Category: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: Kindle Fatigue and Dictionary Fun 16 comments
Kindle Fatigue
Amazon just announced the latest Kindle e-reader – the All-New Kindle Oasis E-reader ($249.99). This one has several improved features:
• Higher resolution – at what point does this become indistinguishable?
• Thin and light design with an aluminum back – no joke, this was listed as the second feature on the press release
• The first waterproof Kindle – for the very few Kindle owners who sometimes use their Kindles in the tub, close enough to the pool to get wet or on the beach as the tide is rolling in
• Audible built in – for the 2% of the population who doesn’t have 2, 4 or 6 Fire tablets to listen to their audiobooks
If I’m sounding a bit snarky, it’s because I’m suffering from Kindle fatigue. Amazon has introduced new and improved Kindle readers year after year. The Paperwhite was the last significantly improvement over prior models. The Voyage and Oasis are fine devices, but not remarkably different. The Oasis is especially designed for those who read for hours at a time, which is probably a small percentage of all Kindle users.
Are you excited about this new and improved e-reader? Or did you yawn and move on?

 

Words for the Bookish
Dictionary.com has a fun slide show titled Words All Book Lovers Should be Using. Take a few minutes to read through the presentation to test your vocabulary.
If you are a logophile, Dictionary.com has a wealth of fun learning presentations.
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Housekeeping: Romance readers, get a $3 credit to spend on select books 0 comments
Credit for romance novels
You can get a $3 credit to redeem on select Romance Kindle novels sold by Amazon Publishing.
Simply click here, sign in and the credit will be applied to your account.
Browse the large selection of romances click here. I redeemed my credit on three novels priced at just 99 cents each.
Click on this link; sign in to redeem the credit and choose a book or two or three.
The $3 credit must be claimed and redeemed by September 30th.
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Housekeeping: Jerry Pournelle, American science fiction writer, passes 2 comments
Jerry Pournell
Steve A, a loyal follower of our site, sent a note yesterday notifying us that Jerry Pournell, a sci-fi author, had passed away late last week.
Steve gave Mr. Pournelle a wonderful tribute:

Never met the man, but I read him for decades. He influenced my thinking and dreams.

While browsing Wikipedia to learn more, I found this wonderful jewel of Mr. Pournelle’s life:

He is recognized as the first author to have written a published book contribution using a word processor on a personal computer, in 1977.

How cool is it that a sci-fi writer has this honor?
 
Mr. Pournelle wrote for many years for Byte magazine and penned military sci-fi including collaborations with Larry Niven and Roland J. Green. He began his website https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/ in 2000, writing about his two loves – politics and sci-fi.

 
To honor Mr. Pournelle’s memory two sci-fi anthologies that he edited and contributed to are currently free to download.

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Housekeeping: kindle.amazon.com is merging with Goodreads 12 comments
Amazon Tracking to end
I’ve infrequently used Amazon’s tracking system to record what I’ve read or decided wasn’t worth the effort. The system lists every book – Kindle and print – you have purchased through Amazon.
A recent visit to the website notified me that the data will be merging with Goodreads, an Amazon-owned website.
The good news is that Amazon will send you a spreadsheet of every book you have purchased from them. I received my list just a few minutes after submitting the request.
If you are not familiar with the feature, go to https://kindle.amazon.com.

You may need to sign in. You may need to select Your Books to display your purchases. On the far right, you can limit the selections to Kindle only or choose to view all books.

To request the download of your book list, you need to click on Learn more in the gray box (Important information about kindle.amazon.com) at the top of the page. You will be linked to a page that explains what is happening with Goodreads and giving you options to link your two accounts and send your book list to Goodreads.
Even if you choose not to track your reading on Goodreads, I strongly encourage you to request the booklist.
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Housekeeping: Prime Members: Win an Echo and Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? 1 comment
Prime Members: Win an Echo
Eligible Prime members who listen to any Audible selection on a list of devices (Fire tablets, Echo devices, Audible App on other devices) from July 5-11 are entered into a drawing for 100 free Echo devices. You can enter each day just by listening for more than 5 seconds.
You can download a Prime-exclusive audiobook Funny Amazon Reviews for free if you need help selecting a title.
Read more about the opportunity here. Official Rules apply.

 

Just how dangerous is Alexa?
We don’t recommend you register to win an Echo if you have a fear of your conversations being recorded. Shelly Palmer has written an article regarding Alexa, privacy and the 60 seconds recorded before you say the wake word.
It’s an interesting read and may assuage some of your concerns or keep you awake at night. The technology, the data gathered and what is done with that data is fascinating thinking.
Shelly Palmer is the CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice. Mr. Palmer is also Fox 5 New York’s on-air tech and digital media expert, writes a weekly column for AdAge, and is a regular commentator on CNBC and CNN.

 

Prime Day 2017
We will be here at 6:00p.m. PDT on Monday evening (July 10), posting the first Prime Day deals. I won’t be able to keep track of what is selling all day long, but we expect some deals to be good the full 30 hours. You can shop some deals now by going here. Go to this page to see the daily deals prior to Prime Day.
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Housekeeping: Response from Audible 8 comments
Audible Responds
A couple of weeks ago I posted about my unhappiness with Audible for raising the prices on titles that were great deals because I had also bought the Kindle Version. I had chatted with a care rep, but had not received a reply.
Yesterday I sent an email through Audible’s Contact Us page. I recounted how I had fallen in love with listening to books and that I often purchased the Kindle version to get the audiobook. I mentioned my very long wish list and my habit of buying 10-15 titles at a time.
I went on to express my disappointment with the price increase and how the change was prompting me to reconsider my yearly membership to Audible.
To close the email I reminded them of Amazon’s argument to publishers that lower prices mean more sales that will mean more profit in the long run. Isn’t it ironic that Amazon didn’t apply that argument to their own products?
 
The reply came back within a few hours:

Thank you for contacting Audible!
We care about bringing you the best audiobook experiences by investing in innovative technologies like Whispersync for Voice, while still offering fair compensation to our authors, too. Tens of thousands of titles in the Whispersync for Voice catalog are priced at $2 or less, and no Whispersync titles cost more than $12.99.
 
We are sorry to know that you are not happy regarding the higher price and we’d like to inform you that our business team is working on it as we received many of our customer’s [sic] feedback on this issue. We value your business and hope you’ll give us an opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you in the future.
 
As soon as your request becomes available, we will definitely let you know about this through our website. Our priority is to ensure that your Audible experience is exceedingly positive.
 
For the inconvenience we have applied the promotional credit of $10.00 to your account, this promo balance will be applied automatically on your next purchase.

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Housekeeping II – Check out this book in the Kindle Store – Kindle in Motion 0 comments

You must go to this webpage and give this a look-see – The Matchmaker’s Playbook [Kindle in Motion]
The book is Kindle in Motion:

This book can be read on any device, including Kindle E-readers. Kindle in Motion books include art, animation, or video features that can be viewed on certain Fire tablets and the free Kindle app for iOS and Android. You can switch features on or off at any time.

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Housekeeping: Audible’s unpleasant surprise! 10 comments
Boo Audible!
Amazon via Audible has done it again. I’ve become addicted to audiobooks and have enjoyed more than 700 titles over the last five years. Short stories, children’s books, classics, contemporary favorites, new authors, protracted histories – I’ve listened to all of them.
I also admit to buying Kindle versions of books because the audio version is only $1.99 or $3.99 or some price below $5. My Audible wish list has more than 250 titles – many at great prices for buying the Kindle version – just waiting for me to click them into the shopping cart. Every 4-6 weeks, I shop my wish list to restock the audio library.
I recently clicked on the wish list and found many books are now priced at $7.49. When I purchased the Kindle version, the offer to buy the audiobook did not state a time limit. Usually, I do not buy the audiobook at the same time for two reasons: 1) small purchases on my debit/credit card trigger a fraud alert and 2) I like to read reviews of the audio version before buying.
I contacted a care representative via chat to ask about the price change. The person forwarded my question to marketing, but assured me that some books on my wish list were still $3.99. Is this a diversionary tactic? The rep doesn’t address my concern over price increases, but tells me some books are still $3.99. It’s worth noting that many of those books at the lower price are inspirational fiction.
Today I loaded the shopping cart with over 40 books selling at $1.99 and $3.99 before the price changes. A $7.49 version of an audiobook is no longer a great deal. Amazon may have lost a very good customer – both at Kindle and Audible. They have taken away the incentive to buy the Kindle book to get the audiobook at a great price. My listening addiction may be going on cold turkey.
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Housekeeping: Saturday Night Live has fun with Alexa 0 comments
SNL gives Amazon another idea for Alexa/Echo
With their usual stellar humor, Saturday Night Live produced a wonderful skit that pokes a bit of fun at older Alexa users when they introduce the Amazon Echo Silver.
Watch the video and laugh. Read more about the skit and another company that is creating a similar device. You can also watch the video on this site.
The Echo Dot is available today for just $39.99 – a $10 savings.

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Housekeeping: All-New Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 with Amazon Alexa; Shipping Minimum Change and AMZN Anniversary 2 comments

All-New Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 with Amazon Alexa
Amazon has announced two new Fire tablets to pre-order today. Release date is June 7.
All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, the next generation of Amazon’s best-selling tablet, is now thinner and lighter with an improved 7″ IPS display, longer battery life, and improved Wi-Fi connectivity–still only $49.99
All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, the next generation of Amazon’s highest customer-rated tablet, offers a stunning 8″ HD display with over 1 million pixels, up to 12 hours of battery life, and 16 GB of storage–now only $79.99.
Both of Amazon’s latest Fire Tablets include:
• Alexa–Simply press and ask to play videos, enjoy music, listen to audiobooks, ask questions, shop, find news, display the weather, and more on your Fire tablet.
• Front- and rear-facing cameras–Video chat with friends and family with the front-facing camera; take and share photos, and save them for later with free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices.
• Amazon-exclusive features–Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck, Prime Video downloads, and more.
• New color options–Black, Punch Red, Marine Blue, and Canary Yellow.
Buy any 3 all-new Fire tablets and save 20% using promo code FIRE3PACK. Read more here.

 

Minimum Order Change
For many years, non-Prime members needed a $25 minimum order to receive free shipping. In 2013 the minimum was increased to $35. In an effort to encourage Prime membership, Amazon increased the minimum to $49 in February 2016.
Amazon recently changed the minimum order again: if your order includes at least $25 of eligible items, you receive free shipping. Per the webpage any item with “FREE Shipping” messaging on the product detail page that is fulfilled and shipped by Amazon is eligible and contributes to your free shipping order minimum.
Read more about the change here.

 

AMZN Anniversary
May 15 marked the 20th anniversary of Amazon’s IPO – Initial Public Offering – on Nasdaq. Way back then the stock price was $18 a share.
An article in Investopedia.com reports that if you had invested $100 in Amazon that first day in 1997, the stock would be worth $63,990 as of Friday, May 12. Read more about the history of the stock at the link above.
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