Friday, 3 October 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

How to Take a Screen Shot on Any Kindle (Paperwhite, Touch, Basic, Keyboard)

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 01:36 PM PDT

screenshot_2014_10_03T12_55_36-0700The Kindle can do many things, but not all of them are explained in the user manual. (For example, the first Kindle had a hidden menu where you could see a list of the Lab126 team members who had worked on it.) Among the many neat undocumented tricks is one that I use on a regular basis: taking a screenshot.

The Kindle has had the option to let users take a screenshot since the day the first unit shipped in November 2007.  The trick to enable this feature varies from one model to the next, so I took a few minutes to list them all.

  • Original Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Kindle Keyboard – Press and hold Alt-Shift-G on the keyboard.
  • Kindle 4 (the model with neither a touchscreen or a keyboard) – Press and hold the home button and the keyboard button.
  • Kindle Touch –  Press and hold the home button, and then tap the screen.
  • Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle (2014) – These models don’t have any buttons on the front, so Amazon had to get a little inventive when creating the trigger for the screenshot. To take a screenshot on the Kindle Paperwhite or the new Kindle, simultaneously press two opposite corners of the screen (upper left and lower right, for example).
  • Kindle Voyage – I don’t yet have any info on how to take a screenshot on the Voyage, but I bet the trick from the Paperwhite will work. (If that doesn’t work, leave a comment and I’ll help you find the answer.)

The screenshots are saved in different locations on the various models, and you’ll need to connect your Kindle to a computer and transfer them over USB. Generally you’ll find the screenshots in either the main folder or the documents folder. If you don’t see them in either location, you probably didn’t quite get the buttons presses in the right order.


P.S. If you’re looking for instructions on how to take a screen shot on a Kindle Fire (or, as Amazon now calls them, a Fire tablet), here is what I generally try with Android devices.

Press and hold one of the volume buttons and the power button.  If that doesn’t work, try the other volume button and the power button. (This works on most Android devices, including a couple of the Fire tablets I have owned.)

The post How to Take a Screen Shot on Any Kindle (Paperwhite, Touch, Basic, Keyboard) appeared first on The Digital Reader.

New Kindle Getting Mixed Reviews on Screen Quality

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 12:13 PM PDT

Kindle_00F_USWhenever a new ereader is released everyone wants to know how the screen compares to screens on competing models. Sometimes, as in the case of the 2013 Kindle paperwhite or the Aura H2O, it’s obvious that the new model is better than the old. But then there are times where it’s not so obvious that the new screen is better.

For example, the new Kindle which shipped yesterday is drawing mixed reports from users. Some are saying that the screen is as good as on the device it replaced, while others are reporting a noticeably poorer screen.

It’s too early to say with any certainty whether the poor reports reflect unique screens or the average production quality, but they could be enough to give a potential buyer pause.

For example, in the comment section of my first impressions post yesterday I noted that:

I can't explain why the screen is worse. To be completely honest I think the new Kindle has a poorer screen than my 2012 KPW (a pearl to Pearl comparison). The newer device is noticeably browner than the older unit.

Another early adopter left a similar comment:

I was expecting a kindle touch that is more responsive, which yes this is it. But the screen is awful. While the pearl screen on the previous kindle basic was fantastic, this one has inferior contrast. Under strong light, the previous kindle looks like it has a white background. Not true of this one.

Another new owner commented on MobileRead:

The screen comparison is correct, the new basic has an inferior screen. The contrast is significantly lower than the K4 black. I received mine today. Disappointed with the screen.

A different MobileRead Forum member dropped by a BB and checked out the demo units:

The screen background is the same “whiteness.” The fonts on the New Kindle Basic are lighter and have less contrast. These pictures don’t show it too well, but my daughter was with me and there was a noticeable difference. The New Basic Kindle comes somewhere between the Kindle Touch and Old Basic Kindle (K4BNT). Not horrible, but the fonts are not as sharp and dark on the NKT as they are on the K4BNT.

At this point you might think that it’s time to take the new Kindle out back and shoot it, but not everyone is complaining about the new screen.

Len Edgerly posted a video yesterday. He doesn’t report that the new screen is worse than the screen on the Kindle which was replaced, though he also doesn’t report that it is any better.

And then there’s the report from my competitor. he posted several photos which show the older Kindle Touch, a Paperwhite, the new Kindle, and the recently retired basic Kindle.  He says that he can’t see any difference. Can you?


I can’t see the difference in his photos, but I can see a difference between the Kindles on my desk. That is why I agree with haydnfan over at MobileRead when he said “Take no photo even this one as evidence one way or the other. You have to see for yourself. All of these photos are effectively lies.

So did you get the new Kindle? How do you think it compares?

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Dear Author Launches a Defense Fund, Continues to Fight Defamation Suit

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 10:23 AM PDT

14657855389_b5407d2ede_z[1]Bloggers, authors, and readers alike have voiced their support for the Dear Author book blog following the news of a defamation lawsuit last Friday, and now we have the chance to do so with our pocketbooks.

Dear Author revealed on Friday that they have launched a defense fund on GoFundMe

Why a fund?

Because lawsuits are expensive (that’s why they’re so often used as a threat, if you’ve ever wondered). Because of that, and because the duration of the litigation is undetermined, Jane will need financial assistance. Jane’s attorney, Marc Randazza, is contributing by discounting his hourly rate. Even with a generous discount, it’s still expensive.

The fund was announced this morning, and it has already met the initial goal of $20,000. At the time I wrote this post, 243 people had contributed, including several dozen anonymous contributors.

For those just tuning in, Dear Author is being sued over a recently published blog post which details the rise and fall of used to be a leading romance publisher.

Ellora’s Cave, once known as a pioneer in erotic romance, has been having financial issues over the past couple years. As Dear Author detailed in their post, authors and editors are saying they haven’t been paid, reversion requests are being ignored, and the business is generally going down the tubes.

Rather than address the many issues facing their business, Ellora’s Cave has chosen to file a defamation lawsuit against Dear Author and its proprietor. In response, Dear Author has hired Marc Randazza and elected to pursue a vigorous defense.

The case is only a week old at this time, which when converted from legal system time to normal people time is about half an hour, so it’s far too early to say what the outcome will be.

image by michael_d_beckwith

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eBooks Distributed by Smashwords Now Showing up in OverDrive’s Main eBook Catalog

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 08:03 AM PDT

224630603_3d05d361bc[1]Things are looking up for authors who distribute their ebooks through Smashwords and want to get them into libraries. Reports are coming in today that a handful of indie titles have escaped the self-published ghetto and are now listed in the main Over Drive catalog with all of the “regular” ebooks.

Ever since OverDrive started carrying titles distributed by Smashwords earlier this year, those works have been singled out for special treatment and have been locked away from the rest of OD’s catalog. This makes the titles difficult for librarians to find, much less buy, and this has obviously impacted visibility and sales.

But as the eBooks Bargains UK blog reported today, that situation is slowly beginning to change.

We are now hearing from Smashwords-delivered indies that SOME of their titles are appearing in the main OverDrive catalogue. It's not clear yet if this is the early stage of a full flood of indie titles and that OverDrive have opened the ghetto gates, or if these are hand-picked titles selected by Smashwords and that the rest of us are still consigned to the can.

At this time a search for Smashwords as publisher (which all Smashwords-delivered ebooks will carry even though Smashwords isn’t our publisher) shows about 4,000 titles in the OverDrive store.

Out of 200,000.

That’s not much of an improvement, but it’s better than nothing.

If you’re an indie author with titles at Smashwords, can you check your ebooks and see if they escaped the ghetto?

If your titles are still being singled out for the Smashwords treatment, and you want to get them into library collections, I would suggest that you consider a different distributor.

For example, the UK-based distributor Ebook Partnership has a contract with OverDrive, and any title sent through this distributor are included in the main OD catalog. Ebook Partnership charges an annual fee and not a commission, so the cost structure is different, but escaping Smashwords could be worth the hassle.

And frankly, I am beginning to feel more and more that indies would be better off avoiding Smashwords entirely. This issue with OverDrive is but the latest example of Smashwords dropping the ball. There’s also things like SW continuing to identify itself as the publisher of the ebooks it distributes (this happens on Scribd and OverDrive) or the way SW only just changed their policies to no longer require that they be mentioned in the front matter.

I’ve also heard from some authors that titles distributed through SW have “the indie stench”, to use a colorful phrase. I would tend to discount that claim (I also don’t think indie ebooks stink), but given the ongoing issue with OverDrive, well …

What do you think?

image  by Editor B

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E-ink-Equipped InkCase Plus Clears the FCC, Ships This Month

Posted: 03 Oct 2014 06:51 AM PDT

InkCase_E-Ink_Smartphone-500x340Gajah’s E-ink case for smartphones cleared one last hurdle this week when it showed up on the FCC website.

The InkCase Plus is designed to be a universal smartphone case which adds a secondary E-ink screen to almost any smartphone. Launched as part of an incredibly successful KickStarter campaign in July 2014, this smartphone accessory is scheduled to ship to backers in October and hit store shelves.

I can’t tell you where you’re going to be able to buy one online, but I can report that the InkCase Plus appears to be on schedule to ship. It appeared on the FCC website this week, clearing the last regulatory hurdle required to ship in the US.


The InkCase Plus is basically a subcompact ereader with a 3.5″ E-ink screen which is designed to pair with smartphones over Bluetooth. It has a truly minimalist design which lacks a frontlight, touchscreen, or Wifi, but what it’s missing in hardware it makes for in versatility.

Gajah has come up with a what I would call a universal smartphone case. They’ve developed a two-part smartphone case which enables uses to combine the ereader component of the InkCase Plus with a case built for single smartphone model.

It works something like this (you can click on the image to see an animated GIF, if you like):


Gajah is committed to producing cases for 10 of the more popular smartphone models owned by the KickStarter backers, including 4 Samsung models (more details here).

They’re also going to make a couple one size fits most cases. The smaller model will be sized to fit smartphones with screens between 4.3″ and 5.2″, while the larger unit is intended to work with screens between 5.3″ and 6″. They released a few photos of the sample:

inkcase plus universal case 1 inkcase plus universal case 2 inkcase plus universal case 3

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early sample of the InkCase Plus back in July. I didn’t get a case with it, but that didn’t get in the way of pairing the Plus with a tablet and putting it through its paces.

It was intended to work as a secondary screen, and it required an app running on your Android device to send over each screenful of data (I’m told this will change in in the production unit, which will be able to work as a standalone ereader).

Thanks to the very sharp (360 x 600) screen even small fonts were quite readable, and I also noted that the companion app and the Sports app also worked smoothly.

I’m looking forward to my unit arriving later this month. I was one of the backers, but I didn’t quite get in fast enough. Even though I joined the campaign when it was only a few hours old, I missed out on the $79 early adopter package, and instead invested $99.

In any case, I can’t wait to see it.

inkcase-plus_05 inkcase-plus_04 inkcase-plus_03 inkcase-plus_02 inkcase-plus_01 inkcase plus universal case 1


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The Morning Coffee – 3 October 2014

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 07:12 PM PDT

Here are 8 stories to read this Friday morning, including yet another call for Amazon to be investigated for antitrust violations, Google removing snippets from their search results in Germany, Chuck Wendig’s satirical take on branding, and more.

  • Authors Guild Calls for Antitrust Scrutiny of Amazon (PW)
  • Google Removes News Snippets From Complaining Publications In Germany; Publications Claim It’s ‘Blackmail’ (Techdirt)
  • HarperCollins offers authors higher royalties for direct sales (TeleRead)
  • How To Brand Yourself As A Writer — Wait! No! As An "Author" (terribleminds: chuck wendig)
  • Little Critter Library is a Kid's eBook Subscription App for iOS (The eBook Reader Blog)
  • No, I don't want to read your self-published book (The Passive Voice)
  • The Perfect Bookstore Loses to Amazon (Go To Hellman)
  • Why Amazon Can’t Refuse to Sell Hachette Titles — and Hachette Can’t Refuse to Supply Amazon (Transplanting a Seattleite)

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