Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Someone Gave You a Kindle Fire

Whatever your opinion of Amazon might be, they have done a great job making sure people think of Kindles first when they think of ereaders. And the reviews of their various devices all pretty much say the same thing; for the price, Amazon makes decent devices. This means that a lot of readers over the last year have gotten Kindles, either as gifts or for themselves, without knowing how the device can limit where you shop for ebooks. If the reports that we’re hearing are accurate, a lot of you will be unwrapping Kindle Fires this year, whether or not you asked for them.


The good news is that you can use the IndieBound Reader app on the Kindle Fire, so even on your Amazon device, you’ll have the option to shop at independent bookstores for your ebooks. Though the IndieBound Reader app wasn’t designed to be used on the Kindle Fire, the staff at the American Booksellers Association have tested it and the results are good. Here is how you put the IndieBound Reader app on your Kindle Fire.

• First, configure your Kindle to allow sideloaded apps. Tap the Settings gear at the top right of the home screen, and then tap the “More” button.

• From the Settings menu, select “Device”

• Toward the bottom of this screen is a toggle that says “Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources.” Switch this toggle from Off to On.

• A nasty security warning appears. Tap OK. You can now install sideloaded apps.

• Point your browser to http://www.indiebound.org/reader

• Tap the green button that reads “Download IndieBound Reader for Android”

• When the download is complete, a banner notification will appear at the top of the screen saying, “Download Complete” and a new notification will appear. Tap this notification at the top of the screen, and then tap on the successful download message to begin installation.

• You now have the IndieBound Reader app on your Kindle Fire! It will appear with your other apps on the “Apps” screen.

• (Optional) If you would like to disable sideloaded apps again, simply follow the first few steps and change the “Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources” toggle back to Off again.

Check back next week for a post with a lot more details about using the IndieBound Reader app.

Or maybe you got a Nook Tablet. If so, you can use Adobe Digital Editions to move PSB ebooks onto your Nook Tablet just like with the older versions of the Nook.

Sideloading the IndieBound Reader app is, unfortunately, not as easy on the Nook Tablet as it is on the Kindle Fire, but once installed the app runs great thanks to the Nook Tablet’s superior hardware. Please note that a microSD card is required to run IndieBound Reader. However, if you still want to use the app, here’s how.

• You must have an SD card in order for the IndieBound Reader app to run. Because of the Nook’s unique file permissions sytem, it cannot write to your Nook directly. Make sure that a microSD card has been inserted before beginning this procedure.

• Unlike the Kindle Fire, the “Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources” toggle is not available in the Nook’s settings menu. Instead, you must first try to sideload an APK in order to access this screen. So, point your Nook’s browser to http://www.indiebound.org/reader.

• Tap the green button that reads “Download IndieBound Reader for Android”

• “Starting Download” appears. Nothing further seems to happen!

• Tap the three-arrow icon in the lower left corner. This pulls up a notifications dialog.
Tap on the IBReader-x.x.apk download.

• Complete action using… choose Package Installer

• A security dialog appears. Choose “Settings.”

• You are taken to a hidden settings page on your Nook where you can enable the
installation of sideloaded apps. Check the box next to “Unknown sources.”

• A scary security warning appears. Click OK.

• Tap the Back button next to the Application Settings page title. You will be returned to your web browser.

• Tap the arrow icon in the bottom right again. Tap on the downloaded IBReader apk
again.

• Complete action using… choose Package Installer

• Install the application.

Running the application subsequently


Unfortunately, the Nook does not display sideloaded apps together with other apps on the system. There are two means of accessing sideloaded apps on your Nook Tablet.
1) The Search
Use the search to look up your app. You will need to search for “IB Reader” (with caps) to find it.
2) Sideload an app manager
This is a great solution if you plan to add more sideloaded apps in the future.

Sideloading the IndieBound Reader app on these devices can be a bit of a hassle, but it means you’ll have the freedom to chose where you want to shop for ebooks. Furthermore, I think it’s a really good reading app in general. It supports annotation and plenty of formatting options and makes buying ebooks really easy. More on the app next week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Perfect Book Part 3

Part 3 of The Perfect Book. Check out Part 2 and Part1.

Hockey’s Original 6: Breathtaking, vivid photos make this perfect for book for the hockey fan.

Hard Way Around and Atlantic: For the seafarer, whether actual or would-be.

The Art of Medicine: For that doctor or medical student in the family:

One Writer’s Garden: For Eudora Welty fans, horticulturalists, and lovers of American literature. A beautiful gift book, the perfect companion to One Writer’s Beginnings.

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick: For the delusion paranoid member of the family in search of the universal order and/or the hardcore Phillip K. Dick fan.

A History of the World in 100 Objects: For the perpetually curious interested in history.


The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise by Georges Perec: For the office worker in search of a new perspective on his/her toil.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ABA Open Letter

Like many independent booksellers we are a proud and active member of the American Booksellers Association. The CEO of our organization, Oren Teicher, has written an open letter in response to a new app promotion just announced by Amazon. I thought it important enough to share.

This week Amazon.com announced that customers who go into bricks-and-mortar stores on Saturday, December 10, use the company’s smartphone price check app on select products, and then purchase that product from Amazon will receive a discount of up to $5.

While books were not included in the promotion, indie bookstores, like other Main Street retailers, were outraged by the online giant’s latest move.


Dear Jeff Bezos,

We’re not shocked, just disappointed.

Despite your company’s recent pledge to be a better corporate citizen and to obey the law and collect sales tax, you created a price-check app that allows shoppers to browse Main Street stores that do collect sales tax, scan a product, ask for expertise, and walk out empty-handed in order to buy on Amazon. We suppose we should be flattered that an online sales behemoth needs a Main Street retail showroom.

Forgive us if we’re not.

We could call your $5 bounty to app-users a cheesy marketing move and leave it at that. In fact, it is the latest in a series of steps to expand your market at the expense of cities and towns nationwide, stripping them of their unique character and the financial wherewithal to pay for essential needs like schools, fire and police departments, and libraries.

But maybe we’ve misunderstood.

Even though you’ve spent millions on lobbyists, fired affiliates in seven states, and threatened to shut warehouses to avoid collecting sales tax, maybe you really mean it now when you say you support a level playing field.

It’s up to you to show us.

In the meantime, indie retailers remain the heart of countless communities — offering discovery, energy, support, and unique experiences. See you on Main Street.

Sincerely,

Oren Teicher, CEO
American Booksellers Association



This week Amazon.com announced that customers who go into bricks-and-mortar stores on Saturday, December 10, use the company’s smartphone price check app on select products, and then purchase that product from Amazon will receive a discount of up to $5.

While books were not included in the promotion, indie bookstores, like other Main Street retailers, were outraged by the online giant’s latest move.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher has written an open letter (below and here in PDF format) to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos that highlights the glaring discrepancy between the company’s recent statements in support of sales tax fairness and this latest exploitation of an inequitable strategic advantage.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Perfect Book Part 2

Here is Part 2 of our holiday help series, The Perfect Book. Click here to visit Part 1.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: The perfect ‘comfort book’ says Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes.

One Writer's Beginnings byEudora Welty: The perfect book for those yearning to write a memoir. This is a treasure.


Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats: The perfect collection of poetry for the nostalgic romantic in your life.

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox: The perfect book to inspire the female athlete.

Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster: For all who appreciate good writing. A friendly approach to literary criticism and perfect for those would-be writers.

A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman: The perfect read for the popular history enthusiast who loves copious set-pieces, anecdotes, perceptive observation and excellent writing.


Parallel Stories by Peter Nadas: For the reader in search of brilliance relatively unknown in the states and the reader looking to bite off more than they can chew.

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