Kindle Paperwhite vs Kobo Glo

Both Amazon and Kobo made some announcements today, revealing new versions of the Kindle and Kobo e-readers.

Introducing the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Glo. (Note: Affiliate links!)

As an avid reader and user of my Kindle Keyboard, I wanted to take a look at these two side-by-side to make my purchasing decision easier and I figure I would share.

Kindle Paperwhite Kobo Glo
Display 6″ Paperwhite display with patented built-in light, 212 ppi, 16-level gray scale 6” E Ink XGA Pearl screen; 1024×768 resolution; 16-level grey scale
Size 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ (169mm x 117mm x 9.1mm) 6.2″ x 4.5″ x 0.39″ (157mm x 114mm x 10mm)
Weight 7.5 ounces (213 grams) 6.5 ounces (185 grams)
Storage 2GB (approximately 1.25GB available for user content) 2GB (approximately 1GB available for user content)
Battery Life 28 hours of continuous use with light on 55 hours of continuous use with light on
Connectivity Wi Fi 802.11 b/g/n Wi Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Warranty 1 year limited warranty 1 year limited warranty
Return Policy Within 30 days of delivery Within 30 days of delivery

NOTE: I calculated the Kindle Paperwhite’s 28 hour battery life by taking 30 minutes per day with light on, multiplying it with 8 weeks and finding the number of hours from that. Not sure if entirely accurate, but I wanted a comparable number with Kobo Glo’s numbers.

It’s a pretty even race, from my point of view.

Personally, the most important factors are the size and weight. The Kindle Paperwhite is taller and wider than the Kobo Glo, but also a hair thinner.

I think I’m going to give both a purchase and figure out which one I like using the most. I’m a little more entrenched into the Amazon ecosystem (with plenty of books and a lot of store credit to use up) but I would be happy to switch if I received a significantly better reading experience from the Kobo Glo.

If you’re purchasing one of the new Kindle or Kobo models, please do share in the comments which one you will be buying and why. I’m very curious!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the Kobo internal storage can be expanded by 32GB using a micro SD card. Personally, not a factor for me, but people should know.

Week 1 of Coding: Ouch, right in the feels.

Ah, glorious Thursday. Not even close to the end of the week and I’m writing a wrap-up of my week so far. Want to know why?

My project is broken.

Yup, absolutely broken. Well, it works up to a certain point (and was really fun writing!) but there’s no logical way to finish it.

Recapping

This week, I was spending the majority of my days getting myself setup on Python and writing a script that accesses the Last.FM API to grab all of my scrobbles throughout the years, categorize them into genre, and present the data by year to visualize the change in my musical tastes over the years.

Everything went well until the “categorizing into genres” part, because… trying to pin a single genre to an artist is apparently very difficult. Last.FM doesn’t use “genres,” they have tags that are user applied and include a high level of variance. MusicBrainz, which Last.FM utilizes (I believe) also uses tags. Scraping Wikipedia and AllMusic resulted in gigantic piles of genre for each artist, so I’ve resorted to a more manual version: I tag them all as a specific genre by hand.

It hurts. Right in the wrists. (And the feels.)

However, this week has been a really fun experience and only makes me look forward to the next project. Before I talk about that, there are some important lessons I learned throughout the week.

1) Homebrew and pip are your best friends.

Writing basic scripts in Python? Yeah, that’s no sweat.
Want to write more complex scripts that might require external libraries? Yeah, have fun compiling and installing that stuff.

Well, okay, in actuality, it’s still relatively simple. But compared to typing ‘pip pymongo‘ into the terminal? It’s quite a bit more complex!

With homebrew and pip, I managed to get MongoDB onto my development machine, install the PyMongo driver, and install the unidecode library. In a matter of seconds.

Sa-weet!

2) Unicode can burn in hell.

I spent the better part of today and yesterday figuring out how to wrangle with unicode. A few of the artists from my scrobble list have Asian characters in their name on Last.FM, and Python (or MongoDB) automatically turns them into their unicode representations.

That’s all good and well, but turning them back (and using them in functions) is an absolute nightmare. Thank goodness for unidecode for (temporarily) solving that nightmare.

3) MongoDB is pretty awesome.

During the project, I was able to pull my scrobbles down from Last.FM but I wanted to insert them into a database.

I’m used to working with MySQL so I attempted to get that up and running. Well, after half an hour of yelling at my computer, I decided to take the lazy route and check out my alternatives that might be quicker. The suggested alternatives were SQLite or some sort of NoSQL solution. I figured it would also be a good opportunity to try out those fancy datastores I kept seeing on Hacker News and settled on MongoDB.

Got it up and running within minutes on default settings, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing so far. Inserting and retrieving data has been a breeze (my dataset is only 50,000 items) and I have enjoyed the experience.

I’m not skilled enough (yet) to really grasp the differences between the different types of datastores, and I make no attempt at doing so. I was just enamoured by the incredibly short amount of time it took for me to get up and running on Mongo.

4) I took breaks by learning Spanish.

I’ve been experimenting with the Pomodoro technique (25 minute sprints, 5 minute breaks) and it’s been a really good way of creating hard deadlines and stop-points for work.

However, I generally surf during breaks and get carried away for more than 5 minutes, so I wanted to do something that allowed for shorter bursts.

Enter Duolingo.

It turns out, doing one or two lessons on Duolingo were perfect – I would sit here shouting Spanish phrases and words at my computer and laughing all the while, and my alarm would go off and I would get right back into the work.

As a result, I’ve familiarized myself with basic Spanish words and phrases, and I am working my way through as much of the Spanish portion of Duolingo as I can. It’s a win-win situation, as far as I can tell!

Want to follow my Spanish-learning progress? Check out my profile on Duolingo.

Here comes week 2!

I haven’t decided exactly what project I’ll be working on next week, but I would really like to focus on starting to incorporate tests into my code. I’ve been ignoring them for now because I figured it would be beneficial to familiarize myself with syntax over anything else.

However, if I want to get any better at this, I’ll have to learn to write code that isn’t complete crap and I think tests would be a good place to start.

In the mean time, I’m going to try to categorize my music and complete my musical visualization. Thanks for reading my weekly brain dump!

On My Actual New Venture

Yesterday, I wrote a post, On New Ventures and Making the Right Decisions. I received an unexpected amount of feedback because, well, it sounded like I was starting a new venture and was announcing it to the world.

Well, I am, but I didn’t mean to use that post for that. Darn.

To the many people who took the time to read the post and personally reached out to offer their support: thank you. A million times thank you to Dessy, Brian, Duane, Jay, Aleks, Rob, and Ray for being the kind and supportive souls that they are.

However, I figured I should probably elaborate a little more on what’s going on.

That sounds like a good idea.

The Next Three Months

Make no mistake, I am definitely starting something new, but a business may not sprout for the next couple of months.

The reason is that when I left my last job, I told myself that I’m going to take a serious crack at making a product. Never mind what, I needed a way to build it in the first place, so I’m taking the next three months to seriously learn development. Seriously.

I’m starting with Python because I’m familiar enough with it (thanks to first year university comp sci and Codeacademy) to get started quickly enough, and it’s a popular enough language now that there are plenty of resources to learn from should I get stuck.

So how will I be learning?

I will be creating small apps that solve little problems I have, or are just plain cool.

Yes, seriously. The first thing I’m working on is a script that connects to the Last.FM API to pull my entire play list throughout the years (approaching 50,000 plays over four years!) to categorize them by genre and separate by the year it was played in. I just want to visualize the change in my musical tastes over the years.

That’s it! Nothing entirely special, but it will give me a good foundation to start with using Python, including figuring out what functionality each piece of the script will need as well as the libraries I’ll need to import to even connect to an API.

I budgeted this week to code and design the main parts of the app, but I refuse to determine the app for the second week because I do not know exactly how much time I need for this. However, I will basically be building apps on a weekly basis until I get to the point where I can create a much larger scale project and feel comfortable taking it from start to finish.

In The Bigger Picture

Three months isn’t a lot of time to accomplish much (despite what my wallet thinks) but I figure it will also give me three months to create a project that I will be happy to work on for the foreseeable future and has a sustainable business model from the start. I’m not entirely sure what it will be yet, and that makes me a bit nervous, but we’ll tackle that problem when we get there.

These three months will be a time for the creation of a solid development process as well as a solid idea generation process. It would be foolish to think that an idea is just going to find me and smack me over the head.

At the end of the day, I just want to spend every single day of my life working on projects that excite and challenge me. This is the beginning of the foundation that I am building.

The unknown can be a tad frightening and intimidating. I can’t say I’ve made the right decision right off the bat, but I know that this is the decision I wanted to make anyway. Besides, what’s the harm in venturing into the unknown?

Let’s go exploring.

On New Ventures and Making the Right Decisions

For the past week, I’ve been struggling to verbalize (on paper, mostly) how I feel about making the plunge back into starting my own venture. It’s a life filled with highs and lows that always makes you question everything about what you’re doing, so it can be a bit difficult to write about.

Well, as with everything else in life, someone else wrote it better than I ever could.

In a thread on Hacker News where someone announces that they’ve done the scariest thing they can imagine: resigning from their job and starting their own company in the Netherlands, Ed Weissman posted this wonderful comment on what’s to be expected:

The good news: If you think you’ve done the right thing, then you have. Congratulations!

The other news:

  • Your runway is probably 50% of what you think it is.
  • Your task is probably 200% of what you think it is.
  • It will take 200% of what you expect to get your first customer.
  • Your wife will get scared before you do.
  • Some customers will take forever to pay.
  • You’ll probably have to backtrack on your design / architecture.
  • When you need to sell, you’ll want to code.
  • When you need to code, you’ll want to sell.
  • Your MVP will be missing something critical.
  • At some point, you’ll question your decision.
  • At some point, someone will discourage you.
  • You may need to pivot your entire business.
  • In a year, you won’t be who you are now.

I don’t mean to discourage you. I just want you to bottle that enthusiasm for later use. You’ll probably need it.

Best wishes!

Here we go.

Gallery Separation with WordPress Lightbox Gallery Plugin

While working on a friend’s blog, I ran into a bit of a problem with having multiple Lightbox galleries on a page in WordPress: all images on a page will be in the same gallery despite being from different posts. It would basically mean that clicking on an image from one post’s gallery will allow a reader to navigate to all images on a page.

There was a simple fix, but it was rather manual. It involved taking the gallery shortcode for WordPress:

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[gallery]

And adding a class to separate the galleries:

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[gallery class="gallery2"]

However, this was a manual process and I was sure that there was a way to make it more automated so that I wouldn’t have to add a class for each gallery, perhaps using the post ID as the class name to separate them?

After some digging around, I found this in /wp-content/plugins/lightbox-gallery/lightbox-gallery.php:

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extract(shortcode_atts(array(
	'order'      => 'ASC',
	'orderby'    => 'menu_order ID',
	'id'         => $post->ID,
	'itemtag'    => 'dl',
	'icontag'    => 'dt',
	'captiontag' => 'dd',
	'columns'    => $columns,
	'size'       => $size,
	'include'    => '',
	'exclude'    => '',
	'lightboxsize' => $lightboxsize,
	'meta'       => 'false',
	'class'      => 'gallery1',
	'nofollow'   => false,
	'from'       => '',
	'num'        => '',
	'page'       => $page,
	'before' => '<div class="gallery_pagenavi">' . __('Pages:'), 'after' => '</div>',
	'link_before' => '', 'link_after' => '',
	'next_or_number' => 'number', 'nextpagelink' => __('Next page'),
	'previouspagelink' => __('Previous page'), 'pagelink' => '%', 'pagenavi' => 1
), $attr));

A simple change with the ‘class’ part of the the array do exactly what I need:

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	'class'      => "'" . $post->ID . "'",

Ta-da! Multiple Lightbox galleries on a single page are now automatically separated by post ID without any extra manual fuss. Photos in each post will now remain sandboxed inside of each post, regardless of how many are listed on a page.

Enjoy!

A Cautionary Tale for PC Builders & A Sad Rant

Almost two months ago, near the tail end of June, I had made the decision to purchase all of the parts I would need to build a computer rig that would be strong enough to play the latest and greatest computer games that were coming out. That’s all I wanted out of it.

That’s right, I was joining the ranks of PC builders everywhere.

I chose to purchase practically everything from NCIX because they have convenient locations for me, their prices were great, and I’ve purchased some gaming-related peripherals from them before without any issues. Sure, there was that initial snafu of “your motherboard isn’t ready yet, so… wait a week, thanks” which was fine by me, I was off to Los Angeles for a week, so I could afford to wait.

I came home and picked up all of computer parts on July 11th, a day after I got back, and promptly assembled my computer. It booted up, I installed everything onto it, and it ran like a dream.

An hour after I finished installing all the right drivers, I was off playing the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta. Perfect.

Problems? Let’s get some.

Fast forward three weeks: I had been playing co-op Borderlands, when I started noticing some weird artifacting on the screen. I didn’t think much of it, maybe chalking it up to a one time glitch or the graphics card, an MSI Radeon HD 7950, may have been running hot that one time, so I slept on it.

I woke up, they were still present, to the point that my Flash player was no longer working and any sort of process that involved the graphics card could (and would) crash my computer. Checked the temperatures and the graphics card would run at 35 degrees MAX, so it wasn’t overheating or anything.

Crap.

Sent an email to my local NCIX to ask what the hell is going on, and they suggested bringing it in. I brought in my entire tower into NCIX on August 7th, being told almost immediately that my graphics card was defective (was showing artifacts ALL over the screen during testing) and that I could exchange it.

Fun fact: did you know that you can’t do a straight exchange without a box?

I did not know that, being used to just dumping my Apple computers onto the desks of those Geniuses at Apple Stores and being given replacements, so imagine how awful I felt after learning this and having thrown away the boxes the week before. Yes, exactly one week before.

After learning that fun fact, they said an exchange was still possible. Oh good, good good. The real problem: they didn’t have any MSI Radeon HD 7950 Twin Frozr cards in the store. Or in Ontario. D’oh!

Good news: they could take my card (as my 30 day warranty wouldn’t last until the cards came) and hand me a new one as soon as they got them in the store. Their predicted date was August 13th, as they had already placed their orders.

Awesome, I could wait five days. Five gaming-less days. No problem.

Oh, today is August 27th. Where has the time gone?

In the span of the 21 days that I have had a useless gaming computer, I spent 11 of those days (weekdays since the 13th) calling my local NCIX to check if they have it in stock yet (nothing in Ontario still!) and I have tweeted and have been in contact with their Customer Care department.

Nothing has happened. At all.

This week marks an interesting intersection in lengths of time: I have been able to use my gaming computer for just as long as it has been non-operational. I take full responsibility for not having the box (which prevented me from getting a replacement card) but I could have flown to Vancouver, picked up a new graphics card from NCIX, and flown back here to make the exchange.

So a few lessons for those of you who want to build a computer:

  • Do not throw away boxes. I had no idea this was an actual issue, but I guess when you’re just the retail part of a supply chain, you don’t have much say in the matter.
  • A 30-day warranty is not enough. If this graphics card failed after the 30 days that NCIX gives each purchase, you can definitely bet that I would be completely out of luck considering I had no box.
  • Customer Care cannot do a damned thing. They are all great people manning the phones, emails, and Twitter at NCIX, but all they can ever do is investigate. I have had zero progress through any of these channels.
  • Compensation wouldn’t mean much for this. Maybe my situation is a bit on the super-rare side, but I’m not even sure how to feel anymore. An apology would be nice, but I don’t think I could even ask for anything to compensate. What are they going to offer, the crappy AR drones their phone system keeps advertising?

If you plan on building a computer anytime soon, I hope you can avoid the frustration that I have had to suffer through. This isn’t a cautionary tale against NCIX, just an example of some of the stupid things that can happen.

Best of luck.

Why Can’t I Focus?

I take pride in being realistic in my abilities, my goals, and my confidence. I live my life with this knowledge: I am probably not smarter than you, I am probably not stronger or faster than you, but I make sure that I do my best to work harder than you. However, working harder than someone else doesn’t necessarily translate into doing better than them, or even doing better than mediocre levels of success.

I think that most people are driven to succeed. They want to provide for themselves and their family, and feel proud of their accomplishments at the same time. Myself included. However, we also want to create balance for important aspects of our lives like family, friends, love, and extracurricular activities like sports and hobbies.

Given that we usually use 8-10 hours a day for “work,” how can we maximize what we accomplish within those hours?

Throughout my years of attempted greatness, there has been one thing that people tell me to do, every single time without fail: focus. It usually comes in a few different flavours: hustle, stop slacking off, be relentless, focus on one thing and one thing alone. You get my drift.

Every time I hear this, I cringe and remember why I don’t succeed at a lot of things: too much aimless focus. I have an idea, get really excited about it, pour on lots of energy into building the foundation for it and simply fizzle out as soon as the work starts to happen.

Sound familiar?

If I were to go back in time and have a talk with younger me, I would tell him this: everyone will tell you to focus, to put your head down and get shit done. It’s important that you do, but the step before focus? Planning.

You can focus all you want, but remember that if you have nothing to focus on, you’re basically ramming your head into the wall and hoping that something comes out for you to focus on. You need to be able to wake up in the morning and say “Alright, today is awesome, here’s what I need to do for today.” because you’ve planned the entire thing out months and months (maybe even years) in advance. After all, how can you put your head down and focus if you’re just making it up as you go along?

Time Management from xkcd
From: xkcd – Time Management

I recently left my job (despite my short time there) with one goal in mind: build something. As vague as that sounds, I wanted the freedom to work on something fun and challenging, that puts food on my table, at my own pace, my own schedule, on my own terms. That’s the long term goal.

To get there, however, I need three things: the ability to build, the ability to design, and the right ideas to build. Given that, I’m in the process of creating a three month curriculum for myself to become a better developer (I’m currently terrible), a better designer (couldn’t design my way out of a box), and to spend ample time creating a process to brainstorm the right ideas to build. In addition, I’ve set a demanding set of goals that I must accomplish by September of 2013, exactly one year from when I start my curriculum.

The important part of this whole process is that given the long term goal (build something fun and challenging, put food on the table), I created a goal for the medium term (one year), and then I created a month-by-month set of goals that incrementally get me to the goals I set for one year, which then spawned a week-by-week set of goals that get me to the monthly goals.

At the very worst, I will have given myself plenty of time to learn new skills, hone my craft, and take a serious crack at “building something.” After all, now that I know what I need to do for the next year, the next logical step?

Focus.

The CTV Olympics App and AirPlay Mirroring

If you’re like me, you want to watch very specific sports and events at the Olympics, and what they play on the television channels isn’t always what you want to watch.

Well thank goodness CTV made an app for that, called CTV Olympics London 2012. You can watch any event that is currently playing, and I was thrilled. I immediately went to the men’s basketball game that was going on (USA vs France) and the video loaded up and started playing.

CTV Olympics London 2012

Awesome.

Then I tapped the video to AirPlay it onto my Apple TV so I could enjoy it on a larger screen while I went about my day.

Oh, what’s that? CTV built a custom video player UI that blocks any sort of volume control and AirPlay options? Trying to force AirPlay (via the iPad task bar controller) doesn’t work?

CTV Olympics London 2012 Video Player

Well that’s not nice.

Thankfully, there’s a way around that.

CTV Olympics London 2012 iPad AirPlay Mirroring

  1. Double tap the Home button on your iPad to bring up the task bar.
  2. Swipe left on the task bar until you get to the controls section.
  3. Tap the AirPlay button, and put it on your Apple TV or AirPlay-enabled devices.
  4. Turn ‘Mirroring’ on.

And ta-da, the 2012 Olympics are now playing on my TV!

Remember CTV, restricting my ability to improve my experience with your apps is not a great way to go about doing business. People will rebroadcast your streams regardless of having access to AirPlay, the only people you are making it harder for are legit viewers like myself. Don’t think I didn’t catch the fact that you let an ad play over AirPlay before causing an error.

Be nice to your viewers, content holders.

UPDATE: It appears that you also cannot scan through a video replay of an event. Attempting to scan through the video causes it to start from the beginning. Don’t cripple our experiences, CTV.

The Price Difference Between Book and Kindle Prices on Amazon

Price Difference Between Book and Kindle Prices on Amazon

Since my last post about Amazon, where I found a price disparity between two versions of the same Kindle book, my interest in e-book pricing and publishing has been rekindled (no pun intended) and I spent a bit of time putting together a few numbers to illustrate the instability of pricing models in the world of e-books.

My method was simple: take a look at the top 10 books in specific genres, curated by Amazon, and record the book price and the e-book price of each book on the list.

Here are a few notes I should mention:

  • Price selection: I decided to grab the cheapest Amazon price I could find for the physical copy of the book, as well as the cheapest Kindle price I could find for the e-books. This ensured that the prices were fair, making sure they were being sold by Amazon, and it would be consistent throughout.
  • Book selection: I went with the Amazon list because they were the most convenient to find, I will be spending time later on for the other e-reader platforms to ensure that I have a complete look of the landscape throughout ALL providers. Amazon is just the largest and most influential, so it was the best place to start.
  • Price difference: The “Price Difference” column is the Kindle Price minus the Book Price. This number gives us an idea of how much more expensive the Kindle prices are compared to the physical book prices, with red signifying the Kindle version is more expensive than the physical version.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the lists by genre as provided by Amazon.

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Title Author Book Price Kindle Price Difference
Ready Player One Ernest Cline $10.99 $12.02 $1.03
The Magician King: A Novel Lev Grossman $10.88 $12.28 $1.40
Inheritance (Inheritance Cycle, Book 4) Christopher Paolini $18.47 $16.39 -$2.08
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) George R.R. Martin $9.99 $17.48 $7.49
Embassytown China Miéville $10.88 $15.30 $4.42
Among Others Jo Walton $10.19 $12.62 $2.43
Akata Witch Nnedi Okorafor $12.23 $17.99 $5.76
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) James S. A. Corey $10.87 $9.99 -$0.88
The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2) Patrick Rothfuss $11.49 $12.37 $0.88
Vortex Robert Charles Wilson $10.40 $7.39 -$3.01
Quick Stats: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Average Book Price: $11.64
Average Kindle Price: $13.38
Average Price Difference: $1.74
Largest Price Difference: $7.49

Literature & Fiction

Title Author Book Price Kindle Price Difference
The Art of Fielding: A Novel Chad Harbach $10.99 $9.99 -$0.20
1Q84 Haruki Murakami $16.62 $18.58 $1.96
The Marriage Plot: A Novel Jeffrey Eugenides $10.88 $10.92 $0.04
The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel Tea Obreht $10.20 $14.20 $4.00
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern $9.00 $13.11 $4.11
The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel David Levithan $10.40 $12.62 $2.22
Lost Memory of Skin Russell Banks $10.19 $9.99 -$0.20
The Sisters Brothers Patrick deWitt $10.19 $9.68 -$0.51
The Cat’s Table Michael Ondaatje $10.20 $11.99 $1.79
Please Look After Mom Kyung-Sook Shin $10.17 $15.30 $5.13
Quick Stats: Literature & Fiction
Average Book Price: $10.80
Average Kindle Price: $12.64
Average Price Difference: $1.83
Largest Price Difference: $5.13

Mystery & Thrillers

Title Author Book Price Kindle Price Difference
Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel S. J. Watson $10.19 $13.47 $3.28
Reamde: A Novel Neal Stephenson $12.91 $14.96 $2.05
Feast Day of Fools (Hackberry Holland) James Lee Burke $9.99 $13.64 $3.65
11/22/1963 Stephen King $13.59 $16.99 $3.40
Sister: A Novel Rosamund Lupton $10.99 $12.02 $1.03
A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Louise Penny $13.70 $12.68 -$1.02
The Most Dangerous Thing (P.S.) Laura Lippman $10.19 $11.97 $1.78
The Night Strangers Chris Bohjalian $10.20 $15.30 $5.10
Turn of Mind Alice LaPlante $10.20 $17.48 $7.28
The Affair: A Jack Reacher Novel Lee Child $9.99 $12.02 $2.03
Quick Stats: Mystery & Thrillers
Average Book Price: $11.20
Average Kindle Price: $14.05
Average Price Difference: $2.86
Largest Price Difference: $7.28

Given my small sample of data, it’s hard to draw any real conclusions. What was apparent from this small sample is that Kindle e-books are priced significantly higher than physical books on Amazon, but the reason for that is difficult to figure out. I am sure publishers could blame piracy, or immaturity of the e-book market, or antiquated supply chains that haven’t become accustomed to publishing and promoting digital content.

Regardless, I hope that prices for digital books come down to reasonable levels. While “reasonable” can be subjective, I personally think that it’s reasonable for e-books to be priced below the price of the mass market paperback.

For my next research project, I’m going to run the same books through the Nook and Kobo stores and compare their prices, so we can get an idea if this problem is just for Amazon or accross the board.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to give feedback or ask questions in the comments!

WTF, Amazon. What The (Price) Fix?

Hi Amazon,

I love to read, and so it should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of your Kindle. It’s wonderful: it’s portable, I can load it with thousands of books, and the battery life is amazing. It’s the device that every reader should seriously consider.

However, here’s what I am not in love with: the ridiculousness of e-books in your store.

I understand that e-books may or may not be cheaper than the paper versions, for whatever reason, but people have to feed their families. I understand.

What I don’t understand is, what the heck are you trying to pull with us loyal customers?

Background: I am in the middle of reading this amazing series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, and I just finished book seven: Reaper’s Gale. Despite being the longest series I have ever read, the books have managed to keep me captivated thus far and I was very excited to start the next in the series, Toll the Hounds.

There was a link, at the end of the Kindle version of Reaper’s Gale, to go buy Toll the Hounds in the store, so I clicked on it and noted the price for the book was $12.65. Wanting to make sure that the price was correct, I go to my computer and look at the listing, and I can confirm that it is the same price.

Oh okay, everything checked out.

However, I am a rather cautious fellow. I opened up Incognito mode in Chrome and Googled ‘amazon toll the hounds kindle’ and… what’s this?

Hold on, why was there an option that I was never shown? Why was it significantly cheaper than the one shown to me, someone who has bought 48 e-books in the past year and a half that I have owned my Kindle?

Here are the key differences between the two listings:

  • Cover Image
  • Publication Date

They are virtually the same otherwise. Just to prove it, I sent myself a sample of the more expensive version after I bought the cheaper, older version. Older version on the left, newer version on the right.

Can you spot the actual difference? Yup, the font.

So Amazon, please answer me this: as a loyal customer, why would you want to sour my experience with this practice?

UPDATE: It was pointed out on Reddit that, in the area that shows all of the different types of mediums that the book is purchasable on (Kindle, Hardcover, Mass Market, etc), you can click on the plus sign next to the medium type to get an expanded list for that particular medium.

As I responded on Reddit, I consider myself rather technically capable and observant, and I still had no idea that existed. Now you know!