Archives for: March 2012
Housekeeping: Strange reading habits and places; Amazon purchase e-mails; and a cheap read 7 comments

This week I (Susan) finished a book that I had been reading for some time. Really, a long time. More than six months. It wasn’t that long of a novel, but I was reading it in short increments. In the bathroom.
A friend had loaned me The Rising ($9.28) a while back, but I had trouble getting started on it. Since I got my Kindle, I haven’t read that many paperbacks. I used to keep a magazine in the bathroom, but then I got the bright idea to browse through some more serious reading material.
I kept the book stashed on the back of the toilet and read through it as my schedule allowed. It was a little harder to get immersed in the story one page at a time, but it still worked. About three-fourths of the way through, the story picked up enough that I took it out of the bathroom and finished it over the weekend.
This book was a pre-quel to the Left Behind ($6.20) series, which I read years ago. It answered some questions about the series and had a darker but more interesting tone than the original novels.
Paula takes her precious Kindle to the minor league baseball park where she and Tiger have seats just a couple of rows above the home dugout. Tiger knows that if a baseball is batted at them, he protects the Kindle first and Paula second.
I might try reading another novel in this manner, though probably only with a print book and not the Kindle. Although it seems with ereaders, people are taking up reading in all sorts of new locations. What is the strangest manner or setting that you’ve read a book?
 
Amazon’s purchase e-mail improvement
Amazon has made a wonderful improvement in their purchase notification e-mails. Unless you are a high volume purchaser, you may not have noticed. Amazon is bundling notifications and sending them to the purchaser when 10 one-click purchases are made or after a period of time, whichever occurs first. I don’t know the time limit, but it is no more than a couple of hours.
If your purchases are paid through your credit card, this improvement will bundle purchases and submit a higher dollar amount to your card. Again, I have not confirmed, but it may mean that your book will not download to your Kindle until submitted to your credit card company. If anyone has confirmation on this, please leave a comment.
As a frequent purchaser, my mailbox doesn’t have nearly as many Amazon e-mails. That is an improvement.
 
A cheap read to pre-order
For a limited time at a special price of $1.99, enjoy Jacqueline Sheehan’s novel Lost & Found—A poignant and unforgettable tale of love, loss, and moving on . . . with the help of one not-so-little dog. As a bonus, you get an excerpt from Sheehan’s new upcoming novel, Picture This ($9.99), on sale May 22, 2012.
 
Lost & Found ($1.99 pre-order, April 17 delivery) Rocky’s husband Bob was just forty-two when she discovered him lying cold and lifeless on the bathroom floor . . . and Rocky’s world changed forever. Quitting her job, chopping off all her hair, she leaves Massachusetts—reinventing her past and taking a job as Animal Control Warden on Peak’s Island, a tiny speck off the coast of Maine and a million miles away from everything she’s lost. She leaves her career as a psychologist behind, only to find friendship with a woman whose brain misfires in the most wonderful way and a young girl who is trying to disappear. Rocky, a quirky and fallible character, discovers the healing process to be agonizingly slow.
But then she meets Lloyd.
A large black Labrador retriever, Lloyd enters Rocky’s world with a primitive arrow sticking out of his shoulder. And so begins a remarkable friendship between a wounded woman and a wounded, lovable beast. As the unraveling mystery of Lloyd’s accident and missing owner leads Rocky to an archery instructor who draws her in even as she finds every reason to mistrust him, she discovers the life-altering revelation that grief can be transformed . . . and joy does exist in unexpected places. Read reviews here.

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Housekeeping – The Agency Model and What Might Happen and a Cheap Read 6 comments

The Agency Model and What Might Happen
Last week, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) warned Apple and five of the largest publishers in the United States that they intend to sue the group for collusion in e-book pricing. This has been known as the Agency Model, where the e-book distributor (Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google) sells the book at a price set by the publisher and receives a commission. The distributor cannot change prices and the publishers agree to price the same across all distributors. This model for books originated with Apple before their release of the iPad. Apple does not own content, but receives a commission for selling through their devices.
 
I think the agency model has not produced millions of dollars for publishers as they might have thought because:
1) The iBooks store never took off. The people who bought the iPad didn’t buy it to read books.
2) Consumers just flat out refused to pay the prices the publishers wanted for new releases and older books. Readers responded negatively and the outcry was loud.
 
I’m going out on a limb, but I believe executives and lawyers from the companies are meeting now with the DoJ to discuss what can be done to keep the lawsuit from going forth. If the companies come forward with a plan that satisfies the government and gives the impression that consumers will be better served, then the publishers look good. Apple will probably pay a fine as the DoJ will want money from somewhere. This gives the appearance that the DoJ was right in their threat.
 
It’s well-known that publishers don’t like Amazon, but they have to work with the 800-pound gorilla. Publishers need to look like they are in control of their industry even though they are losing their hold on which books will thrive in the marketplace.
 
I’m speculating that a compromise will be reached in which:
1) Publishers set the prices on some books; such as new releases and/or a pre-determined list of top-tier authors. These books will be under the agency model we know today.
2) Distributors will pay a set fee for other books from these publishers based on time in print and/or author and will have the ability to set prices and take a loss on every book if they want.
3) The library lending distribution system for e-books will end as publishers realize they can’t make money through the product and libraries continue to lose patrons and tax dollars in the coming decade.
4) Publishers will allow some books to be included in the Kindle Owners Lending Library. I speculate these will be the less popular books and Amazon will pay a set fee for each book borrowed.
5) Brick-and-mortar bookstores won’t be pleased with compromise, will declare that it stifles competition, and 25% will close their doors in the next five years.
What do you want to be the outcome of the DoJ action? What about libraries and brick-and-mortar bookstores? Will they survive?
 
A book I didn’t finish – now a Cheap Read
Several weeks ago I wrote about books I had not finished and mentioned I needed to post reviews on books that weren’t that great. Here’s one of those books that is selling for only 99 cents. I paid more when the book was sold by a publisher, but at this price . . . . no, I still wouldn’t like the book.
Written by Kate Angell, Squeeze Play is the first book in a four-book set about the Richmond Rogues, a world-champion baseball team. The players, team management, the girlfriends and/or wives and more are introduced. The book gets crowded with so many people. And the names! They are names for pets – Risk, Zen, Psycho, Chaser, and Stevie (a woman). Many of the scenes are at the coffee shop where the coffee, sexual innuendo and more flow freely. It all seemed rather sophomoric.
Ms. Angell’s writing style is fine. To me the characters and their relationships were confusing and if the men weren’t playing baseball, they were playing the women. The reviews average 4.2 stars, so some readers enjoyed this light read.
The remaining three books in the series are selling for $3.99 each. Maybe with enough sales the team will be able to afford jerseys.
 

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The Curse of Chalion – Epic fantasy by Lois McMaster Bujold – 99 cents 0 comments

Laurie sent us a note to tell us about one of her favorite books that she found in the Kindle store at a greatly reduced price. When asked, she wrote a wonderful review, too. Thanks, Laurie!
 
Though Lois McMaster Bujold may be best known for her Hugo-winning science fiction Vorkosigan novels, she also wrote a wonderful trio of connected fantasy novels, set in a complexly imagined world where unexpected heroes (and heroines) discover the depth of their own strength and interactions with the gods have intense, thought-provoking, and wide ranging effects.
The Curse of Chalion is the first book of the three (followed by Paladin of Souls ($7.99) and The Hallowed Hunt ($6.99)) and one of my favorite novels in any genre. I was beyond delighted to discover it was available for only $.99 — the only problem is that you will want to go buy the other novels at full price, even though each of them can stand alone!
Click here to purchase The Curse of Chalion

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Housekeeping: Gift Card Widget; Your Kindle Stories; Pre-Orders and Really Cheap Reads 3 comments

Because you asked so nicely. . .
Somedays I just amaze myself. Several of you requested that I add a Amazon gift card widget to our site. You purchase the gift cards to avoid those pesky 99 cent charges on your credit card and the fraud alerts triggering. Sunday evening I remembered that I was going to attempt to get it there without either 1) taking down the site or 2) having to emergency text our IT support.
If you look on the right sidebar, just below the categories, you will see my handiwork. The site didn’t go down, Jeff in IT enjoyed a text-free evening, and the link works. If you need a gift card, just click the widget and you will be connected to the gift card page on Amazon.
 
Your stories and comments about your Kindles
Your stories of your Kindles, how you first acquired yours, how you love the device, and how you tell the world about your Kindle were heartwarming and uplifting. Go here to read the comments and stories.
Lisa Lawless shared a particularly touching story and has given permission to share her remarks here:

Last April, my husband was on his way home from work when he was hit from behind by a drunk driver. After a sleepless night of wondering where he was, we found out that he had been airlifted to a hospital over 2 hours from our home.

My children and I packed our bags and drove to where he was. For over two weeks, every day we would take a shuttle from our hotel to the ICU floor, camping out for twelve hour stretches and watching over my husband as he tried to regain consciousness from his brain injury.

My kids, ages 10 and 8 at the time, were completely bored sitting in the waiting room all day. They quickly tired of the books I had brought to entertain them, and I knew buying more heavy books was not the answer. My back was killing me by then. So on our fifth night, I asked the shuttle driver to stop by Target on our way back to the hotel. I bought a Kindle.

I thought I would learn how to use the Kindle, and then give it to my kids to share. Well, funny how that works because by the time I figured out how to use it, I knew it was going to be mine. We went back to Target and got a Nintendo DSi for my kids so that I could keep my Kindle. Even though this horrible car accident has been the worst thing to ever happen to my family, I can say one good thing came from it. My Kindle. I’m not sure if I would have ever gotten a Kindle if I hadn’t been stuck hours from home with two kids to entertain and my poor back about to go out on me.

It has only been 9 months since we became Kindlers, but now we are proud owners of 4 Kindles: two Kindle keyboards and two Kindle Fires. My husband’s brain injury has made it difficult for him to read, so the larger font choices on a Kindle are priceless to him. And yes, my kids each have their own Kindle now. 🙂

 
One more thing about the third anniversary of my Kindle
This past weekend, while Tiger removed and replaced a 100-year-old door on our home, I sorted through boxes of accumulated stuff. My 2009 day planner was tucked in a box. I can dawdle with the best and took a few minutes to see what was on the schedule back then. There between the pages on the week I received my Kindle was the black paper wrapper from the power cord. Somehow I knew that the Kindle would be important in my life.
 
If you pre-ordered. . .
The Duchess of Love by Sally MacKenzie ($1.99): Darla did a bit of research and found that this is a novella and the prequel to Ms. MacKenzie’s next book Bedding Lord Ned (pre-order for $5.59, release June 5).
The 500 (free): The publisher originally had this posted as the novel, but it is only a preview sample.
If you pre-ordered either of these and do not want them now, go to the Manage Your Kindle page and select pending deliveries item to cancel.
 
Cheaper than a dollar
The three books below are selling for 55 cents each:

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