Archives for: May 2012
Housekeeping: E-Advertisements with a Poll, Amazon Housekeeping, and a bundle of children’s books 7 comments

E-Advertisements, I mean, publisher samples
Publishers have developed the equivalent of grocery store samples of crackers and cheese. More and more short stories or prequels are being offered for the Kindle either free or for 99 cents or $1.99. The publishers have become clever in their titling of these unconventional pieces – introductory prequel, short story, bonus scene, thoughts on BOOK TITLE, and special e-book edition.
These short works usually include a sample of the larger book hoping you will have to know the resolution of the conflict and buy the complete higher priced book.
I think of these as advertisements – some thinly veiled, others obvious. Reader reviews have been very critical on some of these items:

I knew this was short, but I expect at least a bit of story.

While billed as a “bonus story,” it just stopped in the middle of the 24 pages.

Please do not give us a portion of a book and then ask us to buy the ending under a different title. Makes us not want to look at any of the other books you offer!

 
Publishers are also offering free samples of a particular genre or an author’s books in a compilation usually titled something similar to Mystery Teen Sample or The Author Name Sampler. These snippets of bundles are easy to produce and cost the publisher very little.
When you download a sample from Amazon, it is always the first bit of a book. When the publisher produces the sample, the best of the book is presented, usually stopping at a critical point, hoping the reader is enticed to buy the larger book.
Last week Microsoft offered a free book which was basically a user’s manual for one of their software products. A great way to get the user’s manual in the hands of the users, but also a clever way to advertise their product and allow potential users to read about the features.
Even if the publisher offers them free, are they worth it? I’ve read a few of the prequels and teasers. They weren’t groundbreaking, satisfying, or even worth the investment of my time when so many great reads are unread on my Kindle.
How do you feel about these optional items offered by publishers? Do you like them? Are they valuable to you in making reading choices? Or are they just annoying? UPDATE – Added an option to poll based on a comment.


 
Amazon is doing a little housekeeping, too
According to this article Amazon will be removing some books from the Kindle Store. We have written before about the books that anyone can download and market as their own – private label rights. Removing these and other readily available free content from the Kindle Store is a good move and we appreciate Amazon’s action.
 
Cheap bundle of books for children
The bundle description says stories. I wondered if this was just a collection of short reads and downloaded the e-file to confirm. Much to my surprise, this file is more than 6,400 locations. The books individually sell for $5.99 or $6.99 each. Written for children ages 9 and up, this bundle for $2.99 is definitely a great buy. The content sounds a bit yucky. . . but the bundle is still a great purchase.
Bundle description: What happens when your mother feeds you more roughage in a week than a health farm dishes out in a year? How will Macca “iron gut” Mactavish’s mates make him throw up? How will Gumby Mason score a boogie from his football Coach? If you’re a fan of cockroaches, vomit, boogie, and turds – then So Stories is the e-book for you. Three of the funniest and most revolting stories ever – So Gross, So Ferel, and So Sick. All three only $2.99 today – a SuperCheap price!
Click here to purchase Three Stories from the So series

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Housekeeping – Disappearing posts, Front lit Kindles, and a Cheap Read 4 comments

Where, oh, where, have our posts gone?
A reader brought a small technical issue to our attention. On days when we have several quick posts in succession such as on typical Monday, earlier posts disappear from the homepage. The most recent 10 posts are on the first page and the second page begins with posts from 24 hours before, dropping 4-6 posts. You can find the posts by selecting a category or searching on a title. If you wait patiently, the posts will reappear later in the day.
We don’t want you to miss a single posts! Our IT support is looking for a solution. If you know the answer to our conundrum, please leave a comment.
 
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
A month ago Barnes & Noble released the NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™. IT apparently has been successful as the website states it is temporarily out of stock and will ship on May 30, 2012. B&N is marketing the e-reader in this way:

NOOK’s GlowLight illuminates your screen with a soft light that is perfect for bedtime reading. With advanced lighting technology not available on any other reader, GlowLight lets you stay up late reading in total comfort. . .

 
Amazon has clearly left Kindle owners in the dark. Reuters has published an article stating that Amazon.com will be offering a “monochrome e-reader with front lighting” as one of its new versions of the Kindle e-reader and tablet. The new Kindles will be in the stores in July according to the article.
The downside of front lighting is that the battery will need recharging more frequently. That’s still preferable to the replacing the batteries in an external light.
 
A cheap read
In this second book of Kathryn Magendie’s much-praised series about the journey of a woman dealing with the ghosts of a dysfunctional family, Virginia Kate Carey seeks the loving commitment that eluded her in Tender Graces ($8.00 now; was offered free on May 10).
“Vee” is idealistic and naïve despite the witness she has served to the fractured heritage of her parents’ and grandmother’s dreams. Vee continues her journey toward wisdom, building small bridges over the chasms of hurt and longing. The inspiration of hope lingers in her.
Tender Graces and now Secret Graces explore three women’s lives: Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, and passes through the fulcrum of Virginia Kate’s emerging life as a lover and mother and storyteller, chronicling the heart ache and hope of her family and herself. You can buy this novel for only $1.99 today – a great price for a sequel.
Click here to purchase Secret Graces

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Guest Book Review by Amber Drake: All The Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle – Now only $3.99 0 comments

Amber Drake, an avid reader of everything including cereal boxes, reviews for BSC Reviews and tries to keep track of her life and thoughts on her blog, http://www.dragonashes.com/ (Dragon Ashes), provided this review:
The Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle: You need to read this book. Why, you ask? Because I give it five stars for doing a bang-up job of keeping me entertained throughout. This is a wizard fantasy but with a cozy mystery-like atmosphere and has magic, ghosts, talking plants, feuding wizards, mysterious towers and just a touch of mayhem. In addition, there are no cliffhangers or unnecessary and/or inappropriate scenes. It is chock full of good reading.
 
Book description: As the newly appointed mage to the Crown of Tirlin, Meralda Ovis has no choice but to undertake King Yvin’s ill-conceived task. Tirlin’s first female mage, and the youngest person to ever don the robes of office, Meralda is determined to prove once and for all that she deserves the title. The Tower, though, holds ancient secrets all its own. Secrets that will soon spell destruction for all of Tirlin—unless Meralda can unravel a monstrous curse laid by a legendary villain seven centuries before she was born.
An ancient curse. A haunted tower. A clamorous gathering of nobles, mages, and kings from the Five Realms come together in Tirlin for the fifth-year Accords. Meralda finds herself facing far darker foes than any mere shadow of the tower. You can buy this fantasy today for the reduced price of $3.99.
Click here to purchase All The Paths of Shadow

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Housekeeping: Unsolicited advice for authors; Facebook; and Cheap reads 9 comments

Unsolicited advice for authors
Dear Author –
You have toiled and labored to bring your creative thoughts to your book. You have read, read, re-read, written and re-written repeatedly. You are to be commended.
You didn’t ask, but I wanted to pass along a little unsolicited advice. It’s free and my opinion only. Other readers may not agree.
You know all those wonderful comments you posted on the book’s webpage? The words of praise for your writing style and the plot and characters in the book have to be encouraging and points of pride for you. Well, first and foremost I want to know the book. If the book description doesn’t draw me in, then the reviews just won’t matter. Please make your book description the first item to read.
About that description. Please use a spell checker. Maybe you could ask a few friends to proofread. If you have spelling, grammar and/or punctuation errors in the description, I immediately think that your book is chock-full of spelling, grammar and/or punctuation errors. The description below was taken exactly from a web page in the Kindle Store:

Two stories in one;

Childhood Enemies: Nicolette had been bullied by Jay for most of her school life and that and a few other things had led to her leaving the small town she’d grown up in. Coming back five years later for the reunion and to visit her best friend, Tammy, she’s shocked to learn that some things havwe changed and others havent…

 
In the authors’ defense, updating descriptions can become a difficult task in the Kindle Store.
Do you have a pet peeve about book descriptions in the Kindle Store? Leave a comment with advice you would give authors about book descriptions. I’ll write more about descriptions in a few weeks.
 
Giving more to our Facebook friends
If you follow our site via Facebook, we have improved our look. For each of our posts, you will now see the bookcover. Please like a post every once in awhile to keep our posts coming to your page. We haven’t quite gotten the feed perfected, so you may want to visit the site periodically to see all the postings. Another way to see every post is to subscribe to our daily e-mail using the form in the right sidebar.
 
Beach Reads
The vacation season will officially start with the Memorial Day holiday later this month. We will be posting the great cheap reads that the publishers will be offering for your summer reading pleasure. Look for this summertime graphic to identify a lighter read at a great cheap price. Have you downloaded these cheap reads?
An Engagement in Seattle by Debbie Macomber (48 cents) – 2-book romance bundle
School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer (52 cents) – young adult fiction
The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan (59 cents) – a canine memoir
A Winter Discovery by Michael Baron (89 cents) – contemporary romance filled with irrepressible spirit
 
Olympic Fever
The 2012 Summer Olympics will open on July 28 in London, England. Publishers may offer books with an Olympics theme over the coming weeks. Let’s hope they are as cheaply priced as the book below – only 99 cents when you pre-order it today.
Book description: David Davis’s stunning account of how Merry Lepper became the first American woman to complete a marathon.
At a time when television was pushing male-dominated sports coverage into living rooms across America, women were struggling just to set foot onto the playing field. Barred from officially registering for long-distance running competitions, some women ran anyway, defying the authorities and the rules. Still, no American woman had ever successfully completed sports’ ultimate endurance test: the marathon.
That changed in December of 1963, when Merry Lepper became the first. Leaping out of her hiding place in the bushes at the start of the race, dodging cars and infuriating race officials, Merry Lepper challenged the status quo and defeated it, years before the ban on female competitors would be revoked. This is the story of the arduous journey women distance runners had to endure to reach equality with men, and the story of how one woman overcame tremendous hurdles to fulfill a shared dream, paving the way for generations of female marathon runners to come.
Pre-order this book today for only 99 cents and receive it June 5.
This ebook also includes a 17-page excerpt from Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush ($12.99) pre-order, the story of the epic clash at the 1908 Olympic Marathon that jump-started the first marathon mania and heralded the modern age in sports.

Click here to purchase Marathon Crasher

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Book Review: The Messenger – Free as of May 14 0 comments

In The Messenger, Siri Mitchell explores the Revolutionary War and brings to life an exciting element of history.
As a Quaker, Hannah Sunderland feels caught between sides. Her father insists the family remain completely neutral, even as British soldiers occupy the city and take over the family’s home. Hannah’s twin brother Robert signs up with the rebels and is taken prisoner. Though her father forbids visiting him, Hannah wants to do something to ease the starvation and deprivation the prisoner are facing.
She encounters Jeremiah Jones, the local tavern owner. Jeremiah lost an arm while serving as in the British Army. Revenge compels him to send covert messages on what he overhears from soldiers visiting his tavern. When he needs to sneak a message into the prison, he develops a plan to secure a pass for Hannah if she delivers the message.
The characters are very well-developed. Hannah was especially intriguing as she tried to come to terms with her faith, her father’s instructions, Jeremiah’s pressure and the questions in her heart. Jeremiah was an unlikely but engaging hero. His injury, and his frustration with it, figured prominently in the story. I was surprised, however, that the story did not move more quickly. For a spy novel, more suspense and danger would have been expected.
Mitchell brings extensive research and a well-written story together to create a compelling read. Currently, this book is selling for $9.68 freein the Kindle Store, as of May 14.
Click here to purchase The Messenger
 
I received this book free as part of Bethany House’s review program. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book,

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Housekeeping – All things taxing and Cheap reads for young adults and young-at-heart adults 3 comments

Taxes in Texas
Those of you in Texas will have to start paying sales tax on Amazon purchases July 1. The state had been in a dispute with Amazon for over a year regarding sales taxes.
As part of the deal, Amazon will also create 2,500 new jobs in Texas over the next four years and the state will drop its efforts to collect back taxes. Amazon currently collects sales tax in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington and is in a dispute over the issue with the state of Arizon.
Considering the condition of state budgets, the sales tax issue will continue to bubble up around the country.
 
Taxes, the Agency Model and Amazon
When the agency model was implemented, many of you began paying taxes on e-books you purchased from publishers who had a presence in your state, such as a printing plant, a distribution warehouse, or corporate offices. With the announcement of the Department of Justice settlement and the anticipated end of the agency model, the tax collection by Amazon will probably end. You may still be responsible for remitting taxes to your state for purchases made on the internet. Some states, such as California, exempt e-books from sales tax.
 
Back in November, Amazon officials appeared before Congress to support The Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation that would provide a way for states to require online sellers to collect state and local sales tax in some cases. This article has much more information concerning the legislation.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, issued their opinion of the legislation on April 12. You can read here why this group opposed the tax. Marketplacefairness.org supports the tax and states their reasons for the bill being enacted.
Govtrack.us, a federal bill tracking website, states that the bill has a 1% chance of being enacted. You can read the full bill here.
 
Cheap Reads for Young Adults and Young-at-heart Adults
Many young adult books are being offered at great prices now and we are posting the cheap reads daily on the jr. edition. Encourage the young adults in your life to read this summer by gifting a few of ebooks.
 
For a limited time, Hereafter, the first book in Tara Hudson’s haunting trilogy, is available as a special promo ebook, available to pre-order for only 99 cents. Delivery is May 22. The ebook includes an excerpt from the captivating sequel, Arise ($9.99 pre-order), along with an exclusive “love letter” from Tara to the city of New Orleans, where the trilogy takes place.
 
Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won’t want to miss. Pre-order for only 99 cents today.
Click here to purchase Hereafter with Bonus Material
 
These three books are selling for $1.99, $2.99 and $2.99 each:

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Housekeeping: In the Clouds, One Crazy Tablet, and Cheap Reads 14 comments

In the Clouds
Lately, I’ve had my books in the Cloud. The Kindle Cloud Reader is probably Amazon’s least understood offering for reading ebooks. It’s basically an online replacement for the Kindle for PC/Mac app. Go here to download it for free. Sadly, the Cloud is only available for Firefox, Google, and Safari browsers. Support for additional browsers is coming soon.
I’ve been utilizing the Cloud to store books I really have no interest in reading any time in the near future – as in the next 25 years, considering how many books are on my waiting list.

Before the Cloud, when I ordered a book, it would load automatically to the Kindle. If it’s been awhile since I’d turned on the wireless, or if lots of free books were offered, this could really clutter up the device. It also made no sense to me to have to load a book before you could remove it to the archive.
Enter the Cloud, that happy place in the sky where free books go to live out their lives. When you “one click purchase,” you can choose an option to send the book to whatever devices you have registered. When you choose the Cloud, it doesn’t automatically send to any device, but waits in perpetual storage, like an automatic archive option. The book does show up on the Kindle Fire carousel, but won’t download until you click it.
The Cloud also makes it possible to read a book directly in your web browser. This is a good option if you don’t want to use a lot of memory on your computer with the Kindle for PC/Mac app. Or if you’re on a computer (at work, perhaps?) where you don’t necessarily want to have your books downloaded.
This may also be a helpful technique to avoid hard restarts on the Kindle. Several users have reported that their devices have been shutting off and restarting frequently. One possible cause is the number of books stored on the device desktop that could overload the memory. If this has been a problem, you might try sending books to the Cloud and see if it helps.
This page on Amazon is the Cloud help page.
How have you used the Cloud and what user tips can you pass on?
 
One Crazy Tablet
That didn’t take long. PC World is reporting that since the end of February, the Kindle Fire accounts for more than half (54%) of android sales. The article calls the Fire the non-tablet that changed the market and is outsold only by the iPad.
Users report the Fire’s best feature is its ability to be used as an e-reader. Two thumbs up from Daily Cheap Reads! The comparative low price of $199, a simple interface and useful functions have made it the top seller.
 
National Day of Prayer
Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States. We posted earlier about the event.
Stormie Omartian’s book on prayer is selling for the great price of only 99 cents.
 
Stormie Omartian has led millions to pray—parents, wives, husbands, women, teens, and kids. Each of her best-selling books have opened up the mystery of prayer and helped readers approach God with confidence and experience His power. With transparency and biblical depth, Stormie now shares what it means to connect with God in a deep and meaningful way through every circumstance that presents itself. In 30 short chapters, Stormie helps every reader find the freedom, wholeness, and success they want as they discover the simple steps to powerful prayer.
Click here to purchase The Power of a Praying® Life
 
 
 
Crazy Day and Cheap Reads
Yesterday was one crazy day with all one-day-only special prices on refurbished Fires and the Kindle DX. Rumors are that the next Kindle Fire announcement is imminent and the Kindle DX will be discontinued. When the rumors are confirmed, we’ll let you know.
In the meantime, whatever Kindle device or application you are using you will want to consider these 99 cent cheap reads. Topics include military history; true crime including Greentown about the Martha Moxley murder; dieting, a travelogue; and historical fiction.
 

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