Archive for August, 2010

Freebie flash! 17 titles: Kaplan test prep, Demonfire, Bake Sale, more!

August 31, 2010

Freebie flash! 18 titles: Kaplan test prep, Demonfire, Bake Sale, more!

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

This first set of titles is from Kaplan, probably best-known for test prep books.  Some of these are tied to specific tests, but others aren’t.  I definitely consider getting them, if I were you, especially the non-test specific ones.  You never know who might be on your account at some point and need one.  Yes, the test-specific ones may eventually become obsolete as the tests change…but could still be valuable.

Kaplan ACT Strategies for Super Busy Students: 15 Simple Steps to Tackle the ACT While Keeping Your Life Together 

Sharp Writing: Building Better Writing Skills 

Kaplan PMBR: Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
Kaplan PMBR FINALS: Constitutional Law: Core Concepts and Key Questions

Kaplan Portable GMAT 

Kaplan CCRN: Certification for Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal Critical Care Nurses

Kaplan SAT Score-Raising Dictionary 

Kaplan Portable GRE Exam

Sharp Vocab: Building Better Vocabulary Skills

By Kate Douglas
published by Zebra (part of Kensington)

This one appears to fall into the category of a paranormal romance.   It was also previously free (back in March of this year).  I think it was free, then not free, now free again.  🙂  Zebra really likes giving away books! 

Hostile Intent 
by Michael Walsh
published by Pinnacle, the “commercial fiction” (incl. thrillers and true crime), imprint of Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher).  This one was also previously free, but I think back in 2009.

Lessons from a Younger Lover 
by Zuri Day
published by Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher)

It’s a romance, involving an “older” 1st grade teacher and a 26-year old.

This next group is from another publisher who does a lot of freebies (although the books often aren’t free for long): Financial Times (FT), a financial and business publisher.

Psych Yourself Rich (Free Book for a Limited Time): Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life

The Truth About Making Smart Decisions

Investing in Neglected Stocks

It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life is Making Us Sick

Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times, New and Expanded Edition 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


Having trouble with your K3? Solutions from the BSI

August 31, 2010

Having trouble with your K3? Solutions from the BSI

I’ve written a couple of times about the

Kindle Customer Service Q&A Community 

Amazon split that one off from the main

Amazon Kindle community

a while back.  That was an interesting move, because they had previously had at least 8 simultaneous Kindle forums, then combined them all into one.

I think the idea of this split was to have one forum for opinions and general conversation, and one focused just on questions and answers.

They originally suggested that Kindle Customer Service was going to answer questions there…but for a long time, they didn’t.

So, some other folks (including me) were answering the questions there…pretty much like we had on the main Kindle Community forum.  I personally did treat it a bit differently…I didn’t do the silly stuff there, and tried to be more…professional sounding.  We developed a habit of stating right at the beginning of each post that we weren’t from Amazon, just to avoid confusion.

Over time, the people answering questions shifted some.  A couple of Amazon folks did start answering them, but many questions were still answered by a group of people who generously volunteered their time, effort, and expertise.  They were just folks like you…you know, nice people.  🙂

I’m going to start calling them (right now) the BSI.  Some of you may recognize the initialism, and why it sort of applies. 🙂  Sherlock Holmes had a group of helpers…the Baker Street Irregulars.  Well, I’m dubbing these folks the Bezos Street Irregulars.  😉  They aren’t part of Amazon…just a group of people doing good.

One of them, tuxgirl (and doesn’t that sound like a superhero name?) 😉 mentioned that they had been giving advice to people on the Q&A forum that were having trouble with their K3s, and it seemed to help.

tuxgirl also credited Periwinkle Blue and Fool for Books.  I’ve cited FfB before, and Periwinkle’s all over that forum.  🙂  There have been others, but I’ll go with tuxgirl’s choices here. 

So, what do the BSI suggest?

First, do a “soft reset”.  This is something I recommend in any problem situation with the Kindle (at least where it is responsive).


There’s another choice there that sort of looks like restart…don’t do that one, pick Restart.

The Kindle will turn off and turn itself back on…just like a restart on a computer.

That often fixes things because the Kindle may be in a loop trying to do something, and failing.  When it restarts, just like with a computer, it also rechecks everything.

However, the BSI also suggest you might need to plug the Kindle in for a while before restarting, if just restarting doesn’t work.

It’s quite possible to overwhelm a Kindle…always has been.  When you put a book on a Kindle, it doesn’t just sit there.  The Kindle indexes it.  That makes the Kindle have to work harder.

So, what happens when you use your USB to transfer 100 books on there at once?  Even if you download them from the Archives, I think the indexes are not imported…so they have to be indexed again. 

Plugging the Kindle in for a while will build up some battery charge.

My suggestion has been to leave the Kindle plugged in overnight if you download a lot of books, and the first night you get it.  Let the Kindle sleep (rather than turn it off), and it can index to it’s cyberheart’s content.  🙂

So, definitely, try that if you are having problems.  Charge it up for an hour (or longer…overnight is okay), unplug it from any power sources (wall or USB), and try that restart.

If that works for you, let me know…I’d love the Bezos Street Irregulars to get credit for good deeds well done.  🙂 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

How is your K3 working?

August 30, 2010

How is your K3 working?

I mentioned in a recent post that I’m seeing threads about issues with the Kindle 3s.  I was curious to get a little more information about what may or may not be happening.

CS in the below polls is short for Customer Service. 

K3 is the third generation Kindle (wi-fi only or wi-fi and 3G)

NOTE: I corrected an error in the questions in the following poll, but it may not have been corrected in the version you are seeing.  The last two questions should start with “I’ve had bad experiences…”

Any other comments?  Other issues I didn’t name?  Feel free to let me know! 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

“Internal liffe? This SUX!!!!”

August 30, 2010

“Internal liffe? This SUX!!!!”

NOTE: The following is a work of fiction.  It’s just for fun.  🙂  To my knowledge, no similar announcement has been made or is anticipated.  Of course, people would not really react in the manners depicted…  😉

Initial post: August 28, 2022 0843 AM PDT

Official Announcement: Five-year clinical trials have recently been completed on a pharmaceutical that will block the genetic cell degradation instructions that bring about aging.  Distribution is expected next Spring, and will result in the end of aging and death from old age.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0843 AM PDT

4Efan says: Thank you!  This is wonderful news!

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0843 AM PDT

DocSavageGal says: Yes, thanks!

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0844 AM PDT

Curmudgeon the Frog says: This is really unfair!  I just paid for a Botox treatment!!!  Now Im just going to loose that money!?  U o me.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0844 AM PDT

unknown poster says: I refuse to take the treatment.  This is clearly just a plot by the so-called President to get us to buy more consumer goods.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the makers of Depends are behind this.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0844 AM PDT

Grammer Moses says: @Curmie: it isn’t “loose”, it’s “lose”…unless you mean your money is going to run around free.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0844 AM PDT

Pat the science fiction writer I wrote my book buy it now says: If you are interested in the ethics of immortality, you will enjoy my book Till Death Do We Smart. 

Pat Clark Heinbury
Author of Till Death Do We Smart
Available online

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0845 AM PDT

Pedantie Maim says: @grammer, maybe you should just shut up if you can’t correct people correctly!  It isn’t “run free”, it’s “run freely”.  Some people are so rude…jerk!

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0845 AM PDT

fluffybunniehead says: Why do these threads always get into arguments?  I think it’s wonderful that people will no longer have to worry about gettting older.  Not that there is anything wrong with being old, of course!

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0847 AM PDT

Guy from Place says: How i stop dog from peeing on cowch?

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0848 AM PDT

Loves OTR says: I’m 87 and I can’t wait to be twenty again!

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0848 AM PDT

 Equal Librium says: @ Loves OTR, it’s not going to make you any younger, you’ll just be able to stay the same age.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0848 AM PDT

Im always write says: Hey, moron Off Topic Reader!  They can’t make you younger.  That’s stoopid! 

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0851 AM PDT

Pedantie Maim says: @Im always write, OTR stands for Old Time Radio, N00B!  If you don’t know understand the topic, you should go back under your bridge!

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0852 AM PDT

Rescues rotties says: Guy from Place, you should come join us at dub dub dub itsadogthingyouwouldntunderstand dot com.   Your dog is probably just marking his terittory, but he cold have a bladder probem.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0853 AM PDT

Soccer isn’t football says: we aren’t meant to live forever.

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0854 AM PDT

Marches to a different number says: A simple economic analysis (which appears to be absent in this case) reveals the potentially dystopian impact of the instituation of a universally applied Methuselah medicine.  Countries which now have a lower median age (typically due to a reduced availabiity of geriatric care) will be disproportionately advantaged over those of their historically economically more empowered competitors.  This will result in the inversion of the current national hierarchy, which, while potentially advantageous for some, will be unacceptable to the Fitzgeraldian elite.  One possible consequence will be the forced resettling of those over 57.5 years of age to countries where the top tier age cohort averages fewer than four decades.  

Posted on: August 28, 2022 0912 AM PDT

Me says: Hey, did anybody hear anything about something that keeps you from getting old?


Note: This is just for fun…any similarity to actual screen names is coincidental.  Why is this in a blog on e-book reading?  I was inspired by some of the threads I’m seeing about the new Kindle 3s

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! A Scattered Life restored to archives

August 30, 2010

 Flash! A Scattered Life restored to archives

Kindle Customer Service has posted officially in this

Amazon Kindle Community thread

that the problem with A Scattered Life has been fixed.  You may need to restart your Kindle before you see it back in your archives (according to Dragi, one of my readers), but you should have it back.

Thanks for the heads-up, Dragi!

This, by the way, is an example of Amazon’s extraordinary Customer Service.  They read the thread, took care of it, then took the time to post on the forum.  That’s not something you’ll see everywhere.

I’ve always said, “You know what the difference is between a professional and an amateur?  The professional knows how to fix their mistakes.”

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

ILMK Poll: 86% have used the web on their Kindles

August 30, 2010

ILMK Poll: 86% have used the web on their Kindles

In a recent post, I asked my readers about things besides reading that they did with their Kindles.

I was curious: Amazon gives us several non-reading capabilities, but people like to say that the Kindle isn’t a multi-function device like an iPad, but a “purpose-built device”.

I’ve had more than 120 responses. 

What am I seeing so far?

The “least ignored” feature is the web access.  I asked how often people had gone to non-Amazon websites on their Kindles…only 14% said they had never tried it.  I think the better browser on the K3 may make this an even more used feature.

Only 45% had never played downloaded games on the Kindle.  Presumably, this was mostly Every Word and Shuffled Row, the recently made available free word games.  However, this could also be games purchased in the Kindle store.

Interestingly, only 50.8% have never checked e-mail on their Kindles.  I’ve done that, but it’s clunky…I’m surpised it’s that high, actually.  That doesn’t mean they use it…but 4.2% do say they check it “often”.

54% have never played Minesweeper or Gomoku on their Kindles.  Actually, these are not selectable through the menus…they are sort of Easter Eggs in that sense. 

65.6% haven’t listened to music.  That makes some sense to me, since the music has to be “side-loaded”.  You can’t, on a K2, download music wirelessly directly to the Kindle.  The K3s will do Audible content wirelessly…only when you are using the wi-fi.

78% have never used the Kindle as a notepad.  I was specific that these were non-book related notes.  Again, there’s nothing in the menus to suggest this.  They could easily do something to make this a known feature.  Amazon could add a simple text document, maybe something saying that it was a Kindle.  Then, if someone shared the highlight, it would show that text.

79.5% have never updated Facebook.  That’s a fairly new feature.

89% have never tweeted from their Kindles.  Since I do tweet and don’t have a FaceBook page, this seemed backwards to me…but I guess more people probably a FaceBook page than a Twitter account.  The way it tweets is also a little awkward, since it doesn’t show you actual highlight.

Is it worth adding a feature that only 10 percent of people use?  Yes, as long as it doesn’t cause problems.  Amazon got some real publicity out of the FaceBook/Twitter features.

If you want to see more detail (I asked about frequency, not just never or not), please see the earlier post cited above.  You can also still vote.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! A Scattered Life not available for redownload to new Kindles?

August 29, 2010

Flash! A Scattered Life not available for redownload to new Kindles?

This is an interesting thing that I’m seeing reported in the Amazon Kindle forum.  One of the reporters is a very active and reliable member of that community…we disagree about some things, but I would be quite surprised if this person isn’t reporting this accurately (and it’s not just one person reporting).

I believe the book (A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion) was first published independently in the Kindle store, and as I recall, it was even optioned as a movie.

Then, it was republished later under Amazon’s own AmazonEncore program.

A couple of people have said that when they went to put it on their new Kindles or to download it, it was unavailable.

In this

Amazon Kindle community thread

one poster reproduces a claimed Customer Service response.  In it, they say that they are unable to make it available “…because we believe the third party who listed this book in the Kindle Store did not have rights to make this book available for sale.”

That would be the right thing for them to do, based on what they’ve said on the Help pages.

Amazon Help page

They say:

“There are rare circumstances in which content may not remain available for re-download. For instance, if the publisher who originally made the content available to us for sale on the Kindle Store did not have the right to do so or is sued for defamation in connection with the content, we may be obligated to stop making it available for re-downloading from your library. Any copies you already have on your Kindle devices will not be affected.”

Note that they are reported as having removed the book from devices…they said they wouldn’t do that again after the George Orwell flap.  If you had the book on your Kindle, you would still have it and your notes.  You just couldn’t download it again (to that Kindle or a different device).

This is one of the reasons I recommend you back up your documents folder from your Kindle from time to time.  That way, if there is some archives problem you have the file…as long as the device for which it was downloaded survives.

My guess is that Amazon is wrong on this one…not in what they did, but in thinking the first copy was illegitimate.  My best guess is that they will restore it after an investigation (although that’s only a guess).

If you bought A Scattered Life (especially a while back), you might want to check your archives…

UPDATE: Amazon has admitted a mistake and fixed the problem with A Scattered Life…now that’s Customer Service! 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! Some Kindle owners report freezing/rebooting problems with K3s

August 29, 2010

Flash! Some Kindle owners report freezing/rebooting problems with K3s

I have no idea how widespread this is, and I can’t even verify it is happening.

However, I’ve seen a number of reports that people’s new K3s are freezing or maybe crashing.  I’ve seen people say Amazon is replacing them quickly for them, which, if true, suggests a genuine and known problem.

It’s reminiscent of the sun fade problem some K2s had.  Many, presumably most, K2s were fine in the sunlight, but on some, the text would fade.  Amazon replaced those, quickly.

It could also be that these problems aren’t beyond what happens sometimes with other Kindle models…but this feels a bit different. 

If you get a Kindle, and it is having problems, contact Kindle Customer Service.  Sooner is probably better.  The Kindle has a thirty-day return policy…

If you have gotten a K3 that had serious problems, I’d appreciate hearing about your experience.  If your K3 has been fine so far, feel free to let me now that as well.  🙂

Kindle Customer Service:

There’s a button on the side that says Contact Us.

You can call them at

1-866-321-8851 (inside the US)

1-206-266-0927 (outside the US)

UK Kindleers, call 0800 496 2449

Some Amazon community threads mentioning problems with K3s:

Is My One Day Old K3 Dead?

Replacement kindle shipping soon

Kindle malfunction, possibly due to Every Word 

Kindle 3 keeps rebooting; customer service quick response 🙂 + review comments 

K3 crashed

K3 rebooting …

Update: Amazon has posted software updates for the K3s…

Related ILMK post

Update: It also appears that the unlighted Kindle cover from Amazon may contribute to this problem.  Amazon is replacing them…for more information, see this

Related ILMK post 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Freebie flash! Chasing, Billy

August 29, 2010

Freebie flash! Chasing, Billy

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery
Billy Boyle #1
by James R. Benn
published by Soho Press (a publisher with a focus on “literary fiction” )

This one has an interesting premise and the series is up to at least five books.  Billy Boyle is an Irish police officer in Boston who ends up investigating crimes during World War II.  The reviews and blurbs are pretty good.  I’ll probably give this one a try.

This next one is another of those “free samples” from Macmillan and imprints.  It’s unclear to me whether this is a full book or not.  I’ve got the question into Macmillan…

Chasing the Night 
By Iris Johansen
published by St. Martin’s Press (a general interest publisher part of Macmillan)

Johansen is a New York Times bestselling author, and this is the latest in her series featuring Eve Duncan.  There is a through story to these, but I think you could read it separately…if you’ve read these, feel free to comment.  This is listed as a “free preview”, so it might be only part of the book…but it might be more than the normal free sample we can get with just about any book.  on the other hand, it could be the whole book…don’t know yet.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

It’s ILMK’s 1st birthday!

August 28, 2010

It’s ILMK’s 1st birthday!

August 28, 2009…the first post in this blog, I Love My Kindle, appeared.  It was just a brief hello.

Wow, so much has happened in that year!  I wanted to take this post to look back a little bit, and to show you where we are now.

I say “we”, and I mean it.  Yes, I write this (although I’ve had a couple of contributions from other people), but it wouldn’t exist without you.  Not just because of the subscribers, although I heartily thank them specifically.  I couldn’t justify the time I spend on this, if it wasn’t for those who subscribe through the Kindle store.

But your contributions are much more than that.  I love, love, love it when people take the time and make the effort to leave me comments.  Some of the most interesting writing in this blog, in  my opinion, has come in the exchange in the comments.  That’s especially true when we don’t see things the same way.  I’ve gotten ideas for articles and re-thought ideas I already had thanks to articulate and well-reasoned comments.  Thanks to each of you as well. 

Another way you contribute is by participating in the polls.  That’s a giving of yourself that’s shown me some very interesting information.  My favorite poll thing?  When I asked, “Do you answer poll questions?” and 17% answered it to say no.  🙂 

ILMK has also been mentioned in other places.  The biggest spike it ever got was when EndGadget credited ILMK recently with a story on the two free downloadable word games.  That was funny to me…just because it was pretty simple, just a Flash news post.  Some posts take me a lot of time and work to write, some touch on pretty profound issues, but a little announcement was heard around the world.  I do think it’s cool when ILMK shows up in faraway places, like Japan.

For those of you who buy things (even free things) after clicking on a link in ILMK, my thanks to you as well.  I think many of you know that my family comes first, and that I have a full-time job.  I don’t do advertising and I don’t link to items just to get referral fees.  My subscription royalties (at about thirty cents a month per person) far outweigh my referral fees, and that’s fine with me…I’m proud of and thankful for having the subscribers.  However, the bit of “fun money” we get from the referral fees helps.

A big thank you especially goes to the

Amazon Kindle community

I still learn things and have fun there so often!

The suggestion that I do a blog started there.  I had done things on the internet for a long time…I had an “e-zine”, as we used to call them, starting back in 1996.  But I was surprised and flattered when Amazon Kindle community CarolinaCaw started this


in the community, suggesting I start a blog.  Thanks, CarolinaCaw!  That was back on June 14 of 2009.   Why did it take two months for me to start one after that?

I really had to think about it.  I tend to really commit to things, and I knew if I started one, it would be a big part of my life.  I was already writing a lot on the forum, but if I had paid subscribers, I’d want to give them their money’s worth.  I knew it would take time, I knew it would take effort…and I knew it would take focus.  That’s a responsibility I didn’t take lightly.  There were important family discussions about it.

Then, I had to find out more about blogging.  As I mentioned, I’d never done it.  I got some good advice.

Oh, that’s another group I want to thank!  My fellow Kindle bloggers.  Andrys Basten of A Kindle World needs to be singled out.  Andrys has generously given me time, insight, and advice.  We don’t always agree (and when we don’t, it can be sharp), but we respect each other and Andrys has mentored me on the blogging world (and Twitter).  Stephen Windwalker (Kindle Nation Daily), the dean of Kindle bloggers, has helped me as well.  He did me the honor of using a post of mine as a guest post when he was unable to post for a few days.  Len Edgerly (The Kindle Chronicles) and Abhi of (iReader Review ) are also part of my Kindle blogger community circle. 

There are so many people I could thank!  I do want to mention the folks at and their newer site …it would be so much harder to do the analysis for this blog without those two great sites!

I hear the orchestra playing me off, so I have to cut this short….um, less long.  🙂  Ooh, I can’t forget people who have written reviews of ILMK!  That’s really nice and really important…I definitely take those into account. 

Let’s sum it up this way: if you have touched ILMK in any way, thank you.

What’s happened in one year?

When ILMK started, Kindles were only available in the US.  The NOOK didn’t exist (and when it did, it started out as the nook).  There were something like 350,000 titles in the Kindle store (there are nearly twice that now).  One of the biggest changes has been the Agency Model (and we’ll see where that is a year from now). 

I’ve published 621 posts in ILMK.  I average at least 1,000 words a day…that’s the equivalent of about a 1,500 page book.  I’ve put out 57 Freebie Flashes…I’m sure that’s hundreds of freebies for you.

WordPress says I’ve had 148,201 hits.  My busiest day was August 4, 2010, with 2,609 hits in one day.  There have been 1,614 comments. 

ILMK has been ranked as high as #1 in the US Kindle store.  The day I passed both the Huffington Post and the Onion just blew me away.  The UK Kindleers have been welcoming as well: ILMK is the #18 blog in the UK store right now…ta!

Most importantly, it’s been rewarding.  🙂  It’s been fun, and I’ve learned a lot.

I’m sure there are interesting times ahead.  The Kindle 3 (which is just in people’s hands as I write this) makes it feel like the EBR (E-Book Reader) has moved past the early adopter phase.  I think a year from now, we may be at two million titles in the US Kindle store…and the international stores will have grown as well.  I’ll hopefully write things you find interesting and helpful…and I’ll undoubtedly write some things that I like better than you do.  😉  I’ll make mistakes (and genuinely thank you when you point them out so I can fix them).  The focus on e-reading may move a bit away from the technology and more towards the content…although there are some big technological changes yet to come.

So, happy 1st birthday, ILMK! 

Thanks to you, readers!

Do you want to share something about ILMK?  Was there a post that you especially liked?  Feel free to let me know…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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