Archive for November, 2014

Round up #277: $3.75 book sale, 75% of parents are gifting e-books to their kids this holiday season

November 30, 2014

Round up #277: $3.75 book sale, 75% of parents are gifting e-books to their kids this holiday season

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

Digital Book World: 45 Percent of All Parents Plan to Purchase a New Device for Their Child to Read Ebooks [this holiday season]

Thanks to EBOOK FRIENDLY for the heads up on this!

Digital Book World has released their latest survey, and purchasing both of devices on to which to read e-books and e-books themselves appears to be up this year, based on their survey.

DBW Survey Highlights

It’s not unreasonable to question how objective a site called “Digital Book World” would be on this, but it’s worth noting that they partnered with PlayCollective.

According to the summary, 45% of parents (not legal guardians?) of children aged 2 to 13 plan to buy an e-book reading device (an EBR…E-Book Reader or a tablet, but the latter with the intent of reading books) this holiday season.

That’s up from last year by 4%.

I’ll note two other things, and then encourage you to read that summary…I don’t want to take too much away from it.

First, the most popular device for this is a Kindle (they didn’t break down which kind) at 26%.

Second, a full 75% plan to buy e-books for their kids this year, up 2% from last year.

As they say, “our children are the future”. If kids grow up reading e-books, they’ll very likely want to read them as adults.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that p-books (paperbooks) simply disappear…I expect them to stay around, as vinyl records have.

40 free apps of the day today

Finishing up today is a special Black Friday promotion with 40 apps which normally cost something being available for free today:

40 Free Apps of the Day today (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*

There are some good choices here, and as usual, I’ve gotten them all. 🙂 I have them delivered only to the Cloud, unless it’s something I want to start using soon. I figure, why not? Our guest who is here, currently using our

Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*) (on sale right now for $79, normally $99)

has a lot of choices!

I figure, why not get them? If they are stored in the Cloud, they aren’t taking up any room on our devices unless we choose to use one.

A few highlights of the offerings:

  • Bike Race Pro (normally $0.99): 4.6 out of 5 stars, 2761 customer reviews
  • Mind Games Pro ($4.99): 4.4 stars, 1011 reviews
  • Angry Birds Seasons HD ($2.99): 4.3 stars, 304 reviews
  • Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition for Android ($24.00!) 4.4 stars, 29 reviews
  • Shredder Chess ($7.99): 4.7 stars, 14 reviews…supposedly, it plays chess somewhat like a human, making mistakes appropriate to the level you choose for it
  • Perfectly Clear ($2.99): 3.9 stars, 455 reivews…I’ve used this one to improve pictures I’ve previously taken. I find it works quite well

Price drops from price matching

This weekend (certainly through Cyber Monday), look for big price drops on some popular books…which won’t last.

I recommend (at any time, not this time of year) listing books at

eReaderIQ.com

They will give you a free e-mail notification when a book you specify drops an amount you specify.

I often tell people eReaderIQ is the most valuable resource for Kindleers on the web…this is just one of their free services.

Some drops I’ve noticed this weekend…note that they could change any time. Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button.

  • Field of Prey by John Sanford: dropped to $3.75 from $8.99
  • The Collector by Nora Roberts: dropped to $3.75 from $10.49
  • Skin Game: a Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: $3.75 from $11.99

I could keep going!

Hmm…clearly, $3.75 is a price point right now! Here’s a search for books that cost $3.75 in the USA Kindle store right now, sorted by most reviewed:

$3.75 books in the USA Kindle store by most reviewed (at AmazonSmile*)

Yep, that did it!

Wow!

Don’t wait on these, and don’t forget that they can make great gifts! You can delay a gift book to be delivered at the date of your choosing, and the recipient does not need a Kindle to read them (there are a lot of free Kindle reading apps). If they already have the book, they can get a gift card for the value instead, so there is really no risk.

Some of the ones I see: The Invention of Wings; Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander); Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King; The Silk Worm (J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith…this is the new one)…you want new popular books on sale, time’s a’wastin’! 😉

The Echo is learning

Some people who have gotten the Amazon Echo (no invitation for me yet) seem to be judging it as though it was as good as it was ever going to get. I even saw somebody say that “like most technology”, it was going to be obsolete as soon as you got it.

The Echo (ILMK Echo posts category) is not a self-enclosed device. When you bought a videogame console years ago, and you bought games for it, well, that was about it…no updates, it was what it was. To get a better experience, you would eventually have to buy another machine.

Kindles, on the other hand, are update pretty often (until they are out of the “front list” of current ones being sold, at least). Those are operating system upgrades, and they may bring us new features and better performance.

The Echo, though, can grow in a way different from either of those.

Most of what happens on the Echo happens in the Cloud…not in your house.

Right now, the Echo “hive mind” is learning from what someone is doing with the device.

I’ve seen anecdotal reports already of something not working at first, then reporting it, and then having it work. One example was a band with a quirky spelling to the name (two words smashed together…and I think there was a number in there, too). Two people reported Echo not understanding it…then, it did!

Another example is that, according to the help pages, you ask it for a “Flash Briefing” to get the local weather and the news. Now, apparently, you can get the same thing just by saying, “Alexa, news”.

Oh, “Alexa”, by the way, is the name of a company Amazon bought about 15 years ago. You can currently change the “listening prompt” to “Amazon”, and they are working are more prompts. Eventually, you may be able to choose your own.

My point about this updating that’s happening is that it happens in the Cloud…not on your device.

If you have an Echo, please keep reporting how it works. I’ve been told you can say, “Alexa, that was wrong” to flag the question and response for review.

It also appears to be getting a lot of joke responses as people say things like, “Alexa, beam me up” or “Open the pod bay doors”. My intuition here is those are also being improved regularly.

Essentially, Alexa is what used to be called a “dumb terminal” for the most part. Its music playing hardware  is one thing, but the conversational skills are handled at Amazon…so those can be updated on the hardware you have.

Eventually, there will be newer models with more capabilities, including perhaps faster response times (although it seems pretty fast now), but I wouldn’t worry about yours becoming quickly out of date.

Both my Significant Other and my now adult kid are creeped about by the idea of the Echo, and my kid doesn’t even want to be in the same house as one. 🙂 I said that was going to be inevitable, but hopefully, I get an invitation and get one after this visit is over, so we don’t have that issue. Otherwise, I suppose I can unplug it while my kid is in the house.

My Fire TV Stick is here!

While I was writing this, my

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

arrived! I took a quick break to set it up…that was basically plugging it into the power and the HDMI outlet on our TV (we just bought a new TV today…we had one that was at least ten years old as our main TV. I would have waited until the holidays, but we saw an Element ((that’s a brand I like)) at a great price at Target: under $150 for 32″).

I just had to give it our network password, and it’s downloading the latest updates now!

I’ll write a review of it soon. With our kid here, my writing time has been a bit curtailed (family first), but hopefully, in the next few days.

I want to get this out now, so people don’t miss the $3.75 price on the books and the free apps!

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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Shop ’til it helps! Use AmazonSmile today

November 28, 2014

Shop ’til it helps! Use AmazonSmile today

Are you planning to shop at

http://www.amazon.com

today?

I’d like you to reconsider.

Oh, this isn’t an anti-Amazon thing!

You can still shop at Amazon (and I’m sure many of my readers will on this Black Friday)…I’d just like you to think about using this other Amazon site:

http://smile.amazon.com

Your shopping experience will be the same.

The bargains will be the same.

Your payment methods will be the same.

The items are the same items.

It’s the same account: buy a Kindle book from AmazonSmile, and it’s the same as if it you bought it from Amazon.

The difference?

You pick a non-profit (from thousands and thousands of choices), and Amazon donates half a percent of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to that group.

It’s that simple to help.

You can change your non-profit choice whenever you want.

Half a percent may not sound like much, but if you spend $100, your designated group gets fifty cents. If ten people spend $100 and have picked that group, they are up to $5.

I’ve been on the board of a non-profit: every penny can help. Organizations can often use money like that to reach out to larger donors.

We use AmazonSmile for purchases…and we feel good doing it.

For the month to date, about 30% of the purchases (based on amount spent) using ILMK** have been at AmazonSmile…I’d love to see that go up.

I’m sure you could find some group you’d like to help.

For example, I put “literacy” into the search box, and got 6,209 results.

In my family, Black Friday is a tradition…and a big part of it is buying toys for Toys for Tots. It’s a great time to get the mainstream, popular toys for kids who might not otherwise get them. Even a child in need has heard of Frozen, or Superman…it can make them feel more “normal” to have them.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving: and we are thankful for our ability to help others. If you are going to shop at Amazon today anyway, you also have that ability.

You can search at AmazonSmile. Alternatively, if you find something at http://www.amazon.com, just change the “www” to “smile”…that will do it. So, http://www.amazon.com becomes http://smile.amazon.com…and you help out a cause you choose.

Amazon has devices on sale:

These will be Amazon’s Black Friday device specials

I provide links both to Amazon.com and to AmazonSmile in my posts…I do think people should be able to choose whether they want to support something or not (that makes it more meaningful).

They have some great deals, both on fiction and non-fiction, in the

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

today!

Books (for $1.99 each…about a penny to your chosen non-profit for each one, and yes, that matters) include:

  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  • Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Burmese Days by George Orwell
  • Several Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths
  • The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  • Fast Food Nation by Erik Schlosser
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
  • Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall

If you’ve never used AmazonSmile before, today might be a good day to start…and to make it a habit.

Enjoy your day…and perhaps help others enjoy their futures.

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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! :) 

** I don’t know about all the purchases inspired by ILMK, and I don’t know who bought what. I just get some aggregate figures

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

$199 Fire Phone – AT&T = huge hit…and a book deal tonight

November 27, 2014

$199 Fire Phone – AT&T = huge hit…and a book deal tonight

When I paid $199 for the

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

it wasn’t actually the version above.

Mine was “locked” to AT&T, which was okay with me…since that’s our carrier anyway.

They did have an unlocked version in the beginning, but it was at least $450.

Not too long after that, the price for what I bought dropped to $0.99.

Amazon clearly took a big hit on the Fire Phone, and fessed up to it during their financials call.

I’ll have to admit to a tad bit of worry that they wouldn’t continue to support my phone.

Now that they’ve dropped the price of the unlocked version, though, it seems to be working.

At time of writing, the Fire Phone has rocketed up to being #1 in electronics at Amazon.

Higher than the

Fire TV Stick (at Amazon Smile*)

although admittedly, that one’s sales may be down because they are sold out…they don’t expect to have them again until mid January of 2015.

Higher than the

Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player (at AmazonSmile*)

Now, this might just be a sudden leap because of it going on sale, but I think it could make actual inroads into the market. I don’t like mine as well as I did my Galaxy, but I do like it…and it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg issue of having market share to get apps developed for it.

It’s also worth noting that, even at this $199 price,  you still get a year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value), whether you are already a subscriber or not. That makes the price effectively $100.

One other tip…Amazon sent me a heads up on this deal:

“Happy Holidays! With Black Friday two days away, Amazon has announced another great deal starting at 9pm PST tonight [Wednesday, November 26] where customers using the promo code HOLIDAY30 will receive an additional 30% off of purchase for one book, not including eBooks or Audible Audiobooks. The offer is available for a limited time. “

Okay, okay…I know that’s not a Kindle deal. 🙂 If you want to see Amazon’s Black Friday Kindle device deals (with links), see

These will be Amazon’s Black Friday device specials

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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

 

These will be Amazon’s Black Friday device specials

November 26, 2014

These will be Amazon’s Black Friday device specials

Amazon gave me advanced notice on what the Black Friday device specials will be. These prices will not be valid until Friday, so I am not giving you links to them now…this is just a heads up so you can plan! 🙂

Update: okay, I’m adding in the links. Please check the price before you click or tap that “Buy” button. The prices listed here may not be the same in your country (I have readers around the world). Also, it’s possible the special price is only on certain configurations of the device…maybe on one size of memory and not on another, maybe on a device with wi-fi only, and not on one with wi-fi and 3G, that kind of thing. I’ll only link to one “flavor” of each one…there are usually buttons on the page to make other selections.

Hi Bufo,

Happy Holidays! I wanted to give you a heads up on Black Friday deals for Amazon devices beginning tomorrow. These deals will extend through the holiday weekend. Deals include:

·         $79 Kindle for just $49 Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

·         New Bundle: 6 months of Kindle Unlimited plus a Kindle for $79; also available for Kindle Paperwhite for $129 Kindle (“Mindle Touch”) + Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile*) Kindle Paperwhite + Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile*)

·         $119 Kindle Paperwhite for $99 Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (212 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

·         $99 Fire HD 6 for $79 Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

·         $139 Fire HD 7 for $109 Fire HD 7, 7″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

·         Fire phone is now available unlocked with a no contract price of $199 through Cyber Monday Amazon Fire Phone, 32GB (Unlocked GSM) (at AmazonSmile*) [Bufo’s note: this is a $250 savings! Unlocked means you can use it with different carriers, not just AT&T…many people didn’t buy a Fire Phone initially because of the AT&T partnership. They had the unlocked phone before, but it was much more expensive. This has now pushed the Fire Phone to being (at time of writing) Amazon’s bestselling electronic! That’s an amazing jump: it passed the Chromecast and the Fire TV Stick.]

·         $39 Fire TV Stick available at Best Buy and Staples for $24.99

Kindle (deal running 11/27-11/29)

All-new Kindle – featuring a touchscreen display, a 20% faster processor, and twice the storage. Kindle e-readers are lightweight and easy to hold, measure battery life in weeks, not hours, and allow for reading with no glare even in bright sunlight.

Kindle Paperwhite (deal running 11/27-11/29)

Kindle Paperwhite is one of Amazon’s most popular Kindles, with a touchscreen that has no screen glare in bright sunlight, a battery that lasts for weeks, not hours, and a built-in light that allows you to read without eyestrain.

Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Bundle (deal running 11/27-11/29)

Better together: Get the $79 Kindle and 6-months of Kindle Unlimited for just $79 or Kindle Paperwhite and 6-months of Kindle Unlimited for just $129. Kindle Unlimited offers unlimited reading from over 700,000 books, including best sellers like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Landing page:

Fire HD (Fire HD 6 deal running 11/27-11/29; Fire HD 7 deal running 11/27-12/1)

The new Fire HD tablets are available in both 6” and 7” and five color choices – black, white, cobalt, magenta, and citron. The new Fire HD, features a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras, an HD display and a world-class ecosystem of exclusive features, services, and content.

Fire phone (deal running 11/25-12/1)

The Fire phone is now available unlocked.  The unlocked Fire phone works with GSM carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Cricket and for a limited time only is only $199. Fire phone includes a full year of Amazon Prime membership for access to Amazon’s vast digital ecosystem and unlimited photo cloud storage as well as exclusive features like Mayday, Second Screen and X-Ray.

Fire TV Stick (deal running 11/23-11/29 at Best Buy and Staples)

While it’s sold out on Amazon.com, customers can discover Fire TV Stick, the fastest-selling Amazon device ever, at Best Buy and Staples stores. Fire TV Stick is a small stick that connects to the HDMI port on your HDTV for instant access to movies, TV shows, music, photos, apps, and games.

These deals are available while supplies last. For additional information and a full list of Amazon Black Friday deals, visit http://www.amazon.com/blackfriday.

 

Best,

Jennifer

Amazon’s now also added a “landing page” portal for their

Fire & Kindle Deals (at AmazonSmile*)

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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

New! Give the gift of Kindle Unlimited and a sweet $99 Kindle/6M KU bundle

November 26, 2014

New! Give the gift of Kindle Unlimited and a sweet $99 Kindle/6M KU bundle

Now you can give the gift of Kindle Unlimited, reading access to over 700,000 books!

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

Imagine what this could mean for a child, or an adult with limited resources.

Harry Potter…Lord of the Rings…James Bond…The Life of Pi…audiobooks…

Buying books can be great, but my Significant Other has joked about the stress of trying to find books for me that I want that I don’t already have.

This solves that problem. Whether someone is already a power reader, or you are just trying to get them interested, this would be a great gift.

If they want to exchange it for a gift card, they can easily do that…that’s a risk, of course, that your plan to create the next great influencer in the world turns into the biggest sugar rush ever. 😉

One significant negative to this to me is that they only doing the following subscription gifts:

  • 6 months for $59.94
  • 12 months for $119.88
  • 24 months for $239.76

As you can tell, no reduction in the $9.99 per month price, but I’m okay with that.

It’s the lack of a one month subscription that concerns me.

I’m sure Amazon thought about this carefully, and that their motivations aren’t limited to

The.Best.Gift.Ever

I’m sure they want this to lock people into Amazon more…turn them into lifelong customers and Prime users (just by exposure.

One month gifts, though, which I really wanted to see, would be absolutely terrific!

I would have done that for a holiday gift exchange at work (and it would have been highly desired, like a Starbucks card).

It would have been the perfect “emergency gift” (when someone brings an SO you didn’t know about ahead of time, for example).

It would have been a great “small gift” within the family!

Yes, you can still do a gift card (you can do those for any amount), but it isn’t quite the same.

I’m going to write Amazon to suggest a one-month, and if you agree, hope you do, too. You can send it to

kindle-feedback@amazon.com

Still, I expect this will be pretty popular…it should be available for a while.

This one won’t.

For a “limited time”, you can “bundle” a “Mindle Touch” (that’s what I call the newest generation entry level Kindle…usually $79) and six months of Kindle Unlimited for $99!

Kindle and 6M KU for $99 (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s a savings of $39.94!

Again, a great gift…especially for someone who doesn’t even have a Kindle yet.

They get a good Kindle (it doesn’t have a light…you might consider one as a gift along with it, but you don’t really need one) and six months of unlimited reading access. Okay, you can only have ten books out at a time, but that’s not really a problem unless you are going somewhere with no internet access. Not very many people will read ten books before they can get back to wi-fi.

Again, I genuinely believe this could be life transforming in some cases.

One more thing:

There will be Black Friday deals on Kindles and Fire tablets: Amazon says so.

You can find out about them and get early access by going to

https://live.flowics.com/visualizations/f2uamazon/widgets/6492/live/en

and clicking or tapping the “Tweet to Unwrap” button.

Yes, you need a Twitter account, and yes, you’ll be tweeting something about Amazon.

My tweet looked like this:

Hi @Amazon, I want to #UnwrapKindle deals early on Kindle and Fire devices http://amzn.to/1y6qmAE

It looks to me like they are only making this available to so many people…there is a progress bar showing 19% at time of writing, so don’t wait!

Got season fever yet? 😉

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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

 

 

All I Want for Christmas Is an Echo

November 25, 2014

All I Want for Christmas Is an Echo

All I want for Christmas is an Echo
That, for me, would be the perfect gift
Don’t wanna get an iPad or a gecko
and if I did, you know that I’d be miffed

I can’t wait to ask it my query
Even though it probably doesn’t know
I realize I could just ask SIRI
But now that seems a retro way to go

All I want for Christmas is an Echo
That, for me, would be the perfect gift
Don’t wanna get a painting by El Greco
and if I did, you know that I’d be miffed

[tempo change]
I don’t really care about the treetops glistening
All I really want is a monolith listening
To everything I say whether I know it or not
Because that’s one thing I haven’t got!

[old sprightly temp]
I’m gonna have it play me all my music
Though I never listen to it now
Telling me the weather is a new trick
I’d look outside, but I just don’t know how

All I want for Christmas is an Echo
That, for me, would be the perfect gift
Don’t wanna get a lamp that’s art deco
and if I did, you know that I’d be miffed

Hey, Alexa, please tell me a joke
Make sure that it is one with lots of corn
Good looking with a great sense of humor!
I think that a new romance has been born

[All together!]
All I want for Christmas is an Echo
That, for me, would be the perfect gift
Don’t wanna get an iPad or a gecko
and if I did, you know that I’d be miffed

[repeat with the sound quieter and quieter with each iteration like a…like a…hey, Alexa: what do you call that sound you hear after you make a loud noise in a cave?] 😉

Join over a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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

Fire OS 4.5.1 update available

November 25, 2014

Fire OS 4.5.1 update available

More later, but my

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

just updated to 4.5.1.

They list the following key features:

  • Family Library: this is the new feature that lets you share certain content with some people, even when they aren’t on the same account
  • Lock Screen Media Controls: you can play music and audiobooks directly from the lock screen
  • If you have a rear-facing camera, you can launch the camera app from the lock screen
  • Prime Music Stations: Prime members now have ad-free stations of music
  • Emoji: little pictures for your e-mail (and other places)
  • Camera for Kids: interesting! Gimmicky camera features for children using Amazon FreeTime (that’s a new branding, I think) and they can’t post to social media

You can update your device manually from

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

or you can wait and it should happen automatically eventually.

The last major update was recent…I wrote about it on November 7th, so this is the second one in a month!

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

Barnes & Noble gives you a reason to go to a store…500K signed copies

November 25, 2014

Barnes & Noble gives you a reason to go to a store…500K signed copies

While Amazon could hypothetically do this online, and Barnes & Noble could have made the books available online (but didn’t), this is a bold move.

According to this

press release

Barnes & Noble will have 500,000 copies of books signed by 100 authors (including Neil Gaiman, Amy Poehler, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Anne Rice) available just to instore customers.

That’s not a lot of them per store: on average, 5,000 per author (but it may not have an even distribution) and they have about 700 stores (assuming the college stores don’t get any). That comes out to about seven copies per store per title, again assuming they were evenly distributed (which they won’t be).

Bottom line: I would expect the big names to sell out within the first hour.

You can see all the authors and books here:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/black-friday-weekend-signed-editions/379004363

Again, I think this is a clever move…although I suspect we’ll see many of them for sale on Amazon afterwards from third-party sellers. That and eBay and such.

They will make good gifts: there is something special about an autographed copy, and while there are technological ways to do that with an e-book, it isn’t the same.

Unlike some people, I’m not convinced this is B&N’s last holiday season as a brick-and-mortar (I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager). They are making some effective moves into things other than books, and there is more profit in the toys and games (I also managed a game store at one point).

Continuing to compete with Amazon on books? That’s a significant challenge. Staying in business as a main street retailer? That’s a possibility.

Once the Amazon Echo gets more integrated with shopping (especially outside of Amazon), that will give all brick-and-mortars more of a challenge.

Imagine this:

“Alexa, can you buy a signed copy of Gone Girl and send it to my cousin Pat?”

Alexa: “Sure. I can have it there in three days for twenty-five dollars or in two days for $30.”

“Okay, go ahead.”

If that happened, would you care where the Echo got it? Probably not. As I picture it, that store would pay Amazon a cut for arranging the sale, keeping your price low.

That’s what Amazon wants, in my opinion: to become the infrastructure of consumerism.

For this Black Friday, though, I think the promotion will work for Barnes & Noble…at least for that first hour. I suspect we’ll hear that Amazon won the season, though.

What do you think? Do you have any signed copies? I have one signed by Kirk Alyn (the serial’s Superman), who signed it for me at a convention. It’s a bit of a surprise to me how valuable that seems to me. Do you think this will extend to other sales for B&N on Friday (when these become available)? What will B&N look like in the holiday season of 2015? 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! :) 

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

Heads up! LTO 1230 PM Pacific Belkin WeMo

November 24, 2014

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Belkin WeMo Switch for $25. Deal starts at 3:30 PM ET/12:30 PM PT.

On my phone so more later

USA Kindle store breaks 3 million title mark

November 24, 2014

USA Kindle store breaks 3 million title mark

When the USA Kindle store first opened (about seven years ago), there were fewer than 100,000 titles.

Now, there are over three million!

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

That’s more than thirty times bigger.

Here are the numbers for the top level categories:

  • Arts & Photography (170,528)
  • Biographies & Memoirs (134,647)
  • Business & Money (189,105)
  • Children’s eBooks (193,303)
  • Comics & Graphic Novels (37,296)
  • Computers & Technology (53,319)
  • Cookbooks, Food & Wine (49,327)
  • Crafts, Hobbies & Home (59,916)
  • Education & Teaching (114,173)
  • Gay & Lesbian (31,525)Health, Fitness & Dieting (190,404)
  • History (190,074)
  • Humor & Entertainment (84,068)
  • Literature & Fiction (952,367)
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (162,304)
  • Nonfiction (1,508,916)
  • Parenting & Relationships (56,560)
  • Politics & Social Sciences (200,049)Professional & Technical (236,345)
  • Reference (97,753)
  • Religion  Spirituality (321,115)
  • Romance (221,321)
  • Science & Math (177,235)
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy (183,767)
  • Self-Help (80,579)Sports & Outdoors (57,480)
  • Teen & Young Adult (91,582)
  • Travel (46,660)
  • Foreign Languages (477,461)

You may have noticed that those numbers would add up more than three million. That is because the the same book can appear in (and be counted in) multiple categories.

Here are a few other stats:

  • There are 780,577 Kindle Unlimited titles (at time of writing): approximately 26%
  • Whispersync for Voice: 55,582 (19%)
  • Word Wise Enabled: 3,598 (less than 1%)…this is a new feature on some devices which will define some “hard” words for you automatically

The rating break down:

Avg. Customer Review
4 Stars & Up (987,743)
3 Stars & Up(1,128,127)
2 Stars & Up (1,164,194)
1 Star & Up (1,197,277)

Enjoy!

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

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

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


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