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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Want a Kindle Fire? Now’s the time!

If you have been considering getting a Kindle Fire, you just might want to get serious right now.

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Today and tomorrow only (that’s January 10 and January 11), Amazon is offering $30 off of any of their Kindle Fire tablets. There are four models, so consider carefully. I personally own the cheapest one (the one that you can get today for $109) and I will say it is a fine product. It’s not an iPad (my favorite tablet), BUT … how can you beat the price? If you are looking to try a tablet, this is a great opportunity to jump in.

I’d love to experience that MAYDAY button that lives on the more expensive Fires.
(Note to self: Time to consider an upgrade????)

To purchase a Kindle Fire today or tomorrow with the $30 discount, you will need to add a promo code at checkout, so follow the instructions carefully. Just head on over to Amazon to learn more.

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Amazon’s Mayday Button will be a BIG help for “Everyday Folks”

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 7.17.37 PMI think probably everyone has experienced a tech-support-horror-story.

I do believe that many people who avoid getting smart phones or tablets stay away because they are afraid that if they run into trouble, they won’t know where to turn.

Amazon seems to really understand “support.” They have always had an outstanding reputation for help-calls.

However, even when support is excellent, following directions can sometimes be difficult, especially if your device is new to you. The tech person might use vocabulary or refer to functions and buttons that simply sound like jibberish to a newbie.

Enter the Mayday button on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX. This makes support for the “everyday person” completely ….. well, close to perfect.

Let’s say, for example, you have a new Kindle Fire HDX and you want to set up your email on the device, but you have no clue how to do it.

Just tap the Mayday button and a tech support person appears on the screen. And, even better, they can actually SEE your device screen, and access your controls. They can teach you how to do whatever it is that you need to do. They can circle the button, draw arrows and explain while they show you exactly what to do. Imagine that!

And… this Mayday person will be available to you 24/7, 365 days a year. You need help, help is always right there.

Amazon is promising that the Mayday person will show up on your screen within 15 seconds (wow, huh). They must be planning a full house for Christmas because I can just imagine all the new Kindle Fires being opened on Christmas morning and a deluge of people pushing that Mayday button (if for no other reason than just to see how it works).

I have an old Fire (no Mayday button), and I can tell you that there have been many times where assistance would have been wonderful. Not major issues, mind you, or I would have called the regular suppport line, but just a “I wonder if I can…or how do I…” How nice it would have been to tap a button and get an instant answer!

Here is a video with a few short commercials showing the Mayday button in action.

(fyi ….when you push the Mayday button, you will see the person, and they will see your Kindle Fire’s screen, but they will not see you.:) )

The Mayday button may actually convince you to get a new Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon adds ‘Mayday’ button tech support to new Kindle Fire HDX tablets

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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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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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Target Starts Video on Demand

Screen shot 2013-09-01 at 3.12.39 PMThe choices are many … and here comes another.

There are oodles of video sources for our devices. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and iTunes all instantly come to mind.

Walmart has a digital rent-or-buy service called VuDu, and Target is now countering with its own video-on-demand service. It is called Target Ticket and will allow you to rent or buy digital content such as TV shows or movies.

Target Ticket is currently just for invited guests (as they work out the bugs), but it is expected to go ‘live’, soon, with 15,000 titles. According to all I have read, it appears as though they will be a rent-or-buy model, not a pay-a-fee and watch-all-you-want like Netflix.

I have been using Netflix for years, and I am happy with their model. I also stream with Amazon Prime, and although there is overlap, I often find things that are only available on one or the other. My buying/renting experiences have all been through iTunes, and it’s worked flawlessly. So I’m happy. With all of that, and the ‘station’ apps like ABC, NBC, PBS, etc., well, I have all the video I need. More than enough, really.

But clearly Target thinks there is room for another, and so they will soon be joining the party. (Apparently those of us with Apple devices might find their service a bit glitchy to use with some extra steps needed (i.e. downloading to a computer, first?), but Android users will have no troubles.)

The only thing I see that Target is offering to make anyone want to use their service over another is an incentive of a 5% discount if you use the Target REDcard to make your digital purchases.

That is not incentive enough for me. I’m happy with Netflix and Amazon Prime for my streaming, and iTunes for the buying. I don’t have a Target REDcard, and I do not intend to get one. But with all these competitors now in the digital market, maybe we will start seeing some REAL incentives to go with one service or the other. Now, THAT would be worthwhile!

Target Ticket is still only for beta invited guests, but it will be going live sometime soon.

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Another Great Book Search Tool for your Kindle: BookGorilla

Screen shot 2013-05-10 at 3.08.29 PMI’ve mentioned a few wonderful book sites for your Kindle on this blog, such as Freebooksifter and eReaderIQ.

Now I want to add another: BookGorilla

BookGorilla will search everyday for the best bargains tailored just for you.

When you sign up, you will have the opportunity to select categories that interest you. You will receive ONE email a day, with book bargains from all your selected categories. You get to decide how many books you want to appear in your daily email alert… 12? 25? 50? (I chose 50, of course. :) )

You always have the option to adjust your category selection, so you can tweak your choices to get the perfect group of books chosen just for you.

BookGorilla prides itself on not just finding unknown-author books, but finding sales on popular books as well. Here is a quote from the blurb on their website:

We’re as tired as you are of emails stuffed with books by authors we’ve never heard of. Ho hum, who needs them? Here at BookGorilla, we’re talking about bestsellers by authors you know and love, with a few discoveries by emerging authors of real distinction sprinkled in.

Hello? Do we really mean that you can get actual bestsellers for prices ranging from free to $2 or $3?

Absolutely. Here are a few of the well-known authors we have featured recently. We’re talking Grisham, Patterson, Patchett, Evanovich, Conroy, Picoult, Shreve, and Grafton….

If you like to read on your Kindle, you’ll enjoy looking through these bargains each day.

Just go to BookGorilla and sign up… it is free!

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