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Photos of Amazon 3D, 6-camera smartphone prototype surface
April 15, 2014 | 2:44 pm

bgr-a-phone-1-500x231There goes Amazon, changing the game again. I’ve noticed that when Amazon introduces its own spin on an already-established device, it likes to add some new and different feature from right out of left field to distinguish itself from the competition. With e-readers, it was the free 3G service to let people buy e-books and check their mail from anywhere. With the Fire TV it was the extensive gaming focus and voice search. Now, with Amazon’s impending smartphone, it appears to be six cameras and a 3D display. The Boy Genius Report has exclusive photos and more information about...

Amazon to purchase ComiXology e-comic-book store
April 10, 2014 | 6:24 pm

Looks like the Big Bad Amazon Wolf has just gulped down another hefty meal. Two weeks after rumors started going around (as noticed by Nate Hoffelder at the Digital Reader), Amazon has announced it will be acquiring ComiXology, the e-comic-book store that carries titles from Marvel, DC, Image, and a number of others. Although the various comic book publishers are trying to push their own stores, ComiXology has nonetheless become the best known source for e-books of popular comics. Now, like Audible and so many other brands, it is going to find a new home at Amazon. News is...

For Jeff Bezos, customer convenience is king
April 6, 2014 | 3:11 pm

Forbes has another profile of Jeff Bezos. Seems we’ve been seeing those a lot lately, what with that recent book on the man. This one looks particularly at Bezos’s intense focus on customer satisfaction. Actually, “satisfaction” doesn’t seem to go quite far enough, because “satisfaction” implies a middle-of-the-scale response. Bezos wants the customer wowed. He wants to make everything as convenient as possible, even to the point of shaving fractions of a second from page load times. That kind of obsession might be easy to make fun of, but give the man his due: he’s running a multi-billion dollar corporation that...

Amazon launches interest-free Kindle installment plan
March 14, 2014 | 2:20 pm

kindleinstallmentsAmazon just keeps coming up with ways to get its devices into more and more people’s hands. So maybe you can’t afford $139 for a 7” Kindle Fire HD tablet, or $69 for a basic Kindle e-reader, in one chunk. Now Amazon will let you pay it in five monthly installments. They aren’t even tacking on any interest. You pay 20% of the device price at purchase, then make four more equal payments in the same amount every thirty days, directly from your credit card. That works out to five $27.80 payments for the 7” tablet, or $13.80...

What if Amazon bought Barnes & Noble?
March 14, 2014 | 11:12 am

There’s a peculiar phenomenon by which year-old articles sometimes show up again in news aggregators and social network feeds that for some reason see the month and day part of the date and miss the year. (It’s gotten me in trouble before.) But today it brings up an interesting blog post I missed the first time around. And while a lot has changed since the post was written in March 2013, it still bears a little bit of thinking about: might or should Amazon buy the struggling Barnes & Noble? There’s been a lot of speculation...

Jo Walton, converted e-reader skeptic
March 6, 2014 | 3:01 pm

image One interesting benefit of still being in the early days of the e-book age is that you get to see a lot of converted-skeptic stories. Holdouts are converting all the time. One of those is Tor.com’s Jo Walton, who picked up an e-reader a couple of years ago and writes about two major ways in which it changed her reading habits. The first way is that she no longer has to worry about how many books to take with her when she goes anywhere. She can finish one book and start right into another, or even read...

Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite $20 off today only
March 4, 2014 | 1:17 pm

kindle and kindle paperwhite $20 offSorry I didn't notice this sooner, but Amazon is running a 1-day sale on the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite in honor of National Reading Month. $20 off brings the Kindle to just $49 and the Paperwhite to $99, assuming you get them with Special Offers. Those are some great prices for the readers. The sale is timely for me. I sold my Kindle Touch last year, and I've been suffering from seller's regret since we started planning a cruise for later this year. Tablets are great ereaders, but they aren't so good if you're planning to read in the sun, by the pool, cold...

Review: Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner
February 28, 2014 | 6:58 pm

coverIf you type the words into Google, you’ll find that random story generator sites are everywhere on the Internet. It seems like people have discovered the randomness of computers can help them shuffle up a bunch of basic archetypes and come up with a plot outline they can write to. But there’s a set of random story generation tools out there that pre-date the Internet by most of a century—and while not as old as some people claim they are, they’re nonetheless old enough, and well-used enough, that they can make a great tool in any writer’s toolbox. I’m...

Thanks to Kindle Worlds, ‘fired’ Vampire Diaries writer continues her own series as ‘fanfic’
February 10, 2014 | 6:18 pm

evensongThe life of a book packaging writer is not always an easy one. Take the case of LJ Smith, who wrote for Alloy Entertainment, a fiction creation company that created young-adult series for the sake of getting tie-in TV shows and movies made. Alloy has had a string of successes in that regard: Gossip Girls, Pretty Little Liars, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants…and Smith’s series, The Vampire Diaries, which she wrote for two decades. The thing is, under the terms of her contract, Smith didn’t actually own the rights to the Vampire Diaries books. She wrote them as works...

Wal-Mart promises to catch up to Amazon in two years
January 23, 2014 | 1:02 pm

Wal-Mart is eyeing Amazon enviously, and trying to step up its game to compete. A Wal-Mart exec told the Wall Street Journal (paywalled; circumvent with Google News) that Wal-Mart was going to be able to match Amazon’s range of products and ability to ship fast “within two years.” "Wal-Mart was the Internet before the Internet came along," [Wal-Mart global e-commerce CEO Neil] Ashe said. "Value, access, transparency and efficiency are what the Internet asks of companies to survive. And the ethos of our company is very aligned with what customers are asking us to do." ...

Kindle Paperwhite: First Impressions From Canada
January 14, 2014 | 10:25 am

kindle paperwhiteI saw my first Kindle Paperwhite over the weekend! Here in Canada, land of the Kobo, Kindles are a rare sight even for older models. But thanks to my dual-citizen sister (who chose the Kindle because she plans to move back to the U.S.) I got my hands on one this weekend. And? I liked it! Here were my thoughts. Kindle Paperwhite Screen and Light These looked good to me. I had been told it was much less blue-looking than the Kobo Glo (which I have) but I didn't find it overwhelmingly different. It looked fine to me. Nothing special, but fine. The Book-Reading Experience Reading...

Amazon ranked #1 in customer satisfaction again; knocks $30 off Fire tablets to celebrate
January 9, 2014 | 3:13 pm

In honor of being ranked #1 in customer satisfaction during the holiday shopping season for the 9th year in a row by the ForeSee Experience Index, Amazon has announced it is knocking $30 off all Kindle Fire tablets until 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, January 11th. That would knock the base model 7” Kindle Fire HD down to $109, the 7” HDX (with the new Mayday Button) or the 8.9” HD down to $199, and the 8.9” HDX down to $349. Not bad pricing, all in all, if that’s what you’re looking for in a tablet. To take advantage of...