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:,  UK Link:

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.

    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.
  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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  1. Speaking of free shipping, I wish that when an Amazon product page says that shipping for an item is free, it would actually be free (meaning no extra charge). For Amazon Prime items, here in Hawaii. free shipping is actually free (except when they refuse to ship the thing to Hawaii at all). But for other things, not "fulfilled by Amazon", almost allways, items designated "free shipping" actually do have a shipping charge. The only way for me to figure out what the shipping charge for a "free shipping" item is to put it in my cart and check out. Then, before the transaction is complete, if I see an unacceptably high shipping charge for a free shipping item, I can cancel the transaction. It's a pain.

    1. Gregory, that's very frustrating. Amazon's product header statements are US mainland-specific as a rule. With the 3rd party Marketplace, the shipping is always shown for Alaska and Hawaii separate from the mainland, no doubt because shipping is just higher for most Marketplace independents for packages. As you know, it really varies, and I would find it annoying too to have to check the way you do. I tend to click on the Sold-by link and check out their shipping policies and fees for each geographical area though That way you don't have to put the item in your cart to find out.

      But that always means extra work either way. Wish there were a better method. Thanks for letting us know what it's like for someone in another state of the U.S. but separated by a lot of water.


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