Archive for the ‘Prime’ Category

Amazon raises Prime about a nickel a day

March 13, 2014

Amazon raises Prime about a nickel a day

As Amazon had said it might do, the e-tailer has raised the price of its Prime service in the USA.

On your next renewal, instead of $79, it will be $99:

Amazon Prime and Amazon Student Prime Membership Fee Changes (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That is, of course, if you renew.

Let’s get that out of the way first:

I do think some people will drop it, but more on what they see as the principle of the thing. After all, it’s really not that big a raise. As I headlined this post, it’s about a nickel (and a half) a day, a dollar sixty-seven a month. This is the first raise in nine years. On average, it’s gone up about $2.22 a year. ;)

Is it possible that $20 a year is enough to push it out of the range of some people? Maybe…I’d guess most people with Prime aren’t skating that close to the edge of economic security.

I think it may also result in some increase in Prime (not a net increase, necessarily) memberships. I could see someone gifting Prime to somebody now whatn the recipient didn’t have Prime at all before. $99 is just a…more gifty price. :)

We weren’t Prime members for a long time, but we’ll definitely renew…and love it. Not love it more, of course, but still love it.

We use all of the Prime benefits.

The two-day free shipping on many items

We use this one much more than we ever thought we would. It’s often cheaper (and certainly, a lot more convenient) to get it through Prime in the middle of the week than to wait and go to a store, hunting around for something.

Here’s a good example.

We recently bought our adult kid this:

Reebok Kettlebell (20-Pounds, Medium Grey) (at AmazonSmile)

It’s an exercise weight.

Can you imagine what that would have cost to ship…and how long it would have taken to get there? Let’s say we went to a store and found a store that had it. Then, we put it in a large “if it fits, it ships” box from the Post Office. That would have been a bear! I think it would have gone in the $17.45 box.

Sure, it might have gotten there pretty quickly that way…but this was at no additional cost, and would ship in two business days.

In fact, I’ll tell you something  embarrassing.

I accidentally changed the billing address rather than the shipping address when we sent it.

We got one at our house by accident.

We realized what happened…and with Prime, could still get one there in time for the birthday (just a few days away at that point).

We decided to keep the second one for ourselves…influenced by how much it would have cost to send it back to Amazon!

How about you?

We rarely pay extra for 1-day shipping under Prime, but I think we have done it. That extra varies now, but it’s typically a few dollars.

The Prime videos

Not so long ago, I would have labeled this section “The Prime streaming videos”, but with the latest Kindle Fires, you can download videos in this group.

We use this a lot…or at least, I do (my Significant Other? Not so much).

I’m watching the first season of

Orphan Black (at AmazonSmile)


Buying it in HD would cost you $19.99.

“Sure,” you may be thinking, “but you could just have watched on TV.”

Well, I had started to do that…but we cut back on our cable (saving a lot of money), and that meant the loss of BBC America.

I actually had this season on my “holiday wishlist” for my family: I did really want to finish it. :)

That can be considered money saved, then.

With the recent passing of Russell Johnson (the Professor), I’ve also been watching the first season of

Gilligan’s Island (at AmazonSmile)

The Professor was a clear geek role model, and I will write something more about the character on my The Measured Circle blog after I’ve gone through it more (I want to pin down the Professor’s capabilities). People jokingly wonder why the Professor could make a particle accelerator out of a coconut, but “…couldn’t fix a two foot hole in a boat”. If you watch the series, you’ll find out…I don’t want to spoil anything, but the boat became completely unrepairable.

I can relate to the Professor. It makes sense that part of the luggage for a “three-hour tour” was a bunch of books (including The History of Tree Surgery ((which the Professor says is “One of my favorites.”))). I assume what was happening was that the passengers had checked out of the hotel, and perhaps had a flight later that day. They had all of their luggage with them for the tour…and I used to always travel with a suitcase just for books.

Oh, and it was interesting, in light of recent pop culture, to hear Thurston Howell III refer to himself as “The Wolf of Wall Street”. But I digress… ;)

I can’t say I would have bought that season of that series for $29.99…but having a lot of things to watch may logically mean that I’m not paying for other things to watch. Would we have cut back on cable without Prime? Possibly…but it would have been less likely.

Amazon keeps adding exclusives (Orphan Black is one, as far a subscription streaming goes) to Prime video. I’m not sure how many people get Prime just for that purpose…I’m guessing not many, but that may be changing. If you did, it would be in line with Netflix: $99 a year is $8.25 a month, approximately.

How about you and Prime videos?

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

I also use this every month.

I’m currently reading

Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond (at AmazonSmile)

It’s $5.99, and I probably would not have bought it at that price. I do find it an interesting read (although’s an anthology) as a “no additional cost” book. It’s also important to note that you are only borrowing the book, so you don’t get the same value for it as if you bought it.

The KOLL (which requires you to own a hardware Kindle in addition to being an eligible Prime member) has books from James Bond to Harry Potter…but not everything in-between. ;) There are an increasing number of books, however, they don’t tend to be those “People Magazine books” (that’s what I call books which you would read about in that periodical).

If these books weren’t part of our Prime membership, I might not be looking at them…even for free. It’s not that there aren’t good books, there are, but I feel a certain…duty to get a KOLL book each month, since we pay for Prime.

Do you use the KOLL?

Kindle First

The latest Prime benefit is

Kindle First (at Amazon Smile)

This one gives you a free book (to own, not to borrow) from a handful each month. We’ve used this every time…but I haven’t read one of them yet. :)

Have you gotten Kindle First books?

Amazon Student is going from $39 a year to $49 a year…it’s still about 50% of the standard rate.

Intriguingly, Amazon Mom still has the old price…I think they just haven’t updated it yet:

“Extending Benefits after the 3-Month Free Period

At the end of the free period, Amazon Mom members will automatically continue receiving the Mom benefits plus additional Amazon Prime benefits for $79 a year.”

Join Amazon Mom and Enjoy (at AmazonSmile)

Bottom line? Yes, this is a raise in prices, and you’ll see some strong responses against that. Some people fear that Amazon has just been biding its time until it is such a big market player that they will hike prices all over the place, and they may see this as evidence that is happening. I don’t think that’s the case…Amazon has three pillars: Service, Selection, and Price. If they jeopardize those in a truly significant way (and I don’t think this is…it’s so small since they’ve introduced the program), they risk their customers’ loyalty. That’s what kills the megabusinesses, and honestly, at this point, I think Amazon is too smart to do that.

Of course, you may have a different opinion (which is something I enjoy, when done respectfully). Maybe you just joined prime, so for you, this is a 25% jump in one year. Do you think people will drop Prime in droves? Is this no big deal? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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 #242: Prime prices to rise in the UK, Gold Box deal on Kindle books

February 22, 2014

Round up #242: Prime prices to rise in the UK, Gold Box deal on Kindle books 

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

Gold Box Kindle book sale, today only

Gold Box Deals can be all kinds of things, but sometimes they are on e-books. That’s the case today:

Gold Box Deal of the Day: 50 Top-Rated Kindle Fiction Books, $1.99 Each (at AmazonSmile*)

There are some well-known books in there (top-rated doesn’t always equal well-known), including books by Louis L’Amour. There’s a pretty good variety: I’d recommend you take a look.

Updates for both generations of Kindle Fire happening?

While they aren’t available for manual download yet, from what I can see, and they haven’t been announced, I’m seeing people on the Amazon Kindle Forums talk about new updates for Kindle Fires…and it may be for all generations and models.

They wouldn’t be the same updates for the different gens, and they wouldn’t have the same features, most likely.

What I really want is a bug fix for my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When I first got it, the wi-fi connection was great.

After an update that brought more enterprise network capability to it (I’m not saying that was the cause, but it might be), I usually have to toggle wireless on and off…many times a day. I’ve never counted, but I would guess I’ve done it ten times today already…and that’s with having taken the dog to the dog park for a couple of hours. ;)

I’ll keep you informed: if you’ve been updated recently, I’d like to hear about it.

When they are available for manual download, they will be at (at AmazonSmile)

Amazon set-top box coming in March of this year?

I’ve written before about how I think a TV gadget of some kind may be coming from Amazon this year, and this

Re/code (formerly AllThingsD) article by Peter Kafka

has created a buzzstorm.

Many people are reporting it, even though there is nothing official.

I do think this is likely…and that it may include both video content and games.

There are a couple of related stories which strengthen it.

Amazon has been pinning down more exclusive streaming video deals, and that’s going to be a big point for sales.

In this

press release

they announce that Amazon is going to be the “…exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming all past seasons and episodes of the popular MTV series Teen Wolf”.

Teen Wolf has quite a following, and I have watched it. It’s an interesting, very differently-toned adaptation of what was first the comedic Michael J. Fox movie. Don’t worry, though…Styles is still funny. ;)

It surprised me that Amazon would be able to pin that down, taking it away from other services.

I suppose it shouldn’t have, though. The same press release says,

“Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX drama The Americans, CBS summer blockbuster series Under the Dome and later this summer, Extant. Other hit TV series exclusives include Veronica Mars, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits and Covert Affairs. Prime Instant Video also offers an exclusive collection of kids shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. that customers won’t find on any other online-only subscription service, including favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues, and The Bubble Guppies. “

I’d say the odds are pretty good that most TV consumers have at least heard of some of those.

Pumping up the content exclusives (and the content generally) would be an important thing to do before launching a service/device.

In the UK and Germany, Amazon just announced a merging of Lovefilm (roughly equivalent to Netflix…Amazon bought it a while back) and Prime, according to this

24/7 Wall St. article by Paul Ausick, via Yahoo! Finance

and other sources.

The price is taking a big jump: in the UK, it’s going up the equivalent of roughly fifty dollars a year, from a close to USA equivalent of about $81 to an equivalent of about $131.

However, people will be able to make some choices about what services they get, affecting the price. The $131 equivalent will be the full platter. You could order just the Prime Instant Video “side dish” for $10 equivalent a month. However, that works out to only $11 less for the year…so, if they could give you installment payments for Prime, who wouldn’t go for the shipping benefits, too?

Will something like this happen in the USA?

Well, we already have Prime Instant Video as part of our Prime price, but yes, Amazon said it might raise prices on Prime in the USA…and I think they will (I’m guessing $20).

This could also clearly tie into a set-top box or other TV gadget.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon is in the midst of its “pilot season” for original works.

press release

Viewer feedback helps determine which pilots become original series on Amazon.

The only one that was interesting to us so far (and much more to me than to my Significant Other) was Chris Carter’s (The X-Files) The After. It was an interesting cast with some intriguing concepts and imagery, although it did feel unfinished, which is often the case with a pilot. Full disclosure: my Significant Other knows a parent of the editor of that episode, and yes, that’s why my SO even watched. ;) I probably would have watched anyway…

Amazon Pilot Season (at AmazonSmile)

Speaking of visual media, I am doing my annual BOPmadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) again. You are all invited to play. :) It’s all free, and the more people we have, the better we usually do as a group. I’m doing it technically a different way this time, using SurveyMonkey, rather than sending out Excel spreadsheets. You can get the information and the links here:

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

Oh, and something else that may tie into a possible Prime price hike for the USA…one of my readers sent me a heads-up (thanks, reader!) in a private e-mail to this

Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

It suggests that Amazon is looking to make deals with other major retailers. The retailers products would be listed at Amazon, and buyers could use their Amazon accounts and Prime benefits to get them. The other retailer would then pay Amazon.

That would be huge for Amazon! They would really be becoming the “everything store”, and they would know so much more about you. As a consumer, I would think it would be great. It doesn’t quash competition on prices…other retailers could still undercut Amazon’s prices. It just makes it much easier logistically.

That’s putting more and more power in Amazon’s hands, though, and some people won’t like that. If Amazon got hacked, it would expose a lot more data.

Still, overall, I think shoppers will love this…and competitors will submit to it.

Bookstores: more in the USA, fewer in the UK

I suspect some of this has to do with definitions, but this

The Guardian article by Sarah Butler

talks about independent bookstores in the UK dropping to under 1,000…they say

“The number of independent bookshops gracing British high streets has fallen below 1,000 – a third fewer than nine years ago, amid cut-throat competition from supermarkets, Amazon and ebooks.”

At the same time, the ABA (American Booksellers Association), in this

American Bookselling article

lists (with contact information…addresses and websites) 44 stores which were added to the ABA in 2013.

That’s a good sign of vitality in the USA.

Some of these are additional branches of existing stores, but many are not. They also listed a number of stores which changed hands…another reasonably good sign. That means that someone thought the business was worth buying, rather than it just going under.

Check out the list…you might find someone in your neighborhood. ;)

Which books would you add to the “classics” category?

I’ve written before about how I feel about classics…and been a bit challenged on it, too. ;)

This is a fascinating list from Jason Diamond at Flavorwire:

The New Classics: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon

My guess is that you’ll see something there that intrigues you…I recommend that you check it out.

Maybe it’s from my years as a brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, but I do tend to think that a true classic needs to be in the public domain. :) That’s one thing many people expect when they look for classics…that they aren’t under copyright protection any more (although they pay for copies in a store, of course).

Update on Give a Kid A Kindle

We are about a week a way from when you will be able to recommend nominated children to be the one to get the Kindle which I plan to give away. I’m hoping that once the recommendation process happens, I’ll get more nominees…just because I want more stories exposed (I think that’s good for people to see).

I do have one nominee so far, so at least I know I’ll be giving away a Kindle…

What do you think? What defines a classic book? Would you buy a set-top box from Amazon? Why haven’t more people nominated kids for a free Kindle? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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.

What can you do with Amazon Prime?

January 3, 2014

What can you do with Amazon Prime?

Did you recently become an Amazon Prime member?

You might have: people who buy a Kindle Fire (at AmazonSmile…support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)  get a free one-month trial. Also, you can now give the gift of Prime:

So, there are probably a lot of people who are just coming into their Prime…so to speak. ;)

The obvious question is: what can you do with Amazon Prime?

There are three main benefits, and I’ll go through them here.

Free two-day shipping on many items

Prime Shipping Information
at AmazonSmile

This was the original attraction of Prime, and it still is, for many people. You pay $79 a year, and then you can have many items shipped at no additional cost and get two-day shipping.

We hadn’t bought Prime when that’s all it was. I would do the calculation, and say, “We didn’t pay anything like $79 last year for shipping.” That was because we would tend to get things with Super Saver Shipping (at the time, you put together a $25 order of eligible items, and shipping was free…although it wasn’t fast), and we used Subscribe and Save for other items.

Super Saver Shipping
at AmazonSmile

Subscribe & Save
at AmazonSmile

We still subscribe to a lot of things, like dog food and vitamins. It just makes sense: you save 15%, you can choose a periodicity for orders, and you can skip an order whenever you want…and shipping is free.

That, though, turned out not to be the best way to compare the situation…the shipping costs we had paid was not the only factor we should have considered.

When we got our first Kindle Fire, we got a month of Prime free. Actually using it, we saw the other big advantages.

The key thing is that you might decide you need something…in a recent case, we need curtains for a room that was going to be used as a guest room. You can have it with two-day shipping, if you can find one that is eligible for Prime. Compare that to going to a store. If you decide on a Monday, you probably aren’t going to go to the store until the weekend. You’ll have to drive there, wait in line…it’s quite a production! You don’t typically even know if they’ll have what you want.

We’ve found we use Prime…a lot. If we were to compare the cost of the shipping that was included with our $79 Prime to what it would cost without Prime, we’d be saving a ton of money. Of course, we wouldn’t have shipped that stuff in two days without Prime…but time is valuable, and those savings count.

You can even get faster shipping for more money. A 1-day shipping upgrade is as low as $2.99. It used to be $3.99 for everything, now it depends on the size and weight of the item.

You can share Prime shipping benefits with other people living at your same address. So, if you have, let’s say, an adult kid living with you with their own Amazon account, they can share your shipping benefit at no additional cost. You can have four additional people (not on your account…everybody on your account gets it automatically) under your shipping benefits.

One caveat: the shipping speed is just that…it’s not the delivery date. We are still often surprised at how quickly we get things, but sometimes, we order something with Prime and it is a week before we get it. Why? It didn’t start shipping for several days. The actual shipping still took two (business) days, but it didn’t start immediately, because it was out of stock, or otherwise unavailable for some reason.

I think the shipping benefits alone are worth it for many people, when you compare the costs (not just the shipping fee…gas, time).

Prime Instant Video

Prime Instant Video
at AmazonSmile

This is the ability to watch movies and TV shows at no additional cost. It’s easy on a Kindle Fire, but you don’t need one, if you have other ways to watch Amazon Instant Video (a Roku, for example).

I would say that people wanting to know how this compares to Netflix is one of the most common questions I see from people considering Prime.

Let’s start out with cost: they are comparable, although Prime is somewhat cheaper (I’m ignoring other Prime benefits in this comparison). $79/12 = $6.58 a month. If we look at streaming only, Netflix is $7.99 a month…and you can get an annual membership for $95.88.

What about content?

Remember, we are limiting this to streaming…if you include DVDs, Netflix would presumably blow Prime away. However, we aren’t. :)

I have to say “presumably”, because Netflix doesn’t make it easy to figure out how many total videos they have available. I may just be missing it, but I don’t see a way to browse the entire collection. I’ve seen unverified numbers of all kinds on the internet: from 3,000 movies and 20,000 TV episodes to “over 75,000″.

Looking at Amazon, there are 14,675 movies and 2,075 TV seasons (season 1 on Downton Abbey, for example, would count as one of those 2,075) at time of writing. It’s possible that not each of those 2,075 is a season…a TV movie might count as one. The number of episodes in a season has varied considerably…if we figure ten as an average, that might be about 20,000.

Each of them has original content as well, although that’s new to Amazon.

My feeling is that Netflix tends to have more of the recent stuff, although I haven’t analyzed that. Looking at the most popular movies on Prime, I see The Hunger Games, Skyfall, The Avengers…obviously, all big hits. Remember that these are available at no additional cost over your Prime membership.

Could you drop your cable company just for Prime? The main thing you would miss is current TV…but if you can wait a year to see something, that’s not bad. :)

I would also say that Netflix has a more sophisticated interface, although if you first find the video on your computer, Amazon does okay there. They’ve even added the

Amazon Instant Video Finder
at AmazonSmile

Netflix, though, makes it very easy to find what you’ve watched recently…Amazon could certainly improve that.

In Amazon’s favor is X-Ray for Movies. That’s a feature that lets you get information about a movie you are currently watching. For example, you can freeze the movie and get background about the actors in the scene…even find out what other movies an actor is in to watch later. That’s powered by, which I think is the best movie resource on the web…and is owned by Amazon.

Amazon recently added closed captioning, so that is less of an edge for Netflix than it used to be.

Another huge advantage with the current generation of Kindle Fires is that you can download Prime videos (many of them) to watch when you are offline (on a plane, for example). Netflix is designed to be strictly streaming…no downloading.

Download Prime Instant Video Titles
at AmazonSmile

Amazon also has nice

Amazon Instant Video parental controls
at AmazonSmile

This might be new! You can set one of four levels for content…and choose to which devices that limit applies. The content is not just movie ratings, but includes TV ratings. So, you could have a kid’s Fire set to allow G, TV-G, and TV-Y, and have an adult’s where anything goes.

You can’t share your Prime video benefits with someone not on your account, like you can with your shipping benefits. There are also some significant restrictions (this is quoted from Amazon):

  • You can stream up to two titles at the same time using the same account. You can stream the same title to no more than one device at a time.
  • Many Prime Instant Video titles are also available for download on Kindle Fire HD 2nd Generation and Kindle Fire HDX devices. The detail page for each Prime Instant Video title indicates whether the title is available for download. You can download available titles to only two separate devices at one time. If you have already downloaded a title to two devices, you need to delete it from one of them before downloading it to another device. You can have a maximum of 25 total Prime Instant Video titles downloaded at a time across all devices associated with your account. While not all Prime Instant Video titles are available for download, the same videos may be available for rental or purchase from Amazon Instant Video, and rented or purchased titles can be downloaded to compatible devices.

Amazon Instant Video Usage Rules
at AmazonSmile

Is Prime worth it just for video? What I would say is take a look at what you watch, and see how well it matches up with what you like.

Kindle Book Benefits

There are two benefits for Prime members on e-books, and they are really quite different.

Kindle First
at AmazonSmile

With this one, you select one of a select group of not-yet published books. So far (this is new), there have been four each month, and they have all come from Amazon’s traditional publishing imprints. You select the book, you own it**. It follows the same rules as any other e-book on your account: all compatible devices on your account can use it. You can lend them to someone not on your account, according to the normal Kindle lending rules. That means you can lend it once…ever…for fourteen days. While the other person has it, you won’t have access to it. Kindle First books may not all be lendable, but books published by Amazon generally have been.

The other benefit is the

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL)
at AmazonSmile

For this one, you need to not only be an eligible Prime member, you also have to own a hardware Kindle (just a Kindle app isn’t enough…if you have both hardware Kindles and apps on your account, you can only send it to the hardware Kindles).

You can borrow up to one book a calendar month. You don’t own the book: you’ll need to return it before you can borrow the next one (and you’ll have to wait until the next month to do that anyway).

The books are from a specific set, but there were close to half a million titles in there when I checked January 1st…about one out of five of all the USA Kindle store books.

These are mostly independently published, but you do have the traditionally published Amazon books (which include James Bond and the 87th Precinct books). Scholastic, which is a major publisher, also puts books into the KOLL (The Hunger Games, for example), and the Harry Potter books are there, too. I have found something to read every month.

There you go! Those are the benefits to Prime. If you have any other questions, or want to let me or my readers know what you like about Prime, feel free to comment on this post.

Update: I was sort of making this up while I was on a walk with  my family (yeah, I do that…I make up little songs a lot). They had suggested I put it in the blog, and I meant to include it with this post. :)

Addicted to Prime (sung to the tune of Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer)

You hit 1-click,
You’re in the zone.
Some THING comes to your home.
You’re not sure…
You can’t recall
What it could be
No, not at all.

You see the box:
It’s got a smile.
You tear the tape…
It takes a while.
You still can’t see!
So many puffs!
You pull them out…what is this stuff???

Whoa-whoa…you like to think you’ve got it licked this time, whoa yeah!
It’s closer to the truth that you will spend every dime
You know you’re gonna have to face it
You’re addicted to Prime

You watch a film
It’s so obscure.
You face the facts: you need a cure.
You stream and stream
And never stop.
Another show: your mind will pop!
Your mind will pop!
Your eyes are glazed.
Your family is all amazed.
They thought you liked
To read a book
But having Prime is all it took

Whoa-whoa…you like to think you’ve got it licked this time, whoa yeah!
It’s closer to the truth that you will spend every dime
You know you’re gonna have to face it
You’re addicted to Prime

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime

The month is new…
You want a book:
You’re afraid
To take a look.
They’re too weird
Can’t decide!
But they’re free
Can’t let it slide!

Whoa-whoa…you like to think you’ve got it licked this time, whoa yeah!
It’s closer to the truth that you will spend every dime
You know you’re gonna have to face it
You’re addicted to Prime

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to Prime

* 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! :) 

** What you are actually buying is a license to read the book. For more information, see my post,  How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

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.

Downloading Prime Videos

October 11, 2013

Downloading Prime Videos

Note: this post will only practical application for readers who have or will have one of three Kindle Fire models from Amazon (the 2nd generation Kindle Fire HD 7″, the Kindle Fire HDX 7″, and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″). It is possible that it will apply to other models in the future, but there is currently no indication that earlier model Kindle Fires will get this ability. It is dependent on the new operating system, Mojito (Amazon says, “…exclusive new features of Fire OS 3.0 including X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the revolutionary new Mayday button.”).  Although it is being advertised along side the other three, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ has not been updated, and does not have the new operating system. Some topics of interest to smaller groups do require a longer post such as this. For example, I do “menu maps” for individual models. I will include something at the end of this post of interest for those who do not have or plan on having Mojito devices, and I’ll do another post pretty quickly. I try to keep the post topics diverse, so that everyone can get something valuable to them out of the blog at least every few days.

When I’m disconnected from the internet, I can get a bit antsy. I refer to it as being “web-blind”. ;)

When your Kindle Fire is disconnected from the web, it’s a very different device. It can’t update the weather for you, or download books…or stream movies.

That last one has made things interesting when I’ve been traveling on planes.

We have

Amazon Prime

in our family.

Yes, we pay Amazon $79 a year…to get stuff from Amazon. :)

We didn’t have it for quite a while, although we had been Amazon customers.

I would do the calculations, and we weren’t spending nearly $79 a year in shipping. We could often wait until we had $25 in one order, and we got a lot of things through

Subscribe & Save

which meant not only free shipping, but 15% off.

It just didn’t seem worth it.

What got us to try it?

Getting the first generation Kindle Fire.

It came with a month free…and during that month, we were hooked.

At this point, I’m still just talking about the free 2-day shipping on many items.

Let me give you a weird example.

We have a collapsible laundry basket. It folds up flat, and then springs open.

I was carrying it, and the second strap on it finally broke (we’d had it for years).

Sure, we could have started looking around on the weekend at Target and such, to see if they had it.

My Significant Other, though, suggested checking Amazon.

They had an equivalent, available through Prime:

Bajer Design& Marketing 5234 Ez Fold’r Laun Basket [Misc.]

It was delivered to our door, before the weekend even got here.

That saves time and effort…and it was probably cheaper than we would have paid if we could have found it in a store.

So, just based on shipping, Prime has been worth that $79 to us.

There are, though, two other substantial benefits to Prime.

One is the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL), which lets you borrow up to a book a month at no additional cost (you do have to also have a hardware Kindle…a Kindle Fire counts).  I do that every month, but I probably wouldn’t have Prime just for that.

The other one is Prime videos.

I used to always say “Prime streaming videos”, because you could only watch them when you were connected and streaming.

Now, though, that’s changing…at least for Kindle Fire devices with the new Mojito operating system (the 2nd generation Kindle Fire HD 7″, the Kindle Fire HDX 7″, and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″).

People with those devices will be able to download the videos, storing them on their devices and watching them without the benefit of an internet connection…on a plane, as I mentioned above, or in the car (not the driver, of course), on a camping trip…wherever.

At least one of my readers is already doing it with the 2nd gen Kindle Fire HD, and I think some people are going to really like this.

My guess is that it wasn’t an easy negotiation for Amazon with the rightsholders.

The license to stream is quite different from the license to download. Those conveniences I cited above are worth money.

The real question: why would people buy a movie or TV show if they can download it without buying it?

The answer is that there are limitations (even disregarding the $79 a year you pay for Prime).

That’s what I’m going to detail in this post:

  • A title can only be downloaded to two devices on your account at a time.  Let’s say you figure you’ll watch Beetlejuice for Halloween. If you download it to your Fire, and your kid downloads it to their Fire, nobody else on the account can download it until one of you deletes it. This, by the way, is actually more flexible than when you are streaming it…you can only stream a given title to one device at a time
  • You can only download 25 titles at a time to all of the devices on your account. That seems like a lot to me, but I can see how a family on a wi-fi free vacation could hit that limit
  • You have a limited time to watch them. Amazon says, ” A typical viewing period is either 48 hours after you start watching the title or 15 or 30 days after the download, whichever is earlier.” That’s one thing that really keeps you from using this as a substitute to owning them. It’s not like a Tivo, where you could hypothetically keep an episode you recorded until the device died. Don’t start watching something until you have time to finish it in the next two days…or you might not get to finish it
  • If you stop being a Prime member, you will not be able to watch Prime videos…even if you’ve downloaded them. That’s different if you bought them or rented them (which isn’t done through Prime). I suspect this may catch some people off guard when they cancel after their first free month. I’ll be many of them will renew pretty quickly if a family member was halfway through a movie (or TV season) and puts the pressure on!
  • Not every video is available for download, and which ones are will keep changing. I’m assuming here that the ones that say they are available for download when renting are probably available for download through Prime if they are Prime available (I’ll test that when I get my Kindle Fire HDX, which is coming in a week…if somebody tests it before then and reports back, great!).

At this point, I don’t see a way to know for sure if a title can be downloaded through Prime. You may have to be on your Mojito device to be able to tell. Every movie and TV show I checked said that purchase rights included downloading…but those may not be the same as Prime downloads. Again, if one of my readers can check back and tell me how they can tell if one is available for download or not to their Kindle Fire HD 7″ 2nd gen, I’d appreciate it.

This is one more way to get you to be a Prime member…which is one more way to get you to buy of those profitable physical goods (diapers and windshield wipers) from Amazon. :)

Bonus deal:


The Big Deal

from Amazon has more than 350 books at up to 80% off! There are usually some good bargains when they do these…this one goes through October 27th. Do check the price before you hit that “Buy” button. Books can do in and out of the deal, and this may not apply in your country. I’m going to work my way through those and see what I can find. :) If you see anything that stands out to you, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to reader Ana for pointing out that the “The Big Deal” link wasn’t working. It’s weird because Amazon provided that link to me. However, I was able to make it work by linking to the second page of the list, rather than the first. At the bottom of the page, you should be able to go back to page 1, so you don’t miss any.

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

Amazon offers monthly plan for Prime for $7.99?

November 6, 2012

Amazon offers monthly plan for Prime for $7.99?

I’m seeing reports this morning that Amazon is offering a $7.99 monthly plan for Amazon Prime, as opposed to just the $79 annual plan for most people.

I don’t see that on line yet, but I’m going to write this taking that as a postulate.

This would be a mind-blowingly huge change, and one that would make some investors quite unhappy. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the stock dip a tiny bit (and then recover) on the news.

It might not seem like much of a difference. Pay $79 once a year, or $7.99 a month. In fact, the $7.99 a month is higher that the approximately $6.58 you get if you divide $79 by twelve.

However, it would likely make Prime much more expensive for Amazon…and it’s already expensive for them.


Simple: you don’t buy things consistently across the year. In November and December, people probably purchase a lot more things from Amazon, especially physical items.

If people can sign up for November, renew in December, and then not renew in January, the customers take advantage of free shipping during the expensive months, and then Amazon doesn’t get the $6.58 during months when the customers order little or nothing.

It would be like people paying for a monthly gym membership just in January (when you get all the New Year’s resolutions people) and then not paying the rest of the year…rather than signing up in January for the whole year.

This suggests to me that Prime is working really, really well to inspire purchases on profitable items. Just as Amazon reportedly doesn’t make money on the Kindle Fire HD itself but hypothetically makes it on inspired sales, Amazon could lose money on Prime and make it up on the items purchased.

For investors, though, they would likely see the loss of the guaranteed income spread out over the lean months and of the up front money of the annual fee.

The marketing on this would also suggest going head-to-head with Netflix, rather than emphasizing the free shipping advantage. Prime streaming video at no additional cost can most easily be compared to Netflix.

It’s hard to compare the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) to something else, since the public doesn’t really perceive a direct competitor to it.

Free shipping is going to be a common perk during the holiday season.

So, if they are doing this, it’s about the videos.

I have to presume this would be automatic renewal: doing nothing, and you get charged another $7.99. Maybe the thought is that most people would just let it ride, even though they could cancel.

Once you have Prime for the videos, why not take advantage of the free shipping?

If you are buying what I like to refer to as those “diapers and windshield wipers” from Amazon, would that become a habit for you?

My guess is that, if this is actually happening, it could work out very well for Amazon in the long run…but that some skittish investors wouldn’t see the long term advantage.

We’ll see what happens. If you are seeing the $7.99 per month option, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post. It could just have been an experiment or an accidental early leak.

If it does happen, I think Netflix should be worried about it. It could be perceived as “they both have videos” (even though the library is different), but with Amazon, you also get free shipping on other stuff and that ability to borrow a book a month.

Fascinating times…

Update: I’ve now seen the offer on line, although it doesn’t seem to appear in any of the “official places” besides on the join Prime page itself. By signing out of my account,then clicking the Join Prime link at the top of the screen, I could see this under the free month of prime button:

“After your free trial, Amazon Prime is just $7.99/month”

Thanks to Meya, a Kindle Forum Pro, for posting that.

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

Over 1 million independent books borrowed through the KOLL

March 1, 2012

Over 1 million independent books borrowed through the KOLL

November 3, 2011: Amazon adds a new benefit for eligible Prime members who own physical Kindles. They can borrow up to a book a month from a select set of books…the library starts with about 5,000 titles.

December 8, 2011: Amazon introduces KDP Select, a program through which publishers using their Kindle Direct Publishing can add their books to the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). They will be compensated by dividing a pool each month, based on the number of “borrows” they have.

February 29, 2012: In this

press release

Amazon announces that over a million KDP Select books have been borrowed.

Do you know how many years it would take to sell a million paper independently published books? I don’t know either, :) but trust me, this is a very big number.

Right now, there are 117,395 books in the

KOLL List*

That’s about 9.3% of the 1,262,458 in the USA Kindle store…and growing.

Also significant…that’s probably over 100,000 e-books for which Amazon has exclusive distribution.

I say probably, because the KOLL books that are not in the KDP Select program, that are traditionally published, don’t have to be exclusives.

That’s something that worries some industry people. It’s not a monopoly on e-books…but they do have the monopoly on those specific e-books for at least 90 days.

How is it for publishers (who may be just an author)? For some of them, it’s very good.

Amazon cites some specific people, and gives us their success stories:

However, as I mentioned when I wrote about the January KOLL results, the more that are borrowed, the less each publisher gets for a borrow…unless Amazon increases the pool amount to match.

How about me?

Too soon to tell.

We aren’t supposed to give specific sales numbers, and I’m not going to do that.

I’ve just gotten paid for December (that’s normal…it’s about two months after the end of the months when sales take place), so I only officially have numbers for that month.

My KOLL royalties weren’t one percent of my regular royalties.

That’s no surprise. That was probably the peak sales month for Love Your Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet…and it wasn’t in the KOLL at that point (it is now).

I do think, as it’s gone forward, the KOLL may have been good for my sluggish backlist. I’ll have to wait to see if it has apparently boosted sales of them as well, or if the money is going to come mostly from borrows.

I have no doubt that this is good for readers. One of the KDP Select elements is the ability to offer you books for free for five days out of the 90…I’ve done it, and I’m sure readers benefited from that.

Well, let me amend that…it’s good for eligible Prime members.

NOOK users couldn’t get those books for free or otherwise during their enrollment in KDP Select (although they could get the books using a Kindle or a Kindle app…there are people who have both).

I think it’s a brilliant strategy on Amazon’s part. Prime is, I think, where the money is. If content is what drives hardware purchases, this is huge for Amazon.

If this teaches people to buy independently published books, look out traditional publishers!

I always like to consider the risks…

  • There could be backlash against Amazon for the exclusive part of the contract
  • Publishers may resent the small amount of money per borrow if the quantity keeps increasing without the pool increasing
  • Publishers might put less than optimal product in the KOLL, leading to dissatisfaction on the part of borrowers
  • Readers may find that the books being made free under the program are good enough to read…so they buy fewer books
  • Amazon could raise the cost of Prime, since the demand may increase…and they may have to significantly raise the pool pay

Those are a few possibilities I see…but overall, I think this is an example of Amazon successfully innovating.

What do you think? Feel free to comment on this post to let me and my readers know.

*Note: you can see the books that are available for eligible Prime members to borrow from this list on your computer, but you must borrow them from you Kindle device by clicking a button that says “borrow” not “buy” to have the cost covered by your annual Prime fee.

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

Amazon posts list for Prime lending library

November 7, 2011

Amazon posts list for Prime lending library

There have been some work arounds to get to the list of books that Kindle-owning Prime members can borrow from Amazon.

Now, there is an official section in the Kindle store:

Prime Eligible Kindle Edition

The number the there is 5,376. I reported 5,156…maybe they’ve added 120 since then. ;) They do list five as Coming Soon, showing they are adding titles.

It does break it down by categories, give you some authors, and so on.

There are 365 books from Vook on the list…at least some of which I’ve listed in this blog when they were free titles.

201 books are from Lonely Planet, the travel line. That’s interesting! I would guess that might lose them sales. I’ve bought travel books when I was going on a trip, when I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. Why wouldn’t you borrow the book instead? Travel books become outdated pretty quickly, so there isn’t as much value in owning them. You could borrow the book a couple of weeks before going, the whole family could download a copy (well, six devices, anyway). I’m not sure this is going to inspire a lot of other sales for them.

On the other hand, series novels (romance, science fiction) may get a boost from this. Even if more than one book is borrowable in a series, people may get hooked and not want to wait (borrowing is one book per calendar month for standard Prime members).

If you are a Kindle Direct Publisher, would you participate in this without compensation? Just an idea to kick around…the publicity might be worth it. I don’t think Amazon is going to buy books from every KDP publisher…it would be hard to argue that an unknown author’s short story is going to get people to become Prime members, so the motivation isn’t there as much for Amazon to take on the costs.

Feel free to tell me what you think…

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

New! Prime members who are Kindle owners can borrow books from Amazon

November 3, 2011

New! Prime members who are Kindle owners can borrow books from Amazon

Busy day… :)

Thanks to Joanne Harris in the Amazon Kindle community for the heads-up on this!

If you are both a Prime member and a Kindle owner, you can now borrow up to one book a month from a specific list of thousands from Amazon…for free!

Kindle Owners Lending Library

We are Prime…you will be absorbed

How can you resist now?

If Prime is $79 a year, you could make that up pretty easily, if you could find 12 books you like.  I think you might be able to do that.

I’m not a Prime member right now (I will be when I get my Kindle Fire in about two weeks, and we think we’ll maintain it after that.

If you are, take a look at

Water for Elephants

and see if you have a link to borrow it. I’d appreciate you letting me know.

There is verbiage on that page now for me:

“For Kindle Device Owners

Borrow this book for free, with no due dates, if you are a Kindle owner and Prime member. If you don’t own a Kindle, get yours today. If you’re not a Prime member, start your one month free trial today. You can borrow this book from your Kindle device.

With Prime, Kindle owners can choose from thousands of books to borrow for free — including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers — as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates. Learn more about Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

Here’s the

Kindle Prime Lending Library help page

That has some important additional information:

  • You can borrow a book for as long as you want..but only one at a time and no more than one per calendar month
  • You can read the book on multiple devices on the account, but not currently on Kindle reader apps. So, you could borrow a book, and if it takes three months for everybody on the account to read it, that’s fine…but you can’t borrow another one until it is returned
  • Your annotations are stored in a manner similar to public library books…even after the loan ends, your notes would still be available to you if you bought the book later

It isn’t clear to me if you’ll be able to borrow the books from your computer, or only from your Kindle. You will also be able to manage your Prime membership at

It’ll be under Subscription Settings, but I’m not seeing it yet. It may only be there for me after my Prime membership starts.

This is a very innovative idea, although it was rumored before.

I don’t see a consolidated list yet…hope that’s coming.

What do you think? Feel free to let me know.

Update: here is the

Press Release

It has some additional information about how the deal was made with publishers.

I’ve resisted The Hunger Games a few times when it is has been on sale or part of Special Offers…that may be my first borrow…

Update: okay, I’m seeing the link now, only on my Kindle.

Home-Menu-Shop in Kindle Store, Books, See all…, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

That’s on a Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi (formerly commonly called a K3). The category counts:

  • All titles: 5,156
  • Fiction: 1,346
  • Nonfiction: 3,865
  • Advice & How-to: 734
  • Business & Investing: 480
  • Politics & Current Events: 90
  • Literary Fiction: 78
  • Biographies & Memoirs: 223
  • Religion & Spirituality: 456
  • Science Fiction: 68
  • Fantasy: 30
  • Mystery & Thrillers: 149
  • Romance: 330
  • Science: 189
  • History: 271
  • Children’s eBooks: 294
  • Reference: 481
  • Travel: 247
  • Sports: 239
  • Humor: 171
  • Computers 7 Internet: 27
  • Arts & Entertainment: 323
  • Lifestyle & home: 997
  • Parents & Families: 259

Update! Thanks to Betty J. Reed in the Amazon Kindle community for figuring this out! If you change the search box to the Kindle store and search for

Prime eligible

you get this result:

Prime Eligible Kindle Books

That seems to be them. :)
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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