Marketplace 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. “Amazon.com 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.
Amazon 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 www.amazon.com/abna.
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:
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.
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
B&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.
Fire Phone – Features and Thoughts
Through CNET.com, yesterday I followed Jeff Bezos’ press conference where he introduced the Fire Phone. Amazon did not broadcast the presser live, but allowed bloggers to post pictures and comments live. In addition to the blogger comments, two entertaining tech gurus carried on a running conversation throughout the lengthy presentation.
The Fire Phone is feature rich with many Amazon-centric bells and whistles. One technical goodie is called Dynamic Perspective. A user can tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. As the press conference was discussing this I was reminded of how I could unknowingly buy the least desirable item at an auction because I touched my nose then my ear and then nodded to my husband. The video was impressive, but this is a feature that I want to test drive with a device in my hand.
Another feature touted was Firefly. Simply press the Firefly button to instantly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products. Then the Fire Phone takes action – it sets up an e-mail page, dials the phone number, and links bar codes to Amazon’s webpage for the product so you can order it immediately. Many of those actions are geared toward taking the user to Amazon to buy the product, download the video or mp3.
The price of the Fire Phone is competitive with 2-year smartphone contracts: 32GB Fire Phone is $199; 64GB Fire Phone is $299. Wireless service is provided by AT&T and does require a contract.
The CNET.com tech commentators made this observation: The next Kindle Fire will have many of these new features. If you are happy with your current smartphone, wait and buy the next version of the Kindle Fire.
They also referred to this phone as a gateway drug to Amazon. If you buy everything from Amazon this phone makes your life easier.
In my opinion the very best feature of the phone is that you can set the phone to vibrate and three hours later the phone will revert back to sound.
Is this a must-have for you? What feature appeals to you? Is this Amazon overload?
Does it concern you that Amazon will know even more about you including the phone numbers you call? Would you receive your work/business e-mail on this phone? Just saying. . . .
Read more commentaries on the Fire Phone by CNET.com, Engadget.com, Gizmodo.com, Wall St. Journal and Wired.com.
Cheap Beach Reads for $1.99 each
Hot weather has arrived and many of us enjoy lighter stories, guilty pleasure novels and more during our summer vacations and relaxation time. Here are three cheap beach reads for only $1.99 each.
A Purrfect Romance ($1.99) WANTED: Reliable house sitter to care for two pampered Park Avenue felines. Free penthouse accommodations. Sexy neighbor not included.
One Hundred and Four Horses ($1.99) One Hundred and Four Horses is a love story and an epic tale of survival and unbreakable bonds—those that hold us to land and family, but also those between man and the most majestic of animals, the horse.
The Cottage at Glass Beach ($1.99) Set on the rugged New England coast, Barbieri’s The Cottage at Glass Beach strikes the perfect balance between high lit and mainstream women’s fiction, infusing a potent and unforgettable love story with unforgettable characters that will remain with you long after the final chapter.
Feelings, nothimg more than feelings.
What you read can make you a more sensitive person. Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano from the New School for Social Research in New York claim that “reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions.” Mysteries and romances just don’t move a person as strongly.
According to Wikipedia literary fiction focuses on the subjects of the narrative to create “introspective, in-depth character studies” of “interesting, complex and developed” characters.
Popular authors in the literary fiction genre are Maeve Binchy; Kristen Hannah, Nicholas Sparks, JoJo Moyes, Matthew Quick, Lora Moriarty, and Karen Kingsbury.
Read this article in The Guardian to learn more about their research methods and opinions about their findings.
Highlights – Popular passages and books
Amazon seemingly tracks everything and makes some of that information available to the public. If you have ever wondered what passages have been highlighted more than others of all time, click here. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy is the hands-down winner.
The Kindle books that are the most highlighted can be found here. The Bible in several versions held three of the top 10 spots; Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ($6.99) is the second most popular book highlighted.
This interesting webpage also includes “heavily highlighted recently” passages (mostly The Hunger Games) and books (mostly textbooks) for you to check out. During the school year this page may be a great place to learn what books are being assigned in high schools and universities across the country.
The best treasure on this webpage is the listing of YOUR highlights. If you want to send a passage to someone via e-mail or add a quote in a research paper this is how you do it. With the wi-fi or wireless connected on your Kindle highlight the passage. Then go to this page, (you may have to sign in). After a short time delay of a minute or so, your most recent highlight will be at the top of the page. Just copy and paste the passage. The location is provided for easy footnoting and you can even go to the passage in the book from this page.
I don’t want to sound like an old fogey, but we didn’t have anything this fancy when I was in school! I’ve made this Amazon page a favorite for future use.
Most of my highlights were created in error, but here’s one I saved from Lord of the Scoundrels by Loretta Chase:
Ladies, in his dictionary, were listed under Plague, Pestilence, and Famine.
June is the traditional month for romance and weddings. It is also when we purchase books for summer vacation and beach reading. These romances and romance bundles are only 99 cents each today. For less than $6.00 you can have hours of light reading entertainment!
NOTE: Trudy is a well-written, sweet mail-order bride romance that I recommend.
12 books you need to read this summer
New York Public Library librarian Christopher Daigle named the twelve books that you need to read this summer. How many are on your reading list?
The Goldfinch (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) $7.50
Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier $10.99
The Husband’s Secret $5.99
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East $10.78
Alex Cross, Run $6.74
A Fighting Chance $12.99
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls $3.99
Doctor Sleep $7.99
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State $10.99
Sycamore Row $10.49
The Cuckoo’s Calling $12.99
Mom & Me & Mom $6.00
New Logo for PRH
Nearly a year ago Penguin and Random House announced their merger into one publishing company. Pundits offered several catchy and humorous names for the new company and even created logos to support their ideas.
When Penguin and Random House joined forces, the publishers brought together 10,000 jobs, 250 independent imprints, and $3.7 billion in annual revenues. Tuesday the logo of the combined company was revealed.
Each imprint will display the wordmark buy their iconic sigil (a seal or signet) as is shown in this example of the logo.
Cheap Reads – 150 Kindle Books for 99 cents each
Amazon has reduced the price on 150 of their titles to just 99 cents each through June 20. The choices include many romances, Westerns and a few children’s books.
Folllow this link to browse all 150 Kindle books for 99 cents each.
Hachette and Amazon Dispute
Earlier this month Hachette alleged that Amazon was deliberately putting excessive wait times on the purchase of their paperback and hardback books. Bestsellers such as James Patterson’s “Alex Cross, Run” and “America Again” by Stephen Colbert, noted three and five weeks to ship if ordered from Amazon.
Hachette claimed that they were supplying the books to Amazon and that there wasn’t a valid reason for delayed shipping. Read this article for more about the initial dispute.
One particular paperback book that was not shipping timely is Brad Stone’s The Everything Store ($14.99 Kindle version), a critical portrait of Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos. Read more about the dispute from Mr. Stone’s perspective here.
This past week Amazon removed “buy” buttons from upcoming Hachette books – including The Silkworm by J. K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith. A customer can request an email when the book becomes available or purchase the audiobook version. Read the latest about the conflict here.
Children’s books that changed their lives
During the 95th Children’s Book Week (May 12 to 18) Buzzfeed.com asked fans and followers to tell them what children’s book changed their lives. Thirty-seven favorite responses were posted on the site.
One of the most popular books mentioned was The Phantom Tollbooth ($4.01) by Norton Juster. Other books chosen were The Secret Garden ) ($0.99) by Frances Hodgson Burnett and A Wrinkle in Time ($3.74) by Madeleine L’Engle
Read the complete list to see if a book that changed your life made the cut.
23 Children’s Books that you need to read again as an Adult
The Youth Materials Specialist from the New York Public Library has compiled this list of the 23 Children’s Books that you need to read again as an Adult. A favorite book from my childhood was listed as the third book – All-of-a-Kind Family ($5.20 Audiobook $3.49) by Sydney Taylor.
This charming book is about a Jewish family in turn-of-the-century New York. The five children experienced the normal ups and downs of families. I was part of a large family and felt that the children in the All-of-a-Kind family were my friends.
25 Children’s books for only $1.00 each
If you are enjoy children’s books, browse this selection of 25 Kindle Kids’ Books for $1 Each. I recommend Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook by Beverly Patt; The 13th Warning by R. L. Stine and Rainstack! by Onur Tukel.
The books are published by Amazon’s imprint Two Lions. Sale ends Saturday, May 31.
Cheap Reads – 150 Westerns for $1.99 each
Today through June 15, you can purchase 150 Westerns for only $1.99 each.
Buy wonderful historical fiction complete with heroes and horses written by popular authors such as Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, Zane Grey, Will Henry, Robert J. Randisi, Cotton Smith and many more. Pick up a few action and adventure novels for your summer reading.
If you enjoy a bit of romance with your Western, check out Tumbleweed and These Darn Heels. FYI – I found no proof that These Darn Heels is a Western. The book is set in Lincoln Park in Chicago and involves a fake engagement. The heroine does own a dog, though.
Follow this link to browse all 150 Westerns.
Summer Schedule is coming!
Memorial Day Weekend starts tomorrow, unofficially marking the start of summer. Daily Cheap Reads is starting its summer schedule on Friday, too.
All of our posts will be in the early morning – beginning between 6:15 and 7:00 each day. We will continue to post the Kindle daily deals, including the free app and the audiobook deal. We will also post cheap reads each day; the number will vary depending on what’s available.
We’ll let you know when an accompanying audiobook for a book featured is less than $5, but we will discontinue links to Audible.com.
Our summer reading lists are long and we are looking forward to a great summer. Here are just a few of the books we plan to read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ($6.99); The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett ($5.99); Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy ($5.99); Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate ($5.38); Some Wildflower in my Heart by Jamie Langston Turner ($5.38); The Ransom by MaryLu Tyndall (99 cents) and Barn Boot Blues by Catherine Friend ($1.00).
HarperCollins to buy Harlequin
Surprising the publishing industry, HarperCollins has agreed to buy Harlequin for $455million Canadian dollars ($410million US dollars). If approved by the United States and Canadian governments and Canada’s Heritage Department, the deal will close in the third quarter. Both sides anticipate approval.
Initial plans are that Harlequin will operate as a stand-alone division with current CEO Craig Swinford staying and continuing to operate from their Toronto offices.
So why does HarperCollins want Harlequin? Primarily because about 40% of Harlequin’s sales are from titles published in languages other than English. This will greatly expand HarperCollins’ global reach and allow for more of HC’s popular authors to be published in more than 30 languages.
Harlequin also has one of the best operating margins in the publishing industry and digital sales accounted for nearly one-quarter of its 2013 revenue.
Read more about the deal in this article from Publisher’s Weekly.
Three romances from Harlequin for only 99 cents each and three books from HarperCollins for only 99 cents each.
Short story month
May is National Short Story Month – a time to read a short story or two or a collection. Celebrate Short Story Month with collections rated four stars and up, starting at $2.24 through $13.99.
You might want to purchase the twentieth anniversary edition of Sherman Alexie’s iconic short story collection titled The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven for
$2.24 now only 99 cents. The twenty-four linked tales in Alexie’s debut collection paint an unforgettable portrait of life on and around the Spokane Indian Reservation, a place where “Survival = Anger x Imagination.”
Many of the Kindle Singles fiction titles are short stories. Prices on these selections by well-known authors start at just 99 cents.
If you enjoy reading shorter stories, you will want to subscribe to Day One ($1.59/month) Day One is a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry. Each issue showcases one writer and poet and includes an introduction from the editor, an interview with the authors, and occasional bonus content. Day One features cover art commissioned from emerging artists and illustrators.
When you have to have that delivery quickly
The Octocopter delivery drones aren’t providing service just yet, but Amazon recently announced that customers in 15 additional cities are eligible for Sunday delivery. In addition to the Los Angeles and New York metro areas where Sunday delivery launched in November 2013, Amazon customers in the following locations are now receiving deliveries on Sunday:
• Austin, Texas
• Cincinnati, Ohio
• College Station, Texas
• Columbus, Ohio
• Dallas, Texas
• Houston, Texas
• Indianapolis, Ind.
• Lexington, Ky.
• Louisville, Ky.
• New Orleans, La.
• Oklahoma City, Okla.
• Philadelphia, Pa.
• San Antonio, Texas
• Shreveport, La.
• Waco, Texas
Voting closes tonight for our next Book Club read
If you haven’t voted in our poll for the next DCR Book Club read, today is the last day to help us select the next book.
These two books are in the lead with just one vote separating them as I type this:
The Art of Racing in the Rain ($5.99) Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. 338 pages.
The Rosie Project ($1.99) Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. 305 pages.
SuperCheap Fantasy by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb is the second pen name of novelist Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden (born 1952) who produces primarily fantasy fiction, although she has published some science fiction.
In 1995, she began use of the pseudonym Robin Hobb for works of epic traditional fantasy. Her books have been praised by Orson Scott Card. Card has stated that she “arguably set the standard for the modern serious fantasy novel.” –Wikipedia
Today you can purchase the first book in The Farseer Trilogy follows the life of FitzChivalry Farseer (Fitz), a trained assassin for only 99 cents. The character continues in The Tawny Man Trilogy and The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy.
Assassin’s Apprentice (Only 99 cents Audiobook $4.95) Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.
As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.