Archive for the ‘Prime’ Category

Round up #175: Alexa Kids Edition, Prime will still be a bargain

April 29, 2018

Round up #175: Alexa Kids Edition, Prime will still be a bargain

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

Amazon Prime will be cheaper than Netflix Standard on May 11th

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

is an incredible deal…and that will continue to be true after a price raise effective May 11th for new subscribers (the price increase goes into effect for renewals on June 16th).

The annual price is going up to $119 from $99. Yes, that’s a significant increase: about 20%. The last increase was in 2014 from $79 annually to $99…that’s a bigger increase in terms of percentage, about 25%.

It’s noteworthy, though, that it’s still just about $10 a month ($9.92, approximately). Standard Netflix is $10.99 a month (they have a cheaper one at $7.99…only one screen at a time, and no HD). Hulu is $7.99 a month…ad-supported (with commercials). No commercials on Hulu? $11.99 a month.

Now, that’s comparing apples to oranges…actually, it’s more like apples to the entire produce aisle. 😉

Prime is so much more than just video, and they keep adding more things. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • Prime Video (with HD and up to three at the same time…more than Netflix Standard)
  • Prime Reading (read from a selection of about 1,000 books and some magazines)
  • One free Kindle book to own each month (from a choice of usually six)
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Free two-day shipping on many orders

and again, that’s not everything.

Even given all that, some people who perceive this as “over $100 a year” rather than “under $10 a month” will quit Prime over this, so why would Amazon do it?

We recently found out that Amazon has over 100 million Prime subscribers. That’s worldwide (and it’s very important to note that there are many more users than subscribers…if we count Significant Others, children, and so on, I would be confident that there are more people using Prime than the population of the United States), and this price change is for the USA. If the price raise was on 100 million subscribers, and it was $20…that’s 2 BILLION dollars. That’s significant, even to Amazon. 😉

They won’t just take that as profit: they’ll invest it in things that make Prime even more attractive to even more people. It’s not going to take much for those Prime buyers to make up the difference for any who do leave over this (which I think will be a tiny percentage).

I will say that if Prime was just video (which it isn’t), I find three major reasons why I don’t watch Prime as much as Netflix or Hulu:

  • For me, discovery is a lot harder…it’s easier to find things I want to watch on Hulu or Netflix. That means that Prime video is pretty much a back-up plan
  • There doesn’t seem like as much selection…Hulu for us is mostly current shows, Netflix is originals (I’m watching the new Lost in Space, for example), but we do watch older things on both
  • Most of you probably don’t care about this, but Prime Video is not available to me in VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality) space…and I watch video in VR just about every workday (during lunch, which I exercise)

Some of you may be wondering if there’s a way to extend your current Prime subscription at the current price before it goes up. Well, this

9to5 Toys article by Patrick Campanale

has a convoluted method…but there is a comment from someone who said they tried it last time and it didn’t work. It basically involves canceling and buying a gift membership for yourself.

We’re just going to pay the $20 more…

“Keep My Songs” by Monday, April 30

Amazon is no longer going to store your previously uploaded music…unless you tell them to do it before Monday, April 30th.

You just have to go to

Your Account (at AmazonSmile*)

then go to the Music Settings and click the “Keep my songs” button. I listen to music like this a lot…oh, and this doesn’t affect AutoRip music or digital music you’ve purchased…it’s just outside source audio you’ve uploaded.

I know this is late notice, but I think everybody will have gotten an e-mail about it already. I just thought a back-up (so to speak) alert was worthwhile.

Amazon’s 2018 Q1 financials

You can get the details

here

by listening to the webcast recording and/or looking at the slides, but bottom line…they did great! They more than doubled their profit (due in large part to their web services), and sales were up 43%.

According to this

CNN Money graph

the stock is up nearly 3% in the past five days (the webcast was on the 26th)…and more than a third up over the year.

Investors like them…they really like them! 😉

In-Car Delivery

In this

press release

dated April 24th, Amazon announced that Prime members in 37 cities and surrounding areas with certain types of cars (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo of particular kinds, and a connected car) will now be able to get packages delivered directly into the trunk of their cars…even when they aren’t they.

What they are doing is even better than what I wrote about as a joke in this April Fool’s Day post in 2017:

AFD News: Amazon to open brick-and-mortar department store

This can be a real game changer.

I can certainly see using this at work. With my car parked in a publicly accessible place, they could deliver something into my trunk with a four-hour limit (that’s on delivery day…it’s not that it takes four hours to get there.

Nice!

I can also see this on vacation, parked at a hotel. Of course, it would work at home, too. 🙂

What’s the cost for this service? It’s included in Prime! Worth ten bucks a month now? 😉

Kid-friendly Alexa

This

press release

from April 25th introduces the

Echo Dot Kids Edition (at AmazonSmile*)

and new Amazon FreeTime features for Alexa.

A lot of the parental control features are free, and then there is a paid “Amazon FreeTime Unlimited” tier ($2.99 a month), which gives more content use (certain Audible books, apps).

That’s what they have for Kindle books, too.

They didn’t create a new Unlimited product for Alexa…they added features to the existing plan. If you already subscribe, this is just an expansion of what you get.

This is a clever move…I’d recommend you take a look at the page. Oh, and the $79 for the Kids edition includes a free year of FreeTime Unlimited.

The “Alexa Brain” initiative

Alexa is going to get a whole lot more conversational and useful…and soon.

According to this

TechCrunch article by Sarah Perez

there are some major improvements ahead!

  • Alexa will remember things you tell it, for future recall
  • Alexa will have “context carryover”…in other words, Alexa will be able to stay on topic. If you say, “When was Stephen King born?” and follow it up with, “What’s his newest book?” it should be able to answer that
  • Alexa will automatically launch “Skills” (the Alexa equivalent of apps) that will answer your question…even if you haven’t previously enabled it

Prodigious week, huh? 😉

I’m guessing some of you have opinions about these…feel free to share them with me and my readers 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.

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Your annual Prime membership just became a lot more valuable

January 20, 2018

Your annual Prime membership just became a lot more valuable

The pessimist says, “The glass is half empty.” The optimist says, “I have a glass? Cool!” 😉

I know, I know…my headline is one of the very few positive things you’ll see about Amazon raising the month to month

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

price from $10.99 to $12.99 in the USA. If you pay that way for 12 months, it goes from $131.88 to $155.88, an annual increase of $24.

However, they are not raising the annual subscription cost. That stays at $99…meaning that you are now saving $24 more per year.

Interestingly, you can gift three months of Prime for $39…which is actually more expensive than buying it month by month for three months, which would be $38.97.

The discounted student price also goes up a dollar a month (half as much, but about the same percentage) from $5.49 to $6.49.

The month to month Prime video cost, $8.99, is not going up.

The monthly Prime option has only been around for a couple of years, but sure, this will affect some people.

I do want to make sure to say that this

Recode article by Jason Del Rey

is being credited for first noticing it.

My guess on what this means?

I think more people will switch to annual memberships than drop Prime completely, which would make it a net positive for Amazon. No question, they’ll lose some, but the “stickiness” improvement of annual memberships will be worth it.

I don’t think it suggests any systemic problem with Prime, or a likely increase in the annual fee in the near future.

Perhaps they found that people with month to month plans don’t change their buying habits as much in comparison to non-members (and annual plans) as they anticipated.

If I was Amazon, I’d consider “surge” pricing for month to month. In December, you could probably charge $25. In October, discount it under $10…it’s a big advantage to a company like Amazon if people buy holiday gifts early.

Big purchase (and video watching) months, charge more. Slow months, charge less.

At the same time, keep the annual fee to $99, even though some expenses are likely to go up.

I don’t like the student price going up, just sort of philosophically, but it looks like the discount for those on government assistance is staying the same.

What about you? What do you think? Does this affect your perception of Prime? Why do you think Amazon did it, and how do you think it will affect them? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Oh, and my guess is that more of my readers are annual subscribers, but I don’t want to make that assumption with no data, so here’s a poll:

Interesting! When I was creating options for the poll, I looked for what used to be called “Amazon Mom”, but that doesn’t appear to exist any more. There is “Amazon Family”, which gives you extra discounts on things like diaper, but it didn’t look like a lower monthly or annual payment.


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.

Prime the pump…er, pump up the Prime! Amazon announces Best of Prime 2017

January 3, 2018

Prime the pump…er, pump up the Prime! Amazon announces Best of Prime 2017

While Amazon doesn’t disclose a whole lot of numbers, the data they do give us can be fascinating!

In this

press release

they say that more than five billion items shipped (worldwide) with

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

in 2017.

To put that in perspective, there were roughly between five and six billion people on the entire planet when Amazon started. 🙂 I know Jeff Bezos is famously forward-looking, but I’ll doubt the Amazon CEO was anticipating that from the beginning…

That global perspective is important. In 2017, the following countries joined the Prime community:

  • Mexico
  • The Netherlands
  • Luxembourg
  • Singapore

Mexico City alone has a bigger population than New York City!

So, no surprise that “… more new paid members joined Prime worldwide this year than any previous year.”

While some may guess that Prime members tend to be more affluent (in order to afford the yearly charge, and to spend enough to get more out of the savings on shipping), and that may be true, they do embrace the “low end models”. The two bestselling items for Prime members in 2017 were the

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile*)

and the

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

That doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t also own the top of the line! In our household, we own and use two Fire TV family devices, and three Echoes (plus I have an Echo Spot ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)) at work, and I adore having it there…and we have an Echo Tap). I’m guessing many of those purchases were additional devices, and I’m very confident that many of them were gifts.

As to books, the two most borrowed titles in

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

were

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) (at AmazonSmile*)

and

1984 by George Orwell (at AmazonSmile*)

Both are dystopian fiction (no comment) 😉 , and the former was buoyed by a critically acclaimed TV version on Hulu.

I think the book most gifted by Prime members might surprise you:

Instant Pot Cookbook (at AmazonSmile*)

The

Instant Pot (at AmazonSmile*)

itself is a giant success! It’s being treated as a new innovation…sort of like when the microwave became affordable and commonplace. I got my Significant Other one…and my SO’s best friend also got one. 🙂 We aren’t going to use that cookbook, though…there were 226 vegetarian Instant Pot cookbooks in Kindle Unlimited, so my SO will start with one of those.

That’s just a bit of the press release…it’s worth checking for other Prime related facts.

Prime makes people happy, in my experience…and I like to say that happy customers are Amazon’s most important product. Of course, some people say it’s web services, but potato, potahto. 😉

We are on vacation today with our dogs, celebrating a big anniversary…my SO stepped out of the hotel room, and we’ve worn the dogs out with three walking trips…just today.

Oh, by the way: I bought the

Juvo Products Premium Cane Tip with Extra Wide Base (at AmazonSmile*)

really to have it for the trip, and I love it so much I bought two more for my other canes! It’s been great in the sand at the beach and on rough terrain…and it lets my cane stand up by itself. I’ve started taking pictures of my cane standing places, showing where it travels. 😉 I’ll share one after we get back. Shipped, it’s under $10, which is a great deal. I don’t know how durable it is yet, but it seems reasonably tough.

Hope you are enjoying the new year! I’m still working on some retrospectives (one for this blog) for 2017, but should have them done before Monday.

Oh, one last thing: I was a little disappointed that I only had three authors in today’s Bookish Birthdays, but I figured that Isaac Asimov (Foundation) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) counts as at least ten ordinary authors. 😉


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.

The Amazon-Whole Foods era starts tomorrow (Monday August 28): what to expect

August 27, 2017

The Amazon-Whole Foods era starts tomorrow (Monday August 28): what to expect

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods closes tomorrow, Monday August 28th.

Generally, when Amazon has taken over a company, customers haven’t seen a whole lot of changes.

That’s not going to be the case this time…and I think, mostly for the better.

That’s especially true for

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

members.

A lot of focus when the deal was announced was on how Amazon was going to market their website and services at Whole Foods (even with speculation that they would convert some stores into fulfillment centers and/or pick up locations). I didn’t see as much talking about what changes current Whole Foods customers would see.

Well, in this

press release

Amazon gives us some solid information.

Lower prices

That happens right away…on Monday. Not on everything, but on a “selection” of what they call “best-selling staples”. They are listing some kinds of produce. This will be a welcome change for many people. We shop at Whole Foods every week…and at Safeway and Trader Joe’s, and less often, at Sprouts. 🙂 We are vegetarians and low carb (we have pretty healthy diets) and one disadvantage of that is having to shop more often (since you tend to eat more perishable foods). We’ll save some money this way. This feels a bit like when Amazon started the Kindle store, and discounted some bestsellers to $9.99. Some people misunderstood that as $9.99 being the maximum for any e-book, but they never said that. 🙂 I suppose there may be some people who walk in expecting Costco prices now, but I think that will be uncommon. Some people will actually be put off by Amazon lowering the prices. As the former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore (and with other retail experience), I know that there are people who want to pay luxury prices for luxury goods. That’s not the case for most people, though.

It’s possible that people will need to stop jokingly calling it “Whole Paycheck”. 😉 It may also change the clientele a bit, possibly. This is a funny (but not entirely safe for work) video which I thought did capture some of the feel of Whole Foods:

(It’s Getting Real in the) Whole Foods Parking Lot YouTube video

If that does feel does start to change, it wouldn’t surprise me to see current Whole Foods employees quit to start another high-end (maybe even higher end) grocery store. I think they would have a tough time making that work, but it could happen.

That’s not to say that I think Whole Foods will start feeling like an Albertsons…but it may become more affordable.

Whole Foods house brands available through Amazon

This one isn’t a benefit in the store, but it does help Amazon customers and it expands the reach of Whole Foods. We’ve certainly bought these, including Whole Paws (pet food/treats). One interesting piece of this is that these aren’t just becoming available though Amazon.com, but will also be part of AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry, and Prime Now (one hour delivery, in some places).

Here is some information from Whole Foods on those brands:

Whole Foods Market Our Product Lines

This just seems like a plus all around, except that some people were probably drawn into the physical stores to get those products. People can become very loyal to their grocery brands, and my understanding is that it is better not to change your dog’s food very often.

Amazon Lockers in Whole Foods Markets

This is also something which we currently use, and like a lot.

The basic idea is simple: you have your Amazon items sent to a locker location, then pick it up there (instead of at home or at work) with a code. You can see what they look like in this article of mine:

Amazon Lockers come to a Safeway near us

I was being funny when I said they would be made out of sustainably harvested bamboo at Whole Foods…but I do think they could have a less, um, bold color scheme. More in greens and browns would fit in better, and maybe with leaves painted on them.

Not everything can be sent there, and there is a size limitation.

We’ve had packages stolen from our doorstep, so we have our Amazon packages either sent to my Significant Other’s work or to an Amazon Locker (I don’t really have a place for outside packages to be delivered at work).

Now, it’s interesting to note that the Locker we currently use is in a Safeway. I don’t expect them to close the Safeway ones to make people go to Whole Foods. Our Safeway is open 24 hours, which is why this works well for us. However, we would start having some things sent to the WFM locker instead. Hm…maybe they would close the Safeway ones, but they aren’t exactly direct competitors on most things…they are more complementary.

Amazon Prime as the Whole Foods Customer Rewards Program

I’m reporting this one last, because it is perhaps the most significant.

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

members will (eventually…this is an infrastructure change) get discounts and other benefits (exclusive items, bulk discounts perhaps). It will also become a rewards program for Whole Foods Market: you know, buy ten artichoke goat cheese pizzas, get one free. 😉

I don’t know that this will get the average Amazon Prime member (paying $99 a year, usually) to start shopping at WFM…but it might get people who shop at WFM to become Prime members (especially for exclusives). I do picture the most wealthy people getting groceries from Whole Foods, but not necessarily as being Prime members. This may get them to start.

One question, which Lady Galaxy, one of my regular readers and commenters already asked: how will they know you are a Prime member? Prime members already get discounts at Amazon’s physical bookstores (one just opened in San Jose, which is in my area, and another one is opening in Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area before the end of the year), so they have that figured.

They could do it by the Amazon shopping app on your phone. You could have it scanned at checkout, or it could just recognize it when you walk into the store through Bluetooth…sort of like Minority Report. 🙂 They could also have you just enter your e-mail address and Amazon password at check-out. Eventually, not right away, they could try what they have been testing with Amazon Express: checkoutless stores, where you use your phone. You could even pay for your groceries with your Amazon payment methods, hypothetically. They would likely always offer alternative, more traditional ways to pay, though.

There you go! Those are probably the biggest changes! Some things will stay the same, which as I mentioned is what Amazon does. It will continue to have the Whole Foods Market name. John Mackey will remain CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Whole Foods, and it will continue to be headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Gee, since it’s staying as Whole Foods, maybe they can refer to it as Amazon-Whole Foods, and when that synergism creates great things, they can say it is AWFul! Oh, wait a minute…on second thought… 😉

What do you think? Are you a Whole Foods customer now? If not, would this change that for you? Will you order WFM house brands through Amazon. If you walk into a Whole Foods Market and you see a display of Fires and Echo devices, how will you feel? I was thinking they could chain Kindles/Fires to the tables (with software limitations), so you could use them when you sit at the table to eat from the hot bar…good idea? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

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!

*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 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.

Try Prime Reading and maybe win a Kindle Voyage

May 8, 2017

Try Prime Reading and maybe win a Kindle Voyage

Are you a member of

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

?

No, wait, wait! Too loud! Maybe just answer if you aren’t a member. 😉

Well, there are all sorts of benefits to Amazon’s membership program…free speedy shipping on lots of items, Prime Music, Prime Video, and (relatively new) is

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

You can read books, magazines, and with a recently expanded selection, comics, at no additional cost.

I’m going to make some suggestions for this month, but before I do, Amazon is giving away a

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

4.3 stars out of 5 stars with 12,223 customer reviews, and normally $199.99 (although currently on sale for $179.99).

That’s the Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) on which I read the most right now.

Here are some of the key points for the sweepstakes:

• Eligibility. If you are an individual legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and are the older of 18 years of age or the legal age of majority in your state of residence at the time of entry, you are eligible to enter the Sweepstakes. Our employees and employees of Promotion Activators, Inc. (“Promotion Activators”) and our and Promotion Activators’ employees’ immediate family members (spouses, domestic partners, parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren), and our and Promotion Activators’ affiliates, advisors or advertising/promotion agencies (and their immediate family members) are not eligible to enter the Sweepstakes.

• Sweepstakes Period. The Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:01 a.m. (PT) on May 6, 2017 and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. (PT) on May 13, 2017 (the “Sweepstakes Period”).

• How to Enter. To enter, during the Sweepstakes Period you must enter via either Entry Method #1 or Entry Method #2 below:

• Entry Method #1: Existing Amazon Prime members who are eligible for digital benefits will automatically receive one (1) entry when they download any book or magazine through Prime Reading to a compatible device. Prime Reading is a free service available to Amazon Prime members. You can access Prime Reading by visiting https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/fd/prime-pr, selecting a book or magazine, choosing the Kindle option on the product page, and selecting “Read for Free.” Kindle Unlimited members who are also Prime members can also be entered by renting a Kindle Unlimited book or magazine that is available through Prime Reading.

• Entry Method #2: To enter without an Amazon Prime membership or downloading a book or magazine through Prime Reading, you may send a 3×5 card with your complete name, address, e-mail address and phone number to Prime Reading Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 6009, Morton Grove, IL 60053. Mail-in entries must be postmarked by May 13, 2017 and received by May 17, 2017 to be eligible. Limit of one (1) entry per person using only one (1) e-mail address throughout the Sweepstakes Period, regardless of entry method. You may not use multiple Amazon Prime customer accounts or e-mail addresses to enter the Sweepstakes, and entries submitted through multiple accounts or e-mail addresses will be disqualified.

Sweepstakes Terms (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s not clear from that if downloading a comic book counts…my guess is that it does, but I’m not sure.

Okay, here are some suggestions for you for Prime Reading May 2017!

Unless otherwise noted, these are also available at no additional cost for members of

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

Amazon’s monthly subser (subscription service). My guess is that all of them will be available through KU, which has many times the number of titles, but it’s possible some (the Marvel comics?) might not be.


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: 4.2 stars out of 5 | 4,293 customer reviews

There is currently a much buzzed about series on Hulu based on this dystopian novel…so if you want to read the book pre-binge, you can!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (illustrated by Mary GrandPré)

Ready to read it or re-read it? 4.7 stars | 14,352 reviews

Current magazines include:

  • Consumer Reports
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Family Circle
  • Wired
  • Us
  • National Enquirer

and many more!

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal (comic book)

There are 20 titles in the Marvel Comics in Prime Reading category right now…comics, of course, will probably look best on a tablet (although people do read them on phones and laptops/desktops).

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1) by Rick Riordan

4.7 stars | 4,107 reviews

The Color of Secrets by Lindsay Jayne Ashford (audiobook narrated by Heather Wilds)

This is just one of 49 titles this month that has an audiobook with it. You can download it and then just listen to the audiobook, if you want…and those are often pretty expensive.

That gives you some different possibilities. Here’s a list of some more books in PR this month…just ones that caught my eye:

  • Breakthrough by Michael C. Grumley (over 5,000 reviews | 4.4 stars)
  • Bright Side by Kim Holden (4.8 stars, over 2,000 reviews)
  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  • The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer and Pierre A. Lehu (Dr. Ruth was recently interviewed by Len Edgerly on The Kindle Chronicles podcast)
  • Whisper My Secret: A Memoir by JB Rowley
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (4.5 stars | 7,525 reviews)
  • The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children Mysteries Book 1) by Gertrude Chandler Warner and L. Kate Deal (really beloved British children’s series)
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Richard Howard
  • Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliott (4.5 stars | 3,993 reviews)

Those are just a few of the more than 1,000 titles! If you have other suggestions for Prime Reading for me or my readers, feel free to let us know by commenting on this post.

Enjoy!


My current Amazon Giveaways:
Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

347 entrants at the time of writing

LAST HOURS FOR THIS GIVEAWAY!

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

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

1 winner

Requirements for participation:

  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (you’ll be notified when future books are added to Amazon…I think that’s the only contact you get, although I’m not positive)

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/ffab73bbd6512571 

Start:Apr 30, 2017 9:46 AM PDT
End:May 7, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Friday only: Prime for new members for $79

November 18, 2016

Friday only: Prime for new members for $79

This is a rarity, but new Prime members can sign up for $79 for the year starting Friday at 12:00am ET and ending at 11:59pm PT. They can do that by going to

http://www.amazon.com/thegrandtourprime

I say “they”, because I’m not part of that group, already being a happy Prime member.

Whether you get that discount or not, joining

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

gets you a lot of stuff!

It used to mostly be about free and reduced price shipping…and it still is. 😉

However, they have continued to add many benefits, and content is a big part of that.

You want to read Kindle books? You can borrow from a rotating group of (currently) over 1,000 titles, including these, all of which I’ve read and would recommend:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit (Lord of the Rings) by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
  • The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury by Bill Watterson
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

You can also get a free book to own each month from a small selection of books to be published by Amazon the following month (Kindle First).

How about magazines? Just a slice of the included offerings…

  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Vanity Fair
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Time
  • Reader’s Digest
  • National Enquirer (and people won’t be able to tell you are reading it) 😉

Music? More than two million choices! When I’m at work, I listen to at least one birthday artist…and Prime always comes through for me. Recently, that’s included:

  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Cleo Laine
  • Petula Clark
  • Sean Combs (although I had to snap that off quickly, because it wasn’t “safe for work” and my coworkers can hear my music) 😉

Now, that might make it all sound like older stuff, but it impresses me that they have that. Popular albums include

  • 25 by Adele
  • Hamilton
  • Trolls
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Storyteller by Carrie Underwood

Prefer visual entertainment?

  • Spectre
  • Mr. Holmes
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Sicario
  • Room
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Grimm
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Orphan Black
  • The original Star Trek

Close to 30,000 videos!

Are you (or someone on your account) a gamer? There is a special Twitch part of Prime…this month, it’s WATCH DOGS 2.

That’s just part of Prime…seems well worth it to me, and it does make a great gift. 🙂

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

Many more bargains coming from here to the end of the year!

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.

 

Primeless price penalty at Amazon brick-and-mortar stores

November 6, 2016

Primeless price penalty at Amazon brick-and-mortar stores

Well! Amazon was perhaps cleverer than I was. 🙂

That’s not to say that hasn’t happened before, of course, but I think this one is smart.

When I was recently on The Kindle Chronicles podcast the host, Len Edgerly, asked me what I thought (as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager) about Amazon’s approach to opening their new, very limited, physical bookstores.

I replied that I thought they were doing it in a good way…using the stores primarily as showrooms for the website.

Well, in this

GeekWire post by Taylor Soper

it appears that they’ve gone a step further.

There are pictures in the post which show that people shopping in the Seattle physical Amazon bookstore (where my sibling’s first novel, One Murder More ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)), has been featured) see signs explaining that there are two prices possible for each book.

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

members, who usually pay $99 a year, pay the same price for the book that they would at Amazon.com.

Non-Prime members pay list price for the book.

That can be really significantly different…and Amazon doesn’t usually charge the list price. The list price for John Sandford’s latest book (in hardback) is $29.00. Amazon is selling it, at time of writing, for $17.40…a savings of $11.60.

I should explain what “list price” means.

A publisher puts a “list price” (like an MSRP…Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) on a book. Many bookstores discount the book from there, especially popular books.

My guess is that the majority of, say, New York Times fiction hardback bestsellers are sold below list price…not just at Amazon, but overall.

This changes that, at least for Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Why would they do that?

It’s simple. You can join Prime right there in the store, and get one month free…and buy the book at the discount.

Prime members, reportedly, are much more loyal to Amazon, and spend a lot more on the profitable physical items…what I call “diapers and windshield wipers”.

In other words, Amazon is using the physical stores to get people to join Prime.

Certainly, other stores do that…you need a membership at Costco to shop there. This doesn’t require you to have a Prime membership to buy books in the bookstore, but you’d save money, Sure, you could cancel before your one-month was up and pay nothing, but I would guess that more than 50% of trial memberships end up being paid memberships.

All things considered, I think this is an intelligent strategic move by Amazon. What do you think? Would that put you off if you went into the store? Do you think it will get people to join Prime? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: thanks to reader Ana whose comment helped improve 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.

 

Prime Reading this month: November 2016

November 5, 2016

Prime Reading this month: November 2016

Amazon just recently introduced

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

a new benefit for Prime members (who typically pay $99 a year).

They can read from a list of about 1,000 e-books at no additional cost.

Since this is a rotating list, sort of like Netflix or Hulu or Prime Video, I thought I’d try out a new feature where I’ll recommend some books on the list early in the month. Prime Members can have up to ten books out at a time…and usually, six people on the account can have the same book (or magazine) at the same time! Alternatively you might have the same book on an EBR (E-Book Reader) and a phone, for example.

Here’s the list:

Prime Reading for November 2016 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

  • 1,016 titles
  • 349 with Audible narration (meaning you can listen to the audiobook as well as sight-reading it)
  • Children’s Books (73)
    Comics & Graphic Novels (24)
    Literature & Fiction (217)
    Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (173)
    Nonfiction (434)
    Romance (163)
    Science Fiction & Fantasy (97)
    Teen & Young Adult (55)

Here are some suggestions:

“I want to read it again/I’ve been meaning to read this/my kid should read this”

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: this is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, lighter in tone. I damage my geek cred when I say this, but I prefer it to The Lord of the Rings. 😉 It does have audible narration.

“Fantastic Beasts is coming out…I want to re-read Harry Potter”

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPré (the first book)

“I want something to do”

  • Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family! (Dads Book of Awesome) by Mike Adamick
  • How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps: Step by Step Cartography for Gamers and Fans by Jared Blando
  • The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location by Marc Taro Holmes
  • The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors by Marsha Hoffman Rising and Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

“I just want to read some fiction”

  • Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim (my Significant Other and I both read this and both liked it…that doesn’t always happen)
  • Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond
  • Pines (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 1) by Blake Crouch
  • Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls Book 1) by Melinda Leigh
  • Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers Book 1) by Alexandra Sokoloff
  • Edgewood by Karen McQuestion
  • No Turning Back (The Kathleen Turner Series Book 1) by Tiffany Snow
  • Sapphire Blue by DeAnn Smallwood | 4.4 stars | 223 reviews
  • The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan | 4.2 stars | 3,925 reviews
  • The Lions of Lucerne (Scot Harvath Book 1) by Brad Thor

“I want some time-tested science fiction”

  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis

“I like pictures with my words”

  • Archie (2015-) #6 by Mark Waid and Veronica Fish
  • The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury by Bill Watterson
  • Scott Pilgrim (of 6) Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life – Color Edition by Bryan O’Malley and Nathan Fairbairn
    The Complete Peanuts Vol. 1: 1950-1952 by Charles Schulz
  • 14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric-Covered Box: A Dilbert Book by Scott Adams
  • Vampirella Vol. 1: Crown of Worms (Vampirella (2011)) by Eric Trautmann and Wagner Reis

“Never stop learning”

  • The Everything American Government Book: From the Constitution to Present-Day Elections, All You Need to Understand…by Nick Ragone
  • Famous Crimes the World Forgot: Ten Vintage True Crime Stories Rescued from Obscurity by Jason Lucky Morrow | 4.4 stars | 228 reviews
  • Philosophy 101: From Plato and Socrates to Ethics and Metaphysics, an Essential Primer on the History of Thought (Adams 101) by Paul Kleinman
  • The Rules Abide: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Baseball Rules (With History, Humor and a Few Big Words) by Jim Tosches
  • 1,001 Facts that Will Scare the S#*t Out of You: The Ultimate Bathroom Reader by Cary McNeal
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century by Claire Prentice

“Now you’re cooking!”

  • The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook (Everything®) by Rachel Rappaport
  • The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook: From Direwolf Ale to Auroch Stew – More Than 150 Recipes from Westeros and Beyond (Unofficial Cookbook) by Alan Kistler
  • The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook: Good, Cheap Vegetarian Recipes for When You Need to Eat (Everything Books) by Nicole Cormier

“I’ve got my traveling shoes on!”

  • The World: A Traveller’s Guide to the Planet (Lonely Planet) by Lonely Planet
    You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in all of us (Lonely Planet) by Lonely Planet
  • The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom by Susan Veness
  • Lonely Planet London (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet and Peter Dragicevich

“I’m getting a jump on my New Year’s resolutions”

  • Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott
  • 15-Minute Calisthenics Workout for Beginners: Supercharged Bodyweight Exercises to a Lean & Toned Body (No Gym. No Special Equipment Required.) by Chris Clarke
  • Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen R. Covey

“I like to read magazines on the plane/porch/beach”

  • Smithsonian
  • Better Homes & Gardens
  • The New Yorker

“What else have you got?”

  • D.W. the Picky Eater by Marc Brown (for kids)
  • Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown (humorous “children’s book” with Darth Vader)
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (a New York Times bestseller fairly recently)
  • WIRED by Douglas E. Richards | 4.2 stars | 3,905 reviews
  • C.S. Lewis: A Life Inspired by Christopher Gordon and Wyatt North
  • Guns (Kindle Single) by Stephen King
  • I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan
  • The Lions of Lucerne (Scot Harvath Book 1) by Brad Thor
  • Whisky Tango Foxtrot by Mr. Lynne M. Black Jr.
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels Book 1) by A. R. Kahler
  • The Cats that Surfed the Web (The Cats that . . . Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Karen Anne Golden
  • Sinbad (Singles Classic) by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Half Way Home by Hugh Howey
  • My Seinfeld Year (Kindle Single) by Fred Stoller
  • It’s Not Elementary: The Mistakes of Sherlock Holmes (Kindle Single) by Noah Axler
  • No Ordinary Billionaire (The Sinclairs Book 1) by J. S. Scott

Remember, that’s just a tiny fraction of the more than 1,000 titles. If you are a Prime member (in the USA, at least), you can have up to ten of these out at a time, but there is no limit to the number you can borrow in a month. This is a rotating list: these titles may not all be in Prime Reading next month. However, if you borrow one and you still have Prime, you can still read it even if it is not in Prime Reading any more.

Oh, and every one of these titles is also available to

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

members (as well as close to 1.5 million more titles)

This is my first one of these…let me know if you find it helpful, or if you have other suggestions. Feel free to tell me and my readers 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.

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Prime Reading edition

October 11, 2016

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Prime Reading edition

Q. I’ve been hearing a lot about Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*): what is it?

A. It’s a new benefit for people who have Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). It lets Prime members read books from a special selection of books at no additional cost.

Q. No additional cost to what?

A. To their Prime memberships. Prime members typically pay $99 a year for a number of benefits, including free two-day shipping on many items, a vast music library, and videos.

Q. How do I know if I’m a Prime member?

A. You can check by going to “Your Account” at the top of any Amazon page and choosing “Your Prime Membership”.

Q. So, if I’m a Prime member, I can now read books free?

A. Some books, yes. When it was introduced there were 1,014 titles in Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile*) and that’s still the case now.

Q. What kind of books are they? Will I have heard of them?

A. Some of them for sure, if you already are a reader…and some you’ve probably heard of even if you don’t follow books that much. That includes the first Harry Potter book, for example, and The Man in the High Castle.

Q. Like the TV show?

A. Right, yes…the TV show is based on that book. There are also a lot of books you probably haven’t heard of before. There are also some graphic novels and comic strip collections.

Q. And it doesn’t cost me anything to read them?

A. Not if you are a Prime member.

Q. Do I get to keep them? Can I give them as gifts?

A. No, this is just the ability to read them. Think of it like Netflix for books. People have been using that term for a while for different things, but this is really quite a bit like that. You have a certain selection of media, you can enjoy them, but you don’t own them and you can’t give them away.

Q. Okay, I get that.

A. Another thing that is like Netflix is that this is a rotating selection. There will be different books, probably every month, which is the way Netflix does it. I expect we’ll see stories about which books are coming into Prime Reading and going out of it, just like we do with Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.

Q. I don’t read a book very quickly. What happens if I’m not done with it and they take it out of Prime Reading?

A. You can still finish it. You can hang on to a book as long as you are a Prime member. If you stop being a Prime member, you lose access.

Q. How many books can I have? Can my family members read them?

A. There is no limit to the number of books you can borrow, although you can only have ten at a time. If you return one of those ten, though, you can get another one. As to family members, yes, if they can read books on your account they can read these.

Q. That means that if my three kids are reading Harry Potter, I have seven more books for the adults in my family?

A. Actually, if three people are reading the same book, that only counts as one book. Your three kids could read Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, and you’d still have nine more books to go.

Q. Wait, so my Significant Other and I can read the same book at the same time and it only counts as one book?

A. That’s right. You can talk about it with each other…even race to finish it, if you want. The number of people who can read the same book at the same time is set by the publisher; unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon product page, which you can see before you download it, that number of “simultaneous device licenses” is six.

Q. That sounds pretty good. I have somebody on my account who never reads books, though…any benefit for them?

A. Yes! Prime Reading includes magazines, and really well-known magazines: People, GQ, Vogue,  Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated…

Q. We read those!

A. A lot of people do…they are some of the most popular magazines.

Q. I’ve got a kid who is a geek and a bookworm. Are there weird magazines in there too?

A. Not really. This selection, both books and magazines, is mostly more mainstream choices. Think of it as like what you would see in an airport bookstore.

Q. I get it. Oh, are videogames part of this?

A. No, but Amazon did introduce Twitch Prime, which does have videogames. To use Prime Reading, you have to be a Prime member…that means you do have access to music, TV shows, movies, and games, just not part of this program.

Q. How about Audible? I listen to books on my commute.

A. Not exactly, but if an e-book has an audiobook and is set up for Whispersync for Voice, you can listen to that audiobook as part of this. Right now, there are about 350…just about a third.

Q. How much does that cost? Some of those audiobooks are expensive!

A. It’s part of the deal…it doesn’t cost anything more.

Q. That’s going to save me a lot of money!

A. Prime’s an investment, but yes, it can save you a lot of money.

Q. I’ve heard about the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library? Is this the same thing?

A. No, that program required you to own a hardware Kindle, and you could only borrow one book a month. It did require a Prime membership.

Q. Hardware Kindle?

A. A Kindle e-book reader or a Fire. You can use Prime Reading with a free Kindle reading app…and those are available for lots of devices, including iPhones  and iPads.

Q. Why would anybody use that Lending Library thing, then?

A. There are a lot more books there, about a million and half versus a thousand. That’s where there are more books your geek kid may like. Outside of that, I don’t see a real advantage to it. I’m thinking that the Lending Library may be going away.

Q. What about those million books, then? Would nobody be able to borrow them?

A. They are available through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). That’s a separate program. People pay, usually $9.99 a month for access to those books. Outside of that, it works just like Prime Reading…the ten book at a time limit, for example.

Q. I don’t think I’d need that if I have these thousand books as part of Prime.

A. Maybe not. That will be the case for a lot of people. For people who want a lot more choices, though, KU will be worth the price.

Q. If they have Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, can they have twenty books out at once?

A. No. I confirmed that specifically with Amazon. Getting a book through Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited counts towards your limit of ten. In fact, I don’t think there’s a way to say whether the borrow if from KU or Prime Reading.

Q. Well, they are paying more for Kindle Unlimited,  so it seems like they should get more.

A. They do…they have more choices, just not more borrows. Think of Prime Reading as free access to a small part of Kindle Unlimited.

Q. Okay. Doesn’t seem worth it to me to pay that extra ten bucks a month.

A. It might not be for you, but some other people will think it’s a good deal.

Q. I can see that. One more question: why doesn’t Amazon just do this with all the books?

A. They have to pay the publishers, and they have to have permission.

Q. Oh, I have a cousin who wrote a book…can they do this to get more money?

A. It’s a very small group of books, and it sounds like it has been invitation only.**

Q. Alright, I’ll ask my cousin. Why would Amazon do this at all, then, if it costs them money and they don’t get anything more for it?

A. To make people more likely to stay with Prime. Prime members spend a lot with Amazon and they often spend it on higher profit items. There isn’t a lot of profit with e-books, not like with some physical items.

Q. That makes sense.

A. Do you have any other questions?

Q. Not right now. I guess I’ll check it out.

===

Readers, if you have other questions or comments, 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.

**There has been some very interesting public discussion about indies (independent publishers) and Prime reading. There have been rumors of “signing bonuses” (like an advance in traditional publishing) and then similar payments to KU. Here’s a forum thread on it: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=1069009&#1069009

Amazon introduces Prime Reading…and hits a sweet spot for many consumers

October 5, 2016

Amazon introduces Prime Reading…and hits a sweet spot for many consumers

Amazon has introduced yet another Prime benefit…and I expect bloggers to massively underestimate its appeal:

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

This is included in the regular price of

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

and, speaking as the former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and as someone who has covered the world of e-books for more than seven years, I think this is going to appeal to the vast majority of readers. Those are what I call “casual readers” as opposed to “serious readers”. I’m a serious reader, and I think most of the readers of this blog are: at a minimum, you can define a serious reader as reading a book a month (many read many more than that).

Most books are sold to casual readers: they read a lot fewer books, tend to read more popular books of which they’ve heard already (or something very genre, like you might get in an airport bookstore), and to buy books as gifts.

They aren’t so much looking for surprising, innovative works, in my opinion. They want reading a book to be what they expect it to be. Sure, these are broad generalizations, but it’s my sense as a bookseller.

They don’t spend $100 a month on books for themselves to read…they may spend that for the year.

What is this benefit?

Prime Members (who may pay $99 a year) can read books from a specific selection (1,014 at time of writing). This includes some well-known titles:

  • Harry Potter
  • The Complete Peanuts
  • Lonely Planet travel guides
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Pines (Wayward Pines #1)

There are a lot more books in Prime Reading that casual readers may not know…but they are generally clear as to what they are (I was intrigued by how many were arts/crafts oriented).

Again, picture being in an airport and you are about to get on a five hour flight. These are books you might grab for that purpose.

It’s worth noting that a lot of Amazon published books are not in Prime Reading…I didn’t see the original James Bond books or the 87th Precinct series, for example.

What else do you take on a plane to read?

Magazines, and they’ve included that.

Sports Illustrated, People, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Sunset, Vogue, National Geographic Traveler…outside of a notable lack of newsmagazines, this selection could also be in an airport bookstore.

I’m not saying this is going to sell a lot more Prime memberships…but I do think it improves “stickiness”, the odds that someone will stay with Prime.

Does this cannibalize anything for Amazon?

It might. It might reduce book purchases by those casual readers, since many of them will already be Prime members. They also may not care as much about owning books (this service is borrowing them, not owning them). It won’t limit them buying books for others, though, and may encourage them to

Give the Gift of Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

which is a giant benefit for Amazon, since Prime members buy more of the higher profit items (what I call diapers and windshield wipers). They would much rather have new Prime members than a casual reader spending $100 on books in a year.

It also competes with two other existing Amazon services. Let’s talk about the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library first.

The KOLL also lets you borrow something to read…but just one book a calendar month (that’s not a limitation with Prime Reading). It requires you to own a physical Kindle; Prime Reading can be used with Kindle reading apps on other devices. Yes, the KOLL has many more titles but seems a lot more restrictive.

I’m not sure how much it is costing Amazon to maintain KOLL. I’m guessing it’s not insignificant, in part because of the number of customer service calls they must get on it (and those are expensive). It does have the advantage for the consumer (but not for Amazon) that you don’t have to be a Prime member…it may sell some Kindles/Fires. However, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they quietly let the KOLL sunset.

The other one, and this is more interesting to me, is

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

Like the KOLL, this has many more books than Prime Reading…close to one and half million, much more than 100 times as many.

Every book in Prime Reading (I just can’t bring myself to abbreviate it as PR, because of it being the same as “Public Relations”) is also in KU.

You can get top magazines in both.

The big difference is that you pay an additional $9.99 a month (although it’s sometimes on sale for a longer commitment, as has been the case on Prime Day).

The casual reader may not find that to be necessary. It might seem better if you aren’t also paying for Prime already…but if you are, do you want to add more than $100 a year?

Some will…we pay for Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix in our house, for example…but I wouldn’t describe myself as a casual viewer, either. 😉

I think many bloggers are going to say that it doesn’t have enough books, or diverse enough books…but that’s like when tech reviewers give people pixel per inch counts for phones and tablets and think you should pay significantly more money for more of them. For the typical user, they don’t really care that much about the specs. Good enough might be good enough. 🙂

All in all, Prime just keeps getting better, including the recent addition of

Twitch Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

for videogame fans.

If you can afford Prime, I don’t see why you wouldn’t get it. 🙂

Speaking of affording and Prime members, there is a great sale right now on Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) for Prime members! It’s definitely not too early to be thinking of holiday gifts! I don’t know how long this will last, but at time of writing, there are these deals (probably just in the USA):

This may just tie into the Prime Reading announcement, for Prime members who don’t have Kindle EBRs.

I was going to write about Google’s announcement yesterday, which had really significant things to release (including a major Echo competitor), but Prime Reading took precedence…with this sale an added bonus story!

What do you think? Will Prime Reading make you change anything else…like dropping KU or adding Prime (perhaps for someone else)? If the KOLL went away, would that make a big difference for you? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

One more note: a couple of subscribers noted an interruption from Amazon in the delivery of this blog (and at least one unrelated blog in one case). It seems to be okay now…please let me know if there is still an issue.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.


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