Sunday, October 31, 2010

Free Kindle Books - an update. Amazon-UK free non-classics added also

This blog tends to focus on the Kindle  (UK: K3) and its world of auxiliary apps, updates, and competitor devices.  Unlike most Kindle blogs, it has a technology-oriented view.

Because of that, rather than regale you with lists of linked free Kindle books that become available each day, I've added, into the footers of each blog article, the links where you can see at any moment the new, temporarily-free Non-classics that are available that day, or that hour.

  I know that many people use these links regularly, but I also imagine that some ignore footers, so I am doing a reminder here.  This way I can focus on news and/or tips each day, with an average of 5 articles a week.  I spend a lot more time researching than writing, as that involves reading most Kindle news articles published (often adding information in the comment-areas) and visiting several forums each day, where I also contribute in exchange for what I learn from those.

  As I've mentioned, if you're interested in general e-reader-world news that I'm monitoring as well, I use Twitter to send or retweet alerts on some of those and even, at times, more general odd news such as health-related information, and it's probably easiest to use Tweetree to see those.

 Today I'm adding links, for the temporarily-free Amazon-UK books, to the article footers.

  Unfortunately, for those of us in the U.S., the U.K. Kindlestore products are available only to UK customers.

  As with the U.S. ones, use them at any time to see the latest. These will be by bestselling, publication date, and average rating.

  This is the line that will be added to the footer for temporarily-free Non-classics:
  UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestselling, or highest-rated ones

  The continuing Free Kindle Books page that explains the many sources available (and which I'll organize better someday) will be updated this coming week to include the UK links also.

  I generally don't list the books because (for me) it can look almost like an endorsement, so I prefer to just give people the source links.

  I hope those in the UK will also find these helpful, and the rest of us can watch the differences in offerings and pricing, although, as mentioned in an earlier article here, Amazon is resisting the Big5 movement to use the Agency model in the UK also, with fixed-prices of their choice, to be the same at all online UK e-book stores.  That article links to the UK forum discussion of this and there are currently 452 notes of reaction, pro and con on the situation.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. 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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  1. Thanks, I use that link you have to check for free books every day. Am I dreaming, or was there supposed to be access to the British Library starting last spring? I remember talk of penny dreadfuls and all sorts of interesting things but I haven't heard a thing . Your fan, Janet

  2. Janet,
    You're quick!

    No, no dream, though it certain feels like one. If you search for 'british library' in the searchbox at the top right, you'll find whatever I wrote. There was so much, but where are they?

    They didn't give a time frame but it's been a LONG time, so one can wonder what's (not) up. I may contact them eventually to see what I can find out. Thanks for visiting daily!

  3. Thank you for the link, I used it a lot since september, however since a week or two when I click on the link, the list of "free" books is made mainly by non-free books. Here's an example from 5 minutes ago:

    Showing 1 - 12 of 163 Results
    1. Unti James Novella (Kindle Edition - Feb. 1, 2011) - Kindle eBook
    Buy: $3.59
    2. More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea by Tom Reynolds (Kindle Edition - May 28, 2009) - Kindle eBook Buy: $2.00
    3. Guard Your Mission, Stay in Control by Seth Goldman (Kindle Edition - Feb. 1, 2010) - Kindle eBook Buy: $4.39
    4. Blood Lines by Grace Monroe (Kindle Edition - Sept. 4, 2008) - Kindle eBook Buy: $8.72
    5. Market Upside Down: How to Invest Profitably in a Shrinking Economy by Vinh Q. Tran (Kindle Edition - Jan. 25, 2010) - Kindle eBook Buy: $16.39
    6. In Praise of Savagery by Warwick Cairns (Kindle Edition - Oct. 28, 2010) - Kindle eBook Buy: $5.18

    ... and so on.

    Is it because I'm resident in Japan? (I noticed as well that commercial books cost $2 more than in the US just because I'm in Japan - I'm not using 3G as I have a wi-fi only Kindle)
    Anyway, something must have changed, because in the first days of my kindle 3 I could download freely many books following that link, and the list was actually made of free books...

    Anybody has suggestions or comments?

    thank you

  4. J2,
    Japan has been getting full web-access on 3G for quite awhile, so it's surprising if there is a change in the book pricing that you just saw. And, you're accessing only through WiFi. I wonder if it was a system glitch.

    Also, check your ManageYourKindle page to see if your country is listed as something other than Japan. Maybe it was accidentally changed.

    If it does say Japan, then use the Call Me feature, which works in Japan. They will call you back within minutes. Ask them about the changes you see.

    Please report what you find out if you can. Thank you. And good luck on it all. I went to the Japan product page and see no changes...

  5. Andrys
    thank you for your reply and for your suggestions. I used the call me feature, and I was plainly explained that due to requests of the publishers, Amazon may have to charge for books delivered to customers outside the US. No system glitches then, just policies. I sometimes ran into messages saying "Not available in Asia & Pacific", but now we know that there might also be different pricing mechanisms.
    That makes me want to change my residence country, if only that was legal.
    Incidentally, a similar problem happens with the Top-100 free K-books list: most of the "free" books I see in the right side column, become full-price books in the order page when I click on the link... this is a little deceitful, good that I paid attention the first time I noticed.

    Thank you for the blog

  6. J2,
    It's good that they'll call Japan customers back considering the distance.

    But... "MAY have to charge for books delivered to customers outside the US" ? Per your experience, that has happened already for the last 2 weeks.

    I'll need to let people know about the change for Japan that you've experience because it's a large one and I don't see that there has been a warning or any statement to customers in Japan. This is the first I'd heard of it. Thanks for letting us know.

    It would be nice to find out that it was a glitch but we'll know for sure soon.

  7. J2 wrote the following but the system 'rejected' it in some fit of confusion:

    J2 has left a new comment on your post "Free Kindle Books - an update.
    Amazon-UK free non...":

    just to put it clear, the issues are 3:
    1. higher prices (+ 2$) for customers outside US
    2. K-books non available for customers in other locations (being
    located in Japan, I can speak for Asia & Pacific)
    3. K-books free in US but non-free in other locations (same as above)

    To my understanding, 1. depends directly on Amazon while 2. and 3.
    might result from the agreements between amazon and publishers

    Examples of the cases above, taken from your link "Most Popular Free
    K-Books U.S. & Int'l (Not UK): Top 100 free" (in the left column
    appears a list of the commercial top 100)

    1. Higher prices:

    1. 9 days in the top 100
    The Confession: A Novel
    John Grisham (Author)
    4.0 out of 5 stars (59)
    Auto-delivered wirelessly

    but if I click to buy here's the page:

    The Confession: A Novel [Kindle Edition]
    John Grisham (Author)
    4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
    Digital List Price: $28.95 What's this?
    Print List Price: $28.95
    Kindle Price: $11.99 & includes international wireless delivery via
    Amazon Whispernet
    You Save: $16.96 (59%)

    EXCEPTIONS (I only checked the top 20):

    American Assassin [Kindle Edition]
    Vince Flynn (Author)
    3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
    Digital List Price: $27.99 What's this?
    Print List Price: $27.99
    Kindle Price: $11.99 & includes international wireless delivery via
    Amazon Whispernet
    You Save: $16.00 (57%)

    [seems to be 1$ cheaper than the price listed in the top 100 list]

    Unbearable Lightness [Kindle Edition]
    Portia de Rossi (Author)
    4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
    Digital List Price: $25.99 What's this?
    Print List Price: $25.99
    Kindle Price: $14.86

    [+1.87$ difference]

    Moonlight Mile [Kindle Edition]
    Dennis Lehane (Author)
    4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
    Digital List Price: $20.99 What's this?
    Print List Price: $26.99
    Kindle Price: $11.99

    [seems to be 1$ cheaper than the price listed in the top 100 list]

    2. titles not available

    Happy Ever After [Kindle Edition]
    Nora Roberts (Author)
    4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
    Pricing information not available.
    This title is not available for customers from your location in:
    Asia & Pacific
    Shop titles available for Asia & Pacific

    [In general more or less half of the top 20 is not available in Asia &

    3. Following the links in the blog, listed as free but actually
    non-free K-books

    Deceit: A Novel [Kindle Edition]
    Brandilyn Collins (Author)
    4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
    Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
    Print List Price: $14.99
    Kindle Price: $11.68 & includes international wireless delivery via
    Amazon Whispernet
    You Save: $3.31 (22%)

    Certain Wolfish Charm [Kindle Edition]
    Lydia Dare (Author)
    4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
    Print List Price: $6.99
    Kindle Price: $6.79 & includes international wireless delivery via
    Amazon Whispernet
    You Save: $0.20 (3%)

    Hope this helps. If you need screenshots do let me know.
    J2 "


  8. J2,
    Thanks for gathering all that. I can somewhat understand, to a point, that they might want to raise prices for certain countries for reasons I have no way of seeing, but what interested me most in your earlier note was that books that were still LISTED as Free or "$0.00" became $$.$$ ones after you clicked on them and that this only started within the last two weeks.

    I see that you've included two examples of that in this last note.

    The $0.00 prices are 'temporarily free' but they really need to show the right price in the "Free" listing if they have it -- and obviously they do when hey show it to you upon a mere click on the $0.00 which is not a great thing to see.

    Also, are you saying that the non-free books you list above used to cost less before 2 weeks ago? They look like everyday pricing to me, for non-USA.

    ONE THING that is normal:

    Any $9.99 book in the U.S. is $11.99 outside of the U.S., to cover, they say, the general cost of providing 3G wireless in 100+ places outside the U.S. as well as additional operating costs outside the U.S. -- so the $11.99 prices you see are just normal and should have been no different before 2 weeks ago.

    It's just that you're seeing the U.S. pricing, I guess, in Japan, before clicking, which then shows you the $11.99 price.

    The one $-difference you show, higher than the $11.99, is 'Unbearable Lightness,' which you point out is $1.87 higher than the expected $11.99.

    And then one title, 'Moonlight Mile,' is LESS than the price shown on that list's left-hand side.

    Re books not available in your region, I'm afraid that is a common reality due to the territorial digital rights problem.

    But the $0.00 pricing changing upon click isn't good.
    Let's see if we can find out why that's happening.

    Thanks again.

  9. Andrys

    thank you for your reply. Actually, I don't know whether the non-free books used to cost less before 2 weeks ago...

    As for the +2$ price due to 3G wireless costs outside the U.S., it's a bit annoying being charged for that, when I'm not using 3G at all...

    However, let's see if anything changes (imvho not likely, at least in the short run)


  10. J2,
    I mentioned operating costs for outside the U.S. That would be a natural thing selling outside of one's home base country.

    1. When I ordered books and LPs and CDs from Europe, I ALWAYS paid more in delivery costs without resentment toward the company for charging the extra. That's what happens when we order usually from abroad.

    2. The $2 would be an average cost overall that they budgeted to cover the general operating costs AND The wireless feature whether or not one chooses to use it.

    3. No other e-reader even lets anyone use 3G for anything but the store -- in this case, everyone outside the U.S. gets Wikipedia included unlimited web browsing for free if one buys the $50-higher model (which I always recommend since there are no data charges and it can save time).

    4. In Japan, buyers get 3G web browsing for free, if they get that model. But Amazon would do the general averaged cost rather than spend money to continually calculate every single Amazon customer's use of 3G, which would cost in server overhead and cause complexity in the billing system also. Not worth it, I imagine.

    People outside the U.S. clamored for the Kindle and now few of them understand it's not going to be at the same cost for buying e-books from across the world

    Sony will start making e-readers for Japan that will handle Japanese and that will help. Their current English model with almost equivalent wireless of any type is $60 more, but it has touch screen and a stylus for notes.

  11. J2,
    There's an answer I'd forgotten, to the pricing changes you may have come across on the Top 100 paid books.

    I wrote a blog article about 3 of the largest publishers going to the 'Agency' plan now, via which THEY set the prices, not Amazon. The Guardian this week says:

    "Earlier this week, was forced to accept new commercial terms from big publishers Penguin, Hachette and HarperCollins, who have switched to the "agency model" for their ebooks. On this model it is publishers, not retailers, who set the selling price.

    Amazon's own discounts disappeared from ebooks overnight. Many digital editions now cost the same as printed books, with some costing more."



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