Monthly Archives: October 2011

Amazon May Get Netflix-like Service for Books

Kindle e-books might now be available at libraries across the country, but the changes don’t stop there. A report by the Wall Street Journal says Amazon might be working on a new Netflix-like service for books.

The service would be part of the Amazon Prime package — a special program that gives members free two-day shipping and reduced price one-day shipping on all Amazon orders for a year, for a $79 annual fee.

The additional book service would allow Prime customers to read a limited number of books for free every month from a library of “older titles.”

According to this article by PC World, it seems Amazon hopes the service — which is still in its early stages — will help gain Prime members.

Perhaps spurred by the reaction to its Prime Instant unlimited video streaming, Amazon hopes to convince more people to join Prime with enticing add-ons. The company’s Prime library might also tie-in to the retailer’s strategy for its highly rumored, Android-based tablet to compete with the iPad.

Similar to Apple, Amazon’s slate could offer an integrated shopping experience with one-click access to online movie and TV viewing, e-book sales, MP3s, and apps. But Amazon would also want to encourage people to use their Amazon tablets to shop for physical items such as TVs, consoles and games, physical books, DVDs, computers, and toys.

Many of the details of this project are still unknown, however. For instance, how old are these “older titles”? And how many books will be available on a monthly basis? Not to mention, is this service even worth it now that libraries are offering Kindle e-books anyway? It sounds good on paper, but the kinks definitely still need to be ironed out. What do you guys think?

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Review: Ice Bound

Recap: When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s one thing. But when the diagnosis becomes national news because the patient also happens to be living at the South Pole for a year, it’s another thing entirely. Add to that the fact that the story is true, and you have one hell of a book on your hands. Such is the case with Dr. Jerri Nielsen’s Ice Bound: A Doctor’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole.

Ice Bound is an autobiography of Dr. Jerri Nielsen, who — after a messy divorce and abandonment by her children — decides to escape from her life for a bit by working at the South Pole. The book details her decision to live  there, the work she accomplished while in Antarctica, and what the life of a “Polie” is like. Nielsen finds her work as the Polie physician to be challenging — due to outdated and insufficient equipment — but exciting — after all, how many times do you get to visit the South Pole??

As time passes, we come to know Nielsen’s Polie friends and understand how familiar they become with such ungodly temperatures — 100 degrees below freezing. We also get a glimpse of Nielsen’s relationships, since she includes copies of her emails sent while at the Pole. But what’s key is that the South Pole’s winter lasts 8-and-a-half months, during which time no planes can land on the Ice to bring supplies or visitors, because of the deeply cold temperatures. And that’s the exact time Nielsen notices a lump on her breast — a cancerous lump that she must study and treat herself.

Analysis: Typically, the subject of cancer in books, movies, and TV is an excuse to make people cry, no matter how poor the writing and/or acting is. But here, Nielsen is telling the story, and she’s not telling us so we can feel bad for her. She’s telling us because she’s in complete disbelief about her own experience. By the end of the novel, it becomes clear that writing this book was cathartic for Nielsen — something she had to do to come to terms with the twists and turns that were thrown her way.

Her writing is straight-forward. Instead of attempting to explain how she felt, she showed it with the use of anecdotes and emails. She includes the reader in her life, events, and circle of friends, giving a sense of warmth and familiarity to each of the characters. This was very effective in that — again — the reader doesn’t cry, but simply understands. And anyway, the woman has cancer. There’s no reason to waste precious book space by saying she feels scared and tired — we know that already.

MVP: Jerri Nielsen is the obvious choice here, but I like to go with the not-so-obvious people. In that case, Big John, Nielsen’s best friend at the Pole. He takes care of her, emails her parents, measures the lump on her breast, learns to assist with her chemotherapy sessions, and tucks her into bed — and it’s purely platonic. We should all have a friend like Big John.

Ice Bound is available now in paperback for just $2.30!


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Harry Potter E-Books Delayed

There’s been so much attention on J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore web site that we’ve almost forgotten what its true purpose is: selling e-book versions of the Harry Potter series. That’s because the books still aren’t available yet.

And now the Associated Press is reporting they won’t be until 2012. The e-books have been delayed.

The AP says the e-books were supposed to be available come October, but it’s taking management longer than they had anticipated to perfect it.

In a blog posting on the site, “Pottermore” management said registration would be open to everyone from the end of October, and the online store would open in “the first half of 2012.”

The posting said use of the site so far had been “phenomenal,” and the delay would “allow us to focus on our first priority: opening ‘Pottermore’ to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.”

I’m sure with the issues they’ve had so far on the site, they thought it was simply in their best interest to take their time with the new addition. What do you guys think?

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Kardashians Give Their Book a Wedding Makeover

As the lives of the Kardashian sisters change, so must their accompanying merchandise. Such is the case with their bestselling book, Kardashian Konfidential.

Now that Kim Kardashian has married basketball player Kris Humphries, the girls have decided to add a chapter and some exclusive wedding photos to their book, as well as change the cover. The photo above is what the new cover will look like.

And, according to this article by Entertainment Weekly, the new edition will include 12 never-before-seen photos from Kim Kardashian’s wedding on August 20th. Besides that, the new  chapter will give business advice, which will be particularly helpful for up-and-coming fashionistas, like the Kardashians themselves.

While some may be sick of the Kardashians, one must admit they know exactly what they’re doing and they’re very business savvy. Capitalizing on their personal lives is what keeps people buying into their celebrity. And just like a DVD includes extras and bonus materials, it’s only natural that the Kardashians would want to release a deluxe edition of their book.

The new book is set to be released November 22nd. The e-book version will also be released for the first time that day.

You can get the original hardcover copy of the book now for just $10.


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