Tag: Amazon

  • Dropping the tech giants

    Dropping the tech giants

    No, I’m not doing that. I stopped using Google once, but they ensnared me again. I’m weak, I know. Anyway, this semi-interactive column at the New York Times has been making the rounds, and I find it interesting. It asks the question which of the tech giants you’d stop using first.

    Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I’ve argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable?

    I’d drop them in the following order.

    First, Microsoft. There’s not much they make that I can’t live without, but gaming would be difficult since I have a pretty extensive Steam library and the SteamOS is far from ready for prime time. I’d shed a tear and move on though, that’s what the Switch is for after all.

    Second, Facebook. It’s no secret I find this to be an abhorrent company with questionable motives. That said, I find myself struggling to drop Instagram, and a lot of communication is happening on Facebook itself, and through Messenger. Still, all of that is replaceable to me. Still not panicking.

    Third, Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company. This one would mean I’d have to go back to Fastmail for email as well as cut all the other Google Apps services. But you know what? While that would be a pain, the alternatives are getting there. Outside of email, I think all of Google’s services can be replaced with equally useful tools. In fact, had I done my Fastmail experiment today I probably would’ve been happy without Google still. They do quality services, but the ever watchful eye is as frightening as Facebook’s. And DuckDuckGo is a proper search engine too.

    Fourth, Amazon. Prime isn’t really a thing in Sweden so this one might hurt more for some of you. I’d miss Kindle, my Oasis is my primary reading device, but there are plenty of alternatives. I’d also miss Comixology, where I read graphic novels. Much like the column I’m viewing this as a consumer, so Amazon Web Services (and Microsoft’s Azure, for that matter) are still free to use through the companies that rely on them. Quitting Amazon would hurt.

    Finally, Apple. It’s not just that I’m invested in their ecosystem or that they make the best phones and tablets, no, it’s trust. Apple is the only one of the big five tech companies that appear to be fighting for me, and my privacy. Now if that would change things might be different, but hopefully they’ll continue to stand for the little guy.

  • Amazon and Hachette are friends again

    The feud over ebook pricing between publisher Hachette, and Amazon, is over. Recode:

    On the surface, the deal appears to be a win for Hachette, which will set prices for its electronic books sold through Amazon. But Amazon is offering “financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices,” Kindle exec David Naggar said in a statement.

    The whole thing was weird to begin with, and the feud points to two things.

    1. Amazon thinks they can dictate terms, but they might bit have such a firm grasp of the (ebook) market as they, and everyone else, initially thought.
    2. Big publishing still acts like big publishing, which means they’ll go to any length to get their agenda through.

    Consumers and authors are caught in the crossfire.

  • Kindle Voyage, premium reader at a premium price

    Speaking of Kindle Voyage, here’s Jason Snell:

    The Kindle Voyage is a premium reader at a premium price, targeting people who love their Kindles so much that they won’t hesitate to spend $200 for the best Kindle they can buy. It’s a smart decision, I think, and the Voyage is an excellent product.

    That all said, I have to admit that of all the Kindle upgrades I’ve done over the years, this one felt the least significant. The screen is better, but the Paperwhite screen was already quite good. It’s good to have buttons again, but the accidental touches I make on the screen adjacent to the buttons somewhat reduce my enthusiasm for that feature. The typography is unchanged and mediocre.

    Jason’s not too sure about the worth of the upgrade from Paperwhite. I’ll hold off, $199 is pretty steep and, already owning the Paperwhite, I fail to see the immediate need.

  • Scathing Kindle Voyage review

    Marco Arment on Amazon’s new Kindle Voyage:

    I suspect this will be my last Kindle. Amazon doesn’t care about e-ink Kindles anymore. Why should we?

    Scathing. I can see where he’s coming from here, but truth be told I’m pretty happy with my Kindle Paperwhite, the previous version so to speak. Yes, it’s even worse than dumb glass, but it works in sunlight, and that’s a killer feature for a few months every year.

  • Amazon to open store in New York

    Paywalled WSJ report says that Amazon will open a physical store in New York in time for the holidays.

    Amazon’s space at 7 West 34th St., across from the Empire State Building in Midtown, would function as a mini-warehouse, with limited inventory for same-day delivery within New York, product returns and exchanges, and pickups of online orders.

    It’s probably more about marketing than actual sales.

  • The Amazon Fire Phone Is About The Future

    I haven’t played with nor seen Amazon’s smartphone, the Fire Phone. It’ll probably not even be available in my neck of the woods, much like the Kindle Fire tablets. It matters little for this piece though.

    Amazon showing off the Firefly feature
    Amazon showing off the Firefly feature

    The tech media seem puzzled about Amazon’s decision to ”fork Android” (read Ben Evans’ piece on this if you’re interested) and go head to head with Apple, Google, and to a lesser extent, Microsoft. There are some interesting features in the Fire Phone, including the 3D UI, Firefly and Mayday, and the Buy button, and then there’s Amazon’s Prime service too. The general consensus is that the Fire Phone is an expensive yet underpowered high-end smartphone with Amazon’s limited app store, tailored for Amazon services. The question this beckons is who’d want this?

    It’s a valid question, with an obvious yet complicated answer: Amazon’s customers wants this. The answer is obvious because if you do all your shopping at Amazon, if you use Prime, then the Fire Phone’s for you. On paper that might make sense, but in reality smartphones are personal devices and I doubt a lot of us want to be defined by where we buy adult diapers.


  • Amazon Ruined Comixology

    Amazon just set digital comics back three years. They bought Comixology, the largest digital comics reseller and service, a while back and although Amazon has a decent track record pertaining acquisitions and their ongoing existence, this is one they botched right away.

    You used to be able to buy comics from within the Comixology app, via an in-app purchase. Simple and effective, because this meant you opened the app just to see if there was something interesting to read. Tap, comic bought, and start reading right away.

    Now you can’t do that anymore.


  • Kindle Worlds And Fan Fiction

    Amazon’s gotten quite a bit of buzz from its Kindle Worlds announcement. Basically, it’s a way for the company to make money of fan fiction, share some of it with license holders, as well as the actual writers.

    With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.

    Fan fiction gets written no matter what. The people who write fan fiction do so because they’re fans, and thus there are probably no commercial motives. The chance to make a little bit of money by publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds will no doubt appeal to some though, and if Amazon can secure some licenses then this might become a big deal.

    A big deal for Amazon and the licensees, that is. Possibly for some writers as well, but much like self-publishing overall, the vast majority will make very little, if anything at all.

    What’s the problem with that, you might wonder?


  • Amazon Thinks I Should Buy The Writer's iPad

    Amazon are generally great when it comes to promoting relevant content to its customers. Their newsletters often result in me spending a few dollars on books. But this time I think they went a bit too far, by listing The Writer’s iPad as a top pick for me in their most recent mailing:

    Amazon recommends The Writer's iPad to me
    Amazon recommends The Writer’s iPad to me

    No Amazon, I won’t be buying my own book from you, but thanks anyway. It’s not that far off actually, if I hadn’t written it myself I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

    Here’s hoping that same recommendation went out to a bunch of other people as well. I could do with a sales bump on Amazon.

  • The Writer's iPad, One Week Later

    What a week.

    Around this time last week I unleashed The Writer’s iPad upon the world. People seem to like it, although I haven’t been able to follow up on that as much as I would’ve liked. At the very least, I am very happy with getting some nice exposure from the likes of Minimal Mac and Tools & Toys, as well as several nice tweets. There’s been some Swedish pieces about the ebook too, but since most of you won’t understand much of those I’ll let them be for the time being.

    Alexander at Odd Alice did the cover
    Alexander at Odd Alice did the cover

    All and all, I’m really happy with The Writer’s iPad thus far. The project is far from laid to rest though, as I have yet to get the ebook up on iBooks Store. The planned method of getting it there turned out to make the ePub look like crap, and that’s a shame since The Writer’s iPad got the professional layout treatment from my friend and colleague Alexander at Odd Alice. I won’t put a sub-par version up on iBooks Store when there is a perfectly good ePub available in the package that you get when buying The Writer’s iPad from yours truly. This is a priority come next week – The Writer’s iPad will hit the iBooks Store, I promise you that. For now, if you can’t wait, just buy the package from me (for $3,99), the ePub looks and works great in iBooks.


  • The Day When Nothing Worked

    I had five things to do today.

    1. Test a simple API script on a client server, and report on the findings to a client. This should’ve taken 30 minutes or so.
    2. Tweak a search page for a client, and let them test it thoroughly. This was estimated to take up to an hour.
    3. Launch the new version of TDH.me.
    4. Launch The Writer’s iPad, on a store of my own as well as on Amazon. Possibly submit the ebook to other retailers as well.
    5. Celebrate with the bubbly stuff.

    Things didn’t quite work out the way I planned.


  • Pricing digital products

    I love books and music, and every now and then I watch movie. These three types of products belong to markets being disrupted right now, which means there’s a lot of moaning and whining and fear mongering going on, as well as a lot of problems when it comes to adapting.

    Pricing is one of these problems.

    • I buy most of my books from Amazon and almost all of them are Kindle ebooks.
    • I buy music on vinyl and from iTunes, as well as use Spotify for streaming music on a daily basis.
    • I never ever buy movies and you won’t catch me in a cinema if I can help it, but I have been known to rent movies from Headweb.

    The system works then? Nope, because the pricing is way off.


  • Mer om tredje utgåvan av Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog

    Nyfiken på mer om Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, 3rd Edition? Det är tveklöst den bästa versionen hittills, så kolla in boksidan vetja. Dessutom: lätt uppdaterad författarsida på Amazon.

  • Two minor updates

    I’ve made two minor updates on the site today.

    1. The Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, 3rd Edition page is updated with some more information, and a pre-order link.
    2. The store page got the pre-order link for the book too. No Kindle edition available there yet.

    I also updated my Amazon author page with a new cover photo and the @tdh Twitter account.

    In the not so distant future you’ll see a lot of changes here on TDH.me, as well as a somewhat steady stream of released content that I’ve neglected. Mostly WordPress themes, but there are some fiction that I’ll probably publish here as well.

  • Quick notes on the new Kindles

    Amazon finally unveiled its tablet, and it is not an iPad competitor. That doesn’t mean it will fail, on the contrary – I think the $199 Kindle Fire will sell like crazy because there is a market for a cheaper device. At least in the US where Amazon’s various content services are things people actually can swear by, how the company intends to conquer the rest of the world I have no idea, it isn’t happening yet that’s for sure.

    Since I’m in the publishing business, writing books and whatnot, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the new Kindles. (more…)