of the categories, or to skip to the next category when it was reading. The categories are: Top News | U.S. | World | Politics | Business | Sports | Entertainment | Tech | Science |  Health | Offbeat. I need to experiment with this more, but I tried, “Alexa, what’s the entertainment news?” and it didn’t skip ahead to that. Weather is also here
  • Traffic: it starts with your address, and then you can add a destination. You could also change the first address. I tested this…there are two popular routes from our house to a destination in San Francisco, and it told me how long it would take and which route was fastest…nice!
  • Household profile
  • Connected Home (the Echo works with WeMo and Hue devices at this point, so you could tell it, “Alexa, turn the hallway light on” and it would, if you have that set up)
  • About the Amazon Echo App

Okay, after Settings:

  • Things to Try
  • Help: Amazon Echo User Guide | View Intro to Echo | Contact Us (e-mail or phone) | Legal & Compliance
  • General Feedback
  • Voice Training (I have not done this yet…and it’s been working well)

Whew!

That’s enough to get started! If you have questions, feel free to ask me by commenting on this post.

Bonus deal: I always like to do at least one book thing:

30 Kids’ Books $1 each (at AmazonSmile*)

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 #293: the future of dystopias, do I know you?

May 5, 2015

Round up #293: the future of dystopias, do I know you?

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

Do I know you?

I recently mentioned that I have one sibling with a mystery novel being released on June 1st:

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

I have another sibling who already has published books, and is doing a

Kickstarter campaign (through May 23)

to publish a new one (A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics…a $5 pledge gets you a Kindle edition…you only pay if they get enough pledges to publish it).

Well, that got me thinking: I really know a lot of people who have published books!

Both my parents have.

Other relatives have.

My coworkers have.

People with whom I served on a non-profit have.

E-quaintances (people I only know electronically…I’ve never met them In Real Life) have.

If I expand the net to include people I’ve met but don’t really know personally…yow!

I do want to support them, but I don’t want to bug you about them in the blog.

So, I decided to create a page (still under construction) on the ILMK blogsite dedicated to them.

Here’s where I’d like your help:

If I know you (even only electronically, as mentioned above), and you have a book (even out of print) listed at Amazon, please remind me! You can comment on this post and ask me to keep it private, if you like.

I’m sure I’ll accidentally omit people…or, I’ll take so long trying to think of everybody that I’ll never get the page posted. ;)

For everybody, I’ll let you know when the page is up (I may add to it over time, of course), in case you are interested.

Amazon Echo adds IFTTT support

This

CNET article by Ry Crist

does a good job of explaining the new capabilities added to

the Amazon Echo

By the way, it now says it will be in stock on July 8, 2015…at $199. Prime members, if they were given an invitation to buy one after asking for them, were able to get it for $99 originally. Mine is supposed to be coming May 21st. Update: I got an e-mail this morning that my Echo will now be here May 8th (Friday)! I have to admit, I’ll believe it more when I see that is has shipped…but that should be within the next day or so.

What IFTTT does is allow you to link apps and things together, based on “triggers”. In other words, you say that when I do this in this thing, do that in this other thing. That’s the initialism: IFTTT=If This Then That.

It makes the Echo much more practical…and many more options will be coming! One interesting one: when you say something to the Echo, it will send a text of those words to a specific person. It’s cheating, a bit, and definitely a work around: it uses the Shopping List. Still, interesting.

Ruth Rendell has reportedly died

Ruth Rendell (at AmazonSmile*)

(AKA Barbara Vine) was a popular and, yes, beloved author of more than sixty books (more than twenty just in the Inspector Wexford series).

Some of them are available at no additional cost to subscribers in

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

including

  • A Dark Adapted Eye
  • The Fatal Inversion
  • King Solomon’s Carpet

Dark Corners is scheduled for publication on December 1st of this year.

It’s the end of the world as we know it…over and over and over again

This

NPR article by Jason Heller

looks at the current and future state of post-Apocalyptic fiction.

Do I think it will stick around as a genre?

Sure!

I mean, it goes back to Jack London (and beyond).

I’ve written about the genre before…this one is from 2012:

Don’t dys the topia

Some people clearly like to imagine the world becoming worse…well, an optimist like me figures its because people like fantasy. ;)

Actually, in most dystopias, it’s about people overcoming the circumstances (and often overturning the status quo), which is a hopeful vision, right?

What do you think? Do you read dystopias? Do you read utopias? Why do people like dystopias…because they think the world is getting worse, or because they think that ultimately, good and joy will triumph? Are they meant as warnings, or thinly veiled criticisms…or all of the above? Will you pay $199 for an Echo? If someone had never read Ruth Rendell, is there one you’d recommend? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

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

May 4, 2015

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

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

I took a look at it last year in February

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

and specifically, in a search for

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

got 1,559 results.

Today, I’m getting 2,128!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s how I remember the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They range in price from $4 to $6.99.

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

Could they be unauthorized and not infringing?

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

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

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

Update: one of today’s

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

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

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

A few stand-outs:

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

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

What do you think? What do you want to have happen to someone who infringes? Is a withdrawal of sale enough, or do you want to see penalties? Financial costs, jail, or both? If a work is set in the world of Star Wars, but does not use existing plots, do you think that is infringing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

 


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