Category: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: Anita: A note for you; Daily Deal Fail and Amazon announces Underground 0 comments

broom.panA note for Anita
Dear Anita –
Thank you for the note you sent to us last Saturday. I appreciate your kind words and you brightened my weekend.
When I replied to your e-mail, my message was returned with a very stern note from the Mail-Daemon that the address was rejected. Those notes are always so in-your-face using expressions like “permanent failure.”
Again, thank you and I do enjoy hearing from site visitors.
Daily Deal Fail
Are you happy with the books featured on the Daily Deal?
My personal complaint is that the deal often is not live at midnight as you would expect. At least once a week the deal isn’t posted until as late as 4:00a.m.
I’ve noticed that the books often do not have many reviews. A deal is a deal when a popular book you want to purchase is selling at a great price. A clearance bin is where books that no one is buying are displayed.
Lately the prices of the deals haven’t been all that great, either. On August 22, The Scandalous Duchess was on the Daily Deal for £5.99. On August 23 the price was £4.27. Daily Deal fail!
Amazon announces Underground
This explains the end of the Free App of the Day.
From the new Underground web page:
Amazon Underground is a new app for your Android phone. It has all the functionality of the regular Amazon mobile shopping app. . . plus an exciting addition: Over ten thousand dollars in apps, games and in-app items that are actually free.
Many apps and games that are marked as “free” turn out not to be completely free. They use in-app payments to charge you for special items or to unlock features and levels. In Underground, you will find 100% free versions of popular premium titles like OfficeSuite Professional 8, Goat Simulator and PhotoSuite 4 and popular titles with in-app purchase like Frozen Free Fall, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Angry Birds Slingshot Stella, Looney Toons Dash! and many more.
We’ve made this possible by working out a new business model with app and game developers: We’re paying them a certain amount on a per-minute played basis in exchange for them waiving their normal in-app fees. To be clear, we’re the ones picking up those per minute charges so for you it’s simply free. Just look for apps and games marked with an “Actually Free” banner.
Normally you’d go to Google Play to download an Android app onto your phone. But Google’s rules don’t allow an app that offers apps or games to be included in Google Play. So, you need to download the Underground app directly from (Underground apps and games are automatically available on Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets.)
One last point on this. The Amazon Underground app is a long-term program rather than a one-off promotion. Over time, we’ll continue to invent and add benefits to Underground. For now, enjoy some actually free apps and games.
Thank you for being a customer,
(The Underground Team)

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Housekeeping: Why I love Amazon Prime Membership 0 comments

broom.panWhy do I love Amazon Prime?
I strongly recommend that you take advantage of the 30-day trial Amazon is offering for Amazon Prime Video or Amazon Prime and enjoy the benefits of the membership.
For a monthly fee of £5.99, Amazon Prime Instant Video members can:
•Enjoy unlimited instant streaming of over 15,000 movies and TV shows
•Watch anywhere, anytime with unlimited access throughout the UK
•Watch exclusive hit TV shows before they air on British TV
For an annual fee of £79, Amazon Prime members can:
•Enjoy all the benefits of Amazon Prime Instant Video (listed above)
•Borrow books from a choice of over 500,000 titles from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, including all seven Harry Potter books and other top sellers in the Kindle Store.
•Get unlimited, FREE One-Day Delivery on millions of items
Read all the terms and conditions here.
I became a Prime member when I purchased my first Kindle Fire. Let me count the ways I love it:
• Because I own a Kindle device, I can borrow an e-book free one time each month and keep it for as long as I need before borrowing my next book. The lending library has more than 180,000 selections, including many Amazon-exclusive titles.
• My husband Tiger has always been a movie nut and he loves the unlimited, instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime instant videos. If you buy Amazon Prime for this feature alone, you have purchased a great deal. Here in the United States, the taxes on most monthly cable bill are more than the monthly Prime membership fee. The movies and TV episodes included in free streaming to Prime members is growing nearly every day and there’s always something you want to watch.
With Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theatre Butter Popcorn 32 Bags (£21.00 with free quick shipping) and so many choices for viewing, Tiger and I have enjoyed movies and favorite television shows for much less than cable or the movie theater.
• Amazon continues to add video content for instant streaming in the United States and expectations are that the UK inventory will grow too.
• I no longer have “check-out shock” when shipping costs exceed my expectations. Prime members get unlimited free one-day shipping on millions of items with no minimum order size. Last fall when the apples were ready to pick, we realized we didn’t have the necessary equipment. I ordered a fruit picker with a telescoping pole from Amazon, shipped free. Just two days later we were picking apples and enjoying delicious pie.
When the refrigerator water filter needed replacement, I ordered directly from Amazon and received it within two days. I didn’t have to drive to the appliance store, hoping they had what I needed. If it wasn’t in stock, then I would have had to wait for them to order and receive it before driving back to pick it up.
• Frustration-free packaging is the best! If you have ever broken a fingernail, cut your hand or damaged a product trying to get it out of the package, you will appreciate that most items shipped from Amazon are easy to open. Items shipped from warehouses do not need to be encased in shoplifter-resistant armor like items in brick-and-mortar stores. Anyone with arthritis or other physical limitations will appreciate this feature.
• No more disappointing movie nights when you have to settle for what’s available. When it comes to digital products, you don’t wait for another user to return it before you can access your choice. You can begin reading or watching immediately.
• Amazon clearly identities books that are eligible to borrow and items that qualify for free shipping, I’ve made buying decisions based on the free two-day shipping alone.
Don’t pass up this opportunity to try Amazon Prime free for 30 days.

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Housekeeping – Speed reading and cheap reads 2 comments

Tortoise or Hare?
I finished a book recently that I had been reading for, like, forever. Although not the fastest reader – hats off to all you book-a-day addicts – it rarely takes me two weeks to finish a 300-page novel.
This one seemed promising with a well-known author, a little romance, historical setting, spy intrigue. But getting through that thing was torture. Well, it couldn’t have been that bad because I was just enough interested that I wanted to see how it ended. Thankfully, it did at least end.
When I finally read the last page, I slapped it closed and tossed it in the box to donate to the library for the annual book sale. And then realized what may have been the problem. I had read this book in its “original” paperback format, instead of on the Kindle.
As I thought about it, I believe I read faster on the Kindle and am more inclined to skip slow or boring parts. It’s just so easy to hit that next page button. It’s also not such a burden to step away from a book part way through. While a printed book will lay on the night stand laying a guilt trip til the bookmark moves closer to the end, I don’t feel so bad to choose another book on the Kindle homepage, with a promise to get back to that other book later. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but no one but will ever know.
Do you think you read faster with Kindle books than with printed ones? Feel free to comment on the post.
Frightfully cheap reads
Looking for a book to scare the dickens out of you? These three books are selling for only £0.99 each.

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Housekeeping: Kindle notes and cheap reads 0 comments

A couple of Kindle notes
1. When you are in the Kindle Store browsing for books, Amazon provides a sort by feature. Among the choices are price low to high, price high to low, and publication date. Until a few days ago, the choice of bestselling was available. It has been replaced with popularity. This may be because of the many free books that are offered on the Kindle. Will the London Times change their list to London Times Most Popular Books?
2. The Kindle Wi-Fi just announced by Amazon may soon become the most popular Kindle yet. The lower price and simplicity of design will make the device popular for children and users who shy from technology. Casual readers will join the e-reader revolution.
Two short story collections by Michael Connelly for only £0.99 each
Like all of you, I am a very busy person. Working a full-time job and maintaining three websites doesn’t leave much time for reading. I’ve found myself reading novellas and short stories instead of full-length novels. Electronic books are a boon to the short story publication as the length is not dependent on printer requirements. Two Michael Connelly short story collections are selling for only £0.99 each. That’s cheap reads, no matter the length.
Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories: (£0.99) In SUICIDE RUN, the apparent suicide of a beautiful young starlet turns out to be much more sinister than it seems. In CIELO AZUL, Bosch is haunted by a long-ago closed case – the murder of a teenage girl who was never identified. As her killer sits on death row, Bosch tries one last time to get the answers he has sought for years. In ONE DOLLAR JACKPOT, Bosch works the murder of a professional poker player whose skills have made her more than one enemy.
Angle of Investigation: Three Harry Bosch Short Stories: (£0.99) In CHRISTMAS EVEN, the case of a burglar killed in mid-heist leads Bosch to retrace a link to his past. In FATHER’S DAY, Bosch investigates a young boy’s seemingly accidental death and confronts his own fears as a father. In ANGLE OF INVESTIGATION, Bosch delves into one of the first homicides he ever worked back as a uniformed rookie patrolman, a case that was left unsolved for decades.

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Housekeeping – Drying out the Kindle, Updated E-books, and a Cheap Read 0 comments

Water, water, water . . .
After I wrote on our US site about my dad’s Kindle taking on water during a wicked storm, several wrote suggesting that the Kindle could be placed in a zippered plastic bag with uncooked white rice to aid the drying process. Keith said that that rice will absorb moisture from the internals of the electronics and he’s seen it work with a phone. He also cautioned that you needed to resist all temptation to turn on the device for at least 48 hours. If it is really wet, waiting longer would be wise. Keith said if you give in and turn on the device and “any residual moisture is still in there, it’ll be fried.” Might be a way to get a tablet. I’m just saying. . . 
A print book doesn’t offer this
If you have read much, you have encountered the dreaded punctuation error, misuse of a word or typographical misstep. With the rise of e-readers utilizing different and complex file structures, formatting errors detract from the reading experience.
Unique to electronic publishing, the purchaser may be given the opportunity to receive a corrected version of electronic books at no additional cost.
Last week I received three opportunities to replace e-books with errors. Two of the books were independently published; one was from a traditional publisher. Below is the body of an e-mail I received:

We’re writing about your past Kindle purchase of Book by Author Author. The version you received had typos and formatting that have been corrected.

An updated version of Book (ASIN:Bxxxxxx) is now available. It’s important to note that when we send you the updated version, you will no longer be able to view any highlights, bookmarks, and notes made in your current version and your furthest reading location will be lost.

If you wish to receive the updated version, please reply to this email with the word “Yes” in the first line of your response. Within 2 hours of receiving the e-mail any device that has the title currently downloaded will be updated automatically if the wireless is on.

I rarely highlight, bookmark, or make notes so I replied to accept the revised editions. The choice is always yours.
A Kindle Bestseller 
Written by Darcie Chan, A Mill River Recluse has become one of the bestselling Kindle books in recent weeks. The book is selling for only £0.86 today.
Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont. Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.
Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, though insignificant, fixtures. An arsonist, a covetous nurse, and the endearing village idiot are among the few who have ever seen Mary. Newcomers to Mill River–a police officer and his daughter and a new fourth grade teacher–are also curious about the reclusive old woman. But only Father Michael O’Brien knows Mary and the secret she keeps–one that, once revealed, will change all of their lives forever.
The Mill River Recluse is a story of triumph over tragedy, one that reminds us of the value of friendship and the ability of love to come from the most unexpected of places.
Click here to purchase The Mill River Recluse

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Housekeeping – Taking on Water, Cheap Reads including Agatha Christie 0 comments

I don’t recommend you try this. . .
Our area of the United States has experienced very wicked weather in the last few weeks – hail, 80-100 mph winds, torrential rain, more hail, and more rain. The windows on the north side of buildings and homes were broken by hail and then rain came inside, driven by the wind. My father’s house was damaged and his Kindle took direct hits from the hail and rain. Having a leather cover helped, but the Kindle took on water.
My sister removed the cover and put the Kindle in the sun. After some nail-biting concern, all was working fine a day and a half later.
If you are in an area that is expecting inclement weather, I would encourage you to charge your Kindle to the fullest and keep a zippered plastic bag handy to protect your Kindle from water. You can purchase a water-proof cover for the Kindle.
Cheap Reads
The Friday Project has many of their books greatly reduced – some as low as £0.49. Click on the link to see the selection which includes these books, each selling for £0.49:

Agatha Christie Short Stories now available for download
HarperCollins has released twenty-five classic Agatha Christie short stories, available individually for the first time in ebook form. The stories are priced at £0.49 each and are available now to download.
 The top five selling stories as I prepare this are:
Poirot and the Regatta Mystery
The Case of the Caretaker
The Under Dog
Witness for the Prosecution
Tape Measure Murder

Click here to access the Agatha Christie Short Story Selection

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Housekeeping: Read a book and be happy, Top Four Summer Reads 0 comments

Read a book, be happy
University of Maryland (United States) research by sociology professor John Robinson covering 30 years of data has shown that people who read and socialize are happier than those who watch television. The reading material doesn’t matter. Whether you are reading a light-hearted beach book, a gripping thriller, an historic account, or an emotional book with a depressing story line, research shows you are happier than television watchers. You can read the full press release here.
Top Four Summer Reads
Over the next few weeks we will be featuring posts of the Top Four Summer reads of several authors and seasoned book reviewers. Today are my (Paula) top four. With a full-time job and the three sites, time to read is scarce. Much of my reading is for the jr. edition of DailyCheapReads or shorter works of fiction.
Cat O’ Nine Tales : (£5.31) includes In the Eye of the Beholder, a short story sold individually in the United States: A charming story of how two young men who were in school together continued on through adulthood, crossing paths even though they are very different men with divergent careers. The beauty of any created work – whether a person or man-made art – is indeed in the eye of the beholder. The ending was not expected, but re-enforced the idea of the story title. Pen and ink drawings add a bit of whimsy to the story. The product description states that this story is one of Jeffrey Archer’s personal favorites which makes me wonder if the story is autobiographical. Does anyone know?

Royal Weddings: An Original Anthology : (£0.99) Ahhh, a royal wedding. I joined the worldwide wedding watchers and loved the ceremony. I also read a few books released this spring in honor of the event. The three short Regency romances in this anthology were written by favorite authors and were rich with pomp and pageantry of British society. My favorite was Gaelen Foley’s Ever After. A countess falls in love with her husband. Imagine that!
The Millionaire Next Door: (£5.52) I’ve read several of Dr. Stanley’s books and purchased this book when it was included in the Sunshine Deals featured in the US Kindle Store. Even as a re-read I learned many behaviors that all of us can practice to be wiser with our money and assets. No doubt some of the people living in our town are millionaires. . . . they just don’t toot their horn about it.
The Husband Trap: (£4.51) During a three day trip I read this first book in an historic romance trilogy by Tracy Anne Warren. It’s a familiar plot of twin sisters trading places at a wedding. The bad twin was very bad; the good twin was just a little too gullible, but overall a good summer read. I found time to read the remaining two books of the trilogy: The Wife Trap (£3.57) and The Wedding Trap ( £4.53) The bad twin gets her come-uppance.

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Housekeeping: From the In-Box and a Cheap Read 0 comments

Out of the in-box
Vicki dropped us a note telling us about a fraud alert from her credit card company. Vicki immediately thought of her daughter and the new phone she had acquired. But, no, it wasn’t her daughter. Vicki had tripped the fraud alert with her many small purchase amounts from Amazon. When she explained the charges were legitimate and that she loved to read and found books through DailyCheapReads, the credit card company representative took down the website address to share with her mother – a woman who also loves to read and loves her Kindle.
We appreciate that you share the site with others and hope that you don’t trip a fraud alert to have the opportunity. I’ve often wondered why Amazon doesn’t total our Kindle purchases at the end of the day and send one charge through to the credit card company. Then again, it doesn’t look so bad when it is in $1.99, $2.99, and similar doses.
Read the book before the movie releases
Suzanne Collins is one of the first young adult authors to sell over one million Kindle ebooks. The Hunger Games, the first in her popular trilogy, has been made into a movie . The movie is rumored to release sometime in March of next year. The book is much beloved by young adults and adults; it is frequently chosen for discussions in book clubs and on book forums. Read it before the movie at the great price of £1.99.
Book description: A fight to the death – on live TV. The game show where you kill or die, and where the winner’s prize is survival. In District 12, where Katniss Everdeen lives, life is harsh and brutal, ruled from afar by the all-powerful leaders of the Capitol. The climax of each year is the savage Hunger Games – where twelve boys and twelve girls from each District face each other in a murderous showdown. When sixteen-year-old Katniss is chosen to represent her district in the Games, everyone thinks it’s a death sentence. Only one person can survive the horrors of the arena. But plucky Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature…Buy the very popular book today for only £1.99.

Click here to purchase The Hunger Games

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Housekeeping – Comments on Collections and a Cheaper Read 3 comments

Commentary on Collections
Two electronic devices I love like an appendage: my cell phone and my Kindle.
Two electronic devices I could improve: my cell phone and my Kindle.
For the phone, I’d make a docking station that would amplify the ringer so I could hear it all through the house. As for the Kindle, I’d make the collections feature more useful.
When Amazon added the ability to sort your e-books into collections, it was a big step forward from a single list of books on the homepage. Yet it still falls short of what it really should be. Columnist Clayton Morris describes the frustrations because collections don’t show up on the Kindle app on smartphones.
My biggest wish is that the collections carried over into the archives. It would be nice when I’m in the mood for, say, a good mystery, I could just open that file instead of sorting through a list of titles that don’t mean too much if you haven’t read the book. That’s another thing I’d do – make a folder to archive books after I’ve read them. Another file for freebies that I have no intention reading but couldn’t resist because they were free. As it is, if there’s a book I think I’ll be interested in reading in the next few months, I keep it stored on the device rather than risk losing it that ever-growing list of archived items.
Feel free to share any tips you’ve picked up in using the collections feature.
I just discovered a cell phone ringer at Looks like the Kindle is the only thing left to fix.
If you are not familiar with Collections on your Kindle, you can read about the feature here.
A Reduced Price on a Three-Book Bundle
In June we featured The Oslo Trilogy by Jo Nesbo. The set was selling then for £9.48. Today the price is £8.09 making the bundle an even better cheap read.
The Redbreast: A report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks Detective Harry Hole’s interest. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. Next, Harry’s former partner is murdered. Why had she been trying to reach Harry on the night she was killed?
Nemesis: A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Harry begins his investigation but after a dinner with an old flame, wakes up with no memory of the last 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead and he begins to receive threatening emails: is someone is trying to frame him for her death?
The Devil’s Star: When a young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid, Harry is assigned the case alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler. On notice to quit the force, Harry is forced to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.

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Housekeeping: Summer Poll and The Next Kindle 0 comments

Summer, Summer, Summer!
Summer is a favorite time of year as we love the fresh fruits and vegetables, taking time to travel and relax, and enjoying outdoor activities. Summer means fun and we have developed a series of polls all in the spirit of fun. The polls are loosely based on the popular series, Worst Case Scenario. Take a minute to vote in the poll on the right sidebar and join the fun.
Where, oh where, has the little Kindle gone?
Did you notice that the mini-Kindle picture has been removed from the book cover picture of Kindle books? Between Two Seas(£0.99) before and after book covers show the change. Is Amazon preparing for the next Kindle device that looks very different from previous Kindles?
Speaking of the Next Kindle Device
Engadget had an article that speculates Amazon will announce a Kindle tablet as early as August. You can read the full article here. I use a Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet and the device pictured in this article has a similar appearance. If you have an Android-based device, the four symbols at the bottom of the photo will look very familiar.
Very Cheap Reads – Only £0.49 Each

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