Monday, October 15, 2012

Kindle News-bits The Kindle DX has shuffled off its mortal coil. Amazon may acquire Texas Instruments' mobile chip business. Why those few cents e-book credits.

Amazon in talks with Texas Instruments

NASDAQ reports today that Amazon may acquire the mobile chip business of Texas Instruments, as according to Reuters today, Amazon "is in advanced talks to buy the mobile chip business of Texas Instruments" according to Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist.

Texas Instruments had told investors last month that it would continue support for its customers but that its mobile application chip business, which supports features like video, NASDAQ explains, "will not invest in supporting its customers future roadmap for tablets and smartphones to the same degree."

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi told Reuters she doubted whether Amazon wants to 'become that intimately involved with hardware.'
  The Kindle Fire uses these chips, and I guess this would be one way to keep costs down for future tablets.  Might they be in the position of providing them for other mobile device makers too? (

Amazon pulls Kindle DX from store
Members of Amazon's Kindle Community Forum had alerts on this in the morning.  The Kindle "Family" header no longer shows the Kindle DX and it's been omitted from the Comparison Table now, even on its own product page, which is too bad because some owners (and buyers in the last two weeks) would like to know how it differs from the Kindle Keyboard for features other than mere size.
  There is still info on specs under "Technical Details," however.

  This is one area where Amazon has fallen down on customer support in that they never gave it a software update even somewhat similar to the update they gave the smaller Kindle Keyboard (with the same Pearl screen) for PDF reading -- an important feature for the larger-screen Kindle.  It's disappointing that they didn't do an update for contrast adjustments. at least, and for somewhat smoother zooming (though the latter might be more difficult, depending on the processor).  Their customer base that bought this paid well for it and deserved more with regard to software upgrades since 2010.
  I did ask if they're considering a software update to it anyway but have not received a response on that.

  Trade-in program
People can still get used ones from 3rd parties from the product page's links OR can trade in a DX in very good shape for up to $98.75.  That could go against the purchase of a $299  8.9" Kindle Fire HD, though that's not of course an e-Ink device.

It's a great e-Ink e-reader, but I do use even the 7" Kindle Fire more, for PDFs and Kindle books.

Those e-book credits mentioned in an Amazon email
A number of Kindle owners received notices of probable credit to be received in 2013 as a result of (preliminary) approval of the U.S. Justice Department's settlements with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, of the Big5 mentioned in the civil antitrust case.  Penguin and McMillan and also Apple are moving toward a trial on the merits during summer 2013.

  Recent developents
  Judge Denise Cote's ruling on Sept. 6 (same day as Amazon's announcements) stipulated that, for the settling publishers, the current Agency agreements be ended within one week.

  (On their own, "Agency" agreements are considered fine as a method and can be used again after ~2 years, based on individual negotiations vs collusion among publishers to set prices).

  The 45-page opinion claimed a "straightforward, horizontal price-fixing conspiracy," rejected anti-settlement arguments as "insufficient" for denial of approval, and dismissed requests for an evidentiary hearing as an unnecessary delay.

  Also the 3 publishers must terminate current contracts with e-book retailers where these contain restrictions on the retailer's ability to set the store price of an e-book or which contain a "most-favored nation" clause that stipulates no other retailer is allowed to sell e-books for a lower price.

 This is a "cooling off" period to allow the industry "to return to a competitive state free from the impact of defendants' collusive behavior."

  After the next two years, the settling publishers will be able to restrict retailer's "discretion over e-book pricing" and after five years, the publishers will once again be allowed to make contracts with retailers that do include a most-favored nation clause.  The understanding, of course, is that this would not be done in collusion with other publishers to fix prices among them.

  So, the settling publishers' e-books can now have store prices set by the retailer although it's important that any publisher's catalog not be sold at a loss overall.

  In Europe -- Apple and a couple of publishers were close to a deal with investigators to stop their current arrangements, period (essentially), and in return they will not suffer penalties or fees.

 It's likely that this type of settlement might not, though, help them in their court case next summer, and if the decision goes against them, the $$penalties against the publishers will be much worse.  Apple, however, has deep pockets.

  IN THE MEANTIME, the STATES -- all but Minnesota and 5 territories including Washington, D.C. -- received preliminary approval for their $69 million ebook pricing settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster.  PaidContent's Laura Hazard Owen, who's been on top of all this, and great with follow up, reported September 17 that consumers would be notified within 30 days if they're eligible for a small payment, though there'll be no actual payments until after the "fairness hearng" on the settlement(s) on Feb. 8, 2013 in New York, which will include the "entry of final judgment in this action."

  Consumers who bought qualifying books from retailers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 will receive an automatic account credit if the settlement is approved.  I've read that it'll be something like $1.32 per NYT bestseller purchased during that perod and $0.25 to $.30 for other e-books, depending on the book's date of publication.

  See Owens' full article Oct 4 (on the preliminary approval of the States' ebook settlement) for all the details of how the credits might be applied by the various retailers.

  Also see the website hosted by the administrator of the settlement, for more information:

  For Amazon-specific information on the credits: Amazon's own FAQ about the coalition of state Attorneys General Ebook Settlements

OverDrive comes to Amazon's Android App store for the Kindle Fire
  The OverDrive app is now available to Kindle Fire users for easier access to eBooks and audiobooks from OverDrive-powered libraries.  They also released a version for iOS (iPhone/ iPad/ iPod touch).

  Earlier, some had to get the Android app from places like GetJar and 1Mobile.  This app will now be directly downloadable for all your Android devices in one fell swoop.

You can now browse your library's digital collection from within the application instead of having to launch a separate browser window.  You can also share what you're reading on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and via Email! (Finally).

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
NOTES on newer Kindles.

Updated Kindle Fire Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $299/$369
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $499/$599
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free but slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
Kindle Fire 2, UK
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle

* Kindle Fire HD to be released October 25, 2012 in listed European areas above;
    Paperwhite to be released November 22, 2012 there.

  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

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  1. " OR can trade in a DX in very good shape for up to $76. "

    I am seeing up to $98.75 this morning on the DX page at Amazon

    1. JY - I linked to the official 'trade-in' page.
      That's a price Amazon will pay for a DX in very good shape. I think you're referring to what people are asking for their own used DX's ?

    2. I just clicked on the link you provided in the body of the text. It takes you to the official Amazon trade in page that lists all the models and the price offered for them. The DX is listed at a trade in price of $98.75. Not sure if I am getting that price because of my location ( Caribbean) but that's the price on the official trade-in page. Could be they updated the listing since the time of your original post also

    3. JY, ah - two things. I was looking at the earlier, white DX.
      And your "I am seeing up to $98.75 this morning on the DX page at Amazon."
      - That normally indicates 'the DX page' or product page. You were referring though to a Kindle search result giving you the DX and you looked at the correct DX! So thanks for pointing that out.

      I'll change it. That's a decent trade in. Half the cost of a Kindle Fire HD.

  2. The less than stellar support for the DX is one of the reasons I am not holding my breath for K Touch updates to bring it at least in line with the features of the new basic Kindle model.
    It seems to me that Amazon has the best customer service and support except when they want to phase out a device. The DX is a case in point and it is starting to look like the K Touch is next on the list. I think they don't want to support the original touch because they want ALL touch users to upgrade to the Paperwhite. I think they realise that customers who still choose the Keyboard model are not likely to migrate away from that device because of its KILLER FREE internet feature. They don't want to alienate those customers who buy a ton of books even though they may never upgrade. Customers who buy the basic kindle are imo more often than not paperback junkies ( a term of endearment :p ). They more likely than not, will buy book, read book, go to next book. Amazon wants these buyers happy. They will support them to the end of the earth. The problem with touch customers is that many ( if not most) of them were casual buyers and a fair amount impulse or what I call trend buyers. The majority of high volume readers who are also touch users I think will more than likely ( if they have not already) upgrade to the Paperwhite.
    That leaves a smaller group ( me included) who are medium to high volume readers who simply like the Touch and like the extra value features ( double storage, tts, mp3 playback, audible compatibility including buying audio-books from the device itself ) too much to upgrade just for the ( albeit fantastic) front light. I fear we will suffer the same fate as those pioneering DX owners. The DX was an experiment that largely failed. Amazon cut their losses and moved on. The Touch was also an experiment to a lesser degree but it was ( and judging from the paperwhite's team statements always has been) a transition device. It is appearing more likely that Amazon will also walk away from this great device.

    1. JY - They're still, at this point, selling the KTouch as an International model and a message there says "Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available."

      I think this is more or less in line with your thinking. If a Paperwhite is available, then the KTouch is gone. If the Paperwhite is not available, they seem to still be ready to offer the KTouch.

      Personally, I love my KTouch and if not involved with the blog (in providing info on things Kindle), I probably would not buy a new one as I wear a Beam n Read around my neck and always have good, quite even light for it. My screen background is very light and the Sans Serif font is almost bold. Much easier to read than the print books I have, which often make me squint.

      However, I think they're wise to offer only one or the other, as it's too confusing otherwise, to have so many models. Unfortunately there's no audio/tts in the Paperwhite. I wish they might have one in a later model that costs a bit more with speakers etc.

      Except for the audio, the Paperwhite is overall the one to get if you don't already have one, so I wouldn't offer two different ones either in a Touch model. Electronics vendors don't "walk away" from each device -- they just offer newer models. To be frank, I read much more on my Kindle Fire now than I do on the e-Inks... but I like the latter if my eyes are really tired.

  3. I received an email about the settlement from Kobo but not from Amazon. Could it be that I happened not to buy any books from the publishers involved from Amazon? Hmmm.

    1. brik, you're right. You get a notice if you've been identified as a customer who bought books from one of the three publishers who are part of the settlement with the states, during the discussed time period.

  4. Is the Paperwhite going to be available to Australia in Nov as well? I was on the phone to Amazon a few weeks back about it, but they refused to clarify at the point. It was very frustrating as my Kindle Keyboard was stolen and I wish to replace it, but when you try to buy one, it says they are out of stock. What I suspect is closer to the truth is that they don't want to pay 3G fees anymore to Telstra and thus are not shipping them here. I don't want a wi-fi only machine. :(

    1. suze, sorry to read about your stolen Kindle Keyboard! I hope you notified Amazon so the person can't use it.

      There's an international version of the Kindle Keyboard available to Australia now, from what I see when I click on Australia.

      Re the Paperwhite, Australian Discounts says it may become available internationally after the holidays, but they suggest a way to import one and they give details on another page. I'm not recommending it, am just reporting that it's a workaround suggested in Australia.

      At any rate, I hope the Kindle Keyboard international link works for you...

  5. Yes, I have removed the stolen Kindle from Manage My Kindle, and reported it stolen. They stole every bit of tech from the house, really annoying. I had to read a DTB!

    No the KK link doesn't work. You can add it to your shopping cart, but when you come to pay, it says out of stock! It's very frustrating. It seems the only Kindle available to Australia at the moment is the Kindle (haha). Which isn't available with 3G.

  6. suze, that's awful! I mean, having all your tech things stolen.

    How frustrating re the KK link and shopping cart. It doesn't even say anything about when it comes back in stock?

    Did you see my link about how to work around this?

  7. Yes that's an informative site and there's plenty of people here that use sites like Shipitto and MyUSA for this purpose. I'm always afraid though that Amazon will unexpectedly hardcode the equipment so it won't work if exported. I'll just sit it out I think. I can't see why the Paperwhite wouldn't be released here in future, but then, the Kindle Fire hasn't been, so who knows?

    1. suze1000, Amazon's never been that hardnosed at all. But I understand your concern, certainly. I read that Amazon has made moves to have a local presence in Australia and it may not be that long in coming...


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