Kindle First Books for September 2017

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 are for US customers only.)

This month’s books are:

The Naturalist (The Naturalist Series Book 1) by Andrew Mayne – Thriller

Mad City: The True Story of the Campus Murders That America Forgot by Michael Arntfield  – True Crime

The Designer by Marius Gabriel – Historical Fiction

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll – Suspense

A Beautiful Work In Progress by Mirna Valerio – Memoir

Happy Dreams by Jia Pingwa – Literary Fiction

Previously, Amazon would allow you to download a second upcoming title for only $1.99. While that offer is no longer available, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all of these books will be available to read for free when they are released on October 1, 2017 as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

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

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?


Shop til you drop: July 12th is Prime Day

PD16cropTuesday, July 12, 2016 is Amazon’s second annual Prime day. This is an exclusive sale just for Prime Members and it will feature over 100,000 items.

According to Amazon,

New and existing members in U.S., U.K. , Spain , Japan , Italy , Germany , France , Canada , Belgium, and Austria, will find deals across nearly all departments and categories, ensuring there will be something for everyone. Members in the U.S. can shop starting at midnight PT , with new deals as often as every five minutes throughout the day.

Some of the highlights include:

TVs:  The deal inventory of TVs in the U.S. will be nearly 2x than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Toys:  Members in the U.S. will find toy deals nearly all day on Prime Day.
Specials to order with Alexa: There will be benefits to being an owner of an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap on Prime Day. (Keep an eye on your Alexa app!)
Streaming Movies and TV:  Members will find unbelievable deals on some of today’s top rated TV series and popular blockbuster films to rent or purchase and instantly stream on Amazon Video.
Kindle Unlimited: On July 12, Prime Members in the U.S. can save up to 40% on a Kindle Unlimited membership.

Members can shop deals on all devices, across nearly all categories, in all Prime countries.You can find more info on Prime Day here.

Not a Prime member? You still have time to sign up for Prime! There’s a 30 day free trial. In the U.S. Membership includes unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on many items, access to unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Video, more than one million songs and thousands of curated playlists and stations with Prime Music, early access to select Lightning Deals all year long, free secure, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos and one free pre-released book a month with Kindle First.  🙂

Daily Links and Deals: 400 years after his death, here are the books that likely influenced Shakespeare

daily_links_1Today, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, his influence, books and a look at the film adaptations. Also, video games behind a paywall, universal languages and a browser with a built in VPN. In today’s deals, there is a Pebble Smartwatch and 14 bestsellers on sale across all retailer platforms.

Daily Links for Saturday, April 23, 2016:

White House now makes it even easier to petition the government (ReCode) The process of petitioning the White House has been somewhat convoluted. Hopefully, this will help.

Amazon locks top games behind a Prime paywall (Engadget) Do you find store exclusives distasteful? In this one, only a subset of store customers can purchase these games. What do you think?

Why a Universal Language Will Never Be a Thing (Motherboard) Do you speak Esperanto? Turns out that a universal language is more difficult than people thought for a lot of reasons.

Opera browser build adds a first: Free, unlimited VPN for secure surfing (PC World)  This is still in beta, but it is a really interesting idea. I don;t know how it will play out with sites and services like Netflix that are blocking VPNS.

Disney, CBS, Viacom worry FCC cable box proposal would do to TV what iTunes did to music (The Verge)Probably a valid concern….

And for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death:

400 years after his death, here are the books that likely influenced Shakespeare (Quartz)  and William Shakespeare 400th anniversary: The BFI collection of film adaptations you can watch online (The Independent). All of Shakespeare’s works can be found at Project Gutenberg for free!

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes 14 bestsellers like The Martian, Gone Girl and more. (Note: all the major e-tailers are offering these today.)

In Today’s Deals,  save 40% on select Pebble Smartwatches.

Amazon is still offering savings on the Fire HD 6, and deals on pre-owned Fire tablets. I am also still seeing the option for 5 payments of $58 for the Kindle Oasis pre-order. Yes, it is still not too late to order one, especially with the basic black cover.

You can also take advantage of a trade-in offer from Amazon on your old Fire tablet.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is A Stained White Radiance (Dave Robicheaux Series #5) by James Lee Burke for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood for $2.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Marriage of Mary Russel: A Marry Russell short story by Laurie R. King for $1.99.

Google is having a one-day sale on bestsellers. (These are the same bestsellers a Amazon’s Kindle Deal of the day)

(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.

How to check your Amazon No Rush shipping credits

nrshipping1Many people know that Amazon frequently offers a credit for Prime members who choose no rush shipping for deliveries.  The offers tend to vary: The promotional credit might be for Amazon video, MP3 music or Kindle books. Video, as well as software and games credits are occasionally offered. Sometimes, the credit is for $1 or $2; other times, a $5.99 Prime Pantry shipping benefit is offered instead. When an eligible order is placed, Amazon sends an email noting the credit and the expiration date for getting the promotional discount.

But did you know that there is a way to check the amount of unused credits you have remaining on your account? Buried in the digital music section, Amazon has a page where you can go to check the unused credits on your account. When you click to check your balance, a pop-up opens with a  breakdown of the balances for eligible products: Amazon gift cards, MP3s, Kindle books, Amazon Video, software and games:


(Click photos to enlarge)

What the page does not list are the expiration dates of the credits themselves. The site advises that you check the original promotion emails for the expiration dates. This page shows all of your available credits except for Appstore credits.

Interestingly, when I had previously looked in the past, I had not been able to find this information. But according to the page itself, it says I should be able to check the account credit balance on any Digital Music detail page by clicking the “Redeem a gift card or promotional code and View Balance” button. To check, I went to the detail page for Mozart For Your Mind – Boost Your Brain Power.  As you can see in the picture below, on my current version of Amazon, I don’t have a link or a button with that label. Instead, on the right side of the item detail page, there is a box under the buy button that says more options. Without being told, I would have no idea to look there to check my balance.


Clicking on the more options button reveals further choices, including  “Add a gift or promotion code” instead of the  “Redeem a gift card or promotional code” link I was looking for.  The check balance part of the label is missing entirely. Once again, I would have no idea to look there if I wanted to check my balance without being told.


If you click on the “Add a gift or promotion code” link, the following pop-up screen appears:


I was then offered a choice of using my gift card balance or my MP3 credit. No other balances are shown to me.

Checking for video credits was a completely different process. I tested it on the detail page for an episode of The Walking Dead. Underneath the buy buttons, this page did have a link that was worded “Redeem a gift card or promotional code.” Clicking on the link revealed a different pop-up which included the addition of Apps for Android credits, as seen in the picture below:


Strangely, the video page is the only one that shows all your various available credits in one place.

Checking the ebook and software item pages revealed no way of checking credit balances. (I don’t know if it made a difference that I had no existing credits in those categories.) The ebooks detail page had a “Enter a promotion or gift code” link buried under the “Add to Wishlist ” button and the choices available were only either to enter a promotion Code or an Amazon Gift Card.  None of the software detail pages had a button or link to add or redeem a code of any kind nor a way to check a credit balance.

The App store detail page was again different from the previous pages. (I don’t think that it is technically a part of the No Rush shipping credit program – or at least I have never seen it. All my past app credits have been tied to other Appstore purchases.) Clicking the “Redeem a gift card or promotional code” link on this page only yielded two choices, a gift card balance or an Appstore credit.


So, it seems that while there are several ways of reviewing your credits, the easiest, most straightforward way of checking the credits is the page designated for checking the account.

As a Prime member, I am a huge fan of the No Rush shipping credits. I can get extras for things that I am already buying. But, personally, I have had unused credits expire on more than one occasion because I forgot I had them. I was delighted to figure out to check my credits. 🙂

2014 Holiday Shopping: Kindle Plus Kindle Unlimited Bundles

happy thanksgiving kindleI had this blog post ready to go yesterday about Amazon’s holiday promotions which included various Kindles bundled with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions. I was surprised when I found out this morning that they had reduced the prices even more on the bundles! The price updates are in red.

First, Amazon is bundling sales of its Kindle and Kindle Fire Devices with 6 months of their Kindle Unlimited subscription serve for a savings of about $40. According to the promotion page, there are currently 4 choices:

  • The basic touchscreen Kindle with six months of Kindle Unlimited for $ 99 $79.
  • The Fire HD 7  with six months of Kindle Unlimited for $169 $139.
  • The  Kindle Paperwhite  with six months of Kindle Unlimited for $149 $129.
  • The Fire HD   with six months of Kindle Unlimited for $129 $109. is also offering $40 off if you purchase Prime with a new Fire HD tablet. The offer seems to exclude the Fire Kids Edition: That device’s product page does not show the Prime banner. The Fire HD 6, 7 and 7″ HDX are all on sale today for an extra $20 off.

And finally, if you really wanted one but thought the price was too high, Amazon has reduced the price for the unlocked, 32Gb Fire Phone.  You can now purchase one for only $199. The deal includes a year of Amazon Prime. You can still get the AT & T version for 99 cents with a two year contract.

Happy Thanksgiving!



2-day sale: Fire TV stick only $19 for Prime members

Fire TV stickIf you are an Amazon Prime member and have been thinking about trying one of the Fire TVs, Amazon may have a great deal for you. For two days only, Prime members can pick up the new Fire TV Stick for $19 – that’s $20 off the regular price of $39.

The stick comes with a remote control, but it is not voice-activated like the Fire TV Box. Instead, there is a downloadable app for voice control that can be used with the device, or you can purchase a voice-activated remote control separately. You can play games with the included remote control and it also supports the use of the optional Fire game controller.

There are some differences between the Fire TV Box and the stick. The Box has a Quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM The Fire stick is a Dual-core processor with 1 GB RAM. Both devices are wireless, but the Fire TV Box can also connect directly with an Ethernet cable.

I had personally held off on the Fire TV Box because I already own a Roku box and a Chromecast stick, both of which I use pretty much daily. Truthfully, when the Fire TV came out, I didn’t see much of a need for another streaming system. But for only $19, I am willing to give this one a try. 🙂

ETA: The Fire TV Stick  is a pre-order and will be released on  November 19th.

How about you? Is the $19 price tag tempting to you?