Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

You can now apply a gift card directly to an e-book purchase

January 10, 2014

You can now apply a gift card directly to an e-book purchase

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy for the heads-up on this! It’s big news!

One question we answer a lot in the Kindle forums is how to apply a gift card to an e-book purchase. I even wrote a post about it less than a month ago:

Gift cards and your Kindle

Well, it appears to have changed!

On a Kindle store book’s Amazon product page, there is now a link that says

“Enter a promotion code or gift card”

This is in the USA Kindle store, by the way…it might not be in others.

I clicked on the link, and got to a place to apply a gift card code or promotional code, and from there to this help page:

That is going to be a lot less confusing for people. If they are given a given a gift card, they can apply it to a book purchase, rather than just applying it to the account.

Now, I assume that if you apply a $20 gift card to a $2.99 purchase, the rest of the amount goes into the general account draw, but I am going to check with Amazon on that.

The “promotional code” thing is also very interesting to me. We have had that before, where a Special Offer might have a promotional code, but we had to put it into a special page, and then we couldn’t really see it right when we were buying a book.

Now, Amazon could actually do something like “three for the price of two” on e-books more easily. You would buy two from the choices, and then get a code to enter for the third. Just a guess, though…

Thanks again, Lady!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Gift cards and your Kindle

December 29, 2013

Gift cards and your Kindle

There’s a pretty good chance you got an Amazon gift card recently (see my post, Really last minute gifts: e-books and gift cards for more on giving cards).

You might be wondering how you can use it…I’ve seen lots of confusion about it in the Amazon Kindle Forum. In this post, I’ll explain how it works.

The first thing to know is that your gift card isn’t just for a specific Kindle on your account, or for a specific product.

Some people are confused by the fact that Amazon lets you buy a gift card with a picture of a Kindle on it. That doesn’t mean the amount can only be used for Kindle purchases: any gift card balance you have on your account can be used for any eligible item.

So, could a grandparent give you a gift card intending you to get

and it ends up being spent on paper towels?

Sure…it could even happen by accident.

What you do is apply the gift card balance to your account…the whole account. Then, when you use 1-click to buy something, it draws from any available gift card balance until there is none left (and then it goes back to the payment method which your account has set up for 1-click).

While you can only use 1-click to buy Kindle books, you can also use it to buy other things.

If you don’t use 1-click to buy the paper towels, you’ll be given the choice whether or not to use the gift card balance. If you use 1-click, it automatically goes to the gift card…letting you choose whether or not to use the gift card would add clicks, and it wouldn’t be 1-click any more. :)

I’m sure this has happened a lot. Somebody gets a gift card, intends to use it for a specific purpose, and it gets used up by more mundane purchases before the person realizes it.

That’s one reason why it is a good thing that you can gift a specific Kindle book from the book’s Amazon product page! Do that, and the person has a choice to get a gift card instead, but it arrives ready to be used just for that one book.

So, that’s the first big thing: your gift card isn’t “siloed” away from other purchases.

Oh, something which is siloed:

Amazon Coins

You can gift those, and they can only be used for apps and for in-app purchases.

The other thing is that not everything can be purchased with a gift card.

Here are the

For example, you can’t use a gift card to buy more gift cards…I guess that is like using one of your three wishes to wish for more wishes. ;)

One important one which does not appear on this page is about subscription items (blogs, magazines, newspapers). Weirdly, it used to explicitly say that it was prohibited. I alerted Amazon to the fact that it doesn’t have that prohibition in Help any more, and they confirmed for me that it is still prohibited to use your gift card for a subscription. Hopefully, they will update the page.

They do say it explicitly on another page:

“You can use an Amazon Gift Card, Gift Certificate, or Promotional Certificate to purchase Kindle devices, books and accessories. Any available balance will be used for your Kindle store purchase before your credit or debit card is charged. Your Gift Card balance cannot be used to pay for subscription content from the Kindle store.”

Why isn’t that okay?

With a subscription, they need something they can bill in future months, too…not just the first time. Let’s say you get something which is $10 a month, and you could pay for it with a $10 gift card. What would happen when the $10 came due for the next month’s subscription? They wouldn’t have a way to get the money, so they would have to contact you, which might delay it.

When you buy a subscription with a credit card, there is a much better chance that card can be billed the following month.

That said, it appears that Amazon has made it possible to gift some subscriptions…I believe that is new. When you go to pay for some magazines in the Kindle store, you’ll get an option to gift them to someone.

At least, that’s what I’ve heard: I haven’t seen it yet myself.

My guess is that it works one of two ways: either it works like gifting Prime, where it doesn’t autorenew…or they just continue to bill the gift giver’s payment method.

Those are the key points.

There are links at the top of this page

both to redeem your gift card (apply it to your account) and to check your balance.

If you have any other questions about them, feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.

Enjoy!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Kindle book gifting…how times have changed!

December 21, 2013

Kindle book gifting…how times have changed!

One of the big complaints in the first three years of the Kindle (the device was announced on November 19, 2007) was that Amazon didn’t give us a way to buy Kindle books for people not on our accounts.

After all, giving books is great! When there was a book I really loved in the p-book (paperbook) days, I would sometimes buy several extra copies of it…just so I had them to give to people. :) Okay, yes, I was buying used copies, but still…

Let’s admit it: we not only want to share the joy that we had in reading a book, but sometimes…well, we think a particular book might be…let’s say, “good for someone’s personal development”. ;) You know what I mean, I’m sure. ;)

Well, three years later, on November 19, 2010, Amazon enabled the gifting of Kindle books.

It’s easy to do: there is a button on the book’s Amazon product page that lets you give it as a gift. You enter the recipient’s e-mail address (it does not have to be the one associated with their Amazon account), add a message, and you can even choose which day you want it to arrive. That lets you take advantage of a sale price when it happens, and still schedule it to be delivered on a birthday or another gift-giving occasion. For more details, see the

There are some limitations. You can’t give a free book (it costs Amazon something to process the transaction…that might be part of it). The book you are gifting may not have been licensed for your recipient’s country…if that happens (or if they simply already have the book), they can request a gift card instead.

You can also have the gift sent to yourself, print it out, and wrap that. :)

So, yes, Amazon has made gifting of Kindle books easy.

This year, though, there is something even better!

They aren’t just enabling it…they are encouraging it…with a discount! For a select set of books, you can

Yep…twenty-six books (at time of writing) where you can buy the Kindle book as a gift, then buy the same book for yourself at half off!

For example, buy Brain Rules (which I reviewed early this year:
Review: Brain Rules) for $8.10 (at time of writing) for someone else, and then go back and buy it for yourself for $4.05.

The “how to” is linked above, but it’s not complicated as long as you follow the sequence (first gift for someone else, then go back and buy it for yourself). This is only for a “limited time”, though.

There are some good titles in here, including a Color Purple collection and a James Herriott collection.

Remember, your recipient does not have to have a Kindle…Kindle books can be read in a free Kindle reader app, too. :)

Sure, it’s better to give than to receive…but it’s also kind of nice to be able to do both. ;)

Things keep getting better! Enjoy!

Bonus: I thought I’d share with you the document we sent to our “guest Kindle” for the person who will be staying with us soon:

Welcome!

We love books! While you are staying in our home, we wanted to give you access to our Kindle library, and the easiest way to do that is with this guest Kindle. :)

Feel free to download books from the Cloud, and to read what you want. You can’t accidentally order anything, and removing a book from this device won’t hurt anything on the account. Don’t worry about removing books, though: after you leave, we’ll wipe everything off the device again.

We think you’ll find the Paperwhite easy to use. Generally, “long press” (hold your finger on it for about a second) something to get more options. The menu icon is three horizontal lines, and you can use a magnifying glass icon to search for something. You don’t need to turn it off: just closing the cover will make it “sleep”.

If you have any questions, please ask!

Enjoy!

I created a Collection with that person’s name on it, and preceded the title of it with three “A”s so it would alphabetize to the top when sorted by Collections. If it was for me, it would be, “AAA Bufo, please read”. That way, we can use the same document for other people…we’ll just delete the Collection each time. This document is the only thing in that Collection.

For more information about guest Kindles, see:

A Kindle for the guest room

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #138: Xfinity, James Bond bargains

December 30, 2012

Round up #138: Xfinity, James Bond bargains

Big Kindle Daily Deal: 50 “acclaimed” mysteries for $1.99 each

It certainly looks like Amazon wants to drive up the numbers at the end of the year! I wrote yesterday about a Kindle Daily Deal with over 200 books, and today we have fifty mysteries for $1.99 each.

That includes several original James Bond books (which Amazon now publishes). I would start with the first book, Casino Royale, if you haven’t read them yet. There are quite a few other options, though.

As always, check the price before you click the Buy button…it may have expired before you get to it, and it may not apply if you are outside the USA.

The holiday Amazonathon

Amazon has released their always amusing look at holiday sales:

press release

They like to come up with some odd stats. This might have been my favorite this year:

“The cumulative weight of the “Bond 50” Blu-ray sets purchased by Amazon customers this holiday season would be 800 times the weight of Daniel Craig.”

When I think about it, that doesn’t actually sound like that many, but it’s still cool. :)

Of more interest to us:

  • Amazon was ranked #1 in Customer Service by ForeSee for the holidays for the eighth year running. This is actually a significant feat. There’s a lot of fascinating information in this ForeSee report. Barnes & Noble was way down the list, about #25…that’s one of the reasons I recommend the Kindle over the NOOK
  • The KFHD was more popular than the Paperwhite…even though it was priced much higher
  • The Paperwhite was still one of the top four items…the other two were the Kindle Fire 2nd generation standard definition, and the Mindle (the entry level Kindle)
  • I actually gave a sibling the most gifted Kindle book of the season: The Signal and the Noise…I honestly don’t expect my family to be doing the most popular anything most of the time, which says something about the breadth of appeal of this book
  • Check out this amazing statement: “23 Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors each sold over 250,000 copies of their books in 2012.”  Even though those authors may be selling those books elsewhere, I presume Amazon wouldn’t count those sales. Were there 23 hardbacks this year that sold that many copies? Yes, probably…but this is still a huge achievement for a single channel item
  • The three bestselling books during the holiday season at Amazon.com were all in the Fifty Shades of Grey series…how’s that for a self-discovered author? :) I assume a lot of those were given as gifts, and that seems like an odd choice to me. It seems more like something you would get for yourself. My Significant Other suggested that a lot of people don’t know the content, just that it’s popular. Of course, there’s always been a market for “bind and gag gifts;)

To Xfinity…and beyond!

I”ve recently written about an app that lets you watch live TV on your Kindle Fire. One tip on that, by the way…if you are having trouble getting it to open, put your Kindle Fire in portrait mode (taller than it is wide). After you pick a channel, you can switch back to landscape.  Well, quite a while back, I had commented on how Xfinity said they were still working on an app for the Kindle Fire. They have (a free) one now, and I can make this simple. If you are already a Comcast subscriber and you have a Kindle Fire, get it. :)

XFINITY TV Player

I’m pleasantly surprised with how well it works.

It’s like the On Demand that you already have through your cable box, although that is really slow and clunky when I use it with my TV. You can search by TV Series, by Movies, and by Network. You can download some of them, and you can filter for which ones are downloadable. That means you could throw a few movies on your Kindle Fire before a plane trip and be good to go. It’s got a history feature, and you can bookmark favorites. The image quality was good, and it didn’t take me ten minutes to download an over 500 MB movie (although that will depend on your network, of course).

I tried it in a Starbucks (with the sound off)…no problem.

There was a lot of content! I counted 200 TV series…and that just got me into the beginning of the Gs. :) Of the TV series, 23 were unlocked and downloadable, 42 were downloadable if you included locked. What does locked mean in this case? It means you would have to be paying for a premium channel.

I definitely think this will be part of the mix for me.

I should mention that the stations did identify themselves at the start of a program, but there weren’t commercials from what I’ve seen.

Oh, and it looks great!

Redeeming a Kindle gift

I thought I’d show you a bit about what happens when you send someone a Kindle gift as a present via e-mail.

They get an e-mail that looks like this:

Gift Email

When they click that “Get your gift now” button, they are taken to Amazon:

They see the book’s regular Amazon product page, but instead of having that Buy now button, they see something like this:

Accept Gift

As you can see, they can apply it to whatever Amazon account they want.

If they click that “Learn how this works or exchange for gift credit” link, they see this:

Gift Alternatives

As you can see, quite simple to do.

ILMK in 2012

WordPress did a nice, infographic type report of activity on ILMK in 2012. I made it public, and you can see it here:

http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2012/annual-report/

Thanks to Edward Boynton, Lady Galaxy, Zebras, Roger Knights, and Pam, who are all cited as commenting the most in 2012! Oh, and I like the map where you can see how many visitors came from each country (hover over a country to see).  From A to Z (literally…Australia and Zambia are both represented), I had visitors from 189 countries! That’s almost as many as the UN has (193).

Thanks to everybody for making 2012 a great year, and I look forward to a fun and informative time with you in 2013!

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

Really last minute gifts: e-books and gift cards

December 22, 2012

Really last minute gifts: e-books and gift cards

While it still may be possible to get physical goods from Amazon by Tuesday, you don’t really need to worry about that.

With e-books and gift cards, you only need about ten minutes lead time to give a great gift.

Let’s talk about gifting Kindle books first.

The person getting the gift does not have to have a Kindle…they can read the book on a free Kindle reading app.

If they already have that book, they can contact Kindle Support (it’s easy) and get a credit for the amount you paid for the book.

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

Here’s a really key thing: you do not need to know their e-mail address, and you can print out the information about your gift and wrap it for them. What happens is that you select the option to have your gift information sent to you, instead of to them.

When you do, you’ll get an e-mail like this within in about five minutes:

GiftExample

You can then print that out and wrap it, or forward it if you’d rather.

You can also delay when a gift is delivered, but you can only pick a day, not a time, I believe. That would work well on a birthday when you aren’t going to be there, but might not work on an occasion when you are in a group giving gifts (since the person might get the e-mail first.

For more information:

Giving and Receiving Kindle Book Gifts

If you don’t know what book to get, or want to give the person to option to get just about anything they want, ;) you can give an Amazon gift card.

There are so many options!

Amazon.com Gift Cards

This year, I like that you can do animated JibJab gift cards. You can upload your picture (or maybe that of your dog, or whatever you want), and they’ll turn it into a dancing card.

You can do physical cards (they are doing free 1-day shipping on cards that came in a gift box). You can do it digitally, and then you can go as low as fifteen cents (you can even do that with a card you can print at home).

You can buy multi-packs: great for office gifts (these go as low as $10 apiece, and as few as three cards).

You can compare the options here:

Compare Amazon.com Gift Cards

Your recipient applies it to their account, and 1-click draws from a gift card balance before going to the specified payment method (usually a debit/credit card).

Is somebody getting a Kindle? This is a great way to supplement the gift and get them started.

Yes, even up to about ten minutes before you give a gift (which might happen when a new Significant Other or unexpected relative appears), you can do it right. After all, good things are given by those who wait. ;)

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


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