On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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October 2016
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Will Amazon Unwittingly Destroy the Kindle?

Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch

It’s been clear since early this year that as the Kindle Fire was taking off so impressively, Amazon was experiencing some amount of decreased Kindle eReader interest among its customers.   It is probably fair to say that most people expected this.  The Kindle accomplishes its narrow purpose well, but many people will always prefer a device that does many things adequately over one that does one thing extremely well.  As the trend continues, and as the Kindle Fire becomes the first in its own line of tablet products, do we have to worry about this being a popular enough substitution to lead to the end of the Kindle eReader?

A year or two ago I would have, and am known to have, argued against the idea.  The strengths of the Kindle are things that you just can’t match in a tablet.  The Kindle Fire’s inferior screen, shorter battery life, and greater weight all make it a distant second-best for reading activities by comparison.  Clearly not everybody is agreeing with those points, as sales estimates for the popular eReader have been declining coming into this year.

I believe it is possible to argue against this being just a matter of one device being somehow better than the other, though.  The real problem is the way that Amazon has segmented their customer base.

If we assume that the Kindle Fire is more appealing to people who only read occasionally, and who would like to get more regular use out of their purchase, that leaves E Ink Kindle buyers as the more dedicated reader base.  Let’s face it, Amazon’s actions lately have not been entirely pleasant for many fans of literature despite bringing prices down.

People get very attached to their favorite authors, and to the idea of authorship in general.  For many, the “One of these days I’m going to sit down and write a book” mantra is less a matter of actual intent and more a sign of respect for the craft.  The cult popularity springing up around any number of self-published Kindle authors is just another sign of this.  By pitting themselves against groups like the IPG, and thereby inspiring even more public condemnation from big name author and those speaking more or less officially on their behalf, Amazon is damaging their pro-reader stance.

I don’t believe that the eReader as we know it is on the way out.  The E Ink Kindle remains one of the best options for reading that money can buy and the combination of great selection with commitment to customer satisfaction works heavily in Amazon’s favor.  This sort of questionable behavior does much to dampen enthusiasm for the product among potential buyers, though.

So is Amazon biting into Kindle sales?  Definitely.  There’s at least as much interference coming from their heavy-handed negotiation tactics as their tablet alternative, though.  The Kindle Fire is an amazing little device and most people seem glad to have it once they take it home, but for reading nothing can beat E Ink so far.  Sadly, Amazon has been doing some work making sure people have doubts about tying themselves to the otherwise amazing Kindle ecosystem in the long term, and so there are issues.

In Era Of Self-Promotion, Authors’ Obligations & Opportunities Increase Thanks To Kindle’s @author

Amazon’s new @author feature is a new addition to their Kindle-based social media effort.  Currently in a limited beta release, the feature promises to create an even closer author to reader connection by allowing readers to send along questions for their favorite authors right from the Kindle itself.  While it may turn out to be a mixed blessing for authors already being pulled in far more directions than ever before to get maximum exposure, many will undoubtedly welcome the opportunity.

In its ideal use case, the @author feature will be a source for frequent connections with curious readers that allows for one-on-one contact and gives readers a chance to resolve points of confusion by going directly to the source.  At the same time, since questions are visible from the author’s Amazon page and answerable by anybody, this should help to foster a sense of community among readers.  It seems a lot like Kindle authors are getting the best of both worlds.  There are promotional opportunities from the comfort of their own homes when they are building an audience and an open forum for discussion when that audience gets large enough and involved enough that people start answering each other’s questions.

Obviously the advantage for Amazon in all of this is that the Kindle‘s integration into the communication process will give it that much more pull on customers and potential Kindle Direct Publishing authors.  The user experience of the upcoming Kindle Tablet will also involve tighter connections than ever to the Amazon.com storefront, which makes this a further selling point for the new hardware, at least among readers, should they market it properly.

There are potential downsides with this, as with all new services.  Because it is still a limited beta release, we have no real way of knowing what kind of moderation the @author question/answer system will enjoy upon release.  As anybody who frequents the Amazon product forums can attest, open discussion on the site doesn’t always tend toward the most productive side of things.  There is also a new set of authorial duties that will take some getting used to.

Since the ride of eBooks began, many have expressed concern that the increased emphasis on self publishing would result in the best marketers rising to the top rather than the best writers.  In theory, after all, the role of the publishing house was to select the best of the best to bring readers only exactly what they want to read.  In some ways, it’s a very important concern.  Sure, you can now sell your own book without bothering to get an agent, editor, or publisher, but now you also have to complete every stage of development from the start with no large support structure.

Undoubtedly some amazing authors have fallen by the side of the road for exactly that reason.  Overall though, with the sheer number of increasingly successful Kindle authors, we’ve seen an increase in the number of great writers being read.  This will probably bring a little bit more hassle for some people, but it will also facilitate convenient conversation and have a net positive effect for any author smart enough to take advantage of it.

Good Resources for Free and Discounted Kindle Books

If you’re vigilant about tracking the daily Kindle news, you will find a bunch of good books for free or discounted prices.  They don’t stay discounted for very long, so you have to act fast.

Bookmark Amazon.com’s reader forums.  Overall, these are good resources for anything Kindle related.  Kindle users are the best judges of what works best and what doesn’t.  But, for discounted and free books, check out the forum titled: Discounted / Price Dropped Kindle eBooks.  Put that title in the search box since there’s no way to directly link to the forum itself.  There’s also a Free Kindle book forum that is worth checking as well.  Even if you don’t find a book you like, keep checking.  This forum is updated often.

Don’t forget to check the Top 100 Free Kindle bestsellers list.  A lot of these books are cheesy romance novels or self help books.  Occasionally though, you’ll find a bestseller, or other good book to try out.  About half of the books on my Kindle came from this list.  I was able to discover new favorite authors by finding their books here.  The list also includes Kindle games and active content.

Don’t forget the new Kindle Daily Deals going on.  They include major discounts on bestselling books.  There are some bestsellers that I can’t afford the full price for.  Some are as much as $15!  So, I’ve been keeping track of the Daily Deals to see if they show up there.  One of the most notable ones to show up on the Daily Deals was The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly.

Through the forums, I found a great website that provides alerts when prices are dropped on a book.  It is called eReaderIQ.com.   The website lets you track Kindle price drops, search for your favorite books, view the free Kindle book list, and see what books have been recently converted to Kindle.  The recently converted book option is quite handy.  There are a bunch of other discounted Kindle book websites.  You’ll find them recommended by readers on the forums, and pretty much anywhere there are discussions regarding the e-reader and e-books.

Aside from all of the resources here, you can check out the Amazon Kindle Twitter and Facebook page for more news and discount sale information.  The Facebook page has been an excellent resource for both authors and readers alike.








Pottermore Brings Books To Kindle, But Leaves Fans Open To Scams

As most of you will almost certainly be aware by now, the ever popular Harry Potter series is on its way to the Kindle.  The author, J.K. Rowling, is keeping control over the distribution of the books by attaching her sales platform to the Pottermore companion web site that will be opening this coming October.  While the combination of extra content and fan loyalty will certainly make the site and eBook sales even more of a success than we expect, in the meantime the anticipation building around the site has left over-zealous fans open to scams built around the pre-release proceedings.

You see, a lucky few have managed to secure invitations to experience the Pottermore site well ahead of time.  There was a contest of sorts that allowed the truly interested to get their names in, but it was arranged in such a way as to technically allow somebody to get multiple invites.  This, of course, opens to door to eBay sales even if they are technically against the site’s Terms & Conditions.  Sadly as we all know by now, I hope, where there are electronic invitation sales, there are scams.

Harry Potter fans hoping to get in have been singled out for everything from hundred dollar fake early access accounts to total identity theft from some fairly convincing dummy sites asking people for far too much information in order to gain entry.  Pottermore admins have, naturally, warned people against falling for these scams and have pointed out that even if people do manage to find a legitimate account transfer they will still be banned for breaking the rules, but when people are trying this desperately to get around existing restrictions and rules there is little chance of such advise from the people creating the barriers being heeded.

If you are one of the millions looking forward to the Pottermore site, whether for access to Kindle versions of the books or to enjoy the content, your best bet is to just wait it out.  The only worthwhile avenues at this point are the official ones, so if you don’t see what seems to be your way in written about on the Pottermore placeholder like ‘The Magical Quill’ contest has been then you are inviting trouble by pursuing them.

When the site does open up, Pottermore will be completely free to the public.  Users will be able to access it in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, with more options coming within the year.  There will be over 18,000 words of new material for you to read through, a shop to purchase things like eBooks from, a number of simple games that go along with events in the books, and a generally social experience through which to share your enjoyment of the Harry Potter series.

There is a lot there to get excited about, and if you are a big enough fan to be interested in paying large amounts of money just to get into a soon-to-be-free site then you’re probably very excited indeed, but wait it out.  Rowling, Harry Potter, and the Pottermore site will all come together in just a couple more months.  No book is important enough to risk identity theft or large sums of wasted money.

eReader Growth Outpaces Tablets as Kindles Catch On

A recent survey by Pew Research Center shows growth in both eReader and Tablet PC markets.  The ownership base for Kindle and Nook owners has doubled in the 6 months from November 2010 to May 2011, ending up at an impressive 12% of those polled.  Tablet ownership, over the same period, has seen a 3% jump.  The breakdown is about what one might expect in a lot of ways.  While it might just be a matter of curiosity for most at the moment, studies like this will be what determines the immediate future of these devices. The study takes into account 2,277 adults aged 18 and up.

Owners of eReaders like the Kindle are fairly evenly broken across the genders.  Parents are more likely to have picked up an eReader in the last six months than people without kids under 18.  The greatest growth among surveyed ethnic groups was in Hispanics, who jumped from 5% ownership to 15%.  The only group that seems to have dropped off in terms of eReader ownership was High School non-graduates, who went from 5% to 3%.  College graduates predictably jumped the most.

Tablet ownership grew along similar lines, though not necessarily the same ones.  Men, for example, are significantly more likely to own a tablet than women, with a large number of those surveyed saying that being able to impress others with their purchase was a priority.  This might have played into age demographic differences as well, since tablets showed the most growth in the 18-29 bracket.  eReaders, by comparison, did best with those 30-49. In the case of tablets, ownership among college graduates was actually outpaced by that of those with partial college completion.  Hispanics still lead the pack among reported ethnic groups.

Basically, everybody likes their new gadgets.  Men, especially younger men, are fond of the flashiness of the tablets.  Slightly older people of both genders are getting into the eReader market.  Overall, tablets are still lagging a bit behind, in spite of early predictions that they would spell the end of the eReader.  Possibly this has to do with the lack of serious competition among tablet makers, in which case we’ll likely be seeing some different numbers this time next year.  More likely would be that this is an indication of a trend toward dual-ownership.  A good 3% of those surveyed confirm that they have both types of device on hand.

For now, there are already groups where as many as 20% of those surveyed have adopted eReaders.  There has been noticeable growth in all households with an income greater than $30,000 per year.  Households over $75,000 per year are of course doing the most shopping for portable electronics, but the difference in growth between this and other income brackets is not as pronounced as it is among tablet owners.  They seem to be cheap enough to be accessible to, and appealing to, pretty much everybody.  Pricing the Kindle at just $114 might be the smartest move Amazon could have made.  It will likely surprise nobody if the upcoming Kindle Tablet undercuts the competing iPad by more than a little bit to take advantage of the trends.

‘Kindelized’ Christmas

Kindle AdvertisementWith Christmas coming up, I noticed the news about Kindle is focused on predicting the number of Kindle sales during pre-Christmas shopping time. I also see some Christmas anticipation from the Kindle community – some folks cannot wait until the X day to give Kindle as a gift to someone special, others hope to find Kindle in their Christmas stocking, and a couple of people indulge in bragging about getting Kindle as an early Christmas present (most likely they were also the givers).

Does the fact that Kindle is the best selling item on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), magnify the urge to buy Kindle even more? Would it be the “herd-instinct” (kudos to Nietzsche for coining the term), i.e. everybody has Kindle, therefore I want one; or it would be due to the belief – if so many people purchase Kindle then it must be good? Well, as for me – clearly, it makes me wonder. Who would we attribute the predicted numbers for Kindle sales – to the agile marketing strategy, or to Kindle’s superiority among the e-book readers? Mind you, the 8 million of future Kindle sales is a mere prognosis for now. Personally, I cannot wait to see if this prognosis will be supported by the facts after Christmas. In any case, I am applauding to Amazon marketing team: the Kindle advertisement’s slogan is solid, strong, and concise.

Nook Update 1.5 Announced!

Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) has announced that they will be releasing what they claim is the largest update to their nook device since the eReader hit the market.  While we won’t be seeing this update rolled out until late next month, from what they’ve said, there is the strong implication that they’ve been listening to what their customers have been clamoring for.

Specifically, we have the following to look forward to:

  • Barnes & Noble Library Organization

Let’s be honest, this has been the biggest problem with eReaders in general and the nook in particular since the things started becoming affordable.  Up until the Kindle’s Collections feature, there were all sorts of innovative workarounds for people, including genre specific memory cards, creative file tagging, and even completely limiting what you carry with you to avoid having to scroll through page after page of stuff you don’t want today.  Let’s hope that this organization both improves the process and extends beyond the B&N library into the My Documents list for those of us who like to get our books from various sources.

  • Device Syncing

This one’s been rather a long time in coming, when you think about it.  After all, Amazon’s had it going for a while and it has never made much sense to leave it out.  Anyway, finally we’ll be getting the option to have B&N keep track of our last read pages so that we can put down the nook at home, read a couple pages on the PC on our lunch break at work, maybe a couple more on the cell phone on the train home, and never once lose track of progress.

  • Password Protection

The wording on this is a bit vague, but in the context it was presented, the new password protection seems to go beyond simply being a lock for the device as a whole.  Possible, perhaps, to lock individual books or store access for those with family accounts?  No way to know for sure but this seems like a feature with some promise.  Hell, even if it was just a lock for the device as a whole, it would be useful as a safety measure for those of us who love to take our nooks out with us to random places.  Theft is always a concern!

  • Dramatically Increased Page Turn Speed

Now, “Dramatically” is a fairly subjective term, of course, but nobody is ever going to complain about this one.  As somebody who has been a proponent of eInk-based eReaders from the beginning, I got used to the screen flash a long time ago and really find it far less distracting than the action of turning a physical page, even.  The pages on my nook never stick together.  That said, I know it bugs the hell out of loads of people.  Every time B&N increases their page turn speed, they make their customers happier and their prospective customers that much more likely to venture a purchase.  I am, you can be sure, interested in seeing what they define as “Dramatic”.

  • Improved Search Function

Anybody who’s spent any time trying to get eBooks to work in a classroom in conjunction with people using standard texts knows that the functionality depends on a quick, easy search function.  So far, the nook only has one of those attributes. Since this update is boasting quickened on-device search capabilities, we can hope for a better experience than the current ridiculous waiting game in spite of the limited hardware that one expects on such a device.

There is a very good chance, as well, that this could mean a lot more than simply a firmware update for the popular device.  It was almost a year ago now that the nook first hit the market.  It had a rocky start and no small number of naysayers, some justified and others less so, but there can be very little doubt that it’s at the top of the charts these days, second only to the Kindle and covering some very important features that the Kindle lacks.

The fact is, however, that the Kindle 3 has a very significant lead at the moment.  It’s more recently updated, has a better screen, faster interface, and just generally slightly more comfortable user experience.  As some of you may recall, there were stories a few months back about the patents being put in place that seemed to be for the nook 2.  If that is to be released this year, it will have to be before the holiday season, and it would only make sense to put out something soon in order to increase interest.  With that in mind, it is easy to believe that this update is meant to pave the way for what could well be a coinciding announcement of, or even release of, the new model.

Whatever the case on that front, nook owners will likely find this to be a major plus.  It’s been a while since the last significant software update and I know that I’m rather excited about it.  While the Kindle still has the slight edge in terms of functionality, it really sounds like this will address all non-hardware based complaints about the nook and that is huge for a device that already offers advantages over the main competition like a full-color mini-screen for web browsing and compatibility with the current standard in eBooks.

Kindle at College

One of the advantages to being in a town with a large college presence, let alone spending large amounts of time on the campuses, is the opportunity to informally poll students and get a first-hand account of the happenings in whatever field you happen to be curious about in the field of your choice.  I figured this would be useful for all you college students stuck in the Kindle vs nook vs iPad debate.  Depending on who I manage to run into, I’ll update this list from as more students from more fields become available!

Today’s accounts are taken entirely from a university satellite campus in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.  Everybody I talked to was an active user of at least one device in academic settings.

Kindle vs nook:

Kelli, an English Undergrad, said:

I was basically looking at what would save me money on everything I had to use.  I knew I was going to get whichever one I wanted from my parents to help me out, but for books and things I was stuck with student loans.  I narrowed it down to either the nook or the Kindle 3.  They both looked good, but I got the Kindle because they had a thing where you could get ebooks from other places sent to your Kindle by emailing them.  That made things really easy.  It’s a little annoying to have to have to carry around a notebook inside my Kindle case(It looked to me like she had this one), but I doubt any of the others make note taking any easier and I saved a load by getting mostly free kindle books in all my Lit classes.

Kindle DX PDF Reading:

Markus, a Biology Undergrad, said:

My girlfriend got me one of these because she knows I love to read, but I would rather just pick up a book.  It’s just more fun to feel the paper and smell the book.  Last semester, though, I picked it up off the shelf when my printer broke in the middle of printing off articles for class.  One of my profs had the bright idea that sending us lots of articles would save on our book costs.  Apparently cheap laser printers don’t like printing hundreds of pages per hour.  Anyway, I loaded everything I had left onto the DX and decided to make the best of it until they sent the printer back to me.  By the time it finally showed up, I didn’t really case anymore.  This thing is the perfect size for reading pretty much anything, it zooms in on charts and photos, and you never have to worry about where you set down the paper you were halfway through last night.  I still do all my pleasure reading on dead trees, but I tell everybody to try a large screen Kindle.

Kindle for PC and Mac:

John, a Professional Studies Undergrad, said:

I haven’t quite talked myself into getting the physical Kindle yet, though it looks really cool.  Right now I’m doing pretty well using the software Amazon put out for my Macbook.  It’s easy to use and I can save what I was doing and all the notes I took.  Hell, I even go home for the weekend and know where I stopped reading when I use my parents’ computer and can get some homework done.  I tried out the nookStudy software and it was really nice, but I felt like it was just too bulky and tried to do too much all at once.  Plus it kept trying to redownload my books every time I wanted to read them.  What if I want to save some battery life and turn off the wireless connection?!

Kindle DX vs iPad:

Taquisha, an Early Childhood Ed Undergrad, said:

People in the program tried to get me hooked on the Kindle DX for like an entire semester.  It’s cool, the page turning isn’t nearly as horrible as I thought it would be at first, but even when I got one of my own I ended up sending the thing back.  You can’t use something like that when you’re working with little kids.  It’s durable, but they just don’t care.  All it’s good for is hitting stuff with, as far as they’re concerned.  I finally saved up the extra money and upgraded to an iPad and it works much better.  I can play games with them, show little movies, make slide shows, and still be able to just load the Kindle iPad app when I want to read a book.  Everybody was telling me it’d be bad for my eyes, but I just turn it off for a little while when mine get sore and I’m fine.  I’d definitely say to only go for the Kindle if you want to read on it alone.  It doesn’t help at all when you’re working with kids or in groups.

Well, believe me, there’s plenty more.  Kindles, nooks, iPads, netbooks, and even the occasional less popular eReader are becoming staples of the modern college classroom and it’s not likely to change.  The convenience, especially for students with dozens of online articles to read or several huge textbooks to carry from class to class without a chance to set things down, cannot be beaten. I’ll try to come up with some fresh reviews from another campus some time soon.  It’ll be interesting to have some first hand accounts of how these devices stack up as midterms and such put the pressure on their owners.

Using your Kindle to Connect to Facebook and Twitter

On June 15, the biggest update since the launch of the Kindle DX was released. The new version 2.5 update has a cool feature that owners of the Kindle 2 to send updates to Twitter and Facebook from the Kindle using Sprint’s 3G network. Information is so widely shared these days that it is only natural that the Kindle should add that capability.

Once you install the update, link your Kindle to Twitter or Facebook in the Kindle browser.  Once the browser is connected to the social networks, you can select text from whatever books you choose and tweet them to your followers.  The text will show up with a kindle hashtag and a link so the passage selection has to be pretty short. more

If you would rather share an annotation of a book you are reading, use the annotation tool to select the text and save and share your Twitter and Facebook friends or with the Kindle community.  There is a Highlights section in the Kindle community where you can go see what fellow Kindle users are reading.  This is a good way to find reviews and suggestions for books to read.

This is a good way to share favorite quotes or lines in a book quickly.  The drawback is that the space is limited, but if you have to, you can always create a set of multiple tweets on the same passage.  This would be a great online discussion or book club starter.  If this feature takes off, it will be fun to see passages from well known or much loved books shared and discussed.

Amazon Announces Update for Kindle for PC Application

kindle for pcA day after Amazon’s May 10 announcement regarding plans to offer Kindle for Android, Amazon announced updates for its Kindle for PC application.  The article from eWeek suggests that Amazon’s recent actions might be in response to increased competition from the iPad, Nook, Sony E-reader and others.

Kindle for PC’s new features include the ability to edit notes and marks, change background color, adjust screen brightness control and includes a full screen reading mode.  Amazon’s Whispersync technology transfers notes, bookmarks and “last pages read” between a PC, smartphone and the Kindle.  By adding these adjustments to the application, Amazon has made it much more user friendly.

Jay Marine, Director of Amazon Kindle wrote: “Kindle for PC lets customers enjoy more than 540,000 books in the Kindle Store even if they don’t yet have a Kindle, and it’s the perfect companion application for the millions of Kindle and Kindle DX owners.” Amazon seems to be heading into the predicted direction of gearing their market towards software, despite solid Kindle device sales.

Amazon also recently announced plans for a new update to the Kindle and Kindle DX called Version 2.5.  In this version, users will be allowed to share passages with friends on Facebook and Twitter.  It will also include Collections, which categorizes books and documents on the Kindle into different sections based on the subject, and Popular Highlights, a passage from a book or document that the Kindle community finds the most interesting.  Content sharing is “the big thing” right now.  It will be an interesting trend to watch in terms how how the Kindle will work with it.

PhysOrg.com adds Kindle feeds for its science and research subscribers

Kindle’s market is stretching beyond the casual reader to research and academics. As proof, PhysOrg.com, the leading web-based science, research and technology news service, just announced it is giving its subscribers a way to keep up with news on their Kindle e-readers. The service will offer Kindle users two options for news feeds. The first, “Spotlight News”, will feature the top 40 or so stories of the day fed directly to the subscriber’s Kindle. Those readers who want more specialized news, can choose one of five channel feeds that provide all the stories in one of the following subject areas: Space and Earth, Technology and Electronics, Biology and Chemistry, Physics and Nanotechnology or Medicine and Health.

Since it was launched in 2004, PhysOrg.com has has grown to include 1.75 million readers every month from the scientific, research and engineering community. The news service publishes about 100 articles every day, giving the world some of the most comprehensive coverage of science and technology developments available.

PhysOrg.com also has apps for news feeds and podcasts for the iPhone and any MP3 player. Each of the Kindle feed subscriptions cost $1.99 per month. For more information, go to PhysOrg on Amazon Kindle.

Amazon Kindle in more libraries

In May I wrote a post about library usage of Amazon Kindle. Recently Lone Wolf Librarian did a more thorough search and uncovered at least 15 libraries that lend Kindle eBook readers to their patrons. Here are just few:

  1. Mary White, Director of Howe Library in Hanover, NH - The Kindle Library Loaning Page. Lending out Kindles since Jan 14th, 2009.
  2. Sparta Public Library in Sparta, NJ have 2 Kindles for lending.
  3. LaCrosse Public Library lends out 1 Kindle.
  4. Rancho Mirage Public Library lends out Kindles, although its unclear whether its internally or patrons can take them home.
  5. Texas A&M University Libraries have 18 Kindles (add your name to the waiting list here)

If Amazon were to come up with some kind of library-oriented solution that would streamline the process and eliminate the need for librarians to constantly register/deregister devices (to prevent useres from accidentally ordering books like this one) they would make a killing because:

  1. Libraries would buy devices and books wholesale
  2. More people would get introduced to the device and end up buying one for personal use.

Believe it or not most of the general public doesn’t know that Kindle is. I often get asked what is that device that I’m reading from in parks and other public places.

Free Kindle 2 Giveaway Contest Rules

Here are the rules of the contest, please read them carefully:

When Amazon Kindle 2 was released Kindle Store had 240,000+ books for sale. This number is growing daily and it’s about to hit 250,000 which is pretty impressive. In order to win brand new Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eInk reading device all you need to do is email me your best guess about when number of books in Amazon Kindle Store is going to top 256,000 (one thousand books for each megabyte of flash memory in Kindle 1 :) )

You can visit Amazon Kindle Store daily to get a feel for how fast eBooks are piling up. Count as of 03/13/2009 was 248,429 when I checked. I will accept entries until the day number of books will be more than 250,999. I check book counts every 00:01 PST and that would be the cutting line. Once I see 251,000 books or more – no more entries are going to be accepted. I will announce the cut-off date once it happens. After that it’s waiting time: once I see 256,000 books or more at 00:01 that would be the winning date. I’ll announce it in the morning. Of all persons who submitted entries with this date I’ll randomly pick 1 winner.

To submit your entry just send an e-mail to contest@blogkindle.com with your chosen date in the subject in the following form: MM/DD/YYYY, where MM is two digit zero-padded month number, DD is two digit zero-padded day number and YYYY is 4 digit year. So 03/21/2009 would be 21st of March 2009, 04/03/2009 would be 3rd of April, 2009. Please don’t put anything else in the subject line. Any content in the message body is going to be ignored. I will use email address the letter was sent from to contact the winner and arrange for shipping the prize. Any entries that don’t follow the format described above will be discarded. If I don’t receive a response from the winner within 72 hours from sending the letter a new winner will be chosen.

One entry per person for the entire duration of the contest. Cheaters WILL BE disqualified! Amazon employees are on their honor not to participate :)

I will not use your email address for any other reason then to contact your if you are a winner. I’ll not give them to spammers, spam them myself or randomly send out my rants when I feel lonely and sad. In fact once this contest is settled I’m going to delete all of them.

I will not disclose winners identity even partially without winners consent. Though it would be nice to receive this consent for posting at least winner’s city. If you provide a photograph of the Kindle 2 once you receive it (with you if you would like to) I promise to post it here.

OK. Once again the rules in a nutshell:

  1. Figure out a date on which at 01:00 PST Amazon Kindle Store would have 256,000 books or more
  2. Send email to contest@blogkindle.com with this date date in the subject line in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY (see details and examples above)
  3. Email should be sent on a day on which at 01:00 PST book count in Amazon Kindle Store was 250,999 or lower. I’ll post when it happens (though not immediately)
  4. There is a limit of one entry per person for the entire duration of the contest.
  5. Out of the  people who submitted correct date properly 1 winner will be chosen randomly.
  6. Winner will be contacted on the winning day described in (1) using email that entry was submitted from.
  7. If I don’t receive any response from the winner within 72 hours of sending the email a new winner would be chosen randomly.
  8. In the unlikely case that (6) would be repeated enough times that no winner could be chosen, I’ll randomly choose a winner from people who were off by 1 day either way. I’ll keep expanding the date range and repeating (6) until winner can be found.

That means that as long as there are valid entries somebody is pretty much guaranteed to win.

Why am I doing this? Honestly I would like to see more comments to my posts, I would like readers to get more involved with the blog. I believe that an easy way of achieving that would be to attract more subscribers by holding this contest. So if you like this blog and what I write here please spread the word on other blogs and forums. The more people I would see enjoying the content that I provide here the more time I’ll spend creating more better content.

If you have any questions – please leave a comment. I’ll try to respond as fast as possible.

XKCD Comic About Amazon Kindle


XKCD, “A Webcomic Of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, And Language” recently did a comic about Kindle which I couldn’t resist posting here especially since it mentions a book that I’m very fond of personally.

If you haven’t seen XKCD before I really recommend to explore it as you are sure to have some good time. I personally would love to see it available for subscription on Kindle Blogs but I guess because it is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License it will never happen.

Kindle Maladies, illnesses and disorders

Yesterday I came across this great post on Google Groups, its a list of Kindle disorders that Kindle owners tend to suffer from – enjoy;

A few days ago I detected a certain malady that some Kindle users may have experienced. I have come to learn that there are many more conditions, symptoms and maladies of which I believe my fellow Kindle users should be aware. The list is not exhaustive so please feel free to add any additional items as you may have experienced on your own.

Kindle Abandonment Syndrome: The feeling of concern when you cannot find a newly published or previously published book in Kindle format which results in you sending threatening letters to publishing houses or checking the “New on Kindle” site every ten minutes.

Kindle Anxiety Syndrome: Worrying that your Kindle will run out of charge before you can reach your home and your charging cord.

Kindle Separation Anxiety: This manifests symptoms which include trying to tap the next page button on a paperback or hardcover book, if you still read those!

Kindle Agoraphobia: The fear of traveling to a destination that goes not have Whispernet access, like a foreign country, a remote location, or a tunnel.

Kindle Envy Condition: This is when people post negative comments about the Kindle on forums without having ever owning one.

Kindle Curiosity Malady: This is when you spot another Kindle owner in public and you insist he or she show you what they have downloaded on their Kindle.

Kindle Braggadocio: This is when you give a ten minute demonstration of how your Kindle works when someone casually asks if that is a Kindle.

Kindle Confusion Malady: This is when you repeatedly lick your finger when you tap the next page button.

Kindle Hoarding Syndrome: This is a condition where you have downloaded 2000 books from every free e-book website you can find. It is particularly serious when you download the Russian versions of
Tolstoy’s books and you cannot read Russian.

Kindle Displacement Condition: This is a condition where you consider your Kindle a member of your family and purchase seven designer covers and extra SD cards but neglect to buy your family milk.

Kindle Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This is when you check the Velcro patch which secures your Kindle to its case every half hour to ensure it won’t slip out again. It can also manifest itself with the
purchase of multiple batteries and the constant checking of your Amazon Media Library.

Kindle Carpel Tunnel Syndrome: Intense pain in your thumbs from speed reading on your Kindle.

Kindle Obesity: This is the insistence that gaining weight is only due to the fact that with a belly you can now read your Kindle while lying prone.

Kindle Perplexity Disorder: This is when a patient insists that any reading matter he or she received must be in either asw, prc or pdf convertible format because “I don’t read anything that isn’t

Kindle Grammar Abuse: Using the word Kindle as anything other than a noun: such as is it Kindleable?; can you Kindlize that? Or I don’t do anything unKindled.

You may ask is there a cure for these maladies. I fear that no cure is available. My only hope that is when the Kindle becomes universally accepted like the IPod and the laptop computer, these maladies will be readily accepted by the population.

Some of these are hilarious and are especially true for me. Do you have any Kindle related disorders you would like to share?

Source: Google Groups

Haiku Contest: Win a Kindle

Haiku Contest : Win a Kindle

Another day, another Kindle competition. Surpass Hosting is staging a contest where the winner can bag themselves a Kindle.

Its a lot easier to enter than the previous competition we told you about, all you have to do it write a haiku – simple.

Give us a great haiku about Surpass Hosting and win an Amazon Kindle to further enjoy poetry and reading.

“The most common form for Haiku is three short lines. The first line usually contains five (5) syllables, the second line seven (7) syllables, and the third line contains five (5) syllables. Haiku doesn’t rhyme.” Here is an example haiku:

i love you surpass
you make my sites go so fast
happy webmaster

Just post your entry in this thread, then on August 29th we’ll all vote for the winner. It’s a community feeling.

Sometimes I wish that I had a Kindle to give away, I have so many competition ideas, but no prizes to give away =(

Source: Surpass Hosting Blog

How to use the Kindle outside the US

KeyboardIf your one of the many people interested in buying the Kindle, but unfortunately you live outside the US, then until Amazon decides to release Kindle in your local you cant enjoy the benefits of owning a Kindle. Kindle owners here in the US are also interested in knowing whether using their Kindles outside the US is possible. Amazon states in it’s FAQ section that it is working on releasing the Kindle for international markets and asks that international customers to sit tight for the time being.

That’s not good enough for some.

Where there’s a will, there is way. A post by Nerdgirl on her site offers a solution for those unwilling to wait for the official Kindle release in their country. The hack involves tricking Amazon into thinking that your billing address is associated with a US address — apparently Amazon does not verify the address unless you purchase a dead-tree book. This then allows you to associate a Kindle device with your Amazon account, once your Kindle is associated with your account you can use gift certificates to buy e-books. But if your expecting them to be delivered wirelessly then think again, they wont be, you will have to transfer the e-book via USB.

The very fact that someone has discovered this hack proves that people outside the US are itching to get their hands on the Kindle.

You can read the full instructions on Nerdgirls website by following the link below.

Source: Nerdgirl

Tor.com goes live, get 24 free sci-fi and fantasy e-books

Tor.com logo beta

Back in May we got wind of a new social fanzine site especially for science-fiction and fantasy readers, Tor.com was due for launch we were told imminently, but as with these things the launch actually didn’t happen for a couple of month – over the weekend Tor.com was launched.

If you read the earlier post you know that had you signed up for the newsletter, Tor was giving away a free e-book every week in their weekly newsletter. Now that the site has launched, Tor will make available all 24 titles that were given away in the newsletter–only till the 27th of July, so head on over to the site and download them–in their Freebies Bonanza, there is a selection of artwork for download as-well, some would make an excellent desktop wallpaper.

Here is the list of all the available e-books;

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
PDF || HTMLnew! || HTML zipnew! || Mobinew!
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Farthing by Jo Walton
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedies Lackey & James Mallory
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Lord of the Isles by David Drake
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Reiffen’s Choice by S.C. Butler
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Starfish by Peter Watts
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Orphans of Chaos by John Wright
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
In the Midnight Hour by Patti O’Shea
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Flash by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Soul by Tobsha Learner
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Darkness of the Light by Peter David
PDF || HTML || HTML zip || Mobi
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosanew!
PDF || ePub

If your a fan of science-fiction and fantasy  books then you might want to bookmark Tor.com, and sign up for access to more advanced community features, whilst the site is still in officially in beta there is a lot there for you to look at and read. There are already some lively discussions going on in the community forum with Tor and Macmillan employees and the blog on the front page is filled with interesting news and stories.

Are you embarrassed by what you read? Kindle comes to the rescue

Oh my god, why is everyone is looking at me??!!!… are you the type of person who gets paranoid about what people are thinking when you indulge in the latest self-help book? Lets face it there are some books which are just plain embarrassing to be seen with, The Amazon Kindle official blog has a humorous post about one bloggers addiction to self-help books and how they make her feel, she lists what’s going through her mind when she’s reading on the bus;

Me (reading): He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys
Bus passenger (thinking): “That chick probably gets dumped a lot.”

Me (reading): How Not to Look Old
Bus passenger (thinking): “She should have read that a couple of decades ago.”

Me (reading): The Secret
Bus passenger (thinking): “She watches too much Oprah.”

Me (reading): Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires
Bus passenger (thinking): “Geez…yesterday she was reading The Secret.”

For those of you who are conscious about what other people are thinking when you read your book the Kindle makes reading your weird little titles a little more bearable in public, no longer do you have to hide the cover or find a secluded spot to read your book, the Kindle offers protection because the title you are reading remains anonymous. However now people will now think you are cool because you own a Kindle, or are they just saying that because you own a Kindle?… hmm

Has the Kindle made you more a adventurous reader in public?

Source: Amazon Kindle Offical Blog

AuthorIsland.com Birthday Kindle Giveaway!

AuthorIsland.com turn 2 months today and to celebrate this monumental day they have decided to give away 2 Kindles in a competition, sweet!

From AuthorIsland.com

AuthorIsland.com is turning TWO this month and to celebrate, forty three AuthorIsland.com authors and one of our publisher members got together to offer up one heck of a prize!  They’re giving away TWO – are you ready for this? - TWO AMAZON KINDLES!!!   YIPPEEEE!!!

But you’re going to have to work for it, each of the forty four sponsors has a question for you to answer – the answers can be found somewhere on each of the author’s websites.  Once you have all the answers, email them to AuthorIsland at yahoo.com, numbered, along with your name and address, with AuthorIsland Kindle Contest in the subject line.  TWO winners will be drawn on August 1st from all the correct entries to receive their very own – AMAZON KINDLE!!!

You can enter the competition by following this link, be warned however they ain’t kidding when they say your going to have to work for it, there are 44 questions to answer! however you do have plenty of time to find the answers since the deadline for entering is August 1st.

Good luck if you decide to enter!

Source: Author Island

Warren Buffett told CNBC that he’ll “probably” get a Kindle as he “edges” his way into 21st century technology

Today Warren Buffett told CNBC that he’ll “probably” get a Kindle as he “edges” his way into 21st century technology. Warren Buffet said he was impressed with the Kindle after hearing “wildly enthusiastic” reviews by attendees at Herb Allen’s annual gathering of the rich and famous in Sun Valley, Idaho. He would have been even more impressed if he discovered the number of books about him that are currently available in Kindle Store

Below is part of the transcript.


Julia Boorstin: I should start off with a question about this conference. I heard this morning that the Kindle is a big topic, talking about the publishing industry changing, and (Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos made a presentation. I heard you don’t even have a cell phone. What do you think of the Kindle?

Julia: You do!

Buffett: It’s an 1893 model, I think. Alexander Graham Bell gave this to me personally. (Laughs.)

Julia: Does this mean you’re going to be getting a Kindle?

Buffett: I probably will, after hearing about it today. And I ran into a number of people that have Kindles and who are just in love with them. In fact, a woman that is the wife of another attendee here, came in on the plane with us, and she was using a Kindle and was wildly enthusiastic about it.

Julia: So this is going to be your new technology?

Buffett: Well, who knows? I mean, I kind of edge into technology. I’m just getting into the 20th century. I’ll be working on the 21st century pretty soon, yeah. (Laughs.)

Julia: What is the mood at this conference this year?

Buffett: Well, the mood .. I would say that people just love being here. That’s what happens. I was at a barbeque last night and everybody had such a good time. So I have not yet heard a discouraging word, as we say in Wyoming. (Laughs.) But, I’m sure some of the people have got their own problems in their own businesses, but nobody’s talked about it yet.

For the complete story and transcript go to the story on CNBC.

See a Kindle in your city

See a Kindle in your cityThe Amazon folks are eager to get the word out about Kindle and they really want people to see a Kindle device, so much so that they want existing Kindle owners to go out and market the device for them! On May 19th Amazon requested that Kindle owners to go out and market the Kindle, actively encouraging you to meet stranger with your $400 Kindle device plus the value of books to meet a total stranger and “show off” – Amazon’s own words – sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me.

I wonder which smart alec at Amazon PR thought this idea up:

We’ve heard feedback that many Kindle owners love their Kindle and like showing it off. Some of you even said you have trouble reading Kindle in public because people always ask, “What is that?” We’ve also heard from prospective customers who would love to see a Kindle before they buy one.

We created the “See a Kindle in Your City” area to help prospective owners connect with Kindle owners to get a chance to see the device in person. We started with a selection of cities – find yours or start one for your city. Whether you want to meet at your local coffee shop, a public park, or your favorite watering hole is up to you. We hope you enjoy meeting your fellow Kindlers.

Please cut and paste the following link in your browser to go to the “See a Kindle in your City” discussions.

[converted to link -ed]

As Michael V. Accettura puts it “What an outrageous request from amazon!” – I couldn’t agree more, Amazon want us Kindle owners to do their job and market the device for them. How about you go out there Amazon, and show off the Kindle yourself? I could understand this request if Amazon was employing some kind of referral system where a sale would result in cash compensation or perhaps a couple of free Kindle e-books from the Kindle store, but Amazon aren’t even doing that.

User Diane point out this may be the perfect “steal a Kindle” opportunity for all technology loving crooks and looking through the forum, unsurprisingly, very few people have taken Amazon up on their offer to parade their Kindle around in front of strangers.

Finally to quote Micael V. Accettiura again “I appreciate the offer to become an unpaid pimp for the kindle, but no thanks amazon.”

Would you take your precious Kindle and show it off to a complete stranger?

Source: Amazon Kindle Customer Discussions

Tor: A social fanzine for science fiction and fantasy readers

Tor A social science fiction and fantasy site for e-book readers

Tor Books is a major hardcover and paperback science fiction and fantasy publisher, one of the largest in the English-speaking world, it announced recently that it was working on a new community website which would be a “go-to site, a central community” for science fiction and fantasy fans, this website will act, in part, as a form of branding and promotion for Tor book titles. The site will also implement light social networking elements and publish original short fiction and nonfiction for free online, all DRM free.

Here is the hook from the front page of Tor.com

A science fiction and fantasy site not quite like any you’ve seen before, mixing news, commentary, original stories and art, your own comments and conversations, and more. A place on the net you may find yourself wanting to visit—and participate in—every day.

While there isnt any more information on the site Patrick Nielsen Hayden is on the team that is developing the site, he had this to say;

But we know several things. We know that the site will use a blog-like architecture to present an ongoing stream of news, opinion, and observation from various Tor people, myself included, about the SF and fantasy events of the day—and about perhaps less-current things that are nonetheless of interest to SF and fantasy readers, such as medieval siege engines, the Van Allen Belt, hoisin sauce, XKCD, and the novels of Georgette Heyer. We know that there will be non-Tor bloggers also posting to the “front page”; in fact we’ve already recruited several in order to ensure coverage of particular niche areas. (Some of these individuals will be familiar to Making Light readers—wave hello, Bruce Baugh—and we haven’t finished recruiting, either.) We know that the site will also feature new original fiction on a regular basis, illustrated under the supervision of art director Irene Gallo, and that these original stories—free of DRM, offered as part of the blog feed and also Available For Your Convenience in a variety of other formats—will have their own associated open comment threads, just like everything else on the blog. We know that there will be lightweight “social networking” features for registered users, including the ability to form mutual-interest groups through tagging and the ability to create journals and/or discussions of their own. Most of all, we know that the real point of the exercise isn’t to create yet another blog, but rather, a place and a context for the lively, ongoing, wide-ranging, and profoundly self-organizing discussions that have characterized the science fiction subculture since its earliest days. In other words, it’ll be a lot like Making Light, except with original fiction and art, more front-page bloggers, a more direct connection to SF and fantasy, and run out of the middle of Tor Books.

From what I have gathered from various sources a few dozen authors have already been approached to submit their work, Tor is possible paying upward of 25 cents per word for some of the stories from the prominent authors. Once the titles are published on the site they will also be accompanied by commissioned artwork.

Beta testers can apply to join the private beta by sending an email to [email protected], however that maybe unnecessary since the launch may be imminent – it is due for launch sometime in May.

As part of the effort to get users to sign up, Tor is offering a free e-book every week for users who sign up for the weekly newsletter, this weeks offering is “Touch of Evil” by C. T. Adams, in previous weeks you could have got your hands on “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson, “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi and “Spin” by Robert Charles Wilson – all of them great books, all of them DRM free and all of them work with the Kindle.

The concept of the site sounds amazing, and there isn’t anything remotely like it anywhere on the web. Even if they implement half of what they are trying to do, the site will be a huge success. So if you love your science fiction and fantasy book, sign up for the newsletter and stay tuned in for the launch.

Source: Making Light

Eat Your Kindle

Amazon Kindle Cake

As it turns out, not only can you read books on your Kindle, you can now eat it!

LilPeaPod from Team Sugar spent her Sunday afternoon cooking up this geeky cake delight and what a result. At first glance it actually looks like a Kindle device, we think it’s a shame it has to be eaten!

Looks delicious! We love the “Kindle Kake”! Check out the cake gallery.

Source: TeamSugar

Livre – eBook Concept

livre ebook concept

Last month Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said “the Kindle, in terms of demand, is outpacing our expectations.” Now with that kind of success it is probably reasonable to assume that Amazon is already hard at work on Kindle v2 and that competitors are also hard at work on their own Kindle-like devices. One aspect of the Kindle that many have criticized is that it lacks a stylish design, and I mostly agree.

Now enter student Designer Nedzad Mujcinovic from Monash University who has come up with a beautifully designed e-book for the Dyson Australian International Design Awards which could give Amazon some food for thought. His design would use the now familiar e-ink technology, but unlike the Kindle would feature a touch screen component. This would remove the need for a keyboard instead relying on a gesture based input system. Pages can be turned by sliding your finger from one corner to the other corner and double or even triple-finger gestures will advance the book by ten and 50 pages respectively. One aspect of the Livre e-book concept I find intriguing is listed in its description – ‘The silicon body adds flexibility to excite the feel of soft cover books.‘ I love the idea of having a ‘bendy e-book’!

I like the design and the idea of a multi-touch surface which would increase the reading area by removing the need for a tactile keyboard, however the design is a bit too bulky and would look a lot better if it lost half an inch in width. Overall the Livre does a better job of mimicking a book than the Kindle and the multi-touch would allow for a better user experience so it gets a thumbs up from us.

livre ebook concept

livre ebook concept

livre ebook concept

The product description:

Product Description and Principal Function(s)
As high density living puts a strain on private space, storage space tends to suffer the most. One of the items people find hard to let go of are books. To those who own a lot of books, books are much more than what meets the eye. Collections of books tend to be ones’ pride and memory on certain moments in life. When taking a dusty book of the shelf one may remember the state of mind on the first read years ago… LIVRE is a new age book, a product that addresses all of these aspects of book reading!

Why does the product represent design excellence and why do you believe it deserves an Australian Design Award?
This project represents excellence in design due to the fact that it fully addresses all that was set out to be achieved. The resulting product is an electronic device that is innovative in every way. It succeeds where all competitors’ products fail. It is not an electronic book reader as we know it. LIVRE is a product that takes books to the next level. LIVRE is the book of the future. LIVRE feels, looks and functions like a traditional paper book, yet it presents an evolved version using modern day electronics to further improve the experience and functionality!

The traditional stitched leather cover brings the feel, tactility and smell of old style books to LIVRE. The cover dsign allows the user to make DIY covers from any material or by covers to suit a particular collection of books, ie “Harry Potter” series. The silicon body adds flexibility to excite the feel of soft cover books.

Interaction happens via a thin capacitive touch screen mounted on top of an electronic paper screen (‘eINK’). Browsing pages happens by striking the screen from right bottom corner towards the centre of page to go forward or from the left hand corner to go backwards. Doing that using one finger will browse one page, two will browse ten pages and three will browse fifty pages at a time.

Charging and file transfer happens via USB typeB mini port. Wireless file transfer via Bluetooth is also available.

Options like changing font size and status overview are not ‘in your face’, they are rather hidden, yet accessible at user’s discretion.

The aesthetic of the LIVRE was inspired by old style disintegrated books and modern sculptural movements. The general shape of the LIVRE is one that most readers of traditional books wish their books were by trying to fold and bend them for easy one handed holding.

LIVRE is the book of the future!

Source: Dyson Student Design Awards, Engadget,