New updates bring Audible to basic Kindle and new customization options

Today’s announcement of the all-new Kindle Oasis included big news on the integration of Audible audiobooks into the device.  Audible integration will roll out as an update when the new Oasis device ships on October 31, 2017.

Also included in the announcement was the news that the basic, entry-level Kindle (current generation 8), along with the first generation Oasis,  will also be getting Audible integration over the coming months. This may be a feature that makes the basic Kindle (which does not have a backlight) more desirable as a device for prospective owners. As noted in this post on The eBook Reader, at least according to its reviews,  the basic, entry level kindle is not well liked.

Today’s announcement also included news of new firmware updates that would add new settings for reading customization, including new font sizes, bolding options and new margin options including an option for left-aligned  /ragged right text..

The new features are:

  • New Font Size and Bold Settings: Now choose from more font sizes than ever before–and five levels of boldness–for whichever font you choose to read with. Combined with the new, 7-inch Paperwhite display, you can personalize your books so it’s perfectly comfortable for your eyes.
  • New Accessibility Options: In addition to the OpenDyslexic font, we’ve added a feature to invert black and white on the display if you have light sensitivity. The new enlarged display option also lets you increase the size of items like the text on the home screen and library as well as the book icons to make the all-new Kindle Oasis easier to read.
  • Light Settings: Built-in ambient light sensors automatically adjust the display to your surroundings whether you’re in a dimly-lit room or outside in the sun–and can be fine-tuned even further based on personal preferences.
  • Ragged Right Alignment: You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text.

To me, one of the most intriguing of the new features is the ability to invert black-and-white on the display for those with light sensitivity. This is generally a feature found on apps and tablets, not e-ink readers (although there is supposedly a hack for the Kobo line here.). My old Literarti e-reader had this feature, and I can tell you, being able to read white text on a black screen in a dark room Is a great feature for reading in the middle of the night without disturbing your partner! 🙂

The new firmware features will be delivered as a free over the air update to the Kindle Paperwhite and newer devices starting today.

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Daily Links and Deals: Old book, new look: why the classics are flying off the shelves

daily_links_1Today, repackaging classic literature is making money for publishers. Also, the new Audible Channels in a problem for Fire Tablet owners, a look at Creative Commons licenses, a 1909 cookbook for sandwiches and more. In deals, savings on TP networking products.

Daily Links for Monday, September 19. 2016:

Amazon’s new ‘Audible Channels’ Prime benefit is great — but it’s not available on Amazon tablets (Update: They’re working on it) (Geek Wire) This is frustrating and is a problem for people who share Prime benefits.

Old book, new look: why the classics are flying off the shelves (The Guardian) Repackaging old, public domain books makes money for publishers.

Creative Commons licenses under scrutiny—what does “noncommercial” mean? (Ars Technica) Commercial v. noncommercial use of CC licenses. Where’s the line of demarcation?

Has the EU just outlawed fully-loaded Kodi boxes? What’s in store for the box that is very, very popular with pirates?

400 Ways to Make a Sandwich: A 1909 Cookbook Full of Creative Recipes (Open Culture) A free cookbook from 1909 has some interesting sandwich variations.

Who needs cable? Broadcast TV makes a comeback (Talking New Media) Don’t write off over-the-air signals just yet. Live TV is still at play – at least for the time being.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson.

In Today’s Deals, save up to 40% on select TP-Link networking products.

The all-new version of the Fire 8 HD tablet is available for pre-order. The tablet is $89.99 and will be released on September 21, 2016.

Amazon has now released the Echo a second color. You can pre-order the Echo now to get it in white. It will be available on September 28, 2016. There is also an  All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) which will be available in both black and white and retails for $49.99. The Dot is also being offering in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack and a ““Buy 10, get 2 free” twelve-pack”. The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Is This Tomorrow: A Novel by Caroline Leavitt. The Romance Daily Find is Undone by Shannon Richard.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Gideon’s Sword by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child. The Extra Daily Deal is Five Quarters of the Orange A Novel by Joanne Harris.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until September 23, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes AT Dawn by John W. Mefford.

Google Books has a selection of Big Books, Big Deals, up to 75% off great reads.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Amazon adds Audible Channels, some audiobooks to Prime benefits.

audiblechannels-cropBack in July, Amazon’s Audible launched a new ad-free, short form audio service called Channels. The service offered short form listens that included comedy, news and more. The service was originally offered to Audible subscribers for free and then as a separate subscription service for $4.95 per month.

Today, Amazon has announced free, unlimited access to the Channels service for U.S. Prime members. Also included is a rotating selection of over 50 audiobooks. If you don’t have Prime, Channels is also available to purchase for $4.95 per month ($59.40 yearly).

Programming includes:

  • Presidents are People Too!, a series that transforms U.S. Presidents into real-life people complete with quirks, flaws, triumphs, scandals and bodily ailments, hosted by former “The Daily Show” head writer Elliott Kalan and American historian Alexis Coe

  • Bedtime Stories for Cynics, inappropriate children’s stories for adults only, presented by Nick Offerman of “Parks and Recreation” fame

  • Hold On with Eugene Mirman, in which Mirman pauses funny live stories and gets his special comedian guests, including Jim Gaffigan and “Weird Al” Yankovic to divulge new details

  • Limelight, highlighting the best new standup performances from comedy clubs across the country, with rotating guest hosts such as T. J. Miller, Ron Funches and the Sklar Brothers

  • Lectures from The Great Courses

Channels will also be offering new original programming in the coming months, with some previews and pilot episodes available now:

  • The Butterfly Effect, hosted by Jon Ronson, which explores the question, what happens when we expect things for free?

  • Ponzi Supernova, a fascinating look at Bernard Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history, featuring exclusive jailhouse interviews with Madoff himself

  • Damned Spot, a series that examines the afterlife of places defined by tragic events

  • West Cork, a true crime series about an unsolved society murder, set on the south coast ofIreland

  • Extra Credit with Neal Pollack, in which the author, musician and comedian takes his 13-year-old son’s education into his own hands, and hilarity ensues

The 50 rotating audiobooks will be offered across nine Prime-exclusive channels. Contents will include:

  • Top-rated audiobooks across a range of genres, such as Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl, Karl Marlantes’ What It Is Like to Go to War, Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook, Anne Lamott’s Stitches and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Alive

  • Celebrity-narrated classics, such as Scarlett Johansson’s performance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Rosamund Pike’s narration of Pride and Prejudice, and a full-cast recording ofDracula, starring Alan Cumming

  • Shared listening experiences for the family, including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Velveteen Rabbit

If you own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap, you probably already know that Alexa can read audiobooks to you. While today’s press release does not mention Alexa specifically, I am betting that we will see an integration with Channels soon. In Amazon’s What’s New With Alexa newsletter last week, there was mention of two special audiobooks for Alexa to read in September. One of them was Scarlett Johansson’s performance of Alice in Wonderland, so that may hint that Channels my soon be available on the Echo devices.

In order to get Channels, you must a Prime member in the U.S and have the latest version of the Audible app installed.

As a longtime fan of Great Courses material, I really excited to see their content available as part of Channels. How about you? Are you excited about the service?

Amazon

Daily Links and Deals: How Are Digital Devices Changing the Way We Think?

daily_links_1Today, a new look at the digital versus print reading comprehension debate which suggest what we are reading may be as important a factors as what what we read on. Also, increased WiFi hotspots may be on the horizon for Germany, locking in your Windows 10 upgrade and sharing a free audiobook via Audible. In ebook deals, a Paris Getaway sale and a great price on Desert Rising by Kelley Grant.

Daily Links for Sunday, May 15, 2016:

A Rule Change In Germany May Allow For Widespread Free WiFi (Gizmodo) A loosening of restrictions may make it easier to find an internet cafe in Germany.

How Are Digital Devices Changing the Way We Think? (Psychology Today) A study suggests that reading comprehension differences between digital and print may not be as black and white as previously thought.

Audible to let audiobook owners share one book free of charge as introduction to share mechanism (Talking New Media) I missed this story a few days ago. Give a copy of any Audible book in your library to a friend (or your book club). Great way to get others hooked on audiobooks.

How to lock in your free Windows 10 upgrade and keep using your old Windows version (ZDNet) You can reserve your free copy, even if you are not ready to upgrade yet.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Desert Rising by Kelley Grant for 99 cents. (I ♥ this series! If you like fantasy and cats, I think you will enjoy this!)

In Today’s Deals, you can find an AmazonBasics Fade-Resistant Cotton 6-Piece Towel Set or save up to 40% on Sawyer Outdoor Products.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is a City of Lights sale! Choose from 15 tiles at up to 80% off during the Paris Getaway Sale! The Romance Daily Find is Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Liar by Nora Roberts for $1.99. The Extra Daily Deal is Adam by James Bushill for 99 cents.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Beach House by Jane Green for $1.99.

Google Books is having a Historical Fiction Sale.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Last Minute Mother’s Day Ebook Gifts

mom_tattooHappy Mother’s Day!

If you still need an last minute e-book gift for your mom, here’s a few ideas:

Send an ebook as a gift

Has mom been talking about a new book she just can’t wait to read? Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks all let you buy a specific ebook as a gift. Look for the “Buy as a Gift” button on the book detail page.

Give a subscription

You can give an all-you-can-read subscription to Kindle Unlimited as a gift. It costs $9.99 and is available for gifting in 6,12,and 24 month membership terms.

The Scribd service also offers a gift subscription option.  You can select from three terms: 3 months for $25, 6 months for $50, or 1 year for $99. Scribd lets you an print out the e-card and hand-deliver it yourself.

For audiobook fans, what about a subscription to Audible?  The service features over 180,000 audio titles. Gifts are available in 3,6 and 12 month memberships. And, if there is a specific book you have in mind that you’d like to give, you can also choose to gift an individual book.

Give a gift card

If you are not sure what mom really wants, gift cards make an awesome choice. I always ask for these so I can buy books! 🙂 These are great because they work for buying both print and ebooks. So where does your mom like to shop?

If Mom has a Kindle, how about an Amazon gift card? You can send them via email or print it out an home and present to mom in person. You can even put your baby picture on it – she’ll love it.

If mom loves her Nook, a Barnes and Noble  gift card is a great gift. The cards can be redeemed online for ebooks and web order in the store.

Itunes Gift Cards make a fantastic gift if you are centered in the Apple Universe. You can get them in a range of denominations, they are available at retailers  almost everywhere or you can buy them online. And, they work for everything: apps, music, books, TV and movies or Apple music.

For Android lovers, Google Play Gift Certificates are a very versatile gift. They can be used for apps, music, books and movies from the Play store. They are available in denominations from $10. Plus, you can buy them online or pick them up a local store when you are on your way to take mom to brunch. 🙂

(Sorry Kobo fans! Kobo US does not seem to be offering the option to send a book or buy a gift card on their website.)

Verizon Connection Day

verizonToday, Verizon Wireless is giving away free digital gifts for their  Connection Day promotion. Many of these free gifts are geared towards holiday travelers.

Among the offerings:

  • Free digital content from Amazon and books from Audible.
  • A full day of iTunes radio with limited interruptions.
  • Free airport wi-fi from Boingo.
  • The latest editions of select Conde Nast magazines, including titles such as Wired, Vanity Fair, Vogue and many more.
  • 30 free minutes of Gogo in-flight wi-fi.
  • Free Fl-Fi for select Jet Blue flights.
  • Stream ad-free Pandora One radio.

You don’t have to be a Verizon customer to take advantage of the free offers, but there is a bonus offer of exclusive access to movies and TV if you are an existing Verizon FiOS customer. There are terms and conditions which apply, so read the fine print. The offer is only valid until midnight!

You can get more info at the Verizon Connection Day page.

 

Scribd, Barnes and Noble add on Audio books

scribdIf you are an audio book fan, today definitely brings exciting news! Scribd has announced that they are adding  30,000 audiobooks to their subscription service. According to their blog:

… That makes us (we’re extremely pleased to say) the largest unlimited e-book & audiobook subscription service around.

Audiobooks have been one of our most requested features since the day we launched, and today we’re so excited to say they’re here.

The service will include new releases and bestsellers. Scribd has greatly expanded their offings this year with the addition of e-books by Harlequin, HarperCollins  and Simon and Schuster. Juli Monroe from TeleRead has some additional info in an article here.

I wasn’t clear from the announcement exactly when the audiobooks would be available on the  service. (It wasn’t yet on my Android tablet as of 9:30 CST.)

Barnes and Noble is also getting back into the audiobook game. The company has also just released a new Android app for purchasing and listening to audio books. The app is still in beta but seems to have good reviews on Google Play.

In comparison, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription only has about 2,ooo titles.

Audible, also owned by Amazon, still has the largest selection of audiobooks with over 150,000 titles available.

It is exciting to see so many new options for audiobooks becoming available. 🙂