Monday, April 20, 2015

LATE notice for Pacific Coast mostly, on the large sale on the Kindle family HD 7" Fire Tablet today (Monday), $79 rather than $139



LATE notice on a fairly large sale today-only that Amazon is running on the HD 7" tablet, normally $139 to start but $79 to start, the balance of Monday, April 20.

This will leave less than 1 hour for east coast readers, most of whom will be asleep.  But I'll post it anyway for Pacific Coast readers who might be interested in the heavy discount.

  One recommendation:
The $79 price is for the 8 GB model, and it's $99 for the 16 GB model.

To be perfectly frank, Jeff Bezos himself argued against this amount of storage space in Yr 2012 when he launched the HD 7, and HD 8.9" tablets.  This was a year before they released the HDX tablets.  Click the photo to see that.

I guess the reason they've offered an 8 GB model SINCE then is the heavy emphasis on being able to store apps on the Cloud in the last 2 years and easily get them onto or off of the tablets as needed, but I really don't recommend an 8 GB tablet at all these days - and the 16 GB version is $20 more or actually $99. 8 GB is just too small.

  That 8 GB has to hold system files too and should be considered by those not planning to use many games and graphic apps and interested mostly in reading.
  I suppose it might be worth it for $79 for a youngster not into a lot of games, since the non-breakable version is $149 for only the 6" HD to start.

I've long recommended at least 16 GB even if it's somewhat more costly at $20 more, because (repeat) the more attractive or fun apps are heavily graphics-oriented or complex and take up a large amount of storage space and even will need temporary file space during the running of them.  

I'll repeat something I wrote a few months ago, for those interested in this sale but who don't know whether they'd want a Kindle tablet vs other types of tablets available these days.




Amazon tops Apple in Tablet satisfaction survey for first time

JD Power's Yr 2014 Vol 2 Study of U.S. Tablet Satisfaction had Amazon coming from way behind (in past years) to beat Apple out for the first time in the now popular tablet market.

The simple headline in their press release was "Amazon Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Tablet Devices"

  "The study, now in its third year, measures customer satisfaction with tablets across five factors (in order of importance): performance (28%); ease of operation (22%); features (22%); styling and design (17%); and cost (11%). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale."

  From what I remember, Amazon, newer to the game, placed 5th or so in the past.  Apple led the field the first two years of this ongoing study.  The study may be of interest to some who are wondering whether or not to jump on the Holiday pricing Amazon has had in varying degrees the last couple of weeks.

  The mantra has always been "Isn't Apple the best?" As ever, if you have an Apple iPhone and love your iOS apps, it makes more sense to stick with Apple.

  Otherwise, you may want to try Amazon's now famous 30-day Full Refund "No Risk" policy on Kindles.  The return policy:
' You can return any Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet or Amazon Fire TV devices or accessories you purchased directly from Amazon.com for a full refund within 30 days of the day you received it as long as it's in new condition and the return is in accordance with our return policy. '
  (Within 60 days, it's an 80% refund, which I didn't know.)

Will get this off now,  Was not here earlier to note this sale, which is quite a bit more of a discount than usual.



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Friday, April 17, 2015

Amazon and HarperCollins reached an agreement already ... Season 1 of OrphanBlack free for NON-Prime members - on Friday Only (April 18) ... Amazon Echo's new controls for the home ... TurboTax software credits/refunds for some ... New IRS free filing feature (useful for those using extensions).


Amazon's own productions, one of which won two Golden Globes for best series in its category and for best actor, has another popular series getting good reviews (with an average 4.7 stars out of 5 so far).
  It normally costs $15 to watch an entire season (though these are free for Prime shipping members).

  They're making all of Season 1 of Orphan Black available for free binge-watching today by NON-Prime members too, but this is for this one day only.  So if interested, give it a look today.

Here's Amazon's trailer (video) for the series. (This video link doesn't work on e-Ink eReaders, since those don't have video capabilities.)


Amazon and HarperCollins reached an agreement, already, on a multi-year contract
for both print and eBook editions.
Venturebeat reports:
' The particulars of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the arrangement echoes a deal Amazon struck with Simon & Schuster in October, with Hachette in November, and with Macmillan in December. These companies represent four of “The Big Five” English-language publishing companies — Penguin Random House being the fifth.

...publishers have struggled with the retail giant’s steep discount pricing and ever-expanding market share. '

They cite a Wall Street Journal report that this is similar to the new contracts for three of the other Big5 publishers.  "the deal calls for HarperCollins to decide the retail prices of its digital books, with incentives to provide lower prices to consumers."

I imagine Amazon will find incentives that work for them (and therefore for us).


Kindle Tip: A common question asked is "How do I print a recipe from a Kindle book for use in the kitchen?"
  Many don't know that all Kindle book customers have a personal, password-protected website that holds all their annotations (highlights and notes) if you allow Amazon to back those up along with the book.  That's a default setting, but you can turn it off in settings if you prefer they not be on your server area in "the Amazon cloud" that holds your books.

  To see the annotations on your website area (you can view them by book, and they show up on a scrolling page and are easy to copy and paste to your personal editor if wanted), you go to kindle.amazon.com or you can click on this link to get to yours (click "Highlights" at the top there).
  See the original blog article on this really useful feature for an explanation of how it works.

  These are easy to browse.  On your computer or laptop, you can highlight text and then print it.
  There are other ways to do this, but I wanted to make sure newcomers knew about their personal annotations web page at Amazon.


Amazon updated the Echo device to allow control of lights and appliances with this personal assistant/speaker
Business Insider, in an early report on the Echo, opined that its greatest potential would be as a centralized personal assistant for controlling smart lights, televisions, and appliances.   Techsmash reported on the new capabilities:
' Echo is now compatible with the following WeMo and Phillips Hue devices:

  . WeMo: Switch, Insight Switch, and Light Switch
  . Hue: A19, Lux, BR30, Bloom, and LightStrip lights

If you have any of those products, you can simply say “Discover my appliances” and any within range will show up in the Amazon Echo app. You can then assign your connected switches or bulbs to different groups which you ask Echo to interact with individually.
...
...   The following list details voice commands you can use to light your way or interact with your newly-connected devices:

  • “Alexa, turn on the hallway light”
  • “Alexa, turn on the coffee maker”
  • “Alexa, dim the living room lights to 20%”
  • “Alexa, turn on the electric blanket”
  • “Alexa, turn on the outdoor decorations”
Read more at Techsmash.
  And to see what else the Echo device can do, see this very thorough video demo.


Turbo Tax 20214 TAX Filing - software credits and refunds
I went to the tax product page for what I've been using and saw, in response to consumer unhappiness over its feature changes in the last year:
' Information on TurboTax 2014
Intuit made changes to the TurboTax 2014 product line which may have affected you. '

    [And when clicking on "Learn More" saw the following offer]
' Returning TurboTax Deluxe Desktop customers who need to file Schedule C, D, E or F and purchase Deluxe 2014 will be upgraded to Premier or Home & Business for free. This upgrade will happen automatically in your TurboTax Deluxe 2014 product (starting Feb 7th).

  For returning Deluxe 2013 Desktop customers who already purchased TurboTax Premier or Home & Business 2014, Intuit is offering $25 cash back after you’ve filed through April 20th. Learn more here. '
The apology by Intuit's Turbo Tax General Manager gives more detail on how those who needed to buy the more expensive package to get a feature previously part of a less expensive package can get a refund or credit.


Those filing extensions to allow filing of taxes by October 15 instead
Just wanted to point out a Consumer Reports' web article on E-filing your taxes for free.

"Some options let you file both federal and state forms at no cost" is the subheading, and they highlight the new IRS Free File feature.
' If you want guidance when preparing your federal tax form and your household’s 2014 adjusted gross income was $60,000 or less, you can prepare and file your federal return for free on your computer through IRS Free File.  To participate, you must file through a company listed as an "e-file partner" in the Free File section of the IRS website. '

See the rest of this at Consumer Reports page for full instructions.



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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Quick Kindle book tip for history fiends: Free Kindle downloads of all 8 volumes of the official biography of Winston Churchill, $80 value -- through Sunday, April 12, 11:59pm PDT now. Update5



Free 8 volume set of Winston Churchill biography


While the offer was ended prematurely Saturday despite the date range of April 9-11, I've received a response from Soren at The Churchill Project at Hillsdale College that this was an error at either Amazon or at RosettaBooks, and they've made the 8-volume set free again through tonight, Sunday April 12.

So, those disappointed yesterday can take advantage of it today.

  Update5: (April 12) - Soren has confirmed that this will be good until 11:59pm tonight PDT.

  To be doubly sure, get the books earlier.  No Kindle device is needed to read these.  There are free reading apps for PC, Mac, and most mobile devices (including Blackberry phones).

Reader Randall Leverette sent the alert Saturday and this blog article was originally posted early Saturday night (PDT).

  This offer, by Hillsdale College, publisher of the set, was originally set to be good for April 9-11 and (repeating), has now been extended through Sunday, April 12, ending just before midnight, PDT.
' .. the Official Biography of Winston Churchill ...

To mark the anniversary of Churchill's honorary US citizenship, Hillsdale College and RosettaBooks are offering free Kindle downloads of all 8 volumes of the official biography on April 9-11 – An $80 value, absolutely free! '

You can download your free copies at these Amazon links: 
  1. Youth, 1874–1900 (Volume I)
  2. Young Statesman, 1901–1914 (Volume II)
  3. The Challenge of War, 1914–1916 (Volume III)
  4. World in Torment, 1916–1922 (Volume IV)
  5. The Prophet of Truth, 1922–1939 (Volume V)
  6. Finest Hour, 1939–1941 (Volume VI)
  7. Road to Victory, 1941–1945 (Volume VII)
  8. Never Despair, 1945–1965 (Volume VIII)

Tip: - These will be downloaded to your chosen device (even if a PC or Mac when not a mobile device).
  To save device space, though -- keeping these on the Cloud only (your books area at Amazon):
  -- When 'buying' these for $0, choose either your "Kindle for Cloud" (server)
      or choose to "Transfer by computer" later so it doesn't deliver it to any physical device.


More details of the background and celebration here.



  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
The Kindle Daily Deal
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard(U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter


  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Amazon Echo price-discount ending April 7 ... Echo updates ... iOS updates ... HarperCollins negotiations begin ... Amazon Dash Button ... Amazon Home Services ... White Kindle eReader to Asia ... Amazon paid-apps for a flat fee? ... Drone approval was useless


A LOT OF NEWS LATELY

Per a Geekwire report, "Amazon quietly announces last call for Amazon Prime users’ Echo discounts."

Geekwire reports that the Echo product page (the version that displays for those who've not requested an invitation to buy the early version of its Echo personal voice assistant and speaker) now includes a deadline of April 7, 2015 for the Prime member discount of $100 (available during checkout).  I don't see this information because I did order one, although it's supposed to arrive by April 8 but still hasn't been shipped.

For those who don't know what the Amazon Echo does, a very good video demo is available on Youtube.  The feedback on the Kindle Forum is overwhelmingly positive about the units already received and being used the last few months, with regular updates that add features or fixes recommended by the early buyers.

  Geekwire's wording:
' Until April 7, Prime customers who sign up for an Echo invite can lock in a $99 price when the device becomes available to them.  After that, they’re stuck paying $199 with the plebeians. '

  About the update Echo owners received the other day:
  Phandroid.com reports that the Echo adds Pandora and MLB/MLS game scores.
' The update gives Alexa ... [the name of Echo's voice] the ability to play your Pandora radio stations and give you scores from MLB and MLS games.
  To use these new commands simply say “Alexa, play a classic rock station,” or “Alexa, what’s the score of the Detroit Tigers game?” '

  GeekWire points out that "Amazon’s support for Pandora is interesting, since the company already has its own music store and streaming service, which was recently updated on iOS to provide users with ad-free radio stations centered around artists and genres."


April's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    March 2015  April 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

To see the MONTHLY Kindle book discount deals available for April, go to the special monthly book deals page now showing Kindle books for April 2015 for $3.99 or less, US.
  (See UK listing here.)

For those who want to quickly look first at only the ones that are star-rated at 4 or above, here is Amazon US's page for that.  The UK has a similar listing.  These details are for people new to the monthly feature or to this blog.


OTHER RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
I won't be going into detail on these -- just giving links to more information, for the most part, unless someone does want more information.

That FAA's drone-experiments approval
Remember that news in mid-March that the FAA had given approval to Amazon's experiments with drones (for faster delivery in some areas)?  Apparently, the FAA's approval was for an older model that Amazon is no longer testing.  Now Amazon has decided to move its drone testing to Canada, near the border, as the delays for approval in the U.S. make it too difficult for the development of this product.

HarperCollins is the next Kindle book publisher to negotiate a new eBooks agreement with Amazon.
Harper Collins has been offered an arrangement similar to that negotiated with Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan recently.  While Amazon always wants to sell eBooks at lower prices, the publishing houses prefer to keep the price up to avoid "devaluing" their print books (as they've said).

  The seekingalpha.com site adds that "...HarperCollins has its own online sales operations, after a move last summer to sell most of its inventory on its site, as well as deals with Amazon e-publishing competitors."

Amazon introduces the Amazon Dash button
This is a somewhat curious limited-time offer that is:
  . limited to only Amazon Prime members in the U.S. who "receive an email from Amazon
    with an invitation to receive a free Dash Button"
  . the invitation expires seven days after receipt of the email
  . limited to three Dash Buttons per customer and account while supplies last.

Several mainstream tech sites wrote that at first they thought that the announcement of the new Amazon Dash button on March 31 might be an April Fools Day item.  These will be standalone buttons placed in the home (and using WiFi) for certain products or brands (like Tide, Huggies) that, once you press them, will initiate an order to restock a product when you find supplies are low.  To prevent accidental orders, you'd use the associated app to confirm that you want that order.  This would prevent your having to look up what it was that you ordered before.  It's for convenience and of course Amazon's revenue flow.  Here are pages for Terms and Conditions and a complete list of Dash Button Products.

 There's also a video with more information on this at the product invitation page.


Amazon Home Services
A couple of weeks ago, I was buying an item at Amazon when I was suddenly offered help, at my home, with installation of the product or, for a smaller fee, help at a store.   I didn't click on the offer as I didn't need the help, but I thought that was certainly a surprise! What isn't Amazon up to these days?

    They've since announced the new feature - Amazon Home Services - and are offering for a limited time a $20 Amazon Gift Card if you spend $99 or more on one of these services before April 13, 2015.

  A video on the product page explains it well.
  The three points on that page are:
  . Handpicked Pros
  . Upfront Prices
  . Happiness Guarantee

  I wonder if Amazon will start a review and rating system for these too -- it would be additional info vs some current reliance on Yelp!, which has had some marketing and policy problems reported in the news recently.  While I also use Angie's List, I far prefer what I can find about the service companies when using Yelp.

  Okay, I just explored a bit more and if you choose a type of service, and input your zip code, you'll see a recommended service and an estimated price.  Included is a calling card for the service and a RATING from "TaskRabbit."

  They say that the services approved are required to be
1. Background-checked, 2. Licensed (if applicable), and 3. Top-rated performers.

  Also, on the "Learn More" page they add:
Handpicked
  We only invite pros who have a strong track record of service quality.  We screen through a combination of media searches, online interviews, and reference checks.
Background-checked
Background-checked
  We conduct comprehensive business background checks and require each pro traveling to your home to pass a 6-point criminal background check.
Licensed and insured
  We require pros to maintain any required trade licenses and insurance information on file with us.
Top-rated performers
  Pros must meet ongoing performance targets including responsiveness, quality, and ratings.

Amazon Prime Music adds "Prime Stations" to its iOS app
Techcrunch explains that these are "ad-free streaming music stations that offer unlimited song skips." There are additional personalized recommendations based on your prior playing history, and Prime Stations will be able to use the thumbs-up/down feature to learn to make playlists that reflect your interests.

While PC's, the Macs, and Kindle Fire tablets already have the Prime Stations feature, it's not been made available for Android yet.  And now iOS users are getting it in their app.

  ALSO, there was an update to the iOS Kindle app (for accessing Kindle books via iOS devices) today, allowing users of the iPhone or iPhone Touch to access Amazon's "Flashcards for Print Replica Textbooks" when running the Kindle app.  These were available to only the iPad version of the Kindle app.  There's more info on this update at appadvice.com site.


Amazon adds white version to the basic Kindle eReader device (black in the US and other countries) for China (April 8) and Japan (April 20)
Engadget reports the new white Kindle model to be made available to China and Japan.  They've asked Amazon when this might "reach other parts of the world."


Amazon's plans to offer paid apps at no additional cost each download for a flat fee ("Unlocked")
According to Techcrunch, Amazon it "wants to launch" a new feature, an app store section called "Unlocked."  This would be something like the "Prime program for apps," per Techcrunch, who writes that they 'learned of the new feature by way of an internal presentation, leaked to us, explaining how the new feature will look."  They add that "the basics are outlined simply enough in the presentation, which uses the code names “Gretzky” and “Snuffy” to respectively describe the new feature and user flow around it.'



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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kindle tips: 18 Fiction Favorites on one-day deal today (Mar.28) ... Amazon announces new photo storage plan + an 'Everything Plan' ... A really good Amazon Echo video-demo plus a tip to shorten delivery time on a current Echo order.


Today's Kindle Daily deal (March 28 only) includes 18 Fiction Favorites for up to 80% Off
For those who don't check the daily Kindle book deal, there are 18 to choose from today in the Fiction category and they're described as "Favorites."

Amazon Echo - Excellent demo of this creature, on a Youtube video
plus a tip on how to speed up delivery

  (Reminder: Kindle Blog Editions don't do video, but you can view the video on a computer instead.)

There's now a Youtube video that gives a good, somewhat frantic demonstration of what the Amazon Echo can do, as of January 30.
  Since the video is fast-paced vs an earlier one which was narrated in almost slow-motion, quite a bit is covered.
The Deal Guy throws questions at Alexa and interrupts her answers with other questions, and you can hear the general response time.

  If you already ordered it and it won't be delivered for 2 months:
I took a tip from a forum note and changed my delivery speed to one day instead of free 2-day Prime to see if I might get this gizmo earlier than May 27 to mid July as had been noted on my order since mid-January.  I opted for the one-day delivery option to see how much the date would change and, while the charge would be $6, the shipping date range changed to March 24 - April 8.  I went for it, my curiosity driven by the several thousand notes on the Echos already received and discussed.  It's now March 28, and it's not shipped yet.  Amazon normally tends to ship earlier than planned, so these appear to still be relatively backlogged, although my new earlier date range is still to April 8, rather than to mid-July.

  Caution - Someone tried just 'confirming' the order, and this resulted in a later shipping date.
  In any case, there should be no rush for most, but this tip is for those who do want to get it earlier.

Amazon offers unlimited photos storage plan + an unlimited-every-type-of-file plan
Those who are Amazon Prime members already get Unlimited free storage of photos (+ video files smaller than 2 gigs).  I described what's involved in the Prime feature, in detail, in the earlier article on the Prime version.  The free storage is there for Prime members as long as the Prime memberships are kept.
  Many don't know that this is available to them, since November 2014.

  Yesterday Amazon announced another way to get Unlimited cloud-storage of photos ($11/yr) or Unlimited Everything for $59/yr (equivalent of $~5/month).  They're offering a 3 month trial to try either plan.  Here's the key part of their announcement:
  • Unlimited Photos Plan (free 3-month trial, then $11.99 per year-- equivalent of less than $1 per month): Store an infinite number of photos in Cloud Drive without worrying about taking up space on phones, cameras, or other devices. Customers can upload existing collections and store all future photos taken. This plan also includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files.

  • Unlimited Everything Plan (free 3-month trial, then $59.99 per year-- equivalent of less than $5 per month): Store an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive.

Again, Prime members already have the equivalent of the first plan (and even better since videoclips are included).
  Amazon also emphasized that these two new plans allow customers "to securely store their existing content collections and automatically [if wanted] upload endless amounts of new content, including photos, videos, movies, music, and files. ."  So, there'd be "no worry about storage space" ... with an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of ... files in one convenient place."

  To learn more about Amazon Cloud Drive and the Unlimited Cloud Storage plans, visit amazon.com/clouddrive.

  I don't know what the retrieval speed would be like, but I take advantage of the free feature that imports my Facebook photo albums to the Amazon space, and when I access them to view them from the Cloud on a tablet or phone, it's very fast.  At any rate, both plans have the 3 month free trial, so we can try them out before deciding.



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Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Amazon has been up to ... Drone experiments approved ... Prime Now 1-2 hr deliveries ... Sunday deliveries ... Amazon's first physical store and its New York midtown plans . Windows 8 video tutorial ... surface pro 2 price worth a look


RECENT AMAZON NEWS

Amazon granted permission to experiment with drones for quick delivery
  Last Thursday, against most expectations, the FAA issued Amazon "a certificate to experiment with unmanned aircraft for research, development and crew training."

Amazon is required to follow the guidelines listed below:

 "The flights must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours.
  The drone must also remain within the line of sight of the pilot and observer.
   The person flying the aircraft, meanwhile, must have a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.
  Amazon.com Inc. must also provide monthly data to the FAA on the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions and other information."

  The The Register, UK weighs in with, "The only problem is it's completely useless to the online retailer as it contains a line-of-sight requirement that would make its main aim of delivering packages impossible."
  Amazon hasn't responded to The Register's questions on this.  Regulations and laws can be modified.  I'm personally not keen on delivery drones overhead when I'm out and about though!

Speaking of speedy deliveries:
Amazon's expands one-hour Amazon Prime Now delivery service for daily essentials from two to four city areas.
Amazon.com expands its one-hour delivery Prime Now service for "tens of thousands of Daily Essentials" to Baltimore and Miami.

  Currently available in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the One-Hour delivery program is also being made available in some ZIP codes in Baltimore and Miami.

  This will work only through the Prime Now mobile app for products such as paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries in certain areas of the four cities mentioned.
  Amazon plans to expand in each city soon.
' The service is available to customers enrolled in Amazon Prime [US], a service that costs $99 a year and includes free two-day shipping on a range of products and instant content-streaming options [plus thousands of free instant-streaming movie and TV-show videos and over a million free music mp3's].
  . . .
  All Prime members can download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices, and be notified when the service is available in their local area.

  In Miami and Baltimore, Prime Now is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

  Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available in select ZIP codes for $7.99

  Current caveats seen in reading customer feedback
1. Manhattan and Brooklyn users seem happiest with it, but even then many are not comfortable with the mobile-app only method of using the feature and want to be able to use it on desktops and laptops.

2. The app (which is for Android 4.2 and above as well as iOS) considers itself 'incompatible' with a large number of Android devices and is not compatible with the Kindle Fire tablet currently.  I have a Samsung Android tablet with OS v4.34 but it's considered incompatible too.  It could be that Amazon sees my Samsung as pre-OS v4.3 -- before I updated the OS.  Supposedly the app can be read on devices in cities where the program is not yet available, so that you can get information on the mobile device about when the program DOES become available in your area.

3. Growing pains - Some newly using this in Baltimore and Miami are having some struggles with the functioning today.

4. The recommended (but optional) $5 tipping on free 2-hour deliveries cannot be done with cash, but that means that people would pre-pay a tip on the credit card before the delivery services is completed.

Those for whom the app works tend to love the 1-2 hour delivery capability though.  With time, it should get better, and Amazon is making the announcement before 99% of the U.S. customers can even use it.

Amazon IS stepping up deliveries where it has warehouses nearby in your state, I guess.  I ordered some color-ink supplies for my Brother printer on a Friday, with Prime 2-day delivery, and expected it on Monday. I was startled to get US mail package delivery on Sunday but the arrival was very welcome. Staples, 4 blocks away, had 20% off on ink supplies during that time but Amazon's prices were still better.

  I think I should support a brick and mortar store more, but I did buy my (favorite e-device) Surface Pro 2* at Staples, since no one was discounting that tabtop, it wasn't available to places like Amazon yet, and for that kind of thing I do prefer humans nearby that I can go to with the product if there's a problem, and Staples has been pretty good, which is why I drop in and look around still.  I just think printer ink is over-priced, generally, so I go for the less expensive option while no longer experimenting with 'compatibles.'

  * I just looked to see if Amazon is selling it now that the Surface Pro 3 is the current model, and what I bought for $1,300 + $120 magnetically attachable keyboard cover in Nov 2013 is now $715 w/ prime shipping, with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM.  Incredibly fast, stable touch-'laptop' while the backlight "Type cover" [real keyboard and not bluetooth] is another $85, at Amazon.

  What I most like is that you can move your head around and the image stays the same - No shift in brightness and contrast based on angle.  At less than 2 lbs., it can be dropped into my purse if it's needed outside.  I love the pen stylus too (if you lose it and need a replacement, Amazon Marketplace vendors are currently marking it up 4 times -- get Microsoft's refurbished one for the Surface Pro or Pro2 for $24 instead.)
  I imagine you'd need to let the unit auto-update Windows v8.1 considerably during opening-setup; the latest update is a huge improvement over the original horror of Win 8..

  (And re that horror, the older completely non-intuitive horrible interface of Windows 8 was made understandable for those who knew about the free video tutorial, "The Missing Windows 8 Instructional Video - 25 minutes."  I can't recommend it enough for the basics, although Microsoft finally paid attention and has added back the standard clues on-screen for what an icon means AND added icons at all (you used to have to try to find them).

  Staples is in the process of acquiring the only other large national office supplies store, Office Depot, and that means acquiring its debt too, while regulatory approval will take time if it comes at all, since Staples was denied an acquisition of another office supplies stores in the past due to concerns about a monopoly -- but that was before the onslaught of the online retailers, which has hurt both stores.

  One thing struck me.  It mentions that online retailers like Amazon "do not face the same encumbrances from real estate costs."

  But now I see Amazon has opened its first physical store at Purdue University and "has similar arrangements with the University of California, Davis and the University of Massachusetts Amherst."

  Not only that, they're said to be "planning to open a store on Midtown Manhattan’s famed 34th Street after agreeing to a 17-year lease to rent a 470,000 sq-foot space in the heart of New York’s major shopping district."


There's more but since this is long already, and the others are software offerings, I'll do a separate post on those.


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Friday, March 13, 2015

Kindle tips: The Big Deal - Over 400 Kindle books at up to 85% off is back, through March 29. Amazon's ongoing SD card discounts. UPDATE. LINK fixed.


The Big Deal: Kindle Books Up to 85% Off

Starting March 13, 2015 through March 29, 2015, save up to 85% on more than 400 Kindle books.
Amazon's The Big Deal is back for the most of the rest of March (starting today, March 13) and promises, this time,
  "Up to 85% off on more than 400 Kindle Books" in that small print.

This special pricing is good through March 29, and carries the usual disclaimer re varying selection and pricing of books offered outside the U.S.
  [UPDATE: Somewhere I saw March 31 as the end date but it's through March 29 instead.
    I've also fixed the first link, which was to the wrong page.  Gads.  Apologies.]

   Last year in March, this feature's page was organized using a more limited set of 5 categories or genres.  This year, there are nine categories:

  Mystery and Thrillers,  Romance,  Science Fiction & Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction
  Biography & Memoirs, Teen Books, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction,
  Religion & Spirituality

On the right of the page is a list of the Top 10 Best Sellers and an option to "See all Best Sellers in The Big Deal"
  Those latter list shows the top 100 out of the 400 offered.
' These lists, updated hourly, contain bestselling items. Here you can discover the best The Big Deal in Amazon Best Sellers ... For non-U.S. customers, Kindle content availability and pricing will vary. '
The bottom of the page is a scrolling list of 431 books, one by one, with a default sort of "New and Popular" and alternate sorts:
  16 per page, if you choose (inside the gray strip bar above the list) the Orange grid for "Detail"
      OR
  60 per page, if you choose the 4-cell icon for "Image" which will show mainly book covers and basic info.

  Shortcut if you type it: bit.ly/thebigdeal-current


Side Note:
For photo buffs and snapshooters:
 Last year, the following link was to special pricing, but the page now seems to be Amazon's ongoing, mostly 50% off pricing on SD and SDHC memory cards.
  These are primarily name brand memory cards.


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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Amazon's $25,000 Shopping-Spree Sweepstakes details ... Great AppleWatch selection aid ... Firefly coming to smaller Kindle Fire HD's 6 and 7"

Amazon's $25,000 Shopping-Spree Sweepstakes
Just saw this today -- the feature was announced yesterday, to feature the Amazon appstore offerings.

  US residents 18 years of age or older are invited to enter the Giveaway ("Sweepstakes") to win $25,000 in Amazon.com Gift Cards.

  The sweepstakes period is from March 9 through April 15 at 11:59pm PDT.  I asked for and received clarification that although the announcement is "specifically targeted" to users of the Android for Phone app because it's the ONE way you can be automatically entered into the sweepstakes - when you download, from Apps and Games category, any app -- paid or free.  

  There are two ways to get a chance at the big prize.
  While the Giveaway announcement page mentions that "Apps & Games are now available for download from within your Amazon App for Android Phones," they've been available all along but they're alerting us to the automatic sweepstakes-entry when using the app to download one app from the appstore during the sweepstakes period.  Here's a link to the Official Rules page.

  To enter, use one of the following two methods:
  1.  If you have an Android phone, fill out the short entry form at the bottom of the Sweepstakes page, which will take you to a page that will launch or begin downloading the latest version of the Amazon Android for Phones App (available only from the Amazon appstore store and NOT from GooglePlay store).  Then:

     "From within the Amazon App for Android Phones, navigate to Apps & Games and download any app or game – paid or free.

  2.  "Alternatively, you may enter by mailing a (postage pre-paid) 3x5 card with your name, address, e-mail address and phone number to Appstore Sweepstakes, 2202 US Highway 41 N, Unit E, PMB 172, Henderson, KY 42420.  Mail-in entries must be postmarked by April 15, 2015 and received by April 22, 2015. All other entries must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. (PT)   on April 15, 2015.

 Limit one (1) entry per person using only one (1) Amazon.com account or e-mail address, regardless of entry method.  You may not use multiple customer accounts to enter the Sweepstakes, and entries submitted through multiple accounts will be disqualified.

  Worth the time to make an entry.  With the automatic app-download entry, Amazon will count only the first app-download.


Apple Watch launched yesterday.

Is it for you?  Here's a bit of help.  
   Just before posting this blog entry, I saw this in my news feed, and it's such a hilarious selection-aid that I think others might enjoy it also.


New: Firefly feature coming to Kindle Fire HD 6-7" and HDX 7" tablets
   The larger Year-2013 and 2014 Kindle Fire HD 8.9" tablets received this feature earlier.
   What is 'Firefly' though?

It's a visual search on a mobile device that, when you take a photo of an object or use the microphone on a sound you're hearing, analyzes what is seen and/or heard and tries to identify it, whether it's a video, a song, a CD album, artwork, or a general everyday product.

  I have an 8.9" Kindle HDX and have the Firefly app "listen" to music and analyze  a movie showing on my TV and it was able to identify both.

  Amazon first put their Firefly feature on the Amazon 3D Fire Phone.  Despite the unusual features of that phone, the complex phone interface was reported to be confusing for many consumers and -- with the dilemma of phone and data plans that would need to be put in place or replaced with a purchase of a different phone -- it did not see much interest from consumers at the price initially chosen  (AT&T nixed the additional option of a scaled down budget version, I read, but is now 99c with a data plan).

  However, the Firefly feature impressed reviewers and owners of the phone.  Slashgear gives a good description of the phone's Firefly capabilities and also the more limited version coming to the smaller tablets.
' Snap up a photo of a thing and Amazon will analyze it and point you to the corresponding product on its virtual shelves ... consider all the other things that Firefly can do.  Scan a business card and it will be able to analyze the text there.  Show it a video on TV and it can identify what TV show or film it is.  And, as of last December, it can even recognize about 2,000 artworks.

That functionality ... is the one that is coming to Kindle Fire HD tablets in the US, the UK, and Germany.  Those include the super wallet friendly, and also least powerful, Fire HD 6 and Fire HD 7.  It seems, however, that not all of Firefly's scanning abilities will make it, with only song, movie, and product search mentioned to make the cut. '

  At about the same time Slashgear did a review of the small, inexpensive (and of course somewhat limited) Fire HD 6.

  PC Authority also reviewedthe Fire HD 6 as well that week.  Both reviews are balanced ones.


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Monday, March 2, 2015

Kindle Tips: Amazon has upgraded Kindle book samples ... Overdrive fixed its Kindle public library books problem ... 3M's library access - how it's done on Kindle Fires ... Today's specials on computer items and accessories, up to 50% off March 2 only ... March's free Kindle books (contemporary). Updated.



I'm just back from an unexpected vacation from the blog after 6 years but have monitored blog comments for any questions that people might have.

Will be catching up with some Amazon and Kindle news I did log, mainly for those who are too busy to keep up with that.

Four items before I get to others my list:

Amazon has made the Kindle book samples more useful
Amazon's email explained:

"- Samples that you download from the Kindle book store will now be saved in the cloud so that you can access and read them on any supported Amazon device or Kindle reading app.

 - You can delete your samples from the cloud on any supported devices or Kindle reading apps, or from Manage Your Content and Devices. (http://www.amazon.com/mycd).

Amazon devices and free Kindle reading apps that support these sample improvements are:
Fire HDX, Fire HD, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD (2nd Generation), Kindle Voyage, Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation), Kindle (7th Generation), Fire phone, Kindle for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch version 4.5 or greater, and Kindle for Android version 4.7 or greater."

More info at Amazon's Kindle Samples Help page.


Update on Overdrive for Public Libraries and Kindle Books
For January and February 2015, a number of eBooks added to their catalog were not available in the Kindle format, and Kindle customers brought this to their attention without getting explanations from Overdrive.  The situation was corrected on Friday (Feb. 27).
' This has now been resolved, and the Kindle format of the affected titles is now available in OverDrive’s Marketplace.  All U.S. libraries’ digital collections will be automatically refreshed with the Kindle format for any titles they have purchased that may not have had the format at the time of purchase.

As always, we will continue to add daily to our world leading catalog of over 2.6 million titles with all available formats. We look forward to continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks for our U.S. library and school partners. '

Now, I don't know what they mean by 'continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks' for their U.S. Library and school partners except for the following:

  3M is a rival provider, but it is definitely harder to use to access Kindle books, as it is NOT available for Kindle e-Ink eReaders (but can be transferred from computer downloads to Nook and Kobo eInk readers) and the recommended way is to use Kindle Fire tablets to download Kindle-formatted books.  Obviously, Amazon and 3M haven't come to an agreement similar to Overdrive's, which works with Amazon's easy download system.  However, some public libraries apparently don't offer Overdrive.

  Here are step-by-step instructions from the 3M public library Kindle Fire page (updated February 10, 2015).  Note that they say this is for the Kindle Fire HDX and doesn't mention the HD models.  However, in the initial steps of clicking a settings box to allow installation of a non-Amazon store app, it mentions that you'll find it under Settings/Device -- but in the HD and earlier models, this box is found under Settings/Applications.  Maybe that's the difference.

  If you don't have an HDX (or an HD that the 3M instructions might work on, here are alternate instructions that may work for the older Kindle Fire HD and and even earlier Kindle Fire from Washington County libraries system, as their steps incorporate 3M's own instructions for the Kindle Fire (linking you to the 3M page after a certain point) but they add advice on the various steps.


March's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    February 2015  March 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  There are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.

To see the monthly Kindle book discount deals available for March (these change monthly
and some of them are less-known), the February 2 blog entry was updated today, March 2,
to include revised information to reflect March's book selections.


Amazon's Deal of the Day in electronics
Today they're focusing on items for the PC -- up to 50% off for today, March 2 Only.
"Select Computer Components & Accessories." You'll see these at PC deals March 2
' Today only, enjoy special savings on select PC components and accessories from top brands. This one-day offer is valid on March 2, 2015, or while supplies last. Discount is already included in the current Amazon.com price. Applies only to purchases made from Amazon.com and does not apply to products purchased from third-party merchants on the Amazon.com website. Return to the Gold Box page. '


That's it for this morning.

image credit: www.ue.net.cn


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Monday, February 2, 2015

Amazon loosens free-shipping restrictions. More on Family Library Sharing feature. Free and low-cost Kindle book - Search-link options for February for contemporary, non-classics + other bargain pages (US, UK, Canada) + Kindle discount-alerts by customers + Kindle Unlimited Audible w/ Whispersync. UPDATED March 2, 2015)


FIRST, a couple of news stories that should be of interest to Amazon's customers

Amazon now allows items from multiple merchants to be combined to qualify for free shipping on orders of $35 and above.

  Until late January, all items in the cart didn't qualify unless they were all being purchased from the same seller.

  Now, eligible items from multiple merchants -- including those that don't ship through Amazon -- can be combined to qualify for the free shipping minimum.   You'll see "Free Shipping" as a label on the product pages for 'qualifying' items

  Consumerist offers detailed definitions for "Sold by Amazon" - "Fulfilled by Amazon" and Fulfilled by Seller."

  How the new system works:
' This week’s change affects items that are “fulfilled by seller,” but the seller doesn’t charge separate shipping.  Let’s say, for example, that you’re buying two toys: one is shipped from Amazon and costs $9, and the other is shipped directly from the seller’s warehouse and costs $27. Even though Amazon isn’t involved in shipping the more expensive item, it still counts toward your total for free shipping. '

David Pogue explains How to Set up Amazon's Family Library
Pogue's instructions were written for Yahoo! Tech.
  His first article was on how the new Family Sharing feature "could save you 50% on your ebooks, apps, movies, music, and TV shows."

  The older method of sharing Kindle books has been to have people share one Amazon account, and up to 6 people could share access to a Kindle book, but there was no way to keep your separate last-page-read nor your own annotations.  (Parental controls in more recent models help with the older problem of children having access to the parents' books credit card purchasing.)  Pogue adds, re the new Family feature:
' This feature lets you share your online purchases with other people, even if they have their own separate accounts.  In theory, these other people are your family members, but there’s nothing to stop you from filling those slots with, say, your friends or roommates.
[ Kindleworld note: See Pogue's caution about this at the end of the set-up instructions in the 2nd article. ]
. . .   Amazon lets you share only Kindle ebooks, audiobooks, and apps.  You can’t share TV shows, movies, or music with this feature. (Amazon says that, later this year, you’ll also be able to share Prime Instant Videos, if you’re a Prime member.)

  Furthermore, only two people (adults, each with a different Amazon account) can see each other’s stuff everywhere Kindle books can be read: not just on Kindle e-readers, but also in the Kindle apps on tablets, phones, and computers, and even on the Amazon website. '

  There's more detail about sharing books with children, in a more limited way, and on fewer devices.

  He also mentions the older feature of publishers' tightly-controlled Lending capability for only certain Kindle books and for only 14 days maximum, to be used only ONCE, ever, for a given book.  Needless to say, this was not a very popular feature, since the publishers haven't approved many of their more popular Kindle books for this type of lending.

  Again, Pogue's second article is on How to set up Family Library.  It's very well illustrated.  Note that he adds this caution:
' By the way: Don’t try to get clever.  You can’t use the Family Library feature to let lots of different people read your books for free.  If you delete your partner from the “household” you’ve set up (so that a new person can read your books, for example), then neither you nor your partner is allowed to join a Family Sharing arrangement again for six months. '

All right. March's Kindle book deals - Updated from earlier February entry
    February 2015  March 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  There are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.


[The below monthly book deals entry was updated from February to March selections.]
The special monthly book deals for March 2015 -- where to find them, etc.

MARCH 2015's monthly Kindle Books deal, for $3.99 or less (See UK listing here.)

For those who want to quickly look first at only the ones that are star-rated at 4 or above, here is Amazon's page for that.  These details are for people new to the monthly feature or to this blog.

  On the main monthly Kindle book deals page, separate categories are highlighted, using Amazon's usual horizontally-scrolling pick-lists, for the following topics highlighted on the main page. They link to "See all" at the bottom of each horizontally-scrolled category row [ I'm adding direct links to the full category listings ]:

  1. History and by Avg Customer Rating
  2. Science Fiction & Fantasy and by Avg Customer Rating
  3. Biography and Memoirs and by Avg Customer Rating
  4. Literary Fiction Deals and by Avg Customer Rating
  5. Religion and Spirituality and by Avg Customer Rating

  6. Whispersync for Voice and by Avg Customer Rating     Audible book with Kindle book

        The Whispersync category has sometimes shown up with an explanation that the corresponding audio book is also sold at the monthly-deal price, if wanted.
  ' Now you can seamlessly switch between reading featured Kindle books and listening to them without ever losing your place...
  First, purchase the Kindle book for $3.99 or less. Then add the narration from Audible for $3.99 or less to enable the feature. '
  The Whispersync category is always listed in the left column of the main Monthly Deals page (there are about 53 of these Whispersync-ready books in March's deals).  They're also included in the overall scrolled monthly deals that can be sorted by several options at the bottom of that main page.

  Note that the newish Kindle Unlimited subscription program includes many of these as part of Kindle Unlimited so that there's no added charge for the Audible book, for KU subscribers.

The main monthly deals page also tends to show, on the right, two vertically-scrolling categories:
  1. A list of Bestsellers
  2. Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense highlighted + more in the linked full list w/ sorting options)
      Here's that fuller listing by Avg Customer Rating

THEN, at the bottom of the new main monthly Kindle book-deals page, they offer the FULL current monthly listing, defaulting to sorting by "New and Popular" and there are 117 in all today, currently, but the number may vary.

  Here's a direct link to that Full-listing (US), sorted by "New and Popular" for the month, so
    it's a good one to bookmark if you just want to jump to that) and
    you can choose another sort option for this full listing, such as
        Avg Customer Rating or by Price: Low to High

These options should make it easier to find books of interest to you.

The pricing for March's group of Kindle books include 99c books to $3.99 (there were no 99-cent ones for December's monthly deal.

  The Kindle books you'll see on this special monthly-deals page  (UK version here) are new for March.

(US Link: amzn.to/mkbooks-1to4,  UK Link: amzn.to/100kbooks-1to4uk)

The ongoing Kindle Daily Deals page
for any given day usually shows a lot of books since it includes children's books, a couple of genre-specific deals, and the monthly daily deals as well.

Also:
    Highly rated, under $1

    In addition, Amazon still quietly carries: "Mostly 99c Kindle Books" page, which is a different Amazon listing from the one for highly rated Kindle books under $1.

    Amazon Top 100   (Also, UK-only)

    Amazon's own Limited Time Free Promos.

    NEWer are 50 Kindle Book Deals for $2 Each.  These are all labeled Kindle Unlimited and are from the subscription set of 700,000+ Kindle books. This particular set of discounts is valid through the end of the month, March 31, 2015.

    Also, there's a recently added umbrella page, Kindle Book Deals, for the many types of Kindle book deals available at any given time, so it's another good one to bookmark, along with the page you're reading :-)

    for students (and their parents), there is a special page for eTextbooks you can "Rent, Buy or Try eTextbooks for Free."
  They point out that "you can save up to 80% off the print list price when you rent and up to 60% off the print list price when you buy eTextbooks."

Two ongoing pages you may want to bookmark
1. Free Kindle Non-Classics - includes the above bargain links among other ones.
2. KINDLE SUPPORT info
  This has an "Often Asked" section which has a lot of good info in it. Updated 7/2/14.




DISCOUNTED / Price Dropped Kindle eBooks III - the ongoing Kindle Forum message thread
  This is an ongoing message thread in which Kindle owners share information on recent drops in pricing on specific Kindle books, often with some added info by the person posting it.


The below is for February and NOT updated for March
  For March, go to the first link for the message thread ending Feb. 2 and then click at top right to go to the Last Post and then work backwards to get applicable discount-alerts for the last couple of days (the discounts are only temporary).

  - Not-updated portion below
  Here's a link to the thread, which includes many books with large price drops.  I'm starting at a January 30 posting page that includes books that are still on sale today, Feb. 2.  On that beginning page is a very topical book, "The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear" by Seth Mnookin, which was $9.99 but is $2.99 on Kindle today (and will probably end tonight).
  From the product description: "In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist with a history of self-promotion, published a paper with a shocking allegation: the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. The media seized hold of the story and, in the process, helped to launch one of the most devastating health scares ever. In the years to come Wakefield would be revealed as a profiteer in league with class-action lawyers, and he would eventually lose his medical license.  Meanwhile one study after another failed to find any link between childhood vaccines and autism." (Actually, it's more complicated than that.)

  I didn't look any further.   The books discussed in this forum thread tend to be very short-term discounts.

  That forum topic link is to a specific post to start, in this case, a book alert on Jan. 30, as mentioned.  You can browse previous posts or days, or keep up with ongoing alerts after that, because Amazon keeps track of the last message# that you read, so that you can start from there next time.

  While many of the better deals seem to be around $1.99-$4.99, there usually are a decent number of larger-publishing house deals included (primarily price-matching) that tend to end in a DAY, so you'd need to double-check the current pricing of ANY Kindle books that interest you to see if the discounts are still active.

  Again, Kindle book prices are discounted for only a very short time, too often, and are promos, and that's another reason to watch the list.  Most of the large-publisher discounts last only one or two days even when they originate the discount.


DISCOUNTS ON ACCESSORIES Amazon's current pages (some, ongoing) on accessories for Kindle e-Reader and Kindle Fire
  1. Up to 50% (higher discount than usual) on cases for Kindle eReaders
  2. Up to 50% on cases for Kindle Fire (Gen 2) and Kindle Fire HD tablets but NOT HDX tablets
  3. Accessories for all Kindles, with some discounted.


For larger discounts, there are the ongoing pages:
  For US
Goldbox and Lightning Deals which sometimes include bigger one-day sales and
Select-Outlet Deals
Warehouse Deals
Other warehouse deals - more gift oriented
Your Amazon coupons


  For UK and Canada:
UK - Today's Deals
Clearance and Overstocks - UK
Warehouse Deals - UK
  (Includes "Deep Discounts on used and open-box iPads and tablets")

Canada - The Deals Store


Recently-built Kindle Outlet Store - US
A few months ago, Amazon put together a Kindle Outlet Store to feature their certified refurbished Kindle devices at a somewhat lower cost.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kindle Book Tips: A book on The New Yorker cartoonists is one of the Kindle Daily Deals today + a recommended book for history buffs ("Exodus Lost")




Unusual Kindle Daily Deal book today

I don't check the Kindle Daily Deal every day but did look just now and saw one in today's batch that New Yorker Cartoon fans might not want to miss.

"I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker's Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists"
is $1.99 today.  Published October 2014.


  From editorial reviews:
“Everyone who's ever had their mind blown by a New Yorker cartoon has wondered about the twisted, perforated, skewed, and fizzy geniuses that create them. This book is our Rosetta Stone. It explains who these wonderful weirdos are, how they acquire their odd, delicious ideas, and how those ideas migrate fantastically to paper and then press. We are in enormous debt to Richard Gehr for tracking these artists down, for charming them, disarming them, and translating their lives and work into wise and elegant prose. Books like this should cost a fortune.” —David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us
"A great New Yorker cartoon goes deeper than it looks, and Richard Gehr's masterful profiles of the magazine's artists reveal the rich weirdness and intense craft behind their doodly bursts of wit." —Douglas Wolk, author of Reading Comics
“[Gehr’s] knowledge of the history and culture of the magazine, and his incisive, revealing interviews, make for great reading…When Roz Chast, George Booth, Ed Koren, and all the rest read this book, I think they will be delighted—as will you.” —Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, from the foreword


A favorite non-fiction book

I'm adding a favorite book of mine that some readers of the New Yorker might like:

Exodus Lost [Kindle Edition] by S. C. Compton
  As with the first book above, Amazon's editors picked this for their "Best Books of 2014" feature.

It's an extensively-researched, in-depth look into the origins of Mexican and Western civilizations, with intriguing parallels noted with the history of other areas of the world.  What's unusual is how very readable it is, although that will be so mainly for history buffs.

The author, Stephen Compton, "dedicated 14 years to the research and writing of Exodus Lost, including travels to archaeological sites in Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Israel, and Turkey and to relevant museum and library holdings across Mexico, Europe, and America.
  He currently edits academic journals in the fields of history and literature for Oxford University Press.

  From editorial reviews:
"Exodus Lost is a first-rate intellectual adventure.  Its fresh perspective and new revelations make for a thoughtful and captivating journey into the roots of Mesoamerican and Western civilizations. I highly recommend this thought-provoking new book."
Dr. Jonathan Fanton, eminent historian, leading human rights advocate, former President of the New School for Social Research, and retired President of the MacArthur Foundation

"Exodus Lost is a page-turner... I highly recommend this fascinating, educational read by a scholar refreshingly willing to think "out of the box."
Dr. David Kaufman, Linguistic Anthropologist

The well-illustrated book includes 126 photos, maps, and engravings and, as a result. may take somewhat longer than usual to download.  Both books offer the "Look Inside" feature.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


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-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Amazon Alert - Today Only, Prime program 25% off, at lowest price, to celebrate Golden Globe awards. Also, free today -- full 10-half-hour series "Transparent"... And, reminder: The Big Deal Kindle book sale ends Sunday.


From Amazon's Press Release about Saturday's celebration of Golden Globes with ONE-day offer of PRIME Free 2-day Shipping program at $72 for 1 year (rather than $99 - for new Prime customers only, US) plus Free viewing of all 10 episodes of Transparent for ALL customers today.


"In Celebration of Golden Globe Wins, Amazon is Making All Ten Transparent Episodes Free to Watch This Saturday Only—No Membership Required
This Saturday, starting at 12:01 a.m. ET and concluding at 11:59 p.m. PT, everyone can watch Transparent using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/Transparent
Also in celebration of Transparent and the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, customers can sign up for Amazon Prime for just $72 this Saturday"



As said, NO Prime membership is required for the one day free viewing of all episodes.
  Variety says that this can be viewed for free in the UK and Germany as well.

From the same press release:
"Anyone can watch the Transparent series at no cost on Saturday using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/Transparent."
Amazon's press release points out that this series has been "the no. 1 ranked series on Prime Instant Video since the show’s launch.  Also proving popular among critics, the show clocked in a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98 percent critic rating, and a 91 Metascore on Metacritic."
  "Also on Saturday and in celebration of the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, Amazon Prime will be available for just $72 - a more than 25 percent savings.  New members can sign up for this limited-time Prime offer at Amazon.com/TransparentPrime. '

That $72/yr rate - Why?
Amazon has never offered Prime at this low an annual rate, which works out to $6 per month for a year.  (It started almost a decade ago at $79/yr and is now $99/yr normally.)  It's partly whimsical, as Amazon's series is the first Online Series ever to win "Top Series" and it happened at the 72nd Annual awards show.
  (After 1 yr, it would be renewable at $99 but can be cancelled.)

 A reminder of what the Prime shipping program includes:
  1. FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items
  2. Unlimited, ad-free access to over a million songs, with scrolling display of lyrics
  3. Instant streaming of over 17,000 movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video (many are downloadable)
  4. Free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive (each photo file can be up to 2 GB each)
  5. Read free books each month through Kindle First and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library
        No Waiting Period. No Due Dates.


Reminder Alert: The Big Deal -- up to 85% off Kindle books ends Sunday January 25 at 11:59pm
MORE KINDLE BOOKS TO BROWSE   Amazon's The Big Deal ends Sunday. - 413 Kindle books at up to 85% off

It's effective through January 25, and the page carries the usual disclaimer re varying selection and pricing of books offered outside the U.S.

For those who didn't read about this feature, which started January 9   The Big Deal page is organized this time by:
  . Mystery and Thrillers
  . Romance
  . Science Fiction & Fantasy Deals
  . Contemporary Fiction
  . Biography & Memoir Deals
  . Teen Book Deals
  . Children's Books
  . Religion & Spirituality Deals

On the right of the page is a list of the Top 10 Best Sellers of the group and
  an option to "See all Best Sellers in The Big Deal..."
  That latter is the top selling 100 out of the 413 offered.

" These lists, updated hourly, contain bestselling items. Here you can discover the best The Big Deal in Amazon Best Sellers ... For non-U.S. customers, Kindle content availability and pricing will vary. "

The bottom of that page is a scrolling list of the currently 413 books, one by one, with a default sort of "New and Popular" and alternate sorts:
  16 per page, if you choose (inside the gray strip bar above the list) the Orange grid for "Detail"
      OR
  60 per page, if you choose the 4-cell, gray icon for "Image" which will show mainly book covers and basic info.
  The shortcut, if you type it on an eReader or tablet: bit.ly/thebigdeal-jan2015



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

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