Tag Archives: kindle

Amazon’s basic Kindle to get Audible support so you can give your eyes a break

Do you seem to spend most of your life staring at a screen? You probably grab your smartphone within seconds of waking up in the morning, glare at your tablet while getting breakfast, and perhaps resume your smartphone interaction on the way to work. There you could be looking at a computer display for the rest of the day, before coming home to spend a good part of the evening looking at your TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone again. If you have an ebook reader, there’s another display right there you could be looking at through the day.

So here’s the thing. If you have Amazon’s basic ebook reader and you fancy giving your eyes at least a little bit of a rest, then soon you’ll be able to pass some of that sensory action to your auditory canals thanks to Audible.

A recently updated listing on Amazon reveals that the company’s basic Kindle ebook reader will support Audible “in the coming months” via an over-the-air update, according to The Digital Reader.


Audible offers a library of more than 375,000 audiobooks (some of them for dogs!), magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, all of which can be streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth to wireless headphones and speakers.

Earlier versions of Amazon’s basic ebook reader supported Audible, but the company removed the capability as its range of readers grew.

Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis, its priciest ebook reader at $250, supports the service, while buyers of the basic Kindle, which starts at $80, will soon be able to enjoy the same benefit.

Bad news for owners of the Voyage and Paperwhite readers, however, as the feature isn’t coming to these midrange Kindle models. At least, not yet. Considering Amazon has owned Audible since 2008, it seems surprising that some of its ebook readers don’t yet support the service.

Just to be clear, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones or a speaker to use Audible on your Kindle, as the device has no speaker or headphone jack.

Amazon recently celebrated 10 years of the Kindle with discounts on most of its current readers, as well as offers on ebooks. While the offers on the devices have finished, you can still find discounts of up to 80 percent on many Kindle books as part of its monthly deals.



Amazon offers $30 off Kindle devices to celebrate tenth birthday

It’s been 10 years since Amazon announced the first Kindle e-reader. The device sees its tenth birthday next month, and Amazon is offering a discount to celebrate. Amazon is knocking $30 off the price of Kindle devices, for a limited time. 

The offer is applicable on the Amazon Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyage. The Kindle will be priced at $49.99 now, while the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage will be sold at $89.99 and $169.99, respectively. The devices were earlier sold at $79.99, $119.99 and $199.99, respectively.

Unfortunately, none of the versions of the Kindle Oasis made the cut for this deal. Amazon’s flagship Kindle continues to sell for $249.99 and it scheduled to start selling from October 31. The company is also giving you discounts on Kindle ebooks. You can get 80% off “top-selling books”, while there’s a free $5 credit on Kindle ebooks, for select customers. You can get that deal through this link.

The Kindle deals are available right away, starting from October 23. They will be available till October 25, although the Kindle actually turns ten on November 19.



Amazon’s invasion of Kohl’s has begun

Starting today, Kohl’s is officially getting in bed with Amazon.

The discount department store is starting to accept returns of Amazon orders at 10 of what will eventually be 82 of its Chicago and Los Angeles stores. Kohl’s has also begun unveiling mini Amazon shops in some its locations, where customers will be able to try out and purchase gadgets like the Amazon Echo and Kindle.

The tie-ups, which were first announced last month, give Amazon added distribution for its growing portfolio of consumer gadgets as well as a free return option for its customers that don’t want to deal with the hassle of packing and shipping orders they don’t want.

For Kohl’s, the moves amount to a risky bet that the additional customer traffic resulting from the deal will outweigh the downside of strengthening Amazon, which has increasingly become a threat to every mid-market and low-price department store.

In an interview with Fortune, Kohl’s soon-to-be CEO Michelle Gass defended the move. “We’re going through one of, if not the, most transformational times in retail, and we have to really think differently,” she said. “The retail market is big so there is plenty of room for Amazon and Kohl’s to co-exist.”

But as Amazon continues to get more aggressive in Kohl’s core business of apparel sales — both through the creation of its own brands and deals with others like Nike — it’s fair to wonder how long a peaceful co-existence will be a reality.

It’s also fair to wonder whether there’s any thinking on Kohl’s part that the partnerships could turn into proof points in a pitch to Amazon on buying the chain.



Kindle Forum Users Encouraged to switch to Goodreads and Spark

Amazon is shutting down their Kindle support forums on October 13th and they are encouraging all of their users to switch to GoodReads and Amazon Spark. The company also announced they are going to be rolling out an expanding help experience next week.

In a statement on the Kindle Forums Amazon said the following “Amazon would like to thank the members of this community for contributing to the discussion forums. As we grow and evolve, we encourage you to explore Goodreads Groups for books and Spark for other ways to engage with your interests. If you have a help question about your device, starting the morning of October 9th , Pacific Standard Time, we will be introducing an improved help forum experience, with expanded discussion categories.”

Amazon Spark is an Instagram-style shoppable feed that appears inside the Amazon app for customers in the United States. Obviously, there’s a profit motive behind Spark. Amazon is trying to keep engagement about products within its own ecosystem rather than on other social media channels. The belief is that the closer people are to the conversion point, the more likely it is that they’ll convert.

“We created Spark to allow customers to discover – and shop – stories and ideas from a community that likes what they like,” said an Amazon spokeswoman. When customers first visit Spark, they select at least five interests they’d like to follow and we’ll create a feed of relevant content contributed by others. Customers shop their feed by tapping on product links or photos with the shopping bag icon.”

I doubt the Kindle loyalists will switch to Spark, which is only available for iOS and you have to be a Prime member to even use it. GoodReads seems like a viable alternative, but book discussions tend to be very hit or miss. Likely, many people will switch to the Kindle Boards or MobileRead or participate in discussions on Kindle related issues on Good e-Reader.



Amazon’s Kindle Fire 10 Tablet Gets A Major Upgrade, And A Price Cut

Amazon has been trying to get its tablets in front of everyone it can, for a simple reason: The tablets are there to sell you stuff. And now Amazon is sweetening the deal with an enormous upgrade, and a price cut to go with it.

The Fire 10 is getting a complete overhaul on October 11th, with a quad-core processor, a battery that now lasts 10 hours, doubled storage with 32GB now standard, and a 1080p display. It also will come with “hands-free” Alexa functionality, and can serve as an add-on screen for your Echo, tracking timers and the like. Most notable, though, is all this is a lot cheaper; the previous Fire 10 was $230, and this one will start at $150. Yes, the price dropped by nearly a third. That more or less makes this the best tablet in that price range.

That said, there are trade-offs. The $150 model comes with “special offers” (that is, there are ads) that you can remove with a one-time $15 fee. It also features Amazon’s version of Android, which locks you out from Google’s app ecosystem in favor of Amazon’s, so if you were buying your music via Google Play or iTunes, you’ll be out of luck, unless you want to install a tedious workaround. That said, if you’re heavily invested in Amazon, or just want a large screen for your Amazon media, the Kindle Fire 10 just became a lot more viable.

(via The Verge)

Amazon targets abuse of Kindle e-book platform to increase reviews, royalties

Amazon.com is cracking down on people who manipulate its e-book self-publishing platform, a move that follows the e-commerce giant’s effort to better police its product reviews.

The Seattle company this week filed five complaints with a private arbitration service, seeking orders barring specific users of its Kindle e-book platform from trying to manipulate the system for financial gains.


Among Amazon’s contentions: Users posted fake reviews and offered for sale duplicate copies of books to boost a publisher’s rating, and some people sold “click farming” services to authors in a bid to artificially inflate readership totals and royalty payouts.


Amazon has created vast marketplaces for goods, primarily through its eponymous online store that hosts its own sales as well as listings from other companies. The company counts on its related reviews and product rankings to boost the legitimacy of its site in the eyes of consumers.

Worried about the corrosive impact of fake product reviews, Amazon since 2015 has been cracking down on reviews it believes are illegitimate.

Critics have for years have also complained that Kindle’s self-publishing apparatus was being abused.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesman said a “small minority” of Kindle self-publishers “engage in fraud to gain an unfair competitive advantage.”


Amazon allows anyone to self publish e-books through its Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Authors can select a specific price to set their book for sale, or opt into programs that let users who pay a monthly fee read an unlimited selection of books, or, in the case of the Amazon Prime membership program, read books from a selection in a digital lending library.

Self-published authors who participate in the free reading programs are paid from a royalty fund that Amazon gathers monthly, with payouts varying based on the number of readers each book earns.




One of the best things about Amazon‘s iconic ebook reader is its ever-growing library. At last count, the Kindle Store boasted more than 6 million books, magazines, and newspapers. But you needn’t keep them all to yourself — Amazon makes it easy to share books on a Kindle with friends, family, and your closest acquaintances. It’s like the digital equivalent of lending out a hardcover, minus the coffee stains and musty binding. If there’s a con to Kindle’s book-sharing tools, however, it’s that they can be a little tricky to get the hang of. To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve put together a guide outlining how to share books on a Kindle with other people.

If you’ve got a family of avid readers, good news: Amazon makes it pretty easy to share books with every member of your family. Family Library lets up to two adults and four children share all or some of their Kindle books, apps, and audiobooks with one another. Members can read the same book at the same time without interrupting one another’s progress, too, regardless of whether they’re using a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis, or an outdated Kindle Fire. Plus, they can borrow books for as long as they’d like.

Sharing titles can be a bit of a process, though. Before you can begin sharing Kindle books with family, you need to grant other family members access to your Family Library. Here’s how to do it:

  • Head to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of your Amazon account.
  • Under the Settings tab, in the Households and Family Library section, click the Invite an Adult/Invite a Child button.
  • Have the other adult/child enter their Amazon email and password (if they have one), or create a new account.
  • Click Yes to allow both your account and the other adult’s/child’s account to share payment methods.
  • Choose which books you’d like to share with the other adult/child, and have the other adult/child choose which books they’d like to share with you.
  • Click Finish.

Now that you’ve added adults and kids to your Family Library and shared your previous purchases, you’re ready to begin lending new Kindle books. Here’s how:

  • Head to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of your Amazon account.
  • Select the Show Family Library link from the Your Content tab.
  • Select the book(s) you’d like to share with a family member, and then click Add to Library.
  • Choose a family member, and then click OK.


Once you’ve received a book from another family member, it’s pretty easy to get it on the device of your choice. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Head to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of your Amazon account.
  • Choose the books you’d like to send to your device or app, and click Deliver.
  • Select where the books should be sent from the pop-up menu, and then click Deliver once more.



Amazon Unveils New Kindle Highlight and Note System

Amazon has just unveiled a new system that allows you to easy view all of the notes and highlights that you have made in a Kindle e-book. It is accessible via the web and harvests all of the content you have saved on your e-reader, Fire tablet or your favorite Kindle app. It is also optimized for mobile devices, so it displays properly on any Android or Apple smartphone.


Amazon sent an email to users this afternoon and it stated “We have good news. Customers have been asking for more ways to access their Kindle notes and highlights—especially on their phones. We’ve created a new home for all your notes and highlights that’s easy to access from your phone, tablet, or PC. Now you can easily refer to your notes and highlights wherever you are. Visit the new home for Your Notes and Highlights at read.amazon.com/notebook.”



Amazon modifies its Kindle ebook contracts following EU investigation

Amazon has accepted new contract terms with book publishers in the European Union after Commissioner Margrethe Vestager led an investigation into Amazon’s practices. After today’s decision, Amazon will no longer force publishers to provide the best price on the company’s Kindle store.

The investigation started a couple of years ago as publishers started to worry that Amazon’s contracts would hurt everyone’s bottom line. With that clause, publishers wouldn’t be able to sell their own books on other platforms at a cheaper price.

This used to increase Amazon’s competitive advantage and tended to create a race to the bottom. Now, publishers have a bit more power against Amazon. And other distribution platforms like Apple’s iBooks Store can compete more easily.

Publishers can renegotiate their contracts starting today, and especially the pricing part. Amazon can no longer demand the best price in new contracts starting today.


Amazon is accepting those demands so that it doesn’t have to pay any fine following the investigation. At the same time, the ebook market has more or less stagnated for the last few years. It is no longer the hot new thing that it used to be five years ago. People like buying actual books after all.

So it seems like it’s not worth fighting this fight for Amazon. The company is probably more worried about a potential investigation into its tax practices.

Like many companies, Amazon has been optimizing its tax rate by paying royalties to a subsidiary that pays very little taxes. By settling the ebook case with the European Commission, Amazon shows that it is willing to negotiate with the European Union.


Amazon modifies its Kindle ebook contracts following EU investigation

33 Strategies of Kama Sutra : Make Her Scream – Last Longer, Come Harder, And Be The Best She’s Ever Had

Among the most vulnerable things that can wear out with time is intimacy. Most couples go through difficult times and commitments that take a toll on their intimacy. In most cases, when affection wears among lovers, one person is usually affected than the other. If any of the partners does not take the initiative to restore intimacy into the relationship, chances are your relationship will end up breaking as one or both of you seek intimacy from outside.

It is believed that the human body is a small atomic factory where chemical elements needed in the body are continually manufactured using low quantities of energy. Besides, there is also the production of energy sufficient for extraordinary phenomena. These include higher states of consciousness, paranormal abilities, sublimation of particular energies and higher intelligence. Others are elevated levels of happiness and euphoria, to mention just a few.

If you can move into lovemaking totally the ego disappears, because at the highest peak, at the highest climax of lovemaking, you are pure energy.


Kindle for iOS finally gets the “Send to Kindle” feature, challenging Pocket and Instapaper

Amazon has quietly rolled out the “Send to Kindle” feature to its Kindle for iOS application that allows you to save to the app articles and documents found on the web. That means your Kindle device or app can replace your preferred “read it later” application — like Pocket or Instapaper, for example — apps where regular web readers often store the longer news articles, features or profiles they want to dig into at a later date.

Amazon, of course, already supported saving web content to Kindle through desktop browser extensions, emails to your “Send-to-Kindle” email address and from Android phones. But now that lineup includes the default iOS browser, Safari, which will make the feature more accessible to a large number of users.

What’s funny about “read it later” apps is that they sometimes become a black hole for content. The act of marking something as “to read” instead of devouring it then and there on the spot typically means it’s not content you’re all that obsessed with in the first place. You sort of do want to read it, you probably should read it, but… well, let’s save that for another day!

Kindle, on the other hand, is more a regular destination for readers — at least those who are not “real book” purists who prefer flipping actual pages to virtual ones. With each launch of the Kindle app, you’ll be reminded of the web content you bookmarked for a later read — and that increases the chance that you’ll finally complete the task instead of continuing to ignore it, as is easier with more isolated apps like Instapaper.

According to Amazon’s App Store description, to use the new feature — which works with documents as well as web pages — you’ll first have to enable it in Safari’s settings. To do so, you’ll tap on the “Share” button in the mobile browser, then add “Kindle” as one of the destinations by toggling the switch.

From then on, when you’re on the web and don’t have time to complete your reading, you can tap on Share, then scroll over to Kindle to save the article to the Kindle app.


When you launch the Kindle app, the article will be saved at the top of your Library, ready for your reading. It will also appear on the Kindle app on any platform, not just iOS, and on Kindle hardware devices themselves — just like any e-book download would.

By saving the web article to Kindle format, you’ll be able to do things like adjust the text, font, page color and spacing to your liking. You also can use other Kindle features, like the ability to look up words in the dictionary, translations or search Wikipedia. Plus, you can add bookmarks, highlights and annotations, as well as track your reading progress, as with any other Kindle e-book.

However, Kindle is not a fully featured “read it later” app. It lacks features you may miss from competitors’ apps — like Instapaper’s text-to-voice option with multiple speeds, or Pocket’s community-powered Recommendations section, for example. But Kindle has a sizable audience as the No. 3 “Books” app on the App Store.


Kindle for iOS finally gets the “Send to Kindle” feature, challenging Pocket and Instapaper

Now you can easily save web articles to your Kindle on iOS

Users of Amazon’s iOS Kindle app can now send documents, web pages, and other content viewed on Safari to their Kindle devices to be read later. The new feature comes as part of the iOS app’s latest update, which is available now on iPhone and iPad. Sites and files are converted to Kindle format when sent from Safari, allowing users to fiddle with font size, page color, and other options.

The update also brings ComiXology’s Guided View feature to iOS, offering a naturalistic way to read comics that hops from panel to panel in the same way our eyes do with real comic books. It’s been a long time coming — the feature’s been available on Kindle since 2014 — but it should make reading comics on smaller screens easier.



Amazon Kindle’s terms ‘unreasonable’ and would take nine hours to read, Choice says

The first book-length work you may read on your Amazon Kindle is its terms and conditions.

An Australian consumer advocacy group has found that the e-reader’s terms and conditions are 73,198 words long, which would take the average person nine hours to read in full.

Consumer advocates Choice hired an actor to read aloud the entire agreement in nine hour-long installments posted on YouTube – from episode one, “No hope”, to the series finale, “Darkest before the dawn”.

The group is using the example of Kindle to call on the federal government to legislate to stop companies from forcing people to agree to contracts that they cannot reasonably be expected to have read.

Guardian Australia has contacted Amazon and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for comment.

Tom Godfrey, Choice’s head of media, said many terms and conditions agreements, not just Amazon Kindle’s, were “completely unreasonable” in their length and complexity. Kobo, another e-reader brand, had 9,844 words in its terms and conditions.


“They’re everywhere; it’s ubiquitous,” he said. “Pretty much any producer or digital service that you sign up to, you are agreeing to this very weighty, quite complex legalese that you have very little chance of understanding.

“We would like to see the federal government make sure that companies don’t compel consumers to enter into these contracts. Even if you do take the eight hours and 59 minutes to read a document like this, for the average person it’s very hard to understand.

“You don’t really know what rights you’re giving up and what issues you may face.”

In its review of the Kindle agreement, Choice said it found several clauses that would likely be deemed unfair under Australian consumer law. For example, agreeing to the Amazon contract compelled consumers to follow an arbitration process in the US and “expressively waive any other jurisdiction for a dispute”.

Australian consumer law grants consumers the right to a remedy direct from the retailer or manufacturer.

Though Amazon could be precluded from enforcing that clause by unfair contract legislation in Australia, Godfrey said it was still unreasonable and muddied the waters for consumers.

“You shouldn’t be forced to sign a contract with these terms,” Godfrey said. “You’ve got to remember, you’re just an individual and you’re up against an incredibly large, powerful, well-resourced organisation. The least they could do is provide you with this information in a simple-to-understand form.

“[But] the reason they bury you in this fine print is because it’s in their interests to do so.”

Asked whether Choice had had any indication of the federal government’s willingness to act on its campaign, Godfrey said it was “early days”.




Do not expect any Kindle innovation this year

The Amazon Kindle continues to be the world’s most popular e-reader brand, but in recent years there has been a severe stagnation with developing new hardware features. Amazon’s philosophy is that their hardware is good enough and users are not looking for anything fancy. This has been a boon to Kobo who continues to release waterproof devices with larger screens and new front-light technology that inhibits the amount of white light that emits from the screen.

The Kindle used to be at the forefront of innovation, but due to the lack of competition they have stepped away from innovation and continue to release incremental updates. The only thing they have really done over the past three years was developing software features, such as a new homescreen, new fonts and a new page flip engine that is only available in Japan. On a hardware level they did release the Oasis last year that had a battery built into the accompanied case, but the device suffers from terrible battery life overall and users have not embraced it due to the high cost.

Kobo on the other hand is constantly innovating and they continue to release large screen e-readers, which is resonating well with the public. You can take a Kobo with you to the beach or read it in the bathtub without the need of ruining your device. Kobo also packs more LED lights in their premium e-readers for better light distribution across the surface of the display, giving you you a better experience than the Kindle.

On a software level, Kobo is the only e-reader brand that has a read it later system built into their device, which allows you to send blog articles or longform journalism right to your device. If you are an advanced user you can load in your own fonts or adjust the weight and boldness of whatever font you are currently using to set the stage for your ideal reading experience. Kobo is also the only brand that has Overdrive functionality baked right into select models, which allows you to borrow and read e-books directly from your public library.

A few weeks ago Kobo released a new home screen system that makes their higher resolution devices shine. The overall UI and navigation system has also changed, making the e-reader more robust and intuitive.

Amazon is poised to release a number of new e-reader models this year but does anyone expect them to release a waterproof Kindle or adopt any new innovative technologies? A color Kindle is likely years away, as Amazon and Lab126 continue to hire Liquavista engineers and senior staff to put the technology into mass production.

I think Amazon’s best years are behind them when it comes to the Kindle. Their focus right now are selling e-books, low cost Fire tablets and Alexa.



How To Pick A Profitable Kindle Book Niche Every Time

When picking a perfect niche to publish on, I have 3 criteria:

Criteria #1 – The top 4 books have a best-selling rank of around 100,000 or better

Let’s say for example that you’re looking at the niche of ‘herb gardening’. When you type the main keyword for that niche (in this case it would be ‘herb gardening’) into the Kindle store on Amazon, you need to look at the first 4 books that show up in the search results.

When you click on a book, you’ll be taken to the sales page where you can read the description. If you scroll down the page about halfway, you will see a section call ‘Product Details’.
Here you will see a bit of different information, including the Best Seller Rank. This is basically a figure that tells us how well a particular book is selling. If a book has a BSR number of 10,000, that means that it is selling more copies than a book with a BSR of 30,000. The lower the number, the more books that are being sold!

I like for the top 4 books to have a BSR of 100,000 or better. If one of these books is slightly over 100,000, that’s okay – but ideally all 4 will be better than 100,000 BSR.

This shows us that there is high demand for this niche. We want to find a niche that customers are interested in, and this BSR is a key indicator. Never publish a book in a niche that does not meet this criteria.

I have just done the research on Amazon for the niche of Herb Gardening. The top 4 search results have BSR ranks of:
1. 127,542
2. 289,161
3. 494,388
4. 488,672 

Right away I can tell that niche is not a good one. There is simply not enough demand for me to make much money. At this point you should forget about that niche and move on to a new one!

Criteria #2 – Competitor’s books have less than 30 reviews each

The second criteria I have, requires looking at the competitors books.
Once again, we’ll be focusing on the top 4 search results.

I like to check that these books have less than 30-40 reviews per book. If they have more than 30 reviews, it will be pretty tough for us to compete with them, and outrank them in the search results.

If one of the 4 books has more than 30 – that’s okay!

But if all 4 have more than 30, then I would definitely give that niche a miss!

Criteria #3 – Competitor’s don’t have a large following

Before deciding on a niche, I like to check that the authors I’m competing against don’t have a large following.
I like to do a google search before publishing a book, just to make sure that the other authors in the niche don’t have a large online following, or are famous.

If they have a large following or are famous, they will be driving their own traffic to the book. We are looking for niches that will get organic traffic from people searching on Amazon.

Just because other people are selling lots of books in a particular niche, doesn’t mean that you will be able to. They may be getting those sales simply because their fans are being sent to their books. 9 time out of 10, those fans won’t be interested in your book as well – only the one they are originally being sent to!



Should Indie Authors Publish Exclusively With Amazon or Not?

We have been closely following the ascent of indie publishing superstars here at the Observer. They aren’t driving the conversation at the New York Review of Books yet, but these writers do have their hands on the wheel of the actual economy of writing fiction.

Lately, the best source of information on what’s going on in this new market is the website Author Earnings. It’s a joint venture between one of the most successful indie authors, Hugh Howey (whom we have talked to at length) and his collaborator, Data Guy, an anonymous numbers cruncher who devised the methodology for answering the questions Amazon won’t. Author Earnings just released a new report, and this one goes beyond Jeff Bezos’ baby, estimating total e-book sales at Apple, Google, Kobo and Barnes & Noble as well.

We recently covered Data Guy’s report on the still growing market for e-books, despite wide media reports to the contrary.

Thanks to this report’s wide view, Author Earnings is able to provide substantive guidance on whether or not indie authors should make titles available exclusively on Amazon, or if they should go wide and sell them via every possible retailer. Books sold only through Amazon get invited to join the Kindle Unlimited program, the company’s Netflix for e-books. In fact, Amazon pays authors in that program more money than non-exclusive authors earn in all the other channels combined, the report explains. But it’s not quite that simple.

The report also says:

“’Wide’ authors who are able to effectively take advantage of promotional opportunities at other retailers often see far more than the a quarter of their sales coming through non-Amazon channels; some high profile indies are doing so well at other retailers that Amazon now represents less than half of their sales.”

It further points out that the Amazon market can be fickle. The market share for indie books at Amazon took a nose dive through part of last year, though it has largely recovered. Other sources of revenue can smooth overall income streams.

Sci-fi scribe Howey told us that he experimented with both wide release and exclusivity, finding he made far more money and reached far more people by gaining access to the Kindle Unlimited audience. Romance superstar Marie Force, by contrast, told us that she would never close a road by which a new reader could find her work.

The two stances illustrate the question facing every indie author. Amazon is by far the largest market for e-books and, if Kindle Unlimited were its own company, it would be the third largest e-book seller. “To completely ignore a retail channel of that size makes zero sense,” the report contends.

On the other hand, writers without a following may feel they can ill afford skipping any market. There’s more than enough money changing hands on any of the major channels to afford any writer a very good living if they can only attain a small piece of any one.

Author Earnings muddies the waters by noting that “if a title appeals to Canadian or Australian audiences, it will be unavailable in the retailer channels where almost half of those countries’ e-book purchases occur.”

Author Earnings ultimately settles on a recommendation that can only work for writers who have more than a few books out: Put some into Kindle Unlimited and go wide with others. When an author blows up on one channel, readers who like the book that becomes popular often want to go back and read the rest, as another popular sci-fi writer, Christopher Nuttall, explained for us. But if a book becomes popular in Apple’s iBooks, readers won’t be able to buy the writer’s Kindle Unlimited books there.

On the other hand, Amazon only requires exclusivity in three month increments. So a writer could wait for that window to end, then add the books they held back to the other pools. Even if they lose money in the short term by leaving the Kindle Unlimited pool, it could be worth it in the long run to solidify new fans.

If it’s your first book: flip a coin.

The report provides a number of interesting insights about the market for e-books across the English speaking world. For example, while Amazon dominates all of these markets, Kobo is putting up a respectable fight for the $136 million spent on e-books in Canada, and Apple is making a strong showing for the $126 million market in Australia (the US e-book market represents more than $3.2 billion). Read the report itself for other insights.

Author Earnings derives its data by scraping the sales rankings off of various e-book retailers’ sites and correlating that with final sales data shared with those that run Author Earnings. These two pools of information allow it to derive estimates for all e-books sold. More on its methodology can be found here.


Should Indie Authors Publish Exclusively With Amazon or Not?


4 top tips to writing ebooks that convert

Given the fact that bonuses have been banned by regulators and spreads are becoming tighter and tighter, thus preventing brokers from competing on price alone, one of the most effective ways in which to increase your conversion rates and build loyalty is by providing your customers with added value, and the most successful way of delivering value is through educational materials. Publishing an educational E-Book is a great value for your marketing buck, but simply writing an e-book won’t magically improve your conversions. Here, we compile our 4 top tips for creating E-Books that convert:

Don’t write what you love. One of the first pieces of advice you may hear when you begin thinking about what to write about will be “write about what you love”. Well, I call it BS. Writing about what you love will appeal to you and while it is true that that love will shine through your words, you should be writing about what your audience loves. Figure out what your audience’s pain points are, why they want to invest in FX, what are their fears in doing so, what would make them say “yes” and then write about what they want to learn.

Solve problems. The captain of a vessel once had an issue in one of the turbines of the ship. He called several engineers and specialists, all of whom spent several hours attempting to fix the turbine, but to no avail. They each sent a bill for their time, even though they had been unsuccessful at fixing the problem and got paid for their efforts. Nearing desperation, the captain was referred to a specialist in this particular brand of turbine. Incredulous, the captain hired the specialist, who spent 5 minutes inside the engine room and successfully fixed the turbine. He proceeded to send a bill to the captain of the ship almost tripling the amount of money the others had charged. The captain, upset, called the specialist to dispute the bill thinking how could he pay so much money for just 5 minutes of the specialist’s time. The specialist quickly replied “It’s not about the time I spent, it’s about knowing how to solve the problem.”  If you solve your customer’s problem, you are providing value that is worth beyond any amount of money.

Don’t over do it. We often believe that in order for a book to provide value, many trees (albeit virtual ones) have to be sacrificed. The truth is that as long as the information you provide can solve your audience’s problem, then 10, 20 or 50 pages at most will be worth it in the eyes of your customer. Too much information, can backfire, as it can make your e-book overwhelming and unappealing.

Demonstrate credibility. What makes you an authority in the subject you are speaking about? Why should readers believe what you have to share? Don’t be shy about sharing your credentials and what others have to say about you. Awards, client testimonials and endorsements are a great way to build up your reputation as a preamble to what you have to say.



Amazon pushes print with new KDP paperback beta program

The online retailer, and increasingly publisher, Amazon, today reached out to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account holders to let them know of a new feature that will print their digital books on demand.

Amazon, of course, already has its CreateSpace service, which also hooks up with KDP, so those who have published a paperback with Amazon probably have also made that book available for the Kindle. TNM, for instance, published my own paperback version of Talking Digital, while also publishing a Kindle edition. TNM has also published a novel, Drillmaster, in the same way.

But now, I suppose, the process can go the other way.

“Publishing a paperback can help you reach new readers,” Amazon told KDP account holders. “KDP prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties, so you don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory. You can use the KDP website in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese or Dutch. KDP automatically updates your title metadata based on information (book description, categories, keywords) you’ve already provided when setting up your eBook and vice versa. It also enables you to receive consolidated royalty payments for paperback and eBook sales. You can view combined reports and manage your print and eBook publishing from one website.”

Here are the benefits of the program, according to Amazon:

  • Distribution: Reach paperback readers through Amazon websites in the US, Europe, and Japan.
  • Royalties: Earn up to 60% royalties on the list price you set, minus printing costs.
  • Rights: Maintain creative control and own your copyright with our non-exclusive agreement.
  • Get to market fast: Publish your paperback for international sale in just a few days.
  • 100% availability: Printing on demand means your book will never be out of stock.

On the KDP Paperback beta page, Amazon mentions the CreateSpace program, so I suppose they realize that those familiar with the Amazon self-publish system will know that this is nothing earth shattering. But there are a lot of self-publishing authors who go first to KDP, not realizing that they could also publish a paperback.

The downside of printing with Amazon, though, is that one needs to pump up the price substantially in order to make sure they make a profit on a sale.



What’s next for books?

I like Digital Reader editor Nate Hoffelder. He is one of the few bloggers about publishing who doesn’t suck up to the industry, nor does he particularly gild the lily. He basically believes that books are great, publishing is probably doomed and that writing is really important.

That’s why I was happy that he surfaced and debunked the claims of Chip McGregor, an agent who believes we’ll be seeing more books launching directly to mobile and a move away from indie publishing as mainstream publishers finally get their acts together. While McGregor is right sometimes — e-books will be read on mobile phones more often — he’s also pretty wrong.

His first mistake? He believes that Barnes & Noble will create mini bestseller stores. He writes:

Barnes and Noble will open some mini-stores that only stock bestsellers. I don’t have any insider knowledge about this, but with Amazon opening brick-and-mortar stores, B&N has to do something to try and grab a bit more market share.

B&N is, for want of a better word, dead. Their strategy of opening massive stores with large footprints and stocking everything from board games to stuffed animals (and some books) has failed, and there is no reason to visit a B&N unless you want to get a coffee and read magazines for free. That said, the e-book backlash has given independent bookstores new legs, and it has gutted big-box retailers, but I could definitely see a chain of small bookstore cafes that could stock new and used titles, plenty of kids books for parents to peruse for their little ones and some coffee. I just don’t see B&N leading that charge.


Further, he believes that indie authors will return to big-name publishers. They won’t. As McGregor writes in his own post, the Pareto rule assumes that 80 percent of the revenue comes from 20 percent of the writers. Given the imperfect information upon which most publishers make their decisions, trusting them to spot that 20 percent is silly at best.

Instead you’ll see more long-tail authors picking and staying in the indie realm. Eliot Peper comes to mind as someone who is finding more indie success than he would at a mainstream publisher, and there are more. He also suspects that ultra-low, 99-cent pricing will go away in indie titles, something that is also a bit far-fetched; 99-cent pricing is still a clever way to drive up sales and Amazon rankings, and giving up on that odd tweak could be the death of most indie writers.

In short, we agree on a few things — mobile-only could become more popular and Christian fiction and other niches are going away (“There are only a handful of houses still acquiring Christian fiction these days, and some of them are shifting to doing high-quality literary or women’s stories for a broader people of faith, or a slim list of suspense novels, rather than clearly religious stories aimed only at the faithful,” he writes.) I disagree with his bullishness on B&N and his assumption that the indies will turn around and ask publishers for a check. Things are tooling along quite nicely outside the traditional publishing industry, and, as long as you’re willing to try new things, you can make it without having an under-marketed book plop down into the black hole of modern publishing practices.


What’s next for books?

Text-to-speech returns to Amazon Kindle

Amazon hasn’t offered a Kindle eReader with speakers or a headphone jack since the 2011 Kindle Touch. That was also the last model to support text-to-speech software that could read eBooks aloud to you (although Amazon Fire tablets with color screens and Android-based software do support text-to-speech).

But now Amazon is bringing support for text-to-speech back to the Kindle lineup with the launch of a new Kindle Audio Adapter.

Right now it looks like the only way to get this $20 accessory is to buy a Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers bundle for $140. But that price includes a $20 Amazon credit… and hopefully Amazon will eventually sell the adapter as an accessory for existing Kindle owners.

Update: You can now purchase the Kindle Audio Adapter on its own for $20, but note that it’s only officially compatible with the Kindle Paperwhite (7th gen). Update 2: But it should be unofficially compatible with the Kindle Oasis and Voyage.

The Kindle Audio Adapter is a small box with a headphone jack on one end and a short USB cable on the other. Plug the USB connector into the port on your Kindle, connect a set of headphones or speakers, and you can use the new VoiceView feature.

Not only does VoiceView use Amazon’s text-to-speech voices to read eBooks to you, but there are also voice prompts that can help you navigate the device’s menus.

VoiceView supports adjustable reading speeds and it’s based on the IVONA speech tech acquired by Amazon a few years ago, which is, quite frankly, a lot better than the text-to-speech voices available for my aging Kindle Touch eReader.

Generally speaking, eBooks read by text-to-speech software don’t sound as good as those narrated by professional voice actors. But professional narration isn’t available for all eBooks, and audiobooks can be substantially more expensive than text-based eBooks. VoiceView at least gives another option for listening to books rather than reading them.



Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-reader just dropped to $100

Nothing says “I love you” more than the gift of digital books. Or at least, that’s what I tell my wife when I want a new e-reader. Anyone looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift should take a look at Amazon today: The online retailer—as well as other retailers like Best Buy—are selling the Kindle lineup for $20 off. 

You can pick up the base Kindle for $60, the Paperwhite (Wi-Fi) for $100, and the Kindle Voyage (Wi-Fi) for $180. Note that these prices are for the models that display “Special Offers”: aka advertisements. You’ll have to pay $80, $120, and $200 (respectively) for the ad-free versions.

If an e-ink reader isn’t to your liking, the Android-based Fire and Fire Kids Edition tablets are also on sale. You can get $10 off a Fire tablet, or $20 off either a Fire tablet two-pack or a Fire Kids Edition tablet.

Of the bunch, our recommendation is of course the Paperwhite. It’s currently our top pick for best e-reader, and it’s back at the lowest price we’ve seen for it. While it lacks some of the luxury features of the Kindle Voyage—like PagePress, which allows you to turn the page by pressing on the bezel, as well as auto-adjusting screen brightness—the Paperwhite still offers a crisp 300ppi display and an manually adjustable light for reading in darker environments. Most people should find it a solid, satisfying e-reader.



8 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do on Your Kindle

Download free books

Amazon offers over 8,000 titles that are free to download. Pick from a variety of classic novels, romance reads, and thrillers. Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app on your smartphone and get these reads for on-the-go convenience. Another great source for free downloads is Open Library. It allows you to borrow and read a wide variety of titles. Check with you local library as well, many offer similar programs to Open Library.


Transfer articles from the web

Download Instapaper to transfer web articles to your Kindle. Create an account and then under Settings choose Kindle as your delivery option. Now, when you save an article to Instapaper it will get pushed to your Kindle account.


Send a document

You can email personal documents, as attachments, to your Kindle. All you need to do is send the document to your Kindle email address. How do you find that? Go to Manage Your Content and Devices > Settings > Personal Document Settings. The email will be yourname@kindle.com. Then you have to add your email to the Approved Document Email List. Something to note is that you could be charged for this. Avoid the charge by adding free to your kindle address. Therefore, it would read yourname@free.kindle.com.


Reset a frozen screen

Simply press or slide and hold the power button for 40 seconds. When you release, the device should display the start-up screen.


Take a screenshot

If you find a quote that you really like, or need to save a page to use for a class project, you can take a screenshot on your Kindle. If you have an original Kindle, hold down alt + shift + G. For the Kindle Touch, hold down the home button and tap the screen. And for the Voyage and Paperweight, press the opposite corners of the screen at the same time. Plug your Kindle into your computer to download the screenshot as a .png file.


Clear up space on your home screen

If you’re tired of the Amazon book suggestions adding clutter to your home screen, there’s a way you can clear them. Go to the menu bar in the upper right hand corner, then to Settings > Parental Controls > Restrictions > slide Kindle store to off and hit OK.


Lend a book to a friend

Certain books are eligible to be sent to a friend for 14 days. Log in to your Amazon account and go here. Select Manage Your Content and Devices from the tabs on the screen. Then, click the ellipses action button next to the book you want to send and selectLoan This Title. Remember, not all titles are available to loan.


You can publish your own book for Kindle users

For all you authors out there, Amazon offers an easy way to publish your book on their e-store. Simply follow these instructions to make your book available to Kindle users worldwide.



Now Available on Amazon

42 chapters of tasty recipes every parent will love. The recipes are simple and easy to read. The family dinners include some flavorful recipes that my family will enjoy. Kasani’s Baby and Toddler CookBook is your guide to these important first years of eating. Find the building blocks of starting your child on solid foods, how to recognize food allergies, and easy ways to cook in bulk.


Recipes progress from single-ingredient purées to multi-flavor blends like Garden Vegetable combo and Beets Blueberry mesh. This book also includes oral allergy information as well as the best BPA free utensils for children. Stage 1 and Stage 2 foods are included. Most can be made ahead and frozen, many are easily adapted for grown-up tastes, and all include full nutritional value. Please consult with your pediatrician ahead of time for food allergies also included in depth. Free of pesticides, hormones, GMOs, and additives, these delicious purees promote strong immune systems and healthy growth. Adidas Wilson on Amazon.



Amazon to close Kindle ‘Write On’ author community, pulling the plug on story lab

Amazon’s Kindle Write On author community, billed as a “story lab” for authors to test ideas and get feedback from readers, will be closing on March 22, the company informed members of the community today.

The company said in a message on the Write On forums, “While we have been proud over the last few years to have brought together such a vibrant, active, and creative community, unfortunately we will be closing Write On’s doors on March 22. After this date, access to Write On will be unavailable.”

Write On was called “doomed from the start” by the e-book industry news site Good e-Reader when the service launched in beta in October 2014. One reason for that prediction: competition from Wattpad, a popular digital publishing site that likewise lets authors connect with readers and test their ideas for books and stories.

Even with that competition, Amazon had the benefit of its dominant Kindle e-reader business to give its author community momentum, but it appears that wasn’t enough.

We’ve contacted Amazon to find out the reason for the closure. The company is widely known for experimenting with new ideas and moving on if they don’t succeed.

“Judging by the lack of mentions on KBoards, Twitter, and elsewhere, Write On is closing because no one was using it,” opined Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader blog today.

Update: Amazon addressed the reason for the closure in a follow-up message in the forums.

One of our goals is to constantly be innovating on behalf of readers and authors, so we’re always trying out new things. Write On is one such experiment, and, unfortunately, we were not able to grow it in the way that we had wished. It was a tough decision, but it’s for that reason we have decided to stop offering the service.

We greatly admire and respect this community and the bonds you have forged. Even if Write On is no longer available to be your meeting space, we sincerely hope that you continue writing, reading, and helping each other.



Kindle for PC gains text-to-speech (but makes stripping DRM harder)

Amazon has released a new version of its Kindle for PC software that allows you to read eBooks on a computer running Windows 7 or later.

Kindle for PC version 1.19.2 includes typesetting enhancements, search improvements, and a text-to-speech feature which allows the app to read some eBooks aloud to you.

But there is at least one down side: users who like to strip the DRM from Kindle eBooks might have to jump through a few more hoops to do so after updating to the latest version of Kindle for PC.

Amazon’s Kindle eBooks include DRM software that’s supposed to prevent you from reading them in a device that’s not tied to your Amazon account. But there are tools that let you strip the DRM so that you can read on any device and not worry that Amazon will delete an eBook you’ve purchased from your account.

Right now the simplest method for stripping DRM from Kindle (or NOOK or Kobo) eBooks is install the Calibre eBook management utility and load the latest version of Apprentice Alf’s DRM Removal Tool as a plugin. Then when you import a book with DRM into your Calibre library, the plugin goes to work and removes the DRM, allowing you to save your books in a variety of formats.

That still works… except that if you want to strip the DRM from a Kindle eBook it needs to be in the AZW file format. But the new Kindle for PC app only downloads eBooks in the newer KFX format (because of those new typesetting features).

So instead of downloading eBooks with the official Kindle for PC software and then dragging and dropping them to Calibre, you’ll need to download AZW versions of your purchased eBooks from the Amazon.com/myk website. It’s not clear if you’ll be able to do that forever though.

If you want to hang onto Kindle for PC version 1.17 for now, you might want to go into the program’s settings and disable automatic updates.

One thing I should point out: while some people strip DRM in order to maintain control over digital items they’ve paid for, others use tools of this sort for piracy.

It is illegal in many regions to distribute eBooks (or other digital media) which have had their DRM stripped… and in some parts of the world it may be illegal to strip the DRM on eBooks even if you only plan to save them for your personal collection.




If you want to get noticed in the digital age, waiting for someone to choose you is the worst strategy. You have everything you need to start sharing your message today—fingers, keyboard, and the Internet.


Even if they don’t consider themselves writers, most people dream of writing a book. And there’s never been a better time to do so. The stigma of self-publishing is fading away, replaced by countless success stories from first-time authors making a name for themselves.

How are they doing it? Simple. By publishing eBooks on Amazon.com.

Why Amazon?

Forget what you think you know about Amazon. It’s much more than an online shopping cart or web store. There’s a reason guys like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin have published exclusively to Amazon. It has a lot going for it:

  • Amazon is largest paid search engine in the world. People don’t Google things with their credit cards out, ready to buy, like they do with Amazon.
  • Amazon dominates the book market.
  • Amazon’s review system is an authority metric (even if someone plans to buy elsewhere).
  • Amazon is a marketing machine. Once you start selling a certain number of copies, it refers your book to others who have never heard of you.
  • Amazon makes it easy. You can publish elsewhere, but few places get your book online and ready in a matter of hours. When you publish first (and maybe exclusively) to Amazon, you concentrate your sales in a single place and can climb the best sellers lists faster.

Yes, you can get published, see your message spread, and make good money using nothing more than a keyboard and your brain. Here’s how:

Step 1: Write

When publishing an e-book, the first step is, of course, to write it. Think in terms of three drafts:

  1. The “vomit draft.” This is just what it sounds like—you’re throwing up on the blank page. Certainly not the most warming image, but you get the idea. Here, you will write the Table of Contents, sketch out each chapter, and put down all your ideas, scenes, and stories. Don’t make it pretty; just make it.
  2. The review draft. This is where you spend some time developing what you want to say and how. At this point, you should share the work with a few close friends for feedback.
  3. The editorial draft. This is where you get help from a professional or close friend who knows not only grammar, but story structure and elements of style.

Each draft may, in fact, have multiple versions and iterations. But this three-step approach will help you get the work finished without endlessly stalling.

Step 2: Format and Design

Once you’ve written a book you’re proud of, here’s what to do next:

  1. Format it for Kindle. You can try this yourself using a program called Calibre, or you can just pay someone to do it—which I recommend. If this is your life’s work, it’s worth paying a few hundred dollars to get it done right.
  2. Design the cover. Please don’t skimp on this or have your cousin Vinny who just discovered PhotoShop “take a whack at it.” If you’re on a budget, check out 99 Designs or Crowdspring, both affordable crowd-sourcing services. Ask for an image that is a JPEG file and at least 2500 pixels on the longest side with a height/weight ratio of 1.6 (what Amazon recommends in their publishing guidelines).
  3. Double check everything and have friends proofread for errors.

This is an important step, so don’t blaze through it. If you need more guidance, check out TheBookDesigner.com.

Step 3: Publish

How do you actually make your book available for sale on Amazon.com? This is, perhaps, the part that intimidates most people. And the truth is it shouldn’t. All it takes is twelve simple steps:

  1. Go to kdp.amazon.com and sign in (you’ll need an Amazon account).
  2. Register your tax info for royalties.
  3. Click “Bookshelf” and then “Add new title.”
  4. Fill out the form, including book title, description, and keywords you want people to search to find your book.
  5. Upload the cover file (JPEG format).
  6. Upload the book file.
  7. Test your book with Amazon’s online viewer to make sure it looks right.
  8. Click “Save and continue” and advance to the “Rights and Pricing” page.
  9. Choose “Worldwide Rights.”
  10. Choose a 70% royalty rate and select your price, letting the international prices adjust based on the US price. Most e-books are priced $2.99-9.99 (this is what I recommend to maximize your royalty rate).
  11. Click Save and Publish.
  12. Amazon will email you when the book is ready, which may take 24–48 hours but often happens much more quickly.

Step 4: Promote

Now, you’re ready to tell the world about your book. But before you do that, you need some reviews. Reviews are important, because they’re your “social proof” that will legitimize your work to new readers.

Before the book’s release, send the book to friends, family, and followers online who would be willing to leave a review. If you don’t know anyone who would be willing to do that, check out StoryCartel.com, a platform that helps authors get free, ethical reviews.

Once the book is published, remind your early readers to leave reviews. Expect 25-50% of those who promised, to actually comply. And they don’t all have to be 5-star reviews. In fact, having a few honest critiques of your work will give it a greater authority than a bunch of superficial praise.

People can leave reviews on Amazon only a few days before the book is published. So one way to get around this is to publish your book a week before you tell anyone about it. That way, you can build up a good amount of early reviews, which help sell the book to new readers. When it “officially” releases, you can then direct people to the page where they will see some glowing reviews of your work.

Step 5: Launch

After you get some reviews, it’s time to launch your e-book. Every book launch should be unique, but here are a few things that work every time:

  1. Send an email to your list of friends, family, and/or blog subscribers, announcing the release of your book.
  2. Offer an incentive for those who buy the book. This can be a time-sensitive offer or ongoing opportunity. Andy Traub, who made over $20,000 in 90 days with an eBook, gave away the audiobook, 30-day email course, and exclusive membership to an online community with his book. Make it a no-brainer that people can’t pass up.
  3. Promote the book via word-of-mouth and social media. Clicktotweet.com is a great resource for hand-crafting messages that people can easily share. Another effective strategy is to use a launch team of volunteers to help you spread the word.
  4. Share your e-book with online forums and book directories. Kimanzi Constable, who sold over 80,000 copies of his books, said this was a key strategy.
  5. As the book begins to sell, tell people about it. This is called “social proof” and will create a snowball effect that can help you sell even more.
  6. Give the book away. Brandon Clements, who struggled to sell more than a few hundred copies of his novel in a year, decided to give away the e-book version. And in a week, over 60,000 people downloaded it. The next week, he sold another 2,000 copies.

Books can spread pretty fast when everything is digital: the product, the promotion, the distribution. In other words, if you ever wanted to get a message in front of a lot of people, there’s never been a better time.

The days of waiting years to be picked and published are over. So what are you waiting for? (For more help on self-publishing for Kindle, check out the Kindle Publishing Guide, which is free this week exclusively for Michael Hyatt readers.)



Amazon launches £20,000 literary prize for Kindle authors

A £20,000 literary prize is being launched by Amazon for new work by authors releasing their work on Kindle’s self-publishing platform.

The Kindle Storyteller award is open to authors writing in English across any genre, fiction or non-fiction, for books launched on Kindle Direct Publishingbetween 20 February and 19 May 2017.

Reader interest will be taken into consideration when compiling the shortlist as well as the opinions of a judging panel, and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in London in July. The prize will also include a marketing campaign and the possibility of translation for international sales.

Alessio Santarelli, Amazon’s EU Kindle content director, said the prize was intended to celebrate great books. “We hope to encourage aspiring authors and those who have already been published, to get writing and make their new stories available to readers across the world,” he said.

Up to a quarter of the top 100 titles in the UK Kindle store already come from the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Rachel Abbott, a bestselling Kindle author who has just released her sixth thriller on the platform, said she expected the calibre of entries to be high, “whether it’s from an established author or an aspiring writer who is encouraged by this prize to publish their first book”.

Titles submitted for the prize must be previously unpublished, and a minimum of 5,000 words in length with no upper word limit.



How to Get Google Play on a Kindle Fire and Install Any Android App You Want

Kindle Fire tablets are some of the best, cheapest Android tablets around, but they’re limited to Amazon’s app store, which is more than lacking compared to the thousands of apps available on the Google Play Store. With a little tweaking, though, you can run any Android app on them. You can even get the entire Google Play Store on some devices.


What You’ll Need

Amazon’s Fire tablets are based on a de-Googled version of Android, but under the hood they’re still pretty similar. This makes it pretty easy to install Android apps on your tablet, but some ways are easier than others. We’re going to cover two ways to do this. Method #1 involves downloading Android APK installer files and installing them directly. Method #2 will install the entire Google Play Store, which you can use like you would on a normal Android phone. This method is a bit more complicated, but it will make it much easier to install any app you want. Plus it will give you the Google Play Services that you’ll need for most Google apps. Here’s what you’ll need for both methods:

  • A Kindle Fire Tablet: For method #1, you can use any Kindle tablet. We tested this method on an old 2nd generation 7″ Kindle and it worked. For method #2, you’ll need a 4th generation Kindle Fire or higher that’s been updated to Fire OS 5.


  • Android APKs (Method #1): If you want to install apps manually, you’ll need to get the APK from somewhere. APKs are files that Android uses to install apps, similar to .exe files in Windows. We’ll cover a few ways to get APKs, but if you have an Android phone that already has the app you want on your Fire tablet, it may come in handy.


  • A Windows PC (Method #2): To install the Play Store on your device, you’ll need to connect it to a Windows PC with a USB-to-micro-USB cable. If your Kindle tablet didn’t come with one, you can get one from Monoprice here or from Amazon here.


  • ADB (Method #2): ADB is a powerful tool in the Android developer kit that lets you run commands on an Android device from your computer. You can download a small version of the tool from XDA here and install it in just a couple clicks. We have a full step-by-step guide here you should follow first. Once you have ADB, come back.


  • RootJunky’s SuperTool (Method #2): This tool will install the drivers you need on your computer to connect ADB to your tablet, then it will install the Google Play Store. If your Fire tablet is running Fire OS 5.3.1 or later, download the .zip file named Amazon-Fire-5th-Gen-Install-Play-Store.zip from here. If you’re on an older version, grab Amazon-Fire-5th-Gen-SuperTool-old.zip from here. If you’re not sure which version you’re on, open the Settings app on the main screen of your Kindle, scroll to Device Options, and tap “System Updates.” Your version number should be at the top.

Full Instructions:


Some Kindle authors fearing the worst as Amazon starts paying by the page, not download

As Amazon tries to roll out a more fair way of compensating authors for their work, many are fearing that it will result in a pay cut. And, some might be right.

On July 1, Amazon changed the way it pays royalties, and is now paying authors for each page viewed by a reader instead of the previous model, which compensated authors for every book downloaded. The new formula only applies to books that are self-published and distributed through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which essentially lend books to Amazon Prime subscribers for free, or to those willing to pay $10 a month.

Amazon compensates authors by setting aside a pool of cash each month to be divided among all participants. In the past, Amazon distributed the money based on the number of downloads. Now, it’s doing it based on pages read.

For the month of July, Amazon is estimating that the pool of money going toward authors will be at least $11 million, and last month the pages read was almost 1.9 billion. Based on those two figures, you can roughly assume that authors will get half a cent ($0.0058) per page viewed.

Most authors, who are doing the math, suspect they’ll lose about 50 percent of their monthly income. For instance, if an author has a 100-page book that was read to completion 100 times, an author would make roughly $60 for the month, or 60 cents per 100-page book. Before, an author would make $1.35 a download, regardless of the book’s length. That pencils out to $135 a month for 100 downloads, which represents 55 percent more revenue. These calculations are based on what authors are reporting in Amazon’s forums, which have lit up over the past few days with complaints about the pay structure.

“To stop authors from leaving the program in droves, Amazon’s going to have to do something even more drastic than their recent change…and something a little more thought through,” one comment said. Another echoed the opinion: “I was really hoping that Amazon was going to really make this program benefit the authors, but I think this is just another way to screw us over.”

Besides a revenue cut, the authors are also claiming that the new system will favor longer, more suspenseful novels, like mysteries. As a result, other genres will suffer. They also assume authors will now pad their books with additional pages and chapters to increase their revenue.

But the worst-hit are authors in the crafting or children’s book genres, say these authors.

“It would seem pointless for me to stay in [Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner’s Lending Library] now,” said one author, who voiced her concerns on an online forum. “I do illustrated children’s books. The illustrations will count as one page the sum total for the book [and] will be about 5 cents….I don’t understand Amazon, length isn’t quality.”

An Amazon spokeswoman did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

Author Hugh Howey, who wrote the book series “WOOL” is not one of the authors to immediately jump to the conclusion this move hurts all authors. In a blog post, he writes: “[Kindle Unlimited] does not reward longer works: It rewards good works. It rewards gripping works.” But he totally understands why an author would be upset, saying it will result in a revenue cut. But he also doesn’t think it was right for an author of an 100-page book to get compensated the same as an author that wrote a much longer book.

“If you think the prior system was fair, then we just disagree. If you think what you made under an unfair system should equal what you make under a fairer system, then we again disagree,” he said.

Amazon tried to take into account how some authors could game the system, or be unfairly penalized for books with charts, or abnormally small print. To do so, it came up with what it calls the “Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC).” It calculates KENPC based on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.), and will use that to measure the number of pages customers read.

Another author pointed out how KENPC doesn’t work for all genres. He wrote a book about getting library audio books onto your Kindle, which has a lot of illustrations. He said the real page count is 54 pages, but based on Amazon’s adjusted calculation, it is now only 45 pages. Now, he’ll make only 25 cents, even though he normally charges $2.99 in the Amazon book store.

What’s particularly got people upset, however, is the example that Amazon used during its announcement, which may have set people’s standards artificially high. Based on a set of fictitious scenario, using round numbers, Amazon implied that people would get 10 cents per page read. Now, with the real numbers readily available, people are finding out that it’s closer to half a cent.

Howey sums up is feelings by saying that the new system rewards one thing only: Reader enjoyment. “This is how it should be…It’s hearts that we should concentrate on pounding, not keyboards. Write well and write efficiently. Write what you want. There’s a good chance there are more readers out there just like you, looking for the same thing,” he said.

There’s likely many more chapters to be written about this new pay-per-page pricing scheme. Are you an author? Are you a reader? What do you think is more fair?



5 Ways to Make the Most of Kindle Unlimited’s 600,000 Books

SO, YOU’VE SIGNED up for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service and now you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by what’s on offer? That’s OK; it’s not often that you’re faced with the sudden availability of over 600,000 digital books to sample at once. If you’ve spent the weekend scrolling through your reading options in a nervous haze, unsure where to start reading, we’ve come up with five possible methods to get you on your merry reading way. No need to thank us. We know you’ll be too busy curling up with a good book—or several.

Binge-Read Some Old Favorites

Sure, you’ve read the Harry Potter books, Hunger Games trilogy, or Lord of the Rings cycle before, but now that each series is waiting for you in digital format—conveniently no larger nor heavier than your mobile reading device of choice—you finally have the chance to dive back in without fear and revisit some old friends. (Other series are available on the service too, of course; maybe it’s time to binge-read Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga books, or dive into Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder capers.)

Catch Up on the Classics

Alternatively, maybe it’s time to read all those books that you’ve meant to get around to but never quite found the time and/or inclination to read. Finally, this is your chance to pick up Life of Pi and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close! Or maybe get into Michael Chabon at last! Stop having to lie about having read Kurt Vonnegut for years! Hell, you could even enjoy the complete works of Jane Austen while you’re at it, maybe with a George Orwell chaser.

Indulge Some Guilty Pleasures

Perhaps the classics are too heavy, and you prefer something a little lighter. Kindle Unlimited has you covered there, as well, with all the romance, science-fiction, and mystery books that you could possibly crave, from work by up-and-coming authors through to some more familiar titles and writers. Don’t worry; we won’t tell.

Learn a New Skill

There are those for whom reading is far too passive an experience, which is why someone invented cookbooks, sports books, and other hobby books. If you’re not feeling in the mood for fiction, perhaps it’s time to give them a whirl. After all, these are books created to be the prelude to something practical, as opposed to pleasure in and of themselves; things that you read before you go off and do something. Think of them as the adverbs of the literary world.

Stop Reading

Yes, there’s something particularly contrary about suggesting that you should stop reading after signing up to a service where you have access to more than half a million books, but why not let someone else read to you for a while instead? In addition to a three-month trial subscription to Audible that comes as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription, you’ll also have access to Whispersync for Voice on more than 7,000 titles, allowing you to switch between reading for yourself and enjoying an audio version of the same text. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily help you with the question of what to read, but if you’re still wondering about that, just scroll up.



The new Prime service offers a rotating selection of over a thousand e-books, as well as comics, kids’ books and magazines.

Amazon’s newest perk for Prime members goes back to its bookworm roots.

On Wednesday, the company came out with Prime Reading, which provides a rotating library of over a thousand books, with current titles including “The Hobbit,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “The Millionaire Next Door.” The free service, available only to Prime members in the US, also includes changing selections of comics, kids’ books and magazines, including National Geographic Traveler, People and Sports Illustrated.

The service is available on iOS and Android devices using the free Kindle app, as well as on any Amazon Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet.

Prime Reading adds to Amazon’s continually expanding list of Prime services, which the company uses to entice customers to keep forking over its $99 annual membership fee. Maintaining those millions of Prime members is important for the online retailer, since those buyers tend to spend roughly twice as much on its site as non-Prime shoppers.

While a useful addition, the new perk likely won’t bring in droves of new members the same way as other popular services, such as Prime’s unlimited, two-day shipping or the Prime Day shopping holiday.


However, all the additional reading sparked by Prime Reading could help drive more sales of e-books, a market Amazon helped birth and still dominates. Also, Prime Reading may serve as a gateway to get more of Amazon’s loyalest customers to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s $10 monthly reading service that includes over 1 million books and thousands of audiobooks. Using a similar tactic, Amazon last month introduced a slimmed-down, free-for-Prime version of its paid audiobook services called Audible Channels. A full Audible membership costs $14.95 a month.