Archive for the ‘Prime’ Category

Amazon reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option

April 18, 2016

Amazon reportedly offering Prime month-to-month, and separate Prime video only option

More to follow, but Amazon is reportedly offering month to month membership to Prime starting Monday morning, $10 99 per month. There would also be a separate $8.99 a month Prime video only option. That would compete directly with Netflix and Hulu. This may be very popular, especially around the holidays. The annual membership would still be available and that would make it at a considerable savings over month-to-month.

Update: I’m surprised that there hasn’t been an Amazon press release on this yet, but I’ve been able to see the terms by logging out of Amazon, then going to Amazon Prime, and following the workflow as though I wanted more information on the thirty-day free trial.

That means this is real…and it’s really significant.

There are now three plans:

  • $8.99 a month for just Prime Video
  • $10.99 a month for full-featured Prime
  • $99.00 for a year of full-featured Prime (a roughly 25% discount)

The $8.99 a month means that Prime Video is going head-to-head against Netflix (which ranges from $7.99 without HD or Ultra HD and only screening on one screen at once to $9.99 for Standard ((which is reported the most popular)) which includes HD and screening on two screens at once to Premium for $11.99, which has Ultra HD and screening on up to four screens) and Hulu (which $7.99 with commercials, $11.99 without them).

We subscribe to, and use, all three.

While much of the reporting has been about the Prime Video only option, the month-to-month Prime seems like it could also have a very large impact.

It’s a big plus for Amazon if people buy a month and then stick with it.

It’s not so good if people cancel their annual memberships (or don’t renew them), and then only subscribe to it during heavily shipping periods, like the holidays or back to school.

Prime membership has been like a gym membership for Amazon: they sell potential, not actual use.😉 Some people may go months without using their Prime membersips…which means Amazon gets the money that month for nothing. Arguably, though, Amazon is covered that way for the heavy shipping months.

I checked the

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

page, and at this point, you can still only give the annual membership.

I would give one month memberships, if I could. It’s perfect for co-workers, for example. I think I can say I would give many more one-month memberships to

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

though. Hard for me to imagine a much better $9.99 gift for a child than unlimited access to over a million books!

What do you think? Is the month to month Prime Video a challenge to Netflix? Hulu (I think this is less the case…for us, Hulu is more about current TV shows)? Would you subscribe and subscribe repeatedly to Prime to only use it when you need to do a lot of shipping? Will people who subscribe month to month just tend to stay with it…perhaps earning Amazon more money than the annual membership they’ve been selling? 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 our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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.

Prime on sale this weekend for $73

January 16, 2016

Prime on sale this weekend for $73

For new members,

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

is on sale this weekend (through 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday, 1/17) for $73 for your first year instead of $99.

Prime is great and keeps getting better!

Among the benefits:

  • No additional cost two-day shipping on many items
  • No additional cost streaming (and some downloading) of a wide variety of videos
  • No additional cost streaming of lots of music
  • One free Kindle book a month to own from a very small set
  • No additional cost unlimited photo storage

You can also now do add-on subscriptions for video services…for example, you could add on Showtime for $8.99 a month. As the Millenial Hulk might say, “It’s cable cuttin’ time!”😉

Update: I meant to include why they are doing this.🙂

They are doing it to celebrate

Mozart in the Jungle (at AmazonSmile*)

which just won two Golden Globes (Best Television Show – Comedy or Musical, and Best Actor in the same category).

You can watch it as part of Prime at no additional cost…it’s also the second Amazon Studios TV series to be recognized.

Among other Prime movies and TV shows…

  • Interstellar
  • Ex Machina (came out in 2015, Oscar-nominated)
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (the one before last year’s)
  • Selma (particularly good for this weekend, but I thought it was brilliantly directed for any time of year)
  • The Craft
  • True Blood TV series
  • Firefly TV series

I did want to include something in this post for people who are already Prime members, and I haven’t written about this yet.

This holiday, I got a

HooToo Wireless Travel Router, USB Port, High Performance- TripMate Nano (at AmazonSmile*)

It was something I wanted to try…my Significant Other didn’t quite get what it was, but it’s been great for me!

It’s a little router…I’d say two of them could just about fit in your palm.

It does a number of things, but here’s a key one. You can plug in an internet cable (like you might have in a hotel or at work), and it creates its own wi-fi network, with its own password.

Yep, I can just go into a hotel, plug the cable into my HooToo, plug the HooToo into power (USB)…and that’s it. All of my devices would just log into it…and it’s fast!

I haven’t tested it in a lot of situations, but so far, I’m quite impressed!

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing…$17.99!

I know, that’s a lot of exclamation marks for me, but like I say, I’m happy with it at this point.

It’s not going to give you internet where you don’t already have it…but I could take our

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

to a hotel with us…gee, wouldn’t you just love being in the room next to ours?😉

When people visit your home, you could also use this…and not give them the password to your regular wi-fi.

As I mentioned, it does other things…media streaming, storage, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Is this just how I feel about it?

4.3 stars (out of 5) with 1,187 on Amazon…

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.

Prime on sale Friday for $67…and why it’s a smart part of Amazon’s strategy

September 23, 2015

Prime on sale Friday for $67…and why it’s a smart part of Amazon’s strategy

I’ve said it before: Amazon’s most important product is happy customers.

When Amazon has happy customers, they not only have more people buying from them, but they have something that other companies want (and for which they are willing to pay).

I think we saw a very clear (and in my view, smart) strategy from Amazon with the announcement of Amazon’s new tablet lineup (Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2).

Some people have criticized the tablets because they didn’t get more technologically cutting edge…they didn’t increase the number of pixels per inch, for example.

They got cheaper.

I think we are going to see Amazon have a huge success with the $49.99

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

which is even cheaper in a six-pack (six for the price of five).

No, that model doesn’t have the best specs in the market…but they’ll do the job for most people in most circumstances.

I like to say that Amazon wants to be the infrastructure of the internet.

It wants to be how you get to everything.

The

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

is a brilliant part of that. I used it while I was writing this post.🙂 I wanted to make sure that I hadn’t forgotten anything that might affect what time I had to leave for work (which might affect how long I have on this post). While still writing, I said, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar?”. The Alexa Voice Service on our Echo read off the next four events from my Google calendar, assuring me that I knew the right schedule.

Yep…I got to my Google calendar through our Amazon device.

People see Google and Amazon as bitter rivals (especially with Amazon’s Appstore versus Google Play..Amazon tablets are generally excluded from the latter), but Amazon wants you to use Google…if you use Amazon to get there.

The Echo isn’t for everybody, though: it’s $179, and not everybody gets the value of it (although I would guess that many people who have it love it).

A $50 tablet, though? Very wide appeal.

Think of tablets as being like cars. Initially, owning a car (a “horseless carriage”) was a real luxury, and not that practical.

Eventually, it became almost a necessity (although that’s less true for Millenials than it was for, say, Baby Boomers). There developed a wide variety of models, and some relatively inexpensive models that simply got the job done were hits (think, perhaps, of the Volkswagen Beetle). You can spend $100,000 and more for a luxury car and get a luxury experience, or you can spend a lot less for it, and still get where you are going.

Amazon isn’t making the best cars in the world: it’s making the best roads.

Sure, you can drive on that road to Amazon’s store…but Amazon can also charge other stores for you driving on their roads, and not charge you for it. Alternatively, they can give you access to those other stores, even at a reduced price, so you keep using Amazon’s road.

Amazon Underground (at AmazonSmile*)

is a great recent example of this. You can get over 1,000 apps for free, many of them very popular, for which you would pay other places.

Read this

Seeking Alpha post by Alcaraz Research

for what I think is a cogent argument for why those $50 tablets and Amazon Underground combine to make something which other competitors simply can’t match at this point.

Oh, and Alexa is about to become a lot more ubiquitous! The new generation of the Fire TV family will include Alexa:

That means that for $50 (or $40, if you use a free app on your SmartPhone), you can have Alexa…and lots of content for your TV.

I think Amazon has learned the lesson of the Amazon Fire Phone (I have one). In that case, they tried to make a luxury car at a luxury price…and it was an admittedly failed attempt.

Amazon’s most important road?

For $99 a year (about $8.25 a month), members get

  • Amazon Video (streaming movies, TV shows ((some of which can also be downloaded))…including exclusive content)
  • Amazon Music
  • No additional cost 2-day shipping
  • The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (borrow a book a month to read)
  • Kindle First which lets you own one book from a select few for free each month, and before they are actually released
  • Prime Photos (free storage of photos)
  • and more

Prime members are reportedly more satisfied and spend more.

The no additional cost 2-day shipping (and there are other options…from 1-day down to an hour in some cities) on many items? That’s key for Amazon’s consumer business. There’s typically more profit in physical items (what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”) than in digital items. More importantly, perhaps, is that many of the items aren’t sold directly by Amazon. Those third-party sellers pay Amazon…Amazon makes the road, the store pays for you to drive on it.

It’s an excellent deal at $8.25 a month…in some ways, perhaps replacing about $10 a month each you might pay each to a streaming video service and a music service…plus that shipping, and a book a month to own.

It’s an even better deal for $5.58 a month.😉

That’s the option for new subscribers, this Friday only.

To be clear, it’s $67 for year…I just broke it down to the monthly amount.

Why $67?

We just had the 67th Emmys, and Amazon’s original series Transparent won five  (including Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series).

Again, this will be this Friday only…and Amazon doesn’t often offer discounts on Prime.

My guess is that you won’t be able to

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

at the discounted price on Friday…but I still think that will be a popular gift this year.

I could certainly see Amazon offering a bundle of the gift of Prime and a Fire TV this holiday season…with Alexa as part of the mix, it would get people good and solidly hooked into Amazon. $179.99, maybe, for the bundle? That would work…and get a lot more cars out on Amazon’s road.😉

What do you think? Am I right that Amazon should concentrate on getting people to use them as the gateway to…well, everything?😉 Can luxury hardware be part of Amazon’s mix? How can other companies compete with Amazon? How would you improve Prime? What about offering magazine access as part of it? 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! :) 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.

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.

Amazon has restricted Prime sharing

August 6, 2015

Amazon has restricted Prime sharing

Well!

This is significant.

In the past, you could share Prime shipping benefits with four adults not on your account. I described it this way in 2014:

“You can share Prime shipping benefits with other people living at your same address. So, if you have, let’s say, an adult kid living with you with their own Amazon account, they can share your shipping benefit at no additional cost. You can have four additional people (not on your account…everybody on your account gets it automatically) under your shipping benefits.”
What can you do with Amazon Prime?

That’s not the case any more.

According to the

Amazon help page: Share Your Amazon Prime Benefits (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)

you can now only share shipping with one other adult not on your account…and that’s by forming an “Amazon Household”.

You do get to share some things besides shipping:

  • “The following Prime benefits can be shared in an Amazon Household: shipping benefits, Prime Instant Video (streaming only), Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Prime Early Access, and Prime Exclusive Deals.”

For more information about Amazon Households, see this:

Amazon Help Page: About Amazon Households (at AmazonSmile*)

One of the things is that you have to agree to share payment methods…if Pat forms a household with Kris, Kris can use Pat’s credit/debit cards (which are on Pat’s Amazon account)  to make Amazon purchases on Kris’ account.

The Kindle Owners’  Lending Library is borrowing up to one book a calendar month…that’s the one new Kindle specific benefit.

All of this only matters if you want to maintain separate Amazon accounts.

That, to me, is generally the simple solution…be on the same account.

If two people are on the same account, they can freely share Kindle books…no limitations (except for how many devices can have that book at the same time…it’s usually six). They both have the shipping benefits. There are limitations as to how many devices can stream a video at the same time, but they both have access to the videos.

The disadvantage of being on the same account?

Well, again, you are sharing payment methods…but not everybody needs to know the information. I’ve written quite a bit about “Kindle Klubs”. There are what I call “Managers”, who have the sign-in credentials and do things at

http://www.amazon.com/myk

There are also “Users” who don’t have the information.

That can work very well: although it’s hard to hide gifts you buy from someone on the account.🙂

Is this a reduction in benefits?

Yes, I think that’s fair to say.

There is some compensation in new sharing options…but certainly, some people who have been sharing Prime shipping benefits will feel a loss.

I don’t think it will hurt Amazon…I don’t think very many people have Prime just to share the shipping benefits.

Some people will now get their own Prime accounts who didn’t have them…which ultimately helps Amazon. Now that you can

Give someone Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

I think Amazon will see that happen quite a bit more with this, with someone who has more money in the family buying Prime for someone who doesn’t.

Again, I would look at having people on the same account…even if there are also additional accounts for  private purchases. There is no limit as to the number of people who can be on an account, but you can not do it for commercial purposes.

One more thing: it looks like current accounts will maintain the old rules…until they come up for renewal.

If you paid for Prime planning to share it the shipping benefits with four people, you will still get that for which you paid. It’s just that the next time you would pay (if you chose to do that), the rules would be different and you would re-evaluate the choice.

I think, though, that most people would renew.

What do you think? Does this impact your feelings about Prime membership? Have you been sharing your shipping benefits with more than one other adult not on your account? Is this part of Amazon phase two? Is there a reason that you don’t have loved ones on your account, but that they have their own separate account? 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.

July 15th is “Prime Day”: will there be deals on Kindles?

July 7, 2015

July 15th is “Prime Day”: will there be deals on Kindles?

Members of

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

get a lot of benefits.

For $99 a year in the USA, we get

  • Free two-day shipping on many items
  • Prime Music
  • Prime Video
  • One free book a month from a select set, before they are published, to keep (Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*))
  • One book a calendar month to borrow (from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library…you also need to have a Kindle or a Fire)
  • Prime Early Access
  • Prime Now (in a few cities)
  • Reduced one-day shipping on some items

and others.

There’s no question that Prime is a major focus for Amazon, at least as far as the retail part of the business goes.

Those benefits cost Amazon money, but since Prime members reportedly buy more (and they buy those higher margin physical items, what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”), it’s worth it.

This July 15th (a  week from Wednesday) is

Prime Day (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s exclusive for PrimeMembers, and is supposed to have more deals than Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, one of the biggest retail days of the year in the USA).

There will be thousands of deals, and some will likely sell out in seconds.

I fully expect that there will be deals on Amazon hardware…this might be a good time for them to do a blow-out on the Kindle Paperwhite 2, for example, since they have just released a new version.  I could see it going down to under $70.

Fire tablets? Sure, discounts on some, I would think.

What about other hardware, like the

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

?

I think that’s possible, although I wouldn’t expect the $99 price that Prime members paid for it pre-release. Maybe they would throw in the voice remote, or offer a reduced bundle? I would expect that would be a short term deal.

On the other hand, I would guess there would be a day-long deal on Kindle books.

Oh, and there is a contest where you could win $10,000 in Amazon gift cards! You submit a picture of yourself showing what “Prime Living” means to you. The details are here:

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/primephotocontest/ref=amb_link_435893562_2</>

There will be one winner from each of these countries:

Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, The United States

If you are a Prime member, I’d try to check it out a week from Wednesday.

If you aren’t…you might consider joining.🙂 They do have a free one-month trial…and that will qualify.

Update:  I should have mentioned that this is in honor of the Amazon’s 20th “birthday” (which is the following day, July 16th). That’s not the day Amazon started, it’s the day they went online.

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.

New! Kindle for Kids bundle

May 29, 2015

New! Kindle for Kids bundle

Amazon sent me an e-mail about this one, and it’s an interesting combination:

Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle, 2-Year Accident Protection, Blue Kid-Friendly Cover (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

They are setting this up for being “in time for summer”, and it is that.🙂

Honestly, I think a lot of kids become life long readers during the summer. That’s an interesting debate, and perhaps for another time…but I think kids are more likely to get into the habit when they are “free range reading”, rather than when they are following a curriculum which requires book reports or other analysis.

What do you get for $99?

You get the latest generation of the entry level Kindle, the one I call the “Mindle Touch”. That’s normally $79 for the ad-supported model (“with Special Offers”), but this is without the ads…so that would be $99 right there.

You also get a cover in a choice of five colors:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Green
  • Purple

The say the cover is worth $19.99.

The third thing is a Square Trade extended 2-year warranty, also worth $19.99.

Amazon says you are saying $39.98…they actually are wrong.🙂 Since you are getting it without the ads, you are saving $59.98 ($20 for the ad-free version, plus getting the cover and the warranty).

I’ll alert them to that…maybe they mean it is the ad-supported version, but I don’t think so.

Then, the page does a nice job of going into the benefits of Kindle FreeTime (which is free on the device). That lets parents/legal guardians do a lot of things…control which books are accessible, set goals, kids can get badges…it’s nice.🙂

They also say that kids can search with images, rather than words…they can apparently tap an image of a princess or a dinosaur to search the book. I’d be very interested in seeing those images, and what cultural choices they made. One obvious question: can they search for a prince, or just a princess? When they search for a car, what does it look like?

Gee, I wonder if Amazon will ever have those images be sponsored…so kids click on Sleeping Beauty for a princess (and Disney pays for the privilege) or a SmartCar for the car😉 Pure speculation, folks….nothing behind the curtain.😉

At the bottom of the page, they recommend some specific books.

I do think this is a good deal.

I would say it is most appropriate for younger kids. If I was looking at responsible ten-year old, and I could afford it, I’d go with the

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

and a family subscription to

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

However, that would be quite a bit more money. I’d be okay with them seeing ads (I’d lock down the purchasing with the parental controls anyway), so that’s $119 for the device. I’d recommend some sort of cover. We like the Fintie covers

Fintie Kindle Paperwhite SmartShell Case – The Thinnest and Lightest Leather Cover for Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Both 2012 and 2013 Versions with 6″ Display and Built-in Light) (at AmazonSmile*)

That model is $13.99 at time of writing…and comes in forty colors and patterns, some of which are perhaps more kid friendly than the single color style of the bundle cover.

It would depend on the kid, I suppose, but I’d skip the warranty in most cases.

Still, that’s a lot more money…plus the $9.99 a month for KU.

Part of it depends on how soon you think you’ll need to replace the device. I think the Paperwhite is a fine device, and could last a child for several years…but it might depend a bit on what gets introduced in the future and how “necessary” that seems.😉

If you just to really introduce a younger, active child to reading, Amazon’s bundle is worthy of consideration.

Bonus story: Amazon is now doing free same day delivery in fourteen metro areas for Prime members. It’s not every item (but they let you filter search results for eligible items), and you need to have at least $35 worth of items and order by noon (typically). If same day isn’t available, you get free one-day delivery.

Yowza!

That’s quite an improvement at no additional cost for Prime members where it is logistically possible.

The fourteen metro areas (you still need to be in an eligible ZIP** code) are:

  • Seattle/Tacoma
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Phoenix
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • Indianapolis
  • Tampa Bay Area
  • Atlanta
  • Washington D.C.
  • Baltimore
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Boston

You can check your individual ZIP code here:

Amazon Free Same-day Shipping (at AmazonSmile*)

Our adult kid is eligible! We aren’t. Still, it’s the recipient ZIP code that matters, so we could send something the same day.

For more information, here are the

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) (at AmazonSmile*)

I realize there are some reasons you might still go to the local store (trying on clothes, or something which isn’t eligible for this, or it’s under $35)…but I do think this will cut into local stores somewhat.

What do you think? How long do you expect a Kindle to last nowadays? Is a Paperwhite worth that much more than a Mindle Touch? How young a child would you let have access to Kindle Unlimited…recognizing, of course that children vary a lot? Would you buy the warranty? 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! :) 

**ZIP is actually an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, so it should be all in capitals

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.

Amazon’s sales growth slows, stock up

January 30, 2015

Amazon’s sales growth slows, stock up

Well, this latest financial report wasn’t “Amazon’s unusual business as usual”.🙂

Amazon is famous for making lots of sales and little profit (or even taking a loss).

It’s been a model they’ve largely had from the beginning…grow the business over time, and don’t worry about short term returns.

As CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Jeff Bezos said years ago, “Market share will never be cheaper than it is now.” That’s from memory, but it should be close.

However…

That was then, this is now…and how much more market share does Amazon need, since marketshare is presumably now much more expensive than it was?

Amazon’s sales growth slowed…but profit increased.

That’s what investors have been waiting to hear.

The stock went up about 2.5% yesterday, which is a considerable reversal of direction (it’s down over 1% for the year so far):

Money.CNN.com graph

Media sales slowed, but it’s important to note that this relative increase in profit doesn’t necessarily mean that Amazon is raising prices on e-books and other consumer goods.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to grow as part of the business…that’s bolstering the bottom line and doesn’t impact what we readers pay.

The slowing in media growth appears to have more to do with video game consoles being released in the previous, comparative period.

I also wonder how

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

figures into media sales. Do the subscription fees count as media, or are they in some other category? My sense is that individual book sales are to some extent being cannibalized by borrows through KU…and it may take a bit to sort out which numbers mean what. It could be that a book is more likely to be read than it was before, but it might not show up in the accounting.

Another important (and interesting) statistic on

the call…you can replay yesterday’s webcast here

transcript from Seeking Alpha…free account required

was that paid Prime memberships increased 53% worldwide last year.

53%!

So, if there had been (and I’m just making this up) 100 million Prime members in 2013, there were 153 million at the end of 2014.

I keep emphasizing that a lot of things Amazon does are designed to get people to become and to stay Prime members, because Prime members not only buy more items (they do), they also buy higher margin physical items (“diapers and windshield wipers”, as I like to say).

As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I can tell you…consumers focus on the individual transaction, businesses focus on the population of transactions.

In other words, you might wonder how you got such a good deal on something from Amazon…how could they do that without losing money? The answer is, they can lose money on one sale, if it inspires other profit-making sales.

The one thing to which Amazon has to pay super close attention, the one thing they can’t let slip, is their relationship with their customers.

I think in the future, increasingly, we’ll see Amazon sell customers to business.

No, not directly…but Amazon can make its money in the retail sector by getting businesses to pay them for access to their customers.

Not your private information, nothing nefarious like that.

I mean that third party sellers, for example, give Amazon a part of each sale so they can appear on appear on the Amazon website.

As Amazon can increasingly provide happy, trusting (again, not misplaced trust…this isn’t about tricking customers or treating them as a commodity) customers to other businesses, Amazon can turn a profit by charging those businesses, not the customers.

How does Amazon do that?

By following their three tenets: Service, Selection, and Price.

That’s why their public fight with the publisher Hachette was a mistake.

Customers saw it as Amazon preventing them from buying something, or at least, making it difficult to buy something.

Amazon can’t have that. They should drop a product before they are seen as blocking people.

At this point, no big business that needs customers to buy through the internet is going to skip Amazon.

Amazon can make that even more true in the future.

That’s why products like the Amazon Echo are key.

Amazon is becoming the retail infrastructure…I’ve called that their “golden path”.

If Amazon is the way people shop, everything goes through them…and they make money by charging the businesses for access to their customers, not by charging customers more.

Let me explain this a bit more.

One of the things I train at work is time management, and in particular, how it relates to your use of technology.

I tell people that I often hear people talk about the number of “clicks” when discussing how efficient a workflow is.

Clicks don’t matter.

I can come to someone who is using ten clicks to accomplish a task, and show them how to do it in three.

If I go back a month later, the odds are good that they are using ten clicks again.

What do they say if you ask them why?

“It’s how I know how to do it.”

It’s not clicks that matter…it’s decision points.

That’s what takes a long time when you are using a computer…the human being deciding something, choosing which action to take.

Suppose you have a sale you make which sometimes requires printing a receipt and sometimes doesn’t. We’ll say…oh, if the transaction is over $10,000 a receipt has to be printed.

You could have two buttons: one with printing the form, one without.

Alternatively, you could have a single button for that sale, and then choose to print within the next window.

Which is more efficient?

The single button.

Why? When you do have to print, it’s an extra click, right?

It’s because that button is never wrong. You can click (or tap) it when you need a receipt, and when you don’t.

You don’t have to take time deciding which kind of sale it is.

Within the workflow, you will have been exposed to the amount of the sale enough that when you come to that “extra” print click, you won’t really need to think about it.

When you watch the Superbowl this Sunday, think about this: how much of the game is actually playing time, from snap to down?

If it’s typical, it will be something like eleven minutes.

That’s right…eleven minutes for the entire game.

The rest of the time is commercials, play review, Katy Perry…but a  big chunk of the field time is spent in making decisions.

I’ve said to my geeky friends (and I’m a proud geek) that football is the most intellectual of the big sports.

Name another sport where they pause every few seconds to decide what they are going to do.😉

When people are Monday morning quarterbacking, they never say, “We should have been bigger than them.” It’s always about, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on fourth down,” that sort of thing.

I’ll entertain arguments for baseball, since there are a lot of decisions made there as well (lineups, who is pitching, should they have thrown to second), but I think football is  defensible as the most “thinking” big sport.

What Amazon wants to do is eliminate decision making when you go to purchase something…it shouldn’t be, “Should I shop for this at Amazon?” That should be a given.

Customers will appreciate that efficiency…provided that they trust Amazon and like them.

The Echo, Amazon’s yet-to-be-generally-released “ambient computing” product may become people’s main way to interact with the internet at home. It’s not going to be that right away, but it will take part of that traffic.

Part of it is enough for Amazon to profit, if they can monetize it with the businesses.

Here’s a use case: movie ticket sales.

You could get your phone, open up the phone (hopefully, you have it password protected, or in some other way, identity specific), get to Fandango, look up the movie times, choose to buy it, complete the transaction, and so on.

In the future, with the Echo, it could go like this:

Customer: “Alexa, get me two tickets for the new Avengers movie for this morning.”

Echo: “Done. Just show your phone when you get to the theatre for the 10:30 show.”

Behind the scenes, the Echo would:

  • Know where you are and where you live
  • Know which theatre you like to visit
  • Look up the movie times
  • Know if you qualify for any discounts, and if you prefer to pay more for 3D or digital, or if you need accessibility  accommodations
  • Purchase the tickets for you using your designated payment method (Amazon, of course)
  • Send the “tickets” to your phone
  • Remind you when it was time to leave (based on current traffic, and with a knowledge of how early you like to get there), and provide directions for you if needed

Even if that went through Fandango, Amazon could charge Fandango for that having happened.

Alternatively, Amazon could hypothetically set up a deal with theatres directly, getting a cut for having sold the tickets for them…cutting Fandango out of the picture.

Amazon has the computing power to do that sort of thing…other companies buy computing power from Amazon (that’s the AWS thing), not the other way around.

Oh, and I also figure in the future, you wouldn’t even need to show your phone to anybody. You get there, your phone realizes you are at the theatre, communicates to the theatre itself, which lets you into the building seamlessly. You need your phone (or a wearable…or maybe it can be done through facial recognition or other biometric) to get into the specific theatre showing your movie at your time. The theatre would happily pay for that, too, since it would be cheaper than having a ticket taker (as long as people liked the system well enough that it didn’t impact sales).

That’s being the retail infrastructure.

As the Echo learns you, it would also be able to volunteer things later.

“There’s a new Avengers movie coming out…would you like me to get you tickets?”

Naturally, you could turn off those sorts of notifications…maybe even have to opt in to get them.

But would you?

The Echo is also a “hive mind”…it connects everybody through the web.

It might notify you (maybe only if you ask it for “What’s happening?” or say, “Alexa, I’m bored.”) that a movie was playing which people who went to The Avengers’ last movie had ranked with a very positive RottenTomatoes score (and RottenTomatoes would pay for that…or again, Amazon could eventually buy RottenTomatoes or cut them out of the process by fulfilling that role).

At this point, I would guess that nothing makes you default to Amazon more than being a Prime member. Your shipping is commonly free and fast for physical items, and you have music and video with a good selection. They could still get something better going for e-books…the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) doesn’t really cut it as a reason to have Prime. I think we could see some deal with Kindle Unlimited and Prime this year…

So, bottom line: Amazon’s bottom line was better.🙂 Prime is the key for the retail part, and AWS (Amazon Web Services) is an important part of the infrastructure part (as may be Kiva robots for fulfillment).

Amazon just needs to keep their eye on one thing.

Happy, trusting customers are their number one product.

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

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.

Round up #282: KDP EDU, sale on Prime

January 24, 2015

Round up #282: KDP EDU, sale on Prime

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

Amazon Prime on sale for $72 on Saturday January 24th only

It’s a big deal that one of Amazon’s original TV series, Transparent, won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical series.

Big enough that Amazon is celebrating…in two ways.

On Saturday (January 24th), non-Prime members can watch all ten episodes for free…binge watch!

If they decide to become Prime members (or if anybody wants to become a new Prime member), they can do so for $72 for the first year, instead of $99.

Why $72?

It was the 72nd Golden Globes. Gee, too bad it didn’t win the first year…it would have only cost a dollar!😉 Oh, wait, in 1943, they didn’t have an award for TV series…or, pretty much, TVs. The first year for TV comedy was 1969, and The Governor and J.J. beat The Carol Burnett Show, Love American Style, Laugh In, and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour…the Globes: always picking the shows with lasting value.😉

If you want to take advantage of either or both of these deals, you can go here:

http://www.amazon.com/TransparentPrime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Getting people to sign up for Prime is exactly why Amazon is spending money making these sorts of TV series…and this year, they’ll also be making theatrical movies.

Renewal will be at the usual rate. I don’t see any plus here for current members, but we already get rewards enough.🙂

If you’ve been on the fence about Prime, now’s the time…

Speaking of a 24 hour deal…James Patterson’s exploding book

I totally misunderstood this story until I really read it.

I’d heard that James Patterson was making a book which would “explode” after 24 hours.

I thought that was a clever gimmick. I figured it was an e-book that would corrupt the file, so it couldn’t be read. That way, you’d have to binge read it, and then you couldn’t share it with anybody (even by sharing your device).

No, this is something different.

According to this

The Independent article by Adam Sherwin

the book will actually literally explode…apparently, with a bomb squad in attendance.

What’s that going to cost you?

About $300,000.

Okay, probably not you.😉

You also get a stay in a hotel, an expensive dinner, and solid gold binoculars.

Does this author know how to market or what?

This story is getting tons of publicity for

Private Vegas (at AmazonSmile*)

which you can pre-order right now for delivery on January 26th.

What a clever marketing scheme! If nobody pays $300,000 for it, Patterson will still have gotten a lot of benefit (in terms of publicity) from the coverage.

Two big tech stories which might affect us readers

While Google has been readying the virtual reality device Oculus Rift, Microsoft just opened a huge new door with its announcement of an augmented reality device (coming soon), the Hololens.

It’s kinda sorta related to Windows 10, which is going to be massively different from Windows 8.x (they are skipping the number nine…that’s how different it is!). For one thing, W10 will have Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

I think I may need to explain the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality before I tell you how this could be used for readers.

In virtual reality, you are submerged in a simulated world. In the case of the Oculus Rift, you wear a helmet like device. Everywhere you look, you see the simulation…and nothing else. You don’t see the real world.

I don’t think that has much application for readers, although I suppose it might. You could project the words in front of you, or read an intangible book, but I think that would be a lot of work to go through just to read something.

With augmented reality, you see both the illusion and the real world…simulated items appear in place with what is really around you.

The Hololens, which will be more like goggles, are like sunglasses…you can see through them.

I’ve used AR (Augmented Reality) apps on my phones…they are processed through the phone’s camera.

I’ve tagged little flying robots when I was walking on the Golden Gate bridge, and I can read signs that are automatically translated for me.

That second one is Word Lens, and Google is just integrating it into their translation services. You look through your camera at a sign in, say, Spanish, and you can read it in English.

It’s not hard to do, but I find you do have to hold it pretty steady.

That would be one possible use for the Hololens and books. You could pick up a book in one language, and instead, you would see the words in a language of your choosing. As you turned the page, it would be aware of it and translate the next page.

Another possibility, as I mentioned to regular reader and commenter Edward Boyhan, is that they could satisfy both people who “like the feel of a book in their hands” and people who want the convenience of e-books.

You could have a blank p-book (paperbook). The Hololens could make it appear that there were words on the pages…and it could be different books at different times.

Another thing it could do: give you dictionary look-up in a p-book. Hold your finger on a word in that fifty-year old paperback you have, and it detects the gesture and displays a definition. Yes, the Hololens will detect gestures…giving you Minority Report-like powers.

I think this is a year we may be looking at life-changing technologies being introduced…much more than last year. The Hololens, the Amazon Echo, and the Oculus Rift…things won’t be the same.

The other big technology for us is wireless transmission  of power.

I’m not talking about setting your Kindle/Fire down on a pad…that’s not a practical way to use it.

I’m talking about sitting on the couch for a marathon reading session…and having your device charge at the same time. Carry your Kindle with you while you go to the kitchen and cook (you do that now, right?) and it will still be charging while it in range.

No consciously charging your tablet every night!

This is something that I said was

Tech we still need

back in 2010.

The other two things I mentioned?

Self-driving cars (which are here, but not marketized yet), and mass knock out (no closer, as far as I know).

Wireless transmission of power does look like it is finally really going to be here!

In this

The Seattle Times article by Jeff Gelles (which may have been in The Philadelphia Enquirer first)

they talk about three different companies which are close to having this in our homes.

I think it will happen within the next couple of years, although you are likely to need some sort of receiver on your gadget, so it wont just work with everything.

It may also not work with something that requires a lot of power, like a washing machine…but you don’t tend to move those around very much so it’s not such a big deal.

Much more important for our mobile gadgets.

The future is almost here…but by definition, that’s always true.😉

Kindle Textbook Creator

Amazon is expanding its independent publishing platform in what might turn out to be a really significant way, as noted in this press release:

Amazon Launches Kindle Textbook Creator

You upload a PDF, and you can have these features:

  • Multi-Color Highlighting—Highlight and categorize key concepts for easy reference.
  • Notebook—Capture key passages, images and bookmarks and automatically add them to the notebook. Students can add their own notes and easily access them from one location.
  • Flashcards—Create flashcards and study important terms, concepts, and definitions in each chapter with a simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Dictionary—Find definitions and Wikipedia information for difficult terms to improve retention.
  • Buy Once, Read Everywhere—Read eTextbooks on the most popular devices students use, including Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and smartphones, Mac, and PC.

Note that non-Fires aren’t included on this list, since they can’t do everything on that list…but this could be big!

You can get up to a 70% royalty, like other KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) books. This is called KDP EDU:

https://kdp.amazon.com/edu

I have relatives who have written textbooks. I don’t know that I immediately see this for something like a high school class, but I can see it for people who want to market textbooks to the broader market…or, perhaps more significantly, professors who want to make books for their students (who may or may not be physically present in their classes).

What do you think? Does James Patterson being such a marketer affect the way you assess the quality of the books? Would you worry about power going wirelessly through you (my Significant Other has mentioned that)? Is there a market for independently published e-textbooks? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

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.

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.

Round up #274: the adventure of the standing ruling, infringer down

November 5, 2014

Round up #274: the adventure of the standing ruling, infringer down

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

Infringing site taken down

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a site was reproducing all of the posts in this blog…every day..verbatim…without permission.

One of my readers, Clint Bradford, suggested I use

http://www.whois.com/

to find out who the host was, to report the infringement.

That didn’t work exactly, because the company it said was hosting it wasn’t actually the right one.  It identified GoDaddy, and that company was nice enough to give me the accurate name, lunarpages.

After informing lunarpages, within days, the site was down.

To me, this is a story about the good in the world.

The website was infringing…that’s not good, although it could have been done out of ignorance.

I first notified Google AdSense, and they apparently pulled their ads…thanks, Google!

Then Clint helped me…thanks, Clint!

Then GoDaddy helped me…thanks, GoDaddy! They weren’t under any obligation to do that.

Then lunarpages helped me…thanks, lunarpages!

On balance, there was a lot more good in this sequence than bad…and that’s the assessment I generally make of the world.🙂

Fire TV $15 off

I use our

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

every day, and it’s on sale right now for $84 instead of $99. They’ve been putting it on sale on and off, and there may be more sales before the holidays…although I don’t think this specific sale will be continuous until then.

You can get that one right away, unlike the

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which is currently expected to arrive for consumers placing new orders after January 16, 2015. I’m glad I recommended that people jump on the chance to buy it…and lots of people did do so!

These two devices will work well with the new Prime benefit announced today in this

press release

With Prime photos, Prime members get unlimited Cloud storage of their photos…and can view them easily on many devices.

That is a really nice additional benefit: we now have shipping; Prime video; Prime music; the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library; and early access to Lightning deals.

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Sherlock Holmes case

I’ve written before about a legal fight going on over the copyright status of Sherlock Holmes.

It’s a bit tricky. In the USA, most of the original Holmes stories are clearly in the public domain. There are a few stories, though, that are not. The estate essentially argued that, when people write fiction about Holmes, it is likely influenced (and some cases, specifically so) by those still under protection works…so that new unauthorized may be infringing.

The Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling saying that wasn’t the case…making it okay to write new Holmes works without obtaining permission or paying royalties, but keeps the ten stories which were under protection in that condition.

In other words, you can go ahead and write a new Holmes story…

Fun image

EBOOK FRIENDLY is especially good at finding clever e-book related images, and I thank them for the heads up on this one:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/132996995221820561/

Star Libraries

This is a fascinating

Library Journal article by Ray Lyons & Keith Curry Lance

It analyzes libraries in some very intriguing ways. One thing is that people are now trying to measure the impact a given library has on the community…the article says specifically:

Outcomes are an entirely different matter. They are changes experienced by library users—changes in knowledge, skills, attitude, behavior, status, or condition.

One of the stats they give us is circulation per capita…and the library listed with the highest is in Avalon, New Jersey, with a very high 121.6. The next one only has 95.5, so you can see it is a stand-out.

Why your favorite author’s next book isn’t finished

This

Buzzfeed article by Arianna Rebolini

reports on a survey of authors by Stop Procrastinating about what distracts them from writing.

23% said “videos of animal internet celebrities”, while 4% said…sex.

Hm…😉

What do you think? If you are a writer, what keeps you from writing? I hope reading is on that list! After all, that’s probably one of the best fuels for the literary engine. Are you satisfied with the outcome of the infringing site being taken down…or do you think that was too harsh or not harsh enough? Do you think libraries should be measured by their impacts…or should they simply stand as a public good with no performance evaluation? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds 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! :) 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.

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.

More than just music

June 17, 2014

More than just music

I’ve been super pleased with our new benefit as Prime members

Prime Music (my post on it)

I’ve been using it a lot.

I’ve listened to several playlists, including while helping my Significant Other set up a new office at work.

We also had the instance when someone started singing a little of

Hanky Panky by Tommy Roe (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and I was able to (quickly and for free) start playing it.

However, I like lots of different kinds of content…and that includes audio which isn’t music.

I started checking out Prime for non-music choices…and found quite a few interesting things!

Years (years!) ago, I had a vinyl record, designed to be played at 16 2/3rds RPM (Revolutions Per Minute). Most of you know 33 1/3rd, and 45, and 78…but I doubt many of you had 16 2/3rds!

The advantage? You could put a lot of content on a side.

The disadvantage? It didn’t sound very good.

However, that lack of “high fidelity” was fine…for speeches.

Yes, it was an album of great speeches…Winston Churchill, that kind of thing.

So, I was pleased to also find speeches available as part of Prime “Music”.

For example, there was this one:

Speeches By Martin Luther King: The Ultimate Collection (at AmazonSmile)

There are 32 speeches on the album, although you can also get them individually.

I can certainly this being of use to teachers, but I would also just listen to them in the car.

They don’t seem to have a separate category for speeches, but from the MLK album, I could tell they were under soundtracks. This search seems to work okay, although there are a lot of things in it which aren’t actually speeches (tracks from the score of The King’s Speech show up, for one thing):

Speech in Soundtracks in Prime Music (at AmazonSmile)

Another thing which isn’t music which you can utilize at no additional cost through Prime Music?

Language instruction.

After all, you’ll never be able to read every book in the world if you can’t read all of its languages, right?😉

Here’s one possibility:

Learn in Your Car: Spanish – Level 1 (at AmazonSmile)

Language instruction (which doesn’t work as a search term, by the way) is under Miscellaneous…but I haven’t found a good refinement. If you search for “Learn Japanese” or “Learn German”, you are likely to find a few.

Another category of record where I had a bunch of vinyl?

Sound Effects (at AmazonSmile)

That search found me seventy albums…and 4,349 “songs”!

I could just sit and listen to the sound effects from the original Star Trek all day.😉

I haven’t investigated it enough yet to know for sure, but I think you can only play Prime “Music” in the app…so you couldn’t export these for, say, a ringtone. Still, I would literally just listen to sound effect while driving, and Halloween ones could be nice at that holiday.

One big content warning: I did accidentally stumble across sexually explicit sound effect tracks and albums! I just wouldn’t have expected that, and I thought I’d give you the alert, in case your kids are exploring the sound effects (which would otherwise be fun for them).

This category was a gold mine for non-music options!

Poetry, Spoken Word, and Interviews (at AmazonSmile)

Here are some of the things I noticed:

  • John Wayne, speaking “America, Why I Love Her”
  • Dramatized Bibles
  • Abbott & Costello’s Who’s On First? routine (used to drive my Significant Other crazy that our kid at about five years old would do this routine with me)😉
  • Sleep Meditation with Deepak Chopra
  • NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and hypnosis selections
  • Old Time Radio Commercials (okay, a lot of these are jingles, and therefore music…but not Boris Karloff’s Greetings to Station Owners!)
  • Alec Guinness performing Macbeth (again, might be useful in the classroom)
  • Allen Ginsberg reading The End
  • Tonsils by Bill Cosby (quite a few tracks, but this is one I particularly remember)
  • There are some great cuts on 100 of the Greatest Comedy Skits (not sure they are all safe for work, though). You might want to try “Little Blue Riding Hood” by Stan Freberg. Note (and update): I didn’t realize that not all of the cuts on this album are Prime Music, but many of them are

Enjoy!

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

My new free Flipboard magazine, The Weird Old Days features vintage articles on ghosts, sea serpents, psychic phenomena, and more http://flip.it/ZtmYw

* 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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