Kindle Matchbook…and Other Bargains

Jake Lassiter in his study?

By Paul Levine

Amazon keeps amazing me.

On July 22, 2000, I purchased “Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War” by Bob Greene in hardcover from Amazon.

On March 4, 2002, I purchased “The Wise Women of Havana” by Jose Raul Bernardo in hardcover, also from Amazon.

Kindle Matchbook: Oh, Those Insanely Clever Computers

No, I don’t remember buying either one. Amazon’s smart computers just reminded me under the Kindle Matchbook program, in which many titles which you previously bought in hardcover or paperback are now available as Kindle downloads at $2.99 or less.

At first I was puzzled. Why would you want another copy, albeit electronic, of a book you already read? I don’t know! But you do want the ebook if it is priced right, according to Amazon’s flawless research. Yes, I know. It’s a little scary. Amazon probably knows what you ate for dinner last night and what movie you’re going to buy next week. Love Amazon or hate Amazon, can we agree that founder Jeff Bezos is pretty much always the smartest guy in the room?  (He was the valedictorian of Palmetto High School’s Class of 1982 in Miami, then added a Princeton degree in computer science (duh!) and engineering).

For more info on all the bargains available, and to find out if books you’ve bought over the years from Amazon are available for bargain e-book prices, take a look at the Kindle Matchbook homepage. (The publisher has to agree for its products to be in the Kindle Matchbook program).

Disclosure: Several of my works are available for 99 cents each under Kindle Matchbook, if you now buy (or previously bought) the books in print form. The list includes “State vs. Lassiter”, “Lassiter,”, “Ballistic,”, and “Habeas Porpoise,” among others.

Kindle Matchbook logo

Which brings me to all the other bargains available on Kindle. Here, I’m talking about the Monthly Deals ($3.99 or less), the Daily Deals, the Countdown Deals, and Kindle Exclusives. Take a look at the Kindle eBooks homepage, and you’ll see what I mean.

Kindle Matchbooks bargains
Lots of Bargains on the Kindle Ebooks Homepage.

As this is written, in Monthly Deals, you can buy Faye Kellerman’s “The Ritual Bath” for $1.99.  Likewise, in Daily Deals, you can get Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Hillbilly Heart” for $1.99. Earlier this week, it was James Lee Burke’s “Light of the World” for $2.99. The Monthly Deals are extensive, broken down into categories including “Mystery and Suspense,” “Romance,” Literary Fiction, “Science Fiction,” “Biographies and Memoirs,” and “Children’s Books.”

Other Deals: Countdowns and Exclusives

The Countdown Deal is a new and intriguing feature. Ebooks go into bargain “countdown” for a week, starting at a huge discount (often for 99 cents) then usually go up in price gradually through the week until they resume the original price. Here’s the Countdown Deals homepage, which of course, changes every day as new books are added and others drop out of the deal.

Today, you’ll find Elle Lothlorien’s “Alice in Wonderland” for $2.99, Julie Smith’s “Jazz Funeral” for $1.99 and my “Solomon vs. Lord” for 99 cents.

Kindle Matchbook bargain
99 Cents…What a Bargain!

Then, there’s the Kindle Ebooks Exclusives, books you can only find on Amazon. Here’s the Exclusives homepage. My books have historically done very well on the Exclusives Best Seller list.

Bottom line, whether it’s the Kindle Matchbook program or one of the “Deals,” there are ebook bargains to be had every day.

Paul Levine

Amazon Drones: Fly Me!

From the messy desk of Paul Levine…

By now you know,  Amazon is experimenting with delivering packages to your front door by drones.  If you missed it, the video shown on “60 Minutes” is available on You Tube.  Now, The New York Times reports that Google  is developing “humanoid robots” — I love that term — that can hop off a Google automated car and deliver your package.  Take that, Amazon!

For some reason, I keep picturing the space alien Klaatu and his drone, i.e., flying saucer,  in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”  (The 1951 original…not the Keanu Reeves remake).

the day the earth stood still
Klaatu emerges from his flying saucer in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Back to those Amazon drones.  I like to think the vehicle pictured at the top of this blog is carrying several of my books to a waiting customer.  (Thirty minute delivery!  But hold your horses…or robots.  I have an idea.  I would like to delivered by drone.  That’s right.  I’d like to volunteer to be the first author dropped on a reader’s front lawn by Amazon drones.  Please, Jeff Bezos, make me part of the 99 cent Daily Deal.  (If the reader wants Stephen King, Lee Child, or John Grisham, they have to shell out $4.99).

When I arrive, I will attempt to entertain the buyer by spinning a tale or two.  Maybe the family will invite me in for a cup of coffee and donuts.

Because Amazon is The-Company-So-Many-Love-to-Hate, the drone proposal has already drawn flak.  My pal, the otherwise sane author John Ramsay Miller opined: “Not content with destroying business like book stores, Bezos has more job killing in store for the middle class.”  I have to disagree.  Amazon is merely ramping up the delivery business.  Local and chain stores will respond in kind.  If Amazon can truly deliver a $12 roller skate key (that’s what’s shown in the video) in 30 minutes, so can a local store.  (Does anyone still skate?)

Several Facebook friends have chimed in about the drone delivery proposal.  Veteran newsman Tim King predicts local TV stations will start using drones instead of helicopters to save money.  Retired journalism prof Tom Berner wants to start using drones for his photography.  Wisecracker Lynn Gard Price said, “Two words: Target practice.”

The Amazon drones may or may not come to fruition.  Either way, progress is sometimes frightening.  Buggy whip manufacturers surely did not like the advent of the mass-produced automobile.  But we adapt.  Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google have changed the way we live…and the pace of our lives.

The Day the Earth Stood Still Poster

Nowadays, we take for granted activities that would have been jaw-dropping less than a generation ago.  A few days ago,  I received an email from OnStar, telling me that the pressure in my car’s right front tire was 31 pounds instead of the recommended 35.  That’s right.  Not only does the company provide me with a navigation system and satellite phone — useful when there is no cell coverage — but once a month, it runs a diagnostic check on the car and informs me of the results.  I am awed.

So there you have it.  Just be gentle, Amazon, when you drop me on that front lawn, and let’s avoid yards with pit bulls.

Paul Levine