PSA: Good e-Reader Fact-Check

PSA: Good e-Reader Fact-Check

PSA: Good e-Reader Fact-Check DeBunking It has come to my attention that there is still some doubt as to whether a certain blog has a reputation for being less than reliable with its reporting of “exclusive” hardware rumors.

In the interest of settling the issue once and for all, this blog post will be used to document the many, many, many times that Good e-Reader reported a rumor that did not come true.

This post aspires to be comprehensive but it is a work in progress, and more examples will be added over time. I would appreciate any help you can provide.

O O O

In November 2015 that blog claimed Amazon would release the Kindle Voyage 2 that month. Fact check: No such device was launched.

In September 2015 that blog claimed Amazon would release the Kindle Voyage 2 that month. Fact check: No such device was launched.

In February 2018, that blog copied another blogger’s story lamenting the lack of a Kobo mini, and four hours later claimed that Kobo was seriously considering releasing a Kobo mini 2. Fact check: No such device was launched.

In March 2014 that blog claimed the Paperwhite 3 would have a flexible screenFact check: Amazon didn’t mention it in the press release or on the product page.

In April 2018 that blog claimed the Paperwhite 4 would have a color-changing “comfortlight” frontlight.  Fact check: This never happened.

In 2016 that blog used my April Fools Day joke as the source for an exclusive story that Amazon was developing a Kindle with a Liquavista screenFact check: No such device was ever launched.

In April 2016 that blog claimed that Kobo would launch a new ereader by Mother’s Day. (This inspired a meme about that blog’s rumors over at MobileRead.) Fact check: It didn’t happen. Kobo’s new hardware didn’t even show up at the FCC that year until June, and they launched in August.

In April 2014 that blog claimed that Sony and Kobo were collaborating on a 6″ ereader with a flexible screen. Fact check: No such device was ever launched.

In May 2011 that blog claimed that Amazon would allow Epub on the Kindle. Fact check: This never happened.

Earlier today (24 December 2018) that blog copied another blogger’s speculation about whether Amazon will release another premium Kindle and reported that the Kindle Voyage 2 is going to be released on 2019Fact check: Undetermined.

 

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How to be a Better Podcast Guest

How to be a Better Podcast Guest interview Podcast

Virtually every marketing expert agrees that if you want to get your message out there in 2018, podcasts are the way to go. We’re told we need to launch our own podcasts, or at the very least be frequent guests on podcasts.

This is all very well and good, but how exactly do you go about being a guest on a podcast? How do you make sure that the resulting episode is both fun for listeners and achieves your goals*?

While that might be an obvious question to some, I’m surely not the only one who feels like he is flailing around in the dark. Over the past 18 months I have been a guest on a half-dozen podcasts, and even though I tried to prepare for each interview and studied up on how to be a guest on a podcast, I still had to learn almost everything the hard way.

The following post details a few of the things I wish I had known before my first guest spot.

Edit: BTW, this was and is an uphill climb for many of us, so if you have any hard won lessons, can you share them in the comments?

Let’s start with the technical side, where I have learned a couple key lessons: Make sure you have good equipment, and set aside time to run a “mike check” before each guest spot.

Gear

Before your schedule first guest spot, you need to invest in hardware.

The equipment you will need will vary between podcasts, and will range from a smartphone with decent audio to a webcam and/or a headset.

The first thing you should invest in is a headset with a noise-cancelling microphone.

You’re probably thinking that the microphone on your webcam will be enough, or that a lapel mike will do, but I had audio issues during one of my guest spots because my speakers were conflicting with my lapel mike. I don’t understand the technical issues, but I do know that the right headset would have solved them.

My headset costs $24 on Amazon. (The lapel mike cost $30, which just goes to show that trying to save money by buying less equipment can actually cost you more.)

Once you have that headset, it’s time to get a better webcam. Podcasts are primarily an audio format, but a lot of them are now recorded as video or even streamed live.

This is why you should get a decent-quality webcam. The webcam on your average laptop ranges from adequate to “is that a nipple”, and that is more than enough for talking over Skype but not enough for a podcast. I had to learn this the hard way during my first podcast guest spot. It went okay, but if I had known that I would be on video I would have gotten a webcam before rather than after.

My webcam was made by Logitech and costs $50.

Dry Run

Once you have your equipment, be sure to store it properly. Then whenever you have a guest spot, set up your equipment in advance and make sure everything works. Ideally you should arrange with the host of the podcast to have a dry run the week before your guest spot. (This is doubly important for any live-streamed spots.)

If the host doesn’t propose the dry run, you need to suggest it.

If there is one aspect that is consistent across all my podcast guest spots, it is that testing the equipment ten minutes ahead of time revealed problems that I couldn’t actually fix in ten minutes. The best I could do is cope with the problem, and then fix it the next day. For example, if I had scheduled a dry run a week in advance then I would have had the webcam and headset when I needed them.

To be honest, most of the technical issues were merely nuisances, but I wish I had fixed them in advance rather than afterwards.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to performing a dry run, you should also take some time to listen to several episodes of the podcast. Learn what you can about the hosts, the show’s structure, and its focus.

Your goal is to understand how the podcast is run, and your role in the operation. Are you going the subject of an interview, or will you be expected to provide color commentary on a topic? Will you be teaching the audience something new, or simply joining the host in conversation?

On second thought, maybe you should instead ask the host for the info. They may have a plan for the role you will play that differs from the one you gleaned from listening to the podcast. At the same time, talking to the host will also help you find out how much the host knows about your area of expertise and what the host thinks the audience will want to know.

Once you know the part you will play, ask yourself how you can best fill the role. If you are going to have a conversation, try to schedule a pre-interview so that you and the host can learn to talk to each other. If you are being interviewed, you might want to work out a list of questions for the host to ask you.

O O O

Here’s the thing: Most of the time you will only have the one chance to record a podcast episode. The host will be as busy as you are, and they won’t have the time to record a replacement episode if your episode is sub-par. (To be honest, their time would probably be better spent recording an episode with someone who hadn’t already muffed an episode.)

This means that you need to do all you can to make sure that the episode is great from the get-go. The prep work I mention above is the minimum required effort, and you should actually devote as much time to prepping as you can afford.

The time you spend on preparing for the podcast will pay off in the long run.

You just finished reading How to be a Better Podcast Guest which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee – 21 December 2018

Morning Coffee - 21 December 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning.

  • If you think the Kindle Store is a mess with bots punishing innocent authors, go check out what The Verge says about Amazon’s Marketplace. 
  • David Kudler explains the difference between copyrights and licenses. 
  • Samuel Levy explains how WordPress Gutenberg went wrong: it wasn’t the tech so much as poor communication and other mismanagement by the people running the project. 
  • Craig Mod points out how the next evolution of the book wasn’t a change in content, as many expected, so much as a change in infrastructure and architecture. 
  • The US agency responsible for enforcing anti-counterfeiting laws doesn’t know the difference between copyright and trademark. 

 

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 21 December 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Kindle Create Updated With New Image Editing Support

Amazon sent out an email today detailing a few features recently added to Kindle Create. The app still can’t make a Kindle ebook that you can read on your Kindle (it can only make project files for you to upload in KDP) but  the email did point out a new feature that is in beta.

Kindle Create can now insert an image so that it is full-bleed. In print terms this means that the image would be printed to the edge of the paper, but when it comes to ebooks full-bleed means that the image will be displayed at the edge of a device’s screen.

Our new image formatting features allow you to insert, place, and resize images in the way that best suits your eBook. Learn more about Kindle Create, image handling features, and Early Access available in Kindle Create 1.12. You can also try out a new Early Access image bleed feature that enhances Kindle reading experience by extending the images to the edge of the device screens.

Kindle Create Updated With New Image Editing Support content creation e-Reading Software Kindle (platform)

I’ve been testing this feature for a while, and from what I can tell this is only available with reflowable Kindle ebooks, but not Kindle’s PDF format. Given that you can insert a full bleed image in your source PDF before loading that PDF into Kindle Create, that is no big deal.

I haven’t had a chance to test the full-bleed image on an actual Kindle app or ereader, but I did confirm in the previewer that the image did appear to stretch from one edge of the screen to the other.

Unfortunately it is a both or none situation; you can’t have the image at one edge of the screen and not the other. Also, using this feature locks the ebook into a portrait orientation, a good trade off given that the image is so much large than before.

Remember, most of the images in a Kindle ebook are affected when the user changes the margin settings, but the full-bleed images are not. One of the benefits of this option is that it means that the image won’t shrink to illegibility when a user switches to the max margin setting.

You can find out more about Kindle Create in KDP’s support pages. The info is rather sparse.

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For the First Time in nearly 20 years, Copyrights Will Expire in the US

For the First Time in nearly 20 years, Copyrights Will Expire in the US Intellectual Property

The problem with copyright law – particularly in the US –  is that people keep wanting to profit off of that which they did not create.

This is why we have things like the Berne convention, why deep-pocketed media companies bought extensions to the US copyright term no fewer than 3 times in the past fifty years, and why the US uses trade deals to pressure other countries into extending copyright terms to death plus 70 years.

This has left some of us despairing at the idea that no work will ever enter the public domain in the US ever again, but 1 January 2019 might be the turning point. The Atlantic notes that a cornucopia of works will be entering the public domain in the US in January.

For the first time in two decades, copyrights will actually expire in the US.

The Great American Novel enters the public domain on January 1, 2019—quite literally. Not the concept, but the book by William Carlos Williams. It will be joined by hundreds of thousands of other books, musical scores, and films first published in the United States during 1923. It’s the first time since 1998 for a mass shift to the public domain of material protected under copyright. It’s also the beginning of a new annual tradition: For several decades from 2019 onward, each New Year’s Day will unleash a full year’s worth of works published 95 years earlier.

This coming January, Charlie Chaplin’s film The Pilgrim and Cecil B. DeMille’s The 10 Commandments will slip the shackles of ownership, allowing any individual or company to release them freely, mash them up with other work, or sell them with no restriction. This will be true also for some compositions by Bela Bartok, Aldous Huxley’s Antic Hay, Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis, Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Pigeons, e.e. cummings’s Tulips and Chimneys, Noël Coward’s London Calling! musical, Edith Wharton’s A Son at the Front, many stories by P.G. Wodehouse, and hosts upon hosts of forgotten works, according to research by the Duke University School of Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Other works entering the public domain include:

  • The Vanishing American in Ladies’ Home Journal, by Zane Grey
    One of the first literary critiques of the treatment of Native Americans; harsher than the later novel and silent film.
  • A Handbook of Cookery for a Small House, by Jessie Conrad
    A peek into the life of author Joseph Conrad via his wife’s recipe collection.
  • Our American Adventure, by Arthur Conan Doyle
    The creator of Sherlock Holmes recounts his popular (and controversial) lecture tour in support of Modern Spiritualism.
  • The Chip Woman’s Fortune, by Willis Richardson
    The first drama by an African-American author produced on Broadway; a one-act story of a family in financial straits.
  • Nebraska in The Nation, by Willa Cather
    She laments the cultural and economic homogenization in her beloved state.
  • The Real Story of a Bootlegger, by Anonymous
    The purportedly honest account of life as a criminal under the 18th Amendment: “Prohibition made me a millionaire.”

Smithsonian

image  by 2bmolar via Flickr

You just finished reading For the First Time in nearly 20 years, Copyrights Will Expire in the US which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee – 19 December 2018

Morning Coffee - 19 December 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Wednesday morning.

You just finished reading Morning Coffee – 19 December 2018 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon’s Third Annual Digital Day Will be on 28 December

Amazon's Third Annual Digital Day Will be on 28 December Amazon

Amazon wants to give you one last chance to max out your credit cards before the end of the year, which is why they are holding a sale on 28 December.

Amazon’s third annual digital day will feature sales on Audible audiobooks, Marvel digital comics, ebooks, digital magazines, and more:

  • Save up to 75% off Kindle best-selling books, including titles such as Manhattan Beach, In the Midst of Winter, My Squirrel Days, Summer I Turned Pretty, Indianapolis, and Great At Work
  • Save up to 80% off best-selling Marvel graphic novels like Jessica Jones: Blind SpotRunaways Vol. 1: Pride and JoyYou Are Deadpool, and X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Save up to 60% off digital magazines such as Vanity FairPeopleEntertainment WeeklyMartha Stewart Living,Better Homes and GardensBon AppétitWiredShape, and Men’s Journal.
  • Save 33% on the Audible Romance Package for the first 3 months
  • Save $50 on Fire HD 10 tablet and receive 3 months free trial to Audible
  • Audible members can buy one, get one free on a selection of hundreds of Audible books
  • Get 3 months of Kindle Unlimited for $0.99. Enjoy unlimited access to over 1 million books, popular magazines and thousands of books with Audible narration. Offer valid for new subscribers only
  • Get 3 months free of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for $2.99. Offer valid for new subscribers only

image by thisisboss via Flickr

 

You just finished reading Amazon’s Third Annual Digital Day Will be on 28 December which was published on The Digital Reader.

Kindle Unlimited Per-Page Rate Reaches Half a Cent in November 2018 while the Funding Pool Grew

Kindle Unlimited Per-Page Rate Reaches Half a Cent in November 2018 while the Funding Pool Grew ebook sales Kindle (platform)

Amazon informed authors on Friday that the Kindle Unlimited funding pool grew to $23.6 million  (plus bonuses) in November 2018 , up from $23.5 million the previous month.

At the same time the per-page rate royalty rose to $0.005206, compared to $0.0048413 in October 2018.  The page rate did not rise uniformly in all markets; in fact, for the first time ever the rate fluctuated differently in the EU markets. France, Italy, and Spain all now have their own monthly page rate. They used to pay the same rate, but now each market are large enough that Amazon is adjusting its country’s rate separately.

  • US: $0.0052 (USD)
  • UK: £0.0037 (GBP)
  • Canada: $0.0046 (CAD)
  • Germany: €0.0031 (EUR)
  • France: €0.0044 (EUR)
  • Spain: €0.0048 (EUR)
  • Italy: €0.0052 (EUR)
  • Brazil: R$ 0.0102 (BRL)
  • Japan: 0.6250 (JPY )
  • Australia: $0.0041 (AUD)
  • India, Netherlands, Mexico: 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 million
  • February 2016: $14 million
  • March 2016: $14.9 million
  • April 2016: $14.9 million
  • May 2016: $15.3 million
  • June 2016: $15.4 million
  • July 2016: $15.5 million
  • August 2016: $15.8 million
  • September 2016: $15.9 million
  • October 2016: $16.2 million
  • November 2016: $16.3 million
  • December 2016: $16.8 million
  • January 2017: : $17.8 million
  • February 2017: : $16.8 million
  • March 2017: $17.7 million
  • April 2017: $17.8 million
  • May 2017 :$17.9 million
  • June 2017: $18 million
  • July 2017: $19 million
  • August 2017: $19.4 million
  • September 2017: $19.5 million
  • October 2017: $19.7 million
  • November 2017: $19.8 million
  • December 2017: $19.9 million
  • January 2018: $20.9 million
  • February 2018: $20 million
  • March 2018: $21 million
  • April 2018: $21.2 million
  • May 2018: $22.5 million
  • June 2018: $22.6 million
  • July 2018: $23.1 million
  • August 2018: $23.3 million
  • September 2018: $23.4 million
  • October 2018: $23.5 million
  • November 2018: $23.6 million

via Self Publisher Bibel

You just finished reading Kindle Unlimited Per-Page Rate Reaches Half a Cent in November 2018 while the Funding Pool Grew which was published on The Digital Reader.

Fictionaries are Custom Dictionaries for the Kindle (as well as Many Other Reading Apps)

Fictionaries are Custom Dictionaries for the Kindle (as well as Many Other Reading Apps) e-Reading Software Kindle (platform) Many readers like the way the Kindle’s X-Ray feature adds extra details to the books they read, but it only works with ebooks bought in the Kindle Store. Those of us who like to buy ebooks elsewhere and sideload them can’t use it, but luckily there is a solution.

About four years ago I reported on a startup called Fictionaries which uses the Kindle’s proprietary dictionary ebook format to offer custom dictionaries. Readers can download a fictionary and install it as a dictionary on a Kindle or the Kindle app for iOS.

The big difference between now and 2014 is that you can also find Fictionaries in the StarDict file format, which means that you should be able to use a Fictionary with any app that supports this dictionary format.

About 3 dozen fictionaries are currently available across several genres including classic books, SF, and fantasy. The content is drawn from many of the same sources as the Kindle X-Ray: people. According to Tech Cocktail, the details in a fictionary comes from the multitude of community-driven wikis already available.

Fictionaries is the brainchild of Dave Byard. It’s a project he’s been working on since about 2012, and he says he was inspired to start this project after receiving positive feedback on his first few books. “I gave it to a couple of friends and they spurred me on to do something with it because they liked it so much,” Byard said.

Fictionaries are Custom Dictionaries for the Kindle (as well as Many Other Reading Apps) e-Reading Software Kindle (platform) This is a pretty cool idea, and if Amazon hadn’t already come up with a better idea (X-Ray) then fictionaries could have been a big deal. Byard has even thought up a couple clever refinements, including offering spoiler-free fictionaries. For example, a fictionary for A Song of Fire and Ice (the first book in the Game of Thrones series) would hypothetically exclude details from later books in that series, thus saving you from learning that nearly all of the characters you like are killed.

When I wrote about this topic back in 2014, I said that I hoped more fictionaries would be created. I am following several series which have grown into “cast of thousands” situation and could really use a fictionary to keep the characters and locations straight, but at this point they are still few and far between.

BTW, did you know authors can request a fictionary of their work?

Fictionaries via Tech Cocktail

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