Archive for July, 2017

Why do Amazon-published books sell so well…at Amazon?

July 18, 2017

Why do Amazon-published books sell so well…at Amazon?

This might seem obvious, but that’s not necessarily so. 🙂

Why do books traditionally published by Amazon sell so well at Amazon?

Silly, right? Don’t Ford cars sell well at Ford dealerships?

Well, yes. I think that’s different, though. People go to the Ford dealership to buy a Ford car (unless they are buying one that was traded in). I don’t think people generally go to Amazon to buy an Amazon book…they go to buy a book. 😉

By the way, I need to clarify that I’m only talking e-books here. I’m also only talking about the ones traditionally published by Amazon, not those published using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Traditional publishing means that Amazon chooses the books to be published.

Let me also take a look: out of the top 20

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

how many are traditionally published by Amazon?

#1

#2

#7

#8

#9

#11

#16

#17

#18

#19

So, exactly half of them. Amazon doesn’t publish anywhere near 1% of the books in the Kindle store, so they are doing disproportionately well, at least at the very top.

Now, I’ll tell you why I don’t think they sell well just because they were published by Amazon. In my experience as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager is that people generally don’t care about who the publisher is. That’s not always true: some examples would be Penguin classics, Black Lizard mysteries, Prometheus for skeptical books (they others, too), Little Golden books…but for things like mainstream novels, I wouldn’t guess that 75% of the buyers cared.

Hm…most Amazon published-books, certainly these very popular ones, are genre titles, and people did care the publisher there. Harlequin for romance, for example, and Montlake, Amazon’s romance imprint was well-represented.

Still, Amazon doesn’t even surface an “aisle” for their own publishing.

Are the books simply better?

I’m not giving Amazon that one. 🙂 They can be good, but are they significantly better than the books from the Big Five?

One could assume that Amazon promotes them more on the site, and they do, to some extent. I wouldn’t say it’s obvious though…they aren’t shoving them in your face every time you log on, or even when you go to the storefront.

I suspect that what they do is some things other publishers could do…

That’s my thinking on it: low prices, quality production, including features like TTS. That doesn’t mean your book will sell as well as Amazon’s, but I think those things will tend to increase sales.

What do you think? Do you buy books just because they were published by Amazon? How many Amazon imprints can you name? What factors affect your decision to buy? 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 The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

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Today’s KDD: “Books for your summer reading, $1.99 & up”

July 16, 2017

Today’s KDD: “Books for your summer reading, $1.99 & up”

Today’s

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

is another particularly good one!

These aren’t the “usual” suspects…there are some books and authors which tend to show up pretty often (Kurt Vonnegut, for example). There are really well-known books and authors in this group, and the prices are good. Remember that, in addition to buying for yourself, you could buy these as gifts (either delaying the delivery, or sending them to yourself so you can print them out and give them whenever you want). There are also some good ones for a “guest Kindle”. 🙂

As always, check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze that Buy button: the sale may not be happening in your country, and you may see this after the sale is over.

Here we go!

  • The Martian (at AmazonSmile*) by Andy Weir | 4.7 stars out of 5 | 29,894 customer reviews | great reviews, bestseller, basis for a movie…and $3.99!
  • A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 1) by George R.R. Martin | 4.6 stars | 9,490 reviews | $1.99…quick! Read it before the new season starts tonight! 😉 There would be an argument for buying an omnibus edition, but this is a low-cost way to get started, or to give as a gift
  • The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John Le Carre
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  • The Last Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  • Bay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy Book 2) by Nora Roberts
  • The Last Day of Night by Graham Moore
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts
  • The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
  • The Travelers by Chris Pavone
  • The Fifth Petal by Brusonia Barry

Enjoy!

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

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

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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Wrap up: Prime Day 2017

July 15, 2017

Wrap up: Prime Day 2017

I found that this year, after the third

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

on July 11th, the buzz was generally positive. People at work knew about it, asked me about, and smiled about it. I know some of them saved some real money…some with my help, some without it.

In this

press release

Amazon gives us some of the statistics.

While I have no doubt that there was really significant growth, Amazon doesn’t make it easy to tell. They compare this year’s 30 hour Prime Day to “…the same 30 hours last year”. Was that July 10th at 6:00 Pacific to July 11th at midnight (not Prime Day to Prime Day)? Seems like it…

When we look at the amount of participation, we have to note that there were more countries participating this year, and there were probably a lot more

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

in the USA going into it as well.

Those caveats out of the way…

These are two of the big stats, in this short excerpt from the press release:

“More new members joined Prime on July 11 than on any single day in Amazon history. Tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day 2017, more than 50 percent higher than the prior year.”

Getting and keeping Prime members? That’s an important part of Amazon’s retail strategy (which is only one of Amazon’s revenue streams).

They are also right to tout the growth for third-party sellers.

Now, in terms of what sold, no question that Amazon devices dominated, with the

All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

on sale for $34.99 ($15 off) leading the way.

They also gave us the bestsellers (outside of Amazon devices) from each Amazon site, and they are interesting to compare!

One surprise for me for the USA was that they list one of the

23andMe DNA tests (at AmazonSmile*)

as one of the bestsellers.

You can tell looking at this that people did buy expensive items (they might have bought inexpensive ones, too), which is good…bigger cash savings for the same percentage.

That’s what people did generally…what about you, my readers?

We’ll start with a poll I already had up in a post where I tried to help you find bargains. If you already answered it there, you can answer it again to add other choices…just don’t put the same one in you already did. 🙂 I did it this way because I posted it before Prime Day was over, and I figured your circumstances might change. I also added one option (about Kindle Unlimited) at the suggestion of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy:

I also said I would add a poll about how much you saved. When you answer this, count money you saved on the 40% off Kindle Unlimited deal, or other deals which were on the Prime Day page before Prime Day officially started. Oh, and I’d combine all the money from one account (even if more than one person was shopping on that account), and, I suppose, if you shopped on more than one personal account on Prime Day, I’d combine those, too:

I’ll be interested to see how many people saved more than the normal Prime membership cost!

One last thing: the most downloaded

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

book was

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine (at
AmazonSmile*
)

It’s well-reviewed and one of the most read books, and it was published by one of Amazon’s traditional publishing imprints, Thomas & Mercer.

Well, that was fun this year! I’m looking forward to next year!

Have anything to add? What was the weirdest thing you bought during this year’s Prime Day event? Did you find Prime Day uninteresting? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

 

J.K. Rowling round up

July 13, 2017

J.K. Rowling round up

I believe that the

Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

will be read 100 years from now. I put them in the same category of significance as the Wizard of Oz series (still being read more than a century after the first books in the series were published) and the Lord of the Rings series.

Are books like that just inherently better than books which don’t survive?

I certainly think they are superior to most books, but that’s hardly going to be the only factor.

All three of those series have had culturally impactful adaptations, and that has to be part of it. Interest in the Oz series had the powder of life sprinkled on it when the 1939 movie (which had not been a beloved, box office blockbuster when first released) began to be shown on television.

They’ve also been available to the masses. Paperbacks of LotR, for example, are how many people discovered them. The Harry Potter books are available through

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

They’ve also all built detailed worlds…there is an argument that detail helps build culture amongst readers, and helps with repeat readings and scholarly analysis.

However, the authors are, I think, also a part of the success. There is a lot of mythos around Tolkien writing the books. People know the name of L. Frank Baum, and I think they have an idea of who the author was.

J.K. Rowling, author of the HP books, is very well known, and again, has a solid mythos that readers know.

Lately, JKR has been in the news (which is not new).

One story was about the author writing a manuscript on a party dress…and the theme of the party was your worst private nightmare. The nightmare? A lost manuscript…

Rowling also comments on the current political situation publicly, and responds to perceived injustices by people on the internet.

It’s rare, though, that we get a substantive, sit down interview.

You can see one (which lasts about twenty minutes) here:

J.K. Rowling interview with Christiane Amanpout (video)

That’s the origin of the dress story, as I understand it…I’ve watched the interview and recommend it, but I don’t know for sure that the story might not have been (much less) well-known before that.

What got Rowling to do the interview?

Lumos

Rowling’s non-profit working to deinsitutionalize children around the world.

There are children in orphanages (who may not even actually be orphans) who live in disheartening, even dangerous, conditions.

That’s what Rowling wants to change…ending institutionalization of approximately ten million children worldwide by 2050.

It’s great to see someone who has gotten great success wanting to use it to make a positive difference in the world. Lumos is named after a Harry Potter spell, and you can certainly see some parallels with Harry, but to me, it was clear this is simply about doing good.

I applaud J.K. Rowling’s efforts.

Lumos Foundation USA Inc can be chosen as the non-profit benefited by your purchases at Amazon.com.

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

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

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! :)

 

Prime Day 2017: partial list of sale items! (buy an e-book, get 40% back for another one)

July 10, 2017

Prime Day 2017: partial list of sale items!

I’ve been writing about this year’s

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

and people are asking me what’s going to be on sale. 🙂

They have told us about some items, but I thought it might be useful for me to look at the

Amazon shopping app (at AmazonSmile*)

which is listing many of the sales ahead of time, and list them for people.

Note that they don’t tell us what the price will be. I’m just going to give you the item and what time it is on sale. Wait  until that time, and then ideally, check it in the app to make sure it on a Prime Day sale…I may have some difficulty telling exactly what version it is.

I won’t get anywhere near all of them, and I’ll be subjectively choosing what’s to list first. They may sell out or only be on sale for a short time.

Right now (5:38 PM Pacific), Alexa voice deals are live…and you get an extra $10 off if it’s at least a $20 item (I think just once, not on multiple items). So, we got the

Fire HD 8

for about $30 through Alexa! That’s about $50 off, a great deal! Note that that deal is not available except through Alexa at this time (it may go live other ways at 6:00 PM Pacific on Monday, today, but won’t have the extra $10 off).

Alexa voice deals (but note that you have to order them by voice…you can see them here)

I saw this one this morning (Tuesday):

UPDATE: dulcibelle, one of my readers and commenters, had an important and probably correct interpretation (see comment). It now looks to me like you get 40% back of the purchase price of your first book. that’s an important and big difference. It also makes sense. So, if you bought the $50 book, you would get $20 credit for another book (so you could get two $9.99 books, for example). If you buy a $0.99 book, you only have about forty cents credit. I’ll make this clearer.

That’s one reason I love my readers! They want to help other people, and will respectfully correct me when I’ve made a mistake or misinterpretation.

buy an e-book, get 40% back for another one. Details on page

I do want to point out that you need to wait for a credit to show up in your account before buying the second book, which could take a day. Please do read the details on the page…many of my readers are in parts of the world where this probably doesn’t apply.

One more thing: I’m going to try to link some of these bargains…but to save time, I’ll only link to the main Amazon site. If you want to buy them through AmazonSmile, click on the link, then replace the “WWW” with “Smile” and hit enter.

Good luck and get bargains!

Remember, too, that they may be off sale by the time you click on them. I’ll change it to “live” when they go live, but probably won’t be able to change it to “done” near when most of them finish.

Keep checking back, I’ll be adding to this later!

Here’s one poll about Prime Day…I’ll add another one for how much money you saved after Prime Day ends:

Speaking of which, want to save the most money you can on one item? That’s likely to be the most expensive items, so here I have sorted the Prime Day deals with the most expensive items first. You can literally save thousands of dollars on things like luxury watches…I’ve seen more than 50% off on watches that they list at more than $5,000:

Prime Day deals from most to least expensive items (at AmazonSmile*)

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

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

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! :)

Prime Day starts today at 6:00 PM Pacific (4:00 PM for Alexa voice shoppers)!

July 10, 2017

Prime Day starts today at 6:00 PM Pacific (4:00 PM for Alexa voice shoppers)!

This one is simple. Amazon wants people to be

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

members.

Prime members reportedly spend more, and importantly, that includes on higher margin physical items (what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”).

To increase the number of Prime members, they have to do two things: keep the ones they have, and get more people to become Prime members. Basically, they need to gain more than they lose.

They keep Prime members through all the benefits, and there are a lot. Some of them:

  • Prime Reading (borrow from a selection of about a thousand e-books to read for free)
  • Prime Video
  • Prime Music
  • Free speedy shipping on many items

and that’s just scratching the surface.

They can also offer them special discounts. While that’s not a big thing throughout the year (you don’t usually see two prices on an item, one for Prime members and one for non-members), a couple of years ago they started

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

There can be really big discounts, and they will change rapidly throughout the “day”, with new ones happening as often as every five minutes.

I put “day” in quotation marks, because it is now a lot more than 24 hours.

There have been some deals leading up to it, including a great 40% off discount on

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

but it officially starts today, Monday July 10th, 6:00 PM Pacific Time (9:00 PM Eastern time). People using Alexa voice shopping will be able to start two hours earlier (4:00 PM Pacific time).

How does that get non-Prime members to join?

They can do a trial Prime membership to take advantage of the sales on Prime Day. Sure, they could quit before they paid for it, but Prime tends to be pretty “sticky”, as marketers would call it. Once you have Prime and try it, you tend to like it and convert to being a Prime member.

There is something else that Amazon wants you to have:

Amazon shopping app (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s free, by the way.

What’s the advantage to Amazon of you having it, over shopping through a browser?

It’s possible to browse Amazon without being logged into the site, and I suspect that happens fairly often in places like work.

With the app, you are always logged into it…so Amazon knows what products you visit without buying, and while I don’t know this, they may also know how long you spend on a particular page.

The other thing is that people do shop on mobile, and increasingly so. If you have the Amazon app, you are presumably more likely to buy on your phone.

A third thing about the app? Notifications.

That’s a big advantage for Prime Day!

You can use your Amazon shopping app to see what will be on sale, and when…but not the price until it goes on sale. For example, you might want a tablet stand. There’s one from Pasonomi going on sale at 5:59 PM (that should be Pacific…I assume it shows it to me in my time). You can tap “Watch this deal”. You’ll get a notification when it goes on sale, enabling you to perhaps buy it before the sale ends (or the product sells out…hopefully, there will be less of the latter this year). I’ll track that one, out of curiosity. Amazon has it listed right now at normal price $20.85, and $17.99…that’s before the Prime Day sale.

So, get the app, track the sales.

There may certainly be sales which aren’t in the app. For one thing, I believe Amazon is encouraging third-party sellers to put things on sale during Prime Day, too.

We know some of the things that will be on sale. For example,

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

will be half off! It will be $89.99, versus $179.99.

The

All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

will be only $34.99, as inexpensive as it’s been.

More deals are listed in this

press release

I haven’t seen yet that the Fire HD 8 will be on sale (except in the kids’ version) and we do need to buy a new one…the battery on my Significant Other’s old Kindle Fire HD 7 is not charging well (and I’ve tried several things). We’ll buy one during Prime Day, whether or not they put it on sale…but virtual fingers crossed. 🙂

I’m going to be in my “day job” today when it starts, but if I can update you on great deals I see after that, I will…you can also let me and my readers know by commenting on this post. I’ll need to moderate it, but that often happens pretty quickly.

Good luck and save big!

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

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

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! :)

90 books of the 1990s

July 8, 2017

90 books of the 1990s

Sunday at 9:00, CNN will debut

The Nineties

the latest in the Tom Hanks/Gary Goetzman/Mark Herzog pop culture decade documentaries.

It might seem odd to do a documentary on the 1990s, but most of it was more than twenty years ago. In the 1970s, did the 1950s seem like the “olden days”? Sure, that’s why Happy Days worked. In the 1950s, did they think the 1930s were old? Teenagers certainly did…and that wasn’t even a term in the 1930s. 😉

While the previous decadocumentaries (so to speak) haven’t done much with literature, and I’m expecting this one to focus even more on TV, movies, and tech, there were big books and big things (Amazon launch! World Book Day first celebrated!) happening.

Here are 90 books from the 1990s (in no particular order):

  1. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy (fourth Jack Ryan novel, made into a movie); The Sum of All Fears; Executive Orders; Rainbow Six
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  3. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (hugely successful; the sequel The Lost World also came out in the 1990s)
  4. An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne
  5. Neanderthal by John Darnton
  6. L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy (adapted in 1997)
  7. The Stand (The Complete and Uncut Edition) by Stephen King (the book originally came out in 1978, but this was a publishing event…there was even a very limited special edition); Nightmares & Dreamscapes; The Green Mile
  8. Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
  9. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  10. The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum (third in the series)
  11. The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow (Turow’s second novel)
  12. Primary Colors by Anonymous (later revealed to be Joe Klein)
  13. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss (still a very popular graduation gift)
  14. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (non-fiction by the author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about seeing endangered species)
  15. Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future by Dougal Dixon
  16. An American Life by Ronald Reagan (it was a top ten bestselling “autobiography”, although rumored to be with a lot of ghostwriting by Robert Lindsey)
  17. I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy (a non-fiction sequel to I Am Not Spock)
  18. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (a real touchstone of the 1990s, and quite controversial)
  19. Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture by Douglas Coupland (this novel popularized the term “Generation X”)
  20. The Golden Compass (AKA Northern Lights) by Philip Pullman (first of His Dark Materials)
  21. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (kicked off a successful book series, which was later adapted for TV)
  22. The Firm by John Grisham (this was the author’s breakaway hit…it was Grisham’s second book, but the first one to be a New York Times bestseller); The Pelican Brief; The Client; The Chamber; The Rainmaker; The Runaway Jury; Hackers; The Partner; The Street Lawyer
  23. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
  24. About a Boy by Nick Hornby
  25. Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (the first of the Pendergast series)
  26. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley (a highly publicized sequel to Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)
  27. Heartbeat by Danielle Steel; Jewels; Mixed Blessings; Accident; The Gift; Wings; Five Days in Paris; The Ghost; The Ranch; Special Delivery; The Klone and I; The Long Road Home; Mirror
  28. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  29. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  30. The Children of Men by P.D. James
  31. Grace Notes by Bernard Maclaverty
  32. Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan; How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  33. Blindness by Josè Saramago
  34. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (AKA Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) by J.K. Rowling (1st in the series)
  35. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  36. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (first in the series)
  37. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
  38. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  39. Men Are from  Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray
  40. The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré
  41. Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
  42. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (first published in the USA in the 1990s)
  43. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  44. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
  45. The Boggart by Susan Cooper
  46. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  47. Star Wars books by Kevin J. Anderson (Champions of the Force, Dark Apprentice, Jedi Search, Darksaber); many other people were writing Star Wars novels, too
  48. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Gamer
  49. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  50. The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
  51. Absolute Power by David Baldacci
  52. Intensity by Dean R. Koontz; Seize the Night
  53. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  54. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  55. The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang
  56. Hogfather by Terry Pratchett; Feet of Clay
  57. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  58. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  59. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  60. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell
  61. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  62. Paradise by Toni Morrison
  63. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
  64. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  65. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
  66. The Color of Water by James McBride
  67. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Robert
  68. Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear (and others)
  69. Blood Work by Michael Connelly (first of the Terry McCaleb books)
  70. Sharpe’s Triumph by Bernard Cornwell (and others)
  71. Holes by Louis Sachar
  72. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephon Chbosky
  73. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  74. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  75. The Ant Bully by John Nickle
  76. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1st of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books)
  77. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  78. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  79. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  80. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  81. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  82. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #1)
  83. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  84. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  85. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  86. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
  87. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  88. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  89. Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) by Terry Goodkind
  90. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

That’s ninety! Well actually it’s more than that because I threw in some extras. 🙂

Quite the decade!

Do you have special memories of books published in the 1990s? Feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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

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

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! :)

Alexa Voice Shopping for Prime Day…and a chance to win $5000

July 6, 2017

Alexa Voice Shopping for Prime Day…and a chance to win $5000

This year’s Amazon

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

is July 11th, but it starts on July 10th at 6:00 PM Pacific…unless you are voice shopping on an Alexa device, in which case you’ll be able to start at 4:00 PM Pacific!

Actually, there are Alexa deals right now…and today (July 5th) a sweepstakes starts where you can win $5,000 from Amazon.

The easiest way to enter, if you have an Alexa device (I’ll list them), all you have to do between today and July 19th is say to your device, “Alexa, what are your deals?” You can only enter once, but it’s worth checking the deals more than that. 🙂

If you don’t have one, you can go to the

Sweepstakes Entry Page (at AmazonSmile*)

The official rules are there, too.

If you’ve never done Alexa voice shopping before, you can also get $10 off. The details on that one are on the page with the

list of Alexa deals (at AmazonSmile*)

I have to say, they do have some interesting things! Some of them tie directly into the Alexa, like security cameras and wi-fi extenders…but you can also get a dog toy, dog treats, a sewing machine, and the noise-making

Chewbacca Mask (at AmazonSmile*)

as seen in the viral

Chewbacca Mom video

The available items will change…

Here is

press release

The Alexa deals are available on the

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

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

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile*) (I assume…it doesn’t explicitly say it)

and Alexa-enabled

Fire tablets (at AmazonSmile*)

I do want to mention that the Echo Show has now become part of our lives. 🙂 I wasn’t sure how it would, but we like doing the videocalls, it hears us very well, and I do like the “headlines” that it displays. For example, our dogs get their monthly medications today. It was the best reminder to just see it on the screen when I came out in the morning (I’m not really a morning person), rather than having to respond to something on my phone or tablet. Their trending topics are also often entertaining.

Right now, only two other people in my contacts have Alexa calling enabled for me, but I know that’s sort of a “chicken and the egg” thing…it will be more useful when more people have it, and more people will get it when it’s more useful. 🙂

I’m expecting this Prime Day to be Amazon’s biggest sales day to date!

Enjoy!

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

All aboard 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! :) 

The land of the free (and the no additional cost): 20 things to read/watch/hear

July 4, 2017

The land of the free (and the no additional cost): 20 things to read/watch/hear

Today (July 4th) is the 241st “birthday” of the United States of America.

I wanted to do something to observe that, but also tie it into something that would be fun and helpful for my readers. To celebrate the “Land of the Free”, I thought I’d list 20 things that are available through Amazon that are free or no additional cost.

By “no additional cost”, I mean that you may already be paying something for a subscription (I’ll explain that below), but reading/watching/hearing these will not cost you anything over that amount.

Some things are simply free to anybody who has an Amazon account…I’ll designate those as “free to all”.

I would guess that the majority of my readers have

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

You may have gotten it mainly for the free shipping, in which case the ability to borrow these items really will seem free. However, it’s possible that the Prime Video, or Prime Music, or

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

has influenced your decision to get or keep Prime.

I’ll mark that as AP for “Amazon Prime”.

People typically pay $99 a year for Prime.

While there are other possibilities (including the KOLL: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), I’m only going to use one more designation in this listing: KU, for

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

The typical price for KU (Amazon’s book “subser”…subscription service) is $9.99 a month (although it is on sale right now for “Prime Day”).

Anything in Prime Reading is, I believe, also in KU.

Please note that these are free or no additional cost at the time of writing (and I’m starting writing this on July 3rd Pacific Time), and that may have changed by the time you see it. Please check the price before you click, tap, or eye gaze (the last in Virtual/Augmented Reality) that Buy button.

Finally, what are the criteria for conclusion? Just stuff that catches my eye. 🙂 I’m often surprised at what is available this way. I’ve thought about it: could someone be culturally literate in the USA only through Amazon FONAC (Free Or No Additional Cost)? Well, until they have the 1977 Star Wars, the answer is no. 😉 However, there are some classics here that everybody knows.

I’ll make a comment about each one…even though some of them probably don’t need anything. I’ve either already read/seen/heard them, or there’s some reason to suggest them:

Here we go:

  1. Movie (AP): Star Trek Beyond (the latest movie in the Star Trek series, it was the 16th highest grossing movie in the USA in 2016. We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu, and it feels to me like video streaming is becoming the paperback of the movies…popular releases come out a year later in a smaller, cheaper format) | without Prime (buying not borrowing): $9.99
  2. Book (AP): Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (I know, I know…I mention this probably every time I talk about Prime Reading/KU, but it’s amazing! The book just celebrated twenty years since the original publication of the British edition ((with a slightly different title, and some changes to language)), and I believe this series will be read 100 years from now, as The Wizard of Oz series is still read today) | without Prime: $8.99 (the other original books are also available FONAC)
  3. Book (AP): She Can Run (She Can Series, Book 1) by Melinda Leigh (ranked 152 paid in the Kindle store at time of writing, with 4.3 stars out of 5 and 1,470 reviews…this is the first book of six by a bestselling romance author) | $4.99 to buy
  4. Book (free to all): Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle (simply brilliant, and Holmes is a very contemporary character, even today. I wrote my own Holmes parody in this blog…A Kindle Abandoned)…I also publish these one short story or chapter a day in 221B Blog Street, but this way, you could binge it 😉
  5. Movie (AP): The Wizard of Oz (1939) (Yes, this is the Judy Garland version…”Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more…”) | $9.99 to buy in SD
  6. Magazine (AP): Entertainment Weekly (June 16, 2017 issue) (the Mary Poppins remake is the cover story) | $4.99 for the current issue (not this one)…and they have an incredible deal of $10 for a one-year subscription right now!
  7. Album (AP): Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) | (hottest ticket in town!)
  8. Album (AP): Rumors (Fleetwood Mack): (released in 1977, it’s one of the best selling albums of all time, and includes “Don’t Stop” and “Go Your Own Way”)
  9. TV Series/Movies (AP) : Star Trek: The Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, the original crew/Next Gen movies, the Animated Series, Enterprise…it might not quite be a five year mission to watch all of these, but it would take a long time!
  10. Book (free to all): The Complete Works of Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility…)
  11. Album (AP): Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (and Abbey Road and the White Album and…)
  12. Book (AP): Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman (New York Times bestselling non-fiction)
  13. TV series (AP): Orphan Black (intense fandom is around this series, and remarkable acting performances. Note that the first episode…um, includes a Not Safe For Work scene that might otherwise surprise viewers)
  14. Movies (AP): 2016’s Best Picture Oscar nominees (Moonlight which won, Manchester by the Sea)
  15. Magazine (AP): National Geographic (June 1 issue)
  16. Most read books per Amazon Charts (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (AP): The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff, Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner (note that this is not in order, but they are all in the top 20 right now…Harry Potter books are also in that group)
  17. Nostalgic “kids” TV/movie shorts (AP) (Cartoon Classics, The Best of the Three Stooges in Color…I’m not a fan of “colorizing” black and white movies but this is a good set of five including Disorder in the Court…note also that there may be things in the cartoons and the Stooges which are not considered politically correct today)
  18. Movies (AP): recent smaller highly-rated movies (Mr. Holmes, What We Do in the Shadows, Captain Fantastic)
  19. Music playlist (AP): Echo Favorites (this is sort of like the Most Read Chart for Echo listeners…it’s overwhelmingly contemporary, but not necessarily this week…and outside of that, somewhat eclectic, which I like: Girl Crush, Fight Song, All About That Bass, Ask Me How I Know, Chandelier…interesting what people ask to hear, and I wonder how much of it is sort of a personal soundtrack, asking for a particular song to fit a particular moment)
  20. Kindle Singles (AP) (when I think about summer reading, one of the things I consider is reading short pieces, like magazine articles…there are 101 Kindle Singles listed right now in Prime Reading)

Well, that’s twenty! I actually considered doing 241 when I started this, and while that would have been easy, it would have taken a long time to do and a long time for you to read! I feel like I’m leaving out so many things! Feel free to make more suggestions to me and my readers by commenting on this post. I notice I didn’t do any that were KU and not Prime Reading…maybe next year. 🙂 Here are some links to help you with more discovery:

Enjoy your Fourth!

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

All aboard 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! :) 

Monthly Kindle Deals up to 80% off: July 2017

July 2, 2017

Monthly Kindle Deals up to 80% off: July 2017

Amazon does the Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which used to discount four books a day (often general fiction, a romance, a science fiction/fantasy book, and a kids’ book). Now, it seems like it is generally more books than that, and not categorized…although they have been doing themes this year as well. I’m going to mention today’s (Sunday July 2nd’s) KDD at the bottom of this post, because it’s an especially good one. 🙂

They also do Monthly Kindle Book Deals up to 80% off (at AmazonSmile). There used to be about 100 of them, but there are many times that now: 1,108 at the time of writing…43 fewer than last month.

Those prices only apply to the USA, and one weird thing is that sometimes some of the books seem to sell out at that price (or become unavailable for some other reason).

Another thing is that 217 of them (13 fewer than last month) are available through

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

Amazon lists that information prominently…and it’s now commonly a filter in search results. If they are, then you need to consider whether it is worth buying them…even at these low prices. While they are in KU, you can, if you are a subscriber (and there’s a free month available right now), read them at no additional cost. There are, of course, advantages to owning books, especially if you want to re-read them. A book could move out of KU at any time. Even if you think you want to own it, if you are a KU member, you could always read it first to make sure. 😉 I will mark them with KU.

By the way, in the new version of the

eReaderIQ advanced search

you can make KU a filter. So, you can search for books by an author, a keyword, an average customer review which you can read as part of your KU membership…nice! I’m not associated with eReaderIQ except as a user (we have had some correspondence), but I do think it is the most valuable website for Kindleers.

In terms of which ones are

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

eligible, which is Amazon’s new benefit for Prime members, a rotating list of books you can borrow each month, this month there are 3, which is 12 fewer than last month. That is notably fewer in KU and PR…I can see an argument that not discounting (as much?) a book which is available to borrow for free makes that look like more of an advantage.

I’m going to list some of the books in this sale that caught my eye…I’m not necessarily recommending them, but I do think they are interesting.

The ones I link (if I actually link to specific books) also don’t block text-to-speech access**…but I think blocking it is becoming rarer.

Okay, books!

  • Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld | 4.9 stars out of 5 | 2,674 customer reviews (this is a children’s book…and those are amazing ratings!)
  • The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory
  • Live the Best Story of Your Life: A World Champion’s Guide to Lasting Change by Bob Litwin and Joel Greenblatt
  • Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe by Tom Doyle
  • Accounting for the Numberphobic: A Survival Guide for Small Business Owners by Dawn Fotopulos
  • The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia J. Messinger Carril
  • The Irresistible Revolution, Updated and Expanded: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
  • From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon | 4.8 stars | 1,246 reviews | KU
  • No Place to Hide: A Brain Surgeon’s Long Journey Home from the Iraq War by W. Lee Warren
  • Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need To Knock It Off by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk
  • Cat Shout for Joy: A Joe Grey Mystery (Joe Grey Mystery Series) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Genetic Mystery, a Lethal Cancer, and the Improbable Invention of a Lifesaving Treatment by Jessica Wapner and Robert A. Weinberg
  • Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe by Leonard Maltin and Robert Matzen
  • A Game of Inches (A Jack Patterson Thriller) by Webb Hubbell
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl and Harold S. Kushner | 4.7 stars | 3,657 reviews (this is an inspirational classic…for $1.99)
  • Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 1 (Marvel Masterworks) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (the new Spider-Man movie is likely to be a big hit and well-reviewed…I did love Tom Holland’s earlier appearance as Spidey). If you like to read the (comic) book before you see the movie, these are early ones
  • The Hope by Herman Wouk (Wouk is a brand name author…and this one is $1.99) | KU
  • Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka
  • Black Like Me: The Definitive Griffin Estate Edition by John Howard Griffin and Robert Bonazzi
  • The Boys of ’67: Charlie Company’s War in Vietnam by Andrew Wiest
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (Newbery Award winner by a popular author for $1.99)

Remember that you can buy them now as gifts and delay the delivery for the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print them out and wrap them for whenever you want.

It makes a lot of sense to have so many series starters, but I should also mention that there may be other books in the series in the group…I didn’t list two book in the same series.

If there were others you’d like to mention for me and my readers, please comment on this post.

Prime members, don’t forget to pick up your

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

You can get one of the six (same as last month) books to own (not borrow) for free…these are books which will be actually released next month. This line was at the bottom of the listings this time (I changed the link): “Please note: Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) subscribers can borrow these Kindle First books when they are officially released on August 1, 2017″. The choices this month are:

  • The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed [Kindle in Motion] by Scott Parazynski, Susy Flory (Memoir)
  • Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford (Thriller)
  • Secondborn (Secondborn Series Book 1) by Amy A. Bartol (Science Fiction)
  • A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang (Historical Mystery)
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives by Julie Lawson Timmer (Contemporary Fiction)
  • Kings of Broken Things by Theodore Wheeler (Literary Fiction)

People like to know which one I pick…this was a tough one! The Sky Below might be good, and Secondborn is by an author I’ve never read but with a great rep, and I thought Mrs. Saint and the Defectives might be good for my Significant Other. I decided to go with Secondborn…I like having books I can use with text-to-speech in the car, and The Sky Below (being a Kindle in Motion book) probably needs to be sightread, to see the illustrations. Reading abut Mrs. Saint, my feeling was that my SO might not like it.

Enjoy!

Bonus deal: today’s

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

is quite similar to one they did a week ago, where it is 80% off select New York Times bestsellers…and there are thirty of them. These are only good for today, while the ones I listed above are probably good for the month of July. Some of the titles in this group:

  • The Wedding Party by Robyn Carr
  • Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterl
  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  • Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Since We Fell by Dennis Lahane
  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  • LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  • Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions by James E. Ryan
  • Journey to Munich (Maisie Dobbs) by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
  • The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

 

===

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

All aboard 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! :) 

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