Archive for August, 2009

Ebook Reader For the People Without a Kindle

Posted: August 17, 2009 in Uncategorized
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I really enjoyed this article and when I upgraded my cell phone, I made sure that I purchased a storage card so that I can upload PDF’s to my phone. It works great and cost me less than $10 – and my cell phone is always with me :)

Phones, PCs put e-book within reach of Kindle-less

By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer Peter Svensson, Ap Technology Writer Sat Aug 15, 2:29 am ET

NEW YORK – A few weeks ago, Pasquale Castaldo was waiting at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for a delayed flight, when a man sitting across from him pulled out an Amazon Kindle book-reading device.

“Gee, maybe I should think about e-books myself,” Castaldo thought.

He didn’t have a Kindle, but he did have a BlackBerry. He pulled it out and looked for available applications. Sure enough, Barnes & Noble Inc. had just put up an e-reading program. Castaldo, 54, downloaded it, and within a minute, began reading Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

As others are also discovering, the North Haven, Conn., banker found e-books quite accessible without a Kindle.

“The BlackBerry is always with me,” Castaldo said. “Rather than just sitting there, if I can fill that time by reading a good book, I might do that, in addition to doing the other things I might do, like reading e-mail and Twittering.”

Thanks to Inc.’s Kindle, e-book sales are finally zooming, after more than a decade in the doldrums.

But the pioneering device may not dominate the market for long. As Castaldo found, many phones are now sophisticated enough, and have good enough screens, to be used as e-book reading devices. In addition, e-book reading on computers is already surprisingly popular.

E-book sales reported to the Association of American Publishers have been rising sharply since the beginning of 2008, just after the release of the Kindle. It’s the best sustained growth the industry has seen since the International Digital Publishing Forum began tracking sales in 2002 — a sign that e-books finally could be about to break into the mainstream.

U.S. trade e-book sales in the April to June period this year more than tripled from the amount a year ago, as reported by about a dozen publishers.

Total reported sales at wholesale prices were $37.6 million. That’s less than 2 percent of the overall book market, but the number understates e-book sales, because not all publishers contribute to the report. The figure also excludes textbooks, an area where e-books have made substantial inroads.

While other digital media like CDs, DVDs and MP3 songs showed sharp growth rates from the get-go, e-books have puttered around as a tiny fraction of overall book sales for more than a decade. In several periods, sales actually declined from year to year as publishers wavered in their commitment and interest.

The technology has also faced unique resistance from consumers because printed books work so well.

The most well-known dedicated reading devices, the Kindle and Sony Corp.’s Reader, try to emulate the look of the printed page with a display technology known as “electronic ink.”

While many find the result pleasant to read, e-ink also imposes significant limitations on the devices. They can’t be backlit like other screens. They can’t show color. They’re also slow to update, making them difficult to use for Web browsing or other computer activities.

The Kindle has a wireless connection directly to Amazon’s store, meaning users can buy and download books to the device within minutes, much like Castaldo could do on his smart phone. The Reader lacks a wireless capability and thus needs to be connected to a computer to load books.

Amazon isn’t betting solely on the Kindle. It released an iPhone app for the Kindle store in March. It has snapped up some other developers of book-reading applications for smart phones, but these programs don’t use the Kindle store.

Shanna Vaughn, a university worker and voracious reader in Orange County, Calif., has been reading e-books on a computer or handheld organizer for at least ten years, but it was only an occasional habit until she got an iPhone last year. It’s mainly the convenience that’s winning her over: Because Vaughn can buy and download books nearly instantly to the phone, she doesn’t need to plan a trip to the book store.

Vaughn, 35, is not interested in a Kindle or a Reader.

“I never really wanted something that was a single-function device. I just couldn’t see spending … $300 for a device where I’m sort of locked in to one retailer. Whereas my phone, that does everything.”

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said that while the Kindle has sparked interest in e-books, downloads of e-reading applications for smart phones have far outnumbered the Kindles sold.

The Stanza app for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, for instance, has been downloaded more than 2 million times since last summer, compared with Rotman Epps’ estimate of more than 900,000 Kindles sold through the first quarter of this year. (Lexcycle Inc., the maker of Stanza, was acquired in April by Amazon, which does not disclose Kindle sales.)

“There will be a market for dedicated reading devices, but there’s potentially an even bigger market for reading on devices that people already own, like smart phones,” she said.

According to a survey of 2,600 adults by research firm Simba Information this spring, the most common way to read e-books is on another general-purpose device: the personal computer. It found that 8 percent of adults had bought an e-book last year, a high figure considering that Kindle sales were less than half a percent of the adult population.

Bob LiVolsi, the founder and CEO of independent e-book retailer BooksOnBoard, said two-thirds of his customers read their books on their PCs. Romance, thriller and mystery titles costing $5 to $7 are the big draw for his customers, who aren’t high earners and have trouble justifying the cost of a dedicated device.

Though adoption has been slow, PCs have had a big head start in e-books, said Michael Norris, senior publishing analyst at Simba. Their ubiquity also means they provide some camouflage to avid readers who want to “read a romance novel at work while pretending to work,” he said.

Robert Lisi, a construction estimator in Charleston, S.C., reads on his BlackBerry when he doesn’t have his Sony Reader handy.

He’s even signed up for The Daily Lit, a service that sends out books in e-mail every day, broken up into chunks that take about five minutes to read on a BlackBerry or computer screen.

“I have books on tape, and then I have books on paper and as e-books,” Lisi said. “I want to get to where I’m reading a book a week, but I work, so I can’t do that.”

This post was shared with me this morning and I like to share details about various book release options along with distribution and promotional opportunities — so, the top audio book sites seemed like good information to share. These sites are the ones that are selling the most audio books.

50 Best Websites for Audio Book Addicts

Love reading, but hate the strain on your eyes? Then check out the world of audio books. Not only can you enjoy them without a pair of glasses, but you can listen to them while driving, in the shower, and many other places a traditional book won’t go. If you want to learn more, or simply need to grow your collection, check out these top 50 audio book sites, with everything from the best stores to free books.

Best Stores for Audio Book Addicts

These sites are ideal for finding the newest release or getting recommendations for just the right audio book.
1. Amazon: The leading name in online book selling, Amazon has a special section for audio books. You can grab the latest books or classics on CD, MP3, or as a download. Choose by subject, featured, top ten, best selling, and more.

2. This site contains a large selection of both new and used audio books. You can buy, rent, download, or even trade items. They even have certain collections on sale.

3. The Talking Book Store: There are over 8,000 downloadable audio books to choose from including hundreds of foreign language study courses on this site. The Highly Recommended section has downloads for just $0.95 and up. You can also get a buying guide, help for downloading, and instructions on how to burn a CD.

4. Barnes & Noble: With a special section for audio books, you can find tens of thousands of titles. Browse the latest titles by subject or best sellers. They also have tons of books in other formats as well.

5. Audio Editions: In addition to the usual media, you can also find books on tape at this site. You can view the bestsellers, as well as preview the upcoming releases. There is also a book outlet with audio books priced 35 to 70 percent off.

6. Audio Books Online: The site shows you ten ways to save right on their homepage. You can also choose a variety of subjects biography to war. They also have an “Audie” award where they list their favorite books.

7. AudioBooksCorner: The site contains over 10,000 titles available by author or titles. You can also get books from around the world on this site. They even have a free section with many items available at no charge.

8. On this site, you can choose to rent, buy, or download audio books. Each choice is discussed in further detail and start $7.95. They also have a top 20 section if you need help selecting a book.

Best Free Sites for Audio Book Addicts

Got a classic or public domain book you’ve been dying to listen to? Then visit these sites to find it and many other books without spending a single penny.
9. AudioBooksForFree: The title says it all, you can find thousands of audio books on this site for download at no charge. Choose from fiction, non-fiction, children’s, or even music on the site. Before you download a book, it will also tell you the gender of the author or narrator and if the book has explicit content.

10. LibriVox: This site provides free audio books from the public domain, many of which involve classic works. Volunteers record chapters on the site, and you can even learn more about becoming one. They also have a podcast to give you the latest in their audio books.

11. Free Classic Audio Books: You can download your first audio book straight from their homepage. Formats include MP3 and M4B. Sample titles include “Huckleberry Finn,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “The King James Bible.”

12. Visit her for a wide selection of audio books at no charge. You can also get links to popular paid books, along with a best seller list. There are even free samples of best selling books for the viewing.

13. Books Should Be Free: Tough to argue with that, this site delivers just what it promises. They have the most popular downloads available directly on the homepage. Be sure to check out their top 50 books for even more.

14. Free-Books: This site has a readily available index with 23 choices right on the homepage. These books are available as “read and listen” or as an MP3 download. You can also get other free services on this site such as historical photos and immersion learning.

15. Project Gutenberg: A leading site for free eBooks, you can also get audio at no charge. Choose from computer generated or human read. You can also download thousands of text only books as well.

16. Podiobooks: Get serialized audio books in podcast form on this site. There are currently 6,878 episodes available for download in 335 titles. You can check out their most popular selections, or connect with other audio book fans on the site.

Best Devices for Audio Book Addicts

Now that you have some audio books, you need something to hear them on. Check out the below for the best in audio book products and accessories.
17. Kindle: Starting at $299, this iPod for books can hold 1,500 items. Features include wireless service that lets you download without a computer or Wifi, free book samples, and a huge selection of different reading materials. Best of all, audio book lovers will enjoy the read-to-me feature which translates text to speech.

18. Playaway: This device is preloaded with audio books and looks a lot like a Walkman. In addition to personal use, the device is also utilized for schools, libraries, and the military. Available only for rental.

19. M-Audio: Visit here to get the latest in audio technology for your computer or mobile device. They sell state of the art headphones, speakers, and more. Be sure to check out the resources section for more information.

20. Sony Reader: Similar to the Kindle, this reader starts at $279. You can get it in a variety of styles and colors as well. There are also books for sale and special offers as well.

21. MP3 to iPod Audio Book Converter: Got an iPod, MP3 audio book, and no way to connect them? Then get this free download to convert that download into an iPod friendly file. It also works with WMA, M4A, WAV, OGG, and more.

22. Exact Audio Copy: This is an audio grabber for CDs using standard CD and DVD-ROM drives. Use it to grab the audio off of any book and save into the format of your choice. The download is free for non-commercial purposes and comes with useful guides.

Best Rental Sites for Audio Book Addicts

Wish Netflix rented books? Then check out the below for the best in audio book rentals with many similar features.
23. Audible: A subscription service, Audible allows you to choose from 60,000 titles for one monthly fee. With a simple download, you can get magazines, radio shows, comedy, and speeches in addition to books for listening at your leisure. There is also a section for kids and the first three months are only $7.49 a month.

24. The Audio Book Store: This store allows you to choose whether you would like to download a single book, or rent unlimited books on CD with a monthly membership. They have 60,000 items to choose from, and they all cost $7.49 each. You can search by subject, best sellers, and more.

25. Simply Audiobooks: Three clubs to choose from on this site allow you to rent, download, or do a Playaway rental. You can even get a 15 day free CD rental trial with no shipping charges, late fees, and unlimited rentals. They also have an audio book store with 22,000 titles to choose from.

26. NetLibrary: With both eBooks and audio books, this site is worth a look. A membership gives you access to their constantly updated books. You can even get audio libros for Spanish speakers.

27. Audio To Go: Another renting site, plans start at $16.99 a month. There are over 23,000 titles on CD or tape. You can even get a free trial membership for two weeks.

28. Audio Book Worm: Choose from thousands of audio books shipped to you on this site. You can rent by mail or download their software for rentals. There is even a free trial period.

29. Books Free: Recommended by “O” Magazine, this site is definitely worth a look. You can rent books as an MPS, on CD, or even the old fashioned, paperback versions. Choose from a variety of plans, or rent books a la carte.

30. Book Club Offers: Still not sure which service to pick? Then stop here to get a side by side comparison of many leading sites. They also have more information on other similar clubs.

Best Christian Sites for Audio Book Addicts

With many audio books just for them, Christians can find everything on these sites from the Bible to the latest works in religion.
31. Audio Treasure: Get the Bible in MP3 format as a free download on this site. Choose from versions such as King James, World English, Spanish Reina Valera, and many more. You can also get other related audio books on the site.

32. Free Christian Audiobooks: Similar to the above, this site goes beyond the Bible and offers many other related works. Books are available for Windows Media and iPod. There is even the option to order the entire site on disc if you don’t feel like a lengthy downloading process.

33. Audio-Bible: Visit here to get The King James Bible narrated by Stephen Jonston. It is over 72 hours long and uses Real Audio. You can also get other related links on the site.

34. Christianbook: An Amazon like site, they also have a special section for audio books. There are currently over 6,000 titles to choose from in a variety of categories. If you prefer old fashioned books, there are also tons available as well.

35. DeseretBook: This Christian themed book store is designed for the LDS family. In addition to the many hardcovers and paperbacks, you can also find a special section for audio books. Simply expand the section to get choices such as children’s, fiction, young adult, and more.

36. The Catholic Company: With tons of products, you can also find many audio books, along with videos. View by most popular, best reviewed, and more. You can also call their toll free number or request a catalog.

Best Website for Kids and Teen’s Audio Books

Because young people like to read as well, visit these sites with loads of audio books for sale or free for the downloading.
37. Storynory: Get free audio stories just for kids on this site. You can choose from fairy tales, classics, educational, and more. Stories also come in text so your child can read along.

38. Recorded Books Youth Library: Kids and teens will enjoy this audio book site just for them. You can purchase the latest educational and fiction books straight from the homepage in different formats. There are even resources for adults on the site.

39. Learn Out Loud: Browse this catalog of educational audio books, podcasts, downloads, and free audio. There are over 20,000 titles from hundreds of authors and publishers. You can even get free videos on the site.

40. Playtime Books: Get books for kids in MPS, CD, and even bilingual format. They have special sections for different subjects, the newest available on the homepage, and many recommendations. Best of all, the site is entirely free.

41. Kids’ Corner: Get many classic tales by authors such as Beatrix Potter on this site. They even have slide shows for viewing straight from your computer. In addition, there are also audio interviews with such notable figures as Mr. Rogers.

Best Specialty Sites for Audio Book Addicts

Go beyond the traditional audio books, and check out these sites many genres and readers in mind.
42. AudioFile Magazine: This is the magazine for people who love audio books. Issues contain reviews, new releases, author and narrator interviews, and even award winners. There is even a free trial offer if you are still unsure on whether or not to subscribe.

43. Soundview Executive Book Summaries: Get titles to help run or grow your business in many formats, including MP3. There are three different subscription levels to choose from. If you don’t want to join, you can also purchase single books.

44. Bookshare: Visit here for audio books for those with disabilities. The site offers more than 50,000 digital books, textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, periodicals, and assistive technology tools. Anyone can join and it is free for U.S. students with qualifying disabilities.

45. British Columbia Libraries: The “library without walls,” they have many audio books. Members can check out audio books just like at a regular library. Visitors can also get excerpts on many books at no charge.

46. Audio Publishers Association: This site contains the voice of the audio book industry. Get the latest news in the industry by stopping by here. They even have a list of resources for those interested in a behind the scenes look.

47. The House of Oojah: Australians with an interest in audio books will enjoy this site. Choose from fiction, children’s, meditation, and more. If you live outside the country, you will also find many new and interesting titles.

48. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic: Visit here to get textbooks and others on audio intended for students with visual or learning disabilities. Anyone can order one of their products, and they currently have over 54,000 to choose from. There are also lesson plans, volunteer opportunities, and more.

49. ListenToYouTube: Is there an audio book on YouTube that you want on your computer or iPod? Then visit this site to convert it into an MP3. Simply paste in the URL, click GO, and get the file without a fee or signing up.

50. Books on Tape: This site is for those who still prefer this classic method of audio books. They have over 7,500 tapes priced at up to 75 percent off. You can also get audio books as CDs or downloads.

With hundreds of books coming out every week, who has the time to find a quiet place and read? Check out these 50 audio book sites, find a book you’ll love, and share it with the entire family.

Originally posted at

Imagine – using a cocktail as a promotional tool.  Read on for details about the ingredients for this cocktail and how it has worked into the promotion of Cafe Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island by Barbara Bonfigli

Retsina has been given a bad rap, starting about 500 b.c. when some picky Athenians turned up their Grecian noses at the scent and taste of pine resin. Being a readily available natural resource — pine forests were a lot more common in Greece than cork groves — it was used to seal traveling amphorae of white wine. These plugs of pine added a certain flavor to the wine — turpentine comes to mind here. Heroditus records no complaints back then. For a while it was even trendy to add a little pine mash to the freshly pressed grapes. But when the Turks began overrunning parts of Greece a few hundred years later, a legend grew that pine sap was added to the wine stores to spoil them for the invaders. That sealed retsina’s fate in the area of public relations — ’til now.

When I started going to Greece in the 80’s, the Turkish invasion theory had waned, and I was told that a bit of resin in your wine prevents a hangover in the hot, ubiquitous Greek sun; be sure to pack a bottle for your beach picnic. I wasn’t buying that, but I am buying retsina. The fact that I, a Californian born within sipping distance of the vineyards of Napa Valley, really like retsina, indicates that the ancients were on to something. Either that or it’s clear proof of reincarnation. That, however, is a another story…maybe the sequel to “Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island.”

Publishing a book requires a thorough review. I discovered that my novel mentions retsina 34 times, not in a loving way. According to my protagonist Sarah, retsina can start your motorbike, remove nail polish, cure you of thought, and cause –what is it?– oh yes, memory loss. Unfair Sarah! I decided to correct this slander. For my first book party, held in a fancy Greek restaurant in New York City, I decided to create a cocktail based on retsina. A friend and I experimented with lots of ingredients (this is pure fun, by the way, as long as you’re not planning to drive anywhere.) We couldn’t get it quite right. Then the bartender at the restaurant added a little Samos, a sweet Greek dessert wine to our concoction. Bingo! The “Café Tempestini” was born.

We served it that first night, to a lot of discerning i.e. highly skeptical — but brave– Greeks and they were amazed. The main ingredient is rather disguised of course, but you can still taste retsina in there. Now I mix a batch at every bookstore event, book party, dinner party. People adore it; and how it opens their ears and imaginations and wallets! Books are flying out the door.

To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.

Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher – or from Amazoné-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313

To see the complete tour schedule visit

Barbara Bonfigli’s website –

Here are some tips for bloggers.

• Keep your posts “on topic”. This will enable you to promote your product and website when you keep your posts and blog on topic.
• Make your posts informative and interesting. This isn’t just busy work to entertain your visitors. You can share information to help them make an educated decision to buy your product.
• Do not recycle old information. Your readers want you to share new information. The exception would be to relate a past event to a present situation.
• Have a realistic and consistent schedule. After you start your blog, post fresh content on a regular basis. Your potential customers will expect that and will lose interest if you lag behind with your posts.
• Make the important message easy to understand. The posts don’t need to be elaborate and technical. Be conversational and easy to understand tone.
• Maintain a certain level of quality. You need to use keywords in your posts but don’t lose the effective content because you tried to cram too many keywords into your post. Search engines love blogs and can increase references to you and your product. Maintain the quality and weave keywords into your posts.
• Proofread your work. The old adage is to: edit, edit, edit and edit again. If you want to look like a professional and your post is full of errors and typos, the visitor will not be motivated to buy from you. Or they won’t see you as a professional. This can hurt your credibility.
• Be passionate about your topic. If you are excited about your subject, that should be conveyed to your visitors. Pass that excitement to your potential customers and they should rush to buy your products.
• Determine your target market. It is critical that you know who needs your product. These are the people that you need to attract with all of your promotional efforts.
• Finally, link to other blogs. When you post comments on other blogs, include your blog URL under your name. Don’t post an elaborate message or blurb about your blog. All you need is to post a relevant comment that will attract attention and list your name and blog address. Subtle is much better than blatant and potentially rude promotions.

Nikki Leigh is an award winning and best selling fiction and non-fiction author. She has over sixfteen years of promotional experience. This background has been helpful with her book promotion and her new promotional venture, Promo 101 Promotional Services which offers many online promotional options. Her promotional books – Book Promo 101 and Book Promo 201 lets her share many of the things she’s learned. For details about Nikki Leigh, visit For detailed promotional and virtual blog tour information, visit – She also has a blog where she posts a wide variety of promotional articles – – check the category list for any specific topics that are of interest to you. For full details about Book Promo 201 –