Round up #231: 1st of the month tips, Mohsin Hamid on e vs p

Round up #231: 1st of the month tips, Mohsin Hamid on e vs p

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

What a difference a month makes

Welcome, new owners! There’s a lot to owning a Kindle (or using a Kindle app). Oh, it’s not the hardware, so much, at least in the case of a non-Fire Kindle. That’s generally pretty intuitive, at least for just opening a book and reading it.

There are also the Kindle services, and what Amazon does on the site. The latter is what I want to address now.

I look forward to every day, pretty much: I’m at heart an optimist. 😉 However, Kindleers always pay particular attention to the first day of the month.

There are a few things that it makes sense to check:

  • Kindle Monthly Deals, $3.99 or less (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)*: Amazon does do a Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile), and that can be great…but you do have to be on your toes for it. They do a new set of books for $3.99 or less each month as well…this month, at the time of writing (it can change), there are 114 titles. I often do a post on the highlights, but I do always look through them all. Since you can delay when a gift is delivered, this is also a good place to pick up a bargain for a future gift giving occasion. Note: this feature, and the others, may not apply in your country. Always check the price before you click that “Buy” button
  • Kindle First (at AmazonSmile): those Kindle monthly deals are available to anyone who has a Kindle or a Kindle app, and you can gift them to people who don’t have one (they’ll be prompted to get a free app). This next one has another requirement: you have to be an eligible Prime member (which is typically done by paying $79 a year). With this one, you’ll be able to pick a book out of a small group (so far, it’s been four each month), which will be published soon by Amazon’s traditional publishing group (that’s what it has been so far). You will own the book**: you aren’t just borrowing it. When you click through to the book, you’ll be given the choice to get it for free and get it now, or to pre-order it and pay for it. Why give both choices? You can only get one free book through Kindle First a month, but you might want to pre-order the others
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) (at AmazonSmile): for this one, there are two requirements. You have to be an eligible Prime member, and you have to have a hardware Kindle (not just a free app). People sometimes ask about that: Amazon has to pay the publishers for each “borrow”, and I’m sure they’ve done the math on how much people spend who have a hardware Kindle versus what they spend when they have an app and not the hardware. The fact that they have to pay is also presumably why you can “only” borrow up to one a calendar month. That calendar limitation is another reason why Kindleers look forward to the first of the month. It’s not necessarily that the selection changes: it changes every day. Let’s say you borrowed a book on December 5th, and finished it by December 10th. You’d still have to wait until January 1st to borrow your next book. People also sometimes wonder why Amazon doesn’t make it easier to get to KOLL eligible books through your computer (it’s easy on the Kindle itself). Well, you have to borrow from the Kindle. I’ve seen many times where someone asks why they charged for a KOLL book. It’s usually because they were shopping from their computers, and click the “Buy” button rather than the “Borrow” button

What e-books did I get for the holidays?

Just thought you might be curious… 🙂

Two of my family members used my

to get me e-books…and it was great! Big thanks to them!

Sure, they could have gotten me gift cards, and there is nothing wrong with that, but they told me it was fun to look through the list and pick out some special things…it’s sort of like having a Bufo store. 😉 I have a list which I share with them (that’s one of the privacy options), and it has over 150 things on it (not all e-books). These are things I do want, but I probably wouldn’t buy for myself for some reason.

You get to describe why they appeal to you, which is a way to share with your circle more about yourself.

Here’s what I got:

My Significant Other got me this one. 🙂 Doc is one of my fictional heroes, as regular readers probably know. I do use Doc’s oath as a guide: to make myself better so that other’s can profit by it, to do right by others…I think I’ve published the oath in the blog before (my understanding is that the oath is in the public domain, although the books aren’t). If not, here it is:


“Let me strive, every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit from it.

Let me think of the right, and lend my assistance to those who need it with no regard for anything but justice.

Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.

Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.

Let me do right to all, and wrong no one.”


I made one alteration to the last line, making it gender neutral.

This book is an extraordinary “biography” of Doc Savage, by the well-known science fiction writer, Philip José Farmer. Farmer also wrote Tarzan Alive!, a similar biography of Lord Greystoke…and, in fact, according to Farmer, Doc and Tarzan (and many others) are related to each other!

The book was originally released in 1973, and you might think I would already have it…and I do. 🙂 I have it in p-book. However, e-books are so much easier for me nowadays that having it in e-book form is terrific. I don’t often re-read books, but this is one I might…I might even listen to it in the car using text-to-speech.

Yes, Doc again, and yes, from my Significant Other again. 🙂 This is something different: it’s a recent official addition to the Doc Savage stories, written by Will Murray. I’ve read one of the new ones before, but this one really intrigued me: Doc meets King Kong! It makes sense: they both had their pop culture starts in 1933, and they were both in New York.

I’ve started reading it (this is my third new book I’ve read in the past week or so…I’ve had some time off), and so far, it is quite well written. I would say it is considerably superior to the other contemporary Doc Savage I read, The Desert Demons.

My SO and I are on the same account, so these just showed up on my Kindle Fire…a great way to get them! I also got a note telling me to look there, wrapped in a gift. Actually, technically, my SO helped a supernatural entity get them for me, but that’s kind of a long story. 😉 When our kid was little, we explained that Santa bought some things in the stores (rather than building everything at the North Pole), so the store owners would make some money. I was in retail at the time, and that was part of it, but it also might help explain the odd sticker on a gift.

The other three came from a sibling and family. They chose to have the gift codes printed out (which you can do when you choose buy an e-book as a gift), and then wrapped those for our family’s big “gift exchange” party.

This is non-fiction by Danielle Ofri, and it sounds fascinating. In my “day job”, I train doctors and other medical people. I’ve always noted that different specialties tend to have different…emotional profiles, I guess. It makes sense: imagine if you were in a job where all day long, people were likely to be dying, and you were dealing with the families. On the other hand, you might be in a job where there was very little risk to the people you helped, and they always loved the results. It would be pretty likely that you would have a different outlook in those two cases, right?

I’m not a big fan of emotions, personally, but I recognize they are there and that they affect decisions. 🙂 Oh, they certainly have their value, but if you were to make me pick blindly between an emotionless machine making a decision in a crisis (like driving a car when a three-year old darts out into the street) or an emotional human, I’m likely to want to go with the machine.

I’ll be interested to see what the book says, and what solid research and insights it might have.

I know a lot about Batman, but I wouldn’t count The Dark Knight among my fictional heroes. I wouldn’t want to be like Bruce Wayne, in the way that I would like to be more like Doc Savage, Spock, or Kwai Chang Caine. Those three all think of themselves as personally flawed, which is not really something I see from Batman, so I find that less relatable.

I do find the various incarnations of Batman fascinating, though, and that’s what this book is about. The radio show was simply bizarre, and you can have Christian Bale’s frightening near-psychopath and the goofy Batman: The Brave & the Bold cartoon running successfully…at the same time.

My expectations aren’t super high about the quality of the work, but I look forward to it.

You might have expected me to have purchased Andrew Richard Albanese’s book already…but honestly, a Kindle Single for $1.99 always seems pricey to me. Since this is a topic I’ve covered closely, I’ll enjoy reading this take on it.

Care to share what you got (or gave)? 🙂

“They guard our aloneness.”

That is a beautiful line describing reading p-books over e-books in this

New York Times article by Mohsin Hamid

The point is a good one, for those who prefer to be absorbed into a book, to the exclusion of the world around you. Yes, you can put the new generation Kindle Fires into “Quiet Mode”, so you aren’t disturbed by notifications. However, a p-book only has a connection to you while you are reading it…it can’t connect anywhere else (although you can read it out loud, of course).

I can see the attraction of this sort of enforced primitiveness…like sitting on a mountaintop naked. 😉 Generally, though, I prefer the option of the advantages of modern technology…like increasable text sizes…and clothes. 😉

How did that guest Kindle work out?

Not too long ago, I wrote

A Kindle for the guest room

in which I talked about having a Kindle specifically as a guest Kindle.

Well, we’ve had our adult kid and a roommate staying here for a week or so. They just went back to the Boston area…the weather here was exceptionally mild, and they did beat the big storm back. 🙂

The roommate got the guest Kindle (I knew my kid would bring one). It worked beautifully! While we were quite busy (you might have noticed a somewhat reduced output from me…that’s changed, as you can tell…this is a long post!), our guest read parts of two books. One of them was a book we had discussed at lunch: The Transparent Society. How cool is that? The topic came up about privacy (we had a weird experience, where a drone came up outside the window where we were eating lunch on a previous day, and the camera clearly looked at us), I referenced a book…and our guest could read it without hunting for it or any real inconvenience.

I only knew what books our guest  had read, by the way, by asking. It would probably not have been obvious otherwise. Now that they’ve gone back home, I have simply reset the device (you have to remove the “parental controls” first): Home – Menu – Settings – Menu. I then connected it to our wi-fi again, registered it again, set up the parental controls, and then it’s ready for the next person. Oh, and I’ll charge it…it’s about half way gone, I’d say. Once I went through the set-up, it resumed it’s old name.

Cool! Definitely a good choice to have done…what a nice way to provide books for a guest!

What do you think? What was the best “bookish” thing about your holidays? Is reading a paperbook an anachronistic return to an earlier era, or just as current as an e-book? Did you ever read a book when you were visiting someone else that really impressed you? 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! :) 

** What you are actually buying is a license to read the book. For more information, see my post,  How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

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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