Tuesday, January 26, 2010

$0.99 Kindle books, Apple, and e-reader meanderings

The Amazon Kindle forums tend to carry a lot of good info from the members there.  While that's centered around the device, they also discuss finding books.  There's also a specific forum to discuss Kindle books, however.

1. Here's a page for recently tagged 99-cent Kindle books.  Members and authors are doing the tagging to make them easier to find.

2. A Kindle book that actually costs money :-) has been doing well on the Amazon charts. Active Senior Living.  I'll add the product description -- it's a situation many families face one way or another and this is a more positive book than usual about it all.   (The author does live in an active senior living complex and at first reported her experiences in a blog but people told her to put these into a book.  She explains some of it in a forum thread.)
"   Jan Curran, a vivacious socialite and newspaper reporter, reluctantly moves into an Active Senior Living complex to recuperate from a brutal battle with cancer. She tackles the surprises and challenges of her new life with warmth, wit, and courage, meeting a colorful cast of unforgettable characters in an often hilarious yet profoundly moving story of friendship and hope.
    ... a short excerpt, the "house rules" for the dining room at the Active Senior Living facility:
1. No sleeping in the dining room.
2. Please use tissues rather than the cloth napkins for blowing your nose.
3. No baseball caps or other head gear in the dining room.
4. Women should not dine with rollers in their hair.
5. No bare feet.
6. No pajamas, nightgowns or robes in the dining room.
7. No wine service with breakfast.
8. Motorized scooters in designated areas only.
9. Wait staff will not be responsible for partials or dentures left on dining tables.
10. Wait staff will not be responsible for hearing aids left on dining tables.
11. Second helpings on dessert only. "
  7 customer reviews, 4-1/2 stars, $2.49

3. A Kindle book, A Scattered Life, by Karen McQuestion, was recently optioned for a film - announced by the author in the Kindle forums.  It's been quite popular and has 21 customer reviews, with an average of 4-1/2 stars, and is #2 under 'Family Relationsships' and #4 under "Women's Fiction "   $1.99.

4. Tomorrow, we finally hear what the Apple tablet (iPad/iSlate) actually does, after months of rumors.  It's sure to be an amazing product.

  At this point, articles are appearing that say expectations have been raised so high that it'll be harder for Apple to wow the crowd, but I think they will anyway.
  The problems it may have with buyers, including the e-reader inclined (though Apple will undoubtedly offer magazines in full color) are that the estimated cost by almost all insider word is $750 to $1000 and then a monthly data-plan similar to iphone web plans would be needed for cellular wireless access to the web, unless people just use them on WiFi networks at home or in the office.

  Apple's never given free cellular wireless but if they gave a limited number of hours, they'd probably do extremely well though it's unlikely Steve Jobs would do that.
  If they charged $600 + a reasonably priced data plan (lowest tends to be about $30-$35/month), it could sell pretty well, especially if they surprised us and have a slide-out physical keyboard so that it could replace a netbook while still being light.  For the price I would expect it to be able to replace my netbook, which I use a lot.

5.   The dual-screen EnTourage eDGe (the caps sent me on edge, actually) is attractive but it's heavier than my netbook and has no hard disk or physical keyboard, so I wonder how widely attractive that will be for $490.  That's set for shipment mid-February, as it was immediately back-ordered after a few went out.
The LCD screen and gray-scaled screen look great together, but I can't imagine reading a book on it by holding it the way I do an e-reader. It is almost 3 pounds.

  That one would be bought mainly by web-oriented people who want to be able to write on an e-Ink type gray scale screen and have it included in a file (though not with handwriting recognition as the 9" grey scale Asus DR-950 is said to be offering along with many other features although there's no pricing or availability on the Asus yet).  Estimates for that Asus are around $500.

6. The Alex reader (made by the company which is suing B&N over the 2-screen design after several key meetings with them before the Nook was released), picked up Borders as a partner but the head of Borders just resigned, as that company is not in great shape.  Even B&N is closing many stores.  The Alex, which does, unlike the Nook, have a web browser, will not be offering cellular wireless though in this version.

7. Sorry to meander but I won't be doing any e-reader round-up until later since all but the Asus DR950 were either too expensive for the consumer e-reader crowd or had many key features missing for the price and just didn't inspire me as a buyer.

8. The Plastic Logic Que, while expensive at $650 w/o wireless and at $800 with it will really have the business office formats needed (the iRex DR800s doesn't even have the editing feature ready yet), but consumers waiting for the Que(s) were disappointed by the high cost, which includes no web browsing except to stores.

 I'll be definitely watching the Apple scene tomorrow morning.

  I do send out alerts and links to e-reader stories every day.  If interested in following those, if you can stand Twitter :-), go to either http://twitter.com/andrys to see them in chronological order or use   Tweetree instead to see them as they have a more readable listing, since it shows an intro or summary or photo of stories we're linking to.  One can run through Twitter listings a bit faster though.
  In either case you'll also see what are called Retweets or forwarded alerts first found by others who are very much on top of the scene.

  The ongoing set of links for various Searches for free or low-cost Kindle-compatible books. 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. )
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  1. Found 6 new titles I want to download. Thanks again for the updates. Cheers!

  2. Igotnothing,
    That's great! And really nice that you took the time to let me know. Thanks!

  3. Andrys,

    When you do your round-up, based on some of our conversations about the desirability of physical keyboards and/or detachable screens, you might be interested in this one, if you haven't got it on your radar already:


  4. Batman,
    I do prefer by far a detachable e-reader screens if part of a combo unit. I've read about it but this had better info. Thanks!

    I held my 2.7 lb Samsung the other day the way an eDGe is oriented. Can't IMAGINE holding an e-reading device that way. It's physically quite a bit smaller than the eDGe but the weight for its smaller size is due to its beautiful, relatively large and responsive keyboard as well as room for a good hard disk.

  5. Yeah, my Fujitsu tablet PC is even heavier (3.5 lbs.) than the eDGe specs (but also as powerful as a desktop), so I would agree wholeheartedly that neither would work well using "normal" reading techniques (did you happen to see Engadget's musing Tuesday, using a cardboard mock-up, about different "holding" techniques for the then-unannounced iPad?). I'm planning to put the eDGe through a thorough workout for some “back burner” research projects I need to get back to soon, so hopefully I'll be able to give some real-world usability feedback before spring is out. Take care.

  6. It's not even normal reading techniques - it would just not work. Others find the DX too heavy. I don't. But these 3 lb tablet-combos with ereader screens are ridiculous unless they detach the e-reader unit. :-)

    Yes I saw that. Funny also was the serious article before that in the NY Times that merely asked how you would hold one ! The responses were not kind.

    Good luck on the Edge. We'll get a report from someone ultra thorough then.


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