Sunday, October 31, 2010

Free Kindle Books - an update. Amazon-UK free non-classics added also

This blog tends to focus on the Kindle  (UK: K3) and its world of auxiliary apps, updates, and competitor devices.  Unlike most Kindle blogs, it has a technology-oriented view.

Because of that, rather than regale you with lists of linked free Kindle books that become available each day, I've added, into the footers of each blog article, the links where you can see at any moment the new, temporarily-free Non-classics that are available that day, or that hour.

  I know that many people use these links regularly, but I also imagine that some ignore footers, so I am doing a reminder here.  This way I can focus on news and/or tips each day, with an average of 5 articles a week.  I spend a lot more time researching than writing, as that involves reading most Kindle news articles published (often adding information in the comment-areas) and visiting several forums each day, where I also contribute in exchange for what I learn from those.

  As I've mentioned, if you're interested in general e-reader-world news that I'm monitoring as well, I use Twitter to send or retweet alerts on some of those and even, at times, more general odd news such as health-related information, and it's probably easiest to use Tweetree to see those.

 Today I'm adding links, for the temporarily-free Amazon-UK books, to the article footers.

  Unfortunately, for those of us in the U.S., the U.K. Kindlestore products are available only to UK customers.

  As with the U.S. ones, use them at any time to see the latest. These will be by bestselling, publication date, and average rating.

  This is the line that will be added to the footer for temporarily-free Non-classics:
  UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestselling, or highest-rated ones

  The continuing Free Kindle Books page that explains the many sources available (and which I'll organize better someday) will be updated this coming week to include the UK links also.

  I generally don't list the books because (for me) it can look almost like an endorsement, so I prefer to just give people the source links.

  I hope those in the UK will also find these helpful, and the rest of us can watch the differences in offerings and pricing, although, as mentioned in an earlier article here, Amazon is resisting the Big5 movement to use the Agency model in the UK also, with fixed-prices of their choice, to be the same at all online UK e-book stores.  That article links to the UK forum discussion of this and there are currently 452 notes of reaction, pro and con on the situation.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Global Kindle Free 3G Web Browsing: Where? Some Answers. UK table of countries -UPDATE

THIS OLDER POST HAS BEEN UPDATED, although the new Reference Page (8/16/11) does not include the confusing history, while this one does.

See the current reference information at http://bit.ly/kwpweb.



I wanted to write some thoughts on the Nookcolor yesterday but was detoured by an interesting Amazon UK Kindle message thread and an Amazon UK website listing of 61 59 countries in which UK residents can use their Kindle  (UK: K3)  3G experimental web browsers to access (for free) websites other than Wikipedia.  The listing was brought to our attention by G. Javor of France in that forum thread.

These happen to match, closely, the countries list I made, in June (and have updated), of:
  1.  countries for which the free 3G web browsing had seemed, from their country product-pages and Kindle-owner experience, to suddenly be officially enabled at the time of Kindle software update v2.5.x and also

  2.  the 9 countries one would expect the 3G web to be enabled but for which this feature was listed as "not available."  Those nine countries with no official 3G web browsing capability (outside of Wikipedia and the book store) were, and apparently still are
Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
The Table's information also matches reports from U.S. residents traveling abroad who find they can use their free 3G browsing in those listed countries and even in ones for which the feature has not been enabled officially.


UPDATE - The same type of unexpected access is described in the UK forum thread which lists countries that traveling UK Kindle owners actually were able to do 3G web browsing in and those reports also included countries NOT on the official list, such as France, Germany, Netherlands, etc. [End of Update]

Interestingly, a post on the 3rd page of an Amazon Kindle Forum message thread, from T'Mara in Austria, reports that although the 3G web browsing isn't enabled for residents of Austria, Austrians traveling to other countries CAN use the 3G experimental web browsing feature in countries where that is enabled (via Agreements with cellular network carriers).

CAUTION
That is good news but also reminds us that if the feature is used "too much" Amazon might not be able to continue offering it in some regions, so I use my WiFi capability whenever I can, instead, to minimize the cost to Amazon, in hopes of their retaining/continuing the free feature.

Here is that TABLE of 6159 countries at http://amzn.to/uk-3gwebwhere for which Amazon UK shows currently (10/28/10 10/5/12 [last re-checked on 6/13/11 10/5/12] - and all emphases mine) :

International Web Browsing


The experimental web browser is free to use over Kindle's 3G or Wi-Fi connections. If you are travelling outside the United Kingdom, you can access Wikipedia in over 100 countries anywhere you have a 3G connection (check the wireless coverage map here).  You can browse other websites globally via a Wi-Fi connection.  Access to other websites while travelling abroad is available via a 3G connection in the 61 59 countries listed below.
  [Actually, U.S. and UK residents travelling in countries where 3G web access isn't allowed for its own residents due to carrier-agreements, find that they can use the 3G web-browsing access in those countries as well.-- ab]

AlbaniaArgentinaArubaAustralia
BahamasBarbadosBermudaBolivia
BrazilBulgariaCanadaCayman Islands
ChileColombiaCroatiaCzech Republic
Dominican RepublicEcuadorEl SalvadorGrenada
GuamGuatemalaGuyanaHaiti
HondurasHong KongHungaryIceland
IndiaIrelandJamaicaJapan
KenyaLiechtensteinMacedoniaMexico
MontserratNicaraguaNorwayPanama
ParaguayPeruPhilippinesPoland
Puerto RicoRomaniaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSouth AfricaSlovakiaSlovenia
SwitzerlandTaiwanThailandUnited States of America
UruguayUS Virgin IslandsVenezuela

Access to the web browser within these countries may vary and is subject to change.

Kindle's new web browser is based on WebKit to provide a better web browsing experience. Now it's easier than ever to find the information you're looking for right from your Kindle. Click here to learn more about using Kindle's experimental web browser.


Two changes over the last year were 'Russia' and "Ukraine' no longer being on this table.

Because of several forum message threads at MobileRead and at Amazon forums, in which perplexed prospective international Kindle purchasers were at a loss to decide on whether to get 3G or not because they could not get information, from Amazon U.S. pages, on whether or not 3G web browsing was available in their countries, especially Germany and the Netherlands, I asked Amazon about it.

I received eventually, after much research and coordination on the part of Executive Customer Relations, a reply that I was given permission to quote which I finally placed on one of the forum threads with customers who had lost 3G web access as well as those who wondered if they should purchase the 3G in their countries.  I asked Amazon a follow-up question about this quote, as "3G" was not mentioned in the reply though my email was entirely about 3G web browsing availability but I never heard back.
' ======= From Executive Customer Relations =======
"To your web access questions; yes, Wikipedia is available in Germany as it is in all countries. Web Browser access to the internet works in Germany and in the Netherlands and access to the internet is the same for all device versions and generations."
======= '

The reply did differentiate between Wikipedia that IS available everywhere that Amazon wireless exists and the web browser availability.

  Within the context of my questions about 3G browsing-availability info that prospective purchasers felt they needed, the Amazon reply seems to say that 3G web browsing was available in those two countries -- however, the wording '3G' was not part of the quote itself so I hesitated to write it up without further clarification, which I didn't receive.

  STILL, the part about 'all device versions and generations' could be a big clue since no Kindle device before Kindle 3 ever had WiFi.  So, -IF- that's right, what is the answer to how one goes about having it re-enabled for Kindle owners residing in those two countries who lost it.

I asked for further clarification from Public Relations/Media and received two very positive replies saying that they should be able to get the answer within a day or so, but I never did receive any more replies although they'd been forthcoming in the past when they could not comment and just said they couldn't and even though I did write again to ask that they say something more, for prospective customers needing to make an informed decision, even if the answer was no.  Apparently, they just do not want to go on record with more than I received.

  Interestingly, Amazon UK is just more forthcoming, for some reason, actually listing, on their support pages, 61 59 countries with 3G web browsing officially available for their travelling Kindle owners.  There is no corresponding page on the U.S. Amazon pages.  The UK pages DON'T, however, list Germany and Netherlands, as you can see. So, that is all a mystery.  It could just mean that they WERE going to have that capability and something fell through -- if so, that may come someday, with the right Agreements between Amazon and countries without the capability for its residents currently.

WHY THE SILENCE FROM AMAZON US?
  As I said on the Kindle forums, 3G web browsing is probably a financial minefield for them, so it's important how something is phrased.  You can imagine several departments trying to agree on wording.

  Also, they likely have complex contracts being negotiated currently, and in some cases really may not be able to say anything without possibly affecting talks.

FINAL QUESTION
My final question for Amazon has been:
Who do customers go to when they cannot find out whether or not the 3G web browsing is *supposed* to be enabled/disabled for them and what to do if it shouldn't be disabled but is?

Those remain the unanswered questions.  I've asked the customers to, themselves, ask further up the chain when getting Customer Support replies that say only that 'some' countries don't have 3G web browser availability instead of responding to customer queries about their specific countries.

  I'm just reporting the situation based on several forum discussions I saw, but customers need to follow up, themselves, when they are the ones affected.

  What a prospective European customer can do about deciding on the 3G/WiFi model is to just accept, at this point, that the only certainty -- in the 9 restricted European countries -- is the free 3G access to the bookstore and its books and to Wikipedia, and hope for the best on anything else, and decide from that.

THE UPSIDE
Amazon, unlike Barnes and Noble, sells its books outside the U.S.  It also is the only e-reader maker with 3G web-browsing to external websites, as the other e-book vendors keep the 3G access (if their models have it at all) to their stores only and certainly don't offer free-3G Wikipedia, which Amazon offers for free 3G-access EVERYwhere in the world that they have any cellular wireless arrangements.
 This is a real boon for students of any age and IS an expense for Amazon.

With over a hundred countries in which Amazon offers free 3G wireless to download books to their Kindle and browse Wikipedia from their books, Amazon, for all my nagging of them, is way ahead of the field in this important area.

  That they offer free 3G web browsing in 61 59 countries now is actually hard to believe for some, seen on forums almost daily asking if the 3G web browsing access on the experimental web browser can really be free.  The answer's Yes, for now, in 61 59 areas of the world, but the feature has been "experimental" for 4 years and there are no promises that I've seen.  The fine print in their Agreements with us say they can charge fees at some point.  With a balky e-ink web browser (even if it's more capable than in earlier Kindle models), any charges would not be a winning proposition either.

  And, for the first time, in July-August 2010, their marketing ads stressed the "Free 3G" in the titles or headers, so they wouldn't be changing that very soon.

  On the general International product-marketing pages, they include in their listed features:
    New WebKit-Based Browser - Free 3G web browsing (experimental)
  Abandoning that too soon when it's featured in the marketing would not have been good business and even a year later would not be, because that advertising continues.

Time will tell, as they say.  It's a great experiment though.  As I've said in other threads, I often use mine for step-by-step directions when lost, as a passenger in a car.  The fact that you can access information for free almost wherever you are (bus, car, beach, park) is just a Huge benefit, in my opinion.



US:
Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow 3G web
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
  Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How many newspapers will 'allow' multiple free-apps for Kindle?

When the book lending and periodicals-on-free-apps announcement came out and referred to "many" newspapers and magazines to be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, it didn't really occur to me (but it should have) that some will decide not to allow that kind of sharing.

And there are understandable reasons too, though it's possible Amazon could offer more incentives to interest publishers who already have irons in the fire with the Apple mobile devices.

  Staci D. Kramer reports that the Wall Street Journal, a top-selling newspaper on Kindle  (UK: K3), is "opting out."

  CEO Robert Murdoch has been quite loud about what she calls his (understandable) preference for "a more publisher-centric digital distribution alternative," and this new Amazon Kindle feature would, she points out, "run counter to his goals of more, not less control, over his publications’ digital distribution."  On the other hand, Apple has not been overly forthcoming, either, in Murdoch's eyes, with the customer information he wants.

  When she asked the New York Times whether they plan to take part initially, their reply was only, "We’ll be announcing our bundle details when we launch the details of our paid model."  Theirs is the most popular Kindle newspaper.
  TIME magazine, top-selling magazine on the Kindle, was just as non-committal.

  On the other hand, she feels it "might make sense for other publishers who are less interested in brand-building on devices and/or more interested in selling subscriptions than in trying to provide a bundle."

  Amazon mentioned we'd see something in "the coming weeks" so we'll know soon.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kindle gets exclusive on Nice Guy Johnny screenplay on DVD release day

Investors.com reports today's Amazon press release that:
' ... actor, writer, director and film producer Edward Burns has made the screenplay of his just-released film "Nice Guy Johnny" available in electronic format exclusively in the Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore).
  Kindle customers can purchase this book for $7.99 and read it on their Kindle*, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices. '

Good Grief: Amazon is now calling the "WiFi-Only Kindle," "the Kindle," and differentiating it from the "Kindle 3G" ... That is just ridiculous.  If it's a mistake, I hope they'll correct it.  If this is so that they can say "the Kindle" is only $139, when it has no 3G capability that ALL the former models had for the last 3 years and which made the Kindle so successful, then I think it's not a good decision.
  But, judging from the Staples demo-booth I saw, they do seem to be marketing this as The Kindle.

Many are also getting confused with what "Latest Generation" means when it's used for each latest model.  Why can't they just do numbered-models like other companies who care to remain clear for their customers about what model people have?  It's causing much confusion, especially since they have different software capabilities.

  Many on the forums are finding they want to "trade up" already, not having known the difference between WiFi and 3G in the first place.  See Kindle WiFi or 3G? for how these two models differ with regard to what you can do on them.  Some will need only the WiFi, but too many don't know the differences between them.

Back to the new Kindle edition screenplay
The e-book edition of the screenplay will be exclusive to the Kindle Store for one year and the link is to the screenplay as well as the DVD and music.

  The DVD itself is released effective today, Oct 26, and here's the dedicated page for the DVD, which is priced rather high.

  Amazon quotes the generic summary of the screenplay and film:
' The film "Nice Guy Johnny," written and directed by Edward Burns, introduces Johnny Rizzo, who is about to trade his dream job in talk radio for some snooze-ville gig that'll pay enough to please his fiancee. Enter Uncle Terry, a rascally womanizer set on turning a weekend in the Hamptons into an eye-opening fling for his nephew. Nice guy Johnny's not interested, of course, but then he meets the lovely Brooke, who challenges Johnny to make the toughest decision of his life. '

  They also mention that Burns gained international recognition for his first feature "The Brothers McMullen," which premiered in competition at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury prize.  The film, which Burns wrote, directed and starred in, was shot on a budget of only $25,000 and went on to gross over $10 million at the domestic box office, making it the most profitable film of 1995.

There's no explanation why this is a release to DVD in the press releases.   So I looked it up.  At IMDB, it gets rather low ratings for a just-released film, but in their news-collection for this film, a reason is given for the direct-to-DVD choice.
' But instead of fighting for distribution this time around, the veteran filmmaker is avoiding the big screen altogether, choosing to open the movie simultaneously on iTunes, DVD and on Comcast VOD -- all on October 26th. '
They also offer a free track from the soundtrack there.

  The Scorecard Review (also there) has this also:
' With his swift navigation of the low budget indie-film waters, Edward Burns has become a great inspiration for Diy filmmakers.  Now in the age of Instant Netflix, Burns is taking his control over his films even further: he is going to start distributing his low budget films himself, and without an eye on a theatrical release.  His new film, Nice Guy Johnny, which is budgeted around $25,000, will be released to iTunes, Netflix, Playstation 3, etc. starting October 26th.  The appearance of the film at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival would mark one of the only times the movie would play in an actual theater. '

There's also a long interview with Ed Burns by Huffington Post's Cynthia Ellis, done at the Tribeca Film Festival.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Bestsellers: U.S. Kindle books outselling print versions now.

According to The Bookseller and Amazon statements, Amazon's customers have, during the last 30 days bought more Kindle e-books than hardback AND paperbooks combined for the top 10, 25, 100, and 1000 bestselling books on Amazon.  The Bookseller report is dated Oct 26.

  Back in July, Amazon's announcement that in April-June 2010, for every 100 hardcover books sold by Amazon, 143 Kindle books were bought, brought some strange condemnations that Amazon was attempting to mislead the world into thinking that Kindle versions were selling faster than print books rather than just hardcover books.  I thought they were extremely clear on their wording, in every statement, including the fact that Jeff Bezos, in an interview with Charlie Rose, predicted that Kindle books might also outsell paperback books within a year or so.

So, for the bestsellers, this is apparently already starting to happen.  The Bookseller quotes Steve Kessel, senior vice-president of Amazon Kindle:
' "For the top 10 bestselling books on Amazon.com, customers are choosing Kindle books over hardcover and paperback books combined at a rate of greater than 2 to 1.  Kindle books are also outselling print books for the top 25, 100, and 1,000 bestsellers—it's across the board."

He added: "This is remarkable when you consider that we've been selling hardcover and paperback books for 15 years, and Kindle books for just 36 months." '

  Amazon also announced that more new Kindle devices, the Kindle 3 launching August 27, have been sold in the last two months than were sold during the Oct-Dec 2009 quarter, which was a record-breaking holiday quarter for Amazon last year.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Kindle and its book pricing a big hit in the UK. Publishers complain about territorial control flaws.

"KINDLE MANIA TAKES THE UK BY STORM"

That's what Pocket Lint's Paul Lamkin reported a couple of days ago, at any rate, when news that the Kindle  (UK: K3) is now the biggest selling product on the UK site was, to Lamkin, "proof that we're a nation of Kindle-maniacs."

  He added that we should check their Amazon Kindle review to "see what all the fuss is about."  That takes us to several images, so here's the link to their full review.

  Here are a few excerpts from that review -- since I've chosen quite a bit, you can see there's a lot more and you should go to the site for the rest of it:
' Controls and connections lie across the bottom of the Kindle, offering a volume controller for audible and music content along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a Micro-USB connector and a sliding power switch.  A mic opening is also present here, but at present lacks any supporting features - we suspect it would be for a simple voice notes function.
...
  The keys have a slightly abrasive feel to them, but the action is clean enough. In terms of response, this is governed by the screen, which is quick to react and a real improvement over E Ink screens of the past which were a little slow to register and change.
...
  Being a connected device, and supported by Amazon, the Kindle will let you subscribe to various newspapers and magazines, all for a fee. We elected for a trial of the Financial Times; presented as it is it is perfectly readable, and using the 3G connection in the device, it will automatically be loaded with the latest content when you rush out of the door in the morning to catch the train.
...
 For many, the sheer simplicity of the system makes it really appealing. No computers, no wires, no need to authenticate anything with Adobe Digital Editions to deal with the DRM. It also isn’t restricted to your Kindle only: Amazon also offers Kindle access through your PC or Mac, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch and Android handsets, and we’ve also seen Kindle on the BlackBerry. So you don’t need to fear that your content is “locked in” to your Kindle.  Cleverly, it also auto-syncs the position you have read up to, meaning you’ll be able to read a few chapters on your phone whilst sitting on the bus, and pickup on your Kindle when you go to bed.
...
  To see what Amazon’s pricing looks like alongside EPUB-selling rivals WHSmith and Waterstones, we compared the top 5 titles from the New York Times best selling hardcover fiction list (prices as at the date of this review publication). Whilst this isn’t entirely conclusive, it’s an indicator or where the Kindle Store lies.

...
  There is free content too, as Amazon have Kindle editions of many out-of-copyright classics. This is one area where other readers have worked hard, offering EPUB versions of these texts which can be sourced online, but Amazon has dealt with this too.

  The reading experience on the Kindle is excellent. The screen looks great and doesn’t suffer from reflections or glare, fulfilling the aim of being as close to reading on paper as possible. ... As a complete cross-platform ebook solution, it is the most cohesive around, but remember that if you opt for a non-Amazon device in the future (Sony or BeBook for example) you won’t be able to move over your Kindle content.
...
  the Amazon Kindle offers exceptional value for money, considering that some rivals are asking for twice as much and offer no content solution. You lose on some of the format freedoms, but you gain on simplicity. The Kindle Store prices are good too and this is an important consideration. ... '

PUBLISHERS COMPLAIN THAT AMAZON'S TERRITORIAL CONTROLS ARE 'EASILY CRACKED'
The Bookseller has a story on how a few publishers have done tests on Amazon's territorial controls and "regularly circumvented them."

  Maybe they ought to take a look at the fact we're in the Internet age where country boundaries don't mean much and reconsider some of their digital-rights dramas that don't pertain to normal books but to software and find a way to make things work for everyone instead of for no one, including them at this point.

  An Amazon UK spokesman responded in a rather dry way, "Each customer has a content catalogue associated with their region or country, and we display the appropriate catalogue for each country."


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kindle Lending and Free-App-Periodical features announced


I first heard the news about Amazon's latest plans announced for the Kindle  (UK: K3) during the Books in Browsers conference (interesting presentation linked) Friday afternoon.

  The announcement was about features that Amazon plans to have ready soon and was made at the Kindle Community forums area.

LENDING FOR KINDLE
Coming later this year, Amazon will introduce a customer Kindle-book lending feature that is, from all I can tell, the same as the one for Barnes and Noble's Nook: customers will be able to lend an e-book only once per e-book, for two weeks (during which time it's not available to the customer as in 'real' life), and then the lended book disappears from the lendee's Kindle-compatible device whether or not the lendee was finished reading it and cannot be lent/borrowed again, ever, to anyone.

  The lending is possible only if the publisher approves it, and from what was seen at Barnes and Noble's support pages, publishers have tended to approve this feature for their books about 50% of the time.  I imagine that since B&N had negotiated this much from the publishers, it was not difficult for Amazon to get the feature at this point.   Kindle customer reaction has been positive re the coming ability to lend some of the Kindle books at all.  You can read customer feedback to the announcement of the new feature in the forum message thread linked below.

I'm fan of Amazon's sharing plan for families and trusted close friends, as it's been run in a very flexible way relative to implementation by other online ebook stores, and the new program will be a way to lend a book (when the publisher allows that) without needing to share an account.

KINDLE NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES READABLE ON AMAZON'S FREE KINDLE APPS
They announced that "many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and then we'll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road."

  "Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we're excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books."

NOT REALLY in the same way as it works now for Kindle books, though.
  Newspapers and magazines have been usable on ONLY ONE physical Kindle and not sharable between one's own Kindles (as books are) during the last 3 years.

  This sorry situation causes old-issues to be unreadable when a new or replacement Kindle is in place, even when we had bought the old issues -- an untenable situation for some of us who bought issues that we want to search as a reference data base of articles and news, similar to the way we keep older magazines on book shelves for later reference.  And that includes the information-rich Sunday New York Times paper issues.

  Said to be a restriction by publishers, there is probably something more now to entice publishers to allow the periodicals on the free Kindle apps at least, though it appears the hideous restrictions against putting them on one's own 2nd Kindle or a Kindle replacement (for defective or upgraded Kindles) are still intact to my dismay despite their repeated 'vision' of "Buy Once, Read Everywhere"
  Nevertheless, this is a big improvement for those who just want to be able to read recent issues on their free Kindle apps.

Here's the text of Amazon's forum post (all emphases mine) and immediate customer feedback:
' Initial post: Oct. 22, 2010 8:33 AM PDT
The Amazon Kindle team says:
(AMAZON OFFICIAL)
We wanted to let you know about two new features coming soon.

First, we are making Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on our free Kindle apps, so you can always read Kindle periodicals even if you don't have your Kindle with you or don't yet own a Kindle. In the coming weeks, many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and then we'll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road.  Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we're excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks.

Second, later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable - this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.

We will post to the forum later this year when these features are available. '

A thanks for Twitter alerts received also from the "miss-nothing" Golf11 (Randall) and Mike Cane

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tweetree: an organized look at twitter output and the "BIB" conference output

Tweetree (clicking on the image or the text link gives you my Tweetree) is an organized look at any twitter stream of interest to you.

I'm enjoying the Internet Archive's "Books in Browsers" conference, co-sponsored by O'Reilly Media with support from Magellan Media and Copia Interactive,  held  in San Francisco Thursday-Friday, and will be back with a short report on that this weekend plus the usual Kindleworld news.

Until then, as treetree.com says on its front page:

  "Tweetree puts your Twitter stream in a tree so you can see the posts people are replying to in context.  It also pulls in lots of external content like twitpic photos, youtube videos and more, so that you can see them right in your stream without having to click through every link your friends post."

The format you'd use to search Tweetree for a topic of interest to you is:
    http://tweetree.com/search?q=bib10

That particular search for "bib10" gives you a Tweetree of spontaneous remarks from the 90 or so at the Books in Browsers conference, to their Twitter-stream followers, as it went along Thursday.  As with Twitter, the latest comments are at the top of the stream, which is always shown in reverse chron order.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Software v3.0.3 improvements reported plus Update to Kindle for Mac

KINDLE 3 SOFTWARE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS REPORTED
There are already customer reports, at the Amazon Kindle Community forums, on the new early preview of Kindle 3 software update v3.0.3.  Changes that were noted:

  1. Those who are using screensaver 'hacks' will see no changes in that the screensavers they installed will still work. 

   However, the update prevents was said to prevent installation of new screensavers, for now, but two commenters here were able to install screensavers under v3.0.3's preview update.  This usually happens with new Kindle software updates and then a fix is created in a day or two.  Amazon Kindle support has said in the past that the screensaver modifications are ok but that people do anything at their own risk.  I'm not advocating use of customized screensavers, just reporting any alleged software-update impact on these.  My feeling is that Amazon should do what Barnes & Noble does from the start - "allow" customized screensavers. 

  2. Page turns in general are faster

  3. Page turns that were sluggish with the smallest fonts are "considerably faster" than with v3.0.2.

  4. Web browsing is faster - pages load more quickly, including when navigating between home pages.  There are less login-input problems.

  5. Very large PDFs don't seem to stump some Kindle  (UK: K3's) anymore.

  6. There are three reports that the text seems darker and the contrast better.  That is surprising.

  7. Improved WiFi access

KINDLE FOR MAC GETS AN UPDATE
PC Magazine's Sara Yin reports the improvements that those using Kindle for Macs will see if they download the latest free update.

Amazon's Kindle application for Apple OS X is now open to international users for the first time, according to Yin in this article, although Amazon's page for this Kindle app doesn't mention it being new.

New features include
  . searching the text,
  . adding, editing, and deleting notes and highlights, and
  . reading in multi-column mode.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now we have the Kindle 3 early preview of software version 3.0.3

Amazon's not standing still.  They recently officially released Kindle 3 Software Upgrade version 3.0.2, and last night they began requesting feedback on the "Early Preview of Next Version 3.0.3" for Kindle 3.

  Thanks to Golf11 (Randall), who alerted us to this one as he did the last one. 

As before, this is offered so that "Customers who want to try this early release of the software and provide feedback can download the update" from their servers.

  This update will also be available wirelessly in the next few weeks.


  Amazon explains that this update includes general performance improvements.
'After installing this update, please share your feedback with us at kindle-response@amazon.com.  We look forward to hearing about your experience and appreciate your feedback. '
This time there haven't been many reports of software quirks -- except in one area, reported here as people come with questions about the experimental Kindle 3 WebKit-based web browser.

Caution  The software update v3.0.3 may have NOTHING to do with the Webkit browser functions, but customers have reported that the Kindle  (UK: K3), while faster than and generally much more capable than the Kindle 2, has been:

  1. strangely unable to have its keyboard input recognized on several websites so that some of us have looked for alternate sites that are workarounds.

  2. not interacting as well as the Kindle 2 does with mobile-device-oriented websites, which are of course much faster to load (if not as visually impressive) and easier to read than the full-webpage version displayed on the K3 web browser for a screen too small to be able to read complex home pages with fonts that are necessarily tiny.

      The website bookmarks that Amazon puts on the Kindle 3 tend to take us to the full version of the websites, which look great but take longer to load and are harder to navigate with the 5-way ('controller') button.  Maybe we could have an option of bookmarks that are for mobile-version websites.

  3. unable to follow website links that are programmed to expect a 'new window' opened in addition to the current webpage window (so that the user can stay on the current page while getting a new page and not be 'lost' when the new window is closed after we're through with it).


   Some of us have requested that in this case they just ask us, via a dialog box, if we would like to leave the current page and go to the linked site!  I really hope for this one eventually, since it's a basic function of a web browser to follow clicked links.  It also has been frustrating for Kindle Edition blog subscribers, who cannot follow those types of links.

 There IS, when reading a newspaper article, a new web-browser Menu option, with this Kindle model, to choose "Article Mode" to see only the text of the article (no surrounding links and ads), in larger fonts that are easy to read.  Once we can navigate TO an article and click to get it, this mode can be chosen and usually works VERY well.  We can go back to "Web Mode" after reading in Article Mode.

Instructions at their preview-update page start with:
' Here's how to download Kindle software update version 3.0.3 and transfer it to your Kindle via USB:
  1. Determine your software version: :  From Home, select Menu, then Settings.  On the Settings screen you will see the Kindle version at the bottom of the screen.  If you see “Version Kindle 3.0.2” or earlier (3.0.2, 3.0.1, or 3.0), please proceed with the steps below to update your Kindle to the latest software.

    version

  2. Download your software: Visit the appropriate link below to download the software update file directly to your computer: ... '

They have a good diagram there showing how you can determine which software you'd download, depending on your serial number and the type of Kindle 3 you have.

You'll see step-by-step directions there for the download.  As before, there's no need to install this interim update unless you actually are seeing any problems (most say they're not seeing any general ones), but I don't expect it would hurt, since programming code will check status to see if a fix is needed.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to reset the "furthest page read" on Kindle devices sharing a book



Commenter Paxton posted the following question yesterday:

Q: "a general question: do you know of a way to reset the "furthest location read" on a book? E.g., if I finish reading a book and my wife wants to read it, she gets a message asking if she wants to go to my furthest page read (the end of the book). But she wants to read the book and sync it with her iPod or PC - how can we get rid of "end of the book" as the last location, and reset it to the beginning?

  I know I can call CS, but would like to know of there's a way I can do it myself. And I'd rather not get involved with turning off suncronization on the web page, as that might get rid off the last page read for any number of books I'm currently reading (or she is)."

A: [Shortened]  "My only experience with this, and it's happened a few times lately because I test ahead, is that when I answer No -- that I don't want to sync to my furthest page -- it doesn't seem to ask me again after that if I make sure my other copy of the book on another device lines up with the earlier page on the current book.
...
  But I don't keep track of what happens when I go back and forth except that I don't remember being asked a 2nd time and right now I'm keeping 3 devices going with sync & chk on.

Paxton wisely questioned Amazon Kindle Customer Support next and posted the following thorough answer on the Amazon Kindle forums.  You can go there to see the follow-up questions and feedback there.
' Paxton says:
I just finished a book my wife wants to read next. We have a few Kindle devices, so I have synchronization turned ON on the Manage Your Kindle web page. We don't tend to read the same books at the same time.

When my wife started reading the book, it asked if she wanted to go to the furthest location (the last page of the book, which is where I left off). Obviously, she would not want to do that. When I finished the book, I had gone back to the beginning and saved that position, but it still listed the end of the book as the furthest page read.

We could turn syncronization off so it wouldn't ask her that each time, but then she wouldn't be able to sync between her Kindle and the iPod Touch or PC as she's reading through the book.

So I sent an email to CS and they sent me the answer - when you sync a device, that page gets stored on Amazon's servers for that device.
  The "furthest page read" is not the furthest page ever read on any of the devices, it is the highest page number currently active across all your devices.  [Emphases mine]

I had forgotten that I had looked at a note at the end of the book from my PC using the KindleForPC app. So that device had the highest page number across devices. So the solution is - on each device where you've read some of the book in question, go to the cover page (or TOC [Table of Contents] or wherever), then out to the Home screen and click the menu option to "Sync and Check for Items". Once this is done across all those devices, the "Furthest page read" will be the cover page, and the next person to read the book on your account will be able to sync across devices to the current position that they are reading.

A Kindle device probably won't go to the cover page when the book is opened - it will usually go to what the publisher has defined as the "beginning". [Andrys here: I'm pretty sure that this is because covers tend to be image pages and would take longer to load, and loading of a cover page is then done mainly upon request]  At any rate, it will be at the start of the book if you set everything back to the cover. Note that you can set this last page to any position in the book that you wish, not just the beginning. '

Good, clear answer from Kindle (UK: K3) Support.  Thanks to Paxton for following up on this and providing this report.


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

If Wireless never connects -- Expanded Call Me feature -- x11 info pages - UPDATE

I was reminded today by commenter JoaquĆ­n Avaria about some features that many don't realize are available, as one of them I mentioned some time ago worked well for him.

See UPDATE of 10/18/10 for added information.

One day, while at the Amazon forums, I saw a tip from a customer whose Whispernet on his new 3G Kindle-2 model (Global) wireless had suddenly stopped working in that he could not connect to the Internet .  Because he was not in the U.S., he couldn't easily call Amazon voice support w/o charges to his phone.  (U.S. residents, on the other hand, can always call Kindle Customer Support at 1-866-321-8851 for a quick response and no time charges.)

  After writing Kindle Support (kindle-cs-support@amazon.com) about his problem, he received e-mail from Kindle Customer Support advising him that he should sign in to Amazon to use the Call Me feature, which used to be available only in the U.S. but is now also available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany Hong Kong, Japan, and the United Kingdom, as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

  Once at the Call me form, you select your country and your phone number and whether you want a call-back 'Now' or 'In 5 minutes.'

  Those for whom this option is not available but who need phone support would call 1-206-266-2992 for that, but long-distance charges probably would apply -- in that case, you can use the same form to select the 'E-mail' Tab at the top to receive an e-mail response usually within 12 hours.

  Customer Phone Support asked him to go through some steps with them and those worked to get his 3G wireless working again.   Here are the steps he reported but first you'd need to turn ON the Wireless and also go to Kindle Settings page by pressing the Menu button and then 'Settings' ...
' On the Settings page I had to press 311 - this opened up an application that searched for al the wireless providers in the area.
I chose one that I knew had good signal in the area and that was that... '
(The "311" feature doesn't work for the Kindle-1 or for the Kindle-2 U.S. models, as they use the U.S. Sprint cellular network rather than the AT&T one.)

UPDATE 10/18/10 - (Original posting was 10/17/10)
  1. Commenter Ted reminded me that on the Menu/Settings page, you can't use the Sym box to type numbers when you don't have a numbers row on your Kindle model.  The top row lets you type numbers but the numbers are hidden.
  The numbers start with '1' on the 'Q' key and go to '9 on the alpha-O key, and '0' or zero is found above the "P" key.  To access the numbers, you use the Alt-key + (hidden) number combo.  See my earlier, longer explanation of how to input numbers here.
  Essentially, as mentioned, you press the Alt-key and the appropriate number key at the same time (requiring two hands), but you can also type the Alt-key and then the hidden-number key in a quick sequence rather than together.  You can also hold the Alt-key down and type a series of hidden numbers.

  2. Commenter bojzi adds that you can reach Amazon Kindle Customer Service at their toll-free 866-321-8851 line by using Skype

Thanks to both for the additions.

  Any of you who have a Global (or International) 3G Kindle and have great difficulty connecting via 3G cellular wireless can try it out to see if it helps.

  Here's the way you can check which type of Kindle model you have.

SIDE NOTES
For all Kindles
At the settings page, inputting '411' will get you device info, such as whether the Kindle is registered, the Kindle Serial Number, the Radio Serial Number, Roaming Version Number, and other info we normally don't care about -- but the Kindle Serial Number is handy for earlier Kindles especially because the one on the back of the Kindle is so small it can be quite hard to read when you need it.
  The Kindle Serial Number can now be found on the Menu/Settings page.

For all Kindles with 3G cellular wireless -- Any Kindle 1, Kindle 2, Kindle DX's, and also Kindle 3's purchased with the 3G feature:
  Inputting '611' there will get you modem and 3G cellular network info.

For all Kindle 3's  (UK: K3)
  Inputting '711' there brings up a page with WiFi status info.

When you're done with any of these pages, press the 'BACK' button to get back to where you were and press that button again if you want to go another 'jump' back.

Also, be sure to turn your Wireless Off at that point (unless you're using it).


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amazon releases 3 more word games - one enhanced and still free

For those who don't follow Amazon's Daily Kindle Post,  Paul Biba does, and I read his tweet today on the new releases.

Here is Amazon's info for those who want to put more text games on their Kindles.

Amazon released 3 more word games on Oct. 14, the first one free.

MINE SWEEEPER - For Kindle Devices
The newly reworked Mine Sweeper for Kindle, at $0.00.

"Mine Sweeper is a free Kindle game where you have to clear a minefield without detonating a mine."

"The objective of Mine Sweeper is to find all of the mines that are hidden on the game grid. When you uncover a location on the grid, the number of mines adjacent to that location is revealed. The game ends when you have successfully identified all the mines and uncovered all the unoccupied locations - or, when you inadvertently uncover a location that contains a mine. The clock is ticking, so challenge yourself to go faster and faster with each game."

The new Kindle version of Mine Sweeper "contains 3 different grid sizes for various levels of difficulty and thousands of different puzzles ... If you are new to Mine Sweeper, turning on 'Tips' will provide helpful hints to get you started."

  There are some early customer reviews with tips on playing this.

  . Helen Gaimari writes:
"This is SOOO much better than Kindle's built-in Mine Sweeper game (which you can access by pressing ALT+Shift+M)! The graphics are really good on an e-ink screen.  Unlike the Kindle's built-in Mine Sweeper, this version keeps track of your high-scores as well as your play-time. You can choose between easy, normal, and hard mode. The harder the mode, the larger the board. You can set this app to give you tips, and it has several extra features that aren't present in the Kindle's built-in Mine Sweeper.

  . Montgomery Scott, a MineSweeper aficionado, says that he was skeptical about its playability
but writes "I can assure you that the game is not only playable, but quite enjoyable" and gives a lot of tips.

EA SOLITAIRE
EA Solitaire - (12 Card Games to Play on Kindle)
by Electronic Arts Inc.. EA has set the price at $3.99

EA Solitaire contains 12 different modes of play--the Klondike game and 11 other variants: Pyramid, Yukon,
Golf, Freecell, Wasp, Peaks, Canfield, Spiderette, Eliminator, Easthaven, and Baker's Dozen.
The game is for both experts and novices alike.

"This version of Solitaire comes with handy features such as a "Tutorial Mode" that will get you started on the different game play variants, optional in-game "Tips" as well as an "Auto-Move" feature that will help you out when you're stuck and don't know what to do next.  For the Klondike game, there is even a "Vegas" mode to track your winnings in (virtual) dollars."

There's only one review so far.

TRIPLE TOWN FOR KINDLE DEVICES
Triple Town -(a Puzzle Strategy Game for Kindle)
by Spry Fox, who has set the price at $2.99

This is a new puzzle, strategy game "exclusively developed for, and available only on Kindle.
  The objective is to try to grow the greatest possible city. You build your city by matching three or more game-pieces: combine three grasses to make a flower, three flowers to make a bush, three bushes to make a tree...until you've filled the board with houses, cathedrals and castles. Along the way, you'll have to outwit evil barbarians and wizards who will try to block your progress. "

  It can be can be played for minutes or hours at a time.
  "You'll have to think several turns ahead if you want to avoid inevitable gridlock as unfinished buildings, barbarians and wizards start to pile up.  And sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll be helped along by a magical crystal (which combines with anything) or a powerful bomb (which wipes nuisances off the board). But luck won't save you forever!"

One review so far on this also.

They're all available for download now though Amazon has not mentioned whether these are available outside the U.S.
Update - jwenting from the Netherlands has added the following comment:
  "Listed as 'not available' outside the US, not even the dreaded 'not available in your location'"...

However, Kindle Support has posted in the Amazon Kindle Community forum that they expect all apps to be international eventually.  I suppose it has to do with the complexities of digital rights and agreed pricing (though I don't know).


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Amazon UK tells Kindle customers about "Agency" plan's higher pricing

Teleread's Paul Biba had an alert for us this morning about an Amazon UK announcement which, it turns out, was made to customers on their Kindle forums.  You can read his linked post, "Amazon UK tells customers about agency pricing and resulting higher prices" to see how he learned about it.

 Since it is Amazon's statement about its conflicts with Big5 publishers over e-book pricing in the U.S. and what Amazon is doing to resist the Agency plan in the UK, readers of this blog might find the forum post interesting.

Here is the Amazon UK forum announcement:
' Initial post: 14 Oct 2010 17:29 BST
Last edited by the author 22 hours ago
Amazon.co.uk Kindle Team says:
(AMAZON OFFICIAL)
Dear Customers,

Recently, you may have heard that a small group of UK publishers will require booksellers to adopt an "agency model" for selling e-books. Under this model, publishers set the consumer price for each e-book and require any bookseller to sell at that price. This is unlike the traditional wholesale model that's been in place for decades, where booksellers set consumer prices.

It is indeed correct that this group of publishers will require Amazon and other UK booksellers to accept an agency model for e-books. We believe they will raise prices on e-books for consumers almost across the board. For a number of reasons, we think this is a damaging approach for readers, authors, booksellers and publishers alike.

In the US, a few large publishers have already forced such a model on all US booksellers and readers. You can read the thread we posted about that change here:
http://www.amazon.com/tag/kindle/forum?cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx2MEGQWTNGIMHV&displayType=tagsDetail.

As we're now faced with a similar situation in the UK, we wanted to share our thinking and some details about what we have observed from our experience in the US.

First, as we feared, the US agency publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster) raised digital book prices almost across the board. These price increases were not only on new books, but on older, "backlist" books as well (in the industry, "backlist" books are often defined as books that have been published more than a year ago). Based on our experience as a bookseller setting consumer prices for many years, we know that these increases have not only frustrated readers, but have caused booksellers, publishers and authors alike to lose sales.

There is some good news to report. Publishing is not a monolithic industry - there are many publishers of all sizes taking a wide range of approaches to e-books. And most publishers in the US have continued to sell e-books to us and other booksellers under traditional wholesale terms. They make up the vast majority of our Kindle bookstore - as a simple proxy, in our US store 79 of 107 New York Times bestsellers are priced at $9.99 (£6.31 GBP) or less, and across the whole US store over 585,000 of 718,000 US titles are priced at $9.99 or less.

Unsurprisingly, when prices went up on agency-priced books, sales immediately shifted away from agency publishers and towards the rest of our store. In fact, since agency prices went into effect on some e-books in the US, unit sales of books priced under the agency model have slowed to nearly half the rate of growth of the rest of Kindle book sales [Emphasis mine.].   This is a significant difference, as the growth of the total Kindle business has been substantial - up to the end of September, we've sold more than three times as many Kindle books in 2010 as we did up to the end of September in 2009. And in the US, Kindle editions now outsell hardcover editions, even while our hardcover business is growing.

In the UK, we will continue to fight against higher prices for e-books, and have been urging publishers considering agency not to needlessly impose price increases on consumers. In any case, we expect UK customers to enjoy low prices on the vast majority of titles we sell, and if faced with a small group of higher-priced agency titles, they will then decide for themselves how much they are willing to pay for e-books, and vote with their purchases.

Thank you for being a customer,
The Kindle UK Team '

The varied responses to the Amazon UK letter are an interesting read.

Background
For those new to the situation and interested in the background of the e-book pricing wars, the earlier stories posted here include:

  . WashPost: State AG probes Apple, Amazon over e-Book prices. What?
  . Amazon removes Macmillan books
  . Amazon surrenders to Macmillan and Steve Jobs
  . Steve Jobs pulls his puppet strings but says too much
  . Amazon plays hardball to keep lower pricing option
  . Why are some e-book prices higher than hardcover ones?


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kindle 3 Software Update v3.0.2 release alert


 This Alert is placed here because Google Reader doesn't recognize the updating of the older post revised today when sorting by date.

 To see the Kindle 3 Software Update v3.0.2 Official Release blog post, click here to get to that post if you're reading via RSS on Google Reader.


Photo at left is of the Kindle 3 Webkit browser accessing the New York Times.  Clicking on it will take you to the larger version. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kindle 3 Software Update v3.0.2 Officially Released Now - 10/13/10

UPDATE OCT 13, 2010 - 3.0.2 OFFICIALLY RELEASED

I'm re-posting this original assessment (Sept. 19) of Kindle 3 software update version 3.0.2 that was first put on the Amazon servers as an early-preview Beta on Sept. 18, as it did resolve early problems that some Kindle 3 owners had.  The original title was Kindle 3 software preview release v3.0.2 improves performance.  Collections.

  To download the official release, if you'd rather not wait for it to come over Whispernet, see the instructions originally pointed to and described at the time of the software update announcement if you have a Kindle 3 and want to install it yourself.


ORIGINAL POSTING OF SEPT. 19 WITH MORE HISTORY AND COLLECTIONS-FEATURE TIP
The early preview release of software update v3.0.2 for Kindle-3 models has worked well for almost everyone reporting in, with regard to page-turn slowdowns outdoors, and there are also reports that the web browser is also faster and quite a bit smoother.  Others mention improved battery performance as well.  The Kindle software engineers have been very responsive and effective, and definitely the Kindle customer support team too.

  See the Amazon Kindle Community message thread for the feedback so far.  I noticed one person was still seeing a 1-second page turn, which seems slow to her.  I haven't tried it yet since I've been happy with mine, but I imagine this update will be official by Monday or Tuesday (this is just my conjecture).  Laura wrote the following to this blog's comment area as well today:
' It appears 3.0.2 fixes issues with slow page turns with kindle's exposed to direct sunlight.  I had this issue, the turns were slow enough that you could read the first line of text in negative image before it completed.  I had this issue before and after 3.0.1.

After the update so far, this appears to be fixed.  I never thought this would be fixed with a software update, so I am very happy! '
See Saturday's software update announcement for instructions on how to get software update v3.0.2 if you have a Kindle 3 and want to try it out or take earlier advantage of the improvements.

KINDLE 3, KINDLE DX, AND KINDLE 2 "COLLECTIONS" AND OTHER NEWER FEATURES
While I'm here, with this short post, I'll post a modified version of a Q&A from the Comments area the other day with new Kindle-3 owner gazza who was interested in how to do folder organization by author.   Many of the most recent added features were actually introduced with the Kindle 2 and DX in July, and when "Collections" were created, many did not realize that is the equivalent today of what we're used to thinking of as 'folders' except that the organization is done by 'labels' or 'tags' (just as GMail's mail system is).

My reply was:
' With the Kindle, 'folders' are called "Collections" and you can make one for each Author.

Please see the Guide & Intro I did when "Collections" became possible with a software update called, at the time, v2.5.x for the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX's.

  That general guide to new features, which your Kindle-3 also has, is at http://bit.ly/kv25xintro#guide.

  The specific portion on how to do "Collections" is at http://bit.ly/kv25xintro#docollect.

  Give that a look, and if you have any problems with it or more questions, you can add that here or at the blog article that explains Collections.

  I'll add here that if anyone wants answers to questions as soon as possible and by an army of experienced Kindle owners now worldwide (covering most hours of the day), be sure to visit http://bit.ly/kindlecommunity.

TIP: "Collections"
This is an option at the top of the Home screen which is hidden until you cursor up to the top, where if you 5-way to the right, you'll then see options for
  Most Recent First     Title     Author    and    Collections.

The "Most Recent" titles are usually the Default listing so that we can quickly get to what we were reading last even if we forget what that was.  That makes sense although I most often like to get mine in Title sorting so that I can press the first letter or alpha character of a book and click the 5-way, and this will get me to that part of the alphabet quickly.

When we choose to sort by "Collections" (by clicking on that word at the top of the Home screen), we see our Collections not in alphabetical order, as most have expected (there were many long forum discussions about this problem), but in Most Recent Order.  I don't know about you but but when I open a cabinet drawer to find a folder, I don't expect to see the folders sorted by most-recently accessed!

At any rate, a few figured out that we can force an alphabetical sort by putting a low-alpha-ranking symbol in front of the Collection names and if the symbol is the same (the easiest method), then the 2nd character decides the sorting alphabetically when we choose to sort the Home screen listings by Title.  (Amazon shows Collection names in italics to differentiate them from book titles.)

  For example, I use the simple opening curly brace or bracket to get a Title-sort that looks like this:
{Art
{Autobio
{Bio
{Business
{Classics
{Essays
{Fiction

and so on.  Since we are on the Home screen listing, sorted by Title, the individual books will also be there, as only in the Collections sorting are individual books hidden from view.

Since most symbols come before A-Z, the Collections are shown first.  We can ignore the individual book titles that follow.  But the FEATURE here is that they're of course in alphabetical order also and, to get right to a book if we don't want to open a Collection to look for a book, we can just (as described above) type the first alpha character of the title and press the 5-way button down, to be brought to that part of the alphabet.

Some mix their symbols to get different ordering by priority + alpha, but Amazon has changed the order of some of the symbols with software update v3.0.x for Kindle 3.  Others use methods that mimic the Dewey Decimal System.  We can look at those suggestions in a later blog article, as this should be good enough to get newcomers started.

(I've found that many with Kindle 2's have not heard that they probably have an update on their systems that offers this feature as well as panning and zooming of PDFs + several other features (like the social networking ones for favorite highlighted passages that can be sent to friends at Facebook and/or Twitter).  Again, that's at the Kindle 2 software update 2.5.x guide.



Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Kindle News, lots of it, 10/13/10

The 11 items mentioned below include a few that are mainly links w/short descriptions for those interested in following the links, as there is a lot of news this week and you can follow these when you have time.  The others probably contain too much information but I wanted to see community responses to some of the news.


1. STAPLES

Staples's display area for the Kindles.  Note the larger Kindle on the desk?  I didn't THINK they have the DX Graphite in stock but it was said that they'd be in stores in November.

  At this point, they only have pre-programmed demo models although they call them "interactive"... the article drips with sarcasm, but I wish Amazon felt they could afford to have one model in each store that people could actually try for an idea of how the Kindle  (UK: K3) actually functions.

  In the article's Comments area, someone writes back in similar vein but with a different viewpoint:

  "I got my grubby paws on one of these devices last year, and actually quite liked it.  I found out that you can use the free 3G internet access to surf the web, anywhere on the planet that has 3G cellphone coverage.
  Oh, and apparently you can read books on them as well. "

2. COWEN AND CO.'S DIGITAL BOOK MARKET SURVEY
The L.A. Times Entertainment blog reports on estimated sales based on a survey by Cowen and Co.:
' Not only are sales of the Kindle device expected to grow 140% this year to nearly 5 million units from 2009, but digital book sales via the Kindle store are on track to grow 195% to $701 million in 2010, according to Cowen and Co., which released a report Monday on the digital book market.

...according to the report, written by Cowen analysts Jim Friedland and Kevin Kopelman. "In fact, we think the adoption of tablets will boost Kindle e-book sales."

...For 2010, Cowan estimates Apple will have 5% of the market for digital books, compared with Amazon, which is projected to have 76% of the market.  But by 2015, Cowan estimates Amazon will have 51% of the market and Apple with 16%.

3. AMAZON SINGLES
When I first saw the PR release at MarketWatch, I thought Amazon was expanding into the Dating-Services area, but instead:
' Less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000: that is the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century--works either had to be short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the "heft" required for book marketing and distribution.

But in many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, well researched, well argued and well illustrated--whether it's a business lesson, a political point of view, a scientific argument, or a beautifully crafted essay on a current event.

Today [Oct. 12], Amazon is announcing that it will launch "Kindle Singles" -- Kindle books that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book.  Kindle Singles will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced much less than a typical book.
  Today's announcement is a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world.

  "Ideas and the words to deliver them should be crafted to their natural length, not to an artificial marketing length that justifies a particular price or a certain format," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content.  "With Kindle Singles, we're reaching out to publishers and accomplished writers and we're excited to see what they create." '

Nick Bilton of the NY Times points out that
' This medium-length format has traditionally been difficult for writers to sell to publishers as it doesn’t fit into the mold of a printing-press distribution model.

  In a digital distribution system, those pricing structures no longer exist, and a digital price can be adjusted accordingly.

  By promoting this new format, Amazon can also avoid upsetting publishers who were frustrated with the company when it introduced its own self-publishing product, allowing writers to price and directly sell their content on the Kindle platform. '

Engadget's Joseph L. Flatley refers to these as "really, really short books"

  To Engadget's mostly tongue-in-cheek analysis - "It looks like Amazon has finally admitted what we knew all along: most books are too long. And boring.
  We need more e-publications that reflect our torn jeans, frayed hair, coffee swilling, ca. early-1990s slacker lifestyle.
  Kindle Singles, as announced by "the man" in an ironic blast of "PR," are described as e-books anywhere from twice the length of a Maximum Rock'n'Roll feature article to a few chapters in a typical book...."

  In the Engadget comments area, Nick Sweetman writes:
' Have you ever heard of this thing called attention span? It's when you actually get to '

  IMHo predicts:
' Mark my words: in 2020 they will come out with Kindle Fractions, for page-and-a-half publications, because by then singles will be considered long and boring :) '

  And, on a more serious note, jtnoel adds:
' Amazon is one of Dime Novel Publishing's distribution channels.  In fact, we currently have close to 30 titles published (although Amazon does not provide publishers the ability to offer texts for free...unless you are one of the big guys).

  The issue is about getting noticed. Publishers pushing short/serialized content through Amazon are, in short (no pun intended), lost in the shuffle.  By breaking this out into its own model, there is a great opportunity for authors/publishers like us to get some real marketing push from Amazon. '

 Dingus is amusing:
' The "Amazon Singles" name is all about branding.  Because calling them "Amazon Short Stories" sounds like a comic from the '50s.
  Also the acronym might not fly. '

 And, on a note that might please Amazon and Singles-authors, Mark points out why this might work:
' There are probably a lot of awesome short stories by authors I love, that I don't read.  Why?  Because I don't want to buy compilations with other short stories I am not interested in reading. '

zippycart.com makes some good points:
' ...Others view Kindle Singles as a new revenue source [for writers].  Writers can now take a different approach, and create smaller books that have a more narrow focus.

  It might take a year to write a traditional book, but Kindle Singles could be easily produced in two weeks to a month.  This quick turn around time could allow writers a chance to sell more digital work, so they can have the money to allow them to spend time focusing on bigger books.

  Other writers, on the other hand, may look at this as a new opportunity to carve out a unique niche, where they produce dozens of 30 to 90 page books.   Either way, this new addition to the Kindle Store provides a great deal of opportunity for many. '

Technorati's Laura Zavelson writes:
' If viewed through a magazine/newspaper lens, this could be the first step in letting journalists and writers produce their own work rather than having to be on staff or go through the tedious pitch process.  While the press release did not discuss the business model, there is also the possibility that writers might even be able to earn more for their work by going straight to distribution and bypassing the publishers.

  ... The newsstand price of a top consumer magazine runs about $5. What if you could spend less and just buy the articles you're interested in?  Would you do it? '

4. ZORK FOR KINDLE AGAIN
Geek.com's John Brownlee writes that while he feels the Kindle is 'worthless' for any games (of the action type, definitely), Zork is another matter:
' Given how extremely dedicated and talented the text-adventure community is even today, this seems like an absolutely wonderful development for the Kindle, transforming it from an e-reader into an affordable handheld console for a type of game not really supported on other systems.  Roll out support for A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and I’m there. '

5. AMAZON TO SELL KINDLE IN CHINA?
In an article in Investor's Business Daily, by Doug Tsuruoka, about Amazon and sales of mooncakes! in China, I saw this:
' Amazon operates under the name Joyo Amazon in China.  Market research firms in China say Amazon is doing well selling books.  There are unconfirmed reports in the Chinese press that Amazon will soon start selling its Kindle e-book reader in China. '

Probably true.  In the July 28 blog entry, I wrote that the Global Times, China reported that
' Despite claims by Amazon that its E-book reader, Kindle, has no timetable for entering the Chinese market, its Chinese branch, Joyo, is in what is believed to be preparations to launch the device, media reports said Wednesday.

  An industry insider disclosed that Joyo has initiated recruitment of distribution managers and personnel via recruitment organizations, which leads industry analysts to believe this is a prelude to launching.  Information on talent-recruitment is available on Joyo's official website. '
And a couple of days later came the news that the new Kindle now handles Chinese characters.

6. QUALCOMM'S MIRASOL DEMO AT AMERICAN MAGAZINE CONFERENCE
ChicagoNow's yearley reports that the color but e-paper-like Mirasol display (that can do video) for future e-readers was demo'd at American Magazine Conference.  The part that most interested me, in a long article explaining Mirasol technology, was this:
' The Mirasol is a "color display that future E-Readers will be able to integrate for a different viewing experience from the present offerings...There is currently a dedicated fab facility, special factory that produces the displays, in Taiwan which increases its production reach and will be able to supply demand given a deal is reached soon for an E-Reader... [Emphases mine, as usual.]

The display can show images and video as a clear XGA format at 1024 x 768 screen resolution with 223 pixels per inch.

...The final question on everyone's mind is perhaps what E-Reader devices the Mirasol display might be a part of in the near future and if it will be in other mobile devices besides E-Readers.  However, that was the one question that could not currently be answered and [they] were not able to say at the present time to anyone.  Though currently Qualcomm is in the process of working on deals with major players in the E-Reader market.

The CEO of Barnes & Noble was present at the American Magazine Conference, so perhaps he caught onto some ideas after previewing the Qualcomm Mirasol display and will decide to bring it to the Nook, along with Mirasol's full color and video capabilites. '

See far more info on this promising (but muted-color) display at ChicagoNow.

7. TOM'S HARDWARE WEBSITE NOW IN KINDLE BLOG EDITION
Kindle Edition of Tom's Hardware mobile The popular and highly-regarded "Tom's Hardware" site is now available in a Kindle Edition for 99 cents a month.

8. AMAZON AND BEST BUY WORKING ON TABLETS?
Yet another rumor, this time from androidandme.com, about a possible Amazon tablet in the works (I'd not mentioned any of the other Amazon tablet rumors).

  They point out that
' TechCrunch "was the first to post the rumor that an Amazon tablet was coming and it makes perfect sense when you really think about it. Amazon’s site attracts nearly 80 million visitors each month and they have demonstrated their ability to move a branded device like the Kindle e-reader. If Amazon takes their moneymaking Kindle brand and slaps it on an Android tablet, they now have the perfect mobile platform to push their growing video-on-demand library, while also using their killer recommendation engine to sell apps and games. '

Just a rumor and not a strongly-based one though it makes sense it might happen someday.  And Amazon's Lab126 has had job postings for positions requiring experience in video and animation.

9. RELUCTANT EBOOK ADOPTER DETAILS HOW HE FELL FOR THE ENEMY
How I got a preview of the Kindle 3 – and totally geeked out - by Christopher Sutton, a "reluctant ebook adopter."  The link for this delightful read was tweeted to some Kindlers by @mikecane.

It's a long piece by a guy who's always loved physical books and strongly resisted the idea of an e-reader (does this sound familiar?).  He explains his slow turnaround, to the extent he wound up in the new Amazon video, "What Customers are Saying".  Seen just under "The Reviews Are In -- where this link takes you, though it takes a bit to load -- the video also includes a couple of appearances by Jesslyn who runs the information-focused blog My Kindle Stuff - Info, How-To & Book Resources at http://mykindlestuff.com.

10. FOR EDUCATORS - a recommended article
The Chronicle of Higher Education's Jeffrey R. Young asks, As Textbooks Go Digital, Will Professors Build Their Own Books?.  It wouldn't be that easy, for many reasons.

11. GOOD READING ON THE FUTURE OF THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
BookBotics - The Future of Publishing, at http://www.ebookbotics.com/
  "BookBotics features commentary and analysis about the future of books, reading and publishing business models in an era of digital media and convergence technologies.  While BookBotics focuses on these issues in particular, it also provides information on legal issues in the publishing industry as well as the many technological developments and curiosities that have become part of our digital culture."


Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

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