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Kindle

Kindle X-Ray finally makes it to Kindle Android client – but is it worth it?
December 12, 2014 | 4:00 pm

Android apps have been going through a slew of upgrades and retoolings since the debut of Android 5.0 Lollipop, and now it's the turn of the Amazon Kindle app, which has just updated to version 4.8.0. As per the Google Play Store blur, this brings, for the first time, Amazon's Kindle X-Ray functionality "for Books and Textbooks to look up places, characters and terms," as well as "push notifications from Kindle," "improved library search," "flashcard sets to review textbook material," and the usual "experience improvements and bug fixes."...

Apple iPod DRM case heats up, but might still fizzle
December 7, 2014 | 12:37 pm

The wheels of justice grind slowly, and sometimes a bit of grit gets stuck in the gears. This seems to be the case with the ten-year-old lawsuit against Apple over the DRM policies it used to enforce on iTunes Music Store music and iPods. Over the last couple of weeks, it’s started moving again, and the testimony and depositions have been interesting to follow. But now it looks as though, just as it’s getting started again, it may come to a complete halt. Locking Out Competitors At heart, the case has to do with the way Apple continually...

Zelig and the art of winning a Pulitzer: Q&A with J. Ross Baughman, photojournalist
November 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

nazisphotographedbyjrossbaughmanImagine you’re with the Secret Service. A young Ohioan calls up and says he’ll be joining the Nazi Party. “I wanted you to know.” Wait---the story gets even better. The Ohio man already has been within shooting range of presidential candidates. J. Ross Baughman isn’t a real Nazi, however. Instead he is a photojournalist for my old newspaper, and he is about to infiltrate the National Socialist movement. My friend is merely trying to keep his name off the Secret Service’s watch list so he can continue his campaign coverage. A letter co-signed by his editor does the trick. The Nazis think...

More on the Kindle Paperwhite Update
November 21, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle paperwhite updateI received the new Kindle Paperwhite update at some point yesterday. When I went to use it last night, there was an alert from Amazon---complete with explanatory e-guide---highlighting features of the new OS. Some of it didn't interest me. We can't use FreeTime in Canada. and the family sharing was a moot point since the Beloved does not have an Amazon account. But I was interested to check out the 'improved' collection handling. The e-guide promised that, as people have often requested, Amazon has added some filters to make it easier to distinguish between Cloud and on-device content. Here was how...

James Patterson wants Amazon to do more to promote reading
November 20, 2014 | 7:16 am

Salon Magazine has an interview with bestselling author and literary franchise James Patterson that is refreshingly free of the anti-Amazon rhetoric that has characterized both institutions of late. At least they’re not currently trashing Amazon for what it’s doing. They’re complaining about what Amazon ought to be doing but isn’t. And I can’t say that I necessarily disagree. Patterson is planning to launch a new public awareness campaign to encourage reading, following on the heels of his $1 million in grants to bookstores. The campaign will include a TV ad featuring a public book-burning (a bit of a cliché,...

Amazon’s $99 Fire HD shines for library and public domain books—and here are a few related tips
October 30, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Thumbs up on Amazon's Fire HD 6 from Len Edgerly of the Kindle Chronicles. Amazon’s new Fire HD 6, a $99 tablet computer, might be catnip for frugal lovers of library and public domain e-books who don’t need a cell phone in the same gadget. Libraries themselves, in fact, may want to loan out HDs and other Amazon models while experimenting with other brands, too. The six-inch screen’s resolution is 1280x800, and the pixel count is 252 per inch. That’s equal to many cell phones selling for twice as much. 252 ppi is just 48 ppi shy of the 300-ppi of the Voyage, the new top-of-the-line E Ink reader from Amazon. The HD 6’s screen should also...

Amazon to experiment with brick-and-mortar store in New York City
October 9, 2014 | 5:16 pm

Remember when Apple opened its first retail store and everyone thought they were crazy? It’s déjà vu all over again. The Wall Street Journal (article paywalled; google the headline to read) cites the ubiquitous “people familiar with” the matter to reveal that Amazon is opening its first brick-and-mortar store at 7 West 34th St. in New York City, across from the Empire State Building and just a block away from Macy’s at Herald Square, just in time for the holiday season. The store space could be used for same-day delivery in New York City, returns and exchanges, order...

Greenpeace deluges Amazon Fire Phone with one-star protest reviews
October 3, 2014 | 5:56 pm

greenpeaceWow, everyone’s piling onto Amazon these days. The latest fight Amazon’s picked with someone (or vice versa) is with, of all organizations, Greenpeace. Seeking Alpha reports that the environmental organization is upset Amazon hasn’t committed to moving to 100% green energy for its data centers the way other big data users like Google, Apple, and Facebook have. Even Yahoo and Microsoft have been making improvements, but Amazon hasn’t seen the need. So, Greenpeace decided to stage a protest. And since Amazon doesn’t have any ships they can row dinghies in front of or send scuba divers to sabotage, they...

Kindle Voyage sells out!
September 23, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Kindle VoyageNate at The Digital Reader has this brief piece in which he reports that the Kindle Voyage has sold out in its first four days, and is now back-ordered. From the story: "A quick check of the Kindle Voyage page on Amazon this morning has revealed that several of the Kindle Voyage models have been delayed as late as the second week of December. While the 3G+ads model is still scheduled to ship in October, the other three options have been pushed back at least a month (there’s also a quota of two per customer)." In other Kindle Voyage news, a poster at...

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...

What features do the e-Ink Kindles still need?
August 14, 2014 | 10:25 am

E-inkThere is a new Kindle Paperwhite update making the rounds! It adds some features which have been present in the iOS app for awhile, including the 'sync to most recent open page' option and some PDF features. I really like some of the 'extras' eBooks allow me to take advantage of. I love the on-board dictionary, the Wikipedia and Google Translate options, the notes and annotation features (I never used to highlight paper books; I often do with eBooks) and, few bugs notwithstanding, the vocabulary builder. So, what's left? What features could Amazon still add here? 1) Academic Citation Features. I wonder...

Amazon asks Kindle Direct authors and readers to lobby Hachette in contract negotiation
August 9, 2014 | 3:37 am

Amazon’s PR push in the Hachette negotiation seems to have moved beyond simply posting announcements to forums. I just had a rather lengthy email show up in my inbox from “Kindle Direct Publishing,” which begins with the salutation “Dear KDP Author.” I’m not sure if I received it because I created a KDP account at some point while looking into it, or as a member of the press. Either way, I’m reproducing the letter here in full. The letter essentially expands upon Amazon’s recent forum post about the situation, laying out Amazon’s belief that Hachette wants to charge too...