Amazon Settlement is ….. settled. Did you get $?

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 7.46.54 AM“In December 2013, a federal court approved legal settlements by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits filed by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs about the price of eBooks. Those settlements resulted in credits for qualifying Kindle books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.”

All this legal maneuvering has been simmering for a while, and I was wondering how it was going to come out in the wash.

This morning I received an e-mail from Amazon informing me that I would be receiving a credit on my account for the e-books that I purchased in the latter half of 2010, 2011 and part of 2012.

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If you bought Kindle books during that time frame, and you received this email today … have no fear. It is legit. You didn’t have to do anything to be part of this settlement. It just happened for you. Enjoy!! :)

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I am one of the 4%

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 7.50.56 PMEarlier this year Pew research released the results of several studies regarding the habits of the reading public.

As someone who reads “e-books only” I was curious to see how common (or not) this has become. According to the research, this puts me in a small group of just 4%. Most people who read e-books also read print books.

But me? I stand firmly in that 4%. My eyes prefer the adjustable fonts, the adjustable light, the ease of getting, saving and carrying books. I’ve always been a big reader, but the e-reader (Kindle) simply makes reading even better.

However, when it comes to e-reading in general, once you take away the “exclusive”, the numbers climb. 28% of adults have read an e-book in the past year, and this number continues to rise.

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Half of all the adults in America own either a tablet or an e-reader, and coupled with the stats below, this makes me wonder:
…. if 32% of people own an e-reader, but only 28% have read an e-book, can we assume that about 4% own e-readers that are just collecting dust? (not to be confused with the 4% of us who are e-readers-only!)

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The full article: E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps
Three in ten adults read an e-book last year; half own a tablet or e-reader

Where do you fit? E-reader only? E-reader + print books? or do you (gasp) have an e-reader just languishing at the bottom of a drawer?

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Amazon Prime will now cost you a bit more

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Last week, all Amazon Prime members were notified that the price of their membership is going up. The cost had been $79 a year, but when their membership renews they will be charged $99. This is a $20/year increase. (But in all fairness, this is the first raise in price in 9 years.)

$99 a year translates to $8.25 a month. Your $8.25 a month gets you: 1) free shipping for prime-eligible merchandise 2) a large library of videos to stream to your devices, and 3) a library of ebooks to borrow for free and read on your Kindle.

I’ve been a member of Amazon’s Prime for several years, now. And with the raise in price? I’m staying.

My experience has been generally good. When I first started using Prime, the free shipping was the major draw for me. It was delightful not to have to “save up” my purchases to top the $25 total to qualify for free shipping. Suddenly I could order anything, have it appear at my door in days, and I never had to consider postage costs. However, I have noticed that over time many smaller items have been moved to a new category of “add ons”. This has been a disappointment and I hope this is not a trend that continues. But all in all, the free shipping is still very important to me. When buying a product I always sort through the choices to view only the prime-elible options.

The video streaming is delightful. The library is large, and there is a wide variety of content. While (in my opinion) Netflix is still better, Amazon Prime is getting better all the time.

The Kindle library is the third perk of Amazon Prime. This (to me) is the weakest prong of the three benefits of prime membership. While I have borrowed several books from the Kindle library (and it was VERY easy to do), I haven’t found many of the books that are on my to-read list. That said, the library boasts 500,000 titles, so it certainly isn’t the size that’s my complaint. Just not a lot of current best-seller types. I don’t mean to sound too negative, however. The last book that I read was from this library and it was excellent. I guess I’m saying that it can’t be your ONLY source of books.

So, in spite of the rate rise, I’m staying.

FYI: Amazon Student will raise from $39 to $49 a year.

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A Brief Look at Kindle Highlights (part two: How to Highlight as you Read your Book)

The point of this blog is to take our consumer technology and break it down into tiny little pieces. Gradually over these few weeks I’ll be addressing a few “how to’s” for Kindle Highlights. The first post in this series was: A Brief Look at Kindle Highlights: (part one: Popular Highlights)

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.18.01 AMIf you are reading on a Kindle Paperwhite, and you come across a passage that you would like to highlight, it is so easy-peazy to do.

How to highlight a passage in the Kindle Paperwhite:

Just touch the first word of the passage you want to highlight. Now drag your finger to the END of the same passage. The text will darken.

Lift your finger.

You will now be presented with several choices of things that you can do with this highlighted text.

Select “highlight”.

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Poof! That’s all there is to it.

Now …. what if you want to see all the highlights you have selected in this book?

While you are IN the book, just go up to the top and tap on “menu”.

Then select “View Notes and Marks”

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Stay tuned ….. More info about Highlights to come! :)

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Can you Laugh and be Angry at the same time?

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 9.32.38 AMI posed a question at the beginning of this post:

Can you LAUGH and yet be ANGRY at the SAME time???

The answer for me, I’ve learned, is absolutely YES.

The evidence came as I watched the video at the end of this post.

The LAUGH: It’s cleverly done. Acted well. Although the language is German, it is not necessary to know what they are saying.

The actions speak for themselves, and it’s … well…. funny!
(Thanks to Margo for sending it to me. :) )

BUT

The ANGER: Gosh darn it. I really get angry, seriously bothered, when older people are portrayed (often in commercials) as complete and utter idiots when it comes to technology.

And that is simply not true. What is true is that we didn’t grow up with any of this. There were no smart phones (your phone was attached to the wall, and tethered with a cord), there was no streaming, there were no tablets. And, hard as it is to believe…. no internet.

In my house we jumped into tech with the invention of the calculator, Pong, and then the Atari 2600. Next we enjoyed the AMAZING Commodore 64. I remember my son explaining to me how he could call another computer and if it was “on” he could leave a message on a “bulletin board” and someone else, from another computer could actually read this message. Unknown to me at the time (I actually thought it was pretty useless) that was the very beginning of the internet.

When he went off to college he explained to me that he would be emailing his papers to professors. I was skeptical…. but the world was changing … and fast.

And so those of us of a certain age, who were there from the beginning, had a choice. Jump in, or go on with life as usual. Technology, at first, was a choice. And if you aged without jumping in, it is most likely overwhelming, now.

But many many many people DID jump in. I loved it all. And still do. I know of many others both personally and online who are also “up there” in years and completely comfortable with smart phones, tablets and all the other technological goodies that are available to us today.

And I firmly believe, no matter what the age, with proper instruction, anyone can master an iPhone or iPad or a Kindle. My mother, age 84, uses them all quite well.

And, not only do I believe that older people CAN use these things, I believe that they SHOULD. The technology of today can enhance a life that is slowing down. A Kindle, for example, allows aging eyes to read comfortably with larger fonts.

The original purpose of this blog truly highlights this point … breaking down the sometimes-confusing-tech-speak into very do-able bits.

I fully believe that when the young people of today are old, they will find that they will be completely comfortable with the technology that they keep up with. But when new things come along at lightning speed (and they will), they just might find themselves left behind a bit, too. (And made fun of by the youth who are being born, now.)

So, after that rant of anger ….. here comes the laugh.

Proving to me that you CAN be angry and laugh at the same time. :)

Dad’s New iPad

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A Brief Look at Kindle Highlights (part one: Popular Highlights)

The point of this blog is to take our consumer technology and break it down into tiny little pieces. Gradually over the next few weeks I’ll be addressing a few “how to’s” for Kindle Highlights.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.18.01 AMI was never a “highlighter” when I read paper books, because I would pass them on to others and, well, my highlights would leave me along with the book. So I didn’t really see the point.

But since I became a digital reader, highlights have become an integral part of my reading experience.

I have enabled “popular highlights” on my Kindle. This means that when I am reading a book, I might come across a passage that is lightly dotted and shows that “300 people” (for example) have highlighted this particular portion of text.

Personally I find this interesting to see, but if you find it distracting you can disable it.

To enable/disable Popular Highlights:

On your Paperwhite, just go into your Kindle settings and tap on Reading Options. There you will find the opportunity to turn “Popular Highlights” on or off.

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Holiday Gifting: How to Give Kindle Books and Apple Apps

Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 7.42.50 PMThe Shopping Season has arrived. It used to start on Black Friday, but it sure seems to me that it has been moved back. Way back.

Flyers are advertising “pre-Black-Friday” sales, and many many stores are boasting that they will be open on Thanksgiving, trying to get a jumpstart on those bargain hunters.

Online shopping is certainly a good alternative choice to facing those crowds.

Although I think that a little bit of crowd-mingling can be fun, when it comes to facing checkout lines that are hours long? Not fun. :shock:

Considering the calendar I thought it would be timely to revisit a few time-saving how-tos. Specifically how to gift a Kindle book, and also how to gift an app.

How to gift a Kindle Book:

Simply navigate to the book that you would like to give. Look over to the right hand side of the page. You’ll see the option there to “Give as a Gift.”

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Once you tap on “Give as a Gift” you will be taken to a screen that looks like the one below. Just fill in your recipient’s email address, and a note from you and you are all set.

Notice that you can choose the delivery date. Your recipient can be notified of your generosity immediately or you can target a particular date for them to be surprised.

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If you don’t want to gift a particular book, you can also select an Amazon gift card which is good for purchasing Kindle books as well as merchandise on Amazon.com. To purchase a gift card, just go to the Amazon home page and look across the top. You’ll find a link for gift cards, and you’ll have the option to email it to your recipient or print it out yourself to wrap as a gift.

*remember, you don’t need a Kindle to read a Kindle book. A Kindle App on any device allows the recipient to read a Kindle book.

How to gift an App from the iTunes store:

I’m going to link here to my previous post on App-gifting. The photo examples are a wee bit different for iOS 7 …. but the process is exactly the same.
How to Gift an App from your iPhone or iPad

Once again, you have the option to choose your date of delivery. I like that!

Happy Shopping :)

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A New Perk for Amazon Prime Members: Kindle First

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If you are an Amazon Prime member, your reading shelf just got a bit fuller. :)

Amazon has just started a new program, called Kindle First. This is a program where Prime members can have early access to several not-yet-published books from Amazon publishing. You get to see them FIRST (hence the title, Kindle First :lol:)

Each month, the editors will select four books for this program. If you are a Prime member, you may pick ONE, for FREE, and download it to your Kindle or Kindle App. It will become a permanent part of your library for ever and ever.

Books will be chosen across genres. This month there are four books to choose from and you can see them, and read more about the program by clicking here.

As a Prime member, I’m really happy with this new program. My new book is already on my Kindle, and I’m looking forward to …… well, ……. 12 new free books a year!

At this time, the Kindle First program is available for US customers, only.

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Hurray! Kindle App Adds Collections

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 4.27.44 PMI love how the Kindle app keeps getting better. With this new update, the Kindle app now adds Collections. Yay! It’s about time.

There has been lots of chatter about this for months forever :lol:. Many people feel this is long overdue, and are celebrating this new feature. Collections helps you organize and makes it MUCH easier to browse through your books in the Cloud.

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Once you have updated your app, you will discover that some Collections have been made for you. Just tap on the three lines on the upper left of your screen, and a menu will pop out from the side. You will see “Collections” on that list.

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Tap on Collections, and see all your books appear in default categories such as “free” or “reading now”.

Touch and hold any book, and you will have the opportunity to Add to Collection. Tap on a book within a collection and you can remove it from a collection and put it into another. It is very intuitive and easy to use.

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To create a new collection, just tap on the + sign on the Collections page.

I enjoy being organized, and this is a wonderful way to organize all of my Kindle books. I plan to spend the rest of the evening sorting through my library and placing books into Collections. :)

****** Creating Collections on your Kindle App will sync across other Kindle Apps (iPad to iPhone, for example), but will NOT sync to your Paperwhite or other Kindle device at this time.

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Launching in October: Kindle MatchBook

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I’m not sure what I think about this…..

Amazon is launching a new program in October, called Kindle Matchbook.

Basically this is a book-bundle program. If you buy a new paper book from Amazon, you can buy the Kindle version for $2.99 or $1.99 or $.99 or FREE.

This is not just for books that you buy, now. Amazon promises that you will be able to look back to ALL (yes, ALL) previous paper books bought from Amazon since 1995 … and if they are on the matching-list, you can buy a cheap Kindle copy.

Of course, in order for this to work, the publishers have to be on board. It is not clear how many publishers are planning to be part of this model.

I am not excited about this program. (no bubbling :) ) I’m just not sure how I feel about bundling a book and its ebook counterpart.

I don’t really see the point. Do you?

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