Monday, November 30, 2015

Voice Dictation and Speech-to-Text on Kindle Fire HDX's and current HD tablets (built in and useful for email, notes, and forum comments) -- How it works. Also, an excellent voice-recording app (free, only at Amazon) that's good for making sound-files for keeping recorded notes or for sharing. UPDATED Nov 29-30 with tips on trying voice-dictation-to-text offline and for an Extra 30% Off Print books thru' Nov. 30.

This is an example of using voice-dictation on a Facebook post:

Click on the first screenshot to see where the microphone icon is.  The second one shows the screen during dictation, and the 3rd one shows the completed comment to Facebook.

Kindle Fire's Built-in Voice Dictation for tablets with Fire OS v3.1 (See Updated entry at bottom.)
This capability is available, per Amazon's Language and Keyboard Display help page on the following Amazon tablets:
  "For Kindle Fire HDX (3rd Generation), Fire HD (4th Generation), or Fire HDX 8.9 (4th Generation) devices, tap the microphone icon on your keyboard to use your voice to dictate text instead of typing."

  The Fire HD 4th generation would be the ones released in Year 2014 (HD 6" and HD 7" that year, still current in Year 2015).
  For example, the lowest-cost Fire HD model has it, as does the Year 2014 HD 7 tablet you might have, though that one doesn't show in current tablet offerings.

The thumbnail photos above lead to larger photos for more readability.  These screenshots are from a session using the built-in voice-dictation (or speech-to-text] feature to reply on Facebook to a post.  (I'm using a post from Wildtiger Org's Jack Kinross in connection with their Remote Area Aid for disaster relief in Nepal.  This is a photo he took of a woman carrying wood from recently cut-down trees to her home because of the now two-month-long Nepal Fuel Blockade, which prevents receipt of fuel (for cooking and transportation) and medical supplies as well as health workers for areas of Nepal that need it).  The full photo by Jack Kinross can be viewed here.
  Today, a report by Unicef that a Shortage of essential supplies threatens millions of children this winter in Nepal goes ignored while the mainstream news outlets ignore that story.  ("200,000 families affected by the tremors are still living in temporary shelters, at an altitude above 1,500 metres") facing winter without fuel for food and transport and no medical supplies due to the mentioned blockade there.)

  The first screenshot shows the voice-dictation microphone at bottom left of the keyboard; the second one shows the screen interface during the actual voice dictation with a dotted circle around the microphone and "Done" to be tapped once you've finished your dictated comment.  The third one shows the comment as it appears before you press the Enter key on the keyboard to submit the comment.

According to an Amazon press release, this "Voice dictation converts your speech to text—available in all languages when online; offline support available in US English.."

  (I haven't confirmed that we can use the feature offline when using US English, since my WiFi is always on when I'm working with it.  Let us know what your experience is with that.)

Here's a list of some frequently used voice commands
  and some numerical items the dictation-feature understands:

  (SOME of the may not work in the UK-English version.)
• “Period” – [ . ]
• “Comma” – [ , ]
• “Exclamation mark” – [ ! ]
• "Exclamation point" - [ ! ]
• "New line"
• "New paragraph"
• “Open bracket(s)” – [ [ ]
• "Closed bracket(s)" - [ ] ]
• "Open parentheses" - [ ( ]
• "Closed parentheses" - [ ) ]
• "dash" - [--] {"The weather -- quite cold -- requires a coat."}
• “Nine Euros fifty” – [ 9.50 EUR ]
• “Half past nine” – [ 9:30 ]
• "Eight fifty nine AM" - [ 8:59 AM ]
• “Thirteen forty five” – [13:45]
• “Twelve hyphen 3" - [12-3] {"The Giants won 12-3."}

If the voice-dictation IS based on Nuance's "Dragon" capabilities, some have said that an "utterance" is limited to 30 seconds, but I've been able to talk on and on for well over a minute without a break and it continues and is very accurate.  When I stopped, it waited for me for a short while to press the "Done" icon, having apparently 'learned' that I can be long-winded.  So, this is quite good for a built-in undocumented voice-dictation feature.

  Tips on getting voice commands and punctuation to work as expected
  Before asking for 'new line' or 'new paragraph' it works better if a period prefaces it (though it's not usually necessary).

  Also, it's best to pause slightly after saying 'period' when wanting a new line or new paragraph.

  ON the other hand, don't wait too long to say 'period' to end a sentence, as it will add a space before it if you pause for more than a millisecond.

If you have used the voice-dictation feature (available since November 2013 on the mentioned Kindle Fire tablets) and you find new capabilities while trying it out, let us know in the Comments area.

NOTES on a really good audio-recording app that I tried this weekend
(This one is NOT for speech to text but to get dictated material in audio-file format to send to others or for record-keeping.)
  UPDATE2: AFTER I made the demo recordings for 'medium' and "high" quality versions of the original free Easy Voice Recorder app, I found out tonight that the once $4 Easy Voice Recorder PRO is now "Actually Free" under the new Amazon Underground feature, which allows us to use, for free, apps that are normally paid apps at other major app stores.

  Amazon offers these for free when the app developer is paid based on usage (which means that how often you use the app IS tracked for the developer's revenue), and apparently this developer has confidence in the app's usefulness.  I can see why.

The *now FREE* Easy Voice Recorder Pro  (EVR Pro)
  For the Easy Voice Recorder Pro app, I added two sound files in WAV format from the original free non-Pro app.  The first audio file is an EVR Medium Quality WAV sample.

  The second audio file uses the "high" quality setting and is my EVR High Quality WAV sample.

  The third file is an EVR Medium quality M4A sample.  The second audio file uses the "high" quality setting and is my EVR High Quality M4A sample.

  Since I recorded these two audio files before finding that the "PRO" version is now free and offers stereo recording, my wording in these files should be ignored.

  While these older free-version samples are in mono, they still give an idea of the clarity you'll hear in the Pro app files (newer version that's free only at Amazon).
   Since Easy Voice Recorder Pro records and STORES, on the tablet, the considerably larger WAV format file, to keep highest quality available (while also offering compressed versions in M4A format when sending the file to others), I've linked the medium and high quality WAV as well as the two compressed M4A files for anyone curious about the differences.

  These should give you an idea of which might work better for you if you're interested in a voice-recorder with sound-file output for sending or sharing.  I noticed that several customer reviews mention that these apps work pretty well for singing as well :-)

  Apologies for sounding so sleepy in them, but that's because I was!

  BONUS feature.  I saw that Easy Voice Recorder Pro allows you to Play a recording WHILE Recording on top of that, which means you are "layering" tracks and can do a duet with the output from the first file to make the 2nd file.  Unfortunately, it is picking up the speaker output of the first file, so the quality of the first sound-file's audio is not good.  But if you're recording music, it's a good way to practice with another part.

  An alternate fully-featured voice-recorder app, with a great interface:
Another very flexible voice recorder app: Hi-Q Audio Recorder also allows you to pause a recording, has several additional, interesting features, and makes files in M4A, WAV, OGG or Flac. ($4~) (m4a sample).  This app doesn't offer an mp3 output file because Hi-Q also offers a very very good, free mp3-recorder app, Hi-Q MP3 Recorder, but this free one does not have a Pause option, which is an important lack (mp3 sample).  The sample from from the $4~ "audio" app is better for sibilants while the sample from the free "mp3" app has better presence. The Hi-Q apps, like the Easy Voice apps, do allow you to Play one recording WHILE recording on top of that.

TIP on making recorded notes when away from WiFi or 3G and then later converting these sound files into text
  I was asked about how to save notes, when using Voice-Dictation (to text) during times that we don't have a WiFi or 3G connection for sending a note or email somewhere.

  The first thing I found was that the voice-dictation-to-text offline is, for all expected purposes, useless.  Apparently the data set that is on the tablet system has to be very pared-down and therefore the app can understand VERY LITTLE of what I say when offline and not connected to the Net's large data servers with the full data sets.  What it typed for me, then, was not understandable by me.  This was not unlike some human-to-human conversations.

  So, don't bother with trying to use Voice to Text when WiFi or 3G are not available.  The Voice Dictation feature is very accurate and capable when you have a fast WiFi connection.  I have Comcast Cable and am unable to test how it would be under slower DSL connections.

BUT, what you can do when in a space without WiFi or 3G is to use a simple voice-recorder app like Easy Voice Recorder or Hi-Q's two apps described above, which all save automqtically to sound files on your device.

  When you're back on WiFi, you can send the sound files you want, to your computer (via EMail, WiFi transfer, or USB) and then play the audio on the computer while using the tablet's built-in Voice Dictation-to-text to convert it to text for emails or text notes.  The conversion-to-text won't be quite as accurate as when you're actually talking to the microphone, but it's workable with more post-editing required.  Using speakers with good treble output to project sibilants will improve the accuracy of the voice-dictation conversion to text.

Reminder for Nov 30: Amazon has extended the "extra 30% off" for PRINT books deal through the end of Nov 30 (11:59 PST) -- you can get any PRINT book at Amazon for an extra 30% off -- just enter "HOLIDAY30" at Checkout time in the promo code field.  HOWEVER, it's restricted to a maximum $10 off.  This was extended to 11:59pm PST Monday, Nov. 30.  See Amazon's "terms and conditions" here.

  Also, Amazon's aggressive-pricing continues during its CyberMonday Week that started today.

(This blog article was first posted Nov 28 and has been revised Nov 29-30.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Special Black Friday special on Kindles, Fire TV devices and Amazon Echo. Additional 30% off any PRINT book. Note on Voice-dictation (speech-to-text) for HDX models for later blog article today. UPDATE 2

Amazon Kindle and Fire Devices on special sale, Black Friday (See Update 2: 30% off PRINT book.

  The special pricing on the Black Friday Amazon Devices page tends to be available until Nov 28, said to be 11:59 pm that day, tho' some have later ending dates.   Some will become available again only during lightning deals for the following "CyberMonday week" and for as long as the items are in stock).

  Clicking on the small-version images of Amazon's special sales page for its devices today will get you to the larger, much more readable page at Amazon.

The special device deals today include e-Readers, tablets, as well as Fire TV box and Fire Stick.


  Fire TV devices
Fire TV Stick, normally $39.99, is nearly 40% off at $24.99.

Fire TV Box (more fully-featured), normally $99.99 is 25% off at $75.99 and that's a rare price for this.

  Here's Amazon's Yr 2015 FireTV-comparison table

  Kindle e-Readers and tablets
The basic Kindle e-Ink e-Reader is almost 40% off at $49.99.

You can save $15 on the new Fire tablet, which has been, Amazon says, "the #1 best-selling product" on since launch.  Normally, $50, it's $34.99 today.

  Once more: the sometimes confusing lineup of Kindles and how to decide
  which ones would work best for you

  Here's a set of links that should help clarify the differences between models and allow easier comparison of features and prices:

  • Amazon's Tablet Comparison table
  • Amazon's Comparison table for the e-Ink Kindle eReaders
  • Paperwhite 3 vs Paperwhite 1: photos
  * Yr 2015 lineup: Details
        plus a quick-text listing or table of the various models:
  • Which Kindles Where? (Models available)

The previous blog article was on how the 8 days of Black Friday would work and the coming CyberMonday Week starting Nov. 30 will see similar multiple sales events.

GENERAL Black Friday pages for the US, UK, and Canada

UPDATE 2: Additional 30% off ANY Print Book 11/26-11/29 (thru' Sunday)
I got word of this and forgot, and it's not easily findable on the Amazon pages:
' Shopping Alert: Amazon Books announced it's offering shoppers an extra 30% discount on any print title beginning on Thanksgiving Day.  Shoppers must enter "HOLIDAY30" at checkout between Thursday (11/26) and Sunday (11/29) to receive the discount. '

[Amazon adds that the Amazon Book editors recently announced their Best Books of 2015 and that if any of you are looking for gifting options to use this 30% off on, take a look at the Editors’ Holiday Gift Picks.]

I'll end this here, since Thanksgiving and other events kept me from getting this out last night.

  I'm also working today on another blog article, to be completed this weekend, on how to dictate emails (voice dictation) and notes to Evernote and other apps on the Kindle HDX models.

  I've tested what works and doesn't in the way of punctuation and certain formats it understands (currency and time). This works very well for me on the 8.9" HDX that I have and for a friend's 7" HDX.

UPDATED, after initial posting:
EDITED: According to Amazon help pages on Language and Keyboard options:
  "For Kindle Fire HDX (3rd Generation), Fire HD (4th Generation), or Fire HDX 8.9 (4th Generation) devices, tap the microphone icon on your keyboard to use your voice to dictate text instead of typing."

  This means that the current HD6 and HD7 "Fire" tablets do have the Voice-dictation-to-text feature.

One more thing
  I'll also include, in that later blog article today, an example from a very effective voice-recorder app (NOT voice-to-text but an audio file) that I bought ($3), which is clearer than others I'd tried earlier, and is even said by commenters to be very good for recording singing.

  This is of course for Kindle tablets that use a microphone, although I saw that someone who bought earbuds with a mic attached was able to do the simple recording of voice to an audio file, which they can save and send or keep in a library.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

How the 8 days of Black Friday sales will work ... Long listing of examples of top deals ... Paperwhite 3 vs Paperwhite 1 photos ... New Handmade store ... Martha Stewart American Made store ...Isis: Inside the Army of Terror + an online article in 3 parts, based on an interview with an ISIS spy. Updated 11/20.

While watching the news this week, I heard CNN Contributor Michael Weiss on a panel discussing ISIS and the Paris attacks and found his flow of details about the middle east situation more informative than the usual and looked him up to find he co-authored the New York Times bestseller "Isis: Inside the Army of Terror," which gets good reviews.  The one complaint I saw was that there are a lot of acronyms involved and they're hard to remember when explained only once.

  I thought that was true also of his 3-part series online, "Confessions of an Isis Spy," based on days of interviews with a "man claiming to be a member of the so-called Islamic State’s security services" who provided details on the inner workings of the group.

  The Kindle book has the "X-Ray" feature enabled, which means that if you see an acronym on a page and want to remember what it represents, you can tap on 'X-Ray' (menu option), then tap on "Terms," to get a definition plus links to each time the word or acronym is mentioned, along with applicable text on those pages.  This is probably my favorite Kindle book feature when reading non-fiction.

  It's a terrible subject, but I want to try to understand it where that's possible, and I thought others might too.

Yes, it's that time of the year again...
8 Days of ~Black Friday~ begin Friday Jan. 20 (tomorrow)
Here are the Black Friday links again that were given earlier for the "Countdown" period:

  Black Friday pages for the US, UK, and Canada

  The sometimes confusing lineup of Kindles and how to decide
  which ones would work best for you

  Since some will be interested in the sales on Kindle e-Ink eReaders or Amazon's Fire tablets, here's a set of links that should help clarify the differences between models and allow easier comparison of features and prices:

  • Amazon's Tablet Comparison table
  • Amazon's Comparison table for the e-Ink Kindle eReaders
  • Paperwhite 3 vs Paperwhite 1: photos
  • Yr 2015 lineup: Details
  • Which Kindles Where? (Models available)

  IN THE MEANTIME, today (Nov 19), the Fire Tablet 10 (10.1" HD display, 16GB) is on sale "for a limited time" for $199.99 (normally $229.99).

I'll include, at the bottom of this blog article, Amazon's very long list of examples of specific products that will be on sale.

  SIDE NOTE: In addition, Amazon has launched its new HANDMADE products store.
  • Handmade at Amazon
  • Martha Stewart American Made

  That's right. Martha Stewart left EBay for Amazon, and her new store opens today.  Amazon's announcement explains that the new Handmade store
"spotlights local artisans that are personally selected by Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living.  On Handmade at Amazon, artisans selling in the Martha Stewart American Made store will be identified in their artisan profile page with the official Martha Stewart American Made badge.  To start, hundreds of unique handcrafted items are offered from artisans that have earned the Martha Stewart American Made distinction."

From Amazon's Black Friday week announcement:
' deals [will be] added as often as every five minutes for eight straight days" at the Black Friday page.
 " Customers will have access to 10 coveted Deals of the Day starting at midnight on Thanksgiving, and up to 10 more on Black Friday. Customers can also shop limited-time Lightning Deals on thousands of sought-after products per day throughout the eight days of deals.

Plus, Prime members will get 30-minutes early access to the majority of these Lightning Deals.
[This means some of the best deals could be gone before the non-Prime members get a look at them.

HOWEVER, Amazon will recognize 30 day Free Trials of Prime (UK prime here) during the 8 days of Black Friday, and there is the option to cancel the free trial after that.]
This year, Amazon will introduce more than 150 hand-picked Lightning Deals on everything from electronics to kitchen gadgets only through the Amazon Mobile Shopping App available on Android, iOS, and Fire OS.

  These deals can be found on the “App Only Deals” tab and will be released daily from 3 pm PT to 11 pm PT starting Thanksgiving through Wednesday, December 9. In addition, Prime members in 20 metro areas can use the dedicated Prime Now mobile app to enjoy free two-hour delivery on select Deals of the Day throughout the holiday season.

 . . . This year, [Amazon adds the feature]  “Watch A Deal” which allows holiday shoppers to pick the deals they’re most excited about and receive a notification to their mobile device when the deal is live. With this new feature, Amazon customers can effortlessly take advantage of deals throughout the day and while on-the-go.

Steve Shure, Vice President, Amazon Consumer Marketing [added]: “...with App Only Deals, customers will have plenty of options when it comes to scoring great deals from Amazon.”

Following are examples of some of the top deals that will be available at various times between November 20 and Black Friday at [Amazon's Black Friday page, U.S.].

Kindle Paperwhite, $99.99
$30 off Kindle and Kindle for Kids Bundle
Fire, $34.99
Fire Kids Edition, $84.99
$25 off Amazon Fire TV
$15 off Amazon Fire TV Stick and Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote
Up to 45% off select Samsung and LG TVs, including Samsung 32” 1080p LED TV for $177.99, LG 49” 1080p LED TV for less than $370, and Samsung 75” 1080p Smart LED TV for less than $2,000
Top-selling 60” 4K LED TV, $799.99
TCL 55” Roku Smart LED TV, $348
Hisense 55” 4K Smart LED TV, $448 (App Only Deal)
50” 1080p LED TV, $149.99 (App Only Deal)
40” 1080p LED TV, $145
TCL 32” Roku Smart LED TV, $125
32” LED TV, $75
Acer Home Theater Projector, $299.99
VIZIO 38” 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar, $79.99
$49 off SONOS 2-Room Streaming Music Starter Set
Save 40% on Polk Audio Omni S2 Wireless Speaker
Up to 25% off Denon HEOS 1 Wireless Speakers
50% off Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth Headphones
Save more than 50% on Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition Over-Ear Headphones in Black (Amazon Exclusive)
More than 50% off top-selling point-and-shoot camera
Jawbone UP3, $99
Save $100 on an Intel-Powered Dell 2-in-1 Laptop
ASUS 15” laptop, $129
Up to 40% off select Acer desktops, monitors, chromebooks, and tablets
Save more than 20% on select Samsung Galaxy Tablets
Save up to 70% on select SanDisk memory cards and USB flash drives
Top-selling mobile printer for less than $100&

Baby, Toys & Pets:
Save 30% or more on select Graco Car Seats and Strollers
Up to 60% off select Disney apparel, toys, and more
Save 50% on select best-selling wooden preschool toys
40% off select Fisher-Price Musical Instruments
Up to 50% off select toys from favorite brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and more
Save 50% on select construction toys from K’NEX, Lincoln Logs, and Tinkertoys
Up to 50% off select Lionel Train Sets, including Polar Express
50% off select wearable technology products and robotic toys for kids
45% off UDI R/C Falcon Drone with HD Camera
LEGO Star Wars Stormtrooper Figurine Alarm Clock, $15.99
Up to 60% off select Nylabone dog treats and chew toys
Save more than 50% on select Outward Hound dog toys
Up to 50% off select PetSafe pet products 

Home & Kitchen:
Save $50 on Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
Save up to $200 on select Dyson vacuums
Save 40% on Silhouette Cameo Starter Bundle
$25 off with select DEWALT purchases of $100 or more
$20 off select orders of $100 or more in Porter-Cable tools
DEWALT 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit with Two Batteries, $89
More than 45% off Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra LED Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit
Up to 60% off select products from FoodSaver, Oster, Krups, Nespresso, T-fal, Wilton, and more
More than 55% off select Imprint Cumulus Comfort Mats
More than 50% off select Instant Pot Programmable Pressure Cookers
Save up to 40% on select cookware from Circulon and Rachael Ray
More than 40% off Rabbit 6-Piece Wine Tool Kit
Save 20% on Soma Sustainable Carafe and Plant-Based Water Filter, available through the new Amazon Launchpad program for startups 
Sports & Travel:
34% off Skywalker 15-Feet Jump N’ Dunk Trampolines
Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump - Queen, $87.99
BARSKA Starwatcher 400x70mm Refractor Telescope, $49.50
30% off Reebok Professional Deck Workout Bench
25% off Nautilus T614 Treadmill
STIGA Triumph Table Tennis Table, $299.99
25% off select Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bags
25% off select Under Armour fleece
adidas Originals Men’s Sport Essentials Tee, $19.99
Save up to 50% on select adidas footwear for men, women, and kids
Save 70% or more on Samsonite Two-Piece Spinner Sets
Up to 45% off RV and camping supplies, including select products from Camco and Valterra
Up to 55% off select Automotive D-I-Y items
Fashion & Beauty:
Up to 70% off select clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and watches for men, women, and kids
30% off select clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and watches with promotional code 30BLACKFRI
Up to 70% off select diamond jewelry gifts
Up to 50% off select luxury watches for women
Select Levi’s Jeans for men, $39.99 or less
45% off select New Balance shoes for men, women, and kids
50% off select Steve Madden shoes for men
50% off select Steve Madden and Madden Girl shoes for women and kids
50% off select Stride Rite shoes and more for kids
Select baby and kids’ coats, fleece, hats, and more, $14.99 or less
Save up to $30 on Oral Care, including Oral-B electric toothbrushes
Up to 25% off select skin care products, including Dove, Olay, and more

Books, Music & Video Games:
80% off Transformers: The Covenant of Primus
Save more than 50% on Deathstroke Volume 1 Book and Mask Set
Save on more than 10 autographed CDs, including Kenny Rogers, Megadeth, and more (Amazon Exclusive)
Save 15% or more on select vinyl records
Save $20 on Need for Speed
Save $30 on Rock Band 4 Wireless Guitar Bundle
$50 off Xbox One Consoles
$50 off PlayStation 4 Uncharted Bundle
$25 off Metal Gear Solid V
Hundreds of PC download deals up to 70% off

All prices available at select times and while supplies last.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Amazon's additional Kindle book deals for November ... Black Friday page has Countdown (current) deals ... Amazon Local coupons-feature ends Dec. 18 ... More on e-book pricing situation ... Free Kindle books for November. Updated.

Some Amazon changes

Amazon is ending, on December 18, its Amazon Local feature and app for locally-focused coupons.  Amazon Local was launched in 2011 with the help of Living Social.

  According to MarketWatch, ...the site and app will cease offering deals on Dec. 18, and the daily email featuring deals ceased Friday, though deals that customers have purchased or buy through Dec. 18 will be honored after that date."

  BusinessFinanceNews adds:
... [Amazon] also [had] bought stake in ... “LivingSocial” for $200 million.  [Living Social] ... recently cut its workforce by 20% and shifted its focus to long-term deals.  Amazon has 30% stake in the company, which was once valued [at] $1 billion.  It fell $242 million by 2014 end.  According to GeekWire, Amazon recorded a $169 million write down on the investment.

  'From October 30, 2015 until December 18, 2015, you can continue to purchase deals at Amazon Local as usual,' Amazon announced.  'All purchased vouchers will not be affected by this change and remain valid according to their terms.'

Special Kindle Daily Deal page offering: Up to 85% off selected Kindle books for November
  Amazon's own daily deals remain, of course, and the current "Kindle Daily Deal page" is also featuring a big special for the holidays.  As seen in the article image, Amazon's offering Kindle books at "up to 85% off" -- this is similar to its (now removed) "Big Deal").

REGULAR Monthly Kindle books offered at between $.99 to $3.99 [Updated to correct amounts]
This is the ongoing MONTHLY Kindle books deal of books offered at $.99 to $3.99.  The image and book links in this paragraph will take you to this particular monthly feature for November 2015's Kindle books, a feature which differs from the Special Kindle Deal page offer seen above that's for November as well.

  Amazon had a good quarter report with a big boost in sales and, possibly in connection with the premise of the article I saw last month in Observer, they're offering more deals than before on Kindle books.

  Side Note: E-book pricing and sales:
  The title of the Observer article (which references a Wall Street Journal article) is "Do E-Books Earn More Money at Lower Prices?" and it points out that while the large publishers who re-negotiated contracts that allow them to set the prices, the WSJ reports that they "reported declining e-book revenue in their latest reporting periods.
  "The new business model for e-books is having a significant impact on what [the big] publishers report," said one publishing executive.  "There’s no question that publishers’ net receipts have gone down."

  The Observer mentions that "more writers are producing more books and making more money than ever before. A lot of that increase has occurred outside major publishers, though."  And they remind us of Amazon's rare look "into its data around prices and e-book sales.  The Amazon Books Team posted on the Kindle Forum, writing:"
"For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99.

  So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99.  Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000.  Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000."
November'sfree Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    October 2015  November 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

A reminder: On the first 2-3 days of the month, the current month's free Kindle books listing will have many that are chapters for a book, or shorter works, and some Not-"family-safe" content that can creep in there when Amazon is asleep.  In that case, check the previous month's free Kindle books offerings ("October"), which is sorted by most-recently published first.

BLACK FRIDAY PAGE starts up again, quietly
Black Friday (US, UK, and Canada) is already back, in the form "Countdown to Black Friday," with some special deals daily until the usual official launch day.  In the UK and Canada, it's more subtle, but the "Black Friday" page shows current deals that will be changing.

Here's a bit more on Amazon Flex that I meant to include earlier in the previous article.  A cousin in San Francisco had a very similar positive experience to the one described below in this Geekwire article
  Re the Under-1-hr free delivery for Prime members from restaurants
"After I placed my order, I could watch my delivery rider making his way across town on a real-time map. I received an automated text message about two minutes before he arrived."
. . .
"It wasn’t until after he left that it dawned on me the impressive feat Amazon had accomplished. It usually takes about 20 minutes for a restaurant to prepare a carryout order, and the restaurant I chose is about a 12 minute ride from my apartment — up an infamous hill. That leaves just 5 minutes of wiggle room for my order to be able to show up within 37 minutes like it did."

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