Mother’s Day Sale: Amazon Kindles, tablets and devices

Sunday, May 13th is Mother’r Day here in the US. To celebrate Mom’s big day, Amazon is having a big device sale with deals on e-readers, tablets, Fire TV and Echo devices. (May is also graduation month and these also make great gifts for a graduate!)

On offer are the following items:

E-ink e-readers:

Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi, Built-In Audible – Includes Special Offers – $59.99 ($20 off)

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers – $99.99 ($20 off)

Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle E-reader, 2-Year Worry-Free Guarantee, choice of color cover – $79.99

Tablets:

Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Black – with Special Offers – $39.99 ($10 off)

Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers – $59.99 ($20 off)

Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1″ 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black – with Special Offers – $119.99 ($30 off)

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, 7″ Display, 16 GB, choice of color Kid-Proof Case – $79.99 ($20 off)

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB, choice of color Kid-Proof Case – $99.99 ($30 off)

Fire TV

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player – $29.99 ($10 off)

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (Pendant Design) | Streaming Media Player – $49.99 ($20 off)

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD (2017 Edition, Pendant) + HD Antenna Bundle – $69.98 ($20 off)

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote + Echo Dot (Black) – $64.98 ($25 off)

Echo family of devices:

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – Smart speaker with Alexa – Black – $39.99 ($10 off)

Echo (2nd Generation) – Smart speaker with Alexa – choice of finish – $84.99 ($15 off)

Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker – $99.99 ($30 off)

Echo Spot – Choice of Black or White – $109.99 ($20 off)

Echo Show – Choice of Black or White – $159.99 ($70 off)

Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera, Works with Alexa – $99.99 ($20 off)

You can see all of the available device deals on one page here.

 (Note to my kids: I have most of these, LOL!)

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PBS to air The Great American Read series

On May 22, 2018, PBS will begin airing an 8-part series called the Great American Read. The documentary series, hosted by Meredith Vieira, ” will take viewers on a journey across the country to uncover the nation’s 100 most-loved novels.” The idea behind the series is that books are the vehicle to “celebrates the power of reading.” The show will interview authors, readers, celebrities and literary experts to discuss how books have affected American culture.

The series is one facet of an outreach program designed to get Americans reading and talking about books.

Viewers will be able to vote on titles to ultimately choose America’s best-loved novel. According to the series web page,

Voting will open online and on social media with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers can vote online and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their votes by using SMS and toll-free voting.

You can read the list of 100 books here.

Surprisingly, when I spot checked, it appears that ALL of these titles are available in ebook versions.

You can follow the series on social media on Facebook and Instagram You can also follow on Twitter with the hashtag #greatreadpbs.

The Great American Read

Get free books in translation for World Book Day

To celebrate next week’s World Book Day, Amazon is offering nine free books from their AmazonCrossing imprint. The imprint focuses on translated works and it’s stated mission is “to connect readers across cultures with books from around the world.”

The genres of the titles include a memoir, mystery, suspense, literary fiction and literary fantasy. All of the titles are English translations of award-winning books originally published in foreign languages.

The available titles are:

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa, translated from Japanese by Risa Kobayashi and Martin Brown: An Amazon Charts bestselling memoir about one man’s harrowing escape from the oppression of North Korea.

The House by the River by Lena Manta, translated from Greek by Gail Holst-Warhaft: An epic saga of love, adventure and family from Greece’s reigning #1 best-selling author.

Still Waters by Viveca Sten, translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy: The first book in the nearly 4 million-copy best-selling Swedish Sandhamn Murders series.

The Great Passage by Shion Miura, translated from Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter: This award-winning novel, adapted into a major motion picture, about the making of a Japanese dictionary is a reminder that a life dedicated to passion is a life well lived.

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin, translated from Turkish by John W. Baker: A sweeping story of love, adventure and compassion, about a young Turkish couple traversing Nazi-occupied Europe to gain their freedom, from one of Turkey’s most beloved authors.

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan, translated from Russian by Yuri Machkasov: An astounding and award-winning tale of a mesmerizing space where disabilities symbolize strengths.

The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak, translated from Indonesian by Laksmi Pamuntjak: A saga of love, revolution and resilience and one woman’s courage to forge her own path, from an award-winning Indonesian novelist.

The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen, translated from Spanish by Simon Bruni: A haunting page-turner about a boy who lives underground and discovers that light exists in even the darkest of places.

Ten Women by Marcela Serrano, translated from Spanish by Beth Fowler: A group of women with divergent life stories bond over triumphs and heartaches in this beautiful tale about universal connections from an award-winning Chilean author.

The free books promotion ends at 11:59pm PDT on April 24, 2018. Edited to add: This promotion is available only to eligible customers in the US.

AmazonCrossing books are frequently included as part of the First Reads (formerly Kindle Firsts) program and titles are available as part of the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. You can browse other AmazonCrossing titles here.

A thru O: Sue Grafton’s Alphabet titles on sale for $2.99 each

Today’s Kindle deal features the first 15 books in the late Sue Grafton’s bestselling Alphabet series. The books (A through O) are available for just $2.99 each.

If you want the entire bundle, Amazon conveniently has a button to buy all 15 books with one click. The bundle sells for $44.85 – still $2.99 per book, but it is easier than buying 15 titles separately.

Here’s a list of the titles:

“A” Is for Alibi
“B” Is for Burglar
“C” Is for Corpse
“D” Is for Deadbeat
“E” Is for Evidence
“F” Is for Fugitive
“G” Is for Gumshoe
“H” Is for Homicide
“I” Is for Innocent
“J” Is for Judgment
“K” Is for Killer
“L” is for Lawless
“M” Is for Malice
“N” Is for Noose
“O” Is for Outlaw

#mystery #Kinsey Millhone

Scribd brings back unlimited reading (sort of)

Once again, subscription service Scribd has changed its rules on how much content users are allowed to access. This makes at least the fourth time in the last two years that the service has changed the rules on its paying subscribers.

Originally, Scribd started off as an unlimited subscription service.  Upon finding that some users were actually voracious readers, in February 2016, the service removed a large number of romance books (a hugely popular category) and instituted content limits of 3 ebooks and 1 audiobook for the rest of its users. A few months later in March 2016, Scribd modified the limits again by introducing Selects, which made some books unlimited and others subject to the 3 ebook/1 audiobook limit. And finally, comics were removed the service’s catalog in January 2017.

Needless to say, if social media comments are anything to go by, a lot of subscribers have bailed on the service since 2016.

Scribd’s latest app update was released yesterday and as of today, the service will again be offering access to unlimited* access to books and audiobooks. (Please note the asterisk behind the word unlimited.)

The facts behind the asterisk can be found on the page with the EULA:

Your subscription entitles you to access an unlimited number of books and audiobooks in the Scribd library during the subscription period. For a small percentage of Scribd users who consume an unusual volume of materials, not every book or audiobook in the library will be immediately available. Scribd reserves and shall have the right in its sole discretion to add, modify, withdraw or delay at any time any particular Scribd Commercial Content from access by you for any reason including, without limitation, based on the costs generated to Scribd by such content or the nature of your use of the Scribd.com website. Scribd makes no guarantee as to the availability of specific titles or the timing of their availability. [Emphasis added]

In plain English, that means that if you consume too much content, Scribd can, and will, throttle you.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the company’s CEO Trip Adler, the service has mechanisms in place “to limit particularly heavy consumption by a small percentage of its subscribers.” When overuse is detected, “controls will kick in to limit power readers’ access to the most expensive and popular titles.”  The service claims that even heavy users will still have access to a wide variety of content. There is no way of knowing how many books or audiobooks will be enough to kick in the controls.

It is that lack of transparency about how many is too many that is a real issue when evaluating their service. How does a consumer decide between subscribing to Audible or Scribd for audiobooks if one has a concrete limit and the other is unknown? And if Scribd want’s to woo back some of those former subscribers who felt betrayed over previous changes. This is particularly true for romance reader and audiobook listeners who tend to be heavy users of content and were really upset when they found out unlimited didn’t really mean unlimited. Even though Scribd is saying that upfront now, the lack of a solid number of allowable reads will make it a hard sell for many. Can subscribers trust that the service will be able to maintain this level of use (whatever that may be) at this price point?

Given Scribd’s own history and the fact that Playster (the other “unlimited” reading service) has recently deleted customers’ accounts for using too much content and raised prices and placed content limits on their subscribers, trusting a subscription service may be hard sell right now.

So what do you think? Are you a former Scribd subscriber? Will this make you go back?

On being disconnected in a connected world…

Last week, our router died. So, POOF, no internet other than mobile phone access for a couple of days until our ISP got a new router out to us.

It was a bit of a culture shock for sure. Since my husband and I work from home, we really rely on the internet for most things that we do. Both of us are used to using a desktop rather than a mobile device to go about our internet business, so trying to function predominantly on a phone was a challenge. And, although we both have smartphones, we have a plan with only a limited amount of data (because we work from home and normally, we are always on Wi-Fi). That meant rationing data (UGH). That meant no Alexa or Google Home (MORE UGH). And that whole cord-cutting thing? It really works a lot better with the internet, even with an over-the-air antenna in the house.

Somehow, mostly by using our phones as mobile hotspots for my Chromebook, we muddled through until the replacement router arrived.

It turns out that my idea of a good router and my ISP’s idea of a good router are definitely not the same thing.The one that the service provider sent is definitely not doing the job – while I can get on the internet and get the ROKUs and the Google Home working, the network extender, our Amazon Echo devices and most of my Kindles don’t want to connect properly. (That makes it over a week with no Alexa, in case you are keeping score, LOL!)

So, I have now purchased yet another router (this one to MY specifications) and the one I purchased from our ISP will be relegated to being a back up. I’m spending the next few days trying to get all our toys back up and running. I’ll be back to blogging as soon as I get everything plugged back in…. 🙂

Anybody have any disconnected stories to share?

January 2018 Amazon First Reads

Every month, Amazon allows Prime members to download one upcoming book from one of Amazon’s imprints for free. Everyone else can purchase one book for $1.99. The books are chosen by Amazon’s editors. (These deals, formerly called Kindle First, are for US customers only.)

This month’s books are:

Tips for Living by Renee Shafransky – Psychological Fiction

As Good as True by Cheryl Reid – Historical Fiction

Punishment (Detective Barnes Series Book 1) by Scott J. Holliday – Thriller

Not Perfect: A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan – Contemporary Fiction

Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green – Mystery

The Birdwoman’s Palate by Laksmi Pamuntjak, Tiffany Tsao (Translator) – Literary Fiction

These books can also be purchased as hardcovers for $12.99 or less.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all of these books will be available to read for free when they are released on February 1, 2018 as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Prime members can also sign up to receive a monthly e-mail announcing new Amazon First Reads picks.

Amazon First Reads