Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

“Buy Kindle Books for Others”

June 17, 2018

“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.


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

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

* 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.

 

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The gifting poll 2017

December 23, 2017

The gifting poll 2017

No doubt about it: I love to give books as gifts! I also love to get them. 🙂

When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I saw lots of people buying books for gifts. That certainly intensified for the end of the year holidays, but it did happen throughout the year. There were some occasions that upped the sales: Mothers’ Day (more so than Fathers’ Day) and graduation time were two. However, people frequently asked about what books would make gifts for others throughout the year…they were popular for birthday gifts, for one thing.

The holidays weren’t like they were when I managed a game store, where 80% of our sales could happen in the last six weeks or so of the year (and the first week of the next year…exchanges and gift cards).

It was still important, though! While “serious readers” buy books at any time, I would bet that most books are bought by people who don’t read a book a week…and yes, often as gifts.

So, I thought I’d do a poll, and I hope to repeat it in future years for comparison. Perhaps it will become as popular as that other holiday poll…the Festivus Pole. Oh, wait, that’s spelled differently. 😉

This poll has several questions, and when in doubt, go with what you think the spirit of the question is. 🙂 For example, don’t get hung up on whether your gift-giving event this time of the year is a holiday that counts or not, or a holiday at all. I’d say any annual event that happens in the last two months of the year (and the first week or so of the next year) counts…birthdays, anniversaries, and so on.

Giving e-books and other books

Getting e-books and other books

Giving other related gifts

Getting other related gifts

Other questions

Do you have other comments about giving/getting books as gifts? Are there other questions you think I should have asked? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

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

* 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.

How to surprise someone on your account with a Kindle book

December 10, 2017

How to surprise someone on your account with a Kindle book

I love to get books as gifts…and I love to give books as gifts!

Back in the pre-digital days 😉 , I used to always buy used copies of the first Doc Savage book, The Man of Bronze, so I could gift them to people (and not worry about getting back my copy). I usually had a few of them around…they were popular in the 1960s, so there were often copies available for under $1.

When we first got the Kindle, more than ten years ago, one of the biggest complaints was that you couldn’t gift Kindle books.

We’ve been able to do that for a long time, since November 19 of 2010, and I’ve done it many times.

My family members do gift lists: several do Amazon ones, others do more of a narrative…but I think they all address books, and we do give them…a lot.

However, there is a challenge if you want to give a Kindle book as a gift to someone who is on your same account (such as me gifting a book to my Significant Other).

When you buy a Kindle store book, it shows up on your device…whether you sent it to that device or not. That’s particularly true on a (Kindle) Fire tablet, where it appears on the “Carousel”. If it hasn’t been sent to that device, when you tap it, it will want to download.

So, if I buy a book for my SO, the way we usually do, my SO would see it before the gift-giving occasion.

I could just wait until that time, of course, but book prices vary wildly. Take a look at today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for example. Those “page turning reads” are up to 80% off…today.

Also, today’s

12 Days of Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which is the 8th day, focuses on music lovers, avid readers, and film buffs (and there are particular e-book deals).

The trick is to buy the book as a gift…but have the gift e-mailed to you, rather than e-mailed to the other person.

That’s a specific choice: you don’t just put your e-mail into the top slot as the giftee.

Then, you get an e-mail, which you can print to give. In that situation, while today’s price is preserved, it does not show up in your account (and on your devices) until you enter a code in the e-mail into an Amazon account.

There you go! You can take advantage of sales, and still surprise people on your account!

Happy giving!


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


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

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

* 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.

Still need a gift? Consider Amazon devices (some are on sale today)

December 12, 2016

Still need a gift? Consider Amazon devices (some are on sale today)

The odds are that gift-giving occasions are around the corner for you now.

The situation is certainly different than it used to be, when getting something through the mail routinely took weeks, and prices tended to go up in the few weeks right before.

If you have

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

you can get many items with two-day shipping at no additional cost, and of course, digital delivery can be almost instantaneous.

There will be discounts and sales right up to the last minute…and beyond. The internet means that there is always competition…it’s not like it’s the night before and you are at the only store that’s open in town so they can jack up the prices. 🙂

Still, for physical items, lead time may be running out.

Those two-days with Prime? That’s the shipping time. Some items may not start to ship until some time after you order them…Prime can’t compress that. I’ve had it be a couple of weeks before the shipping started. That’s also business days…Saturday and Sunday don’t count (although you may get Amazon deliveries on those days).

Another issue is that items certainly can sell out…and have this year (have you tried buying a Hatchimal?). It does look like all of the Kindle EBRs (E-book Readers) are currently in stock…that hasn’t always been the case at this point in December.

Let’s say that you do want to get a physical gift…I have a few suggestions.

Echo devices

Alexa is Amazon’s digital assistant, and that’s a hot area right now, so it’s a cool gift. 😉 This isn’t a case where if you have one, you couldn’t use another one. One will cover a room well, and may certainly hear you from another room, but you could have one in every room…including the garage.

You are also getting in at an early stage. They will be able to do remarkably more over the next year, and it seems very unlikely to me that the current generation of devices will be made obsolete by later generations. Certainly, later generations may able to do more, but it’s a relatively simple input/output devices with much of the processing down in the cloud. There isn’t really something hardwired that would cease to work with a newer “operating system”, in my best guess.

There is also a range of devices, and most people won’t have all of them.

In terms of the Echo, the

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

is the least expensive member of the Echo family. It’s on sale at time of writing for $39.99, and comes in two colors (the white one is in stock, the black one is expected December 16th). There was a deal where if you bought five, you got the sixth free, but I’m not seeing that right now. We have one, and use it every day…but we would have no problem finding places for more.

On a big sale right now at $89.99 ($40 off) is the

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

This one may be the best gift. It can be used in the house, but you can also take it on the road (it’s the only one which operates when it isn’t plugged into an external power source, like a wall outlet). I take mine to work and love having it there. It does need to connect to Wi-Fi, so taking it to the beach or a park would be problematic, unless you can “tether” it to your phone or perhaps your car. You do have to push a button to talk to it, so that takes away one of the major charms of the Dot or the original Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). I would guess most people who have an Echo don’t have a Tap…and would enjoy one.

The other category to consider is

Accessories

There are covers and stands. For example, check out this

Fintie brand leopard print Tap cover (at AmazonSmile*)

Fintie is generally inexpensive, and is our preferred brand for Kindle EBRs. You’d probably get a good laugh from an Empire (TV series) fan with this one!

For something a little more organic looking, here is a wooden stand for the original Echo:

COSMOS Wooden Protection Stand Holder for Amazon Echo Speaker, Original Wooden Color (Light Brown) (at AmazonSmile*)

Either of those are under $20.

Kindle EBRs

These are the book-focused devices, and there is a good lineup this year. My suggestion at time of writing would be the

Kindle Paperwhite

which is $20 off right, making it under $100 at $99.99.

The light(which makes it the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had, including paper) makes it easily worth the $20 more than the entry level

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The

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

is, in my opinion, incrementally better…but for most people, I wouldn’t call it $100 better (which is the current difference).

The top of the line model, and of Oprah’s “favorite things”, is the Oasis…which is $289.99, so nearly three times as much as the current price for the Paperwhite. Also, it is currently only available with an animal-leather cover, which is an issue for some commenters at Amazon (and for me).

There are also over 1,500

Kindle EBR accessories (at AmazonSmile*)

Be careful about covers, though…they aren’t universal, you have to know which model of Kindle your recipient has (and they might have more than one).

Fire TV family

I’m watching one as I write this! These are great devices…they work well (and there is currently a new interface rolling out), they have Alexa, and are an excellent way to watch Prime Video and (if you subscribe already, as we do), Hulu and Netflix. You can also do mobile-style gaming on them.

The two basic ones are

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

neither of which are on sale at time of writing…but the Stick is currently just under $40.

A nice bundle is

Fire TV and HD Antenna (at AmazonSmile*)

Having the HD antenna gets you local channels…something notably missing from most streaming devices.

Fire Tablets

The Fire tablets are almost all on sale, with the

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

going for $39.99 at time of writing.

They have a three pack bundle available (one in blue, one in magenta, one in black) of the $69.99 16 GB version for $179.97…a thirty dollar savings over buying them individually. Great for families!

Fire Tablet Variety Pack, 16GB – Includes Special Offers (Black/Blue/Magenta) (at AmazonSmile*)

These sales may end any time.

Of course, non-device gifts can be great, too. You can do Amazon Gift Cards (at AmazonSmile*), Kindle book gifts, you can give Prime, and

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

is still on sale today for 25% for a 1-year subscription.

As you can see, there are many ways to make someone smile at the holidays…and beyond. 🙂

Do you have other recommendations? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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!

* 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 ways Amazon can improve e-book gift giving

September 3, 2016

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!

Re-Gifting

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.

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! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

What do you get them if they already have an Amazon device?

December 12, 2015

What do you get them if they already have an Amazon device?

There continue to be

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

for the holidays, but what if somebody on your giftees list already has an Amazon device? What can you get for them then?

Well, obviously, you can always get

 Amazon Gift Cards (at AmazonSmile*)

🙂

Those are always welcome, and that way they can get pretty much whatever they want. I think, for example, it’s pretty hard to buy somebody a cover: you have to know which model they have, and it’s kind of personal as to how it feels and how it looks.

Another option is to

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s $99 for a year…and gets them free (to watch) videos, streaming music, free two-day shipping on many items, and other benefits.

If they already have Prime, they can exchange it for a gift card. 🙂

If you want to give them the gift of reading, you can give

Gift Subscriptions to Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Those start at $59.94 for six months. That could be a good gift for a family or a couple of kids. If they already are KU members, this will extend their subscriptions.

Now, what if you want to give them something physical?

One choice is a “powerbank”. This would be good for any EBR (E-Book Reader) or Fire tablet (or Fire Phone, for that matter). This is small device you charge up, and then you can carry it with you. It is then able to charge your device….pretty much any common device that would charge from USB.

My work just gave us all these for the holidays:

[Upgraded Version] EasyAcc 2nd Gen 10000mAh Power Bank Portable External Battery Pack (2.4A Smart Output) Travel Charger for iPhone Samsung S6 Edge HTC Smartphones Tablets -Black and Orange (at AmazonSmile*)

This one might be a bit heavy for some people but there are also smaller and lighter ones. The bigger ones can typically charge more often before they need to be charged, and may be able to charge bigger devices (not everything that can charge a phone can charge a tablet).

They can be especially valuable on a long flight; even though more planes seem to have in-seat power, it’s still far from universal. It’s not always easy to find an outlet during a layover. While an EBR can outlast the longest flight, having the power option can be good for an extended camping trip…or if the timing to charge your device just wasn’t right.

You also want something with “Smart Output” like this one…that detects what is plugged into it, and delivers appropriate power.

Even if they already have one, it wouldn’t hurt to have two. 🙂 They could return it, too. This one is $18.99 at time of writing.

For home power, we use one of these:

Photive 50 Watt 6 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger. Intelligent USB Charger with Auto Detect Technology. (at AmazonSmile*)

This is a little charging station…small and sleek. It’s similar to the portable powerbank, in that you can plug USBs into it. You can charge your EBR, your tablet, your phone…all in one place, and quickly (great for taking to a hotel, too).

This was initially recommended to me by reader Man in the Middle (and others)…thanks, readers!

If they have a

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*) (today, 12/12, is the last day of a sale on them)

 

I’d suggest Bluetooth headphones. I use these a lot with ours, when my Significant Other is still asleep. 🙂 I use an inexpensive type from Arctic which is no longer available (others from them are). I like the behind the neck style, rather than over the head or in the ear, but there is a huge range.

If they have an

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

there are so many options…but it’s hard to get the right home automation if you don’t know what they already have. There are compatibility questions when you are buying smart lightbulbs, for example.

Certainly, another Echo would generally be welcome. 😉 We have one in our house in the family room, but having another one in the bedroom would be good.

I would say the most interesting thing I have for use with the Echo is our

Logitech Harmony Home Control – 8 Devices (White) (at AmazonSmile*))

which is $107 at time of writing.

That controls our TV devices: I can switch sources, turn everything off, and mute the TV, all just by voice requests through our Echo to IFTTT (If This Then That) and then to the Harmony.

Now, I want to be clear: this is more of a hobbyist thing at this stage. It’s not simple to set up the activities on the Harmony: doable, yes, but it takes some work and it’s not all intuitive. See

How to use the Amazon Echo and a Logitech Harmony to put on your TV shows

in my The Measured Circle blog for a starting point

The Harmony is also a great universal remote (we eliminated the use of several remotes), and once that is set up, it is easy.

Some other ideas:

  • Wi-fi extenders…around $30 and up, which improve the signal for your devices in your home
  • Hubs…not too hard to get a more (?) powerful hub. There would be some set up involved
  • Stands and holders
  • Individual e-books can be gifted
  • Donations to charities which support literacy; some, like Worldreader.org, specifically use e-books and Kindles

One other suggestion, which I also made at work when we were asked for low-cost give ideas.

You could go to

Project Gutenberg

and download legally free public domain books you like, especially if you liked them when you were a child. You could then write something about why you liked them…and give them to a child in your life. It’s like a mixtape, but with books…a “littape”. 😉 That would be a gift which would never be forgotten.

Have a great holiday!

What do you think? Do you have other suggestions? What “accessory” for an Amazon device has been the best gift you’ve gotten…or given? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

* 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.

 

The gift of books…without buying them books

November 22, 2015

The gift of books…without buying them books

Less than a week to Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), which is one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the USA (and now, we aren’t the only country that has it).

You are probably at least thinking about getting gifts for people.

You probably also know some booklovers (and as a reader of this blog, you are likely one yourself).

You can never have too many books, so that might seem like an easy choice…

However, it can be very hard to buy a book as a gift for someone…even if you know them inside (where the books go) and out. 😉

There is a very good chance that they may have the book already. It’s like buying a blade of grass for a sheep…they’ll probably get to it first. 🙂

My Significant Other used to say nothing was better than buying me a book I didn’t have…and in some categories, that was definitely a challenge!

You can’t just sneak a peek at their shelves any more, either, or ask someone else to check. Not only do e-books make that more difficult, the existence of subsers (subscription services), like Amazon’s

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

and borrowing e-books from the public library, and legally free e-books, make it much harder to tell if someone has read something already. A booklover could easily be reading twenty books a month…and some read more.

So, what to do?

 Well, let’s start with one obvious choice…if you can’t beat them, gift them. 🙂

Give the Gift of Kindle Unlimited (Give the Gift of Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile*)

You can give someone the gift of Kindle Unlimited!

Available normally are these options:

  • 6 months for $59.94
  • 12 months for $119.88
  • 24 months $239.76

Now, I keep hoping (and I have suggested it, not that they already hadn’t thought of it) that they do one month KU gifts. I would certainly give them to coworkers, and they would show up in a lot of office gift exchanges. They may think they don’t need to do that since you can typically get a free trial month, but it’s different when it’s a gift. Lots of people won’t try the free month who might be otherwise swayed by getting one as a gift.

Note:

  • Your recipient doesn’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of your gift…you can read the books on free apps
  • This can really be a gift to a family…everybody on the same account can read a book which is borrowed, under the normal rules (usually, six devices can have a book at the same time)
  • Your recipient(s) can have up to ten books out at a time
  • If they already are using KU, no problem! When they redeem your gift, anything else they have is pu on hold (retaining its value) until yours is use up
  • They can also trade in your gift for an Amazon gift card

This could be a life-changing gift, especially for kids. There are so many options here, including well-known older books. Of course, it’s possible you’ll want to monitor or guide their choices…just something to consider, since there are books you might not consider appropriate for various reasons.

By the way, if they do have KU, you are pretty safe buying a book from a major publisher which was recently released…those usually aren’t part of KU. However, they still might have read them, so you can also check their Amazon Wish Lists. One of the things you might want to do is remind people to update their lists…people may buy (or receive) books and forget to remove them from their lists. However, if you do gift them a book they already have from Amazon, they’ll have the option, like with KU, to get a gift card instead.

One especially cool thing they are doing: a bundle of a Kindle and a KU subscription! I don’t know when this will become available (it doesn’t look like it right now), but I think it will happen during this holiday season:

New Bundle: 6 months of Kindle Unlimited plus a Kindle for $79; also available for Kindle Paperwhite for $129 Kindle (the entry level model) + Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile*) Kindle Paperwhite + Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile*)

Another way to give a reader books without having to pick them is to give them something on which to read e-books. There are thousands of legally free books available, as I mentioned before.

You can read e-books on a lot of things (SmartPhones, even some watches), but there are two devices we know are going to be on sale this holiday season…specifically, sometime between now and Black Friday, but we don’t know when or how long.

One choice is to go with their new 7″ tablet

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99 normally…it’s going to go down to $34.99.  This isn’t a dedicated EBR (E-Book Reader), so your recipient can also watch videos, play games, that sort of thing. That might be good or bad, depending on your point of view.

The other one is a great model of a dedicated EBR at a discount:

$119 Kindle Paperwhite for $99 Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (212 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

Again we’ll just have to stay on top of it to know when these sales happen. They say are we going to be able to set up some kind of watch alerts in the

Amazon Shopping App (at AmazonSmile*)

although I don’t see that option yet.

I’ll try to alert you if I notice they are happening. If you notice one, and I haven’t written  about it, I’d appreciate you making a comment so I can alert my readers!

Give the gift of reading…and change somebody’s life! 🙂

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

* 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 fun t-shirts for booklovers

September 26, 2015

5 fun t-shirts for booklovers

Note that these may come in many styles, sizes, and colors. Some of these sayings will also be available on other things, like mugs and tote bags. It’s worth looking around at Amazon. 🙂

Do you have a different booklovers’ t-shirt you really like? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

* 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.

You can now apply a gift card directly to an e-book purchase

January 10, 2014

You can now apply a gift card directly to an e-book purchase

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy for the heads-up on this! It’s big news!

One question we answer a lot in the Kindle forums is how to apply a gift card to an e-book purchase. I even wrote a post about it less than a month ago:

Gift cards and your Kindle

Well, it appears to have changed!

On a Kindle store book’s Amazon product page, there is now a link that says

“Enter a promotion code or gift card”

This is in the USA Kindle store, by the way…it might not be in others.

I clicked on the link, and got to a place to apply a gift card code or promotional code, and from there to this help page:

That is going to be a lot less confusing for people. If they are given a given a gift card, they can apply it to a book purchase, rather than just applying it to the account.

Now, I assume that if you apply a $20 gift card to a $2.99 purchase, the rest of the amount goes into the general account draw, but I am going to check with Amazon on that.

The “promotional code” thing is also very interesting to me. We have had that before, where a Special Offer might have a promotional code, but we had to put it into a special page, and then we couldn’t really see it right when we were buying a book.

Now, Amazon could actually do something like “three for the price of two” on e-books more easily. You would buy two from the choices, and then get a code to enter for the third. Just a guess, though…

Thanks again, Lady!

* 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.

Gift cards and your Kindle

December 29, 2013

Gift cards and your Kindle

There’s a pretty good chance you got an Amazon gift card recently (see my post, Really last minute gifts: e-books and gift cards for more on giving cards).

You might be wondering how you can use it…I’ve seen lots of confusion about it in the Amazon Kindle Forum. In this post, I’ll explain how it works.

The first thing to know is that your gift card isn’t just for a specific Kindle on your account, or for a specific product.

Some people are confused by the fact that Amazon lets you buy a gift card with a picture of a Kindle on it. That doesn’t mean the amount can only be used for Kindle purchases: any gift card balance you have on your account can be used for any eligible item.

So, could a grandparent give you a gift card intending you to get

and it ends up being spent on paper towels?

Sure…it could even happen by accident.

What you do is apply the gift card balance to your account…the whole account. Then, when you use 1-click to buy something, it draws from any available gift card balance until there is none left (and then it goes back to the payment method which your account has set up for 1-click).

While you can only use 1-click to buy Kindle books, you can also use it to buy other things.

If you don’t use 1-click to buy the paper towels, you’ll be given the choice whether or not to use the gift card balance. If you use 1-click, it automatically goes to the gift card…letting you choose whether or not to use the gift card would add clicks, and it wouldn’t be 1-click any more. 🙂

I’m sure this has happened a lot. Somebody gets a gift card, intends to use it for a specific purpose, and it gets used up by more mundane purchases before the person realizes it.

That’s one reason why it is a good thing that you can gift a specific Kindle book from the book’s Amazon product page! Do that, and the person has a choice to get a gift card instead, but it arrives ready to be used just for that one book.

So, that’s the first big thing: your gift card isn’t “siloed” away from other purchases.

Oh, something which is siloed:

Amazon Coins

You can gift those, and they can only be used for apps and for in-app purchases.

The other thing is that not everything can be purchased with a gift card.

Here are the

For example, you can’t use a gift card to buy more gift cards…I guess that is like using one of your three wishes to wish for more wishes. 😉

One important one which does not appear on this page is about subscription items (blogs, magazines, newspapers). Weirdly, it used to explicitly say that it was prohibited. I alerted Amazon to the fact that it doesn’t have that prohibition in Help any more, and they confirmed for me that it is still prohibited to use your gift card for a subscription. Hopefully, they will update the page.

They do say it explicitly on another page:

“You can use an Amazon Gift Card, Gift Certificate, or Promotional Certificate to purchase Kindle devices, books and accessories. Any available balance will be used for your Kindle store purchase before your credit or debit card is charged. Your Gift Card balance cannot be used to pay for subscription content from the Kindle store.”

Why isn’t that okay?

With a subscription, they need something they can bill in future months, too…not just the first time. Let’s say you get something which is $10 a month, and you could pay for it with a $10 gift card. What would happen when the $10 came due for the next month’s subscription? They wouldn’t have a way to get the money, so they would have to contact you, which might delay it.

When you buy a subscription with a credit card, there is a much better chance that card can be billed the following month.

That said, it appears that Amazon has made it possible to gift some subscriptions…I believe that is new. When you go to pay for some magazines in the Kindle store, you’ll get an option to gift them to someone.

At least, that’s what I’ve heard: I haven’t seen it yet myself.

My guess is that it works one of two ways: either it works like gifting Prime, where it doesn’t autorenew…or they just continue to bill the gift giver’s payment method.

Those are the key points.

There are links at the top of this page

both to redeem your gift card (apply it to your account) and to check your balance.

If you have any other questions about them, feel free to let me know by commenting on this post.

Enjoy!

* 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.


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