Let’s start with the two free books (one of which was free last year too) –
- Swashbuckling Fantasy: 10 Thrilling Tales of Magical Adventure by Various Authors. It’s published by Simon & Schuster.
- Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney. It seems it’s been made free again as the author has a new book about to be released (courtesy official kindle forum).
Also interesting –
- Primal Wound by Ruth Francisco for $1. For some reason this storyline appealed a lot to me.
A young woman sets out to find her birthmother and uncovers a family saga of deceit, insanity, and murder.
When Cicely Scott volunteers to be a kidney donor for her father, she is shocked to discover she was adopted. Suddenly she has lost herself, her history, her identity, her family. But she gains something else. She is free to become whomever she wants to be, informed not by genetics or family, but by her own set of ethics. Does that include the license to kill?
- Kill & Cure by Stephen Davison for $1 and rated 5 stars on 7 reviews.
David Stichell, a London Chiropractor, is an ordinary man plucked from the normality of his existence and thrown into hell. As a helpless witness to the brutal shooting of his fiancee he escapes her killer and alerts the police. They arrive expecting a murder scene but the place is clean and his fiancee has vanished… Kill & Cure is fast, furious and incredibly well plotted..Reading Matters
- The Shot to Die For by M. H. Sargent for just $1 and rated 5 stars on 6 reviews.
The body of Marine Corporal Jason Briggs, missing for eight days, has been found in a Baghdad, Iraq field. Investigating the death is an elite 4-man CIA team first seen in M.H. Sargent’s thriller, Seven Days From Sunday. Even though the team, including an attractive female doctor, has seen their fair share of bodies before, this one is different – they discover a computer flash drive embedded in the body.
Meanwhile, a photographer with The Iraq National Journal newspaper has been kidnapped. He unwittingly took a picture of someone in a compromising situation and the kidnappers want the digital memory card.
- Seven Days from Sunday by M. H. Sargent for just $1 and rated 4.5 stars on 13 customer reviews.
In this fast paced thriller, Iraq’s top terrorist makes two promises – a kidnapped American contractor will be executed on a given date, his body dumped in Baghdad’s Green Zone and a major attack will occur in seven days.
Working desperately to find the American and thwart the impending attack is an elite 4-man CIA team which includes an attractive female doctor. But they can only watch helplessly as the terrorist and his masked henchmen behead the American during a live video feed carried on the Internet.
That frees us up to talk about the new shared highlights feature Amazon has already unveiled (though it’s supposed to be out formally in Kindle 2.5).
Pros and Cons of Sharing Highlights
Sharing Highlights – The Next Privacy controversy?
BNet jump to the conclusion that sharing highlights is a privacy issue –
Amazon is publishing what are, essentially, readers’ private thoughts. The digital issue is fairly clear. For instance, I’m reading one of my favorite books, Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws Of Power, and highlight a particularly nefarious passage, as there are a lot of them.
Readers’ private thoughts?
Being a bit overdramatic aren’t we.
It’s definitely important to consider the privacy implications – However, there aren’t that many.
- If it’s a popular book then there are going to be so many people highlighting passages that individual readers will be lost in the crowd.
- There is no personally identifiable information shown on the Most Popular Highlights Page.
- If it’s a rare book privacy issues are handled by only showing passages which at least 3 users have highlighted. Check out this page of the 20,076th most highlighted book to check for yourself.
- Only passages are shared and NOT notes. Highlights from across all readers of the book are listed so it’s probably impossible to uniquely identify one person’s highlights.
- It can be switched off. You just disable annotations backup. It’s a workaround and it means you lose the ability to have backed up notes and highlights in the cloud.
The actual bad thing is that Amazon doesn’t have a specific setting to disable sharing of your highlights. That definitely needs to be put in.
At the official kindle forum someone using Kindle for iPad started a thread about it being a privacy violation – Who would have thought an iPad owner would attack Amazon 😉 . At the moment it’s not a privacy issue. There are however lots of potential problems if Amazon expands this without thinking through things very carefully.
There is also the slight possibility that Governmental agencies start asking Amazon to reveal information on who bought and highlighted passages that are potentially problematic – certain religions, certain topics. That would lead to disaster.
Sharing Highlights – How is anyone supposed to compete with this?
Let’s put aside privacy and look at the value that the Shared Highlights feature provides –
- Book owners can see what other people liked about a book.
- You can choose between books based on what people’s reactions to them seem to be (in terms of highlighting frequency and what was highlighted).
- Super helpful when writing book reviews or book reports.
- It’s a fascinating activity in itself – seeing what people like about a book.
- Great research tool for authors.
Most Highlighted Books is a very good indicator of how much a book impacted readers. Once Kindle starts breaking them up by category we’ll see this become as important a resource (and perhaps more important) as the Bestseller lists.
It’s a big, big competitive advantage because physical book stores, publishers, and eReaders without a wireless connection just can’t compete.
Sharing Highlights – Skewed towards motivational and religious books?
One of the threads at the official kindle forum talks about how the list seems swayed towards non-fiction in general and motivational and religious books in particular. It’s true – it’s a list dominated by non-fiction.
Here are the most highlighted books –
The Lost Symbol.
A New Earth.
Getting Things Done.
The One Year Bible.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The Purpose Driven Life.
And so forth.
Guess you just have to scroll down to less often highlighted books to find more fiction. It goes all the way to the tens of thousands so it’s not a big issue.
There’s also an interesting feature called ‘Daily Refresh’ that shows you highlights from your read books every day. Definitely an interesting idea though can’t seem to get it to work.