Well, it’s time for another rambling blog post where I have no set agenda before banging away on the keyboard as I put some thoughts down on an electronic piece of paper I have been thinking about, answers to questions I have received a couple of times via email, or random things not connected in the slightest to a Kindle. If you would like to write to me, my email address is Michael at fkbooksandtips dot com (I write it out that way in a small effort to avoid the spammers).
Links to the Free Book Offers
Several people have asked me via email or on the blog’s Facebook page why, over the past few days, I no longer list out links to the UK Kindle store. It’s not that I am avoiding or abandoning those of you who are living in the UK, but it’s actually better: on any of the “click here” links, or the new smarturl short links I am putting in the free book listings, I installed a new plugin to the blog’s software that helps you out: if you are logging in to the blog in the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, Japan, or China and you click one of the links, you should be directed to the appropriate link on your respective country Amazon website.
Before this change, it was a very manual process for me just to get the right links between the USA and UK sites for the free book offers – now, each of you should be good to go and make your (and my) life a little easier vs. trying to grab the right name or book identifier number and go to the right site on the Amazon Germany website (as one example).
Notice I said “should be directed” to the appropriate link in your country. Informal tests by some gracious volunteers had it work on most of the new links I have put out in the last two days worked just fine on all but one book. Older posts, before I made the transition, should work on all of the links that say “click here” but not necessarily on all of the bitly or tinyurl shortlinks yet. If you are looking at an older post, when in doubt click on the “click here” link instead.
To test drive it, just go to the blog’s website at www.fkbooksandtips.com and click away! Let me know what you think about it or if you are seeing any problems so I can see if it can be improved.
Kindle Canada Bookstore Now Open
Amazon quietly opened up the Kindle bookstore specifically for Canadian customers, and my brief perusal of that site late last night saw a lot of free (and for sale) books in the French language. To go to the Canadian Kindle bookstore, you can click here. To see the Kindle books in French in the Canadian Kindle bookstore, you can click here.
While there are a lot of books in the Canadian Kindle bookstore, it is not as populated as the USA or UK one – I did, however, notice a large increase in the number of books offered from last night to this morning, so it would appear the Kindle book inventory is slowly populating the Canadian site.
Spring Break Trip Update
Back in August, I told you our two children wrote their own Kindle book in an effort to raise money to go on a spring break trip: my daughter’s school is going to Washington, DC in March. I had a flippant response back to her about raising her own money to pay for it, and she took me at my word and really impressed me with following-through on her efforts. Little brother, not to be outdone, got in on the action (and the hard work) because he wanted to go on a trip, also. You can read the background on it with the original post if you click here or type in http://bit.ly/NEzWll into your web browser.
Many of you have emailed me asking how the progress has gone so far – thanks to the generosity of your purchasing the book, and a few PayPal donations, I am happy to say my daughter has raised enough for her to go on the trip and my son is about 75% of the way there. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for someone, or would like to help our children out, my wife and I would appreciate it if you would consider taking a look at their neat book titled Quote of the Day 2013. You can check it out in the Kindle store if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/qod2013 into your web browser.
Kindle Fire Software Update
Amazon has been rolling out updates to the Kindle Fire software over the last two weeks, and if your Kindle has not been updated it will be going through that automatically soon (assuming your wireless feature is on). My Kindle Fires updated automatically at the beginning of the week without a problem, and I will be blogging about some of the features later on this week (once I figure them out or at least know what the majority of them are!).
For the latest-generation of the Kindle Fire, I understand there is an included camera app – I have yet to find it (the reality is I didn’t look too hard, but I will) as well as a few other whistles and bells.
Collections for Kindle Fire
As many of you know, I have an app available for sale in the Amazon App Store that organizes your Kindle books into categories on your Kindle Fire. There were a few initial problems with it that affected some of you, and we had most of those issues straightened out with the latest release (version 2.1.4) and I have heard from literally several hundred of you via email that you are really enjoying the app. I am glad you are enjoying it!
The Fire software upgrades I mentioned above have caused a few issues for a small number of purchasers (they seem to be the only ones who leave reviews on the app on the Amazon website), which from a technical standpoint is very strange because it doesn’t happen to everyone with a particular model of the Fire – you would think since everyone with a particular version of the Fire has the same operating system if there is a problem for one, there would be a problem for all on a particular model, but it doesn’t work that way for some reason.
The programmers have been hard at work making a few updates, and I expect to have that ready to go in the Amazon App Store the middle of next week. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t notify app developers of changes to the Fire software in advance so I’ve been in a reactionary, vs. anticipatory, mode which is frustrating for me.
While this is not an all-encompassing list, what will be resolved due to the Fire software updates in this next version is:
- Some users are having a “skipped letter” problem with the 8.9” tablet version, where on categories you create you can’t see every other letter. That was really strange, and if it makes you feel any better it did it on my 8.9” tablet after the update, also. That’s been fixed on the version I’ve been testing, and will be rolled out in the version next week.
- Some first-generation and 7” HD Fire users (about 5% of the app users) have had a force close issue at various times or, even stranger, have had a book duplicate several times in the book listing. We’ve identified the cause, and have that fix ready to go.
- There are a few other tweaks that have been programmed and will be included in the next launch.
For those of you who have been having a few issues, I appreciate your patience and the update should be available for your Kindle Fire next week!
List of Free Kindle Books by Category
Earlier this week, I had a post about how I had updated the big list of all free Kindle books in the Amazon Kindle store; you can click here or type in http://bit.ly/VUnaVj into your web browser to see that post again. What I’ve tried to do is create shortlinks you can remember, or easily bookmark in your web browser, that lists the free book offers by genre / category. In addition to some of the categories you have seen before, I expanded the list quite a bit so you can drill down a little deeper into additional categories. If there is a particular genre you would like to see, please shoot me a note and I will see what I can do!
So many people hit that link right after I did that post it caused the server to crash for a few hours! The good news is, the server is ready to go – go ahead and click that link again to (a) see the different free book offers in your favorite genre, (b) see if there is a favorite genre of yours I am missing, and, (c) let’s see if the server can handle the load. My technical expert, Lacy, will shudder if she sees I have typed out option (c) above, but a dare is a dare!
Well, looking at the number of words counter on the lower left-hand portion of my computer screen, this is a lot longer post than I originally intended. If you’ve read this far, thanks!
Have a great weekend-