Amazon Kindle into French market by Nov?

Apparently Amazon are on the verge of inking a deal with the French to get the Kindle ereader and the Kindle store to the French. France is one of the ugliest publishing markets, and must be quite difficult to get into. There is massive state intervention to fix book prices, plus further behind-the-scenes price-fixing cartels among publishers. They even passed a new law recently to specifically prevent ebooks from being discounted. ebooks are about 2% of the market there, currently, compared to around 10% in the English-speaking world with forecasts of 25% by 2014. Let’s hope that Amazon can give French indie publishers and self-publishers room to wriggle free of the traditional publishing industry.

Kindle Touch / Kindle 4 launched

Alongside the launch of the Amazon tablet (yawn), news of a new Kindle 4!

The Kindle Touch appears to be the Kindle 4. It will be smaller than the current Kindle 3, and will cost $99 with wi-fi. It’ll apparently be on pre-order today, and will ship to the USA on 21st November 2011. It looks like it’s the usual e-Ink black and white screen. The chassis is smaller, but the screen size is the same. The default colour is silver rather than carbon.

Nice to see it, but I doubt I’ll be making the move to a touchscreen. The price will make ebooks accessible to even more people, which is great. But I want voice control (not touch).

Another thing, how can the cheapest version of 4 cost £50 in the USA, but Amazon have it listed at £89 in the UK (for exactly the same model)?

This is how publishers die

So the Kindle 2 was released February 2009. So we’re now two and a half years into the Kindle revolution, and the Kindle 4 is unveiled tomorrow. So why am I constantly having to click the: “Tell the publisher you would like to read this on the Kindle” button on Amazon? Publishers, just get your books converted. It’s only a limited sub-set of HTML, not sodding astrophysics.

Amazon’s new tablet – what would make me consider it?

It’s an open secret that Amazon is coming out with a color ‘tablet’ as an iPad competitor, and they’re unveiling it this coming Wednesday — with shipping in November. But why would I want a Kindle Fire, when the Kindle 3 is perfect for me? I don’t give a fig about colour screens or ‘apps’. I just want the best ebook ereader, and that’s what I have in the Kindle 3. I already have a big 1920px widescreen monitor if I want to flick through PDF magazines. So what would make me consider paying $199 for Amazon’s new tablet? These factors…

* Voice control.
* Ability to switch to black and white, and by doing so get a Kindle-like battery life.
* Simple and easily-readable “whole page” PDF display.
* It stays as cool as the Kindle when you hold it, and is as lightweight.
* Kindle-like readability, re: complete lack of eye-strain and glare.
* Better interface usability (see voice control).

Amazon beta-testing @author

Amazon is beta testing a new Kindle bolt-on that will allow readers to directly ask an author a question about their book. The new service will be called @author. The questions will all be public (online, not embedded at the end of the book) and limited to just 100 characters. Let’s hope they have good filters for spam, trolls, and libel. Currently it’s being tested with eight big-name authors.

My new book is now on the Kindle store

I’m pleased to say that my latest book, Walking With Cthulhu: H.P. Lovecraft as psychogeographer, New York City 1924-26, is now available an an ebook for the Amazon Kindle ereader: on the USA Kindle Store and the U.K. Kindle Store. The hand-coded Kindle edition has a linked table-of-contents, and a fully-linked “round trip” endnotes system.

If anyone needs a scholarly book hand-coded for the Kindle from a Word file, I’ve thoroughly cracked the workflow and am available for hire.

You can sample the book via the Kindle 10% preview, or as a PDF (PDF link, 4Mb). If you prefer print, there’s also a new paperback copy available.

Physician, heal thy shoulder…

From the Kindle Mailbag…

“What you have here is a great product [the Kindle]. I am a third-year medical student out of New York, and have loaded a bunch of my textbooks onto the Kindle. Those once 40lb volumes of ill-fated tree trunks, are less than a pound, and now in the pocket of my white coat. Really a great asset!”

Amazon interface changes preview

Amazon just made an ugly change to their search results, but it seems to have been temporary and is now back to normal. I saw loads of unwanted old “HTML” magazine articles being mixed into the book search results. Blurgh! Also, it was a clunky two-click process to get paperbacks and hardbacks on the same page of results (meaning it was more difficult to spot when a used hardback is cheaper than the new paperback version, as they often are). I hope that what I saw wasn’t a quick stress-test for part of Amazon’s forthcoming and much-hyped new user interface. I want my book titles all on the same page of search-results: Kindle, Paperback, Hardback, Audio.

Amazon shuts out all POD except its own CreateSpace

Amazon has changed how they deal with print-on-demand houses, all except Amazon’s own CreateSpace.

CreateSpace looks similar to Lulu (templates & submission requirements) which I currently use for print books. Although you still have to know the trick of how to embed fonts in PDFs. Maybe Amazon should just have licenced every font known to man, since so many people seem to get hung up on the font embedding.

Anyone have opinions on how CreateSpace compares to Lulu? Specifically on interior paper-quality, shipping times (Lulu do well on this) and shipping cost (Lulu significantly overcharge on these)? Better paper quality, and less cost on the shipping, might persuade me to change.

Buying Amazon reviews

Indie publishers dependent on fake Amazon reviews, watch out

“Cornell researchers, who recently published a paper about creating a computer algorithm for detecting fake reviewers.”

I’d imagine they’re easy enough to detect – always a ridiculous 5 star rating, always at least six superlatives, very few specifics about the book (since it hasn’t been actually read), no criticisms. There are usually about three or four of them, all clustered together in time. I’d imagine most potential readers have developed a nose for such things, by now.

The article also points out a far more evil thing than boosterism, though — fake negative reviews placed by competitors.