Archive for the ‘Giveaways’ Category

Washington Post free on Kindle Fire

November 21, 2014

Washington Post free on Kindle Fire

When Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer) bought the Washington Post, most of the talk was about how that might (presumably negatively) impact the venerable newspaper.

Less discussed (but not entirely absent) was how it might benefit it, and consumers.

Well, Kindle Fire owners can now get the Washington Post on their tablets for free for six months.

You just need to download this app:

The Washington Post (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ve been exploring it this morning on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

and it seems like an easy yes.

There is no obligation to continue with the subscription.

You don’t need to have any other relationship with the WaPo.

Even if you do decide to continue (and you’ll be asked…it’s not an automatic opt-in), the next six months are $1 (I think for the full six months, not $1 per month). Following that, it would be an opt out to avoid continuing at $3.99 per month.

It’s a carefully thought out app, with easy navigation.

There is a lot of content. This morning, for example, there are

  • Top Stories: 12 stories
  • Around the World: 9 stories
  • Politics & Power: 12 stories
  • Business & Tech: 8 stories
  • Ideas & Controversy: 9 stories
  •  Sports: 15 stories
  • Life & Entertainment: 11 stories

They have a “Most Read & Don’t Miss” category as well, and a section called “Backstory”.

You can also save stories.

I was pleased to see that they had easy sharing options, including (since I have it installed), Flipboard. For example, I flipped a story called “How Disney Turned ‘Frozen’ into a $1B Hit” into my

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

this morning.

If you missed reading a newspaper, or, as may be pretty likely for some people, are curious about what it was like ;) , this is a great opportunity.

However, it’s worth noting that you don’t have the resources you do when reading a Kindle book. You can’t pull up a definition of a word or go to Wikipedia for more detail on it.

I’ve written to them about this next one. No text-to-speech access.

It’s possible in these sorts of apps: I have it in my National Geographic app, for example.

While I don’t want to take away from the time I spend with books, this would be a wonderful option in the car with TTS. I could jump into a particular article with a deeper background than I got from a 24 hour news channel (or the Watchup (at AmazonSmile*) app) and get the benefit of in-depth journalism while driving.

This is currently a Fire tablet exclusive.

However, it’s worth noting that a twenty-week subscription to seven day home delivery of the WaPo is $39.80…so, for about the cost of a year’s worth of it (which would come out to around $100), you could get one of the current generation of (low end) Fire tablets.

I will say, this won’t replace

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for me as a news source. I like seeing many, many stories with snippet previews, as I do in Flipboard. What I want to know (and I don’t always know I want to know before I see it) is never going to be a solid match for the WaPo…even though I do want to know about most Washington Post covered topics, too.

What do you think? If you’ve tried the app, do you have an opinion? Do you agree with the overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon? What would still make the physical experience better for you, if that’s the case? Would this get you to buy a Fire, if you haven’t? If you don’t have a Fire, are you disappointed you can’t get this deal? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #276: PRH on subsers, Boehner blocks

November 15, 2014

Round up #276: PRH on subsers, Boehner blocks

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

No Active Content for the Voyage?

This question had come up before, but according to this

post in The Digital Reader by Nate Hoffelder

Amazon is not planning to add Active Content for the

Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

their flagship model.

Hoffelder reports having been told by Amazon that their “…focus is on building the best purpose-built reading devices.”

I suppose I can understand as a goal, but Active Content is one of those really non-intrusive things. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t. Games have been on the Kindles since the very first one in 2007 (although the games on that one were hidden…I played Minesweeper on mine, though). It’s an interesting decision.

There are over 1,500 customer reviews for

Every Word (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in the USA Kindle store, with an average rating of 4.3 stars (out of 5). There have been ten reviews at time of writing in November 2014…and almost all of them were five stars.

It’s currently ranked #2,397 free in the Kindle store…out of 64,497, making it in the top 4% of sellers.

My guess is that this really has more to do with associated expenses (adapting the Amazon published ones for new models, customer service) than it really has to do with what customers say. However, I have had e-mail exchanges with the person listed by Hoffelder, and that person has always seemed nice and knowledgeable to me…so I’m sure there is some evidence for what the rep says.

$80 worth of apps free through Saturday 11/15

While I probably do more reading on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

than I do anything else (counting text-to-speech as reading…which I do), it certainly isn’t a “purpose-built reading device”.

I’m sure some people would argue that Amazon is turning away from Active Content to encourage people to buy Fires…but I think they’d be happiest if people had both. ;)

For those of you who do use a Fire and want apps, Amazon has a promotion going on through today (Saturday) with $80 worth of apps being given away. They are calling it an

App Toolbox (at AmazonSmile*)

Note that not all of these will work on a Fire tablet (the ones that don’t may work on the Fire Phone, if you are one of the rarities like me who owns one). ;)

Titles include:

  • Office Calculator Pro: 4.4 stars, 172 reviews
  • MathsApp Graphing Calculator: 4.4 stars, 63 reviews
  • EasyTether: 4.3 stars, 861 reviews
  • Open Document Reader: 5.0 stars, 3 reviews
  • Oxford Dictionary of English: 3.5 stars, 8 reviews…normally $24.99

and twelve more.

Amazon and others advocate for Equal Collection Legislation

It’s been a while since I’ve written about this issue, but it’s back in the news.

Congress is considering a bill which would mean that sales tax would be collected on online purchases in a way similar to how it is collected now in brick and mortar stores.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble both support the current legislation, along with many other entities.

The

National Retail Federation

has sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, urging passage. Unfortunately, every link on their website to that letter is failing for me…they may be overwhelmed because of the coverage.

Why does this matter now?

If the current bill isn’t passed before the new Congress takes over in January of 2015, it’s dead…and they have to start all over (again).

It might surprise you that Amazon and B&N are on the same side on this.

Amazon has argued for it before. They don’t want there to be lots of different rules about how this happens all over the country: they want one clear sales tax collection policy (not rate, policy) at the national level.

This (and previous bills) bill is not about people owing more taxes, but it would certainly mean that many people pay more.

Check the sales tax category (linked at the end of this post) for more information, but essentially, what happens now is that many people are supposed to pay tax on things they buy on the internet…and they don’t. Every year, my family adds more when we pay our State taxes for those uncollected taxes…it would be far easier if they just collected them at the time of purchase.

Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to track your in-store purchases yourself to figure out what sales tax you owed?

Amazon has repeatedly said that when they are in situations where sales tax is collected on their purchases, it doesn’t hurt their market share.

I believe that. Oh, that’s not to say that some people might buy very expensive items from Amazon to avoid having sales tax collected. Of course, they might be quite surprised if they ever get audited…not having paid that will not get you invited to the IRS offices for tea. ;) It might get you invited somewhere else less pleasant, though…

According to this

The Hill article by Bernie Becker

Speaker Boehner is blocking the bill, despite some significant bipartisan support.

It’s worth noting that not every state would collect sales tax on e-books anyway (California doesn’t, when they are delivered electronically…at least, that’s how it was last time I looked), but this still could affect Kindleers.

PRH C.E.O. doesn’t like subsers

Generally, I’ve found Random House to be pretty forward thinking…but this

The Bookseller article by Benedicte Page

makes me question that.

C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer) Tom Weldon of Penguin Random House makes several statements.

One of them has to do with keeping e-book royalty rates the same, but the headline item is really about not believing in subsers (subscription services), like Amazon’s

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

In this short excerpt, Weldon is quoted as saying:

“We are not convinced it is what readers want. ‘Eat everything you can’ isn’t a reader’s mindset. In music or film you might want 10,000 songs or films, but I don’t think you want 10,000 books.”

Well, as someone with something like 10,000 paperbooks on my shelves, I beg to differ. ;)

Certainly, it usually takes longer to read a book than it does to listen to a song or watch a movie, so you might think you need access to fewer…but you still need to make the choices as to which ones to consume.

While I think there is a lot future in curation (people, and perhaps software, picking books that you are likely to like), having a variety is important now.

Let’s say you like 1% of the books that are published each year. 10,000 gives you one to enjoy every three days. That’s a pretty good pace.

I think subsers are a big part (but not the only part) of the book market in the next few years, and I suspect Random House may come on board with it. Weldon didn’t rule it out, although the CEO thought they were more likely to succeed in emerging markets. If they did there, that might encourage them to join in more developed markets.

I recommend the article: see what Weldon has to say about PRH selling directly to consumers…I think what’s said there is wise.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Kindle and Fire Generations

October 12, 2014

Kindle and Fire Generations

Many people have complained about how Amazon names their devices…it’s been confusing.

The least expensive Kindle has generally just been officially called a “Kindle”, for example.

That might be okay, but the problem really happens when you are trying to buy

Kindle Accessories (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

A cover for one model won’t necessarily fit another model.

It also gets very confusing when we try to help people on the Amazon Kindle forums. You might think a question like, “Can I stream my Kindle Fire to my TV?” would be easy to answer, but it’s different for different years. We frequently have to ask people to identify their devices before we can help them, or give them multiple answers (which can be confusing).

Well, recently, Amazon has started identifying Kindles and Fires (which used to be called “Kindle Fires”…another confusing factor) by generations.

The upcoming

Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and

the new

7th generation entry level Kindle: “Mindle Touch” (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

are both being identified now as “7th Generation”.

Let’s work our way back through the non-Fire generations first:

  • 7th generation (announced September 2014): Kindle Voyage, “Mindle Touch” (the $79 least expensive Kindle)
  • 6th generation (September 2013): Kindle Paperwhite 2 (now just called the Kindle Paperwhite)
  • 5th generation (September 2012): Kindle Paperwhite 1
  • 4th generation (September 2011): Kindle Touch, Mindle (my name for the entry level Kindle…”Minimum Kindle”)
  • 3rd generation (August 2010): Kindle Keyboard
  • 2nd generation (February 2009; May 2009): Kindle 2 and Kindle DX
  • 1st generation (November 2007): Kindle 1

The recently announced Fires (formerly Kindle Fires) are the 4th generation of those:

  • 4th generation (September 2014): versions of the Fire HD, Fire HDX, and a kids’ version
  • 3rd generation (September 2013): introduces HDX, new HDs
  • 2nd generation (September 2012): Kindle Fire 2nd gen, Kindle Fire HDs introduced
  • 1st generation (September 2011): Kindle Fire

How can you tell which one you have?

Here are the Amazon help pages:

It would be nice if they’d start actually putting the numbers on the devices, but I don’t think that will happen (they want the brand identification to be “Kindle” or “Amazon”, not “Kindle 7″…at least, that’s my guess).

Hopefully, this will help you buying those accessories…and those can make good gifts for the holidays for people you know who already have a device.

Bonus deal: some of the Kindle e-mail subscriptions have a deal going where you can get a free book (from a very limited set) if you are a new subscriber.

You can see the list of these free e-mails from Amazon here:

E-mail Subscriptions (at AmazonSmile*)

The free book deal is through October 18th…I know the Business & Money newsletter has one, Teen & Young Adult has one, Mystery & Thriller has one…I’d just sign up for the ones you want and see what happens. :) These are all free, by the way.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Big app giveaway, FTV discount…and free books

September 25, 2014

Big app giveaway, FTV discount…and free books

There is a

Limited Time App Giveaway (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

right now in the Amazon Appstore.

It’s not a LTO (Limited Time Offer) that we get on our Kindle Fires…it will probably be there through today, and maybe another day, but they don’t  give a date, and it’s available to everyone who can use the USA Amazon Appstore. Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button.

There are some good apps here, ones that I use regularly! I know at least one of them is usually about $15.

Twenty-three of the twenty-seven are good for the Fire Phone, twenty-five are good on at least some Fire tablets, and three are good on the Fire TV.

I’m going to get all the ones I don’t already have. :) One nice thing about apps: you can send to Cloud storage only, so they don’t take up any room on your devices unless you choose to download them. I wish that was an explicit option for e-books…I usually send those to my Cloud reader, but that’s not quite the same thing.

Here are some highlights:

  • Office Suite Professional, 3.9 out of 5 stars, 2130 customer reviews. I use this one quite often…it lets you read and do some light editing of Excel, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word files. I’ll e-mail the file to myself and then open the attachment in Office Suite Pro. This one is normally $14.99
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II, 3.7 stars, 166 reviews…Fire TV compatible
  • Riptide GP2, 4.5 stars, 475 reviews…I’ve played this on our FTV (at least a bit)
  • Sketchbook Pro, 3.9 stars, 289 reviews
  • PrinterShare Mobile, 3.8 stars, 830 reviews
  • Perfectly Clear, 3.8 stars, 260 reviews…just got this today. It improves the appearance of photos. I tried it…seemed to work well on the one overexposed image I tested
  • Another World, 3.5 stars, 16 reviews…retro gamer
  • Heroes of Steel RPG Elite, 4.9 stars, 9 reviews: great reviews on this role-paying game
  • Paper Camera, 4.1 stars, 544 reviews: one of my favorite apps for my phone…creates filters for images, and one looks like it is hand-drawn. I’ve used that one several times…classy! You can also just look through the camera and see the world that way
  • Merriam-Webster’s Third New International Pro, 4.0 stars, 8 reviews…list priced at $59.00? I like having a dictionary app on my device…this isn’t to do look-up from within books, but to use like a regular dictionary (albeit with a lot more features). I’m definitely trying this one

Also wanted to mention that the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is on sale for $84, which is about 15% off the normal $99 price. I use ours every day. When we buy another TV that can work with it, we might really cut the cord (stop paying for cable). This, when you mirror your Kindle Fire to it, can give you a lot to watch! It works much better than our Roku, by the way…it’s much faster.

Finally, I don’t like to write posts without giving something to the book readers. :) That’s the main focus of this blog, certainly, although I know that some people like the other content information as well.

This time, I thought I’d throw in some links to free e-books in some popular categories, sorted by popularity:

Enjoy!

 Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Free today: The Kindle Kollection

August 30, 2014

Free today: The Kindle Kollection

In honor of ILMK’s 5th anniversary on August 28th, I was giving away my books…but I couldn’t do one of them that day, due to the condition of the program that you can’t make them free on the first or last day of enrollment.

So, one of them is free today (Saturday) instead!

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

Note that these are older books, and a lot of it will be obsolete…but I do think the first one, in particular, still has some fun. :)

As always, verify before you buy…check the price, because it may not be free in your country.

Enjoy!

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

5 years of ILMK

August 28, 2014

5 years of ILMK

August 28, 2009: the I Love My Kindle blog begins with this post:

Oh…um, Hi!

It has been an amazing journey…a five year mission indeed!

I would guess I’ve written something like the equivalent of forty 200 page books…you know,not quite Stephen King speed, but up there. ;)

While I’m certainly proud of a lot of what I’ve written, I have to say that one of the best parts (and one that I didn’t really anticipate) is the interactions I’ve had with my readers. There are many people who regularly read and comment on this blog, and I’ve had some very thoughtful discussions with them. I really appreciate it when they disagree with me (respectfully, as is almost always the case), and when they point out ways the blog could be better (including typos and other errors or omissions).

This blog would not be what it is (one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the Kindle store), and I wouldn’t be what I am, without  them.

Thank you.

Thanks also go to those who subscribe through the Kindle store…that’s part of what it makes it possible for me to devote this much time and energy to writing I Love My Kindle! Thanks, subscribers!

More thanks to people who follow links on this blog…it may be to buy something from Amazon (including gift cards) or to be exposed to something I’ve suggested. The latter lets me help  out people and organizations I find interesting.

Let me also thank those of you who read the blog, but haven’t yet followed a link or subscribed. You never have to do either to be part of the energy that feeds this galloping Pegasus of literary pixels! ;)

In order to make my thanks a bit more tangible, I’ve made as many of my Kindle store books free as I could for August 28th!

Please check that a title is free for you before buying it.

I have asked Amazon to make them free on August 28, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. I think they may also only be free to customers in the USA.

So, you can click on the titles before, but please make sure it is free when you click the 1-click buy button.

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When this one was first published in December of 2012, it was the number one bestselling book of quotations at Amazon…including paper! That didn’t last long, but it was fun while it did. :)

Love Your First Generation Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet (at AmazonSmile)

This one has been a bestseller. It was written before the Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, so it doesn’t match up exactly with those. If you do have the first generation Fire, though, I think you’ll find it useful.

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

Note: especially check the price on this one. I was having trouble getting the book to be free, and I’m not sure it took. If it didn’t, I’ll offer it free later, and let you know.

Update: the issue was that you can’t a book free under this promotion program on the first day or the last day of its enrollment period. I have now made it free for Saturday, August 30th…but again, verify before you buy. :)

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition)(at AmazonSmile)

This has some fun stuff…and other things that are out of date. If you want The Happy Little Bookworm, this one has it. :)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile)

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m coming up on the five year anniversary of the blog, and I’m considering doing a “best of” book. I’d include the posts that are less time-dependent, I think…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know.

Remember, double-check that they are  free to make sure before buying. Since they are also in Kindle Unlimited, you may see a zero price showing, but it won’t be zero near the Buy button.

Enjoy!

I’d also like to ask you for a favor.

I plan to put together a book of the best of the first five years of this blog, and I hope to have  it done for the holiday season.

I know some of you have been with me from the beginning, and certainly, others who have joined us later have been quite involved.

Choosing the posts for the “best of” book is going to  be a challenge. My natural tendency is…to put in too many. ;)

What I’d like you to do, if you are so inclined, is to let me know which posts stand out to you. You don’t need to give me any times or dates…just comment on this post and say something like, “I liked the Star Trek parody,” or “I’m still thinking about the permanent copyright post.” That would help me in choosing.

If you want me to keep your comment private (posts may have affected some of you in ways you’d rather not share with the rest of my readers), please let me know at the top of your comment.

Also, although I’d like to include comments to the posts, I think it’s better if I don’t put those in the book (that wasn’t where people intended them to go when they wrote them). I plan to link to the posts, and people will be able to see your comments that way. When the book is published (and I’ll let you know when) there will be a forum on the Amazon product page for it, and of course, you’ll have the opportunity to do a review (again, only if you want to do that). It will be part of Kindle Unlimited…borrowing it is fine with me. ;)

So again, thank you for half a decade of ILMK! I look forward to our time together in the future.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Sign up for a newsletter, get a book free

June 24, 2014

Sign up for a newsletter, get a book free

Amazon must know that when you sign up for a free newsletter from them, you are more likely to buy books (or perhaps, other things).

After all, it costs them money to produce them…and now, they are having promotions where, when you sign up for the newsletter, you can get a free e-book (from a certain set).

However, you can’t just keep signing up for different newsletters and get a bunch of books: typically, if you are subscribed to any newsletter already, you are ineligible.

For example, there is the Teen & Young Adult Newsletter:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_416972742_2?ie=UTF8&docId=1002656771&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=1J84PCY5S68QYNS1P18K&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1818396342&pf_rd_i=154606011

It says:

“Until 11:59 p.m. (PT) June 29, 2014, first-time subscribers who are not currently subscribed to any Kindle newsletter qualify for a promotional credit to get one selected Kindle book for free (choose from one of the selected Kindle books below)”

You can choose between

  • Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa Tawn Bergren
  • Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Extracted (The Last Imperials) by Sherry D. Ficklin, Tyler Hall Jolley

For the Kids Newsletter, you can pick between

  • Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tartulli
  • Snoopy: Cowabunga! by Charles M. Schulz
  • Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story by Annie Tipton

Sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal, and you have twelve choices, including one I’ve actually bought before:

Review: Brain Rules

Want a complete list of possible e-mail subscriptions from Amazon (not just Kindle, but all of them)?

Browse E-mail Subscriptions (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m not eligible: I already subscribe to a newsletter (and have for years).

Choose carefully…but enjoy! ;)

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

What’s happening to Amazon’s core principles?

May 24, 2014

What’s happening to Amazon’s core principles?

I have loved Amazon.

There has never been a company with which I have had a better relationship, and I can’t imagine another one that is out there right now which would be as good.

However, for the first time, I’m getting a little concerned about the future.

I’ve staked a lot on having an ongoing connection to Amazon. I’ve said before that I think it is more likely that my descendants will have access to my Kindle books than to my paperbooks.

One reason I thought that is that Amazon has three core principles:

  • Price
  • Service
  • Selection

Jeff Bezos has mentioned how those three are the same all over the world. While delivery methods might be different in different countries, you aren’t going to find someone who says, “I wish you had fewer choices that cost me more and got them to me more slowly.”

Recently, though, Amazon has done some things which seem to me to be moving away from those principles…and that concerns me.

Let’s start with one particularly clear example.

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, alerted me to this…and I had flipped a couple of articles about it into my

Free ILMK magazine at Flipboard

Here’s one that gives an interesting perspective:

The Bookseller post by Sarah Shaffi

I’ve already written about an apparent dispute between Amazon and the publisher Hachette:

Is Amazon delaying Hachette books?

but this new development seems a clearcut violation of the three principles.

The story is that Amazon is removing the ability to pre-order some Hachette Kindle books, including J.K. Rowling’s (writing as Robert Galbraith) next novel.

Well, at this point, I don’t see that novel listed at all in Kindle format…and you can’t pre-order the hardback (that may be a change since the article was written). It simply says the hardback is unavailable, and that you can sign up to be e-mailed when it is.

I’ve always pictured people in a meeting in Amazon being challenged by any proposal with the three principles. In other words, they would have to justify how the new idea fits at least one of them (without, presumably, throwing the balance off by making the other two much worse).

Does having the book be unavailable help with selection? No, it hurts selection. Selection has to mean “what is available to the customer now”, not what will be available at some point, at least if your competitors have it. I could pre-order that book right now, as a hardback or an e-book, from Barnes & Noble.

Does having the book be unavailable help price? No. It doesn’t offer something at a lower price to fail to offer it at all. I suppose you could argue that the customer isn’t spending the money, but it doesn’t work that way emotionally for people.

Does having the book be unavailable help service? No. If a customer does want the book, they would have to wait to get an e-mail, then click (presumably) on a link in the e-mail…as opposed to just 1-clicking a pre-order button on the book’s product page.

So, if the idea was brought up in a committee, I would have hoped it would be rejected on those grounds.

Now, is it possible that it actually serves the principles in some way we can’t see?

Could it be that Hachette’s terms were so difficult that agreeing to them would have hurt future selection, service, and/or price? Maybe…but if we can’t see it, it’s hard to not feel the loss of the book’s availability…and that can affect customer loyalty. I’ve said before that I think market leaders can lose that position when they overestimate customer loyalty (as opposed to when they underestimate the competition, which is what many people think happens).

According to a book I’m just finishing (I’m in the end matter):

Thinking, Fast and Slow (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

people consider a loss to be much more impactful than a gain. Losing ten dollars hurts more than gaining ten dollars feels good.

This is a loss. We would have to gain something many times as good before we felt that this move on Amazon’s part was a plus for us.

If this was the only such action on Amazon’s part, I could construct some sort of “prospiracy theory” (a prospiracy is the opposite of a conspiracy…a secret plan to do something good) that would explain it.

However, as I wrote in

Kindle New York Times bestsellers shockingly up almost $1 a month so far this year

and as another of my regular readers and commenters, Roger Knights, predicted, prices have been rising rapidly (at least on New York Times bestseller hardback equivalents).

That doesn’t serve the price principle, and I can’t see how it benefits selection (unless the publishers were going to withdraw the books if Amazon didn’t raise the price) or service (you don’t get them any faster or have a better return policy).

Then, and this will seem minor to many, there has been a major overhaul of the

Kindle Help Community (at AmazonSmile)

I have tried and tried to see how the changes are better…but so far (and I’m quite imaginative) I have failed at the task.

I am a “Kindle Forum Pro”. We aren’t Amazon employees, but we have been designated by Amazon as being particularly helpful to other people who use Amazon’s customer forums. That has also been something where I thought Amazon was doing an incredible service. They freely allow criticism of Amazon in these forums, and they allow great speculation and helping of each other. Sure, that can save Amazon some Customer Service cost, but most companies’ forums just aren’t this free.

What changes did they make?

  • You used to be able to tell to which threads you had posted recently…that made it much easier to get back to help someone who asked a question, you asked a clarifying question (such as which model they have) and then they answered it
  • You used to be able to preview the thread without opening it…that was a quick way to tell if the question had already been answered. Now, I have to open each thread just to tell if they need help. I used to love going that forum to help people…I recently mentioned that I now approach it with the same feeling I have going in for a teeth cleaning at the dentist. I still now it’s a good thing, but it’s not comfortable…
  • They took away our Kindle Forum Pro badges (which was something which officially identified us to customers). I was helping people long before I had the badge, and will continue to do without…but for customers, it raises the signal to noise ratio. We certainly see people give answers which are wrong, and sometimes harmful. While we “Pros” didn’t always know everything, we were a pretty reliable source. In a way, I suppose it was like those “Volunteer” vests you sometimes see people wearing at conventions…it lets you know you can trust them, even if they aren’t employees

I know I would have to prove that these actions are different from what Amazon did in the past. After all, Amazon did remove the Macmillan buy buttons back in 2010, when they were fighting the Agency Model. That one, though, really felt like it was about us, the customers. I don’t know what Amazon and Hachette are tussling over, but this one just…feels like it is about Amazon.

Some of you may also bring up the price raise in Prime. That one didn’t bother me much, given the amount of raise and how long it had been since it had been raised before. It’s logical that costs have gone up considerably for Amazon during that time for that part of the business.

Why do I think this is happening?

If Roger (see above) is right, this could certainly be due to pressure to show more of a profit.

I don’t think that Jeff Bezos is short-sighted, though…quite the opposite. It needs to be true that everyone making these sorts of decisions takes the long view…not just Jeff. Jeff may certainly be turning some attention elsewhere, and eventually (hopefully a long time from now…knock virtual wood) someone else will be the CEO.

That’s assuming Amazon outlasts its defining founder.

I think it will.

My (perhaps incurably optimistic) thought is that this is a temporary aberration. Someone is going to glance up at the wall (or on the screensaver, perhaps…I don’t know) and see those three principles displayed:

“Price…Service…Selection…Price…Service…Selection…Price…”

They’ll look at someone else, look at the principles, tilt their head and raise one eyebrow.

I expect a lot of good things in Amazon’s future…as long as they listen to themselves, and follow their three North stars.

I welcome the thoughts you share with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

===

Bonus deal:

This is good at time of writing, but do check. You can

Get 200 Amazon Coins (at AmazonSmile)

for each of these five free apps you license (“buy”). That’s up to $10 worth to spend on apps in the Amazon Appstore and in-app purchases.

If you already have one of these apps (I did), I don’t think you can get the  200 coins for that.

Otherwise, why not? :)

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Get 300 Amazon Coins for browsing Summer Reading for Kids

May 20, 2014

Get 300 Amazon Coins for browsing Summer Reading for Kids

I think this one is clever, although I certainly expect to encounter some push back to it.

Amazon has a

Summer Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

store.

It’s further divided into

  • Summer Reading for Kids (2,364) (at time of writing)
  • Summer Reading for Teens & Young Adults (1,114)
  • Summer Reading for Adults (1,878)

and has a lot more discovery options besides those age-based ones.

Well, if you click on a book featured in the Summer Reading for Kids section (you don’t have to buy it…just click on it), you’ll get $3 in AmazonCoins (you can only do this once per customer…in case you had dreams of a clicking frenzy). ;)

My guess is that there may be some criticism from people who think that apps are likely to distract children from reading, so they may see this as hypocritical (since the coins are used to buy apps or make in-app purchases).

However, that is a perhaps…shallow understanding of apps.

That’s like saying that “all books are good for you”. Oh, wait…I do think that one’s true. ;)

It would be like saying all comic books are for children. A medium, while it may influence the content, does not define it.

There are, for example, over 1,500

Children’s Book Apps (at AmazonSmile)

in the Amazon Appstore…some of those might actually encourage someone to do more reading.

Regardless, this is a low cost way to get $3 worth of coins. :)

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night

April 23, 2014

Round up #251: Rose colored glasses aren’t always wrong, World Book Night

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

It’s World Book Night!

April 23rd (Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday, Cervantes’ deathday) is World Book Night, when select books are given away.

Why is it book night?

There was already a World Book Day, where kids were given tokens for books…this was for grown-ups, and night-time is supposedly more grown up (you know…like Nick at Night or Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, which is night-time).

Specially produced copies of books are given away by “givers”, and the authors waive their royalties.

I think it’s a wonderful thing! It occurred to me (too late to do it), that I could do a free day for at least one of my titles to coincide. I’ll plan on that next year.

For more information, see

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/faqs

I also thought this was an interesting

The Guardian article by Alison Flood

about authors reading from other authors’ letters, including one from Kurt Vonnegut.

From 1 star to 5 stars? HBO GOGOGO!

I love it when having a positive attitude gets proven to have been the right thing!

See, as a basically optimistic person, I get to have fun looking at something…I’m enjoying life! Pessimists, well, they often seem to be having a sour taste. If it turns out that something was a negative, that doesn’t seem to make them happy…if anything, they seem to be more upset when they are right than when they are wrong. ;) Hm…I’ll have to look for some positive things about pessimism and cynicism. If not, I’m in danger of being pessimistic…about pessimism. :)

In this case, I recently wrote about the number of 1-star reviews which came out about the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which launched without HBO GO:

Don’t judge a box by its content

I said,

“One of the interesting things is that Amazon included HBO GO in its comparison table…showing that they didn’t have it.

Why do that?

I think it’s because they are likely to get it.

Why don’t they have it already?

They have to negotiate it.”

Well, even non-Fire users will apparently benefit from the result of those negotiations!

According to this

press release

HBO GO is coming to the Fire TV later this year. That allows current HBO subscribers to watch the current episodes.

However, and I would argue with greater impact (and probably costing Amazon a lot of money), Amazon Prime members are also going to get exclusive subscription streaming access to a bunch of older HBO shows!

That’s at no additional cost over the Prime fee.

People are really going to have to start thinking about how much it is worth it to see things when they first come out…and this could seriously contribute to “cord cutting” (ditching cable/satellite for streaming options).

Let’s say you want to watch True Blood (you know, because you like literary adaptations). ;)

If you want to watch current episodes as an HBO subscriber, you pay  for a monthly package from your cable/satellite provider which includes it as a “premium channel”.

The cost of that can easily be more than the cost of a Fire TV (depending on the package, which you might bundle with phone and internet)…and that’s per month.

If you are willing to wait a few years, you could watch them at no additional cost on your FTV if you have Prime.

I think Prime is worth it just as a shipping service (many items for two-days for free), but even if you treat it just as a video streaming service, that’s going to be a lot cheaper.

Remember that this is an exclusive deal (for subscription services…you may still be able to buy the episodes one by one from other places, and they will be on HBO platforms).  That means they won’t be available on Netflix or Hulu+. Gee, did the Fire just get more attractive? ;) Here’s a bit more about what it will mean:

Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming access to:

  • All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favorites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
  • Epic miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
  • Select seasons of current series such as Boardwalk Empire, Treme andTrue Blood
  • Hit original movies like Game Change, Too Big To Fail and You Don’t Know Jack
  • Pedigreed documentaries including the Autopsy and Iceman series,Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and When the Levees Broke
  • Hilarious original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis CK and Bill Maher

The multi-year deal will bring additional seasons of the current series named above, along with early seasons of other series like Girls, The Newsroom andVeep to Prime members over the life of the deal.”

This idea of patience being rewarded also goes for books, of course. I expect Amazon to launch a subser (subscription service) for books for grown-ups this year, although they often surprise me. I think we’ll end up seeing a model somewhat like this for publishing: lots of access to backlist titles through subscription services, and you pay for new releases.

How do they pick these lists? It’s a mystery… ;)

Amazon just put out a list of

100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile)

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, questioned some of the choices (and especially some of the non-choices), and that’s inevitable on any list like this.

Looking at it, my mind initially went for mysteries, and there are certainly many here that are more in the thriller camp.

I’m not quite sure why those two get lumped together.

Mysteries, by definition (at least my definition) are cerebral at heart. The mystery is about figuring out the mystery. In a classic mystery, you use your own brain power to try to figure out the answer.

Thrillers, on the other hand, tend to be visceral and emotional. There may be somebody to stop, but it’s not so much about figuring it out.

Does the same person who likes Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell like Frederick Forsythe and Charles Bukowski? Certainly, maybe, but I think statistically, they appeal to different people.

They cheated and put all of Holmes in one volume, but it was nice to see kid’s books represented: Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys…but only one of each series, not like with Sherlock.

Including From H*ll, the graphic novel by Alan Moore about Jack the Ripper? Intriguing.

I think there was probably a conscious effort to include “quality” literature, including The Name of the Rose and Rebecca.

No Perry Mason, though?

A list like this also always gets skewed by including only one title per author (except for the cheating Holmes one above). It’s certainly possible that Agatha Christie deserves more than one spot here. Oh, they did get around that in a clever way. Here is one of the listings:

“Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Gabriel Garcia Marquez” (emphasis added)

;)

My guess is that they accidentally got the name on there, and then ran a check for multiple titles by the same author, which failed.

What do you think? What was left off the list? What is on it that surprised you? Do you ever plow through a list like that? Rebecca still isn’t in Kindle format…I wrote about that more than three years ago:

Why Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca isn’t in the Kindle store

Are you helping out on World Book Night? What do you think of exclusive content deals, like Amazon getting the HBO shows? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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