Monday, October 11, 2010

New Kindle and Staff Pick features

Kindle Availability

We are aware that quite a few of our readers enjoy buying Kindle ebooks in favor of printed versions. So far these subscribers have had to click through each book that interested them, just to verify if a Kindle version was available.

Starting from this week, users who prefer Kindle books will be able to immediately know if a given book is available at the Kindle Store. And not only that, but we've also distinguished between the American/International and the UK Kindle stores (the UK one is available to UK residents only).

The screenshot below shows examples of how we include links to these electronic versions when available:

We've made The Kindle category will go international next week, with links to the US and UK stores when available.

Staff Picks added to our site

We decided to group all of the Staff Picks for the current week together on a super handy page on our site. This will probably interest newcomers more than existing subscribers, but it's still nice to be able to take a gander at some of the best books from categories you don't already subscribe to.

Book of the Week

Finally, our third new feature is the "Book of the Week", which will be announced on Twitter and Facebook every week. The book will be chosen on the basis of many different criteria, but it's essentially the most interesting and exciting title of the week, in our opinion (and will likely be one that received Staff Picks in various categories).

Last week the honour went to "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values" by Sam Harris as shown below:

There you have it. Feel free to let us know if you think there are features that we're really missing and that would make our free notification service more enjoyable for you. We're listening (wow, that sounds so Fraiser-ish of us).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Startup founders: avoid getting scammed in your quest for coverage

Coverage from highly popular websites and newspapers can be a huge aid when it comes to helping your startup succeed. No matter how good you are, getting traction and grabbing people's attention as a startup is pretty hard. As such, a fair number of startup founders are starved for coverage and would go to great lengths to get it.

It's hardly surprising then that there are some people out there who like to prey on this need. Case in point, here's an email I received last night:

Subject: Hi, I'd like to publish a 600-word feature on your Start-Up

Hello from San Francisco! My name is ****. I hope this message finds you well.

I run a site that features start-ups, ********.com. Our aims are simple:

• Host a thoughtful and creative review of your site on ********.com
• Provide helpful suggestions to improve user's experience
• Provide a keyword focused marketing boost for your site

I found your site on and would like to write a 600-word feature on it. Here are some recent examples.


The feature will be promoted on multiple social media sites including Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, and Buzz Up. We also include multiple links on Yahoo Answers.

Check out what other clients are saying about us: ********/buzz

It costs $65USD to be featured on ********. (Paypal'd to Paypal@********.com).

Let me know if you'd like to be featured or discuss this further.


This week Any New Books? received coverage from sites such as The Next Web, MakeUseOf, KillerStartups, wwwhatsnew, as well as from an Indian newspaper (Mumbai Mirror). They all loved our idea and execution, and decided to give us some exposure. Hundreds of people have signed up with our free new book notification service in the past 48 hours as a result of this exposure. We haven't paid a single cent for such coverage.

Reputable, genuine tech news sites like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, LifeHacker, or the aforementioned ones, do NOT ask you for money to write about your site/startup. It's their job to give coverage to startups that will genuinely interest their readers. (As far as I can tell the site from the email doesn't even disclose that the reviews on it have been paid for.)

While we're bootstrapped at the moment, we could afford to pay $65 for something that we felt was worthwhile. That's not the point. A review for which I have to pay is not a review though, it's an ad.

You may think it's worth paying a relatively small sum of money to get some coverage from this little-known site (according to Alexa), but I recommend that you don't encourage sites like this, which prey on entrepreneurs' desire to succeed. Overall, be mindful of such emails and propositions. Resist the urge to give into the temptation they may pose. Try to get legitimate coverage instead (more on this in future posts.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

New feature for international readers

We have an exciting new feature for our international readers. Up until this point when you clicked on the book titles or covers in our weekly updates you were brought to While this works for most people, a subscriber based in the UK, for example, may be irked by the fact that they are sent to a US site when that particular book is also available on

Luckily starting with this week's email updates, a link to the UK and Canadian Amazon stores will be provided (in addition to the US one) when a given book is available in those stores as well. (Exception made for the Kindle category for the time being.)

The examples below show the four possible combinations for a book (US is always included):

We really hope that our international subscribers enjoy this new feature, which will allow you to order books from the Amazon location that's closest to you (when it's available in said store), and still be able to fall back on when not.