Kindle News Stories: Cheers and Jeers!

Uma Thurman reads the Cat in the Hat

I see alot of interesting stories about Amazon’s Kindle, and it seemed like it’d be fun to do a special “lightning round”, taking quick note of both the best and the worst stories from the last few weeks. There’s at least one heart-warming story, one provokative developments, and at least a few people who are definitely deserving of some jeers. In fact, I wanted to make this list partly just so I could give a special jeer to all of the authors cited in this story in the Wall Street Journal.


Jeers to the “Authors Who Buy Their Way Onto Best-Seller Lists

About 10 days ago, the Journal published a startling expose of a company called ResultsSource, which promises authors that it can deliver specific sales milestones, including “over 100,000 copies sold” or even an appearance on the best-seller list. The article cites publishing industry insiders who are worried that “bulk purchases are being made to appear like single sales to qualify for inclusion in best-seller lists,” and even when the books drop off the best-seller list, it still becomes a credential that the authors can tout as they hunt for speaking and consulting gigs. For one business book, more copies were later returned in a single week than were sold in that same week, which was still a win for the author since he’d already reached the best-seller list. At least one author admitted he’d paid between $20,000 and $30,0000 for an artifical boost to his book sales — though I should probably also award Cheers here to Amazon, who told the Journal that they were no longer willing to do any business with ResultSource. But…


Jeers to Amazon for deleting eBooks from their App

Amazon had just wanted to update the Kindle app they’d created for Apple’s iOS — but for a short time last week, a bug apparently actually deleted the ebooks which had already been downloaded into the app. “Now I have to upload over 130 books from the cloud,” one user complained to the technology blog Mashable, which also reports that Amazon eventually updated their update to fix the problematic behavior.


Cheers to Uma Thurman
I didn’t want to let the week go by without acknowledging one of my favorite, heart-warming stories. Last Friday movie actress Uma Thurman read The Cat in the Hat to more than 250 schoolchildren — many of whom were wearing special red and white-striped hats just like the cat in Dr. Seuss’s book. It was all part of “Read Across America” Day, which boasts 45 million participants, as a partnership between the Random House, the National Educationa Association, and Dr. Seuss Enterprises. (Each child in Manhattan got a free copy of The Cat in the Hat.) But there’s some fun footage of the event on the NEA’s web site (at NEA.org ) which includes a clip from Manhattan’s public library showing Thurman delivering an especially dramatic rendition of the children’s classic.

“I saw there with Sally, we sat there we too, and I said, ‘How I wish we had something to do…'”


Cheers for the funny “Kindle at the beach” ad.

I love Amazon’s TV ads for the Kindle, and when I first saw this one on TV, it felt like another one I’d already seen before, where a man and a woman at the beach discuss how it’s still possible to read on a Kindle in the sun. It’s a shot at the iPad (and other tablets), which reflect the glare of the sun when you’re trying to read at the beach — but this ad ends with a surprising twist. The man buys himself a Kindle, and then turns to the woman and says “We should celebrate.”

My husband’s bringing me a drink right now,” she tells him.

“So’s mine!” the man replies.

You can watch the whole thing at YouTube.com/Kindle, along with all of Amazon’s other Kindle ads — including another 30-second ad with no dialogue at all — just 30 seconds of people reading their Kindles at the beach!

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