Kindle Fire 7-inch for Sale for Only $49.99!

7-inch Kindle FireSomehow I must have missed the news… And in case you, my reader, did too, I’m sharing it!

Amazon is selling their 7-inch Kindle Fire for only $49.99 (and I’m betting it will be even less over Thanksgiving week). This price is astonishing… I don’t remember how much I paid for my first 7-inch Kindle, in an earlier generation than this one, but I think it was in the neighborhood of $200.

So now there are no excuses, all you authors-without-eReaders! Pick up a Kindle today and see your book the way it is supposed to look! 😉 At this price point, you won’t regret it.

Oyster eBook Subscription Service to Close

Oyster eating a Kobo eReaderOyster, an eBook subscription service that allowed subscribers access to unlimited books for a low monthly fee, is set to close in the near future due to resistance from publishers, who figure it’s a money-losing proposition for them. They face additional competition from industry-giant Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. Read more at ft.com.

Amazon to Pay eBook Authors by Pages Read

For those authors who choose to participate in Kindle Select, the payment arrangement is changing. Instead of paying based on the number of times a book is borrowed, they will now pay based on how many pages are read. Some say this means you should write longer books in order to earn more… But this doesn’t take into account reader interest—if a reader isn’t interested continuing to read a lengthy but boring book, she is likely to just return it and borrow a new one. So what this means, to me, is that you should write more interesting books which keep the reader engaged to the very end!

Amazon Offers Advertising Opt-Out on Kindle Fire

Had I been posting this over the weekend, I would have been stomping my feet about Amazon requiring the display of advertising on the new Kindle Fire devices that are coming out later this fall. But apparently there was such a huge backlash against them, that less than 24 hours after the news of the required ads went public, they changed their mind and decided to offer an opt-out for $15. I almost wonder if the whole thing wasn’t part of a nefarious free advertising scheme.

I’m torn on this issue. Because I must verify book functionality on a number of devices, I own several different eReaders from various manufacturers, including a low-end black-and-white Kindle with the ads enabled (I was feeling cheap the day I bought it!), and I must say that they are relatively inoffensive. They are displayed at full-screen when the Kindle is off (currently the ad is for the new Kindle Fire HD), and take up maybe three-quarters of an inch at the bottom of the menu screen, and never display while reading a book.

I tend to think that, over time, Amazon would make a ton of money from selling advertising—significantly more than the opt-out fee for each device. On the other hand, I feel a bit of mild outrage that they would sell a product and then force buyers to view advertising on it. It’s like Hulu Plus—I have a subscription to it because my 8-year-old likes to watch cartoons on it, but even though I pay for it, I am still forced to watch their commercials, and, what’s worse, they have a terrible throughput rate—there is constant lag that I never experience from Netflix, which doesn’t show any commercials. My TV, laptop, and desktop computer don’t come with forced advertising from the device vendor (I expect commercials on free TV stations and even ads on free-access websites, but am similarly annoyed by commercials on paid channels); why should my eReader/tablet come with vendor-supplied ads that I am forced to view?

So yes, display all the ads you want on my ad-enabled Kindle that I bought at a discount specifically with the intent of allowing such ads; I ignore them the same way I ignore banner ads on web pages—they don’t even register in my peripheral vision—but to force ads on the reader who has already paid you hundreds of dollars for the device and continues to shell out cash on a regular basis for new books, apps, and perhaps an overpriced 4G subscription? That’s just an unacceptable business practice. Bad Amazon, no doughnut!

Read more at wsj.com.

Security Hole in Amazon’s Kindle Touch

As of the date of this article, the Kindle Touch 5.1.0 firmware still has a serious security hole. Kindle Touch owners with this version of the software are well-advised to avoid using the browser and to keep their eye out for a the next version of the firmware, 5.1.1, which is shipping with new Kindles but apparently isn’t “current” on existing devices.

Read more at h-online.com.

Quark XPress 9.3 Update Features New Kindle Support

Quark XPress 9.3 has an update that supposedly allows direct export to Kindle format. Given the quality of the final file that other similar applications, like InDesign, produce, I will remain skeptical until I see a high-quality product produced by a typical Quark user. However, Quark has, traditionally, been a high-quality print publication tool, so maybe they’ll manage to produce something that works for eBook conversion. We shall see!

Read more at macworld.com.