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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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October 2016
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Coming Soon: An E-Ink Kindle You Can Read In The Dark

When it comes to reading devices like the Kindle, E Ink displays are both the primary draw and the biggest marketing problem.  On the one hand they allow for insanely long battery life and a reading experience as easy on the eyes as any paperback.  On the other, they offer little advantage besides that ease of reading since the opaque nature of E Ink means that even optional lighting has not been possible before now.

Recent reports coming out of Seattle indicate that the next generation of Kindles will finally have built in lighting.  While we have not had a chance to actually play with any, the technology reportedly being employed will involve front-lighting of some sort that can be controlled through the system’s menus.  This both gets around the problematic opaqueness of the E Ink material and avoids doing so in such a way as to produce eye strain like that found when reading on an LCD.

This will be the first big step forward for either the Kindle or eReaders in general in quite some time.  For the most part, the only think that differentiates the Kindle from its competition at this point is the integration with Amazon’s Kindle Store.  Other than that the Nook Simple Touch is the slightly superior device and even the less well known competition is close enough to be comparable.  E Ink Pearl has just been around for long enough that everybody who is interested has managed to adopt it.

Now it is definitely cool that we will be able to do our Kindle reading in dark or poorly lit rooms after all this time.  It is even cooler to discover that it won’t have tradeoffs that negate the point of owning a Kindle instead of or in addition to a tablet.  Most exciting for me, though, is what this means for the generation beyond what we’ll see this year.

The major shortcoming of color eReaders using displays like E Ink Triton are that, unless the lighting is close to ideal, the colors are washed out and dull.  Once Amazon has some experience with including front lighting and has the implementation of a lighting layer down, there is no reason to think that they would have trouble adjusting to meet the needs of color displays.  This would probably result in having a color/monochrome toggle that insisted on turning the lighting on any time you wanted your Kindle to pull up a magazine, but it would still completely change the color eReading marketplace and eliminate the need for LCD reading tablets.

All reports indicate that the newest Kindle generation is still in development phases while the company works on things like weight, battery life, and light quality.  Even so, it is safe to assume that the Kindle 5 will show up before the end of the year.  Should the Agency Model be eliminated as soon as as we now suspect it might be, Amazon will almost certainly celebrate that fact with a huge push in the product line.  The coinciding release of a glow-in-the-dark Kindle would round that out nicely.

Kindle for iPad App Updated To Use Retina Display

While customers have barely had time to wipe the first set of fingerprints off their brand new iPad 3 purchases, Amazon has prepared to take advantage of the improved screen quality that the device incorporates by updating their Kindle reading application.  Users will find their reading experience in this release, Version 3.0, noticeably crisper, cleaner, and with a couple useful new features.  Magazines and other publications that choose to use high resolution color imagery will be right at home on the platform now, thanks to these changes.

There is now a tab available at the bottom of the screen, clearly borrowed from the Kindle Fire’s native interface, which allows easy switching between locally stored and cloud based books currently available to the account.  This should make it easier to manage content on the most basic level.  Things are also displayed in the same grid view that the Kindle Fire interface relies on for eBook navigation.  In terms of the general reading experience the update is a step forward and does good things for new iPad 3 owners.

That is not to say that there are no complaints about the new release, of course.  While they made no real note of the alterations to the way the app works, a few useful features were quietly removed.  Customers have been complaining, for example, that the ability to search from the dictionary to Wikipedia and Google has been removed since Version 2.9 of the app.  This seems to be a very strange change given the potential usefulness of this feature and the seeming lack of effort that would have been required to maintain it once developed.  It certainly has nothing to do with bringing the Kindle for iPad experience in line with the Kindle Fire, as the Fire still has this ability.  There is also still no ability to organize one’s library via the app itself, as well as no folder or tag system.  While this is true of everybody using anything Kindle related besides the eReaders themselves, which at least have the Collections system, it remains a source of frustration.

Overall the consensus is that this brought the new iPad a superior aesthetic experience compared to what is available elsewhere, but that it failed to improve functionality in any major way.  Perhaps this is to be expected, given that with the need for a completely external iOS Kindle Store there must be little pressure to release innovations on that platform first, but it does lessen some of the enthusiasm for the first real app update to bring readers the advantages of the iPad’s improvements.

Realistically, especially with the second Kindle Fire release expected right around the corner, any major improvements along the lines of function will probably come through their Kindle for Android or Kindle Cloud Reader options first.  The stylistic changes that bring the Kindle for iOS app closer to the Kindle Fire’s appearance only serve to highlight how important it is for Amazon to unify their platform.  In the end we can probably expect to see any major changes radiating out from Kindle Fire updates except when, as in this case, those changes are to take advantage of hardware capabilities that the Kindle Fire simply lacks.

Free 90 Day Trial on Select Magazines for Kindle Fire Customers

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire

If you own a Kindle Fire and enjoy reading magazines, you’re in luck because Amazon is offering a 90 day free trial on select popular magazines.  You can find these magazines on the Kindle Store homepage.  The collection includes health, beauty, men and women, sports, teens, and technology.

A sample of some the hottest magazines included in this trial include:

Wired

Wired is a hit technology focused magazine that includes the latest gadgets, as well as innovative ideas that will shape the future.  The magazine takes a broader approach with articles spanning across subjects such as science, philosophy, adventure, and online culture.  It is a great magazine for those who are familiar with technology and want to stay on top of the latest trends.  The reviews run from one end of the spectrum to another.  As one reviewer said, it is free for three months, so it can’t hurt to give it a shot.

SELF

SELF is a diet and fitness magazine that that includes a variety of good workouts, and healthy recipes.  It also includes beauty tips and other real life advice.  When I’ve read the magazine, I’ve enjoyed what they have to say.  The stories that resonate the most with me are the personal weight loss success stories. SELF is a good motivational tool to jump start the rush of New Years resolutions that involve getting healthy and fit.  The benefit of the Kindle Fire version over the print is that it includes interactive content, such as videos.

Both Wired and Self, as well as a Glamour, GQ and a few others, are Kindle Fire apps, as opposed to magazines that are purchased in the Newsstand.  The apps are more interactive, but require a different log in than the Newsstand magazines.  They have room for improvement, but the good thing is that apps are updated regularly.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker is a Newsstand magazine, and the 90 day free trial is open to all Kindle owners.  There is an interactive edition for Kindle Fire owners.  The award winning magazine includes topics such as politics, world affairs, business, science, and the arts.  There are a mix of articles, poetry, and cartoons.  This is a weekly magazine.

Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest is the go to magazine for architects and interior designers.  It includes designs from top architects and provides a peek into the homes of “celebrated personalities” as Amazon puts it.  The pictures and graphic heavy nature of this magazine works best with the Kindle Fire.

The good part for print subscribers is that you can sign up for access the the digital editions for free.  That is the way is should be!  The Kindle editions can serve as a more portable alternative to the print editions.

With the reviews so all over the place and some magazines working better than others, I am eager to see what more people have to say about them.  There is still a lot of work to do to make magazines work seamlessly on the Kindle, but they will improve over time as the Kindle platform gets better and better.

 

 

 

Could The Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet Fight Really Hinge On Magazines?

Since the launch of the very first Kindle eReader, the persistent and constantly repeated complaint has been that it lacks color.  Everything else that began problematically, from screen refresh time to clunky controls, has been addressed in later iterations of the Kindle line.  Sadly, you just can’t do much yet in terms of color without sacrificing the E Ink screen.  Barnes & Noble managed to effectively market their Nook Color for over a year on nothing more than the ability to overcome this limitation (regardless of the resultant shortcomings of their device) and it was inevitable that it be a big issue in terms of Kindle Fire reviewing, no matter how much Amazon might prefer to focus on other things.

How big a deal could this possibly be, though?  Upon closer inspection, more than I thought.  The obvious example that most people jump to for their color reading needs is the magazine.  Let’s simply disregard that one for the time being, though.  It involves a slightly different pricing model since only the newest issue of a given publication is likely to be in demand, shortening the life of each installment to a month or so in many cases.  I would love to comment but, without a better understanding of how the advertising model generally makes the transition to the sort of device that has the potential to simply block out images with a few tweaks, I simply don’t feel qualified at the moment.

We can definitely consider general book sales, though.  Assume that the majority of book sales are fiction.  Particularly Romance novels, I’m told.  Not too much need for color illustration in those, for the most part.  That does not mean that non-fiction is a negligible area, however.  Self Help and History are two of the most impressive genres of the past few years in terms of sales.  Both of them, in their own way can benefit from the inclusion of color.

While this is definitely important, though, it’s difficult to believe that it will really be a major factor moving into the next round of Kindle vs Nook competition.  Barnes & Noble’s book focus is completely understandable.  It only makes sense to do what you know best and they simply don’t have the structure in place to handle much else.  Amazon has already moved past that, adding competing capabilities and book selections almost in passing, and brought the emphasis around to video.

The Kindle Fire might not be a match for the iPad when it comes to hardware, but Amazon is building up their whole digital presence to the point of rivaling Apple’s more established one.  The book emphasis only made sense as long as the limitations of the device being sold restricted use to that media.  The future will be an overall digital experience.  Sure magazines and color reading will be a part of it, but on their own the effect just doesn’t seem likely to be big enough to matter.  There are rumors of a Nook Tablet video store on the horizon, as well as a push to increase the app content for that line of devices.  That’s likely to make a far bigger difference.

Amazon Updates Kindle Book Format From Mobi 7 To KF8

Up until now, despite certain efforts to use the Kindle for iOS app to encourage media embedding in eBooks, the Kindle line has really been all about the bare content.  Yes, page formatting is not only possible but important, but for the most part writers and publishers have been restricted so much by the format and the capabilities of the devices used to read their books that the only thing really possible was the basic layout stuff.  Now, with the Kindle Fire on the horizon, things are changing.

Amazon has already got a lot planned to take advantage of the color screen on their newest Kindle.  Kid’s books and magazines will be getting a huge push, for example.  There has even already been some fairly major controversy in the world of comics over Amazon’s exclusive deal with DC for some digital editions and the repercussions this is having on that industry.  Naturally none of this would be simple to pull off using the rather outdated Mobi 7 eBook format.  Amazon’s solution is a new release called “Kindle Format 8″.  Over time it will completely replace the obsolete format, though all Kindle devices will continue to be able to access these older files.

Kindle Format 8 brings the power of HTML5 and CSS3 to the eBook.  This gets you greatly expanded layout control, including fixed layouts.  That’s going to be especially important for things like children’s books and comics, where relative positioning of the illustration is important to meaning.  It will also finally make possible footnotes, which will please academic publishers among others.  Personally I’m hoping that that particular application won’t take off, since there is a lot of potential in the Kindle‘s existing annotation framework if they could figure out how to adapt it to replace footnotes, but that may be an unrealistic hope now.  On top of formatting, Kindle books will now be able to contain their own specific custom fonts, text displayed over images, and a number of other welcome updates.

This update is anything but a surprise, in a way.  Existing popular formats like EPUB and Mobipocket are already based on HTML, so there is a certain sense of inevitability to the development of a new eBook format based on modern standards.  The greater functionality will be welcome for many, should the development tools prove effective.  Both KindleGen 2, the Kindle Format 8 publishing tool, and Kindle Previewer 2 will be available soon, assuming they’re not already out by the time this is published.

While the Kindle Fire will be the first device in the Kindle line to support this update, eReaders should be updated to support KF8 within the next several months.  No word yet, to the best of my knowledge, if Amazon will be making any effort to update either of the first two generations of Kindle to allow for compatibility, but the currently available devices should have no trouble. Hopefully users will enjoy a greatly improved reading experience once authors and publishers get the hang of the new tools.

Magazines and Newspapers Now Available on Kindle Reading Apps

One of the biggest complaints about reading magazines on Kindle is it’s lack of good support for graphics.  I have seen this sentiment in many of the Kindle magazine reviews.  This issue is resolved somewhat with the magazines’ new availability on Kindle Reading Apps such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  Barnes & Noble has done the same for it’s Nook reading apps and have a good sized collection.

The Kindle for iPad interface makes it a bit easier to read magazines because of its LCD screen that is much more amenable to colors and pictures.  National Geographic is of course known for its amazing photos, so it works the best on tablets.

The collection of over 100 Kindle magazines and newspapers include big names like The Washington Post, The Economist, PC Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and more.  The good news is that they all include two week trial subscriptions, so you don’t have to lock into a subscription right away.

You get a bit of portability (think much lighter luggage when traveling!) and a better visual experience.  Price wise, the Kindle subscriptions are about equal or less than the print subscription.  Sometimes more.  It just depends on the magazine or newspaper.

One thing I like about the Kindle Reading Apps are that they include good accessibility features.  The option to enlarge fonts, change color contrast, and include VoiceOver capabilities is a big perk for people who have vision loss.  Have you ever seen a large print or braille version of Reader’s Digest?  They are huge.

With the upcoming “tablet revolution” so to speak, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Kindle apps, especially for the iPad.  I think they will be around for awhile with such a huge variety of users using tablets and smartphones.  There will be a slew of tablets to choose from this holiday season.

When the Kindle Tablet comes out, will Amazon continue to offer the Kindle for iPad app, or just focus on its own?

The Kindle Tablet would solve the graphics issue directly as part of Amazon’s own product line, instead of relying on its software platform on another company’s product.

So, it will be interesting to see what happens!

 

Kindle Subscriptions Readability Expanded

On October 22nd, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) announced that they will be adding a bit of expanded functionality to their Kindle reading platform.  Much as book are currently able to be shared between devices on the same account, regardless of hardware choice, so shall magazine and newspapers be, at least in theory!  So subscribers will simply have access to their periodicals wherever they may be, if all goes well.  There are two sides to this situation, however.

While it greatly expands availability, and therefore saleability, for publications currently lacking an online distribution system, it can mean direct competition for others. Take the New York Times(NYSE:NYT) for example.  They’ve spent a lot of time and man-hours getting their iPad application off the ground, from what I’ve heard.  It seems pretty unlikely that they will be wanting to negate all that effort by simply letting Amazon expand subscriptions purchased for Kindles to iPad owners. Still, Amazon says they will allow publishers to opt-out, so perhaps that will negate the issue.  It is certainly an option that many organizations will have to weigh carefully, since it will almost certainly have bearing on the decision of future customers to purchase Kindle-based subscriptions in hopes of staying up to date on a daily basis.  Regardless of publisher dilemmas, this does clear up an annoying issue with the current subscription setup.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense for your average commuter to be denied the ability to check their morning paper just because today they’re using their Kindle app instead of the device itself.

The first devices to see this new feature will be those running Kindle-for-iOS, but Android users should see it soon as well.  The stated vision of the company, “Buy Once, Read Everywhere”, would be great for readers and we can only hope that it comes soon and works well.  It would be nice to see availability in spite of potential complications with independently developed applications, but only time will tell.

Poets & Writers Magazine for Kindle

According to their website, Poets & Writers has grown from its humble beginnings in a New York apartment to its current status as the largest nonprofit organization for writers of poetry, nonfiction and creative fiction.  Galen Williams found funding and started the organization in 1970.

If you are a serious writer, this organization a great resource for tips, literary grants, publishing information, networking opportunities and writing seminars.  Poets & Writers Magazine was formed in 1987. The bi-monthly publication is available for 99 cents on the Kindle and Kindle DX.

In 1996, pw.org was launched, providing an online presence for the magazine along with message board forums and exclusive online content.  In 2007, Poets & Writers Magazine introduced the Jackson Poetry Prize.  This awards  $50,000 to an early to mid career poet.  That is a pretty nice chunk of change.

I found a neat quote on the magazine’s website from E. L. Doctorow who described P&W as:

“a saintly little service organization for writers across the country. It tells them where the jobs are, the reading gigs, the grants, the awards competitions, and it brings them news of each other. Not its least valuable service is the one that comes of all the others – the suggestion of community implicit in this lowliest and most dire of professions.”

Overall, the reviews for the Kindle edition are good.  One suggestion Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) should take note of, is to provide a scan or search feature within the Kindle edition of the magazine.  The reviewer mentioned that it was much quicker to find certain sections in the magazine version.  The reviews overall reflected what the magazine website’s descriptions said about the content in terms of its great insight on many areas of the writing industry.

I took a look at the magazine, and I like that the writers write from a such a deeply personal point of view.  The stories have a lot more meaning that way.  You will also find information on current events such as the Chilean Mine ordeal and reviews on top MFA programs.

With so much information on the web to sort through, this magazine is a great resource to help sort the quality writing from the junk.

The Onion for Kindle

The Onion is a weekly newspaper offered on the Kindle and Kindle DX for $2.49.  The current editor of The Onion is Joe Randazzo, and their website is updated daily.  The Kindle edition is great for portability, and is delivered wirelessly every Thursday. The Onion is also released with its affiliate, The AV Club, a publication that explores the best and worst of books and entertainment.

According to Amazon’s little spiel about the beginnings of the newspaper, The Onion was “founded in 1756, when Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, an immigrant tuber-farmer from Prussia, shrewdly bartered a sack of yams for a second-hand printing press and named his fledgling newspaper The Mercantile Onion after the only words of English that he knew. Since then, The Onion has expanded into an omnipotent news empire complete with a 24-hour broadcast news division (The Onion News Network) and wildly successful website, TheOnion.com.”

Well, some of that is accurate. There is a wildly popular website called TheOnion.com and a news division called The Onion News Network.  The Onion was founded by two University of Wisconsin – Madison students, Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson in 1988.  The name, The Onion, came from Chris Johnson’s uncle who saw Keck and Johnson eating an onion sandwich on several occasions.  It was literally an onion on two pieces of bread.  That sounds pretty disgusting, huh?

Some regular columns featured in The Onion include: “STATshot”, a spoof on USAToday’s Snapshots, InfoGraphic, a set of bullet points and an image that provides a humorous “map description” of a person or object.  This week’s InfoGraphic is the “Ozzy Genome.” Others include: “Point, Counterpoint,” “The ONION in History,” which comprises of front page newspapers from earlier eras taken from the book Our Dumb Century and “American Voices.”

I regularly follow The Onion Blog’s daily updates, which does not have all of the articles as the newspaper.  A few articles featured on the website recently that appear both in the blog and in the newspaper are: “Wasting Tax Dollars on Something Awesome,” “Ritalin Gummies Unveiled” and “George Steinbrenner Dead after Firing Underperforming Heart.”  These are just a few tidbits of hilarious misinformation The Onion dishes out.

The reviews are very positive overall.  The Onion is such a great source of comic relief in the midst of all of the economic and political turmoil in the world.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine for Kindle

You can get the Kindle and Kindle DX version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine for $2.99, which is the same as the print edition.  There are 10 issues a year, with two issues coming out as double issues.  There has been some debate about the prices being higher on the Kindle version than on the print edition. Dell Magazines, the publisher, explained in a review that in terms of yearly subscriptions the prices come out to be the same.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine was founded in 1956, and is the second oldest mystery short story magazine in existence, according to the short history synopsis on the magazine’s website.  Some notable authors for AHMM include Martin Limon, Jane K. Cleland, Loren Estelman and other well known and emerging writers.

One particular author that you might recognize, Dorothy L. Sayers, has contributed to AHMM.  She recently published Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey), and it is available for just 99 cents on the Kindle.

Each issue contains original articles that range from short stories to novellas.  The mystery, crime  and suspense genres are all pretty well covered.  Each issue also features regularly occurring columns: “Books & Printed,” a book review column, “Reel Crime,” a movie and television column, puzzles, contests and  “Mystery Classic”, a story from the genre’s past.

This month’s issue covers several interesting topics.  One topic centers around the effects of crime on the victim’s family.  Within this topic, two of the stories deal with how crime has affected children left behind.  Another set of articles address the complexities of the criminal justice system in the United States and around the world.  The magazine’s website has excerpts on the latest issues and information about other fun awards and events going on.

Overall, the reviews of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine were really good with the exception of the price tag.  The magazine reads like a digest, and is similar in size to the Kindle 2, so the transition from the print to Kindle should be a smooth one.  The Kindle saves a lot of space and makes the magazine a lot more portable.

Slate for Kindle

Slate magazine is offered daily on the Kindle and Kindle DX for $2.49 a month.  Slate is a fully online magazine, and its revenues rely on advertising.  I was surprised at the price of the Kindle version of this magazine considering that the web version is free.  I’m assuming that the subscription fee is mostly in the Kindle formatting process.  The issue comes out daily, so the price comes out to only 8 cents an issue. That is not a bad deal.

Slate was created as an online magazine in 1996 by Michael Kinsley under Microsoft, who later sold the magazine to the Washington Post in 2004.  Slate covers the usual everyday news topics such as Technology, Politics, Life, Arts and Business.  I love the lighthearted, informal style of writing that this magazine uses.  This informal, first person style of writing was one of the pioneers of the writing style we associate with blogging today.

The writing style seen in Slate matches the nature of the Kindle.  The Kindle is designed to make reading appear fun, lighthearted and portable.

Slate includes a blog section that includes the well known blog: “Kausfiles,” by Mickey Kaus, who is currently running for Senate in California.  Other blogs include: “Brow Beat,” a culture blog, “The Wrong Stuff,” a blog about making mistakes, and others on various topics.  In addition to blogs, Slate also creates podcasts on current issues and hosts a readers forum called “The Fray.”

Overall, the reviews for Slate are really good.  The main complaints are that it comes out a little later in the day than the average newspaper at 9am, and the content includes articles from previous days.  By 9am, most people are at work, so there goes the reading on the subway theory.  Other than that, the reviewers said that it is really nice to have a summary of all of the major news papers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times and others all in one place.  Another positive note about this magazine is that many of the articles are original and well researched, which says a lot about the quality of the content.

US News & World Report For Kindle

US News & World Report is available for Kindle and Kindle DX for $1.99 a month.  In the last few years this magazine has transitioned from weekly to biweekly to monthly publication.

The US News was founded in 1933 by David Lawrence, former student of Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University.  Lawrence founded a separate magazine, World Report, in 1946, but later merged it with US News in 1948. The magazine covers topics such as: health, politics, technology, international affairs, education, business and more.  The latest articles focus on the BP oil spill and the issues surrounding it.  There are also articles about healthy behaviors and criticism of Obama’s policies.

The US News & World Report is considered more conservative than its counterparts, Time and Newsweek, and does not include entertainment, celebrity or sports news. This is a good cut and dry resource on current issues.

The magazine is well known for its rankings for colleges, hospitals, careers and most recently, high schools.  This is a great starting resource for checking the rankings when choosing graduate school programs as well.  However, students and parents shouldn’t rely solely on this list for a choosing a school if it isn’t right for the individual.  There is a lot of debate about the superficial nature of the data used to make the ranking decisions.

The US News & World Report also ranks the top hospitals in the nation.  In 2009, John Hopkins was at the top, followed by the Mayo Clinic and UCLA.  These choices shouldn’t be too surprising considering the top notch reputation of these hospitals.

One reviewer had an interesting comment about using backdoor conversions to include pictures on the Kindle edition of the magazine.  They currently subscribe to US News Online in PDF form.  They send it to Kindle’s PDF conversion tool that converts it with the pictures from the magazine included.  The question is, why can’t Amazon do this for the original Kindle version of the magazine?  Overall, the reviews were very mixed and I think if the graphics issue was corrected, a lot more people would subscribe to the Kindle edition of US News & World Report and other Kindle magazines.

One Story for Kindle

One Story is available for Kindle and Kindle DX for $1.49 a month.  The schedule for this short story literary magazine is every three weeks, so in the long run, the price is pretty reasonable.

One Story began in 2002, and has won many literary awards such as the Best American Short Stories, Best American Non-Required Reading and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

We believe that short stories are best read alone. They should not be sandwiched in between a review and an exposé on liposuction, or placed after another work of fiction that is so sad or funny or long that the reader is worn out by the time they turn to it. – One Story

This is a great philosophy, especially regarding readers who hate flipping through ads in magazines or for ones who are intimidated by 500 page books.

“At a time when literary writing seems like a dying art, when little magazines are folding left and right, when publishers bemoan the sinking bottom line, here lies a spot of hope…It is called One Story.” – The New York Times

The magazine features up and coming writers fiction writers.  The latest story in the June 20th edition of magazine is called “The Puppet,” by Reif Larsen.  The story is set in Sarajevo.  The author offers a great discussion on his work and his experiences that inspired him to write it.  more

I think it is neat to see the background behind the characters and the setting of the short story through the eyes of the person who wrote it.  This is true especially since the “The Puppet” took place in a war torn area that touched the author personally.

One Story is a great addition to the Kindle collection because of its portable and lighthearted nature.  It does not include graphics, which seems to be a hang up with other magazines on the Kindle, and it is like getting a new book every three weeks. It is meant for the subways, the bathtub, the park, and anywhere else ideal for a quick read.

Technology Review for Kindle

Technology Review is a bimonthly publication available on the Kindle and Kindle DX for $1.25 a month.

Technology Review is the oldest technology magazine in the world and was started by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Technology Review aims to promote the understanding of emerging technologies and to analyze their commercial, social, and political impacts.

Jason Pontin is the current Editor in Chief and Publisher of Technology Review and has held the post since 2005. A few article topics from the magazine include: using Flickr to create quicker travel itineraries, 3-D displays without glasses and One Tablet Per Child, a cheaper, modified version of the One Laptop Per Child Project.

Every year, Technology Review showcases the year’s “35 Innovators under 35”.  Topics within science and technology include: Biomedicine, Web, Communication, Computing, Energy and Business.  This is a great way to recognize the younger generation and their unique contributions to the science and technology arena.

The magazine also prints an annual “Top 10 Emerging Technologies” article.  These are really cool new technologies such as liquid batteries that could allow whole cities to run on solar power at night, cutting DNA system costs, software that serves as a personal aide, and much more.

Reviewers say this magazine is great for the non techie audience and doesn’t include too much of the geeky jargon that only technology junkies would know.  That theory is good and bad.  Some reviewers felt that the articles lacked depth, yet others found them refreshing.  However, after looking through the article titles, I did see a some scientific names that I was not familiar with.  So, it appears to be a mix of both techie and non techie language going on.  The Kindle version is good because this magazine doesn’t fully rely on graphics, but the readers would like to see more graphics, color and formatting included for easier reading.

Considering that this is the oldest technology magazine in the world, I was surprised to find that there was not much historical information available online.

Forbes for Kindle

Forbes Magazine is a bi-weekly publication that is available for $2.49 on the Kindle.  Overall, the reviews of the Kindle edition are good, but suggest that Amazon insert better tables and graphics.

Forbes was founded in 1917 by B.C. Forbes, a Scottish immigrant who lived and worked in South Africa and New York City prior to starting the magazine.  The original title was said to be Doers and Doings, but this phrase ended up as part of the official title: Forbes: Devoted to Doers and Doings.

Forbes was to be a magazine about doers and doings, “faithful to the facts and fair to the man whom it writes about” and written, as a blurb on the back cover promised, in a way “that does not necessitate the laymen engaging an interpreter.” more

Some of the topics covered every issue of Forbes include articles on the worlds of industry, finance, international business, marketing, law, taxes, science, technology, communications, investments, entrepreneurships, etc. This publication boasts more than 5 million readers in the business world on a global scale, including seven foreign language editions.

The Forbes Empire remains one of the largest and most successful family businesses of its kind in the world. Steve Forbes, once a political candidate for President of the United States of America, is the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and has a column in every issue called “Fact and Comment” which is popular with Forbes readers.

Every year, Forbes publishes its very popular list of the richest people and the biggest companies on Earth. The magazine and the stories in each issue focus on the movers and shakers of the financial and business arena. Forbes is also the best of the business periodicals that are published today for discovering new investment ideas and is more investor focused than other business magazines. Today’s market is incredibly volatile and rapidly changing so Forbes is a great resource to keep abreast of the trends and issues concerning the market.

Foreign Affairs for Kindle

Foreign AffairsThe Foreign Affairs bimonthly magazine is available for Kindle for a monthly subscription of $1.99.  The reviews for the Kindle version of this journal are the best I’ve seen so far.  Foreign Affairs is a 200 page journal/magazine, and is text and content based, which makes it a good fit for the Kindle.

The Council on Foreign Relations set the idea in motion to start a quarterly magazine that would become what is now called Foreign Affairs. The first issue of Foreign Affairs was published in September, 1922.  Foreign Affairs includes expert analysis and serious discussion on international relations.  Some major international subjects throughout history include: World War II, U.S relations with China, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and more recently the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

In the beginning, there were two editors: Archibald Cary Coolidge of Harvard and Hamilton (Ham) Fish Armstrong.  Coolidge was near retirement age at 57, and Armstrong was just his late twenties.

Coolidge remained in Boston, loosely handling the magazine while still teaching at Harvard and managing his scholarly work. Armstrong ran the magazine’s New York office and handled all of the day to day issues and problems. He was also responsible for the magazine’s distinctive format, the choice of a very special light blue paper cover (from a remarkable Italian papermaker), the logo of a man on a horse. It was typical of the sense of style that Armstrong, son of a painter, Old New York and Hudson Valley to his fingertips, brought to this and all else throughout his life. More

The initial issue of Foreign Affairs included 12 point Caslon font, which was more legible than many other font types of the time.  The current editor, James Hoge, brought a more modern version of this font back in 1993.

Foreign Affairs has a reputation of recruiting authors who are not mainstream. One particular example involves W.E.B DuBois, a distinguished African American author who wrote five articles for the magazine.  His first article in 1925 helped define “the Color Line” as a major issue of the twentieth century.

Currently, Foreign Affairs is owned by the Council on Foreign Relations and their stock information is private.

Business Week for Kindle

The monthly price for the Kindle edition of Business Week is $2.49.  The magazine is delivered weekly and the plus side of the Kindle edition is that according to one Amazon reviewer, you get it every Friday.  The print edition hits newsstands on Monday.

The Kindle edition of Business Week does not have images and this is a drawback based on what is reflected in the reviews, however, the articles read much faster.

Business Week, now owned by Bloomberg, began publication on September 7, 1929.  Note that this date is less than two months before the stock market crash of 1929.  The stock market crash signaled the beginning of the Great Depression that plagued most of the 1930’s.

Business Week is known for reporting the latest business and economic trends.  The magazine is also known for predicting the trends of the future.  Business Week reported on women in the war work force during World War II, which was a revolutionary concept because before the war, it was virtually unheard of for women to work outside of the home.  Business Week covered the successes of Katharine Graham, CEO of Washington Post Company.  She was the pioneer of female CEO’s.

Business Week also stays on top of the Information Technology arena, which is a vibrant, constantly changing one.  When the magazine was first published, typewriters began to come and become an integral part of businesses.  During the 1960’s, the first computers started to appear, but only in a few places.  As time progressed, Business Week followed Bill Gates and his PC software endeavors in the 1980s and the Internet boom of the 1990’s.  During the 2000’s, Business Week has covered Facebook, Google, smartphones and all of the other latest gadgets we use today.

In 2009, Bloomberg LP, a company owned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, bought Newsweek from its parent company McGraw-Hill for $5 million.  The official name for Business Week is now Bloomberg Business Week. more

The Nation for Kindle

The Nation is available on the Kindle for a good deal at $1.49 a month.  It is a weekly, mostly text based magazine.  The reviews are favorable and say that the Kindle version is easy to navigate.

The Nation will not be the organ of any party, sect, or body. It will, on the contrary, make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred. more

– from The Nation‘s founding prospectus, 1865

The Nation is a self described left leaning publication that was founded on July 6, 1865 by abolitionists, and is the oldest running weekly magazine in the US.  It covers topics such as Art, Politics, Music, Legal Affairs, Environmental Issues, Peace, and many others.  The magazine is primarily funded by donors called The Nation Associates whose names are listed in the end of the year issue.

The current editor of The Nation is Katrina vanden Heuvel.  She has been the editor, publisher and part owner since 1995. Notable contributors to The Nation include: Albert Einstein, John Steinbeck, who wrote the well known novels, The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, Martin Luther King Jr., poet Langston Hughes, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughter House Five, and many others.

The Nation runs a selection of regular columns with contributors who have been writing for over 20 years.  These columns include: Diary of a Mad Law Professor, Beneath the Radar, Deadline Poet, The Nation: a cryptic crossword and others.

Some of the major topics that are being covered in The Nation today are the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the plight of welfare mothers and the effects of the recent wars on the economy.  So, if you want a leftist view of current events, The Nation is the magazine to check out.

Science News for Kindle

Science News is a  biweekly publication and it is available for Kindle for $2.25 a month.  Considering that cost includes two issues a month, that is a really good deal.  The reviews are excellent. The pictures are included and can even be enlarged to be viewed in full screen mode. The reviewers also pointed out that the Kindle edition was very easy to navigate.

Science News was first published since 1922 under the name The Science News Letter by the nonprofit group, Society for Science & the Public in Washington DC. In 1966, the SS&P decided to change The Science News Letter to The Science News.

This award-winning biweekly news magazine covers important and emerging research in all fields of science. It publishes concise, accurate, timely articles that appeal to both general readers and scientists, reaching nearly 130,000 subscribers and more than one million readers.

Audible.com distributes an audio edition of Science News.  Having an audio edition is a great idea for the blind and for anyone who prefers audio over reading text.  The Kindle has a text to speech feature as well.  It is in the experimental stages and is up to the publisher as to whether to enable it.  At least the idea is out there. The online component of the magazine was introduced in 1996. More news from the Science News reporting team also appears at the www.sciencenews.org. Updated daily, this site covers all areas of science. more

Science News includes topics that are up and coming in the science world.  Some of the topics include the status of planets and moons in our solar system and others around us, genes, science and society, science and kids, science and young professionals. One particular topic of interest is the controversy about cell phones causing cancer.  So, the magazine covers a great deal of interesting stuff.

The Society for Science & the Public is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the public engagement in scientific research and education.

The Atlantic for Kindle

The Atlantic magazine is delivered wirelessly to your Kindle each month for $1.25.  It publishes ten issues a year and has about 400,000 readers.

The first issue of The Atlantic Monthly, as it was known back then, appeared in November, 1857.  The magazine was a huge success and considered itself “a journal of literature, politics, science and the arts”.  The magazine was conceived by notable figures such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes and James Russell Lowell.

Lowell was the first editor from 1857 to 1861.  He was an abolitionist who brought up controversial issues that included topics such as giving women the ability to get an education.

When it began, The Atlantic Monthly’s Declaration of Purpose went something like this:

“In politics, The Atlantic Monthly will be the organ of no party or clique, but will honestly endeavor to be the exponent of what its conductors believe to be the American idea. It will deal frankly with persons and with parties, endeavoring always to keep in view that moral element which transcends all persons and parties, and which alone makes the basis of a true and lasting prosperity. It will not rank itself with any sect of anties: but with that body of men which is in favor of Freedom, National Progress, and Honor, whether public or private.” more

The magazine has won many awards, including the coveted National Magazine Award.  The staff is young, averaging  age 35.  Other literary tidbits to note are: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a well known relic of America, and “Fifty Grand,” Ernest Hemingway’s first ever short story, both appeared in The Atlantic.  The magazine published early works of Mark Twain and important essays by Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

The magazine has a rich and influential history that I can only touch on. The current editor is James Bennet.  The Atlantic recently moved their offices from Boston to Washington DC, thus breaking away from their New England roots.

Currently, The Atlantic is owned by The Atlantic Monthly Group.

PC Magazine for Kindle

PC Magazine is delivered wirelessly on the Kindle monthly for $1.49.  The Kindle edition is released the same day the magazine’s digital edition is released to subscribers.

PC Magazine is a great resource for expert reviews on electronics and computers.  PC Magazine was introduced in 1982, the year after IBM set the world into a tailspin with one of the first personal computers. PC Magazine chronicled through the evolution of computer technology.  In the 1980’s you could get a desktop for around $6000.  You can get one now with a lot more memory and capabilities for less than $1000.  The 1990’s were  a big decade for computers.  Microsoft took off several versions of its Windows operating system.  The internet went mainstream into businesses and homes.  Apple found it’s niche in graphic design software.  Amazon.com, Yahoo and eBay were introduced in the late 1990’s. more

The last decade has brought evolution of existing technologies by improving them and making them much faster.  The 2000’s have also seen the introduction of PDA’s and mobile devices such as cell phones, blackberrys, palm pilots and others.  The e-book reader market is taking off with the Kindle, Nook and the iPad coming along. The tablet computer market not is too far behind.

Over the years it has been PC Magazine’s job to cover the latest trends, analyze them and share the best results to the consumers so that they can make the most informed decisions in such a rapidly changing market.

PC Magazine stopped selling print editions of its magazine so it makes sense to get it for Kindle if you want a portable device to read it on.  However, based on the comments provided, it is highly recommended that the Kindle team add the images in for the articles.  Many of the articles are based on the reviews of an item and it is helpful to have a picture of that particular item to refer to.

Currently, PC Magazine is owned by Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc and the stock information is private.

SHAPE for Kindle

SHAPE is a monthly magazine available on Kindle for $1.25 a month.  Generally, the print versions of the magazines around $3-4 at the newsstands, so this a pretty good deal.

“SHAPE magazine is the leading healthy-living publication for women. Each month it delivers usable, practical information and how-to advice on everything from health and diet to fitness and active travel to beauty and style that’s flattering for every figure. It’s mission: to help women live better lives—and do it with confidence”. – Amazon

There is not a whole lot of information available online about the history of SHAPE magazine other than that it was started in 1981 by Weider Publications, who later sold it to The American Media Inc. in 2002.  The American Media is the publisher of 16 magazines including SHAPE, National Enquirer, Star and Natural Health.

The print version of SHAPE is very rich in graphics and photography, but is also very advertisement heavy.  One reviewer pointed out that it was nice to read the Kindle version without having to flip through endless ads.  Another reviewer said that they were excited about reading about weight loss, health, celebrities and recipes that are often available in the magazine.  It is always good when you can cut out the unnecessary junk and get to the meat of what the magazine is known for.

The only argument against the Kindle version is that you can get a two year subscription to the print version for $10.  But, a good opposing argument here is that, on Kindle, on you don’t have a stack of magazines lying around.  You can just carry your Kindle wherever you go and when the magazine becomes available, it will appear on the Kindle.  So it is a matter of personal choice between cost and convenience.

Currently, SHAPE is owned by The American Media Inc. and the stock information is private.

Newsweek for Kindle

Newsweek is available for $2.99 a month on the Kindle, which is a pretty good deal considering that Newsweek is a weekly magazine.

This weekly news magazine reports on each week’s developments on the national and global news front through news, commentary and analysis. Its features include national and international affairs, business, lifestyle, society, the arts, politics, the economy, personal business, the Washington scene, health, science and technology.” - Amazon

Newsweek was founded on February 17, 1933 by Thomas J.C. Martyn, a former foreign editor at TIME magazine.  It cost $10 cents a copy and had a circulation of 50,000 readers a year.  The Washington Post Company bought Newsweek in 1961 and today, the magazine has a circulation of about 4 million readers. more

Newsweek holds the most National Magazine Awards of any other newsweekly.  Newsweek’s Editor is John Meacham, Managing Editor is Daniel Klaidman and Newsweek International Editor is Fareed Zakaria.  Newsweek and Newsweek.com include commentaries by notable figures such as Anna Quindlen, George Will, Jonathan Alter and others.  The magazine is mostly current events and politics with a little bit of entertainment or humor mixed in.

According to the reviews, Amazon needs to bring back the character of the magazine by adding columns such as “Conventional Wisdom”, “Perspectives” and “Then and Now” to the Kindle version.  That tends to be a trend across all magazines that are offered on the Kindle.  If you take out certain columns that define the magazine, it no longer has those unique attributes that only that particular magazine has.  The positive feedback pointed out that it was great to go straight to the articles and not worry about the graphics or pictures.  Newsweek is a great magazine that can be adapted for Kindle because the quality of writing portrayed in its articles.  The Kindle version gives the writing a chance to shine.

Currently, Newsweek is owned by the Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO)

The Economist for Kindle

The Economist is available for $10.49 for a monthly subscription on the Kindle.  This is a weekly magazine that is released every Friday on newsstands and wirelessly through the Kindle.  The reviews are quite critical of the price, so hopefully there will be some price cuts in the near future.

According to Amazon:

The Economist is the “premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.”

James Wilson, a Scottish hat manufacturer, founded The Economist in 1843 to campaign against the British protectionist corn laws. The official name of the publication was: The Economist: A Political, Commercial, Agricultural, & Free-Trade Journal.

In 1845, The Economist went international with part of the sales reaching both Europe and the United States.  WT Layton was appointed editor in 1922 and was the considered the main reason why the newspaper remained a success.

In 1935, the publication changed ownership from Wilson Trust to Financial Newspaper Proprietors Limited and a group of individual shareholders who were influential in maintaining the newspaper’s editorial independence.

In 1967, The Economist published a bi-weekly Spanish version of its newspaper in hopes of reaching out to the Latin American population, but did not have much success.  This attempt was put to rest in 1970.  This project was a good idea, but it could have been targeted for a different geographical location.  If this project had reached out to the Latino population in the United States, particularly, the Southwest, it might have been a greater success.

The Economist began in 1843 with a circulation of 1,969.  In 1970, the circulation reached 100,000.  In 1984, it reached 250,000, and in 2007, 1.3 million.  Economist.com was launched in 1996 and the magazine received a full color makeover in 2001.

2.6 million people visit Economist.com each month and the website is subscriber only and fee based.  Also, visit their website for more information on the history of the publication.

Currently, The Economist is owned by The Economist Group Limited and has a private stock exchange symbol.

Reader’s Digest For Kindle

Reader’s Digest is available on the Kindle for $1.25 a month, which is pretty darn cheap compared to the cost of some of the other magazines available for the Kindle.  It is a monthly magazine and is delivered to the Kindle when the print issue hits the newsstand.

Reader’s Digest is a well rounded magazine that includes a bit of finance, health, humor, stories about every day heroes and even word games.  A few familiar columns that are included each month are “Life in those United States,” “Ask Laskas,” “Humor in Uniform” and others.  Recently the names have been updated.  For example: “Life in those United States” is now just “Life”, but the column content still remains the same.

Reader’s Digest is great for some lighthearted and companionable reading.  The magazine touches on current events such as the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the economy, the recent elections, etc.  The great part about these articles is that they tend to portray the lives and perspectives of ordinary people.  Often, the most inspiring are the ones who struggle financially or otherwise themselves, but continue to give back to their community.  The reading material should fare pretty well on the Kindle.  It’s not always the most exciting material if you’re looking for a thrill.  However, there are many helpful tips or interesting stories to choose from.

According to the brief article from WordFocus.com, Reader’s Digest was founded in 1922 as a monthly magazine by William Roy DeWitt Wallace and his wife, Lila Acheson.  The number of subscriptions peaked in 1984 at seventeen million readers in the United States.  Due to its nineteen foreign language editions, an additional eleven million readers were reached by the magazine.  The number of readers dropped in the 1990’s, forcing layoffs and cut backs.

Reader’s Digest began accepting advertising revenue in the 1970’s according to one of the reviews of the Kindle version of the magazine on Amazon.  The good part about the Kindle edition is that it does not include advertising.  The reviewer pointed out they quit purchasing the print version because had become so advertisement heavy.  So, Amazon is heading in the right direction with the Reader’s Digest for Kindle.

Currently, Reader’s Digest is owned by Reader’s Digest Association. (NYSE: RDA)