Amazon’s New Kindle Scout

AMAZON NEEDS YOU!

Amazon launched Kindle Scout this week and described the new program as “reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books.”  Here’s your chance, IndieReader, to choose what you want to read next, and what book deserves a publishing contract.

According to the website, the more nominations a book receives from members of the public, the more likely that book will be selected for publication.  And, if published, everyone who nominated the book will receive an early, free copy and will be asked to write a review.

Kindle Scout is currently open in the U.S., but knowing Amazon, don’t be surprised if it quickly expands overseas.

ADOBE’S GOT ITS EYE ON YOU

Turns out, the NSA may not be the only ones watching you.  Nate Hoffelder at Digital Reader started a firestorm when he reported that Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) is collecting unencrypted user data from devices using the ADE e-book reader application and transmitting it back to Adobe.  There is much concern that hackers could hijack your reader account information, device ID, and pages read, and use this information against you.  At the very least, critics say this is a breach of reader privacy.

ADE defended its system, claiming their data collection is used only for proper “license validation, and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers and distributors.”  In a statement issued to the American Library Association (ALA), Adobe said:  “User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy.”

Still, as the ALA points out, ADE e-book reader application is used by “thousands of libraries and many tens of thousands of e-book readers around the globe.”  Adobe is planning to release an update by October 20.

You can read a fuller account here.

BALANCING ACTS

Shortly after The New York Times public editor, Maureen Sullivan, called for more balanced reporting on the Hachette-Amazon war, the paper printed another article on the subject written by David Streitfeld entitled, “Amazon and Its Missing Books.”  Although Amazon is still painted as the evil censor, Streitfeld devotes some ink to those who defend and support Amazon.  You will notice, for example, self-published superstar Hugh Howey is pictured, even though his photograph is less prominent than that of anti-Amazon author Ursula K. LeGuin.

Howey is also quoted a few times, but nothing too recent or direct:

Independent bookstores, Mr. Howey told Publishers Weekly in August, “blacklist my books,” presumably because they are self-published through their enemy Amazon. Physical bookstores, he wrote on his blog, “ban Amazon imprint titles.” 

This is serious business, mucking with an author’s bottom line, and as Streitfeld points out, this is where success and failure will be meted out.  At the bottom line.

I LEFT MY KINDLE IN SAN FRANCISCO

Last week, we reported that Amazon was opening up a brick-and-mortar store in New York City around Herald Square.  This week, Amazon says it will open pop-up shops in San Francisco and Sacramento so shoppers can see the Kindle Fire tablets and phones, and new e-readers up close and personal, just in time for the holidays.

THE BOOK OF THE FUTURE

The Economist thinks the future of the book is very bright, and decided to write about the digital transformation of books, from papyrus to pixels.  This digital book can be read two ways.  You can scroll or turn the page.   Warning:  It’s a long read.

P.S.  According to the U.S. Consensus Bureau, August 2014 was the best month for bookstores, sales were up by 3.4 percent over August 2013.

E-READING BAD FOR KIDS?

For years, child development experts have encouraged parents to read to their children.  Early and often.  Now that we have tablets galore, some child development experts are debating whether reading a story on an iPad counts as highly desirable story time or vapid “screen” time.

The Academy of American Pediatrics recently recommended no screen time for children under two years of age, and less than two hours a day for older children.

The research for and against is shaky, partly because e-readers are still so new that there are no extended studies.   Sure, some studies show that reading comprehension is lower for toddlers whose parents read from e-books to them, compared to parents who read from traditional books.  Apparently, parents and their children spent more time focusing on the electronic device than the story.

Of course, there are studies that conclude the opposite and say that two-year-olds learn faster when they interact with the story, e.g., hear a dog bark.

What most folks can agree on is that parents are necessary. Nothing beats a live storyteller.

THIS WEEK’S HOT LIST

IndieReader’s “The List Where Indies Count” began May 2, 2011 because there was no other list that tracked self-published books.

Here’s this week’s IndieReader top ten list as of October 13, 2014.

Interesting to note, this week’s top ten are all newcomers to the list.  Enjoy!

Titles are compiled on Sunday for Monday’s post, culled from The New York Times, USA Today and Amazon best-seller lists.

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