Sunday, December 14, 2014

Amazon activity: #1 in tablet satisfaction survey ... Prime members get 4K Ultra-HD instant streaming at no added cost ... New 'Make an Offer' feature ... New Kindle for Android update v4.8 ... New Single by Patricia Cornwell ... New game from Amazon Studios w/ high ratings ... WHAT is the Amazon Echo ? .... Remaining holiday deals




Amazon tops Apple in Tablet satisfaction survey for first time

JD Power's Yr 2014 Vol 2 Study of U.S. Tablet Satisfaction had Amazon coming from way behind (in past years) to beat Apple out for the first time in the now popular tablet market.

The simple headline in their press release was "Amazon Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Tablet Devices"

  "The study, now in its third year, measures customer satisfaction with tablets across five factors (in order of importance): performance (28%); ease of operation (22%); features (22%); styling and design (17%); and cost (11%). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale."

  From what I remember, Amazon, newer to the game, placed 5th or so in the past.  Apple led the field the first two years of this ongoing study.  The study may be of interest to some who are wondering whether or not to jump on the Holiday pricing Amazon has had in varying degrees the last couple of weeks.

  The mantra has always been "Isn't Apple the best?" As ever, if you have an Apple iPhone and love your iOS apps, it makes more sense to stick with Apple.

  Otherwise, you may want to try Amazon's now famous 30-day Full Refund "No Risk" policy on Kindles.  The return policy:
' You can return any Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet or Amazon Fire TV devices or accessories you purchased directly from Amazon.com for a full refund within 30 days of the day you received it as long as it's in new condition and the return is in accordance with our return policy. '
  (Within 60 days, it's an 80% refund, which I didn't know -- and I just noticed they mention buying from even an "Amazon kiosk" in a store -- so I guess store kiosks are now definitely a plan...

  One recommendation: I've long recommended (in the Reference column here), that the 32GB storage-space model be the minimum level chosen, even if it's somewhat more costly, because the more attractive or fun apps are heavily graphics-oriented or complex and take up a large amount of storage space and even will need temporary file space during the running of them.  The 16GB-option guarantees you'll be spending too much time figuring out which apps to swap in and out of the 'Cloud' (Amazon server space for your apps, books, videos, music) to be able to use what you want at a given time.  But if the budget doesn't allow that, then at least you CAN swap out one app to be able to enjoy another one.

Currently (Sunday the 14th), the middle-sized, faster-processor Kindle Fire HDX 7" 32 GB model is $199, a $40 discount, and featured on their pages when I went there tonight to check on pricing.

Amazon starts 4K Ultra HD streaming of video, at no added cost to Prime members
Prime members - US, with the new 4K TV sets will be able to view some movie and TV show videos at the new resolution standard at no added cost.  Here's Forbe's story, with details on which videos already include this.


Amazon institutes "Make an Offer" (similar to EBay's) on 3rd Party Marketplace products, mainly Collectibles and Fine Art
Now, if a 3rd party seller wants to use the new Make an Offer feature, you can make an offer and bargain with that store, in private -- it's not an auction.  Apparently, some vendors have wanted this flexibility, when unsure of pricing attractiveness etc.
' Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh said Make an Offer, which is in pilot testing, is open now to all sellers across Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins and Fine Art. To enable the feature, sellers can use the bulk template or 1-by-1 to update their items to display the "Make an Offer" tool.
. . .
Offers expire after 72 hours, and Fairleigh said sellers' ratings are not impacted in any way if they don't respond to offers. With each offer, the clock resets at 72 hours. And there's no limit to the number of offers and counteroffers.
. . .
However, the transaction is not complete until the customer checks out. '
And the minimum price for eligibility to use this feature is $100.  I imagine this pilot testing is for more general use of the feature later on, if successful.  In fact, InvestCorrectly writes that
' While the feature is only available for 150,000 items; now, Amazon’s announcement expressed a desire to expand the program in 2015. What this will mean for eBay and the future of online shopping will be interesting to watch. '
You can see what's available currently at Amazon's Make an Offer page


Google Play removes recent Amazon app for Android
Note that Amazon's app (with new mobile-appstore-access) was uploaded by Amazon to Google September 9 and was apparetly fine at the time, but Google updated its policies on September 25 and as of that date, Amazon's app was breaking policy and was removed by GooglePlay and Amazon, which seems fair enough to me.  Amazon then replaced it with the plain Amazon Shopping app, that has no built-in appstore.


Amazon now has a new Kindle App for Android out, v4.8, a couple of days ago.
' What's New
4.8.0
• Use X-Ray for Books and Textbooks to look up places, characters and terms
• Receive push notifications from Kindle - customize your experience in Settings
Improved library search
• Make flashcard sets to review textbook material
Control audiobook playback while reading the Kindle book
• Several experience improvements and bug fixes

About app permissions
https://amazon.com/help/kindleforandroid/permissions

  Support
http://amazon.com/help/kindle
http://amazon.com/fb/kindleforum '

  If you've never installed the Android app before,
• go to Amazon's Kindle for Android app page
• Select "Download now"
• Follow the instructions to download the app to your device
• After installing the Kindle reading app, you'll need to register it to your Amazon account.

Kindle reading-app Updates - Where?
  . Kindle for Android Phone update page at Amazon appstore
  . Kindle for Android Tablet update page at Amazon appstore
  . or, if Google play was the original source anyway, Android Updates from Google play.


New follow-up Exclusive "Single" by Patricia Cornwell
I tweeted about this when it came out and forgot about blogging it but think some of her readers might be interested in this further investigation of the Jack the Ripper case.


A new game that costs but is highly rated

Saw this a few weeks ago when it was new.

 For a game that costs $6.99, Tales from Deep Space gets unusually high ratings, at 4.7 stars currently.

  However, it's "played [exclusively for now] on 2013 and newer Fire tablets.

Co-op: Play as E and CASI either solo or co-op on two Fire tablets over wi-fi.  Multiplayer co-op available exclusively on Kindle Fire HDX and all 2014 Fire tablets
."
 For "all ages" but most likely for the younger set.


What is "The Amazon ECHO" ?
I've been following this closely, as it's in a sort of paid pilot testing -- and the 'paid' part is working for Amazon, it seems, because those who've received it tend to be raving about how much fun it is and some would pay more.  Since it's offered for some time on a "By invite" only, to those expressing interest in it, it's not likely to be ready for Christmas release, as shipments seem to have eased.

  I want to do a write-up Monday night on the reception of this unit by actual users with some very funny postings, but until then here are links, from this blog's Reference column, that you can explore:
Amazon Echo - $99 for Prime
   Echo-tests video + discussions Thread 1, Thread 2
    ZDNet actually got one. ZDNet review: "A Perfect 10"

Remaining Holiday Deals
In the meantime, here is a repeat of the holiday and some regular deals, from a blog entry last week, while we're still in the now long holiday season.

DISCOUNTS ON ACCESSORIES Amazon's current pages (some, ongoing) on accessories for Kindle e-Reader and Kindle Fire
  1. Up to 50% (higher discount than usual) on cases for Kindle eReaders
  2. Up to 50% on cases for Kindle Fire (Gen 2) and Kindle Fire HD tablets but NOT HDX tablets
  3. Accessories for all Kindles, with some discounted.

For larger discounts, there are the ongoing pages:
  For US
Goldbox and Lightning Deals which sometimes include bigger one-day sales and
Select-Outlet Deals
Warehouse Deals
Other warehouse deals - more gift oriented
Your Amazon coupons

And since it's still that time of the year, Amazon (and every other store) is having seasonal sale after sale.
12 Days of You Know What -- is now 7 remaining days :-)
  Amazon's "12  7 more Days of Deals" (general) - a page to bookmark if still in shopping mode.  There's also a related [several]-days of Deals that's focused on deals for the home.

  For UK and Canada:
UK - Today's Deals
Seasonal Discounts and Sales - UK
Warehouse Deals - UK

Recently-built Kindle Outlet Store - US
A few months ago, Amazon put together a Kindle Outlet Store to feature their certified refurbished Kindle devices at a somewhat lower cost.

That's it, from my accumulated notes ...



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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Amazon Studios wins Golden Globes nomination with Transparent series ... Best Books of the Month ... 12 Days of Deals.


FIRST, Saw today that Amazon Studios received a Golden Globes nomination for its free-with-Prime Instant series "Transparent"

From VARIETY:
' SURPRISE: ' Transparent” makes history for Amazon.

It was a huge morning for Amazon Studios as the critically acclaimed “Transparent” landed noms for comedy series and lead actor Jeffrey Tambor.  That’s the first recognition for the upstart digital player from a major awards show, and well deserved for Jill Soloway’s semi-autobiographical dramedy. '
I've read nothing but raves, for months, for that apparently groundbreaking series, which is free watching for Prime members.


12 Days of You Know What
Today, Amazon starts its "12 Days of Deals" (general) - a page to bookmark if still in shopping mode.  There's also a related 12-days of Deals that's focused on deals for the home.


"Best Books of the Month" feature
I received an email last week about Amazon's "Must-reads" for December (see table below) as chosen by their editors.

These are selected from the larger selection of Best Books of the 2014 (which I Tweeted and Facebook'd but had not blogged.
  Here's the link for Kindle book versions.

The email described "December must-reads, carefully selected by Amazon Books' editorial team ... books from best-selling authors to historical nonfiction picks and even a Kindle Single (a type of e-book published through Amazon.com)..."

Title
Author
Release Date
Anthony Horowitz
12/9/2014
Molly Guptill Manning
12/2/2014
Richard McGuire
12/9/2014
Haruki Murakami
12/2/2014
Joshua Davis
12/2/2014
Scott Saul
12/9/2014
José Saramago
12/2/2014
Sven Beckert
12/2/2014
Jim Shepard
12/1/14
Anita Diamant
12/9/2014
Viv Albertine
11/25/2014



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Friday, December 5, 2014

Free and low-cost Kindle books: Search-link options for December for contemporary, non-classics + other bargain pages (UK+Canada also) + Kindle discount-alerts by customers + Kindle Unlimited Audible w/ Whispersync



December 5, 2014
- This includes a quick reminder that the free Kindle book search options in the reference section (right-column of blog) were updated for December.

Regular readers of the blog are aware of the following links, but I repost them (and often add new ones) each month or two, for those who are new to the blog or are looking for a refresher on what's available.

These include some less-known links for avid bargain Kindle book hunters

    November 2014  December 2014.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  There are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entire-family-safe titles may show up. Since this is Dec. 5, the listing will include more already available, full books

    Highly rated, under $1

    In addition, Amazon still quietly carries: "Mostly 99c Kindle Books" page, which is a different Amazon listing from the one for highly rated Kindle books under $1.

    Amazon Top 100   (Also, UK-only)

    Amazon's own Limited Time Free Promos.


Two ongoing pages you may want to bookmark
1. Free Kindle Non-Classics - includes the above bargain links among other ones
2. KINDLE SUPPORT info
  This has an "Often Asked" section which has a lot of good info in it. Updated 7/2/14, 2:50pm


Also for newcomers to the Kindle or to this blog, here are the special monthly book deals for December 2014 -- where to find them, etc.

DECEMBER 2014's monthly Kindle Books deal, for $3.99 or less (See UK listing here.)

For those who want to quickly look first at only the ones that are star-rated at 4 or above, here is Amazon's page for exactly that.

  On the main monthly Kindle book deals page, separate categories are highlighted, using Amazon's usual horizontally-scrolling pick-lists, for the following topics highlighted on the main page. They link to "See all" at the bottom of each horizontally-scrolled category row [ I'm adding direct links to the full category listings ]:

  1. History and by Avg Customer Rating
  2. Science Fiction & Fantasy and by Avg Customer Rating
  3. Biography and Memoirs and by Avg Customer Rating
  4. Literary Fiction Deals and by Avg Customer Rating
  5. Religion and Spirituality and by Avg Customer Rating

  6. Whispersync for Voice and by Avg Customer Rating     Newer


        The Whispersync category has sometimes shown up with an explanation that the corresponding audio book is also sold at the monthly-deal price, if wanted.
  ' Now you can seamlessly switch between reading featured Kindle books and listening to them without ever losing your place...
  First, purchase the Kindle book for $3.99 or less. Then add the narration from Audible for $3.99 or less to enable the feature. '
  The Whispersync category is back on the main Monthly Deals page (there are about 54 of these Whispersync-ready books in December's deals).  They're also included in the overall scrolled monthly deals that can be sorted by several options at the bottom of that main page.

Note that the new Kindle Unlimited subscription program includes many of these as part of Kindle Unlimited so that there's no added charge for the Audible book.

The main monthly deals page also tends to show, on the right, two vertically-scrolling categories:
  1. A list of Bestsellers
  2. Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense highlighted + more in the linked full list w/ sorting options)
      Here's that fuller listing by Avg Customer Rating

THEN, at the bottom of the new main monthly Kindle book-deals page, they offer the FULL current monthly listing, defaulting to sorting by "New and Popular" and there are 108 in all, currently, but the number may vary.

  Here's a direct link to that Full-listing (US), sorted by "New and Popular" for the month, so
    it's a good one to bookmark if you just want to jump to that) and
    you can choose another sort option for this full listing, such as
        Avg Customer Rating or by Price: Low to High

These options should make it easier to find books of interest to you.

The pricing for December's group of Kindle books ranges from $1.99 to $3.99 (no 99-cent ones for this monthly deal.

  The Kindle books you'll see on this special monthly-deals page  (UK version here) are new for December.

(US Link: amzn.to/mkbooks-1to4,  UK Link: amzn.to/100kbooks-1to4uk)


The ongoing Kindle Daily Deals page
for any given day usually shows a lot of books since it includes children's books, a couple of genre-specific deals, and the monthly daily deals as well.




DISCOUNTED / Price Dropped Kindle eBooks III - the ongoing Kindle Forum message thread
  This is an ongoing message thread in which Kindle owners share information on recent drops in pricing on specific Kindle books, often with some added info by the person posting it.

  Here's a link to the thread, which includes many books with huge price drops.  I'm starting at a December 1 posting page that includes books that are still on sale today, Dec. 5 (some are highly rated). The first posting is on "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien" which was $9.99 in print but is $2.99 on Kindle at the current time.

  The books discussed in this forum thread tend to be very short-term discounts.

  That forum topic link is to a specific post to start, in this case, a book alert on Dec. 1, as mentioned.  You can browse previous posts or days, or keep up with ongoing alerts after that, because Amazon keeps track of the last message# that you read, so that you can start from there next time.
 While many of the better deals seem to be around $1.99-$4.99, there usually are a decent number of larger-publishing house deals included (primarily price-matching) that tend to end in a DAY, so you'd need to double-check the current pricing of ANY Kindle books that interest you to see if the discounts are still active.

  Again, Kindle book prices are discounted for only a very short time, too often, and are promos, and that's another reason to watch the list.  Most of the large-publisher discounts last only one or two days even when they originate the discount.


DISCOUNTS ON ACCESSORIES Amazon's current pages (some, ongoing) on accessories for Kindle e-Reader and Kindle Fire
  1. Up to 50% (higher discount than usual) on cases for Kindle eReaders
  2. Up to 50% on cases for Kindle Fire (Gen 2) and Kindle Fire HD tablets but NOT HDX tablets
  3. Accessories for all Kindles, with some discounted.


For larger discounts, there are the ongoing pages:
  For US
Goldbox and Lightning Deals which sometimes include bigger one-day sales and
Select-Outlet Deals
Warehouse Deals
Other warehouse deals - more gift oriented
Your Amazon coupons

And since it's the that time of the year, Amazon (and every other store) is having seasonal sale after sale.
Here are are a few general links for those:
CYBER Monday Week

  For UK and Canada:
UK - Today's Deals
Seasonal Discounts and Sales - UK
Warehouse Deals - UK

Canada - CyberMonday Wk


Recently-built Kindle Outlet Store - US
A few months ago, Amazon put together a Kindle Outlet Store to feature their certified refurbished Kindle devices at a somewhat lower cost.



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Friday, November 28, 2014

That new free Washington Post app on Kindle Fire HD/HDX tablets - what happens after 6 months? and other details. A couple of Fire OS update feature tidbits for older HD/HDX tablets. Updated for tip on getting larger text displays with Screen Magnifier setting.


The new Washington Post app for Kindle Fire HD/HDX tablet owners exclusively (for now)

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, bought the Washington Post with his own money in early 2013, so it's not really a surprise to see the new Washington Post app that's been added to the apps store (which already has the less-colorful Washington Post Classic app.

  Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablet owners have free, unlimited access to articles on this app for 6 months, and the app will be available for Android and iOS tablets next year (which isn't far away).

  I've used it for a few days now and am really enjoying it.  I also subscribe to the e-Ink reader version of the NY Times Latest News, which has about 7-10 headline news stories in full each day, with updated versions through the day, for $1.99/month.

I don't review many products at the Amazon customer reviews page, and when I do, it's usually only because I really like the product or, rarely, when I want to caution others about problems.

  I did write an Amazon review for this app and will include my review in this blog article.  There's high interest in what happens after the 6 months is over, and the review covers that also, so here's my initial take on this new feature.

  (By the way, as mentioned earlier, older Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets are getting a Fire OS software update that includes new features first seen in the current Fire tablets, and I really like that, while using an app, I can swipe right-edge-to-left to see the other apps that I can just switch to that way.  And now I see that 'Firefly' is on it ... just tried it on a less-known CD and it worked instantly.  I'll write more on the updates this weekend.)


From my review at Amazon:
Am editing this to move subscription info to the top after seeing high interest in what happens after the first 6 months. I'd found their explanation under Settings/Frequently asked Questions. It explains that it's free for 6 months, and then AFTER that, there'll be an OPTION to continue for another 6 months for $1 for the entire *additional* 6 months if we decide to subscribe afterward. So, no automatic opt-in after the first 6 months.

... If we do choose to purchase the optional *additional* 6 months for $1 payment at the Amazon apps store, this action will automatically opt us into a full-price subscription after the 2nd 6-month term is completed, which will be $3.99 per month.

I like the layout. Quality images in high-resolution head the full-text, meaty articles in easy-to-read, well-spaced text - an especially clean look in comparison to most news apps. There are usually additional photos and apparently sometimes a video although I haven't run into one in my two days of quick browsing. Am reading with an older Kindle Fire HDX and have no speed problems.

You get morning and evening editions, "with updates for major breaking stories."

I especially like the responsive pinch-zoom in and out. You can change the layout, that way, between one- and two-page reading and enlarge a story for eyes that require larger print, with great control over the size of photos and text.

You can save articles (tap the ribbon tab at top right) and the saved articles will be listed at the bottom of the table of contents at the left (accessed with the Menu icon or a swipe from left).  However, since the edition changes at least twice a day, I'd save a story if you don't have time to read it right away, as some stories will be dropped as new ones come in. Saved articles can still be read after the issue has been replaced with the current one. A great feature.

If you like a lead photo, you can tap it to select it and tap it again to isolate it and even do a screenshot to save it for personal use. You can pinch-zoom other photos to see them even more clearly, since the quality of images is fantastic.

Each time you open the app, you get today's news, in the current edition, so that solves any storage problem, as a graphics-heavy daily newspaper app is of course very large. (This will be somewhat slower-loading on the Yr 2012 models.)

There are of course ads, as with paper newspapers, but the ads don't interfere with story space and are separate, at intervals.

Very easy to navigate, and it's fast, smooth, and beautiful. Kudos to the app developers.

The NY Times app option to read more than 10 articles a month is currently $20/mo., so I personally find the $4/mo. after the first year, for all articles, a decent price.

If you're an avid news reader, or even a light one (it's well-organized for quick access to categories of interest), this is a no-brainer, for at least the first 6 months.

Suggestion to developers: A somewhat darker font would be easier on the eyes that are often already fixed on LCD screens for hours. Grayish text is 'in' but Black fonts give more contrast, more like a book or newspaper.

Additional tip for screen displays when wanting even larger font
You can go into Settings/Accessibility and choose to turn Screen Magnifier to ON.

Then you can quickly tap 3 times on the display when the largest text size isn't quite large enough for you.  You'll see a blue border that'll indicate you're in Screen Magnifier mode.

That will magnify that area. And at that point, you can pinch zoom with two fingers to enlarge or reduce the area and scroll from left to right.  The 3 quick taps are position-sensitive, so you can tap at the left if you want info from the left margin to definitely be shown first in resulting enlargement. Same idea for right-margin text, although the easiest thing is to 3-tap in the middle and then pinch-zoom in and out.

When you want to go back to normal view, tap quickly 3 times again (or turn the tablet to portrait mode if you're in landscape orientation -- and of course vice versa).

I use this a lot for fixed screens where double-taps don't lead you to max enlargement (as can be done with browser screens).



Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quick Alert for special deal on one print book, starting tonight, at 9pm PST (no e-books or Audible)


Special sale starting tonight

I received an email alert that "...With Black Friday two days away, Amazon has announced another great deal starting at 9pm PST tonight where customers using the promo code HOLIDAY30 will receive an additional 30% off of purchase for one book, not including eBooks or Audible Audiobooks. The offer is available for a limited time and starts at 9PM Pacific Standard Time tonight.

For additional information (starting at 9pm) and a full list of Amazon Black Friday deals, visit www.amazon.com/blackfriday.

IF we can apply this to any print book, that would be a good deal, but we won't know until 9pm PST, which is fairlylate for Easterners.



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Alert: Black Friday Amazon device deals include UNlocked GSM Fire Phone including add'l 1 yr of PRIME, for $199 total, not locked into any cellphone services provider ... plus Kindle device deals thru' wkend or Cyber Monday


In case you didn't see these yet, there are some unusual deals for the next few days.

Received an alert from Tom Semple, who drew my attention to the unusual offering of an UNLOCKED model of the Amazon Fire Phone, which includes 1 year of Prime (for new membership or additional year for Prime members).
  (List price $449 - States taxes are based on the $199 price, per Tom Semple's exploring.

  This is especially good (and economical, as unlocked phone prices go) for those who did not want to be locked into using AT&T.

  He also saw that "Amazon Amazon helpfully enumerates all of the 'compatible' GSM carriers" but that he will just use its WiFi capability with the features, which is how I use my old Samsung Galaxy 2 phone, which is older and now like a very small tablet for me that saves my cellphone battery when WiFi is available.

The 99 cent deal that goes with a specific 2-yr data plan is still a current one.


The listing from Amazon for Black Friday and extended through the weekend

Black Friday deals for Amazon devices beginning tomorrow. These deals will extend through the holiday weekend. Deals include 

·          Kindle for just $49  (11/27-11/29
·         New Bundle : 6 months of Kindle Unlimited plus a Kindle for $79;
          also available for Kindle Paperwhite for $129 (11/27-11/29)
·         $119 Kindle Paperwhite for $99 (11/27-11/29
·         $99 Fire HD 6 for $79 (11/27-11/29
·         $139 Fire HD 7 for $109 (11/27-12/1
·         Fire phone is now available unlocked with a no contract price of $199 through Cyber Monday
          (11/25-12/1

Amazon's details and wording are below:


Kindle (deal running 11/27-11/29)
All-new Kindle - featuring a touchscreen display, a 20% faster processor, and twice the storage. Kindle e-readers are lightweight and easy to hold, measure battery life in weeks, not hours, and allow for reading with no glare even in bright sunlight. 
Kindle Paperwhite (deal running 11/27-11/29)
Kindle Paperwhite is one of Amazon’s most popular Kindles, with a touchscreen that has no screen glare in bright sunlight, a battery that lasts for weeks, not hours, and a built-in light that allows you to read without eyestrain.
Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Bundle (deal running 11/27-11/29)
Better together: Get the $79 Kindle and 6-months of Kindle Unlimited for just $79 or Kindle Paperwhite and 6-months of Kindle Unlimited for just $129. Kindle Unlimited offers unlimited reading from over 700,000 books, including best sellers like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Landing page:
Fire HD (Fire HD 6 deal running 11/27-11/29; Fire HD 7 deal running 11/27-12/1)
The new Fire HD tablets are available in both 6” and 7” and five color choices - black, white, cobalt, magenta, and citron. The new Fire HD, features a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras, an HD display and a world-class ecosystem of exclusive features, services, and content.
Fire phone (deal running 11/25-12/1)
The Fire phone is now available unlocked.  The unlocked Fire phone works with GSM carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Cricket and for a limited time only is only $199. Fire phone includes a full year of Amazon Prime membership for access to Amazon’s vast digital ecosystem and unlimited photo cloud storage as well as exclusive features like Mayday, Second Screen and X-Ray.

Since this is an alert, will get this off.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Software Update v5.6.1 for Kindle Paperwhite2, Kindle Voyage, and $79 e-Ink Kindle (Gen 7). US and UK -- Tips and detailed info





Amazon has released a software update for their current line of e-Ink Kindles.  

The free update will be rolled out automatically in the coming weeks, and those who prefer to manually download the update can do that, as before.

At the left is a screenshot of the expanded X-Ray for Books feature.

I received confirmation that Amazon's "goal is to make this update available for the first gen Kindle Paperwhite" (Paperwhite 1) as well. 

  (Updates for older generation devices tend to follow a few months later.)
New features include [quoting their forum announcement and press release]:
·         Word WiseFor readers learning English and children learning to read, Word Wise makes it easier to understand more challenging books more quickly. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading without having to stop and look up a word. To see the various meanings the same word can have in different contexts, just tap on the word to quickly bring up a card with definitions, synonyms, and more. You can adjust the number of definitions you see with a slider, dialing them up or down as you learn and grow your vocabulary. Word Wise is already available on thousands of titles, including The Hunger GamesThe Giver, and Wonder. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/wordwise.
  [A sample is show below.]
·         Family Library—For the first time, you can access not only your own Kindle books, but also books from the Amazon account of a spouse or partner. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/family-library.

·         Kindle FreeTime Unlimited—For as little as $2.99 per month, kids get unlimited access to hundreds of hand-picked chapter books and early readers, all curated for age-appropriateness, so parents don’t have to spend time and money guessing what their kids will enjoy. Includes favorites such as the Harry Potter series, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Big Nate and Friends by Lincoln Peirce, and Newberry Medal and Honor winning books such as The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, and Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.

·         Expanded X-Ray for Books—X-Ray now makes it easier to explore as you read—quickly flip through all the images in a book, and use the new timeline view to easily browse the most notable passages. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/x-ray-for-books [and above].

·         Deeper Goodreads Integration—Goodreads on Kindle now allows you to easily share your reading progress updates, add books from your Kindle library to your Goodreads shelves, and see your friends’ updates, ratings and reviews when looking at a book on Goodreads. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/goodreads-integration.
  
·          Enhanced Search—Makes it even easier to find what you are looking for by combining and previewing results from your Library, Goodreads and the Kindle Store on the same page. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/kindle-search.  
  
·         About This Book—See information about the book as you start to read, including its place in a series and author information, plus mark it as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads. See a screenshot: www.amazon.com/about-the-book


This is a screenshot of Wordwise

To Manually download updates if not wanting to wait for automated over-the-air updates:

Here is the umbrella Kindle Software Updates page that covers ALL current Kindle devices (U.S.)
  Here's the equivalent UK page for Kindle software updates.

Again, the free update will be rolled out automatically in the coming weeks.

New Kindle Software Update Version (The version no. will be the same for the UK models)
All 3 models are getting the v5.6.1 software update.

Kindle Basic (7th Gen):
  NOTE: I've made a specific page link here, because Amazon's software updates page isn't clear in the left column about which "Kindle software update" is for the current basic Kindle (Gen 7).  The other models are clearly shown at the left of the umbrella page for updates.

  If you scroll down the general updates page, viewing the images of the models in the body of the page, it's easier to see which device-link to click for your software update file.

  Remember, the update is *automatically* sent to Kindles over an interval of a few weeks and it will be easier for most to wait and get it that way, fully automated.

Otherwise:
HOW to do a manual USB transfer and install of a Kindle software update
Here's Amazon's general page of instructions for USB transfer and installation of updates to a Kindle device.
 Each update page for a specific device has a Determine Your Software Version link that needs to be used before trying to transfer a file for installation

Tips and Reminders
How does Family Library work?
Amazon has a very clear write-up on this book-sharing feature. It starts:
' Use Family Library to share content between two adults in your household.

Family Library lets you link your Amazon account to that of another adult in your household so you can easily share Kindle books across your Amazon devices and Kindle reading apps. Each adult chooses what they want to share: they can share all of their Kindle books, or, they can choose to only share individual titles.

Once you’ve set up Family Library, shared content will appear in the Cloud tab of each of your supported devices, which you can filter (for example, See My Books, See My Partner's Books, See All Books, etc.). When accessing shared content, each adult has their own settings for that content, such as furthest page read, notes and annotations, and more. '

    See the About Family Library help page for much more detail.

A Reminder about how syncing of your reading between devices and apps is done
In order for this to work reliably, the changes to your last page read and any new annotations done (highlighting, notes and bookmarks) must be 'seen' by the servers at Amazon -- this means that your WiFi or 3G wireless connection would need to be 'on' at the time you close the book by tapping the Home icon.
   Once the Amazon servers note the changes, they'll be available to the next Kindle-compatible reader or app you open (with Wireless on that device turned On also).
  You can turn 'off' the WiFi or 3G Wireless connection after leaving the Kindle book reading, which will help maximize battery use on that device.)

  When an eInk screen is displaying a page but there is no change to that screen, the display is having no effect on the battery.
  When you change what's being displayed (changing or adding anything on the page, as in tapping it on the side to get a new page or when an action brings a pop-up window or dialog box), the display IS using the battery.  That's why just pressing the power button for only ~1 second puts the Kindle to 'sleep' during which it displays an image, which doesn't use the battery, but the Paperwhite light turns off.

  Leaving it in this sleep state doesn't draw battery power as a result of the image display itself.  If, however, WiFi is On during Sleep state, any activity with subscription downloads or a Special Offers download -will- use battery power.

  There is always very slow battery drain in between charges even when a device is turned off.

  So, the "Screen Off" is a relatively new choice on mine.  This just blanks the screen and puts it into sleep state.  SOME have requested a blank screen so they know it's "Off" but, in this case, it's only that there's no image seen - not even Amazon's default images during normal sleep-screens.

Mentioned previously also:
  "Restart" acts more like a soft-reboot on a computer and clears up memory states that may be causing problems.

(Using the Paperwhite as an example)
  There is no option on my Paperwhite to completely Power Off or Shut down the Kindle.  My options are to (1) Cancel a longer key-press action, (2) Restart the Paperwhite (mine is a Paperwhite 1), or (3) choose "Screen Off." On other devices, some will see an option to "Power Off" or "Shut Down" the Kindle.

  Also, holding in the power button for over 20 seconds (rather than 5 seconds) does still cause a Restart (and a clearing of current memory use), as in the past.


IF you experience unusual battery drain
Note that keeping your Kindle always connected to a Wi-Fi network can drain the battery faster under certain circumstances.  If you're experiencing that, then once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" via the 'Settings' option on the Menu -- the option lets you toggle Wireless OFF, using the "Airplane On" choice.

  Amazon's Paperwhite development team hasn't returned the Wireless Off/On choice to the front menu as they did one year for the Kindle Touch when they removed the 'airplane mode' icon that confuses many.  It's inconvenient to have the WiFi On/Off setting on a secondary menu and many, as a result, don't even know that they can actually turn WiFi Off if needed to conserve battery power.

  Amazon may prefer that we keep Wireless 'On' due to delivery of Special Offers but a battery-drain problem can occur when circumstances involve (1) subscriptions that are downloaded regularly (my New York Times Latest News subscription updates the Kindle edition about five times a day - $1.99/month)) or (2) due to a weaker connection that results from the distance from the WiFi router, in which case the device keeps trying to connect when a download is due (and that can be for the special offers that Amazon regularly needs to send for those who choose to opt for the less-expensive model with the special-offers feature) and is then often active.

  On the other hand as mentioned earlier, WiFi needs to be 'On' after you've read a book and made annotations for a session AND when you then want to be able to continue reading later, on another device (like a smartphone), starting at where you'd stopped.
  If WiFi isn't turned on, the Amazon servers won't have any way of knowing the last-page-read location nor any notes or highlighting you've made, which you'd want to be able to access on the other device.  So, a reminder on my usual recommendation:
1. When you're finished reading, tap the top-toolbar and press the HOME icon.
  On most e-Ink devices, this will 'close' the book session and record the last page read and log the annotations.
2. Tap the top of the eReader to bring up the toolbar and menu icon.
3. If you see an airplane icon at the top, your WiFi is Off (and you're in "airplane" take-off mode).
4. Tap 'Settings'
5. Turn Airplane Mode OFF, and that'll turn WiFi ON.
6. At that point, the Kindle will try to sync your changes to the Server and will download anything that is pending (a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or blog, usually).
7. After that's done, you can go ahead and leave WiFi ON if you have no problems with faster battery drain
      OR you can turn OFF the WiFi if you need to save battery power.

Again, and only if you'd rather not wait -- DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB
US:  Go to the Kindle Software Update page (or to the UK page to get the instructions for the download for your specific Kindle eReader and to transfer the appropriate update file to your Kindle via USB:




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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