Improving the Paperwhite: Amazon Introduces the Kindle Voyage

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 7.17.56 AMLast week the tech world was all abuzz about the new iPhones. In the middle of all that excitement, Amazon quietly released a bunch of new goodies. (at least it seemed like it was “quietly” to me….)

I know that many of my readers are HUGE Paperwhite fans (me, too!!!).

Honestly, I could not imagine how it would be possible to improve that device. It seems darn near perfect.

And yet, as technology moves forward, so do the devices, and Amazon has now ramped up their Paperwhite to a new level, and they are calling this NEW eReader the Kindle Voyage.

So how did they improve ‘perfect’?

1. It’s THINNER.

2. TWICE as many pixels as the Paperwhite, making the text super-crisp.

3. Added tapping sensors on the edge so that you can gently press to turn a page.
(I like love this. I missed my buttons.) You can still turn the page with finger swipes.

4. Automatic light sensors will adjust the light according to the light in the room. It will gradually decrease in a dark room, as your eyes adjust to the dimmer light.

5. General re-design, including a flush-front.

Wifi only, with special offers, costs $199. Removing the special offers hikes the price to $219. (I have the “special offers” appearing on my Paperwhite, and it really doesn’t bother me at all.)

I thought long and hard about this, because I really love my Paperwhite. I did not feel the need to level-up ……. UNTIL I saw that page-turning sensor. That is the one thing I have always missed on the Paperwhite. I am a bed-reader, and when you are comfortably reclining on your side, holding the kindle with one hand, it can be awkward and inconvenient to try and swipe the pages. It’s a nightly struggle to position the Paperwhite just right, and usually I don’t. I missed the old Kindle buttons on the earlier models.

And so I am going to try it. Amazon’s generous return policy makes this a no-brainer for me, because if I don’t like it, I can easily return it. No harm, no foul.

To my surprise, MANY people must be ordering this, because when I tapped the “buy” button on Friday (just a short time after the quiet launch) …. I was told that I won’t be receiving my Kindle Voyage until NOVEMBER 28! :shock: (when it first went on sale, the shipping date was in October!). Wow. I guess the market is strong for this new eReader.

Amazon has also released 4 other products.

1. A Fire HD tablet for only $99. Cheapest tablet available.

2. Fire HD KIDS Edition. “If they break it, we replace it. No questions asked.” If there are Kids in your life, this is worth a closer look.

3. FireHDX 8.9 Big improvements to this tablet.

4. Basic Kindle. Touch screen. No light, but lots of other features. $79

For further information on all of these products, just go to Amazon. They are all displayed on their home page with links to more details.

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Another Great Discounted Book Source: Early Bird Books

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Nothing better than great book deals!

In other posts, I alerted you to eReaderIQ (which I absolutely LOVE) and BookGorilla.

And now…. another discount-alerter for your browsing pleasure. :)

Early Bird Books will send you an email each morning with several book deals. Some expire quickly, some may be on sale for weeks, so check the expiration date. These books are limited to ones that are published through Open Road, so the model is a bit different from the other discounters.

It’s always fun to have bargains delivered to your inbox!

Just click on Early Bird Books to subscribe.

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Rumor? or Real? Amazon about to offer a New eBook Subscription Service

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The internet (the part that is interested in ebooks, anyway :) ) is abuzz today with the most-likely-true rumor that Amazon is about to launch a new service.

This looks like it will be a new Netflix-ish subscription service with digital ebooks and audio books…… an “all you can eat” approach …. for $9.99 a month.

It isn’t available yet. As a matter of fact, it hasn’t even been confirmed, yet. But the stories about it are everywhere.

When (if) this launches, I’ll be sure to post the details. But in the meantime, here are some links to many of the stories flooding the internet, today:

Amazon Tests ‘Kindle Unlimited,’ A Netflix For Ebooks And Audiobooks

Amazon Appears to Be Testing All-You-Can-Read Kindle Ebook Subscriptions

Amazon’s Prepping a “Kindle Unlimited” Subscription Service For Books

Amazon is working on Kindle Unlimited, the ultimate subscription service for readers

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Weekend Distraction: Google Maps Trivia

First of all….. I’d like to apologize (in advance) for this week’s Weekend Distraction. It’s so much fun, that you may find yourself returning to it a little too often.

Just saying’ :)

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 8.29.18 AM The folks at Google have recently released this delightful time-eater-upper. Google Maps Trivia.

And you don’t have to go and get it from the app store. You already have it (if you have Google Maps).

(Even if you don’t have a smart phone, or an iPad, you can also play this on your computer. I’ll provide that link at the end of this post.)

It’s called Google Maps Trivia. Simple and appealing. Google will give you a random clue, and your job is to drop a pin on the correct location.

You start with 1000 miles. Miles are subtracted for any distance “off” the correct mark. When you run out of miles, you’re done. You can choose categories if you would like, or let Google throw them at you randomly.

To find this gem on your device, just open your Google Maps app.

Click on those three lines up in the upper left hand corner. Now look down the menu on the left side, and select “Google Maps Trivia.”

From Skitch-10

The game begins!

Let them give you questions, or select your own category.

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Answer the question, and drop your pin. If you’re wrong, Google will show you how far off you are, and subtract those miles from your 1000. When you run out of miles, you’re done.

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And when you get your answer RIGHT … Google cheers you on!

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You can also play this game directly on your computer. I actually prefer to use it with a larger screen, and I find that I can be more accurate with my pin drops on my Macbook rather than on the smaller devices.

Follow this link to play Google Maps Trivia on your computer:

Google Maps Trivia

Have fun!

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A Question for Readers …….

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 8.09.29 AMThis is the time of the year where my Kindle is always within reach. I take it everywhere.

I read a lot. My favorite kind of book is historical fiction, “Pillars of the Earth” being a great example. And if it is really good … I like it LONG (because I’m always sad when a great book comes to an end. :( )

I know a lot of the readers of this blog are also voracious readers.

Here’s a question that I saw on twitter the other day:

What was the LAST BOOK that you recommended to someone?

Hmmmm. Interesting question! Not any-old recommendation. Not your favorite book. But the LAST book that you recommended to someone.

My answer: The last book I recommended to someone was The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. Set in France during the occupation, a reluctant architect designs intricate hiding places for Jewish citizens. It is a page-turner!

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How about you? What was the LAST BOOK that you recommended to someone?

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World Cup Soccer, brought to you by Google

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 6.54.48 PM World Cup 2014 runs from June 12 to July 13 in Brazil…

…and Google has geared up to keep us informed of all World Cup action.

No matter what your device, just use Google and type in “world cup” or “world cup usa” (or whatever your team of choice) and you will see the latest team lineup, live scores and other information.

Tap to switch to specific teams, players, etc.

Learn more about all you can do, here.

You can also visit Brazil’s 12 stadiums with Google’s street view:

Brazil’s World Cup Stadiums

Or visit Brazil’s painted streets:

Brazil’s Painted Streets

There is an official World Cup app for your iPhone and iPad, free in the iTunes store, but it really looks as though Google has it all covered, with no app to clutter your screen, and giving you access through any of your devices. :)

Play ball!
(I know, I know, you say “play ball!” to start a baseball game. I just don’t know what the equivalent “start chant” is for soccer aka football…. :shock: Is there one?)

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Thanks to the Met: Free Art to Download and Use for Non-Commercial purposes (including blogs)

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.44.44 AMMajor kudos to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

They have just released nearly 400,000 digital images of art that are now in the public domain.

This means you are free to download and enjoy all of this art on your computer. You are welcome to enjoy the images for your personal use (wallpaper, for example, on any of your devices). You can also use them for other non-commercial use on blogs and websites.

This became so popular since it was announced last week that the website for the Met crashed. Clearly this is a people pleaser, evident by the massive downloads.

Not everything is downloadable. The available art is indicated by a tag, OASC (Open Access for Scholarly Content).

If you are viewing an image that is downloadable, you will see the OASC tag on the page. I took a screenshot of this VanGogh, and you can clearly see the OASC label.

From Skitch-10

If you see the OASC tag, and you would like to download the image, just click on the down arrow that you see a bit to the right of “OASC”. A single tap on that arrow and the digital image is downloaded directly to your device. I’ve now downloaded several images, and it’s quick and easy.

What fun to browse through the art, and download favorites to “keep”!
I know I’ll be spending hours on their website.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Amazon Settlement is ….. settled. Did you get $?

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 7.46.54 AM“In December 2013, a federal court approved legal settlements by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits filed by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs about the price of eBooks. Those settlements resulted in credits for qualifying Kindle books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.”

All this legal maneuvering has been simmering for a while, and I was wondering how it was going to come out in the wash.

This morning I received an e-mail from Amazon informing me that I would be receiving a credit on my account for the e-books that I purchased in the latter half of 2010, 2011 and part of 2012.

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If you bought Kindle books during that time frame, and you received this email today … have no fear. It is legit. You didn’t have to do anything to be part of this settlement. It just happened for you. Enjoy!! :)

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I am one of the 4%

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 7.50.56 PMEarlier this year Pew research released the results of several studies regarding the habits of the reading public.

As someone who reads “e-books only” I was curious to see how common (or not) this has become. According to the research, this puts me in a small group of just 4%. Most people who read e-books also read print books.

But me? I stand firmly in that 4%. My eyes prefer the adjustable fonts, the adjustable light, the ease of getting, saving and carrying books. I’ve always been a big reader, but the e-reader (Kindle) simply makes reading even better.

However, when it comes to e-reading in general, once you take away the “exclusive”, the numbers climb. 28% of adults have read an e-book in the past year, and this number continues to rise.

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Half of all the adults in America own either a tablet or an e-reader, and coupled with the stats below, this makes me wonder:
…. if 32% of people own an e-reader, but only 28% have read an e-book, can we assume that about 4% own e-readers that are just collecting dust? (not to be confused with the 4% of us who are e-readers-only!)

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The full article: E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps
Three in ten adults read an e-book last year; half own a tablet or e-reader

Where do you fit? E-reader only? E-reader + print books? or do you (gasp) have an e-reader just languishing at the bottom of a drawer?

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Want a Kindle Fire? Now’s the time!

If you have been considering getting a Kindle Fire, you just might want to get serious right now.

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Today and tomorrow only (that’s January 10 and January 11), Amazon is offering $30 off of any of their Kindle Fire tablets. There are four models, so consider carefully. I personally own the cheapest one (the one that you can get today for $109) and I will say it is a fine product. It’s not an iPad (my favorite tablet), BUT … how can you beat the price? If you are looking to try a tablet, this is a great opportunity to jump in.

I’d love to experience that MAYDAY button that lives on the more expensive Fires.
(Note to self: Time to consider an upgrade????)

To purchase a Kindle Fire today or tomorrow with the $30 discount, you will need to add a promo code at checkout, so follow the instructions carefully. Just head on over to Amazon to learn more.

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