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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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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Netflix for Books? Hmmmm

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 8.16.20 AMI was so excited when I learned how to get books from the Library for my Kindle. (Borrowing Books from your Local Library … for your Kindle!). I have borrowed many books from the library, sitting in the comfort of my own home. It’s easy … and free. There is only one thing that brings this short of being book-heaven, and that is: selection. Although I’ve read many books from my library’s digital collection, I can not limit my reading to their books because their books simply don’t go that deep. I’m assuming the collection will grow, but until then, I continue to get books from other sources as well.

Recently I’ve heard of a brand new service model for e-book-getting. :)

The model is kind of like Netflix. You pay a fee per month, and for that fee you get movies books.

There are several companies that are trying to gain a foothold in this emerging new market.

Oyster charges $9.95 a month for unlimited books. They only launched about a month ago, and at this time, their books are only available for reading on your iPhone or iPod Touch. ( I’m quite surprised that they started with the iPhone. I don’t think that most people do their serious reading on their phone, but obviously there was some reason behind this choice. ) :shock: Their catalog has over 100,000 books, with more to come.

Another e-book-borrowing spot just launched this week. This one is from Scribd, a six-year old document sharing service. They are charging $8.99 a month for their all-you-can-read model. A big plus for them: their catalog includes a big 5 publisher, Harper-Collins, in addition to many small publishers.

Scribd is also offering a one month trial for free. You can read their books on your Android, iPad, iPhone or Kindle Fire.

This article includes a great comparison of the two services, Osyter vs Scribd: Scribd moves beyond document sharing with $8.99/month ebook subscription service

I think a service like this could really work … IF their catalog was deep enough. For me to get excited about it, I would have to see books from major publishers, and while I could be a little patient, I would like to see books show up for borrowing within a year of being released. (and I’d want to be able to read on my Kindle Paperwhite.)

One other area of concern for me: if all I can borrow are books from small publishers that sell on Amazon for $1.99 or a bit more, well, doing the math, I could buy them within a month for probably less than it would cost to be a member. I mean, I’m a pretty fast reader, but 3 books a month would probably be my average. And the math wouldn’t be on the side of the membership model UNLESS it was offering more popular, best selling, higher $ books.

I might try a month free … and if I do, I’ll be sure to share my experience, here. :)

What do you think? Does a “Netflix for books” hold interest for you?

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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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Amazon Announces New Paperwhite

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 3.53.37 PMLooks like the month of September is going to be the month full of new stuff. Apple will be announcing their new phone, the new OS for the iPhone and iPad will be released (with LOTS of new stuff for us to learn :shock:) , and now Amazon has announced a new Paperwhite.

Honestly, I think my Paperwhite is just about perfect and at this point I have no plans to upgrade. I use it every day (a lot) and I never find myself wishing for this or that on the device. So,I can’t even imagine the improvements. But improvements are promised, as Jeff Bezos has outlined in his letter that was posted on Amazon’s opening page, today:

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The improvements promised include a better processor, sharper fonts, a better light, improved touch and other features:

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The new Paperwhite is available now for preorder, and Amazon says they will start shipping on September 30.

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My Favorite Feature of eReaderIQ

Screen shot 2013-09-02 at 8.52.28 AMLast month I wrote a blog post sharing with you a site called eReaderIQ, a marvelous free service that will alert you when the price of an eBook for your Kindle falls to a price that you set:

Get Notified When the Kindle Book You Want DROPS in Price: eReaderIQ

But my favorite feature of eReaderIQ is not the actual alert (although that is pretty awesome), but rather the information about the history of the book that is displayed on the book information page.

Just search for any book on eReaderIQ, and then slide down the page. You will see the price summary and a graph of the price history.

This is priceless!!

Here is a screenshot of the information for a random book:

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Notice the wealth of price-info! You get to see the fluctuation of pricing for the book, and this can be extremely helpful to you when you are making your decision about your purchase.

You can see when the book has been priced high, priced low, and what it is now. You see the history …. how great is that? :)

If I see that a book I want to buy was once priced significantly lower, I can create an alert and wait, hoping it will (likely) happen again. Or if it is currently priced at its lowest point, ever, I just might nab that Kindle book right now.

It helps me make an informed decision, and I like that. :)

Thank you, eReaderIQ!

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