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Amazon Prime streaming video app coming soon to Android, Amazon says
July 23, 2014 | 12:36 am

It might be a bit surprising, but one of our most popular articles here at TeleRead deals not with books but rather with video—in particular, how to use a Flash-enabled web browser to watch Amazon Prime streaming videos on Android devices. Since there’s no native Android player application for the service, the way there are for Kindle Fire and iOS devices, this workaround has been the best that Android owners can do. (And even that didn’t work outside of the US.) Until now. PC Advisor reports that Amazon Instant Video marketing director Russell Morris said at an event in...

Kindle Unlimited is now live
July 18, 2014 | 10:28 am

kindle unlimited pageAs you no doubt saw in the Morning Links, Kindle Unlimited is now live. It's pretty much what we were expecting when it was leaked on Wednesday. Right now, it's mostly Amazon imprints and KDP Select books, with a few others like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. Books by Open Road and a few other smaller traditional publishers are also available. No Big 5 books, however, which wasn't a surprise. For Amazon authors, the KDP Select FAQ and agreement have been updated to include Kindle Unlimited, according to reports on KBoards. There was no mention of the Select pool...

July Author Earnings report surveys DRM, genre sales
July 18, 2014 | 3:34 am

ae-julyHugh Howey and Data Guy have done it again, producing another interesting report on a sample of data scraped from Amazon. The July report re-runs the numbers for their main chart based on the new data, then branches out into a couple of interesting new measurements—including one that I specifically asked for back in May. The main measurements show basically incremental change from the last few reports, In terms of daily revenue to authors (taking into account royalty percentages from publisher sales and Amazon revenue percentages from self-published works), Big Five authors take 37% of total Amazon daily revenue...

Amazon to start Kindle Unlimited, a service similar to Scribd/Oyster?
July 16, 2014 | 11:18 am

kindle unlimited page?Nate at The Digital Reader broke a fascinating story this morning. Some authors on KBoards noticed an Amazon webpage for "Kindle Unlimited." [caption id="attachment_116185" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image from KBoards via Dear Author[/caption] According to Nate: Details are still vague, but at this point I know that about 6 hours ago several authors noticed that there was a new page in the Kindle Store. That page was shortly taken down, but while it was up it was titled Kindle Unlimited, and it offered readers access to a catalog of 600,000 ebook and audiobook titles for $9.99 (per month or per year, I don’t know). As...

Authors Guild shares message against Amazon offer from diehard critic Richard Russo
July 14, 2014 | 2:25 pm

America's Authors Guild has just shared an open letter from its current co-Vice President, novelist Richard Russo, coming out against Amazon's offer of 100 percent ebook royalties to Hachette authors while the Amazon/Hachette dispute continues. The letter attracted a prompt response from Amazon, who wrote as follows (here courtesy of Publishers Weekly): Our offer is sincere and it stands—Hachette need only say yes to help their authors. We also wonder what this letter would look like if Hachette had posed this idea and Amazon had rejected it. The letter conflates the long-term structure of the industry with a short-term proposal designed...

Amazon gives finger to French anti law, mocks government stupidity
July 12, 2014 | 3:37 pm

Amazon has just neatly demonstrated how dumb it is for governments to try to constrain free markets and pursue ideological vendettas against particular companies. Of course, the French government may be more thick-skinned than most on those counts, but then Amazon has shown some chutzpah in both standing up to them and exposing them to public ridicule. The issue, unsurprisingly, is France's much-touted anti-Amazon law, designed to stop the vile Americains from defiling French culture by shipping books free of charge. After all the big machines of French legislation put to work to bring Amazon to heel, all the soundbites...

Amazon sez: All your reading habits are belong to us
July 11, 2014 | 4:28 pm

all_your_base_by_ultimathegod-d30fu0fThe recent Wall Street Journal article on "The Summer's Most Unread Books" attracted a little comment in passing on how easy it is for Amazon to probe deep into people's personal reading habits. Courtesy of the Kindle "Popular Highlights" feature, WSJ's Jordan Ellenberg could parse the preferences and persistence of the readers of some of this summer's most popular titles, right there in public view. Leaving aside the value of this technique as an index of intellectual posturing, this is a good reminder of just how much of your information, as well as your ownership rights, you're giving away through the...

Nando’s, Amazon, and tax: Who’s the real chicken?
July 11, 2014 | 11:25 am

In the wake of UK children's writer Allan Ahlberg's refusal of the Amazon-sponsored inaugural Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award - over Amazon's tax avoidance policies and other issues including the Hachette standoff - The Guardian has been probing into similar tax efficiency schemes, highlighting, of all players, Nando's the Portuguese style chicken chain. According to The Guardian, Nando's not only uses a secretive Channel Islands trust to avoid heavy inheritance tax on the owners of the privately-held group, but also "uses a battery of offshore techniques, including companies in Malta, Guernsey and the Netherlands, to legally reduce its UK corporation tax...

Author boycotts Booktrust prize over Amazon tax practices, Hachette dispute
July 11, 2014 | 10:24 am

UK children's author Allan Ahlberg has turned down the first-ever Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award from UK literacy charity Booktrust because it is sponsored by Amazon. In an open letter to The Bookseller, Ahlberg, 75, wrote: "A few weeks ago I learned that I had been chosen for the inaugural Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award. I was, of course, delighted. I told my wife, told my daughter and ran around the house. Then I discovered that the award was sponsored by Amazon and felt obliged to refuse it." He cited his objections to Amazon's practices on corporate taxation, as well as "Amazon’s baleful influence...

Hachette rejects Amazon proposal to give Hachette authors 100% of e-book revenue
July 8, 2014 | 6:09 pm

In the Amazon vs. Hachette feud, the PR moves and countermoves are coming out. Laura Hazard Owen has coverage at GigaOm and the Wall Street Journal also has a piece (paywalled; google the headline to view) on a proposal Amazon has floated to Hachette authors to pay them 100% of all revenue from sales of their e-books—cutting out both its own 30% and Hachette’s 70% share—if Hachette agrees. The revenue split on paper books would be unaffected. The letter is particularly interesting in that, for the first time, Amazon is shedding some light on how the negotiations with...

SFWA ‘doubles down’ in support of Douglas Preston’s petition
July 8, 2014 | 6:26 am

sfwaPassive Guy over at The Passive Voice reports receiving an email from SFWA headed “SFWA doubling down,” clarifying its position on signing onto Douglas Preston’s open letter decrying Amazon’s hardball tactics in its negotiation with Hachette. (Odd that they didn’t also send it to me, given that TPV carried the story I posted about it in the first place.) The letter reads as follows: SFWA’s support of Douglas Preston’s open letter reflects our concern about Amazon’s tactics in their dispute with Hachette and the way those tactics are impacting writers and their careers. We are,...

Chuck Wendig fires back against Hugh Howey-led pro-Amazon petition
July 7, 2014 | 12:27 pm

Author Chuck Wendig (who? Oh, that Chuck Wendig) has posted a counterblast to the recent petition calling on Hachette to settle its dispute with Amazon and "stop fighting low prices and fair wages." And Wendig's words are already getting some airing on Publishers Lunch and elsewhere (under the headline "Hugh Howey Launches Petition Thanking Amazon; Amazon Author Wendig Responds"), so it's worth going over them to see ... what they're worth. This isn't to belittle the good points that Wendig does make about the petition and the pro-Amazon camp - there are quite a few of those. But there are quite...