Category: Housekeeping
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 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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Housekeeping: Alexa calling/messaging and Amazon Echo Show 2 comments
Alexa Provides Calling and Messaging
Amazon has updated its Alexa app to allow for calling and messaging. This article at has well-written instructions to guide the process.
Alexa-to-Alexa calling and messaging helps you keep in touch with friends and family who also have supported Echo devices or the Alexa app. This free feature provides calling and messaging between supported Echo devices and the Alexa app on compatible iOS and Android phones.
You can also read more at Amazon by clicking here.
NOTE: The Alexa app updated for calling may not work on older Kindle Fires that cannot support the app.
If you don’t have an Echo or Dot, for a limited time you can save $30 on an Echo ($149.99). The Echo Dot is available for $49.99.


Echo with a screen!
Earlier this week, Amazon announced a new Echo. Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
• Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
• See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
• Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
• Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
• With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
• Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Allrecipes, CNN, and more
Echo show is available starting today for pre-order for $229.99. The item will release on June 28.
Place two Echo Shows in your cart and receive $100 off your order with code SHOW2PACK.
Click here to purchase Echo Show
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Housekeeping: Echo Look, Bad Analogies and Cheap Reads 5 comments

Echo Look
Amazon has announced the Echo Look, a hands-free camera and style assistant. The web page tells us all about it:
• Introducing Echo Look—everything you love about Alexa, and now she can help you look your best
• Using just your voice, easily take full-length photos and short videos with a hands-free camera that includes built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing camera, and computer vision-based background blur
• See yourself from every angle with the companion app. Build a personal lookbook and share your photos.
• Get a second opinion on which outfit looks best with Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists
• Echo Look helps you discover new brands and styles inspired by your lookbook
• Ask Alexa to read the news and audiobooks, set alarms, get traffic and weather updates, control smart home devices, play music, and more
• Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Starbucks, Fitbit, NPR, and more
Paula’s thoughts: I can understand how bloggers who post many pictures would want the hands-free camera feature. Echo Look also solves the problem of family photos missing the one person at the camera.
After watching the video about how you can use it to get fashion advice, I decided the first buyers would be the narcissistic. Then I had the frightening thought, “What if someone gave me one as a gift? Are they saying? ‘Have you taken a good look at yourself lately? Here’s an Echo Look so you will know what you look like in that outfit.'”
The Echo Look sells for $199.99 but only by invitation.


Freshman Composition
The school year is nearing the end and teens around the country are scrambling to finish their essays and creative writing projects. Perhaps the analogies below were penned during the late night hours while suffering from writer’s block. My personal favorite is #10.


Cheap Reads
Enjoy these two novels by popular author Susan Wiggs selling for $1.99 today.
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Housekeeping: Daily Deal Repeats and Cheap Reads 5 comments

Daily Deal Repeats
Our new format with the Daily Deals and other Kindle sales featured on the first post of the day has saved us several hours a week. We hope that you are able to find the deals and buy great reads. One negative is that we no longer have a record of each book featured in the Daily Deal. We might accidentally post a book that has already been on sale just a few days earlier. No matter how hard we try, our memories just aren’t good enough to recall every book.
Sunday, April 23, World Book Day

Cheap Read

If you enjoy paranormal romance, you will want to buy the complete Alpha Underground Trilogy with bonus short stories for only 99 cents today. It’s chock full of danger, adventure, and romance.
Alpha Underground Trilogy (99 cents) Fen Young is a half-shifter whose inner beast is more mouse than wolf. Home is her castle, the only place she’s ever felt safe.
Enter Hunter Green, an uber-alpha strong enough to stop traffic with a single look. He’s handsome and enticing and seems like just the ticket to broaden Fen’s horizons…until the uber-alpha brushes off his admirer and summarily ejects her from her home pack.
Now treading water in the no-man’s land of outpack territory, Fen must confront a missing pack mate, a tantalizing stranger, and a serial killer targeting half-werewolves. Will she be able to shore up her waning power in time to save her friend…and half-breeds everywhere…before it’s too late?
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Housekeeping – Catching up; Amazon Improvements and Books by State 3 comments
A long dry spell
It’s been more than a month since I’ve done housekeeping! After Amazon reduced the commissions paid to its associates and we cut back on the number of posts, things appear to be going about as expected. We will continue to adjust as needed through the summer months.
We appreciate when you share about our site with your Kindle friends. The more folks who buy their books through our site, the more motivated we are to provide you with the latest great deals.


A solution for me, a dunderhead
Finally! Amazon has heard my plea!
First I must confess that I have books in my Kindle library that I have forgotten I own. I have browsed in the Kindle Store, come upon a book that sounds interesting and clicked on the buy it button. Amazon sends the screen that tells me that records indicate I already own the book. What isn’t said is, “Didn’t you see that light blue stripe across the top of the page telling you when you bought it?” Apparently not.
Finally Amazon has created a way to keep me from trying to buy again.
Great improvement, Amazon! My next request is that I be able to send to a device from this screen.


Which book in which state?
Check out this webpage that lists the most famous book set in each state in America. I wasn’t surprised by the one for my home state or the neighboring states.
For a bit of mental exercise, you might try to guess the book before you look at the list. The selections included classic fiction and contemporary memoirs.
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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: 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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