Tag Archives: email replies

Answering Your Kindle Questions

I thought it would be a good time to answer a few of the emailed questions I have received in a group format: these are usually the ones I have received several times, which leads me to believe there must be a lot more of you out there with the same question!

If you would like to write to me, my email address is kindle at gagler dot com (I write it out that way in a small attempt to thwart the spam email harvesters).

First of all, I told you in a previous post I was a bit under the weather, and many of you sent well-wishes – thanks!  The crud I have has become better, but it just won’t go away.  There is a bad cold hitting the Houston area and lots of people are missing work and other activities, with three people in my small group at work out with it right now.  Here’s hoping this thing doesn’t travel to your part of the world!

 


Rating Kindle Books

Doug and a few others had a question about rating books after they have been read, and here is Doug’s email to me:

Michael, I found your free kindle book blog after my kids got me a Kindle for Father’s Day and since then I now get the buck or less blog. The first thing I do when I turn on my Kindle in the morning is read both. I really like the tips and book offers.  I do have one question, on finishing a book you get the opportunity to rate book or share that you have finished book. Since I can’t share my opinion as I don’t twitter or facebook or whatever you need to social network does my book rating get added to the total?  Thanks again for your interesting blogs.    Doug

If you didn’t know, what Doug is referring to is on most Kindles, after you finish a book the very last page is actually a pop-up from Amazon, allowing you to rate the book you have just completed.  The heading starts off with “You’ve finished.  Before you go…” with several options you can pick and choose.

The first option is to Tweet via Twitter or post via Facebook you have completed the book: if you are a member of one of those social networks, you can share the news accordingly if you so desire (the accountant in me wonders how much Twitter and Facebook are paying Amazon for that functionality, or is Amazon paying them to link back to the Amazon store?).

If you scrolled down one menu option below the “Tweet” option, you can select “Rate this book,”  which will open a new pop-up window to grade it on a 1 to 5 star rating.  If you chose this option and rated the book on the star rating system, and you save / share or just save this rating, it will then be uploaded to the Amazon website.

As most of you know, I try to rate everything I have read on the Amazon website as I believe we are all one little (but large) community, and I appreciate your reviews – and hope you like mine – as I might be interested in what you like to read and vice versa.  On the other hand, we may have totally different tastes in literature.  However, I try to provide a few brief comments of what I liked and disliked vs. relying solely on the “star” rating system without providing a spoiler and I appreciate reviews that do the same as most of the time it gives me a good gauge of the book. You can see the reviews I have written at any time by pointing your web browser to http://amzn.to/mpgreviews

 


Returning Kindle Books

Michael S. sent me an email Friday, telling me there is an easier way to return Kindle books.  I really haven’t used that feature in a while, so I guess it is time for me to get more up to speed and thanks to Michael S. for sharing this with not only me, but you.  Here’s what he had to say:

Love your blog.

Under your description of free kindle books, you talk about how to return them.  There is now a very easy way, not needing either immediate action, nor do you have to go through customer support.

Books you purchase from the Kindle Store are eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within seven days of the date of purchase. Once a refund is issued, you will no longer have access to the book. To request a refund and return, visit Manage Your Kindle, click the actions tab for the title you’d like to return, and select “Return for refund.”

Thanks for passing this one on, Michael!  If you have a tip you would like to share with the group, maybe a shortcut you use that helps you out and / or saves time, how about sharing it?  Just email it to me (kindle at gagler dot com) and you may see it appear on the blog!


Monthly Kindle Fire Giveaway

Many of you may remember author C.J. West, who gave away a copy of his book, The End of Marking Time, to the blog’s readers in 2011 (it’s $2.99 now, but I liked it and it as an average user rating of 4.5 stars based on 130 customer reviews – click here or type in http://amzn.to/f2xFZA into your computer’s web browser to see it.)

C.J. is giving away a free Kindle Fire each month of 2012.  To enter the contest, just click here or type in http://22wb.com/firemeup.htm into your computer’s web browser.
What Am I Reading Now?

I’m frequently asked what I am reading on my Kindle.  Technically, I am not reading anything right now: I just finished a book this afternoon called The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly (click here or type in http://amzn.to/uWeNjy into your computer’s web browser to see it).  I told you about this one on December 27th when it was free, and I grabbed it as it sounded interesting.  Now that I’ve completed it, I thought it was great!  Unfortunately, it’s not free now but priced at $3.99 – it’s well worth it, so if you missed it when it was free I highly recommend it!
Other blogs I Read

Many of you want to know if I read other blogs about the Kindle.  The short answer is “yes,” I pop over and read a couple of Kindle-related blogs from time-to-time, including:

I Love My Kindle by Bufo Calvin.  Bufo is a mainstay on the Amazon Kindle discussion boards, and is quick to offer a helping hand with Kindle-related questions on the discussion boards.  He usually has one to two posts per day with various things about the Kindle as well as his life, and the book business in general.  He also has a nice writing style.  I’ve never met Bufo, but we’ve corresponded a couple of times over the past few years, and seems like a guy I’d like to have a beer or a cup of coffee with one day.  You can read his blog at http://ilmk.wordpress.com/

Kindle Boards – this really isn’t a blog, but more of a discussion board of a lot of things Kindle, reviews of books, and an area for independent authors to discuss various trends.   You can lurk around and read it for free, but if you want to participate in a discussion and post you need to register (registration is free).  You can check it out at http://www.kindleboards.com/

Beyond Black Friday / Me and My Kindle by Jon Cog.  You never know what Jon is going to post about from day-to-day: one day there are a few free book offers, the next it’s an interview with someone, or a general post about the eBook or publishing industry.  You can check it out at http://www.beyond-black-friday.com/ and you can read the interview he had with me at http://www.beyond-black-friday.com/2011/12/27/my-interview-with-a-best-selling-author/

If you’ve made it this far in the post, congratulations!  That’s all I have for now, and I hope you have a great week next week!

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tipsor type in http://www.tinyurl.com/fkblog into your computer’s web browser.

Check out my new Kindle guide, Kindle Fire How-To Guide: Your Guide to Tips, Tricks, Free Books, and Startup.  You can check it out if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/firebook into your computer’s web browser.

 

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Filed under Kindle Tips, Misc. and Random Stuff

Answering Your Kindle-Related Questions

This is a long post….

I thought it time to answer some email and other questions I receive via either the blog interface, Facebook Page, etc.  Granted, after being out of town for a week during Christmas and New Year and returning on Monday, I am a bit behind so please bear with me as I try to catch up.

For those of you who asked where I went for vacation, my family and I went on a Caribbean cruise out of Galveston on the 26th and came back on the 2nd.  We had a great time, and it was nice weather but a bit cramped having four people in a really small room for a week.  If you have never gone on a cruise, I highly recommend it and as an accountant I can tell you generally it is cheaper than flying somewhere, booking a hotel and rent car, and paying for meals and activities.

I’m ready to go again – right now – but my wallet won’t let me!

Before I get started on today’s replies one thing I would like to point out is I do not work for Amazon, there is a 99.9999999% chance I can’t fix your Kindle hardware or system software issues, and I will be the first to raise my hand and say I certainly do not know all of the answers to people’s Kindle questions.  Most of you will appreciate the previous sentence shortly.

Kindle Reading Apps

Several people have asked me if they can read the free books on a Kindle app for their iPhone, iPad, and other iYounameit devices.  The answer is “yes, you can.”  Click the link below to find out more:

Kindle iPod app: http://amzn.to/kindleipod

In addition to the iPod, Amazon has developed free Kindle reading apps for the iPhone, Windows PC, Mac, BlackBerry, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone 7 devices.  Here is a link the appropriate page on the Amazon website to learn more as well as to download the app for free; after you get to this page, just click the appropriate device name on the right-hand side of the screen: http://amzn.to/kindlereadingapps

Free Book Offers

There are several people convinced I have only been highlighting books that are available for a free “borrow” if you are an Amazon Prime member.  There are also several people convinced I should be responsible for books that were on a particular day not being free several days later and they are a bit perturbed (for lack of a more colorful descriptive word) they clicked the buy button and were charged by Amazon and strongly believe I should give them a refund.

The fact is when I send a post out about a book being free in the Amazon Kindle store, or any other site, the book is free at that time.  A book can be offered for free for as long as months at a time, and most of us have seen books being offered for free for less than an hour: I have no control, and rarely have the inside information (only if an author emails me in advance), on how long a book is going to be offered for free.  The bottom line is you need to make sure the book is still free before you hit that buy button: if the price is, for example, $2.99 when you click the buy button your account will be charged $2.99!

Amazon will allow you to return a book if you hit the buy button by accident and they will give you a refund – that’s only fair, as you can do the same thing if you purchased a book from a retail location.  TO return a book, you can do it on your Kindle on the screen immediately following your purchase, or you can also do it by either contacting Amazon’s customer service department.

My Email Address

Pat had this question for me via the blog’s web interface:

Michael,
This maybe a dumb question but do I blog to you via my kindle or do I blog via my laptop thru wordpress? and where the heck do I type “kindle at gagler dot com? I am 73 so it takes me awhile catch on.

I’ll answer the last one first.  Spammers deploy electronic web crawlers, or robots, to gather email addresses.  Once they get your email address, you are now subject to all sorts of interesting email advertisements I want to avoid, so that is why I type my email address as kindle at gagler dot com.

As an example of what that really means, let’s assume an email address for this example is joe@schmoe.com  – you see the email address clearly, and if you hovered your mouse over that email address you can copy it to your clipboard and do with it what you will: so can the spammers.  So, in a small effort to confuse the spam robots, you can shorten joe@schmoe.com to joe at schmoe dot com as when you say it out load or read it, that’s the email address.

As far as the first question, I’m not too sure I understand it: technically, Pat as a reader is not blogging “to” me.  If, however, you meant “how do you read the blog” you can read it via a Kindle subscription if your Kindle is not a Kindle Fire (click here or type in http://www.tinyurl.com/fkblog into your computer’s web browser to sign up for the Kindle subscription), read it on Facebook (click here or type in http://www.facebook.com/fkbooksandtips into your computer’s web browser), via Twitter (Click here or type in http://twitter.com/fkbt into your web browser), or on the web at https://fkbt.wordpress.com

If you are a Kindle Fire user, Amazon does not have the subscription option for you to use like a regular Kindle does.  You can, however, use the free Pulse App that is installed on your Kindle Fire to read the blog – click here or type in http://bit.ly/rSWjuj into your computer’s web browser to read on how to set that up (it takes about 30 seconds to set it up).

 

Links With a Kindle Touch

Maria had a question last week about the Kindle Touch:

Your blog’s links to free books do not WORK in 3G on the Kindle Touch. If you want people to pay for the blog, why don’t you find another solution?

And here was my reply:

Maria-

Without being physically in front of your Kindle Touch, I can only speculate as to the problem you are seeing. I will tell you, the links work on my Touch and other devices, albeit sometimes slowly.

Regards,

Michael

Maria had a series of increasingly frustrated comments on the Facebook page yesterday afternoon and this morning I won’t repeat here, primarily about how Amazon is blocking web surfing Internet sites on her Kindle Touch 3G unless she is going to the Amazon website, but not blocking any website if she is using a Wi-Fi connection.

Maria sent me an reply yesterday on the blog interface after others tried to help her with her problem:

Of course I checked the wifi first! Yes it works beautifully in wifi and I expected the same in 3G when I am not sitting at home. Today I missed out on several valuable books because I could not download via 3G and was not at home. I do not expect Michael Gallagher to be “kind”. I am not asking for a favor here. If I subscribe to this blog, and pay money for it, I expect it to work as promised. Part of that promise is that I can click on the links in the blog and download a book easily. I will base my decision to pay for the blog on whether or not it works. Mr. Gallagher, if Amazon controls everything, and they’re telling me it’s because your links are browser based, then you should be working with them to make the links operate correctly in 3G. The blog isn’t browser based, and the store isn’t browser based, so why can’t you make the links work without calling up the browser? Also, it’s completely ridiculous that Amazon has disabled all links in their browser including to their own site when you use 3G. I’m just one person and have no pull. A blog’s author who brings in money has more clout to get this fixed.

Maria also sent me an email I received tonight after I came home from work and completed my seventh grade math homework and dinner:

I have been posting over and over again about this issue, yet you are silent.  Can you please tell me if you are going to address this problem?  I called Kindle support and they say it’s the blog author’s responsibility for what happens in his blog.  They have not been helpful at all.  I have found out through my own efforts that the Touch browser does not recognize amzn.to as an amazon address. It will accept an amazon.com link.  I think as blog author it is your responsibility to address a technical problem that keeps your blog from working correctly on all Kindles.  Otherwise, you should be disclosing that it doesn’t.  Why are you using amzn.to as a link anyway?

I am assuming Maria missed several of my posts where I said I was on vacation, I am glad I am sticking to my design of keeping this as a family-readable publication as my nieces and nephews read this blog for free books and tips (Hi, Emily!).  I also do not work for Amazon in their technical support department.

To be upfront, my first response was not suitable for publication.  I think this email was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, as there are quite a few new people thinking I am getting rich blogging away or blogging is all I do.  That’s the farthest thing from reality: I blog for fun.

The reality is I have no control over what Amazon does, or does not, allow to be sent through their networks: when you use the Kindle web browser over 3G, you are on Amazon’s network.  I will tell you the links work fine, most days, on my test units that receive the blog as a paid Kindle subscription (Kindle 2, Kindle 3 / Kindle Keyboard, Kindle DX, and a Kindle Touch with 3G and WiFi); the blog links also worked fine on my Kindle 1 until it bit the dust this past summer.  The links work even better on the Kindle Fire with the Pulse app I discussed a few paragraphs above.

When I say “most days,” there are just some days the Kindle experimental web browser fails to cooperate with any site: that’s why I also put the actual URL in the blog post in case the browser on your Kindle is acting up: remember, Amazon still calls the Kindle web browser “experimental.”

I can say my Kindle Touch doesn’t have a problem with the links, but then again I am usually on a WiFi connection vs. the 3G because most of the places I use all of my Kindles have Wi-Fi available and I have the names / password pre-loaded.  If there is a problem with the 3G connection, I haven’t experienced it in the Houston area, but it might be a problem in other parts of the country.  It could also be attributable to some of the 3G issues I’ve been reading about with AT&T and other carriers around the country over the last month and a half I have been reading about online, maybe Maria just has a bad Kindle Fire, but your guess is as good as mine as I don’t know.

The accountant in me can also speculate Amazon is purposefully blocking 3G web surfing on Kindles because they are the ones paying for it: I would block it, too, if I was paying for it.  If you think about it, when the regular Kindles were introduced, the free 3G capability was put in there for us to download books, blogs, newspapers, and other content we were purchasing from Amazon, not for a free device to surf the web because the data files for various website are big and cost a lot more to deliver than a 500k book (although I do it a lot of web surfing with my Kindle 3 / Kindle Keyboard when I am not at home).  Again, your guess is as good as mine, but I’ll go back to that “experimental” web browser phrase again – experimental to me means they can yank it at any time.

While I am in the guessing mood, because I don’t have an answer for Maria as I don’t work for Amazon, I can also speculate maybe it’s because – in my opinion – the Kindle Touch is really a poorly-designed device that was probably rushed to market.  I strongly dislike this first-generation Kindle touch device.  In comparison to every Kindle model that has come out before it (and I have owned them all) page turning is significantly slow or delayed, the interface is clunky and unresponsive at times, it restarts constantly, and is generally a pain in the neck to use and operate.  The only reason I haven’t sold it on eBay is because I use it as a test unit.

Addressing one of the last comments of Maria’s email which was probably what set me off in the first place, I disagree as a blog author it is my responsibility to address a technical problem that keeps my blogs from working on all Kindles.  I can only do that if I have creative and technical control of the software operating code of the Kindle device and updates to the same: if I had my way blogs would be available for subscription on the Kindle for PC, iPad, iPhone, iThis, iThat, BlackBerry, Droid, Fire, and every other device out there.

I can, however, provide workarounds, which is what I have been doing all along:

  • In addition to the link to click, I provide the actual URL you can type in to your computer if the link does not work within the experimental web browser of your Kindle.
  • As the Kindle Fire does not allow for subscriptions to that device, I have detailed a workaround to reading the blog on the Pulse app (click here or type in http://bit.ly/rSWjuj into your computer’s web browser to read on how to set that up).
  • You can read the blog with a computer on the Facebook, Twitter, or on the web with the links I mention above.
  • I am working on an easier alternative for Kindle Fire and DROID-device users: more on that toward the end of this month.

So, a rather long-winded answer to several emails.  I’ll be back tomorrow with your regularly-scheduled programming.

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips or type in http://www.tinyurl.com/fkblog into your computer’s web browser.

Check out my new Kindle guide, Kindle Fire How-To Guide: Your Guide to Tips, Tricks, Free Books, and Startup.  You can check it out if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/firebook into your computer’s web browser.

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Answering Your Kindle Email Questions

In case you’re tired of the free Kindle book offers over the past couple of days, I thought I would change this post up a bit.  Of course, you can see the 3,000+ non-public domain free books if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/bookload into your computer’s web browser at any time – you may want to bookmark this link as you can check back on the Kindle store at your leisure.  With al of the books coming out for free rapid-fire, you can use this link without having to wait on me to send out a post.

I’ve received a lot of emails asking me to send people the links I’ve told you about in previous posts as people are trying to find the “perfect” gift for people for Christmas, so I thought I would summarize the most-requested ones in this post: my thought is if as many of you took the time to email me the question, there are probably even more of you who have the same question but just haven’t contacted me.  You can reach me by shooting an email to kindle at gagler dot com (I type it that way in a small effort to thwart the spammers’ robots).

 

Amazon Gift Cards

I admit it, the Amazon gift card (and gift cards in general) make great gifts. Sure, it is an easy way out but I like giving as well as receiving them.  They can be printed out immediately so you can give to the recipient, emailed to anyone you choose, or Amazon will physically mail you a hard plastic card with one day shipping for free.  Here’s a quick link to open up the Amazon gift card store: http://amzn.to/tPKzX3

What’s new for this year (or maybe it is just new to me) is if you order one of the $50 gift cards, Amazon will put it in a hard cardboard gift box and include a greeting card along with free one-day shipping: I just ordered a couple of these for gifts.  Just choose the mail option if you click the http://amzn.to/tPKzX3 link.

 

Micro USB Cords

While the Kindle Fire does ship with a micro-usb charger, it is not convertible to a USB cord you can hook up to your computer to transfer songs, books, and other files from your computer to your Kindle Fire.  If you have a Kindle 2, 3 (now called the keyboard), DX, or Touch, you already have a micro USB cord that can hook up to your computer and your Fire – just take off the part that plugs into an electrical socket – don’t spend your money on one unless you want an extra.  You may want to check the type of plug that charges your cell phone as that might work on your Kindle – mine does (I have a Motorola Droid phone) and works well.

If you do want an extra micro-USB cord (I have several) don’t do something silly and go to Best Buy or a place like that to purchase one because they are very expensive there at around $20.  The Amazon site has them for $5.99 if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/smallusb into your computer’s web browser.  I like this one not only because of the price, but it is six feet long and gives me a little room to move the Kindle around vs. tripping me up in various places.

 

Black Friday Deals

Many people have pointed out to me the Black Friday Deals page has been retitled the “Top Holiday Deals” page, and the discounted deals last for about 4 hours each.  A few folks pointed out they were able to get some Kindle accessories such as covers and lights for a discounted price during one of the deal times.  I didn’t see any when I checked, but that’s probably the nature of the deal.  You can check it out for yourself if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/amazonbfriday into your computer’s web browser.  As these deals change every hour, you may want to bookmark this link, too.

 

Kindle Book Lending Program

I told you about the free Kindle Book Lending program in a post a few days ago (click here or type in http://bit.ly/rZ2h5h into your computer’s web browser to see this post again), and several of you had some questions.  To clarify, it is my experience you can only borrow one book per month from the Amazon store for free but several of you have said you have been able to borrow multiple books.  Maybe they have found a loophole or bug in the lending program that doesn’t exist for everyone (especially me), so you may want to try it out and see for yourself if you haven’t tried the lending program already.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Looking for more or a reliable source of free books for your Kindle?  Click here for my “Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them book (updated November 2011 for the release of the Kindle Fire!).

 

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Random Thoughts and Answers to Your Emailed Kindle (and Other) Questions

Looking over this post prior to pushing the “schedule” button (I’m setting it up to go out in the afternoon), this has a few random comments…

 

Apps for Your Kindle Fire – Bookmark This Link

Okay, so you’re sitting there wondering what to do with your Kindle Fire (just kidding), and wondering about what apps to put on the darn thing.

Amazon has a store for Droid applications (called The App Store) that can be downloaded not only on your Kindle Fire but with any Droid device like my cell phone.  Here’s a link to bookmark to check it out: http://amzn.to/theappstore

There are a lot of free apps in the app store, so make sure you check it out.  Amazon also features one app that usually costs some bucks for free, and features it for one day only.  Today’s free app is called Bejeweled 2 by Electronic Arts (it’s normally $2.99).  I haven’t played it yet on my Kindle Fire yet, although I’ve clicked the button to get it, but I have played it quite a bit on Facebook so let me warn you now: it is highly addictive and fun, especially if you start playing games against your friends.

Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/theappstore

I’ve bookmarked this link and have been checking it most days.

Have fun with your Kindle Fire!

 

Kindle Fire and Touch Reviews on Amazon

There have been a lot of comments on the reviews I posted on the Amazon website regarding both the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch.  Generally, the results have been positive, but some people were annoyed with me (based upon emailed comments) that I called the Kindle Touch baby ugly.  Now, no one likes to hear their pride and joy has some shortcomings – but the review reflects my opinion, and mine only: your results may vary.  That’s why I tried to spell out in words what I liked and didn’t like about it vs. just having a title and a 3-star rating: everyone has a different grading scale.

After a few more comments come in to both the Amazon page and the blog interface (mainly in the form of questions), I will try to summarize them in a post here with my responses.

If you would like to see some of the comments on the reviews as they are posted on the Amazon website, you need to scroll down to the bottom of the review as the comments start there.  Some are pretty funny.

Kindle Fire review: http://amzn.to/firereview

Kindle Touch review: http://amzn.to/touchreview

 

Black Friday Deals

Many people, including my wife, think I know what the Black Friday Deals are going to be in advance because I was able to tell you about a deal that was starting off later in the day.  I don’t (honey, honest, I don’t)!

You have just as much information as I do if you look at the Amazon page: they tell you what the next deal is going to be, so please bookmark this link: http://amzn.to/amazonbfriday

 

Free Kindle Books / This Blog on Your Kindle Fire

Yes, the books I tell you about for free here on the blog can be downloaded and read on your Kindle Fire.  No, Amazon does not have a subscription-based push service for blogs for the Kindle Fire like they do on other Kindles.  I don’t know why: I have asked via the only method of communication blog publishers have with Amazon, but they have not responded.  In the interim, if you would like to read the blog on your Kindle Fire, you can point your web browser to https://fkbt.wordpress.com

Have a great rest of the week-

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Looking for more or a reliable source of free books for your Kindle?  Click here for my “Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them book (updated November 2011 for the release of the Kindle Fire!).

 

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Answering Your Kindle Email Questions and Random Thoughts

 

 

OK, it’s that time again for me to ramble about a few topics and try to answer some of the email where many of you have had the same question.  If you would like to write to me, my email address is kindle at gagler dot com (I write it that way in an attempt to thwart the email spam robots).

 

Books in a Series

A couple of weeks ago (click here or type in http://bit.ly/u5QCpO into your computer’s web browser to see the post in case you missed it or want to see it again), we were collectively looking for an answer (or a website) to track a series from a particular author from book #1 to the end of the series as well as being able to get the heads-up when something new is being released.  Many of you wrote to me as well as replied on the blog’s web  page about www.fictfact.com (for the USA) and http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (for subscribers in Europe).  Thanks for sending that on!

 

Amazon Gift Card via Coinstar

Many of you wrote to thank me for telling you about being able to get an Amazon gift card via Coinstar by turning in your spare change without having to pay the Coinstar fee – in other words, you get 100% of the change you turn in to the Coinstar machine and Amazon pays the fee (click here or type in http://bit.ly/rWqZoc into your computer’s web browser to see this post in case you missed it or want to see it again).

One thing I would like to point out is the minimum amount to turn in to receive an Amazon gift card is $5.00 – thanks to several of you who contacted Coinstar’s customer service and passed it on to me.

Yes, I did turn in my change!  I had a lot more change than I thought I would – in my office at work, because I have such a sweet tooth, I actually have a “gumball” type candy machine filled with M&M’s; in order to eat any of the M&M’s, I force myself to physically find a quarter – otherwise I would eat the entire bag in one sitting (I only use the key to unlock it vs. using a quarter every once in a while).  After raiding the candy machine, two old Mason jars at home, my car’s ashtray, and my office desk drawer I went down to my local Kroger and left with an Amazon gift card for a little more than $83!

Unfortunately, I have already spent my $83 windfall plus a few extra dollars on K-cup “Jet Fuel” coffee (it certainly lives up to its name), a new pink cover for the Kindle with Special Offers (my daughter’s K2 bit the dust this week so I gave the new Kindle with Special Offers to her – I still like my original Kindle 3), and a Kindle book my wife wanted to read (she likes the vampire-type books – I can’t stand them).

<sigh> I guess it’s a good thing I read a lot of free Kindle books!

 

Kindle Books for a Buck (or Less) Blog

Since I started the Kindle Books for  a Buck (or Less) blog in June, I’ve heard from many of you telling me how much you like it – I appreciate it!  One of the main reasons I started this one was to focus on the independent author who might be getting lost in the “noise” of the big-name authors or the other 1+ million titles in the Amazon Kindle store.  There are a lot of hidden gems (with a few stinkers) in the Kindle store that have been great reads.

One of the bigger complaints, and negative reviews on the blog’s page on the Amazon site) has been the pricing – as I’ve mentioned to you a couple of times before the blog writers in the Kindle store do not have the ability to set the price, Amazon does.  Rather than the 99 cents per month for a blog subscription, Amazon set the pricing at $1.99 per month.  I bet I received 500+ emails from people saying they would subscribe but they didn’t want to pay $1.99 per month for it.  Just to clarify, blog subscriptions pay me 30% of the price charged as a royalty and Amazon keeps the rest.

Well, sometime last week Amazon lowered the price to 99 cents per month – Amazon didn’t inform me, but a blog subscriber did.  Now that the pricing has come down to 99 cents per month, how about giving the blog a try?  You can click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your computer’s web browser to try out the free two week trial.

Good news for you, a 50% decrease in revenue for me…..looks like I need to find some more spare change for a gift card!

 

Amazon Reviews and Free Short Stories

Yes, I still write reviews of the books I read; I also write reviews of most of the products I purchase from Amazon (I buy way too much stuff from there, but like most men I hate shopping in a real store).  I have about half a dozen related to books I need to write, but you can check out all of my reviews if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/mpgreviews into your computer’s web browser.

You’ll see I’ve been on a short story kick lately, as they are perfect to read during my lunch break at work; you’ll also see that most of the things I’ve been reading are free! 

Speaking of short stories, as I type this on a Thursday night for release on Friday there are over 350 short stories available for free in the Amazon Kindle store.  They have been perfect to read during my lunch break at work as most of them take about 10 minutes to read, and they may be the same for you during your lunch break, bus / train ride to work, etc.  To see a list of the free short stories in the Amazon Kindle store, just click here or type in http://amzn.to/mSX6o4 into your computer’s web browser.  I have this link bookmarked as the list changes daily – you may want to bookmark it, too.

 

Kindle Daily Deal

Amazon still has the Kindle Daily Deal running – this is a promotion where one book per day is steeply discounted for one day only.  Each day is different, and there is no telling what may be promoted from one day to the next.  I check it out most days to see what is out there – you can click here or type in http://amzn.to/kddeal into your computer’s web browser to check it out (I’ve bookmarked this link, too).

 

Facebook and Twitter Pages

I’ve received several emails asking where the blog’s Facebook and Twitter pages are located.  Here they are:

Facebook: click here or type in http://www.facebook.com/fkbooksandtips into your computer’s browser.

Twitter: click here or type in http://twitter.com/fkbt into your computer’s browser.

 

If you’ve made it this far in the post – congratulations!  I’m done for tonight and will set this up to post on Friday morning unless there were another 20 or so free books made available when I wake up.  I hope each of you have a great weekend!

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Looking for more or a reliable source of free books for your Kindle?  Click here for my “Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them book (updated September 2011).

 

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Answering Your Emailed Kindle Questions

This is a rather long post – you may want to grab a cup of coffee!

It’s that time again – time to answer via the blog those email questions I received a couple of times over the past week or so: I figure if several of you have the same question, many more of you have it, too, and it can help out a lot of folks (and possibly minimize the frustration aspect).  If you would like to write to me, my email address is kindle at gagler dot com

Lost or Stolen Kindles

I’ve had a little over two dozen people write to me regarding stolen and / or lost Kindles and what should they do. Here is a copy and paste of a post I had back in April of this year addressing the same thing:

The first thing you need to do is contact Amazon Kindle customer support and report it lost or stolen and get it deregistered – you don’t want someone loading up your lost Kindle with a lot of books charged to your credit card!

Here’s how one reader explained her process best:

My Kindle was stolen a couple months ago by some painters at my mother’s house. As soon as I noticed it missing (which wasn’t too long) I called Kindle support. I explained the situation and they deregistered my Kindle and placed a lock on the serial number of my Kindle. That way no one else could register it to their account. I was mollified that once they tried to use it, the books would all disappear and it would be useless because it wasn’t able to be reregistered. A few days later after a call to the contractors my Kindle was returned to me. Please tell people about this service. It was slightly comforting. Thank you so much.

Great advice!

 

Sharing a Kindle (or Not)

Here’s a question from Chey D.:

Hey, Michael!

First of all, your Tips and Tricks blog was one of the first things I subscribed to on my Kindle when I received it for Christmas this past year.   I love the freebies, but your tips and tricks have saved this Kindle newbie many times!  So, naturally,  I am turning to you for some help in deciding what to do on the following situation:

Recently, my elderly mother has moved in with us.  She’s seen me reading my Kindle and has become interested in it (especially because the font size can be enlarged – she’s 83.)   Now my mom has “technology phobia” and doesn’t have a clue when it comes to computers, keyboards, wireless, etc.   

She wants a Kindle, but wants me to be able to select and download all the content she wants.   In other words, she just wants to read and not be bothered by all that “high tech mess”.  What would be the best way to handle this?  Should I just buy and register another Kindle to my own account and take care of all the set up for her?  If I do that, can I easily share my own Kindle content with her on this second Kindle registered to my account?  Or should I get her a separate Kindle account?  Obviously, I’m a newbie.

Appreciate all you do for the Kindle fans!  Many thanks!

 

This question is both easy and difficult at the same time – the easy part is to get Mom a separate Kindle: they are pretty cheap now, with $79 for the Kindle with Special Offers (click here or type in http://amzn.to/kindlefall2011 into your computer’s web browser to see it).

The harder question of “is Mom going to be on my account or on a separate account” is more of a personal decision: each family situation, and the finances, is a personal thing you don’t want a gray-haired and obese blogger like myself telling you what to do so take the rest of this response with a grain of salt!

 

On one hand, since your Mom is living with you in your house and presumably eating your food (or is it community food) maybe your finances are co-mingled.  If that is the case, especially if you both enjoy a lot of the same books, I would recommend having all of the Kindles on one account – that way, you can share the books between the two of you and you can avoid both of you paying for the same book on separate accounts.

On the other hand, if you and Mom are keeping everything separate with a detailed accounting, you will probably want to have separate Kindles with separate accounts – you can then loan books back and forth, as long as you comply with all of the restrictions on loaning Kindle books back and forth (only once, two week period, etc.).  However, if you and Mom are keeping everything financially separate with detailed accounting while living under the same roof there are probably bigger issues to resolve than “should we have a joint or separate” Kindle account.

A long-winded answer, I know – my unofficial response would be to have one account you share: in the long run, it’s cheaper, plus there are other more pressing problems in the world to solve today.

 

My Relationship with Amazon

Many people think I have a contact at Amazon I can call or email and receive a direct response; many people also think I work directly for Amazon and can resolve shipping or order issues.  In reality, I do not – when I email the generic blog support email, I have never received a straight answer or had a question resolved; for book author support, they have a really long delay and might get back to me with an answer about 50% of the time (in other words, I’ve given up).

I contrast that with the customer support for the purchaser side, and they have been outstanding.  It’s almost a tale of two different companies.

I do know people at Amazon do read the blog on a periodic basis, which is why I am putting this request from blog reader Christi P. in this post – besides, I’ve had some of the same “wish list” items:

Dear Michael,
couple things…first want you to know I have really enjoyed your comments as well as your listing of free books on Amazon.  I look forward to your daily posting and have downloaded many of the free books without disappointment.

I often read series books. Sometimes I get stuck on an author and want to read all the books in a particular series.  Problem is Amazon does not list which book in the series they are (unless I do some serious digging).  I have also noticed some of the free books are part of a series and not necessarily the 1st book. (Guess I like the background of the earlier stories, especially if the main characters move from one to the next)

I would like to see Amazon list which book in the series the book is….example JA Konrath, Jack Daniels mysteries.  John Locke, Kathy Reichs, Nora Roberts, Clive Cussler Erlene Fowler are just a few that come to my mind at the moment.  It would be great if a book that is part of a series, is listed as say (book 3 in the Jack Daniels mystery series or book 9 in the Beni Harper series or book 1 of the Dirk Pitt series ) on the same page with the book info, not in a later page about the author. I realize some books make no difference which order they are read but still it’s nice to know.  This would be particularly nice to know when ordering books from the kindle.  (I find the tiny print very frustrating on the amazon page when it comes up on my kindle)

I would make this recommendation to Amazon myself, but haven’t found the page on their website for such recommendations.  And since you “work with them” I am hoping you could make the suggestion for me. I’m sure there are others that would like this information as well.  I just don’t know who to contact.
I don’t know who to contact, either – let’s see if it works!

 

Reading the Blog on Something Other Than Your Kindle

I frequently receive emails about why people can’t read the blog on the Kindle for PC app the iPhone Kindle app, etc.  Here’s a question I received from Stephanie regarding the same:

Hello!!  I love your blog Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tricks…It has been very helpful and informative!!!

Now my question.  I occasionally use the Kindle for PC app.  I have a desktop and a laptop.  I used the app on the desktop first and was able to get the most current days edition of your blog on the app.  Today i put the app on my laptop and cannot get your blog on the app on my laptop.  Any ideas why not???  Also, I have not tried it on the desktop as the kids have pretty much taken it over since I got the laptop.

 

Thanks so much!!!
The short answer is “I don’t know.”

Of course, I would like to receive as many paid subscriptions as I can, and the various Kindle apps are an untapped market for not only me but every other blog publisher on the Kindle platform.  I do find it strange Amazon is missing another opportunity to collect more revenue!  Before you think I am getting rich off of this, please remember of your 99 cent per month subscription you pay Amazon to read it on your Kindle, I get all of 30 cents – or one cent per day, per subscriber.  That’s not enough to make me quit my real job and be able to still pay the mortgage, two sets of braces, put food on the table, etc.!

I’ve thought about not having the blogs available on the various Kindle apps, and from a guesstimate standpoint (remember, Amazon doesn’t call me for my opinion for their sales and marketing strategies) they must think readers will read blogs on the other devices’ web browsers vs. the Kindle application.  It does make sense from that standpoint, but I would imagine it would only cost about $200k or so to program it and test it – money that would be more than made up on the incremental revenue for all of the Kindle blogs combined.

While I am an accountant in real life, I am not Amazon’s accountant so the math is probably working out to something different.

In the interim, you can read the blog on the web – just point your web browser to https://fkbt.wordpress.com and you can see all of the past tips, free book offers, and rants by Michael.

Anyway, looking at the bottom of my Word display I’m almost at 2,000 words – wow!  If you’ve read this far, thanks!

Have a great weekend-

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Click here for my “Kindle Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts” book (updated June 2011).

 

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Random Kindle Thoughts and Answers to Your Emails

It looks like I need to clarify something – when I had my answers to email post on Friday afternoon, and answered the question about a potential page number application, either I misunderstood the question or many of you misunderstood my reply: yes, I do know on some Kindle books you can see the corresponding page number if you push the “Menu” key.  I interpreted the question of is there an app you can purchase that will automatically put the page number on each and every book (which there is not).  If the publisher has coded that functionality into a Kindle book version, it will show up if you push the “Menu” key.

Here is a question I received from Alice:

I am a subscriber to your blog and truly enjoy the posts.  I am a Kindle newbie and would like information on audio books.  Are these ever free and do you ever address this topic on your blog?

I haven’t addressed free audio books for your Kindle, although they do exist in mp3 format – I, for one, am not someone who appreciates having a book read to you as I prefer reading it to myself: I get too distracted when someone is reading to me.

Here’s a question I received from Maureen:

I need to know if the emergency USB charger you cited in the blog can be used with the Kindle 2. I have had mine since 2009 and am very dependent upon it for reading as I am old and losing my eyesight. Thank heavens the Kindle allows me to change the type size! It made it possible for me to read again without a magnifying glass!!! I need it so much!  And as I live in Florida and this is hurricane season I could use a way to survive the storms. We are going to get a generator which will even power the AC and my medical apparatus, but didn’t have the money in time for an installation before the season.

The USB charger Maureen is referencing can be seen if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/m6XQrd in to your computer’s web browser.  In answer to your question, yes, it can be used on a Kindle 2.  I’ve used it on a Kindle 2 and 3, my Droid phone, my kid’s iPod, and (gasp) my wife’s iPad.  If it has a USB charging cord, this thing can charge it – although this version, using just two “AA” batteries, has a small battery capability.  It is, however, good for one to two devices, and one set of AA batteries is more than enough to fully charge my Kindle 3.  With a total price, including shipping, of $4.5o, I think this is a pretty good deal – I have three of them.

I also have what I call a “super duper” USB charger made by Sanyo that is charged from a wall socket, and it is pricey at $79 – but it can charge a lot before needing to be recharged itself (my record is two Kindles, two phones, and half a charge on an iPad before going dry) – you can see the kind I have if you click here or type in http://amzn.to/oHHt0M into your computer’s web browser.

Why so many chargers?  Well, after not having power for almost a week after Hurricane Ike a few years ago I would rather be redundant in my charging capability vs. not having any power at all.

Stephanie had this question:

I love your FKBT blog and have it delivered to my email inbox every day. I can stay on top of the updates so much better this way because I often forgot to check in with my subscriptions when I had them and missed freebies. Is there a way I can subscribe to your new Kindle Bucks for a Buck blog on WordPress too? Thanks!

You can signup for the new blog by first pointing your computer’s web browser to http://ebooksforabuck.wordpress.com/ then fill in your email address on the right-hand side of the page.  After you do that and push the “Sign Me Up!” button, you will need to check your email and reply back to the confirmation message: the server sends a confirmation message you have to reply to in order to make sure we’re not spamming anyone.

Alternatively,you can  click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your computer’s web browser to receive it on your Kindle – you get a two week trial period for free but after that Amazon will charge you $1.99 per month, primarily to cover their delivery fees.

And, finally, here is an email I received from Taft L. that made me feel good – you’re never too old to use a Kindle and here’s a plug for each of you to check with your local library to see if they support loaning books in the Kindle format (more and more do each week):

We oldsters (my age 84) don’t switch to new electronics as easily or as quickly as the younger generations but I finally decided to try a kindle, even with some reservations about cost.  We have a great local library and I usually borrow (free of course) about 12 new non-fiction titles each month, and so I really worried about having to buy the same amount of books from kindle.  I knew kindle had the sample system that would help some, but not completely.  Then I accidently came across your blog with references to free books, low cost books, and the Sunshine collection, and that has really helped.  Although I am fortunate in having good eye sight, it is easier to read the kindle then it is with most of the print books.  Each day I look forward to getting your blogs and so I wanted to thank you for your help in making my reading experiences more enjoyable.  My local library tells me that sometime before the end of the year they expect to be able to loan out kindle ebooks. 

 

Have a great rest of your weekend-

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Looking for more or a reliable source of free books for your Kindle?  Click here for my “Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them book (updated September 2011).

 

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