June 19th, 2013
Every month, Amazon offers a special discount on over 100 different Kindle ebooks — and I’m especially excited about their selection for June. For the first time, they’re offering a discount on an ebook that I’d actually just started reading — and for an extra $1.99 more, they’re also offering a full audiobook version, too! The sale is called “100 eBooks for $3.99 or Less”, and like every month, you can see the whole selection by pointing your web browser to:
But in addition, Amazon’s also offering “20 Kindle Books for $2″ at the bottom of the same page (including the classic western, The Sixth Shotgun by Louis L’Amour for just $2.00). And there’s even another link promising 30 Kindle Books for $3 Each.
Here’s some of the most interesting discounted ebooks this month.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner ($1.99)
This book gives you the real history behind the legendary outlaw and the man of justice who apprehended him — while also painting an accurate picture of the American West. I found it to be really engrossing, and one reviewer at Amazon described it as “a vivid telling of the true story behind one of the wild west’s most enduring legends.” That’s why I’m so excited that for another $1.99, I can also get the professionally-narrated audiobook, hearing the wise old voice of Alan Sklar telling it like a tale of the old frontier. “For others to survive, Billy could not,” his introduction begins. “Garrett could not. These two men perished long ago, and that is the cold truth of history, but their ghosts are still there. Billy forever calls out to us from the darkness from the past…
Saturday Night by Susan Orlean ($2.99)
The author of The Orchid Thief once asked a surprisingly interesting question — why do Americans feel that Saturday Nights are special? “To answer it, she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country,” reads the book’s description at Amazon, “and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places – hipsters in Los Angeles, car cruisers in small-town Indiana, coeds in Boston, the homeless in New York, a lounge band in Portland, quinceanera revelers in Phoenix, and more – to chronicle the one night of the week when we do the things we want to do rather than the things we need to do.” One reviewer at Amazon described it as “exquisite voyeurism”, while another applauded her wide-sweeping research which according to Amazon leads to “an irresistible portrait of how Saturday night in America is lived.”
The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke: The Star, Volume III (Arthur C. Clarke Collection: Short Stories) – $2.99
He’s best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey — and for years he was considered one of the world’s greatest science fiction authors. This month, Amazon’s discounting a massive 976-page anthology of over 100 short science fiction pieces by Clarke, in a lavish Kindle ebook showcasing “not only Clarke’s technological imagination – but also a deep poetic sensibility that led him to ponder the philosophical and moral implications of technological advances.” One reviewer at Amazon described it as “surely the greatest single volume of short Science Fiction ever published” (and Amazon’s web page reports that “13 reviewers made a similar statement.”) He quotes the amazon first lines of one Clarke short story, which almost seem like a symbol for the author’s grand and sweeping imagination. “Many and strange are the Universes that drift like bubbles in the foam upon the River of time. Some – a very few – move against or athwart its current; and fewer still are those that lie forever beyond its reach, knowing nothing of the future or the past…”
Folly and Glory: A Novel by Larry McMurtry ($2.99)
In 2004, the famous novelist (and Texas enthusiast) Larry McMurtry completed the epic finale to his four-volume series, the Berrybender Narratives. His characters encounter real figures from history, like
Kit Carson the explorer and Captain Clark (from the Lewis & Clark expedition). Amazon’s description promises the book offers both “a sense of closure and a meditation on the nature of the American frontier.” (Though some reviewers recommend you read the entire series). “The story is gritty, with lots of hardship…” notes one reviewer on Amazon, calling the book “entertaining and enjoyable.” And Amazon’s also offering a huge discount on the audiobook version of this novel — just $2.99. (When I listened to its sample at Audible.com, the first line that I heard the narrator reading was “GIve your brother his rooster!”)
When you also purchase the audiobook, Amazon will enable their special “WhisperSync for Voice” feature, which lets you switch back and forth between the text version on your Kindle and the professionally-narrated audiobook version. (Without ever losing your place!) And of course, these aren’t the only books being discounted this month. Some other interesting titles include:
They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie ($1.99)
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut ($2.99)
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness by Alice Walker ($3.99)
Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley ($2.99)
Amazon’s even offering a discount on a Harlequin Historical Romance titled “Never Trust a Rake”!
Which just goes to show that this month, there’s something for everybody…
June 11th, 2013
Father’s Day is this Sunday, and Amazon celebrates the holiday each year with a tradition of their own — with sales on Kindles! This year, Amazon is discounting the high-definition version of their Kindle Fire tablets, hoping people will buy one as a gift for their dad. It’s the third year Amazon’s offered some kind of Kindle discount as the holiday approaches, with savings of up to 20%.
Amazon’s lowered the price by $20 on all three versions of their Kindle Fire HD tablets — including the standard 7-inch model (which usually sells for $199). Both of the larger 8.9-inch versions are also eligible for the $20 discount — including the one with the built-in 4G wireless connectivity. (All you have to do to claim the discount is enter the code DADSFIRE when you’re checking out — so be sure you’re not using Amazon’s “One Click” button to make your purchase!) I’ve read the terms and conditions, but it’s mostly the standard disclaimers — that the discount is only available “while supplies last”. And they’re limiting it to just one Kindle per customer — I guess on the assumption that you only have one dad!
Of course, Amazon’s also offering discounts on other products, too. Today the front page of Amazon.com is promising “Big Savings on select Samsung HDTVs”. Even the clothing area of the site has a promotion offering “laid-back gift ideas, like classic Levi’s and more.” I checked for special offers in the Kindle Store, too, but the only thing unusual that I saw on its front page was a selection of “Classic Westerns by Louis L’Amour” — as well as a selection of 20 of Amazon’s top-rated Western ebooks. I was surprised that they didn’t even mention in the Kindle Store that you could save $20 if you purchased a high-definition Kindle Fire tablet!
But at least they’re mentioning it on the front page of Amazon — where they’re calling it the perfect gift for dad.
Browse Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD discounts at
June 4th, 2013
If you own a Kindle Fire, and you live in the United States, Amazon’s announced another great new freebie. They’re offering $5.00 worth of free app downloads in their Kindle Fire store. You can browse the store’s selection at tinyurl.com/FreeAmazonApps It’s all part of a special promotion to celebrate the launch of a new service called Amazon Coins.
ABC News described it as Amazon’s “own digital currency for Kindle Fire owners”. (Or, in Amazon’s words, it’s “an easy way to purchase apps and in-app items on Kindle Fire.”) Amazon’s Vice President of Apps and Games proclaimed proudly that “Today is Day One for Coins”, and to commemorate the occasion, announced that “Today we are giving Kindle Fire owners $5 worth of Coins to spend on new apps and games, or to purchase in-app items, such as recipes in iCookbook, song collections in SongPop or mighty falcon bundles in Angry Birds Star Wars.” They even added a 10% discount on the purchase of coins — so you could create your own stockpile of virtual cash.
I’m guessing you could also use this credit to buy apps for your Android smartphone (since that’s where I’m mostly likely to play Angry Birds). In fact, one technology blogger wondered whether Amazon might someday extend the ability to use their Coins for all purchases on Amazon.. But Amazon’s move provoked a variety of strong reactions — not all of them positive. “We already have money, it’s called money,” complained one app developer. He acknowledges that in the computer games industry, other companies are already offering their own currencies (like the Microsoft Points available for XBox systems). But his ultimate concern is that “at the end of the day, you’re still giving Amazon hundreds of dollars that you might not spend for months or that you have to worry about managing separate from, you know, your bank accounts.”
I’ll admit that I’m much more likely to spend money on an app than I am to spend in an app. But I still appreciate the fact that Amazon’s let everyone try out the program with 500 free coins. Even if I never spend another virtual dollar of Amazon’s money, I’ll still end up with $5 worth of free apps on my Kindle Fire.
Browse Amazon’s selection of apps at tinyurl.com/FreeAmazonApps
May 27th, 2013
Every day Amazon features a new ebook at a discounted price on their “Daily Deals” page. But this weekend, the New York Times revealed just how many sales that can generate for an ebook. Their example was “Gone, Baby, Gone,” a 1998 detective novel which was released for the Kindle in 2009. On one Sunday this month, it sold just 23 copies. But the very next day it sold 13,071 copies — after being featured as one of Amazon’s “Daily Deals.”
“[H]undreds of thousands of readers had received an e-mail notifying them of a 24-hour price cut,” the Times explains, adding that it’s helping even older novels turn into temporary best-sellers. “It works,” one publisher tells the newspaper, adding that it’s a great way to catch the interest of Amazon’s ebook shoppers. It’s easier for publishers to experiment with different prices on an ebook, since the price isn’t stamped in indelible ink on the cover (like the prices of most printed books). And in a world where fewer people are browsing through all the bookshelves at real-world bookstores, “Daily Deals” might ultimately become one of the new ways that readers choose what they’re going to read next.
The Times comes up more interesting examples — including an ebook by music journalist Tom Moon (a contributor to both Rolling Stone and NPR’s All Things Considered). He’d written a fascinating ebook titled “1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die” — which, unfortunately, was selling less than one copy a day (according to Amazon’s vice president for Kindle content). After being featured as a “Daily Deal,” it sold 10,000 copies in its first 24 hours. And the effect can be even more dramatic for an established author like Stephen King. When his novel “Under the Dome” was featured as a Kindle Daily Deal last December, it sold more than 30,000 copies!
There’s also an interesting statistic tucked away in the article — especially if you’re an aspiring writer. The sales seem to peak on Wednesday and Thursday, at least for the daily deals in Barnes and Noble’s Nook Store — presumably because readers are stocking up on ebooks that they’re planning to read over the weekend. “Those are really good days to get the right piece of content in front of someone,” says the Nook’s Vice President for ebooks. And there’s also a delightful story about an Oregon author was informed by her publisher that, for the first time ever, one of her novels had finally become a New York Times best-seller.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the high sales are at a lower price. So even that one-day spike of 13,071 sales for “Gone, Baby, Gone” represent sales of less than $30,000, and after Amazon’s cut, the publisher and author probably went home with even less. But the Times points out that these ebooks remain on the best-seller list for more than one day, and in at least one example, the ebook sold “steadily” even in the days after its one-day promotion — and at twice the rate that it had before.
That’s actually something I worry about. Will the Kindle’s best-seller lists get clogged up with nothing but past “Daily Deal” picks? Someday readers may have no real way of knowing which ebooks were so spontaneously attracted a mass following — because there’ll be so many other ebooks that achieved “artificially-generated” spurts of popularity on the same day. Of course, I use more than the best-seller lists to determine which ebooks I buy — and I’m sure other readers do, too.
And the discounts do make it really easy to try reading something new!
For a shortcut to Amazon’s “Daily Deals” page for ebooks, just point your browser to tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal
May 16th, 2013
I usually shop for ebooks using my Kindle — but there’s even more deals if you’re willing to shop online. The Kindle Store also has its own web page on Amazon — and I just noticed today that they’re advertising some great additional discounts on ebooks!
For example, Amazon is running a special selection of discounts that they’re calling The Big Deal. “Now through May 27, save up to 85% on more than 500 Kindle books,” Amazon promises — and the bargain prices are available in at least different categories. There’s fiction, mysteries, humor, children’s books, science fiction, history, nonfiction, biographies, romances, spirituality ebooks, and even ebooks for teenagers! Browse the complete selection at tinyurl.com/EbookBigDeal. Amazon’s discounted three Kurt Vonnegut novels — Jailbird, Palm Sunday, and Hocus Pocus to the Watchmen graphic novel by Alan Moore. An “Editor’s Picks” selection highlights Arthur C. Clarke’s The Hammer of God and The Autobiography of Mark Twain. “[N]ot all deals are available in all territories…” Amazon warns — but where the discounts are available, there’s more than 500 of them!
But that’s not the only deal being offered on the front page of the Kindle Store. Amazon will also let you choose one of 16 ebooks to receive for free. It’s a special thank-you for new subscribers for Amazon’s daily e-mail about discounted ebooks. You can always find those discounts on the web at tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal, but Amazon will also send you their “Kindle Delivers Daily Deals” e-mails as a reminder. If you’re interested, just go to tinyurl.com/DailyDealsEmail and click the yellow “sign up” button. (Be sure you’re logged in to your Amazon account.) The 16 ebooks you can choose from are all shown at the bottom of the page, Amazon explains, and “If you are a first-time subscriber to the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter, you will receive an e-mail with your unique promotional credit that will allow you to purchase one of the selected Kindle books below for free!”
Amazon’s also started identifying the “Kindle Select 25″. I’ve seen this when I shop for ebooks on my Kindle, but they’ve also got a link to it on Amazon’s online web page for the Kindle Store. Amazon describes it as “Our List of 25 Exciting Books for This Week,” and it’s always fun to see what they choose. Browse the whole selection at tinyurl.com/KindleSelect25
Now I just need to find someplace where I can buy more time to read!
May 10th, 2013
Is Amazon trying to kill its competition? Amazon’s been offering new $20 discounts on four of their Kindle Fire HD tablets through this Sunday — which is Mother’s Day in the United States. (For a shortcut to the sale, just point your browser to tinyurl.com/Fire4Mom , and enter the code “Fire4Mom” to claim the discount.) But what seems like a nice gift idea may actually just be Amazon’s way of remaining competitive. Because Barnes and Noble had already announced big discounts on their own digital reading device, the Nook. (They’ve lowered the price of their 9-inch, high-definition Nook by over $90, to just $179…)
And they’re both fighting competition from another digital reader — the Kobo. This week I was surprised to see some slick television ads been touting the Kobo as the perfect Mother’s Day gift. It shows heart-warming footage of mothers reading to their children, closing with an announcer reminding viewers that “She gave you the gift of reading. This mother’s day, give it back.” Of course, my first thought was that same slogan could be applied to the Kindle — and it looks like Amazon had the same idea. Last week I received a promotional email for Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite which was using a nearly identical slogan!
“Mom sparked your love of reading. Give her the perfect thank you gift…”
What’s going on? I think the answer lies in a 2010 study, which concluded that 47% of all Kindles were received as a gift. Amazon knows there could be a one-time spike in sales for Kindles this month from all those people who are shopping for the perfect Mother’s Day gift — and apparently, both Barnes and Noble and Kobo Inc. reached the same conclusion. But the situation may be even more desperate for the Nook — at least, according to a Friday rumor. The technology blog TechCrunch reported that Microsoft may be about to purchase the Nook, adding that if it happens, Amazon’s War with Barnes and Noble “could be over.”
At first I thought the acquisition might be good news for the Nook — but most of the technology pundits seem to disagree. “Microsoft will probably simply kill it on purpose,” writes a columnist at Forbes. “The reason is that Microsoft will have no interest in continuing to sink money into a weak performing Android line of devices.” (Microsoft, after all, markets their own line of tablets that are powered by the Windows operating system.) And by the end of the day, Amazon’s stock had shot up in value by 1.3%.
“This will indeed be good news for Amazon and Apple,” Forbes continues, for the simple reason that “Killing off any competition is good.” So when Mother’s Day rolls around again in May of 2014, consumers just might have one less digital reader to choose from. Maybe that’s why Barnes and Noble offered such steep discounts this year on the price of the Nook.
This year’s “Mother’s Day Price War” may also be remember as The Nook’s Last Stand.
May 8th, 2013
I was really excited about this month’s crop of discounted ebooks at Amazon. Last week I wrote about their discounts on science fiction books and thrillers, but I forgot about an even bigger sale. Every month Amazon also highlights a special selection of ebooks — their “100 ebooks for $3.99 or Less”. As always, you can find the whole collection at tinyurl.com/399books — and this month’s ebooks look especially interesting.
But in addition to that, Amazon’s also trying a new kind of sale, called “30 Kindle Books for $3 Each”. You can find them on the same page (at the bottom), giving you 130 different ebooks to choose from for less than four dollar each. This month I actually recognized some of the titles, which is why I say the selection looks especially interesting. Besides some very famous authors — and some justly famous novels — there’s at least one novel thta I’d actually characterize as “notorious!”
Naked Came the Stranger by Penelope Ashe ($2.99)
“Naked Came the Stranger” was one of the most bizarre literary experiments ever. It was written by 24 different authors in 1969, each describing a different romantic encounter with a predatory talk show host named Gillian Blake. Amazon describes it as “A steamy, bestselling tale of Long Island lust, written as a daring literary hoax by Newsday columnist Mike McGrady and two dozen of his colleagues.” McGrady was trying to prove that books became bestsellers solely because they contained lots of sexy scenes — and then set out to prove it, by instructing his co-authors to just emphasize the sex in each part of the book (avoiding anything that would approach literary excellence). “Naked Came the Stranger was an attempt to produce the steamiest and most wildly over-the-top novel of all time,” explains Amazon’s description, “good writing be damned. A sensation upon its first release, forty years later the book remains one of the most sinfully amusing potboilers ever published…” )And according to Wikipedia, it ultimately sold more than 400,000 copies…)
Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski ($1.99)
I’ve always been fascinated by poet/novelist Charles Bukowski, and Amazon notes his semi-fictional autobiography is widely hailed as the best of his many novels.” Written in 1982, when the author had just turned 60, it finds Bukowski describing a rough childhood in Germany, becoming an awkward teenager during America’s Great Depression, and “his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection of D. H. Lawrence….” It’s fun to read its reviews on Amazon, from fans who applauded “The Bard of Booze and Broads” to the woman who complained there was no redemption for the novel’s main character. (“I felt like there must be something wrong with me as I trudged through it, waiting for some kind of light at the end of the tunnel…”) But 192 reviewers have given the book a very high average of four and a half stars, and Amazon calls the book “crude, brutal, and savagely funny”.
The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker ($3.49)
She was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple — but it was just 12 years earlier that Alice Walker published The Third Life of Grange Copeland as her very first novel. It’s a story about a tenant farmer who leaves the Deep South, fails, then returns to the family he left behind, and according to Essence magazine, Walker “dares to reveal truths about men and women, about blacks and whites, about God and love…And we, like Alice Walker’s marvelous characters, come away transformed by knowledge and love but most of all by wonder.” If you’re a fan of the author, there’s an additional treat at the back of the book — an illustrated biography including some rare photos from her personal collection.
The Year the Music Changed by Diane Thomas ($1.99)
My girlfriend loved this book — and I thought it had a fascinating premise. It imagines the letters between a teenaged music fan in the 1950s, and a young singer named Elvis Presley, just before he became a star. I liked how Elvis really became a character in the book, and the letters capture his voice the way you’d imagine it — friendly, humble, and struggling with the onset of success. But it’s really the story of the teenaged girl, wondering why her mother is so unhappy in her marriage, and some of the passages are beautifully written. The whole story is told in the form of letters where she opens up to Elvis — with his own smaller story told in his responses — and at 260 pages, one reviewer on Amazon describes it as “a fast, intensely satisfying read.” I ultimately couldn’t resist reading this book, just because of all the enthusiastic words being used to describe it, like the review in Publisher’s Weekly which described it as simply “Warm, lively and immensely readable.”
I’m always impressed by the variety of ebooks that Amazon is selling. They’ve separated them into seven categories — Fiction and Literature, general nonfiction, kids and teens, mysteries and thrillers, biographies, romance, and science fiction/fantasy. (If you remember R.L. Stine from the Goosebumps series, you might want to try his horror novel for adults — Red Rain.) This month Amazon is also selling nearly two dozen romance novels that have been discounted, with titles like “Standoff at Mustang Ridge”, from the Harlequin Intrigue Series, and “Three Cowboys: Virgil\Morgan\Wyatt”.
There’s even one called “Confessions of an Improper Bride,” plus a title that also seems like a rebuttal — “Ain’t Misbehaving”! But Amazon’s also selling a lot of good “literary” fiction too. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five is only $2.99, and there’s an intriguing novel by George Orwell about the life of an Englishman living abroad, called Burmese Days. So there’s something for everybody!
May 2nd, 2013
I was surprised to see just how many Kindle ebooks are on sale today. Amazon’s special “Daily Deal” page used to offer a discount on just one ebook each day, but now there’s dozens of ebooks on sale. The regular daily deal now includes four different ebooks — including one for teens, one science fiction ebook, and one romance. But Amazon’s also letting you browse through even more discounted ebooks, grouping them into categories like romance, science fiction, and even Star Wars graphic novels.
There’s one set of discounts that’s only available for the next four days. “Now through May 5, save up to 87% on top-rated Kindle religion and spirituality books,” Amazon announces on the page. (“From Christian fiction to everyday Zen wisdom, these books will challenge and satisfy the hungry spirits of book lovers.”) I wasn’t sure what to expect in this section, but there’s a surprising variety of subjects, including a best-selling biography about Buddha that was written by Deepak Chopra.
And one set of discounts isn’t even advertised on the “Daily Deals” page — a special sale on science fiction books. I’d signed up for Amazon’s promotional “Kindle Delivers” emails, and this morning they reminded me that they’re offering 50% off on 35 different science fiction books. For 99 cents, you can buy Oz Reimagined: Off to See the Emperor, a short story by Orson Scott Card — and Amazon’s selection of discounted science fiction ebooks also includes 14 more stories from the Oz Reimagined anthology.
The Great Zeppelin Heist of Oz
The Boy Detective of Oz: An Otherland Story
Lost Girls of Oz
One Flew Over the Rainbow
The Cobbler of Oz
Beyond the Naked Eye
A Tornado of Dorothys
City So Bright
The Veiled Shanghai
A Meeting in Oz
All these stories are also available as a 365-page collection for just $5.99 (which includes a foreword by Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked). I’m impressed by how much imagination went into the project, but there’s also 20 more fiction ebooks that have also been discounted in Amazon’s SciFi sale.
And there’s also a smaller section of nine discounted “International Thrillers” which isn’t linked from Amazon’s “Daily Deals” page. For a shortcut to second “secret deal”, just point your browser to tinyurl.com/CheapThrillers.
But Amazon’s “Daily Deal” page also reminds me that they’re not just discounting one Star Wars graphic novel — they’re discounting forty of them! It’s a popular series from Dark Horse Comics, which includes lines like the Clone Wars Adventures and The Old Republic, but also a series called Star Wars Adventures with some titles that sound like a lot of fun. (Like Chewbacca and the Slavers of the Shadowlands or Princess Leia and the Royal Ransom…) The color illustrations will look great on a Kindle Fire or one of Amazon’s Kindle apps, but you can also read these graphic novels on Amazon’s original black-and-white e-ink Kindles — and each one is just $3.99.
And there’s always more discounts towards the bottom of the Daily Deals. For example, there’s 20 romance titles which are all $3.99 or less. But don’t forget — if you visit the page tomorrow, the top of the page will always feature four new ebooks as that day’s Daily Deal. I always end up visiting that page several times a week — just to make sure I’m not missing a chance to buy my next ebook at a discount!
March 10th, 2013
I couldn’t believe it. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins includes three of Amazon’s top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks. And suddenly, bloggers noticed this week that the entire trilogy had been discounted to just $5.00!
In print, all three books would normally cost you $53.97, Amazon points out on their web page — and even the three ebooks would cost $48.97 — so this represents a savings of over 91%. I don’t know how long this sale is going to last, but it’s been going on since Thursday. In fact, The Hunger Games Trilogy has now become the #1 best-selling ebook in the Kindle Store.
Individually, the three ebooks in the trilogy “have been on the best seller list for over 900 days,” notes a bargins blogger at MyFrugalAdventures.com, “which is just nuts!” Though she wasn’t sure she’d like the futuristic fantasy about teenagers who fight to the death, “I read all 3 of these books in one week which is crazy. I literally couldn’t put them down!” And the series has also been especially popular with Kindle owners. In 2011, their author — Suzanne Collins — became only the sixth author to ever sell more than one million ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle Store.
Later that year, I discoved that she’d also become the most-highlighted author in the Kindle Store, with three of 10 most-highlighted passages. (In fact, she also wrote 13 of the 100 most-highlighted passages.) And on a second list Amazon had created showing the most-highlighted passages from the recent past, Collins was the undisputed champ, with quotes from her books claiming six of the top 10 spots! Over the next 12 months, her series became even more popular with the release of a Hunger Games movie, and it was almost exactly one year ago that Amazon made a special announcement: Suzanne Collins had become the Kindle’s all-time best-selling author.
And now you can buy her entire for just $5.00!
For a shortcut to the discounted ebooks, just point your browser to tinyurl.com/HungerGamesEbooks.
March 1st, 2013
It’s the first day of the month, which means that Amazon’s discounted a new set of 100 Kindle ebooks! Each ebook has been discounted to just $3.99 (or less!) for the month of March. As always, you can find the whole selection at tinyurl.com/399books.
And this month, Amazon also has a special section of “Editor’s Picks”, seven extra-special books that they’ve discounted to $2.99 or less
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes ($1.99)
Lamb by Christopher Moore ($1.99)
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage by Sarah Silverman ($1.99)
Dracula (Illustrated Classics) by Bram Stoker – $2.99
Anathem by Neal Stephenson – $1.99
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke ($2.99)
The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan ($1.99)
Amazon’s also discounted some famous suspense novels, like The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin. But here’s a list of five more discounted ebooks that look especially interesting!
Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella ($2.99)
The movie Field of Dreams was based on this book — though in the novel, it’s a ghostly baseball announcer’s voice who first whispers to an Iowa farmer one night that if you build it, he will come. “[T]he dreaming, idealistic man knows just what he is supposed to do,” explains the book’s description at Amazon. “He knows that digging up the corn field in the back of his house will inspire the return of baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson, a man whose reputation was forever tarnished by the scandalous 1919 World Series.” In the novel, the farmer also seeks out real-world author J. D. Salinger (whose book Catcher in the Rye had been an inspiration). According to Wikipedia, Salinger was furious when he heard he’d been portrayed in a novel, so when the book was adapted into Field of Dreams, Salinger’s character was replaced by an entirely fictitious author named Terence Mann, who was played by James Earl Jones!
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke ($2.99)
He wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, but 15 years earlier, when he was just starting his career, Arthur C. Clarke penned a 218 page novel which many readers and critics both still consider to be his very best novel (according to Clarke’s official biography ). It was just five years after he began his writing career, and Childhood’s End tells the story of humanity being confronted by a powerful alien presence, according to the book’s description at Amazon. “Their demands, however, are surprisingly beneficial – end war, poverty, and cruelty. Their presence, rather than signaling the end of humanity, ushers in a golden age – or so it seems…”
Oddkins: A Fable for All Ages by Dean Koontz ($1.99)
Best-selling horror novelist Dean Koontz released a fascinating new book this September. It’s his first novel for teen readers, which Amazon describes as “a beautifully illustrated and visually stunning story about a magical band of living toys who learn to overcome the fears we all face in the dark.” Through 180 magical pages, they confront a strange allegorical adventure, since “Locked up in the dark sub-basement, another group of toys is climbing out of boxes and crates and coming to life as well…” It looks like a fun read from a master of suspense, since “The stormy night is perilous and the Oddkins face a danger that threatens not only their magic…but the magic in us all!”
The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman ($3.99)
Normally this special cookbook costs $16.95, but Amazon’s slashed the price more than 75%. “Ever wish you could mix an Old Fashioned just the way Don Draper likes it?” reads the book’s description, “Or prepare Oysters Rockefeller and a martini the way they did fifty years ago at one of Roger Sterling’s favorite haunts, The Grand Central Oyster Bar?” Yes, this unorthodox cookbook is “unofficial and unauthorized,” the description warns, but it still promises that readers can “dine like Draper and drink like Sterling with more Than 70 recipes from the kitchens, bars, and restaurants seen on Mad Men.”
When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald ($2.99)
Making it’s second appearance as a discounted ebook is this debut novel by Molly Ringwald, the star of those iconic teen comedies from the 1980s directed by John Hughes, like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club.) Now that she’s 44, Molly Ringwald “mines the complexities of modern relationships,” according to the book’s description at Amazon, “in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories.” In this 237-page novel, Ringwald describes a Los Angeles family and their friends, “revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all…” revealing “a startling eye for the universality of loss, love, and the search for connection.” It’s only been available since August, and it’s already racked up 77 five-star reviews.
February 24th, 2013
Today only, Amazon’s discounting over 100 Oscar-winning movies to just $3.99 for their online and app-based “Instant Video”! And you can download high-definition versions of the same movies for just $2.00. The movies will look great on your Kindle Fire (or Kindle Fire HD) tablet, but you can also watch them online. Amazon’s selling the discounted videos through their “Instant Video” store, which means you can also watch them online at video.amazon.com!
For a shortcut to the sale, just point your browser to tinyurl.com/399OscarMovies. (Remember, this is a special one-day-only sale.) Amazon’s timed it to coincide with Sunday’s Broadcast of the 85th Academy Awards. But fortunately, they’re also offering discounts on some past Oscar-winning movies.
Here’s a complete list of all of the great movies Amazon’s discounted to just $3.99…
Saving Private Ryan
Midnight in Paris
The Social Network
The King’s Speech
Fiddler on the Roof
The Usual Suspects
My Cousin Vinny
My Week With Marilyn
Dances With Wolves
The Silence of the Lambs
West Side Story
Master and Commander
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Little Miss Sunshine
The Iron Lady
Some Like It Hot
Twelve Angry Men
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Out of Africa
Scent of a Woman
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
All About Eve
Coal Miner’s Daughter
The Invisible War
The Madness of King George
The Big Country
The Poseidon Adventure
Samurai Trilogy Part 1: Musashi Miyamoto
In the Heat of the Night
The Last King of Scotland
The French Connection
The Thomas Crown Affair
A Fish Called Wanda
Irma La Douce
The Red Shoes
The Devil and Daniel Webster
Leaving Las Vegas
Birdman of Alcatraz
Lillies of the Field
The Time of Harvey Milk
A Hole in the Head
The Constant Gardener
The Tin Drum
Born on the 4th of July
In a Better World
The French Lieutenant’s Woman
The Woman in Red
Bowling for Columbine
Six Degrees of Separation
The Defiant Ones
The Barefoot Contessa
I Want to Live
The Purple Rose of Cairo
February 7th, 2013
I just noticed a surprise announcement at Amazon.com. They’re offering a 10% discount on their 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets through Friday. It’s apparently Amazon’s way of encouraging customers to buy one as a Valentine’s Day gift. “A deal you’ll love,” reads the message on the front page of Amazon.com. “A tablet they’ll adore.”
It’s a $50 savings if you purchase the model with the built-in 4G wireless connectivity (which normally costs $499). But you can also save $30 on the WiFi-only version of the Kindle Fire HD. Usually it costs $299, but through Friday Amazon’s discounted it to just $269 . That’s just $69 more than the cheaper 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, which still sells at its regular price of $199. And of course, you can buy one of Amazon’s original (non-HD) tablets for just $159.
Ironically, Amazon’s stock dropped nearly 2% today, though I don’t think it’s related to the sale. (Amazon’s involved in a lawsuit over whether or not it’s going to pay state sales taxes in more jurisdictions.) But if you’re thinking about buying a high-definition tablet from Amazon, this is a nice way to save a little extra money.
I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to use my original Kindle Fire, and she said she really didn’t like the smaller screen. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it made me realize that there are some drawbacks to reading web pages and watching videos on on a 7-inch display. I was going to surprise her with a larger tablet for Valentine’s Day, but she already went out and bought one for herself!
February 6th, 2013
I’m enjoying a cozy weekend of reading, and I just realized something delightful. A new month has started — which means Amazon has discounted another 100 Kindle ebooks to just $3.99 (or less!) They’ve grouped their discounted books into seven different categories, including science fiction, “fiction and literature,” and a category called “general nonfiction.” And at the bottom of those pages, Amazon seems to have hidden some additional discounts, including “hard-boiled” mysteries and thrillers for just $2.99, plus a selection of 20 children’s books for just $2 each.
Here’s some of the discounted Kindle eBooks that looked especially intriguing…
West of the Tularosa by Louis L’Amour ($1.99)
He’s one of America’s best-selling authors of western fiction, and Amazon’s web page reminds you that he’s sold over 265 million books. But this month, Amazon’s releasing a fascinating 274-page collection with eight of his early western short stories (which were first published in magazines devoted to western fiction). The author later went back and re-edited some of his earlier stories (according to one reviewer on Amazon), but this book captures the way the stories appeared in their original form. It’s a great way to experience the author through eight different stories. “Each Chapter is so completely different,” one Amazon customer wrote enthusiastically, “and about the right length to read before bedtime each night…Keep it up Kindle!”
Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Gavin J. Grant ($3.99)
It’s hard to explain the steampunk genre — but I thought Amazon gave it a good description on this ebook’s page. This book collects 14 stories in an world “where romance and technology reign. Where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were…” One of the stories is by Cory Doctorow, who I know as a contributor to the popular blog BoingBoing, and it’s nice to see an ebook that takes advantage of some new Kindle features. If you’re reading on a Kindle Fire (or with one of Amazon’s Kindle apps), this ebook supports Amazon’s “WhisperSync” functionality, which lets you switch instantly from this book to its audiobook version, in which every story is read out loud by its author!
Father Abraham:Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery by Richard Striner ($2.99)
Amazon’s included a whole section of discounted biographies and memoirs this month, including ebooks about Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, and two about Abraham Lincoln. One of the Lincoln books is a new 86-page biography by Pulitizer-Prize winning author, James M. McPherson. Released on the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth (in 2008), Amazon’s description calls it “the best concise introduction to Lincoln in print, a must-have volume for anyone interested in American history or in our greatest president.” But for one dollar more, you can buy Richard Striner’s 322-page exploration of one of Lincoln’s greatest accomplishments. According to Amazon, this biography will “illuminate the anger, vehemence, and sheer brilliance of candidate Lincoln, who worked up crowds with charismatic fervor as he gathered a national following…”
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: Practical Guide for Improving Communication by John Gray ($2.99)
Everyone’s heard about this book, but I was surprised to learn just how popular it was. It’s sold more than 50 million copies, according to Wikipedia, and “according to CNN it was the ‘highest ranked work of nonfiction’ of the 1990s and spent 121 weeks on the bestseller list.” Amazon’s description also claims this book was “Based on years of successful counseling of couples and individuals,” and “has helped millions of couples transform their relationships” (adding that it’s now seen “as a modern classic.”) And this is another ebook which supports Amazon’s WhisperSync functionality, so now you can switch over from reading the text to hearing it read by the author himself!
January 17th, 2013
I can’t believe January is almost half over, and I forgot to check out Amazon’s Kindle Store for this month’s selection of discounted ebooks. Every month Amazon chooses 100 ebooks to offer at a special cheap price — just $3.99 or less. And some of this month’s ebooks look really interesting!
Remember, you can browse the whole selection at tinyurl.com/399books
Top Chef: The Cookbook by Top Chef
My girlfriend loves watching cooking competitions on cable TV, and one of her favorite shows is Top Chef. But we didn’t know that the creators of the show have released an “official companion” ebook that includes 100 recipes from the show’s first three seasons. The book’s description promises there’s also “lavish” photos giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the show itself, along with interviews with some of the contestants (as well as their judges!) “On one hand it’s a collection of gourmet recipes,” wrote one reviewer at Amazon, “with lush color photographs and handy preparation times.” They only had one complaint — the wished the recipes warned you about how many calories you were eating, “but the instructions are thorough and easy to follow!”
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman wrote some great science fiction and fantasy novels, including the Sandman graphic novels, and Coraline (which was adapted into a movie by Tim Burton). But in 2008, he wrote a fascinating work of “children’s literature” that drew its inspiration from traditional Norse mythology, according to the ebook’s description, taking readers “on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.” A brave young Norwegian boy encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle in the woods — only to discover that they’re the gods Loki, Thor, and Odin, cast out of Asgard by a particularly troublesome Frost Giant.
The ebook is just 130 pages long, but judging by its description at Amazon, it looks like a wonderful story. “It’s going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.”
Lots of Romance novels…
Amazon’s got a whole section for discounted romance novels this month (including one by best-selling romance author Joan Collins that’s called “Poor Little Bitch Girl.”) But I just have to take special note of something else. Amazon’s also discounted 16 “romance” novels — and there are five romance novels with the word “Duke” in their title! Amazingly, each one is by a different author, including “The Way to a Duke’s Heart: The Truth about the Duke,” which apparently is volume 3 in the “Truth About the Duke” series. You can almost imagine your own story if you take these four apparently unrelated books, and then arrange their titles in the right order.
The Tattooed Duke
She Tempts the Duke
What a Duke Wants
The Duke and I
But if those are too fanciful for you, Amazon’s also offeing a discount on an intriguing modern memoir…
Paradoxia by Lydia Lunch
I remember hearing a recording of a spoken word performance by Lydia Lunch in the 1980s, and she’s transformed her frank, honest style into a career as an influential poet and writer. “Paradoxia contains frank and often shocking confessions,” warns Amazon’s description, promising that the author “relays in graphic detail a predator’s diary, revealing the true psychic repercussions of sexual misadventure. From New York to London to New Orleans, Paradoxia is an uncensored, novelized account of one woman’s assault on the male of the species.”
And don’t forget that Amazon’s also continuing their “Daily Deals” as well — offering a big discount a new ebook every day (for just 24 hours!) It looks like this year, Amazon is offering several ebooks at a discount every day. (For example, on Sunday there was a science fiction deal, a discounted “teen literature” book, a romance daily deal — and 2,000 different ebooks for students that had all been discounted up to 80%.) For a shortcut, you can always find all of Amazon’s daily deals at tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal
If you can find some time in January to do some reading, Amazon’s got lots of ebooks to choose from!
December 26th, 2012
Amazon’s doing something special this week. They’re lowering the price on lots of Kindle ebooks, offering new discounts every day. You can check out the selection at tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal . And on December 26th, Amazon’s also offering some customers a big discount on Kindle accessories.
The discounted ebooks are in four different categories — including 10 biographies and memoirs. But Amazon’s also offering an 86% discount on Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the first book in the popular series by author/illustrator Jeff Kinney. It’s on sale for just $1.99, and they’re also offering the same price on a dystopian science fiction novel called The Handmaid’s Tale. Amazon describes it as “not only a radical and brilliant departure for respected Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast.” And Amazon’s even discounted the “mature and imaginative romantic thriller” The Host, which was written by Stephenie Meyer the author of the Twilight series.
But there’s 10 memoirs that are also on sale — eight for just $1.99, and two for $2.99.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. The Bloggess) – $1.99
Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres – $1.99
Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young – $1.99
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran – $1.99
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler – $2.99
Just Kids by Patti Smith – $1.99
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan – $1.99
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow – $1.99
Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic by Jenny McCarthy – $1.99
When We Were the Kennedys: a Memoir from Mexico, Maine by Monica Wood – $2.99
And finally, Amazon’s also offering big savings on accessories for your Kindle — including a wide selection of leather cases! It’s being offered through the “Amazon Local” page (at local.amazon.com), which is available in 29 different states. Leather cases can be pretty expensive, but Amazon’s offering a big 40% discount on models for nearly every kind of Kindle.
I guess Amazon’s offering discounts on both cases and ebooks, because they’re hoping we’ll start spending even more time on our Kindles in 2013!