Category: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: HarperCollins Anniversary 2 comments

HarperCollins, a major publishing house in the United States, United Kingdom and around the world, is celebrating its 200th birthday this year.
The company has created a website commemorating the anniversary including milestones over the life of the company; 200 iconic HarperCollins titles; author comments and other entertaining tidbits to enjoy.
I encourage you to go to and browse the site.

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Housekeeping: New look in the Kindle Store – A quick rant 10 comments

May I just take a quick moment to tell you that I do not like the new look that has been implemented in the Kindle Store?

When I search for a book, I want to see that book first thing, not a list of the series! This new look is bothersome and distracting. I. Don’t. Like. It.
Books that are not part of a series appear as usual.
It’s tiresome to go from page to page and have different visuals depending on if the book is included in a series. Then because some series have three books and some have six books, the size of the books across the top ribbon may vary.
What do you think? Is it distracting to you? Or am I just change intolerant?

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Housekeeping: Sensitivity Readers, Short Read and Cheap Reads 3 comments
Sensitivity Readers – What Next?
It has come to this: Book publishers are so concerned about negative reactions from social justice activists that they are hiring “sensitivity readers” to peruse books prior to publication. The readers are looking for anything that could be considered racist, sexist or other so-called offensive content.
This practice adds to the price of the book, yet a children’s and young adult book editor says that this hiring has become “the norm in the business.”
I encourage you to read the complete article here. The comments posted are interesting reading, but contain occasional offensive language. (I’m filling the role of sensitivity reader for you.)
Paula’s thoughts: The sanitizing of our contemporary literature will lead to books that do not represent today’s reality. Authors will no longer write with passion; but rather with reserve.
And who are these “sensitivity readers”? What qualifies a person to be the one who decides what offends, marginalizes or otherwise denigrates? Are universities now offering four-year degrees that clearly show one has what it takes to perform this function? I see a cottage industry in the making where everyone is an expert.
Publishers should let the consumer decide if a book is worth reading. The social justice warriors will be vocal, but print the book that was written and be proud you have been true to the author. If you kowtow to the loudest voice, you will lose your readers.


Short Story Read
As the weather warms, you might be looking for a quick read. Enjoy The Piper, selling for only 99 cents. Description: Before the Great War, Hamish farms in the Highlands. When at the height of a spring gale, he hears a faint cry echoing across the glen, Hamish sets out into the stormy night to find the source. He spots a young boy lying wounded, a piper’s bag beside him. Hamish brings the piper to his home to stay the night, but by the time Hamish wakes the boy has vanished. He finds him again collapsed in the heather–dead.
Who was the mysterious piper, and who was seeking his death? As Hamish scours the countryside for answers, he finds that few of his neighbors are as honest as he, everyone, including Hamish, is a suspect.


Cheap Reads
Amazon has lowered the price on several novels under their Lake Union imprint to only $1.00 each. Available udiobooks are $1.99 when you buy the Kindle version.

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Housekeeping: Dropping In, Chocolat and Cheap Reads 0 comments
Dropping In
Amazon may be dropping your order via parachute in the future. A patent filed with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provides details of how packages delivered by drones may use a parachute.
The filing was made public Tuesday and includes details of how the technology would place the package in the right spot, avoiding trees, carports, balconies, power lines, eaves and the like.
Read more about it and watch a video clip about drone delivery here.


Chocolat, but not in a fancy box
Enjoy calorie-free Chocolat ($1.99), a bestselling novel that has entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate.
Book Description: In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows.
Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne’s uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch?
Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival.

Cheap Reads – Books about Presidents
This President’s Day holiday weekend would be a great time to read about one of the men who have served in the office over our nation’s history. Each of the six books below is selling for $1.99.

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Housekeeping: Rent or Buy the Book; Magazine Sale and Cheap Reads 0 comments
Rent or Buy
Amazon offers eTextbooks rentals for those who don’t need to own a traditional print copy. Not all rentable textbooks fit the traditional definition. Books from the Cherry Ames Series, historical fiction for pre-teens and teens about a young WWII nurse, are available for a minimal 30-day rent. If you need a bit more time to finish the book or four-book bundle, select any date beyond 30 days and the fee will be increased accordingly.
As the expiration date approaches, Amazon sends a helpful email reminding you to extend the rental period. You can also purchase the book and your rental fee paid will be applied to the current price, if you take action prior to the end of the rental period.
Notice that the email I received (at left) mentions that notes and highlights can be accessed after the expiration. If an enterprising student highlighted the complete textbook…..would those highlights be available?
Earlier this week I found this biography that can be purchased for $1.99 or rented for 30 days for 96 cents:
The Life of Herbert Hoover: Fighting Quaker, 1928–1933 : This is the first definitive study of the presidency of America’s least understood and most under-appreciated Chief Executive. Combining government with private resources, Hoover became the first president to pit government action against the economic cycle, setting precedents and spawning ideas employed by his successor and all future presidents.


Magazine Sale
Amazon is offering a great price on magazines subscriptions – just $5 for popular publications such as The New Yorker, Martha Stewart Living, Money, O The Oprah Magazine and more. Most subscriptions are for 12 months and several are all access (print and digital). NOTE: Confirm prices as the link has more than just the $5 deals.
This great rate is auto-renewing, but you can cancel your subscription through your Amazon account manager.

Relationship Reads
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. These relationship advice books are only $1.99 each today.

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Housekeeping: Amazon Allowance; Free Audiobook and Cheap Reads 0 comments
Amazon Allowance
The marketing tag-line calls it an “easy way to fund shopping on Amazon.” It’s Amazon Allowance – the plan that you set up to add gift card funds for yourself or someone else on a one-time, daily, weekly, monthly, or every-two-week basis.
If your child is an avid reader, this option may be a solution to provide them a consistent spending budget. This is different from a gift card in that when funds are added to this account, it does not require a claim code.
Read more about this option here.
Free Audiobook – Heart of Darkness
This month’s free Kindle book and companion audiobook is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story’s narrator Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England.
Just a reminder, you do not need to be a member of to download the free audiobook, but you must set up an account. Sign in using your Amazon password.


Cheap Reads – Mysteries by Joann Fluke
Joanne Fluke is well-known for Hannah Swenson cozy mystery series. She also writes traditional suspense novels. The four below are selling for only $1.99 each today.


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Housekeeping: E-book sales down; Romance for rent and Cheap Reads 4 comments
E-Book Sales Down
At the Digital Book World conference in New York City in mid-January, Jonathan Stolper, senior v-p and global managing director for Nielsen Book, announced that e-book sales had fallen 16% in 2016 compared to 2015. His analysis was based on actual sales reports for nine months and estimates of the last quarter of the year.
Stolper pointed to the increased price of digital books as the driver of the decline. Agency pricing by the Big Five trade houses began again in 2015 and raised e-book prices by an average of $3.
Another reason for the decline in e-book sales is that more book buyers use tablets and smartphones to read e-books. Readers who use dedicated e-book readers have consistently purchased more e-books than consumers who use other devices. In 2011, more than 70% of e-book buyers said they used dedicated e-book devices; by 2016 only 24% did.
Read the full article here.
Looking for love without long-term commitment?
Google has announced that for a limited time you can rent a digital romance. For only 99 cents each, you have 24 hours to read happily-ever-afters published by Harlequin. Sixty titles are in the selection including a few by favorite authors Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and Diana Palmer. Sub-genres include inspirational, romantic suspense, historical, contemporary, military and more.
As a counter, Amazon has a sale of 99 romances for 99 cents each. No rentals here, so plan on a long-term commitment.
Amazon does offer textbook rentals. I wonder if Googles rent-a-novel will prompt Amazon to offer something similar. Would you pay $2.99 or $3.99 to rent a best seller for 24 hours.

Cheap Reads – Nathan Heller Crime Fiction Novels
Fill your Kindle with these exciting Nathan Heller crime fiction novels set in Chicago during the 30s and 40s. You can buy the Kindle version for only 99 cents each and buy the companion audiobook for $1.99 each.

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Housekeeping: Premium Alexa rumors; Book writing and Cheap Reads 0 comments
Premium Alexa with Screen in the works? is reporting that Amazon is developing a premium Alexa/Echo with improved speakers and a screen. According to the article Amazon is “trying to capitalize on the surprise success of its voice-controlled home gadgets.”
Anonymous sources say the new device will have a 7″ touchscreen to give easier access to popular content such as calendar, news and weather forecasts. The new unit will tilt upwards to be used while the user is standing, such as in a kitchen. This Alexa/Echo will have higher grade speakers and will be introduced in April 2017 according to the sources.
Read Bloomberg’s article here.
Paula’s thoughts: A touchscreen with the device is a welcome improvement. Having the Alexa app on an external device is not convenient. I’ll let you know as soon as the next Alexa is introduced.


Do you have a book in you?
Amazon is encouraging indie authors to publish in 2017 and will be showcasing a collection of books published via Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace and audiobooks created via Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange.
Read about Amazon’s publishing platforms and the support they offer here. You will also find helpful reference guides and books of advice to read on your Kindle.
If your New Year’s resolution is to be more creative, write a book or do something outside your comfort zone, check out the resources available from Amazon.


Instant Video – Only 99 cents through January 23
Don’t miss your chance to rent a popular video!
Amazon is offering more than 49,000 movies to rent for 99 cents. Sadly, the deal is limited to one per customer and account. Click here to browse all the videos available to rent. Choose your favorite and follow the instructions carefully.
Deal expires Monday, January 23. When renting, you have 30 days to start watching this video, and 24 hours to finish once started. Read more in this post from last night.


Cheap Read – Political Thriller
The eyes of the world will be on Washington, DC, tomorrow as our next President will be inaugurated. These four political thrillers are selling for only 99 cents each.

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Housekeeping: Refurbished Fire 10 Savings; Prime Visa Card and Free Audiobook 0 comments
Save $50 on Refurbished Fire 10
Amazon is offering a deal on Certified Refurbished Fire HD 10 Tablet Wi-Fi 16 GB w/ Special Offers . Priced at $199.99, you will save an additional $50 when you use the code FIRE10 at checkout. Deal expires January 15.
A Certified Refurbished Fire HD 10 is refurbished, tested, and certified to look and work like new. And this item comes with a one-year limited warranty and service, for more information go here.


Amazon Credit Card for Prime Members
Yesterday Amazon announced a fee-free Visa credit card loaded with perks for its large Prime Member base.
The metal card (yes, metal) comes with these benefits:
• 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases
• 2% cash back at an oddly specific mix of restaurants, gas stations and drug stores
• 1% cash back everywhere else
• No foreign transaction fees
• While slightly on the high end, the card’s interest rates are otherwise well within normal range
Read more about the card here.


Free Audiobook – White Fang by Jack London
Download the Kindle version of White Fang free and you will be able to download the companion audiobook free, too.
Book description: WHITE FANG is a novel by American author Jack London (1876-1916) – and the name of the book’s eponymous character, a wild wolfdog. First serialized in Outing magazine, it was published in 1906. The story takes place in Yukon Territory, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush and details White Fang’s journey to domestication.
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Housekeeping: Happy New Reading Year; Apple Credit and Cheap Reads 0 comments
Happy New Reading Year
New year, new goals!
Do you have a reading goal for 2017? What about a reading challenge?
The sample below was pulled from the web. All of us have favorite genre and need a prod to expand our selections. If you input “reading challenge” in an internet search engine, you will find several others – perhaps one that is better for you.
Whether you follow a plan or free style, we wish you a wonderful year of reading in the coming months. We will be sharing our favorite reads from 2016 in the coming weeks.


Apple Credit
While 2016 was coming to an end, the wonderful credit from Apple that I received June 21 came to an end, too. Even though the credit could be used for practically anything purchased from Amazon, I zealously guarded the funds and used them only for Kindle book purchases.
Cheap Reads
Publishers have slashed prices on award-wining books for children and pre-teens. Our jr. site has many of the books and I’ll be posting a more as the prices hold. I tried to put the award name in the post title to help you find them.
If you love a good story, shorter in length and loved by the young-at-heart, check out these six award winners selling for only $1.99 each today.


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