Get a $1 Music Credit from Amazon!

Mystery Science Theatre - Santa Claus

A funny thing happened when I bought Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Santa Claus. Amazon gave me a dollar! “Purchase or Rent a Movie or TV Show from Amazon Instant Video, Get a $1 Digital Music Credit,” reads the special web page at Amazon.com. And the second I’d bought my video, Amazon sent me an e-mail confirming that I’d qualified. “Your recent order [of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Santa Claus ] entitles you to a promotional credit which we have added to your account… As a customer who has purchased or rented a qualifying product from Amazon Instant Video, you have earned a $1 credit valid towards Amazon Digital Music albums or single songs.”


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

The funny thing was, the video only cost me $3.00 to rent — and some videos are even cheaper. (You can buy videos for as little as 99 cents.) Amazon wants to publicize their “Instant Video” store — and giving away free music is guaranteed to bring some attention. They’re going to keep doing this until the end of 2015, so the next time you purchase a video, you’ll probably also receive the same Amazon e-mail.

Of course, they may end this offer, according to the fine print in the give-away’s “Terms and Conditions.” (“Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time…”) But for now, the $1 credit is automatically applied to your very next music purchase. And if you’re not sure whether you’ve qualified, there’s a special button labeled “Check Your Balance” where you can see when Amazon’s credit is available.

I like how the credit just instantly appears in your Amazon account just as soon as you complete a qualifying video purchase. (Amazon’s e-mail literally arrived within seconds of my video purchase. That’s how much they want you to try their music store…) “Thanks again for shopping with us,” Amazon added cheerfully at the end of the e-mail.

And by the end of the day, I was enjoying both a new song and a new video.


Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s page, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/AmazonMusicDollar

Amazon Discounts 400 Kindle eBooks by up to 85%

Guardians of the Galaxy - Volume 1The Big Four - a Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie

More Stories from The Twilight Zone by Rod SerlingSlash by Slash

A lot of great ebooks are on sale at Amazon — but only for the next two weeks! It’s their special “Big Deal” sale — “up to 85% off on more than 400 Kindle ebooks” — and through August 24th, they’re offering an incredible variety of choices.

Check out the selection! Point your browser to
tinyURL.com/TheBigEbookDeal

Here’s some of the most exciting ebooks…


Guardians of the Galaxy - Volume 1

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 1 ($3.99)

It’s six issues of the Marvel comic book — 152 pages — bound together into a full-color Kindle ebook! See Peter Quill (a.k.a. “Star-Lord”), plus Drax the Destroyer, and Gamora — the “deadliest woman alive”. (And of course, Rocket Racoon…) You can read this cosmic comic book on any touch-screen Kindle — as well as the Kindle apps for smartphones and tablets — and it’s a good way to explore the strange characters from this summer’s big blockbuster movie. “Two words sum up this book: Action and Humor,” writes one reviewer on Amazon. “If you like either you should definitely pick it up.”


More Stories from The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling
More Stories from The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling ($1.99)

Are you ready for another eerie journey into a dimension of sight and sound — and the mind? Rod Serling promised TV viewers “the middle ground between science and superstition…the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge” — but the award-winning writer also delivered those same thrills in print! Serling adapated his favorite TV scripts into chilling short stories which are drawing wildly positive reviews from fans of the series. (” fantastically written…wonderful descriptions and wordsmithing.”) There’s even an introduction by Rod Serling’s daughter — and the whole ebook is free if you’ve subscribed to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service. (And if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you can also watch all of the original Twilight Zone episodes for free…)


The Big Four - a Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie

The Big Four (a Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie ($1.99)

Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective — accompanied by his friend Captain Hastings — is enjoying a boat trip to South America. But suddenly a strange man appears (covered in mud and dust) scrawling the number 4 over and over again, delivering a crucial clue in yet another murder investigation. Or is it international intrigue — and potentially a sinister cabal of crooked criminals waiting to be brought to justice? One Amazon reviewer described this brilliant piece of detective fiction as “absolutely one of Agatha Christie’s best Hercule Poirot mysteries.”


Slash by Slash

Slash by Slash ($1.99)

The guitarist for Guns N’ Rose delivers a memoir “that redefines sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll,” according to this book’s description on Amazon. Sharing “intensely personal” stories about a life of unlimited debauchery (from riots to rehab), Slash reveals the path from a rock-and-roll salvation to his own evolution and triumph, in a book which was surprisingly well-reviewed. (“Funny, honest, inspiring, jaw-dropping . . . and, in a word, excessive,” reads its description on Amazon — and the British newspaper The Observer calls it “The most insane rock n’ roll autobiography you’ll ever read…”)


Remember, for a shortcut point your browser to
tinyURL.com/TheBigEbookDeal

Amazon Gives Away Free Christmas Music!

Little and Ashley - Amazon Christmas Kindle Commercial Song Winter Night

There’s a wonderful tradition that Amazon’s been observing for the last few years. Every December, they give away music for the holiday season, absolute free, through Amazon’s music web page. This year, in a new twist, they’re giving away five new songs every five days — starting on December 1st, and continuing through the 25th.

You can check out the newest batch at
tinyurl.com/5FreeChristmasSongs

For the next five days, Amazon’s giving away an old-fashioned “madrigal” style carol, a beautiful, acapella song by a group called Chanticleer. And there’s also a particularly dreamy free version of “O Holy Night” by Rick Springfield, who launched his career playing Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital in the 1980s (and again in 2005). I also liked the mp3 by a band named Sister Hazel — a soulful “alternative” version of the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. And Amazon’s also giving away a free mp3 by R&B artist Brian McKnight — his version of “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

There’s even a recording by the 1980s metal band, Twisted Sister — their hard-rocking version of “Deck the Halls.” But if you don’t like any of these songs, don’t worry. Amazon will be offering another new batch of five free Christmas songs this Friday (December 21st) — the last one before Christmas. And there’s also more free mp3s that are scattered throughout Amazon’s music store — including some more fun Christmas songs.

You can always find all of Amazon’s free mp3s at tinyurl.com/FreeMp3List

Here’s some more of the fun free Christmas songs I discovered this year…

  Jingle Bells by Brian Setzer
  The First Noel by Neil Sedaka
  O Holy Night by Go Radio
  We Three Kings by Justin A. Wilson
  Jingle Bells / Deck the Halls by Clay Crosse
  God Rest You Merry Gentleman by Joseph Patrick Moore Dan Baraszu
  What Child is This (Greensleeves) by Tony Elman
  O Come Emmanuel by Brandon Musser
  The Christmas Song by Mogwai
  Deck the Halls by The K5 Kids
  O Little Town Of Bethlehem by Nature’s Harmony
  The Twelve Days of Christmas by the 101 Strings Orchestra
  Silent Night by The Starlite Singers

There’s even a bluesy free version of Jingle Bells by Jen Carrozza, Jon Chalden, Sam Skelton, Joe Reda and John Carrozza. And there’s also some free mp3s offering some less-traditional Christmas songs.

  Punk Rawk Christmas by MxPx
  (Don’t Call Me) Mrs. Christmas by Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler
  Christmas Anthem by Landon Smith & The Real Matt Jones
  Christmas Train by Carey Bell

I was surprised to discover that there’s even a free six-minute mp3 of “Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And of course, Amazon is also offering some big discounts on entire albums of holiday music. You can browse the whole selection at tinyurl.com/AmazonXmasMP3s . But my favorite free Christmas song has a very big connection to the Kindle…

It’s the song “Winter Night” by Little & Ashley, which Amazon used in some of their first Christmas commercials for the Kindle. (They’re the ones with the stop-motion animation, showing a woman in an ever-changing background symbolizing the large variety of stories you can enjoy on a Kindle.) Two years later, Amazon is still giving this special song away as a free mp3 — just point your browser to tinyurl.com/KindleChristmasSong. As a piano plunks away away in the background, you’ll hear a happy young couple singing…


“Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice.
Northern lights are glowing and reflecting in your eyes.

Underneath a starry sky.
Dream with me this winter night!”

A Secret Summer Kindle Commercial?

Amazon summer beach resort Kindle ad

I love Amazon’s Kindle commercials. It’s really fun to see how a professional advertising agency captures the fun of owning a Kindle with flashy video clips and exotic music choices. Today I discovered there’s one great Kindle commercial that most people haven’t seen. It’s airing only in England, but you can also watch it online on Amazon’s official channel for Kindle videos!

For a shortcut to the video, point your browser to
tinyurl.com/UKKindleAd

This cheerful ad shows lots of happy people enjoying their Kindle while they’re “on holiday” at the beach. (“Pack your Kindle,” urge the words appearing on-screen at the beginning of the commercial.) Those words appear over the image of a carefully-packed suitcase, but all the other video clips show a fancy summer resort. There’s a woman relaxing by the pool, a tall glass of lemonade, and a room with a view of the beach. But of course, each clip includes a Kindle as part of the fun!

Kindle on beach mattress

“Holds all your holiday books…” read the words next to the glass of lemonade. “Lighter than a paperback…” appears as a man flops onto a bed with his Kindle, with the lovely beach view in the background. Amazon manages to include all the Kindle’s key selling points, while creating a real sense of fun. “Now introducing Kindle Touch…” they add towards the end of the commercial. “Kindle £89 Kindle Touch £109…”

The video appears on Amazon’s official channel for Kindle videos at YouTube.com/Kindle. (On the same page, Amazon’s also webcasting some inspiring interviews with some self-published authors.) Altogether, Amazon’s online Kindle videos have been viewed more than 7,249,265 times. And yet so far, this fun summer ad has racked up less than 11,000 views.

I liked the bouncy song in the background, which adds to the breezy tone of the commercial. The song seems to have just two lyrics — “I love you, baby,” and “Oooh, oooh oooh…” But with some research, I discovered that the complete song is actually a lot darker. “When they fight, they fight. And when they come home at night they say, ‘I love you, baby’…” (It’s by a band called “The Generationals” — and it looks like Amazon’s using yet another new hip band from Louisiana for its Kindle ads….)

It’s not just the perfect song for a Kindle ad. The exact same song was used in a commercial for Bloomingdales, according to the band’s page on Wikipedia. The song’s swinging trumpet and bouncing bassline gives it a groovy ’60s sound — towards the beginning, there’s even a playful “wolf whistle.” But the effect seems to be ironic, since the song is actually chronicling the end of relationship

“He got the message she left on his car, in the rain…. And when it all comes crashing down, what can you do, to find what you’re looking for? And then the words will come to you, driving through the rain. But there’ll be no one there to say them to anyway….”


But at least some couples are still enjoying a lovely holiday together at the beach this summer — at least, judging by Amazon’s Kindle ad.

Kindle in bathing suit back pocket beach ad

Amazon Gives Away FREE Music Downloads!

Amazon Twitter $2.00 Discount .mp3 Music Sale

I’ve really enjoyed Amazon’s music give-aways – and I’m always amazed at how many there are. I think I’ve gotten more than a dozen music files for free, which I’ve loaded onto my Kindle for reading “background music,” but this week Amazon’s announced another sale. They’re giving away a $2.00 credit for free music downloads — any .mp3s — if you’re willing to let them post one appropriate message on your Twitter account.

“I just got a $2 credit for music from @amazonmp3 and @imdb. Get your credit here…”

Here’s my shortcut to the URL for Amazon’s free music offer – just go to tinyurl.com/TwoFreeAmazonMp3s

The offer is good through Saturday, July 28th, and it applies to any digital music downloads (but not CDs) purchased at mp3.Amazon.com. To accept the offer, you temporarily connect your Amazon and Twitter accounts — but you can revoke the connection just as soon as you’ve used your $2.00 credit. (Just click the “Edit Your Profile” button at the upper-right of your profile page, and then click the “Apps” links which appears at the right of your screen…)

I was surprised that Amazon’s offering more free mp3s so soon after their last free music give-away. But apparently they’ve partnered up with the movie web site, IMDB.com, who are listed as the “sponsors” of this latest round of free music. Now I’ve started keeping a “wish list” of songs I’d like for background music, so I’ll be ready the next time Amazon announces a free music give-away. You can keep up on all of Amazon’s music give-aways by “Liking” their page on Facebook (at facebook.com/amazonmp3 ).

For this week’s free music offer from Amazon, just go to tinyurl.com/TwoFreeAmazonMp3s

Buy “Fight Club” for 25 cents – and more!

Ty Cobb

Amazon’s offered some great “Daily Deals” in the past — but I’m really excited about today’s. Usually they’ll lower the price of an ebook to just 99 cents, but for Thursday they’ve slashed the price even further for the modern radical novel, “Fight Club” — to just 25 cents!

You can always find the “daily deal” at tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal. But Amazon’s also slashed the price on over 100 more ebooks to just $3.99 or less for the month of March. (Browse the selection at tinyurl.com/399books, or — if you’re in England — at tinyurl.com/399booksEngland ) There’s always a new selection on the first day of the month, and I’m really excited about some of these discounted books, too. It looks like Amazon’s really put some thought into what’s happening that’s special this month.


Under the March Sun – the Story of Spring Training – $1.99
Baseball season starts at the end of March — but this is a fascinating story about that crazy other tradition that pumps money into forgotten cities where the superstars hide for their pre-season spring training. One newspaper called it “that rare baseball book that also serves as a cultural history,” even as it’s capturing the happy atmosphere of today’s super fans travelling to out-of-the-way stadiums to catch their favorite players in relaxed moments. The author, Charles Fountain, is a journalism professor, and presumably a baseball fan, and the president of the L.A. Dodgers even commended his book in a blurb, saying it “brings to life this most enjoyable time of year for every baseball fan.”


Ty Cobb – $1.99
Baseball seems to cherish its memories of past “greats,” which adds even more intrigue to this biography of Ty Cobb. (One reviewer called him simply “the most interesting baseball player of all time.”) Cobb maintained a ridiculously high batting average of .366 for over 22 years, playing mostly for the Detroit Tigers (and the Athletics, back when they were still in Philadelphia). and though he retired in 1928, that record has never been broken. But this book puts Cobb’s life into the context of the time in which he lived — and his own complicated personality, driven by an intense rivalry with Babe Ruth as well as external pressures, like the hazing he took from the Yankees over his southern upbringing. “Three weeks after his mother killed his father, Cobb debuted in center field for the Detroit Tigers,” Wikipedia notes — so his biography should be pretty interesting!


This is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity – $2.99
Susan Moon, the aging editor of a Buddhist magazine, offers an “intimate and funny collection of essays on the sometimes confusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious condition of being a woman over sixty,” according to the book’s description on Amazon, adding that the author “keeps her sense of humor and…keeps her reader fully engaged.” It’s a serious topic handled lightly but skillfully, and “Her best writing occurs when memory, emotion, and spirit coalesce,” according to Publisher’s Weekly, “as she recovers parts of herself left behind in childhood or comes to terms with solitude.” Or, as the New York Review of Books put it, “Moon is like a Buddhist Anne Lamott–confronting her life bravely and unapologetically.”


Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance – $2.99
Of all 100 ebooks that are on sale in March, this one has my favorite title. It’s about “a zombie’s big break in showbiz,” according to Publisher’s Weekly., and it’s written by an animator for Nickeloden named Keith Graves. It’s a children’s book with an adult twist, since as Frank starts to dance, his zombie-fied body parts absolutely horrify the audience. I bet its color pictures look absolutely amazing on the Kindle Fire tablet, and it looks like good, silly fun. “Frank was a monster who wanted to dance. So he put on his hat, and his shoes made in France… and opened a jar and put ants in his pants…”


Hey Buddy: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John, and My Lost Decade of Music – $1.99
Don McLean sang of “The Day the Music Died” — the infamous 1959 plane crash that killed the rock and roll pioneer (along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper) at the age of 22. But author Gary W. Moore says that Buddy Holly reached out to him from a stage, according to he book’s description on Amazon, seizing his heart and his soul “through a song. Not a song written or performed by Buddy, but a song about Buddy performed by musician extraordinaire John Mueller. Even Buddy’s closest friends say John is Buddy reincarnated, and his resemblance and music will take your breath away.”

In this book, the author tries to understand Buddy Holly’s world, interviewing people who’d known the singer, and “Their unique and intimate stories will make you laugh, smile, cry, and think, all the while wondering ‘what if.’ What if Buddy had lived instead of perished in that terrible plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa, on that winter night in 1959? What if Buddy had continued to write music into the 1960s and 70s? What if…”


Find all these books at tinyurl.com/399books

And don’t forget, for today only, you can also get Fight Club for just 25 cents at tinyurl.com/DailyKindleDeal

Amazon Announces a New Way to Send Stuff to Your Kindle

Download Amazon's new Send to Kindle software app

Amazon has quietly announced a new application. There’s now an easier way to get your own documents onto your Kindle. Just download and install Amazon’s “Send to Kindle” software onto your PC (by pointing your computer’s browser to amazon.com/sendtokindle.) “Support for Mac is coming soon,” Amazon promises further down the page…

Once you’ve installed it, a “send to Kindle” choice appears whenever you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer. And “send to Kindle” also appears as a choice on the “Print” menu in Microsoft Word, “or in the print dialogue of any Windows application.” In the past, you had to e-mail your documents to the e-mail address which Amazon had created for your Kindle. Or you could also connect your USB cord to your PC, and then transfer documents by connecting the other end to your Kindle.

This was seems much more convenient, and it might get me to use my Kindle for more than just reading ebooks I’ve downloaded from Amazon.com. “Kindle Personal Documents Service makes it easy to take your personal documents with you,” Amazon explains at the top of another web page at amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments, promising that it eliminates the need for a print-out!

I say Amazon “quietly” announced the news, because I only found out about it from a post on their “Kindle Daily” blog. And they also suggested another way you can use Amazon’s servers to manage files that you want to store. “You can also simply archive documents in your Kindle Library for re-download later. Your last page read along with bookmarks, notes and highlights are automatically synchronized for your documents (with the exception of PDFs) across your Kindle devices and supported Kindle reading apps .”

Part of me wonders if Amazon is up to something. Once your personal documents are stored on Amazon, it becomes a part of your life – and then it’s even harder to switch to a competing digital reader! You’d have to transfer all the individual documents — and more importantly, you’d feel a personal attachment to your Kindle. “It’s not just that device where I downloaded 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It’s also where I stored that draft of an important manuscript that I’m trying to finish…”

I think Amazon has concluded they’ve got a real business reason to encourage their customers to store documents “in the cloud.” The new, trendy concept in technology is the idea that your smartphone and your PC and your Kindle (and other tablet devices) can all access the same set of files – your own personal collection of digital content. You can buy an mp3 of your favorite song for your new Kindle Fire tablet — but you’ll also be able to listen to it on your PC using Amazon’s “cloud player.” Of course, you can also just download that mp3 straight to your hard drive, and then do whatever you want with it.

But if you’ve ever tried that, you’ll know that Amazon adds extra steps to that process. It’s like they’ve optimized their mp3 service for use with the Amazon Cloud Player, and they’re simply supporting, reluctantly, the old-fashioned custom of listening to mp3s directly from your hard drive. Maybe I’m just suspicious because “cloud storage” still feels new — and in time, I’ll wonder how I ever lived without storing everything on a universally-accessible cloud drive. But for now I still find myself wondering what’s the catch. Do I really want my personal documents to be stored in Seattle, and beamed to an orbiting satellite in outer space?

It does sound cool — like something that James Bond might do. But in any case, this capability has arrived, and how we use it is up to us. “Reading your personal documents on Kindle is now easier than ever,” Amazon explains on their web page.

“You can download archived personal documents from your Kindle Library on Kindle Keyboard, Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle for iPad, Kindle for iPhone and Kindle for iPod…”

Free Christmas mp3s from Amazon.com!

Celtic Woman Christmas song Ave Maria - Believe album cover

Amazon’s giving away a free Christmas mp3 — and not just for today, but every day, for the next 25 days! Just keep pointing your computer’s web browser to tinyurl.com/25xmasMP3s. (If your Kindle has an mp3 player, you can finally stock it with some holiday music!) And Amazon’s also created a free “Santa” app for the Kindle Fire (and the iPad) which lets children create a wish list of Amazon items — for Santa Claus!

The free mp3s are on a special “25 Days of Free” web page that’s designed like an advent calendar, where a new surprise gets revealed every day as a countdown to Christmas. Except here, the calendar’s squares get replaced by album covers!

Advent_Square

For December 1, Amazon’s offering a lavish Christmas song by the Celtic Woman group — their rendition of the traditional song Ave Maria. It’s a preview of their yet-to-be-released new album, “Believe,” which won’t be available until January 24 of next year!

“Every day through Christmas, we’re unveiling a new holiday song available to download free,” Amazon announces on the web page, specifying that the free downloads are available “for a limited time.” (So it’s not clear if each one is free for just 24 hours, or if Amazon will also let you “catch up” on the free downloads from previous days.) Also available for free is the complete version of the song “Winter Night” by Little & Ashley, which Amazon used last year in their Christmas Kindle commercials (with the stop-motion animation). (Just point your browser to tinyurl.com/KindleChristmasSong .)


Snowflake in my pocket, let’s take a sleigh ride on the ice.
Northern lights are glowing and reflecting in your eyes.

Underneath a starry sky.
Dream with me this winter night.

And of course, Amazon also points users to their “MP3 Holiday Store,” which includes a special section of 100 different holiday mp3 albums that are bargain-priced at just $5 each. I’d laugh this off
except the selection actually does includes some of my all-time favorite Christmas albums, including Christmas with the Rat Pack, A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby’s I Wish You a Merry Christmas, and an expanded version of Vince Guaraldi’s music for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”. There’s also Christmas albums from Weezer, Christina Aguilera, Zooey Deschanel’s band “She and Him,” and even the cast of Sesame Street – plus some performers you wouldn’t expect, like Bob Dylan and Twisted Sister.

All these and some other $5 Christmas album downloads are at tinyURL.com/AmazonXmasMP3s

Or would you like to write to Santa Claus? There’s an app for that — at least, if you own a Kindle Fire tablet (or an iPad). Wednesday Amazon announced a free Santa app to create holidays wish lists, “for children and their parents…to share with friends, family and Mr. Claus.” They’ve identified more than half a million popular “kid-friendly” items available on Amazon, and according to the director of Amazon Mobile, the apps makes it “fun, easy and intuitive for kids to find exactly what they want.” Just point your browser to amazon.com/santa_app

There’s books, of course, but also toys, games, video games, music, and even movies and TV shows — and you can browse the individual categories or search for specific items. By secretly tracking which gifts have been purchased, it can helip different relatives avoid buying the same gift, and Amazon says the app offers “a great way for parents to spend some quality time with their kids…”

And, “to help make certain there’s a smile Christmas morning.”

More Surprising Lyrics From Kindle Ads


I’m fascinated by all the surprises packed away in Amazon’s Kindle ads. Remember the instrumental guitar song in the background of Amazon’s previous Kindle ad. (The “zest” ad, where the Kindle appears in a bicycle basket, and even gets licked by a dog?) For the ad, Amazon selected the part of the song where the vocalist is just singing “la la la” over a steady rhythm from clapping hands and maracas. But it turns out the longer version of the song actually has lyrics to it!

You can hear the lyrics when you download the full version of the song from Amazon.com. (It’s free! And I even made an easy-to-remember URL for your web browser — tinyurl.com/kindlead ) The song is by Bibio, a British music producer who (according to Wikipedia) has had his songs appear in commercials for Toyota, L. L. Bean, and even Adult Swim.

And this time, they’re a perfect fit — almost like a poem about the Kindle itself. It reminds me of faces of the famous authors that appear as the Kindle’s screensavers.


Lovers’ names, carved in walls,
overlap, start to merge.

Some of them underneath.
(Maybe) they appear, in graveyards.
(Maybe they) fade away, weathered and
overgrown. Time has told.

Meaningful hidden words,
(Sudden)ly appear, from the murk.
(Maybe they’re) telling us, that the end
never was, Never will.

Words have gone. Meaning will
(never) disappear, from the wall.

James Joyce screensaver from Amazon Kindle

Those are some pretty heavy lyrics for a Kindle ad. If you’re looking for something lighter, remember that the earlier Kindle ads also had some lyrics, and in a romantic twist, the second ad’s lyrics were written by the song’s two singers — Annie Little and her real-life fiance, Marcus Ashley!

“Once upon
a time, I saw you walk along
a moonbeam. What a lovely girl.
I followed you around the world. (Uh-uh oh…)

I love you. Don’t you see?
You stole my heart in one, two, three.
I love you. Yes it’s true.
You stole my heart, and I’m gonna steal yours too.


But Annie wrote all the lyrics herself for the Kindle’s first ad.


Silver moons and paper dreams
Faded maps and shiny things
You’re my favorite one-man show
A million different ways to go…


Both these songs also include more lyrics than what Amazon aired in their commercials, so click here for the complete lyrics for Fly Me Away, Stole My Heart, and the other two songs that appeared on their first EP album! (Or click here to read the lyrics from “Sweet Talk,” the song from Amazon’s new ad, “The Book Lives On.”)

I’ve really enjoyed Amazon’s Kindle ad campaigns. And remember, you can watch all of Amazon’s Kindle ads by pointing your web browser to YouTube.com/Kindle!

What’s the Best Music for your Kindle?

Playing the Dulcimer

It all started when I’d asked, “Do You Listen to Music on Your Kindle?” A surprising number of people said no. Some were just storing their music on a different device instead. But some people didn’t like to listen to background music at all, preferring instead to read in quiet.

Is there a perfect song that you can play in the background? I was determined to find out what other people were listening to. I asked some more Kindle users, and got some surprising answers. The consensus seemed to be “something mellow,” but people had different ways to avoid disturbing their reading experience…

A woman named Emily discovered that “I’m better off listening to music I’m not familiar with. Any music I know ends up being a distraction for me.” She’s very fussy about what plays in the background, and prefers a specific selection for a quiet night of reading. “The best music I’ve found for my reading is the New Age type music that I don’t listen to any other time… It’s mostly low-key music so it doesn’t get in the way of my reading concentration.”

58-year-old Chris Moyer uses similar music, but for a very different reason. “When I want to read and it is noisy, for example at a hair salon, I put on my headphones and listen to the nature sounds while reading.” She describes herself as a “very happy Kindle owner,” and likes the tracks from a special CD that she’d received after a facial. But she uses some of the same words to describe the music that she listens to: “very new age with nature sounds.”

My favorite response came from a Kindle owner named Don Freeman. “I’ve got some very mellow hammer dulcimer music on my Kindle 2 that works great for background music.” But besides being an exotic form of music, the dulcimer music has another advantage. “It also helps block out those twits on the commuter train that have their iPods up so loud that they don’t even need to wear the earplugs.”

So how would I answer the question? When I first bought my Kindle, I began reading lots of 19th-century novels and American history, so I started out with three inspiring orchestral pieces by Aaron Copland. But then I’d wanted something more contemporary, and added some soft songs by Aimee Mann. Eventually I asked myself what you’d hear in a coffee house, and decided on the hip, retro vocals from the Frank Sinatra era. (There’s a 1965 CD of Sammy Davis Jr. that was recorded with a jazz combo at 2 a.m. in Las Vegas, and it’s got the perfect tinkly late-night piano.) And finally I added in the softest female jazz vocalist I know — Blossom Dearie. (If you remember “Schoolhouse Rock,” she’d sung the “Figure Eight” song, and the one about how she “Unpacked My Adjectives.”)

But sometimes, even I prefer reading in silence.

Amazon's Secrets: What eBook is in that Kindle Ad?

Amazon Kindle beach ad - screenshot screengrab of the ebook
She’s reading an ebook on her Kindle, and then the camera pans back to reveal she’s reading it at the beach. (“Silver moons and paper chains,” the background music sings. “Faded maps and shiny things…)” The camera pulls back before you can read the whole page, as though Amazon’s trying to tease you. But one day, I decided I finally had to find out: exactly what ebook is that?

Google provided me with the answer — and a link to a web page with the complete text of the page she’s reading! (“I reached across the table but he shrugged me off, grabbing my keys and heading out the door….”) I should’ve noticed that the woman’s Kindle was displaying its title at the top of the page — “Where the God of Love Hangs Out.” It’s a collection of short stories by Amy Bloom, and Amazon will even send you one complete story as a free sample if you go to the book’s Amazon web page. (It’s a funny, sexy story called “Your Borders, Your Rivers, Your Tiny Villages” — about committing adultery while watching CNN!)

UPDATE: I’ve just discovered that I’m now Google’s #1 match for the phrase, “I reached across the table but he shrugged me off.” But who exactly is Amy Bloom? She once worked as a psychotherapist, according to Wikipedia, but now lectures on creative writing at Yale University’s English department. She wrote the TV show “State of Mind” for the Lifetime Network, but was also nominated for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. And it turns out that a sample of her short story isn’t the only thing that Amazon’s giving away for free…

I’d begun investigating the next logical question: Okay, who’s singing that song that’s playing in the background? The singer’s name is Annie Little, and Amazon is giving away one of her songs for free in their “mp3 downloads” store. It’s the song that appeared in Amazon’s second Kindle ad — a duet that Annie recorded with her fiance, Marcus Ashley, called “Stole My Heart.”

“Once upon a time, I saw you
walk along a moonbeam. What a
lovely girl. I followed you around the world.
Uh-uh oh, I love you. Don’t you see?
You stole my heart in one, two, three.
I love you. Yes it’s true.
You stole my heart, and I’m gonna steal yours too.”

I remembered Annie’s story. Amazon held a contest for the best home-made ad for the Kindle, and Annie’s song appeared in the winning entry — a cool stop-motion animation video suggesting all the stories you could read on your Kindle. (While in the background, Annie sang “Fly Me Away.”) You can also download “Fly Me Away” — the song which plays in the background of Amazon’s Kindle commercials — but they’re now charging 99 cents for it. And in addition, the couple has recorded two more songs, and they’re selling all four together as an EP for just $2.97.

1. Stole My Heart
2. Telegrams to Mars
3. Fly Me Away
4. Still Missing You

With a little more research, I discovered a few more secrets. The complete versions of the songs are longer than what’s aired in the commercial, so click here if you want to read all of the lyrics for “Stole My Heart” or “Fly Me Away”. (They’ve been transcribed on the couple’s web site.) I guess the last thing I discovered is that it’s hard to resist the couple’s charm — and their endearing message that true love…is a little bit like reading your Kindle.

“You’re my favorite one-man show,
a million different ways to go.

Will you fly me away?
Take me away with you, my love.”

Do You Listen to Music on Your Kindle?

Vintage phonography gramophone record player

In Amazon’s discussion forum, I’d asked a simple question: Do you listen to music on your Kindle? But the answers surprised me — and shed new light on how people are using their Kindles.

“wow, you can listen to music on your kindle!!!???? okay, so I read that I had that capability somewhere in my manual, but just glossed over it since, I prefer to read in silence.”

It turns out that, while the Kindle can play music, people often think of other devices. One user made this clear when I’d asked what specific music they liked to listen to on the Kindle?

“Nothing. I got an ipod where I can choose which song to listen to.”

And another user quickly agreed.

“That was my reaction… I would probably use my iPhone for that anyway, but I don’t listen to music while I read.”

I’d been curious about what songs people stored on their Kindles, but now I was having trouble finding people who’d even bothered. For the people who wanted background music, there were already several established music players — many by Apple — which offered better features and better storage.

“…the limited storage space on the Kindle 2 prevented me from loading a lot of music. I read a lot so I was listening to the same tracks over and over. In the end I stopped loading music on the K2. I just listen to music on my iPhone where I have my entire music library.

“When I read on my iPad, it’s really great — I can listen to any music I want and I have created several playlists to listen to music based on the type of book I am reading. I think Amazon should put more storage on the Kindle and enhance the music capabilities since they also sell music.”

Another user reported a similar experience. (“I have an iPod Classic with over 13,000 songs on it as well as an iPod Touch with music and the Kindle app.”) But it was nice to hear occasionally they still used the Kindle’s built-in mp3 player.

“Especially when I’m reading on the patio and about to doze off, I’m sometimes too lazy to go get another device and it’s nice to already have some music choices on the reader.

I actually prefer quiet while reading though, so when I do play music, it’s usually to minimize someone else’s noise, such as from the jerk neighbor who thinks he can play the drums.”

So finally, I could get back to my original question. What were they listening to on their Kindle? “My favorite reading music is classic, usually something not terribly climactic. Rachmaninov usually works.” And at the end of the discussion, I was glad to hear that at least one of these Kindle owner shared my enthusiasm for the Kindle’s mp3 player.

“I am not big on big on adding non-ebook features to the Kindle but listening to music while reading seems so natural.”