Amazon Announces a Black Friday Sale on the Kindle DX!

Amazon announces Black Friday sale on Kindle DX

Amazon waited until Thanksgiving Day to announce a big discount on the Kindle DX. The “giant Kindle” with the 9.7-inch screen is now on sale for just $259 — a massive 32% discount from its usual price of $379. (Just point your computer’s web browser to ) It’s a “while supplies last” deal, which ends on Monday, November 28th. Is this another sign that Amazon is clearing out their inventory of older Kindles?

It’s still more expensive than Amazon’s cheap $79 Kindle, but Amazon seems to have aimed their announcement at true fans of the Kindle. Calling it a “Black Friday Deal (a day early),” Amazon apparently announced the deal only on the Kindle’s page on Facebook.

Black Friday Kindle sale announced on Facebook

And within two hours, it earned 98 “like” votes, and drew 49 comments (like “Love love love my DX” and “GIANT KINDLE!”) In fact, 32 even shared Amazon’s announcement on their own Facebook pages.

But I think Amazon’s trying to sell off their remaining Kindle DX devices. Maybe they’re planning on releasing a DX-sized version of their color Kindle Fire tablet. There’s already rumors that Amazon’s working on larger tablets, and they’ve found their way to the well-respected technology blog, VentureBeat “According to DigiTimes, the Taiwanese blog with deep connections in manufacturer supply chains, Amazon is preparing to release the device in new 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch screen sizes,” they posted Monday.

“The 8.9-inch size is said to be prepping for launch first…”

I love my Kindle DX, and despite the launch of the Kindle Fire (and despite my purchase of a new $79 Kindle), the DX is still my favorite. The e-ink screens are always a joy to read, and with a Kindle DX, ther’es just more of that screen.

And now if you’re interested in trying one, they’re on sale at Amazon at a 32% discount…

Just point your computer’s web browser to

Price War on Black Friday — Kindle, Nook, and iPad

New Amazon Kindle gift wrapped

It’s on! Amazon’s Kindle is now engaged in a full-fledged price war on Black Friday with both the iPad and the Nook.

Amazon just slashed the price on their tablet-sized Kindle DX
to just $259, offering a massive 32% discount just before Black Friday. (Point your computer’s web browser to ) But Amazon started this war in September, by creating a new Kindle that they can sell for just $79. Now Barnes and Noble has announced that on Friday, they’ll release a special, limited-edition touchscreen Nook for just $79. That’ll match the price of Amazon’s cheapest Kindle (which does not have a touchscreen). “The Black Friday edition is the same as the regular $99 unit available in Barnes & Noble bookstores and online, except that the Black Friday edition has a white rim,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

And the Kobo is also slashing the prices on its touchscreen readers, to just $99. “That puts it at the same price as the Kindle Touch…” notes
a technology blogger at TechCrunch,
but it’s still more expensive than Friday’s new sales prices for the Nook. “At the normal price, it really is kind of a difficult choice…” writes the blogger, who’s been a big fan of the Kobo. “But would I recommend it over a $79 Nook? I can’t say I would, because the Nook is a solid device too.”

And meanwhile, the iPad is also joining in the competition. Apple’s promising a “one-day Apple Shopping Event” on their web site, but one Apple blogger also received a flyer with the actual prices, according to C|Net. Apple’s apparently cutting the cost of the Ipad 2 by up to $61 (while the iPod Touch will be discounted by up to $41, and MacBooks and iMacs more than $100 ). It seems like Apple’s really feeling the pressure to compete with the low price of Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire tablets.

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in America, and every major shopping site seems to be fighting for a piece of the action. eBay is even creating real-world shopping spots for Black Friday outside major retail destinations in New York, San Francisco, and London, according to the Washington Post. eBay is establishing a “pop-up” presence so customers can buy eBay products while they’re out shopping (by scanning bar codes with their mobile phones!) And as the Washington Post noted, “Amazon opened an online Black Friday deals store on Nov. 1.

“It’s packing the site with offers each day to keep shoppers checking in over the Web, instead of heading to the mall!”

Click here for a 32% discount on the Kindle DX or point your computer’s web browser to

Click here for all of Amazon’s Kindles (starting at $79!)

Newest Kindle Ad – “She Buys a Kindle!”

Blonde woman in new $79 Kindle ad buys one for herself
She finally bought a Kindle! For five months, Amazon’s been running a series of ads where a patient young man talks to a blonde woman about his Kindle. But Wednesday Amazon released a new ad — the fourth in the series — where she finally admits she bought a Kindle for herself!

Within two days, it had already been viewed nearly 100,000 times on YouTube, as Amazon’s announcement about four new Kindles finally intersected the series of ads. “I’m very happy to be a part of them,” the actress posted Wednesday to her Twitter feed (adding “Can’t wait to hear what else they announce.”) And she also posted a funny story about her honeymoon last month in Greece. “Excited 2 find 1 Greek who owns a #kindle & will let me use his charger.

“Tried 2 tell him I kindle girl he said ‘I kindle boy!’ hmm.”

I’ve created a shorter URL where you can watch the ad online, at . So what happens in the newest ad? Here’s a transcript. It opens when the young man sees the blonde woman smiling, with a red ribbon wrapped around a new, gray Kindle.

“What’s up, happy pants?”

“I just bought my dad the new Kindle. $79.”

“You?! A Kindle? Really?”

“No. Me, two Kindles. Really…”

“You’re going to give your dad two Kindles?”

“No, of course not.”

“Who could you have possibly have bought the second Kindle for.”

“Okay, it’s for me. It’s only $79.”


“And it reads just like a paper book.”


“It’s better to receive than to give.”

“I don’t think that’s how it goes.”

“Close enough.” (She jiggles the two Kindles…)

“All-new Kindle only $79,” reads the final shot of the ad. And here’s an interesting piece of trivia. Though she seems a little ditzy, the book that the woman is reading on her Kindle’s screen is Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. And in real-life, the actress started college at the age of 13, and at 15 became one of the youngest students ever admitted to UCLA. (Plus — judging from her Twitter feed — she already owns a Kindle.)

Part of me wonders if “What’s up, happy pants” will become a new catchphrase. (“I think that’s a seriously strong double entendre,” says my girlfriend.) But I really enjoyed the ad — and it looks like it’s already getting people excited about the new low cost of a Kindle. “That’s cheap enough for me to consider buying one,” reads a comment posted on YouTube.

“Thanks, Amazon!”

Is Amazon buying Netflix?

Image of Amazon tablet Press Conference announcement September 28th

People were baffled when Netflix created a separate service for customers who wanted to watch “streaming” movies online. (This week Netflix shifted its core business — where DVDs are mailed to your home in a red Netflix envelope — into a separate subsidiary.) But at least one analyst thinks it’s a smart move that could pay off for the company’s investors — because it makes it easier for Netflix to merge with Amazon!

“If Amazon were to acquire only Netflix’s streaming business, it could triple the size of its content library, and gain traction as an industry leader…” argues Michael Pachter at Wedbush Securities. Originally he’d assigned an “underperform” rating to shares of Netflix, but this week he’s switched that to an “outperform” rating. “Netflix’s financial flexibility is quite limited, while Amazon’s is virtually unlimited,” Pachter argues. With billions of dollars in new money, the Amazon/Netflix hybrid could acquire the rights to stream even more movies and video content online.

But of course, that’s just the beginning. Amazon really wants to stream movies to your Kindle — or at least, to a next-generation Kindle with a color screen that’s been optimized for video. Any day now, Amazon’s expected to announce a fancy iPad-style “tablet” computer, a touchscreen device which displays ebooks (like the original Kindle), but which can also handle movies. A blogger at TechCrunch claims to have seen a prototype, which offers a slick “carousel” interface where you rotate a circle of (color) thumbnail images that represent your movies, apps, mp3s , or books.

It’s a brilliant marketing move, because they’d all be purchased through And Amazon already has a vast library of “content” available for purchase, including ebooks, music downloads, and online movies. They’d basically create a slick new device for delivering all that content to their customers — and all that content would also help them to first sell the device! (Apple’s iPod was successful because of all the songs available in the iTune store, while the iPad’s received complaints because there aren’t enough ebooks in its iBookstore.)

I think the Kindle convinced Amazon that a great device can create a big wave of new loyal customers, plus a lot of new sales. Amazon has billions of dollars to spend, plus a payroll filled with clever engineers, so they’ve got everything they need to create the next big and exciting gadget. Not everyone’s convinced that they’ll stock their content libraries with Netflix’s streaming movies. (In the comments at ZDNet, someone suggested NetFlix might form a super-company instead with, teaming up to offer an even bigger library of online video!)

But there’s one last piece of information that suggests that Amazon’s planning something big, and that it’s going to happen this Wednesday. “Press invites just went out for an Amazon press conference next Wednesday in New York,” reported a blog about technology at MSNBC.

It could be an announcement that Amazon has acquired Netflix, but the blogger speculates that “doesn’t go to New York for anything but the biggest of product launches anyhow. So we’re going to assume that the long-awaited tablet is finally here.

“And if the rumors are true, boy, will it be an earthshaker.”

Buy a new Kindle for just $85?

Amazon's 85 refurbished Kindle 3 sale

Normally a new wi-fi Kindle costs $139 — and even if you buy one that’s loaded with Amazon’s “Special Offers,” it’s still $114. But today, Amazon advertised a refurbished wi-fi Kindle 3 (with special offers) for just $84.99. The total savings? More than 25%.

Within a few hours, they’d raised the price of a refurbished Kindle 3 (with special offers) — but only to $99.99. (Though that’s still a big discount of over 12%.) Throughout this morning, that big discount then seemed to disappear and re-appear around At one point on the same page, Amazon warned shoppers page that “We’re sorry. There are currently no Refurbished listings for Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Pearl Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers.” But when you then visited Amazon’s “Buy a Kindle” page, it was still listed as “In Stock” at the $99.99 price!

Amazon's special 99 dollar Kindle discount offer

And then shortly before noon, all the refurbished Kindles seemed to have disappeared.

What’s going on? I think Amazon’s trying to reduce their inventory of Kindle 3s because they’re planning to release an even newer version of the Kindle in the next few weeks. That’s especially interesting, because I’d heard a rumor that Amazon was only releasing a color, touchscreen version of the Kindle (but not a new black-and-white Kindle with an e-ink screen). But if that rumor were true, it seems odd that Amazon would be reducing their inventory of refurbished Kindle 3s.

Still, maybe Amazon expects there’ll be fewer people who want a Kindle 3 when there’s also a new color, touchscreen multimedia tablet. It’s pointless to speculate until Amazon finally makes their move. The bottom line is that if you want to buy a Kindle 3, you can get a good price if you keep your eye on the Amazon store.

And if you keep re-loading the web page, there’s a chance that the prices will change again!

19 New Games for the Kindle!

New Kindle game montage (large)

It’s only been a month since I wrote about games available on the Kindle — but during that month, 19 new Kindle games were released! On August 23rd, Amazon even released another new free word game
called Jigsaw Words. And there’s 12 more Kindle games that have been reduced in price, to just 99 cents! (Although today is last day of the sale – your last chance to buy any one of the following 12 Kindle games for just 99 cents…)

Triple Town
EA Sudoku
Pogo Hearts, Spades, and More
Kee-Ko’s Quest
Puzzle Baron’s Cryptograms
Panda Poet
Doodle Fit
Word Quest

So what are the 19 new games available for the Kindle? At least seven of them were released within the last week… In fact, last Tuesday saw the launch of five different Kindle Games.

Memory Classic

It was originally a card game — and I even remember a TV game show version — but it’s always had the same fun rules. You’ll reveal what’s hidden on the bottom of the cards (or tiles) — two at a time — while you try to find a matching pair. As you peak under more of the tiles, you’ll have to remember where you last saw it’s match! And to make things even more interesting, this Kindle version gradually increases the number of tiles to choose from!

The King of Shreds and Patches

Welcome to 17th-century London! It’s 1603 in this “interactive fiction” game, which promises to let you interact with both historical and fictional characters, “and thwart an occult conspiracy that threatens to bring down the entire city — or worse.” It’s billed as “a novel-length work…in which your choices control how successfully you navigate the story.” There’s puzzles along the way — plus a hint system (described as “elaborate”) in case you get stuck somewhere along the way!

Japanese Puzzles Volume 1

Sudoku is probably the most famous Japanese logic puzzle in this set — but is also offers you four more! There’s also Katkuro, which offers mathematical clues about which digits should be used to fill in the squares. Another game — “Number Island” — involves choosing the right shades for the squares which surround different “islands” of numbers. “Picture Cross” sounds a little like “Pixel Perfect Puzzles,” in which there’s clues about the number of shaded pixels for both the rows and columns of a grid. And Hitori is like Sudoku in reverse, where your goal is to black out some of the numbered squares to eliminate all the duplicate digits in a row or column!

My First Slider Puzzle

“The art is designed to appeal to kids,” explains this game’s description, ” and “there is a variety of challenges for everyone.” It’s like Amazon’s “Number Slide” puzzle — where you re-arrange the squares in a grid by moving them either horizontally or vertically, one square at a time. But in this game, you’re trying to reassemble the squares into a kid-friendly picture. (And the size of the grids is smaller, from 2 x 3 at the easiest level to 4 x 4 at the hardest level.)

Link 4

There’s a classic game called “Connect 4”, and this looks like the Kindle version of it. You virtually drop a black (or white) checker down one of seven columns, and you try to line up four of them in a row. But the Kindle also gets a turn, dropping in checkers of the opposite color, so to win, you’ll have to “outflank” them somehow. The game also offers a “pass and play” mode, where instead of the Kindle’s built-in AI, you’re just passing the Kindle to one of your friends so they can enter their moves. (The game’s description promises that it’s “far more engaging than Tic-Tac-Toe!”)

And on Wednesday, another interesting new game was released — called Timothy Parker’s Family Crossword Games. He’s the editor of crossword puzzles for USA Today, and he’s created a set of puzzles that includes a few that are specially designed for kids. (“Spend time with your little future puzzle masters in a fun, educational way,” suggests the game’s description at There’s already some other crossword puzzle games on Amazon, but I like the “art deco” style of Timothy’s graphics.

Amd then Thursday, a company called 7 Dragons released Tips for Kindle, which dispenses one of over 100 Kindle-related tips every time you open it — and lets you browse through them to learn more about your Kindle. (And there’s also a “slideshow” mode, which flashes through the tips automatically.)

So that’s seven new Kindle games, but that’s not even half of them.

Flight from the Dark (A Lone Wolf Adventure)

It was actually 27 years ago that this game was first created by Dungeons and Dragon’s fan Joe Dever. A print edition of the “gamebook” sold over 100,000 copies in its first month in 1984, according to Wikipedia, and now a slick new version has finally been created for the Kindle. “In a devastating attack the Darklords have destroyed the monastery where you were learning the skills of the Kai Lords…” explains the game’s description on Amazon — and it looks like the game has some interesting graphics! But mostly it’s just a good old-fashioned text adventure, offering lots of magical, medieval fun. “You swear revenge,” the description continues. “But first you must reach Holmgard to warn the King of Sommerlund of the gathering evil…”

Cluemaster Mini Sudoku Volume 1 ($1.99)

It’s regular Sudoku puzzles using 2 x 3 boxes — “but that doesn’t mean that they’re all easy!” But I’ve find that it’s sometimes more enjoyable to solve Sudoku puzzles when you’re only working with the digits between 1 and 6! This game was created by the Cluemaster, the same company that supplies newspaper puzzles to the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Telegraph, and their Kindle version offers 100 different puzzles with four different difficulty levels. (There’s Gentle, Moderate, Tough…and then Diabolical!) And Cluemaster is also offering a collection of 100 original Sudoku puzzles, plus two other 100-puzzle Kindle games offering more variations

Cluemaster Jigsaw Volume 1
It’s like regular Sudoku — with a twist! The nine digit-boxes aren’t arranged in squares. Instead, they’re clustered together into different “irregular shapes!”

Cluemaster Kakuro Volume 1
There’s some missing digits in the grid, along with mathematical clues about what the total would be if you added all the digits together!

Meanwhile, another company called “16 Hands” has released Doodle for Kindle is one of the most original new games that I’ve seen. You use the Kindle’s controller to sketch a line across the screen — so it’s basically a drawing application! “This reminded me of Etch A Sketch,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon. “With the 5-way, you can move a pixel around on the screen to make a sketch…” And there’s also another new Kindle game with “Doodle” in its title – called Doodle Fit — which is more of a conventional game. In Doodle Fit, you arrange different-sized blocks until they’ve create the target pattern that’s been supplied (as a “doodle.”) And until midnight on Monday, it’s on sale for just 99 cents!

Don’t forget about Jigsaw Words, the new free word game that Amazon released in August. I’d describe it as a “refrigerator magnet” game, where there’s parts of words scattered across different “puzzle pieces,” and you match them up to create a complete set of words, united by a single theme. (For example: birthday parties.) The game starts out easy, but according to at least one five-star review on Amazon, “Some really are a challenge for adults!”

I think the most interesting title for a new Kindle game is Ghostboy and the Nameless Grave. It describes itself as “An Interactive Children’s Book for Kindle,” and I’m really impressed by its funny, elegant graphics. (The size of the game file is 4.6 megabytes). On his birthday, a little boy named Tristan is haunted by a little ghost girl, and the game’s description on Amazon promises that as its four-part story unfolds, “your child explores a town full of mysteries on the night before Halloween.”

Deathtrap Dungeon

There’s barbarians, potions, and a magical ring of wishes in this new “Fighting Fantasy” adventure. (The game was created by Worldweaver, who also produced The Citadel of Chaos and Warlock on Firetop Mountain.) Like the other games, it was based on a popular series of books from the 1980s, and the Kindle version “is totally faithful to the original,” according to one review on Amazon. (“So if you liked the original, including the illustrations, it’s exquisitely reproduced, leaving nothing out.”) It looks like fun, at least judging by the game’s description on Amazon. “In Deathtrap Dungeon, you adventure in the medieval fantasy land of Allansia, where a twisted Baron has set up a great contest which consists primarily of trying to survive the diabolical traps and vicious monsters in the deadly labyrinth, Deathtrap Dungeon. So far, none have survived to lay claim to the prize, but that was before you came along.”

And there’s also two new “application” offerings that were released last month for the Kindle. TakeNote is basically a memo pad for your Kindle, which (according to its description) “lets you jot down whatever is on your mind quickly and easily.” And Finance Manager offers a financial calendar with alerts about bills which are coming due — plus 12 different “financial calculators” that can crunch the numbers on mortgages, the rates for long-term loans (using both compounding and simple interest), and even one for calculating your credit card payments!

Back in June I’d written that there were now over 100 games available for the Kindle. And then 10 more new games came along in July. So we’re up to at least 129 games for the Kindle now. In facst, there’s so many more new games, I’m wondering how long it will be before there’s finally 200 games available for the Kindle!

How Many Kindles Are There?

Cartoon stock market chart showing Sales are going up

A new financial analysis just reached a startling conclusion: That within five years, there will be 53.87 million Kindles (and other digital readers) in the world. “That’s a lot of e-reader devices,” says the Tech Journal South, a North Carolina magazine which bills itself as “the technology business publication for the Southeast region…” They argue that it’s not just books, but also newspapers and magazines that will soon be re-defining themselves for the coming digital age (plus the aftermath of a bad economy).

Of course, that begs another question that’s even more immediate: how many Kindles are there now? Amazon’s never released the number, but Business Week got an estimate from a research firm called ThinkEquity. They concluded that just last year Amazon may have sold “more than 8 million” Kindles — saying the Kindle probably accounted for 5% of all of Amazon’s 2010 revenue. And in 2009, one technology blog cited “a source close to Amazon” who reported that by December of 2009, Amazon had sold a total of 3 million Kindles.

If those two numbers are correct, then Amazon would have sold more than 11 million Kindles by January of 2011. (Another analyst reached a similar conclusion — estimating that last year Amazon sold 7.1 million Kindles.) But he also predicted that the number of Kindles sold would double by the end of 2011! It was at Barclays — the world’s 10th-largest banking and finance company — where analyst Doug Anmuth made the prediction: that Amazon would sell 12.3 million new Kindles this year. If he’s right, that would soon bring the total number of Kindles up to 23.3 million by the end of this December!

And then I stumbled across what’s probably the most interesting statistic of all. E-book reader sales are tripling every year — according to the chief marketing officer at a company that manufactures the “e-ink” displays (used by digital readers like the Kindle). Speaking at a conference in Silicon Valley, Sriram Peruvemba (of E Ink Holdings) said “This technology has already emerged and it is in the mass market.” He’s got some real statistics to back it up — Last year his company generated sales of $650 million, and this year they’re predicting their revenues will surpass $1 billion. And the market research firm which held the conference even estimated that this year we’d see sales of close to 27 million Kindles and Nooks and other devices with e-ink screens.

I think it’s time to accept the fact that we’re seeing a revolution. (About 12% of the population already has a digital reader, according to an article in Venture Beat, vs. 8% with a tablet computer and 83% with a cellphone.) They also offered at least one tangible technical reasons for the popularity of the e-ink format. A device with an LCD screen expends 26% of its power on its screen — versus just 5% for the display on an e-book reader.

But my favorite part was their predictions for a future where e-ink screens aren’t used just for digital readers. Sriram Peruvemba says they could also be used for digital watches, cellphones, and even perfume bottles. One of the most interesting ideas is an electronic music stand that could display different pages of sheet music. And of course, it’s only a matter of time before even our public schools start thinking about the possibility of digital textbooks.

The Kindle is here to stay – and as time goes on, it’s only going to get even more popular…

Where Can You Buy New Kindles?

AT&T Store (inside)

A funny thing happened when I called my local AT&T store. “AT&T doesn’t carry the Kindle,” their sales clerk told me. (Adding “Sorry about that…”) But he was contradicted by a new press release on AT&T’s web site. Five months ago, in March, Amazon started distributing their 3G Kindle through the thousands of AT&T Stores across America. And yesterday represented another step forward, as AT&T Stores also began carrying the Kindle with Special Offers!

I’m assuming the sales clerk just made a mistake at my local AT&T store. (Even though when I went down to the store, another sales clerk told me the same thing.) She even checked with her manager, and then came back with the same response. “We haven’t heard anything,” she told me. Then she suggested I try Barnes and Noble!

Now I was sure she was confused. But AT&T representative explained that it was just as much my mistake. “That’s an affiliate store,” explained AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom. While they’re an “authorized retailer,” they’re not necessarily selling every product that you’d find in an official AT&T Store. So while they’re Kindle is available at over 2,200 AT&T Stores around the country – it may not be available if your local store is just an AT&T affiliate.

In fact, there’s so many places where you can go to buy a Kindle now, that I’m starting to lose track! In the U.S., they’re available in the chains of big “box stores” like Target, Staples, Best Buy, and Radio Shack. In Australia, the same thing is happening, with the Kindle available for purchase in three more big chains — Dick Smith, Big W, and Woolworths. And it was just last August that Amazon finally opened an online store for the U.K.. “Previously, UK Kindle owners had to get their device shipped from the US,” remembers a British newspaper, “with subsequent book purchases retailed in dollars!”

Of course, AT&T has a special stake in the Kindles, since they’re also providing the network coverage for the 3G Kindle. Amazon pays AT&T between $3 and $4 a month for every Kindle that connects to their network, according to an estimate by one New York technology analyst. (And in addition, throughout America, AT&T is also the exclusive network provider for both the Nook and the Sony Reader.) This means that behind the scenes, most of the ebooks that are delivered to digital readers are travelling across AT&T’s network. And they’ve already created a page on the AT&T web site with their own pitch for the Kindle 3G

Read longer, less eye strain
True mobility – Only 8.7 ounces so you can take it anywhere
Long battery life
Kindle eBook store – More than 900,000 books…plus periodicals, blogs, and over 1.8 million free out-of-copyright books
Read to me – New experimental Text-to-Speech feature in selected eBooks reads English language content out loud
Kindle Book lending…

I don’t know why I felt so happy when I heard there’d be more Kindle appearing in my local AT&T store. Maybe it’s because it just makes it easier for more people to join in on the fun of owning a Kindle.

That is, if AT&T can actually get the Kindles into their store!

AT&T Store (sign)

Reactions to Amazon’s Newest Ad for the Kindle

Amazon's new Friends Kindle TV commercial with 3500 books

How much has Amazon spent on TV ads for the Kindle? Just last year, they spent over $82 million, according to an article in Ad Week magazine. That’s more than four times what they’d spent the year before — just $19 million, according to the magazine. And Amazon’s apparently spending plenty of money in 2011, too, since I just saw the third ad in that series where two friends discover the advantages of owning a Kindle — a young woman and a young man.

“That is a giant purse.”

“This can hold two books, two newspapers, three magazines. Pretty great, huh?”

“Yeah. My Kindle holds up to 3,500 books. (Stacks of book begin appearing.) Magazines, newspapers — and it only weighs eight and a half ounces.”

“Yeah, but… Then I wouldn’t get to carry my giant purse. (He looks at her dubiously.) Can I see that?”




You can watch the new ad, plus all of Amazon’s other Kindle ads, at the Kindle’s page on YouTube (at ). It’s a funny ad — but it’s even funnier if you read the comments that people have left below the video!

“I guess the Kindle gave up on competing with the IPad, and decided to take on purses.”

Another viewer was skeptical of the ad — but for an entirely different reason. (“I’m asking myself if that’s actually 3.500 books that they put up there…”) And several commenters had apparently located Amazon’s Kindle video just to ask questions about its production. “YO KINDLE,” posted one user, “Every single one of your ‘Friends’ ads has the same song as well as the ‘Pool’ ad. And on every single video, you’ve got tons of people dying to know the name of the song. Just tell us already!!!”

I’m assuming it’s original song — played on a xylophone — that was written just for Amazon’s Kindle ad. But at least three other commenters had an even more burning question.

“PLEASE tell me who that josh duhamel look alike is.”

“I don’t like eReaders, but what I’m more focused on is that dude.”

“I have such a crush on that guy ;)”

At least one comment was directed towards the other actor. (“i want a kindle because she’s hot…”) But overall, it’s a fun collection of different reactions to Amazon’s ad. Of course, not every one of them was positive. (“So last-year. And Apple-ish. But good. Shame….”) And another viewer also detected the resemblance to the “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ads — posting “Nice homage to the old Apple ads.”

But his bigger issue was just more of a general suggestion for the publishing industry. When you buy a printed book, he argued, the publisher should bundle the ebook with it — for example, with a “download code” that you could enter to activate the complimentary digital version on your Kindle!

And yet there was at least one commenter who made it clear that they absolutely loved their Kindle. After watching Amazon’s ad, they’d asked one simple question. “How many times does he have to tell her how AWESOME a Kindle is before she finally gets one for herself !!?!!”

“I have the Kindle app for my phone and it is 10x better than the Nook app. I’ll read books on my break at work and just buy a new one when I’m finished with the last one, instaed of having to wait until I get home to pick out a new book.

“LOVE IT !!!!”

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!

Amazon’s Free Kindle Science Fiction Magazine!

Free Kindle Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine cover illustration

It’s “the best fiction magazine in America,” according to Stephen King. And Amazon’s sending it to your Kindle for free!

It’s “Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine,” a legendary collection of short stories and commentary which has been publishing for over 60 years. “Each bimonthly issue offers compelling short fiction,” Amazon explained in a press release, plus ,”the science-fiction field’s most respected and outspoken opinions on books, films, and science.” You can sign up for your free subscription by pointing your web browser to .) And according to Wikipedia, this magazine has a long history of publishing some of the world’s most imaginative authors.

For example, in October of 1978, they began publishing all the Stephen King short stories which would later appear in the first volume of “The Dark Tower”. They published Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (which ran as a serial in 1959 titled “Starship Soldier”). They published the novella “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes, and Harlan Ellison was a regular columnist, contributing short stories like “Jeffty is Five” and “The Deathbird”. And the magazine even published Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron in 1961 — a story which later appeared in the collection “Welcome to the Monkey House”. (It’s set in the year 2081, shortly after the United States passes the 213th amendment to its Constitution mandating absolute equality…)

Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine is “the definitive magazine of the genre,” according to Amazon’s Vice President for Kindle Content. “We know our Kindle customers are huge fans of this category, and we’re excited to offer them a free and exclusive subscription to the magazine to read anywhere.” There is one small caveat. Though each issue of the print edition — published six times a year — has a whopping 256 pages, Amazon’s free offer is for only a smaller “digest edition”. According to Amazon’s press release, subscribers “will get access to all of the magazine’s editorial content – editor’s recommendations, ‘Curiosities’ (odd books of enduring interest), film reviews, book reviews, cartoons and humor, and ‘Coming Attractions’ (highlights of each issue) – along with one short story, all at no cost.”

But you can also sign up your Kindle to receive the full 256-page edition for just 99 cents more — and it’s available exclusively on the Kindle. (Though it’s also available on the Kindle apps for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android devices.) I’m a big fan of science fiction stories, so I’m seroiusly signing up to receive all 1,536 pages each year. I still remember when Stephen King a science fiction story about a Kindle which could receive descriptions of events from the future.

In real life, Stephen King has always been a big fan of the Kindle — and judging by Amazon’s latest press release, he’s even more excited now. When he heard the news about a free version of “Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine,” Stephen King had one more sentence to add.

“Kindle readers are in luck.”

“Toys R Us” Will Sell Kindles!

Toys R Us Kindle gift card

Here’s something I didn’t expect to see. Amazon will start selling Kindles in toy stores! The “Toys R Us” chain has 1,556 outlets around the world — including 840 in the U.S., where they’ll be selling the Kindle and Kindle accessories. “The introduction of Kindle provides another compelling reason for families to visit Toys R Us stores,” a company spokesperson told me on Thursday, “for the best and broadest assortment of products for kids living a digital lifestyle.”

It’s considered the largest single toy retailer in the world, according to Reuters, and their store in Times Square is said to be the world’s single-largest toy store. And if you buy your Kindle there, the toy store will give you a bonus, a company spokesman told me Thursday. “To celebrate…customers purchasing any Kindle will receive a free $10 Toys R Us Gift Card from July 31 through August 6, while supplies last.”

But the significance is obvious: Amazon is positioning the Kindle as a gift for children! “From the department of hook ’em early,” joked a blogger at the Los Angeles Times – but I think it’s part of a deep and meaningful trend. Earlier this month, the government of South Korea declared that they’ll eliminate all printed text books in their state-run schools over the next four years — to replace them all with ebooks. It will cost $2.4 billion, the country’s education minister told the Christian Science Monitor, citing it as part of a project to create “smart schools” which incorporate video, animation, hyperlinks, and even virtual reality into a “digital curriculum.

In fact, hundreds of elementary school students in South Korea are already reading digital textbooks on tablet computers, according to the article. And it may be the first sign of a new role for the Kindle and other digital readers: educating our children. In fact, in Texas, Abilene Christian University is already experimenting with digital textbook. One sophomore told USA Today that his economics textbook somehow became more appealing when it was available in a digital format. (“Just the fact that it’s on the iPad and it’s all on there, makes me a lot more interested.”)

The school launched a “mobile learning” initiative, and 75% of the incoming freshmen said they’d be willing to buy their own tablet if they were able to use them to read more than half of their textbooks. The sophomore said he was already dreading the end of this year’s pilot program, saying that when he had to finally give up the iPad, “It’s going to break my heart.” But this isn’t the only example of ebooks being used in education. There have also been several anecdotes about Kindles being used in American high schools and elementary schools — and even in a pilot program in a village in Africa.

Florida is requiring schools to spend half their textbook money on ebooks within the next three years. And there was a sweet story about a fifth grade class in New York where the students shared eight Kindles. The teacher gushed that it made her students excited about reading, saying “If we can get them excited about reading at this age, it creates a lifelong reader.” And a charity called World Reader brought 440 free Kindles to a village in Africa.

I think Amazon sees this as the next big market for the Kindle. Maybe they’re just looking for a new source of customers so they can keep competing with the Nook. But it’s possible they’ve recognized this
as the future. I think they want to make sure that the next generation gets an early chance to start reading their ebooks on a Kindle.

50% Off Kindle Interactive Fiction!

Dusk World - Amazon Kindle interactive fiction game screenshot

For the next week, eight different Kindle games have been slashed in price by 50%! The sale includes two new games — “Inheritance” and “Affairs of the Court” — both now available for just 99 cents. But Amazon’s also cut the price in half for “Dusk World”, which has always been one of the most expensive Kindle games in Amazon’s store.

I think of Dusk World as Amazon’s game masterpiece — a “noir”-style graphic novel from Amazon Digital Services in which nearly every page of text comes with an original illustration. (For that reason the game’s file size is an enormous 5.2 megabytes, making it one of the largest games in the Kindle store.) It’s a fun detective story about a superhero in jail — he’s imprisoned for a murder which he can’t remember whether he committed. The story is dark and intense, and Amazon even warns in the game’s description that “Dusk World contains content that may be inappropriate for children.” It’s almost like Amazon was trying to invent a new genre for the Kindle — a high-quality interactive choose-your-own-path comic book.

Maybe they were just ahead of their time. But I think Amazon still harbors a secret affection for the “interactive fiction” genre. In a promotional e-mail they sent me Wednesday, instead of describing them as games, Amazon’s calling them “interactive Kindle books”. (“Your choices control the story…” Amazon wrote, “in which multiple plot lines and endings promise a rich reading experience. “) In fact, one of the two new games is “Affairs of the Court” — the first interactive romance novel — in which players control the destiny of “a young noble who comes to court in search of love and power, and catches the sovereign’s eye.” It’s really two games rolled into one — “Choice of Romance” and a sequel, “Choice of Intrigues” — and it’s available for just 99 cents.

The other new game — “Inheritance” — is one of the best-formatted text adventures I’ve ever seen on the Kindle. “I don’t know how to break this to you, but your crazy uncle Ozmo has passed away,” the story begins. “…you must have made a good impression because he’s left you everything in his will.” There’s apparently eight different choices on each screen of the game, though the adventure is a little short (according to one user’s comment). It’s also part of Amazon’s “50% off sale” on interactive fiction, so through July 25 it’s also available for just 99 cents.

Here’s a complete list of all the games which are on sale for the next 10 days.

Affairs of the Court
Dusk World

The Citadel of Chaos
Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Choice of the Broadsides
Choice of the Vampire
Choice of the Dragon

Dusk World - new Amazon Kindle game

The Kindle 4 Will Be Released within 10 Weeks!

Dog licking a Kindle from Amazon TV ad

Some time in the next 10 weeks, Amazon will release two new versions of the Kindle. That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which cites “people familiar with the matter.”

And the even bigger news is their sources confirmed what everybody already suspected. Amazon’s also going to release an iPad-style color touchscreen device, and it’s going to happen before the end of September!

One new Kindle will have a touch-screen, according to the article — while the other Kindle will be “improved and cheaper,” according to the Journal‘s sources. Neither one of the two Kindles will have a color screen, which is kind of a relief. They’ll both still have the familiar e-ink screens that we’ve all gotten so comfortable with.

The tablet will have a nine-inch screen — smaller than the iPad — and I’m assuming it will run the apps that Amazon’s selling in their Android app store. The tablet won’t have a camera, but it will be optimized for the content you can buy at Amazon — like music files, movies and video downloads, and, of course, e-books from the Kindle store. Without a camera, someone suggested in the comments on the article, the device will probably be much cheaper.

“…if i were to guess it feels like Amazon is trying to strip it down and bring it in at the lowest cost possible. They’re more concerned with their core businesses (e-books, video, and a web store) than they are with creating a video chat tool.

The Wall Street Journal didn’t have any more details, but it’s still very exciting news. And I think that excitement bodes well for the prospects for this new Android tablet. I’m not the only one who thinks so, judging by the comments on the article.

“If Amazon can streamline the device and bring it in under $300, I think it’ll sell like hotcakes.”

Click here to read this blog on your Kindle
in a free two-week trial!

Amazon Lowers Prices on Kindle!

Kindle 3G with Special Offers - an Amazon sale discount of 139

“Our best ever Kindle at a new low price!” Amazon announced today on the front page at For $139, you can now get a Kindle with a 3G wireless internet connection — saving $50 over the usual cost of a Kindle 3G. Of course, it’s the “Kindle with Special Offers,” where the screen savers are slick images advertising the device’s sponsors. But Amazon had been selling this model for $169, so it’s still a new savings of $25.

My theory? Google released their own digital reading device on Monday — and they priced it at $139. It’s a price war — where consumers benefit — and the rivalry between the two companies probably means that we’ll all pay a lot less for our next new Kindle.

In a statement today, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos shared “A big thank you to AT&T for helping to make the new $139 price possible.” (AT&T is the sponsor of the device, and they said today that the Kindle is “by far the fastest-growing connected device on the AT&T network.”) But Amazon’s CEO also revealed some interesting statistics — suggesting that the wireless capability increases sales for both Amazon and AT&T. “Kindle 3G customers read 20 percent more books, and take advantage of twice as many special offers.”

I already know the advantages, and it really is great to have a Kindle that can connect to Amazon’s store anywhere, any time. But it was fun to watch Amazon try to explain it to new customers who might be contemplating a purchase. “There’s no wireless set up, and no paying for or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots,” they wrote in today’s press release. “Kindle 3G’s always-on global wireless connectivity means that wherever you are – at the beach, on the train, or stuck on the tarmac – no problem, you can download books and periodicals in less than 60 seconds and start reading instantly!”

I didn’t realize the device had its own shortcut at Just point your browser to and Amazon delivers the web page about their top-end Kindle. They shared this URL in their press release, but unfortunately it’s the wrong one! That’s the URL for the ad-free version of the Kindle — while it’s only the Kindle 3G with special offers that’s been reduced in price to just $139.

Fortunately, somewhere in Amazon’s headquarters there’s a geek who’s created another shortcut to send shoppers in the right direction. I discovered this morning that there’s a second URL — — which will take you directly to Amazon’s web page for the new specially-priced Kindle 3G with Special Offers.

Nook vs. Kindle – the Battle Heats Up

Amazon two-screen Kindle Android tablet

Blogger Dave Katz imagines Amazon’s next device

The Nook outsold the Kindle in the first three months of 2011.

That’s according to the research firm IDC — though there’s more to the story. Sales for all digital readers dropped dramatically — by nearly 50% — in the first three months of 2011, according to their analysis, from 6.5 million readers to just 3.3 million. And apparently, it’s normal for sales to drop after the big spike in buying before Christmas.

“IDC analysts blamed the shipment drops on a normal first-quarter seasonality,” notes one article, which also cites “slow economic conditions and supply constraints” as a possible reason for the slow-down in sales. But the research firm is still predicting 16.2 million readers will be shipped in 2011 — 24% more than the year before. “IDC sees the first quarter as an aberration, with e-reader sales picking up during the remainder of the year.”

There’s two things that make this really interesting. First, IDC says the Nook outsold the Kindle partly because they have a color version of their digital reader. And second, they note that tablets with an Android operating system actually increased their share of the tablet market to 34% — more than 8.2% higher than it was just three months earlier. Does this suggest Amazon’s future should be a color, Android tablet? If these statistics are true, Amazon’s facing real pressure to deliver an exciting new product when they release their next device.

It’s an anxious environment — filled with eager anticipating, and the delicious mystery of what Amazon will do — and it’s led to new whispers about how the next Amazon device will look. One blogger heard it will have two different screens, an e-ink screen on one side and a color/LCD screen on the other. “File this one under unsubstantiated rumor,” joked blogger Dave Zatz — and reactions to the idea were mixed, judging by the comments left on his site. “This is awesome!” wrote one reader. ” Essentially, it is a hybrid ereader tablet. Perfect for the Amazon brand.”

“Sounds absurd,” wrote a second reader. “If Amazon’s first tablet is dual screen monstrosity, there won’t be a second Amazon tablet.” And another commenter even dubbed it the Franken-Kindle. “This seems like a bad idea and/or hoax. There is no need for Amazon to mess with a good thing…”

“This is a rumor that you can write off as an impossibility…” read a post at another blog called The Kindle Reader. “I’m sure Amazon played with the concept, but I don’t see how they could plan to release one.” But on that site, another comment offered a theory that was even more interesting. “It may simply be that Amazon is developing a tablet that can in fact drive an e-ink panel and an LCD using the same motherboard, firmware, battery, etc.” Of course, they also proposed a third theory. “It may also be that someone at Amazon (Bezos?) is having a bit of fun off the rumormongers.

“I know I would if I were him.”

The Secrets of Amazon’s First Self-Published Million-Seller

Donovan Creed e-book author John Locke

It’s hard not to find this inspiring. Amazon’s only had seven authors who have ever sold one million e-books in their Kindle store. But last week Amazon announced an eighth author had also achieved that milestone — and this time, it’s a little different. Instead of working through a major publishing house, Amazon’s latest million-seller is a self-published author!

As of last week, John Locke has sold 1,010,370 Kindle books, Amazon announced — and he did it using Amazon’s own Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Locke said (in Amazon’s press release) that the platform “has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the book selling industry. Calling it “the greatest friend an author can have,” he said “Not only did Kindle Digital Publishing give me a chance, they helped at every turn.”

It’s always exciting to see someone strike it rich, seeing all of their dreams coming true. Last week the Associated Press asked Locke if he’d want to sign a deal with a major publisher, but Locke casually
insisted that no, “It just wouldn’t be fun for me.” Instead he said breezily that he liked the idea “of being able to walk away from writing if it stops being fun.” And he’s just published another e-book offering the secrets to his success — called “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!”

Yes, five months — if the book’s title is to be believed. “John Locke has sold more than 1,000,000 eBooks by word of mouth!” reads an announcement on the author’s web site. “All this was achieved PART TIME, without an agent, publicist, and at virtually no marketing expense!” he adds in the description for a new book. And in its introduction, Locke lists out some equally impressive accomplishments.

For example, he’s the first self-published author to reach the #1 spot on Amazon’s best-seller’s list — and the first to hold both #1 and #2 at the same time! In fact, at one point he had four books in the top 10 — and he’s also had seven books in the top 34 simultaneously, and eight books in the top 50. “These numbers are not positions within a category,” John writes in his new book. “They are positions that include all Kindle sales including fiction, non-fiction, magazine subscriptions, and game apps!” Locke writes that by the middle of March, “it had been calculated that ‘every 7 seconds, 24 hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world.'”

Ironically, his book opens with a boilerplate disclaimer. (“Names, characters, places and incidnets are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.”) But it’s an exciting story for anyone who’s ever considered writing an e-book. Between September of 2010 and March of 2011, Locke’s monthly Kindle sales went from 63 e-books…to 369,115. And when he released “Vegas Moon,” it jumped to the #3 spot on Amazon’s best-seller list within just two weeks.

But the numbers aren’t the real story, and it’s even more inspiring to read Locke’s perspective about how the world of book publishing is changing. He describes the publishing industry as “high school on steroids” — where beautiful people hold the upper hand over everyone else. (In this case, through expensive newspaper ads promoting their books, along with in-store book displays and carefully-arranged promotional reviews.) “As a self-published author, I’m boxed out of these marketing opportunities,” he notes. “Worse, I can’t afford to offer my my print books as cheaply as they can…! I’d like to complete, but it’s hard to beat the home team on a playing field that’s hopelessly slanted against you!”

“eBooks allow a guy like me an opportunity to level the playing field.”

Maybe it’s more proof that the world really is changing — already — due to the popularity of the digital readers like the Kindle. It seems like more and more authors are now starting to cross that magic line: one million e-books sold. Three more authors joined the “Kindle Million Club” in just the first week of June, and within two weeks Amazon was announcing that this fourth author had joined them. Maybe there’s just more people this year who are finally able to buy e-books.

Last week, the signs seemed pretty clear. Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle content even issued a statement, saying “It’s so exciting that self-publishing has allowed John Locke to achieve a milestone like this. We’re happy to see Kindle Direct Publishing succeeding for both authors and customers and are proud to welcome him to the Kindle Million Club.” But meanwhile, Locke himself continues writing away on his personal blog on the internet, sharing a peek into the mind of one of the eight most-successful Kindle authors of all time. His latest slogan?

“You only notice the ones who are breaking the rules!”

100 Games for the Kindle!

100 games for the Kindle
I couldn’t believe it. I checked the best-seller lists at, and discovered that there’s now over 100 games that are available for the Kindle — including eight free ones! Monday two more new games arrived in the Kindle store — including the really attractive “Fortune Teller.” (“Your Fortune Told on Kindle…”) But it’s part of a new trend, as different kinds of “active digital content” start appearing in the Kindle store. I’ve assembled a complete list of everything that’s available in the store’s “games” section — and discovered a few surprises.

For example, there’s now also another “game” that provides daily horoscopes, and one that helps you convert measurements — like miles to kilometers. Wednesday a new “reference title” showed up with recipes for cocktails. Another “game” lists the calories in popular fast food meals, and there’s another one which turns your Kindle into a stopwatch. There’s an appointment/calendar book, and of course the Notepad and “Sticky Notes” applications. There’s even educational flashcards for kids, plus other educational games (including one from the Scripps National Spelling Bee).

Instead of entertainment, these games are offering actual information in an interactve format. (If you’re taking your Kindle on the road, it could really come in handy!) It shows the variety of active content that’s now available in a Kindle-ready format, and it reminds me of hodgepodge of tempting apps that are available in Apple’s app store. In fact, with all these “useful” applications, it’s nice to see new games being released that are still just plain fun.

Kee-Ko’s Quest — also released Monday — has some delightfully simple graphics. There’s a bug-eyed, smiling robot named Kee-ko (who looks more like a toy car) happily traveling down a track at a factory. Players nudge the five-way controller to move Kee-Ko — and the other robots blocking her way — as she tries to reach the right side of each screen to re-unite with her long-lost robot boyfriend (named F4R4W4Y). I really liked how this game involves a character and a story, instead of just numbers and letters and abstract challenges…

But it also proves how quickly new games are arriving Amazon’s Kindle store. Two weeks ago Amazon released a new game called Pirate Stash — less than three weeks after their last new game, Thread Words! And it seems like the new games are also getting more complicated. Pirate Stash has nearly 120 different brain-teaser puzzles, enough to keep you busy for quite a while! (Pirate Stash isn’t free, but Amazon will send you a free sample with the first 15 puzzles.)

“Fortune Teller” is another example of a seemingly-simple idea with a sophisticated implementation. I loved its graphics — though I remain skeptical as to whether it can truly predict the future. The amazing “Hectar” provides one new prediction a day through a crystal ball on each of five topics — love, money, career, life, and friendship. And the game actually comes with three completely different “modes” of fortune telling — including the more traditional fortune cookie. (“Only 3 cookies can be opened a day so choose wisely.”) And there’s also a “Mystic Pyramid” which works like the Magic Eight Ball, promising “you can merely think a question and pressing the enter key…will give you an answer to the question. Ask as many times as you like!”

Last week saw the release of a new variation on Sudoku called Futoshiki, and there’s also a new text-based “choose your adventure” story called “Choice of the Vampire.” But I realized games were finally catching on for the Kindle when I convinced my friend Len Edgerly (who hosts The Kindle Chronicles podcast) to give Monopoly a try. “I have become a fan of Monopoly,” he admitted in last week’s show. (Adding “I don’t know whether to thank you for that or curse you for it.”) But I think he put his finger on exactly why it can be so enjoyable to play a game on the Kindle. “It’s a very pleasing way to take a break from whatever I’m doing — to move my little hat icon around the board…”

I’ve become almost an evangelist for games on the Kindle — and if you’ve never tried one, you’ll always wonder what you’re missing. So to help you try one, I’ve assembled a complete list of all the games currently available on the Kindle — along with their taglines in the Amazon store, and their current price.

Kee-Ko’s QuestA Puzzle for Kindle ($1.99)

“Fortune Teller”Your Fortune Told on Kindle ($1.99)

EA Texas Hold’emPlay the Popular Poker Game ($3.99)

Pirate StashA Puzzle Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Wordoku Unbound #1A Puzzle Collection (99 cents)

ScrabblePlay the Popular Word Game on Kindle ($4.99)

Word SearchA Word Game for Kindle (99 cents)

EA Solitaire12 Card Games to Play on Kindle ($3.99)

NotepadA Note Taking Tool for Kindle (99 cents)

Calendar ProA Schedule Tool for Kindle (99 cents)

CalendarA Schedule Tool for Kindle (99 cents)

Sudoku Unbound #1A Puzzle Collection ($2.99)

Mahjong SolitaireA Matching Game for Kindle ($3.99)

Sticky NotesA Note Taking Tool (99 cents)

Maze A ThonA Game for Kindle (99 cents)

CalculatorA Calculator for Kindle (99 cents)

Snakes and Ladders gameA Game for Kindle (99 cents)

SlingoA Game for Kindle ($3.99)

CheckersA Classic Game for Kindle (99 cents)

CheckersA Classic Game for Kindle (99 cents)

CodeWordCodewords and Cryptograms for Kindle (99 cents)

MonopolyPlay the Popular Board Game on Kindle ($4.99)

ChessA Classic Game for Kindle ($2.99)

Hangman 4 KidsA Kindle Word Game for Children ($1.99)

NY Times Crosswords Vol. 130 World Famous Easy Puzzles ($1.99)

Word Search Volume 2A Word Game for Kindle (99 cents)

EA SudokuPlay Sudoku on Kindle ($3.99)

Easy CalculatorA Calculator for Kindle (99 cents)

Blocked – Rescue the Block! – A Game for Kindle (99 cents)

NY Times Crosswords Vol. 290 World Famous Easy Puzzles) ($4.99)

Next Puzzle GameA Matching Game for Kindle (99 cents)

Stopwatch and TimerA Time Keeping Tool for Kindle (99 cents)

My Yoga StudioA Yoga Partner on Kindle ($1.99)

ConverterEasy Conversions for Kindle (99 cents)

HangmanA Word Game for Kindle ($2.99)

Triple TownA Puzzle Strategy Game for Kindle ($3.99)

CalendarAppointments, Birthdays, Holidays and Sticky Notes – A Schedule Tool for Kindle (99 cents)

Tic Tac ToeA Classic Game for Kindle (99 cents)

Peg SolitaireA Classic Solitaire Game for Kindle (99 cents)

Scripps Spelling Bee: Word GamesA Word Game for Kindle ($2.99)

FutoshikiA Logic Puzzle for Kindle (99 cents)

The Warlock of Firetop MountainA Fighting Fantasy Adventure ($3.99)

Jumble, 200 PuzzlesA Word Scramble Game ($4.99)

Flip It!A Game for Kindle (99 cents)

Choice of the DragonA Text-Based Adventure ($1.99)

Word SoupA Word Game for Kindle – ($1.99)

True BackgammonA Classic Board Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Anywhere AbsA Workout Partner on Kindle ($1.99)

Flash Cards: Basic Math for KidsA Learning Tool for Kindle ($2.99)

StrimkoA Logic Game for Kindle ($2.99)

Panda PoetA Word Game for Kindle ($2.99)

NY Times Crosswords Vol. 330 World Famous Challenging Puzzles ($1.99)

Flash Cards: Fractions for KidsA Learning Tool for Kindle ($2.99)

Fast Food Calories – Calorie CounterA Reference Tool for Kindle ($1.99)

Daily Horoscopes 2011 – 2012Your Daily Horoscope on Kindle ($2.99)

Spelling StarA Learning Game for Kindle ($2.99)

NY Times Crosswords Vol. 530 World Famous Easy Puzzles ($1.99)

Anywhere LegsA Workout Partner on Kindle ($1.99)

24-7 Spanish – VocabularyA Language Trainer ($3.99)

Choice of the VampireA Text-Based Adventure ($2.99)

NY Times Crosswords Vol. 490 World Famous Challenging Puzzles ($4.99)

Peg SolitaireA Puzzle Game for Kindle (99 cents)

Jumble, 50 PuzzlesA Word Scramble Game ($2.49)

Choice of BroadsidesA Text-Based Adventure ($1.99)

24-7 Spanish – Basic PhrasesA Language Trainer ($3.99)

The Citadel of ChaosA Fighting Fantasy Adventure ($3.99)

Ultimate Music QuizA Trivia Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Dusk WorldAn Interactive Fiction Game ($2.99)

Diamond Crosswords – 50 Easy Puzzles – A Word Puzzle for Kindle (99 cents)

Match GeniusA Memory Puzzle Game ($2.99)

Jumble, 20 PuzzlesA Word Scramble Game (99 cents)

Brain Bump LiteratureA Trivia Game for Book Lovers (99 cents)

Rockin ReversiA Classic Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Ultimate Movie QuizA Trivia Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Symdoku Unbound #1A Puzzle Collection ($2.99)

Flash Cards: Alphabet and Spelling for KidsA Learning Tool for Kindle ($1.99)

NY Times Crosswords Vol. 630 World Famous Challenging Puzzles ($1.99)

Reversi DeluxeA Classic Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Letter LandersAn Early Reader Game for Kindle ($2.99)

24-7 German – VocabularyA Language Trainer ($3.99)

24-7 Italian – Basic PhrasesA Language Trainer ($3.99)

24-7 French – Basic PhrasesA Language Trainer ($3.99)

Ultimate Nature QuizA Trivia Game for Kindle ($1.99)

24-7 Italian – VocabularyA Language Trainer ($3.99)

Spelling Star Spanish EditionA Learning Game for Kindle ($3.99)

24-7 French – VocabularyA Language Trainer ($2.99)

24-7 German – Basic PhrasesA Language Trainer ($3.99)

Ultimate Sci-Fi QuizA Trivia Game for Kindle ($1.99)

Tower of HanoiKindle Edition (99 cents)

Cat Jump – Interactive Puzzle for Kindle (99 cents)

Cocktail MixerA Reference Title for Kindle ($1.99)

BlossomA Puzzle for Kindle

InheritanceA Text Adventure for Kindle

Free Kindle Games From Amazon

Thread WordsA Free Word Game for Kindle

Dots and BoxesA Free Game for Kindle

Every WordA Free Game for Kindle

BlackjackA Free Game for Kindle

Number SlideA Free Game for Kindle

Shuffled RowA Free Game for Kindle

Video PokerA Free Game for Kindle

MinesweeperA Free Game for Kindle

Is the Kindle Good for the Environment?

Is the Amazon Kindle good for the environment

Last week in Seattle, Amazon held their annual shareholder’s meeting, and since it was also being web-cast I decided to sneak a listen. One of the very first things on the agenda was a shareholder’s request that Amazon report on how it’s handling climate change — how Amazon assesses its own impact through the release of greenhouse-gas emissions. And specifically: the environmental impact of the Kindle…

The measure was voted down — the same shareholders have apparently made the same request every year for the last five years — but I was surprised by one of the statistics they cited. “70% of S&P 500 companies and over 80% of Global 500 companies disclose this type of information through the Carbon Disclosure Project, including companies such as Google, eBay, Apple, and Target.” But it turns out Amazon’s CEO had already included some environmental information in his prepared remarks.

Jeff Bezos took the podium, and proudly talked about how Amazon had launched their “frustration-free packaging initiative” just a few years ago, “designed to eliminate wire twist ties, blister packs, and
those clear hard plastic packages that you need a small nuclear device to open. And usually they result in bleeding.” I was surprised, but it turns out he wasn’t kidding about the bleeding. “I use to know the statistic of how many emergency room visits there are per year from people trying to open blister packs.”

But more to the point: “It’s very frustrating as a consumer.”

And then Jeff Bezos schooled the audience, revealing the dirty secrets behind blister packs and elaborate four-color cardboard packaging. “They’re both designed for the traditional physical retail environment. The blister packs are important because you can see the product and seeing the product is part of on-shelf merchandising. And you often see small items in big blister packs. The reason that that’s done is to make shoplifting more difficult.”

“At Amazon we don’t need either of those. We don’t have either of those reasons. We get to separate the physical packaging of the item from the merchandising of the item. And we also don’t have to worry about shoplifting!”

The funny thing is that according to Bezos, it’s actually more expensive for manufacturers to add blister packs — so Amazon is working with manufacturers to create a different set of packaging for online shoppers. (Otherwise, as Bezos points out, “It’s expensive for the manufacturer, it’s inconvenient for the consumer, and it’s also very wasteful from an environmental point of view.”) Since Amazon launched this program in 2008, they’ve gone from just 250,000 items in frustration-free packaging to over 4 million, Bezos told his shareholders. “And this, by the way, does not include Amazon-branded items like the Kindle or our Amazon Basics line, which are also in frustration-free packaging,” he pointed out. “These numbers only represent our efforts working together with third-party manufacturers to get them to adopt our frustration-free packaging standards.”

Of course, Kindle owners probably care more about the answer to a more direct question: How many e-books do I have to read before I’ve saved a tree? Last year it was the subject of an article by Geoffrey Lean, a newspaper reporter identified by the Daily Telegraph as Britain’s longest-serving environmental correspondent. (He’s been reporting on the environment for almost 40 years). Lean reported there’s two theories about whether the Kindle (and other digital readers) are environmentally-friendly.

Gadget-lovers point out that the US printed word causes 125 million trees to be felled every year. The bookish retort that the e-readers take more energy to make, consume electricity, contain more chemicals, and create a greater waste problem when thrown away.

The real answer appears to hinge on how many books you read each year, Lean concludes, with different studies arriving at different answers. “One reckoned that you would have to get through 40 electronically each year to come out ahead, another made that 23, while a third concluded that the carbon produced in making each e-reader would be recovered by the trees it left standing in just 12 months.” His final answer was a little dissatisfying — that the greenest way to read “turns out to be old-fashioned. Get books – from a public library.”

And I’d argue it still remains an open question — since it still depends on how far you’ll drive to get to your public library!

Nook vs Kindle: Did Consumer Reports Make a Mistake?

Consumer Reports logo

I’ve been studying a new article by Consumer Reports which just went online Friday. “In a first, a Nook beats the Kindle in our e-book reader Ratings,” they announced in a bold-print headline.

They’re talking about the new touch-screen version of the Nook (which finally went on sale last week). “The Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader is more than merely a worthy competitor to the Kindle…” writes Consumer Reports reviewer, Paul Reynolds. “Now that we’ve tested the device in our labs, it actually scores a few points above the Kindle in our tests.”

Except not really. The article looks like it was changed later by a proofreader, who’s added the phrase “[corrected]” at one point further down the page. And now in brackets, in the third sentence of the article,
there’s a pretty big disclaimer. “[To clarify: The Nook scores one point above the Kindle below it in the 6-to-7-inch category. But it ranges from 4 to 5 points higher than other Kindles.]”

I’m not sure what “other” Kindles they’re talking about, since the only Kindle I know that’s isn’t six inches is the Kindle DX (which hasn’t been updated in almost a year). There’s also the cheaper “Kindle with Special Offers” and the WiFi-only Kindle — but that’s not really a fair comparison. (Obviously consumers already know what trade-offs they’ve made in order to get the lower price.) And of course, Amazon has stopped selling the Kindle 2 and the original Kindle, so there’s not much point in telling today’s consumers how those devices would’ve stacked up. It looks to me this comparison is a tie — especially since Amazon has announced later this year they’ll add the ability to borrow e-books from a library. The Nook was awarded a point for already having this capability, so it’s an advantage which is going to be short-lived.

I was also really intrigued that Consumer Reports didn’t award the Nook any extra points for the supposedly longer battery life that Barnes and Noble had been claiming they’d achieved. “Despite a power struggle between B&N and Amazon over which device runs for longer, we give both equal credit for a claimed battery life of five days or more,” their reviewer writes. In fact, for several criteria, it’s a tie (including battery life), and I’ve heard that the Kindle apparently beat the Nook when the magazine rated the devices on “Versatility”. One person who’s seen the ratings told me the Nook only scored higher for supported file types, and for the way that the Nook handles page turns.

And yet both the Kindle and the Nook received the magazine’s “Best Buy” rating. (Consumer Reports notes the latest version of the Nook “continues the steady improvement in Barnes & Noble’s e-book devices since the company rushed out a glitchy first version…during the holiday season of 2009.”) So now they’re reporting that “Simple Touch” Nook “matches or bests – albeit modestly – its Amazon competitor in almost every aspect of performance. ” This comparison ultimately shows that the Nook hasn’t landed a knock-out punch to Amazon’s Kindle project.

It’s more interesting as a general comparison, a status check on the war that’s raging between these two devices. “B&N has caught up with the Kindle in large part by emulating Amazon’s focus on reading with minimal fuss and extra features,” writes Consumer Reports, noting the new Nook eliminated the color navigation screen below the reading area (as well as the easy access to the Nook’s web browser). “As a result, it (like the Kindle) successfully “gets out of the way and disappears and lets you get on with your reading,” as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in praise of the Kindle during my interview with him last month.” But in the mean time, rumors are flying about the pending release of a new color touchscreen tablet device from Amazon. I’m half-expecting Amazon to announce a new version of the Kindle at the same time — so Consumer Reports may have to perform a new comparison soon.

To be fair, I’ll admit that there are things I like about the Nook. I was talking to my friend Len Edgerly again this week, and I acknowledged that it’s obviously easier to point at a choice on a menu than to first nudge your controller through each of the other choices above or below it! Although if you’re trying to look up a word, apparently you first get only an intermediate menu when you point at a word on the Nook’s screen, where you then have to indicate again that what you want is the word’s definition. But I also like the two-column layout of the Nook’s home page. (And yes, it does look easier to navigate the device just by touching the screen.)

But I’m still a big fan of my Kindle.

Amazon’s Giving Away a $1,000 Gift Card!

Amazon Kindle gift card
It’s Amazon’s big finish. For nearly two months, they’ve been giving away prizes on Facebook — each one an example of something that’s eligible for Amazon’s “Prime” shipping program. The first gift was an Android tablet (made by Motorola), and they’ve also given away an expensive camera, an X-Box, and of course, a Kindle. The prizes were offered in alphabetical order, and this week, they’re up to the Z’s.

So this morning, Amazon announced that Z stood for the “Zillions of things” you can buy at And the lucky winner of their last Facebook give-away will receive a $1,000 gift card…

To enter, just point your web browser to (Amazon requests your name, e-mail address, and a phone number.) But no matter who wins, it’s been fun to read the comments people left on Amazon’s Facebook page. “What would you use it for if you won?” Amazon asked. “How would you spend $1,000 on”

   “DIAPERS!!! About to have a baby in 10 days!!! :)”

   “I’d buy my fiance a tablet & hook our bridal party up w/cute gifts :)”

   “Everything on my amazon wish list that no one else is buying for me”

   “I would buy…my fiance a new guitar, and finally I would get us a couch so we can stop sitting on the floor all the time.”

But a pattern quickly emerged. Even the Facebook user buying the couch also added that “I would buy myself a Kindle and a few ebooks.” In fact, even though Amazon received nearly 1,000 comments since they posted their entry, at least 14% of the comments specifically mentioned the Kindle!

   “Kindle books! Lots and lots of Kindle books….”

   “The possibilities are endless, but it sure would fill up my Kindle fast!!”

   “Kindle books and kitchen stuff! Lol!”

   “Four kindles and running gear”

It’s the ultimate what-if scenario — a shopping spree through Amazon’s endless virtual aisles. But often it was very touching to read the comments that people left. If they won the contest, many of the people hoped to use Amazon’s gift card to buy… gifts, for the other people that they loved.

   “I would buy my wife a wedding ring, since hers no longer fits due to weight loss and the ring is a custom made one that isn’t able to be sized down.”

   “I would gift it to our soup kitchen…”

   “I would get my holiday shopping done early and buy my family nicer presents that I can’t normally afford.

   “Then, of course, I’d treat myself to a Kindle!”

Yes, even as they reached for imaginary gifts in Amazon’s store — the gifts they’d most want to give — it was still the Kindle which kept popping into their minds.

   “a kindle for my friend’s genius kid.”

   “Kindle for my wife and I :)”

   “Kindle for my 8 year old daughter and books. She loves to read…”

   “First, I would get my eldest son a Kindle. After that – who knows!”

   “Kindles for my 3 girls and lots of books. My middle daughter just read 5 books the first week of summer vacation.”

   “I would buy my g-pa the new kindle and MORE BOOKS!”

   “get a kindle for my niece….and lots of books for us both!!!!!!”

   “Kindles for my daughters and books, books, books!!!!!!”

It reminded me of one of my favorite statistics. 47% of the people who own a Kindle say they received it as a gift (according to a study by the vice president of a company which watches the publishing industry). That sentiment was alive and clear in the comments today on Amazon’s Facebook page. A teacher in Kentucky posted she’d use the thousand dollars to buy “Kindles and books for my high school students! I won a grant to buy three Kindles, but an entire classroom set would be AMAZING!”

A woman in Michigan wrote “Kindles for my daughters and grandson, and books for everyone!!! :)”

A woman in Texas vowed she’d buy “Kindles and e-books for the whole family…”

“Books to read over the summer with my son,” posted one mother.”

“books. books, books and more books!” posted a woman in Florida. “oh, and i’d buy my grandma’s birthday gift….which would be a kindle, and some books:)”

Not everyone wanted a Kindle. But ultimately Facebook was still offering small glimpses into people’s lives — and the current state of their dreams.

   “Groceries, times are tough.”


   “…quite possibly this Amazon tablet that I hear may be coming out soon.”


The most poignant comment came from the man who posted that if he won Amazon’s gift card, “I would buy my wife a wedding ring, since hers no longer fits due to weight loss and the ring is a custom made one that isn’t able to be sized down.” But the take-away message from all the comments was that deep down inside, people still spend a lot of time thinking about their Kindles.

   “I would buy a Kindle along with a MOST AMAZING electronic library and my books for the Fall Semester — yes I’m back in school at 50 and loving it! Because I am being all that I can be ! ”

   “I’d finally get a Kindle and buy lots of Agatha Christie!”

   “Kindle Books that I have on my want list.”

   “kindle books and dog food.”

   “A kindle, e-books and a laptop!”

   “A brand new Kindle and a new SLR camera. ”

   “I would purchase another Kindle so that I won’t have to share mind with my grandson…”

   “The possibilities are endless, but it sure would fill up my Kindle fast!!”

The Name “Kindle” — and Other Grammar Games

Amazon's Jeff Bezos on the Kindle

Jeff Bezos doesn’t talk about “the Kindle.” Instead, he seems to say just “Kindle.” I spent an hour listening to the Amazon CEO speaking to shareholders, and I noticed this subtle difference. (“We started working on Kindle almost 7 years ago… When we launched Kindle less than four years ago, we launched Kindle with only 90,000 titles…”) So I went to the Kindle Boards — an online discussion forum about the Kindle — and asked the regulars if it sounded strange to them.

Someone offered a good explanation, that Bezos was referring not just to the device — the Kindle itself — but to Amazon’s entire project. (Like establishing the wireless connections, and creating an Amazon store filled with e-books.) Kindle is a brand — like Volkswagen or Pepsi — so while a single instance could be “my Kindle” (or “my Volkswagen” or “my Pepsi” ), you’re still talking about a larger concept — Volkswagen, Pepsi, and Kindle.

And of course, there were also some other funny responses in the forum.

it’s a great gadget, but it’s not some sort of celestial artifact that can be referred to only as “The Kindle.”

I always refer to it as “My Kindle”. -Just in case anyone gets any ideas about wanting to share

Honestly, around here it’s referred to as “that thing…you know…I read on it…THE THING…”

My Kindle is “Eleanor.”

It’s a question that may come up again. Amazon’s rumored to be building a new tablet-sized color Kindle — and if they do, they’ll have to come up with a good name for it. Today on a blog about Android devices, someone left a comment suggesting that they call it “The KPad.” And that’s probably catchier than if Amazon called it the A-Pad.

Maybe that just illustrates the problems you have trying to make names out of abbreviations. Even the word “blog” is an contraction that’s leftover from the early days of the internet, when online link aggregators were referred to as web logs. I heard that when the word was first coined, someone had joked that if you moved the space, it’d spell “we blog” — and the name stuck! (So does that mean that a Kindle blog is a…..Klog?)

It’s possible to think too much about where names might have come from, and someone once even argued that the name of this blog — “Me and My Kindle” — was terribly ungrammatical. (They posted “My Kindle and I, dummy,” as a comment on this blog’s page at It took four months, but in April someone finally posted the perfect comeback.

“That depends if he is saying ‘My Kindle and I went shopping together,’ or ‘This blog is about Me and My Kindle!'”

Smiling Kindle with a smile on its face

Three Different Authors Sell One Million E-books

Three authors sell one million Kindle e-books - Michael Connelly, Lee Child and Suzanne Collins

It’s been a big week. Monday Amazon announced two more authors passed the one-million mark for sales of their e-books in the Kindle Store. And then Thursday, another author passed the same milestone!

“As a storyteller it brings me particular fulfillment to know so many readers are receiving my work through the Kindle,” said mystery author Michael Connelly. “Added to that, my name is now on a list of an amazing group of writers. I am very proud of this moment.”

Until this week, only four authors had ever sold more than 1 million e-books in the Kindle Store. The first was the late Stieg Larsson (author of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), and he didn’t reach his one millionth sale until July of last year. At the time, Amazon announced three more authors had crossed the 500,000-sales line — mystery authors James Patterson and Charlaine Harris, plus romance novelist Nora Roberts. Each of those authors then reached one million sales over the next 10 months.

              Stieg Larsson (July)
              James Patterson (October)
              Nora Roberts (January of 2011)
              Charlaine Harris (May of 2011)

But now there’s three more names to add to the list.

              Lee Child (June)
              Suzanne Collins (June)
              Michael Connelly (June)

Maybe it’s a sign that there’s more people now who own Kindles, so more e-books are getting purchased (meaning more authors join Amazon’s “Kindle Million Club.”) But there’s also a pattern here — something that some of these authors have in common. This April, Stieg Larsson became the only author to ever sell one million copies of a single e- book. (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”) But his famous mystery was just the first book in a complicated (and inter-linked) trilogy. So Larsson could’ve cracked the one-million-sales threshhold with just 333,333 dedicated fans who’d read each of his three books.

The same is also true for the Kindle’s newest million-selling authors. Suzanne Collins is the author of the “Underland Chronicles” — a five-part series of fantasy novels — plus “The Hunger Games,” a three-part series of “young adult” novels set in a pessimistic future. The first book in that series has already sold 1.5 million print copies (according to Wikipedia), and it stayed on the best-seller list of the New York Times for more than 60 weeks in a row. It’s very possible that some fans are purchasing every book in each series — eight different e-books — which would help push her faster towards the one million mark.

Amazon acknowledged this in a press release Monday. “Our Kindle customers are avid readers of series, and we’re excited to welcome Lee Child and Suzanne Collins to the Kindle Million Club,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content. “With Kindle, readers can finish one book and start reading the next one within 60 seconds – a particularly valuable feature when reading a riveting series…”

But there’s another way to enter the “Kindle Million Club”: write a lot of books! James Patterson wrote 56 different books which were best-sellers (according to Wikipedia), and Nora Roberts has written over 200 romance novels (including a series of 40 books written under her pen name, J.D. Robb). In fact, Nora Roberts wrote four of the best-selling e-books in the Kindle store last year, according to Amazon, and in the first month of 2011 they announced that yes, she’d passed the one million mark with 1,170,53 in sales in the Kindle Store. Mystery author Lee Child has written at least 16 different novels, and Michael Connelly has actually written 17 mysteries just about his fictitious detective, Harry Bosch.

Connelly published yet another new mystery in April — and in March finally saw the release of a movie based on one of his novels. Amazon announced today that “With the recent movie adaptation of Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer and the publication of The Fifth Witness, it’s no surprise to see him join the ranks of other writers of popular series in the Million Club.” The statement came from Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content, who welcomed Connelly into the Kindle Million Club. And it’s been a lot of fun watching the other authors as they issue thankful quotes to Amazon.

“What a lovely and unexpected honor to be in such wonderful company,” announced Suzanne Collins, “and see my books reaching readers in this exciting new format.” And Lee Child had an even more personal story to tell. “I started writing at the same time Amazon first went live, back in 1995,” he remembers in Amazon’s press release, “and it has been a thrill to move forward together through the years and through the generations of new technology.”

“I’m really delighted to have hit this current milestone, and I look forward to many more together.”

Amazon Slashes Prices on E-Books

Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life e-book on sale at Amazon

Amazon’s decided to celebrate summer by selling hundreds of e-books at a discount. “We’re kicking off Kindle Sunshine Deals,” they’re announcing now on, “with over 600 titles on sale for $0.99, $1.99, and $2.99 from numerous bestselling and award-winning authors.” There’s 160 different books that are on sale for just 99 cents, and 480 more that are on sale for less than $3.00. (228 e-books are on sale for just $1.99, and 252 e-books now sell for just $2.99.) “A good book and loads of sun — is there a better way to spend a summer day?” asks a post on Amazon’s Kindle blog.

The sale prices last until midnight on June 15th (PDT), though Amazon launched their special on the first day of June. “The books included in Sunshine Deals are all from small- to mid-sized publishers like Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Sourcebooks, and Tyndale House,” notes one article, adding “As far as we can tell, no e-books published by the ‘big six’ U.S. publishers (which use the agency model, setting their own prices for e-books on Amazon…)” They also make an interesting obvservation — that Amazon is also offering lower prices for pre-orders of two romance e-books (Soldier by Grace Burrowes for $2.99 and Wish You Were Here by Philippa Ashley for $1.99.) “Most book publishers have little experience experimenting with e-book pricing or marketing books directly to customers. We’re guessing that this promotion is serving as a test case for them to try out a range of low prices, particularly on older e-books (or, as in the case of the two books above, on books approaching their publication dates).”

Later an Amazon PR manager confirmed to the web site that the program is “an opportunity for publishers to test compelling pricing coupled with on-site merchandising” (adding “We’re excited about the number of publishers who are participating.” And I have to admit that there’s an interesting variety of books throughout these new bargain-priced titles. For example…

Slaughterhouse Five ($2.99)
Kurt Vonnegut’s classic is now available as a bargain-priced e-book (as is another famous Vonnegut book — Cat’s Cradle.)

My Horizontal Life ($1.99)
Chelsea Handler, the racy talkshow host on E!, tells funny stories about various one-night stands

Casino Royale ($2.99)
Ian Fleming’s original James Bond mystery (which for a while had fallen out of print)

Prince of Tides $2.99
Pat Conroy’s 1986 novel about overcoming a dysfunctional family was made into an Academy Award-winning movie

Promised Land ($1.99)
The fourth mystery in Robert B. Parker’s series of Spenser detective novels

A Death in China ($2.99)
In the early 1980s, Carl Hiaasen and William D. Montalbano wrote what one reviewer called a “fast-paced thriller that captures the real China”

Sophie’s Choice ($2.99)
The original William Styron novel which inspired Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning movie in 1982.

Chaos: Making a New Science ($2.99)
James Gleick’s best-selling study of how science is being revolutionized by the concept of “chaos theory”

Raichlen’s Tailgating! (99 cents)
32 Righteous Recipes for On-the-Go Grilling from Steven Raichlen (the host of PBS’s “Primal Grill” and a former winner on Iron Chef)

In fact, there seems to be a “summer fun” theme running through many of Amazon’s bargain-priced picks. Besides a 99-cent e-book called “Mini Bar: Rum” (and additional 99-cent e-books for Whiskey, Vodka, and Tequila), there’s also a 99-cent e-book called the “Tropical Cocktails Deck” (where each “card” in the deck offers the reader a new drink recipe.) Amazon’s also advertising two books using a similar format — Massage Deck and The Kama Sutra Deck –and there’s even an e-book called XXX Porn for Women by the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Coop, though it’s more of a practical joke. (“Honey, I paid off our mortgage!” reads the caption on one photo of a fully-clothed man — and the book’s sub-title promises female readers that its subjects are not only hunkier, but also “More Helpful Around the House.”) According to the book’s description at, its authors “understand that sometimes a clean kitchen is hotter than a shower scene.” And they’ve also written a second e-book titled Porn for Women of a Certain Age.

There’s also something called Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno by Kazumi Nonaka, which turns out to be a non-fiction study of Japan’s pop culture (described as a “playful and thoroughly researched handbook”)
And surprisingly, Amazon’s list even includes an e-book that’s called Build this Bong: Instruction and Diagrams for 40 Bongs, Pipes, and Hookahs.

But one book I found particularly intriguing was The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book — written by the actor himself. He’s acknowleding a long-standing internet joke, where impossible stunts are attributed to the former action-movie star. (“Chuck Norris counted to infinity twice… Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door… Chuck Norris does not get frostbite; Chuck Norris bites frost!”) “For the past three years, I’ve been asked repeatedly to select my favorite Chuck Norris Facts…” he writes in a prologue. “So, finally, I’m happy to offer the world 101 of my favorite Facts, with my personal reflections on each… They’re sure to provide you with hours of laughter and encouragement.” He’s donating a share of its profits to, his own personal martial arts charity for children. And there’s even an illustration for each one of the 101 facts, followed by Norris’s own response. (Always starting with the words “Let’s be honest…”)

For $2.99, you can finally read Chuck’s own response to story of how he was bitten by a cobra, “and after five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.”

New Magazines for your Kindle

National Geographic magazine subscription on a Kindle screenshot

I’ve been surprised how many new magazines have suddenly come out with Kindle editions. This spring I noticed the arrival of National Geographic magazine, which you can read on your Kindle for just $1.99 a month. And it’s one of several new magazines sporting a new feature — the ability to read the magazine with color images using a Kindle app on an Android tablet or smartphone!

It’s a sign that Amazon may be striking deals to make color magazine content available for the (still-rumored) release of a color tablet-sized device.

There’s several other magazines in the Kindle store which are now also listed as available on Android devices. Science News — delivered every two weeks — has lavish color images (along with tantalizing tidbits of news). Smithsonian Magazine — delivered monthly — is published by the famous Washington D.C.-based museum, and supplements its exhibits by covering “the arts, environment, sciences and popular culture” (according to its description at All three of these magazines are available for around $2.00 — and you don’t even have to sign up for a subscription. Each one offers a 14-day free trial — but you can also purchase a single issue.

It’s easy to forget about magazine subscriptions when you’re busy reading e-books on your Kindle. But here’s a list of some of the new and interesting magazines that are now available on the Kindle.

E-books are rocking the publishing industry, so they’re a constant presence in Publisher’s Weekly. (The magazine describes itself as “the definitive professional resource covering every aspect of book publishing and book selling.”) It’s a must-read for people in the industry, and for more than 100 years the magazine has compiled an annual list of the best-selling books. It was a bellwether moment when this year, for the first time ever, Publisher’s Weekly began including e-books in theri calculations. A monthly subscription on your Kindle costs $19.99 — though of course, it’s delivered ever week.

Some good magazines about politics are now available on the Kindle. For conservatives, there’s National Review. (I still remember when editor William F. Buckley hosted a talk show on PBS.) For more liberal readers, there’s The New Republic. (One reviewer on said they’d been reading the print version for more than 25 years.) Every two weeks new editions of the magazines are delivered to your Kindle. But if you’re a libertarian — or somewhere in between — there’s also Reason magazine (delivered monthly), which promises “a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice.”

If you’re looking for straight news, the Christian Science Monitor actually publishes a weekly magazine. For business and technology news, there’s Fast Company magazine (available each month on the Kindle for just $2.49) and the Harvard Business Review (delivered monthly for $5.99). Of course, a version of The New Yorker has been available on the Kindle for a while, but there’s other magazines offering news that’s even more specialized. For example, there’s 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly – and on May 15th, a new magazine appeared in the Kindle Store that was devoted solely to teen idol Justin Bieber. (“Just Justin.”)

Just Justin Bieber magazine on a Kindle

Even if you enjoy reading mystery short stories, the Kindle offers two of the best monthly collections — Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. And if you’re an aspiring writing, there’s Poets and Writers Magazine (as well as The New York Review of Books.)

And who knows? Maybe soon you’ll be able to read these magazines on a new Amazon tablet!