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7 Days ’til Santa! 
Here’s Your Last-Minute Shopping Guide
to Kindle Gifts Big and Small, 
Including the Most Popular Stocking-Stuffer Accessories!

Kindle Fire Tablets


E Ink Kindles


Gift Cards to Let Them Decide


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

7 Days ’til Santa! 
Here’s Your Last-Minute Shopping Guide
to Kindle Gifts Big and Small, 
Including the Most Popular Stocking-Stuffer Accessories!

Kindle Fire Tablets


E Ink Kindles


Gift Cards to Let Them Decide


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

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%

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Why Christmas Kindle Day Will Soon Be the Biggest Online Shopping Day Each Year, and Why It Changes Everything

By Steve Windwalker

A couple of decades ago this week, during my stretch as an indie brick-and-mortar bookseller, and a member in good standing of the American Booksellers Association, I found myself once again on the home stretch of the business year. Each day in December would be a little bit better than the day before as holiday shoppers helped put a smile back on my face after the months of difficult sledding that came before. Come Christmas Eve I’d close the store around 7 or 8 pm, take my family out for dinner and try to get myself into the proper holiday spirit as I contemplated the dramatic post-Christmas drop-off in sales.

Of course this is how it has been for everyone in the brick-and-mortar bookselling business — and many other retail sectors — for generations, but we are in the midst of cataclysmic change in the book business, and the chances are very good that this holiday season the world’s largest bookseller will experience something it has never experienced before.

Amazon issued one of its customary “tidbits o’ jolly sales metrics” press releases last week in which, among other things, the company let slip that its biggest single sales day of 2010 was Cyber Monday, November 29, 2010, when it sold 13.7 million items, or 158 items per second. Indeed I would be very surprised if Cyber Monday 2011 — November 28 — didn’t surpass the previous year’s benchmark to become the biggest single sales day in Amazon history, so far. There were certainly plenty of great deals available.

But here’s our prediction: either in 2011 or 2012, December 25 itself will become the new biggest sales day of the year for Amazon  (in terms of sheer items sold), and once that change gains traction it will stay that way for a long, long time.

Why? Because the Kindles and Kindle Fire tablets that make up such a huge portion of Amazon’s items shipped prior to December 25 are the perfect content delivery system for all of the astonishingly fast-growing digital inventory of ebooks, MP3 music, movies, TV shows, apps, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, and gift cards that are the new cornerstore of Amazon’s retail business for the rest of this decade.

We aren’t sure that this change will occur this year, but if it does occur it would be based on a sales units-per-Kindle model something like this:

  • 4 million Kindle Fires shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011, with half of them opened on Christmas morning leading to the purchase that day of 2 million Kindle books, 1 million apps, 1 million MP3 songs, and 1 million other digital files including movies, TV shows, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers = 5 million units.
  • 4 million eInk Kindles shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011, with half of them opened on Christmas morning leading to the purchase that day of 3 million Kindle books = 3 million units.
  • 20 million Kindles sold prior to the fourth quarter of 2011, with 12 million or more still in service and used for the purchase on Christmas Day of 5 million Kindle books = 5 million units.
  • 1 million other items purchased on Christmas Day in other Amazon departments, including items purchased with Amazon gift cards opened Christmas morning and many more physical items purchased from the Amazon store by shoppers sitting on their sofas and playing with their new Kindle Fire tablets.

So maybe it will happen this year, maybe it will happen next year — and let’s be very clear that we’re talking units here and not dollars. (These units-per-Kindle models seem pretty conservative, so I am having a little trouble imagining how it would not happen this year.)

But lest you think of this as just some kind of flukey factoid-to-be, to be remarked upon and then forgotten, let’s also be clear this is a change that will herald major waves of transformation in the book and other media industries for years to come.

The increasing importance of instant shopping as opposed to pre-event shopping-and-shipping will mean a continuing decline in seasonal shopping and all of the ways that retail seasons have traditionally organized distribution channels, catalogs, the behavior or even the existence of sales reps, seasonal marketing campaigns, etc. Meanwhile Amazon will get to have it both ways, with huge dollar sales of Kindle content delivery systems between Thanksgiving and Christmas year, followed inevitably by huge unit sales of Kindle content each year during the “12 Days of Christmas” Between Christmas and Epiphany.

While it may seem a bit overheated to speak of these Kindle content delivery systems as an extension of our brains or as portals to all things cultural or consumable, it is nonetheless clear that they are remarkable engines of economic disintermediation that relentlessly — some would say cruelly — slice off inefficiencies and waste, and throw to the curb those who have depended on such inefficiencies for their livelihood.

I began self-referentially with a mention of my independent, brick-and-mortar bookselling roots. Even back in my American Bookseller Association days, I knew that it was futile and irrelevant of my colleagues and myself to rant against bogeymen like the chains and bookselling superstores. I’m always sad when I hear of someone from the traditional book business or printing industry who is out of work and not likely to be employable again without a career transformation, but I am just as sad when I hear my friends rant against change that is inevitable as if it was somehow just the fault of Jeff Bezos.

It’s not very Zen of me to say so, but where we are may be less important than where we are headed. We’ve already arrived at a place where there is:

  • a store that sells everything….
  • a store that can suggest what we want next….
  • a store that delivers instantly….
  • a web browser that anticipates where we are going….

Sure, there are other retailers who can look at the above list and say “we do that too,” but we all know that Amazon is driving this kind of change. Yet even with the potentially frightening world dominance that some may consider implicit in the fact that each of those lines characterizes Amazon, we are also within a daydream of a rebel and democratic marketplace of the mind where:

  • every reader is a writer, or at least a literary agent….
  • every viewer is an actor, or at least a casting director….
  • every listener is a player, or at least a DJ….
  • every downloader is an uploader, or at least a blogger….
  • and every promotion is personal.

In such a world the feedback will increasingly be the filter, and our ability to make choices in a world of limitless choice will depend more than ever on knowing who we can trust to help us distinguish between the ridiculous and the sublime. Our friends will be our networks, and our networks, more and more, will be in our minds.

Ray Kurzweil may say that we’ll have to wait until 2029 for the Singularity, but here at Kindle Nation we won’t be surprised if the Kindle Fire is offered as an implantable chip before the decade is out.

Our Kindle eBook of the Day is a fascinating glimpse of the past — and of the human heart — as only Patricia Ryan can tell it! HEAVEN’S FIRE – 4.9 stars from 17 reviewers and just $3.99 on Kindle!

Here’s the set-up for Patricia Ryan’s HEAVEN’S FIRE – 15 out of 17 5-Star Reviews and Just $3.99 on Kindle:

In the sequel to Falcon’s Fire, celibate priest and Oxford scholar Rainulf Fairfax finds himself drawn to a humbly born young woman after he rescues from her vicious overlord.

Rainulf Fairfax meets Constance of Cuxham, beautiful but coming down with the deadly pox. He sets aside his own worries–a struggle with faith and whether he should leave the priesthood–as he tries to save Constance.  She’s clever, attractive and he feels stirrings that add to his indecision.  He does what little he can to combat the pox, then returns to Oxford feeling she will recover.

He is heart broken to learn she has died.  But Constance, alive, shows up in Oxford disguised as a man named Corliss and on the run to save her freedom.

From the reviewers:

A fascinating glimpse of the past as only Patricia Ryan can tell it! Suspenseful and passionate!  Patricia Ryan creates memorable characters that will warm your heart, and the sensual tension will raise your temperature! Fans of medieval romance will not be disappointed.  Heaven’s Fire is a page turner up until the nail biting end .  Kristina Wright — Copyright © 1994-97 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved — From Literary Times

“With Heaven’s Fire, Patricia Ryan establishes herself as a major voice in the medieval romance genre. For originality, drama and passion, Heaven’s Fire can’t be beat.” Romantic Times

“In the tradition established by her fabulous Falcon’s Fire, Patricia Ryan continues to write some of the best medieval romance today. Fans of this genre will find Heaven’s Fire is pure reading nirvana.” Affaire de Coeur

“A marvelous medieval romance from an incredibly gifted author! A fascinating glimpse of the past as only Patricia Ryan can tell it!” The Literary Times

“Lusty and exhilarating, this is medieval romance at its best. Heaven’s Fire is a splendid tale, and Patricia Ryan is a writer to watch.” Patricia Gaffney

“An intense tale of deception, religion, murder, and romance materializes in this graphic, well written historical romance. A dramatic tie-in to Falcon’s Fire, this book integrates old and new characters to create a unique love story you will not soon forget. Don’t miss these compelling books.” Rendezvous

“A heartwarming, scholarly tale of love, trust and sweet revenge.” Romance Forever

Patricia Ryan has written more than two dozen romance and historical mystery novels, which have won numerous awards, including Romance Writers of America’s RITA for her medieval romance SILKEN THREADS.

She is also the recipient of two Romantic Times Awards and a Mary Higgins Clark Award nomination for Still Life With Murder. Website: patricia-ryan.com.
And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample:

BookGorilla.com eBook Headlines, June 9, 2011: YA Books & Censorship, Sunshine Pricing, Connelly, Kobo, Calculator, Nook, Kindle, Apple, Piracy, Textbooks, Tablets, and More

Wondering what’s going on in the world of eBooks today? You’ve come to the right place….

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