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Entries in Amazon Kindle (5)


You Give a Kid a Kindle - Then What?

My son loves to read, so my wife and I decided to get him a Kindle Touch for Christmas.

He recently turned nine and we think that he's responsible enough to care for an eReader - and what better way to demonstrate our confidence in him than to surprise him on Christmas day?

The problem that we had (as do many parents of young children) is the lack of parental controls on Kindle devices.

Kindles have gotten cheap enough that they can serve as suitable replacements for kid's books without breaking the bank (or a kid's back) but they're still designed with adults in mind: one-click purchases for books, games, apps, movies, music and audiobooks. (Sorry, Amazon, but that doesn't work in our house.)

So, I set about figuring out how to handle this with our son.

Click to read more ...


Amazon Adjusts to New App Store Rules with Clever Marketing

Apple has been asserting control of its App Store rules by asking app developer to remove the "purchase" buttons for third-party stores in certain apps. The most obvious ones impacted by this have been the Google Books and Kindle apps.

Last night, I discovered a bit of clever marketing on Amazon's part in response to this change.

Click to read more ...


Another Flaw in the eBook Agency Model

Some major book publishers (HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster) have opted for Amazon's "Agency Model" to sell their eBooks. Simply put, this means that the publisher sets the price and Amazon sells then delivers it at that price.

However, it also means that Amazon is not the seller anymore, and they've gone through the trouble to let you know that they have no control over the pricing of a particular title.

This also has tax implications. 

Amazon is very careful about where it keeps distribution centers and any other physical presences in the United States. That's partly because once the company has a physical presence in a state, they have to collect state sales tax.

However, since Amazon is not the seller of the eBook I recently purchased and HarperCollins has a physical presence in the state where I live, Amazon must collect tax on their behalf.


So even though I may no longer be paying for shipping on a physical book, I now have to pay sales tax on it, depending on the publisher.

Thanks, HarperCollins.


"Like Crack for your Kindle"

Or should that be "Krack?" ;)

Sarah Cofer introduced me to FeedBooks, a site with thousands of free ebooks that you can read on your Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone/iPod Touch, Cybook Gen3, iRex iLiad and other smartphones/PDA's.

There's a good mix of classics along with copyright-lapsed, public domain books, but also a bunch of newer works licensed under Creative Commons from Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig and others.

I downloaded a bunch of Cory's science fiction and Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" and have them queued up for reading over the holidays.

Another interesting feature is the ability to "create your own newspaper" based on tags that you enter into the FeedBooks system. Like the books, your "newspaper" can be downloaded to your computer and copied to your device. You can subscribe to your newspaper using any RSS reader that supports enclosures. (iTunes will work for this.)

I'm in the process of setting up my newspaper, but I doubt it will replace Google Reader on my desktop, netbook or iPhone. More to come on this.

Visit FeedBooks and create an account, then share your recommendations and newspapers with me. I'm gadgetboy. (of course.)


Amazon Kindle PDF Support

The Kindle doesn't natively support PDF documents, which was a real disappointment for me. I wanted to be able to take the many PDF's that I receive on a daily basis and read them on my Kindle - and save a few trees in the process.

As it turns out, PDF support is considered experimental on the Kindle and the documents can be loaded onto the device if you use Amazon's document conversion service.

Here's a perfect example:

Today, I discovered that the authors of Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty and Happiness after the Digital Explosion are making a version of the book available for download under a Creative Commons license from their web site. While this is certainly great news, I wasn't about to print the PDF, nor read it on my computer screen.

Enter Amazon's document conversion service. Each Kindle comes with an email address. If you send a document that you'd like converted and loaded onto your Kindle, to this address, you're pretty much done. Depending on the complexity of the document's formatting, it should be available on your Kindle no later than twenty minutes from when it's received.

Because the PDF for Blown to Bits is so large - about 22 megabytes - I first had to overcome a delivery challenge: Gmail won't allow me to send attachments larger than 20 megabytes.

Apple to the rescue.

I opened the document in Preview on my MacBook, selected "Save As..." and was given the option to save the document with a reduced file size. When the process was complete, the resulting PDF was only 6.3 megabytes. Cool.

I then emailed the document to Amazon and waited. About 15 minutes later, it was ready for loading onto my Kindle.

Other than some funky formatting of the table fo contents, the formatting of the book is nearly perfect (although I haven't encountered any diagrams or exhibits, yet).

I'm going to try this with some longer blog posts soon, too. That said, HTML is supported natively so I should be able to just copy a document to the device using a USB cable and avoid the 10 cent fee that Amazon charges for using the document conversion service.