Where is that credit?
Another month has passed and the credits from the Agency Model book settlement with major publishers hasn’t been credited to accounts yet. The Amazon information page still states that the credits are anticipated in January 2014.
Popular Books by State
Scribd, an e-book subscription service, released a report of each state’s most popular book chosen by their customers from their more than 300,000 selections. The information isn’t a true picture of what America is reading because we don’t know the demograpics of Scribd’s customer base.
Do you really believe that the most popular book in Alaska is Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book? Are hundreds of Alaskans spending their winter evening hours reading a cookbook?
Read the complete article to find the most popular book where you live.
After purchasing a Kindle book I often browse through the selection of books that other customers have purchased that are a similar genre or by the same author. I’ve found some very good books at reasonable prices.
I’ve read about the complex algorithms that Amazon uses to determine the bestselling books and how it must be constantly changed, modified and adjusted because as soon as someone has determined how it works, they work to game the systems.
Stephan Eirik Clark penned an article for Salon.com where he reveals that publishers pay Amazon to include their books among your recommendations. While I’m not surprised, I am a bit bothered by that news. Did you know that those recommendations are paid ads?
Clark references a much longer article by George Packer in the New Yorker titled Is Amazon Good for Books?. Interesting reading.
These Kindle Singles are shorter reads by well-known and new authors and journalists and essayists. Buy them for 99 cents or $1.99 each today.
Back to normal
Thanks to all of you for your patience last week as Housekeeping took a sick day. I appreciate the helpful advice, too. My favorite was that my husband should be the one who slices the apples.
Passwords and Security – Free advice
How long have you had the same password at Amazon? Any idea how secure it is from a hacker? The average Amazon customer could be at risk.
Bruce Schneier, author of Carry On ($14.99) offers advice on how to develop a more secure password. He calls it the “Schneier scheme”:
…if you want your password to be hard to guess, you should choose something that this process (hacking software) will miss. My advice is to take a sentence and turn it into a password. Something like “This little piggy went to market” might become “tlpWENT2m”. That nine-character password won’t be in anyone’s dictionary. Of course, don’t use this one, because I’ve written about it. Choose your own sentence — something personal.
He provides a few examples:
WIw7,mstmsritt… = When I was seven, my sister threw my stuffed rabbit in the toilet.
Wow…doestcst = Wow, does that couch smell terrible.
Ltime@go-inag~faaa! = Long time ago in a galaxy not far away at all.
I’m considering using a line from a favorite novel, one that isn’t well-known. You might use the first letters from the titles of a trilogy. Maybe you can develop one from a list of your favorite authors. Whatever you choose please update your Amazon password to protect your credit card, gift card balance and other information that would be available if someone hacked your account.
Read more about hackers and what you can do to thwart them in this article.
DCR Book Club
We continue our discussion of Orphan Train at the DCR Book Club. Several just recently read the book and have added their thoughts and impressions.
Our next read in the book club will be contemporary fiction. I’ll be posting a poll soon to choose a novel to read. If you have read any of the books below, please click on this post’s title and leave a comment to let us know if it would be a good read for the club:
When I Found You ($3.99)
Labor Day ($4.99)
600 Hours of Edward ($3.99) and
The Silver Linings Playbook ($4.99)
Historical fiction fans will be happy to hear that one of the books in Dana Fuller Ross’s Wagon West series is now available for the Kindle. You can pre-order Wagons West: Missouri for $4.99 and receive it on your Kindle May 6.
If you have been reading Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point Series, this year’s installments are now available. Chance ($5.49) just released this week. Book description: With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he’s a man with a dark past, he’s determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered.
The Promise ($7.99 pre-order) will release on June 24.
Book description: Scott Grant has a bustling family practice in the small Oregon community of Thunder Point. The town and its people have embraced the widowed doctor and father of two, his children are thriving, and Scott knows it’s time to move on from his loss. But as the town’s only doctor, the dating pool is limited. That is, until a stunning physician’s assistant applies for a job at his clinic.
The third book is Homecoming and should release in August but is not yet available to pre-order.
Cheap Reads – Celeb Memoirs for only $1.99 each
Loyal fans –
While slicing apples on Wednesday, I was a bit overzealous and sliced the tip from a finger. I’m fine, but typing is difficult and painful. Housekeeping will return next week with additional content. Thank you for your patience.
Feast for the Senses: A Musical Odyssey in Umbria (99 cents for Kindle Edition with Audio/Video) If you love orchestral music, travel, and culture, download “Feast for the Senses: A Musical Odyssey in Umbria” now! This Vook transports you, along with the New World Symphony orchestra to breathtaking Umbria through travelogue text and documentary video. Take this incredible journey without ever leaving home…
In this Vook you’ll enjoy a virtual backstage pass to a series of concerts in the palazzos, churches, and hills of central Italy. With footage captured by Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers, you’ll experience the vistas, local customs, and cuisine of the region, and also get a rare glimpse at the behind-the-scenes preparation of world-class musicians as they set the stage for their performances.
Audio/Video content is available on latest generation Kindle Fire (except 1st generation), Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch devices. All other devices receive text only.
Ten worst couples in literature
A blog in The Guardian, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, has identified the 10 worst couples in literature. The blogger was spurred to develop the list after J.K. Rowling announced that she regrets her decision to write Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger into a relationship in the Harry Potter series. Rowling also said the duo would have likely needed relationship counselling. Ouch!
Here are a few of the worst couples according to The Guardian:
Romeo and Juliet: One of the most irritating, self-absorbed couples to have ever graced the stage.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby): It is quite clear that Tom and Daisy are a horrid pairing from the very beginning of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. They are the perfect example of an awful marriage. In a way, they are well matched because they deserve each other, in all of their selfishness, greed and arrogance.
Edward Cullen and Bella Swan (Twilight): Edward is a vampire. He’s a vampire. That is never going to be an easy ride.
Amazon’s 20 Most Romantic Cities
Amazon has released the list of top 20 most romantic cities in America. The cities were determined by compiling sales data of romance novels and relationship books; romantic comedy movies; a collection of romantic music; as well as the sales of sexual wellness products, among cities with more than 100,000 residents.
Read the complete list here. The top ten cities are:
1. San Antonio (First time in the top 20)
3. Knoxville, Tenn.
5. Alexandria, Va.
6. Orlando, Fla.
7. Vancouver, Wash.
9. Spokane, Wash.
10. Dayton, Ohio
Reading with your sweetheart
Necco, the candy company that makes the classic Valentine treat Sweethearts candy has brought back five old phrases this year. Love the yellow one!
The Sweetheart candies, known as conversation hearts, have been made from the same simple recipe since 1902 when they were first introduced. More than 8 billion candy hearts are made every year to keep up with the demand.
Many of their phrases have been retired while currently popular sayings are added yearly. The most popular new or reintroduced sayings for conversation candy hearts this year are “Tweet Me,” “Text Me,” “You Rock,” “Love Bug,” “Soul Mate,” and “Me + You.”
Sometimes we don’t want to read about other people’s happily-ever-after or personsal success story. We want to create our own. This book is selling for only 99 cents and has the sub-title 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money—and Live Richly Ever After.
The Big Payoff: Financial Fitness for Couples (99 cents) Couples who are strapped for time and weighed down by costly fixed expenses need more than a personal finance pep talk: They need a plan. In The Big Payoff, CNBC correspondent Sharon Epperson lays out a nuts-and-bolts program that couples of all ages can use to realize their financial dreams. From stretching your budget and investing wisely in your home to protecting your family’s money and building wealth over the years, The Big Payoff offers a concise bounty of precious information and practical steps toward financial wellness.
It’s never too late or too early to start, and now is the best time to start planning. Whether you are newlyweds or fast-approaching retirement, just starting a family or soon to be empty-nesters, this book is for you. After working hard to provide for your family, the reward of discovering your financial strength will be the peace of mind to enjoy your marriage, your family, and the rest of your lives together.
100 Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon recently announced 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime,
described as “a new editorially-curated list of essential books.” These books were chosen by Amazon’s editors to provide a lifetime literary roadmap and includes titles for all ages.
The meetings to choose these 100 books had to have been lively discussions with each editor defending their choices. The first 30 books were probably easily determined and then the work really began, becoming more and more challenging as the available slots decreased. Amazon issued a press release that gives more details of the decision process.
Unanimous choices across the team were Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
My observation was that seventeen titles are not available for Kindle.
I’m woefully behind if this were my reading list. As a step forward to read outside my comfort zone, I purchased The Shining ($1.99) by Stephen King.
I also bought the Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Collection: Books 1-3 ($2.99). A Series of Unfortunate Events #1 ($1.99) is on the list, but the bundle is a better value.
The three books below are in the list of 100 and are selling for $1.99, $3.99 and $4.99 each today. You might want to try a few on the editors’ list of 100.
Prime membership fee increasing
Amazon announced in their fourth quarter earnings call last week that the company is considering increasing the annual popular Prime membership fee from $79 to either $99 or $119. An estimated 20 million Amazon shoppers enjoy free shipping on millions of items, free instant videos, and book borrowing through the program fee.
Prime was introduced in 2005 for $79 per year. Considering a price increase nine years later doesn’t seem unreasonable. It’s the amount of the increase that has gotten the attention. Are customers going to pay 50% more ($119) for the benefits of the program? Are the free streaming videos worth the increase? Is borrowing a book monthly worth the increase? Each consumer will have to decide whether the value is there for them.
Read articles here, here and here about the increase.
My thoughts on the price increase: Analysts believe that Prime members buy twice as much as non-Prime members. Spending $119 for membership means the customer may buy even more to get the value of the free shipping. Amazon might give credits back to customers who spend substantial amounts from the company. If a customer is a marginal user who watches the free videos, borrows the free books, and places small orders with free shipping, the $119 fee covers the cost of the membership.
If you are not a member, now is the time to join Amazon Prime while it is still $79. You won’t be subject to an increase until this time next year.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Read a romance, prepare a chocolate dessert, or learn how to keep your heart healthy - only 99 cents each.
Have you gotten the credit you are due?
Diane sent a note last week asking about the credit we are supposed to receive from the Agency Model settlement. According to the Amazon information page
Several of the settlements have already been approved; the more recent proposed settlements are still subject to court approval. A hearing on the settlements will be held on December 6, 2013. If the Court approves the settlements and no one appeals, the credits should be available beginning in January 2014.
Publishers Weekly reported that “on December 6 Judge Denise Cote approved the final two publisher deals to settle charges of e-book price-fixing, and cleared the way for more than $166 million in refunds to begin flowing to consumer accounts.”
January 2014 is nearly over. Perhaps we will get an e-mail tomorrow.
Manage Your Kindle Page Changing
Changes are coming to the MYK page at Amazon. For me the new format is available using Internet Explorer 8, but not the more recent versions of IE. Other browsers can see the newer version of MYK.
With the new look, books can be displayed with either the cover or the title. You can choose books easily (checking a box) and then take an action such as send to a Kindle or delete for the titles selected. This multi-book option is appealing if you searched by a series title or author.
Options were also available to clear the furthest page read, loan the title or manage it in Kindle Free Time (app for Kindle Fire for secure content for children). You can also manage library loans.
Even though these features were visible to me with IE8, only 40 of my books were displayed and I could not take any of the actions available to me. The transition to the new page is still a work in progress and the rollout is occurring over time. You may not see the new version for several weeks.
Check out your MYK and see if you can see the new version.
Here’s the old version:
Here’s the new and much improved version:
Orphan Train – DCR Book Club
I’ve posted my review of Orphan Train and would love to hear what your thoughts are on the historical novel. I’ll be posting a few questions and more thoughts about the book on Monday, February 3.
Cheap Reads – Sci-Fi and $romance
Read a classic post-apocolyptic novel or a couple of military high tech novels when you buy these three for only 99 cents each today.
Sci-fi not your thing? These three romances are selling for only 99 cents each today.
Review comments I don’t understand
While preparing posts for DCR, I read many customer reviews. Through the years, I’ve been confounded by the comments and ratings that some readers post. Here are paraphrases of some of the puzzling remarks I’ve read repeatedly:
1) The book ended too soon or I wanted to read more about the characters or It wasn’t long enough – usually given a 3-star rating.
My thoughts: Does this mean the ending was rushed? Or that the reader wanted more? A good book, especially one when the author is planning a sequel should leave a reader wanting more. Reviews need to be based on what is read, not what you wanted the book to be.
2) Great book or I would buy more by this author or I would recommend it. This is followed by a 3-star rating.
My thoughts: In my idea of ratings, a book is either a 3-star read or it is great, but not both.
3) I couldn’t get into this book or The characters were one-dimensional or Don’t waste your money
My thoughts: If there are several short, vague 1- and 2-star reviews posted within a few days, this may be the blackballing of an author. Perhaps the author made a statement or took a position unrelated to the book and the low ratings are punishment. Please don’t ever participate in anything so immature.
4) A total retelling of the book, including spoilers with no courtesy notice.
My thoughts: BOO! You are not a good reviewer. I would never tell you a secret.
Amazon Publishing Launches Christian Imprint, Waterfall Press
Amazon Publishing today announced the launch of Waterfall Press, a new Christian imprint that will specialize in faith-based non-fiction and fiction. Waterfall Press non-fiction will aim to provide spiritual refreshment and inspiration to today’s Christian reader, while fiction will include stories in the romance, mystery, and suspense genres. Waterfall Press titles will be published by Brilliance Publishing, part of the Amazon.com group of companies, which currently offers readers self-help and personal growth books under the Grand Harbor Press imprint.
The first three books in the Debutante Dropout Mystery Series by Susan McBride are selling for only 99 cents each. While the winter storms are swirling outside, curl up with a cozy mystery (or two or three) today.
If you subscribe to our daily e-mail
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DCR Book Club
I’ve started reading Orphan Train ($5.13 Audiobook $3.95) for our next book club discussion. It’s a quick read of less than 300 pages. You have plenty of time to read the book before I post my review on Monday, January 27. Then the discussion begins.
Book description: A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Buy these three mysteries today for only 99 cents each.
Authors who passed in 2013
The list of famous authors who have died in 2013 reminds us that the world has lost creative, writing voices.
Tom Clancy was a writer, who wrote seventeen bestselling novels. His work typically dealt with espionage and military storylines often related to the Cold War. In addition to his numerous books, his work inspired movies like The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears.
Elmore Leonard was a novelist and screenwriter with numerous well-known works, many of which that became well-known films. He wrote Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk and Rum Punch, which would be adapted for Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.
Vince Flynn, 47, was a best-selling author of political thrillers. Most of his books followed the exploits of Mitch Rapp – an under-cover CIA counter-terrorism agent. The first book in the series – Term Limits ($1.99)– was released in 1997.
James Herbert was a horror writer, who also designed his own covers and publicity. He had previously worked as the art director for an ad agency. His books included: The Rats, The Fog, The Survivor, Fluke, The Spear, Lair, The Dark, The Jonah, Shrine, Domain, and many more.
Chris Kyle was a U.S. Navy SEAL, and is said to have been the most lethal sniper in United States military history, with 160 confirmed kills (out of 255 claimed kills). He served from 1999 to 2009. Kyle wrote a best-selling book about his experiences called American Sniper.
Elizabeth Jane Howard wrote a saga of a wealthy English family living in the shadow of war enchanted readers a generation ahead of “Downton Abbey,”. She was 90.
Leighton Gage, a crime novelist whose books were inspired by Brazilian law enforcement, died at the age of 71. Buy Blood of the Wicked from the Chief Inspector Mario Silva series for $1.99 today.
British novelist Paul Torday, who had a surprise best-seller with his debut novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, died at age 67.
Romance writer Janet Dailey, whose books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide, died at her southwest Missouri home. She was 69.
Barbara Park, a former class clown who channeled her irreverence into the million-selling mishaps of grade schooler Junie B. Jones in a popular series of children’s books, died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 66.
Michael Palmer, a physician and best-selling suspense author whose Extreme Measures ($5.99) was adapted into a 1996 film of the same name starring Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman, has died. Palmer died at age 71 from complications relating to a stroke and heart attack.
Barbara Mertz, a best-selling mystery writer who wrote dozens of novels under two pen names, has died. She was 85. Mertz was best known for her Amelia Peabody cozy mysteries written under the name of Elizabeth Peters.
Ray Vance, an acclaimed writer in the science fiction genre who won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984, died at 96.
Dallas Willard, influential author and Christian philosopher, died of cancer at age 77.
Andrew J. Offutt, a science fiction author known for the series Thieves’ World, War of the Gods on Earth, and War of the Wizards, has died of cirrhosis. He was 78.
Daily Cheap Reads Book Club
Today’s the last day to vote for the next selection for the Daily Cheap Reads book club. The genre is historical fiction. Go here to read a synopsis of the six books and cast your vote. The current top three, selling for $5.13, $1.99 and $1.99 each are below:
Order as late as Sunday, December 22
Amazon Prime members can order gifts as late as midnight EST on Sunday, Dec. 22, for free delivery before Christmas. With millions of items on Amazon.com eligible for free shipping for Prime members you are sure to find great gifts for everyone on your list.
In addition, Prime members always receive discounted one-day shipping for as low as $2.99 per item. Those truly last-minute shoppers can choose from millions of gifts, and order as late as midnight on Monday, Dec. 23, using Prime one-day shipping and still receive their package before Christmas.
You can sign up for 30 days of free Amazon Prime. With many reasons to love Amazon Prime, the annual membership fee of $79.00 is a bargain.
If you really do wait until the last minute, you can always purchase e-mail or printable gift cards. You can even choose from Someecards to give as an e-card, too.
The wonderful holiday season of Christmas and New Year’s Day is fast approaching. We will be celebrating with family and friends and relaxing and reading as much as possible. The holiday posting schedule begins Monday, December 23 through Sunday, January 5. The great cheap reads will post daily starting at 6:15a.m. Central time.
2013 Reading Goals
Are you going to meet your reading goal for 2013? I had the modest goal of reading a book a week in 2013 and am only three books away from reading 104 books – double my original goal. My selections have included a few books outside my favorite genre and subjects.
In just a few weeks we will be announcing our favorite reads for 2013 and will invite you to share your favorites, too.
These three books are only $1.99 each today – a history, a biography and a romance.