Finding alternatives to the Behemoth
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Peter Maranci
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This is a thoughtful look at some of the deeper implications of Amazon's plans for Amazonizing (if that's not a word, I've just coined it) local services.
When a new startup promises to change some part of the economy, it usually gets the benefit of the doubt. It’s small! It shares your frustration with, say, laundromats, or, if it’s really smart, shows you a problem ...
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Peter Maranci
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It's not just that Amazon is making low-level workers that they've just laid off sign non-compete agreements - although it's insane to make people who've just lost their jobs forswear looking for new work in their fields. What's really cruel is that these clauses are probably not enforceable - but those who signed them will have no recourse, since they can't afford lawyers. It's a one-way legal system, and Amazon is exploiting it to the hilt.
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We need to eliminate corporations. We need to eliminate multinationals. We need to make reforms to contract law. And to do all that, we'll have to live forever.
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Peter Maranci
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Looks like Jeff Bezos has decided to treat his Washington Post employees the same way he treats his Amazon employees: by slashing their retirement benefits.
Changes cover nonunion employees, and the company will seek similar changes for union-covered workers.
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This is what John Scalzi has to say on the battle between Hachette and Amazon.

...and if you are a sci-fi lover and dosen't know who John Scalzi is...look him up ;)
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Peter Maranci
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More news on Colbert vs. Amazon. I wonder if Colbert will be doing this sort of thing on Late Night?
"California" author Edan Lepucki joins Stephen to celebrate her book's arrival on the New York Times best-seller list, thanks in part to the Colbert Nation.
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Peter Maranci
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I can't help but wonder why regulators aren't taking an interest in Amazon's shady business practices. Or perhaps they are, and we're just not hearing about it.
After months of wielding the stick, Amazon is trying the carrot—or at least pretending to—in its feud with Hachette over e-book pricing. Early this week, it sent a letter to “a few authors and agents” with a sugarcoated proposal to “take authors out of the middle” of the dispute. So...
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Peter Maranci
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I think most of us pretty much saw this coming; Amazon is abusing their power. How much worse could it get in the years to come, as their market position only gets stronger and their lobbyists get even more influence?
Amazon's power over the publishing and bookselling industries is unrivaled in the modern era. Now it has started wielding its might in a more brazen way than ever before. Seeking ever-higher payments from publishers to bolster its anemic bottom line, Amazon is holding books and authors hostage ...
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Dawn E

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Not sure if this relevant to the group, but posting anyways...

#amazon  
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Peter Maranci's profile photo
 
It seems quite relevant to me, actually. Thanks for posting it!
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Peter Maranci
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An interesting, albeit depressing piece.
To many book professionals, Amazon is a ruthless predator; recently, the company has even started publishing books. A monopoly is dangerous because it concentrates so much economic power, but in the book business the prospect is especially worrisome: it would give Amazon more control over the exchange of ideas than any company in U.S. history.
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Erich W
 
Amazon is a big problem when it comes to books but we the consumer play a big part as well. eBooks are purchased but have none of the rights as physical books but the costs are almost equal. eBooks are not as readily available as physical books even for new releases a good amount might not be sold digitally even though the book all the way thru production was digital. Amazon also creates it's own ebook version mobi instead of the standard and that keeps it a closed ecosystem. 
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Erich W

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Anyone know which sites can be synced with calibre to manage ebooks
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Peter Maranci
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Lots of talk about Amazon's new plan to turn your home into an automatic Amazon profit generator. What's the next step? Monetizing your family and romantic relationships?
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Peter Maranci
owner

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An interesting look at Amazon's market power and how they use it.
It comes down to this: Amazon has too much power, and it is abusing it.
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Peter Maranci
owner

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It looks as if Amazon hasn't managed to duplicate the success of the Kindle in cell phone form. I'm rather relieved.
 
Amazon has decided to cut the two year contract price of its recently launched Fire Phone in the US down from $199 to just 99 cents on AT&T.
Amazon has decided to cut the two year contract price of its recently launched Fire Phone in the US down from $199 to just 99 cents on AT&T. The deal still includes a free year of Amazon Prime service, which normally costs $99. This move could be an indication that sales of the Fire Phone have been less than successful at the $199 contract price. AT&T Next users have the...
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Peter Maranci
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Interesting. I wonder how effective the ad will be? 
In the latest chapter of Amazon’s escalating conflict with the publishing industry, hundreds of major authors have backed an open letter due to run as a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday that accuses the internet giant of preventing the sale of books published by the Hachette Book Group.
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Peter Maranci
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Speak of the devil...but this suit is over the passwords for purchases issue, not their other practices. I wonder how it will end up?
The lawsuit claims that the website made it too easy for kids to charge items to their parents’ credit cards.
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Peter Maranci
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Colbert continues his exposure of Amazon.
Stephen continues his ongoing war with Amazon by moving to put Edan Lepucki's "California" on the New York Times best-seller list.
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Peter Maranci
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I thought this might be of interest; Colbert is quite influential, so his public stand against Amazon may actually have some impact.
Amazon wages war against Hachette Book Group, employing tactics that could threaten the livelihood of authors.
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Erich W
 
Glad he's bring up this issue
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Peter Maranci
owner

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I gave Leafmarks a try. Here are my impressions so far:

Designed by Goodreads expatriates. It has a nice look and is easy to navigate on a large screen. It's not as mobile-friendly as I would like; navigation was difficult on my Galaxy Nexus (phone). It is slow, even on a FIOS connection. I just clicked on one of my bookshelves, and it took about three full seconds to load. On a mobile connection, it's even slower. You'll see the "loading" symbol often while you're on the site.

The site allows importation of Goodreads CSV files only. Importation was fairly speedy and smooth. Internal links in reviews to GoodReads material are NOT stripped. Shelves were imported properly, and I haven't found any errors yet.

Leafmarks does have many of the features that Goodreads had, ones which are missing from many similar sites. You can easily "like" and comment on reviews. Speaking of "liking", it allows you to sign in with your Facebook ID, but you can also create an account directly on the site itself (which I prefer, as Facebook is arguably as bad as Amazon). It's very easy to look up all reviews of a specific book.

You can post "status" updates, which can pretty much be whatever you want; your milage may vary, but I rather like that feature. There is a "Community" tab, but it's currently limited to a list of top reviewers and giveaways; there are no discussion or topic-specific communities that I can find. That would be a nice feature to add.

You can follow reviewers by adding them to your Friends list. There are author pages, although the bibliographies seem incomplete in some cases. I noticed no advertising, nor were there links to sell books as far as I could see. The site is, of course, sparse compared to Goodreads; many of the (admittedly rare) books that I reviewed weren't reviewed by anyone else. But the reviews did seem genuine, and some are quite well-done and interesting.

Overall, I'd say that it's a very promising site!

https://www.leafmarks.com/
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Erich W's profile photoN. Ew's profile photoValeri Zwick's profile photo
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N. Ew
 
I am using Leafmarks less and less. The site is excruciatingly, mind-numbingly slow and everybody seems to be talking about the same books. Maybe it's just me but I also keep seeing the same people  on every book page...  :/
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N. Ew

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The closest thing to Goodreads I've come across so far:

https://www.leafmarks.com/  (home)
https://www.leafmarks.com/jmak  (example profile)
https://www.leafmarks.com/lm/#/books/119092 (random book)
https://www.leafmarks.com/lm/#/authors/19990 (random author profile)

The site is still in its infancy (and loads way too slow) but it looks promising and I'm really excited for the first time after leaving Goodreads.  :)
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For those in the erotica genre, there's a project underway to create a Goodreads replacement.... https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Erotica-oriented-bookshelving-website/716180555092763 
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Peter Maranci
owner

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Biblio is obviously not a disinterested party, but this article on alternatives to Amazon is interesting and useful nonetheless. The article is a bit outdated, though. It refers to the Amazon/Goodreads conflict, and obviously predates the Amazon acquisition of GR.
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