Tag Archives | Amazon

Will Librarians Revolt Over Amazon’s Kindle Lending Program?

Amazon Kindle FamilyA California librarian is urging librarians to complain to Amazon over issues with privacy and advertising in Amazon’s new Kindle ebook lending program for libraries. “In our greedy attempt to get content into our users’ hands, we have failed to uphold the highest principle of our profession, which is intellectual freedom,” she argues in a 10-minute video. (Read the transcript here):

Kindle has allowed Amazon to harvest all of this borrowing data, so it’s an instant violation of all of our privacy policies … [I]f they’re using a Kindle, Amazon’s keeping friggin’ everything. And we haven’t told people that, and we need to tell people that.

She argues Amazon’s retention of your reading history may violate, for example, California’s Reader Privacy Act, and she also complains that the check-out and renewal process include unacceptable promotional content about Amazon’s for-sale ebooks. Though she owns a Kindle and loves ebooks, she’s urging librarians to speak up.… Read the rest

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Selling Wikipedia Pages As Kindle eBooks

WikiFocus BooksThis article identifies a supposed ebook “author” whose 887 different ebooks were all apparently cut-and-pasted directly from Wikipedia entries!

The “WikiFocus” series targets obscure niches with few competing ebooks, like Hello Kitty, Aquaman, or the comic strip Archie.

“Of the 887 ebooks, all but 10 earned terrible reviews, averaging one star or less,” this article notes, “or received no reviews at all.”

A typical review? “This ‘book’ is just a word for word copy of the Wikipedia page.”

(And a least one other “author” has attempt the same trick, trying to pass off a Wikipedia page about Charlie Sheen as an $18.95 biography!)

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Will Bookstores Boycott Amazon-Published Books?

AmazonEncoreAmazon has begun signing their own authors and then publishing the books themselves, leaving booksellers “wary” as Amazon “tries to have it all,” according to a Boston newspaper. The co-owner of an independent bookstore near Cambridge considered boycotting Amazon’s new line of books, complaining “They are a huge competitor, and they don’t collect sales tax, giving them an unfair advantage.”

A children’s bookstore noted that “the pie is getting cut into fewer pieces. I’d be nervous if I were an adult book publisher.” Borders bookstore has already declared bankruptcy, leaving The Daily Show to joke that bookstores should simply become “digital downloading” stations — or a “living history” museum where future generations can learn what “a magazine rack” was.”

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Google Earth Begins Mapping Amazon Rainforest

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Photo: Alex Guerrero (CC)

Not sure if ‘street view’ is the right term for it, but Google has begun mapping the Amazon much like it does streets in cities and towns. Via The Australian:

Two women washed clothes in the dark water of the Rio Negro as a boat glided past with a camera-laden Google tricycle strapped to the roof, destined to give the world a window into the Amazon rainforest.

A “trike” typically used to capture street scenes for Google’s free online mapping service launched last Thursday from the village of Tumbira in a first-ever project to let web users virtually explore the world’s largest river, its wildlife and its communities.

The project was the brainchild of Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), which two years ago went to Google Earth with a vision of turning “Street View” into a river view in the lush and precious Amazon Basin.

[Continues at The Australian]

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The Most Well-Read U.S. Cities (According to Amazon.com)

SealofcambridgemaAmazon.com just crunched their sales data for 2011, and calculated the 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America. (Click here to see all 20 cities on a map.)

The #1 city on Amazon’s list (and the top purchaser of non-fiction titles) is Cambridge, Massachusetts, while four of the top five cities are college towns. This suggests students may be shopping online for cheaper text books – another bad sign for the future of the bookstore.

But the #2 city was Alexandria, Virginia, one of three cities on the list within 10 miles of Washington D.C. — which surprisingly, was also reported by Amazon as the city which purchased the most children’s picture book.

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Amazon’s $23,698,655.93 Textbook About Flies

The Making Of A FlyNew copies are still going for around a grand. Interesting story: Michael Eisen writes on it is NOT Junk:

A few weeks ago a postdoc in my lab logged on to Amazon to buy the lab an extra copy of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly — a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists — consult regularly. The book, published in 1992, is out of print. But Amazon listed 17 copies for sale: 15 used from $35.54, and 2 new from $1,730,045.91 (+$3.99 shipping).

I sent a screen capture to the author — who was appropriate amused and intrigued. But I doubt even he would argue the book is worth THAT much.

At first I thought it was a joke — a graduate student with too much time on their hands. But there were TWO new copies for sale, each be offered for well over a million dollars.

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Chevron Fined $8 Billion For Polluting Amazon

340px-Chevron_LogoIt’s taken decades but finally the Amazonian Indians whose environment was despoiled by Texaco have won their lengthy court battle with successor corporation Chevron. Mind you, it’s an Ecuadorian court and no doubt the plaintiffs will have a tough time enforcing the judgment in the United States and actually collecting the money. Look forward to years more litigation while the people of the Amazon suffer for the oil giant’s wreckess conduct. BBC News reports on the judgment:

A court in Ecuador has fined US oil giant Chevron a reported $8bn (£5bn) for polluting a large part of the country’s Amazon region.

The oil firm Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, was accused of dumping billions of gallons of toxic materials into unlined pits and Amazon rivers.

Campaigners say crops were damaged and farm animals killed, and that local cancer rates increased.

Condemning the ruling as fraudulent, Chevron said it would appeal.

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Ebooks Are Almost Outselling Printed Books‏

Kindle 2. Photo: Jon 'ShakataGaNai' Davis (CC)

Kindle 2. Photo: Jon 'ShakataGaNai' Davis (CC)

Score one for technology. Amazon’s sales of ebooks have apparently almost doubled since this summer. Amazon just announced that they’re now selling more ebooks than paperback books — and three times as many ebooks as hardcovers!

In July, Amazon had said they were selling 180 ebooks for every 100 hardcovers — though paperbacks traditionally outsell hardcovers by about a 3-to-1 ratio. But if you combine Amazon’s latest statistics into a pie chart, it reveals that 45% of all the books Amazon sells are now ebooks. And Amazon’s statistic doesn’t even include all the free ebooks people are downloading to their Kindles.

If just one user downloads a free ebook for every nine paid ebook purchases — then Amazon is already delivering more digital ebooks than they are print editions!

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WikiLeaks Website Kicked Off Amazon’s Servers

Amazon Kicks Off WikiLeaksPeter Svensson reports on the AP Via MSNBC:

NEW YORK — Amazon.com Inc. forced WikiLeaks to stop using the U.S. company’s computers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents, WikiLeaks said Wednesday. The ouster came after congressional staff questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.

WikiLeaks confirmed it hours after The Associated Press reported that Amazon’s servers had stopped hosting WikiLeaks’ site. The site was unavailable for several hours before it moved back to its previous Swedish host, Bahnhof AB.

WikiLeaks released a trove of sensitive diplomatic documents on Sunday. Just before the release, its website came under an Internet-based attack that made it unavailable for hours at a time. But that move exposed WikiLeaks to legal and political pressure.

“WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe,” the organization said Wednesday in a posting on the Twitter messaging service.

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Pedophilia Book Removed From Amazon, but Others Remain

Banned Kindle BookJennifer Valentino-DeVries writes on the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog:

Amazon.com has removed a how-to guide for pedophiles that was appearing in its Kindle store, after a day of online outrage and threats of a boycott.

The e-book, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct,” and its removal raise questions about how Amazon reviews self-published works and what types of books are allowed on the e-commerce site.

Amazon on Wednesday defended the sale of the $4.79 book, telling technology blog TechCrunch that it “believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.” But by early Thursday morning, the book was removed from the site. Amazon did not immediately return requests for further comment about the book or its disappearance from the site.

Other books about pedophilia remain on Amazon, including those that have previously prompted calls for boycotts.

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