Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Add Your Amazon Books rolling out to Goodreads website

April 17, 2014

Add Your Amazon Books rolling out to Goodreads website

When Amazon bought Goodreads (a bit over a year ago), one of the advantages people  envisaged  (and certainly, some people thought there might be disadvantages as well) was the ability to easily import your Amazon purchases to your Goodreads shelves.

We did get the ability to do that from some Kindle devices. For example, you have that functionality on the Kindle Paperwhite.

That was fine for people with those devices, but there are lots of Goodreads users who have bought books from Amazon and don’t have Kindles (or at least, those specific devices). The import isn’t just for Kindle editions…it’s for p-books (paperbooks) also.

In this

Goodreads blog post

they announce that Add Your Amazon Books”…will be available in the next few weeks to members in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. ”

Other countries are expected to follow.

After giving you an explanation of what it will be like (it will be on My Books under Tools), they give you a link to where you can go ahead and do it now:

Early Access

They have a Question and Answer section there. I’ve asked this, but don’t have an answer yet:

“This seems to be similar to the functionality on the Kindle devices (for the ones which have it). It is only showing me recently purchased books, and I have something like a thousand which haven’t been imported. My guess is that there might have been a size limit the first time it did the sync, and now it doesn’t go back and re-query, just starts with books after the last sync (yes, I’m a geek). :) Any troubleshooting for it not importing all of the books? Are there books which wouldn’t be imported (ones without ISBNs, perhaps)? Thanks! “

Why do this?

Mainly to “feed” Goodreads. It lets other people see what you are reading (if you choose that), helps you keep track for yourself…and strengthens the algorithms used by the system to make recommendations to you.

For those of you who are already Goodreads users, this simplifies things. If you don’t use Goodreads now (I do…you can follow me. I write a little review there on most books I finish), maybe this will get you to start. ;)

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.

Amazon updates Kindle Personal Documents

April 17, 2014

Amazon updates Kindle Personal Documents

In this

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

Amazon announced some significant changes to their Personal Documents service.

Previously, you had the ability to send documents to your Kindle. You could e-mail them to a special e-mail address your Kindle has, or use the “Send to Kindle” feature:

send to kindle (at AmazonSmile)

and they would be stored in your Cloud/archives. One place they were available was at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle (at AmazonSmile)

You could also download them from your device.

For example, I keep the configuration information for my routers there. That way, I can access it from any of my devices. That means I have the information on my phone or tablet when I set up a new device.

As of today, though, they are also stored in your Amazon Cloud Drive, in a folder called “My Send-to-Kindle Docs”.

That does give you the advantage of the additional organizational capabilities of the Cloud drive (you can add folders, mass delete, move and copy, and so on).

Nice enough, I suppose, to have it in the same site as personal photos and documents you’ve uploaded directly to the Cloud drive.

By the way, I’ve seen a lot of complaints today. That seems to be the normal thing with any update…”Though Kindle updates, may bring the pain…” ;)

Some people appear to have gotten tons of documents this way, and a few people mentioned .png files. Those are “Portable Network Graphics” files, and I’m guessing what happened there is they uploaded a file with pictures in it, and the Cloud drive broke each picture out into its own file. That didn’t happen with me, by the way: my new drive looks very much like what I would want it to do in this case, with the appropriate number of files.

The other big part of this announcement, though, is that files will stay in their native formats.

What that means is that, if you e-mail a Word document to your Kindle, it will be converted to a Kindle friendly document…and it will be available as a Word document in your Cloud Drive. I tested it, and that is what happened. That is an easy way to use your Cloud Drive somewhat like Dropbox (without some of the features of the latter).

If they were to incorporate this into the

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

I would actually find that quite useful.

I do presentations. I could e-mail a presentation to my Kindle Fire, and on a Fire TV at work, I could display it on an HDTV. Of course, I could mirror from my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to the Fire TV, but that would commit the resources of my Kindle Fire to that task…and I might want to use it for something else. I wouldn’t even have to be where the Fire TV was, if someone else was using it.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s in the offing.

I also like the idea that I could carry a document on my Kindle (Fire or not), and easily access the same document in full-featured Office on my desktop/laptop/two-in-1.

I think this is one of those that may take a while before people really realize the benefits.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what your experience is with it!

* 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.

Kindle Fires are on sale today

April 15, 2014

Kindle Fires are on sale today

Note: see the update below: Prime members are getting an extra ten percent off the prices listed in the first part of this post!

This is a “limited time” offer, but not one of those that disappears in seconds. No way to know how long it will last, but I guess it will be good for today. Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button.

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s my personally most-used device.

It’s $199 for the configuration I have: 16 GB, special offers, wi-fi only.

That’s $30 off the normal $299 price.

It appears to be $30 off any of the possible configurations.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (at AmazonSmile)

is $40 off, again, that appears to be all the configurations (including 4G).

That brings the cheapest version down to $339.

In addition to the larger screen, you also get a rear-facing camera with that one, in addition to the front-facing camera (for videocalls, mostly) you get on the 7″.

Kindle Fire HD (2nd generation) 7″ (at AmazonSmile)

No cameras, no Mayday…but $20 off the 8GB makes it as low as $119. 16GB? $40 off.

For comparison’s sake, $119 makes it the same price as the

Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ 2nd generation, wi-fi only, with Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

Update: thanks to reader Glenn Starrett for the heads-up on this one!

I missed this at first, and I think a lot of people did.

For the first time, Prime members are getting an additional discount on Kindles…and it can be combined with the above.

We don’t know if it will last very long, but the extra 10% is an interesting move (and a way to give us more as they raise the prices. Here are the details:

Prime Members Save 10% on Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

Bonus tip: I’ve written before about pricing strategies. Pricing something with a price ending in .99 makes it seem like you are getting a bargain, like you are saving money.

Pricing something ending in .00 makes it seem like it is a quality product.  When I managed a gamestore (I also managed a bookstore), we couldn’t have sold a $499 chess set…but we could sell a $500 one. Someone spending that much doesn’t want a “bargain”, they want “the best”.

Oddly, sort of the same thing goes with Kindle books. A stand-out book may be priced at an even $5, instead of $4.99:

$5 books in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile)

Some of the books there:

  • Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Lean In by Sheryl Strandberg
  • I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

Those were all buzzy books. That doesn’t mean that books priced at $4.99 aren’t as good, and certainly not that they aren’t as popular. It’s just that if you sort things only by price, you may miss some really good backlist books at what are now bargain prices.

Enjoy!

* 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.

3 years of Special Offers

April 11, 2014

3 years of Special Offers

Three years ago, on April 11, 2011, Amazon introduced Kindles with Special Offers in this

press release

The basic idea is that the buyer of a new Kindle could agree to see ads, and in exchange for that, that initial purchase price was lowered.

That’s why they are also called “ad-supported” models.

It was up to the customer: get “paid” for watching ads by getting a discount, or pay the normal price and avoid seeing ads.

It’s a simple idea, but there was a lot of buzz around it at the time.

Many people decried it, equating it with ads in books.

First, there were ads in books before that…I have some mass market paperbacks that have a cardboard ad stuck in the middle of them.

Second, the ads don’t appear in the books themselves. They appear on the sleep screen, and (originally) at the bottom of the list of books on the homescreen.

This idea may have been complicated by Amazon having gotten a patent to put relevant ads in e-books. I wrote about that a bit here:

Advertising in E-books

That wasn’t this, though…and Amazon hasn’t followed through on ads in books themselves.

Another concern people expressed was that the ads might be “inappropriate”. Basing it on television, they though that kids might see ads for “mature products”, as one example.

While we did see ads for things like cars, we haven’t had alcohol or intimate  hygiene products.

Over time, my feeling is that the ads have actually gotten more tied into what the Kindleers want…more ads for books and Kindle accessories, for instance.

Now, that could be because it didn’t turn out that a Kindle was a great way to sell a car…so those companies stopped buying the ads.

I think it must work somewhat, though, since we still have Special Offers.

It’s also tended to be that SO models are more popular than their non-ad-supported, full price counterparts.

If you think that’s just because people want to save the money (and that they don’t really like the ads), I’ll tell you that I’ve seen plenty of statements to the contrary. Many people like seeing the ads: they know they sometimes get deals that way, and hey, if nothing else, it’s something new to see. :) A lot of people didn’t like the old “woodcut” type pictures we had, and one reason was that after a while, you’d “…been there, saw that”.

With the advent of the Limited Time Special Offers on the current Kindle Fires, folks (including me) have been saving a lot of money.

Looking at the list of “recent deals” on the above linked page, you could have saved $674.96 buying those six items…an average of over $100 per deal!

We bought a Kindle Paperwhite for $19, when it was normally $119 at the time.

These LTSOs are a big incentive to go with a Kindle Fire, that’s for sure!

If you want to stop getting Special Offers, you have that choice.

You would, naturally, have to pay the difference between the original discounted cost of the device and the full price…on the order of $20.

You do that by going to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle (at AmazonSmile)

and clicking or tapping

Manage Your Devices

You can then “unsubscribe” from Special Offers if you want.

Can you opt into getting Special Offers if your device came without them?

Sure…same thing as unsubscribing above, except that you choose to subscribe.

Oh, and they won’t retroactively give you the discount.

Still, I think many people do make that choice, just to have the option of getting a discount on something.

While we are talking about this, let me ask you hypothetically about ads in the books themselves (again, this is something different and not on the table right now):

If you want to tell me and my readers more about what you think about this, feel free to comment 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.

Kindle Outlet Store

April 7, 2014

Kindle Outlet Store

While Amazon has had refurbished Kindles for some time, they’ve recently added a link to a new page…the

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

at the top of the Kindle storefront.

The savings aren’t huge, but the warranty is good.

They go to the point of explaining how a Kindle becomes a certified refurbished Kindle, and I think it’s worth noting.

A Kindle gets returned to Amazon.

Now, Amazon has a very generous thirty-day:

Kindle Return Policy (at AmazonSmile)

They say (in part):

Returning Kindle Devices

You can return any Kindle device you purchased directly from Amazon.com for a full refund within 30 days of the day you received it as long as it’s in new condition and the return is in accordance with our return policy.

Note: If you want to return your Kindle device for a refund, and you purchased your Kindle from a third-party retail store, you must return your Kindle to the retailer where you made the purchase according to the retailer’s return policies.

 

Partial refunds / restocking fees

If You Return You’ll Receive
Kindle device within 30 days from receipt of shipment 100% of the item’s price
Kindle device past the return window, but within 60 days from receipt of shipment 80% of the item’s price
Kindle device over 60 days from receipt of shipment 0% of the item’s price

That’s if you follow their policies, of course.

On the Kindle forums, we sometimes recommend that somebody wondering about a particular Kindle model go ahead and get it and try it out. If, for example, it doesn’t work well with the user’s disability, they can return it.

In a case like that, the Kindle is very often going to be very much like new.

Amazon will get it, check it out, fix it if necessary, and certify that it is like new.

My feeling has always been that those reviews of the devices are probably more thorough than a new one gets. I think it’s more likely for you to get a lemon with a new Kindle than with a refurb.

After they’ve checked it out, they sell it again…with the exact same warranty as a new one.

You do get a discount on it compared to a new one…up to 25%.

Not all of the refurbs are even still available new from Amazon.

For example, a lot of people want an inexpensive, long battery charge lived device that does text-to-speech.

You can get a certified refurbed Kindle Touch for $79…only $10 more than the current “entry level” Kindle which does not have text-to-speech…or a touch screen, for that matter.

Some of you might be saying, “I can find one a lot cheaper than that on eBay”.

Yes, that’s possible (although I’ve seen Kindles hold their values remarkably well). I’ve seen them for down around $35.

However, those haven’t been inspected and refurbed.

You aren’t going to get the warranty with it if you are buying it from an individual who has already had it for more than a year.

There’s also the very real risk that it is stolen. The person selling it to you may not even know it is stolen…they might have bought it from a thief or from someone who bought it from a thief.

If that’s the case, you may be unable to register it…and you might end up out both the device and the money with which you paid for it.

I think refurbs are a good alternative if you are willing to get one which isn’t brand new…and it’s nice that Amazon has put them much more in the forefront of the site.

What do you think? Have you ever bought a refurb from Amazon? What did you think of that decision? Are you only comfortable with new electronics? Have you bought a used Kindle from an individual and had a good story…or maybe had some challenges with having made that purchase? 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! :) 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.

 

Closed Captions on the Kindle Fire HDX

March 11, 2014

Closed Captions on the Kindle Fire HDX

It’s been close to two years since I last wrote about Closed Captions on the Kindle Fire, and things have really gotten better! I thought it was worth revisiting it.

First, a little explanation.

“Closed Captions” show you, in text, what is being said during a video (they may do more than that, but that’s the main purpose). That can be very valuable for people with hearing challenges. It can also, honestly, just be convenient…there may be times when you are watching and can’t hear. For example, you might be vacuuming, and not want to put on headphones.

One other amusing use is for accents you find difficult. I can generally understand any English accent (the varieties of American accents, British accents, and so on), but my  Significant  Other finds that difficult. I was quite amused when BBC America was running the original British Life on Mars series, and ran it with subtitles (I’ll explain the difference shortly). They ran a notice something like, “While British accents can be amusing, they can be difficult to understand.” ;) I have to admit, that show was particularly hard: not only were they British accents, but it was British 1970s cop slang.  :)

Their subtitles interpreted what was being said: it didn’t just put it up word for word.

So, that brings us (as I promised) to the difference between subtitles and closed captioning (although people use them imprecisely).

A subtitle appears on the screen regardless of who is watching it…they are “open”. You might see a foreign movie with subtitles translating the dialog into your language, for instance.

“Closed Captions” are closed to most people: they don’t appear at all unless you choose to have them show.

In order to be able to see them, you need two things:

  1. The Closed Captions have to be in the file (or available to the system from another file)
  2. The software/app with which you are watching them has to be able to decode the Closed Captions and show them on the screen

The first Kindle Fire did not have the necessary software in its built-in video app, but the later ones (Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD, and Kindle Fire 2nd generation) do.

As of January 1st, of this year, basically all videoplayers (tablets, Smartphones, computers) manufactured and sold in the USA have to have the capability.

Other video apps you use may also have it…Netflix on the HDX does, for example.

Now, which videos have it?

That’s where it gets tricky.

Oh, if you don’t want to predict ahead of time, it’s not that hard. You’ll see the CC symbol on the video’s Amazon product page (you’ll find it next to the title, next to the rating…at least, I see it there. Amazon’s webpages aren’t consistent for everybody).

As to which ones should have it…

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) can regulate videos shown on the internet (like Prime streaming), if they’ve also been shown on TV. They might be able to do it otherwise, but I know that works. :)

There as been an evolving timeline on it, but here’s where we are now:

As of September 30, 2013, any new programming (movies, TV) shown on TV with captions must also have the captions when shown online.

Videos which were on the internet before that didn’t necessarily have to have it (there were some rules).

As of March 30th of 2014, though, videos which were on the internet without captions and then are shown (re-run, rebroadcast) on TV with captions, will have 45 days to get the captions available online as well.

A year later, it goes to thirty days, and a year after that, it goes to 15.

Certainly, that suggests to me that closed captioning needs to be prepared differently for online use than for broadcast use, so they give them some time to do it…the merging of the technologies over the next two years probably explains the shortening of the deadline.

My Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile) in the native app has some cool options for Closed Captions (you see them if you tap the CC in your bottom right when the video starts playing…you have to turn them on before you see the choices:

  • If there is more than one language, you can pick it here. From what I’ve seen, only American English is currently available
  • Font size (you get five choices)
  • Format (there are four combinations of colors for font and background)

Interestingly, you can actually set your format preferences at

http://www.amazon.com/cc

From there, you can also edit three of the choices! You can choose from many colors and opacities to get what you like the best.

On that settings page, you can change other video settings, including parental controls.

Those settings won’t just affect your Kindle Fire. This

Frequently Asked Questions about Closed Captions on Amazon Instant Video (at AmazonSmile)

page lists lots of other kinds of devices.

The Kindle Fire HDX has gotten to be much more accessible. I use the screen magnifier quite a bit…triple tap almost anywhere, and it really enlarges…then use two fingers to move the image. It can read menus out loud for you, and let you do “explore by touch”.

Nice to have these options available!

Bonus deal: I don’t want to just talk about the Kindle Fire. ;) Here is a great deal for anybody (in the USA, I presume) reading Kindle books…whether on a Fire, a non-Fire Kindle, or an app:

Hawaii (at AmazonSmile)
by James Michener
4.5 stars out of 5, 237 customer reviews
$0.99 at time of writing

That’s right! Michener’s bestselling novel for only ninety-nine cents! I don’t know how long that price will last (check before you click or tap that Buy button), but that’s quite a deal. Again, might make a good gift..you can delay delivery. For example, you might know that someone is planning to go to Hawaii in the winter…

Enjoy!

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* 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 #243: 100 comics for $10, understanding the new Cloud Collections

March 9, 2014

Round up #243: 100 comics for $10, understanding the new Cloud Collections

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

KDD: “Books That Inspired Our Passion for Reading, $2.99 or Less [each]“

One of today’s Kindle Daily Deal‘s (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is any of twenty specific books for $2.99 or less each.

This is National Reading Month (um, gee, isn’t that every month? No? Okay, then.). ;) In honor of that, Amazon has discounted these books (for today)…and there are definitely some good ones on the list!

  • The Alchemist
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • American Gods
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Tales of the City
  • The Natural
  • The Poisonwood Bible
  • The Complete Stories (Flannery O’Connor)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Kane and Abel
  • The Good Earth
  • Old Yeller
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8
  • Cryptonomicon
  • Miss Marple, the Complete Short Stories
  • When Beauty Tamed the Beast
  • [Ray] Bradbury Stories
  • Native Son
  • Sophie’s World
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall

You know how you say you are going to wait until those really great, well-known books go on sale? That’s now. ;)

As a reminder, you can buy these as a gift and delay the delivery until the appropriate  occasion. For example, do you know a kid who would enjoy Sarah, Plain and Tall? You can order it now and pick a delivery date in December…

One of my regular readers, Lady Galaxy, suggested I might buy a couple to add to our Guest Bookshelf (see On our guest Kindle for a listing of the books we have on our Guest Kindle). A few people, I think wisely, suggested the list could use some more short story anthologies or collections.

Understanding the new Cloud Collections

Overwhelmingly, I’m seeing a positive reaction to the recent update to the Kindle Paperwhite 1st generation.

However, I’m still seeing a lot of confusion, even among very sophisticated users, about how Cloud Collections work now.

I have to say, this does show that Amazon could explain these things better. I like that they have the Kindle Forum Pros (I’m one of those…we volunteer our time to help people), but their Help Pages could be more scenario based, in my opinion. They don’t tend to say, “You want to do this…here’s how”). They will tell you steps to do, but not tell you why you would do them.

I’m going to share something I posted elsewhere…this is based on our KPW1 (Kindle Paperwhite 1st generation): I think it’s the same on the KPW2.

There are really three key things:

1. You can set a Collection so that it either appears in Collections view only, or in all views [note: you do this by selecting "Collections" in the menu to your right of where it says, ,"On Device"]

2. There is a menu for the filter (what will be displayed on your home screen). You can choose: All Items; Books; Periodicals; Docs; Collections; or Active Content [note: that's the same menu as above]

3. There is another menu, similar to what we had before for sorting (the order in which the items you have chosen to display in the second step will show). You can use: Recent; Title; Author; or Collection [that's the last menu on that row, to your right from the menu above]

Here’s my own example:

I created a Collection called “Guest Bookshelf” (this Kindle is one we use for guests). I can add books to it from the Paperwhite or from my Kindle Fire HDX (I find the latter easier).

That is the only Collection which is starred (“Show in All Views”) on this device.

I have it set to show “All Items” in the filter. It shows that Collection, plus active content, the Vocabulary Builder, a blog…just a few things that I have on it.

I have it sorted by “Collection”, meaning that the books in the Guest Bookshelf show inside that Collection (which appears at the top of the homepage) and not outside it.

That’s exactly what I want. :)

I think for most people, the set up is:

Switch the filter to Collections, and star the Collections you would like to show.

Switch the filter to All Items.

Switch the sort to Collection.

Now, I do understand that some people want more functionality. Right now, the count of items in a Collection doesn’t change if you are on the Cloud tab or the Device tab. In other words, if you have a Romance Cloud Collection, you can’t tell how many of those books are actually on this device without opening the Collection. Even then, it doesn’t show a count…they just look different (books not on the device are faded).

Let me know if you have more questions…

A tip on connecting with the Push2TV

I’ve written before about using my Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile) with the NETGEAR Push2TV (at AmazonSmile) to “mirror” everything on my tablet’s screen to my TV.

That works very well! I use it quite a bit.

I started running into an issue where it wasn’t always finding the Push2TV…in other words, it wouldn’t make the connection so that I could watch.

I figured out a minor thing, but it seems to make a big difference (that’s the way it often works, right? Big problems solved with a small change).

The trick seems to be to start the Fire looking first:

Swipe down from the top – Settings – Display & Sounds – Display Mirroring

then activate your Push2TV, rather than the other way around.

Sequencing is often the key with technology.

I assume what happens is that the Push2TV sends it’s “here I am” signal right away: if the Fire isn’t looking for it when it is broadcast, it misses it.

Comixology Submit started bundle: 100 books for $10!

Thanks to Publishers Weekly for the heads-up on this!

Celebrating SXSW (South by Southwest),

Comics (at AmazonSmile)

is offering a bundle of 100 of their Comixology Submit titles…for $10!

That offer is only good through Sunday (March 10). This is a savings of 97%, and will give you some good indie (independently published) comics. Think of it like Kindle Direct Publishing for comic books.

You can read this through the free app you can get for your Kindle Fire (see above), and read it other places (including Android devices, iPads and iPhones, and Windows 8).

Update: Orphan Black on Prime

I meant to mention this one (and gee, this has become a really multimedia post! I started with books, I’ve done comics, and now video). Amazon Prime has recently added

Orphan Black (at AmazonSmile)

It’s a science fiction series from last year where there was a lot of mainstream push that the lead actor should have been nominated for an Emmy…you don’t usually see that.

The performance by Tatiana Maslany is extraordinary. I want to leave you the discovery of what is happening, but I would guess you’ll be impressed. There are other good things to the series as well…might make a good binge watch (ten episodes). With Prime, you can watch them at no additional cost.

A content advisory: this ran on BBC America (and Space in Canada), and they don’t have the same restrictions that you might expect from a USA network show. There are sexual situations and nudity.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* 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.

Major changes to MYK: bulk actions

January 16, 2014

Major changes to MYK: bulk actions

This is just breaking now, and I can’t really see it myself yet, but I wanted to give you a heads-up…it may be working for you.

There have been major changes to the

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

page.

I say “have been”, but it appears that they are in process. They may not appear in all browsers, and it sometimes takes a while for a change to be available to everyone (even if you are using identical browsers). That may be due to different users “hitting” different servers at Amazon.

Right now, I am seeing at least some of it in Silk on my Fire HDX…but not in Maxthon on the same device, or in Maxthon, Chrome, or Internet Explorer on my desktop.

What are the changes?

There is a lot of shifting about where things are, but let me hit some functional things that I can see (or about which I’ve heard).

Bulk actions

This appears to me to be what people have wanted for some time: the ability to take the same action on several different items at once.

I can select several items, and then I’ll have a choice to

  • Deliver to my…
  • Delete from library

That means that when you got a new Kindle, you could select a bunch of books, and have them delivered all at once.

Now, there are negatives to that, and that’s why we used to think it wasn’t available.

When a book arrives on a Kindle, the Kindle indexes it. Basically, it “reads it”, and builds up an index to make searching easier. That takes up some battery charge. Throw a thousand books on there at once, and you’d better be plugged in for a while.

It’s possible that they’ve figured out a different way to do indexing, and the index travels with the book…that would resolve that issue.

Telling which books are on which device

The devices and the content now appear in basically the same place. If you click or tap a device, you’ll see a checkmark if a book is downloaded to that device. I don’t see a way to send a message to the device to delete something, and I’m not initially seeing a way to sort by what is and isn’t on the device.

I do see this information for the device:

  • Edit the name
  • Edit the e-mail
  • Deregister
  • Type (that’s nice!)
  • Serial Number

“Your Cloud Library” is your archives

If you don’t want to be on a specific device, the first tab is for “Your Cloud Library”. You can filter by using a button that says “Books”. That has a new filter for “Dictionary & User Guides”. That’s actually been around for a short time for some people.

There is another button for sorting…it’s labeled “Date” by default.

There is another choice for “Your FreeTime Profiles”.

There is a magnifying glass for searching.

There is an icon on your far right that lets you switch between seeing the covers (which does look nice on my Fire, although I wouldn’t use it most of the time) or seeing a list).

There is also a Show choice to your right of the device list…you can choose there whether you want to see Devices, Apps, or both (All).

Generally, this looks like a big improvement…although, of course, people will want more. :)

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

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.

You can now apply a gift card directly to an e-book purchase

January 10, 2014

You can now apply a gift card directly to an e-book purchase

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy for the heads-up on this! It’s big news!

One question we answer a lot in the Kindle forums is how to apply a gift card to an e-book purchase. I even wrote a post about it less than a month ago:

Gift cards and your Kindle

Well, it appears to have changed!

On a Kindle store book’s Amazon product page, there is now a link that says

“Enter a promotion code or gift card”

This is in the USA Kindle store, by the way…it might not be in others.

I clicked on the link, and got to a place to apply a gift card code or promotional code, and from there to this help page:

That is going to be a lot less confusing for people. If they are given a given a gift card, they can apply it to a book purchase, rather than just applying it to the account.

Now, I assume that if you apply a $20 gift card to a $2.99 purchase, the rest of the amount goes into the general account draw, but I am going to check with Amazon on that.

The “promotional code” thing is also very interesting to me. We have had that before, where a Special Offer might have a promotional code, but we had to put it into a special page, and then we couldn’t really see it right when we were buying a book.

Now, Amazon could actually do something like “three for the price of two” on e-books more easily. You would buy two from the choices, and then get a code to enter for the third. Just a guess, though…

Thanks again, Lady!

* 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.

“There are books on my account I didn’t order!”

January 7, 2014

“There are books on my account I didn’t order!”

Yes, that’s true…there are books on your account you didn’t order…and it’s a good thing. ;)

I realized I haven’t written about this in the blog, although I’ve addressed it many times in the Kindle forums. I would guess we see somebody post about this there every day or two.

They are understandably concerned: they often are worried they’ve been hacked.

What happens is that they go to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

and see a bunch of books there that they are sure nobody on their account ordered.

How do they know nobody ordered them?

They are in foreign languages!

Well, here is what’s happening, and what you can do about it.

You see, Amazon advertises that you can use the Kindle in several languages…including using the dictionary look-up.

For that to work, you have to be able to have a dictionary in that language, right?

That’s what those foreign language books are that you didn’t order…dictionaries and possibly user guides for when you might switch the Kindle to a different language than English.

They don’t cost you anything, and they aren’t taking up memory on your device (unless you download one).

Amazon gives them to you…for free…to make the Kindle work as they promised you it would work. You can think of them as part of the Kindle’s operating system.

Now, I can understand the desire to clean up your archives/Cloud. People go in there and delete these…and then are irritated when they show up again. The system is basically “healing” itself. Let’s say you deliberately ran out of wiper fluid in your car. When you took the car to the dealer for service, they would fill up the washer fluid for you again, whether you told them to or not (well, that’s how it should work, anyway).

It really confuses people when they appear at the top of the list again. That happens if the software gets updated, and maybe if they update the dictionaries.

What can you do about them? I suppose “enjoy them and be thankful for them” isn’t a good enough answer? ;)

The best thing is simply to ignore them. As you buy other things, those new things will appear at the top of the list, and the dictionaries will be pushed down. It won’t be long (especially if you get a lot of content, including free content) before you won’t see them on that first page (barring an update).

Now, I’m sure there are people who say, “It’s my Kindle! I should be able to delete them if I want!”

Well, the thing here is that you aren’t deleting them from the Kindle. These are part of the account. At this point, you don’t get a choice to decline them, just like you can’t say you don’t want the letter “Q” to show up on the keyboard…it’s just part of the package.

One nice thing I just noticed, though: at least some of them are now labeled as “Free Dictionary”. I had recently suggested to Amazon that they label them in some obvious way, so people would know what they were and not keep deleting them in a futile effort. I’m not saying they did it because of that, but I’m happy it happened. ;)

Hope that helps…

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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