Monday, March 2, 2015

Kindle Tips: Amazon has upgraded Kindle book samples ... Overdrive fixed its Kindle public library books problem ... 3M's library access - how it's done on Kindle Fires ... Today's specials on computer items and accessories, up to 50% off March 2 only ... March's free Kindle books (contemporary). Updated.



I'm just back from an unexpected vacation from the blog after 6 years but have monitored blog comments for any questions that people might have.

Will be catching up with some Amazon and Kindle news I did log, mainly for those who are too busy to keep up with that.

Four items before I get to others my list:

Amazon has made the Kindle book samples more useful
Amazon's email explained:

"- Samples that you download from the Kindle book store will now be saved in the cloud so that you can access and read them on any supported Amazon device or Kindle reading app.

 - You can delete your samples from the cloud on any supported devices or Kindle reading apps, or from Manage Your Content and Devices. (http://www.amazon.com/mycd).

Amazon devices and free Kindle reading apps that support these sample improvements are:
Fire HDX, Fire HD, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD (2nd Generation), Kindle Voyage, Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation), Kindle (7th Generation), Fire phone, Kindle for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch version 4.5 or greater, and Kindle for Android version 4.7 or greater."

More info at Amazon's Kindle Samples Help page.


Update on Overdrive for Public Libraries and Kindle Books
For January and February 2015, a number of eBooks added to their catalog were not available in the Kindle format, and Kindle customers brought this to their attention without getting explanations from Overdrive.  The situation was corrected on Friday (Feb. 27).
' This has now been resolved, and the Kindle format of the affected titles is now available in OverDrive’s Marketplace.  All U.S. libraries’ digital collections will be automatically refreshed with the Kindle format for any titles they have purchased that may not have had the format at the time of purchase.

As always, we will continue to add daily to our world leading catalog of over 2.6 million titles with all available formats. We look forward to continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks for our U.S. library and school partners. '

Now, I don't know what they mean by 'continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks' for their U.S. Library and school partners except for the following:

  3M is a rival provider, but it is definitely harder to use to access Kindle books, as it is NOT available for Kindle e-Ink eReaders (but can be transferred from computer downloads to Nook and Kobo eInk readers) and the recommended way is to use Kindle Fire tablets to download Kindle-formatted books.  Obviously, Amazon and 3M haven't come to an agreement similar to Overdrive's, which works with Amazon's easy download system.  However, some public libraries apparently don't offer Overdrive.

  Here are step-by-step instructions from the 3M public library Kindle Fire page (updated February 10, 2015).  Note that they say this is for the Kindle Fire HDX and doesn't mention the HD models.  However, in the initial steps of clicking a settings box to allow installation of a non-Amazon store app, it mentions that you'll find it under Settings/Device -- but in the HD and earlier models, this box is found under Settings/Applications.  Maybe that's the difference.

  If you don't have an HDX (or an HD that the 3M instructions might work on, here are alternate instructions that may work for the older Kindle Fire HD and and even earlier Kindle Fire from Washington County libraries system, as their steps incorporate 3M's own instructions for the Kindle Fire (linking you to the 3M page after a certain point) but they add advice on the various steps.


March's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    February 2015  March 2015.
    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-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.

To see the monthly Kindle book discount deals available for March (these change monthly
and some of them are less-known), the February 2 blog entry was updated today, March 2,
to include revised information to reflect March's book selections.


Amazon's Deal of the Day in electronics
Today they're focusing on items for the PC -- up to 50% off for today, March 2 Only.
"Select Computer Components & Accessories." You'll see these at PC deals March 2
' Today only, enjoy special savings on select PC components and accessories from top brands. This one-day offer is valid on March 2, 2015, or while supplies last. Discount is already included in the current Amazon.com price. Applies only to purchases made from Amazon.com and does not apply to products purchased from third-party merchants on the Amazon.com website. Return to the Gold Box page. '


That's it for this morning.

image credit: www.ue.net.cn


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Monday, February 2, 2015

Amazon loosens free-shipping restrictions. More on Family Library Sharing feature. Free and low-cost Kindle book - Search-link options for February for contemporary, non-classics + other bargain pages (US, UK, Canada) + Kindle discount-alerts by customers + Kindle Unlimited Audible w/ Whispersync. UPDATED March 2, 2015)


FIRST, a couple of news stories that should be of interest to Amazon's customers

Amazon now allows items from multiple merchants to be combined to qualify for free shipping on orders of $35 and above.

  Until late January, all items in the cart didn't qualify unless they were all being purchased from the same seller.

  Now, eligible items from multiple merchants -- including those that don't ship through Amazon -- can be combined to qualify for the free shipping minimum.   You'll see "Free Shipping" as a label on the product pages for 'qualifying' items

  Consumerist offers detailed definitions for "Sold by Amazon" - "Fulfilled by Amazon" and Fulfilled by Seller."

  How the new system works:
' This week’s change affects items that are “fulfilled by seller,” but the seller doesn’t charge separate shipping.  Let’s say, for example, that you’re buying two toys: one is shipped from Amazon and costs $9, and the other is shipped directly from the seller’s warehouse and costs $27. Even though Amazon isn’t involved in shipping the more expensive item, it still counts toward your total for free shipping. '

David Pogue explains How to Set up Amazon's Family Library
Pogue's instructions were written for Yahoo! Tech.
  His first article was on how the new Family Sharing feature "could save you 50% on your ebooks, apps, movies, music, and TV shows."

  The older method of sharing Kindle books has been to have people share one Amazon account, and up to 6 people could share access to a Kindle book, but there was no way to keep your separate last-page-read nor your own annotations.  (Parental controls in more recent models help with the older problem of children having access to the parents' books credit card purchasing.)  Pogue adds, re the new Family feature:
' This feature lets you share your online purchases with other people, even if they have their own separate accounts.  In theory, these other people are your family members, but there’s nothing to stop you from filling those slots with, say, your friends or roommates.
[ Kindleworld note: See Pogue's caution about this at the end of the set-up instructions in the 2nd article. ]
. . .   Amazon lets you share only Kindle ebooks, audiobooks, and apps.  You can’t share TV shows, movies, or music with this feature. (Amazon says that, later this year, you’ll also be able to share Prime Instant Videos, if you’re a Prime member.)

  Furthermore, only two people (adults, each with a different Amazon account) can see each other’s stuff everywhere Kindle books can be read: not just on Kindle e-readers, but also in the Kindle apps on tablets, phones, and computers, and even on the Amazon website. '

  There's more detail about sharing books with children, in a more limited way, and on fewer devices.

  He also mentions the older feature of publishers' tightly-controlled Lending capability for only certain Kindle books and for only 14 days maximum, to be used only ONCE, ever, for a given book.  Needless to say, this was not a very popular feature, since the publishers haven't approved many of their more popular Kindle books for this type of lending.

  Again, Pogue's second article is on How to set up Family Library.  It's very well illustrated.  Note that he adds this caution:
' By the way: Don’t try to get clever.  You can’t use the Family Library feature to let lots of different people read your books for free.  If you delete your partner from the “household” you’ve set up (so that a new person can read your books, for example), then neither you nor your partner is allowed to join a Family Sharing arrangement again for six months. '

All right. March's Kindle book deals - Updated from earlier February entry
    February 2015  March 2015.
    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-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.


[The below monthly book deals entry was updated from February to March selections.]
The special monthly book deals for March 2015 -- where to find them, etc.

MARCH 2015'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 that.  These details are for people new to the monthly feature or to this blog.

  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     Audible book with Kindle book

        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 always listed in the left column of the main Monthly Deals page (there are about 53 of these Whispersync-ready books in March'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 newish Kindle Unlimited subscription program includes many of these as part of Kindle Unlimited so that there's no added charge for the Audible book, for KU subscribers.

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 117 in all today, 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 March's group of Kindle books include 99c books to $3.99 (there were no 99-cent ones for December's monthly deal.

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

(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.

Also:
    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.

    NEWer are 50 Kindle Book Deals for $2 Each.  These are all labeled Kindle Unlimited and are from the subscription set of 700,000+ Kindle books. This particular set of discounts is valid through the end of the month, March 31, 2015.

    Also, there's a recently added umbrella page, Kindle Book Deals, for the many types of Kindle book deals available at any given time, so it's another good one to bookmark, along with the page you're reading :-)

    for students (and their parents), there is a special page for eTextbooks you can "Rent, Buy or Try eTextbooks for Free."
  They point out that "you can save up to 80% off the print list price when you rent and up to 60% off the print list price when you buy eTextbooks."

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.




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.


The below is for February and NOT updated for March
  For March, go to the first link for the message thread ending Feb. 2 and then click at top right to go to the Last Post and then work backwards to get applicable discount-alerts for the last couple of days (the discounts are only temporary).

  - Not-updated portion below
  Here's a link to the thread, which includes many books with large price drops.  I'm starting at a January 30 posting page that includes books that are still on sale today, Feb. 2.  On that beginning page is a very topical book, "The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear" by Seth Mnookin, which was $9.99 but is $2.99 on Kindle today (and will probably end tonight).
  From the product description: "In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist with a history of self-promotion, published a paper with a shocking allegation: the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. The media seized hold of the story and, in the process, helped to launch one of the most devastating health scares ever. In the years to come Wakefield would be revealed as a profiteer in league with class-action lawyers, and he would eventually lose his medical license.  Meanwhile one study after another failed to find any link between childhood vaccines and autism." (Actually, it's more complicated than that.)

  I didn't look any further.   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 Jan. 30, 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


  For UK and Canada:
UK - Today's Deals
Clearance and Overstocks - UK
Warehouse Deals - UK
  (Includes "Deep Discounts on used and open-box iPads and tablets")

Canada - The Deals Store


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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Monday, January 26, 2015

Kindle Book Tips: A book on The New Yorker cartoonists is one of the Kindle Daily Deals today + a recommended book for history buffs ("Exodus Lost")




Unusual Kindle Daily Deal book today

I don't check the Kindle Daily Deal every day but did look just now and saw one in today's batch that New Yorker Cartoon fans might not want to miss.

"I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker's Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists"
is $1.99 today.  Published October 2014.


  From editorial reviews:
“Everyone who's ever had their mind blown by a New Yorker cartoon has wondered about the twisted, perforated, skewed, and fizzy geniuses that create them. This book is our Rosetta Stone. It explains who these wonderful weirdos are, how they acquire their odd, delicious ideas, and how those ideas migrate fantastically to paper and then press. We are in enormous debt to Richard Gehr for tracking these artists down, for charming them, disarming them, and translating their lives and work into wise and elegant prose. Books like this should cost a fortune.” —David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us
"A great New Yorker cartoon goes deeper than it looks, and Richard Gehr's masterful profiles of the magazine's artists reveal the rich weirdness and intense craft behind their doodly bursts of wit." —Douglas Wolk, author of Reading Comics
“[Gehr’s] knowledge of the history and culture of the magazine, and his incisive, revealing interviews, make for great reading…When Roz Chast, George Booth, Ed Koren, and all the rest read this book, I think they will be delighted—as will you.” —Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, from the foreword


A favorite non-fiction book

I'm adding a favorite book of mine that some readers of the New Yorker might like:

Exodus Lost [Kindle Edition] by S. C. Compton
  As with the first book above, Amazon's editors picked this for their "Best Books of 2014" feature.

It's an extensively-researched, in-depth look into the origins of Mexican and Western civilizations, with intriguing parallels noted with the history of other areas of the world.  What's unusual is how very readable it is, although that will be so mainly for history buffs.

The author, Stephen Compton, "dedicated 14 years to the research and writing of Exodus Lost, including travels to archaeological sites in Egypt, Mexico, Greece, Israel, and Turkey and to relevant museum and library holdings across Mexico, Europe, and America.
  He currently edits academic journals in the fields of history and literature for Oxford University Press.

  From editorial reviews:
"Exodus Lost is a first-rate intellectual adventure.  Its fresh perspective and new revelations make for a thoughtful and captivating journey into the roots of Mesoamerican and Western civilizations. I highly recommend this thought-provoking new book."
Dr. Jonathan Fanton, eminent historian, leading human rights advocate, former President of the New School for Social Research, and retired President of the MacArthur Foundation

"Exodus Lost is a page-turner... I highly recommend this fascinating, educational read by a scholar refreshingly willing to think "out of the box."
Dr. David Kaufman, Linguistic Anthropologist

The well-illustrated book includes 126 photos, maps, and engravings and, as a result. may take somewhat longer than usual to download.  Both books offer the "Look Inside" feature.




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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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Amazon Alert - Today Only, Prime program 25% off, at lowest price, to celebrate Golden Globe awards. Also, free today -- full 10-half-hour series "Transparent"... And, reminder: The Big Deal Kindle book sale ends Sunday.


From Amazon's Press Release about Saturday's celebration of Golden Globes with ONE-day offer of PRIME Free 2-day Shipping program at $72 for 1 year (rather than $99 - for new Prime customers only, US) plus Free viewing of all 10 episodes of Transparent for ALL customers today.


"In Celebration of Golden Globe Wins, Amazon is Making All Ten Transparent Episodes Free to Watch This Saturday Only—No Membership Required
This Saturday, starting at 12:01 a.m. ET and concluding at 11:59 p.m. PT, everyone can watch Transparent using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/Transparent
Also in celebration of Transparent and the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, customers can sign up for Amazon Prime for just $72 this Saturday"



As said, NO Prime membership is required for the one day free viewing of all episodes.
  Variety says that this can be viewed for free in the UK and Germany as well.

From the same press release:
"Anyone can watch the Transparent series at no cost on Saturday using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/Transparent."
Amazon's press release points out that this series has been "the no. 1 ranked series on Prime Instant Video since the show’s launch.  Also proving popular among critics, the show clocked in a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98 percent critic rating, and a 91 Metascore on Metacritic."
  "Also on Saturday and in celebration of the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, Amazon Prime will be available for just $72 - a more than 25 percent savings.  New members can sign up for this limited-time Prime offer at Amazon.com/TransparentPrime. '

That $72/yr rate - Why?
Amazon has never offered Prime at this low an annual rate, which works out to $6 per month for a year.  (It started almost a decade ago at $79/yr and is now $99/yr normally.)  It's partly whimsical, as Amazon's series is the first Online Series ever to win "Top Series" and it happened at the 72nd Annual awards show.
  (After 1 yr, it would be renewable at $99 but can be cancelled.)

 A reminder of what the Prime shipping program includes:
  1. FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items
  2. Unlimited, ad-free access to over a million songs, with scrolling display of lyrics
  3. Instant streaming of over 17,000 movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video (many are downloadable)
  4. Free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive (each photo file can be up to 2 GB each)
  5. Read free books each month through Kindle First and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library
        No Waiting Period. No Due Dates.


Reminder Alert: The Big Deal -- up to 85% off Kindle books ends Sunday January 25 at 11:59pm
MORE KINDLE BOOKS TO BROWSE   Amazon's The Big Deal ends Sunday. - 413 Kindle books at up to 85% off

It's effective through January 25, and the page carries the usual disclaimer re varying selection and pricing of books offered outside the U.S.

For those who didn't read about this feature, which started January 9   The Big Deal page is organized this time by:
  . Mystery and Thrillers
  . Romance
  . Science Fiction & Fantasy Deals
  . Contemporary Fiction
  . Biography & Memoir Deals
  . Teen Book Deals
  . Children's Books
  . Religion & Spirituality Deals

On the right of the page is a list of the Top 10 Best Sellers of the group and
  an option to "See all Best Sellers in The Big Deal..."
  That latter is the top selling 100 out of the 413 offered.

" These lists, updated hourly, contain bestselling items. Here you can discover the best The Big Deal in Amazon Best Sellers ... For non-U.S. customers, Kindle content availability and pricing will vary. "

The bottom of that page is a scrolling list of the currently 413 books, one by one, with a default sort of "New and Popular" and alternate sorts:
  16 per page, if you choose (inside the gray strip bar above the list) the Orange grid for "Detail"
      OR
  60 per page, if you choose the 4-cell, gray icon for "Image" which will show mainly book covers and basic info.
  The shortcut, if you type it on an eReader or tablet: bit.ly/thebigdeal-jan2015



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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kindle Fire and Android Tip: Interesting Mars news story today plus Amazon's Free App of the Day: Exploration Mars (normally $2.99)

 

First photo is from a news story received today on the possibility of ancient life existing on Mars.
This is a very interesting article on correspondences between formations seen there under varying conditions and those we know of here.

Second photo is from Amazon's Free Android App of the Day, normally $2.99 and one that many families (and schools) will want to explore. Some beautiful work was put in on this, and it's very informative.

I'm just sending off this alert, as there are only 5-1/2 hours left, after I noticed it, and those who are tuning in might want to take advantage of it.






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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Quick Alert - Amazon Echo appears actually orderable now (by those requesting notices), with a similar product-page display, so availability could be missed. Updated to add video explanation-demo-discussion


Amazon's Echo appears to be available for pre-order by those who had signed up for alerts.

Below is the regular reference set on this blog for what Amazon's Echo is said to do, plus beta-run customers' discussions of that, and an early news-site review when Amazon had generally not been sending out review copies of the device, while they gathered info on what the more or less paying beta-testing customers wanted from it.  Amazon's been adding features daily, as reported in the forum threads.


Amazon Echo - $99 for Prime

    Echo-tests video + discussions 1, 2

    ZDNet review + What's inside?

[Added 1/15/15]
    Explained in video by fast-talkers
    The taller guy talks so fast that I had to turn Youtube's Closed Captions ON. Alexa understood him better than I did.


Note: If you decide to go ahead and buy it after having gotten a notice or 'invite' (if you had signed up for a notice), it'll say $199, but after going through the Cart process, they apply the PRIME member discount of $100, for a total of $99 before tax.
  Another household Amazon account under your Prime acct gets the $99 Prime price also.

Note 2: Availability is 4-6 months.

More on this later, but the discussions linked to will help.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Kindle Tip: Hundreds of educational books up to 75% off today only. Amazon Studios signs Woody Allen to write and direct a TV series



Today's Kindle Daily Deal (today only is an unusual one.

I was seeing a lot of books showing up today in the Kindle Forum's customer-recommended large discounts thread, which were largely historical or very popular older books, and wondered why there were so many.  So I checked the Kindle Daily Deal and saw that today's deal involves, as you can see in the banner screenshot,
"Hundreds of Educational Books, Up to 75% off."

Worth a look for those interested in non-fiction, not often seen in the larger-discounted sales.

Ends tonight, 1/13/15.


New York Times article on the announcement today from Amazon Studios, after their big win at the Golden Globes the other night:
Woody Allen will write and direct TV Series for Amazon

  And here are a A myriad of other news takes on this by major news sites like Daily Beast, TIME, People, etc.



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Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Amazon Studios' TV series "Transparent" makes history at the Golden Globes as the first online show to ever win the top series prize, comedy or drama. Ir took a best actor award also.


Amazon makes history at the Golden Globes Awards show

I completely missed the Golden Globes last night - forgot it was on and forgot Amazon Studios' dark comedy series, Transparent, had been nominated, although I did post about the historic nomination when it happened.

Who wudda thunk??

Bear in mind that Prime shipping program members are able to watch TV shows like this at no added cost (40,000 video episodes are included).

The first story, late last night, by Variety - "Amazon, ‘Transparent’ Make History at Golden Globes" - included the following:
' Transparent” won the Golden Globe for best TV series, musical or comedy and star Jeffrey Tambor won best actor.

On the red carpet prior to the ceremony, creator Jill Soloway admitted she considered other homes for the series, but Amazon ended up being a perfect fit. “You want to be somewhere where they’re passionate about you,” she noted. “And they’ve been wonderful.”
. . .
A visibly choked up Tambor thanked Soloway for the opportunity, noting, “I’m 70 years old, these (roles) don’t come along.” He added that he was grateful, “Not for the reviews or for awards…just to get it right. I’m just honored.” '

Variety's second story, this afternoon - "Golden Globes Winner Amazon Is Hollywood’s ‘New Best Friend’" - made these points.
' With two major wins at the Golden Globes, Amazon Studios is now a contender in Hollywood.

The digital network earned its bona fides as a competitive force in TV by landing trophies for best comedy for its critically praised “Transparent” and actor for series star Jeffrey Tambor.
. . .
“Transparent,” which bowed as a series in September after its pilot debuted in February, has been the most talked-about and critically praised entry from Amazon so far...
. . .
Not only was it Amazon’s first-ever Golden Globe award, “Transparent” also became the first online show to ever win a top series prize, comedy or drama, at the annual fete.

Amazon Studios topper Roy Price called the Globe wins “a thrilling dream come true” for the studio and the “Transparent” team.
. . .
Amazon takes the unusual approach of posting its pilots online and making pickup decisions in part based on feedback from viewers.
. . .
... Series creator Jill Soloway and Tambor heaped praise on Amazon for taking the chance on an unconventional story. In “Transparent,” Tambor plays a 70-year-old father who comes out as transgender to his adult children.

“They have guts and they have taste,” said Tambor of Amazon. He also called the streaming service his “new best friend” in his acceptance speech. '

Soloway talks about her own parent's story having inspired her.   Read the rest of the article here.

Other points made
CNBC writes:
"Amazon is debuting four original series in 2015 backed by high profile Hollywood names such as Marc Foster, the director of action blockbuster World War Z and James Bond movie Quantam of Solace.
. . .
Seattle-based Amazon spent around $2 billion on content for its streaming services in 2014, while Netflix splashed out $3 billion. This includes securing the rights for other shows as well as bankrolling original content. Both companies have indicated that they plan to spend more on original productions."

Businessweek writes:
"...winning a Golden Globe for best television comedy for Transparent instantly afforded its Prime Instant Video platform newfound credibility as a venue for first-rate original programming.
  The win for best TV comedy, in fact, let Amazon surpass Netflix in the race for streaming-video awards: House of Cards has so far won Golden Globes only for its stars, including last night's win by Kevin Spacey.
. . .
"... Laura Martin, a media analyst for Needham & Co....says Amazon’s Golden Globe has given it “a positive halo effect on all original programming they’re creating.”  An award is “the best marketing you can buy because it’s free and it’s about quality.”

FT.com reports:
"The online retailer launched its studio division in 2010 and has steadily increased its output every year since, offering its streaming service to Amazon Prime delivery programme subscribers.

  It struck a three-year deal worth about $300m with HBO in 2014 to stream old episodes of hit shows such as The Sopranos and has invested millions of dollars more on its line-up of original shows, which includes Transparent and Alpha House, a political comedy.
. . .
  Amazon and Netflix have led the charge in original production, using streaming technology to take their programming direct to consumers. Streaming has upended the traditional TV model, with many younger people “cutting the cord” on expensive cable or satellite packages."


  Here's the page to view Transparent
  Remember that there's no added cost for Prime shipping members.




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Kindle tips: The Big Deal is back - Over 400 Kindle books at up to 85% off - through Jan. 25. Also, Amazon Editors' January "Must Read" list of 10 books


MORE KINDLE BOOKS TO BROWSE

Well, it's back. I'm repeating Amazon's now and then announcement that their The Big Deal is here again
- 413 Kindle books at up to 85% off

This special feature page discounts are effective through January 25, and the page carries the usual disclaimer re varying selection and pricing of books offered outside the U.S.

  The Big Deal page is organized this time by:

  . Mystery and Thrillers
  . Romance
  . Science Fiction & Fantasy Deals
  . Contemporary Fiction
  . Biography & Memoir Deals
  . Teen Book Deals
  . Children's Books
  . Religion & Spirituality Deals

On the right of the page is a list of the Top 10 Best Sellers of the group and
  an option to "See all Best Sellers in The Big Deal..."

  That latter is the top selling 100 out of the 413 offered.
" These lists, updated hourly, contain bestselling items. Here you can discover the best The Big Deal in Amazon Best Sellers ... For non-U.S. customers, Kindle content availability and pricing will vary. "

The bottom of the page is a scrolling list of the currently 413 books, one by one, with a default sort of "New and Popular" and alternate sorts:
  16 per page, if you choose (inside the gray strip bar above the list) the Orange grid for "Detail"
      OR
  60 per page, if you choose the 4-cell, gray icon for "Image" which will show mainly book covers and basic info.

  The shortcut, if you type it on an eReader or tablet: bit.ly/thebigdeal-jan2015


Amazon announced its "Must-Read" January picks of the month
  These are NOT discounted books but I thought some might want to see what they are.,


Amazon Books Editors' January Picks of the Month
Scott Blackwood
Stewart O'Nan
Michael Crummey
Alexandra Fuller
S. M. Hulse
The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret
  Prisoner Exchange Program
   America's Only Family Internment
   Camp During World War II
Jan Jarboe Russell
Paula Hawkins
Miranda July
Andie Mitchell
Pierce Brown
Christopher Scotton




Source: I received an email about the "Must-reads," but they're also featured on the their web page for Best of Month



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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kindle Book Discounts Alert: Some Large Discounts by Big 5 publishers reported yesterday and still discounted tonight (Jan. 11). These usually end in 1-2 days.


Unusually large discounts on books by Big 5 publishers - reported yesterday, still on sale today, Jan. 11, 2015.

Some of the discounted books posted on January 10 are no longer discounted tonight, so the ones below won't likely last long.

Although this is late reporting for yesterday, those of you reading the blog entry today who are interested in sudden and short-term discounted prices like these can try these tonight and maybe tomorrow (but they rarely last more than 1-2 days if the discounts are by the Big 5 publishers.

Thought it was worth noting, however, as most of the sales have not been as interesting the last few days.
  I included some non-Big5 because they were put on temporary discount and have good reviews.

Temporarily reduced - still available at reported prices as of 7pm PST Sunday night
' Reported by Caroline Chan
  [Not a Big5 publisher title but one that became free and seems well-regarded.]
Tight Budget, Tight Stomach: The Top 50 Foods for Busting Belly Fat on a Budget
by Nicholas J. Meyer
4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
Was $2.99 - Free today

=======
Reported by Bookish
The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest
Dan Buettner
NatGeo Publisher
4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
Prior price (not given) - $2.99 today

+++
Commentary on the Torah [Kindle Edition]
Richard Elliott Friedman (Author)
HarperCollins Publishers
Prior price (not given) - $3.99

=======
Reported by KAragon
Snow Angels: A Novel [Kindle Edition]
Stewart O'Nan (Author)
Sold by: Macmillan
3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
Was $7.99 $2.99 today

+++
Vaclav & Lena: A Novel [Kindle Edition]
Haley Tanner (Author)
Sold by: Random House LLC
4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
Was $9.99 $1.99 Today

+++
The Art Restorer: A Novel [Kindle Edition]
Julián Sánchez (Author)
Barcelona eBooks
4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Was $7.99 - $1.99 today

+++
The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod [Kindle Edition]
Avrom Bendavid-Val (Author), Jonathan Safran Foer (Preface)
Pegasus
4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
Was $11.99 - $1.99 Today

=======
Reported by luv2read
Last Chants: A Willa Jansson Mystery [Kindle Edition]
Lia Matera (Author)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales In
3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Was: $13.99 - $0.99 today

+++
Star Witness: A Willa Jansson Mystery
Lia Matera (Author)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Was $13.99 - $0.99 today

+++
Havana Twist: An Earl Swagger Novel
Lia Matera
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Was: $11.12 - $0.99 today

+++
Who is Conrad Hirst?: A Novel
Kevin Wignall (Author)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
(Whispersync audio $3.99 with purchase)
Finalist 2008 Edgar Award for Best Paperback
Was $10.99 - $0.99 today


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Free and low-cost Kindle books: Search-link options for January for contemporary, non-classics + other bargain pages (US, UK, Canada), w/ 2 New pages + Kindle discount-alerts by customers + Kindle Unlimited Audible w/ Whispersync. Updated.



January 8, 2015
- This includes a quick reminder that the free Kindle book search options in the reference section (right-column of blog) were updated for January.

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

    December 2014  January 2015.
    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 Jan. 8, 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.

    NEWer are 50 Kindle Book Deals for $2 Each.  These appear to be selections from the Kindle Unlimited subscription set of 700,000+ Kindle books

    Also, there's a new umbrella page, Kindle Book Deals, for the many types of Kindle book deals available at any given time, so it's another good one to bookmark, along with the page you're reading :-)

    And Amazon has a reminder out today that for students (and their parents), there is a special page for eTextbooks you can "Rent, Buy or Try eTextbooks for Free."


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


Also for newcomers to the Kindle or to this blog, here are the special monthly book deals for January 2015 -- where to find them, etc.


JANUARY 2015'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 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     Audible book with Kindle book


        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 59 of these Whispersync-ready books in January'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 January's group of Kindle books returns to including 99c books to $3.99 (there were no 99-cent ones for December's monthly deal.

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

(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.  Today, January 8, they include 12 first-in-series books.




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 large price drops.  I'm starting at a January 4 posting page that includes books that are still on sale today, Jan. 8 (some are highly rated). The first posting is on "My Autobiography (Neversink)" by Charlie Chaplin, which was $9.99 but is $1.99 on Kindle today.

Edited article to add that today's listings in that thread include several books from Simon & Schuster at large discount and also a book that received rave reviews in 2012, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

  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 Jan. 4, 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


  For UK and Canada:
UK - Today's Deals
Seasonal Discounts and Sales - UK ('January Clearance')
Warehouse Deals - UK

Canada - The Deals Store


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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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Quick Note re update to article on How to Install non-Amazon Apps on Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets + planned blog topics


Quick note to those reading news feeds

I updated the blog article on How to install non-Amazon apps on the Kindle Fire tablets - to cover newer tablets too, clarify some aspects, add a note about other methods, and to link to the revised articles on how to get Flash working on later Kindle Fire models.

The news feeds don't bring updated older blog articles to the top, so this is just an alert, which I may delete from the main page eventually, since this quick alert is mainly for newsfeed apps that don't "see" the updated blog entry otherwise.

With the New Year, some blog posts I'm planning to do in the coming weeks include:

New Photos+video Cloud storage at no added costs and new general backup features
  (for settings) of the new Fire OS
Update on the progress of Fire OS updates and retrofitting for that OS on older Kindle Fires,
  with software updates v4.1.1, v4.5.1, and v4.5.2 so far.
  Fixes that are starting to come for sound issues for some, missing dictionaries, and missing personal highlights
Collections feature changes...but that depends on whether or not they were intentional
Most recent iOS app update
Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and McMillan agreements and what they may or may not mean.
Small external speakers for tablets and even eInk Readers
New keyboard alternative(s) on the Kindle Fires
Whatever might be happening with Amazon Echo and its nearest competitor


If you've any requests for article topics, let me know at andrys [at] panix [dot] com or at the Comments area here. Thanks.



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Saturday, January 3, 2015

How to install Google play apps (non-Amazon apps) on a Kindle Fire HD / HDX. The reviewer Myth that the Kindle Fire tablets use only Amazon apps. UPDATED May 11, 2014, Jan 3, 2015


How to Install Google Play apps (Non-Amazon Apps) on Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets Updated
The stubborn MYTH that Kindle Fire HD tablets can use only Amazon Store apps
Here are screenshots from Google Maps and Street View apps on my older Kindle Fire HD 7"

Google Map of San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco & Marin County areas

Via Street View app, here's the Presidio area.

A quick look at Yosemite Valley

(Click on an image to see the larger version.)

Most large tech site reviewers don't know that Amazon allows installation of apps from non-Amazon sources, though Amazon advises caution.
  (Originally posted Nov. 23, 2012, rev'd 3/8/13 and 1/3/15)
More tech-site reviewers have been discovering that Kindle Fire HD tablets (when chosen with enough storage space) are IN NO WAY limited to running only Amazon store apps.  Many will feel more comfortable staying with just the Amazon appstore, nevertheless.

  Amazon Kindle Forum regulars often discuss how easy it is get the normal Google Play market apps at other appstores when those apps are not available at Amazon and they also exchange experiences on some other app-stores

  I always recommend, though, that people wait to get these from any sites (true for even Google Play market users as well) until they've been up a few days and no one is having problems with malware or just new-update-instability.  Google vets their apps now but can take less time than Amazon to do that -- they have a lot more apps to deal with.

  Kindle Fire HD comparison reviewers almost automatically say that the Amazon tablets can use only Amazon apps and therefore should not be considered except by Amazon customers -- but this kind of statement can come only from NOT taking the time to check the normal Android settings.

(Updated 5/11/14 to show one different settings-location for older and newer Kindle Fires.)

  One click on one settings box is all it takes.
  It's much easier than most would guess.  At the Top Row Toolbar of the Kindle Fire:

  [For EARLIER, Yr 2012 Kindle Fires (Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, 1st Generation)]
    Swipe down to get Settings / More / Device / and then merely CHECK the box that says:
  Allow Installation of Applications from unknown sources

  [For LATER Yr 2013-14 Kindle Fires (Kindle Fire HD, 2nd Generation+, and HDX line)]
    Swipe down to get Settings / More / Applications / and then merely CHECK the box that says:
  Allow Installation of Applications from unknown sources

    That's it! Then you can go to other app stores that are recommended for apps that Amazon does not have, such as 1mobile.com (now with 1.2 million Android apps), slideme.org, iapktop.com, handango.com, m.getjar.com, and others, to find and download the app.

  To install a downloaded app, use either ES File Explorer or Easy Installer from Amazon's Android App store (or, if you're not in the U.S. and aren't allowed to use Amazon's appstore, then from a place like the 1Mobile.com site, using their store app on your Kindle -- it's downloadable at the right side of most 1mobile pages).  Above is a list of other app sites as well when any app is not available using the Amazon app store.

 Easy Installer's only job is to hunt down your downloaded app-install files (*.apk), so it's very useful if you can't find, on your device, an app that you know you downloaded.
  Be sure to access Settings the first time you use it, to check the 'Scan Hidden Directories' box so that it can find apk files no matter where they were put.

Important UPDATE - See later version of the instructions for Google Earth + an alert to NOT get the Google Earth update that came out mid-December and a link to get the much faster version just before that update.  (I've not tried later versions to see if Google solved that loading problem but they likely did.)

Amazon's appstore should be supported though
  Of course, if Amazon carries the app, it's best to get it from Amazon because they do a strong vetting of the apps they offer and because it's the way they make revenue from tablets sold at cost.  I think it's important to support the Amazon Android app store, but I also think it's important that Amazon make more good apps available to us at a faster pace, and maybe they should have a suggestion box for the more popular requests.

An example of another app that regulars at the Amazon Kindle Forums have been getting and encouraging others to use as an alternative (sometimes with the recommendation of "Forum Pros" there)...

  How to Install a Flash Player on the Yr 2012 (and 2013-14) Kindle Fire tablets:
  On Oct. 22, 2012, I first gave some installation steps that included the need to to tick a checkbox to enable apps from other sources (as mentioned above) and listed step-by-step instructions for the Earlier Yr2012 tablets on installing the Flash player function.  This was in connection with an alternative browser (Dolphin) along with the one Adobe Flash Player file that has been sure to work with Android 4.x (before v4.4) mobile systems that Adobe no longer supports for the later mobile devices -- the Kindle Fire HDs and the Google Nexus -- or is that Nexi?)  :-)

  There is now a LATER article with step-by-step instructions for the Yr 2013-2014 tablets.
  It's been working reliably for me.

  Most won't need this alternate browser (unless wanting to run flash routines for photography and music on some multimedia websites or watch network TV shows that are made available for those who missed a recent showing on TV) as I often do or who find some of the TV apps unreliable.

 UNLIKE Youtube, which supplies HTML5 coding for videos if you don't have a working Flash player, TV networks still tend to use Flash-only for their larger videos.  They'll slowly change over, but until then, this is a good workaround, although some of their own TV-app updates have been unreliable, causing crashes -- and they have too many ads during shows.  The "live' features are good.

  The TV-app versions require, though, that your cable or other hosting company is a participant for the app.  The tendency today is to force viewers into mobile-app viewing where the bandwidth needed for display size can be smaller and where they can keep stats on the many ads and the effectiveness of them.  They're probably starting to use them in some reporting of audience-share too.  They turn away "Android" browsers from the website versions and require the TV apps more and more.

  NOTE:  With Amazon's Kindle Fire Silk web browser (no Flash player support on that), you can still reliably view the Youtube videos if you have your "Silk" web browser menu settings for Requested website view set to "Automatic" rather than to "Desktop," although it takes you to the Mobile layout as a result, but youtube has enhanced that area.   (The Silk web browser Menu looks like the usual tablet menu rectangle with 3 horizontal lines, resembling an old washboard or an air conditioner.)

Amazon is due some high marks for the "other-sources" apps-decision (not walled as is said).
Amazon made this decision starting with the original Kindle Fire.  Use Amazon's app store when they have the app - it's in the Cloud and gets vetting for the Kindle Fire tablet.


[Note re other alternatives which I can write about later if there's interest]
[1.] I've used the long-time APK-downloader by evozi group in Canada, when one is able to do that due to quotas they are under for bandwidth.

  It's not as direct a download method as is using a store like 1mobile, and the site is filled with ads that promote ad-focused software that can be annoying and it's best to avoid clicking on those.

  When the evozi site, which downloads from googleplay on behalf of the user, cannot fulfill requests due to quotas, they recommend the Chrome extension version.  That one requires your google password be passed through to them, and they promise that this is not stored and is only passed through.  They're a company in Canada, but that is a step of trust most may not be comfortable with.  If I feel like using them, I instead use their website version that requires having two windows open (for double-checking you're getting what you want) and doing copy and pasting.  I prefer direct downloads better and have had 2 years of good luck with 1mobile's store, with its 1.2 million apps that you can just download the way you do from Amazon's store.

[2.] Some Google-play apps now require Google-play Services be present.
As an experiment, I tried steps from an article that tells us how to install Google Play Services on a Kindle WITHOUT "Rooting" or any Kindle software modifications.  Four files need to be added and installed in just the proper order and reboots done after each step, but enough people manage to ignore some steps and wind up with non-working google files and unable to easily get rid of Google error messages with their leftover Google files.
  So I don't recommend this for 98% of other customers.  Their Comments area shows too many people who didn't get good results, although there are a few others, like me, for whom this works.  I'm not keen to contribute to that, as the apps that require Google-play services are few.

  However, it works well on my Yr 2013 8.9" HDX and I updated the Play Services file with the most recent one and also used a higher-DPI version than the author did.  (This is NOT a Store app -- the Google-Play store cannot be placed on a Kindle without rooting it, which I won't do since I bought the Kindle Fire for the great Amazon features).  The only downside for me is that when you load a Google app that needs those special Google support services or when you land on one of the app's main pages, you'll get a dialog message saying that some apps require Google Play Services which "your device does not support."
  Then it goes ahead to run the app just fine because the support files are actually present as add-ons.

  I can write more on this if a few people are interested but I don't recommend it for most Kindle owners, whose attraction to the Amazon tablets are their many unique and unususal features along with ease of use.

  While there is NO rooting and there are NO Kindle software modifications involved, I did see how many people missed steps from the article and wound up with Google Play Services error messages they can't disable once they just gave up and removed what they could.
  Amazon would not want to support customers placing themselves in that predicament.  Most Kindle owners wanting this kind of thing should get a cheap pure-Android tablet to supplement the Fire tablets that have so many other useful features.  

I'm mentioning this on the non-Amazon apps page only so that interested readers have an idea what -is- possible without rooting but which can still be problematical for people not used to working with files and installs that have to be done in the right order.




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