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Would you like to help with a blurb for my bestselling new book on the financial crisis?

Earlier this week I published the Kindle edition of a book on which I have been devoting a great deal of time and energy over the past few months, The Worried Citizen’s Little Survival Guide to the Greatest Financial Crisis of the Century: Understanding and Surviving the Domino Depression. Here’s a link to its Amazon page.

It’s not a book for the CNBC talking heads, and it may not even be a book for Paul Krugman or Ben Bernanke. It’s a book for people who’ve been working hard, feel like we’ve been thrown to the curb in this financial crisis, and and want simple answers to some very basic questions: How did we get here, how much worse is it going to get, and what can we do to protect ourselves, our families, and our future?

If you believe there’s a need for a book with this kind of commonsense approach to these worrying times, I would like to invite you to take a few moments to participate with me as I try to re-make the usual process of marketing a nonfiction book. Between now and the time when the paperback edition of my book is published late this month, I am inviting people who really know what is going on in this financial crisis — working people, labor and community organizers, seniors, teachers, librarians, people who run small businesses and nonprofits, young people trying to figure out how they are going to pay for their education or start a career, and others who have already lost a great deal through no fault of their own — to join with me in spreading the word about The Worried Citizen’s Little Survival Guide.

Okay, if Bernanke, Krugman, Jim Kramer, and Stephen King all want to send in blurbs, I might be able to use them. But I would really like to have a couple of lines from you, if you feel like sharing your comments publicly.

I’ve posted some sample chapters of the book, along with the Table of Contents, on Facebook just to make it easy for you to see what it’s all about.

If you would like to share a comment or “blurb” with me directly, you can enter a comment here or, better yet, email me at hppress@gmail.com.

If you include your name, any brief identifying info, and a snail-mail address and I include your comment in (or on the cover of) the paperback edition of the book (scheduled for July 31 release), I promise to send you a free signed copy of the paperback! (In response to a question from Donna, let me suggest that it would be helpful to have comments, blurbs, and reviews by Monday, July 15).

Such comments could become back cover blurbs, comments on the book’s web page, or readers’ comments in the front matter of the paperback edition. I would also welcome a brief review on Amazon or, if you have one, on your own blog. If you would like to write an Amazon review, short and sweet would be wonderful, and you will find a link right under the title information at the top of the book’s Amazon page: http://bit.ly/4BXrG

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this note, and — if I may be so optimistic as to presume — for your interest in helping me get the word out about a book that I believe can help to make a difference in the daily lives of many hardworking people.

Thanks for your interest in The Worried Citizen’s Little Survival Guide.To read or find out more about this book, email hppress@gmail.com

For more information, see the The Worried Citizen’s Survival Blog at http://worriedcitizens.blogspot.com/

Copyright © July 2009, Stephen Windwalker and Harvard Perspectives Press.

What Amazon Customer Service Has to Say About Shipping My Next Kindle

Although I haven’t been able to share or source all of what I have learned about the Kindle 2.0 in recent weeks, yesterday I received an Amazon Customer Service email that I feel perfectly free to share, and it encourages a very specific conclusion about how Amazon will handle back-orders for Kindle units once it rolls out the Kindle 2.0 with a big-splash press conference in New York on February 9. Here’s what “Ken I,” which I suspect is as much his first name as “Help-You” is his last name, had to say (minus the boiler-plate stuff):


Thanks for asking about when a new version of the Kindle will be released.

We’ve made no announcement about the next generation Kindle, so I can’t answer your question. However, if I were you, I would not cancel my order. I suspect you’ll be happy. If you need help with your Kindle or a Kindle order, please contact customer support at 1-866-321-8851.

As a reminder, the Kindle now has over 210,000 books, magazines, and blogs available for wireless delivery, with no computer required.

I hope this helps. We look forward to your next visit.

Now, as you know, I do some writing about Amazon and its products, and I occasionally send in “checker” questions just to see how the company will respond, particularly about products-in-the-pipeline issues. I often feel like the responses I get have been drafted by Amazon’s corporate lawyers. But I loved the existential felicity of this one, and — I’m saying this with appreciation — if anything there may have been corporate psychologists involved in drafting its language about what Ken I. would do if he were me, and about what will make me happy.

Here’s the point: They’ve told me nothing, but they have told me everything. No company in the world knows its customers better than Amazon, and Amazon knows very well that the only thing that will make me happy, as someone who placed a new Kindle order on January 2, will be the chance to receive a Kindle 2.0 as soon as it is ready to ship in February.

So, dusting off the Humanities 6 literary analysis skills that I learned at Harvard back in the Spring of 1969, I parse Ken I’s message to say: “Don’t cancel your Kindle order, because it will hold your place in line for a Kindle 2.0. We’ll contact you as soon as the Kindle 2.0 launch becomes official and arrange, with your approval and perhaps a few extra bucks, to ship you the newest version of the Kindle.”

Just as obviously, anyone with a Kindle order in the pipeline will have a chance to review the new Kindle 2.0 feature set before giving approval to the Kindle 2.0 shipment, and to cancel the Kindle order altogether if the new feature set is unappealing. So, if you want to be one of the first in line for a new Kindle 2.0 when the units begin to ship, Amazon is making it very easy for you to order a new Kindle from Amazon’s main Kindle buying page, if you have not done so already.

The Complete User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle and the Warehouse to Nowhere….

Maybe some of this is inside baseball, but I have a few observations to share about Amazon’s once and present Kindle order backlog:

1. I can’t help but notice that whenever Amazon falls behind in shipping out Kindle orders, as they did on November 1, replacement batteries for the Kindle also show up as out of stock. A year ago when Amazon ran out of Kindles on launch day and didn’t catch up until mid-April, Kindle replacement batteries were out of stock. Likewise this week. There is no difference, of course, between Kindle batteries and Kindle replacement batteries. My own theory, that I will stick with until I see evidence to the contrary, is that it is a battery shortfall that is creating the production-and-shipping lag for Kindles.

2. While it is all well and good to talk about a battery shortage, of course, the real reason Amazon ran out of whatever Amazon ran out of is Oprah. Oprah can do anything. She elects presidents, she sells books, and she hires people who don’t answer my emails, but that’s okay. On Friday, October 28, Oprah devoted her entire show to the Kindle. As a result, according to my back-o’-the-napkin calculations, Amazon sold over 100,000 Kindles in the following 8 days. In the past Oprah has proven that she can sell $15 books like nobody else on the planet. This time, she proved that she can sell $300 gadgets. Oprah, Oprah, Oprah.

3. So Oprah sells 100,000 Kindles and Amazon runs out of Kindles at the peak of the, er, holiday season. What’s up with that, Jeff? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t get testy about this. But, well, I was enjoying the fact that the Oprah Kindle bump was creating a bit of a bump (as in, by a factor of 5) in both paperback and Kindle edition sales of The Complete User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle. They are still selling briskly, but they would be selling even better if the Kindle were shipping.

4. There is a certain irony to this thing about the Kindle selling out from time to time. One of the joys of the Kindle, for Amazon, for readers, for authors, and for publishers, is that once a title is available on the Kindle, that title never sells out. Never. Like, how many Kindle edition copies do I have in the warehouse, of Beyond the Literary-Industrial Complex: Using the Amazon Kindle and Other New Technologies to Unleash and Indie Movement of Readers and Writers? Like, over 7 trillion, or a googol, but I lost count. You get it, I am certain. But if a reader can’t get a Kindle, well, you know, that’s a warehouse to nowhere.