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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Publishing ManagementIt’s not widely known that you don’t have to actually own an Amazon Kindle e-reader in order to have a Kindle account.

But why would you want one?

Because you can download free Kindle reading apps for just about any digital device there is and use it as your Kindle-compatible e-reader. Free apps are available from Amazon for the PC and Mac computers; for iPad, Android, or Windows 8 tablets (I have one for my WebOS-powered HP tablet, too, but Amazon doesn’t list that one anymore); and for iPhone, Android, Windows, and Blackberry smartphones. That should cover you and just about anyone else that you know. Click here to go to Amazon’s web page to download any of these free Kindle apps.

Once you set up a free Kindle account with Amazon, you can assign up to seven different Kindle-enabled devices to share books between. I have an account that lets me access all of my books from my HP tablet and my Kindle e-reader. (Yes, I actually own a real Kindle in addition to having the free reader app installed on other digital devices.) This same account is shared by Sandy, who accesses it from her desktop, laptop, Android smartphone, and her Kindle. When either of us buys a Kindle book, it becomes available to both of us on all of our devices that share the same account.

But truth be told, we don’t buy many Kindle books. Don’t need to. We get ’em for free. By the truckload. I currently have over 700 Kindle books on my HP tablet and I’ve only had to pay for very few of them.

There are websites and email services that you can subscribe to that send you a listing of free or deeply discounted Kindle books every day. I check mine every day, because authors who decide to make their book available for free often do so for a very limited time. It might be for a specified number of days or hours, or until a predetermined number of free downloads has been reached. When the limits are reached, the book goes back for sale at its retail price, so I scan these email flyers every day and pounce on anything that looks reasonably interesting.

Personal experience: I was looking at a book on investing that cost $27. I decided I didn’t need to buy it that day. The next day it was one of the books listed for free at eReader News Today (see below). I downloaded it immediately. The free or deeply discounted books aren’t second-rate books. (OK, sometimes they are, but plenty of them aren’t.) Some of them are books we’ve already purchased in hard copy over the years. Now we can also access them on our Kindles, desktops, laptops, etc. And for a price of “free” I can afford to take a chance on something that I would be hinky about shelling out the cash for. I’ve found a couple of real gems that I never would have tried if I had to buy them.

Here is a short list of some of my favorite free Kindle book resources. You can visit their website and sign up for the daily email alerts. Or if your inbox is overloaded, you can just browse their site periodically:   — All types of books   — All types of books   — Cookbooks   — Christian books

Besides these online resources, you can go to most libraries and borrow a Kindle book for two weeks for free. This would include books that you would otherwise not be able to find for free. And if you sign up for Amazon’s Prime service, one of the many benefits is the ability to borrow one book a month from Amazon. This benefit alone could easily justify the subscription fee.

One other resource you might find interesting is It is essentially a Kindle book lending service. Share your books and read books that others share. We have an account but have never used it. With 700 of our own books we haven’t found the need or time to.

Yeah, I know, this has been a long blog posting. But it’s a topic that I’m pretty passionate about. I just got back from vacation. I used to travel with a duffel bag full of books. Now I travel with my Kindle for outdoor sunshine reading and my HP tablet for indoor reading. 700 books, right in the palm of my hand. I didn’t used to be that strong.

A free Kindle account that you can share across seven devices. Free Kindle apps that you can run on your digital devices. Free Kindle books available from a variety of resources.

If it’s for free, it’s for me.

A Quick Tutorial on

Sending sensitive information via standard email (or text) is so not-smart. A number of websites now offer encrypted email services with self-destruction features. (Yes, think Mission Impossible.) We’ve used a service called (You might also try privnote and burnnote.)

To use, point your browser to

Once there, you’ll see their home page image: Home Home Screen

Click on the blue “Create One Now” button and the message screen appears.

Then, simply type your message, select from a dropdown box how quickly you want the message to destruct and click the “Create Link” button.

Here’s what the message area looks like: Message Screen

After clicking the blue “Create Link” button, a screen comes up offering you a link to paste into an email you create: Link Screen

Create your email using whatever email program you use, paste the link into it and off it goes. When the recipient receives the email and clicks on the link, it is opened on the site, looking like this: Unlocked Message

Notice the note at the bottom – the link may only be used once. If the recipient doesn’t record and keep the information somewhere else, they will no longer have access to it.

In the words of Sam Axe, “easy-peasy.”

InDesign has had a little-known Paragraph Style feature that can save you a lot of time and trouble.

When you’re formatting long documents, using Paragraph Styles is a must. There’s no better way to ensure standardization throughout a 500-page catalog than the consistent use of Paragraph Styles. Even if you’re disciplined about creating and using Paragraph Styles, you sometimes need to modify or “override” an existing style. Overriding an existing style doesn’t cause a global change to the Paragraph Style definition. It only modifies the one instance of text that you’ve selected.

Have you ever made a modification to a Paragraph Style and decided that you like your tweak better than the original style? You could go into your style definition and make all the same modifications, but there’s an easier way to apply your local override to the Paragraph Style definition, instantly making your style modification global.

Put your text cursor within the paragraph that has the override applied. Open your Paragraph Styles dialog box. You’ll see a plus sign next to the Paragraph Style name, indicating that it has an override applied to it. In the Paragraph Styles dialog box, click on the drop down arrow. There’s a command in there called Redefine Style. Clicking on this will cause that Paragraph Style to be redefined to include all of the overrides in the selected text. The modification will be instantly applied to every occurrence of that Style in your document.

If you’re a big fan of InDesign’s four-finger keyboard shortcuts (and who isn’t?), the shortcut for Redefine Style is Ctrl-Shift-Alt-R.