Posts Tagged amazon

Amazon strikes back

Last month we saw how Amazon had to change its Kindle iOS app to comply with Apple’s TOS.  Amazon eliminated the ‘Kindle Store’ button making it harder for Kindle readers to purchase books.   Today, Amazon has fought back by releasing the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader – A pure HTML5 web application for reading books.  The cloud reader lets you do anything that the native Kindle app does, including offline reading. And,  since HTML5 apps are not subject to Apple’s TOS,  the Kindle Cloud Reader  brings back integration with the Kinde Store.

This may ultimately become the most viable route for music subscription services as well.  Instead of creating native iOS apps, music services may look to create rich web apps instead. HTML5 is certainly capable enough, and soon audio support and local caching will be mature enough to support even the most sophisticated music listening app.  MOG has already converted their main application to HTML5.  I suspect more will follow suit.  As HTML5 improves,  we may see an exodus away from iOS.   The more you tighten your grip, Apple, the more applications will slip through your fingers.

, , , ,

1 Comment

Using bad reviews to sell stuff

Here’s a ‘sponsored link’ purchased by Amazon on the popular social news site Reddit.  The text of the ad is a excerpt from Roger Ebert’s scathing review of the movie Caligula (the review opens with “Caligula is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash” and it goes downhill from there).

I found it a bit curious to see Amazon using such a horrendous review in an ad, but those folks at Amazon are clever. The ad has over 300 comments by Reddit readers meaning that many thousands have probably clicked on the ad to see which movie Ebert was talking about.  Hundreds of comments, thousands of visitors all from a 10 word excerpt of a scathing review of the movie. Not too shabby.

Updatethe commenters point out that the sponsored link is not purchased by Amazon but by Reddit user qgyh2 who makes money via Amazon’s affiliate program. As Dan says – “he picks headlines that are likely to encourage people to click on the link and then he makes money from whatever they buy while they are at Amazon.” So, qgyh2 is the clever one (but Amazon gets cleverage points for encouraging this kind of stuff via their affiliate program).

Update 2 – flx points out that qgyh2 actually works for Reddit.  Here’s more info‘He’s helping us experiment with new ways of supporting the site. We weren’t really ready to announce this one yet, or even decide if it’s going to be a permanent fixture. When we do, there will be a blog post about it.’



Spying on how we read

[tweetmeme source=”plamere” only_single=false] I’ve been reading all my books lately using Kindle for iPhone.  It is a great way to read – and having a library of books in my pocket at all times means I’m never without a book.  One feature of the Kindle software is called Whispersync.  It keeps track of where you are in a book so that if you switch devices (from an iPhone to a Kindle or an iPad or desktop), you can pick up exactly where you left off.  Kindle also stores any bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings you make in the cloud so they can be shared across devices.   Whispersync is a useful feature for readers, but it is also a goldmine of data for Amazon.  With Whispersync data from millions of Kindle readers Amazon can learn not just what we are reading but how we are reading.  In brick-and-mortar bookstore days, the only thing a bookseller, author or publisher could really know about a book was how many copies it sold.  But now with the Whispersync Amazon can get learn all sorts of things about how we are reading.  With the insights that they gain from this data, they will, no doubt,  find better ways to help people find the books they like to read.

I hope Amazon aggregates their Whispersync data and give us some charts about how people are reading.  Some charts I’d like to see:

  • Most Abandoned – the books and/or authors that are most frequently left unfinished.  What book is the most abandoned book of all time? (My money is on ‘A Brief History of Time’) A related metric – for any particular book where is it most frequently abandoned?  (I’ve heard of dozens of people who never got past ‘The Council of Elrond’ chapter in LOTR).
  • Pageturner – the top books ordered by average number of words read per reading session.  Does the average Harry Potter fan read more of the book in one sitting than the average Twilight fan?
  • Burning the midnight oil – books that keep people up late at night.
  • Read Speed – which books/authors/genres have the lowest word-per-minute average reading rate?   Do readers of Glenn Beck read faster or slower than readers of Jon Stewart?
  • Most Re-read – which books are read over and over again?  A related metric – which are the most re-read passages?  Is it when Frodo claims the ring,  or when Bella almost gets hit by a car?
  • Mystery cheats – which books have their last chapter read before other chapters.
  • Valuable reference – which books are not read in order, but are visited very frequently? (I’ve not read my Python in a nutshell book from cover to cover, but I visit it almost every day).
  • Biggest Slogs – the books that take the longest to read.
  • Back to the start – Books that are most frequently re-read immediately after they are finished.
  • Page shufflers – books that most often send their readers to the glossary, dictionary, map or the elaborate family tree.  (xkcd offers some insights)
  • Trophy Books – books that are most frequently purchased, but never actually read.
  • Dishonest rater – books that most frequently rated highly by readers who never actually finished reading the book
  • Most efficient language – the average time to read books by language.  Do native Italians read ‘Il nome della rosa faster than native English speakers can read ‘The name of the rose‘?
  • Most attempts – which books are restarted most frequently?  (It took me 4 attempts to get through Cryptonomicon, but when I did I really enjoyed it).
  • A turn for the worse – which books are most frequently abandoned in the last third of the book?  These are the books that go bad.
  • Never at night – books that are read less in the dark than others.
  • Entertainment value – the books with the lowest overall cost per hour of reading (including all re-reads)

Whispersync is to books as the audioscrobbler is to music.  It is an implicit way to track what you are really paying attention to.  The data from Whispersync will give us new insights into how people really read books.  A chart that shows that  the most abandoned author is James Patterson may steer readers away from Patterson and toward  books by better authors.  I’d rather not turn to the New York Times Best Seller list to decide what to read.   I want  to see  the Amazon Most Frequently Finished book list instead.

, , , ,


People who shopped for baseball bats …

A fun Freakomendation from


via reddit