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Posts tagged Amazon

The pros and cons of buttons on e-readers (for page-turning)
July 5, 2015 | 9:47 am

Kindle Voyage e-reader – Amazon’s Official Site – Learn MoreText to speech isn't the only AWOL feature on the newer Kindles and many other devices. Full-sized controls for page-turning would also help, and at MobileRead, button boosters are debating the apathetic and the antis. No, the Kindle Voyage's pathetic page-change sensors, shown in the image, do not count in my opinion. I owned a Voyage for a stretch. I found the sensors to harder to work with than buttons big enough for grown-ups. "Having buttons means I can eat potato chips or buttered popcorn while I read without leaving grease on the screen," says Cromag, cutting to the chase. "Could I do this with...

Furor over Amazon review policy probably signifies nothing
July 4, 2015 | 11:58 am

I love the smell of manufactured outrage in the morning. As posted on her blog and recounted in a Gizmodo story, writer and blogger Imy Santiago bought an independent novel, read it, and tried to post a review of it to Amazon. But Amazon rejected her review, and held firm on the rejection through two rounds of appeals. Amazon said that they had looked at Santiago’s account activity and from it determined Santiago actually personally knew the author of the novel she was trying to review. Hence, Amazon rejected the review on the grounds that there could be a...

Amazon revamps its rating calculations, favoring helpful, recent reviews of verified purchases
July 2, 2015 | 7:48 pm

Passing by almost unnoticed in the barrage of recent news are these pieces from the last couple of weeks on changes Amazon is making to its review system. Effectively, Amazon is using machine learning to change the way it calculates the aggregate star ratings on its reviews. (Found via Reddit.) Amazon is adding more weight to reviews from verified purchasers (that is, people who actually bought the product from Amazon), people who were voted helpful, and people who reviewed it recently. This is getting a lot of play on Facebook lately, including complaints from authors concerned about how this...

Barnes & Noble taps new CEO as revamped B&N e-commerce site hinders access to e-books
July 2, 2015 | 7:02 pm

Earlier today, Fortune reported that Barnes & Noble has tapped Sears Canada CEO Ron Boire to take over as B&N's CEO. Boire has been the CEO of the struggling Sears Canada for just 10 months, but before that he was the head of the USA Sears & Kmart chains for three years. Before that, Boire had worked at Sony, Best Buy, and Toys’R’Us—not exactly a list of winners in the recent economy. And now they expect him to turn Barnes & Noble around? [Update: As Nate pointed out in the comments, the Fortune article is really badly constructed. It...

Appeals court upholds Cote’s Apple anti-trust verdict and settlement
June 30, 2015 | 11:50 am

Only last month, the 2nd Circuit appeals court said that anti-trust monitor Michael Bromwich could continue to monitor Apple in a ruling on Apple’s appeal of Judge Cote’s refusal to dismiss him. Today, the same appeals court issued a similar ruling on Cote’s original verdict, which found Apple guilty of price-fixing and imposed the anti-trust monitor via injunction in the first place. The ruling was 2:1, with Judge Debra Ann Livingston writing for the majority, finding Cote’s decision was correct and the injunction was “lawful and consistent with preventing future anticompetitive harms.” Dissenting was Judge Dennis Jacobs, who oddly enough last time...

ePub and other sacrileges on the Voyage and Paperwhite: Easy jail-breaks ahead?
June 27, 2015 | 2:51 am

VoyageRootNathan ran a great write-up on the challenges of rooting the Kindle Voyage, the Paperwhite and other recent Kindles. He was following up on a how-to video on taking the Voyage apart. Meanwhile, at MobileRead, buzz persists about hacking the recent-model Kindles. Remember, Kindles are little linux beasts. Amazon has tried to turn them into corporate creatures. Now the open source community wants Paperwhites and the rest to be free again to run such applications as Cool Reader without hassles for even the knowledgeable. Among other things, Cool Reader can display ePub, the nonproprietary standard. Jail-breaking, aka letting you modify the equipment you paid for, isn't for wimpy, of course. You don't...

BookDrop: Email ebooks to your Kindle from Dropbox—even ePubs and other formats not normally supported
June 26, 2015 | 1:54 pm

BookDropBookDrop lets you copy ebooks from your Dropbox cloud to your Kindle gadget or app via email. That includes even ePub books and those in other formats that normally won't fly. How-tos and more details are here. No magic, just a Web-browser tweak and a related service. BookDrop adds a browser bookmark and creates its own subdirectory within Dropbox. Into it you can import ebooks from other regions of your drive. Or you can do the reverse and use Dropbox commands to export to the book-drop subdirectory within /Apps. BookDrop works with "any .epub, .mobi, .pdf, .azw, .cbr, .cbz, .txt, .rif, .doc, .docx, .htm, .html, .gif, .png, .bmp, .jpg" or .jpeg...

Sad Puppies supporters, opponents respectively call for boycott, buying of Tor books
June 19, 2015 | 2:34 pm

Depending on your point of view, today is the day you may either want to stop buying books from Tor, or go out and buy some extra to show your support. Sad Puppies supporter Peter Grant and Rabid Puppies founder Theodore “Vox Day” Beale are calling for a boycott of Tor Books because they have not taken sufficient action concerning either the Irene Gallo controversy or other disparaging remarks made by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and John Scalzi. Taking Grant at his word, he has more reason than most to be outraged by Gallo’s referral...

Amazon and Penguin Random House agree to contract
June 18, 2015 | 1:08 pm

Amazon has signed a new contract with Penguin Random House, Publishers Weekly reports. Penguin Random House represents the last of the Big Five (nee Big Six) publishers and the last of the “Agency Five” (well, the Penguin half does, anyway) to agree to new terms. This brings an end to any possibility that there could be a repeat of the months-long Hachette unpleasantness. It’s impossible to know whether Amazon or PRH got the better deal since the terms are not being disclosed, but both sides seem to have learned well the lessons of all the fireworks over the...

The Martian: An accidental self-publishing success story
June 17, 2015 | 2:01 pm

coverA new science fiction movie by a well-known director is on the horizon. Matt Damon plays an astronaut, stranded alone on a planet inimical to human life. It also features Jessica Chastain. While you might be experiencing some Interstellar déjà vu, I’m actually talking about Andy Weir’s breakout novel The Martian, coming later this year by Ridley Scott. An in-universe promotional video and the trailer came out a couple of weeks ago, and proved so popular that 20th Century Fox moved the release date up by two months. But did you know that The Martian was a self-publishing Cinderella...

Kindle Paperwhite Getting Upgrade to 300 ppi
June 17, 2015 | 10:20 am

kindle paperwhiteAmazon just announced that they are upgrading the Kindle Paperwhite to improve the screen to the same resolution as the Kindle Voyage. The new Paperwhite will also have the Bookerly font (which I am not a fan of) and the same reading enhancements announced for the iOS app last week. (Enhancements which are not as enhanced as we'd like.) Obviously, I think the most important part of this announcement is the new screen. Now that I own a Kobo Glo HD, I've learned to appreciate the sharper resolution. However, I didn't like the price tag or haptic page turn feature of the...

E-book-lovers vs. proprietary formats (yes, P is still evil)
June 6, 2015 | 11:28 am

Cumbres_&_Toltec_trainTeleRead writers traditionally have been strong supporters of e-book standards. No blinking. No hesitation. ePub is the way to go in most cases. The majority of us have just hated proprietary formats even though companies like Amazon make them hard to avoid. Proprietary formats remind us of the time when trains commonly ran on tracks of different gauges. But as TeleRead’s owner, I've made it clear we don't have party lines.  And today’s beautifully written essay from Chris Meadows, my friend and much-appreciated colleague, illustrates this. Mind you, Chris isn't directly cheering proprietary formats. He...

How badly coded is the Amazon Kindle Android app?
June 6, 2015 | 10:09 am

KindleAndroidBadlyCodedMajor tech companies sometimes have a surprising habit of rolling out sub-optimal products in what are supposed to be their core competence areas. For example, Google's Chrome browser for Android gets some indifferent assessments at times over issues like speed and cache bloat, and this is Google's own flagship browser running on its own OS. And think of Microsoft's terrible record in pushing out new versions of Windows that have been panned by the marketplace, and required revisions, rethinks, and still newer versions. Which brings me to some recurrent frustrations over the Amazon Kindle app. For the longest time,...

Morning Links: When good friends write bad books, Amazon food, and more
June 3, 2015 | 9:04 am

What To Do When Someone You Know Writes a Bad Book (Book Riot) Writing a book is a great accomplishment. It can take years of meditating, creating, editing, querying, marketing, and tweaking to get it published. It’s an effort that absolutely deserves praise. But what are we supposed to do when someone we personally know, even care about, writes a bad one? The Teleread Take: The last person I know who showed me their book surprised me: it was better than I thought it would be. But many of us in this age of self-publishing have been there! Book Riot has some...

Amazon’s ‘most well-read cities’ rankings for 2015: Thank goodness my hometown is NOT on this silly list
June 3, 2015 | 5:08 am

375px-Space_Needle_2011-07-04Seattle leads Amazon’s 2015 list of America’s “most well-read cities.” My hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, with a population of around 150,000, is no longer #1. Amazon now compares only cities with populations of half a million or more, not the previous 100,000. Thank goodness. Alexandria’s #1 showing distracted the media and others from genuine literacy issues. Amazon based its numbers only on the company’s per-capita sales of books, newspapers and magazines. The reality in Alexandria differs starkly from the past Amazon rankings. The only bookstore of any size is the local Barnes & Noble branch. More than half of Alexandria’s public high...

Summer time and the stealin’ is easy: How do you protect your Kindle, iDevice or other goody? Ever been ripped off?
May 29, 2015 | 9:18 am

pickpocketA relative of mine took her Kindle to the beach. She got a tan. The Kindle got a new owner. Soon my relative discovered that someone had bought a foreign-language magazine with it. So, with summer vacations coming up, what anti-theft tips can you share with fellow members of the TeleRead community? Last September, Nathan over at TheeBookReader.com reminded Kindle owners of the need to call Amazon first and then deregister your Kindle. Other tips? And how about other popular devices, ranging from iPhones and iPads to Android phones (fodder for pickpockets?)? Are you using remote-disable apps and...

New Kindle App Options Not As Great As Amazon Presents
May 27, 2015 | 5:25 pm

Screenshot_2015-05-27-14-47-02I noticed this morning that my Kindle for iOS app had been updated and included the new font, Bookerly, plus new reading enhancing improvements. Here's what Amazon has to say about the improvements: Faster Reading, Less Eye Strain Hyphenation plus smoother word spacing result in faster reading with less eye strain. Improved character placement increases word recognition speed at any font size. Nate covered this story at Ink, Bits & Pixels, and has been in back and forth conversations with several people on Twitter who were not noticing the improvements. So I decided to take a look According to the Amazon page, the improvements are...

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