Tag Archives: E-book

Amazon, Books, And Publishing, Read All About It

If you love books, please do not read “CHEAP WORDS: Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?”

books headerDon’t read it, because it will break your heart. If you love economic competition or American culture, the article about Amazon.com will also break your heart. If you’re an aspiring author, writing your e-book to sell via Kindle, Nook, or Apple, you probably have a conflicted love-hate relationship with Amazon.

For the fearless reader, the scary, in-depth report by George Packer about Amazon.com may be found in the Feb. 17, 2014, issue of The New Yorker, filed under “Reporter At Large.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On the positive side, if you own stock in Amazon, Mr. Packer’s comprehensive report might make you fall in love all over again:

“The combination of ceaseless innovation and low-wage drudgery makes Amazon the epitome of a successful New Economy company.”

You could credit Amazon with creating jobs. But in the not-too-distant future, most of those warehouse picking and shipping workers will likely be replaced by robots. And whether we believe it or not, in the long run Amazon just might deliver books, and other merchandise, by drone. (Books are now a small part of the company’s business. Amazon is a digital general store, selling nearly everything under the sun.)

Wikicommons photo

Wikicommons photo

I’m not going to give away the whole Amazon love-hate story, which is too long for most of us to read on a computer screen. I printed it out, and it came to 25 letter-sized pages. It’s a must-read for everyone who’s interested in books and/or the publishing industry, so long as you can handle the heartbreak. I’ll give you a taste of Mr. Packer’s judgement:

“Lately, digital titles have leveled off at about thirty per cent of book sales. Whatever the temporary fluctuations in publishers’ profits, the long-term outlook is discouraging. This is partly because Americans don’t read as many books as they used to — they are too busy doing other things with their devices — but also because of the relentless downward pressure on prices that Amazon enforces. The digital market is awash with millions of barely edited titles, most of it dreck, while readers are being conditioned to think that books are worth as little as a sandwich.”

And now I’ll localize the story a bit, which is an editor’s oldest trick on a slow news day. Here in the metro Washington, D.C. area, the newspaper many of us rely on for our news, The Washington Post, has been purchased by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Will the sale lead to the newspaper’s salvation or its continued demise?

— John Hayden

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Economy

The Secret to Highlighting on the Kindle Fire

Setting the record straight, maybe it’s my own fault my highlighting was lost. (See the immediate previous Kindle post.) Digging through the online “User Guide,” I discovered the following:

Using Highlights, Bookmarks, and Notes

“Annotations (bookmarks, highlights, and notes) that you make in Kindle books are stored in your Kindle Library on Amazon.com. Your Kindle must be connected wirelessly for your annotations to be saved.”

The above is from the Kindle Fire “User Guide,” under the section “Books: Reading On Kindle Fire.”

I believe it explains why I lost the highlighting I did as I was reading last night. Thinking that I was clever, I turned off the Wi-Fi last night to save battery life. The book is on my Kindle device, so I can read it without being connected to Wi-Fi. (Morale of this story: “Don’t think! It can only get you in trouble.”)

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Product review

Kindle Fire Highlighting Failure

I was planning to write an updated report on how much I’m enjoying my Kindle Fire. There was a learning curve when I first opened the box, but once I figured out a few basic functions, the Kindle became a breeze and a pleasure to use.

I’ve enjoyed browsing the Kindle store, and found a number of books I’ve been wanting to read. One is “Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy,” by MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes. (This “Twilight” isn’t about vampires.)

“Twilight of the Elites” is a great book, examining our collective loss of trust in virtually all the major institutions — the pillars — of society. In particular, Hayes analyzes how and why the “elites” who rule by virtue of “meritocracy” have failed us.

I’ve been reading the book for the past few evenings, highlighting many informative sentences using the Kindle highlighting function. This morning, I opened the book on the Kindle and found that all my painstaking highlighting is gone. The highlighting has disappeared!

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Product review

Kindle Fire — Power Failure In A Fancy Box

UPDATE, NOV. 16, 2012:  Happy to report that I’ve received two emails from Amazon in response to my phone calls. Bottom line:

“In order to resolve this issue please de register and re register your Kindle Fire HD to the same Amazon.com account. In order to De register and Re register please follow the steps:

Swipe your finger down from the top of the Home screen and tap More . . .”

I followed the directions and re-registered my Kindle, which wasn’t hard. Presto, my material was again visible on the carousel. Using the information I’ve learned in the last two days, I made sure everything was downloaded from the “cloud” to the “device.”

I also browsed through the apps store and downloaded several interesting apps. Most of them were free, and I paid 99 cents for one. The Kindle can do a lot of stuff, and I’m slowly learning how.  — John

END UPDATE

__________________________________________

WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?

I titled my first product review (of a digital camera) “Power In A Box.” The first and most important information I want to know when purchasing a new high-tech device is: WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?

Regarding the camera,the answer was: “Everything you need, and it’s a powerful product.”

Regarding the Kindle Fire, the answer is: “Not so much.”

In the photo above, you can see the fancy box for the Kindle Fire HD 7″ and EVERYTHING THAT COMES IN THE BOX. It’s exactly as stated in the small print on the back of the box:

“USB charging cable included. Ask for the Kindle PowerFast accelerated charging accessory for even faster charging times.”

This latest consumer technology is pretty much ready to go, right out of the box. Or so I thought.

I followed the directions on the black card you see in the photo above, which constitutes the entire written documentation and instructions included in the box.

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Books, Life, Product review

J.K. Rowling’s “Casual Vacancy” Zooms to Top of Lists

The book was published the last week of September, and already “The Casual Vacancy” has hit No. 1 on bestseller lists.

J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults is No. 1 on the New York Times lists for hardback fiction, combined fiction and nonfiction, and eBook fiction. The three “Fifty Shades of Grey” books have been pushed down to second, third and fourth places  on the lists.

Casual Vacancy also is listed first for in-store hardback sales at Barnes & Knoble. Surprisingly, the book is only No. 8 on B&N’s list for Nook eBooks.

On Amazon, Casual Vacancy is listed No. 3, behind something called “The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan, and “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot,” by Bill O’Reilly.

On USA Today’s bestseller list, Casual Vacancy is No. 1. The book is also at the top of fiction bestseller lists in the United Kingdom.

— John Hayden

1 Comment

Filed under Books

J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” — Prices Slashed

Got it! A first-edition hardback of “The Casual Vacancy,”  by J.K. Rowling, published in the U.S. and Great Britain this week. The 503-page tome comes with a cover price of $35 ($36.99 in Canada), but Walmart has it on deep discount at $24.50.

The Casual Vacancy may signal a turnaround for quality in popular fiction. Where can it go but up, after Hunger Games and “Fifty Shades of Grey?”  Talk about your lowest common denominator!

I plan to do one of my serialized book reviews for Casual Vacancy, with updates posted every few days, as I read.

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Books, News

E-books By Bestselling Authors Priced @ $12.99

High Cost of E-books

When I bought my Nook last winter, I was hoping to buy e-books at lower prices than hardbacks and paperbacks. But prices aren’t necessarily lower in the digital world.

Despite owning a Nook, I’ve recently splurged on two hardbacks and a paperback. They’re very different novels by three long-established, bestselling authors.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Books, Frugal living

The Black Swan And The Ebooks Marketplace

The Black Swan effect, which I’ve written about before, might be the single most consequential concept of the 21st century. Just my opinion. If you’re interested in the phenomenon, you could read all about it in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, The Black Swan. Subtitle: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

Mr. Taleb suggests that most of the important events in history are Black Swan events, for example, the 09-11-2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. For my other previous posts on Black Swans, click here and here.

Many events of lesser importance, which nonetheless have momentous effects on nations, industries, and individuals, may also be Black Swans.

As Mr. Taleb explains, a bestselling book is a perfect example of a Black Swan, because it’s impossible to predict in advance which book will be a bestseller.   Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Books

Is this a great time to be a writer, or what?
The title to this repost from David Gaughran’s blog tells exactly what the post is about, and the body of the post gives all the details about direct selling. No need for further comment from me. But I do have a question.
QUESTION: WordPress.com from the beginning has been almost fanatically opposed to advertising by bloggers. (Sorry WordPress, that’s my ONLY criticism of WordPress.com, which is by far the best blogging platform for me.) I believe WordPress.com has probably always made an exception for selling one’s own handmade goods (I might be wrong about that), and I guess handmade goods might include one’s own handwritten books. My question, David, is how is WordPress.com responding to this sudden surge in blogging by Ebook authors? Was WordPress.com OK with your recent sale of 99-cent books? I gather that you and many others are Amazon affiliates, and possibly affiliates of other booksellers as well. Do you think WordPress.com might crack down on this?
BTW, I tried switching my blog over to WordPress.org a few years ago, to gain more freedom, but found the technical hassle not worth the benefit. These days, WordPress will handle all the technical details of the switch for a fee, so it’s much easier now if you want to pay the fee.

— John Hayden

David Gaughran

Selling e-books direct to your readers has just got a little easier, thanks to a new company called Gumroad.

I heard about them through indie author Sarah Billington on Friday, had my store up and running on Saturday, and fully pimped out by Sunday. (Cost = Zero!)

But before we get to that, should you open your own e-bookstore?

Advantages of Selling Direct

The first obvious advantage is higher royalty rates. You can earn a lot more than 70% if you sell direct. I’m making $3.49 on my $3.99 titles (as opposed to $2.70 from Amazon) and I’m getting nearly double the royalties on 99c titles.

On top of that, I can now directly serve readers who face higher charges internationally (such as readers in Amazon’s surcharge zone) and those readers who can’t buy from the major retailers (e.g. Barnes & Noble only serve the US, and Amazon…

View original post 1,773 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging

“You Can Buy Happiness” by Tammy Strobel

Tammy Strobel blogs at “Rowdy Kittens” about simplifying her life, riding bicycles, and living in tiny houses (or as she puts it, finding “fulfillment in less stuff, less debt and less wage-chasing”). Simplicity! I’m in favor of it.

She has a print book scheduled for release in September.  The title is: “You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap).”

If we had a Pulitzer Prize for book titles, that would be a winner. You can see the cover and read a little more about her book here.  It’s nonfiction, and already listed for preorder in paperback on Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel. I can’t wait to read it. I think I’ll probably order some happiness as well, since it’s cheap. Maybe I’ll buy happiness in large quantities, enough to share.   Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Frugal living, Simple Living