Reading Your Kindle While Bathing

I posted something similar about three years ago, but the mail bag has had people asking similar questions several times over the last few weeks…

 

From the title of this header, I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads.  I have heard of people reading their Kindles while sitting in the bathtub (maybe you are one of those), using a variety of methods such as enclosing the Kindle in a Ziploc bag as well as having the Kindle enclosed in one of the waterproof cases I have seen on the Amazon website.

While the waterproof cases seem a little inconvenient and many are expensive  (click here or type in http://smarturl.it/kindlewater into your web browser to see one)  and seems like a good solution if you are so inclined, I wouldn’t recommend reading your Kindle in the bathtub, pool , or shower trusting your life to it being enclosed securely in a Ziploc bag.  If you wonder why I say that, just think of how dangerous it is to blow dry your hair while sitting in the bathtub – hopefully, you don’t do that – as it can kill you: if the electronics, and the electricity contained in them, get into the water and you are in the water you could die.  And for you naysayers, it only takes one volt to kill you.

Death is obviously forever, and I can’t think of any book I would absolutely have to read while sitting in the bathtub that could jeopardize my life while reading it in a Ziploc bag.  Besides, I take showers!

I bring this up as I received a note from a blog reader wanting to know if I knew of a cure for a Kindle that had been dropped in the bathtub.  You could try drying it out in a bag filled with dry white rice and see if it resurrects your Kindle – that sometimes works on cell phones, but not when I was pushed one time into the pool and it fried my one-week old new cell phone – but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

I think your best bet would be to call Amazon’s Kindle customer service and tell them what happened, as I have heard numerous stories of Amazon offering a replacement Kindle for half price.  The only “catch” is after you receive the replacement Kindle you have to return the damaged unit.  That 50% off replacement policy may not be valid today, but it is certainly worth a try.

Good luck!

Michael

 

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Kindle Reset Instructions

I am going to set this message up to go out periodically for each of my blogs, as most of you read them on your Kindles vs. the computer or via email: if you’ve seen it before and know what I’m talking about, or if you’re just plain ‘ole tired of seeing it don’t worry – I’ll be back with a new post soon.

There seems to be a Kindle problem for a lot of folks – that is, what do you need to do if (a) this or any other blog, newspaper, or magazine all of a sudden stops updating each day on the Kindle, and (b) you can see the blog, newspaper, or magazine post in the to be downloaded list of the “Manage Your Kindle” section of the Amazon website and for some unexplained reason it doesn’t show up on your Kindle, or (c) you’ve ordered a book, app or anything else for your Kindle and it never seems to download.

You may need to write this down, or try to memorize it, because if it happens to you I’m willing to bet you won’t remember unless you’ve reset your Kindle a few times!

If you would like to print this out, click here or type in http://smarturl.it/screenshots into your web browser to read my post on the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog to how to capture screen shots on your e-Ink Kindle and Kindle Fire.

If this happens to you, you will need to reboot your Kindle.

Here is how you reboot an e-Ink Kindle:

  1. Click the “Home” button to get back to your home screen.
  2. Click the “Menu” button, and select “Settings.”
  3. You will see several options, but “reboot” is not one of those options. Press the “Menu” button again.
  4. You will have several options, but choose and click the “Restart” button.

Here is how you reboot a Kindle Fire:

  1. Press and hold the power button for 20 seconds, then release the power button.
  2. The Fire will turn off.
  3. After the Fire has turned off, press the power button once and release it to restart the Fire.

Once you reboot your Kindle, it could take about 1-2 minutes to reboot. Make sure your wireless is on, and the Kindle will go look in the Amazon store to see what is pending to be downloaded and viola! You should be back in business. If you ever need to restart your Kindle, I hope this helps!

Michael

 

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your e-Ink Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week trial subscription! Click here for the Amazon page of the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog or type in http://smarturl.it/fkblog into your computer’s web browser.

 

Are you receiving the blog’s posts by email? You can if you click here or type in http://www.fkbt.com/subscribe into your web browser – just fill in your email address, smack the “Subscribe” button, and make sure you reply to the confirmation email!

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Kindle Screen Freeze Fix

Have you ever had your Kindle screen “freeze” or become unresponsive? It can happen for a variety of reasons, but the probable cause is a low battery.

If this happens to you, try the simple step of plugging it into your charger for a few minutes (although it may sound obvious, please make sure the charging indicator light is on). That should do it but, if it doesn’t, there is one more thing you can do before you break down and either smack your Kindle or call Amazon’s Kindle Customer Service: try resetting it. To reset it at this point, slide and hold the power switch for 30 seconds or longer then release it.

Your Kindle should then spend a little bit of time resetting, and you should be back in business! If not, unfortunately, it is probably worth a call to Amazon’s Kindle Customer Service department.

A friend of mine’s Paperwhite recently had a screen freeze and it was fairly frustrating as she was in the middle of a book, and a simple reset as described above fixed the issue. Yes, I was the customer service phone call in this case….

Hope that helps!

Michael

 

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Kindle Unlimited Explained

In July of last year, Amazon introduced a feature called Kindle Unlimited; about two months ago, I started putting a line next to each book title in the blog’s posts to let you know if a book was part of the Kindle Unlimited program or not.

However, I’ve received quite a few emails over these past few months from people asking me what I was taking about – so, what is it?

Basically, Kindle Unlimited is a program where for just $9.99 per month, you can read as much as you want from over 700,000 Kindle books as well as listen to thousands of Audible audiobooks – as many or as few titles as you want for the $9.99 per month fee. You also get a free three month membership to Audible.  For those books on the blog that say “Yes” in red as being part of the program, if you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can read that book for free.

I wouldn’t categorize these offerings as a bunch of books you’ve never heard of, as there are a lot of bestsellers on the list. Some independent authors love it as it has allowed more people to check out their work (and buy their other titles), some independent authors absolutely hate it as it cuts into their royalty (i.e., salary), and there are other independent authors who refuse to enroll their books in the program. I could argue the merits and cons of each position, but I digress as that’s not the purpose of this post.

While the rest of the text below is from an Amazon press release, I’d say check it out – you get a free 30 day window to try it for free and you can cancel it before they charge you anything. You can check it out yourself if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/kindleunlimited into your web browser.

 

Kindle Unlimited features include:

  • Unlimited reading: Access over 600,000 books including best sellers like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Water for Elephants, Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, All the King’s Men, Wonder Boys, Ask for It, The Princess Bride, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, The Atlantis Gene, Kitchen Confidential, The Sisterhood, Crazy Little Thing, The Blind Side, and The Giver,plus thousands of classics such as Animal Farm, To the Lighthouse, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cat’s Cradle,and The Good Earth,as well as books featuring beloved children’s characters from Sesame Street, and useful reference titles including books from the For Dummies series and Lonely Planet travel guides.
  • Unlimited listening: Keep the story going with unlimited access to more than 2,000 audiobooks from Audible with Whispersync for Voice, and switch seamlessly between reading and listening to customer favorites like the Hunger Games trilogy, Life of Pi, The Handmaid’s Tale, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, The Great Santini, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Winter’s Tale, Boardwalk Empire, El Narco, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies, Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, The Finisher, Johnny Carson, The Stranger I Married,and Life Code.
  • Kindle exclusives: Choose from hundreds of thousands of books only found on Kindle, including Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, The Hangman’s Daughter series by Oliver Pötzsch, War Brides by Helen Bryan,Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct and Matthew Hope books, When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath, Chasing Shadows by CJ Lyons, and Sick by Brett Battles.
  • Short Reads: For a quick escape, select from thousands of books that are 100 pages or less, including Kindle Singles from Stephen King, Andy Borowitz, and Nelson DeMille, and short fiction from Amazon Publishing’s StoryFront imprint.
  • Free three-month Audible membership: In addition to the thousands of professionally narrated audiobooks from Audible included in Kindle Unlimited, subscribers get a complimentary three-month Audible membership, with access to more than 150,000 titles.
  • Popular Kindle features: Enjoy all the great Kindle features customers love such as Whispersync, Popular Highlights, X-Ray, customer reviews, and Goodreads integration.
  • Read and listen everywhere: Access across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, PC, Mac and Windows 8–so you always have your library with you and never lose your place.

For more details on Kindle Unlimited, visit http://smarturl.it/kindleunlimited

 

Have fun!

Michael

 

Are you receiving the blog’s posts by email? You can if you click here or type in http://www.fkbt.com/subscribe into your web browser – just fill in your email address, smack the “Subscribe” button, and make sure you reply to the confirmation email!

 

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A Quick Reminder

Here’s a quick reminder – if I or anyone else tells you about a book being offered for free on the Amazon Kindle website and you are interested, please jump on it immediately.  Don’t wait a few days or even a couple of hours, or you may see the book being offered for sale vs. what you thought was free!

For example, over the last two weeks I can think of four books off of the top of my head that were listed as free – the authors confirmed to me they were being free – yet shortly after publication to the blog they went back to paid status.  I received quite a few emails about it from the subscribers!

Why did that happened?

One of the authors ‘fessed up and let me she forgot about the promotion and switched it back to paid status, two of the others had scheduled their books for free but told me Amazon’s server didn’t make the change on the date they requested, and the fourth one has gone silent on me – maybe they hit their internal quota for freebies of the particular title, or maybe there was a switcheroo going on – I don’t know the answer but if you give me enough time I might be able to come up with a creative answer.

Bottom line here is don’t wait – log on to the website frequently (www.fkbt.com) or check your email shortly after 2:00 p.m. Central time for the daily digest.  Grab them now as once the book is yours, no matter if you paid nothing or $100 for a book, it is yours forever!

Have a great weekend-

Michael

 

 

Samples of Kindle Books

With all of the new Kindles opened up over Christmas, as well as some of you who may need a reminder, I thought it an appropriate time to talk about the free sample option Amazon has with the Kindle program: consider it like going to the bookstore (well, that is if there are many of them still open these days) and turning a few pages before buying it. You can get a free sample of a Kindle book – usually a few chapters to just a couple of pages – to try out and see if the book is something you are interested in prior to buying. I use the feature quite a bit, as I get extremely annoyed in shelling out money for a book and realizing about 10% of the way through it I think it’s not for me.

Also, from time-to-time Amazon will make available a book that has an introduction and a chapter or two of a book for free: I guess you could call it the “super sampler” in that you get to try out more of a book for free. On the other hand, James Patterson books often release 30 chapters for free but there is a catch – his chapters sometimes are just a paragraph or two so who knows if it is really longer than the free sample of a book? I really think of those as a marketing gimmick, listing a few chapters as a “free book.”

I don’t really care too much either way – if I am interested in the book, I will do one of two things:

  • If it is a free book and I am even remotely interested in it, I will download the whole thing. What do I have to lose? Nothing (e.g., it’s free!). Should I complain because I don’t like the genre? No. Again, it’s free – why the sense of entitlement? Over the past several years there has been a lot of religious-genre fiction offered for free on the Amazon website, and a lot of folks have been complaining loudly about it on the Amazon discussion boards every time an item like this becomes available. Why? I don’t know – a publisher or independent author is making it available for free. Maybe the complaint should be directed at other publishers who are choosing to not offer their items for free. Like I said before, you don’t have anything to lose! Maybe these folks should redirect their energies and complain directly to the dysfunctional US Congress – both parties – about getting their act together and behaving as adults…but that’s another blog post for another venue.
  • If it is not a free book (gasp!), I usually will download the sample in order to see if I like the first couple of pages, then I will make my buying decision. Why waste money sight unseen when I can have a sample downloaded to my Kindle for free?

I bring this up as I don’t want any of you to forget about the free sample option. I have a separate folder / category devoted to samples on my Kindle, and I select and download 3-4 samples at a time when I see something after trolling through the Amazon store, but I may not check the sample out until later. Why wait so long? Usually, it is because I am in the middle of another book – I’m not one of those people who can multitask between three and four books at the same time. When I’m reading a book, I’m usually pretty absorbed and get deep into the story, characters, etc. and can look up at the clock and realize three hours have quickly passed.

So, how do you find / download the free Kindle sample? Go to any Kindle book available on Amazon’s website and, just underneath the “Buy now with 1-click” icon on the right-hand side of the page you will see another section titled “Try it free” with a “Send sample now: icon. Click that button – if you have multiple Kindles, please make sure you have the correct Kindle listed in the drop-down menu. IF you are looking at a book via shopping directly on your Kindle, one of the options is to check out the free sample, click that item and the sample will be delivered to you.

With the free samples, plus the books on my Kindle now, I should be set for a long time…

Hope that helps!

Michael

 

Looking for more – or a more reliable – source of free books for your Kindle? You can check out my book, Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them, which was recently updated if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/fkb into your web browser!

 

Are you receiving the blog’s posts by email? You can if you click here or type in http://www.fkbt.com/subscribe into your web browser – just fill in your email address, smack the “Subscribe” button, and make sure you reply to the confirmation email!

 

 

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Kindle Reset Instructions

I am going to set this message up to go out periodically for each of my blogs, as most of you read them on your Kindles vs. the computer or via email: if you’ve seen it before and know what I’m talking about, or if you’re just plain ‘ole tired of seeing it don’t worry – I’ll be back with a new post soon.

There seems to be a Kindle problem for a lot of folks – that is, what do you need to do if (a) this or any other blog, newspaper, or magazine all of a sudden stops updating each day on the Kindle, and (b) you can see the blog, newspaper, or magazine post in the to be downloaded list of the “Manage Your Kindle” section of the Amazon website and for some unexplained reason it doesn’t show up on your Kindle, or (c) you’ve ordered a book, app or anything else for your Kindle and it never seems to download.

You may need to write this down, or try to memorize it, because if it happens to you I’m willing to bet you won’t remember unless you’ve reset your Kindle a few times!

If you would like to print this out, click here or type in http://smarturl.it/screenshots into your web browser to read my post on the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog to how to capture screen shots on your e-Ink Kindle and Kindle Fire.

If this happens to you, you will need to reboot your Kindle.

Here is how you reboot an e-Ink Kindle:

  1. Click the “Home” button to get back to your home screen.
  2. Click the “Menu” button, and select “Settings.”
  3. You will see several options, but “reboot” is not one of those options. Press the “Menu” button again.
  4. You will have several options, but choose and click the “Restart” button.

Here is how you reboot a Kindle Fire:

  1. Press and hold the power button for 20 seconds, then release the power button.
  2. The Fire will turn off.
  3. After the Fire has turned off, press the power button once and release it to restart the Fire.

Once you reboot your Kindle, it could take about 1-2 minutes to reboot. Make sure your wireless is on, and the Kindle will go look in the Amazon store to see what is pending to be downloaded and viola! You should be back in business. If you ever need to restart your Kindle, I hope this helps!

Michael

 

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your e-Ink Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week trial subscription! Click here for the Amazon page of the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog or type in http://smarturl.it/fkblog into your computer’s web browser.

 

Are you receiving the blog’s posts by email? You can if you click here or type in http://www.fkbt.com/subscribe into your web browser – just fill in your email address, smack the “Subscribe” button, and make sure you reply to the confirmation email!

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Protecting Your Kindle

I last posted this tip in 2013, but with the millions of new Kindles opened up over Christmas I thought it a good time to post it again…

 

How are you protecting your Kindle?

I’m not talking about what I call the obvious – for example, not leaving it out on a table unattended or on your car seat where a person with sticky fingers can grab it and all of a sudden you have a Kindle that has legs. I am assuming you would guard it like you do your purse or wallet, a laptop or camera, or anything else you have several hundred dollars invested in.

What if you left your Kindle in a cab, plane, or just plain can’t remember where you left it? I like to assume there are more good people than bad in the world out there and someone would attempt to return it to you – would that someone know how to return it to you? I read an article about a year or so ago posted online about how a reporter from CNET found a Kindle in a cab, and was only able to determine the owner’s name was John – that’s all.

You would hope someone would know how to check the settings and get your personal information, or maybe you have done something like put a label on the back with the way(s) to contact you. However, if a non-Kindle owner were to find it, they may not know how to check the settings, etc.

There have been many discussions about why not calling Amazon, and let them help you since it’s an electronic device, the next time it is turned on or synched with the server they can do something like either (a) send a message to whoever is holding the Kindle, or (b) use the cell tower’s GPS to give an idea where it is. Unfortunately, Amazon will not do any of that for you – in fact, if it is stolen, deregistered by the thief and then re-registered by the thief, there have been cases where Amazon has not done anything to stop that behavior unless you call it in to Amazon’s Customer Service department: at that time, they can “brick” it, which will essentially lock it out forever, making your Kindle a glorified door stop for someone.

To me, that seems really wrong, but it is another topic for another day.

Is your contact information in the Kindle?

For example, you can put your name, number, and other information in your Kindle. Here is how you put that information in your e-Ink Kindle (note this is not an option for the Kindle Fire at this time):

  • From the menu item, click on “Settings.”
  • If you look three items down (technically four, but one of those you can’t click to change) you should see a section called “Personal Info.” Click on the option to “edit personal info.”
  • This is the section where you should utilize the keyboard and type in your name and contact information. For me, I put my name, address, and cell number.

The above assumes the person finding your Kindle will know where to navigate to find this information or, alternatively, is proficient enough to figure out the menu options to find out this information.

Here’s a way to identify your Kindle to make it easier to be returned to you – for all Kindles including the Kindle Fire – change the name of your Kindle. For example, if I named mine “Michael’s Kindle” that will show up in the top left-hand corner of my Kindle and Kindle Fire when I turn it on and am at the Home screen. However, I’ve changed that to “Michael xxx-xxx-xxxx” where the X’s are my telephone number; if you do change it and have a cell phone and are worried about personal security, you may want to change it to your cell vs. your home telephone number. Seems like a simple solution to return what is yours!

Here is how you do it with every version of Kindle except the Kindle Fire (Kindle Fire instructions follow immediately below this):

  1. Push the “Menu” button.
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Under the “Device Name” option select “edit name.”
  4. At the bottom of the screen, you will see what your Kindle is named (for example, Michael’s Kindle). Just use the keyboard to type in whatever you want, and click submit.

Here is how you do it for a Kindle Fire (you can also do this for any other version of Kindle):

  1. Using your web browser, go to the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page of the Amazon website at http://amazon.com/myk – you may need to log in with your Amazon email address and password to proceed past this screen.
  2. On the left-hand side of the screen under the “Your Kindle Account” menu item, select the “Manage Your Devices” option.
  3. A new screen will appear, listing all of the registered Kindles on your account.  Right above the graphic image of each Kindle is the current name of each Kindle.  Select the “Edit” link next to the Kindle name.
  4. Type in whatever name you want for your Kindle, then click the “Update” icon.

You’re done! If, for example, you changed your Kindle’s name to “Michael 123-555-1212” that will now show up in the top left-hand corner of your Kindle on the next time it synchronizes with the Amazon server.

You could also put a label with the same information on the back of your Kindle (I did for each one), as well as on the inside flap of the Kindle cover (if you have a cover) and a person could theoretically figure out who the owner was without knowing how to turn the thing on. I guess you could also get one of those engravers and engrave your information on the Kindle – but I wouldn’t recommend that as who knows what all of the vibration, etc., that occurs while etching the information onto the Kindle will do to the Kindle’s computer insides: the last thing you want to do is “kill” your Kindle while trying to protect it!

Hope that helps!

Michael

 

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Welcome to Your New Kindle!

Merry Christmas!

If you believe the various blogs and posts from news outlets around the world, several million people across the globe opened up a brand new Kindle or Fire today for Christmas. If you are one of those, welcome! You are about to really enjoy your new eBook reader or tablet and, if you are like me and numerous others, I’m willing to bet you are about to start reading more than you ever had before the Kindle’s arrival.

There are a lot of books you can buy immediately from the Amazon Kindle store, and I’m certain many of you have done so already. There are, however, millions of books offered for free – both from Amazon as well as many other sites across the globe. I am going to give you a link below to sort through several thousand non-public domain free books on the Amazon website that you can download immediately (for free, of course) from the Amazon website. There is also a link on the webpage to various free collections from Amazon and other third party websites.

To start you off, click here to get my book that lists out thousands of titles for free not only on the Amazon website but quite a few external sites, also.  This is the same book that hit the Top 100 for all Kindle titles sold for two years in a row and normally costs $2.99 – it will be free on the Amazon Kindle website from now through December 27th.  For long-time readers of the blog: yes, this includes all of the links by genre to the various free Kindle books on Amazon.  Grab it now why you can!

Enjoy your new Kindle!

Michael

 

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Kindle Fire App Updates

I realize this is a repeat of a post I had about a year….however, many of you will understand “why” if you follow the instructions below!

I thought it was time to blog about a tip as, after all, that’s part of this blog’s name! If you have a question, you can always email me (michael at fkbooksandtips dot com). If enough people ask the same question, I’ll probably answer it in a public forum like this as it usually means a lot more of you have the same question!

I’m frequently asked about updates to various apps people have purchased from the Amazon App Store – how much does it cost to get the upgrade, how do you find out about them, how do you install them, etc.?

The first question is pretty easy: if an app publisher, including my own little company, updates an app in the Amazon App Store, you get it for free. Updates to apps generally revolve around bug fixes or minor improvements, so why should you have to pay again for an update?

Finding out about an update can be a little tricky: on my Android-enabled phone, I do get notifications of upgrades / updates and it is easy to just tap an icon or two, the update installs, and I move on with life. With the Fire, however, it can be a little tricky to see if you have any available updates – the original Kindle Fire used to be easy, but with software upgrades to the Fire’s operating system, the release of several new versions of the Fire, I’ve found out the hard way I had available updates that needed to be installed. Sometimes the apps update automatically, sometimes the apps send you a notification if you would like to update, and sometimes you just don’t know unless you know how to check it manually.

All that being said, and assuming you want to manually check and see, how do you find out if you have updates available to your aps and how do you install them? To check out if you have available updates on your Kindle Fire for apps you have purchased from the Amazon App Store, just follow these steps:

• Turn on your Kindle Fire, and make sure your wireless feature is on.

• From the Home Screen, tap the “Apps” icon at the top of the screen.

• Tap the “Store” icon in the upper right-hand portion of your screen.

• Tap the menu icon at the bottom-center of your screen if you have an older Fire (it looks like a representation of a piece of paper to me, or a box with three horizontal lines) or the top left or bottom right if you have a newer Fire.

• Tap the “App Updates” option on the new pop-up menu. Who knows, you might be surprised at what apps have been updated and are available?

• Tap the “Update” icon to the right of the app(s) you would like to update.

• If the previous version of the app is still on your Fire, you should receive a warning message it can’t update unless you remove the previous version. To install the new version, you must remove the old version.

Hope that helps!

Michael

 

Download the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog app for your Kindle Fire or Android-based smartphone or tablet – for free, of course – by clicking here or type in http://smarturl.it/fkbtfreeapp into your computer’s web browser from the Amazon App Store or click here or type in http://bit.ly/fkbtgoogle into your computer’s web browser for the Google App Store.

 

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with the Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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