Google Releases Books for Smartphones

I can’t speak for the behavior of others, but I’ve had an Android device for nearly three years and I’ve never thought to buy books from Google Play. I mean, I’m sure the formatting is okay. I’m sure reading books bought from the Google Play store is minimally different from Kindle books or iBooks. But eh, it just hasn’t happened.

Google obviously knows there’s money to be earned from selling eBooks, and now they’re adapting. They recently released two books that are meant to be read on smartphones. They’re interactive and very short “reads”. And more could be on the way.

I imagine these kinds of interactive books are geared toward younger readers, but if you could get through a nice little interactive eBook in 30-60 minutes, then why not give them a try, right?

Two questions. Do you ever read books on your smartphone? Would you be interested in these interactive eBooks Google is betting on?



Last month I tried to conduct a giveaway for a gift card, but it didn’t seem to catch on. Now I’m upping the stakes a bit. I know I don’t need to conduct a giveaway, but I’m serious about my channel. And I feel like a lot of people aren’t really taking it seriously. Which is okay, I know people have their own interests and reasons for this. Now I want to give even more of an incentive. This is essentially what we do at Half Price Books when we aren’t getting as many email sign ups as we’d like. We do a gift card drawing. I’m betting that if you aren’t interested in my channel right now, perhaps I’ll be able to convince you somewhere down the line, but in the meantime there’s a Kindle here with your name on it. So here are the rules.

You’ll be able to enter up to the three times. But you MUST subscribe to my YouTube channel. So even if you do two of the three and don’t subscribe, then you wont be entered. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. (YOU MUST DO THIS TO ENTER AT ALL)
  2. Like this post.
  3. Like the giveaway picture on my Instagram.

This is the device I’ll be giving away here. It’ll be BRAND NEW.


And that’s it! There is one catch here. I’m once again setting a minimum on the number of subscribers I gain in order for the giveaway to take place. I want to gain 160 to reach 200 total. Which is quite a few more than my current 40, but there’s a Kindle on the line. If I don’t reach the minimum I’ll drop the prize down to a gift card, but I’ll definitely give away SOMETHING.

Here’s how I’ll pick the winner. I’ll allow people to enter for seven days. Once next Tuesday comes around I’ll immediately check the subscriber numbers and the likes on everything else. I’ll assign a number to every new subscriber, every like on this post, and every like on Instagram (for those who qualify). Then I’ll use a random number generator to determine the winner. I’ll notify the winner and get the Kindle shipped out as soon as I can.


You can enter the maximum number of three times in about a minute, so what are you waiting for?!



On Amazon Echo’s new Feature

I don’t have an Amazon Echo device. I’m even a little surprised that it’s as popular as it is. It isn’t much different from what smartphones can do. But now Amazon is trying to improve the device as time goes on, and I think they’re doing just that.

Alexa (the device’s name) will now be able to read any of your Kindle books to you. Her voice may not be quite the same as a voice actor reading an audio book, but there’s no subscription needed. It’s completely free.

Free is always nice to hear, especially when you see the prices of individual audio books or an Audible subscription. I think Amazon is on to something. I don’t use my Kindle and I don’t listen to audio books, but millions of readers enjoy both.

Do you have an Amazon Echo? What do you think of Alexa now being able to read Kindle Books?

Wrong Again

Not me, of course. But many others. How many times have you heard about the decline of the book? Or that people aren’t reading anymore? Or that eBooks will put an end to print books?

New sales numbers just released prove otherwise. EBook sales are down year over year roughly 10 percent. Paperback sales are up more than 5 percent. The Kindle hasn’t killed anything. And Amazon hasn’t killed or taken anything over. People are still reading. And it appears that the ridiculous prices of eBooks are turning people off of buying eBooks when the paperback version is almost certainly cheaper, and the hardcover version is just about the same price.

What do you think about eBook sales now stalling for multiple years in a row and a relative resurgence happening with print books?

New Clean Reader App Removes “Offensive Language” From Your Books

Most books I read have some cussing. Not pages and pages of it, but some. Well (if you don’t like characters cussing) you no longer have to read those words. You know the ones I’m talking about. There’s a new app called Clean Reader that essentially barricades you from cuss words in your books. And it’s easy to use. All you do is download the app and set your settings based on how much or how little you want the language to be changed. Oh, the app isn’t only for cussing. It covers A LOT of different words and phrases and is constantly adding more.

But you have to purchase the books through the app. So you can’t read on your Kindle, Nook, and I’m not sure what the app is like on iPhones and iPads.

I understand that some people don’t like “offensive language” in their reading, but I’m not a fan of this. How many rounds of edits and rewrites did it take for the book to reach its final state? Plenty. And all along the way the language could have been changed but wasn’t. I just don’t think an author’s work should be changed (drastically, in some cases) without his or her permission to cater to some reader. If you really don’t like the language THEN DON’T READ THE BOOK. How hard is that?

Anyway, what do you think of an app that essentially censors books? I hope it fails miserably.

You can read more about the app here. It is available in the App Store and Google Play. I won’t be linking to it.

On this day in 2014 I published What’s That one Series of Books you Won’t Forget?.


You’d be Crazy to use Kindle Convert


When I first found out about this new Amazon program it had me scratching my head. I was literally lying in bed scratching my head as I read a few articles about it. Kindle Convert does exactly what you might think after reading its name. It enables you to convert your physical books into Kindle eBooks. Guess how? By scanning them, page by page into the program.

I have to admit that I have no idea who at Amazon came up with this program. Or why it’s offered to the public at all. This is a joke. Seriously. Even if you have a typical 300 page book it’ll take hours to scan it. All for what? So you can read it on your Kindle? That is, if you somehow manage to do everything correctly in the process. I’ve known a few people to own both the Kindle and print version of books, but I’ve never really seen the point of that. I mean, if you REALLY have to be able to read a particular book at your every location, then take the damn thing with you. Or are you going to give me some excuse about it being too heavy or bulky?

I have no idea why Amazon would release Kindle Convert to the public, but suffice it to say that I have no interest whatsoever in downloading the software. You can view the Amazon product page here.

Ever Heard of Kindle First?

Amazon keeps rolling out the book-related programs. I think Kindle First was launched late last year, I think. Anyway, have you heard of it? I randomly received an email some time ago that told me a little about the program and I jotted down a few words on my list of topics to blog.

What happens is the Amazon editors pick four books each month to have in the program. The books become available a month before the public has access. Rather than pre-ordering and waiting for release day, the price of each Kindle book is $1.99 for non-Prime members. Prime members can read two of the four books for free. The books are from four different genres. Thriller. Romance. Mystery. Historical Fiction. I’m not sure if the genres change or not. But that’s it. The books count as purchases and remain in your Kindle library. Everyone is limited to two of the four books each month.

What do you think? Want to read some books that you probably haven’t heard of a month before they’re released? I’m a Prime member, so I just might download two of the January books to see if I can make using the program a regular thing.

One last note, all four January books are in the top 30 in the Kindle store. One of them has over a thousand reviews already and its release day is February 1. Hmm.

You can get more information about the program and the January titles here.