Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: August 2015

August 2, 2015

Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: August 2015

Amazon does the Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which discounts (usually) four books a day (often general fiction, a romance, a science fiction/fantasy book, and a kids’ book).

They’ve also been doing Monthly Kindle Book Deals for $3.99 or less each) (at AmazonSmile). That’s a rebranding: they used to say it was “100 Books”, but that’s also gotten to be more…there are 291 for this month at the time of writing (fifteen fewer than last month…).

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

It’s also interesting…about 50% of the books in the USA Kindle store are $3.99 or less (1,869,098 of 3,715,922). Still, these are on sale, and that’s worth something. :)

Another thing is that many of these books may be part of

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

Amazon lists that information prominently. 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.

Oh, interesting! I see they are now also clearly marking when a book is available through the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library)! That’s nice…there was a period of time when it was quite hard to tell. Eligible Prime members can borrow one per calendar month. If you are both a Prime member and a Kindle Unlimited subscriber (like me), I think you are more likely to get them through KU (where you can have up to ten at a time out, with no limit per month), but I’m sure I have many readers who are Prime members and don’t subscribe to KU. I’ll mark those with KOLL.

I’m going to list some of the $3.99 or lower ones 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.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke: 4.5 stars | 604 reviews (KU)
  • State of Fear by Michael Crichton: 3.4 stars out of 5 | 1,592 customer reviews
  • Murder 101: A Decker/Lazarus Novel (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series Book 22) by Faye Kellerman: 4.0 stars | 640 reviews
  • Truckers (Bromeliad Trilogy Book 1) by Terry Pratchett: 4.6 stars | 53 reviews
  • Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World  War II by Robert Kurson: 4.7 stars | 733 reviews
  • Taken by Tuesday (Weekday Brides Series, Book 5) by Catherine Bybee: 4.6 stars | 557 reviews (KU)
  • Accused: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel (Rosato & Associates Book 12) by Lisa Scottoline: 4.2 stars | 384 reviews
  • Deadly Decisions: A Novel (Temperance Brennan Book 3) by Kathy Reichs: 3.9 stars | 237 reviews
  • Heal Your Body by Louise Hay: 4.5 stars | 756 reviews
  • Agenda 21: Into the Shadows (Agenda 21 Series) by Glenn Beck: 4.7 stars | 295 reviews
  • Classic Goosebumps #1: Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine: 4.6 stars | 107 reviews
  • Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well by David L. Hough: 4.6 stars | 334 reviews
  • Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors by Peter Ackroyd: 4.2 stars | 155 reviews
  • The Ruby Brooch (Time Travel Romance) (The Celtic Brooch Series Book 1) by Katherine Lowry Logan: 4.4  stars | 532 reviews (KU)
  • Sweet Liar (The Montgomery/Taggert Family Book 6) by Jude Deveraux: 4.3 stars | 332 reviews
  • Warriors: Dawn of the Clans #1: The Sun Trail by Erin Hunter and Wayne McLoughlin: 4.8 stars | 442 reviews
  • The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig: 4.4  stars | 401 reviews (KU)
  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks: 4.4 stars | 1,472 reviews
  • The Burning Wire: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver: 4.1 stars | 226 reviews
  • The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell: 3.9 stars  | 292 reviews
  • The Detachment (John Rain) by Barry Eisler: 4.2 stars | 762 reviews (KU)
  • Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon (author of The Other): 4.3 stars | 195 reviews (KU)
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark: 3.9 stars | 150 reviews (KU)
  • The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion: 4.2 stars | 1,012 reviews (KU)
  • The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates: 3.1 stars | 289 reviews
  • The Anodyne Necklace (Richard Jury Mysteries Book 3) by Martha Grimes: 4.3 stars | 54 reviews
  • Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space by Dav Pilkey: 4.7 stars | 136 reviews
  • Grub Line Rider by Louis L’Amour: 4.3 stars | 136 reviews (KU)
  • The Pusher (87th Precinct Mysteries) by Ed McBain: 4.0 stars | 61 reviews (KU)
  • The Urantia Book: Revealing the Mysteries of God, the Universe, World History, Jesus, and Ourselves by Urantia Foundation: 4.4 star | 456 reviews
  • Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon by Paul Rosolie: 4.6 stars | 113 reviews
  • Enter the Saint (The Saint Series) by Leslie Charteris: 3.9 stars | 77 reviews (the movie and TV series of  The Saint recently came up in comments on this blog)
  • Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Languages [Downloadable Audio Included] by Faye-Lynn Wu and Kieren Dutcher: 4.2 stars | 53 reviews
  • The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure Novel by David Borgenicht and Hena Khan: 4.5 stars | 38 reviews (KU)

I think there  are some great choices here! I’ve also added a few things to my KU Wish List. :)

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 (it’s only been four before) books to own (not borrow) for free…these are books which will be actually released next month. The choices this month are:

  • The Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg (historical fiction)
  • The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner (psychological suspense)
  • About That Fling by Tawna Fenske (romance)
  • City of Echoes (Detective Matt Jones Book 1) by Robert Ellis (mystery)
  • Young Babylon by Lu Nei, Poppy Toland (modern fiction)
  • The Hundred-Year Flood by Matthew Salesses (literary fiction)

People like to know which one I pick…I’m going with The Hundred-Year Flood. When science fiction and fantasy tend to draw my eye first, literary fiction always gets a serious consideration from me. I do look at the customer reviews, and if the only thing presented as a negative is something I think I would actually find appealing, which is the case here, that’s actually a big selling point for me. :)

Enjoy!

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** 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.

Today’s KDD: up to 80% off “beach reads”

July 25, 2015

Today’s KDD: up to 80% off “beach reads”

One of today’s

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

is up to 80% off “beach reads”.

Given that I would call that a pretty fuzzy category, it means that there is a good variety in this of 45 titles.

I’m not a fan of the beach,  unless it’s overcast…I really don’t like being out in the sun. :) Oh, I love seeing the nature there, but just sitting there baking in the solar radiation? Not my thing.

That doesn’t mean, though, that I wouldn’t want to read any of these books ;)

Titles include:

  • Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (there is currently a TV adaptation running…”revenge of nature” has been the plot of many movies/books: it was arguably a genre in the 1970s)
  • The Littlest Angel (And Baby Makes Three Book 10 by Sherryl Woods
  • Night Moves by Nora Roberts
  • The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos
  • The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
  • Protection Detail (Capitol K-9 Unit) by Shirlee McCoy
  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
  • The Unimaginable by Dina Silver
  • Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Hm…if I did have a beach read, it seems to me like I’d go with non-fiction nature science, perhaps, like Gerald Durrell (unfortunately not available for the Kindle).

Enjoy!

What are your favorite “beach reads”? Feel free to share with me and my readers by commenting on  this post.

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

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

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

Dr. Seuss classics: on sale for $1.99 each

July 25, 2015

Dr. Seuss classics: on sale for $1.99 each

There is a previously unpublished Dr. Seuss book which you can pre-order now for delivery on Tuesday, July 28th:

What Pet Should I Get? (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This will surely be a big hit…and that will make the second “discovered” book this year that may be a top seller, along with

Go Set a Watchman (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I guarantee you right now that both tradpubs  (traditional publishers) and authors with their own rights (which may have reverted) are making a much more careful search of old file cabinets.  ;)

No doubt in connection with that, you can get classic Dr.  Seuss books for $1.99 each!

Dr. Seuss Kindle books in the USA store (at AmazonSmile*)

Yes, these are the titles…they include the most popular.

Before I give you a listing, let me point out that they will say that the text-to-speech is not enabled. In a case like this, it won’t be because the publisher has deliberately blocked the text-to-speech access. I’m reasonably confident that it is  because the text is part of the images: TTS can’t access that.

Okay, here are some of the titles:

  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Fox in Socks
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • The Lorax

There are 46 results on that page…that doesn’t mean 46 individual Dr. Seuss books (there is at least one omnibus), and What Pet is still $9.99.

Regardless, this is a great deal! I don’t know how long it will last.

Remember that you can buy these now to give as gifts, and delay delivery until the appropriate gift giving occasion. Oh, the Places You Go is a very popular graduation gift, for example…

Enjoy!

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

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

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

Prime Day is here! Kindle deals and more

July 15, 2015

Prime Day is here! Kindle deals and more

See yesterday’s post for how to

Get the most out of Prime Day

For the shortcut, go here:

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

I did want to mention some specifics at 6:00 AM Pacific…six hours into Prime Day:

  • 68% claimed: Kindle (the entry level model), as low as $49 ($30 off)
  • 49% claimed: Fire HD7 as low as $79 ($60 off)
  • 89% claimed: Fire HD7 Kids Edition as low as $129 ($60 off)

There are a total of 431 items right now…and there are 705 Upcoming Prime-Exclusive Deals.

I’m seeing some items which have sold out.

If you aren’t a Prime member, you can get a month free and take advantage of these deals.

Update: Amazon has a press release with some figures…yes, surpassing Black Friday. 4000 Echoes sold in 15 minutes…

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150715006488/en/

Update: one of the best deals on Prime Day is

Kindle Unlimited Prime Day (at AmazonSmile*)

This is Amazon’s subser (subscription service…”all you can read” for a flat monthly fee). I’m a happy member of KU, and have been since the beginning.

Today only, Prime members only, can get a pre-paid plan at a significant discount!

These are the prices (in the USA):

  • 6 Months: $59.94 – Now $44.95
  • 12 Months: $119.88 – Now $80.32
  • 24 Months: $239.76 – Now $143.86

That last one works out to about $5.99 a month!

If you are already a member, here is some information for you:

  • Customers who are on a monthly plan and have previously purchased a pre-paid plan that is currently associated with their account and customers who have purchased multiple pre-paid plans that are currently associated with their accounts are not eligible.
  • Existing Kindle Unlimited subscribers with monthly memberships who have not previously purchased a pre-paid plan are eligible for this promotion. For those subscribers who choose to participate, automatic renewals will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the monthly package purchased and will automatically restart at its conclusion

You can gift a KU membership…and this would be a great gift.

For more information on KU (including the more than one million titles in the USA store), see

ILMK Kindle Unlimited posts

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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

Get the most out of Prime Day

July 15, 2015

Get the most out of Prime Day

July 15th (2015), Wednesday, is Amazon’s first

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

Note that it starts at midnight (the middle of the night Tuesday) Pacific time…it might be Wednesday where you are when you get this, and the sale may not have started (I have readers all over the world).

They say it will be bigger than Black Friday (in the USA, the day after Thanksgiving)…and that’s big!

Unfortunately, it’s likely to be so big that some people will feel like they missed out on something…so I wanted to give you some tips to help you.

First, sign up for

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

This sale is just for Prime members (although I suspect that the sales for non-Prime members may be pretty good).

You can sign up for a free month, and cancel without paying anything. Amazon hopes (and I think it’s not unlikely) that you’ll enjoy the benefits so much you decide to stay with it.

With that out of the way…

Financial

Make sure you have your 1-click payment set up the way you want. You might be doing it just with a gift card balance, to budget. If you have a credit/debit card, check that you’ve defaulted it to the right one and that it isn’t expired. You can do that at

Your Account (at AmazonSmile*)

where it says, “Amazon Wallet”.

While you are there, check “Manage Address Book”. My guess is that there is going to be a lot of mail theft on Friday. Do you have your shipments going to a secure location?

What to buy?

Remember that this is a great opportunity to get gifts! Whether they are physical gifts and you are going to store them, or e-books on which you are going to delay delivery until the appropriate time, this will probably be an excellent shopping time.

Put things on your Wish Lists so you can keep track. I’m not sure how quickly you get this notification, but a Wish List item usually tells you when the price is different than when you put it on the list.

We already know some things that will be on sale:

  • Fire TV Stick, fastest selling Amazon device of all time, $15 off
  • Kindle, $30 off
  • Fire HD 7, $60 off
  • Fire HD 7 Kids Edition, $60 off
  • 32-inch LED TV, $75
  • 40-inch 1080p LED TV, $115
  • Brand-name 32-inch Smart HDTV, under $200
  • 50-inch 4K TV bundle, under $1000
  • Bose headphones at the lowest price ever on Amazon
  • Chromebook laptop, only $199
  • Over 50% off two Nikon COOLPIX cameras
  • Highly rated binoculars, under $120
  • Two security camera-kits, $279.99
  • K’NEX 2-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Set (Amazon Exclusive), $35.99
  • K’NEX Crossfire Chaos Roller Coaster Building Set (Amazon Exclusive), $23.99
  • Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Optimus Prime Figure (Amazon Exclusive), $9.99
  • iRobot Roomba Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robot, under $300
  • Husqvarna mower, under $300
  • 40 lightning deals on DVDs up to 75% off
  • Up to 50% off any of the Harry Potter books
  • Save more than 70% on the Divergent Series Complete Box Set of books
  • Save up to 70% on select kitchen products from top brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Foodsaver and Thermos
  • Save up to 50% on select tools for the DIY auto enthusiast
  • Connected Car and Scan Tool products starting at 60% off
  • Road-trip-ready automotive products starting at 50% off
  • Save more than 50% on Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
  • 30% off select clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches & more
  • 60% off Amazon Elements Baby Wipes with code ELEMENTS60
  • Free luxury beauty sample box with $50 purchase of luxury beauty products, with promo code LUXSAMPLES
  • Buy an Amazon.com Gift Card multipack, get $10 in Amazon.com promotional credit
  • Get 25% bonus Amazon Coins when you buy 5,000 or 10,000 Amazon Coins
  • Prime Now will also offer deals in the six cities where the service is offered

That came from this

press release

I’ve seen multiple sources say that the

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

will be $50 off (making it $129.99, without the voice remote).

Stay connected

A lot of these deals may be lightning deals, and only be available for a short time. Checking the website is fine (and you can use that Prime Day link at the top of this post).

You may also want to check:

https://twitter.com/amazon

https://www.facebook.com/Amazon

I’m going to be at work and will certainly miss some things. :) You can check on a phone or tablet, so that’s an option for you.

I would also suggest that you jump on things, because some will certainly sell out. This is Amazon’s first time…they’ll overprice some items and underprice others. They may not have enough stock of certain items.

Oh, and one other tip: Prime Now (delivery in an hour) has to do with where it is going…not where you are.

http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=pn_surl_lp/?node=10481056011

Download that app…oh, and other Amazon apps shopping apps if you don’t have them.

Check movies, music, e-books…search far and wide. :)

Not exactly a tip, but I wanted to mention that some other sites are going to try to compete (like Wal-Mart). If you do shop other places, you might want to look for sales tomorrow.

See something you want to share with me and my readers? Comment on this post (I might do another post tomorrow, too). It won’t appear right away, but I’ll keep checking when I can to moderate them (as I do all comments).

Good luck!

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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

SDCC & KDD: today’s Comic-Con inspired Kindle Daily Deal

July 12, 2015

SDCC & KDD: today’s Comic-Con inspired Kindle Daily Deal

One of today’s

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

They specifically say “It’s Like Comic-Con** for Your Kindle – Up to 80% Off Select Titles”.

It’s 72 titles…many of them comics related, although there are some novels.

Titles include:

  • Several Calvin & Hobbes books…one of the great comic strips of all time
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard Book 1) by Melissa F. Olson (novel)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1: Cosmic Avengers
  • How to Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You (by The Oatmeal)
  • Deadpool Classic, Volume 1 (this may be the most buzzed about trailer at Comic-Con)
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Star Wars: Boba Fett – Enemy of the Empie by John Wagner
  • Hulk: Gray by Jeph Loeb
  • Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 1 by Stan Lee
  • Captain Marvel, Volume 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick
  • Rocket Raccoon, Volume 1: A Chasing Tail by Skottie Young
  • The God Patent by Ransom Stephens

Enjoy!

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

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

** Comic-Con (the official logo doesn’t have the hyphen, but the website does), is, in this case, San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). It’s arguably the most impotant pop culture (mostly geek related) event of the year. For more information, see http://www.comic-con.org/

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.

Round up #301: the value of reading, literate robots

July 12, 2015

Round up #301: the value of reading, literate robots

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

I finished The Martian

Thank you to everyone who participated in

Pick my read #1

I asked my readers to suggest a book for me to read. I then took those suggestions (well, the ones which fit my criteria…see the link above) and polled my readers as to which one I should read.

The winner was

The Martian (at AmazonSmile*)
by Andy Weir

Well, I just finished reading it. :)

When I’ve polled my readers about what they like in this blog before, my writing reviews wasn’t high on the list…I’ll probably review it on

Goodreads

Regardless of what I thought of it, I had a lot of fun having you pick my read! I’ll probably do that again at some point…although it did result in me spending more for a book than I typically do. That’s in part because we have

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

and I feel like it is only good use of our money to try to read things from there first (as well as books I already own and haven’t read yet…and gifts, of course).

To thank Dave, who had suggested it, I let him pick any other book in the poll which I would then gift to Dave.

The choice was

The Milagro Beanfield War (at AmazonSmile*)
by John Nichols, illustrated by Rini Templeton

I could do this polling thing every month if I limited it to KU…I’d rather not do that. Maybe sometimes I’ll limit to KU, sometimes not.

Thanks again!

Copyright for Literate Robots

I’ve started reading a fascinating paper (well, PDF) by James Grimmelann

Copyright for Literate Robots

It argues that non-humans reading books under copyright are not infringing on that copyright. That may become increasingly important as artificial intelligence systems read. This wouldn’t have been a copyright issue, but IBM’s Watson, as I recall, read everything (or a lot of stuff) in Project Gutenberg.

By the way, I had quite a long discussion with a relative recently about artificial intelligence (or more specifically, learning systems). I was told by people that I had done a good job explaining it.

Essentially, this very smart relative with a lot of programming background did not think that the way people were talking about learning systems was possible…that a human would have to program every step of the way.

I think part of that issue arose because of not thinking of having thousands of programs running at once (which is now possible).

I think where some people have a fear of AI and learning systems comes from not understanding how they work.

The main point is that they don’t set their “goals” themselves. You set a goal, and the closer they get to that goal, the more they tend to repeat the behavior that was successful.

Let’s say you have 100 program running at once. You don’t know the details of each program, just that they are supposed to run a mathematical formula.

What you want is to get a percentage.

So, you start out by asking a question to which you know the answer…let’s ask for the percentage that two is of five (40%).

The 100 of them give you an answer, and 30 of them got the answer you wanted.

You tell the system which ones were right.

The system pays more attention to those, as you ask repeated percentage questions.

Maybe the next time, 20 of those thirty get it right…but so did five of the seventy which were wrong on the first one.

You repeat this with, oh, fifty questions.

By the end of fifty questions, we’ve identified a core group of ten programs which have gotten every percentage right.

Now, we feel comfortable asking those ten programs percentage questions.

That’s pretty much it. :)

Of course, you can add mutation into it. The programs get changed a small amount from time to time…that may result in a program having a new way to get percentages which is perhaps faster.

We never need to understand the programming step by step for our “neural network” to become valuable to us.

Similarly, you could have programs write, oh, haiku.

With enough programs trying enough ways to combine things, and with a human evalution system, we could probably eventually develop a neural net that would produce decent haiku.

I know, I know, I’ve really simplified it. One of the main points, though, is that the computers don’t set their own goals.

Go Set a Watchman

The first time publication of Harper Lee’s

Go Set a Watchman (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

can be pre-ordered for July 14th in the USA (the day before “Prime Day”).

It has been blowing up the sales…and blowing minds. ;)

It is the #1 paid book in the USA Kindle store right now!

Not bad for a book more than half a century old!

Reactions to the first chapter, which you can read now, have been…interesting. People have to remember when it was written (if you are judging it by today’s standards, you may be surprised), and that this book was apparently massively re-written to create

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile)

It’s possible this will be the biggest e-book of the year.

Look for major price wars…and Amazon’s Prime Day is the day after its release.

Prime Day

Speaking of

July 15th is “Prime Day”: will there be deals on Kindles?

one of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, shared a possibly valuable piece of advice from a local consumer reporter. It was suggested that you put everything you want to track on an Amazon Wish List. It’s true that when you look at your Wish List, you can see if prices have changed…but I’m not sure how quickly that updates. If there is a lightning sale for ten minutes, for example, is that enough time for the price change to appear on the Wish List? Not sure…

Infographic on the value of reading

One of the great blogs out there on e-books (and reading generally) is EBOOK FRIENDLY. In this

post by Ola Kowalczyk

It has an infographic of things that probably every reader of this blog knows intuitively, but it’s nice to have data and specifics (although I don’t see the sourcing).

Just one: the average American reads one book a year: CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read 4-5 books a month.

“First Click: Amazon, not Apple or Google, holds the key to the smart home”

I still find many people who don’t know what the

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

is.

I think this will be one of the most significant tech stories of the year.

It does tie into books. In fact, I’m listening to my Echo read Dracula right now…an audiobook, read by (among others), Alan Cumming and Tim Curry.

Some of my readers might be surprised that I’m listening to an audiobook, given my preference for text-to-speech. However, I have also said that I don’t like to listen to audiobooks…unless I have read the book before, which is the case here. This, for me, is like seeing a movie of a book. I just don’t like the reader (whether the author or an actor) interpreting characters for me. If I’ve already read it, that’s different.

Here is an interesting

The Verge article by Thomas Ricker

that gets it.

It’s focus is on home automation and the Echo (which is a big deal for a relative of mine with physical challenges), but it has many other uses.

I’m still waiting for it to be able to read me books through text-to-speech (I would watch a lot less television if that was available), but I think we are still in the very beginnings of the capabilities.

The Echo has been opened up for developers, and we’ll see all sorts of amazing things from that before the end of the year, I think.

I recommend the site

http://lovemyecho.com/

for staying on top of Echo developments…particularly, since the author of the blog, April L. Hamilton, is actually developing for it!

This post, in particular

Echo Apps & Skills Are Coming

talks about it from the developer’s point of view…and what’s up with what’s coming (in a general way).

This

YouTube video

shows an Echo playing 20 Questions…

Let me give you another example of using it in a book-related way.

I can ask it, “What is so-and-so’s latest book?”

It worked for Harper Lee and Stephen King…but not Loren Coleman or Bufo Calvin. ;)

You can also say, “Alexa, Wikipedia [author’s name]” to get information. After it reads a brief bit, you can say, “Alexa, tell me more” to get it to keep reading.

You can do that with pretty much anything Wikipedia has…that should work for Loren Coleman, but since there isn’t a page for me, it won’t work for me.

Similarly, you could Wikipedia a book or a character.

Hm…I wonder when they will tie it into Goodreads and/or Shelfari (Amazon owns both)?

50 Kindle Books for $2 each

This is apparently now a monthly features, since it says, “Deals are valid through the last day of each month.”

50 Kindle Book Deals for $2 Each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are always bargains on books at Amazon!

5 reasons to wish Amazon an unhappy birthday

I may love my Kindle, and think (as both an author and a reader) that Amazon has brought positive things to the world of literature, but not everyone agrees.

You might find this

Salon post by Scott Timberg

interesting.

What do you think? Amazon…hero, villain, or some of each? Do you buy bargain books at Amazon…or do you only get free ones and more expensive ones (the latter when you especially want the book)? Are you looking forward to Go Set a Watchman…or are you afraid that it might change your relationship with To Kill a Mockingbird? Feel free to tell me and my readers what yu think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

$49 for FHD6: check your e-mail

July 10, 2015

$49 for FHD6: check your e-mail

Just on my phone, but I got a presumably non-sharable code for a Fire HD 6 for $49!

This may not last long…which is why I am sending it out in this limited way.

Update: the offer also appeared for me on the device’s Amazon product page:

Yep…$49 instead of $99, for a “limited-time”.

Interestingly, I’m seeing in the Kindle forum that different people are seeing different prices. Assuming that they are all in the same country, it might seem odd that the prices would be different for different people. That can happen…and, as I understand it, it’s legal.

For example, a website could charge different prices to people in different locations. It might cost them more to do business in different states…perhaps there are different delivery methods available.

If that seems odd, it happens a lot. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area: compare our gas prices to those of, say, New Orleans. That’s not just due to our relatively high gas taxes.

More broadly, what if they charged more for an item that was Prime eligible…but only if the customer was a Prime member? I don’t know if that’s the case, of course…but my guess is that it would be legal.

Here’s a

Lifehacker article by Thorin Klosowski

that gives you several examples of “dynamic pricing” at websites…including Amazon. They claim to give you some advice about what to do about it…but I think it’s going to simply be the way it is for most people.

That said, I think Amazon generally has very good prices (it’s one of their three principles: price, selection, and service). I have noticed in the past that a Prime item might be higher than I would pay for it somewhere else…but the convenience of Prime make it worth it. In other words, if I’d pay the same price (counting shipping and handling) for something that is Prime versus something which isn’t Prime, I’d definitely going with Prime.

If you aren’t a Prime member, now is the time to sign up for the free month! That way, you’ll be a Prime member for Prime Day:

July 15th is “Prime Day”: will there be deals on Kindles?

That may be a veeeeerrrrryyyy interesting day, with lightning sales and day-long sales.

Oh, as to Fire HD6?

Yes, we own one now…it’s what we have as our “guest Kindle”, and has been used that way. I think our house guest really appreciated having a tablet to use.

If you can get one for fifty dollars, you could use it yourself…or tuck it away as a gift for later.

On the other hand, who knows what  opportunities we’ll have five days from now? ;) Of course, Amazon does have a generous thirty-day return policy on Kindles/Fires. You could hypothetically take advantage of this low price, and then return it (paying return shipping, since it would be working as advertised) if there was a better deal on July 15th.

What do you think? Would it be okay to buy a Kindle, with the idea that you might return it if you could get a cheaper price? Is it okay for websites to the same item for different prices to different people? If so, what should the criteria be? 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!

* 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.

July 15th is “Prime Day”: will there be deals on Kindles?

July 7, 2015

July 15th is “Prime Day”: will there be deals on Kindles?

Members of

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

get a lot of benefits.

For $99 a year in the USA, we get

  • Free two-day shipping on many items
  • Prime Music
  • Prime Video
  • One free book a month from a select set, before they are published, to keep (Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*))
  • One book a calendar month to borrow (from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library…you also need to have a Kindle or a Fire)
  • Prime Early Access
  • Prime Now (in a few cities)
  • Reduced one-day shipping on some items

and others.

There’s no question that Prime is a major focus for Amazon, at least as far as the retail part of the business goes.

Those benefits cost Amazon money, but since Prime members reportedly buy more (and they buy those higher margin physical items, what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”), it’s worth it.

This July 15th (a  week from Wednesday) is

Prime Day (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s exclusive for PrimeMembers, and is supposed to have more deals than Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, one of the biggest retail days of the year in the USA).

There will be thousands of deals, and some will likely sell out in seconds.

I fully expect that there will be deals on Amazon hardware…this might be a good time for them to do a blow-out on the Kindle Paperwhite 2, for example, since they have just released a new version.  I could see it going down to under $70.

Fire tablets? Sure, discounts on some, I would think.

What about other hardware, like the

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

?

I think that’s possible, although I wouldn’t expect the $99 price that Prime members paid for it pre-release. Maybe they would throw in the voice remote, or offer a reduced bundle? I would expect that would be a short term deal.

On the other hand, I would guess there would be a day-long deal on Kindle books.

Oh, and there is a contest where you could win $10,000 in Amazon gift cards! You submit a picture of yourself showing what “Prime Living” means to you. The details are here:

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/primephotocontest/ref=amb_link_435893562_2</>

There will be one winner from each of these countries:

Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, The United States

If you are a Prime member, I’d try to check it out a week from Wednesday.

If you aren’t…you might consider joining. :) They do have a free one-month trial…and that will qualify.

Update:  I should have mentioned that this is in honor of the Amazon’s 20th “birthday” (which is the following day, July 16th). That’s not the day Amazon started, it’s the day they went online.

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

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

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

Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: July 2015

July 5, 2015

Monthly Kindle Deals for $3.99 or less each: July 2015

Amazon does the Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which discounts (usually) four books a day (often general fiction, a romance, a science fiction/fantasy book, and a kids’ book).

They’ve also been doing Monthly Kindle Book Deals for $3.99 or less each) (at AmazonSmile). That’s a rebranding: they used to say it was “100 Books”, but that’s also gotten to be more…there are 306 for this month at the time of writing (seventy-five more than last month…it has been trending upwards, a huge skyrocket of a jump!).

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

It’s also interesting…about 50% of the books in the USA Kindle store are $3.99 or less (1,817,689 of 3,643,239). Still, these are on sale, and that’s worth something. :)

Another thing is that many of these books may be part of

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

Amazon lists that information prominently. 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.

Oh, interesting! I see they are now also clearly marking when a book is available through the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library)! That’s nice…there was a period of time when it was quite hard to tell. Eligible Prime members can borrow one per calendar month. If you are both a Prime member and a Kindle Unlimited subscriber (like me), I think you are more likely to get them through KU (where you can have up to ten at a time out, with no limit per month), but I’m sure I have many readers who are Prime members and don’t subscribe to KU. I’ll mark those with KOLL.

I’m going to list some of the $3.99 or lower ones 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.

  • The One That Got Away by Simon Wood | 4.2 stars out of 5 | 3,741 customer reviews | KU
  • WIRED by Douglas E. Richards | 4.1  stars | 2,762 reviews | KU
  • Agenda 21 (Agenda 21 Series) by Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke |4.3 stars | 2,218 reviews
  • Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan and David Humphreys | 4.6 stars | 1,300 reviews | KU
  • The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D. | 4.3 stars | 915 reviews
  • No Ordinary Billionaire (The Sinclairs Book 1) by J. S. Scott | 3.9 stars | 834 reviews | KU
  • 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy | 4.6 stars  | 719 reviews
  • Witches on Parole (WitchLight Trilogy: Book 1) by Debora Geary | 4.6 stars | 666 reviews | KU
  • Loving (Bailey Flanigan Series Book 4) by Karen Kingsbury | 3.5 star | 604 reviews
  • Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong and Mark Tabb | 4.8 stars | 471 reviews
  • The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L. J. Smith | 4.0 stars | 434 reviews
  • All-American Girl by Meg Cabot | 4.5 stars | 338 reviews
  • Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi | 4.5 stars | 222 reviews
  • Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman | 4.8 sars | 330 reviews
  • Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz | 4.0 stars | 276 reviews
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson | 4.1 stars | 273 reviews | Newbery Medal winner
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct Mysteries Book 1) by Ed McBain | 4.0 stars | 260 reviews | KU | first of 55 books in this very successful series
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann | 4.0 stars  221 reviews
  • No Man’s Nightingale: An Inspector Wexford Novel by Ruth Rendell | 3.8 stars | 211 reviews
  • Busman’s Honeymoon (The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries) by Dorothy L. Sayers | 4.6 stars | 208 reviews
  • The Sweet Spot: A Novel by Stephanie Evanovich |3.3 stars | 198 reviews
  • Trial by Fire: A Novel of Suspense (Ali Reynolds Book 5) by J.A. Jance | 4.4 stars | 150 reviews
  • Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson | 4.1 stars | 142 reviews | Ronson is a great writer of investigative non-fiction
  • Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas | 4.5 stars | 64 reviews
  • The Origin of Brands by Al Ries and Laura Ries | 3.9 stars |30 reviews

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 four books to own (not borrow) for free…these are books which will be actually released next month. The choices this month are:

  • The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello (thriller) (
  • Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel (contemporary fiction)
  • It’s In His Heart (A Red River Valley Novel) by Shelly Alexander (romance)
  • Cold Black Earth by Sam Reaves (suspense)

People like to know which one I pick…I debated this one a bit, between The Einstein Prophecies and Crooked Little Lies. Too big an Einstein fan not to go with that one, though. :)

Enjoy!

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

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** 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.


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