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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...

Amazon gives away 30 free Android apps June 27, 28
June 27, 2014 | 3:36 pm

If you’ve got an Android tablet and are looking for something fun to put on it, don’t miss this Amazon giveaway. Instead of just one app, today Amazon’s giving away thirty with a combined total value of over $100. And these aren’t some random apps you’ve never heard of, either. Gizmodo has a rundown of some of the better ones.  The list includes the Plex media streamer, AccuWeather Platinum (a great weather app, which I personally used myself already), Notepad+, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and more. Most of them will work with any Android tablet, as long as you’ve...

‘Boom’ goes bust with Byliner
June 20, 2014 | 10:30 am

boomIn the New York Times, Tony Horwitz writes a cautionary tale about his travails with a small e-publisher called Byliner. a Kindle Singles publisher who’s shown up a few times in TeleRead. Horwitz had been asked by a new e-zine called The Global Mail to do a long-form work on the Keystone XL pipeline, to the tune of $15,000, plus $5,000 for expenses. So Horwitz traveled, did his research, and wrote a 40,000-word piece from the experience. As he was writing, the Global Mail informed him they had arranged a deal to co-publish with Byliner, who “thought we might...

Why fear Firefly when you can go with the Flow?
June 19, 2014 | 2:37 pm

fireflyNo, not that Firefly. Various sites are referring to the Amazon Fire Phone’s “Firefly” image recognizer as a “built-in showrooming tool.” Which I suppose it is, when you get right down to it. But it’s not as if it’s that much harder for folks to install a “showrooming tool” of their own, such as QR Droid, or even Amazon’s own “Flow” showrooming tool, on the phones they already have. In fact, having just tried “Flow” out for the first time, I can safely say it basically is Firefly (or, at least, the subset of what Firefly does...

Amazon’s Fire Phone is the smartphone for people who love Amazon
June 18, 2014 | 3:40 pm

amazon_phone-1200-80Well, the Amazon launch event just wrapped, and there are articles covering all the details all over the place. (Here’s a good one at Ars Technica plus our own Juli Monroe wrote one.) The Amazon Fire Phone (what a creative and original name!) is pretty much as expected from all the rumors. It has decent specs (quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM; 4.7” IPS Gorilla Glass 1280x720 display) four head-tracking cameras for lenticular 3D effects, a 13 megapixel image-stabilized rear facing camera, and a few other neat gizmos like that. It does have...

Joyland mistaken identity brings royalty joy to author of other ‘Joyland’ book
June 17, 2014 | 6:42 pm

Remember when Stephen King expressly declined to put out an e-book edition of his new novel Joyland, out of nostalgia for the experience of reading paperbacks when he was a kid? He preferred instead that readers should have to “stir their sticks” to go and get a real print book. It turns out to have had the most amusing side-effect. You see, eight years ago, an author named Emily Schultz wrote another novel called Joyland. And shortly after King’s book of that title came out, Schultz suddenly started getting angry and confused Amazon reviews from people who bought her...

Amazon to partner with AT&T for its smartphone service, sources say
June 17, 2014 | 9:09 am

An iconoclastic company introduces a new cell phone, and announces it will be available exclusively through AT&T. Anyone feel like it’s 2007 again? The Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled; google the headline to get the full article) that anonymous sources have revealed Amazon’s new smartphone, to be announced tomorrow, will be available exclusively through AT&T. AT&T is already the service provider for Kindle tablets and e-readers, so it’s not exactly a surprise. It’s amusing that Amazon is taking a page from its rival Apple’s book, with Apple’s very own former dance partner yet. I suppose AT&T’s been hurting a...

Amazon could ‘attack’ Android…but why would it want to?
June 15, 2014 | 3:48 pm

So, investment tea-leaf-reading site Seeking Alpha has a piece by Panabee Research on ways that Amazon could “attack” Android with its new device, presumably a smartphone, it will be announcing this week. Noting that Amazon has historically sold its hardware devices at close to their wholesale cost and made most of its money from content sales, Panabee believes Amazon should go with “a volume strategy and an attack on Android.” Because Android is so fragmented, Amazon doesn’t require a large market share in order to “threaten Android and present a compelling alternative to developers.” The article goes on to...

Don’t be ‘That Guy’
June 2, 2014 | 6:06 pm

yell-monitor-l1Over the last few days, someone on one of the forums I frequent has started screaming bloody murder about a Kindle technical problem. I’m not going to say who or where (and I’d ask that any commenters who know who I’m talking about please do the same), because it’s not my intention to “name and shame.” I’ll just call him That Guy. Anyway, That Guy has posted his rant across three different forum boards, accusing Amazon of “fraud” because he can’t get his e-books to sync to the second Kindle on his account from the “Manage Your Content &...

The Morning Roundup: ‘Media Shield’ Amendment and more
June 2, 2014 | 9:08 am

sls_offline_collection Confused by eBooks? Welcome to the Crowd (Author U) Is Amazon for eBooks the only game in town? -- Classroom into Newsroom: 9 Steps to a Multimedia Class Project (Media Shift) Like many of you, I embrace the guide-on-the-side model for teaching vs. the sage-on-the-stage version. -- House Approves 'Media Shield' Amendment, as Reporter Reveals 2011 Subpoena Fight (Boing Boing) The House of Representatives today voted 225-183 to approve an appropriations bill amendment that bars the Justice Department from forcing reporters to testify about their confidential sources. -- My...