More Fun Political eBooks for Your Kindle

Playboy republished their interview with a young Jon Stewart as an exclusive Kindle Single
Playboy magazine is re-publishing their interview
with a young Jon Stewart

I was surprised by the big reaction last week to my post about political ebooks for the Kindle. But maybe it’s just because everyone loves a free ebook — so here’s another one I discovered for the Kindle Fire from the University of Chicago. They give away one free ebook each month, and this time it’s a fascinating look at America’s historic debates between presidential candidates, by a man “who was there at the creation of the modern political debate.” And I’ve also found several other fun (and cheap) ebooks on politics that you can download for your Kindle!

Some of the best political content for the Kindle isn’t listed as an ebook in Amazon’s Kindle Store — it’s being delivered as a Kindle Single! Six weeks ago I reported on Playboy magazine, and their efforts to convert their best interviews into Kindle Singles to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the magazine’s first interview with Miles Davis. Since then they’ve uploaded 32 of their 50 best interviews, including some fascinating conversations with everyone from Jon Stewart and Tina Fey to Ayn Rand and even Fidel Castro. There’s a famous interview with Betty Friedan — one of the first feminists — and counter-culture icons like Bob Dylan and Timothy Leary, as well as economist Milton Friedman and cyclist Lance Armstrong. Best of all, you can read the complete text of each interview for just 99 cents in a special anniversary edition. (To browser the complete selection, just point your browser to this special shortcut – .)

The free ebook from the Univeristy of Chicago is called Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future, and it’s written by a real insider in both politics and broadcasting. President Kennedy appointed Newton N. Minow to be one of seven FCC commissioners back in 1961, and he co-authored this book with Craig L. LaMay, an associate professor of journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. “The riveting first-person stories he and Craig LaMay tell of debates in one election after another take us to the heart of American political life,” gushed Judy Woodruff in a review of the book, saying that ultimately their insider accounts “argue for a continued central role for debates in our electoral process. Their book is must reading for anyone who wants to understand how to ensure that comes about.”

There’s a humorous footnote. Minow is also famous for complaining in 1961 that a day’s worth of TV programming is simply a “vast wasteland” — a phrase that’s still quoted today, according to Wikipedia. This provoked a humorous response from Sherwood Schwartz, a TV producer who at the time was creating the show Gilligan’s Island. The classic situation comedy followed seven silly castaways who were shipwrecked on a deserted island — and in honor of the FCC commissioner, he nicknamed their boat the S. S. Minnow.

This book isn’t in the Kindle Store, but it’s still possible to upload it onto your Kindle Fire. For a shortcut to their web page, go to Enter your e-mail address, and they’ll send you a link where you can download a version to read on the Bluefire or Aldiko reading apps. And remember, you can also use your Kindle Fire to watch episodes of Gilligan’s Island in Minow’s honor — and they’re also available online through Amazon’s Instant Video web page. (They’re all free if you’re a subscriber to Amazon Prime.)

Playboy Comes to the Kindle – Sort of

Playboy magazine interviews are now Kindle ebooks

There was a surprising announcement yesterday morning. Playboy magazine is now making content available for the Kindle! But there was something even more surprising about the announcement. The content Playboy was making available was their interviews with famous people. (And not their notorious centerfolds…)

“Playboy has curated 50 of its best interviews from the past 50 years in a special 50 day promotion,” reads the announcement. It promises a new interview will be released every day for the next 50 days – and each one will cost just 99 cents. Today’s interview is with one of football’s most famous all-star quarterbacks, Joe Namath. And they kicked off the promotion Tuesday, publishing Playboy’s very first interview from 1962, with jazz legend Miles Davis.

At Amazon, each interview’s description includes the story of how this tradition got started. “In mid-1962, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was given a partial transcript of an interview with Miles Davis. It covered jazz, of course, but it also included Davis’s ruminations on race, politics and culture. Fascinated, Hef sent the writer – future Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Alex Haley, an unknown at the time – back to glean even more opinion and insight from Davis. The resulting exchange, published in the September 1962 issue, became the first official Playboy Interview and kicked off a remarkable run of public inquisition that continues today…”

But you won’t find them if you search the Kindle Store for Playboy. (Although you will find some amateur erotic fiction, a tell-all memoir by Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend, and a chance to subscribe to Maxim magazine). There’s also the Playboy book of cigars and a collection of the magazine’s Playboy Advisor” columns. But you have to specifically search on Playboy interview to find these new releases. (Or, point your browser to this shortcut — .)

Thursday they’ll publish their interview with Martin Luther King as an ebook. Friday’s interview will be Jack Nicholson. They’ll even be republishing their headline-making interview with future president Jimmy Carter. “50 Years of the Playboy Interview features one-of-a-kind in-depth, provocative interviews with the world’s greatest celebrities and icons,” their announcement promises, “such as Tina Fey, Francis Ford Coppola, Howard Stern, Fidel Castro and Robert DeNiro.” They’ve even created special “covers” for the ebook editions — both front and back — featuring their photos of the celebrities, and some especially intriguing quotes. (For Jimmy Carter, the quote was “I’m a human being. I’m not a package you can put in a box….”)

Browse the available interviews each day at