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Right, have some suggestions from Amazon UK's latest ebook deal newsletter. These are all under £2 at Amazon; most are also on offer at Kobo. Penguin Modern Classics seem to be having a sales binge so it's worth trawling through the rest of the deals list if you like their catalogue. As always, check the price before clicking the buy button.

I know some of you do find these posts useful for flagging up stuff to have a closer look at. I put in the covers this time because there were a couple I specifically wanted to show. Is it useful to see the covers, or does this make the post too unwieldy on people's flist?

John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids - in a Penguin Modern Classics edition, with the newest cover art by Brian Cronin. The art's a good match in tone/period feel for the book, but I still think of Harry Willock's reverse colour line drawing cover art of the 1970s as the ur-cover art for Wyndham, just as Tom Baker is My Doctor.

Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1) (Aubrey & Maturin series) by Patrick O'Brian
I have provided the title exactly as given on the Amazon and Kobo pages. Yes, I am easily amused.

Val McDermid - Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime
Non-fiction from one of the greatest crime writers of today. One for the writers, but also of general geeky interest.

CS Lewis - Mere Christianity
Lewis's collection of radio broadcasts setting out the case for Christianity.

Tony Robinson - No Cunning Plan
Another acting memoir. Haven't looked at the sample yet, but if Robinson's any good at writing prose, this is probably going to be interesting.

George Orwell - The Road to Wigan Pier
Orwell's non-fiction is as important, and as topical, as his fiction.

Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Haven't read this in at least thirty years, but I suspect I would still find it equal parts horrifying, terrifying and laugh-out-loud funny. It's only just occurred to me that this book pressed some of the same buttons for me that Iain (M) Banks would some years later.

And while I was looking for Amazon US links for these books, I stumbled across this:

There. Are. No. Words.
julesjones: (Default)
Haven't posted one of these in a while, because I haven't posted much at all. But the latest Amazon UK "buy our ebooks" is a "start a series from 99p" promotion, and I spotted a couple of books that might be of interest. Some are also price-matched on Kobo UK, and possibly other online retailers. Do check the price before you click the buy button, because it can change.

The full promo page is at http://amzn.to/2rCe3xN. Items particularly likely to be of  interest to you lot:

"The Silver Pigs", the first in the Falco series from Lindsey Davis about a private eye in Imperial Rome. I tried this on the recommendation of other sf fans and loved it - it's a good chance to try the series to see if you like it. £1.99 at Kobo and Amazon

"The Ides of April", first book in the Falco: The New Generation series. Just added that one to my own collection. :-) 99p at Kobo and Amazon

Agatha Christie's "The Murder at the Vicarage", the first of the Miss Marple novels. £1.49 at Kobo and Amazon. I'm in the middle of re-reading this right now, because it was there on my Kobo when I wanted some cheerful murder.

"The Long Earth" by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter - £1.99 at Kobo and Amazon.

"The Atrocity Archives: Book 1 in The Laundry Files" by Charles Stross. If you're an sf&f fan and haven't read this - buy this book. And not just because Charlie's a mate of mine from sf writing circles. It's the start of a series in which the eldritch horrors of Lovecraft are all too real, and one of the UK three letter agencies is devoted to putting off the forthcoming invasion for as long as possible. Charlie lovingly pastiches various spy, mystery and thriller series along the way. (There was much squeeing amongst the crit group for a later novel when we realised that we were reading a chapter starring avatars of Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin.) £1.49 at Kobo and Amazon.

"The Vesuvius Club" by Mark Gatiss. Yes, *that* Mark Gatiss, written before he became much more famous for his scripts than his novels. Edwardian derring-do, with more than a little tongue in cheek, in multiple senses. 99p at Amazon only.

That's just a sampling - I could quite easily buy another dozen interesting-looking books off that list were I not horribly aware that there are four dozen still queued up on my Kobo...
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I thought when I bought the replacement Mini that it might be going discontinued -- there were almost no accessories on the shelf in Smith's, and they had only the white model in stock and not many of those. I did consider buying another for a spare, but I do have a Touch as well, so wasn't sure I could justify it, and decided to think about it a little longer. Of course, they've been out of stock every time I've been in since. Having just done some hunting around online, it's now vanished from the Kobo website, and there are reports from all over that it's vanished from shelves and Kobo's marketing literature, so yes, it's been discontinued even if there's been no official announcement and Smith's is in theory still selling it. It would be nice if this was because a new 5" model was in the works, but I doubt it, and so do others. That niche has been taken over by the smartphone. Which is sad for those of us who prefer to read books on an e-ink screen and like to have one in pocket size. :-(
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You will remember the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth just shy of two weeks ago, when I discovered that my second Kobo Mini, delight of my heart, had had a meeting with a gentleman who speaks in SMALL CAPITALS. I hauled it into Smith's the next time I was in town, and was informed that as it was over a month old I would have to return it to customer services by post for evaluation, and moreover, they did not have any in stock in the store and were not entirely convinced that they ever would again. This prospect did not seem to delight them, and they'd been running low on stock even when I acquired Mark 2, so I think it was not a mere excuse. My own view is that the Sale of Goods Act does not really give them the option of "post it to Customer Services" were I to make an issue of it, but given that I wanted a replacement rather than my money back and they in all honesty had no replacement to give me then and there, I took the proferred freepost envelope and a returns form.

Which, it transpired when I got it home and looked at it, should have been in part filled in by the shop staff before it was handed to me. Which meant another delay before the next time I could get into the shop, and wait while it was filled out correctly.

After all that, O Best Beloved, the paperwork was scanned in case of accidents, and then placed in the envelope together with the late lamented, which went to the front desk at work to be handed to a passing postie on Wednesday evening. And tonight I got home to an email telling me that it is officially an ex-Kobo, and a new one has been ordered for me.

If perchance I do see any more in Smith's at thirty quid, I shall grab another as a spare. I like my Touch, and have been using it this past fortnight, but the Mini really is much more convenient for the daily commute.
julesjones: (Default)
The first time I killed one was my own fault, even if I don't think much of the software design that led to it. This time -- just taken my replacement Mini out to read something, switched it on, and was greeted with lines across the screen and part of the screen frozen. The innards are still live and doing things on half of the screen, but they're not much use without a working screen. And the screens don't come back from this. This is a dead screen, it is no more, it has joined the bleedin' choir celestial, etc, etc.

It's under warranty. It's less than two months old, because I bought it on 9 July. I know this, because there is a blog post bewailing the loss of the previous incumbant and noting that I'd called into Smith's and bought a new one. Next thing is to find the receipt, which I will have put somewhere because it's a tax-deductible business expense.

Not just kidding about the business expense. I need to check what my own stuff looks like, and I've been buying other people's romance and erotica ebooks as market research. Doubtless this will provide some amusement to whomsoever is responsible for assessing whether it's really an ex-Kobo.
julesjones: (Default)
That thing in the Kobo manual about always eject the Kobo in software before disconnecting it from the computer?

Nine times out of ten you'll get away with it. The tenth, you'll curse, because you've bricked the Kobo. Sometimes it will need a few presses on the hard reset button. Occasionally it will do a Lazarus impersonation if you let the battery run flat, and then plug in and restart with the hard reset button, and cycle the hard reset a couple of dozen times.

And when all else fails, you can, if you're of a geekish turn of mind, Google for hacker forums and find out how to download an image of the system drive, and install it on the internal memory card.

But I don't do Linux at all, and I don't really feel like downloading and installing the necessary tools on my elderly and increasingly unreliable XP box, and then spending a stressful few hours wrestling stuff into submission before I can use my tiny e-ink reader again. Not when my data on this device is toast anyway, and a new one is only thirty quid. The time I'd probably need to spend is worth more than that. So I'm putting a few links here for later, when I feel like conducting surgery, and called into Smiths on my way home last night. The shiny new one is indeed shiny, because they only had the white/silver version in stock.

The Mini snapbacks (and a lot of other Kobo accessories) have been drastically reduced, so I've also bought a nice purple snapback. This is because at some point I will probably fix the old one, and then it's going to be used for the books I don't want on the device that gets handed to the Aged Parents when they want to borrow a book. Purple seems a nice discreet colour-coded reminder for "this is the one with the porn on it." :-)

Some useful links for cloning a working card for backup or to to put into the old device:
julesjones: (Default)
You might recall that two of my short stories were pulled from Kobo/WHSmith during the moral panic about porn late last year. Kobo had simply blocked *everything* distributed by SmashWords, including titles from small presses that use SmashWords as a distributor. Musa were caught by this, and as a result have been busy getting their books directly onto Kobo. Some didn't go through properly the first time, but my fantasy short And If I Offered Thee A Bargain is finally back up as of today:

Naturally, the self-published erotica story went back up a lot quicker. :-/
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I now have a Kobo Touch to go with the Mini. I also have a fitted rigid cover for the Touch, so the Cybook can snooze undisturbed in the new cover I bought it last year, instead of being unceremoniously tipped out and back to its old ugly transport box.

I'm not being entirely silly here. The Mini is the size I need for comfortable reading on the bus, and you will have to prise it from my cold dead hand. Hand singular, because it's tiny enough that I really can hold it in one hand. But the extra inch of screen on the Touch means being able to bump the font size up to large print equivalent and still get a sensible number of words on the page, which will be useful in some reading situations. And for the price of two hardbacks, to get something to hold a load of ebooks I've just bought really cheap in the sales -- that's still less than the equivalent in treeware would have cost me to buy new.

Pity the synchronisation across readers only works on books bought through the Kobo store and not on sideloaded stuff, but given some of my books, that may be a good thing. :->
julesjones: (Default)
From my email, for the UK contingent:.

Kobo Mini
NOW: £29.99

Kobo Touch
NOW: £39.99

Kobo Arc 7
NOW: £99.99

Kobo Arc 7HD
NOW: £149.99

Available online and in store at WHSmith

As you may have gathered, I love my Mini, because it's small and light enough that even I can hold it without dropping it. But the Touch is excellent value at that price if you want an e-ink reader.
julesjones: (Default)
This latest "won't someone think of the children!" hoopla in the UK media about the torrent of abuse porn supposedly to be found next to the kids' books in Smith's ebook catalogue?

Apparently that would include my fantasy-as-in-speculative-fiction short story published by Musa. That does have adult content, but there are plenty of books from Musa that don't. But all of Musa's books have been yanked by Kobo. *All* of them. Not just the erotic romance lines. We are, amongst other things, talking here about the publisher of the sequel to the novel that was made into "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".

Also my self-published erotica short, surprise, surprise. That one's erotica, but it's consenting adult humans who aren't related to one another.

Discussion elsenet suggests that this is because Kobo has decided that the easiest way to placate the Daily Heil is to simply block everything from Smashwords, and everything from self-publishers. Since Smashwords is used as a distributor by a number of small presses, including Musa, books from those small presses are now banned regardless of content. Kobo is supposedly going to start letting stuff back on once they've checked it, but I wonder how long that's going to take and what criteria are they going to use?
julesjones: (Default)
Much as I love my Cybook Gen3, it's elderly. So I had it in mind to get one of the Nooks that were being flogged off at £30, should I be able to find one. Of course, there were none to be had, but in my wanderings around the Arndale Centre on Friday night just to be certain, I noticed that WH Smith were having a one day only special on Kobos - £20 off all models. Which made the Kobo Mini £30...

So I now have a Kobo Mini, which I have not actually plugged in and set up yet and thus cannot report on. However, if any other UK resident is interested in getting a cheap Kobo, keep an eye on your local Smith's, since they seem to be running this as an occasional promotion. The purchase included a multi-use discount voucher for 20% off any accessories I buy between now and August.


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August 2017

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