Amazon Announces @Author Program, Users Can Now Ask Writers Book Related Questions

Amazon At Author For Twitter

Amazon At Author For Twitter

Have you ever read something in a book or finished a new novel only to be left with a bit of confusion or unanswered questions? With Amazon’s new @Author program for Twitter and Kindle users can now have their questions answered directly from the books author.

Currently sixteen writers are participating in the program which works by allowing readers to ask a question right form their Kindle ebook.

To use the program users place a cursor at the beginning of a passage with their 5-way controller, at which point they press down to anchor the passage, from there users highlight the passage with the controller and then enter their question for the highlighted section, starting with the phrase “@Author.” Finally users choose the “save & share” option from the pages choices and their question is sent to the author. [Read more…]

Amazon Can Now Stream Music To iOS Devices


Two months after its release, Amazon slipped in a small update to its cloud based music player adding adds iOS compatibility. The update allows users visiting the player from their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to stream music through Safari. However, it’s not without bugs.

Accessing Amazon’s cloud player through an iOS device required the use of a third-party browser but recently gained native Safari support. However, there are some interface issues that you need to be aware of:

[Read more…]

The Amazon Tablet Cometh


Tablets are the hottest thing right now and very few can stand up to the iPad. While Samsung’s Galaxy tablet and Amazon’s Kindle trail the iPad in popularity, the latter company is working on an iPad rival that could change the tablet landscape.

Amazon working on a tablet has yet to be officially confirmed but has been talked about in tech circles. The tablet is purportedly being built by Samsung, destined for a summer launch and will be running a highly customized version of Android instead of version 3.0 Honeycomb. So what else will the tablet pack? Peter Rojas talked about the tablet’s purported specs:

Let’s start with a critical question about this tablet: What version of Android will it run? I think there’s an assumption that any Amazon tablet will run Android 3.0, Google’s tablet-specific version of the OS. However, given Google’s recent moves to tighten how OEMs can use Honeycomb, this might not be so likely. In fact, it’s entirely possible that Amazon’s tablet, like the NOOK Color, will use Android as a base upon which to build a totally customized experience that tightly integrates Amazon services. That integration would let Amazon charge a lot less for its tablet than it would otherwise. The reason Barnes & Noble has been able to price the NOOK Color so aggressively ($250 versus $350 to $450 for comparably-sized and spec’d Android tablets) is because they’re assuming you’re going to buy a bunch of books from them over the course of owning it.

The question is, does the world need another tablet, especially one that aims to go head to head with the iPad? Amazon may be banking on integration with its music and book services to boost revenue in those departments. Apple took the opposite approach of using digital stores to boost sales of the Hardware but since Amazon has an established media store, tablets that leverage those purchases may give it some ammo against other tablets.

Major Social Media Sites Taken Down By Amazon Server Issues


RedditIn the early hours of Thursday, April 21 various websites including HootSuite, Reddit and Foursquare were offline due to Amazon AWS server issues.

The issue involved Amazon’s cloud computing platform which was experiencing technical difficulties within several major services on the platform.

Sites that did not shut down completely were experiencing major latency issues or brief up and down periods. Also included was question and answer site Formspring.

Most issues occurred because of three Amazon platform issues; Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon Relational Database Service.

All sites affected appear to be working correctly at this time.



LivingSocial Offering 50% Off Amazon Gift Cards

LivingSocial Screenshot - Amazon Gift Card Deal

LivingSocial Screenshot - Amazon Gift Card Deal

After Amazon invested $175 million in startup LivingSocial just over one month ago, the social savings website is now offering Amazon customers 50% off their purchases.

The actual deal is simple, visit the website and purchase a $20 gift card for just $10.

LivingSocial members in all 170 markets the site serves can take part in the deal which will last until 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, January 20. [Read more…]

Google To Buy Groupon? Some Positives and Negatives [Rumor]

Groupon - Google Acquisition Rumors

Groupon - Google Acquisition Rumors

Every now and then a possible buyout of a big company is rumored to be underway at the offices of Google, a few months back it was a $2.5 billion buyout attempt of Twitter and today it’s the world’s largest social coupon sharing website Groupon.

According to Kara Swisher at AllThings Google is willing to pay above the $2 billion to $3 billion offered to the company by Yahoo. At this time the two company’s are not disclosing any details about the deal or for that matter if a deal is even in the works.

The move would be a big win for Google who could claim yet another dominance in local search, currently their services already allow mobile and other users to search for local businesses and other locations based on their location. The move would also give a big boost to the company’s Google Places interface by providing a comprehensive local deals system to uses on Google Places. Google could of course then make money from the Groupon system itself and through their ads based platform, allowing for extra revenue to be created for the newly purchased company.

With Google attempting to build out their Google Me social networking system, the Groupon acquisition could also provide a nice integration into their social networking attempt, which in turn could bring with it a loyal customer base that already spends nearly $50 million per month with the social coupon site. Groupon customers provide each other with a valuable social networking service, so why not bring them together to help form your new social community? [Read more…]

Say Goodbye to Amie Street, Amazon Says

Amie Street

Amie StreetIn a move that is bewilderingly shocking to some news outlets, Amazon has acquired for an undisclosed amount. The move, however, could have been viewed as inevitable, since Amazon has been funding Amie Street since 2007.

What should be the focal point of surprise for most is that Amazon plans to shut down the services as of September 22nd. has been a seller of downloadable music since 2006. Its unique roots were its pricing; songs became more expensive, capping at a maximum of $.99 per song, based on how many people purchased them. The more popular, the greater the cost. In stark contrast to this is Amazon’s own music download service, Amazon MP3, which has a set price similar to Apple’s iTunes.

It appears as though Amazon will shift’s customers over to that format exclusively, as it was announced to users in e-mail that a $5.00 credit towards Amazon MP3 purchases would be given to them when shuts up shop. [Read more…]

Amazon Files “Social Networking” Patent

PlanetAll Social Networking Site - Owned By Amazon

PlanetAll Social Networking Site - Owned By AmazonThe United States Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to give Amazon a patent for a “new” social networking system. I put “new” in quotes because the Patent doesn’t appear to allude to anything that isn’t already being done by the likes of Facebook, Myspace and various other social networking websites.

According to the Patent filing:

“A networked computer system provides various services for assisting users in locating, and establishing contact relationships with, other users. For example, in one embodiment, users can identify other users based on their affiliations with particular schools or other organizations. The system also provides a mechanism for a user to selectively establish contact relationships or connections with other users, and to grant permissions for such other users to view personal information of the user. The system may also include features for enabling users to identify contacts of their respective contacts. In addition, the system may automatically notify users of personal information updates made by their respective contacts.”

TechFlash says the patent was created by Brian Robertson and Warren Adams, the two men who sold PlanetAll to Amazon in 1998, a social networking platform which was later ditched by Amazon in 2000. Amazon sent the patent to the U.S. Patent office in May 2008. [Read more…]

Are You Ready for the E-book Readers?

sonyereaders.pngMy crystal ball tells me that e-book readers will be a strong possible source of income or quality blogs in the near future. Not as the subscription service that is available from the Kindle, mind you, because I’m having a hard time seeing it being successful. Think about it, more and more mobile devices have internet access and great screens. Why pay to read on the Kindle when you can get it for free on your iPhone, right there in Safari or using Instapaper? And if that won’t convince you, then add the fact that more and more websites actually have mobile editions.

Back to the e-readers. High quality blogs already produce great content, obviously, and the e-book spinoff isn’t far off for a lot of them. They publish reports, how to’s, and other things they can hawk for a couple of dollars (or a small bundle) to make more money. If they’re good, we’ll pay. If not, we won’t. Add some marketing and social media and you’ve got a pretty solid business model right there.

If you’ve got the necessary following, that is. [Read more…]