The Big Deal: through October 5 (and more!)

The Big Deal: through October 5 (and more!)

One of my favorite things that Amazon does is the “Big Deal”, which will discount hundreds of books, generally a large amount, for a limited time.

This time:

The Big Deal (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

there are 494 (70 more than the last Big Deal) at time of writing. As always, check the price before you click that Buy button. It’s possible that books will move in and out of the deal, and it may not apply in your country.

Here are some that caught my eye:

  • A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford: more than 32 million copies sold, 4.7 stars out of 5, 192 customer reviews…and $1.99. Even better, it is part of Kindle Unlimited (KU), so members of that can also borrow it at no additional cost
  • Missy’s Murder by Karen Kingsbury (many more by Kingsbury in this deal), 4.0 stars, 131 reviews
  • Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day: A Doctor’s Guide to Solving Your Sleep Problems by Robert Rosenberg, 5.0 stars, 47 reviews
  • Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy, 4.4 stars, 134 reviews
  • Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The Disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II (General Military) by Jeffrey Cox, 4.5 stars, 62 reviews
  • Crackpot: The Obsessions of by John Waters, 4.9 stars, 22 reviews: could be a good gift. Waters is a real cult figure. Remember that you can delay the delivery of a gift until the appropriate  occasion
  • Lonely Planet Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Bradley Mayhew and Carolyn McCarthy, 4.2 stars, 102 reviews, KU
  • Sucker’s Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing by Kurt Vonnegut, 4.0 stars, 148 reviews, KU
  • Deadpool Classic, Vol. 1 by Fabian Nicieza, Joe Kelly, Mark Waid and Joe Madureira, 4.4 stars, 55 reviews: the Deadpool movie (this is a Marvel character) just got a release date…this is a comics collection, and for that reason, won’t be accessible through text-to-speech. It won’t have been blocked by the publisher, it’s just that the words aren’t seen as text by the software, but as part of the image
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Intensive Review: Fast Facts and Practice Questions, Second Edition by Leik MSN, Maria T. Codina, 4.4 stars, 94 reviews
  • Big Medicine by Louis L’Amour, 4.3 stars, 75 reviews, KU
  • Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (A World War I Tale) (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales) by Nathan Hale, 5.0 stars, 18 reviews…think of it as a graphic novel, but non-fiction. Great reviews!
  • LIFE The Day Kennedy Died: Fifty Years Later: LIFE Remembers the Man and the Moment by The Editors of LIFE, 4.7 stars, 104 reviews…with audio/video, so it won’t work on every device, but might make a good gift
  • Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful: Embrace Your Quirks and Live Your Strengths by Laurie Wallin, 4.8 stars, 46 reviews
  • Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane by John Skipp, Neil Gaiman, Lawrence Block and Ray Bradbury, 4.7 stars, 11 reviews, KU…read that author list again ;)
  • Expedition to Earth (Arthur C. Clarke Collection: Short Stories) by Arthur C. Clarke, 4.2 stars, 26 reviews, KU
  • Nuclear Dawn: The Atomic Bomb, from the Manhattan Project to the Cold War (General Military) by James Delgado, 5.0 stars, 5 reviews
  • The 13th Warning by R.L. Stine and Tim Jacobus, 4.3 stars, 51 reviews, KU
  • Woman of the Frontier by Zane Grey, 3.2 stars, 5 reviews, KU

Whew!

Again, that’s just a small part of this over 400 book sale. If you’ve noticed others in the group you think my readers should consider, feel free to comment on this post.

Interestingly, that’s not Amazon’s only e-book sale right now:

20 Kindle Books for $2 Each (at AmazonSmile*)

One in particular that stands out to me is

A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion, 3.9 stars, 554 (!) reviews, KU.

30 Kindle Books for $3 Each (at AmazonSmile*)

This sale goes through October 15.

Enjoy!

Bonus story: I also wanted to mention that the

Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

appears to be a hit. It’s only available for pre-order at this point, but one configuration of it is already #2 bestseller (behind the Google Chromecast) in electronics at Amazon.

Looking at more of that list, different configs of the Voyage have many of the top spots: #2, #5, #9, #12…

The

new entry level: “Mindle Touch” as a suggested nickname, any configuration (at AmazonSmile*)

by contrast, is #13.

The new Fire tablets? Maybe not so much enthusiasm yet…the least expensive one, the

Fire HD 6, any configuration (at AmazonSmile*)

is at #17. That’s good, but it’s not like the Voyage…

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


TKC 320 Amazon’s NYC Briefing on New Devices

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 11.07.32 PMShow Notes and Links:

If you use these links to purchase one of the new devices, it will provide Amazon Associates commission revenue to support the podcast without adding to your purchase price. Thanks in advance! – Len

Kindle Voyage WiFi – $199

New Kindle - $79

Fire HD6 8 GB – $99

Fire HD7 8 GB – $139

Fire HD6 Kids Edition – $149

“A Few Thoughts on (the New) Kindles” by Shawn Blanc – September 18, 2014

The Weekly Briefly – Shawn Blanc’s podcast about creativity, technology, and the like.

My video demonstration of Dynamic Light Control on Fire HDX 8.9″

Interview with Dave Limp, Sr. Vice President of Amazon Devices, starts at 18:26

Interview with Peter Larson, Vice President – Kindle, starts at 35:42

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Persepctive” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Send to Kindle

Heads up! Limited time offer on kindle fire at 3:30 Pacific for Kindle international charging set

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: Kindle International Charging Kit for $15. Deal starts at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT.

I am on my phone so I will update this later, but I did not want people to miss it.
.
This only applies to people with a kindle fire with special offers.


The new Kindle models poll: will you…?

The new Kindle models poll: will you…?

I wrote pretty extensively about Amazon’s announcement of new hardware (and a new version of the Fire operating system). I try not to write about the same thing two days in a row very often, but I didn’t want to just update that post (a lot of people miss it when I do that). Also, since this is both Fires and non-Fires, it will cover most of my readership (some people read on free Kindle reader apps, and some don’t have anything yet…but this will affect pretty much everybody). It’s also stylistically different from yesterday’s post.

Just a few notes from overnight:

  • Thanks to regular reader and commenter Edward Boyhan for pointing out that the new tablets are no longer “Kindle Fires”, they are just “Fires”. That’s been something I’ve wanted since before the first of them was released. I think it’s confusing to have the non-backlit Kindle readers co-branded with backlit tablets, since they are so different. I’ve seen much confusion about that in the Kindle forums (“I upgraded to a Kindle Fire from a Kindle Touch…why can’t I read outside as well?”). I’m fine with the Fire tablets, Fire Phone, and Fire TVs being a “brand”…they have quite a bit in common, much more than a Fire tablet and a Kindle Paperwhite
  • The Paperwhite’s storage was increased earlier this year…I don’t think I made that clear
  • How soon is “soon” in “coming soon” (for some of the new features)? I would think we’ll get a major update before the end of November, and another one in the first quarter of next year (with some incremental updates in between). I’m just guessing, though
  • There will be an outport on the Fire tablets for use with a TV (which the first gen Kindle Fire had), but it won’t be HDMI…it’ll be USB. Amazon says, “The latest generation Fire tablets now include a SlimPort enabled micro USB port that lets you view images and HD video from your tablet on any compatible TV or monitor”
  • It’s not clear that the “Family Library” (the ability to read books from more than one account on the same device without doing the register/deregister dance) will apply to all books, and it may not. It might be more like Kindle Unlimited, where only some books are involved
  • What really needs an update in Fire OS is the digital assistant, in my opinion…I want my Fire Phone in particular to be able to do more things through voice “command” (although that sounds so imperial…can’t it just be “voice communication”?) ;) Don’t know if we’ll get that, but I’m guessing we will. Anybody Amazon can buy to make that happen? I’d like it on the Fire tablets, too

Now, as to the main point of this post.

I’m generally seeing a positive reaction to this announcement…good initial reports in the tech media (although not much in mainstream…compare it to the Apple announcement, which was all over the mainstream). I think this will lift the Fire Phone boat as well, resulting in more sales for that device. I’m curious about how you feel about the new devices:

Kindle Voyage (any configuration) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

new entry level: “Mindle Touch” as a suggested nickname, any configuration (at AmazonSmile*)

Fire HD 6, any configuration (at AmazonSmile*)

Fire HD 7, any configuration (at AmazonSmile*)

Fire HD 6 Kids Edition, any configuration(at AmazonSmile*)

Fire HDX 8.9, any configuration(at AmazonSmile*)

Feel free to add comments and questions by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


First Look at Two New Kindles at NYC Product Demo

This is a video clip, taken by Brittany Turner of Amazon, showing the Kindle Voyage and new basic Kindle at the product demonstration today in New York City.

Send to Kindle

How New Fire HDX 8.9 Mimics Paper with Dynamic Light Control

In this video clip made at the Amazon new product launch today in New York City, Jon Oakes, director of product management for Kindle, explains Dynamic Light Control. This clever capability enables the new Fire HDX to change the background of a book’s page to adjust to available light in a way similar to the effect of light on a paper page.

Send to Kindle

It’s official! New Kindle hardware…and software

It’s official! New Kindle hardware…and software

I think that’s a record! Five press releases from Amazon in the same day…announcing two new non-Fire Kindles, three new Fires, and a new version of the Fire operating system!

Let’s break this down:

We’ll start with the non-Fire Kindles (all information is for the USA, although I believe all these models may be available elsewhere):

Kindle Voyage, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) Also available with 3G+Wi-Fi, for $269 with Special Offers, $289 without them

This is the new top of the line, flagship model.

It’s $199 with Special Offers, $219 without them.

It will be competing with the Kobo Aura HD, which lists for $169.99 (about $30 cheaper).

Releasing on October 21st (pre-order now).

What’s new?

  • It’s thinner: .30 inches (7.6mm) versus .36 (9.1mm) on the Paperwhite
  • It has twice the pixels per inch (300) as the Paperwhite: that will make it much, much crisper. The more dots you fit in the same place, the more detail
  • Turn pages by applying pressure to the edge (the bezel), not the screen. You’ll still be able to swipe or tap, but this should keep the screen a lot cleaner (not that that has been much of an issue for me…they created a screen that doesn’t show the fingerprints much).  It should be smart enough not to accidentally turn the page for a typical user
  • The frontlight (like the Paperwhite…the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had, including paper) will adjust either automatically or manually)
  • The screen is supposed to feel like paper…um, okay

I’ll deal more with the software later in this post, because that will affect more than this one device.

Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

This is the new entry level model (which they once again insist on just calling a “Kindle”).

$79 with Special Offers, $99 without them.

Releasing October 2nd (pre-order available now).

What’s new?

  • Touchscreen…good-bye, five way controllers
  • Faster processor
  • We’re back to 4GB of storage

The Paperwhite will continue to be offered as the mid-range device: $119 with Special Offers, $139 without them.

Okay, let’s talk about new software features/services for the non-Fire devices (these do not show for the Paperwhite, but some may show up there eventually):

  • You’ll be able to link Amazon accounts! This is a huge difference. They are calling it “Family Library”, and specifically mention a “spouse or partner”…I wonder if you’ll have to provide proof of relationship?
  • Word Wise: this one automatically (you can adjust it) defines “difficult” words for you. It reminds me of a comedian who talked about how the movie makers new 1950s science fiction were going to be watched by kids. So, two of the greatest scientists in the world would be speaking to each other, and they’d define the words for the kiddos: “He’s growing in an accelerated…speeded up…fashion” ;) I suppose this may be useful for some people
  • About the Book: finally! The book will tell you where it is in a series, tell you about the author, and let you mark your Goodreads progress from your Kindle
  • Enhanced search: more search results in one place
  • More Goodreads integration

press release for the non-Fire Kindles

Now, on to the new Fires:

Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

$99 for 8GB with Special Offers
$114 for 8GB without Special Offers
$119 for 16GB with Special Offers
$134 for 16GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 2, pre-order now

This is a competitive tablet for under $100!

What’s new?

  • It comes in five colors! Black, Magenta, White, Citron, and Cobalt
  • 1280×800 HD screen, 252 pixels per inch: brighter, whiter
  • 1.5 ghz quadcore processor…much faster
  • Front and rear-facing camera (2MP for the rear-facing)
  • WPS Office integration: edit Excel and Word without a separate app
  • Family profiles
  • Family Library (see above: link accounts)
  • Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP)…it guesses what you will want to watch and pre-loads it. I really like this on my Fire TV, although you might think it’s a small thing. It’s nice not to wait for things to load when you want to watch them (that’s often the case). The Fire TV is so much faster than my Roku! I really notice that with YouTube (which is presumably not due to ASAP)…it takes many times longer on the Roku for the app to load
  • Firefly real object and media recognition, like my Fire Phone
  • Fire OS 4, which I’ll cover separately

Fire HD 7, 7″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

Basically the same as above, except an inch bigger screen and stereo instead of mono speakers.

$139 8GB with Special Offers
$154 8GB without Special Offers
$159 16GB with Special Offers
$174 16 GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 2

Fire HD 6 Kids Edition, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case (at AmazonSmile*)

$149 for six inches
$189 for seven inches

Releases October 21st (look for this one in particular to sell out…I’m guessing manufacturing those kid-proof cases slows the supply chain).

People have wanted something like this for a long time…a purpose-built kids’ device. If the kids break it in the first two years, Amazon will replace it…for free.

  • Comes with a free year of Kindle Unlimited
  • Amazon Freetime camera and photo…kids can take pictures, but can’t share them on social media

Looks like a powerful (it has the quad-core processor) tablet, and probably a good choice for kids.

Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

$379 16GB with Special Offers
$394 16GB without Special Offers
$429 32GB with Special Offers
$444 32GB without Special Offers
$479 64GB with Special Offers
$494 64GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 21st, pre-order now

  • A massive 2560 x 1600 display, 339 ppi (4 million pixels), 30% more pixels than the iPad Retina display
  • 20% lighter than iPad Air
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • Twice as loud as iPad air, with Dolby Atmos for headphones (says it is the first tablet with that)
  • Mayday and Firefly
  • 8MP rear-facing camera (compare to the 2MP above), front-facing camera

Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

Like the above, but with unlocked GSM (including AT&T)…this has the cellular connection.

$529 32GB with Special Offers
$544 32GB without Special Offers
$579 64GB with Special Offers
$594 64GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 21st.

Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

Verizon version, otherwise same as immediately above, including pricing and release date.

Kindle Fire press releases:

09/17/14 Introducing the All-New Fire HDX—Higher Performance, Exclusive New Audio, the Fastest Wi-Fi, and Still Startlingly Light with a Stunning HDX Display Printer Friendly Version
09/17/14 Introducing the All-New Fire HD—The Most Powerful Tablet Under $100 Printer Friendly Version
09/17/14 Introducing Fire HD Kids Edition—The Kids Tablet That Has it All, Including the First-Ever 2-Year Worry-Free Guarantee

Now, on to the new Fire OS (Operating System):

  • This will be on the new Kindle Fires, and will come to the 3rd Generation (most recent) Kindle Fires through an over-the-air update
  • They again named it after an alcoholic drink…I’d prefer that they don’t do that, but it looks like that’s the pattern right now
  • “… adds Profiles so each family member can have their own individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, settings such as display brightness, bookmarks, spot in a movie, and game levels.”
  • Based on KitKat
  • Up to 25% more battery life with a “smart suspend” feature…proactively turns wireless access on and off
  • Family Library (see above…shared accounts)
  • Also coming to Fire Phone
  • Private Mode and print support coming to the Silk Browser
  • Free unlimited Cloud storage of photos taken on Fire devices

Whew!

Some of these features won’t be there at launch, and will be “coming soon”.  The Fire Phone won’t get Fire OS 4 until “early next year”.

press release on Fire OS 4

I would say that this is not a conservative product cycle. It will be interesting to see how these shake out in terms of popularity. I’m interested in what you think (and what questions you might have). Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


First Impressions of the New Kindle Lineup

Len and KindlesAs my flight from New York approaches Denver International and the media embargo ends, I want to share impressions from today’s Amazon’s media demonstration of the new Kindles. My group of about 12 journalists—one of several such gatherings throughout the day—convened at Milk Studios, 450 West 15th Street, for a little more than two hours of presentations and time to try the devices and chat ask questions. It was a beautiful, sunny day on Manhattan, and we began on the top-floor patio with a view of the Hudson River next to a table with stickie buns, coffee, juice and other treats.

I will hold my observations about the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and the Fire HD models for later, because I want to focus here on the new Kindles, the brand-new Kindle Voyage and the new and improved basic Kindle.

As I’ve mentioned several times in recent months, I expected Amazon to step up this fall with a serious refresh of the eInk Kindles, based on comments by executives during the year. These guys are not just going through the motions when it comes to pressing ahead with innovations on the Kindle dedicated eReaders.

One clue was that the first demo station was for the Kindles. They were not an afterthought. They were first out of the chute.

As for the devices themselves, I found them very impressive.

First impressions tell a lot, and when Senior VP Dave Limp handed me one of the Voyages as we sat in a circle in couches off the patio, I fell in love with it. The moment reminded me of the day in Boston when Amazon’s Jay Marine reached into his suit jacket pocket and pulled out a gray Kindle Keyboard, five years and four generations ago. Man, I thought. This thing is sweet!

Likewise with the Voyage. It’s thin, light, and the screen jumps up at you in 300 pixels per inch splendor, with a brighter built-in light. As with each improvement in eInk screen technology, this one makes the previous one look old-fashioned and muddled. We’re getting really close to paper here.

The Next and Previous Page controls move off the screen on the Voyage, to the bezel, but we’re not talking buttons here, as in older models of the Kindle. Which means we are not talking things that go click in the night, when your bed partner may be trying to sleep while you plow ahead in War and Peace until you’re ready to sleep yourself. I slight squeeze of the bezel changes the page, and you know you’ve done it right when you feel a little haptic love tap on your finger. Customers are going to love this, I’m sure Amazon execs are saying, and I believe they’re right. I did my best to accept the elimination of Next/Previous physical controls on the Touch and the Paperwhite, but I am quite happy on this new Kindle to have the screen be left for nothing but the story.

I care about the basic Kindle, because we’ve shipped more than a thousand of them to U.S. Troops deployed overseas through E-Books for Troops. We plan to purchase one last group of basic Kindles and donate them to a VA Hospital as we wind down the program. With this new $79 basic Kindle on offer, the last Soldiers will be getting a terrific eReader and not an after-thought.

I will of course pre-order a Kindle Voyage tonight, but that’s what I do. I’m not saying, in my enthusiasm for the improvement in the device, that an upgrade from the Paperwhite is obvious. Especially since the significant software improvements announced today will be rolled out to the Paperwhite as well.

One of the most notable OS innovations for the Kindles is named Word Wise. It will be great for readers learning English and kids learning to read, because it hovers definitions over difficult words right in-line with the book’s text. There is a slider control that determines how many words will have hints. You can tap on one of the hints to bring up the full definition.

Wise Words reminds me of Vocabulary Builder, an earlier gee-whiz tool to help readers improve their comprehension. I love how the Kindle team presses into raw invention with these capabilities. They don’t all change the world, but a few of them will, especially for individual readers with specific needs.

X-Ray gets expanded powers of seeing into the bones of a book in the new software. There is now a tab for images, so you can scroll through all the graphics in a book. And graphics, by the way, look fantastic on the higher-resolution Voyage display.

Goodreads gets closer to our reading on the Kindle with the new OS. You can access and update your reading status from within the book, something I’ve thought would be nice to have.

So all in all, today was a great day for those of us who may love tablets but continue to have a soft spot for the device that really did change the way we read, the original gray and white Kindle—now much improved, standing proud, and clearly still the darling of the team of innovators and dreamers that conceived it and keeps on making it better.

 

Send to Kindle

What’s New Tonight from Amazon – Summary of New Kindles and Fires

Len with FiresHere are the new devices you can pre-order as of tonight (Wednesday, September 17th) at 9 p.m. ET at the Amazon home page:

Kindle Voyage$199 WiFi and $269 3G.

This seventh-generation eReader is the thinnest, lightest, brightest, and smartest Kindle to date. You press the bezel for silent movement to the next or previous page, and you feel a friendly haptic response as the page turns. The screen is 39 percent brighter. It automatically adjusts to surrounding light. And—get this—it dims gradually after you start reading in the dark, matching how your eyes take time adjust to darkness.

The “wow” that I experienced holding a Voyage at today’s embargoed media briefing in New York City reminded me of the first time that I held a Kindle Keyboard. That was five years ago, at the birth of the third generation of Kindles. The Kindle 2 immediately seemed bigger, clunkier, and old-fashioned. The same thing happened to the beloved Paperwhite that I brought to New York when I placed it on a table next to the new Kindle in town.

New Basic Kindle – $79

Amazon today confirmed that it’s serious about making Kindle technology available to as many book lovers as possible by giving an impressive update to the entry-level dedicated eReader, called simply “Kindle.” It has twice the storage, and its processor is 20 percent faster than the previous basic Kindle.

The most noticeable improvement is a full touch screen that replaces the pain-in-the-neck five-way controller. No more pressing up, down, left, or right to move the cursor across an alphabet grid in order to enter text. Just tap the virtual keyboard. The updated Kindle can do all the new software tricks of the Voyage and Paperwhite, which remains in the lineup as the new middle child.

The new basic Kindle’s screen isn’t as omigod bright and contrasty as the Voyage’s, and there is no built-in light bathing its screen. But it’s going to be great for a kid’s first Kindle or a beach reader you toss in your bag with sunscreen, Frisbee, and goggles.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” – $379 WiFi 16 GB  , $429 WiFi 32 GB , $479 WiFi 64 GB

This new HDX is really thin and light–13.2 ounces or 20 percent lighter than an iPad Air. The tech specs impress, as follows: It’s the first tablet powered by the most advanced quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, and the graphics engine is 70 percent faster than the previous-generation Fire HDX. At the demo table, the new HDX seemed fast, fluid, brilliantly colorful–and thin.

For book reading, the new HDX has a clever way of taking another step toward the holy grail of parity with paper books. It’s called Dynamic Light Control, which changes the white point of the display based on the ambient lighting. The demo units that we saw gradually adjusted their appearance after you tapped on a book in the carousel. The idea seems to be that a book on the HDX will look different in a soft, yellow light in your den than it will in glaring fluorescent light in an office. You won’t see this on the HDX until later this year, though, because it will arrive as part of a free, over-the-air software update.

The new HDX is the first tablet with Dolby Atmos, Amazon execs told us. We put on headphones to hear how it sounded in an action movie where all sorts of stuff was blowing up and moving around us with eerie effect. Dolby Atmos is rolling out in some movies but not others, and you’ll be able to hear its magic on the HDX 8.9.

The HDX’s Battery life—up to 12 hours for reading, surfing the web, watching video or listening to music—gets a boost from Smart Suspend, which develops a profile specific to your device based on when it is typically not in use. That’s when it will turn the wireless off to conserve power, but it will sneak back onto the net now and then to grab new emails or app notifications while you’re asleep.

The HDX 8.9 can be paired with the coolest Bluetooth keyboard I’ve seen. It costs $59.99, weighs just 7 ounces, and is 4.8 mm thin. It also has a trackpad, so you don’t have to switch from typing to tapping the screen. You can place the keyboard with the HDX inside the new Origami Cover ($54.99), which also serves as a landscape or portrait stand. Everything snaps together with a satisfying magnetic click.

Note: The Fire HDX 7”, which happens to be my favorite Amazon tablet, will receive an update to the Fire OS 4 software, named Sangria and based on Android KitKat. But sadly there are no hardware improvements for the 7-inch HDX.

Kindle Fire HD 6” 8 GB ($99) , HD 6″ 16 GB $119, and HD 7” 8 GB ($139), HD 7″ 16 GB ($159)

For the Fire HD, Amazon played a game it loves to play—how much better can we make a device that someone is now selling for too much money? In this case the target was the low end of smaller tablets. Customers have complained to Amazon that these devices, made by other companies, are unreliable, have lousy performance, and sound crummy.

So these new Fire HDs are tough. When you drop an iPad mini and a new Fire HD to a concrete floor from a meter high, the iPad mini breaks apart twice as often as the Fire HD, we were told. Lesser competitors fail 20 times more often than the Fire. We watched a video in which one hapless Brand X tablet literally exploded into pieces when it hit the concrete. The Fire HD bounced like a superball with no harm done.

I was surprised to learn that this new tablet will not have the amazingly great Mayday support offered on the Fire Phone and the HDX tablets. Customers love Mayday, as Amazon likes to say. But it’s obviously very expensive to provide year-round 24/7 video support with hands-on control of the device if desired. So when you are aiming at an ambitious price point, something’s gotta give. You can still get fast, smart, convenient tech support for the Fire HD by chat and phone. But still. I suggested to Dave Limp, Amazon senior vice president for Kindle devices, that customers might be willing to pay for a Mayday premium on the Fire HD, so we’ll see.

Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 6” ($149) and 7” ($189)

Based on the same Fire HD devices, this package for kids includes an impressive two-year, no-questions-asked guarantee. In other words, if Junior feeds his HD to the family basset hound, Amazon will replace it with a new or refurbished unit.

The Kids Edition HD also comes with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a $120 value that provides unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.

It doesn’t mention this in the press releases we were given, but during the demo I thought the Amazon rep said the Kids Edition HD comes with a free protective case in pink, green or blue. You could probably drop this one from two meters above concrete and the Fire HD might survive.

Summary and Note

All of these new products are available for pre-order, with shipment in October. I will update the links for the specific products as soon as possible. For now, please feel free to explore them using this link, which is coded with my Amazon Associates information, so if you use them to make your purchase, it will benefit the podcast.

I am writing this post on the flight from LaGuardia to Denver, which is due to arrive at 9 p.m. ET just as the media embargo comes off. As soon as Frontier 507 touches down at DIA I will fire up a Hot Spot on the Fire Phone and do my best to get this information faster than a speeding quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor.

And of course, this week’s episode of the Kindle Chronicles will be chock full of interviews, color commentary, and more analysis of today’s gaggle of great new Kindles and Fires.

 

Send to Kindle

Using the Kindle store’s Advanced Search

Using the Kindle store’s Advanced Search

Like a lot of people, I’m surprised sometimes at how unsophisticated the search in the Kindle store is.

You can put an author’s name into the searchbox at the top of a page and count on finding just books by that author.

You can’t search for books that came out this week easily, or the ones that have the most customer reviews, or ones published in a particular country, or that were originally published in a certain century, and so on.

If you get beyond the page top searchbox (say that three times quickly), it’s a bit better, but still not great.

The place to go is to

Kindle eBooks: Advanced Search (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You have some parameters you can enter there:

Keywords: this is the broadest category. Try anything here…authors, “Swahili edition”, Legos…whatever. If you put a minus sign in front of a term, that should keep that word from being used. If you want to see books about the Kindle, but not about the Kindle Fire, you could do Kindle -Fire. Of course, that’s an example of where it won’t work all that well…a book might be called, “Chess sets of the 19th Century, optimized for the Kindle” and it would appear.

Author

Title

Publisher: the tricky thing here is that the tradpubs  (traditional publishers) have many imprints. Grand Central is an imprint of Hachette…if you search for Hachette, you won’t find those Grand Central titles.

Subject: there are a lot of choices here. These are picked by the publisher, and you may not agree with them…I’ve seen the same book classified as fiction and non-fiction, for example.

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Kindle Singles
  • Advice & How-to
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & investing
  • Children and Teens
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Computers & Internet
  • Cooking, Food & Wine
  • Fantasy
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • History
  • Humor
  • Literary Fiction
  • Mystery & Thrillers
  • Parenting & Families
  • Politics & Current Events
  • Reference
  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Romance
  • Science
  • Sports
  • Travel

Reader Age:

  • All Ages
  • Baby – 3 Years
  • 4 – 8 Years
  • 9 – 12 Years
  • Teen

Languages:

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

Publication Date (this is the date the publisher tells Amazon…not necessarily the date of first publication). First, you choose: All Dates; Before; During; After. Then you pick a month, then you enter a year

Sort Results by:

  • Relevance
  • Bestselling
  • Price: Low to High
  • Price: High to Low
  • Avg. Customer Review
  • Publication Date

There you go! If you enter into more than one field, your conditions will combine. In other words, you could search for Stephen King and Spanish.

That’s better than the general searchbox, although I hope Amazon is still working on search.

One other thing: in your search results, look to your left to see more filtering you can do. You may be able to pick a particular author or series, and you typically can further filter for Prime eligible, Whispersync for Voice, and I’ve seen Kindle Unlimited as a choice. Sometimes I even see tags put on by customers, but it appears to be inconsistent.

Hope that helps…

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.