Oops, did I order that many?

“Sir Ian, there is a parcel for you”.

With those words from the Concierge at the condo, I was handed two cards from the PhilPost Central Makati Post Office telling me there were two parcels there. Now I was expecting a cover for my LG tablet, a couple of books and some wargame figures (English Civil War 6mm to be exact). I wondered which two parcels they would be. I had a meeting in Pasay in the morning then thought I would come back to the Post Office as it would be lunchtime. I prepared to travel back in time to 1954.

I dropped in and handed the cards over with my ID card. In record time the staff returned with two parcels for me – a small envelope and a huge box from Amazon.com. I had one of those moments looking at the box, paid the 224 pesos for the retrieval of the two parcels and returned home for lunch (and to open the parcels of course).

The stack that came out of the box
The stack that came out of the box

The small envelope certainly contained a cover for my tablet. I then opened the large Amazon box and found 7 books there, 5 more that I had recalled.


At least none of the books were repeats of books I had previously purchased and I recall now that I had purchased a few book as they were all in my sphere of interest.

Next time I think I will leave a note to myself on the fridge with details of each order. Then again, opening the parcel was like Christmas as I had not remembered what I ordered so each book was a pleasant surprise.

The loot is shown below! Oops, I did I order that many? I guess I did.



Amazon.co.uk makes business more interesting

Amazon.co.uk redefines business for me
Amazon.co.uk redefines business for me

I was surprised, sitting down to my morning coffee and catching up with the overnight emails. Amazon.co.uk has put a smile on my face even larger than the smile the coffee produces. I received this on their email this morning … “As you’ve shown an interest in similar books, you might like to know about these Business, Finance & Law Books titles from our Books Store” and “More in Business, Finance & Law Books.”

Now these are my type of Business, Finance & Law Books books!

Ancient Warfare VIII/3 – Horsemen of the Steppes

One of the magazines I always look forward to is Ancient Warfare and this latest issue is of particular interest to me for two reasons:

  1. There is no coverage of the Mongols – they deserve separate treatment purely because of their success and the size of their eventual empire
  2. The coverage of the Amazons – something that has been an interest to me since seeing the Amazon sculpture frieze and mosaic in the Louvre
The Amazon Mosaic from the Louvre in Paris
The Amazon Mosaic from the Louvre in Paris

This issue then covers many of my interests whilst focussing on the Pontic Steppes where the majority of classical period nomadic horsemen originated. Included then are articles about the Amazons; a look at Herodotus’s examination of the Skythians; Dugdammi (Lygdamis), who managed to cause some trepidation in Ashurbanipal of Assyria when he united a number of nomadic tribes; Darius the Great’s Scythian expedition, 512 BCE; The battle for the Bosporan Kingdom, 310/309 BCE (Skythians face off against Sarmatians); and Alexander the Great’s mauling of the Skythians at the  Battle of the Jaxartes.

The Amazon sculptures from the Louvre in Paris
The Amazon sculptures from the Louvre in Paris

There are a number of other articles as well on Rome and Egypt but perhaps most interesting for me was the article noted as an obscure debate over a very long spear – How Long was the Macedonian Sarissa? There are a couple of good illustrations of both the reported length of that spear and it relative reach compared to the spears of regular hoplites.

It is also strangely appropriate and good timing that this issue comes out during the Naadam festival, the celebration of Mongolia. As I type this I have been watching the nine standards of Chinggis Khaan paraded and placed for the festival.

Publishers Piss Me Off – Amazon – this is you!

This is me on Amazon UK:


And from Amazon US:


Then, when I sign on as my mother:


Difference here is my Mum has an Australian address only. I have the same Australian address, a Singapore address and I had forgotten to remove my old UK address when I moved from there. So I can be living in Singapore (where apparently Amazon will not ship a Kindle to) but will let me buy hard copy books and deliver them to me (from either Amazon UK or US). I can be living in Australia which is part of the British publishing house sphere of business and again, I can buy hard copy books and have them delivered to me (from either Amazon UK or US). But try and buy a Kindle book from the UK with just an Australian address – problem. I can buy from Kindle US with just an Australian address unless it is a “restricted” title and not available in my area ((and how that works I will never know – Amazon sells me a Kindle to read books then refuses to sell me books)).

So, the solution? I leave my old UK address on file, leave my Australian or Singaporean credit card as the default payment card for “1-click” and suddenly I can buy Kindle books for Whispernet delivery from Amazon UK (and probably unrestricted from Amazon US but I am yet to try that).

Is this system screwed up? You bet (and don’t start me on protectionism of Australian publishers – that’s another disgrace)!

Australian Book Price Gouging … Again!

The bat

Or rather still.

They still just don’t get it. I received an email from Bookworld, the remnants of Borders that went broke in Australia, and they were advertising the release of the first Harry Hole novel written by Jo Nesbo. This was a digital release – that is, a book in ePub format for eBook readers. The details:

The Bat: A Harry Hole Thriller by Jo Nesbo, ePub.

Their price, for the eBook, was an unbelievable $23.95. Yes, they are Aussie dollars which are worth a little more than US dollars.

I can buy the paperback version from Book Depository UK for $18.35 (Aussie dollars) delivered (see Bat: Harry Hole Thriller, Jo Nesbo). That’s the paperback version, not the trade Paperback that the Aussie sellers are peddling.

The issue is the eBook. $23.95 for something that has essentially no storage or delivery costs.

By comparison, I can buy the same book from Amazon for my Kindle reader for US $16.29 delivered. See The Bat (Harry Hole 1).

$23.95 for an ePub from Australian store, $16.29 from a US store, both delivered immediately to my device. Economics is so simple sometimes – and the Australian book industry persists in its stupid counter productive protectionism at the same time as persisting in gouging Australian customers.

By from the US, by from the UK, at least until the Australian industry wakes up to itself.