Category Archives: Kindle Hacks

Happy Belated New Year, Everyone!

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I refrained from posting on New Year’s Day on purpose. Really, I did. Mrs. Amazopia and I both “celebrated” New Year’s Eve in our usual manner. We went to bed early, and slept late. Yes, the same way we “celebrate” Black Friday. We’ve also been preoccupied by other distractions, such as the fact that I’ve been down with a cold (at least I think that is what it is) for the past few days.

One of my (minor) frustrations is that the Kindle app on my Android tablet doesn’t really duplicate the experience of the real Kindle hardware 100%. I seriously doubt that is by accident. After all, Amazon wants you to buy their hardware. DUH.

Well, one piece of the Kindle experience formerly missing from Android is no longer Kindle-exclusive. An enterprising young man named Nate Hoffelder has come up with a way to get around the limitations on streaming video. He has posted the detailed directions here. Unfortunately, my Acer A500 (now available for less than half what I paid for it two years ago, such is life) tablet was not on the list of hardware that he tested, but I may try it out anyway. I don’t expect that to work on mine, since it isn’t one of the “newer” Android tablets. Plus, I rarely watch videos, but it’s nice to see the Android platform get some Amazon Prime love.

Also, my A500 won’t ever have the “MayDay Button,” which offers direct (and almost real-time) access to the Kindle Helpdesk from any of those new-model Kindles folks got for Christmas. So, I can confidently predict that the Kindle experience on a tablet (or PC, or Mac) will never be 100%.

A change in sales tax for 2014: As of January 1st, Amazon now collects sales tax in 9 new states, bringing the total to 19. Amazon has fought this in the courts and in the various legislatures. One tactic was to simply cancel all affiliate accounts in any state that ruled that having an affiliate living in their state constituted having a “nexus” — in hopes that it would stir up enough political blowback to get the state lawmakers to reconsider. So far, that tactic has not not been overwhelmingly successful. The main complaint that Amazon has about sales tax is that having to figure out rate & rules in several hundred jurisdictions (most states have several tax districts with different rate and rules) is just not possible. Especially considering that a lot of the states have trouble coping with their own rules.

It looks to me like Amazon is losing that battle. Cash-strapped states will not be easily deterred.

A friendly reminder: The Amazon long-term storage fee assessment will start rolling out in about 2 weeks. Some of the FBA merchants who are sufficiently aware of how to use their dashboards already have the information they need, but those are the ones who probably won’t panic on January 15th when the first LTS notice email lands in their inboxes. Be sure to make a note on your calendar to start looking for the bargains between January 15th, when the fee is announced, and February 15th, when the fee is assessed.

Photo Credit: Vietnam-inmyheart via Compfight cc

DRM hysteria, Reviews erased, Amazon enforces quality standards, and more

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The Amazon world is a-Twitter (lame joke) with news about a Kindle user who had her account summarily shut down and most – if not all – the contents deleted.  The Consumerist, not a big Amazon fan, it appears, opines that they will not get a response from Amazon, despite their attempts to contact customer service.  The Kindle Boards are also all in an uproar with warnings to be sure to 1) back up your Kindle content to another drive and 2) use various methods (which I am not about to detail) to strip Digital Rights Management from the downloads.  It’s unclear from either of these sources – or any other, for that matter, what actually happened, but it appears that the user (who goes by a rather anonymous-sounding “Linn”) either overstepped some boundaries with downloading from the “wrong” site, or was “associated” with someone who had done some nefarious, but unspecified deed.

As an Amazon user in many different roles (reader, writer, seller, associate, etc.) I have never had one minute’s trouble from Amazon, and they have, indeed, been exceedingly quick to reply and straighten out questions that I have had.  I also know that sometimes, depending on the situation, it’s better for a large company like Amazon to just shut up and take its lumps rather than try to explain the reason for an unpopular action.  I am guessing this is why Amazon isn’t going into detail about the situation.  It’s a no-winner for them at this point.

But I am curious what experiences any of you have had in this regard?  Have any of you had your account(s) at Amazon restricted or closed?  Have they been slow to respond to requests for assistance?  I am curious to see what experiences the rest of Amazon-lovers have had in this regard!

In another story that didn’t get quite as much press, Michelle Gagon of the Kill Zone reports that several of her fans have had their reviews of her books either taken down or they never appeared.  When questioned, Amazon states:

We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product.

Read the rest of the story at The Kill Zone.

In some (to my mind) very refreshing news, TeleRead reports that Amazon is now putting a warning on certain books that appear to be poorly designed in many regards.  The warning looks like this:

Of course, I don’t know what the problem is, and I am not going to point out the book, but my opinion is: it’s high time.  Some of the crap I’ve downloaded puts shame to the name “book.”  I hope this is just the start for Amazon to enforce some high quality standards.

And in my last story for today (I saved the tax stuff for last, because I am probably the only one of thousands that actually LIKES to read about taxes):  The Guardian.UK is accusing Amazon of forcing publishers in Britain to pay some 20% VAT tax, when the real rate is only about 3%.  You can find the story at the link.