Daily Links and Deals: The Bronx loses its only bookstore

daily_links_1Daily Links for Monday, October 31,  2016:

The Bronx loses its only bookstore (The New Yorker) What does it mean when a community of 1.5 million people loses its only bookstore?

Swedish Court: News Site Embedding A YouTube Video Guilty Of Copyright Infringement (Techdirt) Not in the US, but this sets a very disturbing precedent.

With new Nook Tablet 7, Barnes & Noble looking to compete with Amazon Fire tablets (ZD Net) I don’t know about anyone else, but I refused to buy a NOOK-branded Samsung tablet. I own several Samsung tablets and love them; why would I want one with NOOK limitations?

Listening for Wider Adoption: ReadSpeaker Talks Up Text-to-Speech (Publishing Perspectives) Does Text-to-Speech has a role in education?

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes To Have or To Be? (Continuum Impacts) by Erich Fromm.

In Today’s Deals, refurbished iPhones,  deals on Contigo SnapSeal travel mugs and Gucci watches.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Security by Gina Wohlsdorf.  The Romance Daily Find is In The Air Tonight (Sisters of the Craft Series #1) by Lori Handeland.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham. The Extra Daily Deal is A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay.

Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until November 1, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday, William Dufty & David Ritz.

LAST DAY: Google Books has a selection of Halloween Horror Sale: chills and thrills under $5.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

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Amazon introduces a hardware solution for accessibility

access_pwIf you’ve still been hoping for Amazon to bring back the text-to-speech for the e-ink Kindles, you may be out of luck. The death knell for that sounded today when Amazon announced it’s new VoiceView For Kindle feature today.  The feature uses Amazon’s text-to-speech language system (Ivona) to help visually impaired customers navigate the Kindle Paperwhite.

Previous generations of e-ink Kindles offered by Amazon used speakers are or a 3.5mm jack to provide the sound for text-to-speech. This solution uses a separate USB dongle that requires the use of headphones. According to Amazon’s blog:

Visually impaired customers will be able to use VoiceView for Kindle with the new Kindle Audio Adapter—an Amazon-designed USB audio dongle—to connect headphones or speakers, which then allows the ability to listen to and navigate the user interface, in addition to listening to books. The Kindle Audio Adapter was designed specifically to be used with VoiceView for Kindle.

The new Kindle Audio Adapter is available now as part of the Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle.  The bundle includes the Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi and Special Offers and the Kindle Audio Adapter. According to Amazon, purchasers receive a $19.99 Account Credit back for the purchase of the adapter, “so they won’t have to pay extra for accessibility.”  The dongle is promised to be available at a future date for other Kindle e-readers.  Update: the adapter is now available separately for $19.99. New story here.

My reaction to this? I am seriously underwhelmed. IMHO, the hardware dongle is the wrong approach and one much too late in coming.

As a bit of background, I should note that I myself am vision impaired. In the past, I worked managing federal grants (which included monitoring ADA compliance issues) and had also represented my community at an Easter Seals Project Action Seminar. So this is an area that really interest me, personally and professionally.

Text-to-speech has been a thorny issue for Amazon since the feature was first introduced on the Kindle 2. The Authors Guild strenuously objected to the feature and claimed it was, in fact, illegal. Amazon finally backed off and let the publishers decide whether text-to-speech should be enabled on a title. While the Kindle Keyboard, the Kindle DX and the 2012 Kindle Touch were text-to-speech enabled, subsequent models have not included the feature.

The hardware USB dongle approach is problematic for several reasons. First, the dongle solutions limits independence. It means that, at least for right now, I have to buy a special Kindle bundle in order to have accessibility instead of all Kindles providing that accessibility. In order to use the dongle, I would also have to purchase or provide headphones or a speaker in order to make the device in order to use the disability features. (This is a barrier a sighted person would not have if using a Kindle Paperwhite.)

What about people who already own Paperwhites? The Kindle Audio Adapter is not available separately so that I could make one of the Paperwhites I already own accessible. From the product page: 

Kindle Audio Adapter [is] only compatible with VoiceView enabled Kindle e-readers (does not support music or audiobook playback)

Will there be a software update for current Paperwhites? It will be interesting to see how Amazon handles that issue (if at all). According to ADA regulations, Amazon can’t legally charge for the adapter,  so I really doubt that we will see the item available separately.

This hardware solution also seems to dramatically affect battery life on the Kindle Paperwhite. According to the product page:

A single battery charge provides up to 6 hours of continuous reading while using Kindle Audio Adaptor [sic]

Notice the difference in battery power. Current Paperwhites are supposed to get 30 days use at a half an hour of use per day or the equivalent of approximately 15 hours. That’s two and a half times the battery life you will get when using the dongle.

That battery life becomes a real concern as the dongle is using the same port that the Kindle uses for recharging. That means that you cannot use accessibility features and charge the Kindle itself at the same time. I see that as an issue that is going to severely limit the usefulness of the connected Kindle.

I intend to be watching this feature very closely to see how this story develops. We will see how this new feature actually performs in practice. It will be interesting to see if Amazon opens this up to existing Kindles and just how quickly it rolls out to other Kindle models.

Found via KindleChronicles / Teleread

Daily Links and Deals: A Guide to Binging Digital Comics

daily_links_1In today’s stories, tips on your digital comic reading choices, Amazon is on the hook for kid’s in-app purchased, implications of the Google and Android limitations and more. In deals, savings on anSD card, Mother’s day Kindles, Fires and a new , later, ship date for Oasis orders.

Daily Links for Wednesday, April 27, 2016:

A Guide to Binging Digital Comics (Inverse) An article on navigating the choices when it comes to reading digital comics.

The Cover of George Orwell’s 1984 Becomes Less Censored with Wear and Tear (Open Culture)  This is a delightful story about how the physical copy of this book changes with time.

Federal Judge Rules Amazon Must Refund Parents Duped By In-App Purchases (Gizmodo) No surprises here after the same thing happened to Google and Apple.

What everyone’s missing about Google Play and Chrome OS (Computer World) Cross platform integration and how that ties into Google’s long-term plans.

Len Riggio, Barnes & Noble Founder, Announces Retirement (Publisher’s Weekly) It is truly the end of an era.

Text-to-Speech Voice Found on the Kindle Oasis (The Digital Reader) This could make the Oasis a whole new e-reader with the right update.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Lie In Wait by Eric Rickstad for 99 cents.

In Today’s Deals, there’s savings on a SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Amazon has some deals on both e-ink Kindles and Fire tablets. First, you can get $20 off the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite and theKindle for Kids bundle.  Amazon is also offering the Fire HD 10 for $50 off for a limited time.

Amazon is still offering savings on the Fire HD 6, and deals on pre-owned Fire tablets. I am also still seeing the option for 5 payments of $58 for the Kindle Oasis pre-order. The Oasis is now scheduled for a June 1, 2016 delivery date.

You can also take advantage of a trade-in offer from Amazon on your old Fire tablet.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Understanding Stocks 2E by Michael Sincere for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom Series #1) by Sarah Sundin for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Broken Window:  A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver for $1.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Sing It To Her Bones by Marcia Talley for 99 cents.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

5 Reasons Why I’m Not Buying a Kindle Oasis… Yet

oasisTomorrow is the official release Day for the Kindle Oasis. Although it may seem a surprising thing for a tech blogger to do, I have decided to wait before buying the latest hardware. And, also probably surprising, is the fact that price is not one of my reasons. 🙂

So why am I waiting to see if I want to buy an Oasis at all?  Here’s my five reasons:

Battery Life:

According to Amazon, the current basic Kindle battery life is four weeks, based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off. The Paperwhite and the Voyage promise six weeks with wireless off and the light setting at 10. The Oasis specs indicate “A single charge with cover [emphasis added] lasts up to eight weeks, based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 10.”

But how is the battery on the device itself? According to most write-ups I’ve seen, the Oasis battery itself only last for two weeks and the rest of the battery life comes from the cover. That’s two weeks at 1/2 hour a day with the wireless turned off or approximately 7 hours if you are reading without the cover. That is a much shorter battery life than the devices we have now. I do not want to pay more for a device with less battery life than its predecessor, at least if you want to use it without the cover.  And what happens if that cover fails? (Which brings me to my next point.)

The Integrated Cover:

If you have read this blog for very long, one thing should be fairly obvious:  I am admittedly a device cover junkie. For every device I own, I have bought at least one cover. I gift devices along with a cover. I will buy a new cover just to spruce up my Kindle. I have them in all sorts of materials, styles and colors and in all price ranges. But generally speaking, I do not like Amazon covers. Part of this is based on my previous Amazon-integrated cover experience with the cover for the Kindle Keyboard. It is also the reason that I have concerns about an Oasis cover failure.

KK_cover_hooksIn 2010,  when Amazon came out with the third generation Kindle, now called the Kindle Keyboard, they designed an integrated leather cover that had hooks to hold the Kindle in place. This cover came in two styles: one with a light ($60 at the time) and one  without the light ($35). (At the time, 3rd party lights like the Kandle and the Mighty Bright were popular. This was before the Paperwhite, of course.) And it was a huge disaster.

It turned out that the hooks that went into the Kindle caused a electrical short that interfered with the Kindles in the version without a light. It caused a malfunction and a lot Kindles were deemed defective before they figured out the problem.  I, of course, bought the one without the light and wound up sending my first Kindle Keyboard back. AT one point, I think Amazon started refunding people who  had bought the cases, but I wasn’t among that group. (I still have it: I pulled it out the week they announced the Oasis to take a picture.And if anybody wants it, let me know!)

Needless to sat, after that experience, I have never bought another Amazon cover and I am not wild about the idea of a battery operated cover from Amazon until I see how it holds up. I waited to buy the $50 Fire until third-party covers were available.

I have already written here about the concern some vegans have about the leather cover. I would really like to see a variety of 3rd party covers available for purchase. I will be curious to see if Amazon allows other companies to make covers for the devices or decide to keep the cover business for themselves.

Wireless problems with the Paperwhite and other devices:

One of the issues that has come up consistently with the the Fire tablets, Fire TV sticks and the Kindle Paperwhite has been a constant stream of complaints about the wireless connectivity of some of these devices. I’ve experienced firsthand a tendency to disconnect from the internet and an inability to find certain wireless signals. I have read thread after thread of complaints like this one on the Amazon forums. Most people say that Amazon doesn’t acknowledge the problem. I had to change all my router setters to different channels just to get my Paperwhite to work on WiFi.

Before I buy a new, more expensive Kindle, I want to know that people are not having  problems with the wireless on the first generation of the new device. I still see posts on this problem continuing with the Paperwhites.

Persistent build problem rumors on the first generation Paperwhite and  Voyage:

When both the first generation Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyage first came out, there were a lot of comments about the uneven light and off  colors displaying on the screen by the LEDs on the device. I still hear rumors about this problem with the Voyage, along with reports of bad pixels as well as pixels that are stuck on the screen.

This is not just a minor update. This is a totally redesigned device. But since that’s the case, and particularly since the Oasis has a substantially higher price point than the previous models, I want to make sure that this is a really solid build. I don’t have a problem waiting for the Oasis 2 if this one has problems that need to be addressed.

Lack of improvements:

One of the curses of modern technology development is the concept of incremental hardware upgrades. Yes the Oasis has a few shiny new abilities. Buttons? Sure. Asymmetrical design and hibernation mode sound interesting. The accelerometer? Not such a big deal for me as I find the ones on the Fire tablets too sensitive for the slight angle that I read at in bed. And thinner? Meh. I am still going to want a cover to protect the device, even if it doesn’t have a battery. And thinness as the expense of battery life is not a good trade off in my opinion.

But what else doesn’t it have?Amazon still doesn’t have a waterproof e-reader. Are they ever going to bring back an e-ink reader with text to speech ability? I still want bluetooth capability so I can connect an external keyboard for notes in non-fiction books. I want to turn pages without using my hands! I want more incremental font choice than the eight Amazon gives us. And with my vision problems, I want weighted fonts that have more contrast for my eyes.

So yes, the Oasis has some good new features, but not enough right now to justify an expensive upgrade.

To be clear, this does not mean that I won’t buy the latest Kindle model. Before I paid $400 for my first generation Kindle back in early 2008, I actually spent several months reading reviews and feedback about the device. Since I had worked with technology for years, I wanted to make sure that I could live with it if the device quickly became obsolete or the quality wasn’t worth the price.  And for what it’s worth, I passed on the Kindle Voyage. So for now, I will be watching reviews and customer forums very carefully to see if this is a device I want to spend my money on.

So how about you? If you bought one, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you decided not to buy,let me know that, too. Were your reasons the same as mine?

Kindle keyboard cover pix © Glinda Harrison/Ebook Evangelist

Names, features, wishlists and new Kindle rumors

voyageThe tech world and the ebook aficionados have been buzzing with speculations on the upcoming new 8th-generation Kindle that was announced by Jeff Bezos himself last week.

The Digital Reader, Teleread and the eBook Reader all have great articles on both the speculation and the rumors about the new device, including the name. There are also a number of threads on Mobileread, KBoards and the Kindle forums discussing the new new device’s potential features.

So, here’s a brief synopsis/roundup of some of the speculation at this point:

Kindle or Tablet: Since Jeff Bezos said that this was going to be the eighth generation, most people assume that this device will be either an e-ink Kindle or possibly have a Liquavista color screen.

Screen size: The screen size for the device is unknown.

Name: Kindle Oasis – According to Mobileread, a page spotted on Amazon Japan (no longer available) indicates that the device will be called the Oasis. Now, there’s a lot of speculation as to what exactly that name refers to. Some are suggesting that it means the new device will have be waterproof. Others are suggesting that it implies a Liquavista color screen.

Features:  There’s been a lot of discussion on possible features for the new Kindle. There has also been some talk about a new basic Kindle. This would not be the first time Amazon has introduced more than one new product at a time. Bezos indicated the new Kindle will be “top of the line,” a position the Kindle Voyage now inhabits. Since the new device is apparently not called the Voyage 2, we can only assume the new model will add a number of new features.

Some of the possibilities are:

Better front lighting – Some of the early Voyage e-readers had problems with the front lighting and from what I read on the forums, some people are still not happy with the way the device looks now.

Waterproof – Since Barnes & Noble and Kobo both have waterproof readers, some think that this is a natural next step for a new Kindle feature.

Page Turn Buttons – Not everyone is totally happy with the haptic feedback on the Kindle Voyage. There’s still a call for device with dedicated physical buttons for turning pages.

Bluetooth – Initially, Bluetooth seemed an odd feature to add in an e-ink type of Kindle. However, a Bluetooth keyboard could be paired with the device for easier notetaking. Bluetooth would also allow for the use of a hands-free page turning feature.

Text to speech – The Kindle keyboard was the last Kindle with text to speech functionality. While all the Fire tablets are capable of text to speech, it’s one of the most requested features to be brought back to the Kindle line.

Battery Case: I have seen iterations of ideas on these cases: Some ideas suggest a thinner Kindle with the battery in the case. Others suggest speakers and Bluetooth integration in the case for either text to speech or audio book use. Still others are suggesting a solar powered case coming in the near future.

Who’s going to buy one?

While obviously no one knows for sure until we hear the details about the new Kindle, people seem to be falling into several distinct categories when discussing the possibility of a purchase:

  • I will definitely buy the latest Kindle that comes out.
  • I am trying not to be tempted (but may or may not cave when I see it)
  • I will buy one if it has ________. [Fill in the blank with a feature]
  • My current Kindle ______ works just fine. [Fill in the blank with a Kindle model]

In the meantime,  Amazon has slashed prices on its current lineup of e-ink Kindles and some of the Fire Tablets. Are they clearing out inventory to make way for the new models? The continued price cuts on current models, particularly the seldom discounted Voyage, seem to be further fueling the speculation.

So how about you?  Have you heard any other good rumors or have a feature to speculate on? Is there a special feature on your personal Kindle wishlist?Are you waiting with bated breath for the new device announcement?Do we have a pool going for the news release?  How does Tuesday or Wednesday sound?. 🙂

Daily Links and Deals: Why Is Voicemail Still a Thing?

daily_links_1Daily Links for Saturday, February 13, 2016:

Why Is Voicemail Still a Thing? (Motherboard) – All the *good stuff* comes via text or email anymore.

Google text-to-speech update adds multiple male & female voices (9 to 5 Google) – A voice from back home – hear your text read in not just male or female voices, but in accents, too. G’day!

Why Is the Heart Symbol so Anatomically Incorrect? (Priceonomics) – And just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s an interesting piece on the heart. ♥

Our Medical Data Must Become Free (Backchannel) Fascinating and scary  look at what companies are doing with your medical data and the difference it could make it you had access to it.

Wanna be startin’ somethin’: A history of the Windows start menu (The Verge) – Nostalgia time! A look at 20 years of the Windows start menu.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deal includes four books by Fern Michaels priced from 99 cents to $2.99.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is  Preschooled by Anna Lefler for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is That Certain Summer: A Novel by Irene Hannon for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston for $2.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Sins of the Father by Jeffery Archer for $2.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Library Corner: 1-5-2015

Library corner imageRussia plans to launch national digital library in 2015 (Teleread)

Check it Out with Peter Brantley: Privacy for Library Patrons (Publishers Weekly)

How to Recommend eBooks for Libraries to Add to Their Catalog (eBook Reader)

New Full Text Book (Open Access) Discusses Use of Ebooks in Higher Education (Infodocket)

Digital Archives: Tate Archive Puts Thousand Of Artists’ Artifacts Online (Infodocket)

Want Read-aloud in Kindles and other Readers? Us the FCC’s easy online form by January 9 (Library City)

Franck Bohbot captures the world’s grandest libraries (Teleread)