Round up #112: Discover $10, Coinstar bonus

Round up #112: Discover $10, Coinstar bonus

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Take care of the pennies, and the MP3s will take care of themselves

Coinstar has always been an interesting business model to me.

You bring your coins to a machine (maybe in a grocery store), pour them in, and the machine counts it for you.

You can get a receipt that you take to a cashier, who gives you paper money for it.

It used to be an 8.9% charge for that in the US…now it’s 9.8%.

We used to do that…it was fun. We literally have a piggy bank, and we put all our coins in there. Periodically, we take that into a Coinstar and have what we call a “Pig Day”. When we had less money, that was a great way to go to lunch and a movie. Now, it’s a way to treat it as “found money”, and indulge a bit.

Nearly ten percent may seem like a lot to have something take your money from you. :)

Another alternative is to get a gift certificate instead. In that case, the company  where you can use that gift certificate basically counts the cost as advertising. You put $100 into the Coinstar machine (and we get more than that every few months), you get $100 to use at one of several stores/restaurants. The company covers the counting fee you would normally pay.

One of the companies is Amazon.

Right now, you get more than the money you put into the machine…you get a $5 gift certificate for MP3s (when you put at least $20 in coins into the machine on top of the full value of your coins.

Amazon Coinstar $5 MP3 bonus

That’s a good deal…and gets your coins back into circulation, which is actually a plus for the economy (hoarded coins mean needing to make more coins, which costs money).

You can also choose to donate the value of your coins to a charity (you get a receipt for tax deduction), although I don’t think that would get you the MP3 gift certificate in this case. You could put in twenty dollars (you can see it counting), get the MP3 deal, then put in the rest of your coins for charity…

Discover $10…by using your Discover card as your 1-click

This is one of those Special Offers available through your Kindle…if you have a Special Offers Kindle, you may need to sync with Amazon to see it. You select it there, and Amazon sends you an e-mail about it.

In this case, what happens is that you change your 1-click method to a Discover card. You can do that at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

Then, buy something digital…even a ninety-nine cent e-book.

For doing that, you get a $10 Amazon gift card…and you can switch your 1-click payment back right afterwards.

If you select the offer (Home-Menu-View Special Offers), they’ll send you the details.

Update: thanks to reader Jeanne who pointed out something I should have mentioned…if you have a gift card balance, 1-click draws from your gift card balance before going to the payment method you specified…

For people who are paying $15 to have ads taken off their Kindle Fire HDs, I’m not sure they all realize that they lose out on Special Offers like this. I understand why somebody might want ads removed (trailers for R-rated movies on a five-year old’s device, for example), but I think it can be a bit…knee jerk for some folks who haven’t had a Special Offers device.

Let’s get ready to Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiindle!

I got the e-mail this morning…my Kindle Fire SD is shipping, and should be here tomorrow! :) Again, I’m surprised at how excited I am.

The e-mail is supposed to help me get ready, but I feel like there is increasingly less to do to prepare for a new device. I have a couple of pictures I like to have on my devices…those are now going to just show up for me in Docs, since I’ve sent them with the Personal Document Service. I don’t need to go through hoops to get those on the new device after I get it.

I’m hoping the User’s Guide shows up online at Amazon soon. :)

The headlines on the early reviews of the Fire have been that the response is “lukewarm”, but I think that’s really overstating it. What I’ve seen generally is the idea that it is good, but not the best tablet in the world. I’ll link some of the reviews here:

http://ilmk.wordpress.com/linked-reviews/

I’ll give you my own first impressions Friday and probably by Monday, I’ll do a lengthier post over the weekend about the device.

Apple doesn’t introduce…

Apple held a big presser (press event) yesterday, and there was speculation they would introduce a “mini iPad”, that might be the same size screen as the Kindle Fire.

That didn’t happen.

It would be interesting if they did…could they avoid the perception that Apple was copying Amazon? That concept wouldn’t be good for their positioning in the market, although I presume that wouldn’t stop them if it cold make them a ton of money.

They introduced the iPhone 5,and I feel like the contrast between their presser and Amazon’s really shows the stark difference between the companies.

Apple fans are enthused about the new device…but the general reaction to it seemed muted.

No question, it’s a big improvement in hardware…but is it a big improvement in user experience?

It adds panoramic photo taking, the screen is bigger and the device lighter…but will you really do different things with it?

Apple is, at its heart, a hardware company. They do cool software things sometimes, like adding Siri. This time, though, what they did was give you better hardware.

Amazon, on the other hand, is largely a content company (although they do a lot of web and other stuff). When I look at the Fire line, what I’m waiting for tomorrow isn’t how well it can do what it was already doing, but the new media experience elements…X-Ray for Movies, text-to-speech for Kindle store books (new to the Fire).

Certainly, the Kindle Paperwhite is bringing significant new hardware…and it is also reducing the media experience by eliminating speakers. There’s a lot of pushback in the Kindle forums about that.

That’s telling, to me…we want Amazon to give us “good enough” hardware and superior media experience and services.

What do you think? Is Apple more of an “experience” company than I indicated…with things like iTunes and FaceTime being super significant? Are you excited about your new Fire’s hardware (I am looking forward to the camera for videoconferencing), or the service features? Do you use Coinstar? Are going to get the $10 Discover card deal…and do Special Offers make a device better or worse? Are going to pay the $15 to have ads removed…and is so, why? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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9 Responses to “Round up #112: Discover $10, Coinstar bonus”

  1. Jeanne Says:

    Bufo, enjoy your Kindle Fire HD when it arrives tomorrow! How exciting! (Mine, the 32GB doesn’t is due to arrive 10/25:)

    The following page isn’t a User’s Guide but it offers quite a bit of information:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_bc_nav?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201009560

    On that Discover SO, I wonder what happens if you have a gift card balance on your account, as Amazon uses that as payment before tapping your CC. Is there any way to work around that so that we can take advantage of the $10 offer? TY in advance for any insights.

    Again, enjoy your new Kindle Fire. : )

  2. Jeanne Says:

    Regarding the $10 Discover SO, first order placed took from my Gift Card balance just as I thought. After going through a chain of team members in CS, a Direct Kindle Specialist was able to cancel my order (first attempt) and then lock my Gift Cards so that my Discover would work for the “one-click” ordering. He then unlocked my Gift Cards after I had placed my order. All should be well, so he says. I’m waiting on a confirmation email for the promotion.itself.

    i look forward to reading your views on your new K-Fire HD, Bufo! Enjoy!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jeanne!

      I appreciate you coming back and filling us in on that.

      I updated the post to reflect what you had said…I should have made that clear. :)

  3. thingsajillion Says:

    As a LONG time fan, of all things Apple, I thought the “Big Presser” was a dismal, disappointment. Usually I would buy at least 1 or 2 of the new items, this time. . . nothing. My gut feeling is if Steve Jobs were still here, some heads would be a rolling! Apple has always been about the user experience, the fun of playing with the device. A finely tuned machine that runs perfectly, most of us don’t really care what’s under the hood, as long as we have the experience. Steve gave us things we didn’t even know we wanted and we loved them. Yesterday, was a sad day for Apple products in my opinion. The iPods were dismal at best and they replaced their best Nano to date, with a ?????? train wreck?????

    To end on a positive note, Amazon hit an absolute, HOMERUN, with their Big Presser. I’ll be receiving my Fire HD tomorrow too, Bufo! Wooop Wooop! I bought the Paperwhite and 8.9 4G LTE HD, so those will be Oct and Nov. AMAZING prices on these items and I love receiving notices from Jeff B. about Prime updates, it’s like Christmas all year long.

    Amazon generated WAY more excitement with their products, software and prices, than Apple, this time around. I give a BIG nod to Amazon so LETS KiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiNDLE!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, thingsajillion!

      One of the things that Steve Jobs did really way was inspire consumers. When Jobs spoke, people believed that they were seeing a transcendent future, and that they could be part of it. There was an idea that other companies just didn’t get you, and Apple did.

      I don’t that emotional reaction was as there from the recent event, except for people who were already converted. Were the changes more for the customer, or for the hardware wizards at Apple?

      Companies have to be very careful when their visionaries are no longer available. I became a Disney stockholder when I was twelve, and certainly remember the relatively lost years when Walt first wasn’t around. The problem is that, while people will say, “Would would Walt do?” they actually look at what Walt had done. Leaders don’t follow anyone, not even themselves. Walt, and Steve, and others who change the world also change how they change it. Their core values may be the same over time, but they don’t worship the past…they shape the future.

      I remember there being an issue when, I think, Space Mountain was going to be taller than Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Oh, there was angst…”Walt wanted Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to be the tallest thing in the park! What do we do?” If making Space Mountain taller made the park better, Walt wouldn’t have hesitated.

      Jeff Bezos’ presser had a lot do with “aligning with the customers”, which is exactly what Apple used to do. Jeff suggested that Kindleers are terrific, and that Amazon was learning so much from them. That’s a message customers will embrace.

      • thingsajillion Says:

        I think you have it exactly right, Jeff made his presser more like previous Apple pressers. I was excited to buy the new Kindles. With the Apple presser, there wasn’t any of the old WOW factor that usually accompanies an Apple product release. And, while I’m techy enough to see that the hardware/software changes were significant, there wasn’t anything I HAD to have.

        The Kindles were a MUST have and I’m so sorry I have to wait till Nov. for the large sized one.

        Love that term Kindleers, I hadn’t read that before, it’s perfect!

        Enjoy your Fire HD, I KNOW I will!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, thingsajillion!

        I made up “Kindleers” some time back…I love creating neologisms! As is often the case, though, I had people who didn’t like it at all. :) I was thinking of it like Musketeers and Kindle users…and it feels to me like it extends beyond the hardware users to the app users.

        Your comment made me happy. :)

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    At the end of every day I empty my pockets and put all coins less than a quarter into a large jar — about once a year I take the jar to my bank: they count it and deposit it in my checking account at no extra charge — I guess I don’t see the Coinstar business model.

    Yesterday, I went to my “manage my kindle” page (i forget why) — I was surprised to notice “Ed’s fourth kindle” as one of the devices. This is (I guess) my KF HD 32GB which I ordered the day before yesterday.

    I also just received a $3 store credit, good only to buy mp3′s, apparently because I bought an accessory along with my KFHD. One of the accessories I ordered: the fast charger arrives today; the rest (32GB KFHD and case) on 11/26.

    So, I’ll have 2.5 months to think up a “real” name for my new kindle :grin. Amazon defaults their e-book delivery to whichever named kindle is at the top of your device list which is organized alphabetically. At the time of purchase you can change the delivery target, but you can’t change Amazon’s alphabetical listing. So picking a name for a device has consequences beyond mere identification. I often forget to change the delivery location when buying an e-book — so books end up delivered to the “wrong” kindle. :D

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Some banks charge for counting those coins…and it can take a long time. :) The other thing is, you go into your bank…I suspect that’s pretty uncommon. Except for needing to make some account changes, I don’t think we’ve gone into the bank (outside of the ATM alcove) in years. Coinstars are often in grocery stores and such.

      Oh, I did pick names…I’m going to add a couple of things to yesterday’s post, and I’ll reveal it there. ;)

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