Tag Archives: tips

Kindle Quick Tips: How to Organize Your Free E-Books

Do you like to “buy” lots of free books, but you don’t want them all downloaded to your Kindle? Not a problem. Try this.

1. Install Kindle for PC (or Mac) on your computer.
2. When you “buy” a free book, have it sent to your Kindle desktop app instead of your Kindle
3. Select a Collection category for your new book

You can import all your collections from your Kindle, just like in the screenshot below, so you won’t lose any of your organization. 

When you’re ready for a new book, browse your collections on your computer, select a new book and go to the “Manage Your Kindle” page on Amazon to send the selected book to your Kindle.



This way it’s easy to organize all your free books without taking up lots of space on your Kindle.

Kindle FreeTime workaround for non-Amazon books

An interesting question popped up last month on Kindleboards.

A mom wanted to set up FreeTime—the app included on Kindle Fire HD that allows parents to create a customized content experience—for her son on the Fire HD. A lot of his books were not purchased from Amazon, so when she sent them to the Fire, they were classified as “personal documents” and didn’t show up under any of the FreeTime tabs.

She converted the books to EPUB, side-loaded an EPUB reader and figured that would fix it. Nope. Sideloaded apps also don’t show up on FreeTime. She called Amazon Customer Service, and they said what she wanted couldn’t be done.

But they were wrong. I remembered that the OverDrive Media Console was available as a Fire app, so I suggested she try that.

It worked. OverDrive shows up under the FreeTime apps tab. She used Dropbox to load the books into Overdrive and everyone was happy.

I hope this helps other parents who are struggling with non-Amazon content in FreeTime.

Anyone know of another work-around?

IFTTT recipes for ebook users

IFTTT is an awesome tool, which lets users automate several daily web tasks. Some of them are related to e-books, and I’ll list them in this post.

The name is an acronym for “if this then that” … which is a decent explanation of what, exactly, the service can do for you.

For example: If there’s a new item on my Pinterest board, then upload it to a specific Facebook photo album. If I shared a new photo on Instagram, then download this photo to Dropbox. If there’s a new free app of the week on iTunes, then send me an email.

There are a lot of useful recipes on IFTTT, and what makes this service even more interesting is the fact that you can create your own.

Triggers, channels, actions … this may all sound too technical, but it’s just a first impression. The service is extremely easy to use. All you have to do is to sign up and activate your preferred services, like Twitter, email, Tumblr, Buffer, Evernote, SoundCloud, or any number of others.

After you’re done with a list of your channels, you can start browsing for the recipes. When you find the one you want to use, in many cases it’s just a matter of filling in the email address or title and clicking on a Use Recipe button.

Below, you’ll find most useful IFTTT ebook recipes.

1. When a new book is added to Kindle Top 100 Free Ebooks, send me an email

Click on the recipe, and if you’ve already activated your email address, all you have to do is to click on the Use Recipe button. You can also adjust the content of the email to fit your needs. (Try changing the title, for instance.)

IFTTT Kindle Free Top 100 Mail

2. When a new Kindle Daily Deal arrives, send me an email

This recipe sends an email every day, shortly after the books are added to the Kindle Daily Deal (12:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time).

Unlike other Kindle Daily Deal IFTTT recipes (which are based on Twitter search results, usually from an official Amazon Kindle Twitter account – and are nothing more than a 140-character text) this recipe includes the following in an email:

  • book title
  • book cover
  • short description of the book
  • yesterday’s price
  • today’s discount
  • Kindle Daily Deal price
  • link to the book’s page on Amazon.com

3. Convert and send books and documents from Dropbox to Kindle

If you save a .pdf or .doc document to a public Dropbox folder dropbox/public/convert2kindle, this recipe will convert it to Kindle format (azw) and send it to your Kindle (via @free.kindle.com address).

IFTTT Dropbox Kindle

4. RSS feed items to Kindle

If a new item is added to the RSS feed you specified, it will be automatically sent to your Kindle. Things to do: Type RSS feed; type email address of your Kindle.

IFTTT RSS to Kindle

5. If tagged as “Kindle” in Google Reader then send to Kindle

If you decide to use this recipe, you’ll automatically get delivered to your Kindle any Google Reader entry that you tag with “Kindle”. Specify the email address of your Kindle, and you’re good to go.

Obviously, you can choose a different tag – type it in the Trigger section.

IFTTT Kindle Google Reader

6. If Kindle/Kindle-related item is added to Amazon Gold Box, send me an email

This recipe looks for Amazon Gold Box items with “Kindle” as a keyword. It’s based on the original RSS Gold Box feed. If you’ve ever checked the deal page on Amazon, you’re aware that dozens of deals are fired up every day, and that it’s hard to browse through all of them to get to the one you may be interested in.

The best part about this recipe is that you can replace the word “Kindle” with any keyword you want.

7. If the app is discounted/goes free in iTunes Book Category, send me an email

Based on an RSS feed from AppShopper, where any app is added if it becomes free or discounted. The email will include the app’s description, icon, price change, and iPhone/iPad compatibility info.

8. New Free App of the Day in Amazon Android App Store, send me an email

Every day one Android application from Amazon App Store goes free. If you don’t want to miss a chance to get an interesting app, use this simple recipe. You’ll receive an email once a day with the free app. This is particularly handy for users in the United States, as the Amazon Android App Store is restricted to the U.S.

9. When new Nook Daily Find arrives, send me an email

You’ll get an email as soon as a new title is added as a Nook Daily Find. The email will contain the following: book title; book cover; short description of the book; yesterday’s price; today’s discount; Nook Daily Find price; link to the book’s page.

10. If iPad/iPad-related item is added to Amazon Gold Box, send me an email

Amazon Gold Box deals for the iPad and all other items, which include the keyword.

Piotr Kowalczyk
Founder of Ebook Friendly. Ebook enthusiast, technology geek, iPhone artist and self-published author from Poland. His short story collections have been downloaded across the web more than 150,000 times.

A Look at Kindle Daily Deal’s First Year – facts, tips and commentary

Kindle Daily DealA year ago, on August 24, 2011, the Kindle Daily Deal was launched. The first featured book was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Yesterday’ price – $5.59, today’s discount – $4.20, Kindle Daily Deal price – $1.39.

Since that time, the discount mantra comes back every night around 12:00 AM, Pacific time. It’s interesting to observe how Kindle Daily Deal is doing and how it evolves, as it is Amazon’s important tool in turning Kindle owners from occasional users into frequent visitors. What’s more important: frequent visitors who buy a lot more than just e-books from Daily Deal.

In October of last year, I prepared a report about Kindle Daily Deal, based on its first fifty books. Below is one of the charts, showing a price split:

The average KDD price was $1.75. The average saving was $6 (78%). I’ve been observing Kindle Daily Deal on a regular basis, and haven’t noticed any downward or upward trend in prices and discounts. Therefore, based on the figures from the report, we could say that, theoretically, in the first year, if you were buying Kindle Daily Deal books every day, you would:

  • spend $639
  • save $2,190

To be closer to life: if you bought just 10 Kindle Daily Deal books, you would:

  • spend $17.50
  • save $60

If you buy 10 books per year that are featured in the Kindle Daily Deal, you can save $60 (who knows, maybe even for a next-generation Kindle)—although this would only due to the fact that you’re checking Kindle Daily Deal every day, and are open to read books from various genres and authors.

Kindle Daily Deal is one of the most important factors in switching price expectations of Kindle users. Before it launched, the $0.99 price tag was mostly associated with self-published novels. Since August 24, 2011, the landscape changed dramatically. I’m very fond of self-published and indie books and was the last one to acknowledge this fact, but in the end I had to do it.

It no longer pays to sell a self-published book for $0.99. Every day you have a heavy-promoted competitor, which in most cases is a more popular book than yours. Even if it’s not a bestseller (there actually weren’t enough bestsellers featured on KDD—more about this issue later in the post), it has the advantage of being the discounted book. Readers have the choice:

  • to buy a self-published mystery novel from an author they know nothing about for a regular price of $0.99
  • to buy a mystery novel featured on KDD from an author they know nothing about for a deal price of $0.99

The deal is the deal. That’s why many self-publishers increase the price to $2.99 and use KDP Select to occasionally offer their books for free.

“An author I know nothing about.” I have to admit, I would say that about 95 percent of the Kindle Daily Deal authors. Yes, we had Sara Gruen and Michael Connelly; Kurt Vonnegut comes back frequently (and today we have Breakfast of Champions); a couple of days ago there was Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins—but it’s not enough to associate Kindle Daily Deal with bestsellers. (The thinking goes like this: If the book is a bestseller, why should I discount it?)

Kindle Daily Deal is about taking books from a mid-list and making them bestsellers. In a pre-Christmas heat, in October only, as much as 20 Kindle Daily Deal books made it to the Top 100 in the Kindle Store!

Popularity is one area. Another topic to discuss is availability. For a user living outside the U.S., I can say that the Kindle Daily Deal is more about teasing than buying. Yes, the good thing is that Amazon doesn’t add an international fee when you buy Kindle Daily Deal books from abroad. The bad thing is, very often there are geo-restrictions.

One type of geo-restriction is that the book is not available at all in your country. Fine, I can live with that. A much worse kind of geo-restriction is that the book is available for foreign customers—but at a regular, no-discounted price. I think that many people—especially those who had enabled the 1-click option—bought the book for the regular price, just because they didn’t double-check the price before clicking on the Buy with 1-click button.

Regarding international markets, Kindle Daily Deal must have worked very well for Amazon; within the year, similar deals were launched in every Kindle Store:

Availability can be considered in view of what kind of trigger Amazon expects from Kindle Daily Deal. Amazon doesn’t want users to check KDD books every day. It wants users to come to the site. That’s why passive ways of learning about KDD are not what Amazon prefers. You can subscribe by email, or you can follow the Amazon Kindle Twitter profile, or you can stick to the Facebook page. But no official RSS feed is available.

As for the future, I hope the second section of the Kindle Daily Deal page, called Kindle Kids Daily Deal, which was added just a couple of days ago, will become a part of daily e-book deals from Amazon, and not end with 14 Days of Kindle Book Deals for Kids and Teens, where it originally belonged.

I also hope bestsellers will be featured on Kindle Daily Deal more often. Having ‘just another book’ there is not enough to get the right response. We have to take into consideration the time and wear-out effect. Kindle Daily Deal is one year old and in most cases it was not so attractive, after all. If it’s meant to bring people to the website, more attractive books have to be featured. The good examples are sets of books from one genre or from one author, or like a few days ago, the collection of 25 popular books, with Vonnegut and Mankell. It’s a good destination to go.

Seriously, I think Amazon should struggle with publishers to get better books on Kindle Daily Deal. Otherwise, it’ll turn into nothing more than the Kindle Daily Meal.

Originally posted on Ebook Friendly.

Piotr Kowalczyk
Founder of Ebook Friendly. Ebook enthusiast, technology geek, iPhone artist and self-published author from Poland. His short story collections were downloaded across the web more than 150,000 times.

GenCon panel: Michael Stackpole on self-publishing in a post-paper world

stackpoletalkThis is my coverage of Michael Stackpole’s presentation on how writers can take advantage of the e-publishing revolution. Stackpole does charge for this talk (it was $8 at GenCon; he will be giving it again at DragonCon in September), and gives it at a number of conventions. It was a very interesting panel, and more than worth the admission fee. If you’re in the area of DragonCon, or any other convention where Stackpole is speaking, I strongly encourage you to go.

In deference to his need to earn a living, I will condense my detailed notes down to general terms. (Much of what he said was also echoed in the 30-minute interview he gave me on Friday.)

I missed the first 15 minutes of the panel, due to registration snafus. When I got there, Stackpole was discussing the benefits of Amazon to writers’ cash flow—Amazon pays 70% royalties (on e-books of $2.99 and up) and pays them every month, unlike publishers who pay a lower percentage and less frequently.

He talked about the need to write as often as possible, both to have new material available and to attract people to your older material. He also pointed out that writers should risk no more money than they have to on sale items, and not be suckered by economies of scale into buying some huge number of CDs or print-on-demand books or what-have-you and then finding they can’t make their mortgage payments.

Stackpole also noted that there are diminishing returns involved in trying to make sure your e-book is available on every platform. Between them, Kindle and Barnes & Noble have over 85% of the market; the time and effort involved in chasing the other 15% could be better spent writing more instead.

He recommended that writers learn to format their own works for publication, for the additional flexibility and lower cost. He recommended the program Legend Maker from zapptek.com, a $49.99 e-book formatting app for Macintosh that can create books in EPUB and Kindle formats. (In my interview, he mentioned that he had assisted in the development of the program, though did not benefit financially from it.)

While he recommends offering sample chapters for everything—just enough to hook the reader in and make him want to buy the book to find out what happens next—he does not think it is a good idea to give entire works away, like Cory Doctorow. Doctorow, he feels, makes most of his money from the Internet, rather than from his books. People who can’t do the same need to be selling their books.

(Of course, it’s worth noting that, as a self-publishing writer, Stackpole isn’t making all his money from his books, either, as the $8 fee for each of his several presentations at GenCon attests—even with the fee, this talk was very well-attended. I imagine Cory Doctorow earns a nice chunk from speaking fees, himself. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that; indeed, I’ve reported lately about literary agencies adding the sideline of helping their authors do just that sort of thing. This seems to be the literary equivalent of rock concerts from which bands earn more money than the royalties record labels pay them on their albums.)

Stackpole feels that the public perception that “you get what you pay for” means that 99-cent e-books, attractive as they might look at first, are effectively shooting yourself in the foot because you’re saying you’re only worth $1. And he does not think there is really much difference in sales between the 99 cent and $6 price points. “If you’ve already ponied up $500 for your iPad, you’re not sweating the difference between 99 cents and $6.”

In the last third of Stackpole’s talk, he went into detail about how to promote your book on-line, with many examples and guidelines. It effectively boiled down to creating an on-line persona for yourself, then being positive and interesting (nobody wants to read about how bad your hemorrhoids are this morning)—and never getting in arguments or flamewars. If you’re interesting on-line, people will assume your books are interesting too.

After the talk, Stackpole offered a $30 CDROM containing a career and resource guide for self-publishing writers that he had put together. (It is also available from his on-line store.)

And as I was chatting briefly with another attendee and mentioned I was from TeleRead, a woman came up to me and said that she actually read TeleRead. (I wish I’d had the presence of mind to note down her name from her badge. Alas, by the time I thought to do so it was too late.)