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News and tech help for the indie author

Morning Coffee ? 20 June 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Jun 2018 at 9:55pm

Here are a few stories to read this Wednesday morning. Amazon has finally released a statement on how it measures pages read in Kindle Unlimited. You should take it with a grain of salt.  A fascinating take on the sexism in spy fiction. Just in case you ran out of excuses not to write. What's in a name? The differences between Createspace and KDP Print.

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 20 June 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Claims to Accurately Measure Pages Read in Kindle Unlimited, Neglects ...
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Jun 2018 at 1:54pm

Earlier this week Amazon released a statement tangential to the ongoing problem of cheating in Kindle Unlimited, but as with many of Amazon's statements the bigger story is what was left unsaid. To recap, Amazon has a problem with people gaming the system in Kindle Unlimited. This issue has been around since the beginning, and as Amazon changed the rules to thwart the cheats, the cheaters changed their tactics in what is no more or less than a game of whack-a-mole. In the early days people were uploading really short books, and were getting paid for a loan when the 10% threshold was reached (with a 10 to 20 page book, this didn't take long). Amazon fixed that by switching to a system where they paid based on the number of pages read by subscribers, and in response the scammers invented the book-stuffing con and started uploading really long books. The way that the book-stuffing con works is that scammers stuff lots of extra content into an ebook before uploading it to Kindle Unlimited, and then trick readers into jumping to the end of the book. This worked because at the time Amazon could only track a reader's location but not which [...]

You just finished reading Amazon Claims to Accurately Measure Pages Read in Kindle Unlimited, Neglects to Mention There’s no Standard Page Size which was published on The Digital Reader.

Does Anyone Miss Having Word Games and Apps on Kindles?
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Jun 2018 at 7:16am

a Kindle Touch displaying a "find it" type of game Yesterday's bizarre price osculations on the Kindle Voyage and Kindle Paperwhite got me thinking about older Kindle models, and what they used to be able to do. Tell me, do you know what Kindle Active Content was? This was the name Amazon gave to a category of apps, games, puzzles, and word games like Scrabble that we used to be able to run on the Kindle. The first few titles in this category were released in 2010, and new titles were added every so often by Amazon and third-party developers, and Amazon even had about 20 free titles you could install for free. The apps varied from complex apps such as the choose your own adventure type of book like Dusk World (or Coliloquy's apps) to simple games like dots and boxes. There was a wide variety that included crosswords, utilities, and even a test prep apps. This renaissance lasted until 2014, when Amazon released the Kindle Voyage. This was the first new Kindle model to not support Kindle Active Content. Subsequent models also lacked support, and while you can in fact still install some of the existing Kindle Active Content listed in [...]

You just finished reading Does Anyone Miss Having Word Games and Apps on Kindles? which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Announces the Best Books of 2018 (So Far)
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Jun 2018 at 6:44am

Amazon's editors have compiled a list of books they would like you to buy, and are calling it the best books of 2018. "The annual list is hand selected by the Amazon Books Editors and features the Top 20 books released between January and June 2018?offering readers a mid-year look at the best books." ?Whether you enjoy reading in print or Kindle, or listening on Audible, the past six months have delivered some unforgettable books across a range of genres, from Kristin Hannah?s Alaska-based family drama, The Great Alone, to The Feather Thief, Kirk Wallace Johnson?s account of one of the weirdest crimes ever committed for the sake of a flute,? said Sarah Harrison Smith, editorial director of Amazon Books and Kindle. You can find the list below, and a longer version on the Amazon website. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover The Great Alone: A Novelby Kristin Hannah The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú The Electric Woman: A Memoir by Tessa Fontaine Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi Her Baby Daddy by Chance Carter The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin There There by Tommy Orange

You just finished reading Amazon Announces the Best Books of 2018 (So Far) which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Drops the Price of the Kindle Voyage to $149
by Nate Hoffelder
18 Jun 2018 at 2:38pm

Cartomancers are going to need to dust off their bones, because I have a mystery for them. Amazon has quietly cut the price of the Kindle Voyage. This four-year-old ereader was selling for $199 just yesterday, but as of today the price has been reduced to $149. This is not a sale - Amazon usually announces those - instead it appears to be a price drop on Amazon's third-best ereader (I'd take the Paperwhite over the Voyage any day). Curiously, there was also a report that Amazon dropped the price of the Kindle Paperwhite by $30, to $89, but I am still seeing the regular price. The Voyage is Amazon's oldest current ereader (I'm not counting discontinued models, obviously), and it really is past due for an update - but I don't expect to see one. The thing is, Amazon usually changes prices when it launches new models. So unless this price change showed up early due to some type of glitch then it is likely a sign that we won't be getting a new Voyage - or even a new model Kindle at all. At least, that is what I am speculating - what's your take?

You just finished reading Amazon Drops the Price of the Kindle Voyage to $149 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Around Half of SF&F Sales Are No Longer Being Tracked
by Nate Hoffelder
18 Jun 2018 at 8:21am

In 2016 I showed you how the print market for romance, SF&F, and thriller genres was either dead or dying due to the fact that over half of each genre's unit sales had gone digital. The latest data from Author Earnings Report has added a new few new details to that shocking report. Data Guy gave a presentation last month at the Nebula Awards where he did a deep dive into the SF&F market. While we don't have a video of the presentation (nor audio), DG did post his slides. This one in particular caught my eye. It shows how 48% of the market is off the radar of legacy sources like Nielsen, Pubtrack Digital, and the AAP. Not only is the the market roughly twice as large as the industry stats show, the estimates from the Author Earnings Report also cast doubt on claims that author income is falling. The thing is, most of the money from that 48% goes directly to authors, while only a fraction of the remaining 52% goes to authors. And with trad pub sales holding steady (almost), while self-pub sales growing, the collective author income - in this genre - has to have increased in [...]

You just finished reading Around Half of SF&F Sales Are No Longer Being Tracked which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee ? 18 June 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
17 Jun 2018 at 9:55pm

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning. I see SEO for authors as more of a checklist item than a priority, but it's still worth checking off your list. Why nonfiction authors should narrate their own books. How to write realistic sword fights (for starters, poking is better than swinging). A mouse asking the cat's owner to bell the cat. A bunch of (mostly bad) arguments why indie authors should not invest in audiobooks. An ex Chance Carter follower speaks up.

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 18 June 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Kindle Unlimited Funding Pool Rose in May 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
17 Jun 2018 at 8:05am

In spite of cheats like Chance Carter, the third largest ebook market in the world continued to expand in May 2018. Amazon announced on Friday that the Kindle Unlimited funding pool total $22.5 million in May (plus bonuses - most of which went to the cheats) up from $21.2 million in April 2018. At the same time the per-page rate royalty hovered at $0.00454 in May, compared to $0.00456 in April and $0.004449 in March 2018. US: $0.0045 (USD) UK: £0.0035 (GBP) Germany: ?0.0031 (EUR) Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy: ?0.0045 (EUR) Canada: $0.0045 (CAD) Brazil: R$ 0.0110 (BRL) India: 0.0883729 (INR) Japan: 0.5631 (JPY ) Mexico, Australia: unknown Here's a list of the monthly funding pools. It does not include the bonuses paid out each month. July 2014: $2.5 million (Kindle Unlimited launches early in the month) August 2014: $4.7 million September 2014: $5 million October 2014: $5.5 million November 2014: $6.5 million December 2014: $7.25 million January 2015 - $8.5 million February 2015: $8 million March 2015: $9.3 million April 2015: $9.8 million May 2015: $10.8 million June 2015: $11.3 million July 2015: $11.5 million August 2015: $11.8 million September 2015: $12 million October 2015: $12.4 million November 2015: $12.7 million December 2015: $13.5 million January 2016: $15 [...]

You just finished reading Kindle Unlimited Funding Pool Rose in May 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Now Lets Authors Purchase Multiple Copies of Kindle eBooks
by Nate Hoffelder
15 Jun 2018 at 9:58am

Instafreebie and other free ebook sites are a great way to give away ebooks, but not all readers are capable of loading an ebook on their Kindle. That is why some authors give away copies bought in the Kindle Store, and now Amazon is making it easier. Last week they announced a new bulk purchase option for Kindle ebooks. Now, Amazon enables you to purchase multiple copies of your eBook in a single order. As an author, a great way to build your brand is to run social media giveaways, gift your eBooks to readers at a conference, and/or send an eBook to your newsletter subscribers. When you purchase multiple copies of a Kindle book on Amazon, we create a set of redemption links, one for each copy of the eBook. You can distribute these links to any reader on Amazon.com. To get started, find an eBook, choose ?Buy for Others?, and select the quantity of eBooks you?d like to purchase. Visit our Help Page to learn more about our new Kindle feature ?Buy for others?. Paying retail for a volume order of ebooks is rather expensive, but there are some readers that can't be reached any other way. image by Tinh Te Photos

You just finished reading Amazon Now Lets Authors Purchase Multiple Copies of Kindle eBooks which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee ? 15 June 2018
by Nate Hoffelder
14 Jun 2018 at 9:59pm

Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning. Why the "forced acceptance" pop-ups aren't legal under the GDPR.  Apple is about to make iPhones a lot more secure against hacking. The EU's plan to kill copyright continues to move forward.  The AP has a long history of telling people how to write, and for most of it their rules only belatedly followed common usage.  Everyone says Google is going to launch a podcast app. 

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 15 June 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Kindle for PC 1.24 Adds New Study Features
by Nate Hoffelder
13 Jun 2018 at 10:38am

Amazon just started pushing out a new update. I am still waiting for it to install, but I am told that the update will make the app more useful for studying. The previous update added new font options and a new multi-column mode. Changelog New study features: When you create notes, highlights, or bookmarks, these are automatically stored in the Notebook. The updated Notebook panel will now open automatically allowing you to view your notes, highlights, and bookmarks side-by-side with your book. You can also create Flashcards and export notes directly from the Notebook panel. To close the Notebook simply click the arrows on the left of the panel. Improved navigation between the book and Notebook: Simply click on a highlight in the Notebook and you will automatically navigate to that location in the book (and vice-versa). Bug fixes and usability enhancements.

You just finished reading Kindle for PC 1.24 Adds New Study Features which was published on The Digital Reader.

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