“Buy Kindle Books for Others”

“Buy Kindle Books for Others”

I remember back in 2010 (November 19th, to be specific) when Amazon enabled the giving of Kindle books as gifts. It’s something people had wanted from the beginning.

However, it’s never been easy to give Kindle books to a group of people, or to strangers.

That’s because you either e-mailed them one at a time (so you needed an e-mail address), or you sent them to yourself and printed them out. Even if you did the latter, where you didn’t need an e-mail address, you still had to buy them one at a time.

You might think that not that many people want to give books to strangers/groups, but there are many times that might happen.

I’ve been the recipient of books like that. Recently, at work for example, my manager got us all the same book:

Disney U by Doug Lipp (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I read it, and thought it was quite good. It has to do with training employees, but also with how to deliver a great “customer” experience. There were several things that exactly lined up with things I’ve said…even some similar terminology. That’s not what made it good, though. 😉

My manager bought us all hardbacks.

Honestly, I just don’t read hardbacks any more, especially when I want to read something quickly. I use text-to-speech a lot in the car, and that was definitely how I wanted to read this book…so I bought my own Kindle copy.

As a side note, that’s one of my (few) major frustrations with Amazon right now. I’ll get a book (I think just through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), but I’d have to look), and even though text-to-speech has not been blocked by the publisher, it only wants me to listen to it with an audiobook (synced in the Kindle book). I know I’m unusual in this, but I really prefer text-to-speech to an audiobook, unless I’ve already read the book (in which case, it’s like watching a movie for me…a new adaptation). I don’t like the actor or even the author interpreting the characters for me: TTS much more emulates the experience of sight-reading a book for me. I’ve talked to them about this before and may try again in case something has changed. I’ve tried deleting the audiobook, deleting the e-book, redownloading it, restarting the device…oh, well.

That’s been particularly difficult because I’m reading a book I am enjoying:

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni (at AmazonSmile*)

I would have been finished with it long ago, but since I’m only sight-reading it, it’s going to take some time. Sight-reading competes with things where I can’t use TTS, such as magazines.

I did borrow that one from KU…it has 4.8 stars out of 5 with 540 customer reviews, and that’s quite high.

Anyway, it would have been a lot easier if my manager could have just given us e-books…and that would have been easier without having to know the e-mail addresses associated with our Amazon accounts.

The same would be true for a teacher with a classroom full of students, especially perhaps on the first day of class.

Another example, which may especially affect some readers of this blog, is the case of authors at events. The common thing now is to show up with a stack of books…yes, that’s partially so you can sign them, or sell them, but in some cases it’s giving them away.

I sometimes want to give a copy of one of my books to someone at work (usually, The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*))…there hasn’t been a good way to do that.

Now, there is!

You can now buy multiple copies of a Kindle book at the same time. You get an e-mail with a link to your redemption links…those are URLs, so they are a bit lengthy if someone was hand-typing them from a printed card, but it could be done. It would have been better if they’d given us QR codes (those “squiggly boxes” that your camera can use to launch a website) as an option. There are websites which will convert a URL into a QR code, but I don’t know enough about them to recommend a specific one. I assume there are apps that can read the URL and launch it as well.

I’ve tested it out; it was all pretty simple.

All you have to do is go to the book’s Amazon product page, and choose to “Buy for others”. Note that you have to choose a quantity higher for one for this to kick in.

You get that e-mail with the link to the links…and that’s pretty much it. You can copy and paste the e-mail link, or you can print them out. They’ll also give you instructions you can share. Here’s the help page:

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

Similar to giving an individual gift, it may not be able to be redeemed outside your country, and if your recipient already has it, they can exchange it for an Amazon gift card.

I think this is a really nice option! I can see a lot of uses…goody bags at a kids’ birthday party, even for Halloween trick-or-treaters, book clubs… I can also see situations where you might not be happy with it…people giving you literature at the airport or during a political campaign. I’d much rather get the code than a hardback in that situation. I suppose they could put a limit on how long you had to redeem it (authors could do that, too), and reissue the same code. You can tell at the Amazon site if it has been redeemed or not.

I did see an author…commenting on how you don’t get a discount, but you do get your royalty, of course. Could authors use this to manipulate a book up the bestseller list temporarily? I’m not sure if the sale is counted when the book is purchased or when it is redeemed. If it’s the former, than yes…someone could buy a 100 copies and in many cases, shoot the book temporarily to the top of the list (in some categories) so they could claim that. If it’s the latter, it would depend on when they were redeemed…and I’m pretty sure that those 100 books would have to be redeemed on 100 accounts.

Those seem like quibbles when this opens up so many possibilities!

Thanks, Amazon!

What do you think? Does this sound like something you would use? How would you feel about getting a redemption URL instead of a hardback? Any suggestions to make it better? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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! :) 

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.



4 Responses to ““Buy Kindle Books for Others””

  1. Toni Barrera Arboix Says:

    I live in Spain, and we still can’t gift kindle books.
    I just don’t get how that’s possible. It seems to be a win-win situation for everybody, and yet it never arrives.
    I personally would have gifted tens of ebooks for other people.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Toni!

      I can understand how that would be frustrating! I gift Kindle books quite often…I typically send an inexpensive one instead of an e-card on a birthday. 🙂

      My best guess is that there is an outdated law or contractual obligation which is stopping it. Once those sorts of things get into place, there can be a lot of inertia to overcome to change them.

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