Category Archives: Book Notes

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon just announced Kindle Unlimited – a subscription service for Kindle books. For $9.99 a month you can read as many Unlimited books as you want for as long as you want. You don’t have to check the first one in before you can check another out. And, if there’s an Audible version of the Unlimited book you’re reading, you can listen to it too! I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of genealogy books that are part of the Unlimited program!


Amazon’s offering a 30-day free trial. Check it out and see if this isn’t a great way to get access to some great books without destroying your budget.

There’s a guide for that!

I just stumbled onto a fabulous resource – the free ebooks at Here you’ll find guides for family research, online publishing, photoblogging, online meetings, Windows 8, Scrivener, Evernote, Markdown and dozens more. You can read them online or download them as either PDF of ePub files.

I’ve downloaded the tumblr, Markdown and Scrivener guides and they’re quite good.

Found on Scribd: Evernote @ Work

Evernote @ Work via Scribd

This book is a great read – even if you aren’t using Evernote at work. And, it’s included in Scribd’s subscription service (all you can read for $8.99/month). As you can see in the background, the Evernote for Dummies book is also available.

That’s not all. Scribd just updated its reading apps to include highlights and notes. Now you can highlight text within a book and add your own notes. These annotations are synched across all your Scribd apps so they’re available to you whenever you need them.

Photos – an iOS Guide

Photos coverIf you are an iPhone/iPad owner and are fascinated with the photography potential these two devices offer, then you need a copy of Photos by Tom Rudderham [iBooks – $8.99]. This book is gorgeous, inspiring and full of great information. It focuses on the Camera, Photos and iPhoto apps on both the iPhone and iPad, showing how to get the most from them to develop your skills and workflows for taking great photos, editing them, then organizing and sharing them. He also looks at several other apps and while they are interesting, what I learned about the three on-board apps has given me plenty to keep me occupied for quite some time.

This is also one of the best implementations of iBooks Author I’ve seen yet. He uses the platform’s “whistles and bells” only when they support the instruction. There are a couple of movies in the book but they are short and used to demonstrate a process. He frequently uses the gallery element – a series of still images – to walk the reader through a process or workflow. It works without weighing down the book like a series of videos would. And, since you control the timing for each element, the gallery gives you plenty of time to enjoy the fabulous photography used in so many of his examples. Photos is now a permanent resident on my iPad for both reference and inspiration.

Chapter screen in Photos book

A chapter page view in Photos.

Scribd Subscription Update

Scribd released an infographic yesterday showing they now have 300,000 titles in their subscription service. That’s second only to Kindle’s Online Lending Library (part of Amazon Prime). For $8.95 a month, you have full access to books from HarperCollins, Kensington, Red Wheel/Weiser, Rosetta Books, Sourcebooks, and Workman along with independent titles from Smashwords. And, you can read these books on your iOS or Android devices as well as in your browser.

Scribd’s subscription service works much differently than the Kindle service in that there’s no check in/out. You can be reading as many books as you want as long as you want. Right now I’ve got about a dozen cookbooks on my reading “shelf” along with several mysteries (all my favorite British mystery authors are here!), a couple of craft books and several genealogy books.

The apps don’t have any annotation features – something I do miss. I would like to be able to bookmark an interesting recipe in a cookbook or view highlights and notes from a reference book. Hopefully, these will come soon. In the meantime, I’m never at a loss for something interesting to read and once I’ve passed the halfway mark in any book, that author gets compensated at the same level as when that book is sold.

Scribd Reading Habits


Now this is an awesome example of what ebooks are capable of achieving. I just updated my copy of David Sparks’ book Paperless [iBooks – $9.99, PDF – $10.00] . . . again! This is version 1.4 and it includes new information about apps which have received significant updates as well as new cloud storage services and other related topics. And, because it’s iBooks, it’s full of screencast demonstrations to make it even easier to understand. (Note: the PDF edition also has the videos . . . they just aren’t embedded in the book.)

Paperless offers Mac/iOS users a complete reference covering the hardware, software, services and workflows needed to get all our paper under control.

An affordable tech book that isn’t obsolete before I get it home! Is this heaven?

Details of the Smashwords/Scribd Deal

If you are publishing – or considering publishing – your family stories using Smashwords, here’s even more incentive for you. Smashwords and Scribd have just announced a distribution agreement which gives your books access to both Scribd’s bookstore and Scribd’s subscription service. And as an extra bonus, if you opt in to this agreement before January 1st, you’ll get a year’s subscription to Scribd free! Here’s the details:

I’m excited to announce a new global distribution agreement today with Scribd, an online reading community that boasts 10 million readers visiting their site each month.  There are two parts to the agreement.  The first part is for Smashwords to distribute books to their subscription ebook service.  The second part is for Smashwords to sell books on their site.  The terms of the agreement are great for our authors.  60% list for all sales for their bookstore, and 60% list for all qualifying full reads in their subscription service.  The trigger points for “full read” credit are when a reader reads more than 20% of the book, not counting the first 10% of the book starting at page one which is considered the free sample.  They also pay for partial reads, which is a cool bonus and unlike any other retailer.  If a reader reads 5% beyond the 10% sample, but less than 20% beyond, you receive a “browse” credit.  10 browse credits equal one full sale.  Also very cool:  As if you didnt already have reason to distribute every book to them, Scribd is offering all participating Smashwords authors who distribute through Smashwords a one-year free subscription to their subscription service valued at over $100.  Make sure your books are opted in by January 1 to be eligible, because this is a limited time offer.  Theyve also got some cool merchandising plans, as well as plans to share enhanced analytics with authors.  In my several months of conversations with them, Im impressed by their enthusism and commitment to support Smashwords authors.  Test shipments have begun, though books will likely not begin appearing in their store or subscription service until sometime in January.  The Scribd channel was activated in the Channel Manager this morning.  If you see a notation that your book has shipped, its only a test shipment.  For authors who want to opt out NOT RECOMMENDED!, you can opt out.  More details at the Smashwords blog.


Found on Scribd: Getting Started Guide for Snagit

TechSmith – the developers of Snagit, Camtasia and a number of other apps – have taken to Scribd to make their user guides available to all. With a free Scribd account, you can read and download these and a number of other publications from a growing number of sources. And, Scribd has readers for both Android and iOS devices.