February 8th, 2011
Amazon is now offering free two-day shipping when you order a new Kindle! If you’re buying a Kindle for a Valentine’s Day gift, the two-day shipping will make sure that your present arrives in time. Presumably the offer lasts at least through this Friday (since Amazon explains that it’s limited to two business days). Their ad also notes that the Kindle is the single most-gifted product on all of Amazon.com — and that it’s also got the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon. (10,931 different users gave the Kindle a five-star review.)
The two-day shipping costs will be fully deducted from the cost of your order on the final check-out screen — but it’s not the only way to get free shipping on a Kindle. In fact, you can get free shipping every day of the year on Amazon if you’re a college student, if you’re willing to provide Amazon with the name of your school and your major. Just register for the “Amazon student” program, which provides a full year of free two-day shipping. It’s an extended trial of the “Amazon Prime” service — so during that year, you can upgrade to one-day shipping for just $3.99. And if you’re not a college student, you can still qualify for the same cheap shipping rates — but Amazon will only give you a one-month free trial of the program, instead of one year. After that, the Amazon Prime membership costs $79 a year — but if you’re paying Amazon for a lot of expedited shipping, it could still save you some money!
Amazon also gave a special gift today to everyone who owns a Kindle — page numbers! “Our customers have told us they want real page numbers that match the page numbers in print books,”
Amazon announced, “so they can easily reference and cite passages, and read alongside others in a book club or class… We’ve already added real page numbers to tens of thousands of Kindle books, including the top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle Store that have matching print editions and thousands more of the most popular books!”
Right now it’s available if you download a “preview” of the Kindle’s next software update. (I made an easy-to-remember URL: tinyurl.com/getpagenumbers ) But eventually, “All latest generation Kindle and Kindle 3G customers will receive this software update automatically via Wi-Fi once it becomes available,” Amazon announced. Along with the location numbers at the bottom of your screen, soon your Kindle will also be displaying what the page number would be if you were reading the same text in a printed book — along with the total number of pages in the book!
Those page numbers will only appear when you press the menu button, and “Not all Kindle books include page numbers,” Amazon’s web page explained. But if it book does have page numbers, Amazon will indicate a “page number source” on the book’s web page at Amazon.com (listed under “product details”). Amazon will calculate the page number using the first word on your screen — so technically you could end up also reading part of the next page (as it appears in the printed book) on the same screen. But clicking your “Next Page” button would then refresh your page number on the next screen. And of course, your Kindle will also still calculates the percentage of the book that you’ve finished reading (at the lower left side of the screen).
One study actually estimated that 47% of the people who own a Kindle received it as a gift — so Amazon obviously hopes people will think of the Kindle as a present for Valentine’s Day. I’m feeling a little left out, since my girlfriend and I both have Kindles already.
So I’ve been trying to think about the upcoming page numbers as Amazon’s special gift to us…!