Limited Time Offer: Free 2-Day Kindle Shipping On All Models

In order to make sure that the maximum number of people are able to get their new Kindle purchases in time for Christmas, Amazon has decided to offer Free Two Day Shipping to anybody who completes their transaction before 8pm Pacific Time (UTC-8) on December 21st.  This offer extends to every model currently available, from the $79 Kindle 4 to the $199 Kindle Fire tablet, and will cover shipping to any location in the continental United States.

The Kindle line, and eReaders in general at this point really, make excellent gifts.  The price has come down to the point of being practically large-scale impulse purchases, and the fact that you can expect ongoing support and content updates for the indefinite future makes a strong case or the practicality of ownership. Owning a Kindle eReader provides access to practically any title on the market today at the touch of a button with no need to worry about shipping, travel, or retail crowds.  This last one is likely to be a welcome benefit for people doing their holiday shopping this late in the year.

Additionally, according to Amazon the Kindle Fire is the most gifted, most wished for, bestselling item on the entire site and has been since before it was even released.  Like the eReader counterparts, it provides users with access to a huge library of content.  In addition to eBooks, you can also draw on a large App Store, all of Amazon Instant Video, and basically any digital content Amazon handles.  Top that off with access to services like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and other content streaming services and you have a media consumption experience it is hard to argue against.  Keep in mind that each Kindle Fire comes with a month of free Amazon Prime membership and the access to all the benefits that that entails (free Instant Video selections, free 2-Day Shipping, etc), which means that anybody who gets one as a gift will have a chance to most of its more enjoyable features even without any post-purchase investment.

Keep in mind when considering Kindles as gifts that you can also include eBooks to go with them.  At present, all US customers have the option of choosing to gift a Kindle Edition eBook to anybody with an email address.  This will work as a cheaper gift option for anybody who might already be using a Kindle app for iOS or Android, incidentally.  Also, while I have no personal experience with the feature, you can also apparently also schedule your purchase’s delivery for exactly when you want them to get it.  This could help a lot when it comes to scheduling since, even with instant delivery and a smartphone, it is annoying to be making last second gift acquisitions.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of Amazon’s offer, keep an eye on the clock.  This will certainly not be extended, given their lack of direct control over shipping matters.

Enjoy your holidays!

Kindle Fire Santa App Great For Parents

Amazon has a habit of releasing some very functional mobile apps that subtly encourage customers to use their site more often.  Of course the fact that they do this by making these apps into genuinely useful ways to save money makes it rather hard to fault them on it.  The most recent of these, and the first one to be released specifically for owners of the new Kindle Fire, is the completely free Amazon Santa app.

At the most basic level, it’s nothing more than a pleasantly festive holiday wallpaper thrown across an wishlist building application.  It provides the user with a few categories – Music, Books, Video Games, Toys & Games, Movies & TV, Everything Else – to flip through, which can be run through endlessly (or close enough based on my experimenting and the claim of over 500,000 listed products).  Presumably these are sorted out based on current popularity, since the product page notes that dynamic updating is a part of the experience.

The reason I consider this one worth recommending, despite having a fairly narrow range of application, is the appeal to children for the benefit of parents.  The Amazon Santa app lets each kid pick out their own favorites in a separate wish list, then send it off to Santa.  While I can’t necessarily vouch for anything that is happening in the North Pole, I can definitely confirm that Amazon will send along some notice to the Kindle Fire owner’s registered email account.  This includes a short list of selections from the list, a link to the full list, and other relavent information.

It’s worth noting at this point that the company is quick to explain how their privacy applies to kids.  Specifically, that no information is in any way linked to the individual identity of a child on Amazon’s part.  Also, that it is preferred for parents to handle all naming of wish lists and registration of accounts under their own names.  While it is always tricky to market anything toward children in a manner that might pass on important information, in this case it would be difficult to think of Amazon picking up anything unless a parent goes out of their way to put a real name on the related list.

Now, I’ll openly add the disclaimer that I do not personally have children, nor do I do any particularly intensive shopping for the ones I am related to.  That aside, the parents I know were quite fond of the idea and their children (all ages 5-12) had no trouble using the app.  I’m told that at least one friend now has trouble retrieving her Kindle as a result, but that’s a completely unrelated problem

The reviews among the broader audience are generally positive, 4 Stars at the time I’m writing this, but there are a couple complaints.  There isn’t sorting, nor can you really narrow down what you want to look at beyond the main categories.  You also will not be able to make use of the app unless you happen to have a Kindle Fire or an iPad.  Definitely important things to note, but if you have the opportunity I would definitely give this one a try.  The value is great, especially considering the price.

‘Kindelized’ Christmas

Kindle AdvertisementWith Christmas coming up, I noticed the news about Kindle is focused on predicting the number of Kindle sales during pre-Christmas shopping time. I also see some Christmas anticipation from the Kindle community – some folks cannot wait until the X day to give Kindle as a gift to someone special, others hope to find Kindle in their Christmas stocking, and a couple of people indulge in bragging about getting Kindle as an early Christmas present (most likely they were also the givers).

Does the fact that Kindle is the best selling item on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), magnify the urge to buy Kindle even more? Would it be the “herd-instinct” (kudos to Nietzsche for coining the term), i.e. everybody has Kindle, therefore I want one; or it would be due to the belief – if so many people purchase Kindle then it must be good? Well, as for me – clearly, it makes me wonder. Who would we attribute the predicted numbers for Kindle sales – to the agile marketing strategy, or to Kindle’s superiority among the e-book readers? Mind you, the 8 million of future Kindle sales is a mere prognosis for now. Personally, I cannot wait to see if this prognosis will be supported by the facts after Christmas. In any case, I am applauding to Amazon marketing team: the Kindle advertisement’s slogan is solid, strong, and concise.

Nook Gets Updated To 1.1

nook-ebook-readerThe Banes and Noble Nook eBook reader got updated just before Christmas. So those lucky(?) souls who got theirs delivered before or around that time were able to update their Nook for a comparatively nicer time reading eBooks on their new eBook reader on Christmas. But has the update made the Nook into a killer product, the answer sadly is a no. It still has some time to go before it can threaten established players like the Kindle.

In fact, even according to some official words form B&N this wasn’t anything major. They were simply testing things out with their very first over-the-air update for the Nook. Other than allowing a “seamless” access to the   B&N store providing exclusive content for the Nook, it also improves on the core speed and performance. That basically means it fixes the things that were slowing the Nook down noticeably. This should also cut down on the number of complaints that we were getting to hear about the Nook.

The Nook was already overbooked and supply was low much before Christmas. So most people who wanted to buy and/or gift eBook readers went for the Kindle or the Sony Readers. So the holidays have not made Nook the overnight sensation that some thought it would become. However, do not get me wrong on this count. The Nook is actually a very promising device and if B&N can play it right they are in for really good business. The Nook’s secondary color touchscreen might make more of a difference than originally expected. Plus, the Android factor also works to make it a very powerful device that is also flexible enough to accept radical new features that weren’t thought of before. So hopefully we will see this morph into a really good eBook reader that is different from all the rest.

Sunday Night Links #1: 23 December 2007

Welcome to the first instalment of Sunday Night Links! As the week draws to a close, every Sunday night we will bring you Kindle links from around the web. Compiled form blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope this link list will give you a definitive overview of what’s new regarding Kindle and what the community is talking about.

15 Things I Just Learned About the Amazon Kindle – BoingBoing

The PR Revolution Amazon’s Kindle May Be Bringing – Influential Marketing Blog

Kindle Gaming? The Hidden Game – Kindle Reader

Amazon Kindle Real-Life Review (Verdict: Lightweight, Long Lasting and Easy to Grip… In Bed) – Gizmodo

Which eBook Reader is the Best?
– Slashdot

10 Lessons in Innovation from Amazon’s Kindle –

Kindle can light up your life – Chicago Sun Times

And finally on a more festive note, Merry Christmas to all our readers! So here is an amusing video for you to watch…