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Amazon rumored to launch two smartphones in 1H2014
December 24, 2013 | 11:53 am

Is Amazon getting into smartphones? If the latest DigiTimes rumor can be believed, they should be launching in the first half of 2014. The leak is from camera-maker Primax Electronics, which reports getting an order for a lot of cameras to go into such phones. Mediabistro’s Appnewser has a few more details. Reportedly there are two models, a high-end and a regular one, and they’re going to have “as many as three front facing cameras for motion sensor technology, meaning you won’t have to touch the screen to interact with the device.” Intriguing. Of course, they will almost...

Amazon Kindle with Special Offers: $49, today only
December 17, 2013 | 2:59 pm

Amazon is running a sale today (12/17) on its Kindle with Special Offers. This is the basic model, with the arrow buttons rather than a touch screen. It’s normally $69, but Amazon’s got it on sale for $49, today only. Free shipping, non-refurbished. So, if you don’t mind a little non-intrusive advertising, and supporting an evil empire in its continued domination of the e-book industry, it would make a great gift for that friend who likes to read but doesn’t have an e-reader yet. Or, for that matter, for yourself. Needless to say, you can sideload any DRM-free MOBI...

Kindle Fire HDX tablets can now print to Epson printers – but so can most Android tablets
December 6, 2013 | 12:10 pm

kindle fire hdx Editor's Note: I know many readers of TeleRead also read The Digital Reader. His articles are frequent additions to our Morning Roundup posts, and I'm delighted to publish his first TeleRead article. Please welcome Nate to the team! Thanks to a some hard work on the part of Epson and Amazon, Kindle Fire HDX owners are going to be a little more productive. This printer and screen tech manufacturer has worked with Amazon to roll out an update which lets owners of the Kindle Fire HDX and the Kindle Fire HD (2013) print to select Epson printers. Epson announced on their blog...

Amazon tries two-week mall kiosk experiment
November 30, 2013 | 3:43 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon has opened small kiosks in several San Francisco shopping malls to sell Kindles and accessories. They have Kindles on hand that customers can try in a variety of lighting conditions. The stores are only of two-week duration, and Amazon says they are part of a marketing campaign. It’s certainly not a marketing campaign I’ve heard anything about. But Amazon does a lot of experimental things in different locations, and is known for its expertise in mining data. Might this be a trial run to see what form brick-and-mortar retail outlets might best...

Rock your device with selfie Kindle covers – or something
November 17, 2013 | 10:31 am

kindle coversAmazon has introduced a new scheme that could be ideal for the Christmas season: Customized Kindle covers with your own images used as the basis for the design. The "Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" Black Origami Case - 'Create Your Own'" option, for instance, charges $54.99 for a personalized Origami case sized to your Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" that ships in two to three days, according to the Amazon blurb. "The customization service on Amazon allows customers to personalize Kindle covers and skins by uploading photographs or choosing from a library of images, logos, designs and patterns," it explains. The service is also...

Amazon offers discounted hardware, e-book affiliate cut to independent bookstores with Amazon Source
November 6, 2013 | 11:16 am

kindlesourceRemember the Amazon/Waterstones partnership deal I mentioned last year, in which Amazon let the bookstore chain sell Kindles and take a commission on e-books? And the other e-reader/e-book deals that UK independent bookstores were considering? Well, it turns out Amazon is finally bringing something similar to these shores. Amazon has announced a new program called Amazon Source that will allow bookstores to Buy Kindle devices at a 6% discount from the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. Buy Kindle accessories at a 35% discount from...

Former Amazon executive: When Amazon does not seem to turn a profit, its competitors should be scared
November 6, 2013 | 1:40 am

amazonWhy can’t Amazon turn a profit? Eugene Wei, who worked at Amazon until 2004, suggests that’s the wrong question to ask. The big question is why Amazon doesn’t want to turn a profit. In fact, it may even be the wrong line of reasoning altogether. In Wei’s piece on Salon, he points out that Amazon does, or at least did while he was there, turn a profit on pretty much everything it sells, with the exception of specifically-chosen loss leaders (like the infamous $9.99 e-books that drove the publishers so crazy). But the fact that every earning report Bezos delivers shows...

Wikert on Kindle Singles and the size question
October 23, 2013 | 12:10 pm

kindle singlesThe vexed question of that extra length has resurfaced in the blogosphere, with content industry critic Joe Wikert posting his latest evaluation of the state of Amazon's online strategy and the way the ebook ecosystem is going. And it's not hard to guess the direction of his thinking from the post's title: "Kindle Singles and the future of ebooks." [caption id="" align="alignright" width="150"] Joe Wikert[/caption] Two of his points are fairly general, and not especially about size - as well as fairly often made in other contexts. "Amazon becomes the publisher" and "Kill the competition (publishers and retailers)" are analyses - or...

New Kindle Lineup Faster, Lighter and More Locked Down
September 25, 2013 | 4:02 pm

Amazon announced a series of new Kindle tablets yesterday. Some of the intriguing features of this new lineup include a faster processor, improved battery life and a slimmer, lighter profile. As for the 'lowlight,' these tablets are more integrated than ever into the Amazon ecosystem, and that can be both a feature and a curse. A few examples: 1) Goodreads Integration Now that Amazon owns Goodreads, they will be integrating it into all of their software interfaces, for both the tablets and the e-ink readers. That's great, if you like Goodreads! But what if you'd rather use a different social book site?...

Morning Roundup: Sherlock Holmes drama; test-driving Oyster; more
September 17, 2013 | 8:59 am

Reddit's Crowd-Sourced Media is a Lot Like The Regular Kind---Good at Some Things, Not so Good at Others (GigaOM) This time, Reddit was the one that avoided naming the wrong suspect, while mainstream outlets bungled the story — but the bigger picture is that both traditional media and crowdsourced media have their strengths. *** Conan Doyle Estate is Horrified That the Public Domain Might Create 'Multiple Personalities' of Sherlock Holmes (Techdirt) The Conan Doyle estate claims that having that [easyazon-link asin="0553328255" locale="us"]single book[/easyazon-link] under copyright means that the entire character is covered by copyright. *** Test-Driving Oyster, a Netflix for Books (The Digital Shift) Is Oyster set to...

Morning Roundup: E-Books and print bundling; the copyright monopoly; more
September 16, 2013 | 9:03 am

Video Isn't Breaking the Internet, the Industry Giants Are (GigaOM) Video isn’t breaking the web, the way that the web’s biggest players are trying to optimize their costs at the expense of the best consumer experience is. *** At What Point Will the Next Generation Kill the Copyright Monopoly Altogether? (TorrentFreak) For teenagers today, the copyright monopoly is something that the establishment uses to punish them for enjoying culture and science, to censor their protests and voices, and to prevent their art from reaching an audience. As these people grow older and come into policymaking positions, at what point will they just kill the...

Morning Roundup: Netflix for ebooks; goodbye nightly reading; more
September 12, 2013 | 8:46 am

New Smashwords Series Manager Improves Book Discovery (Smashwords) Smashwords today released a powerful new tool called Series Manager that makes series books more discoverable. Series Manager allows series writers to attach their books to series, and manage multiple aspects of their series metadata. *** I Really Like Oyster...but... (The Digital Reader) So a new Netflix for ebooks launched last week. Oyster promises access to a 100,000 title catalog for only $10 which includes titles from some major publishers. I finally got around to trying it today, and I love. *** Five Startups to Watch from Kaplan's TechStars-Powered Ed Tech Accelerator Demo Day (GigaOM) Kaplan’s TechStars-powered ed tech accelerator...