An Easter Egg marks Amazon's discounts on the Kindle Fire tablets

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!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s discounts, point your browser to

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 $379 $339.
     Kindle Fire HDX from $229 $199
     Kindle Fire HD 16 GB from $169 $129

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!

Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s discounts, point your browser to

New Amazon Kindle Fire ad

Neil Gaiman - 1602 graphic novel cover Lost Cat book
Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesEllery Queen - The Greek Coffin Mystery

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”.

For a shortcut to the discounted Kindle ebooks, point your browser to

Here’s some of the most interesting selections…

Neil Gaiman - 1602 graphic novel cover

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 book

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

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…

Ellery Queen - The Greek Coffin Mystery

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:

Get a Kindle for just $49

March 4th, 2014

Amazon Kindle just $49

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!”

For a shortcut, point your browser to

And for a shortcut to Amazon’s March Kindle ebook discounts, go to

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.

Amazon Discount on Kindle Paperwhite

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!

For a shortcut, point your browser to

Amazon Kindle 399 ebook sale

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!

For a shortcut to all the discounts, just point your browser to

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!

Kindle Fire HDX sale

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 . (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 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!

Get a Kindle Fire HD for $109

January 10th, 2014

Amazon voted #1 in customer satisfaction

“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.

For a shortcut, point your browser to

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!”

Amazon writes thanks on discounted Kindle Fire

More Special Deals from Amazon

December 28th, 2013

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson back cover

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!

For shortcuts, point your browser to these URLs:

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…

Snoopy surfing book - cover of Cowabunga

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.

To browse all the deals, go to

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Movie

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

For shortcuts, point your browser to these URLs:

Amazon Discounts Kindles to $49!

December 17th, 2013

New Amazon Kindle gift wrapped

Today only, Amazon is selling Kindles for $49! “One-Day Sale,” reads the announcement on the Kindle’s official page at Amazon. “Save $20 on Kindle, only $49 while supplies last. ” To make the point, they’d typed in $69 — and then struck through the letters. That’s a 28% discount, and it shows Amazon is getting serious about getting some new customers during the holiday shopping season…

For a shortcut, point your web browser to

Amazon discounts Kindle to 49

And the shipping is free, too. (Though they’re saying that your Kindle will arrive within “5-8 business days,” so you might to upgrade to a faster delivery option if you’re buying the Kindle as a gift.) Things always get a little crazy on Amazon’s site right around Christmas time, with a lot of unexpected new offers cropping up to steer customers towards more shopping. Amazon is also offering to deliver bottles of wine to their customers with a shipping charge of just one penny!

Maybe they think we all need a drink, after all the stress of holiday shopping? Actually, Amazon launched their own web site for purchasing high-quality wines online just over a year ago, ” the largest domestic wine selection online, with delivery available to 22 states and the District of Columbia…” There’s over 900 wine sellers who are now using Amazon’s site, and customers can just from over 7,000 different wine labels. “The holidays are a huge selling season for wine…,” one wine-maker points out, “and they probably already have their browser open to!”

Amazon’s also pointing out the you can order your gifts as last as midnight on Sunday, and still have them received before Christmas Day (on Tuesday, December 24th) — for free, if you’re a member of Amazon’s Prime shipping service. And according to Amazon’s press release, there will even be one-day shipping options available for just $2.99 per item. “Those truly last-minute shoppers can choose from millions of gifts, and order as late as midnight on Monday, Dec. 23, using Prime one-day shipping and still receive their package before Christmas!”

But with all the special deal, I’m still most interested in buying a new Kindle. $49 is an amazing price, and to be honest, I’m not buying one as a gift for somebody else. It’s the perfect chance to upgrade to a newer version at the lowest possible price. So I’m buying a $49 Kindle for me!

Remember, for a shortcut, point your web browser to

Kindle eBooks for $3.99 or Less!

December 10th, 2013

Amazon Kindle 399 ebook sale

Every month Amazon discounts over 100 Kindle ebooks to just $3.99 or less. And this month, they’ve put together an unusually good selection of ebooks — many priced at just $1.99. But in addition, Amazon’s also introducing a brand new kind of discount. Now you can also purchase the audiobook edition of many of these ebooks for just $3.99. Then you can switch instantly between the written and spoken versions of the ebook when you’re reading on a Kindle Fire tablet (or a smartphone)!

For a shortcut, just point your browser to

Here’s some of the most interesting deals…

Stardust by Neil Gaiman ($1.99)

Set in the 19th-century, Neil Gaiman’s 1998 novel is “an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story,, ” according to the book’s description at Amazon. A young man has to cross the wall that separates his British town from the magical land of the faeries, “in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible. ” This story was originally published as a graphic novel with some lavish illustrations, but even this text-only version still fills 368 pages. And best of all, for another $3.49 you can also get the audiobook version — that’s read by Neil Gaiman himself!

Fire in the Hole by Elmore Leonard ($1.99)

There’s nine great short stories in this collection from the master of crime fiction — and each one features a female protagonist. (It’s original title was “When the Women Come Out To Dance”…) “These nine stories are the great Elmore Leonard at his vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human best,” reads the book’s description at Amazon, noting how this collection “once again illustrates how the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think.” It’s been 16 weeks since writer Elmore Leonard died at the age of 87, and this book is now sporting a new cover to highlight its special distinction. Its title story became the basis for the TV series “Justified” on the FX network — now heading into its fourth season — and tells the story of how U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens deals with an old friend who’s now living outside of the law!

In One Person by John Irving ($1.99)

John Irving wrote some of the most famous novels of the last 50 years — everything from The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire to The Cider-House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. But this time he’s written a more poltical story, according to the book’s description on Amazon, which calls it “precisely the kind of astonishing alchemy we associate with a John Irving novel… brilliant, political, provocative, tragic, and funny!” And for another $3.95, you can purchase the audiobook edition, and hear the entire book — all 488 pages — read by a professional narrator.

Endless Night by Agatha Christie ($1.99)

This isn’t just any Agatha Christie mystery. ” It was one of her favourites of her own works ,” according to Wikipedia, “and received some of the warmest critical notices of her career upon publication.” A young man wandering “Gipsy’s Acre” — a stretch of rustic land said to be cursed — meets and falls in love with an attractive American woman. But before long he’s confronting a gauntlet of eccentric characters, in an unusual Agatha Christie mystery that one Amazon reviewer called “one of the most original books she’s written… A few very well placed surprises catch you off your guard!”

Remember, for a shortcut, just point your browser to

Amazon Discounts Kindle Fire HDX for Cyber Monday

Surprise! Just when you thought Amazon couldn’t discount any more proudcts, they pull out new $50 discounts on their high-definition Kindle Fire tablets. Today you can get a new Kindle Fire HD for just $119 — and a Kindle Fire HDX for just $179! Amazon snuck the deal online Sunday, billing it as an “Early Cyber Monday Deal” But the deal is scheduled to last through Monday, so here’s your chance to get a color, high-definition Kindle at a great place!

For a shortcut, point your browser to

And now Amazon will even loan you the money to purchase those Kindles, at 0% interest for the first six months. They’re offering an Amazon-branded credit card which includes 6-month financing on any purchase over $149. “Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance is not paid in full within 6 months,” Amazon warns. But if your purchase is over $599, Amazon will even offer you 12 months of 0% interest!

It’s the total amount of order, not the cost of any one item — so if you buy the very cheapest Kindle Fire HD, you’ll still have to add another $31 to your order to qualify for the financing. And you can even make your purchase from one of the third-party sellers that uses Amazon as their storefront, and still get the 6-month financing with 0% interest. But watch out: the interest rate is 25.99%, so you won’t want to carry any balances for too long. Amazon is making this offer available only through the rest of December, and they’re sending one very clear message with both the zero-interest financing and the new Cyber Monday discounts.

This year, Amazon really wants you to buy a Kindle Fire HD…!

Amazon discounts Kindle Fire for Cyber Monday - gift-wrapped for Christmas deal shoppers

Amazon’s offering a 30% discount on every book in their store! (“Take an extra 30% off any book offered by,” reads an announcement they’ve tacked onto every page in the store…) It’s just one of several special offers they’re offering for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which also include big savings on Kindles.

For a shortcut to Amazon’s book discount, just point your web browser to

Amazon’s also offering special pricing on their Kindle Fire HD. The big 8.9-inch device (with a high-definition color screen) has been reduced to just $229. That’s what it’d normally cost just for the 7-inch version of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX. Amazon lowered the price when they added these tablets to their list of holiday gift suggestions.

For a shortcut to all of Amazon’s Kindle tablets, point your web browser to

Amazon’s also offering 30% discounts on their Kindle DX. WIth a 9.7-inch e-ink screen, it’s the largest Kindle available — and they’ve reduced its price to just $169. Currently you can also buy a used Kindle DX for just $133. This has always been my personal favorite Kindle — because the only thing better than an e-ink screen is a giant e-ink screen! :)

Kindle DX discount

Of course, Amazon’s not the only one offering discounts this weekend. Best Buy’s web site will also let you purchase a Kindle for just $49. And while supplies last, Staples will sell you an original color Kindle Fire tablet for just $79. If you to go an Office Depot store, they’re currently selling the same model for just $139

So if you’re looking for a good deal this holiday, there’s some great prices on Amazon Kindles!

Agatha Christie mystery book covers

She’s the best-selling novelist of all time, according to Wikipedia. In fact, there’s now over four billion copies of Agatha Christie’s novels scattered around the world — and dozens of her books are now available on the Kindle. This month Amazon is offering big discounts on three of her most intriguing mysteries. And there’s at least one more Agatha Christie ebook that’s now available for free!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s Agatha Christie page, point your browser to

Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie ($2.99)

This is a Hercule Poirot mystery — one of 33 novels that Agatha Christie wrote about her famous French detective. He also appeared in 50 more of her short stories, but for the month of November, Amazon is discounting this full-length 320-page mystery. “Mystery writer Ariadne Oliver has been invited to a Hallowe’en party at Woodleigh Common,” according to the book’s description at Amazon — where inevitably, one of the guests is murdered. “[I]t retains all the trademarks of what make Christie’s intricately woven, delightfully detected mysteries so endearing and timeless,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon, calling it “quick-paced and filled with a cast of characters who seemingly all have something to gain, or hide!”

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie ($2.99)

Miss Marple is the detective for this mystery — another favorite Agatha Christie detective, who appeared in 20 different short stories. But there are just 12 full-length Miss Marple novels — and Murder at the Vicarage was the very first one. “[A] dead body in a clergyman’s study proves to Miss Marple that no place, holy or otherwise, is a sanctuary from homicide…” warns the book’s description at Amazon. There’s lots of twists in its 307 pages, warns one reviewer, and “The minute you think you have it figured out the author throws you a curve…!”

Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (Free!)

There at least one Christie novel which has actually fallen into the public domain. Secret Adversary opens on the Lusitania — a British mail ship that was sunk during World War I. “The Lusitania had been struck by two torpedoes in succession,” Christie writes in an exciting prologue that opens the book, “and was sinking rapidly, while the boats were being launched with all possible speed…” Christie introduces her some funny new “detectives” in this novel — two unemployed young men named Tommy and Tuppence — who “quite accidentally get sucked into an international mystery that reaches to the highest levels of British government,” according to one review on Amazon.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (99 cents!)

It’s Christie’s first published novel ever — and it’s also her first story about detective Hercule Poirot! (At a mysterious estate, a wealthy woman is poisoned shortly after drawing up a new will, and Poirot is asked to investigate.) I’ve seen public domain versions of this ebook available too, but currently it’s only available in the Kindle Store for 99 cents. According to one Amazon review, Christie only wrote this book because her sister dared her too. (“With his egg-shaped head and his well-groomed moustache, Poirot enters and soon becomes one of fiction’s best-loved detectives…”) And the reader also makes their first acquaintance with his sidekick Captain Arthur Hastings in this novel, who first appears “recovering from a war injury at the upper-class household known as Styles Court.” (Watch out! There’s going to be a murder!)

Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s Agatha Christie page, point your browser to

Alex Baldwin plays a pilot on Saturday Night Live

Today only, you can buy a new Kindle on Amazon for just $59! And a Kindle Fire HD is just $118. Even a new Kindle Fire HDX will only cost you $195 today.

For a shortcut to all the Kindle deals, just point your web browser to

And Amazon’s offering the discounts for a surprising reason. They’re celebrating a new rule that now allows Kindles (and other electronic devices) to be used on an airplane, even during the take-off and landing. “Thank you, FAA” read a big announcement on the front page of Amazon today. They even included a link to the official press release on the web site for the Federal Aviation Administration. (“… the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance.”)

To claim your discount today, Amazon’s even created an appropriate promotional code: ThnksFAA. “To say thank you, we’re taking 15%,” Amazon’s announcement explains. “You can now use your Kindle from take-off through landing!” It’s a one-per-customer discount, and Amazon’s also announcing their standard “while supplies last” disclaimer. But it’s still a nice way to celebrate the new ability to read your Kindle through the entire duration of any flight.

“We’ve been fighting for our customers on this issue for years,” one Amazon executive announced in a press release, “and we are thrilled by the FAA’s recent decision.” He called the FAA’s decision “a big win” for customers, and noted that even though the new policy was just announced on Thursday, Delta Airlines and JetBlue have already implemented the new rules on their flights.

It’s been fun to see the reactions online. One technology web site joked that Amazon was celebrating “the best way it knows how…holding a sale!” And the Washington Post notes that at one point, Amazon actually loaded up an airplane with Kindles — all of them turned on — to drive home their point to the FAA that Kindles should be allowed to operate even during a plane’s take-off.

But my favorite story came from the Boston Globe, which shared stories from flight attendants about facing children with tears in their eyes who didn’t want to turn off their videos. And there’s even a story about TV star Alec Baldwin, who in 2011 wanted to keep playing the game “Words with Friends” on his tablet, who made so much noise about it that he was finally kicked off the plane! Ironically, Baldwin got the last laugh by appearing on Saturday Night Live later that month — by playing a pilot from the same airline who believed that the actor was in the right. Don’t phones interfere with the plane’s communications system, the parody newscaster asks the actor.

“Oh, you don’t believe that, do you…? ” he replies. “Would you really get on an airplane that flew 30,000 feet in the air if you thought one Kindle switch could take it down? C’mon, it’s just a cruel joke perpetrated by the airline industry.

“And we would’ve gotten away with it, but Alec Baldwin was just too smart for us….!

Remember, for a shortcut to all the Kindle deals, just point your web browser to

Curious George
I was really surprised when I first heard the news on the Kindle’s page on Facebook. “Imagine you bought a book from Amazon 18 years ago… and then 18 years later, you could add that book to your Kindle library for free or no more than $2.99. We call it Kindle MatchBook, available starting today.”

For a shortcut, just point your web browser to

At that URL, Amazon offers a link that displays a list of every print book you’ve purchased from Amazon in the last 18 years that’s now available as a free (or discounted) Kindle ebook. “Over 70,000 books are enrolled in Kindle MatchBook,” Amazon explains in a press release — adding that every day, even more Kindle ebooks will become available. “It’s been great to see the positive response to MatchBook from both readers and publishers,” announceds Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content, noting that it took just a couple of weeks for the number of titles to jump from 10,000 to 70,000 — and predicting even bigger jumps in the months ahead.

I’ve never seen anything like this — and it’s stunning to see the scope of this program. “Print purchases all the way back to 1995 – when Amazon first opened its online bookstore – will qualify once a publisher enrolls a title in Kindle MatchBook,” Amazon explained in today’s announcement. The only bad news is I haven’t purchased many of the print editions which would qualify me for the big Kindle discount. This morning I clicked the link at Kindle Matchbook, and discovered there was only one Kindle ebook where I’d qualify for a discount: the children’s picture book Curious George.

But even that brought back a happy memory. At first I couldn’t even remember buying the book — and why had I bought it in 2006? Then I remembered a friend of mine who’d been teaching children in the Marshall Islands. I started a campaign to show her some support, suggesting to her friends online that we should all mail her one of our own favorite children’s picture books (from when we were schoolchildren). And I’d thought that the children in the Marshall Islands might enjoy the story about the happy monkey in the jungle who meets up with a Man in the Yellow Hat!

I enjoyed that experience, because it’s fun to share the joy of reading — and in a small way, I feel like Amazon is offering a similar experience. Kindle owners are getting a chance to read a lot of ebooks that Amazon knows we’re going to like — because at some point in the last 18 years, we’ve already purchased a copy! Of course, Amazon is also encouraging people to start doing their reading on their Kindles — but like a lot of stories, it all comes down to one basic truth.

Reading is fun, no matter where you do it. (Or, in the case of Amazon’s KindleMatchbook program — no matter when you did it!) :)

For a shortcut, just point your web browser to

My Favorite eBook Bargains

September 4th, 2013

Amazon Kindle 399 ebook sale

I just made a startling discovery. Amazon discounted a bunch of ebooks last month — but they’re still offering those same discounts for most of those books in September! For example, I’d spotted three great ebooks last month that were on sale – and I’m delighted to see that they’re all still available at a discounted price. Amazon’s offering discounts on a Kindle ebook about one of the world’s most popular detectives, one of the world’s most popular rock and roll bands, and one very popular recent TV show.

But hurry! I don’t know how long these special discounts will last…

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie ($2.99)

There’s a fascinating story behind this mystery novel. Agatha Christie wrote nearly 70 mystery novels during a career which spanned nearly 60 years — including 12 about a detective named Miss Marple — but in 1976, after Christie’s death at the age of 85, her very last Miss Marple novel was published posthumously. And Amazon’s now offering a discount on its Kindle ebook edition. It’s already become Amazon’s #256 best-selling ebook in the entire Kindle Store — and its #1 best-selling mystery in Amazon’s “British Detectives” category. I like how one reviewer noted that the 224-page thriller finds Miss Marple self-effacing and shrewd, “almost as if she knew she wouldn’t be around much longer”, and she warns a couple who move into a mysterious new house that a murder in the past is like a sleeping murder…which just might wake up!

It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: Thirty Years Married to a Rolling Stone by Jo Wood ($2.99)

Yes, it’s Ron Wood’s wife — offering up what Amazon promises is a “behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the biggest rock bands in history. Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones’ guitarist, had already written a best-selling biography about his own life, but it’s interesting to get some perspective from one of the bandmember’s wives, who according to the book’s description delivers a “startlingly honest, laugh-out-loud memoir vividly describes life on tour, in the studio, at the legendary parties — and every raucous moment in between.” (At one point, her husband announces that he’s leaving her for an 18-year-old waitress…)

The book is illustrated with never-before-seen photographs from her personal collection, creating “a compelling piece of rock ‘n’ roll history from a woman with a backstage pass and a front-row seat,” Amazon adds, noting that mixed in with the euphoria and the recklnessness is a story that’s “Enchanting, candid, and moving… [a] page-turning fairy tale of fame and fortune.”

How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein ($2.99)

“It was not a drunken cartographer after all,” jokes one Amazon reviewer, applauding this book for uncovering the forgotten stories from American history that explain the surprisingly and unusual decisions that went into each state’s boundary lines. (“In 1846,” notes Publisher’s Weekly, “Washington D.C. residents south of the Potomac successfully petitioned to rejoin Virginia…order to keep out free African-Americans.”) Why does Delaware actually own a small part of the southwest short of New Jersey? Why does Rhode Island even have “island” in it’s name? It turns out that there’s actually answers that explain the strange shapes of all the states on America’s map. “When I lived in Mobile, I puzzled for years over Alabama’s ‘tab’ at the south,” notes one Amazon reviewer. “My guess was that it had something to do with giving the state a gulf shoreline. (Maybe for condos?)” But thanks to this book, the reviewer finally discovered the real answer: “It’s all Florida’s fault.

Note: Amazon’s also offering a discount on the professionally-narrated audiobook version of How the States Got Their Shape. When you purchase the ebook, you can then purchase the audiobook for just $3.99!

Remember: there’s also new discounted ebooks each month at