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Now That You Have a Kindle….

Here’s a Quick Guide to Everything Else You May Need to Protect, Accessorize and Get the Most Out of Your New Kindle, Based on the Most Popular Items with Kindle Nation Readers

KindleFireFamilyBannerOkay, you’ve been rocking your brand new Kindle for about two weeks now, and it may be the best relationship of your life, right? But it’s time to take the next step toward a lifetime commitment. You may not be able to get a warranty on your spouse or main squeeze, but you can get one on your Kindle — as long as you act within 30 days of your receipt of the new Kindle. And even without a deadline, isn’t it time your Kindle was dressed for success in a new cover? The list below is organized bt Kindle type, based on our readers’ favorite Kindle-related purchases over the past few weeks, and rather than burdening it with a lot of additional info we’ll let you click through to see customer ratings, reviews, and more.

And, of course, we hope you’ll agree that, depending on which Kindle you now own, you should also grab a copy of at least one of these three books while they are currently available for just 99 cents:

Kindle Fire Warranties

E Ink Kindle Warranties

Kindle Fire Accessories

All Kindle Fire Models

Kindle Fire 7″

Kindle Fire HD 7″

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″

E Ink Kindle Accessories

Gift Cards for Yourself, to Help You Budget Your Kindle Content Purchases

And just in case Santa left you high and dry….

Kindle Fire Tablets

E Ink Kindles

Coming Soon? Books for Boomers – A Brand New Genre or Category for Kindle Readers!

We had an interesting email message earlier this week from a very smart woman by the name of Claude Nougat (she’s an author, a painter, a economist and a blogger, and that’s her photo at the right), and I’m sure enough that she is on to something that I wanted to share some of her thoughts with you, our Kindle Nation readers.

It’s a straightforward idea: basically that it is time to create a new category of books that are likely to appeal to Baby Boomers, a term that generally refers to people born between 1946 and 1964. Here’s the basic pitch that she made when she started a GoodReads group on the subject:

When baby boomers reached their teens in the 1950s/1960s, the YA novel was born as a genre, dealing with coming-of-age issues. Now that baby boomers are 55+ and embarking on their second life, most of them in excellent health thanks to medical advances, it is time for writers to come up with Baby Boomer novels, or BB novels.

A BB novel deals with “coming-of-old-age issues”, and just like YA novels, it can be tragic, romantic, suspenseful, humorous, ironical but always compassionate.

Personally I suspect the category could be defined somewhat more broadly, without losing its appeal, to overlaps not only with various fiction genres but also with several nonfiction categories including biography and memoir, personal finance, and — dare I say it? — self-help.

As the BoomerCafe website noted in introducing an article by Ms. Nougat on the subject the other day, “baby boomers are the biggest, richest demographic in the world today.”

And just as important, for us here at KND, is the fact that boomers are the largest single “demographic” among our readers.

Naturally, few of us are interested in reading only the books that would make it onto a Boomer Books list. But it might be nice to have such listings at hand when we were looking for our next great read.

What do you think?

And what books would you like to see included? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment area under our Coming Soon? Books for Boomers – A Brand New Genre or Category for Kindle Readers! post, and thanks!

We’ll see how much interest there is and see if we can help Claude Nougat take this idea to the next level.

And by the way, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that part of what got her thinking about all this in the first place is that she recently published a boomer book of her own: the novel A Hook in the Sky, which is currently available on Kindle for the very attractive promotional price of just 99 cents.

by Claude Nougat
4.6 stars – 5 Reviews


Maybe you’ll check it out. And maybe in the process we’ll all discover a new category of books we enjoy!

No Need to Play Hide ‘n’ Seek to Find Text-to-Speech on the New 8.9-Inch Kindle Fire HD – Here’s the Scoop

Some Kindle owners will go through their entire lives without ever using the Kindle’s Text-to-Speech feature, but if you’re like me and you enjoy using it, you’d be disappointed if you couldn’t find it on a new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, right?

Well, not to worry. I was a little concerned when I unboxed the latest model this week, but once I had done a little rooting around I found the text-to-speech feature and unleashed it for good for (almost) all my Kindle books and personal docs. It’s hidden from view at first, but here’s how you can set it up on yours. You can use any TTS-enabled book to unleash your TTS functionality, of course, but in the screen shots below I am using the excellent memoir Playing Bigger Than You Are by my old friend and colleague Stewart Acuff.

Here’s how to access Text-to-Speech on the new 8.9-Inch Kindle Fire HD in four easy steps:

FIG. 1. First, from any page in a TTS-enabled book like this one, tap the bottom of the screen and you will see a progress bar showing where you are in the book. If TTS is not turned on, it will look like the progress bar in Fig. 1 above.
FIG. 2. Select the Aa font button in the upper left corner of the display and you’ll see a pop-up screen like that shown in the upper left corner of Fig. 2 above. Text-to-Speech still does not appear as an option, so on this pop-up, select “More Options.”
FIG. 3. From the “More Options” pop-up that appears in the upper left corner of the display, select the “On” button to the right of “Text-to-Speech.”
FIG. 4. Tap anywhere on the rest of the page to bring the book back “to the front” of your display, then tap again at the bottom of the display. In Fig. 4, for example, tap just below the words “The next morning I told Holt” and the Text-to-Speech control line will come up with a “Play” icon at the left.

Hope that helps!

And my apologies for the fact that I used the same page in all four screen shots here. I didn’t want to infringe on my old pal Stewart’s copyright. So if you want to find out what he told Holt the next morning, you’ll just have to ante up $2.99 to buy the book. Which I hope you do, because it is a pretty inspiring piece of work. Like Stewart.

One of Our First Free Kindle Nation Shorts Authors Climbs the Bestseller List with a Smart New Novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore


Here’s a little story about a little story that became something much bigger.


Way back in June of 2009 I got an email from a reader named Robin Sloan, and it got my attention:

Hi Stephen,

I’m a Kindle owner & have been a reader of indieKindle for a while
now. I thought you & your readers might be interested in a short story
I just published, w/ a Kindle edition.

Not just a random recommendation; I mention it for two specific reasons:

1. I think there might be a trend brewing w/ indie short fiction on
the Kindle. It’s the perfect platform for short stories — and that’s
notable because they don’t really have any other platform at all these
days. You’ve focused on the indie part of the equation; I think the
indie short story, in particular, might be ready for a Kindle-powered

I was inspired, in large part, by screenwriter John August’s short
story for Kindle, released recently and I’d love to see a whole ecology of indie short fiction grow up
around this platform.

2. My story is about books, writing, & technology, and how all that’s
changing. So, for people fascinated by the Kindle, and what it
suggests about the future, I think it’s an especially interesting

Anyway, just wanted to mention it.

Thanks for considering, & thanks for the blog —


I read the story, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” I found it pretty remarkable, and 10 days later it became the third installment in a brand-new program that I had just dubbed Free Kindle Nation Shorts. If you didn’t read it at the time, I hope you’ll check it out now right here.


But as you may have already figured out, our free publication of Robin’s story was just the beginning, and Robin continued to shape and build upon that story until it became a full-length debut novel under the same title. That book was released this Tuesday (by FSG in hardcover and MacMillan in ebook form) and it has already taken off, flirting with the Top 100 on Amazon’s bestsellers list.


I just finished reading the full-length novel today, and it is a wonderful, smart, contemporary and fully imagined novel that I can recommend without reservation. Rather than gush about it myself, let me share British novelist Nick Harkaway’s take on Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore:


“I love this book . . . It’s a good-hearted, optimistic book about friendship and being alive and the lure of the mysterious. It’s a book that shows you Google the way Google sees itself, and bookshops the way bookshops ought to be. It’s a tonal roadmap to a positive relationship between the old world and the new. It’s a book that gets it. Plus, you know: book cults, vertical bookshops, hot geeks, theft, and the pursuit of immortality. This book is in my emotional heartland.”


I loved it. I think you will love it. It’s remarkable how many of our Free Kindle Nation Shorts authors have gone on to achieve great publishing success in one form or another. And it’s exciting to me that we are able to continue to help so many authors connect with you, the world’s greatest readers.

And I suspect you’ll agree that, like many of the authors to whom we have helped introduce you, Robin Sloane is someone worth keeping an eye on — in addition to being a talented novelist and self-described “media nerd” and “media inventor,” he’s also one of the creators behind one of the smartest videos ever uploaded, a future history of the media circa 2014.

We’ll Leave the Light On for You:
Our First Hands-On Review of the New Kindle Paperwhite

When Amazon rolled out its new Kindle models back on September 6, there was — understandably — so much buzz at the new Kindle Fire HD models that it would have been easy to overlook the “monochrome” ebook reader, the Paperwhite. Well, I’ve been a Paperwhite review unit since Wednesday of this week, and I can assure you that this new Kindle should not be ignored. I’m impressed, and I am *almost willing and ready to say that the Paperwhite is the best pure ebook reader yet released by Amazon or anyone else. (*My one gripe may just be a personal idiosyncrasy of my own, so I am willing to discount and get to it later in this review, and I may even outgrow it.)

You can order a Paperwhite unit now on the Amazon website for shipment in late October, and there are two basic choices: a $119 wifi only unit and another, for $179, that offers a choice of wifi and 3G connectivity. At those prices the Paperwhite comes”with special offers,” but you also have the option of paying an extra $20 for either Paperwhite model “without special offers.”

At 7.8 ounces, or 7.5 ounces for the wifi-only model, the Paperwhite feels great in the hand and is the same weight as the Kindle Touch 3G from 2011 and about an ounce lighter than its predecessor in Amazon’s evolutionary tree, the Kindle Keyboard 3G that was introduced in the summer of 2010 and remains available. The processor is the fastest yet on a dedicated ebook reader, the connectivity via wifi and 3G are great, and with wifi turned off the battery and power management allow for an amazing 8 weeks of battery life with the light on.

That’s all well and good, but where the new Paperwhite really hits a home run is right where we, as readers, would want it to smack the ball: with an unparalleled visual reading experience.

Millions of us may have gotten used to the charcoal-on-gray visuals of previous eInk Kindle displays, and even convinced each other that they’re better for our sleep rhythms than a cup of warm milk before bed. But I’m here to tell you that visual reading experience with the new Paperwhite display is not just a home run, it’s a walk-off grand slam, due to the combination of gorgeous hand-crafted font and font size choices, heightened resolution provided by 212 PPI pixel density compared with 167 PPI on previous eInk Kindles, and a patented new technology that distributes light far more evenly than we generally experience with ambient light and, in the bargain, allows for a vastly improved capacitative touch experience.

That Paperwhite “lighted screen” far surpasses the “light in the corner” experience of the Nook’s Glow units and the “I can’t read this by the pool” experience of the iPad. It renders the display so beautifully in all environments, from bright sunshine to a totally dark room, that nobody will ever have reason to complain about contrast on the Paperwhite. This very simple image of the several current monochrome models side-by-side illustrates the point we are making about contrast far better than words:


We’re keeping this initial review relatively brief so that we can focus on other new Kindle features in coming days without wearing out our welcome, but the bottom line is this: if there is a place in your home for a dedicated Kindle ebook reader, the Kindle Paperwhite will probably meet your needs better than any other dedicated ebook reader on the market. We know that millions of our readers have already invested in earlier Kindle models or in the dazzling new Kindle Fire HD models, but given the fact that Amazon has a no-questions-asked 30-day-return policy, it may be worth your while to order the Kindle Paperwhite now so that you can test-drive it in late October and thus be in a position to make an educated decision about whether it belongs on your 2012 holiday gift list, either outgoing or incoming.

*So, what’s my gripe with the Paperwhite? I have to admit that I’m disappointed that there is no audio on the Paperwhite and, therefore, no text-to-speech. I suspect that I’m somewhere in the top 1/10 of 1% when it comes to how much Kindle reading I do in all forms (including manuscripts that authors and publishers send in for prospective Kindle Nation Daily sponsors), and it frankly is a huge help to me to be able to use text-to-speech to expand my reading time to time when I am doing my daily walking or falling asleep at night. I’ll continue to rely on my trusty Kindle DX and my relatively new Kindle Fire HD for text-to-speech, and I will just have to see where that leaves my new Paperwhite on my Kindle lineup. And I should be clear that the fact that I am personally disappointed about the omission of audio on the Paperwhite doesn’t mean I would quarrel with Amazon’s call on this, because I suspect both that the tradeoff allowed Amazon to keep the Paperwhite weight and price down and also that it may enhance adoption, for instance, in secondary school classrooms and libraries.

Which Kindle Models Have Our Readers Been Ordering?

KindleFireFamilyBannerJust in case you are wondering, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at which of the new (and previously offered) Kindles our Kindle Nation Daily readers have been ordering most often during the 15 days since Amazon’s September 6 press conference. We shan’t disclose any actual numbers, and we’ll hasten to aver that this particular offering of crowd-sourced information is anecdotal rather than scientific, but just below we offer a percentage breakdown of Kindle hardware orders placed after visits to our website for anyone who is curious. And if you are more interested in comparing the actual features and specs on the various Kindle offers, just click here or on the image above right.

Kindle Keyboard 3G – $139-159        3%
Kindle Paperwhite 3G – $179-199       13%
Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi Only – $119-139       12%
Kindle Basic  – $69-89     1%

Total eInk + Paperwhite Kindle eReaders        29%

Kindle Fire 7″ – $159       5%
Kindle Fire HD 7″ – 16 GB – $199       30%
Kindle Fire HD 7″ – 32 GB – $249         5%
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE 32 GB – $499    10%
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE 64 GB – $599      8%
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ – WiFi 16 GB – $299         8%
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ – WiFi 32 GB – $369         5%

Total Kindle Fires       71%

Keeping Score on Our Checklist of Desirable Features for the Kindle Fire HD

Our Kindle Fire editor April Hamilton has been doing a splendid job of reviewing the brand new Kindle Fire HD models which are now shipping for $199 from Amazon, so there’s not all that much for me to add here to her posts which have been coming out nearly every day lately on our site. If you haven’t been keeping up April’s posts you may be missing some very thorough and helpful reporting, including:

  • Yesterday, Sept. 19 – Great News! Text-to-Speech Better than ever, now live on the Kindle Fire HD! Get the details in April Hamilton’s helpful new Video Post: 3 Ways Your Kindle Fire HD Can Read Aloud To You, Including Text To Speech! http://bit.ly/S7JquC
  • Sept. 18 – Kindle Fire HD vs. Kindle Fire: Software and Functionality – plus, Text to Speech on the Fire! http://bit.ly/PwZO5i
  • Sept. 17 – “The New Kindle Fire HD vs. the First-Generation Kindle Fire: Our First KND Hardware Review http://bit.ly/FIRE-HD-on-KND-Hardware

Present and future Fire owners can keep up with all of April’s full-court coverage if they make sure to “like” our Kindle Fire at Kindle Nation Daily Facebook page for daily tips and great content at great prices – http://www.facebook.com/KindleFire.at.KindleNationDaily

So as April regroups today I’ll pinch-hit by focusing on the quick checklist that we posted before the launch of features that we felt might be part of a new Kindle Fire tablet that could potentially dominate the table market, and offer a quick appraisal of Amazon’s progress for those keeping score at home. Here’s what we said Amazon had to do, and in each case, here’s what they have done with the new $199 7″ Kindle Fire HD (herein called the KFHD7:

  • Slim it down – the KFHD is about 11% thinner than the old KF, slimming down from 0.45″ to 0.4″
  • Lighten it up – the KFHD is about 4% lighter than the old KF, 13.9 ounces compared to 14.6 ounces
  • Improve screen resolution – the KFHD display boasts 1280×800, up to 720p HD compared to 1024 x 600 pixel resolution for the old KF
  • Speed up the processor – the KFHD has a Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4460 processor, much faster than the old KF dual-core processor
  • Improve web functionality with less reliance on truncated “mobile” representations – Early usage indicates much improved web functionality for the KFHD, including the capacity to set desktop rather than mobile mode under settings
  • Allow an SD Card – Not yet, probably decreasing in importance with improved onboard and cloud storage plus faster streaming
  • Offer 3G/4G wireless connectivity, possibly free with Amazon Prime – Coming in a very exciting package with the 4G LTE 8.9″ Kindle Fire that will ship Nov. 20 for $499 to $599 with a $50 first-year cost for the data plan
  • Keep the $199 price point for the new 7” Fire and offer a larger Fire for under $250 – 2 out of 3 with KFHD7 at $199, new KF7 at $159, and 8.9″ KFHD at $299
  • Allow greater user control of font sizes on the web and in apps – Vast improvement
  • Allow full input/output functionality for apps such as Google Docs/Google Drive documents – Limited improvement
  • Enhance curb appeal so that the Fire looks and feels as good as the Nexus 7 – Mission accomplished
  • Add external volume controls – Mission accomplished, although we’d prefer the volume control and power buttons to be just a tiny bit more discoverable to touch
  • Provide camera functionality similar to that on the iPhone – Front-facing HD camera only
  • Provide Siri/Iris Capability that hits the sweet spot both for information and for commerce – Not yet
  • Add a microphone – Built in microphone, which I will admit I have not used or tested yet
  • Add Text-to-Speech – Mission accomplished in an amazing array of improved TTS plus Whispersync with Audible.com
  • Place the power switch (and an external volume control) on the upper right edge – Upper middle edge, could be just a tiny bit more discoverable to touch
  • Allow greater user personalization and customization – We’ll get back to you on this
  • Add full-featured GPS for a 3G or 4G model – We’ll get back to you on this
  • Add maximum Android platform compatibility – Not yet
  • Add access to Google’s Android Market – Not yet
  • Seize every available opportunity to make the Fire a replacement for netbooks and notebook computers – Definitely some progress here, but the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD will be the real test.

All in all? It’s not just a home run. It’s a grand slam.

And the good news is that, of course, Amazon added all kinds of things that were not even on our checklist, like Bluetooth for audio and a keyboard (yes! but it’s just sitting dormant on the device for now, without a keyboard offering that we know of … yet), Dolby audio; dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (and 10-band wifi coming on the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD); anti-glare technology; Kindle FreeTime personalization for kids (and other family members!) and much more!