Finally! Real money flows to readers from eBooks Antitrust Settlement

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 5.13.34 AMIf you hover over the Shop by Department pulldown menu on the left side of your home page and then select Books->Kindle Books, you will find out how large your credit from the eBooks antitrust settlement is. I was pleasantly surprised to find that mine totals $43.36. It was issued March 10, 2014, but I’m not sure it’s been visible until today. (Hat tip to listener Linda Hopkins for letting me know about this.)

Note: an easier way to find out the size of your credit is to check your email inbox and look for a message from The subject will be your name and “You have a new $_____ book credit in your Amazon account.” Mine arrived at 5:28 a.m. this morning MDT.

The credit expires on March 31, 2015. It is calculated based on your purchase of qualifying Kindle books between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. The money has been provided by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin under terms of the settlements they agreed to as a result of the eBooks price-fixing case brought by the Department of Justice. Apple did not settle and is appealing the federal court’s verdict against it. If the verdict stands, there will be another sum of money flowing to readers courtesy of the company that initiated the scheme to keep eBook prices artificially high at the launch of the iPad.

Click here for an FAQ on the eBook settlements. It contains lots of details about the settlement payment, including the fact that you receive a bigger credit for Kindle books purchased that were on the New York Times Bestseller list. There is also a wrinkle involving whether or not you were a Minnesota resident during the claims period or not. That’s because the Minnesota Attorney General did not participate in the lawsuits, and claims on behalf of Gopher State eBook buyers were settled by a Plaintiff Class on different terms through separate negotiations.

I assume there will be similar credits for other eBook retailers, but I just checked my Barnes & Noble account online, and there is no notice of a credit related to the settlement yet. Probably Amazon has been preparing for this and set things up to go live with the credits the moment it was possible under terms of the settlements.

Enjoy your Kindle credits!


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TKC 294 Kevin Eagan

Kevin EaganFounder and Editor of Critical Margins blog and podcast

Interview starts at 14:16

I want people to see online content as something that’s in flux. We have such a great opportunity right now for people to see us as human beings, right? That we are content producers who are figuring it out as we go, basically. And that’s important to me. And that’s something I’ve always tried to do at Critical Margins.

Show Notes and Links:


My Google Glass video of the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade

My next object of gadget lust: Moto 360 smart watch running Android Wear


“Amazon Partners with Brazil’s Ministry of Education to Distribute eBooks to Teachers” by Dianna Dilworth at GalleyCat – March 18, 2014

Amazon’s Whispercast platform

“To Tango, Flamenco and Samba: Penguin Random House Merger with Santillana” by Carolo Carrenho at Publishing Perspectives – March 21, 2014

“Amazon Publishing is Hiring, Says Belle” – at Publishers Weekly – March 19, 2014

“Amazon – Building Up the Capacity to Suffer and a Wider Moat” at GuruFocus – March 17, 2014

Tech Tip

“Paperwhite Tricks, etc. “ by Walter Glenn at lifehacker – February 26, 2014

“Resetting the time remaining in chapter/book on the Paperwhite”posted by whitearrow at mobile read – October 19, 2012

The search term to enter to reset time remaining in a book on the Paperwhite is the following: ;ReadingTimeReset

Interview with Kevin Eagan

Critical Margins blog and podcast

Episode 0Episode 1, and Episode 2 of the Critical Margins podcast

“The Unknowns of Writing” by Kevin Eagan at Critical Margins – March 21, 2014

The Literature for the Halibut show on KDHX, co-hosted by Jason Braun

“Tim Ferris: 4-Hour-Hero or just another asshat?” by Jason Braun and Kevin Eagan – January 20, 2014

“Tim Ferris: 4-Hour Hero or Asshat? Part 7 – Writing When Not Writing” by Jason Braun and Kevin Eagan – April 3, 2014

Show Your Work: 10 Ways to to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon – $7.18 on Kindle

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon – $6.14 on Kindle


Humble eBook Bundle 3- The Happiest Days of Our Lives by Will Wheaton, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black, Jumper by Steven Gould, Zombies Versus Unicorns – An Anthology by various authors, Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and more to be announced soon. Average donation so far for the bundle: $10.94

“10 Best Romance Novels, Picked by Bella Andre” at Publishers Weekly – February 8, 2014

Stephen Windwalker’s free BookGorilla app for Kindle Fire HDX

Book trailer for Redeployment by Phil Klay

Redeployment by Phil Klay – $10.99 on Kindle

Upcoming Shows:

On Monday of next week, March 24, I have interviews scheduled with Austin Kleon and Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst James McQuivey  I’m not sure yet in which order they will appear on the next two episodes of the show, TKC 294 and 295 next week and the week after.

How You Can Support E-Books for Troops

Thanks to your generous support, we have raised more than $1,500. Thank you! This means we have $3,500 left to raise in order to meet this year’s fundraising goal. Click here to help, so we can continue to distribute donated Kindles to U.S. Soldiers deployed overseas.

Click here for information on how to donate your used Kindle.

For information regarding major gifts or other questions, please email me at PodChronicles AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks to all of you who are already supporting E-Books for Troops, and a special thanks to M-Edge Accessories, which donates new Kindle cases whenever we need them to supplement cases that we receive with the donated Kindles.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Persepctive” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

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Behind the Scenes of the Next TKC Episode with Kevin Eagan

In this screencast, you will see how I use Logic Pro 9.1.8 to edit the weekly TKC interview and how I prepare my script in Evernote. This week I spoke with Kevin Eagan, creator and editor of the Critical Margins blog and newly launched podcast. If you are interested in books, technology, and reading I recommend that you check out his site.

If you notice anything that I could do to improve my work flow, please let me know! You can leave a comment or question here or email me at PodChronicles AT gmail etc.

Note: In playing this video, I noticed that it looked blurry on my screen at first. It looked much better when I clicked on the gear beneath the video and set the player for 1080 p HD. Then I saw decent detail when I went to full-screen view on my big monitor. I hope it shows up clearly on your equipment!

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Amazon Offers $20 Gift Card and $20 off New Kindle for trade-ins of Sony, Nook, Kobo or Older Kindle

The heat is on. Amazon is now offering owners of Nook, Sony, and Kobo eReaders a sweet incentive to move up to the newest Kindles. The deal is also available for owners of older Kindles. For qualifying eReaders, you will get a $20 Amazon gift card plus a $20 instant credit toward a new basic Kindle or Paperwhite (WiFi only or 3G). Click here for details and the “Claim Your Discount” button.

This deal is for a limited time, the announcement says, but the ending date is not specified.

I wish Amazon could figure out a way for owners of other eReaders to transfer their libraries to Kindle without simply having to buy all of their books again. Maybe there could be a trade-in deal for eBooks? It’s not a problem, of course, for any material a Nook or other eReader owner has that doesn’t contain Digital Rights Management. Those files can be converted easily from ePub format to .mobi format using a free program like Calibre. But for books with DRM protection, you’d need to practice the dark arts of breaking the DRM in order to read them on a Kindle. I believe that if I found my library marooned on a sinking eBook format, I’d be tempted to figure out how this is done, in order to preserve my investment. I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision.



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After the Interview: How Planned Questions Turn Out to be More Safety Net than Map

Kevin Eagan

Kevin Eagan, my guest on the next Kindle Chronicles show

I just finished my Skype interview with Kevin Eagan, creator of the Critical Margins blog and podcast, for the next Kindle Chronicles episode. To follow up on last night’s post about my preparation for the interview, I thought I would share here the list of questions that I used during our 20-minute conversation. Here they are:

Kevin Eagan Questions

1. It looks as if you have relocated from Illinois to Florida since we last talked in June of 2012. What led to the move and what work are you doing now?

2. Two years ago you were reading on a Kindle Touch and a first generation Kindle Fire, with occasional reading of books on paper. What’s the current profile of your reading technology? Are you still using your library card at a local library?

3. What’s your connection with Goodreads? What do you make of the integration of Goodreads and the Kindle?

4. I am interested in what you have learned about blogging. The first post I found at was dated September 28, 2007 and it was a review of a Canadian indie pop band named the Stars, which had just released an album wonderfully titled “In Our Bedroom After the War.”  What was your vision of your blog at that time? Why did you choose the name Critical Margins? How old were you in 2007?

5. In the six-plus years since then, how has your focus for the blog changed?

6. What was the genesis of your decision to begin a Critical Margins podcast, which debuted on March 3rd with Episode 0. How did you choose Jason Braun as your co-host?

7. What will the podcast enable you to do that you can’t do on the blog?

8. What did you end up learning about the topic of literary elitism as a result of the in-depth conversation you had about that topic with Jason on your first episode of the podcast? (Triggered by Salon critic Laura Miller’s article “Is the Literary World Elitist?”)

9. New York Times media reporter David Carr wrote a thought-provoking column on March 9th titled “Barely Keeping Up in TV’s New Golden Age.” In it he confessed that the ease of watching highly regarded TV shows like House of Cards and Breaking Bad on portable devices has reduced his reading of magazines and books. He stated that “The growing intellectual currency of television has altered the cultural conversation in fundamental ways” partly because television shows are “much more like books—intricate narratives full of text, subtext and clues.”

“In the short span of five years, table talk has shifted, at least among the people I socialize with, from books and movies to television. The idiot box gained heft and intellectual credibility to the point where you seem dumb if you are not watching it.”

Are we entering an age of television snobbery?

Has your media consumption in the past five years shifted from books and movies to TV?

10. Subscription model – Oyster has improved its interface so you can highlight and make notes, still not as robust as Kindle. What’s your current thinking about these innovations?

11. Two years ago you mentioned the idea of having book groups facilitated by the Kindle and Kindle apps. Do you still think that would be a great idea?

I have been speaking with Kevin Egan, creator and editor of the Critical Margins blog and podcast at . Thanks very much Kevin.

If you compare these questions with the interview in TKC 294 this Friday, you will notice that I never asked approximately least half of them. The unasked questions were how he is using Goodreads, what he learned about literary elitism in his first podcast conversation with his co-host Jason Braun, how his TV consumption has changed, what he thinks of subscription models for books such as Oyster and Scribd, and whether he has any new thoughts on book clubs for Kindle, an idea he mentioned in our interview two years ago.

In writing this, I realize that it’s not unusual for me to prepare more questions than I have time to ask, but this surplus of possible conversation topics is still a good idea, I think. What I really wanted to talk to Kevin about was his new podcast, which is off to a very promising start. I could feel the tug of that topic pulling on me as I watched the timer on Skype count down toward five minutes. So I jumped in there and was delighted to learn the surprising story of how this show got its start. No spoiler here–you’ll have to listen to TKC 294 to find out!

Prepared questions are a good idea for an interview of the sort I’ve been doing for five years on The Kindle Chronicles, but I see them as less of a map than a safety net. Once the conversation gets going and the red light is flashing on Skype Recorder, I look for a thread to follow that might take me to the topics I’ve written down. Or maybe we’ll go somewhere unanticipated, and that can be great.

But sometimes as I’m talking with someone, I can feel the momentum of the conversation slowing or reaching a transition point to a new topic. That’s when I’m very glad to have my questions, printed out on paper, to scan as my guest finishes up what he or she is saying in the moment. That’s when I look for where my next leap might take place, and I’m ready to make it just in time.

It was a real pleasure to talk with Kevin Eagan again. I hope you will enjoy the interview and the rest of TKC 294 later this week!

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Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Kindle Chronicles Interview


Tomorrow’s interview with Kevin Eagan, editor of the writerly and smart Critical Margins blog, will be my 294th interview for The Kindle Chronicles. Kevin is a repeat customer, having been my guest for TKC 204 in June of 2012.

Each time I prepare to talk with someone for 15 or 20 minutes for the show, I go through a similar process. You’d think it would be second nature by now, devoid of anxiety or procrastination. Actually, no.

The very predicable cycle begins with vague ideas for focus, proceeds to combing the Internet for clues to my guest’s interests and ideas, veers toward panic at the impossibility of narrowing all this information down to a one- or two-page Evernote of questions, then transforms into hope as the questions strangely flow together, and ends in a final rush of adrenaline as I launch Skype, put on my Sony MDR-7506 Professional headphones and plug the Snowball microphone into the USB port.

I don’t have a red light in my studio to warn that I am “Recording.” But in my mind there is a flashing red light that reads, “This is it. Relax. Listen. Have fun.”

It usually turns out fine, followed by a post-interview euphoria, as if I’ve summitted Denali. Every once in a while I finish an interview convinced that I blew it, asked dumb questions, and don’t have anything worth sharing with my listeners. When I tell Darlene this, she says, “Uh-huh. That’s what you always say when it ends up being a really good one.”

Here is what I’ve done so far to get ready for tomorrow’s interview, scheduled for 11 a.m. MDT:

1. I listened to Kevin’s last visit to the Kindle Chronicles and took notes in Evernote. At the time he was using a Kindle Keyboard and a Fire. He was also an early user of Goodreads, well before Amazon purchased it. He had an intriguing vision of how book discussion groups could take place on our Kindles.

2. I listened to the new Critical Margins podcast that Kevin launched two weeks ago with Jason Braun, one of his blog contributors. Episode 0 is about whether literary fiction is for snobs. Episode 1 covers the amazing story of how the CIA in the 1960s helped fund the Iowa Writers Workshop as a Cold War strategy to fight the Soviets. These two engaging conversationalists are off to a strong start, in my opinion. I want to ask Kevin how they prepare for the show and what topics they plan to discuss next.

3. I’ve been reading recent posts by Kevin at Critical Margins, impressed with the clarity of his writing and the lively topics that he chooses to examine.

4. I did, I confess, take time out to watch “Girls” on HBO. Darlene is at a quilting meeting, and she hates the very idea of the Lena Dunham show, so it was a good night to catch an episode in real time. I like to think that my interview-prep machinery whirs away in the background when I wander off topic during the day, even as the deadline approaches. I may be fooling myself, but after 293 episodes I’ve given up pressing too hard on my rhythms of distraction and focused work. The mix appears to work most of the time, actually, but that’s not enough to drive my Puritan editor/critic from the studio. “Yeah right,” he’s saying right now. “You just keep telling everybody how you’ve got this thing all worked out. Brilliant.”

Next up: A good night’s sleep is always a good idea before an interview, so I will wind this up and jump back into interview prep tomorrow morning at about 6 a.m., with time out for an aerobics workout at the Colorado Athletic Club.

You will hear the results sometime on Friday, by which time I will be planning the next ascent.


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More from Austin Kleon

If my rave review on the podcast of Austin Kleon’s South by Southwest keynote address made you curious about his work, here is a seven-minute video portrait of him that I just discovered tonight:

Kleon’s book tour is under way, so I’m not sure when I might hear back from him regarding my invitation to come on the show for an interview. Another guest I’ve been wanting to talk to again is Kevin Eagan, who has recently added a podcast to his consistently thoughtful blog, Critical Margins. He’s another busy fellow, but with any luck we will be able to find 15 or 20 minutes to chat tomorrow or Tuesday for TKC 293 this week.

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TKC 293 South by Southwest

Len at SXSW

Show Notes and Links:


“What’s the Best Amazon Prime Alternative?” by Matt Burns at TechCrunch – March 13, 2014

Amazon Prime information at

No word on a price increase for Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service!

Tech Tip

Kindle Paperwhite 1st generation software update to version 5.4.4

Kindle Paperwhite 2nd generation software update to version 5.4.3

Interviews and Links from SXSW, with times noted when they appear on the podcast

1:35    My Google Glass audio excerpt from Austin Kleon’s presentation, “Show Your Work!” on Friday, March 7, 2014.

10:11   Introduction to “Emoji & Texting: Is Human Language Extinct?” presented by Ben Zimmer and Sam Huston

11:40   Bryan Person, director of customer success at Lithium Technologies

13:07   Ben Zimmer, executive producer of and the language columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

16:58   Ed Castillo, chief strategy officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY : “Why Reading is Flawed, Dying Technology”

25:40   Peter Tighe, my cousin and host in Austin, on reading in braille versus listening to books

31:16   Adam Carolla, author of In Fifty Years We’ll All be Chicks ($7.99 on Kindle), Not Taco Bell Material ($7.63 on Kindle) and (available for $13.59 Kindle preorder with delivery on May 13, 2014) President Me: The America That’s in My Head

     Adam Carolla’s Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund at FundAnything

35:16   Luke Littleboy, marketing manager for Screenburn in London

37:40   James Montgomery, director of digital & technology, BBC Global News Ltd

           Upworthy, a social aggregation site


Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon – $6.14 on Kindle

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon – $7.18 on Kindle

Thanks for Your Support of E-Books for Troops!

Thanks to your generous support we only have about $3,500 left to raise in order to meet this year’s fundraising goal. Click here to help, so we can continue to distribute donated Kindles to U.S. Soldiers deployed overseas.

Click here for information on how to donate your used Kindle.

For information regarding major gifts or other questions, please email me at PodChronicles AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks to all of you who are already supporting E-Books for Troops!

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!


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Notes from South by Southwest: Day Four


Apparently, when the brain has taken in a certain amount of new information and the body has logged too-few hours of sleep, an otherwise verbose blogger will find himself sitting in a social media lounge for over an hour without writing a word. Which will create tension as the next event looms, a Car2Go ride to Glass Explorer Happy Hour at Hotel San José.

Continue Reading »

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Notes from South by Southwest: Day Three

Learning from my previous tries at taking video of SXSW sessions with Google Glass, I took a seat this afternoon in the very first row at the Sheraton Austin for a session titled “Glassholes: The Cultural Dissonance of Technology.” Two of the panelists were wearing Glass, along with about a dozen of us in the audience. I was impressed with the Google representative on the panel, Timothy Jordan, staff developer associate. He had a calm way of talking about his company’s baby and did not get defensive when privacy and other concerns were raised. He said he uses Glass whenever he goes biking, but he didn’t specify which apps he uses. Probably he can use turn-by-turn directions and maybe some exercise metrics.

After the session, a guy came up to me and asked how I liked Glass. I let him try mine on and told him I am enjoying experimenting with it. Which is true. I love feeling my way toward usefulness with this bold invention. The battery life is a problem; I couldn’t even video the entire session before the “Low Battery” warning scared me off and I stopped recording. I didn’t want to lose the whole thing by keeping it running until Glass turned itself off. I’m also not rock solid on how to share the video. I thought I was sending it to Google Plus, but later in the day it ended up on YouTube.

Seeing how great the turquoise Glass looked on Timothy Jordan, I found myself a little sad that I chose the comparatively plain white color for mine. If you’re going to wear one of these crazy contraptions, you might as well choose your favorite color!

I began the day in church with my cousin Peter Tighe, who is a long-time member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin . We started out at a cozy book discussion group in the library, followed by the second of the morning’s two worship services. I was impressed with the sermon delivered by the Rev. Meg Barnhouse, who spoke on the Second Commandment. Her wry introduction put the UU congregants on notice that she does, in fact, preach from the Bible about once a month, since she spent three years at Princeton Theological Seminary learning about it. Today’s sermon is not up at the church’s website yet but probably will be in a week or so. Try here if you’re interested.

I ended the day far from church, on Sixth Street in downtown Austin, where music blared from each side of the closed-off street, and revelry replaced reflection up and down the road. At a country and western bar where I was the only one wearing a bright orange SXSW lanyard and nametag, I fell in love with a dark-haired singer-guitarist named Melissa Brooke, who was belting out an hour of heart-breaking songs as SXSW Music got under way. My favorite was “Can’t Hide in a Small Town,” a rousing number with strong help from Brooke’s drummer, bass player and virtuoso lead guitarist.

I had a late supper at an outside table next to a van selling hearty Peruvian fare. Very tasty, and close enough to 6th Street that I could still hear the music. Since I’d left my rental car at the Sheraton, I ended up hopping in a Car2Go Smart Car for the ride back, glad my Car2Go card works in Austin as well as Denver.

“I’ve been away a while, and nothing much has changed,” Melissa Brooke sings. That’s not an accurate description of Austin, Texas, which these days is a long way from being a small town where you can’t hide. But why would you want to?


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