Rethinking the Standard Publishing Agreement – Liveblog at BookExpo America

An all-star panel moderated by Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger is discussing book contracts here at BookExpo America. The panelists are Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette; Morgan Entrekin, CEO of Grove Atlantic, and Jonathan Lyons, a literary agent. If you don’t see the liveblog posts, click on the headline above.

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Amazon announces VoiceView accessibility for Paperwhite with USB audible adapter

 

VoiceView for Kindle 3Amazon just released VoiceView for Kindle with a brand-new USB audio adapter that will enable blind and low-vision users of the current Paperwhite to hear text-to-speech content and to navigate their Kindles with connected earphones or speakers.

Peter Korn, Amazon’s accessibility architect, announced the new features in a blog post this morning.

“While developing VoiceView for Fire tablets, which uses Amazon’s natural language text-to-speech voices (formerly known as IVONA), we were also working on bringing VoiceView to our Kindle e-readers,” Korn wrote. “We are excited to say that, today, we have brought VoiceView to our Kindle e-readers, starting with the Kindle Paperwhite, so that visually impaired customers can enjoy reading on our Kindle e-readers, too.”

In an interview recorded yesterday that will air on the next Kindle Chronicles podcast Friday, May 13, Korn said VoiceView for Kindle will differ in some respects from the VoiceView that is now part of Fire OS 5, introduced in October of last year.

“The biggest difference isn’t in the VoiceView screen reader,” Korn told me in the interview. “It is in the base UI (User Interface) of the device.”

VoiceView for the dedicated Kindle eReader is simpler to use than VoiceView for the multi-purpose, multi-media Fire tablet, Korn said.

“A lot of older folks who have loved reading all their lives are maybe not as savvy with computers,” Korn suggested, leading them to prefer a dedicated eReader to a tablet. “That simpler interface carries forward with VoiceView on the eReader,” he said.

One VoiceView for Fire feature that will not be available in the first release of VoiceView for Kindle is called the Jog Wheel. An Amazon addition to the underlying Android accessibility tools, Jog Wheel enables a blind or low-vision reader to move quickly though text a character or a word at a time at variable speed.

VoiceView features that will be the same on Kindle and Fire include linear and touch navigation, a broad range of speech feedback rates and earcons, which are beeps and other sounds which have specific meanings in the screen-reading environment.

Because the Paperwhite does not have a speaker or headphone jack, Amazon created a micro-USB Kindle Audio Adapter to enable users to hear VoiceView’s navigation guides and text-to-speech.

U.S. customers can purchase a bundle of both the Kindle Audio Adapter and the Paperwhite here.

“Customers who purchase this bundle will receive a credit back on their account to cover the cost of the Kindle Audio Adapter, so they won’t have to pay extra for accessibility,” Korn wrote.

Amazon’s accessibility architect said VoiceView is coming first to the Paperwhite 7th Generation. When I asked if it will also be added to the basic Kindle, Voyage, and Oasis models, he replied: “I’m going to have to ask you to stay tuned for further announcements. Accessibility work in Amazon devices has been accelerating over the past few years. But you’ll just have to stay tuned.”

A goal of Amazon’s accessibility team is to enable a blind or low-sight customer to set up VoiceView without the assistance of a sighted person. To that end, when the Kindle Audio Adapter is connected to a Paperwhite, VoiceView will automatically begin running, Korn told me in the interview.

The adapter is purpose-built for VoiceView, Korn said. That means it will not enable sighted readers to turn off VoiceView and still use the adapter to hear general Kindle text-to-speech, Audible books, or mp3 files through headphones or speakers.

When I asked him if Amazon might in the future enable those audio features on the Paperwhite and other Kindles without VoiceView, Korn replied, “We generally don’t comment on our future roadmap, so I’m not going to be able to speak to that.”

You will hear lots more about Amazon’s accessibility program in the interview on Friday’s episode of The Kindle Chronicles.

I took the opportunity of the interview to see if David Rothman’s campaign for a bold-font option on Kindle text is getting any traction with the accessibility team. Here is the transcript of my questions and Korn’s answers on that topic:

Q: David Rothman at TeleRead has, I think, been pretty persuasive that, for some readers who have difficulty reading, an all-bold option or a slider to increase font boldness would be terrific on Kindles. I think Kobo has this capability. In your scanning of customer requests or perceived needs from customers is that something you’ve heard much about?

A. We’ve gotten feedback from customers on quite a lot of topics, and font choice is certainly one of those.

Q. I can picture you’ve all kinds of possible advances. How do you decide which ones you’re going to try to implement first and which ones are going to have to wait a while, if ever?

A. We continually evaluate ways we can make reading on the Kindle more enjoyable, more comfortable, more accessible. This led us to create the Bookerly font. This led us to include the open source Open Dyslexic Font, so we continue to evaluate and bring innovations to our customers.

Korn said Amazon has created a new email address for feedback related to device accessibility. It is device-accessibility@amazon.com . For feedback on more general accessibility topics, you can use the email address accessibility-feedback@amazon.com.

Amazon continues to expand its Lab126 accessibility team based in Sunnyvale, California, Korn told me. You can see the listings at amazon.jobs using the search term “accessibility.”

That’s how he found his job as accessibility architect, a position he has held since October, 2013.

[I am cross posting this story at TeleRead]

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TKC 405 Paul St John Mackintosh

Mackintosh
Author, Poet and Associate Editor of TeleRead
Interview starts at 22:08 and ends at 43:10
This [Kindle Oasis] basically gives Amazon its BMW or its Mercedes Benz, which is a pretty powerful draw for the entire range. It has produced a very fine, high-end E Ink eBook reader which caters very well to really serious readers.

News

Amazon’s First Quarter earnings report – April 28, 2016
Motley Fool Money podcast on Amazon earnings – April 29, 2016 (Thanks to David Enzel for the link)
“Amazon was profitable for four quarters in a row” by Jason Del Rey at re/code – April 28, 2016
Jeff Bezos Sells $671 Million of Amazon Stock in Biggest Sale Ever by Aaron Pressman at Forune.com – May 6, 2016
Mary’s Place link for Amazon wish list

Tech Tip

How I am using Amazon Tap

Interview with Paul St John Mackintosh

Project Gutenberg
The Musical Box of Wonders by Paul St John Mackintosh (paperback only) published by H. Harksen Producitons
Following is the complete text of the poem recited by Paul St John Mackintosh at the end of the interview:

Mackintoshes

I’m writing this to tell my baby daughter
–who took my pen to chew just now–about her
rambunctious forebears, Papists or Dissenters,
before they were Glasgow artists or inventors:
nine hundred years of sanguinary glories,
blood-fuelled vendettas, feuding feudatories,
feral mosstroopers, breekless in the heather,
sleeping out plaid-wrapped through all Highland weather;
conveniently detained during Flodden,
second at Bannockburn, first at Culloden;
Jacobite malcontents, staunch in lost causes,
schooled by reverses and misfortune’s tawses;
clan wildcat totem for crest and supporters,
red lion, boar’€™s head, heart in hand, ship quarters;
proud bearings passed through gentleman and peasant,
from those ancestral mountains to the present
ludicrous days of raincoats and galoshes:
ferocious, feckless, fearless Mackintoshes.

Next Week’€™s Guest
Peter Korn, accessibility architect at Amazon

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!


Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 404 James McQuivey

McQuivey
Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research
 
Interview starts at 12:00 and ends at 44:01
I’ve got to write this down in a way that helps people understand how this cycle works, where technology comes in and allows us to render scarcity irrelevant. And then what’s the business strategy to do this? And that’s where I point to people like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon—who are in the habit of saying, “How could we give people more for less?” Which is not the way traditional business was operating.
News
Kindle Oasis at Amazon.com
Check out $20 off deals on Kindle, Kindle for Kids Bundle, and Kindle Paperwhite! (Not sure how long they will last.)
My 17-minute video review of Kindle Oasis, featuring Darlene’s comments in her quilting studio – April 27, 2016
Fintie Oasis cover story by Chris Meadows at TeleRead
“Amazon in Talks to Create Virtual Reality Content” by Joan E. Solsman at The Wrap – April 26, 2016
Ricoh Theta M15 360 Degree camera
Samsung Gear VR headset (requires Samsung smartphone)
360 YouTube video of Susan Carlson’s quilting class – April 25, 2016
 “Susan Carlson: Quilting in the Key of Life” at lenedgerly.com – April 27, 2016
Samsung’s Gear 360 camera
 
Interview with James McQuivey
“Brief: Digital Winners Know That More is More” by James McQuivey with Oliwia Berdak, Michelle MOorehead, Anna Berman, and Diane Lynch (one-paragraph summary; full report costs $349)
Next Week’s Guest
Paul St John Mackintosh, associate editor of TeleRead
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.


Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 403 Szymon Szott

Szymon Szott pro
Assistant Professor at AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow Poland
Interview starts at 20:15 and ends at 43:40
On the Kindle Oasis: “I remember the first eBook readers that were available in Poland cost about that much as well, seven to eight years ago. It’s quite a steep price, and I’ve read comments on Polish web sites that indeed it’s very expensive. I also think that it’s something that you first need to probably experience when you’ve had it in your hands, and I think that’s when you can really say if it’s worth the price.”
News
Kindle Oasis: Unlike Any Kindle You’ve Ever Held (If you order with this link, it will support the podcast with Amazon Associates commissions—thank you!)
This Week in Tech 558 with Leo Laporte & Friends – April 17, 2016
“Estimating Kindle E-Book Sales for Amazon” by Trefis Team at Forbes – April 2, 2016
     Lyrics at Google Play
“With Seattle Shelter Effort, Amazon Shows Glimmers of a ‘Good Neighbor’” by Kirk Johnson at The New York Times – April 21, 2016.  (Click here to donate items to Mary’s Place that will be shipped directly to the homeless shelter set up by Amazon near its new corporate offices in Seattle.)
“Amazon Wins $30 Million Deal to Sell E-Books in NYC Schools” by Hilary Brueck at Fortune – April 21, 2016
“Challenge to Google Books is Declined by Supreme Court” by Adam Liptak and Alexandra Alter at The New York Times – April 18, 2016
Interview with Szymon Szott
AGH University of Science and Technology website
Ivona – try all the voices!
VoicePIN voice recognition (biometrics) developed by a colleague of Szymon Szott at AGH
Szymon Szott at ResearchGate, a social network for researchers
“SDN@home: A Method for Controlling Future Wireless Home Networks” co-authored by Szymon Szott at IEEE Communications Magazine, the flagship magazine of the IEEE Communications Society – to be published in May, 2016
“Discouraging Traffic Remapping Attacks in Local Ad Hoc Networks” by Jerzy Konorski and Szymon Szott – July 2014
World of (e)Readers blog by Robert Drozd – “All readers of e-books, electronic books and the Kindle in Poland”
“Polish view of Kindle Oasis” at TeleRead – April 22, 2016
Content
Poland: A History by Adam Zamoyski
Poems New and Collected by Wislawa Szymborska
Winter Men by Jesper Bugge Kold
Next Week’s Guest
James McQuivey, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
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!


Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 402 Meet Me at the Kindle Oasis

Neil and Chris

Neil Lindsay, left, Amazon VP-Devices, and Chris Green, Amazon Lab 126 VP – Industrial Design

This special episode of The Kindle Chronicles is all about the new Kindle Oasis, based on an embargoed preview of the device that I attended in New York City on April 7, 2016. The episode is divided into these four parts:
  1. Meet the Oasis – product specs and first impressions. 2:14 to 8:45  (Note: In answer to Faith Eldridge’s question, it turns out the Oasis does not have an adaptive light sensor. If that is an important capability, you may want to stick with the Kindle Voyage, which does have one.)
  2. Live from New York: It’s the Kindle Oasis briefing! 8:47 to 28:37
  3. Will Oasis be a Success? My thoughts. 28:40 to 32:06
  4. What’s next for the Kindle? 32:10 to 36:20

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!

If you click here or on the ad at the upper right of this page to go to Amazon.com and purchase your Kindle Oasis, it will support my podcast by generating an Amazon Associates commission. Thank you! –Len

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 401 Author Douglas Rushkoff

D_Rushkoff_ByJohnNowak
Interview starts at 28:24 and ends at 42:21
The people who are throwing rocks at the Google bus, they’re on to something. They understand something. We should listen. And we can reconfigure, we can optimize, reprogram our economy to help everybody—That’s extremely optimistic. I put myself on the hopeful side of the equation right now. (Photo Credit: John Nowak/CNN)
Intro
Elon Musk unveils Tesla Model 3 (YouTube) – March 31, 2016
 
News
“Was Horace and Pete” even Television?” by Ian Crouch at The New Yorker – April 6, 2016
“The next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets” by Elizabeth Dwoskin at The Washington Post – April 7, 2016
 Jeff Bezos’s 2015 Letter to Shareholders (PDF)
“Kids Are Practicing Their Reading Skills to Soothe Shy Shelter Dogs” by Anna Gragert at My Modern Met – February 24, 2016
 
Interview with Douglas Rushkoff at South By Southwest
 
Content
Horace and Pete 10 episodes by Louis C.K., available for purchase
“Alexa, Good Morning!” (Try it yourself.)

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!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 400 Anniversary Show with Darlene

Darlene Claire
The Kindle Chronicles’ first listeners
Interview starts at 14:54 and ends at 43:13
I should have known that we’d be building our life around it like we have other things that you’ve done. I’ve gotten used to it. I should have known.
Intro
Whill wheelchair site
News
“Amazon is the ‘most reputable’ company in the US” by Julie Bort at Business Insider – March 29, 2016
Echo Dot and Amazon Tap arrive!
Tech Tip
An ethical question about borrowing eBooks from your library with OverDrive
Interview with Darlene
TKC 1 with Baratunde Thurston
TKC 208 with Jeff Bezos
Darlene’s art quilts page
Next Week’s Guest
Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity – recorded at South by Southwest Interactive

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!


Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 399 Technically Literate’s Janis Cooke Newman

 Janis Cooke Newman
Editor-at-Large, CNET’s Technically Literate
Interview starts at 19:40 and ends at 43:30
We have a very different generation coming up who may relate to literature in a different way, because we have completely digital generations coming up. So I think those of us who present stories to the world have to be open to different ways to present them. And when we have a way to do it like we do in Technically Literate, that is an on-line way to do it, I think we always have to be thinking about pushing the boundary.
News
“2016 Digital Book World Keynote Presentation” by Data Guy at Author Earnings – March 11, 2016
Interview with Data Guy by Susan Lulgjuraj for TeleRead – will be live March 27, 2016 here.
“Data Guy’s Web of Analysis: DBW Turns Hostility Into a Handshake” by Porter Anderson at Publishing Perspectives – March 10, 2016
“City re-introduces $30M Amazon contract for e-book marketplace” by Eliza Shapiro at Politico New York – March 22, 2016
“Banned by Amazon for returning faulty goods” by Miles Brignall at The Guardian March 18, 2016
“Why is Amazon So Weird?” by Daniel Berkowitz at Digital Book World – March 23, 2016
Tech Tip
Amazon’s Help page for Critical Software Update for Kindle eReaders
Interview with Janis Cooke Newman
CNET’s Technically Literate home page
Technically Literate’s first short story, “The Last Taco Truck in Silicon Valley” by Michelle Richmond. (Video interview of Richmond by CNET’s editor-in-chief Connie Gugleilmo is at the end of the story.)
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!


Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 398 Best South by Southwest Ever!

SXSW panel photo

Getting ready for VR: Rob Holzer and fellow panelists make last-minute adjustments.

Start and End Times of Interviews at South by Southwest Interactive
Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post (8:20 to 18:34)
Scott Totman, head of digital product engineering at Capital One 22:16 to 31:30)
Rob Holzer, founder and CEO of Matter Unlimited and executive producer of Inside Impact: East Africa (32:11 to 40:40)
Adrian Bell, co-founder and Executive Director of Action Impact in Dubai (41:31 to 44:31)
 
Links to topics mentioned
President Obama’s Keynote address at SXSW (Video) – March 11, 2016
MEANS database to fight hunger in America
Inside Impact: East Africa, 360 Video film by Matter Unlimited for the Clinton Global Initiative
Two TED talks by Brené Brown
Next Week’s Guests

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!


Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

Send to Kindle