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

November 20, 2016

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

Today’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Amazon’s new review filters

November 19, 2016

Amazon’s new review filters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, you get a lot more choices.

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

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

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

Here’s where it gets interesting.

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

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

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

Then, there are three more controls:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday only: Prime for new members for $79

November 18, 2016

Friday only: Prime for new members for $79

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

http://www.amazon.com/thegrandtourprime

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

Whether you get that discount or not, joining

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

gets you a lot of stuff!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prefer visual entertainment?

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

Close to 30,000 videos!

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

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

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

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

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

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

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

 

Amazon: “The Best Books of 2016”

November 17, 2016

Amazon: “The Best Books of 2016”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some from there:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 15, 2016

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

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

“55 Books to Read this Fall”

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

Entertainment Weekly article published by Tina Jordan and Isabella Biedenharn

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

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

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

EBOOK FRIENDLY post by Ola Kolwalczyk

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

Amazon Music Unlimited comes to the UK

The Verge post by James Vincent

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

Speaking of Britain, this is a nice

The Guardian article by Darien Graham-Smith

with beginner’s tips for the

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

Tradpubs rebound

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

Publishers Weekly post by Jim Milliot

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

Amazon must refund in-app purchases by kids

According to this

New York Daily News article and other sources

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

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

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

ABC7New reports about Wind City Books’ policy in this

article

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

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

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

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

Black Friday is next week

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

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

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

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

Countdown to Black Friday (at AmazonSmile*)

Harry Potter spells at Amazon

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

  • incendio
  • aguamenti
  • orchideous
  • reducto
  • lumos

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

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

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

Today’s KDD: Today only, “Up to 75% off select most wished for books”

November 13, 2016

Today’s KDD: Today only, “Up to 75% off select most wished for books”

Today’s

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

is “Up to 75% off select most wished for books”.

It’s definitely the right time of year to check your Amazon wish list and update it! I love it when my family gets me things from my Amazon Wish List for the holidays! It lets them almost shop in a “Bufo Bookstore” for the most part, although it isn’t all books.🙂

Those wish lists also, in the aggregate, give Amazon data about what people want. In today’s Kindle Daily Deal, they are offering significant discounts on some of the most “wished for” books…and there are some great deals in the group!

Remember that you can buy the book at the discount and either delay delivery until the appropriate gift giving occasion, or print it out and hold it for whenever you want (you can even wrap those). While books make great primary gifts, they also are terrific for little gifts.

Do check the prices before you click or tap that Buy button…the prices certainly may not apply in your country, you might not read this post until the sale is over, and books could conceivably leave the sale before it is over.

Books in the sale include:

  • The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle | $0.99 (also available at no addition cost to members of Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) | 13,199 customer reviews at time of writing
  • See Me by Nicholas Sparks  | $3.99 | 3,496 customer reviews
  • The Obsession by Nora Roberts | $4.99 | 4,435 customer reviews
  • Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben | $4.99 | 2,803 customer reviews
  • The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons | $1.99 (KU) | 7,011 customer reviews
  • Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2) by Ken Follett | $3.99 | 6,911 customer reviews
  • The House by the Lake by Ella Carey | $1.99 (KU) | 2,254 customer reviews
  • Room by Emma Donoghue | $2.99 | 4,396 customer reviews
  • Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand | $3.99
  • The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck | $1.99 | 3,414 customer reviews
  • The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy #1) by Joe Hart | $1.99 (KU) | 2,642 customer reviews
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey | $2.99 | 968 customer reviews
  • Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan #5) by Tom Clancy | $1.99
  • The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington | $3.99
  • The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier | $2.99 | 1,218 customer reviews
  • Funny Girl by Nick Hornby | $2.99

Enjoy!

Bonus deal:

Countdown to Black Friday Deals

Right now, this includes deals on refurbed Paperwhite, Voyages, and Amazon Echoes (the last one is $119.99).

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

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

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

Some random thoughts on Harry Potter

November 11, 2016

Some random thoughts on Harry Potter

With

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

opening in the USA in a week, I thought I’d just put down some thoughts about the Harry Potter book series:

Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (doesn’t include Cursed Child, or the other ancillary titles…this is the first seven books)

  • For a long time, a big thing for Kindleers was that J.K. Rowling wasn’t allowing e-book editions. I wrote about it myself more than once, encouraging Rowling to make them available. I understood the author’s feelings about wanting children to have a similar experience to what Rowling had as a child, but not having e-books disadvantaged those with print challenges.ll and the author had a laudable record of support for those with special challenges. I checked my own posts on Harry Potter, and the e-books were announced in June of 2011 (the Kindle was November 2007…around the same time as the release of the last of the original novels). They finally came out in March of 2012
  • When they came out through Pottermore, that was innovative…and strange. However, over time, that seems to have worked out well for e-book readers
  • Rowling has always been supportive of the fan community, which is great! The author has explicitly allowed fanfic (fan fiction) with certain reasonable restrictions. Rowling has interacted with fans through social media…I admire that
  • One of my relatives had someone tear one of the hardbacks into pieces…because it was too big for that person to physically handle. Not easy…we all love books, and doing that to a book was a difficult choice. That’s another reason why the e-books were important
  • The HP books have now been very available as e-books…they can be borrowed through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), and the first one is part of Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) this month (and I think it will generally be part of that)
  • I loved that they decided to stick with British slang for the American editions after the first book or so!
  • I didn’t have any problem with the appearance of any of the characters or things in the movie versions…probably largely because I generally don’t visualize when I read
  • I liked the movies🙂
  • The books were, as I understand it, meant to mature along with the characters…and the readers. They become very dark, scary, and depressing…amongst the most disturbing images in books. Not Snape or the unnamed one for me…Dolores Umbridge was absolutely terrifying
  • I’ve been happy to see Rowling continuing the series, keeping it alive. One of my favorite book series is the original Oz series (fourteen books), and Baum actively tried to kill off the Oz series. Rowling did end it…but embraced the ongoing fan love
  • Speaking of Oz, the fandom reminded me of the Oz contemporary fandom. People lined up outside stores for the next Oz book. There were Oz clubs. Children wrote suggestions to Baum (almost like fanfic). There were movies, and Baum was involved in them. There was a stage show and merchandising and ancillary titles
  • The Potter books were ostensibly for children…and not only did they encourage children to read, they got adults to admit and accept that they read books intended for children
  • I think that, like the Oz books, they will still be a vibrant part of our popular culture 100 years from now and more

What do you think about the Harry Potter books? What are your memories of reading them? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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

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

 

 

Amazon Rapids: new stories via text service

November 10, 2016

Amazon Rapids: new stories via text service

I always like to see Amazon innovating, and they’ve just introduced something truly new and different. It’s called

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

Basically, you subscribe to a service for kids. The kids can choose from hundreds of stories.

The innovative part of the stories? They are told as if they are text messages (including pictures).

I’ve tested it (you can get a free two-week trial). It’s sort of intriguing, and I can see how it could be really addictive for younger kids.

You pick the story…it’s a conversation between two people (I’ve tried a few, and it’s all been two). It unfolds just like a text message on your phone. One message comes in from your left. A response comes in from your right. There are avatars, showing you the speaker.

There are a few nice touches.

  • You can have it read out loud
  • You can look up words by “long pressing” on them (holding a finger or stylus on a word for about a second). The word will be defined and can be spoken. The word definitions are automatically stored for you in a glossary, so you can review them
  • You can get it at Amazon, Google Play, or the Amazon Appstore…and then use it all types of compatible devices (you don’t need to get  a different app for each type of device)

Before I go further, I’m going to say that I would not get it (if it wasn’t for testing it for you), and I’m going to cancel my subscription during the two week period (after I finish writing this post…with a period of time for you to ask questions). Why? I could not complete free registration without indicating a gender for my “child”. I find that unacceptable…there are only two reasons to ask that in this situation. One is because you are going to target the stories for certain genders. Many stores, even major stores, have stopped doing that with toy aisles…labeling them for boys or girls. If you say your child is a boy, they will, at the least, have some stories de-emphasized for them, if not made unavailable altogether. The other one would be to be able to market you to advertisers in some way. Neither of those is okay with me.

Hopefully, they will drop that requirement. They also made me state an age for the child, out of  number of options.

That might just be me, though.🙂

If you decide to pay for a subscription, what does it cost?

$2.99 per month on a month to month basis, $29.99 for a year (meaning you save about fifty cents per month. The yearly one automatically renews).

The stories I read were reasonably well-written…kind of amusing.

I do want to say that this is a modern version of a style of writing referred to as epistolary, which may be reading letters by characters, or might include other documents (like, say, a contract) in a novel. One of my favorites is

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (at AmazonSmile)

Quite funny, although unabashedly religious.

My feeling is that there will be kids and families which absolutely love Amazon Rapids…but I have a hard time seeing it as being a bit hit. It seems too expensive to me.

One other thing: I’m not seeing how you might be able write stories for it. I’ve seen a mention about Amazon looking for new “talented” authors, but I’m not seeing yet where you would actually submit a story (if that’s how it works…Ill ask Amazon and update this post).

Note that this is an app: it is not available for Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers), but is available for Apple devices, Android phones, and Fire devices (of recent software generations)

For more information, see

Amazon Rapids Help Page (at AmazonSmile*)

What do you think? If you’ve tried it, what’s you opinion? Do you have other epistolary novels you would recommend? These are more like epistolary short stories.😉 Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Bonus note: ILMK recently suffered a “blogjam” (as I call it), where it wasn’t be delivered to subscribers. That has happened before: I don’t know what causes it, and I don’t know what fixes it. When readers are kind enough to let me know, I let Amazon know…this time, it was down for about a week (it’s fixed now). I don’t publish every day, but if it goes a few days and you haven’t gotten one, or you notice that I’ve published posts to the web and you aren’t getting them on your EBR, I really appreciate you letting me know. I do pay to subscribe to the blog myself, but I don’t check it on my Voyage or Paperwhite regularly, so I may not notice right away. Thanks to Karen, Lady Galaxy, and Debbie for letting me know this time!

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

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

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

Amazon Echo’s 2nd birthday: almost $40 off, and the Alexa Skills store at Amazon.com

November 8, 2016

Amazon Echo’s 2nd birthday: almost $40 off, and the Alexa Skills store at Amazon.com

Today is the Echo’s second birthday, and Amazon is offering the main Echo for $140.39 instead of $179.99 ($39.60 off)

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

That’s likely to just be today (it says it is for a limited time only).

I use an Echo every day (and an All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) and an Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*) on weekdays, but you know…).😉

It turns my lights out on and off, place music, gives me the weather, tells me what’s on my calendar, and more.

When I say more, there is a lot more!

Amazon has now put the

Alexa Skills store on Amazon.com (at AmazonSmile*)

on Amazon.com, making it much easier to search the close to 5,000 skills!

For example, right now, I’m trying the

Earplay skill (at AmazonSmile*)

I’m a fan of Old Time Radio, and I have to say, the demo was fun. It is sort of like Choose Your Adventure, in that you are given choices of things to say and the story continues based on what you say. It does feel like OTR, although not quite as surreal as most of it.

Here are some of the stats:

Alexa Skills
Business & Finance (67)
Communication (20)
Connected Car (8)
Education & Reference (899)
Food & Drink (144)
Games, Trivia & Accessories (1,187)
Health & Fitness (132)
Lifestyle (390)
Local (97)
Movies & TV (82)
Music & Audio (48)
News (701)
Novelty & Humor (319)
Productivity (136)
Shopping (14)
Smart Home (114)
Social (51)
Sports (122)
Travel & Transportation (94)
Utilities (76)
Weather (462)
Avg. Customer Review
  • 4 Stars & Up (690)
  • 3 Stars & Up (1,086)
  • 2 Stars & Up (1,439)
  • 1 Star & Up (1,727)

Now, that’s a lot of one star reviews! It’s the most popular selection.

That may change in the future. It seems clear to me looking at this that they are going to enable paid Skills (as opposed to everything being free). I think that would be a good thing. Right now, there are two main types of content producers…hobbyists or people who are generally content creators and hope to use this to promote their other works, and companies using it as advertising/access (Uber, Domino’s Pizza, and so on).

Paid Skills would change that, with people being able to expect a return on their investment specifically from the Skill. Think of it like paid apps in the appstore…some of them are worth the payment.

Overall, these are good developments and a good sale!

Happy birthday, Alexa!

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

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

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

Primeless price penalty at Amazon brick-and-mortar stores

November 6, 2016

Primeless price penalty at Amazon brick-and-mortar stores

Well! Amazon was perhaps cleverer than I was.🙂

That’s not to say that hasn’t happened before, of course, but I think this one is smart.

When I was recently on The Kindle Chronicles podcast the host, Len Edgerly, asked me what I thought (as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager) about Amazon’s approach to opening their new, very limited, physical bookstores.

I replied that I thought they were doing it in a good way…using the stores primarily as showrooms for the website.

Well, in this

GeekWire post by Taylor Soper

it appears that they’ve gone a step further.

There are pictures in the post which show that people shopping in the Seattle physical Amazon bookstore (where my sibling’s first novel, One Murder More ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)), has been featured) see signs explaining that there are two prices possible for each book.

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

members, who usually pay $99 a year, pay the same price for the book that they would at Amazon.com.

Non-Prime members pay list price for the book.

That can be really significantly different…and Amazon doesn’t usually charge the list price. The list price for John Sandford’s latest book (in hardback) is $29.00. Amazon is selling it, at time of writing, for $17.40…a savings of $11.60.

I should explain what “list price” means.

A publisher puts a “list price” (like an MSRP…Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) on a book. Many bookstores discount the book from there, especially popular books.

My guess is that the majority of, say, New York Times fiction hardback bestsellers are sold below list price…not just at Amazon, but overall.

This changes that, at least for Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Why would they do that?

It’s simple. You can join Prime right there in the store, and get one month free…and buy the book at the discount.

Prime members, reportedly, are much more loyal to Amazon, and spend a lot more on the profitable physical items…what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”.

In other words, Amazon is using the physical stores to get people to join Prime.

Certainly, other stores do that…you need a membership at Costco to shop there. This doesn’t require you to have a Prime membership to buy books in the bookstore, but you’d save money, Sure, you could cancel before your one-month was up and pay nothing, but I would guess that more than 50% of trial memberships end up being paid memberships.

All things considered, I think this is an intelligent strategic move by Amazon. What do you think? Would that put you off if you went into the store? Do you think it will get people to join Prime? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to reader Ana whose comment helped improve this post…

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

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

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

 


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