New Site Mocks the Worst Kindle eBook Covers

Young Tales of the Old Cosmos   How to Deal with Hippo Encounter
Flight of the Intrepid Monkey   Titanimus Makes Jenny a Genie

“Judging a book by its cover is generally frowned upon,” jokes a newspaper in England, “but the same cannot be said for ebooks.” They’re interviewing the creator of a new page on Tumblr called “Kindle Cover Disasters” — and yes, it’s a collection of cover illustrations that are spectacularly bad. You can view all of the awful images — along with the author’s quick assessments of them — by scrolling down the page.

Here’s some of his more interesting finds…

 

Young Tales of the Old Cosmos

Young Tales of the Old Cosmos by Rhys Hughes

Wait, what? I’m not even sure I understand what that means, but oh my god that’s a creepy cover! Human eyes — and even lips — have been cut-and-pasted onto two planets, and also onto the rocky surface of the moon. And according to this ebook’s description, it really is stories about the personal life of planets. “When Pluto is officially demoted from a true planet to a dwarf planet; when the poor moon is infested with clowns…; when the Milky Way wants to make friends… that’s the time they most need our sympathy and support.” You’d think more people would want to read about the clown infestation of the moon, but alas, on Amazon’s list of their best-selling ebooks, this book is ranked #2,179,737


How to Deal with Hippo Encounter

How to Deal with Hippo Encounter by Solomon J. Matt

First, that’s a terrible title. (There seems to be a word missing…) And honestly, that’s a terrible idea for a book, since, really, how big is your target audience going to be? If I actually did encounter a raging hippopotamus, would I rush over to Amazon to purchase an ebook of helpful advice? (Chapter One: Running…) But all of this overlooks the fact that a hippopotamus’s mouth is just plain ugly. Do you really want that enormous pink maw gaping up from the water on the cover of your newest Kindle ebook?


Titanimus Makes Jenny a Genie

Titanimus Makes Jenny a Genie: Book 4 by Betty Crofoot

Where to start? Yes, Jenny’s legs are too short, and those bolts of lightning are clearly the wrong color, but I can’t get past the shape of Titanimus’s body. It’s like an overpadded robot — maybe Klaatu from “When Worlds Collide” — but with a hole in his chest where the cosmos peeks through. In this story Titanimus makes Jenny into a genie, apparently, but its lackluster cover manages to make that look about as dazzling as a quilt at the Andromeda Galaxy’s county fair. This 51-page book is just $5.95, and so far has been reviewed by no Amazon customers whatsoever.


Flight of the Intrepid Monkey

The Flight of the Intrepid Monkey by Mac Zazski

First, that’s another terrible title. But at least this is a full-length novel that’s available free in the Kindle Store, and you have to admire the author’s ambition. It’s a story about fugitives from the law who become intergalactic heroes — an “out of this world love story filled with pirates, ugly secretaries, angry housekeepers, Church librarians…” Unfortunately, author “Mac Zazski” has apparently just cut-and-pasted random photos of people over a washed-out drawing of the solar system, and instead of a poster for excitement, it ends up looking more like a tiny family scrapbook.

Amazon Celebrates National Reading Month

Amazon Celebrates National Reading Month
March is “National Reading Month,” and Amazon’s greeting it with a special deal on their Kindle! They’ve slashed its price by more than 25% — to just $59. It’s a “limited-time” offer, but it’s also Amazon’s way of making it easier to read. (Especially Kindle ebooks, from Amazon…) And Amazon’s also doing even more to encourage reading….

Amazon’s also created a new web page with links to more special collections of books. “What Will You Read This Month?” the page asks, with another subtitle: “Discover a New Story.” And the first link is Amazon’s impressive list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. It’s “a bucket list of books to create a well-read life,” assembled by the editors at Amazon.

For a shortcut to Amazon’s special page, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/AmazonBookLists

There’s also another link to a fun list of best books chosen by readers from the online community at GoodReads.com. (“Vote for your favorites,” it urges, with several intriguing categories.) There’s Best Books of the 21st Century, Best Books of the Decade: 2000s, Best books of March 2015, and of course — Best Books Ever. The list’s #1 book is “The Hunger Games, with a Harry Potter book at #2 and a Twilight book at #4. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” came in at #9…

Amazon’s also created a new page called Books to Look for This Spring. (“Twenty books we think you’ll be hearing a lot more about this season…”) Glenn Greenwald has written a new book about Edward Snowden, and 82-year-old novelist Tom Robbins is finally delivering a personal memoir, “stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventure”. And at the end of March, Michael Lewis will release another new investigation into Wall Street — this one highlighting “the good guys” who tried to reform a broken stock market…by creating their own.

There’s lots of new and exciting things to read — and I have to admit that I’m reading more ever since Kindle came into my life. I can imagine a parent giving one to their children, to try to make reading seem high-tech and fancy and cutting-edge. But the most important thing will always be the books, and I feel like Amazon understands that too.

Because they’re celebrating National Reading Month with appreciative lists of some very great books…

For a shortcut to Amazon’s lists, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/AmazonBookLists

How Amazon Celebrates National Reading Month

Monty Python book coverDorothy Must Die book cover

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of EverythingThe Sinister Six - Superior Foes of Spider-Man graphic novel cover

The whole month of March is “National Reading Month” in America — and Amazon has set aside a special collection of books to celebrate. “What Will You Read This Month?” asks the headline on their special web page — which links to Amazon’s picks for “The Best Books of the Month.” So what books did Amazon choose for honoring National Reading Month?

For a shortcut to Amazon’s page, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfMarch

Here’s some of the highlights…


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

“They say she found a way to come back to Oz,” reads a warning on the back of this book’s cover. “They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe…” It’s an exhiliarating act of imagination — or re-imagination — and author Danielle Paige turns it into a thrilling 464-page fantasy novel. She delivers a fresh new story about Amy Gumm — “the other girl from Kansas” — who must stalk that dreaded scarecrow and overcome all of Dorothy’s other allies. “I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked…. And I have a mission.” It looks like a great read!

Dorothy Must Die book cover


Everything I Ever Needed to Know About _____* I Learned from Monty Python by Brian Cogan and Jeff Massey

It’s an irresistible title, and the cover of the book fills in the rest of the sentence, explaining that the classic British humor show taught us about everything from history, art, poetry, and religion, to philosophy, media, the French, and fish slapping. But the pair of critics who created this 336-page masterpiece share a fond response that suggests the comedy ultimately delivered a positive message. “[T]hat we can laugh at the world instead of mourning its inequity, that we can expose evil through the light of satire and can banish hatred by laughing at the idiocy of the bully…” One reviewer for The Washington Post notes the irony that over the years the show has been embraced by the mainstream culture that it used to mock, quoting Eric Idle (one of the comedy troupe’s founding members) as saying,”Nowadays I miss people who hate us!”

Monty Python book cover

Amazon’s “Best Books of March” page also touts “The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency”, a new collection of the best humor pieces from the McSweeneys web site (which was co-founded by Dave Eggers!) I laughed out loud just reading the titles of the site’s pieces, which include “What I Would Be Thinking About if I Were Billy Joel Driving Toward a Holiday Party Where I Knew There Was Going to Be a Piano.” (“I’m not doing it. I’m just not. I know I say the same thing every year, but this time I mean it….”) Each piece offers fresh and clever takes on our popular culture, past and present. Unfortunately, this particular book is only available in paperback. But if you’d like to sample their humor on your Kindle, there is an ebook edition for an earlier collection with its own pithy title: Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s, Humor Category


Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything by Donald Link

He’s an award-winning chef from New Orleans, but according to the book’s description on Amazon, Donald Link “also has a knack for sniffing out a backyard barbecue wherever he travels.” His new book offers 110 recipes (and 100 color photographs) — but also interviews with barbecue “pitmasters”, and visits to colorful southern characters. (Like a Mississippi honey-grower to a Texas lamb ranch with their own pet llama!) This book offers a loving look at some great southern food — everything from slow-cooked barbecue pork, fresh Gulf seafood, Kentucky bourbon. But besides all of the welcoming treats, there’s also a fun look at the people who are cooking them!


Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything


The Superior Foes of Spider-Man Volume 1: Getting the Band Back Together by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber

Last summer a new comic book debuted with a stunning premise. It’s a story about Spider-Man — but it’s told from the perspective of his arch enemies! Can “The Sinister Six” pull off their big heist…or are they already being stalked by Marvel’s other crime-fighting vigilante, The Punisher? The first six issues of this comic are all collected here in a color trade paperback — that’s 136 pages — though unfortunately, it isn’t available yet in a Kindle edition. But it might be fun to savor this collection in full-sized pages, since according to one Amazon reviewer, “Almost every panel of every issue has something that makes you smile or giggle…”

The Sinister Six - Superior Foes of Spider-Man graphic novel cover

Although Amazon’s Kindle Store does have nearly 200 other Spider-Man graphic novels to choose from!


And remember: for a shortcut to Amazon’s other March picks, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfMarch

Is that BBC’s “100 Books” List A Giant Hoax?

BBC_list

“The BBC believes you only read 6 of these books” reads the headline on one page. “How many have you read?” It’s followed by a list of 100 literary classics, including Pride and Prejudice, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jane Eyre and the Harry Potter series. Book lovers all around the web (and on Facebook) are taking this irresistible quiz, but there’s just one problem with it.

It’s a hoax. The BBC never made any such claim.

I’ve searched the BBC’s web site, but there’s no mention there of any list of books that they supposedly believe people aren’t reading. With a quick Google search, I found more web pages where people were posting the same list — even as far back as 2009 — and even a couple pages where people were asking the same question I did: why doesn’t the original list anywhere on the BBC’s web site? Finally I discovered an obscure blog post from 2009 where someone in the comments (named Julie) had finally tracked down the answer. The original list apparently dates back to 2007.

But it wasn’t from the BBC — it was from the Guardian newspaper. And they never claimed that most people hadn’t read more than 6 of the books…

Instead, their list was titled 100 books that “you can’t live without”. It appears to be based on a poll of their readers, which might explain why the results contain so many British authors. Six of the 100 books were written by Charles Dickens, and four were written by Jane Austen. Yet there’s not a single book by Mark Twain — or Ernest Hemingway, or William Faulkner.

But it’s still nice to know that there other people who like some of the same books that I do. (Yes, I have read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as The Wind in the Willows…as a free Kindle ebook!) But as I was going through the list, trying to see if I’ve read more than six of its titles or less, I start to wonder if there’s a better way to see if I’m reading enough great books. And the best thing I read today was probably the response from the blogger who first figured out (in 2009) that this challenge was a hoax.

“So, feel free to see how many of those hundred books you’ve read,” Julie writes. “As a reader, I always find it fun.

“However, know that the BBC isn’t judging you.

“The only thing you’ll discover is if you’ve read the same books that a bunch of people in the UK couldn’t live without…”

A Confederacy of Dunces

Amazon’s Secret Book Recommendations

Cover of Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver

It’s almost an even bigger surprise. Amazon announced their picks for “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” (as chosen by the editor’s of Amazon’s book section.) But deep within Amazon’s press release, they also revealed which books their editors most wished had made it onto their list — but didn’t! The results are a surprisingly eclectic collection of new and classic fiction. And Amazon’s also published an entirely different list of “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” — this one chosen by actual readers!

For the reader’s list, point your web browser to
tinyurl.com/100ReaderPicks

“We set out to build a roadmap of a literary life without making it feel like a homework assignment,” explained Amazon’s editorial director for Kindle ebooks (and printed books) at Amazon.com — and I like how they let other readers participate in the list building. But it was also fun just to hear about which books had received the most votes. In fact, Amazon’s press release, Amazon identifies six books where the decision was unanimous. Each one of Amazon’s editors felt these books should be included on their “lifetime” list.


Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Only the last two are available in Kindle editions (which might explain why Amazon was reluctant to include them on their list). But when preparing their press release, Amazon had also asked each editor for their own personal pick of a book which they’d most wanted to include — and the results were very surprising. The books are from different centuries, with authors from different countries, writing about different themes, and for audiences at different reading levels. This list made me smile, since each one is a purely personal pick, a collection of “beautiful losers”, if you will — each one fondly remembered by somebody.

Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

But fortunately, Amazon has also published a second list of books for a lifetime, an entirely different selection that was chosen by readers! The polling happened on the GoodReads web site, and in this case, it’s “readers to the rescue”, since this second list does include some of those “beautiful losers” that didn’t quite make it onto Amazon’s own list. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came in at #28 on the “reader’s list”, and Les Miserables came in at #69. And the readers at GoodReads also came up with some original choices of their own!

One of my favorite science fiction book’s make it onto the “reader’s list” — Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, which came in at #57. And the reader’s also chose The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (#45) and Stephen King’s The Stand (#53) — plus A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1), which ranked #64 in the voting. Even an Agatha Christie mystery made it onto the list — And Then There Were None, in the #85 spot. This definitely feels like a list of books that’d be fun to read.

If there’s a theme running through this list, it’s the kind of books that you’ve probably seen your friends reading. Besides agreeing with Amazon’s choice of The Lord of the Rings, the “reader’s list also included The Hobbit. And where Amazon had included Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the readers at GoodReads picked three more books about the boy wizard — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (#42), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#62), and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (#72). Amazon had also included The Hunger Games, but the “reader’s list” went ahead and added the other two books from the series — Mockingjay and Catching Fire.

Part of the fun of this exercise is knowing that we all have our own favorites. (That’s why we get so excited when we spot one that made it onto somebody else’s list.) But sooner or later we’ll have to look outside our own bubble, and that’s when the real fun begins.

If you were looking for new books to read, which list would you choose?


For see the reader’s choices, point your web browser to
tinyurl.com/100ReaderPicks

“100 Books to Read in a Lifetime”

Amazon Chooses 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime
A very special list just appeared within the pages of Amazon.com. It’s described as “A bucket list of books to create a well-read life,” and it’s been lovingly assembled by the editors of Amazon’s book sections. “Over many months, the team passionately debated and defended the books we wanted on this list,” reads a statement from Amazon — and I smiled when I saw some of my favorite books among Amazon’s picks. But every book on that page means a lot to somebody. “We talked and argued and sifted and argued some more,” explains some text at the bottom of Amazon’s web page, “and came up with a list, our list, of favorites.”

For a shortcut, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/100AmazonBooks

I was surprised to discover that some of the books are available for free, and I was glad Amazon’s list included On the Road by Jack Kerouac — as well as Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (another personal favorite of mine). At first I was a little surprised that they’d also included Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson’s “gonzo” memoir about taking a “Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”. But then I re-read the book’s first paragraph, and remembered what an intense read it had been.

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like ‘I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive…’ And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas…”

The same list also includes some children’s classics, like Where the Wild Things Are and The House At Pooh Corner. In fact, there’s books for all ages, including young adult novels like A Wrinkle In Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. Amazon explains at the bottom of their page that “We wanted the list to cover all stages of a life (which is why you’ll find children’s books in here)…” It’s a nice philosophy, along with the fact that they included some extra-fun choices because “we didn’t want the list to feel like homework.”

That explains how their list came to include Stephen King’s The Shining and Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. (Though I’m glad they also included Raymond Chandler’s classic noir detective story, The Long Goodbye. ) Other “fun” titles include David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day and Kitchen Confidential by chef Anthony Bourdain. And there’s even some “blockbuster” fantasy and science titles – as well as some classics!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Hunger Games
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Dune
The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians)
Farenheit 451
1984

Kindle versions are available for most of the books — but not all of them. (That’s one of the list’s biggest surprises.) In fact, 17 of the 100 “books to read in a lifetime” that Amazon recommends are only available in print editions. But there’s also six classic novels on their list which are not only available on the Kindle — they’re free.

Pride and Prejudice
Great Expectations
The Age of Innocence
Of Human Bondage
The Wind in the Willows
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

A list like this will always provoke a discussion. (For example, I’m glad Amazon included Michael Lewis’s Moneyball, but that same author wrote a memoir about his high school baseball coach which I thought was much more inspiring…) But the real point of a list like this is to pique our curiousity about what other great books may be waiting for us out there that we haven’t read yet. Amazon’s introduction to the list sums it all up with just six words.

“So many books, so little time. ”


For a shortcut, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/100AmazonBooks

More Surprises From Amazon’s 2013 Best-Seller List

2013

Another year has gone by — and Amazon’s released a fascinating new list revealing which books which most popular in 2013. But they’re not just looking at the Kindle best-sellers (or the print best-sellers). Amazon’s combined print and ebook sales, and calculated which books were read more than any others last year — regardless of their format!

For a shortuct to Amazon’s list, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/AmazonOverallBestsellers


Here’s Amazon’s list of the 20 best-selling books of 2013.

1. Inferno by Dan Brown
2. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
4. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
5. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
6. The Hit by David Baldacci
7. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
8. Entwined with You by Sylvia Day
9. Never Go Back by Lee Child
10. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
11. Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
12. Doctor Sleep> by Stephen King
13. 12th of Never by James Patterson
14. Damaged: The Ferro Family by H.M. Ward
15. Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly
16. Second Honeymoon by James Patterson
17. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
18. The Billionaire’s Obsession: The Complete Collection by J.S. Scott
19. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed
20. Six Years by Harlan Coben

The first thing you notice is that James Patterson is really popular. He wrote four of the 20 most popular titles of 2013. But the second thing you notice is he’s not nearly as popular in print. Just one of those four books made it onto Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-selling print books of 201312th of Never (which came in at #77).

And yet six James Patterson titles are among Amazon’s top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2013. In fact, all six of them are in the top 60, and three of them made it into the top 15 !


Alex Cross, Run (#10)
12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) (#12)
Second Honeymoon (#13)
Gone (Michael Bennett) (#40)
Mistress (#53)
Private Berlin (#55)


The moral of the story is probably that 2013 was a good year for James Patterson. He even landed another book on Amazon’s list of the best-sellers in their “Kids & Teens” category — a mystery novel titled Confessions: The Private School Murders. Maybe Amazon moved it onto their “Kids & Teens” list to try to free up a spot for another author who wasn’t James Patterson. But another message might be that in order to make it onto Amazon’s best-seller list — you had to sell a lot of Kindle ebooks.

I took another look at Amazon’s list of the best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2013, which offers convincing proof about the importance of ebooks sales. In fact, for a moment, I had to confirm that I was reading the right list, because Amazon’s list of Kindle ebook best-sellers is nearly identical to Amazon’s list of the overall bestsellers for 2013. In many cases, a book ranked much lower on Amazon’s list of print best-sellers — but still earned a high rank on the overall list because of its high position on the list of the best-selling Kindle ebooks. And amazingly, some of their overall best-selling titles for the year didn’t even appear anywhere on Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-selling print titles.

Here’s Amazon’s list of the best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2013

1 Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown
                                   [#1 on Overall list]
                                   [#2 on Print list]

2. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
                                   [#4 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
                                   [#3 on Overall list]
                                   [#12 on Print list]

4. And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel by Khaled Hosseini
                                   [#2 on Overall list]
                                   [#4 on Print list]

5. The Hit (Will Robie) by David Baldacci
                                   [#6 on Overall list]
                                   [#40 on Print list]

6. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
                                   [#7 on Overall list]
                                   [#15 on Print list]

7. Entwined with You (A Crossfire Novel) by Sylvia Day
                                   [#8 on Overall list]
                                   [#24 on Print list]

8. Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
                                   [#9 on Overall list]
                                   [#38 on Print list]

9. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
                                   [#10 on Overall list]
                                   [#53 on Print list]

10. Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
                                   [#11 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

11. Damaged: The Ferro Family by H.M. Ward
                                   [#14 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

12. 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson
                                   [#13 on Overall list]
                                   [#65 on Print list]

13. Second Honeymoon by James Patterson
                                   [#16 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

14. The Billionaire’s Obsession: The Complete Collection Boxed Set (Mine For Tonight, Mine For Now, Mine Forever, Mine Completely) by J.S. Scott
                                   [#18 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

15. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed
                                   [#19 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

16. The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken
                                   [Not in Overall top 20]
                                   [Not on Print list]

17. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
                                   [#17 on Overall list]
                                   [Not on Print list]

18. Six Years by Harlan Coben
                                   [#10 on Overall list]
                                   [#92 on print list]

19. Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder
                                   [Not in Overall top 20]
                                   [Not on print list]

20. High Heat: A Jack Reacher Novella by Lee Child
                                   [Not in Overall top 20]
                                   [Not on print list]


For a shortcut to Amazon’s lists, point your browser to
http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBooks2013

The 90 Most Useful Kindle Urls

Digital Publishing vs. the Gutenberg press

Once a year, I assemble my “master list” of shortcuts to the most useful pages for Kindle owners – like all of the free ebooks, music and comic books that Amazon’s been making available. But this year there’s 40 new links which highlight all the changes that happened in 2013 that became a part of the Kindle universe!

Instead of trying to memorize a bunch of complicated URLs, I’ve created shorter, easier-to-remember addresses that still lead to the same pages.

And all 90 of them start with TinyURL.com …

FREE EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/100freekindlebooks
Amazon’s 100 best-selling free ebooks are always available on this list (which is updated hourly!) And of course, the other side of the page also shows the 100 best-selling ebooks which are not free…

tinyurl.com/ObamaKindleInterview
Amazon’s interview with President Barack Obama, available as a free Kindle Single.

tinyurl.com/AgathaChristieEbooks
All the Kindle editions of Agatha Christie’s mysteries (one of which is free!)

tinyurl.com/BackOnMurder
My favorite free Kindle mystery — a 384-page detective novel following a police detective’s homicide investigation in Houston called Back on Murder.

tinyurl.com/MrToadEbook
Read the original adventures of Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows as a free Kindle ebook.


FREE LAUGHS FROM AMAZON

tinyurl.com/FunnyFakeAmazonReviews
Amazon’s own list of their favorite funny fake customer reviews.

tinyurl.com/MoreFunnyAmazonReviews
Amazon’s second list of their favorite funny customer reviews.

Horse Head Mask from Amazon



FREE COMIC BOOKS

tinyurl.com/SupermanOne
A free Kindle edition of Superman #1

tinyurl.com/freeGraphicNovel
Amazon’s free full-length “graphic novel” called Blackburn Burrow – a fascinating horror comic book set during the Civil War that you can read in color on your Kindle Fire or Android smartphone, or in black-and-white on the Paperwhite, the Kindle Touch, or the Kindle.

tinyurl.com/FreeKindleComicBooks
All of Amazon’s best-selling free Kindle comic books. (For a shortcut to all of Amazon’s Digital Kindle Comics, just point your browser to tinyurl.com/KindleComicBooks

tinyurl.com/ComicsNewsletter
Amazon’s free newsletter about digital comic books.


FREE AND DISCOUNTED MP3S

tinyurl.com/FreeMp3List
I love how Amazon is always giving away free mp3s — and you can always find a complete list at this URL!

tinyurl.com/GrammyMp3s
Grammy-winning songs — discounted as low as 69 cents

tinyurl.com/GrammyAlbumMp3s
Grammy-winning albums — discounted as low as $5.00

tinyurl.com/SuperBowlSongs
All the songs used in ads broadcast during the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans (when the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers )



Amazon Kindle 399 ebook sale

BARGAIN EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/399KindleEbooks
Every month, Amazon picks 100 ebooks to offer at a discount of $3.99 or less. There’s always a new selection on the first day of the month, so if you visited the page on the last day of the month, you’d see 100 discounted books — and then the next day you’d see an entirely new selection!

If you’re in England, Amazon’s created a different page for their bargain ebooks — go to tinyurl.com/399booksEngland

And if you’re in France, there’s also a different URL for your (English-language) bargain ebooks — it’s at tinyurl.com/399booksFrance
 
 
tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal
In addition, Amazon’s also created a special “Daily Deal” page, where they pick a new ebook each day to sell at a big discount for 24 hours. Past deals have included a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming and Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night — and I’m always surprised by the variety.

tinyurl.com/DailyDealsEmail
Amazon will also just e-mail you every “Daily Deal,” so you never have to worry about missing one of them!

tinyurl.com/EbookBigDeal
Amazon’s special selection of discounted Kindle ebooks

tinyurl.com/KindleSelect25
Each week Amazon highlights 25 more books

tinyurl.com/KindleMatch
Discounts on Kindle editions of book when you’ve already purchased their print edition

tinyurl.com/CheapThrillers
Amazon’s special selection of “international thrillers” — all priced at $4.99 or less


KINDLE SINGLES

tinyurl.com/AmazonKindleSingles
All of Amazon’s short, cheap “Kindle Single” ebooks

tinyURL.com/KingOnGuns
Last January Stephen King published a 25-page personal essay titled “Guns”, which he’s selling as a Kindle Single for 99 cents.


NEW KINDLES AND KINDLE FEATURES

tinyurl.com/KindleFires

Amazon’s newest high-definition color Kindle tablets

tinyurl.com/NewPaperwhite
In 2013 Amazon released a slick new, high-contrast version of their Kindle Paperwhite

tinyURL.com/KindleDX2013
Amazon also brought back their giant 9.7-inch black-and-white Kindle DX in 2013

tinyurl.com/KindleSending
Amazon’s free “Send-to-Kindle” plug-in for web browsers

tinyurl.com/CustomKindleCovers
Convert your own photos into a custom Kindle cover

tinyurl.com/KindleSerials
There’s a new format for Kindle ebooks called the “Kindle Serial.” Famous authors will now deliver new additional installments of their ebooks just as soon as they’ve finished writing them! The link above takes you to Amazon’s “Kindle Serials” store.

tinyurl.com/PrimeInstantVideo
If you’ve signed up for Amazon’s free “Prime” two-day shipping service, they’ll also let you watch a ton of movies and TV shows for free on your Kindle Fire! (Or over the internet…) Browse through the complete selection here – everything from the original episodes of Star Trek and The Twilight Zone to modern favorites like Bones and even new shows created by Amazon (including one starring John Goodman).



Roger Ebert - 1942 - 2013

FAVORITE AUTHORS

tinyurl.com/EbertEbooks
Roger Ebert left us in 2013 — but here’s the Kindle editions for all his ebooks.

tinyurl.com/KindleElmoreLeonard
Elmore Leonard also left us in 2013 — but here’s Kindle editions of all his books.

tinyurl.com/SuckersPortfolio
An exclusive new serialized collection of seven previously unpublished works by Kurt Vonnegut.

tinyurl.com/CatsCradleEbook
Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat Cradle.

tinyurl.com/KurtVonnegutEbooks
Every Kurt Vonnegut ebook in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

tinyurl.com/BukowskiEbooks
Every Charles Bukowski ebook in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

tinyurl.com/BillyTheKidAudiobook
My favorite audiobook — a drawling narrator reads To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West.

tinyurl.com/HungerGamesEbooks
Amazon’s discounted version of the Hunger Games trilogy

tinyurl.com/BrightBooks
Classic children’s picture book revived by the loving granddaughter of author/illustrator Robert S. Bright

tinyurl.com/KindleCalvinAndHobbes
“The Essential Calvin & Hobbes” – released as a Kindle ebook in November of 2013

tinyurl.com/DilbertEbooks
My favorite newspaper comic strip is Dilbert, about the life of an office cubicle worker. In 2012, creator Scott Adams finally collected all the comic strips together into a series of ebooks that you can buy for your Kindle!

tinyurl.com/DoonesburyEbook
Doonesbury, the long-running newspaper comic strip by Garry Trudeau, is now finally available on the Kindle — in four massive ten-year retrospective collections!

tinyurl.com/PlayboyEbooks
Playboy announced for their 50th anniversary that they’d release 50 of their best interviews as 99-cent Kindle ebooks. They’re now available in the Kindle Store, including fascinating and sometimes even historic interviews with famous figures from the last 50 years, including Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, Muhammad Ali, Bill Gates, Hunter S. Thompson, Stephen Hawking, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jon Stewart.

TinyURL.com/TakeiBook
George Takei is the 75-year-old TV actor who’d played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek. But now he’s also a huge internet phenomenon — and last December, he finally released his first Kindle ebook, called Oh myy! (There Goes the Internet)

tinyurl.com/KindleSimpsons
The Simpson’s once made a joke about the Kindle — though ironically, there are aren’t any ebooks about The Simpsons anywhere in Amazon’s Kindle store – or any ebooks by Matt Groening. But at least you can watch episodes of the Simpsons TV show on your Kindle Fire tablet or on Amazon’s “Instant Video” page — including the episode where they make their joke about the Kindle!

tinyurl.com/HarryPotterKindle
One of the biggest stories of last year was the release of all J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels as Kindle ebooks.

Two Maurice Sendak URLs
Where the Wild Things Are was written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, a beloved children’s book author who died in 2012 at the age of 83. Though his books were never released in Kindle Format, you can still download the full-length novel adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are that was written by Dave Eggers at tinyurl.com/SendakNovel. And you can even buy a DVD at Amazon of the rare 1970s adaptation of Sendak’s stories into television cartoons with narration by Peter Schickele — at tinyurl.com/SendakCartoons


A LOOK BACK: MORE FUN EBOOK LINKS

http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBooks2013
Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks for 2013

tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfTheMonth
Amazon’s Editors pick the best new books of the month

tinyurl.com/Top2012eBooks
At the end of last year, Amazon released this fun list of their top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2012.

tinyurl.com/BestBooksOf2012
There’s another list where Amazon’s editors also choose their selections for the “Best Books of 2012”. It’s a special web page with their picks in 30 different categories, including the best print books, the best Kindle ebooks, and the best biographies, mysteries, and even cookbooks!

tinyurl.com/2011Amazon
Curious about what were Amazon’s best-selling books for 2011? This URL takes you to a special Amazon web page where they’re all still listed — 25 to a page — along with a link to a separate list for the best-selling ebooks of the year. The #1 best-selling print book of 2011 was the new biography about Steve Jobs (followed by “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever.” ) But the #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks were The Mill River Recluse and The Abbey — neither of which was even available in print!

You can also review Amazon’s picks for the best books of the autumn of 2011 at tinyurl.com/AmazonFallBooks. And here’s an even handier trick. Amazon also creates a special page each month for the best newly-released books, and they’ll always take you to that page if you point your browser to the URL tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfMay



Amazon office building in Seattle

AMAZON’S CUSTOMER SUPPORT

tinyurl.com/kindle-cs
Amazon’s Customer Service has drawn rave reviews. (If your Kindle is broken, Amazon will usually mail you a replacement overnight!) This page collects all of Amazon’s support URLs. And at its far left, there’s a special link labelled “Contact Kindle Support,” which leads to the support phone numbers for 10 different countries, as well as an online contact form.

tinyurl.com/ReturnAnEbook
Amazon lets you return any ebook within 7 days, no questions asked. Just remember this address — tinyURL.com/ReturnAnEbook — and you’ll always be able to get a refund if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.


MY EBOOKS AND GAMES

It’s my list, so of course it includes shortcuts for three very special projects…

TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel
An original word game for Kindle became one of the top 100 most-popular games for the year — and I’m it’s co-author! Check out all the fun at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel, and discover why 42 people gave it a five-star review! And we’ve just released a brand-new sequel which you can see at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel2

tinyurl.com/500Quotes
My very first Android app — “500 Inspiring Quotes”. (Available in Amazon’s Android store, and also in the Nook and Google Play Store)

TinyURL.com/TurkeyBook
“For Thanksgiving, try this game. Find the guilty turkey’s name!”

I wrote a special “mystery poem” that was finally published in November as a funny, illustrated ebook. There’s cartoon-y pictures which show four turkeys in a farmer’s pen on Thanksgiving Day. The farmer’s approaching with an axe — but one of the turkeys has a plan to escape! (“Can the farmer figure out which one? And can you?”) The short “Turkey Mystery Rhyme” is only 99 cents — a real bargain for a fun, holiday smile.

tinyurl.com/OurFunnyDog
Lucca is a cuddly Cocker Spaniel dog who was rescued from an animal shelter, and he now adores his new family — my girlfriend and me! My girlfriend’s been telling her friends how she received “the best present ever” — this short collection of funny photos of her dog, along with sweetly humorous captions that tell the story of his life. (Like the day he met that white cat that moved in downstairs…) If you want to preview a “sample chapter first, go to tinyurl.com/GoodReadsDog — but the whole “short picture scrapbook” is only 99 cents, and it offers a nice peek at a very wonderful dog…


GAMES

tinyurl.com/FreeAmazonApps.
Amazon’s Android app store offers a free app every day — both for your Kindle Fire tablet and for any Android smartphone.

tinyurl.com/allkindlegames
Amazon has a web page devoted just to all the games you can play on your Kindle. (There’s over 400 of them!) It’s fun to see all the colorful game “covers” collected together into one magical toy store-like page.

tinyurl.com/kchess
Here’s the shortcut to a free web page where you can play chess against a computer. But you can also pull the page up in your Kindle’s web browser, so I named the URL “KChess”!


Free Kindle Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine cover illustration

FREE AND DISCOUNTED KINDLE MAGAZINES

tinyurl.com/FreeSciFiMag
Fantasy & Science Fiction is the famous magazine where Stephen King first published the stories that later formed the basis for The Dark Tower. It’s now available as a free Kindle magazine. It’s been publishing short SciFi stories and commentary for over 60 years — including the works of many other famous authors. In 1978 they published Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” short stories, and in 1959 they ran Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” as a serial. (They also published the novella “Flowers for Algernon” and short stories by Harlan Ellison, and even published a short story by Kurt Vonnegut in 1961, which later appeared in his collection “Welcome to the Monkey House.”) Amazon’s now offering free Kindle subscriptions to a special “digest edition”. (The print edition, published six times a year, is a massive 256 pages.) The digest includes all the editorial content – editor’s recommendations, the “odd books” section, film and book reviews, plus cartoons and ‘Coming Attractions’ (highlights of each issue) – along with one short story. (And if you want the full 256-page version sent to your Kindle, you can subscribe for just 99 cents more.)

tinyurl.com/FreeKindleMagazine
Amazon once gave away free “trial issues” of the Kindle edition for several magazines earlier — and now the same URL points to a page where you can always download free magazine apps! The apps deliver full-color magazine content straight to your Kindle Fire — or to your Android smartphone. There’s one for each of these six popular magazines.

     Entertainment Weekly
     Real Simple
     National Geographic
     Time
     Better Homes and Gardens
     People

tinyurl.com/KindleMagazineDeals
Deliver magazines to your Kindle at a big discount


A VERY SPECIAL KINDLE BLOG

tinyurl.com/MeAndMyKindle
It’s my blog! (That’s the URL for its page on the Kindle Store.) If you want to tell your friends how to find me, this URL makes it easy to remember. Just practice saying “TinyURL . com/MeAndMyKindle” and soon we’ll all be sharing the latest Kindle news together.


KINDLES ON TV

I love Amazon’s Kindle TV ads — and you can watch them all online at YouTube.com/Kindle. One of my favorite ones is this British commercial for the Kindle and the Kindle Touch, at tinyurl.com/UKKindleAd

tinyurl.com/KindleFireSong
There was a spectacular new TV ad when Amazon announced their new Kindle Fire tablets. It showed the evolution of print from a quill pen dipped in ink to Amazon’s latest full-color multimedia touchscreen tablet. But I loved the song they played in the background, by a new Louisiana-based band called the Givers. (“The words we say today, we’ll say… we’ll see them again. Yes, we’ll see them again…”) I’d called it an ode to all the self-published authors who are finding new audiences on the Kindle — and at this URL, you can hear the entire song on YouTube!


tinyurl.com/AmyRutberg
Before she became “the woman from that Kindle commercial,” actress Amy Rutberg appeared in a zany stage production called “The Divine Sister.” Playbill (the official magazine for theatre-goers) had her record a backstage peek at the theatre and its cast for a special online feature — and it’s a fun way to catch a peek at another part of her career. That URL leads to the video’s web page on YouTube, and there’s also a second part which is available at http://tinyurl.com/AmyRutberg2

tinyurl.com/KindleChristmasSong
It’s that cute song from Amazon’s 2010 Kindle Christmas ad. (“Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice…”) At this URL, you can download an mp3 of the song “Winter Night” by Little & Ashley.

tinyurl.com/StewartBorders
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart did a special segment in 2011 when Borders bookstores announced that it was going out of business. (“Books! You may know them as the thing Amazon tells you ‘You might be interested in’ when you’re buying DVDs…”) Correspondent John Hodgman delivered some silly suggestions about how bookstores could re-vitalize their business model — like offering in-store appearances where customers could heckle authors while they’re writing novels. Or, simply converting bookstores into historical tourist attractions demonstrating the way books used to be sold in the 20th century.


MISCELLANEOUS

tinyurl.com/kindlemap
Ever wonder where all the Kindle owners are? Someone’s created an interactive online map, where Kindle owners can stop by and leave “push pins” showing their location! There’s big clusters on the east and west coast of America (though you could still leave the first push pin for Arizona or Nevada!) It’s an adapted version of one of Google’s maps of the world, so you can also spot “Kindlers” in Iraq, Romania, and Ethiopia. And if you click on the push pins, you’ll find the Kindler’s name and sometimes a comment. (One Kindler in Spain simply posted: “Tengo un Kindle DX!”)

tinyurl.com/GoldBoxPage
Every day Amazon also offers discounts on a new item — sometimes even expensive electronics equipment. And you can always find them all at tinyurl.com/GoldBoxPage

tinyurl.com/BurningTheBook
A new ebook by the Amazon manager who was in charge of the Kindle on the day it launched!


And here’s the most useful URL of all.

tinyurl.com/90KindleURLs

It’s a shortcut to this page — so you can find all of these URLs in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Surprises in Amazon’s 2013 Best-Seller List

2013

Amazon’s announced their list of the best-selling ebooks of 2013 — and it’s got a big surprise. Stephen King had two of the top 10 best-selling print books of the year –but neither one of them is among the top twenty best-selling Kindle ebooks. In fact, 13 of the top 20 best-selling print books don’t even appear anywhere on Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks. It’s like print book buyers are living in an entirely different world!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s lists, point your browser to
http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBooks2013

Here’s Amazon’s list of their 20 best-selling print books of 2013

1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
                                   (#27 among Kindle best-sellers)

2. Inferno by Dan Brown
                                   (#1 among Kindle best-sellers)

3. Killing Jesus by Martin Dugard
                                   (#40 among Kindle best-sellers)

4. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
                                   (#4 among Kindle best-sellers)

5. Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics by Charles Krauthammer
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

6. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Akira Himekawa
                                   [Not available as a Kindle ebook]

7. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
                                   [Not on Kindle List]

8. Joyland (Hard Case Crime) by Stephen King
                                   [Not available as Kindle ebook]

9. Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander by Mark Schlabach
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

10. Doctor Sleep: A Novel by Stephen King
                                   [#22 among Kindle best-sellers]

11. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
                                   [Not on Kindle List]

12. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
                                   [#3 among Kindle best-sellers]

13. The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic by Mark R. Levin
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

14. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations by Ree Drummond
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

15. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
                                   [#6 among Kindle best-sellers]

16. It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great by Gwyneth Paltrow
                                   [Not available as Kindle ebook]

17. The FastDiet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Michael Mosley
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

18. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

19. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Glen Cordoza
                                   [Not available for Kindle]

20. Soul Healing Miracles: Ancient and New Sacred Wisdom, Knowledge, and Practical Techniques for Healing the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Bodies by Zhi Gang Sha
                                   [Not on Kindle list]

Yes, four of the top 20 best-selling print books simply weren’t available as Kindle ebooks. But nine of them were available as Kindle ebooks — and yet still failed to even make it into Amazon’s list of the top 100 Kindle best-sellers for 2013. In some cases there’s other reasonable explanations. (For example, Humans of New York is a coffee table book filled with photographs.) And in some cases, the explanation is even more interesting.

Stephen King made it onto both lists with Dr. Sleep, a fascinating horror novel which lets its readers catch up with the little boy from The Shining. (Danny Torrence is now “a flawed middle-aged man with a tragic past”, according to the book’s description…) But Stephen King had a special place in his heart for his new contribution to the “Hard Case Crime” series of books, according to its page at Amazon. King called his new novel Joyland “One of my favorites,” and said “I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”

In fact, it’s not just Stephen King who was enjoying mystery novels in 2013. “Last year’s best seller list was filled with Fifty Shades and contemporary romance,” noted Amazon’s Editorial Director of Books and Kindle. But in a statement announcing this year’s best-sellers, she noted that “in 2013 Mysteries & Thrillers captured readers attention, with 11 of the top 20 books falling in that category!” And she had one more interesting piece of trivia. If you look at Amazon’s top 20 best-sellers, 19 out of the 20 sold more Kindle ebook editions than their printed editions.

The only exception was Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.


Here’s Amazon’s list of their top 20 best-selling Kindle ebooks.

1 Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown
                                   [#2 on Print list]
2. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
                                   [Not on Print list]
3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
                                   [#12 on print list]
4. And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel by Khaled Hosseini
                                   [#4 on print list]
5. The Hit (Will Robie) by David Baldacci
                                   [#40 on print list]
6. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
                                   [#15 on print list]
7. Entwined with You (A Crossfire Novel) by Sylvia Day
                                   [#24 on print list]
8. Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
                                   [#38 on print list]
9. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
                                   [#53 on print list]
10. Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
                                   [Not on print list]
11. Damaged: The Ferro Family by H.M. Ward
                                   [Not on print list]
12. 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson
                                   [#65 on print list]
13. Second Honeymoon by James Patterson
                                   [Not on print list]
14. The Billionaire’s Obsession: The Complete Collection Boxed Set (Mine For Tonight, Mine For Now, Mine Forever, Mine Completely) by J.S. Scott
                                   [Not on print list]
15. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed
                                   [Not on print list]
16. The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken
                                   [Not on print list]
17. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts ‘
                                   [Not on print list]
18. Six Years by Harlan Coben
                                   [#92 on print list]
19. Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder
                                   [Not on print list]
20. High Heat: A Jack Reacher Novella by Lee Child
                                   [Not on print list]


For a shortcut to Amazon’s lists, point your browser to
http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBooks2013

Amazon’s Announcing the Best Books Each Month

The best books of the month

I was browsing the Kindle Store this morning when I made a fun discovery. Amazon’s created a special web page where they’re identifying their choices for the “Best Books of the Month.” All of the very best new and just-released Kindle ebooks are being highlighted as “the unique mix of books that our editors have hand picked as this month’s best.”

For a shortcut, just point your web browser to
tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfTheMonth

But in addition to the new book lists, Amazon’s also created links for two more special pages. There’s an “Award Winners” page, which features a list of this year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning books, as well as the books which were recognized by the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the National Book Awards. The page even includes a list for the best mysteries of the year (as chosen by the Mystery Writers of America), as well as the very best children’s picture books, chosen by the American Library Association. The mysteries are all winners of the prestigious “Edgar” awards, including “The Quick Fix,” a noir-style mystery set in a junior high school in which a blackmailer torments the 8th grade’s basketball star, and the case falls to a student private eye who’s “the lone voice for justice in a morass of middle school corruption”. And the children’s section highlights winners of the Caldecott Medal (for illustration), the Newbery medal (for literature), and the Printz Award for young adult literature.

It’s always fun to browse through books that have been selected as the very best in their categories — and Amazon’s offering the same experience with their own picks for Kindle ebooks. Their “Best Books of the Month” page includes special sections for science fiction and fantasy ebooks, nonfiction ebooks, romance novels, and even mysteries and thrillers. They’ve also included a link to one of my favorite collections — Amazon’s list of the “Best Books of 2013 (So Far)”. It’s a great way to browse through some of the most interesting new titles that have just been released this year — which always makes me feel like I’m staying “current” everything that’s new in the world of book publishing!

So how exactly does Amazon determine which books are the best? “Each month, Amazon.com’s editorial team reads scores of books…” they explain at the bottom of the page. “We scour reviews and book news, we swap books amongst ourselves, and spend our nights and weekends tearing through as many of the best books as possible.” It sounds like a lot of fun, but the finalists still have to face one more grueling challenge. “Then we face off in a monthly Best Books showdown meeting to champion the books we think will resonate most with their readership.”

I’d love to be a “fly on the wall” for that meeting — and it sounds like all of the recommendations ultimately come from a place of love. (“The titles that make our Best Books of Month lists are the keepers, the ones we couldn’t forget,” Amazon’s web page explains.) And it does look like they’re putting a lot of thought into their choices, instead of just siding with whatever books are most popular. “Many of our editorial picks for the best books are also customer favorites and bestsellers, but we strive to spotlight the best books you might not otherwise hear about… ”

I always feel like this is the very best time to be looking at the “best books of the month” page, because there’ll be an entirely new selection of “Best books” to browse through just two days from now — on Thursday, August 1st! Amazon claims that they have a “great passion for uniting readers of all ages and tastes with their next favorite read…and drawing more attention to great books by exceptional authors. ” So I’ve really enjoy browsing through the ebooks they’ve highlighted as this month’s very best new releases — and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve chosen for next month!

Remember, for a shortcut, just point your web browser to
tinyurl.com/BestBooksOfTheMonth

The Best Kindle eBooks of the Year (So Far)

Stephen-King-JoylandRuth-Ozeki-Tale-for-the-Time-Being-eBook
David-Sedaris-Lets-Explore-Diabetes-With-Owls-ebookOcean-at-the-End-of-the-Lane-Neil-Gaiman-ebook

Amazon’s just announced their choice for the best books of the year (so far). “Just in time for summer reading season…” their press release says, “customers looking for a new summer read can browse the hand-selected list of top books…” And the new list has a lot of surprises…

For the 25 best books of 2013 , point your web browser to
tinyurl.com/BestBooks2013

The list was prepapred by the editors at Amazon’s Canadian site, so they’ve indicated the two books (in the top ten) which were written by Canadian authors. Their #1 pick for the best book of 2013 is by Canadian novelist Lisa Moore. (Caught, ” A thrilling adventure…the absorbing, suspenseful tale of David Slaney, a normal guy who chooses to make his way into the drug business…”) Interestingly, it’s the only one of the 10 that is not available on the Kindle!

Stephen King’s Joyland came in at #11, and David Sedaris took the #17 spot with his new collection of humorous essays, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. But Amazon’s list also included a lot of new author’s that I hadn’t heard of. Here’s Amazon’s complete list of the 10 Best Books of 2013 – along with their description of each book!

Caught by Lisa Moore
A thrilling adventure and a superbly written novel. Customers will enjoy it for the absorbing, suspenseful tale of David Slaney, a normal guy who chooses to make his way into the drug business, and for the brilliant sentence-to-sentence writing.

The Son by Philipp Meyer
A multigenerational Western spanning the 1800s Comanche raids in Texas to the 20th century oil boom, The Son is a towering achievement.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
The story of a suburban middle-aged teacher who never became the artist she thought she would be — if this novel were to have a subtitle, it would be: No More Ms. Nice Guy.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
What if you could be born again and again? This brilliant, multi-layered novel answers that question as Atkinson’s protagonist moves through multiple lives, each one an iteration on the last, flirting with the balance between choice and fate.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Following The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini has written another masterwork, one that moves through war, separation, birth, death, deceit, and love—illustrating how people’s actions, even the seemingly selfless ones, are shrouded in ambiguity.

Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff
Two adventures in one… recounting the 1942 crash (and subsequent struggle to survive) of a U.S. cargo plane crew in Greenland, and describing the author’s own participation in a modern day mission to uncover the mystery behind their disappearance.

Tenth of December by George Saunders
Saunders’ first collection of short stories in six years introduces his ironic, absurd, profound, and funny style to an army of new readers.

The Demonologist: A Novel by Andrew Pyper
This captivating supernatural thriller takes the genre to a higher level as renowned Miltonian scholar David Ulin is drawn to a mystery in Venice that eventually has him battling demons, internal and otherwise, to save his daughter.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Roach is about as entertaining a science writer as you’ll find, and this book about how we ingest food will make you think, laugh, and wince as she covers all things alimentary.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven year old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What follows is an imaginative adventure that could only come from the magical mind of Neal Gaiman.

It’s also fun to compare this list to one Amazon released last month, of the top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2013 )at Top2013eBooks .) Because it turns out that none of Amazon’s picks for the best books of 2013 are on their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of 2013. Not a single one — although maybe Amazon’s editors were deliberately trying to choose new books that people hadn’t heard of. And after the top 10 books, 8 of their remaining 15 choices were also written by Canadian authors — so maybe they’re just focusing on a different market.

But it’s another yet another fun way to find new things to read on your Kindle!