Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon -- eBooks, POD & Killing the Competition

amazon logo If you have been paying attention, you probably figured out long ago that Amazon has a pretty simple business strategy:  to become the biggest and most complete publishing and books distribution company in the world. 

In the ideal Amazon world, an author can upload their completed manuscript to Amazon's digital content management system.  By doing so they grant Amazon the right to sell this content on demand as a physical object (hardback/paperback book)  or digital file (eBook or AudioBook).  They agree to let Amazon set price and margins in return for utilizing the biggest book distribution and marketing channel in the world.

Over the last 3 years Amazon has been very busy -- they have acquired Mobipocket for eBooks, BookSurge to print books and Audible for audio books. 

In the eBook world, they acquired Mobipocket and for months nothing happened.  Amazon continued to use Ingram's eBook service to sell eBooks in PDF, MS-Reader and Palm formats.  The Mobipocket site continued to live in it's own little world pretty much untouched by Amazon.  Same primitive website with no big changes.

Then one day in July, 2006 Amazon notified Ingram (who notified the rest of us) that  " has decided to discontinue its use of Ingram’s e-Book delivery services effective mid-July for new e-Book sales and the end of August for prior e-Book sales."  And poof -- the only way to buy eBooks on Amazon was to be redirected to the Mobi site. 

eBook authors and publishers were outraged and the blogosphere hummed with indignation and vague threats against Amazon.  But outrage only lasts a little while and soon authors and publishers got to work setting up their own sites, finding other eBook distributors and getting on with life.

Last week, Amazon turned it's sites on Print On Demand (POD) publishers.  These are the guys who print, bind and ship very small quantities of books.  POD is a strictly just in time system where the printing is done as needed on an order by order basis:  from one book to hundreds of books.

Very quietly they started to remove the Add to Shopping Cart Button with the See all Buying Options button on selected books.


Everything else is unchanged,  you sill see the cover, book information and both editorial and reader reviews.  Just no quick shipment or shipping discounts available;  you will have to find the book in the Amazon Marketplace. 

The selected books just happened to be books from a prominent POD publisher -- Publish America with over 30,000 titles listed on Amazon.  A day later Whiskey Creek Press was similarly turned off.  I suspect Lulu will be next.  

Evidently, Amazon has a new policy for writers -- if you want to publish your print on demand title and sell it directly on Amazon you must go through BookSurge. 

Predictably authors and POD publishers are outraged and the blogosphere is humming with indignation and vague threats against Amazon.  But outrage only lasts a little while and soon publishers will get to work and set up their own sites, find other distribution channels and get on with life.

Obviously, Jeff Bezos and the management team at Amazon believe that slashing and burning the competition is a viable business strategy.  In the short term they might even be right. 

Over the long term it looks less likely.  Slash and Burn techniques hurt both the general publishing/bookselling market and Amazon.  Amazon stands to loose the goodwill and cooperation of publishers, distributors, authors and a portion of the buying public.  And that will hurt over time.

History shows us that when you make enough people mad because you are a monolithic, monopolistic business eventually they fight back. The result is that the company is either weakened or seriously injured. 

The good news is that right now there are individuals and businesses out there who are highly motivated to develop new competitive strategies.  They are looking for new ideas and advantages and their focus is aimed directly at Amazon. Tags: ,,,,,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Laptops, eBooks

I am the proud recipient of information -- lots of information. On any given day I get a minimum of 25 publishing related news items:   rss feeds, subscriptions newsletters and bits from friends and colleagues. Fortunately I read fast. . .

Here are the ones that caught my attention this week.

Is it a Laptop or an eBook


Of all the miscellaneous news items that have crossed my screen this week an article in Computer World is my favorite.  This is a long piece speculating on what a laptop will look like in 2015.  Very fun and thought provoking.  No matter how old I get, I guess I will always be a geek.  Someone asked me once what I would do if I won the lottery -- my answer:  "a new computer and some shoes".  Here are some great prospects!


Business Week Does eBooks


A great article in Business Week about Literacy had some  interesting info about eBooks.  This picture tells it all.

Harper Collins book widget


Also in my mailbox was a digital flyer from Harper Collins telling me I could read the entire book-- Double or Nothing by Tom Breitling for free. . .

Actually, they were trumpeting their new browse inside the book widget.  This is really a great idea for marketing. 

The whole book can read it, put the widget on your site, or tell your friends about it.  All very user friendly and convenient. 

Ten minutes of sitting at my desk and trying to read it at my computer, however, made me think that spending the money for an eBook version to put on my Cybook reader makes a lot of sense! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

eBook Discounts for March 26, 2008

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Wonderful selection of non-fcition this week. I have read all three and recommend them all. The fiction is "hot of the presses" and on promise to be great reading.

To get your discount use coupon code C3KL9 at checkout
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Fat Envelope Frenzy eBook edition
by Jager-Hyman, Joie
A former Ivy League admissions officer, Joie Jager-Hyman follows five bright and eager high schoolers—students from diverse ethnic, social, and financial backgrounds—as they each put their best foot forward on the road they hope will lead them to the hallowed halls of Harvard University.
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List Price : $11.95
Your price $10.22 (Using your 10% discount and $ .54 points in eBook Reward points)
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Sword Song eBook Edition
by: Cronwell, Bernard
The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord—warrior by instinct, Viking by nature—has finally settled down. He has land, a wife, and two children, and a duty given to him by King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But then trouble stirs: a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have arrived to occupy the decayed Roman city of London. Their dream is to conquer Wessex, and to do it they need Uhtred's help
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List Price : $19.95
Your price $17.06 (Using your 10% discount and $ .90 iin eBook Reward points)
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The Back of the Napkin eBook edition
by: Roam, Dan
Used properly, a simple drawing on a humble napkin is more powerful than Excel or PowerPoint. It can help crystallize ideas, think outside the box, and communicate in a way that people simply "get". In this book Dan Roam argues that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can't draw.
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List Price : $24.95
Your price $19.20 (Using your 10% discount and $1.01 in eBook Reward points)
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Fifteen Minutes of Shame eBook edition
by: Daily, Lisa
From topselling relationship expert Lisa Daily, a smart, hilarious debut novel that will delight fans of Jane Green and Sophie Kinsella. What happens when America's favorite dating expert finds out on national television that her husband is cheating on her? Darby Vaughn's fifteen minutes of fame quickly becomes fifteen minutes of shame
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List Price : $14.00
Your price $11.34 (Using your 10% discount and $ .57 in eBook Reward points)
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Bringing Down the House eBook edition
by: Menzrich, Ben
Welcome to the world of an exclusive group of audacious MIT math geniuses who legally took the casinos for over three million dollars -- while still finding time for college keg parties, football games, and final exams. In the midst of the go-go eighties and nineties, a group of overachieving, anarchistic MIT students joined a decades-old underground blackjack club dedicated to counting cards and beating the system at major casinos around the world.
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Your price $8.54 (Using your 10% discount and $ .45 in eBook Reward points)

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Penguin and eBooks

Last week Jim Makinson, company chairman of  Penguin Books talked to journalists about the Company's new and enhanced line of eBook classics. 

The books will be packaged to work with all existing eBook readers including the Sony and the Kindle.

Penguin is taking ten classics and repackaging digital editions with extra digital information.  Jane Austen's  Pride and Prejudice will be the first and is slate to be release in May.

The enhance eBook is said to include "a filmography, period book reviews, recipes, a primer on social etiquette, rules of period dancing and black-and-white illustrations."  Kind of like the extra info you get on a DVD.  All of this for $8.00!

I have been carping on the idea that publishers don't get it; so you would think that this news would make me very happy.  After all, Penguin is finally utilizing the power of digital presentation. 

Well, sort of. 

First, you have to get over the fact that they are asking you to pay $8.00 for a book that is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free at project Gutenberg.  Even more to the point, Project Gutenberg  offers four different text version (at least two of which can be read on ANY eBook Reader)  and an MP3 audio version.  

Second, from what I can see all they are planning to do is to add more text and a few static images and call it a day.  Things you can easily Google if you are interested in the info.  I have to agree with Jimmy Guteman at O'Reilly Radar that this is a pretty lame experiment in eBooks. 

But it is a start. 

I am actually more impressed with their other experiment entitled We Tell Stories. This is a story/game created by a new Company Six to Start and Penguin.  They describe it as "hybrid of traditional story-telling, Web 2.0-style mashups, interactive games and classic novels."

Jeremy Ettinghausen, the digital publisher for Penguin says "We Tell Stories is actually a seven-part adventure.   It will begin with six weekly installments, each of which is based on a classic novel–and written by a different Penguin author–and which tasks participants with finding their way through the story using tools developed for the game"

The descriptions didn't really tell me anything so I went and checked it out.

The first installment 21 Steps is based on Charles Cumming's 39 Steps. It is clever.  You follow the character on Google map as the story is told in a series of text bubbles.  This is one of those cases where you probably need to experience it to really get it. 


This is not exactly my cup of tea, but it is at least a creative blending of technology and books. 

Kudos' to Penguin for at least trying something different!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sir Arthur Clarke - 1918-2008

Henri Reynard is the SciFi reader in our house.  We think he read everything Clarke ever wrote.  As a "fan" and admirer of Clarke he wrote this special obituary for this blog.


The world is always losing great human beings. Life and death dictate that fact for all of us. Even the greatest of lives comes to an end. Arthur Clarke’s life has ended. He left behind a legacy that few human beings achieve. As a scientist, writer and philosopher he impacted billions of lives. His invention of the satellite communications systems in such broad use today was only one small element of his wide ranging interest in the future of humanity.

image Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, these men were the trinity of Science Fiction when I was young. The genre was sometimes then, and occasionally today remains, steeped in the logic and fundamental understanding of what science has meant to humanity. From extended life spans full of warmth, light and knowledge; to systems that offer us the hope of solving problems as far reaching as global warming or asteroid impact, these men were seminal in their vision of hope for the future.

I grew up in that atmosphere of hope along with a lot of young men and women, we are all old now. In a tiny blink of that ancient dragon time’s eye all of those years have fled. What they have left with me thanks to the men and women like Clarke who taught me so much about life and dreaming and working for a better future is still that hope and concern for humanity that their work expressed.

I will miss this great human being whom I never knew personally more than a lot of the people who inhabited places far closer to my life. I suspect that is a measure of how many of the people who were touched by his writings feel today. The delight of discovery that his work and times imbued in me remains and will be with me as long as my synapses are still snapping away.

I read with great interest his final interview.  The most iconic moment in the interview was when the interviewer, Sawato R. Das, asked whether Clarke had ever "suspected that these satellites would one day prove to be so valuable to telecommunications."

He laughed and said:

“I'm often asked why I didn't try to patent the idea of communications satellites. My answer is always, ‘A patent is really a license to be sued.' ”

Thank you Arthur and God speed your being into whatever the best of all your futures might bring. Perhaps there won't be any lawyers there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Publishing World Odds and Ends

Seems like there have been an inordinate number of interesting and creative people how have left us in the last month or so.  In my more depressive moments, I look around at the world we live in and wonder if they don't have the right idea.  And then I snap out of it.

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke was someone who looked around and saw opportunities.  I think he saw the world and the humans in it as raw material. 

I am not a big Science Fiction fan but I am sure I have seen 2001:  A Space Odyssey at least ten times.  For my generation it was a rite of passage. 

Between the movie and his appearances with Walter Cronkite during the space walks I knew who he was.  As a bookseller he was hard to miss with over 100 titles that he either wrote or co-authored.

My main connection to him, however is more personal.  It is in the form of a placard on my desk.  It has been there for over 20 years and was given to me by a couple of programmers. Once in the middle of a project I asked them to explain to me exactly what they were doing and how the software they had written worked.  After listening to a long convoluted explanation I finally concluded that it was just easiest to say that what they did was magic.   

The next day they presented me with a placard that simply says:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology


indistinguishable from magic.”

Arthur C. Clarke was an original who produced his how kind of magic.

Another One Bites the Dust

I wasn't sure how to characterize this piece of information.


It's official:  Amazon now owns Audible.  Amazon has said they completed their acquisition of at the $11.50 a share offering price. Audible is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.  Evidently media consolidation is proceeding everywhere; even on the Internet.

Audible just celebrated a solid ten year anniversary.  That is a long time in internet years.  It is hard to remember now, but 10 years ago MP3 was an unproven technology.  Players were primitive and CD's ruled the audio market. iPods did not exist. Most people saw this as a good idea, but no one was sure if it would really catch on.

So here were are ten year later.  MP3 music and books are ubiquitous.  It makes me very happy to see that the early believers in an unproven technology are getting compensation for their faith.

On A Lighter Note

This is too good to have made up. . .

Publishers assign each book to a specific category.  I routinely get lists that show me the Title of a Book, the ISBN number, the Author, the Publisher and the category (as assigned by the publisher).  Here is my current favorite:


I almost left it there; but then who would find it? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Discounted eBooks - March 19, 2008

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I am particularly happy to see John Adams on this list; I loved this book! For riveting stories it is hard to beat either The Lost Ark of the Covenant or Amy and Isabelle. Betrayal is on my eBook and I am planning to read it next. And evidently some of you are planning to head to the Olympics this summer.

This week's coupon code is BAS27; use it for your additional 10% discount.
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John Adams eBook edition
by McCullough, David
In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot -- It is both a riveting portrait of an abundantly human man and a vivid evocation of his time, much of it drawn from an outstanding collection of Adams family letters and diaries. In particular, the more than one thousand surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams, nearly half of which have never been published.
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List Price : $18.95
Your price $14.95 (Using your 10% discount and $ .77 points in eBook Reward points)
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Betrayal eBook Edition
by: Lescroart, John
Hardy and Glitsky reunite in a story filled with the big themes that are worthy of them-the intersection of love, betrayal, and a desperate search for the truth in a critical matter of national security. When Dismas Hardy agrees to clean up the caseload of recently disappeared attorney Charlie Bowen, he thinks it will be easy. . .
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List Price : $26.95
Your price $20.74 (Using your 10% discount and $ 1.09 iin eBook Reward points)
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Lost Ark of the Covenant eBook edition
by: Parfitt, Tudor .
The Lost Ark of the Covenant is the real-life account of an astounding quest—professor Tudor Parfitt's effort to recover the revered artifact that contained the Ten Commandments, sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. . . .The Lost Ark of the Covenant is a vivid and page-turning account of the culmination of two decades of research by an acclaimed scholar and adventurer. In the end, legend becomes reality as an unknown history comes to light, and with it our understanding of this lost treasure is changed forever.
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List Price : $19.95
Your price $17.06 (Using your 10% discount and $ .90 in eBook Reward points)
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AMY & ISABELLE r eBook edition
by: Strout, Elizabeth, Mayle, Pete
Amy Goodrow, a shy high school student in a small mill town, falls in love with her math teacher, and together they cross the line between understandable fantasy and disturbing reality. When discovered, this emotional and physical trespass brings disgrace to Amy's mother, Isabelle, and intensifies the shame she feels about her own past. In a fury, she lashes out. . .
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List Price : $9.95
Your price $8.51 (Using your 10% discount and $ .45 in eBook Reward points)
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Travel Beijing, China - 2008 Summer Olympics - Illustrated Guide, Phrasebook and Maps. FREE general info, map and basic phrasebook eBook edition
by: Mobile Reference
An illustrated city guide, phrasebook, and maps. Indulge Yourself with a personal tour guide on Your PDA. Fully illustrated. With Historical overviews, Interesting facts, Street Map, Transportation Maps, Museums hours and tickets info. Access the guide anytime, anywhere - at home, on the train, in the subway, during a flight. Bookmarks Text annotation and mark-up + Automatic synchronization between the handheld and the desktop PC. You could read half of the book on the handheld, then finish reading on the desktop. Annotations and drawings are also synchronized.
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List Price : $19.99
Your price $17.99 (Using your 10% discount and $ .90 in eBook Reward points)

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

eBooks and Technology on College Campuses

College Bookstore Retailers get together once a year to discuss ideas and trends in their industry.  This year they gathered in Austin, Texas.  One of the pieces of news coming out of that conference caught my attention.  

It was a report about a speech by Mark Nelson, digital content strategist for the National Association of College Stores.  He spoke at length about digital reading on college campuses.  In his remarks he noted that "digital change could come as quickly as the iPod became a staple of college students."  He went on to say that "in four years, iPod adoption by college freshman went from 0% to 85%."

I knew the percentage of "plugged in" kids was high, but 85%?  Wow!

The advent of digital content and the iPod revolutionized the music business.  I keep waiting for something to come along to do the same for publishing.  I used to think that there might one day be an iPod for books.  I am less certain of that these days. 

But I digress.

The real point is that digital delivery of all media, including reading,  is very much integrated into college life. Even with no iPod for books, digital textbooks are making inroads.  There is enough of a trend that College Book stores are taking note.  A study by the National Association of College stores reports that:

  • 18.5% of students strongly prefer e-texts over the print version of the same books,
  • 18% have purchased or accessed digital material.
  • 17% of students said they would pay more for a print book if a digital version is included.

David Rothman over at Teleread reported on another study.  This one released by Educause.  They did an in depth study of Students and Faculty Preferences for Print Books vs eBooks.  This study had more interesting information about digital reading on college campuses:

  • 18.5 percent of the surveyed students preferred eBooks for textbooks
  • 7.9 percent had no preference for eBooks over print books
  • 80.1 percent of students favored p-books for recreational reading
  • 0% of College Faculty preferred eBooks for recreational reading
  • a mere 2.6 percent preferred E for recreational reading.
  • 38 percent of students favored e reading for research or had no preference

My introduction to eBooks on the college campus was almost six years ago.  My daughter signed up for a political science class.  "The Prince" by Machiavelli  was assigned reading. I'll never forget how excited she when she figured out that she could download the book on to her pocket PC (telephone) and carry one less book.  It seemed like textbooks as eBooks was a natural.  And six years later it is starting to happen. 

I would like to come up with some wise words or profound conclusion about this information.  Unfortunately, after a long week of moving our offices, I am too brain dead to do that.  About the best I can do is to observe that eReading is finally beginning to make a difference in education and it is about time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Helping Me Help Myself (eBook Edition)

In case you missed it in my Tolle piece, I'll say it right up front.  I am a cynic.

Actually it is more accurate to say that I am  not a fan of self help books.  I am highly suspicious of quick fixes and have a deep antipathy for true believers.  

I am from the doing school of life.  As a doer,  I find the whole idea of reading about self improvement to be slightly ludicrous. 

Reading, talking and taking seminars is all very nice, but to effect real change you have to DO something! 

Beth Lisick's send up of the self help industry is informative, whimsical, satirical and clever. It's a Cliff Notes version of ten self help programs for $20.00.  Talk about saving time and money!  This is a deal that is hard to pass up. 

Beth takes us on a journey of the self help, self improvement world.  It starts on New Years day 2006 when she looks at her life (which is in disarray) and decides she needs help.  She decides to explore a different self help program every month for a year.  It turns out she only gets to ten, but it hardly matters.  In this memoir she takes us on her journey.  Here's the itinerary:   

  • January - Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup/Success)
  • February - Steven Covey (7 Habits/Success)
  • March - John Gray (Venus and Mars/Communication)
  • April - Richard Simmons (health)
  • May - Julie Morgenstern (organization)
  • June - Thomas Phelan (child rearing)
  • July - Six sentences on intimacy with her husband (BRAVO!!)
  • August - Eleven sentences on slacking (hmmmm)
  • September - Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way/ creativity)
  • October - Suze Orman (finances)
  • November - Deepak Chopra (spirituality)
  • December - Sylvia Browne (death and the afterlife)

This is a painless and humorous journey that kept me entertained.  And the book is a lot like real life -- good intentions and so-so follow through.  You know she meant to get in there do what these gurus suggested.  And yet, it always seemed that somehow life (or her own psyche) got in the way. 

It is not a perfect book.  There are a number of things that could have been done better.  No matter, it is still fun to read and worth every penny.

Here is the publisher's take:

Grappling with her lifelong phobia of anything slick, cheesy, or remotely claiming to provide self-empowerment, Beth Lisick wakes up on New Year's Day 2006 with an unprecedented feeling. She is finally able to admit to herself that she's grown tired of embracing the same old set of nagging problems year after year. She has no savings account. Her house feels unorganized and chaotic. She and her husband never hang out together. The last time she exercised regularly was as a member of her high school track team almost twenty years ago.

Instead of turning to advice from the abundant pool of local life coaches, therapists, and healers readily available on her home turf of northern California, Beth confronts her fears head-on. She consults the multimillion-dollar-earning pros and national experts, not only reading their bestselling books but also attending their seminars and classes. In Chicago, she gets proactive with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In Atlanta, she tries to get a handle on exactly why "women are from Venus," and in a highly comedic bout on the high seas of the Caribbean, she gamely sweats to the oldies on a weeklong Cruise to Lose with Richard Simmons.

Throughout this yearlong experiment, Beth tries extremely hard to maintain her wry sense of humor and easygoing nature, even as she starts to fall prey to some of the experts' ideas, ideas she thought she'd spent her whole life rejecting. Beth doesn't think of herself as the typical self-help victim. But is she?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Discounted eBooks - March 12, 2008

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Here are the titles you asked for. Use Coupon Code A9JG4 at checkout to get your discount. Remember, New Releases and New York Times Best Sellers are always discounted 10% at eBooks About Everything. Check them out!
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Truth & Consequences eBook edition
by Olbermann, Keith
Short, sharp, and oftentimes shocking, Keith Olbermann’s “Special Comments” have made his nightly MSNBC program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, must-see viewing–and the fastest-growing news show on cable TV. In these segments, Olbermann calls out the perpetrators of mismanagement, brutality, cronyism, and the appalling lack of accountability at the highest levels of the Bush administration. In so doing, Olbermann goes where most of the mainstream media fear to tread–and his rapidly expanding audience eagerly follows.
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List Price : $18.00
Your price $15.39 (Using your 10% discount and $ .81 points in eBook Reward points)
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A Change of Heart eBook Edition
by: Picoult, Jodi C.
One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen. For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him.
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Your price $13.07 (Using your 10% discount and $ .69 iin eBook Reward points)
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Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution eBook edition
by: Gundry, Steven R.
STEVEN R. GUNDRY, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.C.C., is the inventor of some of the most widely used heart-surgery devices and is renowned as an infant heart-transplant surgeon. Now, through his Center for Restorative Medicine, he helps patients avoid cardiac and other surgical procedures by using nutrition to reverse heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. By bridging the gap between Dr. Atkins and Dr. Ornish and combining the best of the raw-foods and sugar-free plans, Dr. Gundry brings us to the next stage of diet evolution.
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Your price $20.21 (Using your 10% discount and $1.01 in eBook Reward points)
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No Country for Old Men eBook edition
by: McCarthy, Cormac
Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, instead finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and more than $2 million in cash. Packing the money out, he knows, will change everything. But only after two more men are murdered does a victim’s burning car lead Sheriff Bell to the carnage out in the desert, and he soon realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. One party in the failed transaction hires an ex–Special Forces officer to defend his interests against a mesmerizing freelancer, while on either side are men accustomed to spectacular violence and mayhem. The pursuit stretches up and down and across the border, each participant seemingly determined to answer what one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?
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Your price $8.51 (Using your 10% discount and $ .45 in eBook Reward points)
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How Soccer Explains the World eBook edition
by: Foer, Franklin
Soccer is much more than a game, or even a way of life. It is a perfect window into the cross–currents of today's world, with all its joys and its sorrows. In this remarkably insightful, wide–ranging work of reportage, Franklin Foer takes us on a surprising tour through the world of soccer, shining a spotlight on the clash of civilizations, the international economy, and just about everything in between. How Soccer Explains the World is an utterly original book that makes sense of our troubled times.
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Your price $9.36 (Using your 10% discount and $ .49 in eBook Reward points)
Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Deep Dish (eBook edition)


Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews is my favorite kind of chick lit.  You take a spunky woman who's life has taken a turn for the worse and pair her with an impossibly charming and handsome guy, add witty dialogue and watch the sparks fly.

It doesn't hurt that this particular novel is about food and even features a very cute puppy.  And if that isn't enough, there is the ex who is still hanging around and the Mom who can't quit calling.

There is absolutely no good reason to read a book like this except for pure escape and enjoyment.  It doesn't tax your brain or require any work to follow the plot.  And yet, the dialog and the juxtaposition of people and situations will make you laugh.

For some reason I am a sucker for Southern authors -- Anne Rivers Siddons, Dorothea Benton Frank or Rebecca Wells.  I am not from the South and if fact have only visited there a couple of times. I am a Westerner and it would be very hard to have a more different life experience.  And yet I always love these authors.

Perhaps the secret is in the sheer humanity of heroine.  We all have bad hair days, pesky relatives, annoying co-workers and major set back and there is something cathartic in seeing them conquered with guts, humor and absurdity.

You can always count on Mary Kay Andrews to write an enjoyable novel. She has a great ear for dialog, a wonderful sense of the absurd and a keen understanding of her audience. 

This is a feel good novel, this is a lot of fun.  The publisher synopsis pretty much tells the story:

Chef extraordinaire Gina Foxton doesn't expect anything to be handed to her on a platter. After years of hard work, the former runner-up Miss Teen Vidalia Onion is now the host of her own local Georgia public television show called Fresh Start, and she's dating the show's producer.

But when her show gets canceled—and she catches her boyfriend in flagrante delicto with the boss's wife—Gina realizes that she's meant for bigger and better things. Namely, a gig on national television.

The Cooking Channel is looking for its next big star, and Gina is certain that she fits the bill. Trouble is, the execs also have their eyes on Mr. "Kill It and Grill It" Tate Moody, the star of a hunting, fishing, and cooking show named Vittles. Tate is the ultimate man's man, with a dog named Moonpie and a penchant for flannel shirts. He's also a tasty side of beef with a swooning female fan base. All Gina has on her side are a free-spirited, college-dropout sister and a mother who calls every single day.

Little does Gina know, though, that she and Tate are soon to embark on the cook-off of their lives, spiced up by a little ingredient called love.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Odds and Ends for March 6, 2008

So many things have gone on in the last week or so that it is difficult to choose a few of the most notable:  William F. Buckley Jr. and Gary Gygax passed on; one more fake memoir, the Oprah-Tolle webinar; the Beautiful Children give away and so much more.

Passed On

William F. Buckley Jr. was an accomplished human being.  A writer, television host, magazine founder and political pundit.  He was embodiment of how to disagree without being disagreeable.  He was a prolific writer and I am sad to say that we only have two of his titles in our store:

I love The Rake and recommend it highly.  This is last book and epitomized his wit, style and use of language.

Gary Gygax was the creator of Dungeons and Dragons.  I am not a gamer but have been surrounded by a lot of them in my life.  You can't work with Techies all your life and not know a few.  He is one of those people I have a special feeling for, probably with not good reason.  No matter what else you can say, this man with a great imagination a sense of fun.


The Oprah-Tolle Webinar

Technology -- love it when it works and hate it when it doesn't.  A lot of the Oprah=Tolle webinar attendees woke up Tuesday, hating it.  Seems there was a little bandwidth problem. 

A statement of apology was issued saying that they"recognize that interactive Internet broadcasting to a mass audience is still an emerging medium" and they "deeply regret that some of our audience did not have an optimal viewing experience and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Don't worry. . . you can still get a copy of the webinar for viewing on or for downloading as a podcast on or iTunes . 

At first the fact that response was so great it killed the system surprised me.  But the more I thought about it the more I realized that for most people watching or listening to the webinar is a FAR BETTER experience than actually having to read the book! 

Fake Memoirs

Every year we have at least one of them -- a made up memoir.  A  perfectly great piece of fiction passed off as the real deal.  When this happens I start to ruminate on the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. . .

I have a long standing prejudice against autobiographies.  Usually they are an opportunity for the author to rationalize the big events in their life until they come out settling scores and looking good.  Or at least they figure they have offered a rational explanation for shoddy or indefensible behavior. 

So what exactly is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir?  Well, the official definition goes like this:

A memoir covers a shorter period of time or a more specific aspect of life. An autobiography has a wider range of both.

So how short a period of time qualifies?  A childhood, teen years, the years of addiction, a long illness?  Who knows. 

And I also wonder about truth vs emotional truth.  No one remembers things accurately, not really.  We see the past through our own emotional filters that color everything. 

Is there such a thing as a truthful memoir?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

eBook Discounts for March 5, 2008

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This week seems to be big on MIT -- research about rational decisions and student who gamble. . . Two excellent pieces of fiction one at the movies now and I would look to see And Sometimes Why as a film one day. And for the serious student an exam cram book on CCNA.

Use coupon code DH59Y at check out to get this weeks discounts.
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Predictably Irrational eBook edition
by Ariely, Dan
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control. We think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we? In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.
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List Price : $17.96
Your price $13.82 (Using your 10% discount and $.73 points in eBook Reward points)
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Other Boleyn Girl eBook Edition
by: Gregory, Philippa
Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne.
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List Price : $5.99
Your price $5.12 (Using your 10% discount and $ .27 iin eBook Reward points)
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Bringing Down the House eBook Edition
by: Mezrich, Ben
TIn the midst of the go-go eighties and nineties, a group of overachieving, anarchistic MIT students joined a decades-old underground blackjack club dedicated to counting cards and beating the system at major casinos around the world. While their classmates were working long hours in labs and libraries, the blackjack team traveled weekly to Las Vegas and other glamorous gambling locales, with hundreds of thousands of dollars duct-taped to their bodies.
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List Price : $5.99
Your price $5.12 (Using your 10% discount and $ .27 iin eBook Reward points)
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And Sometimes Why eBook edition
by:Johnson, Rebecca
From a contributing editor for Vogue, a pitch-perfect, funny, and poignant novel about the joy and heartache of how deeply one person's life can affect so many others. With wit and warmth, first novel And Sometimes Why captures the fragile rhythm and unpredictable drama of family life. When Sophia and Darius say good-bye to their teenage daughters one unremarkable morning, they have no idea how permanently their family will be affected by a decision made around the breakfast table.
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List Price : $24.95
Your price $19.20 (Using your 10% discount and $1.01 in eBook Reward points)
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CCNA Exam Cram eBook edition
by: Hayes, Michael H., Whitaker, Andrew J., Valentine, Michael Hayes
The Smart Way to Study™
“The CCNA exam is difficult and I would not have passed it if I did not have this book with me. The CCNA Exam Cram is an indispensable resource that guided me from the introduction of networking fundamentals to the application of networking theories. Whether you need to learn from scratch or just need a quick reference, this book is an excellent guide that will definitely reinforce your knowledge of Cisco networking and prepare you for the CCNA.” –Vincent Gov, CCNA
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List Price : $31.99
Your price $27.35 (Using your 10% discount and $1.44 in eBook Reward points)

Our guarantee: If you have bought one of these titles from eBooks About in the last 15 days -- we will gladly offer you a rebate on the book; just contact us.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Beast In Paradise eBook Edition

Every once in a while I get a review sent to me for approval that peaks my interest in a book I have never noticed before.  

I received this one in my mail box the other morning.  It came in as from an anonymous reviewer.  I suspect the reviewer is actually the author, but the review did peak my interest so I am posting it here.

While I was in China I saw a huge billboard poster and ad with excepts about  "A BEAST IN PARADISE," by Jess Symlar. 

Almost everyone that I meet, is either reading the book or talking about it.  The book is stylish, high tech, realistic and extremely visual.  It takes place in the near future, but moves meticulously on a journey between the past, present and future. 

The story is told in first person, through the eyes of the protagonist and main character, Dr. Jerome Hendricks.  What is discovered while journeying through the world of Dr. Hendricks, is that treating his patients from a deadly disease called symbionic withdrawal, is being caused by the misuse of a banned symbionic chip. 

His investigation reveals that this lethal and addictive chip is based on an ancient science, which enabled the early alchemists to use over 90 percent of their minds to accomplish unbelievable deeds. It doesn't take long before Hendricks determines that the chips are being illegally distributed by a powerful conspiracy. 

The stakes are high and only members of a secret society known as the Disciples of Sef can interpret the shrouded messages, which can neutralize the mental effects of the chips. 

This  prompts Hendricks to write a bestselling book about it, which describes symbionic psychology as the cure for symbionic withdrawal.  As a result, he becomes a threat to Eric Krill a wealthy businessman who seeks to distribute symbionic chips to control powerful people. 

In order to stop Krill, Hendricks enlists the help of Dr. Deborah Hilter who is an expert biotechnologist and a member of the Disciples of Sef.  Together they devise a plan and embark on a mission to prevent the illegal mass distribution of symbionic chips worldwide.

Since the book is written in first person, it creates an engaging effect, based on an array of clues and clarity, which appeals to the senses and keeps the reader interested and willing to go forward to know what will be the final outcome.

The other reason to post this is to remind you that you get points worth a quarter ($ .25) for each review you post

If I had been posting reviews instead blogging I would have earned enough to buy a couple of new books. 


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