Round up #230: deals, T-rexes, and the Strand

Round up #230: deals, T-rexes, and the Strand

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

AmazonLocal deals: e-books, accessories, Audible

I saw an interesting comment from someone on the

recently. They didn’t think having Special Offers on your Kindle was worth it anymore, because the good deals on things like Kindle books were available through


Well, I’m guessing that person doesn’t have a Kindle Fire. 🙂

We get those

that save ridiculous amounts of money, if you are lucky enough to get one (they sell out in seconds, or have so far).

This holiday season, we saved enough in my household to buy a Paperwhite with those deals…and not just one of those ones we got for $19! 😉

That said, there are great AmazonLocal deals, and to me, it makes sense to open a free account there. Right now, there are three in particular that caught my eye:

  • 100 selected Kindle books for $0.99 each (you can buy as many as you want of them). The authors include Ed McBain, Max Brand, and the Hangman’s Daughter series
  • Half off select Kindle accessories, including covers and speakers
  • Three months of Audible audiobooks (you can pick one book a month) for $0.95 per month, instead of $14.95. You don’t have to be an Audible (owned by Amazon) member like this to buy Audible books, but some folks like it this way

As is typical with AmazonLocal, you get a coupon, and then redeem it. There is a limited time to get these coupons…but I think you have a week on all of them yet.

A deal not from Amazon

I usually do report on deals from Amazon and not as often from other places. I figure we all have Amazon in common, and are comfortable with them, for one thing.

In this case, I’m going to mention something from another company where I have shopped, PulseTV.

They do big sales on items, which don’t tend to be available for very long (I assume it is a close-out place, mostly). I’ve found the service to be fine.

In this case, it is:

USB Talking Classics

For $19.99, you get 100 audiobooks for $19.99 (they give you more of a discount when you order more than one…that’s typical for them).

These are in MP3 format, which means you could listen to them on a Kindle device which has sound. You’d have to transfer them yourself.

The titles are all public domain (not under copyright protection) books, but I think it is a pretty good group. You can see the list here:

titles list PDF

I haven’t heard these…as regular readers know, I actually prefer text-to-speech to audiobooks (I don’t like the actors/author interpreting the characters for me). That’s different if I’ve read the book, though…then it is more like going to a movie based on a book (and I’m fine with that).

Let’s see, at quick glance…I would certainly guess I’ve read more than half of these (Edgar Rice Burroughs and William Shakespeare? Check.). Some of these are not novel length…I see at least one poem.

Still, if you like audiobooks, this seems like a good deal.

Great holiday season for Amazon, but…

I always look forward to Amazon’s funny stats on the holiday sales, and they didn’t disappoint in this

press release

Just a couple of examples:

  • Amazon customers purchased enough youth archery kits to outfit every resident of Katniss Everdeen’s hometown, District 12, four times over
  • The number of “Star Trek Into Darkness” Blu-ray combo packs purchased would span the distance of 25 Star Trek Enterprise space ships
  • If the Nylabone Dinosaur Chew Toys purchased during this holiday season were stacked on top of each other, they would be the height of more than 950 T-Rex dinosaurs

Wouldn’t you just love to be in the room when they are figuring out those comparisons?

They do talk about great sales for Kindle Fires and Kindle non-Fires…including this stat:

  • Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend was the best ever for Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers

However, when they listed the best-selling items, although they did tell us that the

were the best-selling tablets for Amazon. That should include tablets from other companies, and the

they did not tell us which non-Fire Kindle was the bestseller. It makes the non-backlit models seem  slighted, a bit, to me, although I do think Amazon will continue to support and promote that line of hardware in 2014.

Mayday’s amazing day

I’ve written several times about Mayday, Amazon’s free onscreen tech help on the Kindle Fire HDX line. I think it’s the greatest innovation in Customer Service in some time.

Along with other people, I was wondering how it would go for them on December 25th. Would they be overwhelmed? How close would they be to the fifteen second response time which is their stated goal (but not a guarantee)?

Well, according to this

press release

they weren’t that close to it…they were way under!

The average response time on Christmas Day was nine seconds!

It probably usually takes you nine seconds just to push zero to speak to an operator. 😉 Well, not quite, but that’s still fast.

The press release has some funny stuff:

  • A young girl got a Kindle Fire HDX for Christmas. She was playing around with it and accidentally tapped the Mayday button—when she saw the Tech Advisor, she just screamed “MOOOOOOMMM!”, not having expected a person to pop up on the screen. Her parents could be heard laughing in the background
  • A group of carolers called in and sang to the team—they wanted to thank the Tech Advisors for their work and spread some holiday cheer

If you were proposing something like Mayday to your Customer Service department, they would be listing these sorts of things as reasons not to do it…and Amazon celebrated them! That says something about Amazon…and something that we, as customers, like.

Meanwhile…in the brick-and-mortars

So, with all of this success (even without all that much profit yet, based on their financials) at Amazon, how are the brick-and-mortar bookstores doing?

It was nice to hear about a tweet from the Strand, a famous store in New York. I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, and made a special trip to visit it when I was there: I proudly have a cap with their name on it. 🙂

They tweeted that December 23rd had been the biggest sales day in their history…and that’s a history that goes back eighty-six years! For some perspective, that’s before mass market paperbacks even really existed.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the day that the most books were bought, since books used to be a lot cheaper. It is, though, remarkable, and my Strand cap is off to them. 😉

* 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.


5 Responses to “Round up #230: deals, T-rexes, and the Strand”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    The special offers I get on my Kindle 3 (Keyboard) are really lame. Most are for merchandise like electric razors and Kindle covers. One odd thing. The Kindle 3 I bought recently when a supply of them mysteriously appeared was supposed to have special offers, but it doesn’t! It has the same old screen savers. I bought it as a backup in case one or both of my other K3’s go over the rainbow! I don’t mind that it doesn’t have the special offers, but I’m just curious what happened. [When I called customer service about that Kindle for a problem connecting with G3, the customer service rep commented, “That’s an old Kindle.” When I told her it was a recent purchase, she seemed surprised, so I’m wondering if they found an old box back in the hanger when they cleared it out to start building the drone launching pads;)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Interesting! I wonder why it being an older K3 would matter. It can connect to the Whispernet okay, right? So that wouldn’t be it. Did they make a software change that makes the newer ads incompatible with the older devices? That also seems odd…

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Oh, I’ve muddled this beyond being able to explain. My concern about the most recently purchased K3 having such old software was that it indicated to me that it was part of a batch of K3’s that had been sitting on a shelf somewhere for a long time. Maybe Amazon got some back from a retailer who hadn’t sold them, who knows where they came from, but I was expecting one at least as new as the one I purchased 18 months ago, but the one I received was as old as the first K3 I purchased several years ago. Customer service was able to get it online, and I updated the software to the 3.3. I don’t want to take it up to 3.4 because I don’t like the font changes that came with 3.4. The fonts are harder to read, and many books that load with left justification in 3.3 load with full justification in 3.4. Full justification at the middle to large font sizes is hard for my eyes to track. It connects with Whispernet just fine now, but there was a problem when I first got it that customer service was able to fix with their magic wand. I just forgot that it was supposed to have special offers until I was looking back through older orders trying to find something else, and I noticed it. I still get special offers on my middle K3, which is updated to 3.4, but I was able to receive special offers on it with 3.3. Anyway, sorry for the confusion I caused.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      No problem! You’d mentioned the 3G.

      It sounds like the situation is okay for you, right? You can see the Special Offers on the other device if you want. 🙂

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I can see the special offers on one of my Kindle 3’s, but like I said, most of the offers are major yawns! The current offer is on “romance” books, a genre that holds no interest for me! Previous offers were for the monthly deal, something I check out in the Kindle storefront at the beginning of each month anyway!

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