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Monday News: Analysis of Amazon Prime’s value, National Book Critics Circle...

Is Amazon Prime Worth Another $20 a Year? – For those of you still on the fence about whether to spend that extra $20 on a(bother) year of Amazon Prime, this video walks through the numbers (at least the ones that are known) and some of the major issues that should play into the personal analysis (what you buy on Amazon, for example). One interesting figure is that there are apparently 18.7 million American Prime members, which means that a $20/year per account increase (and, by the way, this is the first price increase since the service began in 2005) translates into $374 million more a year for Amazon. –Wall Street Journal

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins US National Book Critics Circle award – As the only only US book prize left that is judged by book critics, the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Awards were presented last week, and the big winner was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. The non-fiction award went to Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial, which focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A full its of winners is available at the NBCC website.

Americanah, which has also just been longlisted for the Baileys women’s fiction prize, alongside titles by Evie Wyld, Elizabeth Gilbert and Booker-winner Eleanor Catton, had previously found favour among US book reviewers. The New York Times called it “witheringly trenchant and hugely empathetic, both worldly and geographically precise, a novel that holds the discomfiting realities of our times fearlessly before us”, and the Washington Post said it contained “a ruthless honesty about the ugly and beautiful sides” of the United States and Nigeria. –The Guardian

Sexual Abuse Allegations Rock YouTube Community – DFTBA Records, founded by Hank Green (brother of YA author John Green) and Alan Lastufka, is involved in yet another sexual abuse scandal, this time focused on Tom Milson and Alex Day, two of the YouTube musicians DFTBA handles as part of its YouTube-based music production and merchandise manufacturing company. As if this situation wasn’t complicated enough, the Green brothers run YouTube vblogs featuring DFTBA artists, including Day, and there is a suggestion made in another blog that John Green knew about some of these concerns regarding Alex Day and warned some of the girls away. Sadly, these are not even the first such accusations against DFTBA artists.

The events of the past few days have sparked a conversation about consent, healthy fan-creator relationships, and online safety in the YouTube community. Online microcelebrity is hard to monitor: it involves relatively tight-knit and virtual communities that connect individuals to one another with very little outside intervention. YouTube is an intimate, informal format that fosters close personal relationships between creator and fan. This can be a good thing, as exemplified by the online charity collaboration Project for Awesome. But it may also make for an abusive atmosphere. –NYU Local

Scrabble Contest Seeks New Words – On a happier note, Scrabble is capitalizing off of March Madness to provide fans with the opportunity of getting a new word into the Scrabble dictionary. You have until March 28th to nominate a new word. Details at Hasbro’s Facebook page.

Contest officials will choose 16 words to face off in a March Madness-style bracket, with fans voting for their favorite. The winner will be announced on April 10 and included in the next edition of the Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, to be published in August. –New York Times

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Steph from
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 06:40:38

    I must have a hundred words I wonder about for Scrabble until I need to remember them for a contest like this.

    I think PRIME is worth it — there are more items than ever on the Prime list, so the shipping pays for itself, and it includes movies, kindle borrowing, and on and on. Their costs have increased as much as ours. I just paid for this year at the old rate so my notice applies to next year. By then I will have forgotten all about it.

  2. Tina
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 07:21:08

    I am surprised Prime only went up $20.00 a year. I have always marvelled what a value it was at $79.00. The benefits of it are well worth the 99.00 a year in my opinion. The free 2-day Shipping alone is worth it. But the Instant video and the lending library is also an added value. I don’t have cable tv and if I had paid the season rate for some the shows I want to watch that are exclusively on Prime, it would have easily exceeded the $99.00.

  3. Laura Jardine
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 08:21:12

    I agree with Mr. Merritt. “Ew” should be a word. I mean if “za” (pizza) is a word….

  4. SAO
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 09:02:00

    Every time I try the Kindle Lending Library, I find nothing of interest. I borrowed one or two books, but I didn’t get past the first chapter of either. I figured the time I spent browsing, downloading, and reading wasn’t worth the chance I’d get to read a good book. If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it.

  5. Caro
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 09:12:15

    At this point, I go in with three other friends, so my prime membership is only $20/year. This year, I considered whether or not it was worth it to bite the bullet and just get my own membership so I could do the lending library and stream video. Deciding factor at this point? Neither my Apple TV nor my blu-ray player are able to access their video. That changes, I may well reconsider, even at the higher price.

  6. JJPP
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 09:27:37

    I got rid of cable about 18 months ago and now stream shows and movies to my TV using a Roku (which at only $50 I highly recommend). I stream a lot of Netflix but have been building a list of TV shows I want to see that aren’t available. Quite a few of them are now available on Amazon Prime, so I may finally give in and get it. They have Justified, Veronica Mars, Downton Abbey, Key & Peele (!!! love) and The Good Wife, none of which are on Netflix Instant.

    It’s funny… when I first got an ereader several few years ago I went to some lengths to avoid getting a kindle and thus being tied to Amazon. I just didn’t like their growing power as a company, they skeezed me out. First I got a Kobo Touch — nice device, but incredibly frustrating ebook store that didn’t have books I wanted, sucked at search and frequently didn’t price-match deals. When I gave up on Kobo, I got a nook. But there wasn’t an app for my Windows Phone, which was just annoying. I amassed quite a collection of Kindle books when I wanted either to read on my phone or to get a deal that wasn’t price-matched.

    Now I have an Android phone, but honestly I’ve gotten tired of holding out against Amazon. I still use my nook device, but with B&N’s ever-decreasing commitment to nook why would I keep buying books there instead of trying to stay more organized mainly sticking to kindle? Now my nook is pretty much used for side-loading. And I’m thinking of getting Prime. Amazon still kind of skeezes me out, but they got me.

  7. janicu
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 09:42:05

    I’m also seeing a lot of posts on tumblr about someone named Alex Carpenter, who looks like a musician involved in the Harry Potter youtube community. Looks like he did the same thing to young girls as the two men above. That there are so many young girls/women coming forward now is incredibly disturbing. It is … I don’t have the WORDS, that adult men used their popularity and their fans naivety for their own gratification.

  8. Amanda
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 10:41:10

    Overall I do think the hike is worth it for most Amazon Prime users but maybe not for me. If I was more into streaming the extra twenty would be worth it to me but I haven’t had a chance since I got prime to really use it. Also, like SAO, I haven’t found much that interest me in the lending library. The free 2 day shipping would be the main draw but I don’t buy many actual books from Amazon, its mainly ebooks. Plus every non-book item I have been interested in so far has been an an add-on item and does not qualify for the free-shipping.

  9. Lindsay
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 11:36:15

    Five Days at Memorial was a really rough read for me, but not due to the writing (although it seemed to meander a bit like Grandpa Simpson’s stories). The content is just very raw. It took me a month to read it as I had to take a break every couple of chapters and read something happy.

    I’m interested in how Amazon Prime will evolve internationally, it’s offered here in Canada but it’s only the free shipping at $79/year. They have released Kindle Fires as of last year, so maybe we’ll see things like content streaming and such soon, but I’m still not sure it would be a good deal as our Amazon is awfully limited compared to the Everything Store in the US.

  10. Erin Satie
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 11:36:17

    I live in the country & order 30 pound bags of dog food delivered to my exceedingly remote farm via Prime. I’m the power user they wish they could slough.

  11. Liz H.
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:05:55

    I may have to make a Prime decision eventually, but for next year I used a cnet tutorial and got it for $79 again (my renewal is September). Worth saving the $20; not like I’d get that in interest in the bank… maybe $0.20.$79/

  12. Isobel Carr
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 14:09:26

    @Erin Satie: Me, too. I buy all kinds of wacky (heavy) stuff on Amazon. And I piggyback on my brother’s account, so I pay $20 (or a good bottle of wine) for all the crazy shipping I can handle.

  13. kate Pearce
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 15:35:46

    I live in Hawaii, Prime is an essential part of life for a lot of us here. :) The $20 makes it still worth it. :)

  14. Eliza Evans
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 16:34:21

    I’m another one I’m sure they wish they could dump. I get way way way more than $99 worth of free shipping a year. I get at least one package most weeks, often more. And less than 1% are books, since I’m almost completely e-only now. It’s all stuff like gluten free food, cat food, toiletries, etc etc.

  15. txvoodoo
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 16:47:00

    @Liz H.:

    Unfortunately, Amazon has turned off cancelling auto-renew on the website. You can still call up and have it done, but not online.

  16. Wahoo Suze
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 19:19:18

    There are a few things I’ve bought on Amazon that I couldn’t find anywhere else, but I hate buying from them. Every time I start getting seduced by the sheer variety of stuff, I’ll read another article about the working conditions in their warehouses, and I just can’t go there.

    And I know it’s supposed to be super-easy to buy e-books from Amazon, and load them up into ePub in Calibre so I can read them on my Sony, but I just can’t be bothered. I buy ebooks from ARe, if possible, and Kobo, if not. If a book isn’t in one of those places, I’m highly unlikely to buy it.

    I’m glad to see that yet another community is starting to have a conversation about consent, but I wish we could have that conversation BEFORE somebody is sexually assaulted.

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