Audible 90 Day Free Trial for Prime Members (with a poll)

If you are a Amazon Prime Member, Amazon is offering a 90 day free trial for its Audible audiobook service. Normally, it is a 30 day trial period.

Audible offers 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals each month for $15, and you can also find complimentary access to other audio shows and materials.

I listen to audiobooks from the library via Overdrive and also listen to audiobooks as part of of my monthly Scribd subscription, I do miss the selection offered by Audible though (especially The Great Courses content) and have been considering re-upping my subscription.

What do you think about the service:

Please leave any thoughts in the comments!

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Kobo introduces the Forma e-reader

Kobo is releasing a new premium e-reader and I have one (excited) word to say: BUTTONS!!!!

The Kobo Forma, (Kobo’s answer to the Kindle Oasis) takes blends features of the Kobo Aura One with some of the popular features from Amazon’s high-end e-reader.

Features:

  • The new Kobo Forma features an eight inch display, which is larger than both the Aura One (7.8 inches) and the Kindle Oasis (7 inches).
  • Like the Aura One, the Forma is IPX8  rated and is immersible up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of fresh water.
  • At 197 grams, the Kobo Forma is lighter than both the Kobo Aura One and the Kindle Oasis.
  • The Kobo Forma and the Aura One both feature Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO lighting which reduces blue-light exposure for the best nighttime reading. The Kindle Oasis, on the other hand, has an adjustable light sensor, but does not reduce blue light.
  • Like the rest of Kobo’s e-reader line up, the Kobo Forma features integration with Rakuten’s Overdrive system for libraries. (**Dependent on library participation: Overdrive is available through public libraries in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.)

What’s new and exciting:

There are a couple of important features that differentiate the Kobo Forma from other devices in the Kobo lineup. The Forma has added physical page turn buttons. The back of the Forma is flat and, instead, the buttons are placed on an angled section that is slightly thicker than the rest of the device.

The new hardware also features a gyro so the device can be used either right or left handed as well as in landscape and portrait modes.

Sleep cover:

There is an interesting Kobo sleep cover for the Forma. The design is Similar to the original Origami covers Amazon offered for some of their e-readers and Fire tablets. The Forma sleep cover is priced at $49.99.

Storage, Price and Availability:

The Kobo Forma has 8 GB of storage. The 32 Gb version of the device will only initially be availabe in Japan, with other countries to follow at a later, unspecified date. Price for the Forma is $279.99, which is $50 more than the Aura One’s $229.99 price tag.

The Kobo Forma is available for pre-order now and will be released on October 23, 2018. You can find the complete specs here.

My thoughts:

Mostly, I use my Kobo Aura One for library books (some books are only available in an epub format and can’t be borrowed on the Kindle). I also buy books on sale through the Google Play store which require Adobe Digital editions to download. Since I bought my Oasis, trying to read on the Kobo Aura One has been harder for me because I really, really miss the page turn buttons. Personally, I am going to be watching the reviews on this one carefully. I am thinking that it may be a good candidate for a backup eInk reader.

What do you think?

Amazon introduces new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

Amazon has made a new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader available for pre-order. The device will be released on November 7, 2018.

Features:

Here are the features of the new device:

  • The new device is thinner and lighter than the previous generation of Paperwhite. And, yes, that means a new size cover. According to the specs for the new cover, it will not fit any of the previous Paperwhites.
  • The new Paperwhite has more LEDs so it is brighter than the previous generation.
  • The screen is now flush with the bezel of the e-reader.
  • It’s waterproof:  IPX8 rated to protect against accidental immersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes.
  • It’s got more storage: The basic version comes with 8 GB (twice the previous model). Or, you can choose 32 GB to hold more content. (This is a must if you are going to use the content for comics and audiobooks.)
  • Audible compatibility. Amazon had added Bluetooth so you can pair with headphones or speakers. The device is now Whispersync For Voice compatible, so you can not only sync across devices, but can switch back and forth between the ebook and Audible versions of a book.

The new Kindle Paperwhite also includes the ability to invert black and white text, allowing for nighttime reading with white text on a black background. That is one of my favorite features from the Kindle Oasis and it is exciting to see it available on the Paperwhite.

Covers:

Currently, Amazon has three covers available for the new device:

I will be on the look out for 3rd-party covers for this new model and will do a post as soon as new covers are available.

Bonuses:

  • Kindle Unlimited – Amazon is offering 6 months of Kindle Unlimited free with the purchase of a new Paperwhite. The Kindle Unlimited a subscription service that offers unlimited reading of books, magazines and audiobooks. Offer is only available after purchase and terms and conditions apply.
  • Trade in – Take advantage of Amazon’s trade in program and trade in your existing Kindle before you buy a new one. Besides a gift card for your old Kindle, you will get 25% off the purchase price of your new one. (And, yes, some Fire Tablets are eligible for trade in, too!)

The new Kindle Paperwhite prices start at $129.99 (only $10 more than the previous model). It is available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 4G LTE models. Complete specs are here.

So, what do you think? Are these new features worth an upgrade to you?

AudiobookStand is closing (and having a big last chance sale)

Audiobook vendor  Audiobookstand.com is going to be closing down August 3, 2018.

If you like to listen to your audiobooks on CD, you may very well have been familiar with the company. It was known for its large collection of CD and MP-CD audiobooks, especially of Brilliance Audio tiles. I discovered them years ago when I was looking for books for my daily commute, and they had one of the best collections of CD audiobooks at the best prices I could find at the time.

The company is offering bargain prices on remaining stock, with limited quantities of audiobooks priced as low as $3 and $4. The site is currently experiencing a large volume of sales and customers are being warned to expect a delivery delay.

It probably isn’t a surprise that the site is closing down, given the current focus on digital downloads. The company is recommending Amazon and Audible to customers looking for an alternative place to discover and buy audiobooks.

Katherine by Anya Seton: A 64 year old novel illustrates the problem with ebook pricing

The ebook version of Katherine by Anya Seton is on sale today for $2.99. Based on historical events, the novel tells the love story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, the son of Edward III. (Katherine is a direct ancestress of all members of the British royal family since Edward IV.) The sweeping, epic literary romance is considered one of the best examples of historical fiction. The book has been continuously in print since its publication and, according to Wikipedia, “Katherine is considered Seton’s most well-known work as well as the best-known depiction of Katherine herself.”

While I own this book in hardcover, I have been waiting a long time for the Kindle version.  Even after ebooks became popular, for years, there was no ebook version available of this title. This was one that every few months, I would go to the book’s Amazon page and click the “Tell the publisher you’d like to read this book on Kindle” button. Since this book has been a steady seller for the publisher, the probable reason for that is the publisher was protecting the print sales.

The other reason I have waited so long for this book is price. When this book finally became available as an ebook (somewhere around 2012, if memory serves), it was priced at $9.99.

At the time Katherine was finally “Kindlized”, publishers talked a lot about how ebooks were undervalued, about how publishers still had to make back their upfront costs and costs of digitizing titles. Since Katherine was a bestseller in 1954, I am reasonably sure that the publisher has made its money back on this one. And since it is a perennial seller, I am pretty sure PR costs are not a problem. I am a little confused as to why a book this old is still priced at $9.99.

It is probably telling that the ebook of this popular title seldom goes on sale. I have actually seen it on sale in the UK more often than I have seen it in the US, even though Seton is an American author. The book has been on my wish list for years.

The pattern of pricing on this book is very familiar to early ebook adopters. Many popular titles had a long wait for a Kindle or ebook version to be made available, and when it could finally be purchased, the price was too high, especially when compared with print. For contrast, the paperback version is $10.43, only 44 cents more than the ebook. Given the limited rights in included with the digital copy (no lending, re-selling, DRM, etc.), the paper is obviously the better value.

Sadly, we are seeing the same pattern develop with other backlist books, especially those in series. It seems as publisher see that there is a bigger market for backlist books, the prices are going up, not down. For someone like me, who is still trying to collect e-versions of old favorites, the pricing strategy hurts.

So, thank goodness for ebook sales. If you like historical fiction (or like me, you did medieval studies in college), this fictionalized bit of 14th century history is a highly recommended read.

Now all I have to do is find Seton’s Green Darkness on sale….

Prime Day is here!

Prime Day, Amazon’s own mega sale day for Prime members is here! Amazon is featuring low prices today on all Amazon devices. Some of the deals include:

Prime Day deals prices are only available for Prime members. The sale last through tomorrow.

The pre-Prime Days sales have been interesting. I have already founds some bargains on household items and electronics.

You can see all the bargains here on the Prime Day home page.

If you find any good bargains today, leave me a comment. I am curious to see what everybody is buying!

July Big Library read: Cowboy Pride by Lacy Williams

The next Big Library Read from Overdrive is Cowboy Pride by Lacy Williams. The book is described as “a Wild West version of Pride and Prejudice with dual love stories.” The book was selected for the event by popular vote.

If your library is participating in the event, there are no holds and multiple users can all read the digital title simultaneously. The event runs through July 23, 2018. You can discuss the book with other users and ask the author questions on the forum on the Big Library Read website.

While I understand the popular appeal of the Pride and Prejudice tie-in, I was surprised that the book chosen was the third in a series (Wild Wyoming Hearts). I always like to start a series with book one and like to read a series in order. What about you?

#BigLibraryRead

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