5 ways Amazon can improve e-book gift giving

5 ways Amazon can improve e-book gift giving

For about three years after the first Kindle was introduced in late 2007, Amazon didn’t have a mechanism for us to give Kindle books as gifts.

Customers talked about that a lot. After all, gifting books is great! In the paper days, I would buy a used copy of the first Doc Savage Bantam paperback, The Man of Bronze, pretty much whenever I saw it in a used bookstore. I wanted them so I could give them to people as gifts…and I did.

I would also buy other copies of some other books for the same reason.

One of our traditional baby gifts was the hardback of

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Suffice it to say, I love giving books!

Since we got Kindle book giving in November of 2010, I’ve given many gifts.

I like to do it at the holidays as small gifts.

I keep my eyes open all year for when books go on sale…and buy them for other people, either delaying the delivery for a gift giving occasion, or sending it “just because”.

I’ve given away copies of my sibling’s award-winning first novel

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and Kris gave away copies through this blog as well (thanks, Kris!).

So, I do like and use Amazon e-book gift giving as it is.

However, I always think things can get better. 🙂

With that in mind, I have a few suggestions for Amazon:

Multiple Recipients for the Same Gift

I’m not the only who wants to give the same book to a bunch of people at once. It could be promotional/celebrational, like we were doing with Kris’ book. It could be a book club, or a class in a school. It could just be enthusiasm. Several people in my family read the same Harry Potter book at the same time when it was first released…and I think one of us bought a few as gifts.

Right now, it takes me going back and forth from the gift page to the book’s product page. I’d love to be able to enter several recipients on the same page. I wouldn’t need to be able to put an individualized gift message on each one, although that would be a nice option.

Multiple Gifts for the Same Recipient

While there are book “bundles”, omnibus editions, I’d love to be able to buy a selection of e-books of my choice and have my recipient get one e-mail. It would be even better if I could mix e-books and other items…like maybe give a gadget and an e-book about how to use it. Maybe give a movie and the book on which it is based. I do assume that the recipient would have to be able to selectively accept and exchange them…somebody might own one of them already, for one thing. Still, this would be a lot of fun!


I think it would be really cool if, when I got a gift, I could choose instead of keeping it myself, to pass it on to somebody else. That might be because I own it, or just because I think someone else would want it more. It does cost Amazon a small amount to process each acceptance of a gift, but I think this would really market some books.

A Better Way to See Who Hasn’t Picked Up a Gift

It takes me too many steps to check on a gift. I have to go to the Manage Your Content page, then change Books to Pending Deliveries, then change Queued for Delivery to Gift Orders.

I want on that page just one click to see them so I can work on fixing the issue.

Gift Matching

This one is a little more out there, but I could see it working. Amazon could let publishers do it and/or they could do it themselves. It’s a promotion: you give a set number of a book as a gift (let’s say five) and the publisher or Amazon donates one to a public library, or a disadvantaged person. I understand that if they give it to a public library, it would likely be for maybe a year. I would certainly be swayed by an idea like this…I would give away more gifts to help other people get them.

Well, I said five, so there you go. I can think of other ideas, but I’d like to hear from you, too. What improvements would you like to see in Kindle book giving? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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* 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.

4 Responses to “5 ways Amazon can improve e-book gift giving”

  1. Tonino Says:

    Well, Amazon Spain (and probably the rest of Amazon sites but .com) still don’t allow this feature. I’m really pissed off after all these years a thing so simple is not available.
    It’s a Win-win situation for everyone involved, yet the don’t offer it and don’t give any reason at all.
    The forum are full of people asking for this.

    Simply amazing…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tonino!

      As you note, it’s not difficult technically, so there is likely something else going on. 🙂 My guess is that there are two factors…either one of them individually or both.

      That would be either bureaucratic/regulatory or licensing.

      I don’t know enough about the first one in Spain (and other countries outside the USA…the UK doesn’t have Kindle book giving either). It seems unlikely to me, unless there is some sort of tax on gifts this small.

      That means it’s perhaps a licensing thing. I’m not sure what that would be exactly. In the USA, we have bought the book when we buy it as a gift…not when it is received. Our cards are charged at the time of purchase, and the price is the same, even if redeemed months later. That might have an impact.

      It could be, I suppose, an infrastructure thing, but that seems unlikely to me.

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I know it’s up to the publisher, but I wish more Kindle books were available for lending.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I think peer-to-peer lending may have become less important as a corporate strategy since we’ve gotten the Family Library feature. That may mean that it’s not a battle Amazon wants to have…got to choose where to put your resources.

      I could be wrong, but I don’t see lending massively expanding.

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