Category Archives: Kindle News

E-Reader Technology is now “Good Enough” and “Affordable Enough”

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I am a relatively recent convert to digital format books. For a long time after the first e-readers came out, I didn’t consider the technology good enough, but I knew the day would eventually come when it would be.

The last time I moved, the weight of my books was roughly half of the weight of my entire household. And that was after I donated a bunch of them to the local libary. It doesn’t take very many of the medium-size “book” boxes (I learned quickly that you don’t use the largest available box for books!) to weigh more than a couch or a king-sized bed.

Now, I have more titles loaded on my Kindle than I own in dead-tree form. I also have a 10-inch tablet with a Kindle app, which has some advantages (and disadvantages) over my PaperWhite (which now is available with a better screen than the one I have). The technology of those devices is good enough — barely. It’s good enough that I have been won over to e-books, and I now only purchase a dead-tree edition if I can’t buy it in Kindle format (or can’t borrow it from my local public library).

Amazon just announced yet another advance in the technology, which combines the best parts of the PaperWhite with my Android tablet app, at a compelling price point. It looks like I’m going to have to buy the new Kindle Fire HDX.

Here’s what you can now get for $139 (from their press release):

  • High-definition display with 1280×800 resolution and 216 pixels per inch, making movies, TV shows, books and games vivid and detailed. 66% more pixels than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
  • Powerful, dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 60% faster than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
  • Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio—the standard in high-end audio.
  • All-new slim design that matches the look and feel of the new Kindle Fire HDX.
  • Fast streaming, downloads, and web browsing with built-in dual-band Wi-Fi.
  • Powered by the latest version of Fire OS—Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito”—with hundreds of new and upgraded features, platform updates, and Amazon-exclusive services.
  • Kindle FreeTime extends parental controls to give parents a simple, engaging way to manage the way kids use Kindle Fire—parents select content and set time limits by content type.
  • Exclusive new features such as X-Ray for Music, Prime Instant Video downloads, Second Screen, expanded X-Ray for Movies and TV, and more.
  • Stay connected and productive with all-new email, calendar, and Silk web browser.
  • World’s best content ecosystem—over 27 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks, and magazines.

Some of those new features aren’t all that big a deal for me, but at the $139 price, it’s a pretty good feature set. However, I will probably go for the 8.9-inch model with the extra memory, since I consider my PW slightly too small, and my 10-inch Android tablet slightly too big.

Only problem: It’s not available yet. But you can pre-order it.

Kindle Growth, AZ in Mexico, Bezos & WaPo

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Amazon has opened up a new Kindle site with the target demographic of Mexican authors and readers. They already have more than 70,000 Spanish language books available to readers in more than 175 countries, and of course are planning to add more continually.  Books are priced in pesos and authors can fully retain their copyrights.

The Kindle PaperWhite WiFi version is sold out, according to this news article by Geek  Newsletter. There’s no mention by Amazon about why, but the speculation is that they are about to introduce another new e-reader. You can still get the 3G version for $179, while they last although there’s no telling how long that will be.  One of the frustrations of buying on Amazon is that it’s not really possible to know how much stock is left on the items they sell exclusively, unless they exhort you to buy because there’s “only one left.”

Meanwhile, Amazon has seriously discounted the price of the Kindle fire, due to its slumping sales during second quarter 2013.  Details are at – of all places – Apple Insider!  The Insider speculates that Amazon will release new Kindle Fire models soon, to compete with Apple’s planned launch of updated versions of its iPad lineup.

A lot of people are still very unhappy  about Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post. Seems they are afraid that he might influence D.C. politicians with the “wrong ideas” as discussed at length by Matthew Ingram in this gigaom.com post.  However, it appears to me that The Washington Post has been losing market share in the marketplace of ideas for decades.  If Mr. Bezos, who is not known for treading lightly, can fix that, it’s probably because he has better ideas. If he doesn’t have some better ideas, WaPo will continue its decline.  There are those, however, who welcome the fresh new face.  Joe Rothstein of EIN News has a refreshing take on Mr. Bezos’ latest purchase and its likely effect on the Post.

There was a really funny satire about the Washington Post purchase in the New Yorker.  Great for a Friday – have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thanks to freestockphotos.biz for the free image.

Send to Kindle, raising Apollo 11 engines, nudity in advertising, and more…

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Hey, did you see the new button on the site? Yes, THAT one, right above this paragraph!  Now, I don’t know whether Amazon is reacting to Google’s impending shut-down of Google Reader, or if they have other reasons, but they have developed a plugin that will send any blogpost to Kindle, if the blog writer installs it. Well, I wasted no time adding that plugin, because I want you to be able to read Amazopia wherever you go. Digital Book World has the details.

By now you’ve probably heard that Jeff Bezos has been fishing this week…and what a catch! He and his expedition recovered two rocket engines from the bottom of the Atlantic that were a huge part of Apollo 11’s trip to the moon in 1969. For those of you who were not born yet, believe me when I tell you: it was an exciting trip. See details and photos at Mashable.

In the U.K., Amazon has apparently committed a serious faux pas, according to the Advertising Standards Authority, for showing a nude depiction in their advertising of a Christmas card. Amazon says the listings for the cards aren’t ads, but the authority wasn’t impressed with Amazon’s statement.  The ruling stands. Read the details (sans the nudity) at GigaOM.com. This isn’t great news for Amazon, especially after the uproar that ensued after it issued the “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot” Tee shirts they somehow managed to blunder their way into.  While the intent behind the Tees was entirely benign, the message was a result of “automation growing pains.” Details of that debacle at SingularityHub.com.

And finally, a good word for Amazon, and thanks from the ebook authors who wait entirely too long for their royalty payments. Until now, many authors had to wait for payments, which were only issued quarterly, but now the payments will go out on a monthly schedule within 60 days of the end of each month. Not great, if you are a starving writer, but better than quarterly. EReader news explains the details.