Category: Announcement
Massive Marvel Sale – Up to 50% off more than 20,000 comics 0 comments

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Shifting gears and re-thinking the posts 4 comments

Last week we announced that Amazon had reduced commissions paid to its associates and that we were going to spend less time on the site. Last Wednesday we started a changed format of grouping like books of the same price together. That idea was taking too much time.
This week we are trying a different approach. We will prepare 3-5 posts each day of popular and well-reviewed individual books. We might still post a block of similar books with same price when appropriate. As stated in comments the other day, this is an evolving process.
Please let us know what you think. We welcome your ideas!

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Important announcement: Daily Cheap Reads and Amazon 9 comments

Last week Amazon announced a lower commissions plan effective today for Amazon Affiliates. The decrease for Kindle books is more than 50%. Therefore, we are adjusting our posting schedule.
The first post on the website will include links to the Kindle Daily Deal and other Kindle book sales, including monthly romance deals, children’s books and other special offerings.
We will prepare posts of books in this manner: Mysteries for $1.99 each; Non-Fiction for $1.99 each and other logical groupings. We’ll continue to share major news about Kindle and Kindle products.
We suggest that you stop by the site each day to link to the Daily Deal and check in to see the great reads at great prices. We recommend that you follow us via Twitter.
Free books will be posted when offered by major publishers.
We appreciate each and every one of you and trust you understand that with diminishing returns, we are making the best decision for us.
The posts below are examples of our new look. We will be adding links to the Daily Deal post in the coming days. How we do the site in this new environment will evolve in the coming weeks.

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Severe Weather on its Way! Jupiter 2017 4 comments

This weekend’s weather is threatening to be a doozy in the Midwest United States where we live. Winter Storm Jupiter hasn’t lost its power as it leaves the Rockies and heads across the Plains.
We are prepared: the Kindles are fully charged; the refrigerator and cupboards are stocked and candles, flashlights and batteries are at the ready.
The laptops are also charged, but a loss of power for an extended period may prevent us from updating the website. Check back periodically as we will post as soon as we can.
If you are in the path of Jupiter, remain safe and warm.

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Review: Kindle Fire 9 comments

Even though I’ve had the Kindle Fire since November, I’m just now getting around to writing a full review because it’s taken this long to play with all the features to get a feel for everything it can do.
First of all, what the Fire is not:
It’s not an iPad. It’s not the one device that will solve all your problems and make everything else you own obsolete.
It’s also not $600.
For $199, the Fire is a very nice tablet that does really well with what it’s designed to do. It’s marvelous to have one device for reading books, checking email, playing games, watching movies and surfing the Internet.
The Fire is relatively small, about the size of the original Kindle, or slightly smaller than a paperback. It has a little heft to it, but something about it feels like holding a book and I like that.
Favorite feature: The Carousel.
The homepage has a sort of bookshelf with your latest books and apps on it. Flip your finger across it and you can scroll through every book you’ve downloaded in the last two years. I could do this for hours! It’s a great way to keep some of those books from sliding off into archive oblivion.
Reading: You can line up your favorites on the bottom row of the bookcase so you can find them easily, even if it’s not necessarily the last book you read. I love seeing the book cover every time I start to read, something I miss on the Kindle.
Lots of options for reading here: Black letters on a white background; white letters on black; or black letters on ivory. I like this one best; it’s also most like a printed book. Besides the typical font size options, you can also change the spacing and margins. Although the lighting isn’t quite as comfortable as the Kindle, it doesn’t strain my eyes like a computer and I can read for a few hours without any trouble. (Yes, I tested this for you.) It also doesn’t require a separate light, so that is a nice option when traveling.
My only pet peeve is that I often read lying down. When you move the Fire, it automatically changes the page orientation, so I have to hold it at an odd angle to keep the page upright. The Fire is wi-fi only, so you do have to be connected to the Internet to get new books and it takes slightly longer than the 3G Kindle.
Apps: Let’s get right to what we really want to know: Angry Birds (99 cents). The Fire is a hit! I’m blasting through concrete and glass like there was no tomorrow. A few times the game was jerky, but it seemed to be a low battery issue. Battery life is acceptable, but nothing like we’re used to with the Kindle.
The only trouble with Amazon apps is they send a receipt when you download a free one. I haven’t used all my apps, but just got hooked on Wordoku. ($1) Sodoku combined with words – this is better than peanut butter and chocolate!
Movies: I’m surprised how much I enjoy watching movies on the Fire. The colors are absolutely brilliant. It’s easy to shop and download a movie from Amazon. It comes with a free month of Prime membership, so I got a few for free. My wi-fi at home works for books and apps, but times out trying to download movies, so I took the Fire to the office one afternoon to download a 24-hour rental.
While fine for personal viewing, family movie night would not work too well with a 7-inch screen.
The Fire does not have an external volume button, so you have to maneuver the screen to find the volume to adjust it. This is a pain when watching a movie or playing games and doesn’t always work correctly. That would be the first change I’d make on the next generation.
Internet: The Fire came loaded with some apps. Facebook works great, much easier than on my cell phone. The keyboard has useful buttons “.com” and “search” buttons. Some other things aren’t so intuitive and it takes awhile to get used to them. The Fire is a unique Amazon product and doesn’t necessarily do things like other electronics. A few glitches have popped up and at times the device runs slow.
This would be a good introductory product for children and teens, but parents should be aware that when connected to wi-fi, it provides access to the whole internet.
Bottom line: A good device for the money.

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Poll Results – Writing Reviews for Kindle Books 0 comments

In November and December you voted in our poll about writing book reviews of Kindle books on Amazon. Here are the results:

1. I want to write one, but I’m intimidated (52.4%, 153 Votes)
2. I plan to write one soon about a great book I found on (20.89%, 61 Votes)
3. I’m a pro — I review over half of the books I read (13.36%, 39 Votes)
4. Reviews? I don’t read them; I don’t write them (13.36%, 39 Votes)

Authors need reviews to survive; to keep the momentum of their book sales going. Readers need reviews to help them pick books they will enjoy. From the poll results, you want to offer your opinion on the books you read, but you aren’t sure where to start. Here are a few questions to answer that may help you get started:

  • Did you like the book? Do you read this genre often?
  • Who was your favorite character? Who didn’t you like? Were the characters believable?
  • Did you guess the who-dun-it, but enjoyed the story anyway?
  • Was the book too scary or just thrilling enough?
  • Did the book keep you interested the entire time or were there some slow parts?
  • Did you laugh out loud? If you did, definitely say so! Readers love to laugh.
  • Was it a sad book? Did it move you or inspire you to act?
  • Are you waiting on the next book by this author?

There is no one perfect way to write a review. You are welcome to write a short review, but try to make the review specific to the book. If you want to do a longer review, including deep analysis, consider adding other books that are similar to the one you are reviewing or an example of your favorite part. You don’t have to describe the exact scene, because of course, you don’t want to include “spoilers” and tell people who haven’t read the book what is coming!
If you read a book and see that it only has a few reviews, consider adding your thoughts. Readers really do want to know what you liked–and what you didn’t–about a book. Always be honest in your review. Remember, it is okay to love some things about a book and not even like other things. Authors and readers need your opinions.
If you write a review for a book in the Kindle Store, please always follow Amazon’s guidelines for reviews. (This link is for reviews of all products by Amazon, not just books.)
Closing thoughts: 
1. Keep your comments to the book. If the book is about a person in politics, do not use the review as a soapbox to voice your opinion. Other websites offer those opportunities.
2. Refrain from criticizing the author. 
If you have have written a review, please send us a link to the Amazon review – your first review, your best review or your favorite review. If you’re a new review writer and were inspired to write a review, send us the Amazon link. We would love to see it and we will share a few reviews on our site. Still too shy to write a review? Send us an example of a review that you read and that made you buy the book!
A special thank you to Maria E. Schneider for her assistance with this post.
Thursday we will be posting a feature about a book that has received low reviews because the readers may not have known the context of the book, a specific dialect in the United Kingdom that doesn’t follow English or American grammar rules.

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Housekeeping/e-Ramble: Deal of the Day; Top Four 2010; and My Husband 1 comment

Thanks to Holly, who sent a note letting us know that on Amazon’s Deal of the Day on Kindle page, there is now a notice that the Deal of the Day (DoftheD) has expired. The site now has links to editor’s picks, bestsellers and hot new releases (most of those books are probably more expensive than $2.99).
The feature was a great idea, but I didn’t see how Amazon could keep it up for long. The books from the agency models probably could not be included in the selection, excluding many popular books. On Sunday, we had a post of Christian fiction books from Abingdon Press that had been reduced to $2.39. I had prepared the post on Friday. Well, when the DoftheD came out on Sunday, I had to remove three books from our post because the DoftheD had increased the prices to $2.99. On this day, customers paid more. (Sorry, the $2.39 price on those books is long gone now, too.)
I read on discussion boards, users comments that they had gotten $15 books for only $2.99 and were tickled pink with the money they had saved. I saw the “digital list price” on those books, too, but Amazon seldom charges the full digital list price on non-agency model books. The actual amount saved compared to the usual price was probably much less.
So, the DoftheD was fun while it lasted and I added books to my Kindle library, too. We will keep an eye out for the feature just in case Amazon revives it. You will be the first to know if it comes back!
Several of you sent us your list of Top Four Reads 2010 and we will feature those lists on Thursday and Friday, January 13 and 14. You can still send us your list and any comments about your selections to us through the Your Two Cents Worth tab.
The week of January 17, we will feature a book review writing tutorial to help you formulate your thoughts if you would like to post a book review on Amazon. All authors and prospective readers of a book want to know your reaction to a book. We will also post the poll results about reviews.
Finally, an update on my husband, the amazing healing man. He is doing great and getting stronger every day. He’s going to try to ease back into a bit of his work next week. He’s tired of just sitting around so we have turned a corner in the recovery process. We had a celebration on New Year’s Day with family from several states joining us. He was exhausted at day’s end – the only time he could legitimately say he needed to recover after being with my family. He’s recovering with a great book he got cheap – that guy knows how to live!

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The Other Cheap Chick’s 2010 Top Picks 1 comment

Here are my Top Four picks of 2010. I’m the other cheap chick. Did I mention I’m a word person? Perhaps that’s why this site works for us. These are the books that I personally enjoyed the most this year. You’ll notice there are no vampires, serial killers, business profiles or Charles Dickens classics. And I don’t apologize for that.

I bought and reviewed this book after being in contact with author Christina Dudley via Mourning Becomes Cassandra has some of the most well-developed characters of any contemporary novel. I still remember these people! It’s an incredibly fun and realistic look at grief and Christian dating. Trust me, it works really well in this book. Good news — it’s still at the cheap price of $2.99.

Talk of the Town: This book came to me at just the time I needed a funny, heartwarming story. I fell in love with Lisa Wingate’s series set at the Daily, Texas, cafe and beauty salon. Talk of the Town made me laugh out loud and made me hungry for pecan pie. I got it free earlier this year (The book, that is. Wouldn’t it be awesome if pie could be downloaded on your Kindle?!) This first book in the series is selling for $9.29 these days.
The Shape of Mercy: Every once in awhile, you read a novel that makes you feel better for having read it. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner is that kind of book. I couldn’t believe how much I became entranced with this story world. The interlacing of the historical and contemporary was perfect. The price was perfect when I got it – free. It’s listed at $9.29 now.
Deadlock: This legal thriller by James Scott Bell is the story that the political junkies in the family have considered for years: What if a Supreme Court Justice had a profound religious experience. . . . ? The ending isn’t exactly what had played out in our minds, but a great book none-the-less. I got the book when it was offered free; today it is $9.99.

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Housekeeping/Saturday Morning Pricing E-Ramble 0 comments

Good morning, wherever in this world you might be. Here in the Midwestern United States, I’m enjoying a sunny Saturday morning and spending a bit of time looking for cheap reads so we can offer you a wide variety of e-books at great prices.

The last few weeks have been interesting at Amazon from a pricing perspective. Several days this past week I have had great e-books prepared to post the next day for you, but when I confirmed prices at 5:45 the morning of the posts, the great prices were gone. I was disappointed that I didn’t post those books earlier so you could have gotten the price. Then, boom, next day, back to the great price! I’ve gotten whiplash trying to follow the pricing back and forth, up and down.

Case in point: July 19 we featured Home for the Holidays by Debbie Macomber. The price was $1.30 and many of you bought it at that great price. On July 26, another book by Ms. Macomber came up for $1.34, so we featured that book and reminded you that Home for the Holidays was still priced at $1.30. On July 27, I had to post a pricing update as Home for the Holidays had increased to $5.76. It’s Saturday morning, July 31, and guess what is selling for $1.30 again? Yes, Home for the Holidays! If you haven’t bought it yet, you might want to do so now!

Changing upward prices are frustrating for all of us. I would encourage you to check this website often, shrug your shoulders if you miss a good price, then come back to check the e-book price in a few days to see if the price has changed downward.

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