The 50 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 and blogs that Amazon’s been making available. But this year there’s also twelve new links which tell the story of 2012 — highlighting all the new faces that finally joined 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 50 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…


FREE 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/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 a free mp3 of the song “Winter Night” by Little &Ashley.


BARGAIN EBOOKS

tinyurl.com/399books
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
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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.

Amazon will also announce their Daily Deals on Facebook at

facebook.com/kindledeals

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

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


NEW TO KINDLE IN 2012

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/KindleComicBooks
Superman! Batman! Wonder Woman! Green Lantern! D.C. Comics all finally became available in the Kindle Store this year, including new, single-issue digital versions (and even some free “preview” editions!)

tinyurl.com/freeGraphicNovel
In September, Amazon also released a free full-length “graphic novel” called Blackburn Burrow. It’s 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/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 this December, he finally released his first Kindle ebook, called Oh myy! (There Goes the Internet)

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 in September that for their 50th anniversary, 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/Free2012CampaignBook
One of the biggest stories of 2012 was the presidential election — and two political scientists actually published a free ebook during the campaign to explain what was really happening!

tinyurl.com/KindleSerials
There’s a new format for Kindle ebooks that premiered this year 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/KindleSimpsons
This year The Simpson’s 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/PrimeInstantVideo
If you’ve signed up for Amazon’s free 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 the complete selection on Amazon’s “Prime Instant Video” page.

tinyurl.com/HarryPotterKindle
One of the biggest stories of the 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


MORE EBOOK LINKS

tinyurl.com/Top2012eBooks
At the end of the 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’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 for the year — and I’m it’s co-author! Check it all the fun at TinyURL.com/ThrowInTheVowel, and discover why 28 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/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/allkindlegames
Amazon has a web page devoted just to all the games you can play on your Kindle. (There’s over 200 of them!) It’s fun to see all the colorful game “covers” collected together into one magical toy store-like page.

And there’s also a list of the 100 best-selling games for the Kindle — plus a list of all “Hot New Releases” — at tinyurl.com/TopKindleGames. (For the Christmas season, Amazon’s 25 most-popular games are still on sale for just 99 cents each, including Scrabble, Monopoly, and the new Kindle version of Battleship!)

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 MAGAZINES

tinyurl.com/FreeKindleMagazine

Amazon gave away free “trial issues” of the Kindle edition for several magazines earlier this year — 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/FreeSciFiMag
Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine has been publishing short SciFi stories and commentary for over 60 years — including the works of many 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.)


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, at tinyurl.com/UKKindleAd

tinyurl.com/KindleFireSong
Their 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/SheBuysAKindle
In 2011 Amazon also ran a fun series of TV ads where a blonde woman insists she prefers things like “the rewarding feeling of actually folding down the page” of a book instead of reading a Kindle — though each ad invariably ends with her borrowing her friend’s Kindle instead.

But in September, when Amazon announced their new line-up of Kindles — including one for just $79 — they released one final ad where that blonde woman finally buys a Kindle for herself. To watch it on YouTube, point your computer’s browser to tinyurl.com/SheBuysAKindle

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/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 Montana 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!”)


And here’s the most useful URL of all.

tinyURL.com/50KindleURLs

It’s a shortcut to this page — so you can find all of these URLs in 2013!

Happy New Year!

Amazon Launches “Daily Deals” on Kindle Ebooks!

Amazon Kindle Daily Deals on ebooks

Remember how exciting it was? Amazon’s announced a temporary price reduction on a handful of special ebooks at least twice this summer — and now they’re going to do it every single day!

In July, Amazon announced “The Big Deal” — over 900 ebooks with prices between 99 cents and $3.99. And in June, they’d announced “Sunshine Deals” — 600 titles priced between 99 cents and $2.99. But today, Amazon announced that special prices have become an everyday thing at Amazon. “Each day, we’re unveiling one Kindle book at a specially discounted price!”

“Check back daily to see what’s next!”

The deals will appear on a special web page at amazon.com/kindledailydeal. Amazon will also post an announcement about the special deals each day on the Kindle’s Twitter feed, and you’ll also see them mentioned often on the blog of Amazon’s Kindle editors, Kindle Daily Post, as well as on the Kindle’s page on Facebook. The deals “go live at approximately 12:00 a.m. Pacific time,” according to Amazon, and they’ll run for exactly 24 hours. The deals just started today, but they’ve already been creating some excitement.

Within one hour, nearly 300 people on Facebook had already clicked the “Like” icon for Amazon’s announcement of the daily deals on the Kindle’s Facebook page. “Can’t wait to take advantage of some of these deals…” wrote one new Kindle owner in a comment below the announcement. “so happy you’re doing this!” added a student in Massachusetts. And another commenter was so enthusiastic, their biggest question was what took Amazon so long?

“About darned time!” they wrote. “Amazon does Daily Deals for every other department. One for Kindle books seemed like a no-brainer.”

I thought it was sweet that Amazon launched the program with an ebook for young readers — The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It’s by author Kate Dicamillo, who had already won a Newbery award for Because of Winn-Dixie, her story about a scruffy dog who touched the lives of a family in Florida. Six years later, she wrote this similarly inspirational novel about a porcelain rabbit, floating away from its original owner when it’s lost over the side of a boat. “Along the way, Edward learns to love the people he encounters,” writes the School Library Journal. “He also learns that family members can be cruel to one another; that hobos have family that they love dearly and don’t want to forget; that no matter how much you love someone, she may still die; and that no matter what happens in life, never give up on love.”

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

“I will not be downloading this book as I don’t want to soak my Kindle with my tears!” one reader posted on the Kindle’s Facebook page. But most of the other comments were very enthusiastic.

“One of my favorite books ever!”
“If you have kids get this book!”
“My son read this book in first grade and adored it.”

And one schoolteacher even left a comment which I thought was very compelling. “I have been teaching for 13 years and every year the kids just love this book. I love the lesson of the book, all the characters and her writing style. BUY it and give it her a try.” But if you’re not interested in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, don’t worry.

Because Amazon will have another ebook on sale tomorrow!

Where to Find Amazon’s Best Free eBooks

Free Sale Discount Sign

Someone asked me what’s the best place to find free e-books for the Kindle. And I always say Amazon has their own page filled with links to the biggest free e-book sites around the web! “We wanted to make it easier to find these collections, which today represent nearly 2 million titles,” Amazon explains on the web page. (I’ve created a shortcut to the page — just point your web browser to amzn.to/oy4b9F.)

But the page also offers Amazon’s list of “special” ebook offers — all those ebooks which are “temporarily free” or reduced in price as part of a limited-time promotion. You can sort this list by price — from lowest to highest — so only its free ebooks are all listed at the top. I’m always impressed by the variety of ebooks available on the site. (Just browsing through it today, I found three more that I couldn’t resist buying!)

And of course, there’s another way to browse for free ebooks. Amazon also offers their own list of the Top 100 best-selling free ebooks. I’ve made another short URL so it’s easier to remember — tinyurl.com/100freekindlebooks. Of course, you can also access Amazon’s free ebook list on your Kindle. (Just select “Shop in the Kindle store,” and on its front page choose “Kindle Top Sellers.” By default Amazon lists the top 100 paid ebooks, but if you click on the link at the upper-right of your screen, you can switch to Amazon’s list of the “Kindle Top 100 Free!”)

Here’s a quick sampling of some of the great free ebooks that are available today.

Moonlighting TV star Cybill Shepherd

Cybill Disobedience
Bruce Willis launched his career starring in an ’80s TV series called Moonlighting. But in 2000 his sexy co-star, Cybill Shepherd, finally told her own wild life story. (“Nobody kisses and tells like Cybill Shepherd,” gushed the New York Daily News.) Her memoir tells tales about Elvis Presley, Hollywood, and of course, Bruce Willis. But the book triggered an especially convincing response from a reviewer on Amazon, who wrote simply “I truly loved this book. I laughed out loud many times…”

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #1: Precipice
This intriguing sci-fi book takes place in the world of the Star Wars trilogy — and judging from the book’s description on Amazon.com, it’s just as complicated. (The novel promises “the untold story of the FATE OF THE JEDI’s forgotten Sith castaways, their battle to survive, and their quest to re-conquer the galaxy!”) It’s the first book in a series — in fact, book seven was just released four weeks ago. But best of all, every single novel in this series is entirely free.

Hunting bin Laden
War correspondent Rob Schultheis remembers his first encounter with al-Qaeda back in 1984 — “an encounter that came within a split second of costing me my life.” A full 24 years later, he explored the story of why the U.S. wasn’t able to capture their most-wanted terrorist. Schultheis writes for the top American news magazines, including Time, The New York Times Magazine, and Smithsonian (as well as The Washington Post), so he approaches his story with the zeal of a real investigative journalist. The book was published in 2008, but it’s fascinating to read the conclusion he reached: that Osama bin Laden was receiving sanctuary from the nation of Pakistan.

Letters to President Obama
What’s most fascinating about this book is that it was published in April of 2009 — just months after the euphoria that surrounded Barack Obama’s inauguration. The publishers hailed their book as “a symbol of this exciting moment in history,” promising “the range of emotions and aspirations Americans are willing to share…” There’s over 400 letters “from Americans of all walks of life,” and regardless of how you feel about the President, it’s an interesting peek back into time with perfect 20/20 hindsight. The book is really more about the Americans who chose to share their thoughts in the first months of the new Presidency, and Publisher’s Weekly ultimately called it “a fitting tribute to the thoughts, dreams and efforts of the populace.”

Escape from the World Trade Center
It’s been nearly 10 years since the World Trade Center collapsed — but it’s a day that’s remembered intensenly by someone who was there. “The former insurance executive shares what she saw and endured as she struggled down 36 floors in a doomed and dying building and away from a life focused on perks, prestige, and power,” reads the book’s description. It was published just two weeks ago, but Amazon already lists this book as their #1 best-seller in the nonfiction subcategory for “Religion and Spirituality,” since (according to the book’s description) it touches on “God’s compassionate presence in the midst of inscrutable tragedy.” One reader who reviewed the book on Amazon called it “Heart Wrenching and Mesmerizing at the same time.”


Sometimes Amazon’s free ebooks are an unpredictable grab bag of new and older ebooks, written by both amateur and professional writers. For example, today I noticed there was even a free Harlequin romance (called “Once Upon a Cowboy”) plus several titles that look like flat-out adult erotica by a newer class of writers. There’s a lot of books on Amazon’s “free ebook” lists that I’d never want to read, but it still makes me smile to see them all out there, each one struggling bravely to find their own audience. I guess it just affirms my sense that when you own a Kindle, there really is something for everybody to read.

And at least in Amazon’s free ebook section — you really can’t complain about the price!

Amazon’s Secret Sale on Kindles?

Amazon special warehouse sale price discount on refurbished Kindle 3

For the last two days, Amazon’s been selling the Kindle 3 at an even lower price than usual. A refurbished Kindle 3 cost just $129.99 — a reduction of more than 31% from its usual sales price of $189.00. And for the WiFi-only version of a refurbished Kindle 3, the price was just $99.99 — also close to a 30% reduction from its usual $139!

This is the lowest price I’ve ever seen for a refurbished Kindle. Back in March, Amazon lowered prices on a refurbished Kindle 3, but only by ten dollars — to $129.99 for the WiFi-only version, and $179.99 for the Kindle 3G. What’s going on here? Maybe Amazon’s getting rid of them, because they’re planning to start selling a newer version of the Kindle soon. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that by the end of September, Amazon will have released two different versions of the Kindle — citing “people familiar with the matter.” (And at least one of the new Kindles will even have a touchscreen, according to the newspaper’s sources.)

It’s a strategy Amazon’s used before. In a Kindle discussion site, one poster remembers buying a cheap Kindle 2 last summer for just $109 — only to discover that a month later Amazon was releasing the new Kindle 3! But it turns out that it’s not just Kindles that Amazon’s selling at a discount. Their “Warehouse Deals” page is also offering big discounts on over 20 different refurbished Kindle jackets and skins. (My favorite was the yellow Kindle skin with the smiling face of Mickey Mouse.)

Mickey Mouse Kindle skin

You can even buy a refurbished Kindle 2 for just $89.99. And Amazon’s special page also promises they’ve checked the quality of all the refurbished items. “Amazon receives a returned product,” explains a flow chart at the top of the page. “Product’s working order is ensured… Product quality level is determined… Product is offered at deep discount.” In fact, the home page for Amazon’s “Warehouse Deals” now features a whole section devoted to the Kindle and Kindle accessories.

So if you’ve ever wanted to shop for another — or for an interesting Kindle jacket — here’s your chance to find one at a discount!

Free Shipping on Kindles – and Other Father’s Day Deals!

Free two-day holiday shipping on Kindle as a Father's Day gift

For the next two days, Amazon’s offering a special deal on new Kindles — free two-day shipping! They’re hoping to encourage customers to give Kindles as a last-minute Father’s Day gift, and they’ve extended this offer to any new model — the Kindle 3 (both the WiFi and 3G) versions, the cheaper Kindle with Special Offers, and even the Kindle DX. Since it’s an American holiday, the offer applies only in the (continental) United States, and of course it expires at midnight on Friday (Pacific Daylight Time). But it’s just one of several specials that Amazon’s offering for Father’s Day .

I was really impressed by some of the other new things that Amazon’s discounted for their countdown to the big Sunday holiday. For example, this week (through Friday) it’s “High-Def Week” in Amazon’s
“Gold Box” deals area. They’re discounting some great gift items — both high-definition video and related electronics — including HDTVs, video camera, Blu-Ray Players (plus movies and TV shows), and even video games! The free shipping on Kindles was sponsored by DeWalt — the Maryland-based manufacturer of power tools. But Amazon’s got some special offers all their own.

Every day at noon (Seattle time), Amazon reveals another big discount as their “deal of the day.” Monday it was an LCD TV screen, and for Wednesday it’s 28% off on a wearable, wide-angle (and high-definition) camera. On Thursday they’ve even slashed the price on a Blu-Ray box set of the first six Star Trek movies (which includes a bonus “Captain’s Summit” disc where actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy meet their counterparts from the “Next Generation” series — Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes).

Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock

And the last deal of the week is a set of tiny high-performance speakers from Mirage…

But I’m also really tempted by some of the other gadgets Amazon’s offering in their special “lightning deals” area. Every day for a few hours, a limited quantity of a certain item is sold at a steep discount — while Amazon tracks exactly how many seconds are left for the offer, and what percentage of the item has already been sold! Wednesday morning they sold an HD Blu-ray disc player for just $99, plus a 160-gigabyte PlayStation 3 for just $199.

It’s really got me wondering what they’re going to put on sale for Thursday and Friday!

A Big Sale on a Big Kindle

Kindle 3 versus a Kindle DX side-by-side

A 20% discount? That’s what people are seeing at their local Staples store — and at Best Buy! It’s for the Kindle DX, Amazon’s big-screen Kindle, which normally retails for $379. Now the two mega-stores are both selling the tablet-sized Kindle for just $300 — and with the right coupon, you may even be able to purchase one for just $269!

Plus, even Amazon.com is lowering their prices on the Kindle DX — sort of. Throughout this weekend I saw Amazon selling refurbished models for just $319.99. (Only nine months ago, it cost a whopping $489 to buy a Kindle DX — until Amazon introduced a newer model with better screen contrast last July.) Amazon lowered the device’s price to just $379, and changed its color from white to graphite. But even at the new price, the Kindle DX was still costing twice as much as the Kindle 3.

The Staples offer appears on page 8 of their weekly deals flier flier, under a black headline announcing “lowest price ever!” (“3G and a 60% bigger screen… Save $80…”) There was even a display at my local Staples store urging “Try it out! Take one home today.” A store clerk explained that Staples has a 14-day return policy with “no questions asked.” The Best Buy offer appears on their web page. But for both stores it’s an “in-store only” offer.

Staples Discount Sale Ad for Kindle DX

Amazon is also offering savings on the Kindle 3 — though they’re not as dramatic. They’re selling a refurbished Wi-Fi Kindle 3 for just $129.99 and a 3G Kindle for $179.99. (When purchased new, the same Kindles each cost $10 more.) And on the Kindle’s page at Amazon.com, they’re also touting a lower price for a Kindle jacket. It’s the M-Edge “Latitude” jacket, with a nylon canvas exterior with zippers and a grey microfleece interior. It’s now selling for $29.99 (instead of the usual $34.99), and it’s available in six different colors. (Black, Navy blue, teal, pink, purple, and red.)

But I’ve always been most excited about the Kindle DX, and the lower prices make it really easy to buy one. An iPad has a screen with a 9.7-inch diameter — which is exactly the size of the screen on the Kindle DX. (The Kindle 3 has a 6-inch-diameter screen.) With that extra screen space, I could finally read those PDF files where the text was too small. And I really like the idea of playing a game where it’s spread out across the larger screen.

Of course, a Kindle DX always weighs twice as much as a “regular” Kindle — it’s 18.9 ounces (versus the 8.7-ounce weight of a Kindle 3). It’s either bulky and hard to hold, or there’s more Kindle to love. I always thought this would be the perfect gift for someone who really loves their Kindle. Give them another Kindle, but one that’s even bigger, so they can finally walk around with the biggest Kindle on the block!

And I’ve also heard rumors of an online coupon that can save you an additional $30 on your purchase at Staples. It’s for purchases of over $150, but I haven’t been able to confirm if the offer is legitimate. But at least two lucky shoppers found an even better deal on their Kindle DX. Saturday Amazon listed a used Kindle DX which was sold for just $275. And the other lucky shopper was the winning bidder in a fast auction on eBay.

They landed their Kindle DX for just $250!

               *                              *                              *


To check for Amazon deals on a refurbished Kindle DX, point your web browser to

      http://tinyurl.com/RefurbishedKindleDX

To check for Amazon deals on a refurbished Kindle 3, go to

      http://tinyurl.com/RefurbishedKindle3

The Best Thanksgiving eBooks

Happy Thanksgiving Curious George book and Kindle ebook cover

Thanksgiving’s almost here!

If you’re traveling for the holiday – or just have some extra time to relax — I’ve picked out a few Thanksgiving-related ebooks. With all the excitement around Amazon’s big Black Friday deal — $89 for the Kindle 2 — I’m already feeling grateful… that I own a Kindle already!

Here’s some of the best ebooks — in different categories — that I found for Thanksgiving in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

The Best Romance
“Thanksgiving” by Janet Evanovich

Best-selling author Janet Evanovich wrote several funny mystery novels — but she actually began her career writing romance novels at the age of 45. One of her first books was “Thanksgiving,” written in 1988, describing how overworked Megan Murphy meets a good-looking doctor at historic Williamsburg, Virginia. (Megan’s enjoying a cup of hot cider and two sugar cookies from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop when she discovers the doctor’s giant pet rabbit is eating a hole through her skirt!)

According to the book’s description on Amazon, “she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long,” and soon “the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.” And 12 different Amazon’s reviewers gave it five-star reviews, including one who wrote that “If you’ve enjoyed Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you’re going to get a kick out of her stories for the Loveswept Romance imprint…”

The Best Cookbook
Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers

Perdue Farms sells over $4.6 billion worth of poultry every year, and for eight years, Rick Rodgers was their media spokesman. He traveled the country giving classes, according to Amazon’s description of the book, and delivers “everything, absolutely everything, you would want to know about buying, thawing, prepping, and roasting a turkey.

“You needn’t look any further. There’s a long question-and-answer-style section that anticipates any questions you might have. Then it’s right on to everything from Perfect Roast Turkey with Best-Ever Gravy to Holiday Meatball Lasagna.” And in addition, there’s lots of recipes for stuffings, side dishes, appetizers, and even leftovers. 29 of the book’s 34 reviewers on Amazon gave it five stars, while the other five
awarded it four. It’s a classic — Amazon’s first review of the book was written in 1998 — but even today, it’s become one of Amazon’s best-selling holiday cooking books.

The Best History Book
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford

Who better to tell the story of Thanksgiving than the pilgrims who lived through it? (My favorite chapter was the one about the very non-Puritan antics of Thomas Morton…) William Bradford began writing his history of America’s most famous pilgrims back in 1630 (according to my anthology of American literature), and he continued chronicling their life up to 1647. But the invaluable manuscript was never published in his lifetime, and after Bradford’s death, his family passed it down through the generations.

The precious unpublished memoir traveled its own complicated journey, down through Boston’s Old South Church, and eventually even back to England. Finally it was published in 1856 — a full 200 years after it was written. And now today, thanks to the Kindle, we can take peek into the lives of the very pilgrims who first started celebrating Thanksgiving.

The Best Children’s Book
Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George

Just 12 weeks ago, a new Curious George book appeared, and this one has a special surprise. Yes, you may have read other children’s books about the playful and accident-prone monkey… But this one rhymes!


George wakes up in the morning.
Something smells quite nice.
He knows for sure he wants some —
A piece, a smidge, a slice.

He rushes to the kitchen
and there he sees the man —
with yellow hat an apron,
A turkey in the pan.

The turkey’s in the oven.
It takes some time to cook.
But every now and then
George can’t help but take a look….

Uh-oh, I bet there’s going to be trouble.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

Amazon announces $89 Kindle Black Friday deal!

It’s true! Amazon just announced they’ll sell Kindle 2’s for $89 on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving!)

A few minutes ago, they snuck the announcement onto their Facebook page for the Kindle, and confirmed it on their Twitter feed. I’d thought it was just a rumor, but here’s the complete text from Facebook of what Amazon announced!

Black Friday Deal: This Friday, 11/26, you can get our previous generation Kindle for $89!

Our previous generation Kindle uses the old E Ink technology (the same E Ink as in the current Nook). Our all-new Kindle uses the latest generation E Ink (Pearl) for 50% better contrast, and is available at the everyday low price of …$139.

Black Friday Deal: This Friday, 11/26, you can get our previous generation Kindle for $89! Our previous generation Kindle uses the old E Ink technology (the same E Ink as in the current Nook). Our all-new Kindle uses the latest generation E Ink (Pearl) for 50% better contrast, and is available at the everyday low price of ...$139.

Amazon included a link to Amazon’s Kindle page, though it points to the newest $139 Kindle rather than the earlier edition that they’re selling for $89. But within an hour, over 100 people had clicked the Facebook button to indicate that they “Liked” the news — and 47 of them left enthusiastic comments.

And then Amazon added a comment themselves with a crucial “buying window” for their special offer.

“Hi Everyone. This deal will be featured in the Lightning Deals section of our Black Friday page, beginning at 9am PT on 11/26. Here’s a link to the page: http://amzn.to/heVUFX

There’s no Kindle on that page yet, but presumably it will be updated right at 9 a.m. on Friday. Later in the day they actually deleted that comment, but they did add another one to encourage their prospective buyers.

“Please note that all second generation Kindles offered through the Lightning Deal on Black Friday will be new devices – not refurbished.”

And in case you missed it, I’ve also just discovered today that an Amazon blogger has “leaked” a calendar showing exactly when Amazon’s short-term special deals will appear online! I see movies for just $1.99 on Wednesday, including Lord of the Rings and The Bourne Identity. In a post (titled “We’re leaking”), Amazon’s “Armchair Commentary” blog revealed the link, adding that “In addition to the doorbusters below, you’ll find over 2,700 titles at up to 70% off during our Black Friday Week deals…”

Where to buy a new $139 Kindle – and why!

Picture of the new smaller, black $139 Amazon Wi-Fi Kindle

If you want to buy Amazon’s new $139 Kindle, click here!

Amazon lowered the price for the Kindle Wednesday — for a newer model with only Wi-Fi access to the Kindle store (and with only Wi-Fi surfing when using the Kindle’s web browser). All the other Kindle models still have their built-in access to the online world, so they’re always ready to surf the web and shop for books — anywhere and any time. But this new Kindle has other advantages — like running for up to one month on a single battery charge. And it weighs just 8.5 ounces — “less than a paperback,” Amazon argues — making it 17% lighter than even the smallest of the original Kindles.

There’s also twice as much storage space — holding up to 3,500 books — and Amazon promises the new screens can display pages 20% faster, and offer “50% better contrast than any other e-reader.” But best of all, this settles any question about whether Amazon might give up on selling the Kindle, and focus solely on selling ebooks. “The hardware business for us has been so successful that we’re going to continue,” Amazon’s CEO told the New York Times.

Wednesday they’d contacted Jeff Bezos at Amazon headquarters, and heard his strong commitment to continuing Kindle sales. “I predict there will be a 10th-generation and a 20th-generation Kindle,” Bezos announced. “We’re well-situated to be experts in purpose-built reading devices.” And while touting the lower price, he also found a way to highlight the fact that — unlike the iPad — the Kindle is perfect for reading outdoors. “At $139, if you’re going to read by the pool, some people might spend more than that on a swimsuit and sunglasses…”

I think Amazon will also attract people who are curious about the Kindle, but don’t want to risk a lot of money. (In a few months, the prices should drop even lower if you’re purchasing a wi-fi Kindle that’s used or refurbished.) And of course, it will make a perfect birthday gift. (I wonder if you can purchase it pre-loaded with gift books!) In fact, Amazon is already describing the Kindle as “the most-wished-for, most-gifted” item in their vast online store, and they’ve revealed that the Kindle “has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.”

But hearing the news today, I’d remembered a blog post I read in June. “Don’t worry about touchscreens or color or even always available internet to download new books,” argued marketing guru Seth Godin. “Make a $49 Kindle. Not so hard if you use available wi-fi and simplify the device…” Amazon may not have lowered their prices to $49, but they definitely swapped in the cheaper Wi-fi connectivity, and the lower prices should attract even more readers to the Kindle.

In fact, there’s fierce competition now in the market for digital readers, and the Kindle’s survival might depend on how cheap they can get! “You either become the best and only platform for consuming books worth buying or you fail,” argues Godin’s blog post. “And the only way to create that footprint in the face of an iPad is to make it so cheap to buy and use it’s irresistible. I saw a two-year old kid (in diapers, in a stroller), using an iPod Touch today. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus and interacting. This is a revolution, guys.”

But as every age group starts to embrace the arrival of electronic readers, Amazon is still fighting hard to be perceived as the best deal in town.

Interested? If you want to buy Amazon’s new $139 Kindle, click here!