August 9th, 2014
A lot of great ebooks are on sale at Amazon — but only for the next two weeks! It’s their special “Big Deal” sale — “up to 85% off on more than 400 Kindle ebooks” — and through August 24th, they’re offering an incredible variety of choices.
Here’s some of the most exciting ebooks…
It’s six issues of the Marvel comic book — 152 pages — bound together into a full-color Kindle ebook! See Peter Quill (a.k.a. “Star-Lord”), plus Drax the Destroyer, and Gamora — the “deadliest woman alive”. (And of course, Rocket Racoon…) You can read this cosmic comic book on any touch-screen Kindle — as well as the Kindle apps for smartphones and tablets — and it’s a good way to explore the strange characters from this summer’s big blockbuster movie. “Two words sum up this book: Action and Humor,” writes one reviewer on Amazon. “If you like either you should definitely pick it up.”
Are you ready for another eerie journey into a dimension of sight and sound — and the mind? Rod Serling promised TV viewers “the middle ground between science and superstition…the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge” — but the award-winning writer also delivered those same thrills in print! Serling adapated his favorite TV scripts into chilling short stories which are drawing wildly positive reviews from fans of the series. (” fantastically written…wonderful descriptions and wordsmithing.”) There’s even an introduction by Rod Serling’s daughter — and the whole ebook is free if you’ve subscribed to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service. (And if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you can also watch all of the original Twilight Zone episodes for free…)
The Big Four (a Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie ($1.99)
Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective — accompanied by his friend Captain Hastings — is enjoying a boat trip to South America. But suddenly a strange man appears (covered in mud and dust) scrawling the number 4 over and over again, delivering a crucial clue in yet another murder investigation. Or is it international intrigue — and potentially a sinister cabal of crooked criminals waiting to be brought to justice? One Amazon reviewer described this brilliant piece of detective fiction as “absolutely one of Agatha Christie’s best Hercule Poirot mysteries.”
Slash by Slash ($1.99)
The guitarist for Guns N’ Rose delivers a memoir “that redefines sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll,” according to this book’s description on Amazon. Sharing “intensely personal” stories about a life of unlimited debauchery (from riots to rehab), Slash reveals the path from a rock-and-roll salvation to his own evolution and triumph, in a book which was surprisingly well-reviewed. (“Funny, honest, inspiring, jaw-dropping . . . and, in a word, excessive,” reads its description on Amazon — and the British newspaper The Observer calls it “The most insane rock n’ roll autobiography you’ll ever read…”)
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July 18th, 2014
Amazon’s just announced a surprising new deal! Now you can subscribe to their “all you can read” service for just $9.99 a month! This lets you read any ebook from their special selection of more than 600,000 titles.
And the service isn’t limited to just Kindle ebooks. Amazon’s also including thousands of audiobooks as part of the package. “With Kindle Unlimited, you won’t have to think twice before you try a new author or genre,” points out an Amazon Kindle executive. “You can just start reading and listening!”
And Amazon also lets you “sync” your audiobooks with your ebooks, so you can switch over to a hands-free/listening mode whenever you need to — and then switch back to continue reading at that new location in your ebook! (Amazon calls this “allowing the story to continue even when your eyes are busy.”) It’s a feature that’s been enabled on thousands of the ebooks available in their “Unlimited” subscription service. Just look for this “Whispersync for Voice” logo on the book’s page at Amazon.
There’s even a free 30-day trial, so you can feel what it’s like to have all of these ebooks available without having to worry about price. (Plus a free three-month subscription for every single audiobook available at Audible.com). And yes, this subscription service also includes Amazon’s “Kindle Singles”, so you can also read the shorter new works by authors like Stephen King. Amazon’s even got some exclusive ebooks — titles which haven’t even been released yet, but which are available a month early to Kindle customers…
It’s interesting to speculate about why Amazon’s offering a subscription service. But maybe it’s because people really were shopping around for the cheapest titles. It’s hard for Amazon to make any money if people keep choosing their ebooks from Amazon’s “free” section. With this new program, Amazon will at least get $120 a year from every subscriber.
And Kindle owners will get to read as many ebooks as they want!
July 16th, 2014
It’s one of my favorite things about owning a Kindle. “Each month we unveil a new collection of Kindle books for $3.99 or less,” Amazon explains on a special web page. It always feels like a special event, and if I don’t check out the new selection, I always feels like I’m missing something!
Here’s some of the most interesting titles…
Little Bee by Chris Cleave ($1.99)
It’s impossible not to be intrigued by this novel’s description at Amazon. (“The lives of a sixteen-year-old Nigerian orphan and a well-off British woman collide in this page-turning #1 New York Times bestseller…”) But then they suddenly turn coy, adding “We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it… It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t.
“And it’s what happens afterward that is most important…”
Murder in the Ball Park (The Nero Wolfe Mysteries) by Robert Goldsborough ($1.99)
It’s a brand new mystery starring the famous “armchair detective,” Nero Wolfe — and there’s a fascinating story behind this story. The wealthy New York City detective first appeared in a novel in 1934, according to Wikipedia, and continued delighting mystery readers for the next 40 years. And then a new author took over the series in 1986 — publishing another 11 novels over the next 28 years that continued the detective’s investigations. Amazingly, the most recent Nero Wolfe story was published in 2014, and it looks like an exciting case. “Wolfe earns a big league call-up after a senator gets taken out at the ball game,” reads the mystery’s description at Amazon. (And in an ironic touch, the story opens with a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the New York Giants — two teams which have long since left Wolfe’s beloved New York City for California!)
A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill ($1.99)
It’s a true and heart-warming story about a “struggling college student and the Labrador with ‘a coat like sunshine’,” according to the book’s description at Amazon, “and a tail that never stopped wagging…” The student has cerebral palsy, but when she’s matched up with a service dog, “Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph” — and also inspired everybody that they met. I love a good dog book, and this one has already become Amazon’s #1 best-seller in their category “Animal Care and Pet Essays”. Plus, it’s also drawing rave reviews from Booklist, which call it “a touching memoir”, and “a sweet story about a woman and her dog.”
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine ($1.99)
Before it was made into an Anne Hathaway movie, this charming young adult novel won a prestigious Newbery honor back in 1998. It’s 240-page twist on the Cinderella story, according to the book’s description at Amazon. (“Instead of a demure heroine patiently awaiting a prince who will carry her off, this Ella is a feisty ball of fire with the courage and ambition to take matters into her own hands…”) But there’s one catch: an enchantment forces her to obey any orders that are given to her. It’s quite a premise, and at least one satisfied Amazon customer described it as “the best book I’ve ever read in my entire life.”
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July 11th, 2014
It’s a summer special that’s hard to resist! Amazon’s offering big discounts on their Kindle Fire tablets — including their newest high-definition Kindle Fire HDX. It’s now possible to save up to $50 on a new Kindle Fire tablet. And Amazon’s also offering discounts on accessories for your Kindle.
For example, for just $119 you can purchase a Kindle Fire HD — a $20 savings over its usual price of $139. That’s for the 8-gigabyte version, but if you’d like more storage space, Amazon’s also discounting the 16-gigabyte Kindle Fire HD, to just $129. (Normally it retails for $40 more — $169!) They’re described on Amazon’s web page as “Our most affordable Kindle Fire, now in high-definition…”
But of course, Amazon released an even better tablet last year called the Kindle Fire HDX — and they’re also on sale! Right now you can get a Kindle Fire HDX for just $199. That’s a $30 savings — and Amazon will give you the same discount if you purchase a tablet with extra storage space. The cheapest model comes with 16 gigabytes of storage, but for an extra $40 you can upgrade that to the 32-gigabyte version. And even the 64-gigabyte Kindle Fire HDX now costs just $259 — a $50 discount over its usual retail price of $309!
Amazon’s touting the special as a “Back to School” deal (calling their tablets “the perfect gift for students.”) But there’s also some other gift opportunities. If you look carefully at each Kindle’s page, you’ll notice that Amazon’s offering discounted accessories as the right side of the page. You can save up to $15 on a spiffy new case for your Kindle tablet. (My last Kindle had a leather case, and while reading it was really nice to feel that soft leather-y touch.) The joke’s on Amazon, because this September I have absolutely no plans of going back to school whatsoever.
But I’m definitely going to take advantage of this sale!
Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s discounted Kindles,
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June 26th, 2014
Every month Amazon discounts dozens of Kindle ebooks — to just $3.99 or less! And June is almost over, making this the last week to buy the ebooks at their discounted price. It’s my favorite time to browse for ebooks, and not just because there’s usually a great selection. You can browse all these discounts over the weekend, and then visit the same page on Tuesday (July 1st) to see a whole new selection of more discounted Kindle ebooks!
Here’s some of this month’s most interesting titles…
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut ($1.99)
It’s one of Kurt Vonnegut’s last novel — and with one of his wildest plots. There’s a cluster of characters shipwrecked on an island who suddenly become the only survivors of a catastrophic epidemic — and the novel looks at the world which results…one million years later! One reviewer called it “the humorous, ironic and sometimes carping decline of the human race”, and at least one of Amazon’s customers described it as one of his favorite Vonnegut novels, applauding its grandiose plot and its sense of humor — concluding “in the end Galapagos is interesting, funny, unconventional, and just a great read.”
Hollywood by Charles Bukowski ($1.99)
It’s the second-to-last novel ever written by Charles Bukowski. Just five years before his death at age 73, Bukowski created this 250-page portrait of one of the most extreme cultures of all — Hollywood! After living a life of drunkenness combined with some great and empathetic writing, Bukowski had been commissioned to write a screenplay about his own life in 1984. That resulted in the movie Barfly, but Bukowski wasn’t through with Hollywood yet. “In this hilarious roman a clef, Bukowski draws on his experiences while writing the script…” explains the book’s description at Amazon, adding that the book’s main character is also penning a screenplay about his early life, “as a barfly and brawler, before he became a famous author.” And you’ll recognize many real-life actors, directors, and other famous personalities — because the characters in this book are drawn straight from real life!
The Return of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger ($1.99)
“Jack Crabb is now 112 years old,” begins the book’s description at Amazon, “and he isn’t done spinning yarns.” Thomas Berger’s original novel explored the life of an 111-year-old man who claimed (among other things) to be the only survivor of Custer’s Last Stand. His fantastic stories about real life in the American west inspired a 1970 movie. But nearly 30 years later, in 1999, 75-year-old Thomas Berger resurrected his own character to deliver even more tall tales. “Crabb claims to have witnessed most of the great historical events of the western frontier,” reads the book’s description at Amazon, “hiding behind a wagon after a drunken Doc Holliday provokes the shootout at the OK Corral; joining Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley on tour with their international Wild West show; even taking tea with Queen Victoria when she came out of seclusion after a quarter century!” Like the movie, the novel promises to be funny, but according to Amazon, there’s another layer to this historical fantasmagoria, which they ultimately describe as “a sidesplitting novel of surprising emotional depth.”
And the ebook edition includes a special new introduction by the now-89-year-old author!
A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre ($1.99)
John le Carre has been writing spy novels for more than 50 years. But in 2008, at the age of 76, he reached back to his own memories of working as a British spy in Germany. Or did he? The world’s changed a lot since the 1950s, and in le Carre’s novel (also set in Germany), the intrigue surrounds a mysterious young Russian smuggled into Germany, who may or may not be a terrorist. There’s also a strong female attorney defending him against deportation, and according to Amazon, le Carre’s novel quickly becomes “Thrilling, compassionate, peopled with characters the reader never wants to let go.” They called the novel “fiercely compelling”, but more than that, describe its overall effect as “a work of deep humanity and uncommon relevance to our times…”
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May 9th, 2014
Kindle means variety — there’s always so many ebooks to choose from. And Amazon surprised me last week with with some of their choices for their “Big Deal” discount event. They’d discounted over 400 Kindle ebooks — and at least a few of their selections were sexy literary classics!
The G-String Murders by Gypsy Rose Lee ($3.99)
Yes, the famous stripper wrote a murder mystery “set in the underworld of burlesque theatre,” according to this Kindle ebook’s description at Amazon. “The G-String Murders was penned in 1941 by the legendary queen of the stripteasers — the witty and wisecracking Gypsy Rose Lee…” The story’s full of twists (and a double murder), as Lolita LaVerne teams up with comic Biff Brannigan and Siggy the g-string salesman, squaring off against corrupt policemen…. It’s part of a special series called Femmes Fatales that’s resurrecting pulp fiction and hard-boiled noir detective tales for a new audience of ebook readers in the 21st century. And through May 11th they’re also discounting another Gypsy Rose Lee murder mystery — called Mother Finds a Body!”
The Graduate by Charles Webb ($1.99)
At the age of 24, Charles Web published the ground-breaking novel which became the legendary movie chronicling a young man’s affair with the predatory Mrs. Robinson. But both the movie and the book were really about alienation, which comes through even more clearly in Webb’s original novel. While it’s laugh-out-loud funny, there’s also real angst, according to one review, as Webb “savors that that tension throughout the book, devoting large sections to rambling dialogue showing Ben’s failure to connect.” It’s fun to see scenes where this dialogue was faithfully recreated in the 1967 movie — as well as the tantalizing additional scenes that were left out!
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos ($1.99)
This novel won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for fiction — and when it appeared on the Kindle this November, it included a new afterword by the author! It became a movie and an international best-seller, but I was even more impresed with how one editor at Wikipedia condensed the entire novel into a few juicy sentences. “It tells the story of Cesar Castillo, an aged musician who once had a small amount of fame when he and his brother appeared on an episode of I Love Lucy in the 1950s. The book chronicles Cesar’s last hours as he sits in a seedy hotel room, drinking and listening to recordings made by his band, the Mambo Kings…” And if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can even read this book for free!
Spider-Man: Big Time by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos ($1.99)
If you like stories about superheroes, this is one of the best collections of Spider-Man stories I’ve ever read. But there’s some fun looks at Spider-Man’s personal life — including his relationship with a sexy jewel thief named The Black Cat! This graphic novel opens with a great story starring all of the Avengers, but it’s not just Dr. Octopus who’s attacking New York — soon there’s a high-powered new version of the Hobgoblin! (And there’s also a new character who I’d swear was modeled after Steve Jobs.) All 144 pages of this collection appear in full-color on your Kindle Fire tablet — but for many of the new e-ink Kindles, it’s also available in black and white!
May 5th, 2014
It’s one of the great things about owning a Kindle: there’s so many things to read! And for the next week, Amazon’s making it even easier, with an event called “The Big Deal”. More than 400 different Kindle ebooks have been discounted through May 11th, so everybody should be able to find something.
I spent at least a half an hour browsing through the entire selection, and here’s some of the ebooks that looked especially interesting…
How Life Imitates Chess by Garry Kasparov ($1.99)
For 20 years he ruled the chess world with some of the highest ratings of any Grandmaster. But in 2007, as he approached middle age, Kasparov turned his mind to a book which “distills the lessons he learned over a lifetime…” according to Amazon, “to offer a primer on successful decision-making: how to evaluate opportunities, anticipate the future, devise winning strategies.” Amazon describes Kasparov’s style as “lively” and “insightful” which touches on memory, intuition, and even the fine art of fantasy. And best of all, you can also pair this ebook with an audiobook partly narrated by Kasparov himself — and then sync the audiobook to the ebook. This let’s you switch from one to the other without losing your place — or to read along while you’re listening to the professional narration!
Bluebeard: The Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916-1988) by Kurt Vonnegut ($1.99)
This isn’t like other Kurt Vonnegut novels. It was published in 1987, shortly before Vonnegut’s 65th birthday, and the introspective novel explores the life of a strange 71-year-old painter. (“I promised you an autobiography,” the painter apologizes in the first chapter, “but something went wrong in the kitchen…”) Amazon describes the book as Vonnegut’s “meditation on art, artists, surrealism, and disaster,” and it’s actually his second novel with his character of the eccentric painter. “Rabo Karabekian” also appeared 14 years earlier in a brief scene in Breakfast of Champions. And through May 11, Amazon is discounting both books to just $1.99 — as well as the Vonnegut novel Deadeye Dick. And there’s also discounts on two fun collections of Vonnegut’s short stories — Welcome to the Monkey-House and Bagombo Snuff Box!
Defining Moments: Stories of Character, Courage and Leadership by Gordon Zacks ($1.99)
One reviewer described these as “Masterpiece snapshots of leadership with mind-blowing take-home value” by an author who “walked the halls of power with the greatest…” At the age of 73, author/activist Gordon Zacks took a look back at the inspiring people he’d worked with over his life. “These stories are first-hand accounts of how people — some famous, some not — followed their passion, lived their purpose, and aspired to be part of something greater than their selves. These people had the courage to seize their moment and make the world a better place, revealing valuable lessons on the path to a more rewarding life.”
The Case of the Moth-Eaten Mink by Erle Stanley Gardner (99 cents!)
It’s a Perry Mason mystery — one of the original novels which formed the basis for Raymond Burr’s classic TV show. Through May 11th, five different Perry Mason mysteries are on sale for just 99 cents. Amazon also discounting The Case of the Velvet Claws, The Case of the Perjured Parrot, The Case of the Foot-Loose Doll, and The Case of the Runaway Corpse. I was surprised to discover that each of the original mysteries were nearly 400 pages long. But each one grapples with one of Perry Mason’s trademark mysteries wrapped in questions of law, like “Did Wealthy Fremont Sabin divorce his wife before his untimely death….?”
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April 28th, 2014
Today I took another look at Amazon’s discounted ebooks for the month of April — and I was stunned by how many more ebooks were on sale that I actually wanted to read! Yes, Amazon chooses over 100 ebooks each month to discount to “$3.99 or less”. But this month’s selection just seemed unusually good!
Here’s some of the titles that I thought were especially intriguing…
Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West ($1.99)
For 28 years, J.B. West worked at the White House — a witty and discreet man who coordinated all the day-to-day details for the presidents, their first ladies, and the rest of their families. Jackie Onassis called him “one of the most extraordinary men I have ever met,” and when he finally published a memoir, it sold millions of copies and became a New York Times bestseller. Now available as a Kindle ebook, this 381-page classic begins with stories about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as Harry and Bess Truman and Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower. It’s nice to get a personal glimpse at the lives of the people in power, and West remained in the White House through 1969, so his book also contains some very dramatic stories about the end of the Kennedy administration, as well as the transition to president Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird (and ends with the arrival of president Richard M. Nixon). “Mr. West takes the high road, and we get to enjoy the view with him,” writes one reviewer on Amazon. “Well done, Mr. Chief Usher!”
The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice by Jennifer Paynter ($1.99)
Another fresh twist on Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Elizabeth’s younger sister, “marginalized by her mother, and ridiculed by her father.” You may remember the quiet and “plain” who just wanted to read books, but in this new 440-page novel, author Jennifer Paynter imagines Mary finding her own intense feelings — for an impoverished young local fiddle player. Amazon’s description calls this book “elegant” and “graceful”, offering its own new look at Jane Austen’s familiar themes. “It is only after her sisters tease her about her ‘beau with the bow’ that Mary is forced to examine her real feelings and confront her own brand of pride and prejudice…”
Ball Four by Jim Bouton ($1.99)
This rollicking memoir by baseball player Jim Bouton became the best-selling sports book of all-time for its wild and funny stories about the major leagues — though it was extremely controversial when it was first published in 1970. (Bouton remembers when the San Diego Padres “burned the book and left the charred remains for me to find in the visitors clubhouse…” adding that “All that hollering and screaming sure sold books!”) Bouton describes Ball Four as “the kinds of stories an observant next-door neighbor might come home and tell if he ever spent some time with a major-league team,” and one of his teammates described Bouton as “the first fan to make it to the major leagues”. Bouton went from pitching in the World Series with the New York Yankees to Seattle’s forgotten expansion team (the Seattle Pilots ) before being traded to the Houston Astros — but he collects together all the lore and the secret taboos of professional baseball in what Time magazine once called one of the 100 greatest non-fiction books ever published.
The New Avengers, Vol. 1: Breakout by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch ($1.99)
What would happen if every comic book super-villain broke out of prison at the same time? Spider-Man is about to find out, along with Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman. It’s six issues of The New Avengers, presented in full color on Kindle Fire tablets (and any Amazon Kindle app), and also in black-and-white for the Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite. And one reviewer notes one of the best things about this collection: “it is funny. Laugh out loud funny!”
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April 18th, 2014
Surprise! Amazon’s offering more discounts on their Kindle Fire tablets. This week, to mark the Easter holiday, they’ve lowered the price on their color, high-definition Kindle Fire HD tablets to just $119! And they’re also offering big discounts on their newer Kindle Fire HDX — both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch models!
I guess when you’re Amazon, the word holiday is pronounced “limited-time offer”. But apparently Amazon can’t decide how much money to let you keep. Below the Kindles, they describe the offers like this.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ from
Kindle Fire HDX from
Kindle Fire HD 16 GB from
But the final price is actually $10 cheaper for the Kindle Fire HD if you’re willing to settle for the 8-gigabyte model. That’s just $119 — while the higher price tag ($129) is only for the 16-gigabyte version of the Kindle Fire HD. And it’s only $70 more to try Amazon’s newest version of a multimedia tablet, the Kindle Fire HD. The low Easter prices tempted me into doing a head-to-head comparison of the devices!
So what’s the difference between a Kindle Fire HD and a Kindle HDX? Well, there’s 50% more pixels per inch in a Kindle Fire HDX, for one thing — so their picture should be even sharper! The Kindle Fire HDX also ships with a faster quad-core processor (versus the dual-core processor on the regular Kindle Fire HD) — though I imagine you need a fast processor just to handle all those extra pixels. With the Kindle Fire HDX, you also get a front-facing camera (and a built-in microphone) for video chats — and the larger 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX also comes equipped with a rear-facing camera. When you put them all together, you end up with very high-resolution images that you can broadcast in real-time using your Kindle Fire HDX — and it’s even equipped with 4G capabilities, so you can use the latest high-speed mobile networks.
So if you get tired of hunting for Easter eggs this weekend, you can treat yourself to a high-tech gift. Maybe it’s Amazon’s way of saying… Happy Easter!
April 12th, 2014
Amazon’s discounting Kindle ebooks again — over 113 of them! Every month they choose over 100 books to discount for their “$3.99 or less” sale, and this month’s selections include a mind-boggling graphic novel by Neil Gaiman, a fascinating new perspective on the life of a cat, and an ebook that one reviewer called “one of the greatest mysteries ever written”.
Here’s some of the most interesting selections…
1602 by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert ($3.99)
As Queen Elizabeth’s reign comes to an end, strange thunderstorms cover all of Europe — and she summons her royal advisors, Sir Nicholas Fury and Dr. Stephen Strange. It’s a fascinating blend of real history with characters from the Marvel comic book universe, as the British monarchy confronts the appearance of “witchbreed” among them who possess unexplainable super powers. (There’s a daring blind minstrel named Matthew Murdoch, and a young boy who’s fascinated by spiders by the name of Peter Parquagh…) It’s a complete graphic novel that’s wildly imaginative, collecting all 8 issues of Neil Gaiman’s original stories (which gave Marvel comics an entire alternate universe for future stories). And it’s presented in full color on Kindle Fire tablets (and any Amazon Kindle app), and also in black-and-white for the Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite. And you’ll never guess what happens when the royal family receives a visit from the Incredible Hulk…
Lost Cat by Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton ($1.99)
A loving couple loses their cat, but then it happily returns just a few weeks later. Where did it go? It’s a mystery that the couple sets out to solve in this delightful true story which is both funny and heart-warming. “Using GPS technology, cat cameras, psychics, the web, and animal communicators,” explains the book’s description on Amazon, “the authors of Lost Cat embarked on a quest to discover what their cat did when they weren’t around. Told through writer Caroline Paul’s rich and warmly poignant narrative and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton’s stunning and hilarious 4-color illustrations, Lost Cat is a book for animal lovers, pet owners, and anyone who has ever done anything desperate for love…”
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith) ($2.99)
It’s in the “romance” section of Amazon’s book deals, but this updated Jane Austen classic has a twist. Zombies! This surprise hit became a New York Times best-seller in 2009, for its fresh, original take on a classic romance about love and society in pre-Victorian England. This book playfully weaves the old plot into a new one. (“Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry?”) And while Jane Austen is listed as the book’s “co-author,” you’ve never seen Mr. Darcy in a situation like this…
The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen ($1.99)
It’s one of America’s most famous mystery writers, and one of his first novels (when the young detective was still trying to prove himself). As the son of a New York cop, Ellery Queen was a “headstrong young genius,” according to this book’s description, and he confronts a very complicated case that involves a
blind man’s house next to a mysterious church graveyard. One reviewer on Amazon called the 299-page novel “Quite possibly one of the greatest mysteries ever written,” citing “delicious twists and turns”. They list a dazzling array of clues (and red herrings), and several reviewers came to the same conclusion: “The grand finale is mind boggling.”
Remember, for a shortcut to each month’s discounted Kindle ebooks,
you can always point your browser to:
March 4th, 2014
Today only, Amazon will sell you a Kindle for just $49! And they’ve also reduced the price of their Kindle Paperwhite to just $99. “Celebrate National Reading Month” reads the headline next to the offer on Amazon’s front page – and when you click through to the offer, they reduce the offer to just six word. “Today Only: Get $20 off Kindle!”
Monday was “Read Across America” Day, a special event where schools (and schoolteachers) take time to celebrate the joys of reading. Last year movie star Uma Thurman read The Cat in the Hat to more than 250 schoolchildren to promote the event (which saw over 45 million schoolchildren participating!) Every child in Manhattan got a free copy of The Cat in the Hat as part of the special celebration. But today, Amazon’s celebrating the joy of reading by giving big discounts on their most popular Kindles!
The $20 discount for Amazon’s smallest Kindle comes out to a 28% savings (since it’s usually priced at $69). But the Paperwhite has consistently been one of Amazon’s more popular Kindles, so it’s nice to see Amazon’s also lowering its price.
Remember, this sale is for one day only. So if you’re in the market for another Kindle — and you want to save $20 — today’s your day!
March 3rd, 2014
I love the beginning of each month, because it’s when Amazon announces new discounts on a special selection of Kindle ebooks! It’s one of the best things about being a Kindle owner — there’s always plenty of bargains to explore, which makes it easy to try out new authors and explore some new genres. And this month, Amazon’s discounted some relatively new ebooks — including an Agatha Christie story that’s never been published before!
Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly by Agatha Christie ( $0.99)
It’s a new, never-before-published mystery by Agatha Christie — and it’s available only as an ebook! Just released in November, this novella was originally authored in 1954, and it holds a special place in the Agatha Christie canon. She slipped in references to her own local neighborhood into this story — including her very own home of Greenway — and she’d planned to donate the money earned by this story to her own local church’s fundraiser for a stained glass window. But in the end, the novella itself took a strange turn, according to the book’s page at Amazon, when Christie decided to enlarge its 75-page story into a longer, full-length mystery (which she released in 1956 as Dead Man’s Folly ). Instead the church received the proceeds from another mystery story featuring her Miss Marple character. And now the original novella version of this Hercule Poirot mystery has finally also been published!
Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut ($3.99)
This is the very first novel ever written by Kurt Vonnegut, just seven years after he’d been liberated from a Nazi P.O.W. camp in 1945, and 17 years before Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut first studied anthropology, then became a technical writer (and publicist) for General Electric — which inspired this startlingly imaginative piece of science fiction, according to Wikipedia. Vonegut had witnessed some computer-operated “milling machines” that were already cutting the rotors used in sophisticated engines and gas turbines. “Player Piano was my response to the implications of having everything run by little boxes…” the author told Playboy Magazine in a 1972 interview. “To have a little clicking box make all the decisions wasn’t a vicious thing to do. But it was too bad for the human beings who got their dignity from their jobs!”
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende ($1.99)
Isabel Allende wrote the novel “House of the Spirits” in 1982, and she’s also won numerous awards, including induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. But just three years ago, at the age of 68, she applied her “magic realism” to the city of New Orleans, delivering this rich piece of historical fiction that’s set in the late 1700s. “Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers,” reads a quote from the Los Angeles Times on the book’s page on Amazon. It’s exciting that Amazon’s included this among this month’s selections for discounted Kindle ebooks. But I was really surprised they included it in the “Romance” section — “What the Duke Desires” and “How to Discipline Your Vampire”!
What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries ($1.99)
Last year I wrote wryly about how Amazon had discounted five different romance novels which all contained the word “Duke” in their title! But give some credit to Sabrina Jeffries, who has was chosen last month to be the first romance author interviewed by USA Today for their new column about historical romance novels. Her historical romance novels reached the New York Times best-seller list — she’s written 36 of them, with titles like Never Seduce a Scoundrel and Married to the Viscount. Fans of historical romance will be pleased that a new Jeffries novel was released just six weeks ago — When the Rogue Returns — and that Amazon has discounted her previous novel to just $1.99!
January 21st, 2014
Amazon’s just announced a big sale on their Kindle Fire HDX — a $30 discount. But it expires at midnight today, and they’re offering the sale for what appears to be a very surprising reason. “Game on, $30 off,” reads the text linking to Amazon’s discounted tablet, next to a doodle showing three NFL football players.
It’s like they’re celebrating Seattle’s victory Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle’s biggest opportunity yet to finally win the Super Bowl.
For a shortcut to Amazon’s special offer, point your browser to tinyurl.com/GameOn30 . (Enter the promotional code “GameOn30″ to claim the $30 discount). It’s for the 7-inch model, bringing its price down to just $199. Earlier this month a reviewer for ZDNet even declared Amazon’s newest tablet was “far better than an iPad”!
But I had to laugh when I saw Amazon’s doodle of the football players, because most of my friends were rooting for San Francisco! For the third year in a row, the 49ers suffered yet another heartbreaking defeat in their post-season, each one capped with a spectacularly unsuccessful play that left them missing out on Super Bowl glory yet again. So I wonder what my friends would think if they’d logged onto Amazon.com this morning. Its front page was taunting them with a playful doodle of two hapless tackles from the San Francisco 49ers trying in vain to stop Seattle’s charging running back!
To be fair, I’ve heard other football fans saying they’re delighted that a team who has never won the Super Bowl will be getting a chance this year. (Seattle also has the distinction of being the only team to play in championship games for both the AFC and the NFC.) According to Wikipedia, their stadium even holds the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd noises ever recorded. The team acknowledges their loyal and noisy fans as “the 12th man” on the field, and even raise a flag in the fan’s honor before the start of ever home game. But maybe they’ve also got another secret fan.
Maybe the 13th man is Amazon!
January 10th, 2014
“Just Announced” reads the headline on Amazon’s front page. Amazon’s discounted their high-definition Kindle Fire tablets to just $109. And they’re offering $30 off on every Kindle Fire tablet for the next two days.
It’s a two-day offer — so it expires at midnight on Saturday night. (That’s Pacific Standard Time — basically, “midnight in Seattle”.) Amazon’s limited the deal to just one discounted tablet per customer, and they caution that it’s only available “while supplies last”. But in a special announcement on Amazon’s home page, they’ve tied the offer to an important milestone for the company. Amazon was voted #1 in customer satisfaction — for the 9th year in a row!
It’s based on a survey of over 67,000 shoppers between November 29th and December 17th. The survey asked about their satisfaction shopping at the top 100 retailers, and there was a big surprise in the results. Amazon actually achieved a 90% satisfaction rate — the highest score ever recorded by the survey. And besides high marks for online shopping, Amazon also scored “significantly out front” of the other retailers when it came to shopping on a mobile device!
“To achieve such high customer satisfaction scores and sustain them over time is a remarkable feat,” the study concluded, “that remains unmatched by any other e-retailer.” It also hinted that customers now expect better service from retailers, but that Amazon is still keeping up with those expectations, and is “truly setting a new bar for an excellent customer experience.” Of course after such a glowing review, Amazon wanted to make sure that people noticed. So they’ve created a special page with the most positive quotes. And they’re linking to it in their home-page announcement about the big Kindle Fire discounts.
“To say thank you,” reads the announcement, “we’re taking $30 off all Kindle Fire tablets…” (Just be sure to enter the promo code MAYDAY30 when completing your purchase.) “Amazon voted #1 in customer satisfaction 9 years running…” read the big bold letters at the top of the page — under that little orange banner that says “Just announced”.
And on the picture of the discounted Kindle Fire, they’ve drawn the word “Thanks!”
December 28th, 2013
Amazon is giving away a Calvin & Hobbes collection as a Kindle ebook for just $10.99. It’s just one of several special deals they’re offering today, as a kind of welcome to new Kindle owners. And Amazon’s also giving away big discounts on hundreds of digital videos!
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There’s also a collection of Snoopy cartoons by Charles M. Schulz that Amazon’s selling as a Kindle ebook for just $7.99. It’s about Snoopy as a surfer, so its title is “Cowabunga!” You can even read it on a black-and-white e-ink Kindle, though the colorful comic strip pictures will display in full digital color if your read it on a Kindle Fire. It’s over 200 pages long, so it’s a nice way to get a new look at a favorite, familiar character…
There’s also some other great discounts if you poke around through Amazon today. For example, each season of the TV show Community has been discounted to just $17.99 in Amazon’s “Instant Video” store. You can watch every episode in high-definition video on your Kindle Fire tablet — or in Amazon’s video apps, or even online in your web browser. And “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” has been discounted to just $7.99. (Also in high-definition!) You can buy a collection of 24 shorts by The Three Stooges for just $8.99 — or the original 1971 movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — and the original version of The Sound of Music is now just $9.99.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!
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