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This Weekend’s Kindle Freebies

“An indispensable addition to any fantasy collection, Elric: The Stealer of Souls is an unmatched introduction to a brilliant writer and his most famous–or infamous–creation.”
–Amazon Product Detail Page

And that’s not all….

Just in time for back-to-school flu preparations, here is a free download of a recently published Citizen’s Guide 2.0 to Pandemic Influenza Preparation and Response created by a public health team at Stanford University and published by InSTEDD.org (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters). (Thanks to Kindle Nation subscriber Peter Carpenter for the tip!)

Just click here — http://instedd.org/files/FluManualv2_0_revised.pdf — to view the entire book on your computer. You can then download it to your computer and transfer it to your Kindle by following these instructions:

  • Scroll to the end of the document and hover your cursor over the bottom center of the document to display this icon graphic.
  • Click on the far-right icon to download the PDF to your computer’s downloads folder.
  • If you have a Kindle 1 or Kindle 2, you can get Amazon to convert the book to Kindle formatting and send it wirelessly to your Kindle for 30 cents by sending the PDF file to your you@kindle.com email address, or convert it for free and send it back to your computer for USB transfer to your Kindle by sending it to your you@free.kindle.com email address.
  • If you have a Kindle DX you can transfer this or any other PDF file to your Kindle DX via your USB cable.

Finally, speaking of Citizen’s Guides: one more freebie if you do not have it already — five free chapters are still available here of a different kind of guide, one that will not save your life but may save you hundreds of dollars!

FREE: How to Get Millions of Free Books, Songs, Podcasts, Periodicals & Free eMail, Facebook, Twitter and Wireless Web With Your Amazon Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle DX, or Kindle for iPhone App

Now Live: This Week’s Issue of The Kindle Chronicles

TKC 56 Steve Shank

Steve Shank of Arizona is a Kindle fan with 35 years of experience introducing new technology, dating back to his days as an early employee of Apple.

And now you can list The Kindle Chronicles directly on your Kindle “Home” screen each week and listen to the podcast using the same full set of features to navigate, skip ahead or behind, or replay the audio file that are available to you while listening to an Audible.com file on your Kindle. For instructions see Chapter 10 of FREE: How to Get Millions of Free Books, Songs, Podcasts, Periodicals And Free eMail, Facebook, Twitter and Wireless Web With Your Amazon Kindle.

Not to worry: Pre-order Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol now for $9.99

Fears that the Kindle edition of Dan Brown’s forthcoming blockbuster novel The Lost Symbol might not be released concurrently with the September 15 hardcover release date have been dispelled as Amazon is now accepting $9.99 pre-orders for the instant bestseller-to-be in the Kindle Store.

There has been a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war going on between Amazon and some publishers concerning the prescriptive $9.99 bestseller price point in the Kindle Store and the possibility that some publishers have considered staggering release dates in what would probably be a self-sabotaging effort to artificially fortify new hardcover prices.

Random House announced this week that “now that all of our security and logistical issues surrounding the e-book of ‘The Lost Symbol’ have been resolved, the e-book will be released simultaneously with the hardcover on Sept. 15.”

Curious about Kindle sales numbers?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Curious about Kindle sales numbers?

If so, there has been plenty to chew on in the last few days.

Let’s just establish up front that, in the long run, the most important Kindle sales numbers involve calculations of how many Kindle books — or any other e-books, for that matter — are being purchased and downloaded. Those are the numbers that are going to make a difference to authors, publishers, readers, and booksellers of every variety. For instance, it may be a good thing for Sony that the company has sold XXXX units of its ereaders in Japan, say, or globally. But until I see evidence that publishers and authors are experiencing significant sales of their ebooks to Sony device owners, those hardware unit sales numbers won’t have traction for me.

On the subject of U.S. ebook sales, let me suggest the following very interesting and informative posts and links….

Joe Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: You may already be familiar with Joe Konrath (or his alter-ego-de-plume Jack Kilborn) via Kindle Nation Daily, but in addition to being a fine author of suspense and horror fiction Joe is engaged very actively in experimenting with and thinking and writing about the world of book publishing from an author’s perspective here in 2009. Joe has shared more information about actual Kindle edition sale and royalties, overall ebook downloads, and his approach to marketing and promotion than any other author writing today, and there’s plenty to learn from what he has to say in his posts Ebooks and Free Books and Amazon Kindle, Oh My; Helping Each Other and Amazon Kindle Numbers.

Morris Rosenthal on Kindle Sales Rankings: On another front, the guy who has done more than any other commentator to parse Amazon Sales Rankings and their meaning over the past decade, author and indie publisher Morris Rosenthal of Foner Books, has turned his attention very useful to the meaning of Kindle Store Sales Rankings in a recent post entitled How Many Kindle eBooks Are Selling Based On Amazon Sales Ranking. Although I believe Morris is off by about 600,000 in speculating that there are about 600,000 Kindles currently in use, his overall calculations and research are very well-founded and they strongly suggest that Joe Konrath and I will soon be joined by hundreds — and eventually thousands — of other authors for whom revenue from Kindle sales alone begins to provide something like a livable income. Morris also makes a fascinating argument that, among those of Amazon’s top bestselling titles that are available both in print and Kindle editions, there is now a 1:1 ration in sales units between the two. When seen in an overall context wherein this ratio moves strongly in favor of print editions as sales numbers decline out the long tail, this model seems generally consistent with Amazon’s recent (and, at the time, stunning) announcement that, looking back over an unspecified historic period, Kindle editions sales had accounted for somewhere between 26 and 35 per cent of all sales when both print and Kindle editions were available. If you want to be present and accounted for as the ebook revolution continues to unfold, I highly recommend you follow Morris’ posts.

Indie Authors and the Kindle Bestseller Lists. Even among bloggers who write about all things Kindle, there is occasional some confusion about, well, all things Kindle. Among those who commented on the above posts by Joe Konrath, one blogger focused on what Joe’s success might mean for self-published authors. (Joe, by the way, is not a self-published author, although he is certainly one who is taking the bull by the horns and restructuring the traditional hierarchical relationship between authors and publishers). Trying to focus in on whether “self-published” authors could earn “a decent living” publishing for the Kindle, the author of the iReaderReview blog asked his readers “Do you think by 2011 self-published authors will be able to hit the Top 25 [in the Kindle Store sales rankings]?”

Not to crow, but it’s worth mentioning here that my self-published guide to the Kindle 1 spent 17 consecutive weeks in the #1 position in the Kindle Store during the Spring and Summer of 2008 before going to paperback in late August, and my Complete User’s Guide To the Amazing Amazon Kindle 2 spent some time in the top 15 when it came out earlier this year. There have, along the way, been other self-published titles in the Kindle top 25, and they have not only been books about the Kindle. But while it will continue to be interesting to plot the progress of individual titles, I suspect the more interesting sea changes will be those involving the kind of publishing perestroika that I write about in my Beyond the Literary-Industrial Complex: How Authors and Publishers Are Using the Amazon Kindle and Other New Technologies to Unleash a 21-Century Indie Movement of Readers and Writers, including its chapter “Rebel Distribution and Amazon’s Marketplace of the Mind: You Need a Publisher Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle.” As these sea changes evolve, the “self-published” label will cease to exist in any meaningful way except inasmuch as it means “smart,” and will be replaced a kinder, gentler sense of “indie author” and “indie publisher” that is embraced by readers, by authors who previously had chosen traditional publishing routes, and, of course, by the DIY renegades among us.

Price Breakdown on Kindle Store’s 300,000 Books as of June 11

Kindle Books Priced at $0.00 – 7,409 Titles

Kindle Books Price from $0.01 to $0.98 – 7.956 Titles

Kindle Books Priced at $0.99 – 21,159 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $1.00 to $2.99 – 37,202 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $3.00 to $4.99 – 47,217 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $5.00 to $7.49 – 27,729 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $7.50 to $9.98 – 25,039 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced at $9.99 – 44,230 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $10.00 to $14.99 – 6,919 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $15.00 to $19.99 – 10,120 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $20.00 to $29.99 – 3,681 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $30.00 to $39.99 – 12,545 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $40.00 to $49.99 – 7,078 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $50.00 to $99.99 – 22,272 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $100.00 to $199.99 – 17,797 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $200.00 to $999.99 – 2,032 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $1000.00 to $6431.20 – 32 Titles

Free Books in the Kindle Store

“Big Deals” on Kindle web page

Got Kindle DX Questions? We’ve Got Kindle DX Answers

With Kindle DX here to stay, it makes sense to address some of the questions that Kindle Nation citizens have been sharing with me and elsewhere about the latest model. My hope is that some of this will be of interest both to prospective DX buyers and to Kindle 1 or 2 owners who are wondering if there is anything in particular about the DX that might drive a new-model purchase.

The Kindle DX Display

The Kindle DX display seems very easy on the eyes, but after taking, magnifying, and comparing screen shots of the same page from my Kindle DX and my Kindle 2, I can say with some certainty that the font size, font clarity, background, and contrast on the two models are similar.

However, there is a specific and valuable kind of serious improvement in the display legibility of the Kindle DX compared with the earlier Kindle models, and it involves all of the non-adjustable fonts to which we have grown accustomed on the Kindle. For those of us who tend to gravitate toward the larger font sizes whenever we are able with the Kindle, it can be frustrating to try to read the Kindle Home screen, the Kindle storefront, and other displays such as menus, bookmark listings, search results, the Settings page and even, for when we want to keep up with Amazon’s touting of titles that are already big sellers from mainstream megapublishers, with the Kindle Daily Post.

On the Kindle DX, all these non-adjustable pages are far more legible and easy on the eyes, especially in less than optimal light.

The actual dimensions of the Kindle DX display screen (5 3/8″ x 7 7/8″, 9.7″ on the diagonal) are a tiny bit smaller than the standard 6″ x 9″ of most trade paperbacks and allow for a printable page that is equal to the printable page in a standard hardcover book whose exterior dimensions are 6 1/4″ x 9 7/16″.

Although I am not impressed with the Kindle DX’s usefulness for viewing PDF documents, the larger display performs beautifully with graphic files embedded in Kindle editions such as those found on Amazon’s special page of Featured Books for the Kindle DX. These includes photographs and other art, graphic novels and cartoons, maps and charts, and more.

Side-by-side with the Kindle 2, the Kindle DX display is consistently a tiny bit slower to refresh. The good news is that the same situation that causes the DX e-Ink display to take a few milliseconds longer to refresh — the fact that it contains more than twice as much text per screen — more than offsets the cumulative effect of slower refreshes. By the time you finish reading any book on a DX you will have spent about half as much time waiting for refreshes as you would spend reading the same book on a Kindle 1 or Kindle 2.

Kindle DX File Managament

There do not appear to be any new developments or features with regard to folders, labels, groupings, etc.

Kindle DX Value: Is the DX worth $489?

It’s such a subjective question. If you are having trouble keeping the wolf from the door, nothing is worth $489. But let me put it this way: if the Kindle 2 is worth $359, the DX is definitely worth $489 for its serious enhancements in display, legibility, and the compatibility between all the content it can display and the way that content looks on the DX. I felt that I needed to purchase a Kindle DX because of my role here with Kindle Nation and my Kindle books, but I was frankly on the fence about whether I would keep it, given how much I like my Kindle 2. Although I have not made a final decision, after 10 hours with the DX I am leaning toward calling it a keeper.

PDF on the Kindle DX

On the plus side:

  • The Kindle DX has native support for PDF files, so that you can transfer a PDF file directly from any computer to your Kindle DX via USB without relying on Amazon’s 15-cent-and-up conversion service.
  • The Kindle DX display has more than twice as much “printable space” as the previous Kindle models, so many PDF files display well.
  • Kindle DX PDF support allows you to search inside a PDF document and bookmark entire pages, if the document is unrestricted and has been created from a text-based rather than a graphic document.

On the negative side.

  • The Kindle DX does not support “zoom,” “pan,” or magnification for PDF files, so if the display size (about 70% the size of an 8×11 sheet) is too small, you are stuck. Based on my first impressions I’m not optimistic that the DX will be much a solution for technical PDFs, PDFs with charts, etc.
  • The highlighting, bookmarking, annotation and clipping features that provide important functionality for other Kindle documents in an academic setting are virtually useless with PDF files, so that the promise of being able to use PDF files for academic courseware is unfulfilled.
  • Despite claims at Location 670 of the Amazon’s Kindle DX User Guide, the Kindle DX does not consistently make optimal use of landscape-view rotation to magnify PDF files for easier viewing.
  • The weakness of the aformentioned features such as annotation and search is the same for PDF files regardless of whether you transfer them directly from computer to Kindle via USB or send them wirelessly via the Whispernet. When you send a PDF to your @kindle.com email address Amazon does not put the file through any conversion process, and it is impossible to have Amazon convert a PDF file to an .AZW Kindle file. Some technophiles will want to explore the potential for converting their own PDF files backward to .DOC, .TXT, or .MOBI files so as to convert them forward into a more useful format to take advantage of Kindle DX features. We will consult with friends who are more technologically advanced and revisit these possibilities in a future issue of Kindle Nation.

Portability, Use and Carrying Ease

This is another highly subjective matter. The Kindle DX weighs a little less than twice as much as a Kindle 2, and its heft, feel, and solidness is much the same as the Kindle 2 across a larger mass. If you are used to carrying a hardcover book, or a briefcase or moderate-sized backpack or purse, or a 7 x 10 planner, the Kindle DX won’t bother you. It’s easier to lug around than any netbook, laptop, or tablet computer or most hardcover bestsellers. I like the way it carries, opens, and performs both home and away, especially in the moleskine-like leather Kindle DX cover that Amazon manufactures and sells for it. I am finding it easy to use for one-handed reading.

I also expect that some of these issues of weight and heft may be different to different users. I’m a big, strong guy, and the idea of exercise or walking with, say, 2- or 5-pound weights would seem silly to me. If you are someone who would find it useful to carry 2-pound weights on a power walk, the Kindle DX might seem more burdensome to you. I also suspect that, at least for a while, I might be annoyed by the right-side control placement if I were lefthanded. The Amazon explanation that this annoyance would by mitigated by using the DX’s ability to rotate to an upside-down display strikes me as a Youtube parody video waiting to happen.


I lack the courage to put my new Kindle DX through any drop-testing research, but I will say this. The DX feels every bit as sturdy as the Kindle 2, but I am sure that, if I decide to keep it, I will spring for the 2-year extended warranty. I did not purchase the extended warranty for my Kindle 2, and the difference is based on three things:

  • Since the Kindle DX is larger and heavier, I believe that the prospect of some mishap is naturally greater, assuming the same care.
  • I think the DX is likely to be my e-book reader of choice for the next three to five years, whereas I got the Kindle 2 with a strong expectation that there would be a compelling upgrade coming in behind it within a year.
  • For whatever reason associated with my household budget, there is a significant difference to me between $359 and $489.

The Kindle DX Web Browser

Primarily because of the size and automatic rotation of the Kindle DX display, it is far superior to its predecessors in its capacity to display web pages in an appealing and useful way. Whereas the Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 offered a choice between “basic mode” and “advanced mode” with the web browser, the Kindle DX toggles between “basic mode” and “desktop mode,” and the combination of “desktop mode” and landscape orientation (see below) shows most web pages in a relatively impressive and useful way compared with earlier Kindle models.


One of the first things I did with my new Kindle DX when it arrived was to transfer and listen to the MP3 of last week’s podcast of The Kindle Chronicles, and I noticed right away that the smarter placement of the two Kindle DX speakers on the bottom edge, where they are never covered by a Kindle cover or by laying the Kindle flat, makes for a greatly enhanced listening experience. Whether the audio is any different when conveyed over a headset or external speaker is a question I have yet to research.