Friday, 13 December 2013

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Old Reader Updated With New Sharing Options

Posted: 13 Dec 2013 12:14 PM PST

If you’rethe old reader still looking for a replacement for Feedly (and after they hijacked links over the weekend, who isn’t) then I have some good news for you. The Old Reader rolled out a new feature today which many of their users have been wanting for a long time. Readers can now share links via Twitter, FB, email, or what have you.

It’s called the “Send To” option. This somewhat clunky name comes as a result of TOR already having an option for sharing via a unique RSS feed, but in spite of the clunky name this new feature is still incredibly useful and offers broad support for many different platforms.

In addition to the three default sharing options, users can also go into the settings menu and enable sharing buttons for Tumblr, Google+, Buffer, Evernote, and more. And if The Old Reader neglected to include the social network of your choice, there’s even a way for users to define their own sharing option.

And best of all, users get to share the source link and not some shortened and redirected link (like bitly). Given the brouhaha over the weekend concerning Feedly I know that at last a couple readers will be pleased. I myself am indifferent to how the link goes to the content, just so long as I can share a link to the original content.

The Old Reader is neither the largest nor smallest of the news reader services that have thrived after the Readerpocalypse, but it does boast a fiercely loyal user base. It had over 400,000 users in late July, which was shortly before the service was sold.

This service launched in May 2012. I’m told that it was originally intended to capture and maintain certain features of Google Reader, but it is missing others. For example, I can’t find an option for a simple black text on a white background. I also can’t figure out what happened to the folders full of feeds (they weren’t imported, I think), but that could well be a bug.

The post The Old Reader Updated With New Sharing Options appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Launches Installment Plan for the Kindle Fire HDX

Posted: 13 Dec 2013 08:30 AM PST

Amazon is Product-HDX-HDX89-400x325._V366644516_[1]never one to miss an opportunity to sell more stuff, and that’s why they launched an installment plan today.

The retailer is so eager to sell you a Kindle Fire HDX that they are willing to let you split the cost into 4 payments spread out over 9 months.

The deal, which is the talk of my Twitter feed today, is only good for the new Kindle Fire HDX and Fire HDX 8.9.  Amazon launched these tablets a couple months ago to much acclaim and now they are more eager than ever to get them out the door.

Amazon is selling the tablets to approved buyers with no hidden charges, no interest, and no credit check.  The payments will be collected at 90 day intervals over the next 9 months, but of course you can pay the remaining balance in full at any time.

This sounds like a good deal, but Amazon still has a couple hoops you have to jump through; a buyer must have been an Amazon customer for at least 2 years and live in the US. Also, this deal is only good until Christmas Eve.

This installment plan is the third new sales/marketing idea which Amazon has tried in the past month. In late November Amazon started a new program offering 30 day free trials on their tablets. That offer is still going on, but it cannot be combined with the installment plan.

Also in late November, Amazon was revealed to have a series of temporary booths in malls across the US. According to Amazon these booths were part of Amazon’s marketing effort to promote the Kindle, but I can’t help but wonder if they might eventually grow into retail stores.




The post Amazon Launches Installment Plan for the Kindle Fire HDX appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon the Extortionist: Part N+1

Posted: 13 Dec 2013 06:29 AM PST

Brad Stone’samazon frown tell-all book about Amazon the evil giant retailer is still making waves, and some juicy new dirt has come to light.

Harper’s Magazine has posted a review of the book, and they happened to mention this nugget:

Stone, who maintains his reportorial neutrality throughout most of The Everything Store, drops the ball here. After dutifully cataloguing Amazon's venal behavior, he falls back on what is literally the company line — that these extorted dollars "create the foundation on which everyday low prices become possible." This should be a real comfort to publishers now contending with Amazon's newest shakedown. A former employee, who asked not to be identified, recently told me that some publishers are now being pressured to pay the equivalent of 1 percent of their annual net sales to Amazon — levied on top of any existing fees — simply for the privilege of presenting their lists to the marketing team and buyers. In the case of the larger houses, this sum could run between $500,000 and $1 million — and failure to pay will make it awfully hard to get an Amazon buyer on the phone.

Shocking, isn’t it?

Well, no. For one thing, these kind of tactics are more common than you think; many retailers push for similar questionable kickbacks. Even Barnes & Noble, best friend to the publishing industry and second largest customer after Amazon, has engaged in similar tactics. What do you think the retailer had a 6 month long spat with Simon & Schuster?

Admittedly, B&N was probably pushing for a contract with terms less extreme than a 1% vig, but I would bet donuts to dollars that the difference was merely a matter of degree.

This latest revelation about Amazon also fails to surprise me because I can recall their past skulduggery.

In 2008 Amazon was caught blackmailing small publishers into using CreateSpace (then known as BookSurge), The publishers who defied Amazon had their buy buttons turned off. And in 2011 M-Edge filed a lawsuit alleging that Amazon bullied the case maker into signing a new contract more favorable to Amazon.

So Amazon now stands accused of extorting a 1% vig from publishers? That is so unsurprising that it hardly qualifies as a news story.

On the other hand, AMAZON! EVIL! EVIL! AMAZON! is an example of what passes for journalism these days, so this latest story of Amazon’s misdeeds is probably going to get a lot of press.

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