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.

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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

Overdrive

The NOOK 1st Edition bites the dust

Barnes and Noble notified customers by email today letting them know that as of June 29, 2018, they would not longer be supporting the NOOK 1st Edition. The e-reader had a 6″ e-ink screen and a smaller color screen which was used to navigate the device. I never used it much because I found it difficult to navigate, especially when compared with a Kindle.

When it debuted in 2009, it was originally just called the NOOK e-reader, but the name was changed to NOOK 1st Edition when Barnes and Noble released the Simple Touch e-reader.

It seems that there are several versions of this email being sent out. Nate from The Digital Reader notes that his email offered him a discount on other NOOK devices. My email did not contain such an offer.

Here’s the email I received:

Dear Valued Customer,

Over eight years ago, we launched our first NOOK® eReader, and we were thrilled to have you as one of our first customers for what has become a tradition of offering great books on demand to readers. We want to thank you for your loyalty and continued support of the NOOK 1st Edition and NOOK products.

Because of advancements in our eReader technology, we wanted to let you know that, unfortunately, we are unable to continue to support the NOOK 1st Edition.

Please note that as of June 29, 2018, you will not be able to purchase new content, register with a BN.com account, or sign in using a NOOK account on your NOOK 1st Edition. However, you will still be able to access your existing library, or download new content, by using our NOOK Reading Apps™ for iOS, Android, or Windows, on mobile and tablet devices, as well as any of our other NOOK devices.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 877-831-2393 Monday-Friday 8AM–11PM ET and Saturday-Sunday 9AM–11PM ET. Please be prepared to provide your NOOK 1st Edition serial number. If you need assistance locating your serial number, click here for instructions.

We truly appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to provide you with the great NOOK experience and to welcome you at Barnes & Noble stores.

Sincerely,
Barnes & Noble

This email snafu is not surprising. There have been several times I have received erroneous emails from customer service, if I was lucky enough to get a response at all.

I only own a few books for the NOOK. Most of them were freebies or books that were offered on sale at an bargain price. I also own a NOOK Glowlight (the original one). I mainly used my NOOKs for library books and various epubs I bought elsewhere. Since I bought the Kobo Aura ONE, I tend to use that, especially for books that require Adobe Digital Editions for DRM. So for me personally, this is no big loss.

However, as a consumer, I find this kind of behavior infuriating. Not that I would take them up on it, but if others were being offered a discount towards a new device, I should have been offered one too. After all they are rendering my device pretty much inoperable by their actions.

Compared to Amazon’s customer service, Barnes and Noble’s looks positively medieval. Look at what Amazon did when thy had a device that needed an update to connect: Amazon nagged. Amazon called. Amazon even sent me snail mail to make sure I updated so that I could keep using my device. Barnes and Noble can’t even get an email right. Is it any wonder that they are eating Amazon’s dust in the e-reader market?

Mother’s Day Sale: Amazon Kindles, tablets and devices

Sunday, May 13th is Mother’r Day here in the US. To celebrate Mom’s big day, Amazon is having a big device sale with deals on e-readers, tablets, Fire TV and Echo devices. (May is also graduation month and these also make great gifts for a graduate!)

On offer are the following items:

E-ink e-readers:

Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi, Built-In Audible – Includes Special Offers – $59.99 ($20 off)

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers – $99.99 ($20 off)

Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle E-reader, 2-Year Worry-Free Guarantee, choice of color cover – $79.99

Tablets:

Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Black – with Special Offers – $39.99 ($10 off)

Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers – $59.99 ($20 off)

Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1″ 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black – with Special Offers – $119.99 ($30 off)

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7″ Display, 16 GB, choice of color Kid-Proof Case – $79.99 ($20 off)

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB, choice of color Kid-Proof Case – $99.99 ($30 off)

Fire TV

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player – $29.99 ($10 off)

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (Pendant Design) | Streaming Media Player – $49.99 ($20 off)

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD (2017 Edition, Pendant) + HD Antenna Bundle – $69.98 ($20 off)

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote + Echo Dot (Black) – $64.98 ($25 off)

Echo family of devices:

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – Smart speaker with Alexa – Black – $39.99 ($10 off)

Echo (2nd Generation) – Smart speaker with Alexa – choice of finish – $84.99 ($15 off)

Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker – $99.99 ($30 off)

Echo Spot – Choice of Black or White – $109.99 ($20 off)

Echo Show – Choice of Black or White – $159.99 ($70 off)

Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera, Works with Alexa – $99.99 ($20 off)

You can see all of the available device deals on one page here.

 (Note to my kids: I have most of these, LOL!)

PBS to air The Great American Read series

On May 22, 2018, PBS will begin airing an 8-part series called the Great American Read. The documentary series, hosted by Meredith Vieira, ” will take viewers on a journey across the country to uncover the nation’s 100 most-loved novels.” The idea behind the series is that books are the vehicle to “celebrates the power of reading.” The show will interview authors, readers, celebrities and literary experts to discuss how books have affected American culture.

The series is one facet of an outreach program designed to get Americans reading and talking about books.

Viewers will be able to vote on titles to ultimately choose America’s best-loved novel. According to the series web page,

Voting will open online and on social media with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers can vote online and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their votes by using SMS and toll-free voting.

You can read the list of 100 books here.

Surprisingly, when I spot checked, it appears that ALL of these titles are available in ebook versions.

You can follow the series on social media on Facebook and Instagram You can also follow on Twitter with the hashtag #greatreadpbs.

The Great American Read