Amazon introduced two new devices to its Kindle Fire HD lineup — a 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX — that are intended to replace not only your tablet, but also your work laptop.
With a faster processor, better GPU, and more memory, the HDX tablets have enough power to keep users productive at work and entertain them at home. Amazon didn't just improve its hardware, either. A new feature called Mayday offers 24x7x365 tech support and peace of mind, and it's built into every Kindle Fire HDX.
The company has established its ereader dominance with the eink Kindle Paperwhite — but can it usurp the high-definition tablet market, too? The 8.9-inch HDX is slightly more expensive than the bestselling iPad Mini but boasts higher resolution, longer battery, and better rear camera. Learn more about the new Kindle Fire HDX, and let us know if you'll be trading in your iPad for Amazon's new tablets for the holidays.
The next-generation Kindle Paperwhite is now available for preorder on Amazon, and you're probably wondering if you should stick with last year's version (my personal favorite ereader) or upgrade to the new sixth-generation Paperwhite. Amazon's latest backlit, black-and-white ereader ships Sept. 30 ($119 with special offers/WiFi and $139 without offers/WiFi, and $189 for a free 3G data version) — but is it worth it?
The hardware is mostly the same with some improvements to the display (higher resolution and contrast), internal specs (25 percent faster processor), and light (developed to reduce eyestrain). The software, on the other hand, received the bulk of the upgrades. Integration of recent Amazon acquisition Goodreads, vocabulary building, and a superuseful page skimmer are just a few of the new features in this next Paperwhite that bring the best parts of physical books into an electronic reader.
Amazon also announced a killer deal for Kindle users who've purchased physical hard copies of books in the past. Matchbook, which launches in October, offers readers the ebook version of an already-purchased physical title for a reduced price. In the gallery, see the details from the new program and screenshots of the Paperwhite's smarter software, then let us know if you think it's worth the upgrade.
- Individual episodes of shows: It's generally cheaper to buy the whole season versus buying the episdoes individually. The prices of the TV shows and movies are quite comparable to iTunes. Although you may be able to watch the TV show or movie for cheaper on Netflix and Hulu.
- Sold out or out-of-print items: The prices of these items tend to be inflated because the supply may not be able to meet the demand since there are less of them around. However, you can sometimes get them at discount if you scour the listings of the used items.
- Items without free shipping: If you're a Prime member, you'll get free two-day delivery on items with Amazon Prime. There are some items by third party sellers that charge a delivery fee — some even higher than the cost of the item itself. They may not be worth buying on Amazon, and you might want to consider getting them elsewehere if the shipping fee is too high.
- Specialty items:Specialty items can be priced very high on Amazon, such as foreign beauty products, ethnic foods, and prescription pet food. You may want to visit the vendors and providers that sell these goods in person. For example, I bought the medium-sized Royal Canin urinary prescription cat food for $20 cheaper than the Amazon price at the vet's office.
- Some digital items: Although digital items such as eBooks, movies, and TV shows you can stream are convenient, they are not always the most frugal. Sometimes the book, DVD, or CD is a lot cheaper than their digital counterparts.
- Groceries: The online superstore has a section for groceries, but your grocery bill may end up being higher than shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Although Amazon has started its own online grocery delivery service, in which you pay a flat fee of $300 a year for free delivery, the service is only available in Seattle and Los Angeles. The annual fee might also cost too high to be worth it.
Want to save even more on Amazon? Here are some tips to save.
Because the Kindle Fire HD is due for an upgrade in September, Amazon is dropping the price of this generation's 7-inch tablet by $50. The Kindle Fire HD with a 7-inch display is now $160 (originally $200) for the 16GB and $189 (originally $229) for the 32GB WiFi versions. It's now much cheaper than the 16GB versions of the iPad mini ($329) and the new Nexus 7 ($230).
The larger, 8.9-inch tablet dropped $100 in March. For the past two years, Amazon has unveiled their latest and greatest Kindles in September, and we expect that these price drops are a good indication that the company will stay in that tradition.
The current Kindle Fire HD has a 1280 x 800, 720p display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 11-hour battery life, and weighs 13.9 oz. If you're considering becoming a Kindle Fire HD owner, see what features stood out to us last year, then grab some tech protection for your new tablet.
Amazon first revolutionized the way books were sold, then quickly expanded into everything from electronics to beauty to pet supplies — everything except fine art. Shopping for original works of art is an investment and an extremely personal endeavor. Amazon is hoping to digitize that experience with today's launch of Amazon Art, an online marketplace for fine art in classic mediums like painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking.
Over 4,500 artists and 40,000 pieces from galleries across the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Canada are already listed on the site. Amazon Art acts as a broker of sorts, allowing customers to purchase works directly from gallery partners such as Paddle8, Abmeyer + Wood, Luster, and Little Collector.
There's a wide range of offerings on the site, from pieces priced at $200 to works that cost well over $10,000. Norman Rockwell's "Willie Gillis: Package from Home" is on sale for $4.85 million, and — because this is Amazon — the classic painting ships free.
Amazon Art's landing page acts as a guide, categorizing pieces by medium, genre, and gallery. If you're looking for a human touch, there are staff-curated featured picks as well. For shoppers with specific price points, there's an under-$200 gallery with more affordable artwork.
On the individual art listing, read more information about the artist and the piece, see more works from the artist, and check out other offerings from the gallery. Customers can also inspect the piece close-up and preview it in a real room setting.
Poke around Amazon's new foray into fine art, and let us know if something special catches your eye. If Amazon doesn't have what you're looking for, head to POPSUGAR Home for the best online sources for affordable art.
The free shipping on Amazon might make you a little too shop-happy and cause you to buy too many things from the online superstore. Well, it turns out, only some items are worth buying from Amazon, while others are better off bought from brick-and-mortar stores. Here are a couple of items that tend to be better deals on Amazon because of its low price or huge selection:
- Some Subscribe & Save items: If you join Amazon's
Subscribe & Saveprogram, you're signing up for a regular order of a particular item. You'll get five percent off if you subscribe to less than five items, but if you have more than five, you'll get 15 percent off the whole order. Not only are the discounts appealing, but the subscriptions are a good reminder of replacing items such as filters and toothbrush heads.
- Auto parts: Parts for vehicles are extremely easy to search for on
Amazon's auto shop, which makes it a great place to shop for auto parts.
- Computer accessories: You can often get computer parts and accessories for a cheaper price than other online stores like Newegg, and with a better return policy, to boot, says Lifehacker.
- Pet-related products in bulk: You're better off buying pet products, like cat litter, pet food, and pee pads, in bulk on Amazon. Not only do they tend to be cheaper, but you'll also save yourself the hassle of lugging these heavy items around.
- Books: Amazon was originally known for selling books, but has evolved into a one-stop shop for everything else over the years. Still, the books are a great buy since they trade in high volumes of not just new books, but also heavily discounted used ones in perfect condition.
- Magazines: Magazines have massive discounts on the online superstore. You can often get a one-year subscription for $15 or under on most magazines.
- Diapers: Diapers are another type of item that seem to be cheaper on Amazon, and you can save big if you're part of the
Amazon Momprogram. It comes free with an Amazon Prime membership, and you'll see savings of 20 percent off diapers and more.
- Appliances: There are many appliances you can get at a much cheaper cost on Amazon if you do a little comparison shopping. The prices tend to be cheaper or competitive when you compare them to stores like Walmart and Best Buy.
Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, so be sure to do your research before buying. For example, prescription pet food tends to be cheaper at the vet's office. And remember that the price tends to fluctuate on Amazon, so you can actually wait it out and track the prices to get the best deal possible. Check out these tips to save even more on the online shop.
What items do you find are cheaper on Amazon?
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Amazon hopes you still care about Serena, Blair, Dan, and the gang now that Gossip Girl is off the air. The company announced today that it will sell Gossip Girl fan fiction, as well as stories about The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars, in the Kindle store. Those original books inspired the popular TV shows and a healthy amount of online fan fiction, and by bringing the latter to the Kindle, Amazon will make it easier to find and read. The company is also working on securing rights for additional content. The new program is called Kindle Worlds, and Amazon describes it as the "first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so."
Writers will be able to self-publish stories of 10,000 words or more, and those who are eligible can get up to 35 percent of each sale. The owners of the original content also get a portion. After the success of Twilight fan fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey and Beautiful Bastard, Amazon's foray into the genre seems like a savvy move. Tells us below if you have an appetite for it.
Amazon announced today it was acquiring popular book-centric social network Goodreads. What does this mean for the 16 million users and 30,000 book clubs currently on Goodreads? In a letter posted to the site's blog, founder Otis Chandler says the active community that created book friends and fans around the world isn't going anywhere, though integrating the Goodreads platform with Amazon's Kindle is now a "top priority."
For ebook readers, that could mean the possibility of seamlessly posting book reviews through Kindle or adding just-purchased books from Amazon to bookshelves. Not all are excited by the prospects, though, as several Goodreads users commented on the blog post to express their disappointment with the corporate ownership.
Member Mustafa said, "I get it, you need money. But I hope Amazon does not hinder the ability to buy books from other sites and prevent competition." On the literature website BookRiot's Facebook page, many Goodreads users had a negative reaction to the news. "Yes, it does affect how I feel about Goodreads. How can it continue to be objective regarding book reviews?" said Marjorie Wertz. However, several posters did greet the news with excitement at the chance to have the Goodreads experience on Kindle.
Whether or not you care who owns Goodreads or how it'll change with this acquisition, there are several other book social networks we've come to love as well. Discover them below, and share with us which is your favorite (and, ahem, some sci-fi book recommendations are always welcome!).
- Anobii — Latin for "bookworm," Anobii allows you to embed your virtual bookshelf from the site to a personal website, so you can share your current reads without even having to worry about social media plug-ins.
- Bookish — Need a book recommendation? Bookish is your source. As you would fine-tune a music station on Pandora by adding more musicians or specific songs, Bookish lets you input up to four books when making its next literary reference to you.
- Shelfari — Already owned by Amazon, Shelfari allows users to sign in with an Amazon ID to add notes to a book's page. We love the "Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis" and the option to hide spoilers.