Amazon Pricing Tactics

While the whole $9.99 Kindle book boycott has yet to be satisfactorily resolved, Amazon‘s begun a new marketing tactic on the opposite side of things. Free e-books.

Nothing new, some of you say. While I don’t deny that this new phenomenon could have been occuring for a little while without my noticing, here are a few things that I don’t mean.

I don’t mean a ten cent copy of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith which was one of my very first Kindle purchases.

I don’t mean the books (such as The Wealth of Nations) whose copyrights are long expired and were offered for free on Project Gutenberg long before Amazon caught on.

I mean relatively recently published, popular books being offered for free: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, for example. Go on, look. It’s actually free.

Frankly I’m not terribly fond of the Temeraire books. I read His Majesty’s Dragon at the library not long after  it came out and never bothered to read the others. Nothing wrong with the books, not by any means (except, perhaps, a weak protagonist), I just didn’t feel compelled to read further.

Amazon is hoping others will disagree. While His Majesty’s Dragon is offered for free, all the later books in the series are listed at full price ($6.39, fairly standard for a book that’s available in paperback). Every other free e-book of this type offered, at least so far as I can tell, is also the first in a series.

Needless to say, I just went on a free-book-binge. Here are a few books that I ‘bought.’

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove

Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt

For Love of Mother Not by Alan Dean Foster

Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter

Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham

Here are another couple that I didn’t ‘buy,’ for one reason or another.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (I’ve read it, and recommend it for anyone seeking quality high fantasy)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (didn’t strike me as something I might enjoy)

Let me know if you find any others and I’ll add them to the list (and my library!). While ‘speculative fiction’ is all I’ve seen so far, I would be excited to learn of more traditional offerings as well.

P.S. I support the $9.99 boycott for mostly selfish reasons, along with the fact that when I bought my Kindle, all the e-books were $9.99 or below, and I seem to remember a pledge to that affect from Amazon.


I’ve found several more- it turns out that many of these are part of a special promotion by Random House which will last through October


Free Friday: Rebirth

Sorry I missed last week, everyone. Things have been busy here in the asylum.Today I’ll show you another song I found on GarageBand via iLike. Rebirth by Spindle Cincinnatti could perhaps benefit from better recording equipment, but it’s still an awesome song. For some reason I love the lyrics without completely understanding what they mean. The line “crossed the line of dealing with my coming of age” resonates strongly with me despite the fact that if I haven’t come of age yet, I rather doubt I’m ever going to.

Also, at the gym on Thursday morning I heard a song on the loudspeakers. It sounded rather like it could be the theme to an action movie. Eventually I found a monitor which was showing the music video and started doing my lifting in front of it. The video was of cello players being slowly ambushed by a SWAT team. It was entirely instrumental, of course, but if the name of the song and artist showed on the screen it was while I was facing the other way putting away weights.

So I’m on a mission, and I want you to help me. Find the song. I don’t need the music video even. Just the song. I’ve been looking and the closest thing I’ve found was a string version of the song ‘Final Countdown’ by Europe on YouTube.

Which I have to confess is pretty awesome. I really hope the cello players have some kind of deal on bow hair though. Unless you’ve ever played a stringed instrument, you probably have no idea how much it costs to have a bow restrung. And if they do that much damage every time they rehearse too? That would add up.

If anyone finds something awesome, whether or not it’s the right piece, feel free to share it with me. 🙂

Free Friday: Starfish

Here’s one of those things you aren’t likely to find on your own. Starfish, by Peter Watts is the first in a trilogy which was published relatively recently, meaning that the copyright hasn’t expired yet. So how is it that I come to offer it for free? The author has made it available under the Creative Commons License, along with the rest of the trilogy and all his other work on his website.

The premise of the novel is that there are geothermal power stations deep under the ocean which need people to man them, but humans must either wear prohibitive equipment or undergo extreme surgery to survive at such depths. No one would ever volunteer for such a job- except certain, shall we say, social deviants who have little other choice, who may even come to enjoy life farther below water than light can penetrate.

Fascinating on many levels- literary, scientific, political, and psychological. I highly recommend it, though I haven’t finished the trilogy yet, I’m looking forward to finishing Maelstrom and Behemoth. It’s not often someone will give me a book this good for free.

Here’s Starfish.

Free Friday: Dune

Hey all, sorry I’ve been conspicuously absent. It’s been a busy week, and I’ve been preparing for a short trip down to Virginia today and tomorrow. In any case, today I’ve found a copy of Dune by Frank Herbert which, if you haven’t already read, you should. And it’s a good thing to have in your library in any case.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Also, here’s an XKCD comic I found a few days ago. This happens to me sometimes on the Metro.

Free Friday: Something Better

Sorry that this is late (hey, it’s still Friday in my timezone, whatever WordPress thinks). Unfortunately this is going to be a tad rushed. I have something better to do- namely sleep- right now. I have a 5K tomorrow and a half-marathon (my first) the next day. Bad planning? Yes. Is that going to stop me? No. This will go down as one of my numerous ‘stupid running stunts.’

In any case, here’s a song which has been on my running playlist ever since I discovered it. It’s called ‘Something Better’ and the artist is “true story.” Modern rock, and fast paced enough for me to run to.

Download ‘Something Better.’

Free Friday: Dracula

Recently I was pointed towards as a source for free e-books. Insert schpeel about how much I love my Kindle here.

In any case, one of the first things I found and downloaded was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Believe it or not I had not read the book before, and i twas high time I started. Unfortunately, the version I downladed from Project Gutenburg was rather badly formatted, though I don’t believe this is the case with all, or even the majority of their books. It could just have been the download source or mirror I chose as well.

Shortly after this, when I was a few chapters into the book, Stumble Upon threw my way. There I found a well formatted version of the book and continued from where I had left off. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in classic literature, horror, fantasy, or even sci-fi. (And we all know those last two are the same thing, right? ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,’ afterall.)

You can find the download here. The file is available in just about any format you can imagine, even as an audio book. And, of course, its free. If you want to download it directly to any device with a wireless internet connection (like a Kindle) you can go to the mobile site, and use the ID# 6694 to find and download it.