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Amazon Names Top 10 Books of the Year So Far

updikeAmazon’s editors have put together a list of the “Best Books of the Year So Far,” a list of titles that have come out over the year so far that Amazon claims is a must-read.

Adam Begley’s Updike took the No. 1 position on the list. We have the entire list with links and descriptions of the books after the jump.

“It’s never easy to narrow down our favorites, but after much debate and discussion, we’ve arrived at a list that will fit every customer’s summer reading agenda—whether you’re headed to the beach, traveling the world or enjoying a stay cation,” stated Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Print and Kindle Books at Amazon.com. “Updike may seem like an unusual choice for our number one pick, but it’s poised to be one of the best biographies of 2014. It’s a candid, enthralling book that readers won’t be able to put down.”  Read more

Amazon Makes ‘The Silkworm’ Available For Sale

silkwormAmazon has listed J.K. Rowling’s new book for sale on its website. The Associated Press reports that The Silkworm “quickly climbed up the best-seller lists now that it’s finally available for purchase on Amazon.com.”

Hachette Book Group published the new Robert Galbraith book on June 19, 2014. Prior to this date, the giant online retailer did not allow customers to place pre-orders due to its ongoing dispute with the publishing house.

According to The Globe and Mail, several Amazon competitors have been playing this situation to their advantage. The Silkworm currently occupies the number one spot on the Barnes & Noble’s fiction bestseller list.

Amazon Launches Smartphone

unnamedAmazon has gotten into the smartphone business with the launch of the Fire, Amazon’s first smartphone.

Like other smartphones, the Fire acts as a camera/phone and supports apps, email, texting and the like. Amazon App Store apps are available on the device. The Fire boasts two technical capabilities Dynamic Perspective and Firefly Technology. Firefly technology  is designed to recognize digital information in the physical world, making it ideal for for scanning QR codes, for instance. Dynamic Perspective is a feature that lets the phone interact based on how it is held, which is designed for thing alike video games and map reading. The phone has a 2.2 GHz processor and a 4.7″ HD screen and runs the Fire OS 3.5.0 system.

The phones are currently available for presale. The 32GB version is available for $199 and the 64GB version is available for $299. Both require contracts with AT&T. They ship July 25th. Shoppers that buy the phone will also get a free year of Amazon Prime.

Stephen Colbert Challenges Fans to Make ‘California’ a ‘New York Times’ Bestseller

Due to the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette, consumers cannot pre-order Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, on Amazon. When comedian Stephen Colbert first launched his war against Amazon, he asked his followers to buy a copy from Powell’s Books online shop.

We’ve embedded a clip from The Colbert Report TV show where Colbert announced that 6,400 purchases have been made and Lepucki’s book currently occupies the #1 spot on the Powell’s bestseller list. Now, he has issued a new challenge for his fans; purchase California from your local bookstore and help it become a New York Times bestseller.

In addition to Colbert, several members of the literary community have publicly shared their opinions about Amazon vs. Hachette feud including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian author Sherman Alexie, The Fault in Our Stars author John Green and The Ocean at the End of the Lane author Neil Gaiman. Where do you stand on this matter? (via Latin Post)

Worker Deaths at Amazon Facility Prompt Federal Investigation

amazon304The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the deaths of two temporary workers at Amazon warehouses since December 2013. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited five companies for violations including: the contractor responsible for operating the facility and four temporary staffing agencies.

One man died after he was crushed when he got caught in a conveyor system while sorting items at an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey.  Another person died this month at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Pennsylvania.

“Temporary staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary employees. These employers must assess the work site to ensure that workers are adequately protected from potential hazards,” stated Patricia Jones, director of OSHA’s Avenel Area Office in a press release. “It is essential that employers protect all workers from job hazards — both temporary and permanent workers.”

Kindles on Sale For Father’s Day

kt-slate-01-sm-hoverAmazon is running a Father’s Day sale on Kindle Fire HDX devices and Amazon Fire TV devices.

The retailer is offering up to $40 off of Kindle Fire tablets and $79 off of Amazon Fire TV with Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 16GB Bundle.

Amazon is offering Saturday and Sunday delivery to get it there on time for the holiday.

Amazon Gets Into Music Streaming With Prime Music

primemusicWatch out Spotify and Pandora, Amazon is getting into the music streaming business. The company announced the launch of Prime Music today, a new feature that allows Amazon Prime members to stream music for free.

The service allows Prime members to listen to more than a million songs and there are no ads. Users can access the music service on their Kindle device or through Amazon’s music apps for other devices.

Check it out: “Prime members can choose exactly which songs and albums to listen to, or they can sit back and listen to hundreds of expert-programmed Prime Playlists. Discovering music is easy thanks to Amazon’s personalized recommendations. Music fans will find tons of music they’ll love, from Grammy winners to indie breakout singers, along with a huge music catalog that can easily be combined with their own collection. Prime members can also download songs from the Prime Music catalog to their mobile devices for offline playback on planes, trains and anywhere they’re without an internet connection.”

Neil Gaiman Speaks Out on the Dispute Between Amazon & Hachette

Neil GaimanMany members of the literary community have been greatly concerned about the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute. Renowned writer Neil Gaiman sat for an interview with Salon and voiced his opinion on this hotly-debated subject.

Gaiman revealed that he has many reasons to feel anger towards Amazon, but he is also trying to keep in mind “that what you’re seeing right now, is huge, giant-level dealings between huge corporations both under non-disclosure, and every time I try to actually read enough stuff to figure out what’s going on here, what I run into is lots of ‘We can’t say anything, but he says,’ and ‘We can’t say anything, but she says.’”

Like The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, Gaiman loves bookstores and wishes “to see is more and more healthy, independent bookshops.” Where do you stand on this? What do you think the future holds for the relationship between publishers and Amazon?

Stephen Colbert Joins Fight Against Amazon

ididntbuytitonamazonComedian & Hachette author Stephen Colbert has joined Hachette’s fight with Amazon.

The author spoke criticized the online retailer on his show Wednesday night, giving the finger to the company. “I’m not just mad at Amazon. I’m Mad Prime,” he said. On the show showed off stickers which read, ‘I Didn’t Buy it on Amazon’. Colbert encouraged viewers to download the stickers from his site and add them to their books. Follow this link to watch the episode.

Colbert’s 2012 book America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is one of many Hachette titles which has experienced delayed ship times. However, the book is currently listed in stock on the site.

 

John Green Speaks Out Against Amazon

John Green TFIOSMany members of the literary community have voiced their opinion about the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute.

According to The Associated Press, John Green spoke out against the online retail giant during a promotional event for The Fault in Our Stars movie. He feels that “what’s ultimately at stake is whether Amazon is going to be able to freely and permanently bully publishers into eventual nonexistence.”

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