Amazon releases “Kindle Unlimited”: Read as much as you want for $9.99 a month

I got an email today about whether or not I want to have the book I edited, Dearest Girl of Mine, included in “Amazon Unlimited” (I said yes; it was a project I enjoyed thoroughly in another time of my life, but it was never anything more than an academic exercise). I had heard rumors about the new service but didn’t know it was ready to go.

Amazon’s long-rumored e-book subscription service is now a reality: “Kindle Unlimited.”
The company announced the $9.99-per-month service on Friday and said that it would let users “freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books.” A portion of Audible’s audiobook library is also included.

Of course, the 600,000 titles represent only a small slice of all the Kindle books for sale through Amazon’s sprawling online store. This is due in part to disagreements between Amazon and some major publishers.

But the service has a number of hit titles that Amazon is promoting, including “The Hunger Games,” the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and the new Michael Lewis book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”

via Amazon: Read as much as you want for $9.99 a month – Jul. 18, 2014.

Hmmm. While it sounds interesting, as a Prime member I already get to borrow one book a month, and I rarely do that. Not sure I’d be willing to fork over $10 a month extra for more.

Free e-book: “Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication” | NASA

NASA is giving away a free e-book on extraterrestrial communication:

“Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication” by Douglas Vakoch. Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the ease of establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence. These scholars are grappling with some of the enormous challenges that will face humanity if an information-rich signal emanating from another world is detected.

“Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication” | NASA.

via "Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication" | NASA.

What’s the future of e-book pricing? | Internet & Media – CNET News

What's the future of e-book pricing? | Internet & Media – CNET News.

from David Carnoy:

“In case you missed it, the U.S. government recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of this country’s largest publishers, alleging they conspired to limit competition for the pricing of e-books. Three of the five — HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster — opted to settle the case, while Penguin, Macmillan, and Apple didn’t.
So where does that leave us?”

An interesting article that explains more about the e-book pricing situation as it stands, as opposed to just trying to predict where it might be going. Click on the link above for more.

New tools make self-publishing e-books easier –

Many new authors have found most of their success online, selling self-published books at Amazon for the Kindle and other e-readers.

They handle the entire process themselves — from downloading stock photos at $4 to $5 a pop and making covers in Gimp, a free photo software tool, to converting the manuscripts into formats compatible for the e-readers.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” says Nicholson, 49, who writes four novels a year from his home in Boone, N.C. He won’t say how much he makes, but it’s a “comfortable living,” solely on e-book royalties. “I’m self-taught on every part of this.”

From New tools make self-publishing e-books easier –

George R. R. Martin joins the “Kindle Million Club”

Amazon announced this week that George R.R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire series, has become the latest author to sell 1 million Kindle e-books. Honestly, I’m hardly surprised. I’m nearing the end of the third book myself (there are five in the series thus far, with more to come), I’ve bought each as an ebook, though I went with the Nook format. These books are long, and therefore, these books are heavy. I’m not hauling that thing on a plane.

Martin has now sold one million Kindle books through Amazon, reports the site. He joins a list that includes Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Janet Evanovich and Kathryn Stockett.

“Groucho Marx once said, ‘I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,’ but even Groucho might have made an exception for the Kindle Million Club,” Martin says in the Amazon news release. “It’s a real thrill to be inducted into this one. There are no dues, no meetings, and I’ll be in some wonderful and exclusive company.”

Harry Potter ebooks will be distributed by Google Books

Google Books to distribute Harry Potter e-books

Google will handle distribution and purchases of the e-book versions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which is due out this fall. Rowling has decided to shun the publishing industry by self-publishing the e-book version of the Potter series, and selling the books directly to customers, through the Pottermore website. To achieve this goal, the Harry Potter series will be distributed through Google Books, starting this fall. Digital audiobooks formats will also be available.

Loving books in all forms

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with people who are wary of embracing ebooks. They’re die-hard print book lovers and they all share a bit of fear, really, of something that may be trying to take their place. With Amazon reporting that ebooks are outselling print books, it’s a real possibility. Or is it? Either way, is this a change we book lovers should worry about, or a new opportunity we should embrace?

Forbes blogger Stephanie Chandler states succinctly, “Just because ebooks are exceeding print book sales online, it doesn’t take away my desire to own books.” I’ve purchased a number of ebooks and especially enjoyed borrowing them from the library (instant access, right from home, and free!). I find that a good book is a good book whether I’m reading it in print or on my iPad, and by the same token, a bad book is very much a bad book no matter what the format. I’m not resisting the format entirely, but I still like my print books. I still enjoy the feel of a paperback at the beach, or a brand-new hardcover in bed. Still, I don’t think one really has to choose. Once again, Chandler states it well:

So instead of resisting all this change in the publishing world, I’ve decided to embrace what is happening. My bookshelves are bulging, my digital bookshelf is stocked, and even my iPod is loaded with audio books. Variety is good and anything that promotes reading and makes it easier to access is okay with me.

The bottom line is, a book in any form is something I’m interested in.


Amazon says e-books outsell print books

From NPR’s Morning Edition:

“Historians site 1952 as a year that America reached a media watershed. That year, more Americans watched television in the evenings than listened to the radio. Maybe historians will mark 2011 as a similar kind of year for books. The giant retailer Amazon says that, as of now, it is selling more electronic books than books in print. Since April, the company says that for every 100 paperbacks or hard covers, it moves 105 e-books.”