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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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March 2017
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Charles Dickens Bicentennial Celebration

This week, there are celebrations around the world to commemorate the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, one of the most notable authors in literary history.  Most, if not all of Dickens’ novels are available on the Kindle for free.

A Christmas Carol is probably the most well known Dickens masterpiece because it is often read at Christmas and is a popular play.  It has also been adapted for film multiple times over the past 50 years.  All of his other works have also have been adapted for theatre productions.

I had to read Hard Times and Great Expectations in high school and college, but I never really got to know the background behind the writing.  If I ever do decide to tackle them again, I want to explore the inspiration that contributed to the development of the characters.  When you are in high school, reading classics always seems like such a chore.

Dickens faced a lot of adversity in his younger years.  His father spent time in prison because of debt.  Dickens had to quit school and work in a shoe factory.  The hardships that Dickens experienced were manifested in his writing.  Many of his characters are children who face some sort of obstacle.

Think of Oliver Twist, who begged for more food and got reprimanded for asking.  Food that was barely more than slop at that.  There are so many important lessons woven through each story.  Hard Times reveals a world based only on facts.  Also notice the irony of the names in the book.  The characters’ names are often the opposite of their personalities.  Anything outside linear thinking is unaccepted.  Ebenezer Scrooge gets visits from the supernatural who remind him the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving.

Charles Dickens made a profound effect on the literary world during his short life.  He died of a stroke at the age of 58.  Even if you hated his novels during school, you might find that you get a lot more out of them as an adult.  Charles Dickens’ books, as well as many other classics, are all free on the Kindle and Kindle supported devices.

Meanwhile, I need to go tackle A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield.  Surprisingly enough, I never had to read them in school.  It is always good to at least have some knowledge of the major classics because it is rare for literature to stand the test of time like his novels have.

 

 

Best Places to find Free Kindle Books

There are many options on where to find free Kindle books.  Amazon has dedicated a page to list all of the options.  The only catch is that you really have to be diligent about tracking the special promotions.  They disappear quickly.

First off, the Kindle Store has limited time promotions on different books.  I’ve found some good ones through the Top 100 Free Kindle books list.  This list is updated hourly, so if you see one you like, grab it immediately.  the list includes popular free games such as Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles.

The free books offered by the Kindle Store are mostly romantic or religious themed.  But, if you take some time to look through the list, you can find some books with a good storyline.  It is a great opportunity to explore new authors who don’t get the recognition from the big name publishers.

Pre 1923 classics can be found in a variety of places.  Project Gutenberg is one of the original sources for free e-books.  It currently has a collection that includes roughly 30,000 titles.  You can download the books to your Kindle via USB.

Amazon’s free book page provides links to Project Gutenberg, as well as other internet based e-books.  Open Library, ManyBooks.net, and Internet Archive offer up to millions of titles.  For web based e-books and limited previews, check out Google books.

Some great programs were launched this Fall: Kindle Library Lending and Kindle Owner’s Library Lending.  Kindle Library Lending is available in 11,000 and counting libraries across the US.  Most libraries have a widget somewhere on their website that directs you to their Kindle books available through OverDrive.  My local public library just added Kindle Library Lending, and it offers a mix up new and old books.  There is already a waiting list on many of them.

Amazon Prime members can access the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.  It is a Netflix for books type deal.  You can only check out one book a month, but it doesn’t have a due date.  The library includes over 5000 books.  Lots of bestsellers in the collection.  One thing to note is that you have to download the book directly from your Kindle direction instead of on Amazon’s website.

So, to sum it up, there are tons of free e-book options available for all of the Kindles.  The great thing about the free classics is that you can use them for school.  The physical books are not that expensive, but with a lot of them it can add up.  Free is always good!

I’m hoping that if I wait long enough, the Steve Jobs biography and other major bestsellers will be available for lending.  But, that will probably be awhile.

 

Free Kindle Book – Change of Heart by Fran Shaff

 Change of Heart is a heartwarming, yet grief stricken love story that is certainly worth reading.  It is currently on the Kindle Top 100 list of free books.  It is hard to gauge how long a book is going to be free, so catch it while you can.

Change of Heart is set in the 1850’s Midwestern United States.  Marietta Randolph lives in Chicago, and is forced to travel to the wild lands of Nebraska to pick up her nephew.  Zack’s parents, Kathy and Clint, were murdered by “savages”.  So, Marietta has to fulfill her legal guardian duties that she agreed to in case anything happened to her sister and and brother in law.

She makes the long trip to Nebraska in a carriage.  There she meets Jase, Clint’s brother.  Jase is like a second father to Zack, and took him in after his parents’ death.

In the usual fashion of Western romances, you have the incredibly appealing rancher.  Add being trapped in a snow storm, and you can probably figure out the rest of that part of the story.

Fran Shaff has the ability to capture the reader’s attention and make her stories so real that the reader just escapes into the fictional world..  The element of grief and family adds depth to the story.  I love books like that.  It is so nice to escape into another world for awhile.

She has won a number of awards for her Romance writings, as well as Children’s literature.  She also won E-Book of the Month Award from MyShelf.com.  Most of her books are available for Kindle, and are $3.99 and under.

So, if you’re a fan of sweet romances, give Change of Heart a try.  The reviews overall are positive.

C. Donne

“CHANGE OF HEART will touch a place deep in your heart. Marietta, Jason, and Zack all lost people they loved deeply when Clint and Kathy died, together they are able to comfort each other and begin to heal the wounds that are left when something so horrible happens to someone you love. I adored the unselfishness both Marietta and Jason show by their willingness to make sacrifices for Zack. Fran Shaff does an amazing job pulling the reader into the story so that you feel like you’re really part of it. I became so involved, I’d read all the way through the story before I even realized it, and was extremely impressed to find myself so emotionally involved that I cried at several points. “

Free Kindle Book -Thanksgiving Cookbook by Gooseberry Patch

The holidays are fast approaching and that means lots of delicious recipes.  A cookbook  in particular that is full of holiday treats is the free Kindle edition of Thanksgiving Cookbook.

Thanksgiving Cookbook includes 24 recipes, mostly involving pumpkin or turkey, but there are some others like harvest apple cheesecake.  Yum!  I love apple cider.  The cookbook includes several different recipes for it as well.

The set up and design of Thanksgiving Cookbook is pretty easy to read and doesn’t require too much fancy navigation.  It just moves from recipe to recipe.  There are little decorating tidbits at the bottom.  I enjoyed these because they sure do get creative with common household items.

The only big suggestion that I have as far as the layout of the book goes, is to include a table of contents so that the reader doesn’t have to go through the introductory section.  The best way to skip to the recipes you want is to go to the Kindle’s menu and select the “go to” option.  Once there, just select “table of contents.”  I admit that searching for recipes on the Kindle is a little more cumbersome than searching for them in a traditional recipe book or card that has colorful markers.

Gooseberry Patch is a company run by two women who wanted to work from home to raise their families.  The style of the cookbook is very warm and family oriented.  Very fitting with Thanksgiving being such a family style holiday.

So, stock up on Kindle cookbooks like Thanksgiving Cookbook.  Another good, free cookbook to try that isn’t holiday themed, is called Prevention Healthy Favorites.  I’m sure there will be a lot of holiday cookbooks, and even non holiday ones popping up in the Kindle Free book list.  So, keep an eye out for them.  You can’t go wrong because they’re free!

Serene

“Gooseberry Patch is one of my favorite companies. A while back, they often produced little cookbooks on a variety of topics. This is one of them. If you are expecting a large book, be forewarned, there are only 24 selected recipes in this book. The Kindle version, however is nicely formatted with good hyperlinks to each recipe, and cute clip art added to make the pages look less barren. ”

Benjamin Lew

“I found this Thanksgiving cookbook to be very helpful with the upcoming holidays coming up. The illustations were wonderful and it has gotten me inspired to learn some new ideas and ways of cooking the presenting the holiday fall meals. Lots of great pratical advice and wonderful receipes.”

Free Kindle Book – Just the Way You Are by Barbara Freethy

I’ve read a few of Barbara Freethy’s romance novels, and have really enjoyed them because they have storylines that tend to have more depth than your basic, trashy romance novel.

Just the Way You Are is about two sisters: Tessa and Alli.  Alli seduces Tessa’s boyfriend, Sam Tucker and that leads to a surprise pregnancy and a troubled marriage.

In sibling relationships, there is often one sibling that is super successful.  That sibling may have the good looks, an amazing job, and the husband or significant other that everyone else would die to have.  Alli lives in the shadow of Tessa, who is a supermodel.  So, this book examines the dynamic of sibling relationships.

The unifying symbol in Just the Way You Are is a pearl necklace that Alli and Tessa’s grandmother, Phoebe started with her husband.  After Phoebe has a stroke, Alli and Tessa come together to find the last pearl in the necklace.  The pearl necklace represents the love their grandparents have, and it helps heal the wounds from the past.

Just the Way You Are will probably not be on the list of free Kindle books very long.  Right now it is #1 on the Top 100 list.  So, if I were you, I’d grab it soon before it goes off the free list.

If you’re into sweet romance novels and beach reads, other authors similar to Freethy are Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, and Barbara Delinsky.  There are more that you’ll find listed as suggestions when you look up these authors.  Most of their Kindle books are pretty cheap.  They’re not always just about romance.  They explore other types of relationships as well.

After going over the reviews, I saw that several reviewers mentioned how real the characters seemed.  I love it when authors create stories that let you escape into the characters’ lives and forget that they aren’t real people.

Viaggiatrice

“The best romance novels are the ones that do not follow formula (at least in every aspect). Barbara Freethy has always been good at making her characters a little more realistic and a little less cookie-cutter. It is a great relief to find someone who does. This story is very well done. None of the characters is a saint, all have insecurities and doubts, and each is very flawed.”

amie

“I always enjoy Barbara Freethy’s style of writing before. She always manages to create characters that real, who are not flawless, and fill with insecurities — which make them real human. And the new novel “Just The Way You Are” impresses me just like others.”

 

 

Free Kindle Book – The Pastor’s Wife by Jennifer Allee

You might notice from looking through the Top 100 Free Kindle books list that there are a lot of religious themed books on there.  The Pastor’s Wife is one of them, but it takes on a different perspective than the average Christian fiction novel.

Maura Sullivan married Nick Shepherd six years ago and he took over the congregation of a small church in Granger, Ohio.  Nick gets so sucked into helping the members of his congregation that he neglects his marriage.  The rift in Nick and Maura’s marriage grows so wide that Maura goes back to California to work with her father.

The story opens when Maura gets a letter from a recently deceased member of the Granger community who gives Maura an old theater in her will.  The theater comes with a stipulation though.  Without spoiling the plot too much, this stipulation reveals the issues in Maura and Nick’s marriage, and forces them to confront them head on.

The Pastor’s Wife is told from a unique perspective because it gives an honest portrayal of how the pastor must balance the needs of his congregation with the needs of his wife and family.  Sometimes church members can certainly take up a lot of a pastor’s time and energy.

So, The Pastor’s Wife is a sweet, but thought provoking story.  I really enjoy these types of books because they give me a break from hectic daily life while teaching me little life lessons.  Trust me, I like my fair share of suspense and intense plots, but stories like The Pastor’s Wife have their place as well.

One of the other things I liked was how real the characters were.  Even the pastor had his own flaws to work out.  So, I felt like I could relate to them better that way.

Carla Stewart

“The story is tender and woven with grace. Jennifer raises many questions about the relationship of a pastor with his congregation and his family. Does God call a man or a couple? What roles are appropriate for the wife of a pastor? It gave me a new perspective in what it must be like to live the “fish bowl” life. A thought-provoking, but gentle book from a lovely author.”

Judi Bush

“I took a chance on this free Kindle book and I’m glad I did. Jennifer Ailee’s story of hope that turned to disappointment, brokenness that led to healing and redemption is wrapped in an easy reading story that keeps you interested throughout the book. This is the style of story that calls you to a cozy chair where you curl up and escape your busyness and are inspired to see challenges through.”

 

 

Free Kindle Book – Rain Song by Alice Wisler

Rain Song is Alice Wisler’s first novel.  She has since written several others that I have yet to read, but intend to.  Wisler grew up in Japan, but now resides in North Carolina.  You’ll find elements of Wisler’s own life woven throughout this book.  For a limited time, Rain Song is free on the Kindle, and is in the top 20 of the Kindle Top 100 free books list.

Rain Song is thought provoking, with a relaxed, conversational tone.  If you want action and suspense, you might want to consider something different.  It is a curl up on the couch on a rainy day with a cup of tea type book.  Rain Song is set in Mt. Olive, North Carolina, and the main character is Nicole Michelin, a 31 year old middle school English teacher.

The book is about overcoming fears and getting what you truly want from life.  Rain Song also focuses on Nicole’s relationship with her family, particularly her close relationship with her grandmother and her young cousin.

Nicole was born in Japan and lived there until tragedy took the life of her mother. She has an extreme fear of flying.  Nicole fights to overcome her fears of flying as she develops a special relationship with Harrison Michaels, a young man living in Japan who responds to her columns on a fish website.  You’ll discover how Harrison plays an important role in his connection with her time in Japan.

When striving to overcome fears, it is important to keep your eyes on what’s on the other side.  Nicole had the choice of whether she wanted to let her fear of flying run her life, or face it head on in order to have the ability to get the things she truly wanted.

It took me a little while to get into Rain Song, but I liked reading from Nicole’s perspective, and her thoughts and interactions with her family and peers.  I also enjoyed learning a little bit about Japanese culture.

Dana Lorelle

“This is one of those books that makes me grateful for public libraries — because if not for a display of this author’s books in honor of her coming booksigning in our town I would never have stumbled upon this little gem. It is a deceptively simple book — on the surface the plot would take about three lines to summarize and the characters an equal amount of text. Yet swimming beneath that is depth of thought, of feeling, of description. It’s one of those books that makes me question the separation between the narrator and the author herself because the main character is so real, except that the author has published multiple books. The realism of her narrator, then, speaks to talent and imagination — as does the book itself. “

Good Resources for Free and Discounted Kindle Books

If you’re vigilant about tracking the daily Kindle news, you will find a bunch of good books for free or discounted prices.  They don’t stay discounted for very long, so you have to act fast.

Bookmark Amazon.com’s reader forums.  Overall, these are good resources for anything Kindle related.  Kindle users are the best judges of what works best and what doesn’t.  But, for discounted and free books, check out the forum titled: Discounted / Price Dropped Kindle eBooks.  Put that title in the search box since there’s no way to directly link to the forum itself.  There’s also a Free Kindle book forum that is worth checking as well.  Even if you don’t find a book you like, keep checking.  This forum is updated often.

Don’t forget to check the Top 100 Free Kindle bestsellers list.  A lot of these books are cheesy romance novels or self help books.  Occasionally though, you’ll find a bestseller, or other good book to try out.  About half of the books on my Kindle came from this list.  I was able to discover new favorite authors by finding their books here.  The list also includes Kindle games and active content.

Don’t forget the new Kindle Daily Deals going on.  They include major discounts on bestselling books.  There are some bestsellers that I can’t afford the full price for.  Some are as much as $15!  So, I’ve been keeping track of the Daily Deals to see if they show up there.  One of the most notable ones to show up on the Daily Deals was The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly.

Through the forums, I found a great website that provides alerts when prices are dropped on a book.  It is called eReaderIQ.com.   The website lets you track Kindle price drops, search for your favorite books, view the free Kindle book list, and see what books have been recently converted to Kindle.  The recently converted book option is quite handy.  There are a bunch of other discounted Kindle book websites.  You’ll find them recommended by readers on the forums, and pretty much anywhere there are discussions regarding the e-reader and e-books.

Aside from all of the resources here, you can check out the Amazon Kindle Twitter and Facebook page for more news and discount sale information.  The Facebook page has been an excellent resource for both authors and readers alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Kindle Textbooks

At first, when I came across this free e-book source, I was suspicious that this website will be our regular free e-book scam full of links that lead to anything, but the e-books. However, after some quality time spent on Open Culture, I was impressed by the textbook section.

To access it, press “Textbooks” on the right top corner. Though, the list of free textbooks is not very extensive, the variety of subjects is pretty nice: Linguistics, Physics, Mathematics, Political Science, Music, History, Biology, Economics & Finance, Engineering, Earth Science etc.

The textbooks are offered in various formats. The reason for this is that the books are hosted on different servers. This is a well selected collection of links that lead to text-books’ locations. For example, A Textbook of the History of Painting by John Charles Van Dyke is actually located on Project Gutenberg site. Hence, there is an option for downloading it in MOBI format for your Kindle. Introduction to Physical Oceanography by Dr. Robert Stewart is hosted by Texas A&M University and it is in PDF format. Calculus by Gilbert Strang is offered by MIT in PDF format.

Also, Open Culture collects the list of the usual classics and links for free audiobooks.

Open Source’s list of textbook perhaps is one of the better lists I’ve seen so far. Hopefully, you kindlized students out there will find this source useful. Happy studying!

Reactions to Free E-books

Lately, I can’t help myself but notice a new emerging movement of free e-books haters. Mind you, I’m not talking about the pirated free e-books haters. That emotional response to copyright infringement is congruent. I mean a group of people, who dislikes the fact that:

1) free e-books exist;

2) free e-books are popular among readers.

direct publishingWhere do I see these people? Well, they tend to hang out around Kindle-related websites leaving vehement anti-free e-books comments here and there. You probably know what I’m talking about.

To my astonishment, I discovered a common trait among the free e-book haters (how about I just call them FEH): they tend to be authors themselves. So, why would the wise writers be so against the fact that their fellow writer decided to offer his/hers work for free?

It appears that FEH perceive readers as ungrateful, evil crocodiles who only want to consume free stuff and never pay for the literary labor. Well, that’s just silly! A thankful reader, who enjoyed a freebie will always go looking for more books by the author he/she enjoyed.

So, I have a theory. You see, FEH usually are recently sprouted authors with one e-published work, with some useless subject matter, say How to Choose Your Paper Mate Pen Wisely: a Very Thorough Guide (sponsored by Paper Mate). So, if they put their sole literary child out there for free, then how would they make their first billion? And that’s how we get “Free e-books spoil people! Let’s close all the public libraries!” (© imaginary FEH).

Of course, this theory relies on a completely hypothetical situation, which is most likely absurdly inaccurate. However, the point is that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) influenced publishing towards making it more accessible. As a result, the modern literary world not only expanded, but also became more commercialized. There are many emerging authors, who write not for the love of writing, but for the chance to “win” a lottery in publishing business. And the concept of free books is just standing in their way.

I hope I’m wrong about it. Although, if I’m somewhere close to the truth – dear FEH, your chances to make a fortune on a useless guide will come true only in case if a million of e-book shoppers will stumble and fall on “buy this guide” button. Or, it might be one unfortunate shopper – stumbling and falling a million times. Perhaps, you might need to reconsider changing a profession from a pure business person to a business person, who writes well. And very possibly, the hostility toward free e-books will somewhat diminish in its proportions.

Yours truly,

– one (e-)book(/guide) author