It has been a little over a month since I sat down to bang away at the keyboard with another rambling blog post…I haven’t done that too many times in 2014: I don’t know about you, but this past year has been rather busy with family and work, but it sure did go by fast. It’s hard to believe 2015 will be here in less than two weeks! I hope each of you have a great (and safe) Christmas, New Year, and holiday!
I really have no set agenda for this post: sure, there are a few things I want to pass on, but as I start you never really know what might pass my self-(un)regulated censor and make it to the keyboard…however, looking over the finished product it is a little longer than usual so you may need to strap yourself in first!
For those of you who regularly read the blog’s posts on the website, most of the following is not new to you. Last month, I launched a re-do / new skin to the blog’s website because the old one ad become a little stale and needed a refresh. The idea with the new redesign was to keep it simple, fresh, and appear “lighter” on the screen vs. the darker colors of the previous site; I also wanted a new logo.
Yesterday, the last step in the process was launched – the old domain name has been retired and the blog’s website can now be found at www.fkbt.com: it’s a lot easier to type out, communicate with to people, and most people referred to the blog as “fkbt” anyway. With this last change, I hope more people will find it and those who tried to type out the long previous domain name and gave up because they typed it in wrong will now be “found.”
If you had previously bookmarked some of the Kindle tips or links to sites offering free Kindle books don’t worry – the old links will automatically redirect to the fkbt.com extension.
If you didn’t take a look at the redesigned website after I announced it last month, I encourage you to do so and maybe tell a friend or two: you can take a look if you click here or type in www.fkbt.com into your web browser.
Looking at the home page, the Featured Book of the Day is more prominent and we also shortened the amount of text on the home page. On the previous design, it was a typical WordPress layout (that’s the name of the blog’s software) with row after row of text which included every word of the last 5 posts; now, you have the title of the post and an option to click and read more vs. having to slog through everything. If you do click the “Read full post” option, the look and feel is brighter and easier to read (at least it is to my tired eyes).
There’s also more emphasis on the site for people to sign up for the free once-a-day email delivery option, download the free blog reader app, an improved section for people to leave comments if they so desire, and the social media sharing buttons aren’t as large and obnoxious as they were on the previous design. I also had the Google banner ads removed as they were taking away from the user experience, made the pages load slow, and I really didn’t like seeing them nor not being in control of what was displayed.
There were also several things done on the back end to make the pages load faster and put less stress on the server, and I’m certain things will continue to be tweaked as we review what seems to work and what could be improved.
Please let me know what you think – you can shoot me an email to Michael at fkbt dot com (I type I tout that way in a small effort to thwart the professional spammers).
Kindle Unlimited Offers
Over the last couple of days, I’ve added a line indicating if a particular book participates in the Kindle Unlimited program with a simple “yes” or “no.” Unless you are already a member of the program, I’ve found out from your emails many of you really aren’t aware of what it is.
You can find out all of the details on the Amazon website if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/kuprogram into your web browser, but let me try to outline the main benefits – for $9.99 per month, and the first month is a free trial, you can:
Borrow Kindle books for free, similar to a library, and read away to your heart’s content. Right now, there are over 700,000 titles participating in the program. There are limits on the number of books you can have checked out at one time, but voracious readers are having a field day – and saving a lot of money – by borrowing the books vs. paying for them.
Listen to several hundred thousand audible books for free from Audible, similar to the borrowing arrangement mentioned above for Kindle books.
You don’t need a Kindle or Fire to participate in the program. You can read and / or listen to the books on your other devices with the free Kindle app or on your computer.
I’m sure there is something I missed, so if you are interested in trying it out for free please click on the link above and I’ll bet most of your questions will be answered. If you do participate in the program, please look for the “Yes” or “No” indication on the book offers – that might sway your decision in trying out a new author as the cost will be free vs. paying for it.
Kindle Daily Deal and Free App of the Day
It has been a while since I’ve posted about the Kindle Daily Deal as well as the free App of the Day that can be used on your Fire or any Android-enabled device. Why? A couple of reasons –
The Kindle Daily Deal hasn’t been the deal it used to be when it all started out a few years ago. For the first year or so of the Kindle Daily Deal, the books were generally all marked down to 99 cents for one day only. Now, it’s kind of hit or miss – mainly miss, in my opinion, as the ones I always see are priced much higher and they generally aren’t things I’ve been too interested in. I grab one every now and then, but it has been a while. They are having a big push right now with lots of books in the deal, so maybe there’s something you would like. You can check those out at any time if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/dailydeal into your web browser; you may want to bookmark this link so you can check out future deals.
I’ve been fairly disappointed in the free app of the day. Upon launch of Amazon’s app store, there would be many really neat, useful, and expensive apps offered for free; now, it seems to be a lot of cheaply-made games I’m not interested in trying out let alone download. I know that sounds like an entitlement-bound whiner, as free is always good, but to me it’s not worth the excitement it used to be, plus I’m seeing a lot of repeats of apps. Despite my comments on the free app of the day, it’s worth popping in every once in a while just to make sure you’re not missing anything. You can evaluate them for yourself if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/appstore into your web browser; you may want to bookmark this link, also, so you can check out future free apps.
Supporting the Blog
While the Kindle Unlimited discussion is fresh on my mind, I also want to make sure you’re supporting the independent author! Sure, download the free Kindle book offers but I’d also appreciate it (as would the authors) if you continue to buy a book every now and then – I don’t think 99 cents will break you!
Here’s how the math works for books priced at 99 cents: Amazon takes 69 cents and the author gets 30 cents. That’s not much in the grand scheme of things for something that can give you a couple of hours of entertainment. The blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, but they also have restrictions in place for websites like this one that limit how many free Kindle books can be downloaded for any month. Every little bit helps!
Also, if you’re going to shop on Amazon I’d really appreciate it if you would help the blog out by clicking here or typing in http://smarturl.it/fkbtblog, and bookmarking that link before you go shopping in the future as it will help pay for the blog’s server costs! Before I forget, Amazon sent me a note this morning (and probably to most of you, also) saying if you place your order by Monday the 22nd, they can ensure two-day delivery by Christmas Eve.
What will 2015 have in store for the blog? Before we get out of 2014, please note there’s going to be an extra emphasis on the free Kindle book offers starting Monday through the rest of the year! I imagine 2015 will have its opportunities and challenges, and we’ll all have a little bit of fun on the way. Here’s to a prosperous New Year!
I appreciate each of you and your support of the blog and my family over the years!