Friday, July 18, 2014

Is Kindle Unlimited Good for Indie Authors?


Amazon has officially launched Kindle Unlimited, a US based service that has 600,000 eBooks and audiobooks available at $9.99 per month. The Seattle based e-commerce giant is now competing against companies such as Oyster and Scribd, which have friendly terms for self-published authors. Is Kindle Unlimited viable for indie authors and is it worth it to make your titles available?

In order to be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, indie authors must opt into the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. This allows you title to be showcased in the Kindle Lending Library and made available for people to read for free. It also provides many advanced tools, such as free promotional pricing. KDP Select authors are automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and this is how it works. If someone reads your eBook past the 10% mark, you will get paid on average about a dollar. The money is paid from a revolving pool of revenue that Amazon has on a monthly basis. They inflated the pool an additional $800,000, bringing the total allocated funds to $2.9 million. The royalty payments actually pay up to 70% of your list price if eventually someone from Japan, Brazil, India, or Mexico read your book.

In order to enroll in Kindle Unlimited you have to exclusively publish your title with Amazon for 90 days. This means, if you also have your book listed on Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life or Smashwords, you have to remove it or Amazon will ban your book. Unlimited basically forces authors to exclusively publish with Amazon and forgo earnings from alternative sources.

According to many reports Amazon earns $5.25 billion dollars from current annual book sales. This results in them controlling 65% of the US eBook market, with only Apple, Barnes and Noble and Google having a minority share.  Amazon has publically stated many times that self-published books make up 25% of the top 100 list.

Unlimited is only being launched in the US right now and this results in a limited audience to offset an author’s ability to earn revenue from international sales. Being able to sell your book on a worldwide stage, can equate to big bucks.  Barnes and Noble makes their self-published titles available in many countries in Europe and Kobo has the largest footprint of all.  Smashwords also distributes titles to many markets, piggybacking a bunch of companies. Sadly, compared to Amazon, they do not earn as much as Amazon generates with kindle book sales.

Many industry experts are very much against the Kindle Unlimited program, saying it hurts indie authors. Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords had this say – “For all of Amazon’s good deeds, it does not mean we indies should kiss their feet unconditionally. Their business methods are not beyond reproach. We should encourage a healthy debate about Amazon’s practices and how they can do better for authors and readers. I can admire Amazon yet still oppose exclusivity. We should also recognize when Amazon’s business interests don’t align with author interests.”

Joel Becker, chief executive of the Australian Booksellers Association stated "I am concerned about author royalties. Authors are already getting a smaller cut when it comes to eBooks and when you look at the music subscription services, it is the music companies who are making money and the artists who are getting less.”

Is Unlimited good for indie authors? I would say yes. Amazon has not signed any of the big publishing companies, so that means you aren’t competing against the James Pattersons or Neil Gaimons of the world. Instead they are only doing business with Algonquin, Bloomsbury, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Open Road, Scholastic and Workman. Amazon intends on paying them a wholesale rate for each title opened and read, so indies might actually make more money.

Is Kindle Unlimited Good for Indie Authors? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Meaning of Free Apps Changing in Europe


Every person with a smartphone or tablet has experienced the frustration of a free (but not so free) app; you download it, you install it, you go to run it… and find that it’s so bogged down with ads and purchase options that it’s nearly impossible to use. In North America, many classify these apps as being Freemium. Beginning in September, Google has reached an agreement with the European Union that indicates no title offering in-app purchases (IAP) can be labeled as free.

The approach Google will take involves a change to the way app pricing is listed. Once implemented, a title will not be designated as free unless it also carries no IAP.

While it is easy to understand the motivation behind these changes, the main catalyst appears to be parents whose children have unwittingly racked up serious charges by downloading game add-ons. What isn’t being considered is that no price listing is a replacement for supervision and education: any child capable of entering payment information (even by way of just knowing the password) will download any app they want, regardless of the way a price is listed.

Apple has also been tapped to make these changes, but the company has yet to commit to anything specific, indicating they have no “concrete and immediate solutions”.

Meaning of Free Apps Changing in Europe is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Pleasure Reading House Opens in China


Amazon has opened their first the Kindle Pleasure Reading House in Shanghai, China. This is a temporary autonomous pop up store that will be open from July 18 to July 20th and then August 1-3 in Beijing.

The premise of the new Reading House in China is to draw attention to their complete lineup of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets. They also installed two machines that will give you recommendations based on your favorite books and give you the Kindle book prices online. Amazon has also filled a bookcase with over 1,000 physical books, which they are selling.

Kindle product managers are on hand to explain what the devices do and run small workshops for groups of people to get a taste of how digital books will save them money over the long term. Amazon has also setup a small darkroom, where people can try out the Kindle Paperwhite with Frontlight and also see how the tablets perform in low light conditions. Finally,  the company is running a ton of interactive games that will win people prizes of cases, books and lots more.


Amazon first opened their Chinese bookstore in December 2012, but government regulations at the time prevented them from advertising it or selling the hardware. At the time The Director of Digital Publishing Director of Press and Publication Administration Technology Wang Qiang, said that "Amazon opened its Kindle ebook store operation with their license pending, but has not yet approved."  All of this was sorted out within six months and now the Kindle China store currently has over 120,000 paid books and 600  classics.

China is a huge market for Amazon and many of its competitors have failed to enter the market in any meaningful way. These popup stores will at least give Amazon some exposure via the press and bloggers, something they exclusively rely on for their North American operations.

Amazon Kindle Pleasure Reading House Opens in China is a post from: Good e-Reader

E-Ink May See Profits Increase in Second Half of 2014


E-Ink Holdings, the company responsible for e-paper found in the Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Sony may become profitable in the second half of 2014. This is mainly attributed to the growing orders for electronic tags from the US and Europe, and increased implementation for e-paper in smartphones and smartwatches.

On average e-Ink has been experiencing consistent quarterly losses in the last few quarters. Recently they reported $19.96 million dollars in the red in the first quarter of 2014.

E-Ink May See Profits Increase in Second Half of 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Weekly eHighlights: Audiobook edition

Welcome to this month's eHighlights newsletter for audiobooks. Check back the third week every month for a new edition listing some of the best new titles added to OverDrive's Marketplace. The featured titles below are some of the best picks, but be sure to also click on this link to see these plus more great purchases conveniently ready for you in a Marketplace cart: Click here to view the Marketplace cart of these titles and more.




Finally Available for the First Time! Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird– read by Sissy Spacek



Hilary Clinton – Hard Choices
Anthony Doerr – All the Light We Cannot See
Ian Doescher – William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
Jordan Ellenberg – How Not to Be Wrong
Janet Evanovich – Top Secret Twenty-One
Dorothea Benton Frank – The Hurricane Sisters
Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm
Lev Grossman – The Magician's Land
Elin Hilderbrand – The Matchmaker
Stephen King – Mr. Mercedes
James Patterson – Invisible
Helen Rappaport – The Romanov Sisters
Joan Rivers – Diary of a Mad Diva
Emma Straub – The Vacationers
Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch
Jennifer Weiner – All Fall Down
Jacqueline Winspear – The Care and Management of Lies


Adult Fiction

Debbie Macomber – Love Letters
Books on Tape – read by Lorelei King

One couple books a room at Cedar Cove's Rose Harbor Inn to work on saving their marriage. Two Facebook friends meet face-to-face to see how they get along in real life, and the innkeeper is falling for her handyman. This series has been aired by Hallmark.


Henning Mankell – An Event in Autumn
Books on Tape – read by Simon Vance

Mankell's Swedish detective Kurt Wallander mysteries have sold over 40 million copies worldwide. Here's the new one.


Sue Miller – The Arsonist
Books on Tape – read by the author

When an arsonists begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town, neighbors begin to regard one another with suspicion.


Haruki Murakami – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Books on Tape – read by Bruce Locke

This book sold a million copies its first week on sale in Japan. Murakami excels at putting the reader into the head of his main characters. In this one, a 35-year-old man is living a solitary life on autopilot and attempts to break out of the cycle.


Karen Slaughter – Cop Town
Blackstone – read by Kathleen Early

Bestselling author Slaughter has written her first standalone novel—a tale of crime set in Atlanta in the mid-1970s. It's Kate Murphy's first day on the job as a cop, and things aren't going well—her (male) uniform is too big, the APD doesn't welcome women, and she's having trouble handling a gun. Then she's partnered with Maggie Lawson in a strategy designed to isolate them from the rest of the men on the force. But the move backfires.


Adult Nonfiction

Peter Finn & Petra CouvĂ©e – The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book
Highbridge – read by Simon Vance

In 1956, and Italian publishing scout visited Russia's beloved poet Boris Pasternak. When he left, he smuggled out the original manuscript of Pasternak's first novel, Doctor Zhivago, which the author knew would never be published in the Soviet Union because it would be considered to be an assault on the 1917 Revolution. Here's the fascinating story of what happened next.


Wendy Holden – Haatchi and Little B: The Inspiring True Story of One Boy and His Dog
Macmillan Audio – read by Gabrielle Glaister

Owen (Little B) has a genetic disorder that leaves him largely confined to a wheelchair. Haatchi, an adorable Anatolian Shepherd puppy was abused and left for dead on the railroad tracks and was struck by a train and left massively disabled. But Little B's parents introduced them to each other and their unbelievable bond changed them both in miraculous ways.


Liz Murray – Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard
Tantor – read by the author

Liz Murray found herself homeless at age 15 in the Bronx. When her mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and managed to complete high school in two years while homeless. She won a New York Times scholarship and graduated from Harvard. PW starred review.


Hampton Sides – In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette
Books on Tape – ready by Arthur Morey

A U. S. naval expedition to reach the North Pole set sail from San Francisco in 1879 on the USS Jeanette. Two years into the voyage, the ship was trapped in pack ice and the hull was breached. The crew abandoned the ship, which sank, and found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with hardly any supplies, but they set out to walk to safety.


Pamela Skaist-Levy & Gela Nash-Taylor – The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand
Gildan Media – read by Rose Itzcovitz

The story of two friends obsessed with the idea of the perfect T-shirt. Pam and Gela eventually sold their company Juicy Couture to Liz Claiborne for $50 million.


Eoin Colfer – The Hangman's Revolution
Books on Tape – read by Maxwell Caulfield

The author of Artemis Fowl offers Book 2 in the W.A.R.P. series for teens. After a time travel trip to the Victorian Age, young FBI agent Chevie Savano returns to modern day London to find it very different from the London she left. Europe is being run by a fascist movement, and she is just learning the secrets of the time travel machine when her teacher is killed by the secret police.


Katherine Howe – Conversion
Penguin Audio – read by Khristine Hvam

From the author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Senior year at St. Joan's Academy is a pressure cooker, and several students fall ill with strange symptoms—uncontrollable tics, hair loss, violent coughing fits, seizures. The media descends on the town, which Colleen Rowley discovers was once Salem Village. Based on a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago.


Veronica Roth – Four: A Divergent Collection
Harper Audio – read by Aaron Stanford

Four 50-75 page long stories set in the Divergent universe. Fans will be thrilled to have more. Also available separately.


John Sandford & Michelle Cook – Uncaged
Books on Tape – read by Tara Sands

In the dead of night, young animal rights activists sneak into a biomedical research lab and release hundreds of mutilated animals. First in a new series. Booklist starred review.


Margaret Stohl – Idols
Blackstone Audio

The Icons came from the sky, ended our civilization by stopping human hearts. Now they're after the four Icon Children—the only humans immune to their power. But the four discover that there may be a fifth child, and they go on a search to find the missing child.



Andrew Clements – The Map Trap
Simon & Schuster – read by Keith Nobbs

Alton has loved maps since he was little because maps contain more information than just locations and that's why he likes to draw maps as well as read them. But when his maps are stolen from his locker, he could be in big trouble. After all, his maps explain things like what he really thinks of his friends…and his teachers….and the principal. Middle grades.


Dan Gutman – Miss Klute Is a Hoot!
Harper Audio – read by Andy Paris

The My Weird School series has sold 7 million copies so far. In this one, the reading scores at Ella Mentry School are way down, so Mr. Macky has hired Miss Klute, a Labradoodle therapy dog to help. Ages 6-10.


Shannon Hale – Fire and Ice
Scholastic Audio – read by Nicola Barber

At the frozen edge of the world, four heroes, supported by the gifts of their spirit animals, fight to stop the ruthless Conquerors. Fourth book in the bestselling middle grade Spirit Animals series.


Victoria Kann – Pinkalicious and the New Teacher
Harper Audio – read by Eliana Shaskan

It's the first day of school, and Pinkalicious misses her old teacher until she comes up with an idea to make the classroom feel a little more familiar and a lot more pinkerrific. Bestselling series for ages 4-8.


James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts – Save Rafe!
Blackstone – read by Bryan Kennedy

Rafe, everyone's favorite troublemaker, is headed back to his dreaded middle school where he learns he will be held back a year unless he can prove himself on an outdoor survival excursion. Ages 8-12.


Click here to view the Marketplace cart of these titles and more.


*Geographical rights may vary by title.

Ben’s Raspberry Pi US Tour – August 2014

Ben here: I’m on the education team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Cambridge, UK. As part of our outreach work I’m visiting the USA next month, where I could be visiting your school or hackspace.

Calling all Pi-thusiasts! I’m visiting in August and if you’d like me to visit your hackspace, speak at your school or check out your community learning space, let me know and I’ll try to fit as many visits in to my trip as possible! Whether your group wants to find out how to get started with Raspberry Pi; or whether you’re seasoned Pi hackers, I’m looking forward to meeting you.

I’ll be arriving in New York City on 4th August and travelling from there to Salt Lake City, visiting as many places as possible on the way in under three weeks. I depart on 21st August.


Are you on my way? Get in touch and I’ll try to visit you

I’ve set up a form where you can submit your request for a visit. Many US teachers have been asking us for a taste of the sort of things we do at Picademy, for example: now’s your chance. If you’re close to the blue line in the map above, submit the location of your suggested stop and I’ll get in touch if I can fit you into my trip. (If you’re not close to the blue line, get in touch anyway, and I’ll see what I can do.)

I’m very conscious that I might have used words in this post or elsewhere which I know to be spelled incorrectly differently in U.S. English. I apologise.

Authors Will Soon Be Able to Sell their eBooks on Facebook


Self-Published authors often flock to Facebook and Twitter to promote their books and try and get a few sales. A few months ago Amazon and Twitter came together to form an ecommerce solution called Amazon Cart. This allowed indie authors to post links to their Kindle Books and all a reader had to do was use a special hashtag to automatically add the title to their shopping basket.  Facebook is trialing a new program that will allow Pages and newsfeeds to be able to sell books and eBooks directly to readers

The new Facebook Buy it Now button will be compatible with desktop or mobile and will allow people to click on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook.  Once you click the button, which is currently being tested with select small business partners in the US, a pop-up will prompt you to confirm payment and shipping info.

Not only is this program relevant for indie authors, but also established ones too. Most authors often use Facebook and Twitter exclusively, and have built up loyal and engaged fans. Instead of directing a user to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords or a myriad of other sites to fulfill the orders, authors could basically just sell books directly.

There is no word on when this will roll out on a more broader scale. After the series of beta tests, Facebook will evaluate whether the project will be available to the public.

Authors Will Soon Be Able to Sell their eBooks on Facebook is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle Unlimited Goes Live with eBook, Audiobook Titles

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, the ebook and audiobook subscription service that lets members pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to its catalog, went live today, offering users a thirty day free trial and the option to pay $9.99 a month for the service. According to a press release issued by Amazon, the service is compatible with both Kindle reading devices and tablets, as well as through the Kindle reading app on other popular brands of mobile devices.

"With Kindle Unlimited, you won't have to think twice before you try a new author or genre—you can just start reading and listening," said Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President, Kindle. "In addition to offering over 600,000 eBooks, Kindle Unlimited is also by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks and eBooks together. With thousands of Whispersync for Voice-enabled audiobooks to choose from, you can easily switch between reading and listening to a book, allowing the story to continue even when your eyes are busy. We hope you take advantage of the 30-day free trial and try it for yourself."

In the most interesting news about the launch, the Unlimited catalog–which features 600,000 ebooks and 2,000 audiobooks–automatically includes self-published works that authors have listed in Amazon’s exclusive program, KDP Select. However, any author who wishes to unenroll from KDP Select to avoid including his titles in Kindle Unlimited may do so immediately, without having to wait for the ninety day period.

Amazon representatives told Good e-Reader this morning: “There are many self-published titles in the catalog. If you have a book enrolled in KDP Select, it will automatically be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. If you do not want your books in Kindle Unlimited, you have the option to immediately remove your book from KDP Select. To do so, please include the ASIN for your book when you complete this Contact Us form. We will remove your book from KDPS right away and contact you to confirm. You can see our forum post on the announcement for KDP authors here:”

Self-published authors will be compensated in much the same way as they are when consumers borrow their books through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. When Kindle Unlimited customers read at least ten percent of an indie author’s book through the service, that will count as a “read” for compensation from the KDP Select Global Fund, just as if a non-member had borrowed the title through KOLL.

As an added incentive for membership, readers who join Kindle Unlimited will also be given a free three-month membership to Audible to try out their catalog of over 150,000 audiobooks. Full details on the service and the free trials can be found at

Kindle Unlimited Goes Live with eBook, Audiobook Titles is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kindle Unlimited Now Available in the United States

Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service is now live in the United States, with more countries getting access to the service soon. Customers can sign up for a free thirty-day trial to get unlimited access to Amazon’s list of Kindle Unlimited ebooks and audiobooks. Not all of Amazon’s Kindle ebooks are available through Kindle […]

US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Copyright Arguments over Sherlock Holmes

Most people don’t think of copyright law when they think of gripping drama and suspenseful twists and turns, but the truth is copyright is actually quite fascinating. Of course, no one is more fascinated right now than the litigants in a case involving copyright over Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes characters.

To understand the ramifications of a case that is currently working its way through the courts, it’s important to know the history behind a new book by American crime writer Leslie Klinger. Klinger, a known expert on Sherlock Holmes and other classics, has a new book potentially entitled In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, but the heirs to the original author’s estate are contesting the use as it falls under copyright restrictions.

Here’s where it gets fascinating: under copyright law, a work enters the public domain after a set period of time, roughly one hundred years following publication. Muddying the waters somewhat is the distinction between when Sherlock Holmes was published in the UK versus the US. Further confusing the issue is the fact that the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories were published over a multi-year time span, meaning some of the stories are currently in the public domain, and others still are not; the final ten stories, for example, will not become public domain until the end of 2022.

Just to make it even more confusing, lower courts have already ruled on this specific case, and the result of the ruling is actually very interesting. Essentially, modern authors can use any settings, characters, and specific characteristics of the characters that appear in works that are already out from under copyright restriction, but cannot use any details that are still under copyright without permission and paying a licensing fee to the estate. For example, in one of the later works that is still under copyright restriction, it is revealed that Dr. Watson had played rugby for a specific team when he was younger. This little detail comes out in conversation with Holmes, and is not part of the action of the story, however that detail was only revealed in a later work. Therefore, a current author is allowed to use the character Dr. Watson, for example, but cannot state where he played rugby or allude to an old rugby injury.

Conan Doyle’s estate is attempting to overturn the lower courts’ rulings and sought an “emergency petition” from the Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear arguments in the case, presumably citing that there was nothing in the lower court’s ruling that required a new review. Lawyers for the estate have said they will still move forward with their request for a review, but one of the issues that will be determined in court is who has to foot the bill for this legal battle. As it stands, Klinger (and presumably his publisher) has had to engage his own attorneys to represent him against the suit, and the responsibility for paying his legal fees will also be decided by the court.

US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Copyright Arguments over Sherlock Holmes is a post from: Good e-Reader

Top 5 Blackberry Playbook Apps of the Week – July 18 2014


Today we look at a number of apps that currently work on the Blackberry Playbook that we either uploaded for the first time or recently updated. All of these apps are confirmed working on the Playbook and we have over 2,400 apps and games currently on our site.

Badoo: Meet New People – Want to have lunch with someone new? See who's in the same nightclub? Date or find love? Or simply chat with someone nearby? Try Badoo now and meet new guys and girls near you! A free, fun, easy and new way to use social network. Find new people based on where you are now.

Moviefone – Movies & Showtimes – Moviefone is the ultimate app for showtimes, trailers, reviews, exclusive movie clips, and news.

Pemberton Music Festival – Pemberton Music Festival is Canada’s biggest music, comedy and camping festival, happening July 16 – 20, 2014 in the stunning and natural setting of Pemberton, British Columbia. It’s the perfect place to leave the world behind for an incomparable five-day celebration of music, art, food, dancing – and life itself.

POF Free Online Dating – Singles on POF send more than 200 million messages a week, that’s more than all other online dating sites combined! With over 80 million members, POF is the world’s largest dating site! Create your free POF profile today and chat, flirt, and exchange messages with local singles in your area right now, and meet someone special.

SF Globe – SF Globe provides you with the best curated stories that are worth reading on the Internet. Stories on the SF Globe span a variety of topics and aim to inspire, provoke thought, and entertain. Above all, SF Globe readers join a community where members can actively discuss and engage in topics they care about the most.

Top 5 Blackberry Playbook Apps of the Week – July 18 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader