Kindle First provides early access to unreleased books

When it comes to reading, I use a Kindle PaperWhite. I hate paper books with a passion -- they take up space and are obsolete. The Kindle is wonderful because it allows me to easily bookmark pages, look up definitions, and scan the book for certain words with the x-ray feature. An Amazon Prime membership enhances the Kindle experience by letting the user "borrow" a book from among 350,000 choices.

Today, Amazon announces Kindle First , a new program that gets unreleased books into the hands of readers before the official release date. This is not just a few days either, it can be up to a month early. This will give Kindle owners extreme bragging-rights in the book-club community. I can already picture pretentious people sitting in Starbucks saying  "oh, that book is so last month".

Amazon explains how it works:

  • Each month, Amazon Publishing editors select several titles from Kindle's most popular categories a month ahead of their official publication date, adding a note of recommendation and a behind-the-scenes look at the stories and the authors.
  • Customers can choose one of the featured books each month for $1.99. Prime members can make their selection for free -- adding yet another benefit of Prime membership.
  • Customers can receive a monthly email alerting them of new Kindle First selections. Signup is free and there is no purchase obligation.
  • Customers can visit the Kindle store on amazon.com or their Kindle device to select their book. All Kindle First books become part of your permanent Kindle library and can be read on any Kindle device and Kindle free reading apps.

Once again, the Prime membership shows its value by giving users free access to one of these unreleased books every month. Of course, it only has value if you are interested in reading one of the titles.

According to the company, "the debut Kindle First picks are Things We Set on Fire, by best-selling author Deborah Reed; No Place for a Dame, by best-selling romance author Connie Brockway; Silent Echo, by best-selling mystery author J.R. Rain; and We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song, by Grammy-award winning recording artist Gloria Gaynor. All books will be published in December but are available to Kindle First members starting today".

While none of these books particularly appeal to me, I am a Prime member, so free is free and I will download one. Worst case scenario is that it sucks, but at least I got to know how much it sucks...one month early.

Kindle owners can access the program here.

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