Archive for the ‘Smile.Amazon’ Category

Shop ’til it helps! Use AmazonSmile today

November 28, 2014

Shop ’til it helps! Use AmazonSmile today

Are you planning to shop at


I’d like you to reconsider.

Oh, this isn’t an anti-Amazon thing!

You can still shop at Amazon (and I’m sure many of my readers will on this Black Friday)…I’d just like you to think about using this other Amazon site:

Your shopping experience will be the same.

The bargains will be the same.

Your payment methods will be the same.

The items are the same items.

It’s the same account: buy a Kindle book from AmazonSmile, and it’s the same as if it you bought it from Amazon.

The difference?

You pick a non-profit (from thousands and thousands of choices), and Amazon donates half a percent of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to that group.

It’s that simple to help.

You can change your non-profit choice whenever you want.

Half a percent may not sound like much, but if you spend $100, your designated group gets fifty cents. If ten people spend $100 and have picked that group, they are up to $5.

I’ve been on the board of a non-profit: every penny can help. Organizations can often use money like that to reach out to larger donors.

We use AmazonSmile for purchases…and we feel good doing it.

For the month to date, about 30% of the purchases (based on amount spent) using ILMK** have been at AmazonSmile…I’d love to see that go up.

I’m sure you could find some group you’d like to help.

For example, I put “literacy” into the search box, and got 6,209 results.

In my family, Black Friday is a tradition…and a big part of it is buying toys for Toys for Tots. It’s a great time to get the mainstream, popular toys for kids who might not otherwise get them. Even a child in need has heard of Frozen, or Superman…it can make them feel more “normal” to have them.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving: and we are thankful for our ability to help others. If you are going to shop at Amazon today anyway, you also have that ability.

You can search at AmazonSmile. Alternatively, if you find something at, just change the “www” to “smile”…that will do it. So, becomes…and you help out a cause you choose.

Amazon has devices on sale:

These will be Amazon’s Black Friday device specials

I provide links both to and to AmazonSmile in my posts…I do think people should be able to choose whether they want to support something or not (that makes it more meaningful).

They have some great deals, both on fiction and non-fiction, in the

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


Books (for $1.99 each…about a penny to your chosen non-profit for each one, and yes, that matters) include:

  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  • Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Burmese Days by George Orwell
  • Several Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths
  • The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  • Fast Food Nation by Erik Schlosser
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
  • Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall

If you’ve never used AmazonSmile before, today might be a good day to start…and to make it a habit.

Enjoy your day…and perhaps help others enjoy their futures.

Join over 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! :) 

** I don’t know about all the purchases inspired by ILMK, and I don’t know who bought what. I just get some aggregate figures

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

AmazonSmile: an extra $5 to your chosen non-profit

December 27, 2013

AmazonSmile: an extra $5 to your chosen non-profit

It’s really felt great this year to know that I’m benefiting a non-profit of my choice when I shop at Amazon’s mirror site, AmazonSmile! I wrote about the program on November 3:

Smile.Amazon: support your favorite charity by shopping

and have been linking to items both on AmazonSmile and on the main site.

Well, Amazon has added something exciting!

Through the end of the year, Amazon will donate an extra $5 to your non-profit of choice when you buy an eligible item. The details are here:

For small non-profits, that could make a huge difference.

To make it to a $5 donation otherwise, at half a percent, a supporter would need to buy $1,000 of eligible items at AmazonSmile. Even better, this $5 is on top of the normal donation Amazon makes.

They have set a cap on this extra $5 program: $1,000,000 in donations…my guess is that they could hit that. They only need 200,000 people to buy from AmazonSmile during that period (it doesn’t matter how much the purchase is, I think), and I believe many of my readers routinely shop at AmazonSmile. There’s no real reason not to do it regularly, once you have decided to do it at all.

I can tell you that it looks like people tend to buy the expensive items at AmazonSmile. Yesterday, for example, ILMK readers (I don’t see who buys what) spent about twice as much at AmazonSmile as they did at the regular Amazon site…but bought four times as many items as the regular site.

On second thought, that might have to do with which items are eligible…maybe the more expensive items are more likely to be eligible? Certainly possible.

Regardless, it makes sense to buy everything you can from AmazonSmile if you are comfortable with the program (I am). When I was a retailer, one of my owners was fond of telling us “It’s a game of inches.” In other words, like football, a bunch of little things are more important than the big things. You can gain more than nine yards, but still be an inch short.

When I help people with time management (and I’ve had some real success in that area this year), I always tell them you are looking for little things you do a lot where you can save three seconds. People are proudest to show me something where they saved, say, five minutes. I’ll ask them how often they do that complex task, and it’s usually pretty rare…maybe it’s an end of the month thing. At the same time, I can show them how to save three seconds every time they do something that they do 100 times a day…and that’s five minutes right there. 🙂

My guess is that Amazon is tremendously upping their charitable donations through AmazonSmile, and I’m happy to support my non-profits that way.

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 (at AmazonSmile) 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 #224: 12 Days of Deals, $20 donations

December 3, 2013

Round up #224: 12 Days of Deals, $20 donations

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

Buy a Kindle Fire HDX 7″ on AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate $20 to a non-profit of your choice

My readers have embraced AmazonSmile, a new program which allows you to benefit the non-profit of your choice by shopping at a special Amazon mirror site. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it feels just like shopping at Amazon (you’ll use the same account).

Amazon donates half a percent of the purchase price of eligible items, and you can change your non-profit whenever you want.

Half a percent isn’t much, of course…spend $100, and your non-profit gets fifty cents. However, every small bit can help (I was formerly on the Board of a non-profit, and you’d be surprised how much difference $10 can make).

Today, Amazon announced a great promotion!

If you buy a

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers


Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers

at AmazonSmile through Sunday, December 8th, Amazon will donate $20 to your designated non-profit! That’s in addition to the normal half a percent.

That could really make a difference. If five of these Fires are bought for your preferred organization, that’s more than $100 donated.

I would send this post or the

press release

to any non-profits you support, so they can publicize it with their supporters…I’m going to do that with some I know.

Thanks, Amazon!

Amazon “floats” a “pie in the sky” idea

This may be the most positive (or at least, not negative) publicity Amazon has ever gotten.

In a 60 Minutes


with Charlie Rose (Amazon’s best friend in the media), CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Jeff Bezos revealed PrimeAir, an “R&D” (Research and Development) stage idea to have small “octocopters” deliver Amazon packages to your door. This is how it might work:

concept ad

Every major news outlet seems to have carried the story, although I think they were sometimes a bit fuzzy on the reporting.

First, this is not going to happen on “your next order”, as I saw one headline say. It won’t happen before 2015 at the earliest (they need FAA…Federal Aviation Administration approval), and Bezos was indicating it could be years away.

Second, it’s worth being clear that these would not be remotely piloted. You would give them the coordinates (presumably, the small helicopter would read them off a label), and then it would make its own decisions about how to get there.

I have been most amused about people’s immediate concerns about them being shot down: I suspect using the term “drone” had something to do with that. That’s not to say it wouldn’t happen: people have been known to shine lasers at piloted helicopters, a very dangerous practice.

It’s just that other methods also have a risk of robbery.

Suppose, as was suggested, you could place an order online and have the PrimeAir delivery in half an hour (if you live in certain areas near a fulfillment center). I would guess that poses less of a risk of theft (since you’d be waiting for it) than the package being left on your doorstep for eight hours while you are at work. I think it may become fairly easy to catch people actually shooting at microaircraft, as they become more commercially necessary.

It won’t stop entirely: people shoot at UPS trucks, too.

Certainly, dogs would pose a risk, as might bird strikes (perhaps even intentional ones, in the case of a raptor), but I’m not convinced it would be inherently more risky.

It also obviously wouldn’t work with everything…you aren’t going to get a 25 pound bag of dog food that way, since the projected carry limit is five pounds.

The real question for me is why Amazon showed it on a national TV program now.

They usually won’t even tell us what they are releasing next week. For that matter, they sometimes don’t even tell us what is in an update after they’ve released it. 😉

It’s just not typical for them to tease something by years…they are a pretty secretive company.

The most likely thing to me is that it is to use public opinion to sway the FAA and other entities to approve the project. It may also be to force the package delivery companies to develop something similar. How much is Amazon’s business worth to UPS? If Amazon can do, oh, ten percent of its deliveries itself, that would really hurt Brown’s profitability, I would think.

Amazon threatening to disrupt your industry has got to make you seriously consider taking preemptive action.

That sort of move on Amazon and Jeff Bezos’ parts is why this

CNNMoney article by Adrian Covert

makes so much sense. Covert makes the great point that Jeff Bezos is not the “next Steve Jobs”. They are very, very different. Jobs masterminded great hardware, and yes, absolutely influenced how people see and use technology.

For Bezos, hardware is simply one more tool to use in reshaping commercial society.

Jeff Bezos is more like Henry Ford. Ford didn’t just make cars. Ford remade how people make cars…and so many other things. It’s important to note that Henry Ford didn’t invent the assembly line concept, but saw a practical use for it. Bezos didn’t invent autonomous microaircraft, or even  the use of them for product delivery. It’s figuring out how they can serve Amazon’s three tenets of Service, Selection, and Price that show the genius of Jeff.

“20 Things That Happen When You’re a Book Nerd”

This is a fun

post on BOOKRIOT by Rebecca Joines Schinsky

I agree with quite a few of them, and I’m sure many of you will, too. I really like that it isn’t limited just to p-books (paperbooks). In my experience, the more you love books, the more you love e-books. I mean, you’d read books on soap bubbles, if somebody could figure out a way to do that. 😉

Supreme Court declines to hear internet tax case

Amazon wants a national sales tax policy (not a national sales tax).

They’ve testified in favor of it.

What they don’t want is a bunch of different rules in a bunch of different places, and they don’t want states to simply act on their own, imposing whatever rules they want.

That’s why Amazon challenged New York’s “Amazon Law”. It got up to the doorstep of the Supreme Court, but they declined to hear it.

Bloomberg article by Greg Stohr

That should make a bigger push to get something through Congress.

I’ve written a lot about equal collection legislation before.

There are important constitutional issues here, but it could be resolved by Congress passing a law (it doesn’t require an amendment).

Believe it or not, that actually could happen. 😉

Amazon’s 12 Days of Deals for books

Today is the first day of the second annual 12 Days of Deals for books at Amazon:

These are limited time (and quantity) deals on new and popular books…there are three of them today, and they’ll change each day.

One thing this really drives home for me: how much cheaper Kindle store books can be than the hardback equivalents! The first deal (on as I write this…check the price before you click or tap the Buy button) is for

The Goldfinch
at AmazonSmile

It’s $2.99 as a Kindle book…$8.99 (just about three times as much) as a hardback. As I write this, 17% of the latter have been claimed, with about 3 1/2 hours left to go.

Certainly, they may sell out: many people prefer to give hardbacks as gifts, and (at least among traditionally published books), paper still sells more than digital if we look at all channels.

Still, if you just want to read it, there is a big economic argument to go with e-books.

* 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.

Round up #220: Wish & Win sweepstakes, B&N holiday sale

November 11, 2013

Round up #220: Wish & Win sweepstakes, B&N holiday sale

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

Smiles on Sundays

In this

press release

Amazon announces that they have made a deal with the US Post Office for Sunday deliveries, starting in Los Angeles and New York now, and expanding to “…a large portion of the U.S. population” in 2014.

That may seem strange to some people, since the USPS has been wanting to drop Saturday delivery. However, that Saturday delivery thing is all about first class mail, which is not the profit driver. This would be about packages, which is where the USPS can make money.

After all, hasn’t it always seemed bizarre to you that you can give somebody a letter and, for less than a dollar, they’ll take it to the other side of the country for you…and deliver it right to your recipient’s house?

Since Amazon is making money on many of the products delivered (although not all), the e-tailer is willing to pay for this.

Of course, they plug Prime in the press release…that’s key. This is another reason to make you want to have Prime (order on Friday, have it on Sunday), and that in turn makes you buy those “diapers and windshield wipers”.

Note that you currently may pay more for Saturday delivery with Prime shipping, and I thought that might be even more true with Sundays. However, this

Los Angeles Times article by Tiffany Hsu

says that won’t be the case:

“Members of Amazon’s Prime program have free two-day shipping and, under the new deal, can order items Friday and receive them Sunday. Customers without Prime will pay the standard shipping costs associated with business day delivery.”

This will also expand beyond Amazon, but they’ll have it (again, in L.A. and NYC) for this holiday season.

Wishlist Wish and Win Sweepstakes

In the past, Amazon has done sweepstakes involving using your Wish Lists during the holidays.

Well, something like that is available now…and as we saw recently with their Halloween shop, Amazon has a corporate co-sponsor. This time, it is Sony, bringing you a chance to win $7,300 in Amazon gift cards:

Wish & Win Sweepstakes

You don’t have to use them to buy Sony products but, you know, I’m sure they’d appreciate that. 😉

Additionally, if any of the three winners created (not added to) an Amazon Wish List during this period and put at least one item on it, they get an additional $1,000 in Amazon gift cards.

Amazon does say they may run a “similar” sweepstakes during this period, and that if they do, you have to enter it separately.

They also are trying to keep down the entries here: one entry per e-mail address, and you can’t use multiple e-mail addresses to enter multiple times (without risking disqualification).

Vonnegut nut or Vonnegut virgin…

…it doesn’t matter, because there is a deal for you today! 😉

One of the Kindle Daily Deals today is up to nine Kurt Vonnegut books for $1.99 each.

The big ones are here: Slaughterhouse-5, The Sirens of Titan, as well as some that geek (like me) on your gift list may not have read. 😉

Meanwhile, back at Barnes & Noble…

While Amazon has been announcing amazing programs, including Kindle Matchbook and Kindle First, Barnes & Noble has been planning their big holiday attractions! Drum roll…

They have three press releases out today:

This is a very important holiday season for Barnes & Noble. Well, the holidays are always the most important time of the year for brick-and-mortar bookstores (I’m a former manager), but investors will really be looking to see what they can do.

The most interesting of these is the “Discovery Friday” thing, a week before Black Friday. They are doing a lot of good deals (in store) that day. B&N members will be able to get the new GlowLight for under $100, and the Simple Touch will be available for (just) under $50.

They’ll also be pushing local involvement, having community authors in a lot of the stores.

You’ll also have the chance to win $1,000 gift cards.

Quite simply, they are pulling out the stops. This comes with a risk: if this doesn’t succeed in a big way, there will be people who lose confidence in B&N as a business in the future.

It does sound like a fun day, though!

Have a click and a smile

Okay, I want your opinion on this one.

We’ve been shopping through AmazonSmile, a new program from Amazon which I explained here:

Smile.Amazon: support your favorite charity by shopping

It feels just like shopping at Amazon, after the initial set-up (which is very simple) of choosing a charity. When you do that, the charity gets half a percent (you spend $100, they get fifty cents) of the purchase price of the items you buy.

It makes me feel good. 🙂

I really like the idea of it. They have such a broad array of non-profits from which to choose (I’ve supported an academic institution associated with a family member). Switching is easy, too: if you wanted to do a Veterans’ organization for today, for example, you could do that.

Here’s the question for you:

I can link to items on AmazonSmile, the same way I link to them at the regular Amazon site.

I’m considering doing that will pretty much all my links.

The positive is that more people would use AmazonSmile, and therefore more non-profits would get support…making me feel like I was doing more good in the world.

The negative is that, only the first time, a person would have to pick a charity (they do make that easy). That might prevent some people from going through to the item. I don’t want to force people to give: that’s up to you. I suppose some people might also be wary of letting Amazon know which charities they support (although I’m not concerned about that). Some people prefer their giving to be entirely anonymous and untrackable. Amazon actually donates the money, but if their system was compromised somehow, your choice of non-profit might be exposed.

I’d like to hear what you think:

Thanks for giving me your opinion on that!

What do you think about the other items in this post? Will you go to Barnes & Noble on “Discovery Friday”? Does it seem innovative enough to you…and do they need to innovate? Do  you think their appeal might be heightened by appearing to be old-fashioned? Does Sunday delivery make you more likely to become (or stay) a Prime member? Do you worry about Amazon knowing who you support? Does Amazon having co-sponsors for promotions make sense to you? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

Smile.Amazon: support your favorite charity by shopping

November 3, 2013

Smile.Amazon: support your favorite charity by shopping

Shopping at Amazon is easy, right? Some might say it is too easy… 😉

Wouldn’t it be nice if supporting your favorite charity was that easy? Especially if you could give them financial support without giving them any of your own money (although that can certainly feel rewarding)?

Amazon has now made that possible.

All you have to do is go to

pick your charity, and shop as you always do at Amazon!

Your charity will get 0.5% of your purchase…spend $100, and they get fifty cents.

There’s really not that much more to it.

Amazon has done things with charitable giving before, but I like how easy this is…and how they have so many charities available. I used to sit on the Board of a somewhat obscure group, and it showed up: they say they have almost a million organizations.

Amazon announced it in this

press release

Naturally, Amazon needs the bank information to be able to directly deposit money. Organizations can register here:

What happens if your organization doesn’t register and someone chooses your group?

Amazon will hold on to the money for up to four calendar quarters. They’ll try to contact you to get you to register (which is free). If you don’t register after that time, they’ll distribute the money to other charitable groups.

Not every product is eligible, and the ones which are will be marked on the item’s Amazon product page.

I did a quick check: it looked to me like Kindle hardware was, but I wasn’t seeing Kindle e-books which were (although I didn’t check very many). I did specifically check a book published by Amazon, in addition to others, and didn’t see the information. The


does indicate that some digital products will be eligible.

I don’t see much reason not to do this. 🙂

Amazon again changes things in a positive way, in my opinion. This could get a lot more money (read: opportunity) to these organizations which have been recognized by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) as being non-profits (some types are excluded).

One other thing: I know some of my readers are Amazon Associates. Your current links will not direct people to this site.

I checked with Amazon on this, and this is part of their reply:

“You can easily link to the AmazonSmile home page or a product detail page by using the following format to construct your links:

Home Page:
Detail Page:

To make your link to an items detail page functional, replace ASIN with the 10-digit ISBN or ASIN of the product, and replace your_Associates_ID with your Associates ID or Tracking ID.

The ASIN is listed on the product detail page at under Product Details. Your Associates ID and Tracking ID can be found on the left of your screen when youre signed into Associates Central. Your Associates ID will be listed under Signed in as.”

An organization can both be the beneficiary of someone shopping and get a referral fee…that’s explicitly okay.

I do have a few things I’d like to highlight:

  • There is no cap on the donations (Amazon will not stop donating because a certain dollar value is reached)
  • There are no deductions for administrative fees
  • This is free both for the shoppers and for the receiving organizations
  • The donations actually come from Amazon, not from the shopper…so the shopper does not get a tax write-off
  • Organizations can opt out, if they want
  • While you are shopping, you’ll see a banner at the top reminding you of which organization you chose. You can click or tap “Supporting” there to make a change
  • You are going to get to in your browser (on a computer, tablet, or phone). I don’t believe you can do this while using the Amazon shopping app at this point, or when shopping directly from a Kindle (unless you use the browser there)

More questions?

About AmazonSmile

Please consider this option during the holiday season…and I can certainly see organizations themselves (many of which buy things from Amazon) shopping the site.

Here’s my suggested new motto for them:

“Shop ’til it helps!”


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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