Archive for November, 2016

It’s here! One of the best Kindle book sales of the year for Cyber Monday 2016

November 28, 2016

It’s here! One of the best Kindle book sales of the year for Cyber Monday 2016

Today’s

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

is their special Cyber Monday sale, and it’s a good one! 🙂

This is one of only a few days in the year when we anticipate a big sale like this on many popular titles (there will be another one in about a month). Amazon says this is “Our biggest Kindle Daily Deal of the year, up to 85% off popular titles”.

This is a great opportunity for you, but it’s also terrific for gifts for other people. You can buy the books at a discount and then delay the delivery date until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or even print out the gift for you to wrap and give at any time.

Check prices before you click or tap that Buy button: they certainly may not apply in your country (or there may be different books there).

Some of the titles in the sale which caught my eye (I may add to this list later in the day, and you can comment on this post for ones you’ve noticed):

  • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
  • Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West
  • A Game of Thrones (Book 1 in A Song of Fire and Ice) by George R.R. Martin
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1) by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill
  • Liberty’s Last Stand by Stephen Coonts
  • The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  • The Hunger Games (#1) by Suzanne Collins
  • Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson
  • What If? by Randall Munroe

Note that there are also great sales on Amazon devices today, including Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers)! You could give one and gift some titles, or get one for a “guest Kindle” (we have one), and put some famous titles on it. For details on that, see

Amazon Cyber Monday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

Pulp!

November 27, 2016

Pulp!

In modern times, there is a tendency to think of reading as a great equalizer, of crossing all socioeconomic strata. People of lesser means can go to public libraries, or borrow books at school. We don’t think of reading as the property of the elite, but as a way for anyone to learn and to experience things beyond their own personal daily lives.

That certainly wasn’t always the case.

Until Gutenberg, books couldn’t be mass produced easily.

Still, it was centuries before widespread literacy and cheap production led to the rise of the “penny bloods” in the 1830s, later called “penny dreadfuls” in the 1860s.

British Library reference page

Those were followed by “dime novels” in the USA.

Wikipedia article

1896 saw a major change, with Argosy becoming what is widely recognized as the first of the “pulp magazines”.

The pulps were called that because they were printed on cheap paper (paper is made in part by “pulping” wood). That’s something that should be clearly understood: pulps were unashamedly cheap. Early pulps had no illustrations. The pages had ragged edges and the magazines would fall apart after (hopefully) a reading or two.

Authors were paid very little. Still, they were paid, and some would later become famous (Robert Heinlein, Erle Stanley Gardner, Upton Sinclair…). Many of them would turn out prodigious amounts of fiction under different names…not to fool the publishers, but sometimes in collaboration with them. A publisher wanted to appear to have a variety of authors of short stories in the same issue…not be seen as a one-author publisher.

Certainly, short story collections were very common…but it is important to note that there were also a lot of full-length stories (sometimes serialized across several issues, sometimes whole in one).

That’s important to note: the pulps are literature. They are about words and ideas, feelings and thoughts. There is a tendency to tie them together with comic books, but they are really two very different things. Comic books (and this is not a criticism of their worth or significance) are pictures with words. Pulps may have a few illustrations, but not more than you would see in many books. It’s writing.

That’s not to say that it always deathless prose. Doc Savage, one of the leading pulps (and soon to be a major motion picture starring the surging Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, People’s Sexiest Man Alive and one of the leads in Disney’s Moana), is one of my fictional heroes (I would not be the person I am today without being inspired by Doc to try to improve myself to help others). Still, with writing something like a novel a month most months for years, Lester Dent (writing under the “house name” of Kenneth Robeson…and when Dent didn’t write the adventures, the author generally wrote outlines for them), there were some repetitive descriptions. We Doc fans enjoy that…reading of Doc’s eyes being like “stirred pools of fleck gold” or muscles being like bundled piano wire. While themes might repeat, though, plots didn’t…each Doc adventure has its own value.

Many pulps (but notably not Doc Savage) are now in the public domain (no longer under copyright protection). Like all literature published in the USA prior to 1923, early pulps are. When copyright renewal was required, many pulps were not renewed…either the companies weren’t still around, or it didn’t seem worth it to pay the fee.

That means you can get many of them as legally free e-editions, or read them online.

One source I recommend is

The Pulp Magazines Project

It was created by Patrick Scott Belk, an Assistant Professor of English Literature at the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown in Pennsylvania.

You can read the roughly 320 issues online on a tablet, phone, or computer, or download them as PDFs, which would mean you could read them on many Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers).

In addition to the magazines themselves, there are some context articles, biographies, a cover gallery, and more.

The only thing I’d say that might be confusing is that a magazine’s home page lists the number of issues…that’s the number of total issues published, not the number that they have on the site (which is typically much lower). That’s a minor point, though, and it does have historical importance.

Before I make a few suggestions, I just want to mention that it was a different time, with different cultural standards. There may certainly be character descriptions and plot elements which modern audiences could find offensive (see The Chronological Cultural Context Conundrum). Some of these may also be pretty scary or perhaps a bit racy.

I think you’ll find these interesting, sort of like time traveling…speaking of which, I will eventually be linking appropriate ones from The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project.

The need for a site like The Pulp Magazines Project, especially for something which was once so popular, points out a different cultural attitude. There was once something called “ephemera”, which was only expected to be valuable for a very short time. They weren’t expected to have lasting value…here today, gone tomorrow. Now, everything could possibly last forever. 🙂 I find it likely that if copyright still had to be renewed, the percentage of people/organizations doing it would be much higher. Even shows that are fifty years old or more are being remade, and original works are being watched/read/heard.

One more thing: we may see a resurgence of interest in pulps when the Dwayne Johnson/Shane Black version of Doc Savage releases. I’m really hoping that they release the original Doc Savage adventures (there are 181 of them) as legal Kindle books. I would pay $100 for a bundle of all of them…hint, hint. 😉

Enjoy!

Don’t forget, we are still in a huge period of sales, and that will continue through tomorrow (Cyber Monday) and beyond. Keep your eye on these three Amazon pages:

Amazon Black Friday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s the one with frequently changing deals which may sell out and which may only last for a limited time.

If you have an Alexa-enabled device, check these deals:

http://www.amazon.com/alexadeals (at AmazonSmile*)

Then, starting Monday:

Amazon Cyber Monday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

Reportedly, Amazon is having a great sales weekend, volume-wise…and I expect it to continue! Especially look at the deals on Amazon devices!

Do you have any pulps you’d recommend? Seen any Black Friday weekend/Cyber Monday deals you’d suggest? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday at Amazon

November 25, 2016

Black Friday and Cyber Monday at Amazon

We love Black Friday!

My Significant Other and I consider it our best date of the year. 🙂

I know that sounds funny, but it’s not about us finding gifts for family and friends or fighting the crowds to get the best bargains.

We set ourselves a budget, and then shop for

Toys for Tots

We have some goals and guidelines:

  • I especially want to get some things with well-known characters. Just because a child isn’t in a home with a TV or going out to the movies doesn’t mean that they don’t know about Frozen, Minions, and superheroes. I think it makes them feel “normal” to have those things, and that’s important
  • We try to avoid things with batteries or too many pieces. We picture kids who are in insecure living environments, who may need to take one or two things from home to home. Books, of course, are great for that
  • We want a mix of appeal…arts and crafts, geeky things, sporty things, and especially want to include things for older children (teenagers). Toys and games are important at any age, but we think a high percentage of Toys for Tots donations are geared for kids ten and under
  • We also like having traditional and nostalgic toys! We waited at Toys R Us for them to bring out more Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for $10. Wooden alphabet puzzles, shape sorters, all that sort of thing
  • I also like to picture what I would have wanted and what might change somebody’s life. This year, for example, we a harmonica and a book on how to play, a little magic set…and a wall map of the world. I can imagine each f those eventually being cited by someone in a biography 🙂

After we buy them, we load up the car (and yes, pose them a bit):

Back seat filled with toys and games, including two very large teddy bears seated as if they were passengers, Star Wars Game, Elmo  "Way back" filled with games, toys, and puzzles, including a precariously balanced Jenga

and take them to our local firehouse. When we ring the bell, they may come out a bit trepidatiously…there are some hard reasons why people might ring that bell. Once they see what we have and bring it in (they’ll help), it’s so great!

Scene in the firehouse with Toys for Tots barrel and overlow

In terms of actual shopping for family and friends, it’s most Amazon, although we do buy from some other sites (I like Brad’s Deals, Pulse TV, Buy Dig, and iTech Deals as four sources). For Black Friday information, we use

https://www.blackfriday.fm/

It’s pretty well organized, and there is an app for it as well. You can see what hours stores are open, search for types of items, specific items, and more.

So, Amazon online…you can start here:

Amazon Black Friday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s the one with frequently changing deals which may sell out and which may only last for a limited time.

If you have an Alexa-enabled device, check these deals:

http://www.amazon.com/alexadeals (at AmazonSmile*)

You have to order it via voice through your device, but you can see them there. Those haven’t been changing that often. At time of writing, you get a $10 gift card with a purchase of $20 more of one of Alexa’s Best Deals (you do have to be a Prime member).

This Monday, November 28, is “Cyber Monday”. It’s interesting to me that it’s still an “observed” and growing holiday. It really happened initially because people had better internet access at work than they did at home, so they would find their bargains after the weekend. I would guess for many people their internet is now faster (and more available) at home…and with the growing amount of shopping being done on phones and tablets, it’s less relevant. Of course, we still vote on Tuesday to give farmers time to travel into town in time to vote, so some things stick around. 😉

This is where the deals will be:

Amazon Cyber Monday deals (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon has announced a number of their Cyber Monday deals in this

press release

Here are some of the deals in the press release:

  • Dash Buttons, .99 cents to buy and $4.99 credit back after your first purchase
  • Save $40 on Amazon Echo, only $139.99
  • Save $10 on Echo Dot, only $39.99
  • Save $40 on Amazon Tap, only $89.99
  • Fire tablet, only $33.33
  • Save $25 on Fire Kids Edition tablet, only $74.99
  • Save $30 on Fire HD 8, only $59.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle, only $49.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle for Kids Bundle, only $69.99
  • Save $20 on Kindle Paperwhite, only $99.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle Voyage, only $169.99
  • Save $15 on Amazon Fire TV, only $74.99
  • Save $10 on Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, only $29.99
  • Save up to 85% on select Kindle books, including best-sellers like Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, and The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Remember that you can buy Kindle books as a gift and delay the delivery date until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print out something you can wrap and give later.

Two other tips:

You can install the free

Amazon Assistant (at AmazonSmile*)

to use in your browser on your computer, and the

Amazon Shopping app (at AmazonSmile*)

to use on your phone.

Both of them will help you with your shopping, alerting you to deals and such.

However, as I was installing the Assistant for this story, I have to say…it wanted a lot of permissions! I’ll have to check it out more before I turn it on.

I hope you had a wonderful time yesterday, and are looking forward to the days and weeks ahead!

One last picture…this was in Target, and it shows the presence of Amazon devices:

Amazon device display at Target shoing Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks

Enjoy!

If you have at special deals to which you want to alert me and my readers, or other thoughts, feel free to let us know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble…comparable sales down 3%, new NOOK tablet, Black Friday

November 23, 2016

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble…comparable sales down 3%, new NOOK tablet, Black Friday

Interesting week at Barnes & Noble…

First, they released financial for Q2, and they simply aren’t good.

press release

Comparable store sales were down 3.2%. NOOK sales (both devices and NOOK books) were down another 19.4%, continuing an “off the cliff” trend.

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I find it quite odd that Leonard Riggio, Chief Executive Officer (they are looking for another…Riggio was the founding force behind this incarnation of B&N, and had chosen to reduce involvement, but stepped up again recently as a temporary measure) and Chairman of the Board, is blaming the election for “sluggish sales”.

The election should have been good for book sales: people are more curious, more information seeking. I don’t recall that being a trend in past elections, although perhaps the suggestion is that this particularly contentious election took people’s minds away from reading. Also, the idea that this post-election period is going to make people re-engage with reading if they had stepped away…well, I’d say the news coverage hasn’t been less about politics recently than it was in the lead-up.

It’s also worth noting that the big tradpubs (traditional publishers) have been having relatively good financial reports recently, suggesting that they weren’t negatively impacted by the election (which has been going on really for more than a year). It feels…counterintuitive that the publishers wouldn’t be negatively impacted but that Barnes & Noble would. B&N is less symbiotic with book publishing than it used to be (they sell a lot more toys and other non-book items now than previously), but still…

Right in the midst of this, they are announcing a new NOOK branded tablet, in the stores on Black Friday.

NOOK press release

It’s $49.99, and NOOK tablets are good devices. They say “It features front and rear-facing cameras, Bluetooth compatibility, a soft-touch back, a quad-core processor, and expandable storage space from 8GB to an additional 128GB via a microSD card (sold separately)…” Good tablet, good price, quite a few benefits for NOOK customers (including being able to read “any book” on it for an hour a day when in a Barnes & Noble. The NOOK brand of hardware has been fine…it’s been more of B&N that’s been the issue.

Barnes & Noble also announced the appointment of Demos Parneros as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

COO press release

Some in the blogosphere were surprised that they announced a COO before a new CEO, but I’m sure they want to get through the holiday season before changing out the CEO.

With all that said, there are still good reasons to shop at a B&N on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving), even though I would say that is more for physical books (and other items).

Black Friday press release

They are doing something again this year which they did last year…signed editions. More than half a million books have been signed, and by some very well known people. Some of these will sell out quickly, and they do make great gifts.

Signed Editions information

Signing authors include current pop culture favs Amy Schumer and Trevor Noah, and nostalgic signed editions include The Phantom Tollbooth and The Outsiders.

We’ll be doing most of our Black Friday shopping at Amazon

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

but we do go out on Black Friday itself and over that weekend. Our main purpose is Toys for Tots, but we like to get books to donate as well.

Don’t forget that there are great deals on Amazon devices right now! I’d particularly suggest

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99 (down from $119.99)

but there are a lot of choices.

Have fun!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

Amazon Allowance: an easy way to enable (and control) spending at Amazon

November 22, 2016

Amazon Allowance: an easy way to enable (and control) spending at Amazon

Amazon makes it easy to buy stuff.

Really, really easy. 🙂

We’ve bought several holiday deals just by asking our

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

to order it for us.

That’s after we find them using a computer to see the deals at

http://www.amazon.com/alexadeals (at AmazonSmile*)

Sure, we could say, “Alexa, what are your deals?” but Alexa only tells us a couple of deals at a time, and it’s much easier to review it visually first.

However, there is still a good reason for us to say, “Alexa, what are your deals?” Amazon has a giveaway happening with a top prize of a $2,000 Amazon gift card! You need to first go to this site:

Giveaway (at AmazonSmile*)

and enter (basically by putting in your e-mail address), and after you enter, say to your Echo device, “What are your deals?”

Let me know if you win!

So, with voice-ordering and 1-click, it’s very easy to spend more money than you intended without realizing it.

One way people do that is by buying

gift cards (at AmazonSmile*)

for themselves and not spending anything beyond that.

That means, though, needing to remember to reload them.

There’s an easier way!

Amazon now has

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

It works very much like a gift card, with the same sorts of limitations (you can’t use a gift-card for a subscription, for example)…but you can set it up to happen automatically weekly or monthly!

They explicitly say that you can use it to fund your own spending, but you can also set it up for someone else (who must be at least 13 years old…you are always supposed to be 13 years old to shop at the Amazon.com site).

All you need is the person’s e-mail address. If they don’t have an Amazon account (that’s required), Amazon will tell them how to start one.

They do say you can give a one-time allowance…but I’m not sure why you would do that rather than a gift card.

I think this is going to be a great option for many people, for Kindle Klubs, and for teenagers.

Of course, another way to control spending is through subsers (subscription services) like

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

but that’s a lot more limited. The Amazon Allowance can be used for e-books, physical books, other physical items…anything that can be purchased with gift cards.

What do you think? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

Today’s KDD: “Up to 80% off readers’ top nonfiction picks”

November 20, 2016

Today’s KDD: “Up to 80% off readers’ top nonfiction picks”

Today’s

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

is “Up to 80% off readers’ top nonfiction picks”.

I love reading non-fiction! Of course, I’m sure that some regular readers think I’m a pretty non-discriminating reader. 😉 Yes, I do tend to find something good in every book I read, but I don’t like them all equally.

There has certainly been some (a lot) of fiction that has really affected me and that I’ve really enjoyed…the Oz books and the Doc Savage books are obvious ones, but there are so many.

At least equally, though, there has been much non-fiction. It’s a guess, but it’s possible I’ve read more non-fiction than fiction, but I’m not at all sure. Might be more true as an adult…

For me, that has been many kinds of non-fiction. Science? Sure. Pop culture reference? Definitely. Human cognition and behavior patterning? You betcha…that fits into my “day job”. Biographies? Current events? Yep and yep. 🙂 Word origins and odd words? One of my favorites!

Today’s mix is an interesting one, and with some good deals for sure. Remember that you can buy the book on sale and delay the delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print it out and wrap it and give it whenever you want. What happens if your recipient already has it (you know, because they might read ILMK, too?) 😉 ? They can get store credit instead.

Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button: these prices may not apply in your country (and I have readers around the world), and at least in the past, books have “sold out”.

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari | 4.5 stars out of 5| 2,202 customer reviews at time of writing | $4.99
  • Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (it has been a great disappointment to me that the publisher, Random House, continue to block text-to-speech access** on this title. I’d like to read it, but for myself and my family, we don’t buy books where the publisher has made that decision. Publishers have changed that position before, and I think this one was probably blocked back when Random House was routinely blocking ((they don’t routinely do that any more)))
  • This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  • Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra | 4.7 star | 2,071 reviews
  • Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor by Clinton Romesha
  • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big… by Scott Adams
  • NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of… by Steve Silberman
  • Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and… by Simon Sinek
  • A New Earth (Oprah #61): Awakening to Your Life’s… by Eckhart Tolle
  • Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader… by Irin Carmon
  • The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under… by Joshua Becker
  • My Story by Elizabeth A. Smart
  • Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling… by Laura Markham
  • Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry
  • Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two… by Stephen Ambrose
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
  • Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book by Bobby Bones
  • The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
  • The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist… by Anthony Sadler
  • I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You: A Life on the Low Road by Mishka Shubaly
  • Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly… by Joshua Davis
  • Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh
  • Journal of a Solitude: The Journals of Mary Sarton by May Sarton
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for… by Jes Baker
  • Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna… by Claire Prentice
  • Murder in Little Egypt: The True Story of a… by Darcy O’Brien
  • Agony and Eloquence: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson… by Daniel L. Mallock

Enjoy!

By the way, I’m looking to put together a post on books for the last year, and I thought one way to do it would be to ask you to tell me books you found through ILMK (wouldn’t have to be published in 2016…just that you found it through ILMK in 2016). You could have been very familiar with it, but got it on sale or as a gift for somebody. I’m torn, because that feels a bit self-serving, but I do think we are a community in a way, and I want what has affected you so it will help others. Deals are often for a very limited time (like a single day, like today), so I don’t want people to miss it. If you have stories that fit, “I Found It through ILMK”, or other comments for me or my readers, feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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.

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books. 

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’s new review filters

November 19, 2016

Amazon’s new review filters

There has been lots of discussion about review at Amazon…people paying for reviews, “sock puppets” (where an author essentially tells other people what to say to get good reviews and comments), and so on.

I’ve written about the subject some here, and I was pleased when regular reader and commenter pointed out a recent change.

It might at first seem like the change that was noted might not be good, but Amazon is giving you a lot of options now…they just didn’t make it obvious that they did it, so it might…mislead you a bit if you thought it was still going to work the same way.

The change you might initially notice is that you click to read the reviews on a product page…and not enough reviews appear to be there.

That’s because the new default is to only show you “verified purchasers”. That clearly can cut down on “fake reviews”…if the account has to have purchased the item, it makes it harder to sock puppet accounts (and certainly, more expensive).

For example, let’s look at the recent John Grisham book

The Whistler (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They used to just show you the reviews, and you could pick most helpful or jump to critical or particular star ratings (I used to look at the one stars, for example, to see if I disagreed with the reasons).

Now, you get a lot more choices.

At time of writing, there were 1,312 customer reviews, with an average of 4.1 stars out of 5.

Top customer reviews show first…those are the ones voted most helpful, whether they are positive or negative. In this case, 118 voted for a 3 star review, then the next one was 53 people voting for a two star review.

On the other side of the page were the ten most recent reviews.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

There used to be a link that takes you to all of the reviews…now, it (and it is labeled this way) you first see verified purchaser reviews only.

Whoops, the numbers changed while I was writing this! So, there are 1,338 reviews now, and 1,211 of them are verified…that means not quite ten percent of them are not verified. There is a link right there to see all reviews if you want.

There is a sort option which defaults to Top, and you can choose to sort by most recent.

Then, there are three more controls:

  • Verified Purchasers or All Reviewers
  • 5 star only or 4 star only or 3 star only or 2 star only or 1 star only…or all critical or all positive
  • Finally, I could choose to see All Formats or just the Kindle format (I was on the Kindle format page)

That’s interesting! 1,211 reviews were available for all formats, and the Kindle format was 1,096…again, about 90.5 percent of them are Kindle. My guess is that’s largely a result of it being very easy to write Kindle reviews…they encourage you to do it every time you finish a Kindle book. If you read a hardback, you’d have to remember to go to Amazon and write the review.

This means that we could actually compare the different formats…so it may be possible to tell if the Kindle format is less well-received than the hardback. That used to happen sometimes, because it might have been less well-formatted. I think that’s less true now.

For example, 632 of the Kindle only reviews are 5 star out of 1,167 (all reviewers, not just verified). That’s 54%.

Switching over to the hardback format, 48 of the hardback only are 5 stars, out of 119…which is about 40%. That means a lot more Kindleers rated it 5 star than hardback readers.

Flipping to 1 star reviews, that’s 12 of the 119 for the hardback: about 10%. For the Kindle version, 48 out of 1,167, about 4%. Definitely seems like people like the Kindle version better. Now, does that mean it is better, or perhaps that Kindleers are less critical? Perhaps less expensive books are reviewed more highly, although the difference here is under $2.50 (worth noting that the Kindle book is under $15, and the hardback (after the discounts) isn’t.

Overall, I think this is a very good thing! It gives us more information, and more options…and I do thank Lady Galaxy for helping people go into it with eyes open!

What do you think? Do you like the new changes? Do you think you’ll use them? Feel free to tell me any readers by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Friday only: Prime for new members for $79

November 18, 2016

Friday only: Prime for new members for $79

This is a rarity, but new Prime members can sign up for $79 for the year starting Friday at 12:00am ET and ending at 11:59pm PT. They can do that by going to

http://www.amazon.com/thegrandtourprime

I say “they”, because I’m not part of that group, already being a happy Prime member.

Whether you get that discount or not, joining

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

gets you a lot of stuff!

It used to mostly be about free and reduced price shipping…and it still is. 😉

However, they have continued to add many benefits, and content is a big part of that.

You want to read Kindle books? You can borrow from a rotating group of (currently) over 1,000 titles, including these, all of which I’ve read and would recommend:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit (Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
  • The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury by Bill Watterson
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

You can also get a free book to own each month from a small selection of books to be published by Amazon the following month (Kindle First).

How about magazines? Just a slice of the included offerings…

  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Vanity Fair
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Time
  • Reader’s Digest
  • National Enquirer (and people won’t be able to tell you are reading it) 😉

Music? More than two million choices! When I’m at work, I listen to at least one birthday artist…and Prime always comes through for me. Recently, that’s included:

  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Cleo Laine
  • Petula Clark
  • Sean Combs (although I had to snap that off quickly, because it wasn’t “safe for work” and my coworkers can hear my music) 😉

Now, that might make it all sound like older stuff, but it impresses me that they have that. Popular albums include

  • 25 by Adele
  • Hamilton
  • Trolls
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Storyteller by Carrie Underwood

Prefer visual entertainment?

  • Spectre
  • Mr. Holmes
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Sicario
  • Room
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Grimm
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Orphan Black
  • The original Star Trek

Close to 30,000 videos!

Are you (or someone on your account) a gamer? There is a special Twitch part of Prime…this month, it’s WATCH DOGS 2.

That’s just part of Prime…seems well worth it to me, and it does make a great gift. 🙂

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

Many more bargains coming from here to the end of the year!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

Amazon: “The Best Books of 2016”

November 17, 2016

Amazon: “The Best Books of 2016”

I do love the tech involved in Amazon’s hardware, but I’m always going to love those books! After all, I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager…they used to be my bread and butter, so to speak, however, I loved books before that, too. 🙂

That’s why one of the most intriguing things for me each year is when Amazon does their “Best Books of the Year”…and here it is!

http://amazon.com/bestbooks2016 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

These are all editorial picks, meaning that human beings made the selections. 🙂 There are 100 best Kindle book and 100 best print books, but because they do the best in categories (and holiday picks and celebrity picks and…) there are more than that.

One thing that can happen with curated book lists is that a relatively obscure book can suddenly become a big seller through discovery.

For example, there is a book on the list with only eight customer reviews, ranked #26,240 paid in the Kindle store:

Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets (at AmazonSmile*)

Now, it’s reasonable to point out that the book was just released November 15th, which has something to do with the number of reviews…but at AmazonSmile* Zadie Smith isn’t even released yet, and is ranked #581 (due to pre-sales). Reviews are not allowed yet, though. Beyond Earth sounds interesting…it’s non-fiction about the future of space travel (including Jeff Bezos’ efforts), and looking at Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) as a destination perhaps preferable to Mars. That one is going on my wish list…not Titan, but the book. 🙂

While Beyond Earth is not science fiction, the twenty titles in the

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2016 (at AmazonSmile*)

For one thing, you can see the often huge savings in the Kindle version versus the print version. Some examples (prices are at time of writing):

  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman | $9.74 in paperback, $1.99 in Kindle
  • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere) by Meg Elison | $9.00 in paperback, #3.99 in Kindle
  • The Dark Side by Anthony O’Neill | $10.35 in paperback, $4.99 in Kindle

Two of the books (10%) are even available at no extra cost to

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

members. That increases the chances that they’ll show up in Prime Reading at some point (making them free to borrow for some Prime Members).

The more than forty celebrities are an intriguing, eclectic bunch! From Anne Rice to Padma Lakshmi through Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, I love seeing the books (especially the older ones, like Lenny Lawson’s pick of The Color Magic (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett). Click on a celebrity to see their comments about the book.

Another nice section is the Editors’ Holiday Gift Picks. The categories (and I like the names of them) are:

  • Little Bookworms
  • Fun & Quirky
  • Eat, Drink, Read
  • Young (Adult) at Heart
  • Fantastic Fiction
  • Nothing But the Truth
  • Coffee Table Eye Candy
  • Cops & Crooks
  • Secrets of Success
  • Design, Construct, Create

Not surprisingly, there are some books in “Fun & Quirky” that really caught my eye!

Some from there:

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras (based on a wonderful website)
  • 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying by Sarah Cooper
  • Judgmental Maps: Your City. Judged. by Trent Gillaspie
  • Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker (14 reviews with a perfect 5.0 star average!)

When Amazon sent me the press release, they were nice enough to ask if I would like to speak with the Editors about it. I’ve enjoyed doing that before, but I wanted to give you the opportunity. Are there questions you would like to ask the Editors based on the list? If you do, please comment on this post. There is no guarantee that they’ll take the questions, but I’d like to send them three from my readers and see if they’ll answer them. If so, I’ll publish the answers here. Of course, by posting the comments, you are giving me permission to send them to Amazon without compensation.

If you have other comments too, feel free to share them with me and my readers!

I would think I can’t wait long to send them: I’m going to make your cutoff noon Pacific time on this Friday, November 18th.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Round up #150: cast Harry Potter spells at Amazon, tradpubs rebound

November 15, 2016

Round up #150:Round up #150: cast Harry Potter spells at Amazon, tradpubs rebound

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

“55 Books to Read this Fall”

This is a nice slideshow of some of the big name books for the fall. It comes from Entertainment Weekly, to which I have been subscribing for a very long time.

Entertainment Weekly article published by Tina Jordan and Isabella Biedenharn

Definitely interesting books…how about this graphic novel from Margaret Atwood?

Angel Catbird Volume 1 (Graphic Novel) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

“Your brain on books, or the benefits of reading (infographic)”

EBOOK FRIENDLY post by Ola Kolwalczyk

Always a good topic. 😉 This one is particularly science-based with nice links.

Amazon Music Unlimited comes to the UK

The Verge post by James Vincent

While USA Amazon customers may get things first sometimes, Amazon is truly an international company. I’m not subscribing to Amazon Music Unlimited, but I’m sure many people will. I’ve been using the richer language interface to Prime music, though…I wanted some music for work, and asked for “happy jazz”…and it delivered nicely.

Speaking of Britain, this is a nice

The Guardian article by Darien Graham-Smith

with beginner’s tips for the

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

Tradpubs rebound

While there was a lot of concern for traditional publishers (which I call “tradpubs”) that they were doomed with the rise of e-books and the supposed declined of reading, that doesn’t seem to be the case, or at least not a straight linear decline. According to this

Publishers Weekly post by Jim Milliot

there was a notable increasing trend in this year’s third quarter…despite, by the way, a downward trend in e-book sales for tradpubs. As I’ve written before, I don’t think that means fewer e-books are being read…just that customers may be migrating way from tradpubs as their source for e-books.

Amazon must refund in-app purchases by kids

According to this

New York Daily News article and other sources

Amazon has to refund purchases made by kids inside apps (“in-app purchases”). Amazon isn’t often found legally at fault in terms of consumer practices, and it’s worth noting that Apple and Google were also earlier found to have done the same thing, and that all three have taken steps to remedy the situation.

Bookstore bans Wi-Fi to encourage people to read books while in the store

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager…and I would not have done this.

ABC7New reports about Wind City Books’ policy in this

article

The store encourages customers to “live like it’s 1993” and says that “EMAILS CAN WAIT”.

I understand the concept…but it seems to be a very backward concept of how people use mobile devices. E-mail is hardly as important to people on the road as texting, and it blocks people off from many sources that benefit those with disabilities, among other things. Quite simply, you could put people at considerable risk.

I don’t doubt their motives…although blocking Wi-Fi perhaps benefits the store by making it more difficult to use the retailer for “showrooming”, where people look at books in a store and then buy them online.

I could see giving people the option of a Wi-Fi free zone for a reading room, but doing it in a store is different.

Black Friday is next week

Lots of people seem to feel like Thanksgiving snuck up on this year…I suspect people have been very distracted by the news lately.

I’m not seeing all that much about Kindle deals (although they will be there), but I am seeing rumors of the Echo for $139.99 and the All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for $39.99 as Early Bird sales at Best Buy.

If you have an Echo family product, you can just ask Alexa, “What are your deals?” to get exclusive deals. That’s something I’ve wanted from the beginning for Alexa, and it does seem to be pretty impressive.

Amazon does have its own deals on Kindle and other devices right now, as part of the countdown to Black Friday. Check out

Countdown to Black Friday (at AmazonSmile*)

Harry Potter spells at Amazon

Finally, just for fun (and promoting the Fantastic Beasts movie), try typing these Harry Potter spell words into the searchbox at Amazon.com:

  • incendio
  • aguamenti
  • orchideous
  • reducto
  • lumos

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.


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