NYT Amazon expose withstands attacks from the company’s defenders

By David Rothman
August 17, 2015 // 3 Comments

The New York Times’ expose of brutal working conditions at Amazon drew attacks over the weekend (here, here, here, here, here, via The Digital Reader—along with a memo from Jeff Bezos). I’ll still side with the Times. The defenses tended to center around individuals’ experiences. Keep [...]

Xiaomi’s iPhone 6 Plus rival is a mere $125 in China—with a 5.5” extra-high-res screen (but read the fine print)

By David Rothman
August 16, 2015 // 2 Comments

Xiaomi’s new iPhone 6 Plus rival could be catnip for e-book lovers, if it lives up to the ballyhoo. It comes with a high-res 5.5” screen, some 2GB of RAM, an eight-core 64-bit processor, a swappable 3,060mAh battery, the 802.11ac WiFi protocol, two SIM slots, a 2Ghz chip in the entry model, and [...]

‘Hunger Games’ in Seattle? New York Times portrays Amazon as a Darwinian sweatshop

By David Rothman
August 15, 2015 // 3 Comments

I’ve praised, praised, praised Amazon’s pros, such as knock-out customer service, well-built e-readers and other goodies. But at what human cost is this happening? If you believe Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld of the New York Times, we’re talking about a Darwinian sweatshop where employees [...]

Sampling: How a research fiend saves money on e-books

By Joanna Cabot
August 14, 2015 // 2 Comments

New hobbies can wreck a teacher’s budget, especially if she’s a research fiend. How to afford the books that will bring me up to speed on my new interests? I’m already a constant buyer. Besides, some books in the end may turn out to be wastes of money—just duplicates of other titles, or [...]

ePub isn’t perfect—but look at the format mess at Amazon: Time for anti-trust action to get Amazon to do ePub?

By David Rothman
August 12, 2015 // 34 Comments

Isn’t Amazon supposed to offer us a smooth e-book experience? Well, the ride is getting bumpier. Amazon has now rolled out yet another propriety e-book format or quasi-format, the KFX one. The positive is that KFX will mean better typography for books available in it. But not all titles will be, [...]

Kindle Paperwhite, Voyage and basic model get 5.6.5 update for Bookerly font, etc. What tweaks do you want next?

By David Rothman
August 11, 2015 // 9 Comments

Own a 2013 Kindle Paperwhite? Well, you can finally enjoy the new Bookerly font optimized for readability, thanks to Amazon’s latest update, 5.6.5. Same if you own a deluxe Voyage or a recent basic model. The 2015 Paperwhite already includes Bookerly but will benefit from other features in the [...]

$1.99 add-on Audible audiobooks cause headaches for Amazon authors

By Chris Meadows
August 7, 2015 // 5 Comments

On The Passive Voice, Passive Guy posted a question about Amazon/Audible audiobook rates and payouts on behalf of his wife, an author herself. She had heard from a friend that their audiobook narrator no longer wanted to work with Audible on a royalty basis because the $1.99 Amazon Whispersync [...]

114 SF, fantasy, and horror e-books for $3.99 or less

By Chris Meadows
August 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

SF Signal has a list of 114 SF, fantasy, and horror e-books for $3.99 or less—all using SF Signal’s Amazon affiliate URL, of course. It seems like linking to lots of Amazon e-books with a referral bonus is a cheap and easy way for high-traffic blogs to rake in a lot of money. Still, it was [...]

Should the U.S. launch a cyber attack against the Great Firewall?

By David Rothman
August 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Chinese apparently hacked a database with sensitive information on 22 million Americans—potential blackmail victims for spies. How to retaliate? Should we launch a cyber attack against the Great Firewall, through which the Chinese censor pesky Web sites and other content? The New York [...]

Amazon defends change to Prime benefits sharing

By Chris Meadows
August 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Amazon PR machine is still going. In response to customers upset about the recent changes to Amazon Prime account benefits—decreasing the number of adults allowed on an account from 4 to 2, and requiring they use the same credit cards—Amazon insisted that the changes were meant to benefit [...]

In the publishing industry, Ursula K. Le Guin wants less profiteering, more freedom

By Chris Meadows
August 4, 2015 // 2 Comments

While researching the piece I wrote about Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing advice earlier today, I found enough interesting material that I decided to make another post out of it rather than tacking on a one-paragraph by-the-way. In July, Portland Monthly Mag had an interesting editorial take on Le [...]

That’s not what a ‘Kindle bookmark’ is supposed to mean…

By Chris Meadows
August 4, 2015 // 0 Comments

This dates back a couple of years, but I first ran across it in a Facebook re-blog yesterday. CAN WE ALL TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE MY MOTHER USING A KINDLE AS A BOOKMARK A photo posted by Riot Rogers (@rossmonstr) on Mar 12, 2013 at 11:13am PDT Ironic, isn’t it? The idea of using an e-book [...]

Amazon narrows household Prime sharing program

By Chris Meadows
August 3, 2015 // 1 Comment

As of the end of July, Amazon has made some significant changes to the way Amazon Prime sharing works across households, Lifehacker reports. Before August 1st, you could share the cheap shipping benefits of Amazon Prime with up to four other adults. Now, the company will limit sharing Prime [...]

A ‘cool’ image: Amazon’s goal in the UK

By Chris Meadows
August 3, 2015 // 0 Comments

Is the Kindle “cool”? Amazon sure wants to make it look that way with the new print and panel ads it’s running in the United Kingdom. The campaign, which also sees full-page broadsheet newspaper advertisements and extensive panels on both overground and Underground rail, has the slogan [...]

‘Author’ organizations make noise on behalf of publishers

By Chris Meadows
August 3, 2015 // 1 Comment

Self-publishing advocate Barry Eisler has an opinion piece on Techdirt discussing the way that so many organizations with “authors” in the name (Authors Guild, Authors United, etc.) seem to be arguing on behalf of publishers rather than authors. Now look, there’s nothing wrong with lobbying [...]

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