Round up #224: 12 Days of Deals, $20 donations

Round up #224: 12 Days of Deals, $20 donations

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

Buy a Kindle Fire HDX 7″ on AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate $20 to a non-profit of your choice

My readers have embraced AmazonSmile, a new program which allows you to benefit the non-profit of your choice by shopping at a special Amazon mirror site. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it feels just like shopping at Amazon (you’ll use the same account).

Amazon donates half a percent of the purchase price of eligible items, and you can change your non-profit whenever you want.

Half a percent isn’t much, of course…spend $100, and your non-profit gets fifty cents. However, every small bit can help (I was formerly on the Board of a non-profit, and you’d be surprised how much difference $10 can make).

Today, Amazon announced a great promotion!

If you buy a

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers


Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers

at AmazonSmile through Sunday, December 8th, Amazon will donate $20 to your designated non-profit! That’s in addition to the normal half a percent.

That could really make a difference. If five of these Fires are bought for your preferred organization, that’s more than $100 donated.

I would send this post or the

press release

to any non-profits you support, so they can publicize it with their supporters…I’m going to do that with some I know.

Thanks, Amazon!

Amazon “floats” a “pie in the sky” idea

This may be the most positive (or at least, not negative) publicity Amazon has ever gotten.

In a 60 Minutes


with Charlie Rose (Amazon’s best friend in the media), CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Jeff Bezos revealed PrimeAir, an “R&D” (Research and Development) stage idea to have small “octocopters” deliver Amazon packages to your door. This is how it might work:

concept ad

Every major news outlet seems to have carried the story, although I think they were sometimes a bit fuzzy on the reporting.

First, this is not going to happen on “your next order”, as I saw one headline say. It won’t happen before 2015 at the earliest (they need FAA…Federal Aviation Administration approval), and Bezos was indicating it could be years away.

Second, it’s worth being clear that these would not be remotely piloted. You would give them the coordinates (presumably, the small helicopter would read them off a label), and then it would make its own decisions about how to get there.

I have been most amused about people’s immediate concerns about them being shot down: I suspect using the term “drone” had something to do with that. That’s not to say it wouldn’t happen: people have been known to shine lasers at piloted helicopters, a very dangerous practice.

It’s just that other methods also have a risk of robbery.

Suppose, as was suggested, you could place an order online and have the PrimeAir delivery in half an hour (if you live in certain areas near a fulfillment center). I would guess that poses less of a risk of theft (since you’d be waiting for it) than the package being left on your doorstep for eight hours while you are at work. I think it may become fairly easy to catch people actually shooting at microaircraft, as they become more commercially necessary.

It won’t stop entirely: people shoot at UPS trucks, too.

Certainly, dogs would pose a risk, as might bird strikes (perhaps even intentional ones, in the case of a raptor), but I’m not convinced it would be inherently more risky.

It also obviously wouldn’t work with everything…you aren’t going to get a 25 pound bag of dog food that way, since the projected carry limit is five pounds.

The real question for me is why Amazon showed it on a national TV program now.

They usually won’t even tell us what they are releasing next week. For that matter, they sometimes don’t even tell us what is in an update after they’ve released it.😉

It’s just not typical for them to tease something by years…they are a pretty secretive company.

The most likely thing to me is that it is to use public opinion to sway the FAA and other entities to approve the project. It may also be to force the package delivery companies to develop something similar. How much is Amazon’s business worth to UPS? If Amazon can do, oh, ten percent of its deliveries itself, that would really hurt Brown’s profitability, I would think.

Amazon threatening to disrupt your industry has got to make you seriously consider taking preemptive action.

That sort of move on Amazon and Jeff Bezos’ parts is why this

CNNMoney article by Adrian Covert

makes so much sense. Covert makes the great point that Jeff Bezos is not the “next Steve Jobs”. They are very, very different. Jobs masterminded great hardware, and yes, absolutely influenced how people see and use technology.

For Bezos, hardware is simply one more tool to use in reshaping commercial society.

Jeff Bezos is more like Henry Ford. Ford didn’t just make cars. Ford remade how people make cars…and so many other things. It’s important to note that Henry Ford didn’t invent the assembly line concept, but saw a practical use for it. Bezos didn’t invent autonomous microaircraft, or even  the use of them for product delivery. It’s figuring out how they can serve Amazon’s three tenets of Service, Selection, and Price that show the genius of Jeff.

“20 Things That Happen When You’re a Book Nerd”

This is a fun

post on BOOKRIOT by Rebecca Joines Schinsky

I agree with quite a few of them, and I’m sure many of you will, too. I really like that it isn’t limited just to p-books (paperbooks). In my experience, the more you love books, the more you love e-books. I mean, you’d read books on soap bubbles, if somebody could figure out a way to do that.😉

Supreme Court declines to hear internet tax case

Amazon wants a national sales tax policy (not a national sales tax).

They’ve testified in favor of it.

What they don’t want is a bunch of different rules in a bunch of different places, and they don’t want states to simply act on their own, imposing whatever rules they want.

That’s why Amazon challenged New York’s “Amazon Law”. It got up to the doorstep of the Supreme Court, but they declined to hear it.

Bloomberg article by Greg Stohr

That should make a bigger push to get something through Congress.

I’ve written a lot about equal collection legislation before.

There are important constitutional issues here, but it could be resolved by Congress passing a law (it doesn’t require an amendment).

Believe it or not, that actually could happen.😉

Amazon’s 12 Days of Deals for books

Today is the first day of the second annual 12 Days of Deals for books at Amazon:

These are limited time (and quantity) deals on new and popular books…there are three of them today, and they’ll change each day.

One thing this really drives home for me: how much cheaper Kindle store books can be than the hardback equivalents! The first deal (on as I write this…check the price before you click or tap the Buy button) is for

The Goldfinch
at AmazonSmile

It’s $2.99 as a Kindle book…$8.99 (just about three times as much) as a hardback. As I write this, 17% of the latter have been claimed, with about 3 1/2 hours left to go.

Certainly, they may sell out: many people prefer to give hardbacks as gifts, and (at least among traditionally published books), paper still sells more than digital if we look at all channels.

Still, if you just want to read it, there is a big economic argument to go with e-books.

* 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.

9 Responses to “Round up #224: 12 Days of Deals, $20 donations”

  1. Zebras Says:

    Thanks for the “Book Nerd” link, it is so spot on. When my office heard I got myself a Kindle, the head of maintenance said, we might as well pack the library up, we aren’t going to need it anymore, and within a year they cleared off the bookshelves and built a new storage closet for the mailroom.

  2. Gary Says:

    Let’s not forget that the postal service delivers Amazon packages too! As a letter carrier I deliver 50 to 75 of these each day just on my route.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Gary!

      Sure, good point. It’s been interesting lately: I sometimes get texts that my Amazon package has been given to the local mail carrier for delivery…

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    My concern about the “drone copter” delivery is that the technology to do a good job just isn’t there yet. Yes, they might put GPS coordinates into the copter, but do those coordinates show where the front porch is located? Are they exact enough to make sure the package is close enough to the house to be found once it has been delivered? The humans in the brown trucks, red white and blue trucks, and beat up station wagons all seem to know that a package belongs on the front porch, next to the front door, so that I don’t even have to step out the door to pick it up if I’m not right there to meet them when they arrive. The copter wouldn’t know exactly where the house is on the property. It could drop the package on a roof, into the bushes, or crash land into my tall trees. I have an acre of property. A drone could drop a package anywhere on that acre and still technically have delivered it to the right place. However, if it dropped it in the far back behind the wildlife thicket in cold weather, I’d never know it was there. There is also some weird bug in most of the GPS guidance systems that causes folks attempting to find my house using GPS to end up at the end of a dead end farm lane about a mile and a half from where I live because the GPS thinks it’s a road that leads to my house. It isn’t! My property is surrounded by a 50 acre Christmas tree farm. If the drone missed by a few dozen feet, the package could end up under one of those hundreds of Christmas trees. There’s a hundred acre farm across the road. Every other year it is covered it corn plants higher than my head. A miss by a few dozen feet in that direction,and a package could be lost forever among the cornstalks and then ground up by the harvester. Of course, I live too far away from the warehouse for this to affect me, but I think you get the point.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Well, I think you may be vastly underestimating the intelligence of the octocopters. They aren’t going to be like missiles fired at a coordinate: they will have sensory apparatus and be making decisions about what makes sense.

      Just as they’ll be able to avoid newly-encountered obstacles, they can be taught to recognize a front door and a stoop.🙂

      That’s entirely within the realm of current technology.

      My guess is some human drivers, from what you describe, also have trouble finding your house…

      I suppose, as human-free delivery becomes more common, people could have some sort of “landing pad” location indicated (it wouldn’t even need to be something visible to humans). That may seem silly…you know, it would be like mounting a special metal box on a pole so human beings would know where to put the mail…people just wouldn’t go to that trouble and expense.😉

      Look at where newspapers show up: sometimes, that’s due to the human delivering them being in an extra hurry, or even being in an emotional state (“I hate that house’s dog barking at me! I’m throwing the paper on the roof!”). While most delivery people are good people, I’m just trying to point out that while octocopter delivery may not be perfect, neither is human delivery…and on balance, it might turn out that octocopters are more accurate.

  4. Harold Says:

    Well Mr. Bezos is one step behind the Australian textbook store, Zookal.

    Quote below from:

    (The Verge) — Australian textbook rental startup Zookal will begin utilizing drones to make its deliveries in Australia next year, with ambitions of bringing the unique, unmanned delivery method to U.S. customers by 2015.
    The company says this marks the first commercial use of fully automated drones worldwide. It will fulfill deliveries in Sydney using six drones to start, dropping off textbook purchases at an outdoor location of the customer’s choosing. To wipe away any potential privacy or surveillance fears, the drones aren’t equipped with cameras.
    Instead, built-in anti-collision technology keeps them clear of trees, buildings, birds, and other potential obstacles.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      Yes, as I mentioned, Jeff Bezos isn’t the first with this.

      I presume part of why that story says “ambitions” rather than “plans” is that is is dependent in part of the FAA.

  5. Zebras Says:

    To make sure the drone chose the right spot, I would imagine, that Amazon could suggest a simple hand-lettered sign that said Amazon placed on the ground for the drone to find.

  6. Round up #226 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] I wrote about Amazon’s PrimeAir reveal (delivery by small “octocopters”), I […]

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