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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.

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Daily Deals: Sipping from the Nile and Brixter

Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from EgyptToday Amazon as usual offers a book and a game within Daily Deals: Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt written by Jean Naggar for $1.99 and Brixter which you can download for free today only.

Born into a prominent, sophisticated Jewish family who spend time in Europe and live in the Middle East, author Jean Naggar’s coming of age memoir tells the story of her protected youth in an exotic multicultural milieu. To Naggar her childhood seemed a magical time that would never come to an end. But in 1956, Egyptian President Nasser’s nationalizing of the Suez Canal set in motion events that would change her life forever.

An enchanted way of life suddenly ended by multinational hostilities, her close-knit extended family is soon scattered far and wide. Naggar’s own family moves to London where she finishes her schooling and is swept into adulthood and the challenge of new horizons in America. Speaking for a different wave of immigrants whose Sephardic origins highlight the American Jewish story through an unfamiliar lens, Naggar traces her personal journey through lost worlds and difficult transitions, exotic locales and strong family values. The story resonates for all in this poignant exploration of the innocence of childhood in a world breaking apart.

 

BrixterBrixter offers an original approach to the classic blocks-style puzzle genre. This game for your Android device is a compelling brain puzzle that stimulates thought and challenges your coordination skills.

Block by Colorful Block

When you start playing Brixter, you’re given an assembly grid. In this grid, you’ll assemble groups of blocks with the same color in tile-puzzle fashion. Once you’ve grouped three or more blocks, and at least one of them touches the top boundary of the grid, a new shape is activated.

You’re not completely at the mercy of circumstance as you play, either. You can create your own shape and send it up to complete full rows as they accumulate on the upper area of the screen.

After a short learning curve, you’ll master the game functions and enjoy cruising through the levels. But don’t worry, you’ll definitely be challenged as the game progresses. And you can always set the difficulty level to match your skills (you’ll find this in the options menu).

No Colors, No Problem

If you happen to be color blind, you can still enjoy this game! It’s easy to enable Color Blind mode if you have trouble distinguishing between the blocks’ colors.

Brixter supports OpenFeint. You can choose to play against the rest of the world and save your high scores globally, or you can turn OpenFeint off through the menu and use the local high scores table.

Already Impressive Kindle Singles Lands Vonnegut Exclusive

What began as seemingly little more than an experiment to test whether or not there was a market for intermediate length written works, Amazon’s Kindle Singles program, has succeeded beyond all expectations.  To highlight this fact, they have made a rare exception to the usual policy of never releasing sales numbers to reveal that the 2-millionth sale of a Kindle Single had been made.  Estimates put the company’s revenue from the program at over $1,200,000 in the 14 months since the program launched.

Unlike the larger Kindle Direct Publishing program, Kindle Singles are highly selective and can be extremely difficult to create.  If accepted, however, they tend to be almost guaranteed successes.  Those millions of sales were divided up among fewer than 200 short works.  Considering that this is a form that had completely gone out of fashion and that many felt was at best of marginal interest, it is an amazing accomplishment for Amazon to have come so far with them.

Now things are getting even better, thanks to an exclusive deal with Rosetta Books.  They have arranged for the Kindle Singles program to have exclusive access to a never before published piece by Kurt Vonnegut.  Written in the 1940s, Basic Training is about 20,000 words and was intended to be published under the pseudonym Mark Harvey.  It is a very early work by the author and while likely rejected for a reason at the time it was submitted, hence the never before published status, will be quite interesting for any Vonnegut fan.

In a way this demonstrates how effective it is to have quality control factors involved in determining available selections.  The average title in the Singles program is obviously doing better than the average KDP eBook.  Potential readers know in advance that the whole library of Singles has been screened and approved, which removes some of the uncertainty that has plagued the eBook publishing scene for a while now.  Nobody runs the risk of picking up what looks to be a good book and turns out to be nothing but a five page advertisement for questionable internet pharmaceutical sales sites.

On the other hand, because this is such a narrowly defined category of books, the Kindle Singles do hold a certain special place that might make their example a poor one in terms of wider applicability.  Much of Amazon’s success in the realm of digital publishing is coming as a result of offering any aspiring author to get their work out there in hopes that it can stand on its own merits even without the endorsement of a major publisher.  If they were to seriously undertake gate keeping duties for the Kindle, it would undermine that aspect of the business.

No matter how you personally view the situation, it is safe to say that this is positive information for those who find the quicker, more concise offerings of the Kindle Singles shop enjoyable.  Sometimes it is just nice to be able to read this sort of work without unnecessary cutting or padding to fit more familiar forms.

Check out Basic Training now for $1.99, only at Amazon

Daily Deals: Borrowed Time and Fling!

Borrowed Time

Today you can buy Borrowed Time written by CJ Lyons just for $0.99. This book is is a USA Today Bestseller. CJ Lyons has been praised as a “master of the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) for her “breathtakingly fast-paced” (Publishers Weekly) romantic medical thrillers.

Pittsburgh Police Officer Kate O’Hern is on the trail of a killer targeting cops. Only problem, he’s already killed her once…

Trauma surgeon Joshua Lightner saved Kate’s life, only to have her awaken suffering from an unexpected side effect: visions of other people’s deaths. As a doctor, he refuses to believe in “psychic mumbo-jumbo” but as a man, he can’t deny his feelings for Kate. When the killer targets them both, are they living on BORROWED TIME?

Some words about the Author

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at cjlyons.net

 

Fling!Also Amazon allows for free downloading a game for your Kindle Fire – Fling!

Fling! offers a challenging yet cute puzzle game with territorial yet cuddly contenders. Facing a field of colorful, dough-eyed furballs, fling one into another until only one victorious furball remains. Don’t get too confident; plan your moves carefully, or you’re sure to share the board with other furballs and no more moves.

Becoming King Furball

Imagine your field as a grid. Fling furballs along a line into other furballs, causing the targeted furball to roll off the board. Furballs who are side-by-side cannot fling the other off of the board. They must be separated by at least one space. Furballs cannot be flung off the board unless knocked off. Use the undo and hint buttons when you get stuck.

It’s a Furball Frenzy

Enjoy Fling! in four game modes: Free Play, Arcade, Challenge, and Frenzy. Freeplay mode allows you to solve puzzles at your own pace, and at any level of difficulty you choose. Unlock harder difficulty levels for a greater challenge. Arcade mode is a race against the clock as you solve puzzles of increasing difficulty before the clock runs out. Challenge mode requires you to solve sets of puzzles within a specific time frame, while trying to beat your personal best. Frenzy mode is a total fling-fest! Keep the board from filling up by flinging same-colored furballs from the board.

Fling! features 100,000 unique puzzles, so you will never encounter two puzzles that are the same. The puzzles are categorized into 35 levels of increased difficulty. Each puzzle has a single, unique solution.

Key Features:

  • Use hints and undos
  • Listen to game music or your own soundtrack
  • Compete for local and global high scores
  • Begin where you left off with automatic game saves
  • Switch themes and play with marbles or fruits
  • Watch the informative tutorial and practice

Harry Potter FInally Arrives on the Kindle

J.K. Rowling’s hit Harry Potter series finally became available on the Kindle on March 27th.  I admit, this announcement does sound a  bit anticlimactic since all of the books and movies have been released already.

For those who are not familiar with the actual plot, it features a boy wizard named Harry who must defeat the Dark Lord, otherwise known as Lord Voldemort.  The seven books in the series take readers through many adventures that result in both sad and happy endings.

I’m not usually one to read fantasy, but this series sucked me in along with most of the rest of the world.  I think the endearing characteristic of these books was that despite the supernatural element to the story, the characters were very human.  The issues that Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione faced were not all that much different than our own.  Relationships, doing well in school, death, rejection, and more were very evident throughout the series.

The movies overall did a good job at capturing the magic of the books.  I think the final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was my favorite book and movie.  Well, part 2 of the movie that is.  It is heartbreaking, but it ties everything up nicely.

Future Harry Potter readers will have it easy because the Kindle weighs next to nothing compared to the print editions.  I remember when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out.  It is the thickest book in the series, and the ones to follower were not all that much thinner.  Especially considering that most Harry Potter fans will sit and read the book for hours on end.  It always was such a let down when the book ended.

I didn’t get on the Harry Potter bandwagon until after the fourth book was published, but I fondly remember eagerly waiting for the new ones to arrive.  Now Rowling has finally joined the growing digital book world, and her beloved Harry Potter will be enjoyed by readers of all ages for many years to come.

 

Daily Deals: 11 engaging young-adult novels and Fast Food Nutrition

Today Amazon makes a discount on 11 engaging young-adult novels. The price for any of them is $0.99. All of these books have positive customer reviews but only few persons have left them. According to my own experience you should not be afraid to open a new name for yourself. Each great author has to write his 1-st story, 2-nd and so on.

Here is the list of these books. Click on them to go to the relevant page on Amazon.

 

Fast Food Nutrition

Also Amazon allows free downloading application for your Kindle Fire. Today it is Fast Food Nutrition which can help you keep nutritional data at your fingertips.

Do you like to dine out at fast food restaurants, but are concerned about what you are eating? Fast Food Nutrition is a handy app for your Android device that provides you with a variety of nutritional information. This simple tool helps you to keep track of all your nutrition and diet information for more than 300 of your favorite restaurants chains and 50,000 menu items.

The app’s nutritional data includes: calories, Weight Watchers points, fats, trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, and protein. Fast Food Nutrition is more than a calorie counter; it actually helps you calculate your calories as well. It also displays the total percent of RDA for all meals consumed.

Simply input a restaurant name into the search function, or click on its easy-to-recognize logo, to access its menu items. Then, click on the menu items to create an order and see how many combined calories and other attributes your selection contains. Also, you can save your selected restaurants to your Favorites for easy future access.

Kindle To See Competition From Windows 8 Readers

Say what you will about Windows 8 and the Metro style it introduces as a general computing option, it is amazing on a touch screen.  I’ve had a chance to play around with it more than a bit since the Consumer Preview build was released to the public a few weeks ago and after a short adjustment period I have had nearly no complaints.  There are obvious potential complications for the Kindle world, though since we can’t guess yet how inexpensive it will be possible for a full Windows 8 tablet to be, at best it is possible to make educated guesses about how portable device development changes in months to come.  What might surprise many people, though, is that just as Android has been used effectively to power E Ink reading devices like the Barnes & Noble Nook, Windows 8 has been mentioned as a possible operating system for future Kindle competitors.

The goal has always been to create a consistent experience between every device that runs a version of the operating system.  If you’re using Windows then it doesn’t matter if you’re on a tablet, a desktop, or a smartphone, because they will all function effectively the same way.  Traditionally Windows has been seen as far too slow and overly large to be considered a cost effective way to handle a dedicated eReader, but this may be changing.  Since Windows 8 emphasizes speed, efficiency, and power consumption, it may well work perfectly to bring that distinct touch-centric Metro style to the reading world.

This wouldn’t be bad news for the Kindle platform, of course.  While Microsoft Is developing their own in-house app store to compete with that of Apple, there is already a Kindle for PC app to play with.  It seems fairly safe to assume that since Microsoft will not be allowing highly customized or restricted copies of their software to be shipped (unlike with Google’s Android), the Kindle app will remain open to anybody using these new tablets and eReaders.

While we’re still a long way from anything certain, especially since the launch of Microsoft’s new operating system is expected no earlier than October, we do know that representatives of the company have hinted at an interest in joining the eReader market.  They don’t build the hardware, so it might be quite a while before anything affordable comes along to demonstrate the potential of the Windows 8 option, but if a barebones copy of the software can be had cheaply enough to match existing prices then it might really shake things up.

Right now the Kindle is dominating the reading world.  None of the Kindle eReaders make use of Android, but the Kindle Fire and any number of competing eReaders do.  Microsoft would have to set prices so low as to shock many people if they really wanted to hope to compete with established products, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so.  They are butting up head to head with Apple and are clearly trying to establish a competing ecosystem.  I don’t see them teaming up with Amazon to offer a dedicated Kindle Store option as an official counter to iBooks, but it’s inevitable that something is brought up to match practically every facet of iOS.  The Kindle might well be caught in the crossfire.

Daily Deals: Chaos Walking Trilogy and Lights Off

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)Today Amazon offers 3 books and a puzzle game: Chaos Walking Trilogy written by Patrick Ness and Lights Off . The price for each of the books is $0.99 and the game you can download for free today only.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

 

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)

Part two of the literary sci-fi thriller follows a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard – and secrets are never safe. Reaching the end of their flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

 

 

 

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)

In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world. As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

 

 

Lights Off - The Original GameWho Turned Off the Lights?

Lights Off is a deceptively simple game that will test the limits of your logic and puzzle-solving skills. The goal is straightforward: turn off all the lights to progress to next level. But as you go up the levels, this task gets harder and harder.

Light Switch Labyrinth

There’s one little catch to turning off the lights. When you turn a light off or on, it toggles all the lights next to it. So, if you tap a light off, all the lights next to it will turn on. Conversely, if you tap a light on, all the lights next to it turn off.

You’ll soon be juggling increasingly difficult light combinations to turn off those lights. To solve each board, you must think ahead three or four steps (or more) into your choices. Turning the lights off has never been this challenging!

Fun Interface

Tap the LCD area to select a level. Lights Off also keeps track of the number of moves you make to solve each board. Reset the board you’re on at any time if you want to start that level over. Featuring smooth animations, subtle sound effects, and beautiful artwork, Lights Off is the perfect way to kill some time and give your brain a workout.

Will Amazon Unwittingly Destroy the Kindle?

Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch

It’s been clear since early this year that as the Kindle Fire was taking off so impressively, Amazon was experiencing some amount of decreased Kindle eReader interest among its customers.   It is probably fair to say that most people expected this.  The Kindle accomplishes its narrow purpose well, but many people will always prefer a device that does many things adequately over one that does one thing extremely well.  As the trend continues, and as the Kindle Fire becomes the first in its own line of tablet products, do we have to worry about this being a popular enough substitution to lead to the end of the Kindle eReader?

A year or two ago I would have, and am known to have, argued against the idea.  The strengths of the Kindle are things that you just can’t match in a tablet.  The Kindle Fire’s inferior screen, shorter battery life, and greater weight all make it a distant second-best for reading activities by comparison.  Clearly not everybody is agreeing with those points, as sales estimates for the popular eReader have been declining coming into this year.

I believe it is possible to argue against this being just a matter of one device being somehow better than the other, though.  The real problem is the way that Amazon has segmented their customer base.

If we assume that the Kindle Fire is more appealing to people who only read occasionally, and who would like to get more regular use out of their purchase, that leaves E Ink Kindle buyers as the more dedicated reader base.  Let’s face it, Amazon’s actions lately have not been entirely pleasant for many fans of literature despite bringing prices down.

People get very attached to their favorite authors, and to the idea of authorship in general.  For many, the “One of these days I’m going to sit down and write a book” mantra is less a matter of actual intent and more a sign of respect for the craft.  The cult popularity springing up around any number of self-published Kindle authors is just another sign of this.  By pitting themselves against groups like the IPG, and thereby inspiring even more public condemnation from big name author and those speaking more or less officially on their behalf, Amazon is damaging their pro-reader stance.

I don’t believe that the eReader as we know it is on the way out.  The E Ink Kindle remains one of the best options for reading that money can buy and the combination of great selection with commitment to customer satisfaction works heavily in Amazon’s favor.  This sort of questionable behavior does much to dampen enthusiasm for the product among potential buyers, though.

So is Amazon biting into Kindle sales?  Definitely.  There’s at least as much interference coming from their heavy-handed negotiation tactics as their tablet alternative, though.  The Kindle Fire is an amazing little device and most people seem glad to have it once they take it home, but for reading nothing can beat E Ink so far.  Sadly, Amazon has been doing some work making sure people have doubts about tying themselves to the otherwise amazing Kindle ecosystem in the long term, and so there are issues.

Daily Deals: A Dangerous Talent and Preschool Cannonball Monkey

Today, on Tuesday, Amazon helps us to start our new working week with A Dangerous Talent (An Alix London Mystery) written by Aaron Elkins which cost only $0.99 and Preschool Cannonball Monkey which everyone can download for free today only.

A Dangerous Talent (An Alix London Mystery)Alix London has a promising career as an art consultant, a sumptuous condo in Seattle’s toniest neighborhood, a gorgeous figure, and a presence that exudes Ivy League breeding and old money. She has it all…or does she? Only Alix knows that the image she presents to the world is a carefully constructed mirage that veils an embarrassing truth. A brilliant, once-promising art student, the daughter of a prominent New York art conservator, her world was left in ruins when her father went to prison for art forgery. Now a Harvard dropout with an emptied bank account, she is languishing in a career that has produced little more than a lucky house-sitting gig. But all of that changes when Alix meets Christine Lemay, a novice art collector with money to burn and a hot tip on a recently discovered painting by American master Georgia O’Keeffe. Chris hires Alix to perform the authentication, an assignment that finally could launch Alix into the big leagues. But soon after her arrival in Santa Fe, she finds herself tangled up in a web of forgery, deceit—and murder. Anxious to avoid becoming the next victim, she teams up with FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth—and gets a little unlikely help from her roguish father—to uncover the truth behind the painting and those who would kill to have it. Sharp, witty, and devilishly fun, A Dangerous Talent offers an insider’s look into the surprisingly treacherous contemporary art world.

Some words about the Author

Charlotte Elkins wrote her first novel while working at the MH de Young Museum in San Francisco. Published under the pseudonym Emily Spenser, it was the first of her five romance novels that have sold in twenty countries. She switched to writing mysteries when she realized how much fun it was to collaborate with her husband, Aaron. Their first novel, A Wicked Slice, was published in 1989; since then, they have co-written four more novels starring a golf-pro-turned-sleuth and several short stories, one of which, “Nice Gorilla,” won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story of the year.

Aaron Elkins’s novels have been published in thirteen languages and made into a major television series. He is the author of sixteen novels featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver and of three mysteries featuring art museum curator Chris Norgren. He has won an Edgar Award and a Nero Wolfe Award, and he shares an Agatha Award with his wife, Charlotte. Aaron’s nonfiction articles have appeared in the New York Time’s travel magazine, Smithsonian magazine, and Writer’s Digest.

 

Preschool Cannonball Monkey

Preschool Cannonball Monkey

Sometimes a monkey loves fruit so much, he’ll do anything to get some more. Too high up? Too far away? Not for this mischievous monkey!

In Preschool Cannonball Monkey, a quirky and fun Android game for young children, a fruit-fixated monkey has gotten really creative in his pursuit of the perfect meal. He’s devised a cannon to propel him into the air, where he can pick all the fruit as quickly as possible.

Monkey Business

Your job is to aim the cannon carefully and then send the monkey flying! As he whooshes through the air, he’ll blast through rows and columns of delectable fruits, grabbing as many tasty treats as he can.

Eat your way through more than 30 levels of charming gameplay in this toddler-friendly game. You can pause the game at any time by double-tapping the screen.

Help the monkey fill his hungry tummy with delicious fruits. Ready, aim, and have fun!

Widespread Kindle Use Prompts FAA Investigation of Safety Regulations

While there is essentially no evidence that use of a Kindle during takeoff will have any effect on the performance of an aircraft no matter what technology it employs, FAA regulations prohibit their use at this time.  It isn’t a matter of ignorance or discrimination on the part of the agency; there are just too many different types of electronic devices and airplanes in use at any given time to be able to safely assume a lack of interaction.  A blanket ban aside from certain white-listed categories makes sense when looked at like that.  As usage of devices like the Kindle increases though, the FAA has felt the pressure to start making some accommodation.

It won’t be a quick transition.  There is a complex system in place for approving a class of devices for use, and in most cases the responsibility for proving safety has rested with the airlines themselves.  Given the expense of such testing, it isn’t really a surprise that the FAA has decided to take matters into its own hands.  Still, we now know that a serious reevaluation of personal electronics like the Kindle is going on.  It is good news, since there has been no evidence of such devices producing any sort of interference and as such we can likely assume that test passing is inevitable.

The only real complication might be the presence of Kindle 3G models that are not easily distinguished from the WiFi models without close inspection.  At this time, the FAA is not considering cell phones of any sort for exclusion from restricted use guidelines.  There is, or at least may be, some potential for the presence of optional cellular connectivity in these eReaders to cause problems.

Pilots are already able to use their iPads during takeoff much of the time in order to view charts and manuals, but each such device is subject to airline scrutiny and must be individually certified, maintained, and generally found to be harmless.  Presumably there is some fear that a broken tablet would have at least some chance of transmitting more interference, based on how handling of this situation has been implemented, which might be an interesting factor that complicates the testing as it moves forward.

While I think we can all agree that it is in the best interest of every passenger to make sure that each flight is as safe as possible, it will definitely improve travel for Kindle owners to have these restrictions lifted.  Chances are good that a fairly large number of passengers sneak in their use during these periods anyway already, and there has not been one confirmed report of interference from any sort of electronic device used by passengers in quite some time.  Modern aircraft are generally well enough made that this simply isn’t the issue it once was.

We have no time frame to work with at the moment, so there is no way of saying how long this testing will take.  It’s been years since the last big round of certification though, dating back to before things like the Kindle even existed.  It seems likely that the FAA will now finally catch up to things and allow people to read in peace during these periods.