Five Special New eBook Releases

Five New Kindle Ebooks

There’s five brand new ebooks in the Kindle store — and each book, in its own way, represents a special milestone.

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury’s classic imagines a future where books are banned

It’s been unavailable as an ebook, even though it was written 58 years ago, and is often cited as one of the best books about books. It describes a future where books have been banned — paper burns at a temperature of Fahrenheit 451 — and the Pulitzer Prize committee gave author Ray Bradbury a special citation in 2007.

Farenheit 451 new edition cover

But surprisingly, Ray Bradbury has never actually been a fan of ebooks (or even the internet). The Associated Press remembers that Bradbury once said that e-books “smelled like burned fuel” and called the internet “a big distraction.” But they report that now at the age of 91, “Ray Bradbury is making peace with the future he helped predict,” and today the book made its first appearance in the Kindle store.

Explosive Eighteen
A new Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich

She’s flying back to Newark from a vacation in Hawaii, when the popular bounty hunter glimpses a crucial photograph that’s needed by the FBI (plus “a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos,” according to the book’s description on Amazon.) There’s trouble at her bail bond agency — and what exactly happened on that Hawaiian vacation? (“It’s complicated,” Stephanie insists…)

Janet Evanovich - Explosive Eighteen cover

68-year-old author Janet Evanovich released the eighteenth book in her “Stephanie Plum” series just last week, and it’s already become one of the top five best-selling ebooks for the Kindle. (In fact, it’s been in the top 100 for 39 days, spending more than a month on the best-seller list before it was even released thanks to a legion of fans who pre-ordered the title!) She’s been writing the series for 17 years, and in August, Evanovich became only the eighth author ever to sell one million copies of her ebooks. (When Amazon’s publicity department contacted the author with the news, her first reaction was a simple one-word interjection. “Wow!”)

A Little Bit of Everything for Dummies
A free eBook that celebrates the best titles in the popular “…for Dummies” series

Those familiar yellow covers have now been insulting us — or empathizing with us — for 20 years. So to celebrate, the publishers of the series have collected 20 chapters from from 20 different books, honoring “the breadth and depth of the For Dummies series.”

A Little Bit of Everything for Dummies yellow cover

There’s Sex for Dummies — one of their best-sellers — and DOS for Dummies, the 1991 book that launched their empire. There’s some self-help titles (like Meditation for Dummies) and even some titles to improve your social skills (like Dating for Dummies), plus some “international” titles like British History for Dummies (and Rugby Union for Dummies).

Guinness World Records 2012
The famous yearly record book finally comes to the Kindle

It’s become a part of our lives since it was first published in 1951 — and yes, it is related to Guinness beer. (The brewery’s managing director had wanted to create a reference book that could settle bar bets.) Its collection of strange triumphs may inspire you or disgust you, but it’s still a grand and compelling collection of all the things that people can do. (Previously, the only the “gamer’s edition” was available for the Kindle, but last week the complete world record book arrived in Amazon’s Kindle Store.)

Guinness Book of World Records 2012 cover

It may not be the stodgy collection of lists you remember, as one reviewer on Amazon reports, since over the decades the famous annual book has apparently started including include more pictures. They bought it as a gift for their family, and concluded that “There seems to be a lot of new records and there really is something for everyone! ”

The Moonlit Mind
A short “Kindle Single” by suspense novelist Dean Koontz

On Monday, horror author Dean Koontz released a brand new story about a child on the run from his mother and stepfather, who’s travelling with an unusually talented dog . Living on the streets (for several years) he’s haunted by the memories of what he saw in their house, and of course the story finds its way to a final confrontation.

Dean Koontz cover for Moonlit Mind

Koontz released the story Monday for just $2.99 as a Kindle Single, and it’s already become the #2 best-selling Single in the Amazon Kindle store. Amazon’s page quotes a reviewer from People, who wrote simply that Koontz “has the power to scare the daylights out of us.”

Ellen DeGeneres Visits the Kindle

Ellen Degeneres

I was surprised when I visited Amazon’s Kindle Blog — and discovered that the person writing it was Ellen DeGeneres! The comedian/talk-show host was a “guest blogger” on Thursday — and she had a message for us all.

“Hi, e-readers! I hope you are e-reading something good. I was just thinking — you know, I’m always thinking. Sometimes I’m thinking about the world we live in, sometimes I’m thinking about work, sometimes I’m just thinking about seedless watermelon. How do they have babies?

“Anyway, I was just thinking that all you e-readers out there should know about the new book I wrote. It’s called Seriously… I’m Kidding and it will have you rolling in the aisles — if you decide to read it somewhere with aisles, like a movie theater or a supermarket or even during a wedding ceremony. ”

The blog post helped push Ellen’s book onto Amazon’s best-seller list, and within five days of its release, it became the #35 best-selling book in the entire Kindle Store. (And #1 in the Entertainment/Humor subcategory). Ellen’s a fun personality to watch, and it turns out that she’s also a very witty writer. (And she provided the voice of Dory, the big blue fish in Pixar’s animated movie, Finding Nemo.)

I didn’t know much about Ellen, so I looked her up on Wikipedia, where I learned she’s won four daytime Emmy awards for “outstanding talk show host” , and another five daytime Emmies for having “an outstanding talk show”. (Plus three more daytime Emmies for the show’s writing.) She’s starred in two different sitcoms, she’s hosted both the Oscars and the Emmy Awards, and last year she was even one of the judges on American Idol. (She once joked that she’d become so attached to the young singers in the competition that in the end, “they’re probably all going to end up living at my place.”)

“Seriously…I’m Kidding” isn’t Ellen’s first book on the Kindle. Other titles include “My Point…And I Do Have One,” a 1996 book which came to the Kindle store in March. (And another 2003 Ellen title is also available as an ebook — “The Funny Thing Is… “) But it looks like in all the books, she’s done a good job of transporting her cheerful personality into an entirely new format. Here’s the way she opens her newest book.

“Dearest Reader,
Hello. How are you? That’s great to hear. Listen, I want to thank you for buying this book. We’re about to begin a beautiful journey together – one that is unique and special. I know a lot of you might watch my talk show, but communicating through a book is different than communicating through television. Like, on my talk show I tell you what’s going on in my life and what I’m thinking about each day. But in this book, I’m going to tell you what’s going on in my life and what I’m thinking about — you know what, I don’t want to waste your time with silly comparisons.”

There’s one funny problem with the book’s sample chapter. Ellen makes some funny claims about her accomplishments, but then backs down from them in self-deprecating footnotes. “[S]ince I wrote my last book a lot has happened in my life. I got married. I got my own talk show. I started a record label. I became a CoverGirl. I was Dory. I won an Academy Award.* I won the Boston Marathon.** I started a compost heap.*** And I was knighted by the Queen of England.****” Unfortunately, the footnotes aren’t included with the ebook’s sample chapter — so there’s no way to confirm when she’s kidding! (I sent an e-mail to Ellen’s show, joking that “Maybe I need to start watching your show more. I didn’t know half that stuff!”)

But the bottom line is her new book is full of jokes, and it seems like a lot of fun. It was just last week that it turned up in the Kindle Store, and it’s spent every day since in the top 100. She’s obviously attracted a large audience of loyal fans from her TV shows (and her funny blog posts) — so I’ll give Ellen the last word.

“What’s really exciting about you e-readers getting my book is that now you won’t just be e-readers, as in electronic readers. You’ll be e-readers, as in Ellen readers! You don’t even have to change your name, and I think that is “e” as in excellent.”