About

On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

Recent Comments

November 2011
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Kindle Daily Deal – JFK by Fletcher Prouty and Oliver Stone

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal is JFK by Fletcher Prouty and Oliver Stone for $0.99 (vs. regular price of $14.95)

Here are a couple of reviews…

Prouty, who was a Washington insider for nearly 20 years–in the last few of them as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Kennedy–has a highly unusual perspective to offer on the assassination and the events that led up to it. Familiar to moviegoers as the original of the anonymous Washington figure, played by Donald Sutherland in the Oliver Stone’s movie JFK , who asks hero Jim Garrison to ponder why Kennedy was killed, Prouty leaves no doubt where he stands. The president, he claims, had angered the military-industrial establishment with his procurement policies and his determination to withdraw from Vietnam, and had threatened to break the CIA into “a thousand pieces” after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. His death was in effect a coup d’etat that placed in the White House a very different man with a very different approach–one much more acceptable to what Prouty consistently calls “the power elite.” Although he declares that such an elite has operated, supranationally, throughout history, and is all-powerful, he never satisfactorily explains who its members are and how it functions–or how it has allowed the current East-West rapprochement to take place. Still, this behind-the-scenes look at how the CIA has shaped postwar U.S. foreign policy is fascinating, as are Prouty’s telling questions about the security arrangements in Dallas, his knowledge of the extraordinary government movements at that time (every member of the Cabinet was out of the country when Kennedy was shot) and his perception that most of the press has joined in the cover-up ever since. Photos not seen by PW.

Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Prouty, the mysterious “X” in Oliver Stone’s JFK , promises to explain why Kennedy was assassinated. Instead, he delivers a muddled collection of undocumented, bizarre theories, most significantly that a super-powerful, avaricious power elite engineered the Cold War and all its pivotal events–Korea, Vietnam, the U-2 incident, the Bay of Pigs, and the Kennedy assassination. Although they are never identified, these shadowy technocrats, working through the CIA, allegedly had Kennedy murdered because he was on the brink of ending America’s commitment to Vietnam, along with its billions of dollars of military contracts. Prouty avoids some very important issues. Would Kennedy, a Cold War warrior’s warrior, have indeed ended American support for Diem? And why couldn’t the omnipotent power elite ensure the election of Richard Nixon, its preferred candidate, in 1960–especially since Kennedy won by only .02 percent?

Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

These deals as the name implies are updated daily and usually entail Kindle eBook being sold for nominal $0.99. You can keep track of them here: The Kindle Daily Deal. Or you can follow our blog as we’ll keep track of these deals too.

Get Nook App For Your Kindle Fire

Image: Business InsiderWhen it comes to deciding which eReader to buy, the biggest consideration is usually going to be whether you want to use a Nook or a Kindle forever.  Because sadly, it is difficult at best to change between the two platforms without losing access to every eBook you own.  While it is nice to dream of a day with no restrictive DRM, where you can move what you buy to whatever device you want, we have yet to reach that point.  Fortunately there are now some options that don’t require learning to tear out the DRM from every one of your eBooks, assuming you don’t mind reading on an LCD.

Naturally, whether you buy a Kindle Fire or a Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (or Nook Color), there is always the option to root your device to install the competitor’s reading app.  That process can be a pain for a few reasons, more so with the Nook in my experience since Amazon didn’t really try to prevent their customers from doing whatever they want with the Fire.  Despite the complications, this is a great option for the Nook Tablet.  It adds a load of functionality and removes some of the rather silly restrictions on usage that B&N felt the need to include. With the Kindle Fire, however, taking advantage of rooting causes you to lose access to the wonderfully streamlines interface that Amazon came up with in favor of a default Android OS.  Maybe that works for some people, but personally I prefer what the device shipped with for once.

If you’re of the same opinion, hope is not lost.  While you cannot access the Android Marketplace through your Kindle Fire, you are still able to download third party apps.  Amusingly this includes the Nook App if you know where to look.

As a fan of the original Nook, I jumped at the chance to get easy access to my old purchases again.  You can find the app at m.getjar.com, using the Kindle Fire‘s browser.  While some have indicated that you need to download the GetJar app to proceed from here, I had no trouble without it.  Just search for “Nook”, download the app, and install from the downloads menu (Pull up the list by tapping on the number next to your tablet’s name on the status bar).  It will show up under the Apps tab.

The only complication in using the Nook App this way is that it is unable to download all of my books.  Since some of them work fine and new purchases come through smoothly, I’m guessing these particular titles are the freebies I picked out early on that have been moved or replaced with better free copies, but it’s been long enough now that I honestly can’t recall.  It’s got a couple features that might be preferable to the Kindle’s normal reading app for some people.  Small things like a dimmer brightness setting, or a different animated page turn.  For the most part they are practically identical.

To me, this increases the usefulness of the Kindle Fire significantly.  If nothing else, it is great to finally have all of my eBooks available on the same device at the same time.  While I would love to be able to do the same on an E INK reader, this works as the next best thing for now.  There’s no real downside and it takes just moments to get this installed.  Give it a try.

Penguin, Overdrive, and Amazon: Kindle Library Lending Gets Complicated

Kindle owners found themselves targeted recently in a fairly unpleasant way.  Penguin USA, one of the largest publishers in the world, decided that it would be a smart business move to pull their entire collection of publications from libraries across the country for Kindle owners.  Everybody else, including owners of competing eReaders like the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch, could still get these books.  Now, while things have been temporarily dealt with since then – Penguin has temporarily stopped singling out the Kindle users entirely – new Penguin books will not be made available anymore and there is reason to believe that the event will recur unless Penguin and OverDrive (the service providing eBook lending services for most libraries these days) are able to work out a deal by the end of the year.

Neither Penguin nor OverDrive has said anything about the exact details of Penguin’s problems.  OverDrive was simply sent word to disable the “Get for Kindle” functionality for all Penguin eBooks immediately.  There was not even a warning sent to the affected libraries before the change took effect, which led to a great deal of ill will.  These libraries purchase each copy of the eBooks they rent out and as such were left sitting on the results of essentially wasted money that could not be lent out despite Kindle-owning customer demand.  The expected outcry for massive refunds, which would certainly have garnered a great deal of public sympathy, might well explain Penguin’s temporary capitulation.

Many have believably argued that this is a direct response to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library that Amazon launched recently for their Prime members.  The timing certainly fits.  Amazon got around the fact that major publishers have refused to buy into this new program by focusing on their KDP titles, smaller publishers, and by outright purchase of each rented eBook that they could get their hands on through wholesale arrangements.  This last move is what causes the ill will since many publishers and authors feel that this exceeds the scope of their current relationships with Amazon.

While nobody involved in the Prime lending library is directly losing money, a major worry in the industry is that eBooks will lose perceived value.  If customers start thinking of eBooks as somehow inherently cheaper that printed books, then printed Book sales will suffer and publishers would be forced to rely on sales of the eBooks, which means being subject to Amazon and Barnes & Noble even more than they are now.  This is the same sort of reasoning that brought on the behind-the-scenes deal with Apple to fix prices of eBooks around the time the iBooks store opened up.

I would say that this is going to go poorly for Penguin.  While their need to react is understandable given that they feel wronged, the targeting was off a bit.  Instead of attacking Amazon directly, they have gone after their own readers.  Yes, the Amazon deal with OverDrive increases the incentive to purchase a Kindle, but going after libraries doesn’t do a lot to make you look better to a customer base that loves to read.  The Kindle is unlikely to be pushed out of the #1 slot in eBook Readers any time soon, even if all the major publishers pulled out of the library system in the same way.  It’s difficult to understand what Penguin is still hoping to accomplish here.

Kindle Books on Sale During Cyber Monday Deals Week

During the week after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday kicks off an online only sale on a variety of items including electronics, books, and more.

There is a huge sale going on this week on Kindle books in all genres.  First, there are the editor’s picks.  The one Kindle book that stood out to me in that list is The Art of Racing in the Rain.  Garth Stein writes this compelling novel from the point of view of a dog named Enzo.  Enzo sticks by his human companion, Denny, as he faces trials and triumphs in his racing career, marriage, and in other aspects of his life.

I’ve heard good things about this book, and have it downloaded and ready to read on my Kindle.  I was excited to see it as part of the sale this week.

In addition to The Art of Racing in the Rain, there is another book in the Editor’s picks called Undrunk.  It is a first hand account of what goes on behind the closed doors of an AA meeting, and the steps alcoholics have to take to remain sober.  A.J. Adams gives an honest take on his experiences and uses this book as an opportunity to explain the process to readers who have not attended AA meetings, and to dispel ugly stereotypes of Alcoholics Anonymous.  There’s also a bit of humor mixed in.  Humor is always a good thing.

Other genres include Fiction, Romance, Biography, Mystery and Thrillers, Young Adult, Health and Wellness, and Children’s books.  So, there is something for everyone.  I noticed a lot of books that put a unique spin on classics like Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.  There are also some good cookbooks and self help books that are worth checking out.

In the Young Adult books sections there is a book called Julie of the Wolves that I remember reading back in elementary school.  It was a good book, and includes some good wolf lore.  It also deals with issues that all kids face at the adolescent stage.

In time for the holiday season, The Legend of the Candy Cane is a fun book for little kids to enjoy. It makes a great bedtime story for parents and their children.

The books I mentioned are just a small sample of the vast collection of Kindle books available. With the holidays coming up and time off from work and school, this is a great time to load up on some reading material.  All books are $3.99 or less.  The deals run until December 3rd.

 

Kindle Fire & Nook Tablet Video Focus Brings Android Attention

It was known well ahead of the official announcement for the device ever took place that the Kindle Fire would be intended for video more than anything else.  Perhaps due to that pressure and perhaps just as part of an overall trend in the market, the Nook Tablet was designed along similar lines.  While this doesn’t necessarily mean much on its own, it spurred along at least one other development that might mean a great deal more attention for the Android community as a whole.

Amazon’s intent to promote their own streaming video service is clear.  Their library has been growing quickly over time, including many titles being given away “free” with Amazon Prime.  This is naturally something of a concern for a company like Netflix that is suddenly faced with competition from somebody as big as Amazon.  Although Netflix has not commented on it, something definitely spurred them along to push forward their new tablet app upgrade for Android weeks or months ahead of iOS.

The Nook Tablet practically relies on Netflix and other streaming services to function, all the more so because Barnes & Noble currently offers nothing analogous to Amazon’s video services.  They also began advertising a uniquely deep connection with Netflix immediately following the reveal.  As Kindle Fire owners have likely noticed by now, the Netflix app in the Amazon App Store isn’t exactly lacking either.  They went for the maximum possible audience with this update and it seems likely to take.

The implications here go beyond benefits for owners of these new 7″ tablets, however nice those are to have.  This is one of the first times that the Android platform has received special attention ahead of the iOS equivalent.  That sort of thing does not happen without a fair degree of confidence in the potential profitability. If the Kindle Fire alone, or even the collection group of it and all of the competing $200 tablets springing up from companies like B&N and Kobo, is considered important enough to be prioritized ahead of the market dominating iPad then it could easily be a sign that tides are changing.

Part of the bar to Android’s widespread adoption in tablets has been the fact that quality development tends to get prioritized for the competition.  Whether you blame it on the fragmentation of the ecosystem due to frequent non-mandatory upgrades, lack of faith in Google’s offering as a whole, or the lack of a truly major name product to line up behind, the situation has now changed. With luck, this will build up some momentum.

While I have nothing against Apple or the iPad, some heated competition would go a long way toward not only improving their product but creating some genuinely functional alternatives.  The strength of iOS that everybody else lacks isn’t the iPad’s hardware or aesthetic.  Its main virtue is the functionality that primarily comes from the Apple App Store.  Neither the Kindle Fire nor the Amazon App Store is a match for Apple.  It isn’t likely that a single company or product will be any time soon.  What it does do is get the ball rolling, so to speak.

A Kindle Conversion: Why The EPUB Argument Stopped Mattering

Amazon made what appeared to be some fairly big opponents in the earliest days of the Kindle.  All they had to do was decide to go with a closed format.  Unlike some companies who might have decided that a strong DRM scheme was plenty of protection, they made sure that Kindle owners were locked in by consciously failing to support the industry standard eBook format.  It struck many people, myself included, as manipulative and more than a little bit condescending.

Thinking back, many of my earliest complaints about the Kindle revolved around the EPUB format.  I was ideologically supportive of the Nook in a very strong way as a result.  They might have wanted to lock in customers via DRM, but at least things like outside purchases and library books would work if the user wanted to make the effort to access them.  MobiPocket format was already too outdated in many situations.

Oddly enough, in principle the objections remain to this day.  The difference is that now customers aren’t expected to buy into an unproven platform with no guarantee that success was ahead.  Keep in mind that the Kindle was not the first E Ink eReader.  Sony was already doing a fairly good job of fizzling out by then and has been taking a back seat in the field ever since as a result.

My own change of opinion regarding the importance of the eBook format conflict stems from purely practical matters.  We have reached a point where there is literally nothing you can’t do with a Kindle that can be done on another device.  Library books are plentiful, no author or publisher is likely to boycott the Kindle platform in favor of the competition, and on the off chance that you find a DRM-free eBook you want on your device you can convert it for free with Calibre (a practical necessity for the eBook enthusiast in case you haven’t adopted already. Google it!).  In a situation where the format itself offers no particular advantage inherent to itself, there is no longer much reason to cling to it.  There is a reason you don’t see much use of HD-DVD anymore, or Betamax before that.

As we move forward into the next generation of formats, HTML5 forms the underlying structure.  Kindle Format 8 looks to allow for as much, or as little, formatting as the person producing a given publication desires as a result.  This will improve Amazon’s ability to present their media equally well on practically any size display, which makes sense given speculation regarding future Kindle Tablet options.  Nobody else seems to have really adopted an equally versatile approach yet, and even if that happens it won’t necessarily change anything.  There is only so much you can do in order to essentially show off text in an attractive manner.

What it all comes down to is that customers will go where they get the best experience.  EPUB might be better than Mobi, but with the Kindle providing the better hardware and Amazon backing their product with strong infrastructure and a great book store that didn’t matter enough.  It’s one more format war down.

Kindles Make Great Holiday Gifts for Kids

I’ve seen so many reviewers say they wish that there were more books, games and activities that would allow children to use a Kindle easily.  The bestselling e-reader has mostly catered to adults in the past.

The good news is that now, there are a lot of apps and games designed with kids in mind.  They are both educational and fun.  You’ll find a growing collection of interactive fiction available for the Kindle. I’m sure parents will be very happy to see that there are games that are great for keeping kids occupied in the doctor’s waiting room or on long car rides.

Interactive fiction gives the story to the readers so that they can determine what direction it will go.  As you go through the book, it will ask you questions that impacts how the book will end.  In some of the books, you can even choose the character and setting.  A few examples of interactive fiction titles available on the e-reader include The Little Stick that Could, the Fighting Fantasy series, and the Choice of Games series.  More details on Kindle apps can be found on the Kindle App review blog.

The 4th generation Kindle is perfect for kids because of its reasonable price, and it is basic enough for them to grasp.  The user interface is primarily navigated with just one button.  The keyboard is virtual, which makes the Kindle so much smaller and lightweight.  The Kindle 4 holds about half the amount of storage that the rest of the Kindle models do, but it has access to unlimited cloud storage on Amazon.  It makes a great introductory e-reader.

I’ve heard several people say that they are going to buy a Kindle for their kids this Christmas.  This is a great opportunity to steer kids away from TV and video games, and towards reading.  There are a ton of children’s books, old and new, available to choose from.  I hope Charlotte’s Web will be added to the list sometime in the near future!

Are Airport Scanners Making Kindle Carrying Risky?

This time of year travel is anything but rare and chances are good that at some point a delay will have you sitting in an airport with nothing to do.  The obvious solution is to bring your Kindle along for the ride.  Reading is always a pleasant way to kill time, of course.  The problem comes in deciding whether or not this is safe to do.

There have been numerous reports of airport security causing Kindle screen failure in the past and it continues to be an issue.  Amazon denies that the usual sort of security scanners employed in airports have any chance of harming their eReaders.  Even leaving aside my own personal anecdotes involving extensive holiday travel having failed to do anything to a Kindle, they’re obviously correct.  The radiation being used in these scanners is simply far too weak to manage to do any real harm to E INK displays, even over the course of repeated scane.

Where it gets tricky is in the associated mechanisms.  Naturally, to speed up the processing, belts are employed to feed baggage through scanners.  We’ve all seen or used them from time to time.  These long rubber belts, constantly in motion, have the potential to build up a significant charge.  Some estimates have indicated it could easily reach or exceed 100 volts.  In instances where this discharges through a Kindle, of course it is going to freeze the E INK permanently in place.  Of course, that sort of thing isn’t particularly good for just about any piece of electronics.

While it seems unlikely that this phenomenon alone is sufficient to account for all of the reports of travel damage, keep in mind that it is travel damage.  Tight bags, rough handling, and not infrequent jostling in crowds and tightly packed planes inevitably takes its toll.  Given that the Kindle line makes use of display technology that is notoriously brittle, it is to be expected to some extent.

In order to ensure safety for your favorite Kindle, especially the eReader models since the Kindle Fire has proven extremely resilient, there are a few things you can do.  The simplest is packing carefully.  Make sure that your Kindle is in a good protective case or at least not in a position to be supporting any weight or accepting any major pressure.  This won’t be particularly helpful if you are one of the rare cases of airport scanner damage, but for general hits it makes all the difference.

If you are particularly concerned about the scanner, keep in mind that the damage likely to be the result of static discharge.  They make cheap protective products for help with that.  Many people employ antistatic bags to protect data storage devices in transit and they should work just as well for the Kindle.

The overwhelming majority of the time, you have nothing to be worried about.  What people remember are the rare exceptions and that tends to make for some rumors being blown out of proportion.  Fortunately, even if you should end up with problems all reports indicate that Amazon has an unofficial policy of replacing airport-damaged eReaders.  Enjoy your travel, bring your Kindle, and good luck with your travel this holiday season.

Holiday Shopping/DecalGirl Artists Pt. 3

This is our traditional (8-th) Friday post in  the series of weekly giveaways sponsored by DecalGirl.com. The winner of prize is Marty with the following comment “So far I am pleased with my kindle fire. My first kindle…”  Our congratulation to him (her).  You need only to leave a comment what you think about Kindle Fire on our site to be in the game. In the next Friday we will announce and send a personal message on email with redemption code in case you win. It is good chance to get a new case to your new Kindle Fire. Do not lose it.


Getting ready to hit the stores for Black Friday?  Have you made your list and checked it at least a dozen times?  Do you have extra coffee and energy drinks in the pantry so you can stay wide awake during the midnight sales?  Or would you rather avoid the whole thing altogether?

Well, it’s important to patronize your local stores, especially the small businesses, but there are some things it is better to shop for online, and for some you simply have no choice.  Sure, you can stand in line for hours at Target or Best Buy, or Walmart to get the new Kindles for yourself and all your friends and family, but do you really want to do that?  Really??

If you are reading this, there’s a good chance that you will be joining millions who will be spending, in all likelihood, over $1 billion online on Cyber Monday.  So get a good night’s sleep on Thursday night…perfect after eating all of that turkey…and laugh at everybody who is waiting to be trampled by the rush at the midnight sale.  Rest your fingers, get a manicure, and then hit the keyboard for some serious online shopping.

Once you have stocked up on new devices of all kinds (but especially those new Kindles!) you may want to look for some stocking stuffers.  DecalGirl would be happy to help you with that!  Just click on over and shop to your heart’s content!  The best thing about internet shopping is that you can do it on your schedule; websites are always open.  And of course we have prepared for the season with a bunch of great new designs that will put you in the holiday spirit.  Here are just a few of them.  Click on any of the images to take a closer look.

Heidi Dobrott’s rendering of the “jolly old elf” himself is very modern and traditional at the same time.  Heidi hails from Southern California where she lives with her husband and dog.  She is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in design and graphic arts.  She has produced designs that can be seen on everything from paper goods to dinnerware to textiles (and of course, skins!).  “Santa” is only one of several new designs by Heidi offered at DecalGirl for the holiday season.

Kate McRostie, whom we introduced you to a couple of weeks back, likes to work with traditional subjects in a traditional manner.  So if you are a traditional sort of person, you might enjoy Kate’s work such as “Christmas Wonderland” shown here.

We haven’t introduced you to Iveta Abolina yet.  Iveta started drawing as a child by tracing over pictures from books and magazines.  This background has given her a great attention to detail that you can see in all of her work.  Her work has been described as “imaginative, colorful arrangements of abstract floral shapes with intricate detail and vivid colors.”  You can see her attention to detail in her work “Crème de la Crème.”

Our last holiday image is from Digital Blasphemy, aka Ryan Bliss.  Ryan discovered his talent for art when he received his first computer in 1995.  He likes to create desktop wallpapers, and he designs his work to both draw the eye from across the room and stand up to close inspection.  The work shown here is called “Magi.”

Kindle Keyboard 3G On The Way Out

In the past several months, especially since the announcement of the Kindle Touch, I’ve mentioned regularly that I expected the Kindle Keyboard to be a thing of the past by early 2012.  While nothing concrete has happened just yet, there are beginning to be small indications that this is beginning to happen.

The most obvious early sign was the fact that the Kindle Touch’s 3G option did not include the same freedoms that we have come to expect in previous models.  Where up until now you could browse freely, albeit in a limited fashion due to the nature of the Kindle’s screen and experimental browser, now users are stuck with only Wikipedia and Amazon’s own store.  Given the size of the ongoing 3G bill that Amazon has to have been racking up over the past several years, this change should be no surprise.  Lifetime 3G for free is going to be hard to keep going without limitations.  What is surprising and makes this stand out is the fact that the Kindle Keyboard did not start having the same restrictions.  If this was really the direction that Amazon has chosen to go, the only easy explanation is that they were waiting to run out existing stock.

More recently, the Kindle Keyboard WiFi w/ Special Offers has silently disappeared from the Kindle Store.  You can still get the more expensive ad-free model, but somehow I doubt that is because Amazon has suddenly decided to drop their advertising subsidized eReader plans.  Not only is it gone, but the newer versions of the sales banner for the Kindle Family are now focused entirely on the newest devices and don’t display the Kindle Keyboard at all.

It would not be surprising to find that even more signs have been given that were just too subtle to be noticed at the time.  I seem to recall there being white versions of both WiFi and 3G Kindle 3 models, for example, but now that is only available for the 3G model.  Hard to say for certain at this point since the graphite frame was so appealing at launch that I didn’t bother picking up a white edition.

Will this be the end of eReaders with physical inputs?  Quite possibly!  The major competition has already moved to entirely touchscreen, though the Nook Simple Touch eReader still has some actual page turning buttons.  The virtual keyboard allows for a lighter, more compact device that is even less intrusive than previous Kindles.  I’m still dealing with mixed feelings regarding this move, having gotten used to my keyboard and not quite having had the same amount of exposure to the new design, but it does seem the way of the future.

If you are still interested in the Kindle Keyboard (formerly Kindle 3), now is really the time to buy.  Lefties will find it especially valuable since the Kindle Touch requires swiping if you want to flip a page forward with your left hand. It offers pretty much everything that the Kindle Touch does aside from X-Ray and the ease of use in highlighting and annotation, but you get the reassuring presence of buttons.  The option won’t be around much longer, I’m sure, but for now you can get either the normal Kindle Keyboard or the Kindle Keyboard 3G w/ Special Offers for just $139.