Find the Free Kindle Books You Want with Free Books Sifter

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 9.06.00 AMA few days ago I confessed that I had far too many books in my Amazon Cloud. It was crowded with dozens of free books that I grabbed over time. I needed to permanently delete books, and I showed you how to do that, here.

But now that I discovered the BEST free book sorter I have ever seen, well, my Cloud is filling up again!

With Free Book Sifter, you have the ability to dig down through the genres that YOU want.

Along with the title of the book, you are also presented with the number of reviews and the number of stars that the book has acquired on Amazon. (remember .. you don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books. There is a wonderful, free, Kindle App for your iPhone and iPad.)

And the sorting goes deep … once you choose a category, you are presented with sub-categories.

A Browsing Bonanza!

Click on a book and you are taken directly to Amazon where you can learn more about it, read the reviews and make your choice.

Just BEWARE … you will probably loose track of time as you frolic in all the free-ness. :)

Have fun with Free Book Sifter

How to Permanently Delete a Kindle Book

You probably know by now that you do not have to keep all of your e-books ON your Kindle or on your device (iPhone, iPad) that uses the Kindle app. You can keep some books on your device and the rest in the Cloud as explained here.

The Cloud is great because it is basically a huge bookshelf just for you (but you don’t have to dust it :) ). It grows and grows as you add books.

But at some point, you are going to sort through the Cloud and say “What the heck am I doing with THAT book?” It happens. Especially since Amazon offers so many free books, you might find yourself regretting a grab or two (or in my case, about twenty).

Here is how you permanently delete a Kindle book:

(the important word here is permanently. If you delete books in this manner, you would have to buy them again if you want to read them.)

Access your Amazon account from your computer.

After you sign in, go to “My Account” and slide down to “Manage My Kindle”

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After you click on “Manage My Kindle”, you will be shown a list of all the Kindle books that you have ever bought. You can do lots of things from this page, but we are going to concentrate on the permanent delete.

Notice off to the right of each book there is a button labeled “Actions”.

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Touch on “Action” next to the book that you would like to permanently delete.

A drop-down menu appears. Note that one of the choices is to “delete from library”.

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“Delete from Library” is the magic button that will permanently delete your book.

Select “delete from library”, and you will get this warning message before you actually do the deleting:

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I’m so glad they put that extra warning message step in the process, because that way you really know for sure exactly what you are doing.

Give the “yes” a tap and the book will disappear from your Cloud bookshelf … forever.

Where are my Kindle books? How to Find Them and Move Them

photo credit: Patrick Hoesly via photopin cc

photo credit: Patrick Hoesly via photopin cc

One of the folks in our blogging community recently expressed concern that her Kindle is filling up. She is afraid to delete any books because she doesn’t want to lose them. I’m so glad that she brought this to my attention, because I’m guessing that there are a great many others who share this concern.

So let’s look at the life of a Kindle book.

Once you buy a Kindle book, it is yours forever (if you want to keep it).

Imagine a huge bookshelf in the sky. This is your bookshelf. There is no limit to it. It will grow and grow as you add books. When you buy a Kindle book at Amazon, the book appears on your shelf-in-the-sky. Amazon calls this the “Cloud”.

If you have a Kindle Fire, or a Kindle App on an iPhone or iPad or a newer Kindle (like the Paperwhite), you will see a spot that says “Cloud/Device”.

This is how “Cloud/Device” appears on the Kindle App on the iPad. It is similar on other devices.

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(On the oldest Kindles, the “Cloud” can be found by looking at your “archived items”)

Tap on “Cloud” and you will see ALL OF THE BOOKS YOU HAVE EVER BOUGHT. Touch and hold any one to download it to the device in your hand.

Tap on “Device” and you will see ONLY THE BOOKS THAT YOU HAVE DOWNLOADED to the Kindle or Kindle app in your hand.

Your purchased book can reside in many places. It can sit on your Kindle reader, or on another device that has a Kindle app (like your iPad or iPhone), or it can stay in Amazon’s ‘Cloud’.

A book can also be in several places at once. When I read a book, for example, I will typically download it to my Paperwhite AND to my iPhone Kindle app AND to my old bathtub Kindle, so I can pick up the book and continue reading wherever I am.

Any family member or anyone else sharing the same Amazon account can have the same books on their Kindle at the same time, as well. The Cloud is the source for all your content on all your Kindle-powered devices.

Now, to answer Marcia’s original question: removing the books from your Kindle or Kindle App does not ‘delete’ them from your life. It only takes the book off of the device .. but it leaves it in the Cloud, so that you can put it back on your device whenever you choose.

When you want to remove a book from your device, just tap and hold it. On a Kindle App, a bubble will pop up that says “Remove from Device”. Go ahead and tap that. The book will be gone from your reader, but it will still be in the Cloud to be downloaded again, whenever you want it.

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(On the Paperwhite, if you tap and hold a book that is on the Kindle, a list of options will appear, and among them is “remove from this device”.)

So if you look at this diagram, you can now imagine your books flying back and forth from Device-to-Cloud from Cloud-to-Device, back and forth and forth and back. Move them around as you’d like.

Blank Skitch Document

It is possible to delete books permanently, as well. (Thank goodness for that, because I have nabbed some free ones that I quickly regretted.) I’ll make this process a separate blog post, another day.

How to Gift a Kindle Book

Books are a favorite gift for all gift-giving reasons, and at this time of the year, book sales go way up.

But what if the person you are gifting uses a Kindle?

If you have readers on your gift list who are doing most of their reading on a Kindle, you might consider buying them an e-book for the holidays.

Of course you could always go the gift-card route, and let them choose their own, but that is not the object, here. We want to give our recipients a special e-book, one that we have chosen just for them.

So what do you do if you have a particular book in mind that you want to share with the Kindle-reader in your life?

Easy-breezy.

Here is how you can “gift” a Kindle book:

Sign in to your Amazon account.

Navigate to the book that you want to give as gift. For the purpose of this example, I selected “Pillars of the Earth”. You’ll see a list of many ways that the book is offered.

Make sure you highlight KINDLE EDITION on the book choices.

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Once you have indicated that you are interested in the KINDLE EDITION, look on the upper right side of the screen. You will see this button: “Give as a gift”

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Click on “Give as a Gift” and you will be taken to the order page (captured below), which will allow you to add your own message and choose WHEN you want the gift delivered via email to your recipient. So, you can buy it now, and request that it be delivered on Christmas Day, or on a Birthday, or whatever. (Handy!)

You also have the option to have the email delivered to yourself, so that you can wrap it up or send it in the mail or present it in person to your gift-ee.

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**Thanks to Katie at Ipad Investigation for pointing out that this service is not available on the UK website. I can’t imagine why not, but ……

Kindle App for iPad Gets an Update

The latest update for the Kindle App for iPad has a few new awesome features. I previously wrote about the Kindle app here.

This App just keeps getting better and better. (For new readers: You do NOT need to own a Kindle to use the Kindle App on your iPad or iPhone. You can read books, get samples, and enjoy Kindle-goodness without owning a Kindle.)

Among the new features in this latest update:

* Adjustable margins for the iPad

It is always a good thing when given options for our reading experience. Some folks might prefer wider margins with large fonts while others may prefer lots of text on the page with minimal margins. Every new option to tweak is greatly appreciated.

* Improved Brightness Control

Some adjustments to this control have made the slider more responsive and the fonts clearer.

* Rapid Highlights

In my opinion this is the most awesome update. To highlight, just run your finger over the selected passage. Poof! Text highlighted!

Text before highlighting:

Just run your finger across the text to highlight:

Touch the highlighted text and a menu will pop up allowing you to Save it, Share it or Delete it:

Easy-breezy!

The Kindle App is FREE in the iTunes store.

Yes, You Can! Return A Kindle eBook

photo credit: adafruit via photo pin cc

Another reason to love my Kindle. Returns! Not that I’ve ever used it, but it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know that such a customer-friendly feature exists.

With the ability to get free samples (my post about that is here), it is unlikely that you will be saddled with a book that you just can’t bear to read.

BUT .. it is possible with the one-click buying option, that you just might accidentally buy a book that you didn’t plan to buy. The buying box is directly above the sample box, and if you’re not paying attention……… :)

Amazon allows you to return your eBook within 7 days of purchase.

(Personally, I think this is incredibly generous. An unscrupulous e-reader person could take advantage of that wide window of time. If I was the person in charge of making the decision, I probably would have made a 3 day limit. But happily for Amazon’s consumers, I am in no way affiliated and so their liberal policy stands at 7 days.)

Here is how to return your eBook:

Navigate to Amazon’s “Manage My Kindle” page.

Hover your cursor over the “Actions” button.

A menu will drop down. If it is within 7 days since you bought the book, the option “Return for Refund” will be part of this menu. (After 7 days, that option will no longer appear.)

Select “Return for Refund” and follow the prompts. If you are using a Kindle app, the same process applies.

How to Get Book Samples: Fabulous, Fun and FREE

photo credit: Carlos Porto via photo pin cc

I love books. I love to read. I read a LOT.

Technology continues to improve the experience in many ways. One of the most delightful enhancements is the ability to read samples of books.

These samples are usually a sizable chunk of the beginning of the book, including at least the first chapter, sometimes more. While I used to make my book selections based on reviews or summaries on a book jacket, I can now (at my leisure) browse through significant pieces of text before committing to my read.

When I hear of an interesting book through the news or a recommendation, I download the sample immediately. You can get a good feel of the book by starting with a sample. Or perhaps conclude that the book is not for you.

And …. these samples are FREE.

All you need is the Kindle App on your device. It’s also free and you can download it from the iTunes store. (If you own a Kindle and you haven’t downloaded samples, just follow these same directions and use the Kindle as your choice on the Amazon book screen.)

You will also need to register your device with Amazon, and set up an account. They will walk you through that process when you get started with the app.

With a Kindle app, and a registered Amazon account, you are ready to go.

Head over to Amazon, and navigate to a book that you are interesting in.

For this example, I am showing you the Amazon screen for the book (my all time favorite!) Pillars of the Earth.

There will be several choices available for purchasing the book. You must highlight “Kindle Edition”.

As long as you are signed into your Amazon account, and you have highlighted “Kindle edition”, you will see two boxes over on the right. The upper box is to be used if you plan to purchase the book, the LOWER box is the one that will send you the sample.

All you have to do is click that box. Since you are registered, your device name is visible in the window of the box, and the text will say that it will send the sample to: “name of your device”.

Just click. That’s it.

Now go to your smartphone or tablet or computer and open the Kindle App.

Take a look …. on your device page, you should see (within minutes) the sample of the book you just selected. There will be a little banner across the corner that says “Sample”.

Go ahead and get another. And another. You might find yourself feeling a bit like a kid in a candy store. :)

Sharing a Kindle Account: How to Make a Group

If you enjoy reading on your Kindle (or through your Kindle app) you probably have a growing library. And you’re also probably frustrated in your desire to share these books.

You can make a Kindle group and share your library with friends and family. By doing this, as your members buy different books, your library grows and grows, and soon you need only to look to your own library to select a book to read. Of course, it is helpful if you form this group among people who generally have the same taste in books. (duh)

It’s not hard to form a group, but there are some details that need to be thought through, and some issues of trust to be considered.

Let’s use Paul, Ringo, John and George as our example group. John and George are brothers, Paul is their cousin, and Ringo is a good friend.

John has a Kindle and an account in his name. John’s credit card is linked to this account, and he one-clicks the books that he buys and they get delivered directly to his Kindle (or Kindle app).

Now, George wants to connect to John’s library, so he registers his Kindle (or Kindle app) to John’s account. This gives George access to John’s entire cloud of books, and he can download whatever is in that cloud to read on his device.

Paul would also like to read what John is reading, and John gives him the information (password, etc) to register his device to John’s account. Ringo, as well, gets all the information to register.

Now we have four people registered to one account. They all access ONE cloud of books. You can add more than four people. Actually, I don’t believe there is a limit on how many people you can add. The only limitation is that only 5 or 6 devices are allowed to carry one book at the same time. In a larger group, this won’t be a problem as long as people are reading different books.

There is no US geographic limitation, so your Aunt Mabel in Milwaukee and your old friend Ralph in San Francisco can both be on your account in Philadelphia.

The biggest consideration is the management of the group. Remember….. it is all one account, and so there is only ONE credit card being charged. It’s the owner of the card who needs to think this through carefully and should decide how best to administer this group.

In the loosest scenario, all your group members would have your password so that they can browse and buy. When they buy something, they would have to get the appropriate $ to you. This involves a fair large amount of trust.

Another way to manage is to simply have your group members tell you what they want to buy, you buy it and send it to their Kindle or Kindle app (through Manage My Kindle). In this scenerio, the members do not have the ability to buy on your dime without your involvement, and you are aware right up front what they owe you. However, this requires some administration on the part of the card holder, and the group members lose the ability to have instant access to the book they buy. But for the group members, it is a small trade off (instant access vs access to the growing shared group library).

If you are considering a group I recommend that you read this blog post about Kindle group sharing and this discussion thread about Kindle users and their groups. A well-developed group can be a wonderful thing, but a poor one could be a nightmare.

One other point. If two people are reading the same book, you’ll have to remember to turn off synchronization. I truly love the synchronization feature, and it is not something I am willing to give up. So, in my group, we agreed to solve this problem by not reading the same books at the same time.

The Kindle App is free in the iTunes store.

Special eBook Deals for Kindle Reading (on a Kindle OR through a Kindle App)

photo credit: emdot via photo pin cc

If you are new to reading on a Kindle or Kindle app, you might not be aware of several sources of Kindle deals that are available.

In the beginning of every month, Amazon selects a collection of 100 books that it puts up for sale for $3.99 or less. There is no question that this is a ‘real’ deal, as I have paid full price for some of the books that I have seen show up in this collection over time : (

Although I have not noticed wildly successful best-sellers on this monthly list, there have been some pretty good reads. This month, for example, I see that Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano is on sale for $3.99, and I remember reading it (at full price) a while ago. Elizabeth Street is based on a true story, a multi-generational saga about a family of Italian immigrants, early 1900’s, in NYC’s lower East Side. I enjoy period works, and Elizabeth Street did not disappoint. I’m guessing that if this book showed up on the “sale” list, there must be other gems, as well.

Every day Amazon also lists books that are free. Again, the selection is not stellar, but standouts appear every now and then. It’s a matter of checking in often, as the list changes frequently. Over time, I have grabbed a number of these, altho admittedly many are, well, poor. But taking the time to sift through, I have found some keepers.

One other place to look at Amazon, is their daily deal. A different book is on sale each day. When Amazon first started the Daily Deal, I was excited, hoping that popular books would appear as the daily special. This doesn’t seem to be the case, but it is always worth checking.

Another great source is Pixel of Ink. In their own words: “Pixel of Ink features daily publishing of Free Kindle Books and Hot Deals. On any given day, there are thousands of Free Kindle Books available. Each day there are hundreds of newly free Kindle Books that we sort through to bring you what you want – the best of the bunch” You can find Pixel of Ink here.

Of course, don’t forget your local library. Over 11,000 libraries are now participating, and hopefully your library will be among them.

photo credit: Enokson via photo pin cc

If you have a Kindle or just a Kindle app on your iPad, iPhone (or Android), you can check out books from your participating library and read them on your device. Just go to your library’s website, and search for a book to borrow. Once you select it, you will choose to “send to Kindle” and you will be redirected to Amazon, log in to your Amazon account, and the book will be delivered to your device via WiFi.

Kindle App on Your iPad, iPhone: Synchronization and Sharing With A Group

I love all my devices. And I’m totally app-addicted. I admit it. I’m hopeless. But I also love books, and my Kindle came into my life before I was swept up by my iPhone and iPad, and in spite of their wonderful-ness, I still use my Kindle each and every day.

When I first got my iPad I was sad to think that I might have to leave the Kindle platform where I am so very comfortable. But to my delight, this was not the case. Kindle and Apple have integrated beautifully. I know they had (have) some struggles between themselves, but as a consumer, I am so very happy that they play together, nicely, now.

It is so important to point out that you do NOT need a Kindle (the physical piece of hardware) to enjoy the Kindle experience. The free Kindle app is all you need.

The Kindle app on the iPad is excellent. Books that you purchase on Amazon or snag for free are sent wirelessly to your iPad in a matter of moments. (First chapters are free. It’s great to be able to sample a book before you buy.) Two buttons at the bottom show you two options, “Cloud” and “Device”. The cloud view shows you every ebook that you have ever acquired (bought or free) through Amazon. With a touch on the settings, you can see these books in a tiled format or in a long list, with each book indicated with a colorful graphic of its cover. Tap one of your books in the cloud, and it downloads instantly (seconds) to your iPad.

Synchronization: Once you have registered your devices with Amazon, and have downloaded your book of choice to each device, Amazon will keep you synched. You can read at night on your iPad, and pick up your iPhone the next day and you will be able to continue reading from the very spot you left off. Marvelously handy. And if you happen to have a Kindle, your place will be synced on there, as well.

Tweaking: While reading a book, you can change the font size, change the color of the screen from white to sepia to black, search within a book and jump to locations.

Sharing: Another awesome thing you can do with your Kindle library is share it with your close friends and family. You can make a group, all on the same Amazon account. You can group up with friends in Idaho, your uncle in New York, your cousin in Florida, your aunt in San Diego, and your neighbor who lives upstairs. Your one group shares the account, and therefore any books bought can be read by anyone in the group at any time. Although some publishers set a limit that no more than 5 or 6 devices can be reading the SAME book at the same time, as long as your group shuffles their reading choices, you will rarely have that problem. There are several ways to set up this group, and that will be a subject for another day.

Kindle app is free

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