On Amazon, E-Books have the Edge

July 1995:

Amazon.com opens its virtual doors and begins selling hardcover and paperback books.

November 2007:

With the introduction of Amazon’s revolutionary e-book reader, The Kindle, the website also began selling corresponding e-books.

July 2010:

Kindle e-books sales surpass hardcover book sales on the website.

And now, customers are purchasing more Kindle e-books than both hardcover and paperback books combined.

A mere four years after its introduction, the Kindle has become such a popular format that its book sales have surpassed a traditional medium whose popularity lasted thousands of years.

With over 950,000 books to choose from, 790,00 of which are $9.99 or less, users have embraced this new technology. In addition, there are millions of free, out-of-copyright books available for download. The Kindle’s success continues to show rapid expansion, with more than 175,000 books added to the Kindle Store within just the last 5 months.

In response to the Kindle’s swift success, Jeff Bezos, the Founder and CEO of Amazon.com said:

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly – we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years.”

Marketing under the mantra “Buy Once, Read Everywhere,” millions have turned to Kindle’s and other e-book readers as their primary source of Literature. Realizing the success within the market, and understanding the need to compete with these tech-savvy inventions, bookstores such as Barnes & Noble have introduced their own e-book readers. In November 2009, Barnes and Noble introduced the Nook in an attempt to counter Amazon’s Kindle success.

Other tablet devices, such as Apple’s iPad and multiple smart-phone devices, have also hit the market providing similar services.

There is no denying the convenience of e-readers: they allow you to take a multitude of books with you without all the hassle of carrying/lugging, the books are less expensive, they’re light weight, text can be magnified, and numerous other positive attributes. And yet, there remains a niche loyal to the traditional paper and ink method of reading (myself included). After all, no matter how technologically advanced these machines become, it’s impossible to completely replicate the experience of reading a good old-fashion book.

Here are a few more Kindle milestones:

  • Since April 1, 2011, for every 100 print books sold by Amazon, 105 Kindle e-books have been sold (not including the free Kindle books, either).
  • So far in 2011, Amazon has sold more than 3x as many Kindle books as they did during the same period of the previous year.
  • Less than a year after the introduction of the UK Kindle, Amazon.co.uk is selling more Kindle books than hardcover at a rat of more than 2 to 1.

And here are some Amazon.com Fun Facts:

  • The first book sold on Amazon.com was Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.
  • Amazon.com opened their DVD/Video store in November 1998.
  • In 1999, Time Magazine names Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos “Person of the Year.”
  • In October 2001, Amazon introduces the “Look inside the book” feature on their website.
  • Amazon.com is also responsible for the operation of imdb.com.
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Saving ‘Snollygoster’

Snollygoster

[snol-ee-gos-ter] n. Slang

One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles.

Origin:
1855–60;  origin uncertain; Perhaps alteration of snallygaster, a mythical beast said to prey on poultry and children

It’s a silly sounding word, certainly, but it’s my silly sounding word. Let me back track a bit and explain.

Today I came across a website called Save the Words. The site, powered by Oxford Dictionaries, states its mission as such:

Each year, hundreds of words are dropped the English language.

Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.

Today, 90% of what we write is communicated by only 7,000 words!

If not for yourself, then for generations yet to come. Now, you may ask, “What have future generations done for us lately?”

Well, not much. But one day they’ll be grateful. You never know, they may even have a word or two to say about you.

If you love words as much as we do, find room for them again in conversations and written communication. Each time you use one of these words, you are keeping it alive in the English language.

And so I went on the website, clicked around, and found this magnificent sounding word: Snollygoster. Not only is it fun to say, but I’ve already thought of plenty applications in relation to our ever-flawed government (but that’s a discussion for another day).

I highly encourage others to go and adopt a word. With plenty to pick from, I love the idea of helping to keep a word “alive.” The English language is so rich; it’s a shame we don’t take fool advantage of it. They even email you a adoption certificate and offer the chance to purchase your very own word-shirt. I mean, how more official can it get?

Funny or Die: Keeping a Celebrity’s Career Alive.

Funny or die.

No, I’m not just saying the name of the website, I’m outlining the choices that crashing celebrities are given after devastating acts of career suicide.

They could be funny— make jokes about themselves, fully accept their ridiculous acts.

Or they could watch their careers die.

While the SNL monologue has always provided a great platform for a little bit of self-deprecation (see Miley Cyrus, last Saturday, March 5th), the internet makes that bit of necessary humiliation even more accessible.

For those of you living under a rock these past few weeks, Charlie Sheen has taken a swan dive straight into the pool of insanity. After his lawyers forbade him from any further interviews with the media, Sheen took matters into his own hands, creating personal video posts that were deemed less than interesting by tabloids and rabid fans alike. But now that Sheen has officially lost his job on the sitcom Two and a Half Men, Sheen needs to up his crazy to stay relevant (of course, that $100 million dollar lawsuit against CBS might help any financial loses he will experience after never being hired in Hollywood again…).

So how does a star both capitalize their madness while simultaneously working to gain back even a shred of respectability?

Funny or die. And this time I am talking about the website. Founded by famous funny men Will Ferrell, Judd Apatow, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy, the FunnyorDie website is quite the viral sensation. While the title of the site actually refers to the viewers’ ability to vote a video as either ‘funny’ or deserving to ‘die,’  the name applies quite well to the options of some desperate celebrities.

Several celebrities, from Natalie Portman to Zac Efron, have starred in one of their exclusive videos. After all, a celebrity willing to laugh at themselves seems to denote a sense of grounded-ness. It’s positive for the individuals image for the audience to see that that person is down to earth and connected to the viewers; they are not divas who are above a bit of silliness for a laugh.

These exclusive videos are especially exciting when they feature the tabloid’s latest favorite screw-ups. About two years ago (yes, her “hot mess” status has been applicable for that long), Lindsay Lohan had just faced a very public break-up from girlfriend Sam Ronson. While going through a break-up in the eyes of the public must be devastating enough, the real scandal came when the Ronson family began issuing restraining orders against the apparently insane Lohan. The press had a field day– who can blame them. Lohan had always provided plenty of fodder.

To combat these negative issues, Lohan, or perhaps more likely her publicist, made a deal with FunnyorDie. Soon enough, Lindsay Lohan’s “eHarmony Profile” became a hit web video. With the tagline “Lindsay Lohan is newly single and ready to mingle!,” audience enjoyed laughing at Lohan as she, in turn, laughed at herself.

While that might not have saved her career, it certainly helped redeem her– at least until the next scandal.

Now Charlie Sheen can add an exclusive FunnyorDie video to his resume. “Charlie Sheen’s Winning Recipes” incorporates all of Sheen’s spectacular (and wacky quotes)– from tiger blood, to Adonis DNA, and we can’t forget winning. Filmed as a “cooking show,” Sheen takes his insanity to a whole new level– and we love it!

Perhaps Sheen’s career isn’t completely revived, but it never hurts to laugh at oneself. Afterall, it’s easier than admitting defeat, which Sheen would never do– he’s winning. Or at least this video is.

While I couldn’t embed the video, I have provided the link: http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/5cwg

Side Note: where did they get the tiger hat on such short notice? Do they actually make those?

Check it out and tell me what you think.


To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Today I got into a discussion with some of my co-workers about the purpose and benefits of Twitter (Note: These are co-workers in a field completely unrelated to public relations and, as women primarily in their mid to late 40s, they had limited knowledge of this mysterious thing called “twitter”). In the midst of explaining WHAT twitter was, I mentioned that I myself have a twitter page. I was met with a similar reaction that I often get from my very own peers– “why?”

Often I’m asked what possibly advantages Twitter has over Facebook. The error here is that people are so quick to compare the two social networking sites. Sure, they have similarities (for instance, I’ll often dumb down my Twitter explanation by comparing it to Facebook status updates), but they are also vastly different. I use Facebook to stay in touch with friends from home, friends from school, friends from abroad, and even the occasional soft-core stalking of people I haven’t seen since high school. While I do “follow” some of these same people on twitter, I look at twitter as a much different platform from which to conduct and access networking and communication.

As I explained to my coworkers today, Twitter is beneficial for companies who want a way to send a quick message to employees or consumers. They can have multiple accounts– perhaps one for Customer support, another for internal communications, and still another with job opening postings. Having done a lot of work on twitter for a recent internship, I realized that most of the Fortune 500 companies are on twitter and have employed it in some of the ways I mentioned above.

But there is much more to twitter than finding out the latest in news from Microsoft or big name car companies. Often the immediate appeal, especially for the youth or starstruck, are the celebrities that use twitter. I will admit that I was similarity drawn to twitter when I found out that I could be following these idolized individuals who we, the masses, usually view as so far away from ourselves, so separate. Twitter gives you a behind-the-scenes sort of view of celebrities– their thoughts, perhaps picture and video posts, what they’re up to, and usually all this goes public without the censorship of their badgering publicists. These sort of things have led to a number of fun scandals for the public (i.e. John Mayer, he was practically asking for it). I myself am a big movie and television buff. I like to see the behind the scenes footage, know what’s happening on set, and even catch up on my spoilers. For this reason, I follow a number of entertainment and film sites on twitter. Their 140 character headlines are sometimes enough, or else I’ll click a link or photo they may provide. I also follow my own brand of celebrities, including directors (such as Jon Favreau) who are always eager to give their most loyal audiences some sneak peeks.

Of course, there are still other reasons to follow people on twitter, such as keep up with friends or getting the latest headlines, but the question often is– Why tweet?

Honestly, I enjoy it. I enjoy coming up with 140 character witticisms that I hope my (few) followers enjoy. It also does come in handy for keeping in touch with my few friends who also tweet. I admit, I’m horrible at keeping in touch, even with all of the modern day advances in communication. And yet, despite my inability to sit down and send an email, I will ALWAYS check my twitter, where I find out that so-and-so got accepted to law school, or so-and-so really enjoyed some movie. These little tidbits are often trivial, but still help me stay connected– to friends, family, websites, news, and even the occasional celebrity.

For companies, the “why tweet?” is obvious– for your business. While studies show that the majority of twitter users are under the age of 30, they are also usually the most technologically advanced. For certain companies, this is exactly the market they are looking for. For other companies, a twitter account still keeps them in touch with this particular target audience. No business needs to completely devote themselves to their twitter account, but it certainly is a good way to keep clients and consumers updated. In crisis communication situations, a twitter account is also beneficial in maintaining a clear and open position. Sure, you could write a whole blog entry (like this one), or you could give multiple updates, as you get them, keeping your audience informed and up to date.

Most recently, I heard that a heart surgeon has decided to employ twitter to give live updates as she performs open heart surgery. At first, I imagined some Scrubs-esque scene where a doctor tweets in between every task– that’s ridiculous, I thought. Then I realized that obviously the surgeon themselves was not tweeting (duh!). It eventually dawned on me that if I had a family member undergoing a difficult and life-threatening procedure, I would want constant updates on their progress. Imagine the countless hours people wait to hear the news, pacing back and forth, unable to settle down until they know the news. What if they could follow the surgery on twitter? Would that reduce their anxiety? Sure, there are probably several problems and possibly even ethical situations there. A few bugs to work out. But what an extraordinary idea.

So if you use twitter for fun, for the news, for the business, or for whatever reason– enjoy it. It’s not Facebook. It’s not a blog. It’s its own site, with its own unique features to be explored and expanded on. Or perhaps it is the very simplicity of twitter that attracts so many of us. As I once tweeted: Twitter is perfect for people like me whose wit rarely reaches anything above 140 characters.

(oh, and P.S. to enjoy some more of my writing, but in a 140 character limit sort of way, feel free to follow me: trickart262)

Essentials for Literature Lovers

I’m a bit of a bookworm, and I don’t care who knows it. For that reason, I was so excited to find out about this website. Out of Print Clothing (.com) sells some unique and gorgeous t-shirts featuring vintage book covers. From Pride & Prejudice, to Catch 22, there’s a perfect shirt for every reader. And best of all, each purchase is guilt-free, knowing that Out of Print works to help spread literacy and a love of reading. As their mission states:

In addition to spreading the joy of reading through our tees, we acknowledge that many parts of the world don’t have access to books at all. We are working to change that. For each shirt we sell, one book is donated to a community in need through our partner Books For Africa.

Personally, I’m excited to get this one:

[ http://www.outofprintclothing.com ]