Category: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: Labor Day thoughts and a Cheap Read 0 comments

8 hours LaborDayLabor Day is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of this country. Established in 1887 to occur each September, the day unofficially marks the end of the summer vacation season.
The vintage drawing shown here may be an accurate representation of the campaign waged by workers to establish an 8-hour work day. My question is: What happened to the idea of 8 hours to recreate each day? Think of the books one could read in 40 hours a week.
Whether you are reading, relaxing or working, we wish each of you a happy Labor Day holiday.
Cheap Read
This collection of short stories about the hard-working American pioneers would be a great read anytime.
With more than 120 titles still in print, Louis L’Amour is recognized the world over as one of the most prolific and popular American authors in history. Though he met with phenomenal success in every genre he tried, the form that put him on the map was the short story. Now this great writer will receive his due as a great storyteller. This volume kicks off a series that will, when complete, anthologize all of L’Amour’ s short fiction, volume by handsome volume.
Here, in Volume One, is a treasure-trove of 35 frontier tales for his millions of fans and for those who have yet to discover L’Amour’s thrilling prose—and his vital role in capturing the spirit of the Old West for generations to come. Buy this collection for only $1.99 today.
NOTE: The webpage has conflicting page numbers for this book. One place states 432; another 864. The book has nearly 9000 locations which makes the page count more than 850.
Click here to purchase The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour, Volume 1: Frontier Stories

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Housekeeping: Kindle Unlimited not for me; Posting poll and Cheap reads 3 comments

broom.panWhy I won’t be subscribing to Kindle Unlimited
Amazon’s subscription service Kindle Unlimited was announced recently. For $9.99 a month a reader enjoys an always open buffet of books. Audiobooks are also available on some books to allow for seamless reading and listening.
The service is a wonderful opportunity for some readers. High volume users will benefit because the subscription is cheaper than purchasing. The library of titles is growing to offer even more than the current 600,000 books.
The deal just isn’t for me. I won’t be subscribing because:
1. My Kindle library of purchased books exceeds my ability to get the books read by about 165 years. My audiobook library is also extensive.
2. I know me: In the beginning I would read 7-8 books each month. Then life would come along and a month or two would slip by with only 2-3 books read. What about all the unread purchased books? Guilt would drive me back to my purchased books and maybe only a book that month comes from Kindle Unlimited. Before I know it nine months have passed, I’ve paid nearly $90 and I’m not getting my money’s worth.
3. Big name authors and books I want to read aren’t in the Kindle Unlimited selections yet. I may reconsider the service when favorite authors and recently released books are available.
4. I don’t want to feel like I have to use the service since I’m paying for it. I have that guilt from the gym membership – paying for it, but not using it.
A few of the good points are first month is free; I can test drive a new author without buying the book and if I ever have a month to go on a reading binge, I can read a book or two every day for $9.99.
Summer Schedule Poll
We’ve been on our summer schedule since Memorial Day – all posts early in the day with later posts if needed. Do you like it? Do you want to go back to six posts at 6:15am and two more at 11:00?
Vote in the poll and let us know your thoughts.

United Kingdom publishers and Cheap Reads
In recent weeks books from United Kingdom publishers have become available for US readers. Popular authors across the pond may increase their readership and become the new favorite author of US readers.
Imprints include Penguin Random House’s Quercus, Transworld Digital and Ebury. Hachette imprints include Headline, Hodder, Hachette Ireland, Sphere and Piatkus. Other publishers are appearing as rights to ebooks expand.
Below are three books by popular UK authors selling for only $1.99 each today:
Some Sunny Day ($1.99) Forbidden love and family secrets In World War Two Liverpool in the heartrending new saga.
Paperboy ($1.99) It’s Belfast, 1975. The city lies under the dark cloud of the Troubles, and hatred fills the air like smoke. But Tony Macaulay has just turned twelve and he’s got a new job. He’s going to be a paperboy. And come rain or shine – or bombs and mortar – he will deliver…
Forgotten Child ($1.99) Will she ever find a home where she can belong? ALONE…Jennifer Lavender was a lonely child. She always felt like second best and desperately craved her parents love.

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Housekeeping: Pre-order confimation, Another improvement, A plea to Amazon and Cheap Reads 4 comments

broom.panPre-order Confirmation
Last week I complained that Amazon had sent a pre-order cancellation with only the order number in the e-mail. I was unable to locate the order on my account at Amazon and was disappointed that I didn’t know the book title.
When I pre-ordered a book this week, this email arrived (pertinent information only):

Pre-order Confirmation
Thank you for shopping with us. Your item will be automatically delivered on release day and we’ll send a confirmation when your item has been released. You will not be charged until your item is released.
Your estimated release date: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Order Details
Order #D01-xxxxx
Placed on Friday, August 15, 2014
The Homecoming: Book 6 of Thunder Point series
Kindle Edition
$5.99 (or less)

Thanks, Amazon! Great improvement to the pre-order process. Amazon’s price guarantee is explained here.
Another improvement
Have you seen this improvement? When you scroll down on a Kindle book webpage, a banner now appears at the top of the screen of the book title and author.
Title Banner
A plea to Amazon
I’ve read your argument to publishers that more consumers buy a digital book when the price is lower. Sounds like you have my back to give me the best read for the money.
Because you have proven you are watching out for the consumer, I wanted to draw your attention to one of my concerns.
The Big Deal Sale is in progress and I’ve pored over the books looking for a gem to read this fall. Honestly, the selection is tired and repetitive (20 historical romances by M.C. Beaton). Ten percent of the titles were reader-rated at 3.5 stars or lower. The sale is more like The Big Dud.
The Daily Deal has been stale lately. It needs a shot of adrenaline.
While you are negotiating with the publishers, do some horse trading for more recent books for your sales and the Daily Deal. Customers would love to buy bestsellers from the last few years, Books of the Month and book club favorites. We’ll prove you right on increased buying at lower prices.
After you have negotiated great books at great prices, head over to the marketing department. Surely some creative soul can think of a better name than The Big Deal Sale. Maybe even sketch a fun graphic, too.
Keep fighting for the reader, Amazon!
Cheap Reads from The Big Deal Sale – only 99 cents each

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Housekeeping: Canceled orders; No Surprise Headlines and Cheap Reads 4 comments

Canceled Order Puzzle
Recently I received three e-mails that stated this:

Hello from
We’re writing because an unexpected delay prevents us from delivering your pre-ordered Kindle version for the order listed below:
We are unable to provide an estimated release date at this time and have canceled your order. We will continue pursuing this Kindle book and hope to be able to offer it to customers in the future.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Sincerely, Customer Service Department

I was able to find two of the orders through YOUR DIGITAL ORDERS under YOUR ACCOUNT. They were pre-ordered free books that were scheduled to deliver in November 2012 and November 2013. I could not find the third order number on Amazon. Including the title in the cancellation notice would have been a helpful gesture.
File these Headlines under No Surprises Here
Print Output Dipped in 2013
HarperCollins Tries Direct Sales to sell print books, e-books and physical audiobooks directly to consumers.
Apple $450 million e-book settlement wins court approval, but Apple continues its appeal
Amazon’s gutsy phone fails to ignite per review.
Cheap Reads – Space Non-Fiction
Buy these space books for only $1.99, $1.99 and $2.51 today.
Moon Shot ($1.99) The epic story of the golden years of American space exploration, told by the men who rode the rockets. Collaborating with NBC’s veteran space reporter Jay Barbree, Shepard and Slayton narrate in gripping detail the story of America’s space exploration from the time of Shepard’s first flight until he and eleven others had walked on the moon.
Challenger: An American Tragedy ($1.99) With over fifty years of experience with NASA’s missions, Harris presents the story of the Challenger tragedy as only an insider can. With by-the-second accounts of the spacecraft’s launch and a comprehensive overview of the ensuing investigation, Harris gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the devastating accident that grounded the shuttle fleet for over two years. Note: Shorter read.
Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed ($2.51) Thirteen is the shocking, miraculous, and entirely true story of how the astronauts and ground crew guided Apollo 13 to a safe landing on earth. Expanding on dispatches written for the New Yorker, Henry S. F. Cooper Jr. brings readers unparalleled detail on the moment-by-moment developments of one of NASA’s most dramatic missions. Note: Shorter read.

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Housekeeping: Amazon and Hachette, Thomas Berger passes and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panAmazon and Hachette Dispute
Even though the dispute between Amazon and major publisher Hachette is “ongoing and active”, Amazon is shipping Hachette titles and the publisher’s revenue rose 5.6% over sales in the first half of 2013 when shipping was business as usual. Hachette attributed the increase to the “integration of Hyperion titles acquired from Disney and adding Disney’s distribution business.”
E-book sales were down slightly, but Hachette downplayed the decrease noting that “the market for ebooks had reached a plateau.”
Read more about the dispute in this article titled Amazon and Hachette: The dispute in 13 easy steps . has this article on how long the dispute might last.
Thomas Berger, author of Little Big Man passes
Thomas Berger was known as the author of Little Big Man ($9.99) and books that explored the American West, but his body of work was broader than that. He passed away last month in Nyack, N.Y., at the age of 89. Read the NY Times article on Mr. Berger’s life here.
Jack Crabb is the the 111-year-old narrator of Berger’s 1964 masterpiece of American fiction Little Big Man. The novel is a singular literary achievement that, like its hero, only gets better with age.
Open Road Media is offering Berger’s book The Return of Little Big Man for only $1.99. Jack Crabb is now 112 years old, and he isn’t done spinning yarns.
Crabb claims to have witnessed most of the great historical events of the western frontier, even taking tea with Queen Victoria when she came out of seclusion after a quarter century. No matter where Crabb lays his hat, he keeps his wizened, wry, and sharp commentary at the ready. The Return of Little Big Man is a sidesplitting novel of surprising emotional depth.
Cheap Reads – Military Romantic Suspense – $1.99 each
Marliss Melton is the author of the bestselling Team Twelve Navy SEALs series, the Taskforce series, and her current Echo Platoon series. Wife of a retired Navy veteran, she relies on her experience as a military spouse and on her many contacts in the Spec Ops and Intelligence communities to pen realistic and heartfelt stories.
Four of her Navy SEALs romantic suspense novels are selling today for only $1.99 each.

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Housekeeping: 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime, Amazon/Hachette Dispute and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.pan100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon has announced the 100 children’s books you should read in your lifetime. Amazon’s editors made the selections, claiming that you will love these books your whole life long. All of these choices are for readers ages 12 and younger.
The list includes classics such as Betsy-Tacy, Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte’s Web, and The Secret Garden. More recent selections included are Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Wonder.
Not all books are available in a Kindle version. You can browse all 100 children’s books here.
This is the third lifetime list from Amazon’s editors. Others are: 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime and 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime.
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts
My review of the young adult novel Wonder ($7.99) makes clear that I thoroughly enjoyed Auggie’s story. The follow-up 85-page story The Julian Chapter ($1.99) was equally well-written and is a moving, meaningful novella even if you haven’t read Wonder.
Author R. J. Palacio has written a follow-up book: 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts. In Wonder, readers were introduced to memorable English teacher Mr. Browne and his love of precepts. Simply put, precepts are principles to live by and Mr. Browne has compiled 365 of them drawn from popular songs to children’s books to inscriptions on Egyptian tombstones to fortune cookies. Interspersed with the precepts are letters and emails from characters who appeared in Wonder – Summer, Jack, Charlotte, Julian, and Amos.
Includes words of wisdom from such noteworthy people as Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Confucius and over 100 readers of Wonder who sent R. J. Palacio their own precepts. Pre-order this book for $7.99 and receive it August 26.
Amazon speaks out about Hachette Business Interruption
hachetteAmazon posted a lengthy explanation of the continued discussions with Hachette, saying that lower e-book prices is the “key objective” in the ongoing dispute.
Amazon wants to price most books at $9.99 or less and have stated that $14.99 or more is “unjustifiably high”. In the post, Amazon presents evidence that for every 100 copies of an e-book that would sell at $14.99, consumers would buy 174 copies if priced at $9.99.
Not only is Amazon supporting lower prices for the consumer, they are also advocating that the author receive a greater share of the book proceeds. Read the entire post here.
Cheap Reads – Two novels in the Gabriella Giovanni Mystery Series
Blessed are the Dead ($0.99) San Francisco Bay Area newspaper reporter Gabriella Giovanni spends her days on the crime beat, walking away unscathed. When a little girl disappears on the way to the school bus stop, her quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper, Jack Dean Johnson, who reels her in with promises to reveal his exploits as a serial killer. But Gabriella’s passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect the kidnapper may have ties to her own dark past: her sister’s murder. Risking her life, her job, and everything she holds dear, Gabriella embarks on a quest to find answers and stop a deranged murderer before he strikes again.
Blessed are the Meek ($1.99) A rash of high-profile murders all point to reporter Gabriella Giovanni’s boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan, when investigators uncover a single link in the deaths: Annalisa Cruz. A decade ago, Cruz seduced Donovan away from a life as a monk, and though their relationship soured long ago … her passion for him has not.
As the investigation continues, it becomes increasingly clear that any man who gets involved with Cruz soon ends up dead. Donovan, the only man to have dated Cruz and survived, is arrested for the murders and dubbed a jealous ex, leaving Gabriella scrambling to find the real killer without ending up as the next body headed for the morgue.

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Light Housekeeping: Marketplace and Internet Fairness Act and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panMarketplace and Internet Fairness Act
Many of you live in a state where Amazon has a physical presence (known as a nexus) and state sales taxes are collected on your purchases. Customers who live in other states may have their purchases taxed in the near future if the Marketplace and Internet Fairness Act is approved.
Earlier this week six Senators introduced legislation that combines the Marketplace Fairness Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act into a single bill: the Marketplace and Internet Fairness Act. Bipartisan support for the two bills in both houses of Congress could mean that the combined bill will be approved this year. “ has long supported a simplified nationwide approach that is evenhandedly applied and applicable to all but the smallest volume sellers,” Amazon VP Paul Misener wrote in a letter supporting the Marketplace Fairness bill. The bill would allow states to require online and other out-of-state retailers to collect sales and use tax.
Cheap Reads – Young Adult Novels
If you enjoy young adult fiction, these three novels are selling for only $1.99 each.

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Housekeeping: Amazon Breakthrough Voting; Five Children’s Books Turn 50 and Cheap Reads 2 comments

broom.panAmazon Announces Five Finalists in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest
Amazon Publishing has chosen five finalists that will each be awarded a publishing deal in the 7th annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest and is asking customers to vote for one Grand Prize novelist to receive a $50,000 Amazon Publishing contract. The other four finalists will each receive an Amazon Publishing contract and a $15,000 advance.
The finalists were chosen from a pool of 10,000 entries and narrowed through four rounds of judging by Amazon Editors, Amazon Vine Reviewers, Publishers Weekly staff, and a panel of Amazon Publishing judges.
Customer voting for the Grand Prize novel will continue through July 18, 2014. Cast your vote at
The 2014 ABNA Finalists are:
General Fiction: A Pledge of Silence ($5.99) by Flora Solomon, Southport, NC
Mystery/Thriller: The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley, Shaker Heights, OH
Romance: The Bluestocking and the Rake ($2.99) by Norma Darcy, Canterbury, Kent GB
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror: The Mengele Effect (99 cents) by Chuck Grossart, Bellevue, NE
Young Adult Fiction: Seashell, Stork and Apple Tree by Carrie Anne Noble, Montoursville, PA
NOTE: Books linked above are independently published at this time.
Five Favorite Children’s Books Turn 50 this Year
These five books were all published in 1964. They’ve all stood the test of time and still regularly appear in pop culture, even a half-century later.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl ($4.38)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming ($5.38)
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown ($3.04)
Harriet the Spy: 50th Anniversary Edition by Louise Fitzhugh ($4.56)
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ($9.65)
Cheap Reads – Romances and fantasies for only $1.99 each
Amazon has lowered the price on romances and sci/fifantasies the company publishes for your vacation and beach reading.
More than 200 romances sold under the Montlake Romance imprint are included in the sale. Romantic suspense, historical romance, contemporary romances, romantic comedies and more are priced for your summer reading.
More than 50 fantasies and sci-fi novels sold under the 47North imprint are included. You can purchase the Area 51 Series by Bob Mayer and Oz Reimagined Series by popular authors including Orson Scott Card, Seanan McGuire, and more.
Popular romances and sci-fi/fantasies included in the sale selling for just $1.99 each:

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Housekeeping: Apple settlement; E-readers dying? and Cheap Reads 12 comments

broom.panApple Settles
Apple avoided going to trial by agreeing in June to settle out of court for colluding with publishers to keep prices higher than the discounted price Amazon had for ebooks. The higher pricing was commonly known as the agency model.
Terms of the settlement were not released, but the plaintiffs’ attorney argued that Apple should pay $840 million – which is triple the estimate that Apple gained from the agency model prices.
Apple also stated that they will continue to appeal the decision by Judge Denise Cote that found Apple guilty of colluding with publishers. All publishers have settled with the Department of Justice and paid damages to consumers.
Read more about the settlement in this article. Two publishers have filed an appeal regarding the time restrictions on the “cooling off period” for the agency model. Read more about the appeal in this article in Publisher’s Weekly.
E-Readers dying?
Tech writers are predicting that the days of the e-reader are numbered and the end is near. They have declared that the single-purpose device will be replaced by smartphones and tablet computers. Analysts at Forrester expect sales of e-readers in the United States will drop to 7 million a year by 2017. At the peak in 2012, 25 million e-readers were sold.
My thoughts: Many serious readers will always want the single-purpose device because of the immersion reading experience. A phone will not replace the PaperWhite. I love the Kindle Fire for a few books, but not for most of my reading.
E-reader sales will naturally be down as most readers already own one or more e-readers. Consumers are selling used readers which cannibalizes from new sales.
Cheap Reads – Mysteries for only $1.99 each

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Housekeeping: B&N to split Nook from Retail, Angry Robot ends 2 imprints and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panB&N Board votes to split
Barnes & Noble announced yesterday that their board of directors has voted to separate the company into two public companies – one for their retail trade stores and the other holding the Nook product operations and college bookstores.
If the separation occurs, B&N hopes to complete it in the first quarter of 2015. B&N also announced earnings for the year ended May 3. Nook hardware sales were down nearly 45% while Nook digital content was down more than 20%.
What does this mean to Amazon and Kindle? If the split moves forward and management of the Nook company is aggressive in pricing digital content to attract sales, Amazon will be forced to match at least some of the prices. Even though Amazon promises low prices, a strong competitor gives the consumer a choice and helps keep prices lower.
Angry Robot ends two imprints
Angry Robot, a UK publisher that started with the science fiction genre, has announced it has “made the difficult decision to discontinue Strange Chemistry (young adult) and Exhibit A (crime/mystery), effective immediately.” The sci-fi line will continue and will release more books each month.
Wounded Prey ($1.99) was published by Exhibit A. Description: A young girl is snatched in broad daylight from outside her school and later found brutally murdered and hanging from a tree.
When recently retired San Francisco Police Inspector, Bob Farrell, sees this on the news, he realises his worst nightmare has just come true. The same brutal killer a government agency stopped him from putting away twenty years before is once more on the loose.
As the killer wreaks a trail of blood and destruction across North America, Bob Farrell sets out to track him down.
Cheap Reads by the Happy Herbivore
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook ($2.99) Vegan chef of one of the top 50 food blogs on the Web, Lindsay Nixon combines some of her tastiest recipes in The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, each made with no added fats, using only whole, plant-based foods. It’s easy to make great food at home using the fewest number of ingredients and ones that can easily be found at any store, on any budget.
Happy Herbivore Light & Lean ($2.99) Happy Herbivore Light & Lean contains filling, flavorful, plant-based recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. But this time, Nixon takes healthy to an all-new level, with low-calorie, satisfying meals that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals—and without deprivation.
Everyday Happy Herbivore ($2.99) Everyday Happy Herbivore will include more than 175 doable recipes—recipes that are so quick and easy, you could cook three healthy meals from scratch every day.
Happy Herbivore Abroad ($2.99) A little of everything—basics, comfort food, international cuisine, and travelogue—Happy Herbivore Abroad provides your palate with more than 135 of Nixon’s crowd-pleasing vegan recipes low in fat, high on health, and made with everyday ingredients.

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