Round up #156: Amazon Cash, traveling librarian

Round up #156: Amazon Cash, traveling librarian

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

Traveling school librarian

I loved this

CBS News story

about John Schumacher, who is a traveling school librarian.

That’s right…a librarian who goes from school to school.

I love the attitude expressed in the piece! Schumacher advocates for “…letting kids read the books that they want to read”.

Regular readers know that I’m a big advocate of libraries, especially school libraries. A book in a school library made a big difference for me:

A book that changed my life: The Maybe Monsters

I genuinely believe that if the choice was between having to close a school or having to close a library, I would want the library to stay open…with at least one literacy program in it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t value schools, I do. It’s that someone free reading seems to me like the best thing in the world. I don’t have the data to back that up…just intuition. 🙂

Should audiobooks be used in the classroom?

Personally, I don’t like listening to audiobooks unless I’ve sight read the book first (then, I may really, really enjoy them). I just don’t like the narrator (be it actor or author) interpreting the characters for me.

On the other hand, I listen to text-to-speech (software which reads the book out loud to you) a lot…for hours a week during commutes, typically.

Many of my readers like “immersion reading”, which combines an audio version of the book with the sight version…it “reads” along with you.

There are a lot of myths about audiobooks and text-to-speech…some people think it is a “lesser” way to “read” the book…and they put “read” in quotation marks, just like that.



by the ever interesting Ola Kowlczyk features an infographic which examines several challenges to using audiobooks in the classroom…and offers a refutation.

This columnist will help you find a book

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, so I’m used to people asking me which books they should get.

I always found that a bit of a challenge. Someone would be hard pressed to recommend a book to me based on what I’ve already read. Well, not really…some sorts of books are more obvious than others for me (I like non-fiction that challenges traditionally thinking, for example), but I read a lot of different things.

Someone would say to me, “What do you recommend for an eight-year old girl?” I always wanted to know more…they are quite different from each other. 🙂

I did enjoy this

“Match Book” advice column by Nicole Lamy

in the New York Times.

This isn’t Amazon’s

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

program. 😉 That one lets you buy a Kindle book at a discounted price if you previously bought the paperbook from Amazon…sometimes.

Instead, this is like an advice column. People write in asking for book recommendations, and it’s written like a matchmaker column.

Amazon Cash

I wonder what it would have been like if Amazon had been around when I was a kid.

My parents would have been fine with me buying books with my money…but how would I have done that?

As a kid, I didn’t have a credit card. People would have given me Amazon gift cards (they still do), but I would have wanted to buy books with my own allowance money and other ways I earned money.

I did do that, actually. I used to buy these very cheap books about keeping exotic pets…each one was well under a dollar, and I still have them. Actually, I think some extra big ones might have been a dollar, but you get the point.

Well, you actually can buy books (and other things) from Amazon with cash…although not directly.

With the

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

What happens is that you get a code from Amazon, and then you go into a participating store (CVS does it), show them the code, give them the cash, and it acts just like a gift certificate.

What does it cost?


I think this is a cool program…I can see it happening with something like a lemonade stand.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that we already do this without a code, sort of.

My Significant Other and I have a (literal) piggy bank. We put our change into the piggy bank…since we rarely shop with cash normally, we work things on purpose to get cash back. 🙂 We usually round up our purchases to an even amount at, say, the grocery store, and that gives us some coins (“pig money”).

I have to say, they sometimes look at us like we are witches. 😉 So many people can’t imagine doing the math, so if the total is, oh, $32.71, and I ask for $17.29, they think it’s irrational…they have no idea why I picked that number.

Sometimes, they see the total and smile…at other times, I just say, that we like to do the math and round up…and they may still be baffled. 🙂

Then, from time to time, we take in the pig money (and it can be heavy!) and bring it to a Coinstar machine at our local grocery store.

When you do that, you can get an Amazon credit instead of cash for your coins. When you do cash, they take a “counting fee”. With Amazon, they don’t.

We used to do this when we didn’t have much money, and we have a “pig day”, and go to a movie and get lunch.

Now, it’s just fun stuff of one kind or another. This last time, when my Significant Other was visiting our now adult kid in the Boston area, I suggested they use the pig money there. Our kid had a great idea: they took our kid’s friends to a meal. 🙂 Nice!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

My current Amazon Giveaways:

The Fourth Transformation (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

Two winners


Start: Apr 8, 2017 11:39 AM PDT
End: Apr 16, 2017 11:59 PM PDT


Blitzwolf VR Headset (at AmazonSmile*)

in honor of “Virtually Mike & Nora”

One winner


Start:Apr 8, 2017 1:25 PM PDT
End:Apr 15, 2017 11:59 PM PDT


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

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

Ten winners


Start:Apr 8, 2017 12:05 PM PDT
End:Apr 23, 2017 11:59 PM PDT


Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet (Life, the Internet and Everything Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)

by George Takei (in honor of the actor’s 80th birthday on April 20, 2017)

1 winner


Start:Apr 11, 2017 3:56 PM PDT
End:Apr 21, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

* 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.


19 Responses to “Round up #156: Amazon Cash, traveling librarian”

  1. Phink Says:

    I have mentioned it before but maybe someone new to this site will see it. The book that changed my life was ‘The Guns of the South’ by Harry Turtledove. General Lee gets a hold of 100,000 AK-47’s.

    I had no desire whatsoever to read until I heard that book being read on NPR. I was board with music and thought I’d check out the AM dial for a change. This book opened me up to a world I did not know even existed. As I’ve said before that in my pre-reading days “I had no idea the wonders I was denying myself.” It also gave me a love of history and I read at least 1-2 historical non-fiction books every year.

    I love to see kids read. My 11-year-old Granddaughter loves to read and it makes my heart go pitter pat every time I see her with a book in her lap. I’m not sure what the best method is but we need to do all we can to encourage kids to read. Kids left to their own devices way too often make horrible decisions. But, with certain mandatory guidelines I think letting them read what they want might be a good idea.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Great story!

      The best way to encourage kids to read, I think, is to have them see “their” adults reading. Certainly, I’ve seen indications that having lots of books in the home makes a difference…but I suspect that may change with e-books. I don’t think that having access is the same as seeing the books, but I think more importantly, it’s seeing adults read.

      Children, typically under ten or so, are modeling a lot after the adults in their lives.

      After that, I think having lots of options for them to read is best. Oh, and certainly, actually reading with them, or in parallel with them and discussing it.

  2. Phink Says:

    I am 100% for audio books in the classroom on a limited basis. I like the idea of introducing kids to audio books in order to give them a taste of literature in a different medium. Perhaps a kid or two will like the experience who otherwise would never be a reader. Perhaps it’ll encourage that one or two (or more maybe) to read or as this article says “to take in information”.

    I love audible because I love immersion reading. I have probably 150 and have not been a member in a while. Still, a lot of times when buying a book it’ll offer me the Audible version for very little money. I get a lot of them for $2-$3. However, I always listen to a sample because sometimes I can’t stand the narrator. Most times I am listening through the echo and reading with my EBR.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Using your Echo with your EBR (E-Book Reader) is clever!

      • Phink Says:

        This is where the Echo remote comes in handy. I was an early $99 adopter to Echo and back then the remote came with it. When listening to audible books through the Echo I use my tap OR the original Echo with the remote. This is the only time I ever use that remote. It’s really handy to hold the microphone button and say “rewind” or “stop” without saying Alexa or worrying it’ll not hear me through it’s own noise. With 7 microphones it normally hears me but it’s irritating when listening to a book and it does not.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        I’ve used the remote in another room when the Echo was playing loudly. In that situation, the Echo couldn’t hear me well, so the voice remote was just the thing. 🙂

  3. Phink Says:

    Amazon Cash. This is great for those that don’t want their card numbers on the net.

    To help save money for trips, new windows, etc. my wife and I round up all purchases entered into the check registry (we use Quicken) to the next $5. All deposits are rounded down to the nearest $25. In the comment section I always write the exact amount so I can balance the check book and if I need to know the real amount in the future. So, if I pay $175.12 to the electric company I’ll write that number down in the comment box but enter $180 in the debit column. Every once in a while when we are a few hundred dollars over in the check book I’ll balance it and transfer the extra money to another account.

    In 1991 when married we almost pretended to be smokers. Oh how I wish we had done that. I told her “we both pick what brand we want to pretend to smoke and decide if we are 1 or 2 carton a week people. Every week when buying groceries we’ll see what they are selling for and pretend to buy however many cartons we pretend to smoke. We’ll put that money back.” The problem was we could not really afford to pretend to smoke. That is one expensive activity. Oh the money we’d have if we had done that. 26 years of pretending to buy 2 cartons a week…….geez….that’s a lot of money.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Gee, I did a similar thing when I was entering my exercise and food intake in MyFitnessPal…round up on the food, down on the exercise. That worked. 🙂

      Yes, smoking can be very expensive, and that varies by state. Companies used to give them out for free a lot, to get people addicted…because once you were, it wouldn’t matter much what they cost…

  4. Phink Says:

    I am very excited about this Bufo. I have just discovered that there are EBR’s out there running android which means we can now read Kindle books on non kindle EBR’s. I looked at reviews of a 9.7″ model but it did not have glowing reviews. Inkbook Prime is a 6″ for $119 is another example. In the future this could be something to get extremely excited about. I’ve said for some time I think the KOBO is probably the best e-reader out there for me even though I have never touched one. If it were running android in the future I’d give a “wee-dogies” just like Uncle Jed used to do.

    • Phink Says:

      Perhaps in the future, if Amazon continues to refuse the front lit devices to have text to speech than maybe an open android based EBR will be the solution. Also, with open devices perhaps it’ll open up shopping for the cheapest digital book rather than simply buying from the kindle store. I doubt the Kobo store or Nook store can compete with Kindle but perhaps from time to time it could. I probably would not buy from another company but it’s there if I change my mind in the future. I have confirmed from an Inkbook Prime owner (by asking a question on Amazon) that immersion reading does work on this but they had to attempt the audio download a few times. Of course no speaker so bluetooth only. Something I have been waiting for since immersion reading was introduced.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        Oh, I’m sure they’ll do Bluetooth text-to-speech on more models in the future. I would look for that on the next refresh…along with perhaps waterproofing on at least one model, which has been rumored lately and which I had “predicted” for this year.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Gee, I always thought that was, “Well, doggies!” It could be dogies (basically, an orphaned calf, as I understand it), but I don’t think hill folk like the Clampetts would have had much exposure to that word. Maybe Jed was saying “Wee” (small) or “Whee”, but I heard it as “Well”. 🙂

      It’s funny, but I’ll still say, “Whoa, Nellie!” as a surprised exclamation…which I know from the Roy Rogers show, when I believe it was popularized. Pat Buttram would say it to the Jeep (named Nellybelle), although it probably existed before that, since a Nelly is also slang for a horse…and mule, I think.

      As to the device…

      An e-ink tablet that runs Android apps is certainly intriguing. I’d be interested in trying it for a few minutes to see. 🙂

      • Phink Says:

        It’s been so many years since I’ve seen Beverly Hillbillies you are probably right. I bet it was “well, doggies.”

        I have come so close to ordering this Inkbook Prime a few times over the last few days just because I want to try it. However, I’m scared as soon as I get it then a new kindle will come out and I’ll want that one too and $119 is a lot for something you don’t need just because you are curious about it. I have it in my wish list and if it drops in price enough in the coming months I might give it a try. If I do I’ll let you know how I feel about it.

        I am not excited about this one. I am excited about what it means going forward. Will companies explore this market and if so that means we are no longer tied to Amazon devices unless we want to be. Competition is always good for the consumer.

        It also means a feature I really like will be available again. Besides Immersion reading on a front lit EBR I also want Flashcards. It’s strange we can make flashcards in the book on a tablet but not a EBR. Perhaps it’s a technical reason that flashcards are only on kindle apps for tablets and phones (or fire tablets) and not front lit readers.

        Going back to the KOBO. I said earlier if they did an android device I’d say “well, doggies” but I later realized it would not do much good. The things I like about the KOBO such as 20 plus font sizes would not work on the kindle books. Since it’s simply the kindle app running on an android device that means only font sizes in that app would work so I’d still have the few sizes Amazon allows.

  5. Phink Says:

    I did the Amazon Cash thing today. Have you tried it yet Bufo? Kum and Go is one of the participating companies and that’s where I went. I was 95% certain what would happen next and I was correct. I went to the lady and said “I want to deposit $60 into my amazon account using the Amazon cash program.” She looked at me funny and I asked if she knew about the Amazon Cash program and she did not. I was fairly certain that would be the case and will never understand why employees did not get some type of heads up about it. I just had a feeling though employees would not know about it.

    I showed her my bar code on my phone and said “you are supposed to scan this, I give you cash, and it’s instantly applied to my amazon account in the form of a gift card.” She said “I’ll be happy to scan it and see what happens.” She did, and said “Oh OK.” I asked “what does your screen show?” She said it asked for the Amazon cash amount. I gave her $60 and got 2 receipts. I went home and had my credit and an email as well. Plus, an email informing me of my $10 digital credit.

    I kind of like it. I have no idea why. I truly don’t. I could easily get an Amazon gift card with cash and do the same thing. I know, this is supposed to be easier as there are no gift card numbers to punch in but I don’t think this is going to be popular at all. I would not be surprised that at this Kum and Go, in a 27,000 population town, that I am the only one for the next month or two that goes in there and does this. That would not surprise me. For some strange reason however I kind of liked it.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      I appreciate that field report!

      I haven’t tried it, and don’t really expect to do that at this point…the “pig money” is a real tradition in our house. Having the Coinstar count our money is a big advantage…

      • Phink Says:

        My bank has a coin counter inside the branch and if you are a customer then there is no fee. I figured that in today’s world lots of banks would have free coin machines. Of course I have had the same bank for all of eternity. Please excuse my hyperbole but it’s been a long time. I have not looked at other banks to see what they do or don’t have.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        Is that a self service machine? That’s impressive to me…and decades ago, I was a banker. 🙂 Generally, people brought us the coins already rolled and wrapped.

        One time, I was in the bank quite late after hours (with a supervisor), because I was ten cents over. I knew what it was likely to be…someone had give me a roll of dimes that day, and we weren’t supposed to break them open and count them. However, we had to eliminate every other possibility before we could credit the dime…

        I don’t know if banks generally have free coin counting, but it would surprise me. I’ve never seen one in a branch around here, but they might be in the vault (there is sometimes a bill counter there).

      • Phink Says:

        Yes it is self service. It’s within feet of the opening and you simply dumb your change into the top of it and it slowly disappears out of the bowl like area and into the machine itself. I can’t remember if there is a screen informing me of the total as it counts or not. In the end it spits out a receipt that has the number of each denomination, to the right of it, the dollar amount for that coin, and a total amount at the bottom. You take that to a teller and if you are a customer it’s free and they give you cash for your receipt or of course it could be deposited.

        Sometimes it rejects something. Once it was a badly bent quarter and it told me to remove the rejected item which was still in the bowl like area. I guess that means it must have a screen on the machine. They took that quarter at the teller window and added it to my receipt amount.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        Interesting! We didn’t have one of those. 🙂

        We get Canadian coins rejected, which is a bit interesting…I wouldn’t think a lot of Canadians are visiting my neck of the woods, although San Francisco is a very popular destination and isn’t too far away.

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