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Authors United to ask Department of Justice for Amazon antitrust inquiry
September 25, 2014 | 6:08 pm

So, Authors United’s latest publicity stunt is to declare they’re asking the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for anti-trust issues in the wake of the continuing contract dispute with Hachette. (Publishers Weekly talks about it here, linking to a paywalled Financial Times article that you can read free by googling “Authors to call for Amazon antitrust inquiry” then clicking the FT article and answering a question.) They’re still in the process of drafting the letter; Douglas Preston says it was leaked “very prematurely.” The letter will ask the justice department’s antitrust division to “examine Amazon’s...

Kindle Unlimited launches in the UK
September 24, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle unlimitedKindle-based subscription reading isn't limited to the US any longer. Amazon has launched Kindle Unlimited in the UK. For £7.99, UK readers can now enjoy all the benefits of Kindle Unlimited. Nate at the Digital Reader reported last month that KU will be launched in Germany at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month. If true, that will make three countries. If you're in the UK and trying to decide if you should sign up, check out my article on two months with Unlimited. I think it's an excellent service, even though it is lacking content from big publishers. There's still plenty there to...

Why NOT self-publish exclusively through Amazon?
September 19, 2014 | 7:50 pm

I first saw a post by Hugh Howey discussing the potential cost versus befits of going exclusive with Amazon a few days ago. I was thinking of saying something about it, but it kind of takes on added significance with the news about Barnes & Noble removing the “Download” button from its e-book library. Howey’s post is worth reading, but lends itself to easy summarizing. Essentially, Amazon provides a number of added benefits and incentives to writers who publish exclusively via Amazon either temporarily or continually: free giveaway days, or inclusion in e-book subscription services such as the...

Barnes & Noble removes ability to download its e-books outside of the Nook ecosystem
September 18, 2014 | 9:54 pm

I’m hesitant to believe this story Nate’s reporting, even after clicking the links and reading the sources for myself. How could anyone in the modern e-book market be this dumb? But the writing seems to be on the wall. Barnes & Noble has removed the “Download” button from its e-book library,  [Update: Nate’s posted another piece indicating B&N cited “security” as the reason for the change.] It’s no longer possible to download a book directly from the B&N web site to your hard drive by saving it from your B&N e-book library through your browser. And that...

My thoughts on the new Amazon Kindle lineup
September 18, 2014 | 2:21 pm

amazon kindleIn today's Morning Links, there was a full report on the new Amazon Kindle lineup. Some of it interested me and some of it didn't. Here were some key points I took out of Amazon's news, and some commentary on why it either hit the mark for me or fell flat. 1) Updated iOS apps. I was not clear on whether the app required iOS 8 or was merely a refresh in anticipation of it, but I am looking forward to having cut and paste options at last. I often paste favourite quotes into Evernote for future reference, and this will...

Amazon releases Prime Instant Video app for non-Fire Android devices
September 9, 2014 | 8:54 pm

prime instantWe and Nate at The Digital Reader have previously written about a workaround for watching Android Prime Instant Video on non-Fire Android devices. Until now, it required installing the Dolphin web browser and a deprecated Flash app, then setting Amazon Streaming Video to use Flash instead of Silverlight so that it would think you were watching video from a desktop. However, now Android Authority reports that, at least for people in the US, Amazon has finally released an Amazon Prime Instant Video app for non-Fire Android devices. Of course, Amazon being Amazon, the process is still more complicated than...

Amazon finally launches an Instant Video for Android app
September 9, 2014 | 9:56 am

amazon instant videoAmazon's lack of a native Instant Video app provided a nice run for TeleRead. The two workaround articles to get Amazon Instant Video on your Android device have been our two best traffic drivers for more than a year. However, Amazon has finally done the right thing and released an app for Android. It's easy to install, although it's not as straightforward as installing on iOS. If you go to Google Play and search for Amazon Instant Video, you get the app for Google TV, not the app for your phone or tablet. What you do instead is download the Amazon App...

More from Neil Gaiman on the Amazon/Hachette faceoff
September 4, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Neil Gaiman's views on the Amazon/Hachette spat seem to have evolved a little since Chris Meadows last reported on them in mid-June. According to an answer to a self-published author and fan recently posted on "the official Neil Gaiman Tumblr, but honestly no better than the unofficial Neil Gaiman Tumblrs out there," Gaiman now says: "I don’t see an enemy. I see two huge multinational corporations having a fight over contracts and terms, and authors staring up at them from ground level. It’s like Godzilla battling Gamera, and we’re looking up from the sidewalks of New York rather worried that...

In dismissing Amazon’s Orwell quotation, Laura Miller misinterprets Orwell herself
August 26, 2014 | 9:15 pm

There she goes again. Salon’s Laura Miller has penned the latest in a series of tirades against Amazon, this one summing up the squabble thus far and taking issue with Amazon’s quotation of Orwell’s discussion of paperbacks in its “Readers United” letter explaining that lower prices were good for everyone. We’ve already discussed Miller’s biases in some of the links above, but the most interesting thing has to do with her understanding (or lack thereof) of the Orwell quotation. Miller writes: To top it all off this month, the retailer posted an open...

Kindle Worlds: Success or Failure?
August 18, 2014 | 2:32 pm

Kindle WorldsGigaOM has this interesting little write-up about the Kindle Worlds program. This Kindle sub-category allows authors to write---and profit from---their own fan stories from worlds such as Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl. My only personal experience with these books has been an anthology---and a freebie first-in-series from an author represented in said anthology---set in Hugh Howey's Wool world. They were okay. I think they were nicely done, and reasonably polished and professional-looking. I did ultimately conclude that I would not be perusing any further Wool titles, but I do think the ones I saw seemed reasonable enough. So, where is the problem?...

Purdue reveals an alarming future for academia with Amazon?
August 16, 2014 | 10:25 am

Purdue University has announced some bright news for its students - provided they are prepared to tie themselves to Amazon. They now have "the opportunity to save up to 30 percent - or $6 million - a year on textbooks" thanks to "the Purdue Student Store on Amazon, a new, co-branded experience where students can purchase lower-cost textbooks and other college essentials." This follows up on a slightly different pilot program already debuted at UC Davis. It seems like a great deal, but no one could imagine that Amazon is doing this purely out of generosity. "Through the Purdue Student Store on...

Amazon adds pre-order option to KDP
August 14, 2014 | 5:22 pm

KDPHmm. This is an interesting development, which I just noticed via Passive Voice. Amazon just opened up pre-orders to self-published authors through Kindle Direct Publishing. I say interesting because one of the complaints in the Hachette/Amazon conflict has been the removal of pre-order buttons from Hachette books. I've seen many indie authors who say one of the reasons they have little sympathy for Hachette is that Amazon is removing something indies have rarely had access to. No more. You can make your new books available for pre-order in Kindle Stores worldwide. Setting a pre-order allows customers to order your book as early...