Amazon gives US Kindle Fire owners $5 in Amazon Coins
This is front page news…literally.
On my landing page at Amazon (and it could be different for you…especially if you are out of the USA), we have one of those letters from Jeff Bezos. It explains that every US Fire Owner is being given $5 in
This is essentially a new type of “currency” that can be used to buy apps, games, and in-app items from the Amazon Appstore.
In one of those amazing coincidences, a coin is equal to one USA penny…it’s like the two are connected in some way! Just kidding…it’s like the characters Dorothy meets in Oz speaking English. It’s just easier to do the conversion. If one Amazon Coin was worth .78 of a penny, it would make calculating difficult.
Interestingly, there’s a big conflict between Jeff’s letter, and what appears here:
According to the promotion page,
“1. In order to receive 500 promotional Amazon Coins with your Kindle Fire purchase, you must be a new Kindle Fire owner located in the United States. If you have previously purchased a Kindle Fire or you are located outside the United States, you are not eligible to receive 500 promotional Amazon Coins with your purchase. “
However, Jeff’s letter clearly says,
“If you own a Kindle Fire, you’ll find a little unexpected something in your account right now — 500 Amazon Coins, worth $5.”
Not if you buy a new one…if you already own one.
Update: thanks to my readers Ann Von Hagel and D. Knight who helped clarify this for me. Essentially, Jeff’s letter is addressing those who already own a Kindle Fire, and the promotion page is addressing those who are about to buy their first one. Both groups get 500 Amazon Coins, but one individual will not be in both groups. They were simply saying that you wouldn’t get another 500 ACs if you already had a Kindle Fire and then bought another one. I do think they could have been clearer that this is account level. Two different ownerships could exist for Kindle Fires on the same account. You could own a Kindle Fire (you bought, you paid for it), and register it to Account A. A friend of yours could also own a Kindle Fire, and register it to that same Account A so you can share books. That’s two ownerships of devices…but I still think the account would only get 500 ACs.
Wow! I have to say they have not crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s on this launch, and it’s a major launch! I never quite understand that: it was so important to do this morning that you couldn’t even check to see if your links worked?
Here’s what I mean.
I wanted to find out if I’d been given credit, since we already own a Fire…we actually own more than one, so I also wanted to see if we’d been given multiple credits. Do we get $5 for each Fire, or $5 for being a “Fire family”?
I happened to be on my PC, not my Fire, so I started looking there.
I went to My Account. No mention of them.
I searched the Help pages. First, I tried this page
figuring that would tell me how to see my balance. If I was going to use them. Nothing. There was a link to go to the page about buying Amazon coins. The link didn’t work…it just took me back to search, instead of to the page itself.
Then, I searched for “Amazon Coins” in Help again, and got to the Buy Amazon Coins page.
Nothing about balance.
By the way, you can’t buy Amazon Coins directly from a 1st generation Kindle Fire, although you can buy them using your computer by going here:
You also get a discount when you buy them. You can buy $5 worth for $4.80, for example. The discount increases as you buy more. You can get a $100 worth for $90, for example…sort of like a frequent buyer discount. That’s actually a really good deal…many people spend $100 on apps and in-app purchases, and this is like getting $10 worth of them for free.
Anyway, back to the balance. I had my Kindle Fire 8.9″ getting charged up for the day, so I went and got it to check.
I went to the Apps tab, then clicked Store. A big splash came on telling me I had the 500 coins. It also said to “Tap your balance to buy more coins.”
Okay…from the Kindle Fire, it shows in the bottom right corner. It’s showing me 500 coins…so unless it’s different on each device, we got 500 for being a “Fire family”, not per device. I can’t imagine they’d make this device specific, so I think it’s 500 for the account.
What should you spend your $5 on?
Well, in a situation like this, I tend to sit back a bit and think about it.
I recently downloaded the free
I wasn’t blown away by the movie, but I thought the app might be fun. It is fun to tilt the tablet to make Iron Man change directions.
You are going to want to buy suit upgrades (Jarvis recommends it), and that takes real world money. You could do that with Amazon Coins, I presume.
Here’s a link to the top 100 paid apps in the Amazon Appstore:
Many of those are ninety-nine cents. My own recommendation would be to use the $5 on something expensive that you want. I would figure that ninety-nine cents wouldn’t be a barrier to buying something later…but $14.99 might. I assume you can mix a payment: do part of it with Amazon Coins, part of it with cash.
Whoops, have to back off that! I just checked, and it won’t let me use coins unless I have enough for the whole purchase. Interesting…that means I can’t apply my coins to a $14.99 purchase.
I could, of course, buy more coins…and at a discount. That means I could spend $9.50 to get $10 more in coins…and then use my $15 in coins to buy a $14.99 item. That means it would have cost me $9.50 to get something which is $14.99…that’s a pretty good deal. I would also have one Amazon Coin left over. That’s going to happen a lot, since you buy ACs in even dollar increments, and app prices generally end in ninety-nine.
If I were you, I’d look at the
I already have
myself, but if you need to use Microsoft Office products (particularly Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) on the go, I’d suggest this one for consideration.
Hm…it’s going to be fun to look through the apps!
I do find the coin design interesting. It’s an Amazon warrior (you know, like Wonder Woman). In fact, she even appears to be wearing a headpiece like Diana Prince’s, although she is in a toga type garment, not “satin tights…fighting for our rights”.
However, she not surprisingly doesn’t display the classic “martial mutilation” from which the name “Amazon” derives…but they didn’t usually in illustration.
This is absolutely a very strong lock-in move by Amazon. Why buy from the Amazon Appstore instead of Google Play? Well, with a Fire, it’s obviously easier (you really can’t buy from Google Play for your Fire, the way things are set up…that doesn’t mean you might not be able to do it a different way). I also tend to do it so my apps are more manageable from my Fire to my phone. Now, though, you can also do it to get a discount…by using your discounted Amazon Coins.
Always thinking, those folks at Amazon…if they would only test the interfaces before they went live! I do think they would benefit from user beta-testing, but they do like to keep things secret.
Bonus deal (I like to include something for non-Fire users): Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro) by Dennis Lehane is a well-reviewed thriller, $1.99 (a $8 discount) as one of the Kindle Daily Deals today. As always, check the price before you buy…it might not apply where you are.
Update: Amazon now has an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) in the forum for Amazon Coins:
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.