Heads up! LTO at 230 PM Pacific: Lindt Chocolate Truffles

November 21, 2014

Heads up! LTO at 230 PM Pacific: Lindt Chocolate Truffles

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Lindt Chocolate Truffles for $13. Deal starts at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT.

___
I’m on my phone right now so more later.

Update:

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Kindle Fire owners.

What happens is you can get a text to alert you to an upcoming deal (details in the links below). You don’t get much warning…maybe an hour.

The deal also appears on the sleep screen of your Fire, and you can find it under Offers on the homescreen (all the way at the end). That will disappear when the sale is over.

Then, you say you want to “learn more”. You’ll get to a screen with a countdown clock. As soon as the clock gets to zero, you need to click to have a chance to get it.

They have typically been selling out in seconds.

Here is information on the program:

As I’ve written before, I look at these LTOs (Limited Time Offers) sort of like buying a lottery ticket: I don’t expect to get one (win), but its exciting if I do! Of course, the “ticket” doesn’t cost me anything.

These LTOs are one of the best arguments for having Special Offers…and yes, a good argument for having a  Fire (at AmazonSmile)!

Did you get one? Do you have any other comment on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

One more thing: I’ve had a couple of readers say on past offers that they never even saw the offer. As far as I know, these go out to every eligible Fire tablet in the USA. A few possibilities occur to me:

  • They either bought a Fire tablet without Special Offers, or bought out of the offers later. You have to be subscribed to those in order to get these deals
  • They weren’t connected to wireless in time for it to update
  • They didn’t check the Offers tab (I don’t always see it on the sleep screen)

It might not have been any of those, but those three would have done it.

===

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.

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.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014: last chance to vote

November 21, 2014

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014: last chance to vote

There have already been over three million votes cast for the Goodreads Choice Awards books of 2014.

You can continue to vote through November 24th, by going here:

https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2014

Even though Amazon bought Goodreads, the books which are finalists don’t match up well with Amazon’s bestsellers or highest rated, which suggest that the opinions are still pretty independent.

One of the key things is that Amazon tends to have a much higher presence of books published by Amazon.

I don’t think it’s because Amazon customers particularly want to buy books published by Amazon…honestly, I would guess that most of the time, people don’t know. I’ve found that very few people (especially when we include casual readers) care about who the publisher is. I’m basing this in part on my experience as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager.

Yes, some people care about some publishers: Penguin Classics; Harlequin; and Black Lizard, for example, are all publishers/imprints with a strong market identity.

Generally, though, I don’t think the average person cares if a book was published by Hachette or HarperCollins…or Amazon.

I think the difference is promotion.

When Amazon offers four books each month for free to Prime members as part of

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

those books shoot to the top of the bestseller lists…and that, I believe, influences their sales over time.

There are ten finalists in each of these twenty categories:

  • Fiction
  • Mystery & Thriller
  • Historical Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Horror
  • Humor
  • Nonfiction
  • Memoir & Autobiography
  • History & Biography
  • Business Books
  • Food & Cookbooks
  • Graphic Novels & Comics
  • Poetry
  • Debut Good Reads Author
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Middle Grade & Children’s
  • Picture Books

Looking at the finalists in science fiction, I don’t think any of them are traditionally published by Amazon.

Take a look at the lists, and if you want, cast your votes. I think we may revisit this after the winners are announced…

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.

J.D. Powers: Fires more satisfying than iPads (take $20 off)

November 19, 2014

J.D. Powers: Fires more satisfying than iPads (take $20 off)

This one was interesting!

Amazon has given us a discount on something before when they ranked highest in Customer Service (which they did for nine years in a row in the Foresee survey for the holidays, through the most recent 2013 season).

This time, it’s a J.D. Powers survey on how satisfied customers are with their tablets.

Fire users said they were more satisfied than iPad users…and they were more satisfied than users of the other tablets in the survey as well.

Now, it’s worth noting that

the survey (summarized)

does include price as a factor, but it is only 11% of the score.

iPads and Samsungs were within 11% of Amazon in the total scores, but Amazon’s 827 out of 1,000 was the highest.

To celebrate, Amazon is giving $20 off for today on the

Fire HD 7, 7″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That makes it $119 rather than $139.

Check the price before you click the Buy button, though…this probably only applies in the USA, and I have readers around the world.

You can also get the smaller 6″ screen version for $99 (look for more sales as we come up to the holidays).

Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

We just bought one of the six inchers to be our new guest Kindle. I like the idea of having a Paperwhite as a guest Kindle, but, well, our Mindle (the entry level Kindle) broke a while back, and I’ve been using the Paperwhite which was intended as a guest Kindle. We have a couple people coming to stay with us for the holidays, and I decided to go with the tablet instead of the EBR (E-Book Reader).

I did that in part because of cost, in part because of availability (if I could have gotten a Voyage by the time I needed it, I would have done that, with the Paperwhite going back to being the guest Kindle),  and in part because I like having a variety of devices. :)

It arrived yesterday, but I haven’t set it up yet. I’ll get to that by the weekend, certainly.

Today’s sale is one where I wouldn’t expect them to sell out of it, and I do expect more opportunities to get bargains before the holidays. Still, it’s a savings of $20…two months of Kindle Unlimited. ;)

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.

Amazon Echos are shipping: Estimated Date of Delivery is November 20th

November 18, 2014

Amazon Echos are shipping: Estimated Date of Delivery is November 20th

I wrote previously about Amazon’s new class of device (which I call a “Listener”, as opposed to a “Speaker”):

Amazon reinvents…life? Amazon Echo

Well, one of my regular readers and commenters, Karen Salmons, was kind enough to let me know that Amazon says Karen will have it November 20th!

I also requested an invitation, and haven’t heard anything yet.

Just to let you know, I also asked Amazon if they’d send me a review unit, and was told the only way to get it is to do the invitation process.

That in itself is intriguing. It suggests that they really consider this a beta (test)…that they want feedback from real customers before there are reviews of out there, presumably so they can tweak things. It might also be that its centralized learning process (it should learn things from everybody who uses it) could use some ramp up time before the reviews happen.

I’ll let you know if they e-mail me!

Have you heard from Amazon yet that your Echo is on the way?

Update: in this

Amazon Kindle forum thread (at AmazonSmile*)

one of the posters listed what they said were the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) from the e-mail they received.

Assuming those are accurate, there were a couple of interesting points:

  • People only have seven days to accept the invitation. That suggests that there could be another, smaller wave seven days after the first one, and perhaps on after that
  • The only current choices for the “wake word” are “Alexa” and “Amazon”, but they are working on adding more
  • They are also going to be giving it a lot more abilities than it will have at first…they mentioned things like sports scores, traffic, and current affairs
  • If you are a developer, you can contact Amazon at echo-developers@amazon.com
  • One of things they suggested you do is ask Echo to “open the pod bay doors”…an interesting choice, even as a joke, because that is a reference to the iconically negative HAL 9000 in 2001

I’m holding out hope I can get one, maybe in the next wave. E-Bay has them listed from as low as $125 and up to about $500:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=amazon+echo&_sop=15

Update: I’m adding a poll, because I’m curious as to the percentage of people who got an invitation to buy an Amazon Echo who requested it. Please note: in this case, I’m not including negative answers. If you did request one, make that choice. If you didn’t request one, you can comment on the post, but there won’t be a choice for you in this poll. Similarly, if you got an invitation, make that choice. For me, I requested, but didn’t get one…so I’ll only make the first choice.

Update: thanks to regular reader and commenter D. Knight for this link to a ten minute customer demo of Alexa on YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ndBKpujbk

It’s very impressive! It sounds quite natural, and actually picks up the sound of the customer’s (joe7377) voice really well…even when music is playing.

Update: I’ve just spoken with Amazon Echo Customer Service (which is different from regular Amazon Customer Service). The representative confirmed for me that you don’t get a Buy button if you don’t have an invitation. I suspect some people who have gone on the site and bought one didn’t realize that they had an invitation…it might have gone to a Spam folder, for example.

The rep even said that they personally didn’t have one…they had to go through the same process! ;)

However, I was also told that the invitations are still going out…they didn’t send them all at once. If you don’t have one yet (like me), hang in there!

Update: here is part of an email I received from Echo support:

___
Hello Bufo,

This is Eric from Amazon Echo support. I’m so sorry for any confusion that the Invitation process has caused. We just started sending out Invitation emails on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. There is still a chance that you can be selected, so keep an eye on your email. I’ve submitted feedback on your account regarding your interest in the Amazon Echo.

If you’re selected to purchase Amazon Echo, you’ll receive an invitation e-mail. In the case you happen to delete the email by mistake,  you will be able to add the Amazon Echo to your cart and complete the purchase.

We value all of our customers highly, and appreciate your questions about our new device.

Thanks for your interest in Amazon Echo.

Best regards,

Eric

http://www.amazon.com

=============================

Update:

Amazon Echo Help (at AmazonSmile*)

 

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 samples are now stored in the Cloud

November 18, 2014

Kindle samples are now stored in the Cloud

This is something people have wanted for a long time!

You can generally get a free “sample” of a Kindle store book to read before you buy it.

That can be very valuable: it’s especially helpful in cases where you aren’t sure about the formatting of the book.

The only broad case where you can’t get a sample is when the book is regularly free. If it’s free, Amazon figures you can just get the whole book if you want.

People, though, use the samples for more than just checking out the book.

A lot of people use them as organizational tools. They’ll get a sample of something which they might buy, and that lets them remember it (similar to the Wish Lists).

It used to be that we didn’t have a record of which samples we’d gotten.

I would tell people that it was like getting a free sample at Costco. One reason why Costco and Amazon could do it for free is there is a reduced cost of sale. There’s no financial processing, and I would guess very little Customer Service costs.

Well, I guess Amazon decided it was worth the expense to make them centrally available!

According to this

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

You can manage the samples directly from these devices:

  • Fire HDX
  • Fire HD
  • Kindle Fire HDX
  • Kindle Fire HD (2nd Generation)
  • Kindle Voyage
  • Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation)
  • Kindle (7th Generation)
  • Fire phone
  • Kindle for iPhone
  • iPad
  • iPod touch (version 4.5 or greater)
  • Kindle for Android (version 4.7 or greater)

or at the

Manage Your Content and Devices (formerly Manage Your Kindle) page

On the MYK page, you change the dropdown in “Show” from “All” to “Samples”.

I tried testing it this morning. I sent a sample, but it hasn’t shown up yet (maybe ten minutes later), even refreshing the page.

It’s clear from what the page says that you can delete the sample from all devices on your account when you are on one of your devices:

“You can also choose to delete the sample from the cloud and all devices and reading apps registered to your account.”

That’s unusual. Typically, central management is reserved for people who have the password for the account and can do it at MYK. Many people have situations where there are what I call “managers” and “users” of the account. For example, children, or a friend or more distant relative, might not access to the financials of the account, but would be able to use the books on it.

I suppose the thought is that if someone deletes a sample, no real harm done…but that won’t be the case if people are using it organizationally.

What isn’t clear to me is whether I can order a sample from, say, my computer and have it sent to Device A on the account, and then be on Device B and download that sample.

I wanted to let you know about this exciting ability…and hopefully, I’ll get to explore a bit more about how it works soon (after, I presume, the MYK page updates).

Update: that never did show up, but I found out why. I have to request that the sample go to one of the qualified types of devices. When I did that, it showed up both on the device and at MYK. From MYK, I could send it to any of the EBRs (E-Book Readers) on the account, and to my Fire Phone, but not my Fire TV or my (yet to be delivered) Fire TV sticks.

It shows up on the KFHDX like a book.

The sample was also available to download on our Kindle Paperwhite 2…again, similar to an e-book. That’s what I wanted! :)

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.

Black Friday deals 2014

November 18, 2014

Black Friday deals 2014

Note: I’m writing this while having a cold, so I might not be as accurate as usual. ;)

Black Friday has changed.

The day after Thanksgiving used to be a really big event in my family. Myself, my Significant Other, and our now adult kid, would be lined up outside a store at 4:00 AM, waiting for it to open.

It was fun, and a real sense of community!

Believe it or not, people would sing songs, and have fun.

Now, many stores are open on Thanksgiving Day (I heard about a mall that was “fining” its stores if they didn’t open).

That means that when you get there at 4:00 Friday morning, there is no outside gathering…the doors have been open for hours, if not for a full day.

Still, we go: I even take the day off work. This year, our kid will be here as well.

We expect it to feel disappointing, but it is a time to be together.

We do it mostly to buy Toys for Tots. We have a budget, and its a good time to get the toys kids hear about TV. Even a kid who can’t afford toys is usually aware of some of what’s hot in pop culture.

It can make them feel more normal to have something from Frozen or a Transformer.

We usually don’t fight our way through for electronic bargains…we do buy those online on Friday, through the weekend, and “Cyber Monday”. We’ll watch the Amazon deals carefully (which are happening already).

The only time we had real unpleasantness was at a Wal-Mart (people were just too competitive trying to get a TV bargain, as I remember). We avoid Wal-Mart for that reason.

There are a number of Black Friday sites, but my favorite one is

BlackFriday.fm

For one thing, you can search.

Now, what you find isn’t guaranteed. A lot of these are leaks and rumors, although they do tend to be pretty accurate. In some cases, the stores themselves may leak the deals…we design a whole “attack route” to get to the stores we want as they open, and you don’t want customers to decide to skip your sale because they didn’t realize you had a deal they wanted.

Here are some of the Kindle deals they list:

  • Staples will give away a Kindle with a $399 PC purchase in the store. They also show a Kindle for $49.99. They also have Speck Kindle cases for 50% off…that’s not my favorite brand. I had one, and it warped pretty quickly. If you want an inexpensive cover, I recommend the Fintie brand…we’ve been very happy with those
  • Best Buy also has a Kindle for $49.99 (4GB). This appears not to be the “Mindle Touch”, but the previous one without the touchscreen. It could that stores are clearing the stock of those. Best Buy also has a Kindle Fire HD tablet for $79
  • hhgregg has a Kindle Fire for $79.99
  • Meijer is doing a $20 voucher with Fire tablet purchases…oh, and they are doing a $30 voucher on the new Fire Kids edition
  • $79.99 looks like it will be the price at quite a few places for a 6″ Fire tablet: Radio Shack, Office Depot…

For me, I don’t know that I’d make a trip specifically for these…it’s just if you are in the store anyway, might be worth it. :) It’s also possible that these deals aren’t accurate, as I mentioned…a company could change them even if they were accurate when BlackFriday.fm got them.

Wal-Mart (again, we tend to avoid that on Black Friday) is also price matching Amazon this year…even for third party vendors selling through Amazon, from what I’ve heard.

The bigger thing is probably going to be to keep your eye on the online sites (including Amazon). Prime members are getting early access to some deals this year. Don’t forget about the Amazon owned

http://www.woot.com/

There’s a very good chance they’ll do a super deal, probably on a slightly older Kindle/Fire…and that it may sell out in seconds.

Here’s Amazon’s current

Amazon’s Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

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.

Gold Box Deal of the Day: $140 (!) off 3rd gen 8.9″ KFHDX

November 17, 2014

Gold Box Deal of the Day: $140 (!) off 3rd gen 8.9″ KFHDX

If you want a bigger screen (and don’t need the absolute latest version), this is a good deal!

It is the Gold Box Deal of the Day, which means there is a definite countdown on when it ends (about 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Monday).

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation – 3rd) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This one is not old enough to have the HDMI out (which I used to use…moot point, really, with my Fire TV, which works better than the HDMI did**). It is new enough, though, to have Mayday, which is, in my mind, one of the greatest Customer Service improvements in many years.

It does have both a front and rear-facing camera.

Even though the sale officially goes until the end of the day, they could sell out before that.

Also, do check the price before you click that Buy button: this won’t be the same in all countries. I’m reporting an Amazon.com deal. It’s $259 in the least expensive qualified configuration…$120 less than the current generation equivalent.

Don’t wait if you want it…

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.

** Some apps would detect the HDMI cable and refuse to play the video. Mirroring the screen through the Fire TV (which means that whatever is on the tablet’s screen shows on the TV screen) eliminates that issue

Thanks to reader Sandi B, whose comment helped improve the accuracy of this post.

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.

 

Hands on with the new EBR features

November 16, 2014

Hands on with the new EBR features

I recently wrote about the 5.61 update for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…non-Fires). It brings some significant new features to the

I’ve now manually updated our PW2 (it had not yet updated), and can give you some more information about these features.

First, after doing the manual update by getting the file from

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the first thing I noticed was a message box on the home page pointing to the filter choice

“We’ve added new ways to see and use collections on your Kindle and in the Cloud. Tap on the filter above and choose Collections to see them.”

Before I did that, another box appeared:

“Restart Required: An update if available for the following fonts: (Chinese). Do you want to restart now to complete the update?”

I had a choice of “Later” or “Now” and went with “Later”, so I could explore a bit more.

Changing the filter to Collections, I got another message box. I must say, kudos to Amazon for providing information to the user about changes! They haven’t always done that effectively in the past. I’m glad I’m doing this before my Significant Other is awake, though. This is the device my SO uses, and all of these message boxes, which I really like, would be seen as intrusions.

The new box said:

“All your collections are synced to the Cloud.

Tap Cloud in the upper left to see all collections, including those created on other Kindle devices and apps.

Tap On Device to see collections that are on this Kindle.

Tap and hold a collection to add or remove it from this Kindle.

When in Cloud view, collections on this Kindle are marked with a star.”

Here’s a nice switch, which people have wanted! When I’m on “On Device”, the count is the number of items from the Collection on this device (actually on this Kindle). When I’m on Cloud, the count is all of the items in that Collection, whether or not they are on this device.

Also, when I’m on On Device, it mentions that there are 5 more (in my case) Collections in the Cloud.

When I open a Collection on the On Device, it only displays the items which are on the device, and then tells me how many more are in the Cloud. Future improvement: I’d like to be able to tap that count and be taken to the Collection in the Cloud. As it is now, I tap on Cloud and that shows me that Collection in the Cloud. Definitely not a biggie…what I call a “tweekquest”.

I consider this a considerable improvement.

Also on the home page was a document telling me that “Your Kindle is updated!”

This mentions the features I mentioned in that previous post (I’ll go through them in this one), plus a couple of other things.

  • Get Next in Series: again, something people have wanted. When you are done reading a book in a series, you can easily get the next book in that series
  • They also mention the Collections view change, and that “Newspapers and magazines are now automatically organized by name to make it easier to find and access back issues in your Collections”
  • Russian and Dutch are now supported as interface languages. Amazon just opened a Dutch Kindle store, so that makes sense
  • Kindle Unlimited is mentioned, including the free 30 day trial
  • You can also download the “Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide 3rd Edition” from the Cloud

Okay, the next thing is for me to check the Settings menu.

There is now a Registration and Household section, to  accommodate  Family Library.

Reading Options lets you set “Language Learning” options. Word Wise, which will display definitions of “unfamiliar words” is off by default. I’m going to turn that on and test it, although my SO will want it off…so don’t let me forget to reset it. ;) You also have an option there to turn off the crowdsourcing part of “Show Multiple-Choice Hints”. When that’s on, you can contribute to the helping Amazon get the most useful definitions for Word Wise. Yes, it is now a learning system…

My SO was reading

Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel (at AmazonSmile*)

which I’ve already finished. I checked the Amazon product page: yes, Word Wise is enabled.

It took a few seconds for it to appear, but there they were: definitions of words in superscript.

There was also a box saying “Tap on Word Wise and use the slider to adjust how many hints you see.”

With the default, it defined the following:

  • neatly: not dirty
  • laundry: clothes that have to be washed
  • hanger: curved object to hang clothes
  • cleaners: one who tends to a mess
  • queens: a woman who rules a country

Yes, my SO would want to throw the Kindle across the room at this point. ;)

Tapping “cleaners” (I wouldn’t really define it this way”, I got a definition (including the part of speech), a way to mark if that was useful or not, and “Other Meanings”. Other meanings included:

  • substance used for washing
  • a device used for washing
  • shop to remove dirt from clothes

Each choice had an arrow, and I tapped the third one (that matches the context). I could then recommend that they “Use This Meaning”, which I did.

The new choice of definition now appeared in the book…and I assume, that will be part of an aggregating algorithm  for other readers of this same book. That doesn’t mean that just because I changed it changes for everybody, but I would assume if a certain percentage or number of people pick a choice, it becomes the default.

Clicking on Word Wise in my bottom right to get to the slider, it had defaulted to the highest possibility of “More Hints”. Sliding it down to the bottom out of five, they all disappeared. On the second level, only the definition for hanger remained. On the middle level, it was the definitions for neatly, laundry, hanger, and cleaners. The fourth level (in this case) didn’t make any difference.

I don’t see a way at

Manage Your Kindle (now called Manage Your Content and Devices)

to tell which ones were enabled.

Okay, turning it off…thanks for the reminder. ;)

I’m going to hold off on writing about the Family Library in this post…I still need to explore that more. That’s the one that lets you share books across accounts…certain books, with restrictions about set up.

Expanded X-Ray

This is nicely improved!

X-Ray is a feature (not available on all books) which shows you information about what is in the book…characters, terms, and so on.

They now have a “timeline” feature. That gives you a much better sense of where you are in the book than page numbers ever did.

There are “clips” throughout the timeline (short snippets), and it’s much easier to get to information about people. For example, when I tapped Joe Morelli in the X-Ray, I could see where Morelli appeared in the book (up to the point to which my SO had read), and tap the dots to see a clip of that spot. It was smart enough to recognize that “Joe” mean “Joe Morelli”, which impressed me. Serious homework helper! I cold toggle between “Notable Clips” and “All Mentions”…the latter went past what had been indicated as having been read so far.

There was a settings gear which also let me toggle between showing unread clips and not…great for the spoiler averse, like me.

Yes, I would also consider this to be a big improvement! The image browser wasn’t useful in this book, but would be in others. I could particularly see it where I’ve listened to parts of the book with text-to-speech (which is common for me), but I might want to look at the images later.

Deeper Goodreads Integration

From within the book, I could tap the “g” for Goodreads (by first tapping towards the top middle of the book to display the toolbar).

From here, I could update my status, see ratings from my Goodreads friends (I liked it the least out of the people I saw…I like the series, but wasn’t crazy about this one).

I could also go right from there to read my general Goodreads Updates (not limited to this book).

They have now made this really valuable, for Goodreads users.

From the homescreen, when I tap the g, I can see the updates…and conveniently, tap something that I see a friend has done something with, and bounce from there to the store. That would then let me purchase books, or add them to a wish list or try a sample. Again, nice!

When I “long-pressed” Top Secret Twenty-One on the homescreen, I got a choice to View on Goodreads and Add to Goodreads Shelf.

Amazon has finally figured out how to effectively leverage their purchase of Goodreads.

Enhanced Search

I searched for Doc Savage from the homescreen, first letting it search everywhere. By default, it showed me books I owned at the top, then offered to search the store. Actually, it offered to search either for e-books or, I think, any books (I don’t think it was searching non-book items). Bam! It lets me refine by Kindle Unlimited! That’s a very nice touch.

About This Book

I didn’t see something right away about “About This Book” from the homescreen, where I thought it might be particularly useful (before I opened it). After I opened it, it was in the menu for the book. Oh, it also says that it “…shows you additional information about the book the first time you open it”, so I assume it pops up. You can, however, turn that off in the Settings (which are in the About This Book menu choice from within the book, and in general Settings menu under Reading Options – Notes & About This Book. That’s on by default: I’ve turned it off for my SO (again, my SO will want pure reading, no friction).

I think many people will like it, though: it shows you where the book is in the series, has a link to the previous book, gives you a bit about the author and lets you sign up for e-mails for new releases, and gives you links to more books by the author.

My feelings about this update overall? It’s one of the best ones we’ve had. Amazon is now making things works which people have wanted, which is a sign both of their inventiveness and their customer focus. I haven’t checked out the Family Library yet, but ignoring means it hasn’t changed anything in the reading experience…so it doesn’t hurt. I like that they are putting settings right within activities, and letting you turn off features.

Unless the update comes to the PW1, which is possible, I would say there is now a good reason to upgrade.

What do you think? Do you have questions? Feel free to tell me and my readers 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.

 


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