February 12th, 2012
Promising “a sweet deal” for Valentine’s Day, Amazon’s reduced the price on many Kindle accessories by 30%. The deal ends Tuesday (February 14th), but there’s still time to place an “overnight” order if you need a quick gift. And Amazon’s offering bigger discounts elsewhere on their site for some other traditional gift items. On some pieces of jewelry, Amazon’s even announced up to 70% discounts — and free one-day shipping!
But I was more intrigued by the bargain-priced Kindle accessories. For example, you can dress your Kindle Fire tablet in a genuine leather case for just $48.99. (Normally the Versa Marrakesh cover sells for $69.) And for the new Kindle (and other models), there’s also a wide selection of sleeves and cases. Even the Kindle power adapter is reduced in price, to just $14.99 (though you can also buy used adapters for as little as $2.00.)
Amazon promises these accessories make a great gift “for yourself or your favorite Kindle owner this Valentine’s day.” But they’re also offering big savings on “classic” Valentine’s Day gifts like chocolate, fragrances, watches, and clothing. There’s even gifts for men in categories like sports and recreation, fitness, and gear for sports fans. (Amazon promises that “Whether your leading man is a gadget guy, outdoor enthusiast, avid golfer, or devoted sports fan, we’ve got the perfect gifts to express your love.”) You can browse through all the discounted gifts in a special page Amazon’s created as a “Valentine’s Day store”.
To reach the page, point your web browser to tinyurl.com/AmazonValentines
Amazon’s even got a gift for Kindle lovers that you can purchase on February 14th. They’re offering “instant delivery” on an Amazon gift card via e-mail. (And I’m guessing the graphics are very attractive.) The selection includes “Kindle-branded” gift cards, so you can send a store credit that’s announced by the silhouette of a reader sitting happily under a tree. And you can really surprise your valentine on Tuesday by delivering your gift card as a Facebook “wall post”. (Amazon reminds you that besides ebooks, they’re also redeemable for “millions of other items at Amazon.”)
But best of all, you can even order a bouquet of flowers from Amazon, from companies like 1-800-Flowers and Proflowers!
April 7th, 2011
Yesterday M-Edge slashed prices on their Kindle 2 covers — but later that day, they delivered some even bigger news. Tuesday they launched a new service that lets you design your own custom jacket for
your Kindle 2 or 3!
A web interface lets you upload an image from your computer, then position it and crop it in an online simulation of your Kindle’s jacket. Within two weeks, you’ll be holding an actual Kindle jacket with your
image printed on it, according to Tuesday’s announcement. And you can also print your own text on the jacket, select a background pattern, and even choose the jacket’s color. “MyEdge turns you into the designer,” the new web site promises.
You can choose from either the black or mocha-colored leather spine and stitching, and the final jacket is given a coat of protective Scotchgard. Best of all, it all costs just $40. “Our goal is to offer high-quality and unique accessories at affordable prices,” the company’s CFO said in a press release, “and we’re proud that MyEdge will give our customers another option to convey their one-of-a-kind style to the world.”
There’s also a “style library” where you can choose from existing designs, and even browse through the jackets that were designed by other users. It’s already offering over 313 different styles to choose from, including what looks like photos of pet cats and dogs, and one design that apparently even features a couple’s wedding photo. The Style Library also features the official NCAA-licensed logos for several colleges, including the Universities of Virginia, Washington, Maryland, “for students and alumni looking to showcase their school spirit.” But there’s also some fascinating Kindle jackets that are displaying the covers from vintage print editions of classic books (like Slaughterhouse 5, Naked Lunch, and even The Lord of the Flies).
It’s the result of a unique partnership with a clothing company called “Out of Print,” which has also been printing the classic covers on a line of t-shirts. “For each shirt we sell,” they explain on their web site, “one book is donated to a community in need through our partner Books For Africa…” The web site describes how they’re ultimately motivated by a deep love of books. “It’s unclear what the role of the book cover will be in this new era, but we feel it’s more important than ever to reflect on our own individual experiences with great literary art before it’s forever changed.”
I’ve always said that the Kindle’s huge popularity could be a moment of history that’s happening right before our eyes. But it’s refreshing that the two companies are having fun with it, using cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to reproduce some very old-fashioned printed book covers. It’s like they’re successfully standing in both eras, acknowledging a heritage while creating something new for Kindle owners. “For those who love the new reading technology but miss the feeling of holding a traditional hardcover in their hands,” the jacket-maker explained in their press release, “MyEdge is the ultimate opportunity to put a little of the book back into the e-reader.”
April 5th, 2011
I’ve never seen savings like this. They’re authentic leather jackets from M-Edge for the Kindle 2 — and they’re on sale for just $14.99!
Normally they’d cost between $39.99 and $54.99, but a special sale started today at a store called Tuesday Morning. Ten times a year — on the first Tuesday of each month — they’ll announce their biggest new specials on brand-name merchandise. It’s a chain of 842 stores in 47 different states, according to Wikipedia, and it’s “known for its deep discounts on gifts and accessories seen in more upscale department stores.” (Find your local branch here.) I didn’t see any Kindle 3 jackets, but for the Kindle 2 there’s lots of different colors available. This afternoon I saw red, purple, tan, and cream at my local store — and the cashier said the supply should last.
In fact, she also said that she hadn’t sold any all day — and it’s not hard to guess why they’ve been discounted. These M-Edge jackets have built-in straps to hold your Kindle in place, but they’ll only fit around an 8-inch Kindle 2 — and not the newer Kindle 3 (which is 7.5 inches tall). Amazon stopped selling the Kindle 2 in August, so the market for these jackets has to be dwindling. The store’s corporate profile notes they provide “upscale closeout” items, and sure enough, many of the jackets are currently listed as “unavailable” on Amazon.com.
But they’ve received dozens of favorable reviews from customers, and it’s really a nice Kindle jacket. Tuesday Morning is offering discounts on their “Latitude” jacket, which offers a built-in zipper, as well as the “Go!” jacket. (“Selection will vary by store,” their newspaper ad explains.) But both versions offer a slot where you can insert the tiny e-Luminator booklight, and the Go! jacket even doubles as stand, so you can prop up your Kindle and read it with no hands!
It comes with a package insert promising the product is “Amazon approved,” and their slogan is “Everything EReader.” It’s my very first leather Kindle jacket, and I love the way it feels under my fingertips. Instead of touching cold, white plastic — I’m finally touching real leather. It’s a beautiful cream color, with a tan, saddle-stitched strap, and the interior is a super-soft microfiber. (“Soft, plush interiors protect e-Reader from damage,” the ad explained.) It’s even easier to hang onto — since it adds some extra thickness around the Kindle, which makes it easier to grip.
For me it feels like a whole new way of enjoying the Kindle. (And according to the store’s newspaper ad, the jackets are available “in a wide variety of colors and styles.”) You can view the ad online by pointing your browser to tinyurl.com/TuesdayMorningAd — and then flipping to page 5.
And if you can’t find your way to a Tuesday morning store, there’s still a few jackets that are available online.
December 12th, 2010
I had a lot of fun writing about gift ideas for Kindle owners. (There were covers that looked like an old-fashioned book — and some that made your Kindle look like you’re reading The New Yorker.) But this opened my eyes to a new world of Kindle accessories, and with some more research, I discovered some even more spectacular ways to customize and accessorize a Kindle.
Matte Finish “Her Abstraction” DecalGirl Protective Kindle Skin
You can give your Kindle a special “arts and crafts” feel using vinyl skins (backed with adhesive) that you apply to completely cover the outside of your Kindle. This design is called “Her Abstraction”, and its page in the Kindle store promises it can reduce the glare from your Kindle’s hard plastic edges, and also prevent fingerpints (since the vinyl is coated with a special protective layer of matte).
It’s created by a manufacturer named “DecalGirl,” who offers several other attractive designs in the Kindle store.. Below is a picture of my second favorite. Just released in August, it’s a design they call “Empty Nest.” (“It’s very pretty…” wrote one reviewer in Amazon’s Kindle store. “But just so people know; it’s just a sticker. It doesn’t protect the kindle in case you drop it, etc…”)
Stars & Stripes GelaSkins Protective Kindle Skin
On the 4th of July, I read the Declaration of Independence on my Kindle. But imagine how patriotic I’d feel if my Kindle actually looked like an American flag.
For $19.99, a manufactuer named “GelaSkins” offers a long line of arty “protective skins” for your Kindle, but the main difference is these vinyl skins actually cover your Kindle’s screen. The idea is to protect it from scratches when the Kindle is in transit. (Its description on Amazon.com promises it can be removed and re-applied “with no residue”.) You can change the look of your Kindle again and again by switching from one skin design to another.
One reviewer noted that the pictures are a little misleading, since unless you turn your Kindle all the way off, its screen will revert to a screensaver picture. But I was still impressed by the many arty patterns they have available for the Kindle — including a colorful design with an ocean drawing that they’re calling “The Great Wave.”
Genuine Brown Leather Hide Tuff-Luv Western Saddle Case Cover
This one comes with a handy stand, so you can prop up your Kindle and enjoy hands-free reading. (One Kindle owner announced in Amazon’s Kindle Discussion Forum that it was perfect for reading cookbooks.) It’s actually hand-made, according to the description in Amazon’s Kindle store. (And yes, that’s actual cow hide that it’s made from, which they describe as both “genuine” and “rugged”.) I like the western design of the case, which seems like it would give a unique, old-fashioned feeling to your Kindle of solid and sturdy craftmanship. (The case’s workmanship comes with a lifetime guarantee.)
And for $29.99, you can also give your Kindle a woven hemp cover. (It even comes with a little flap on the side which you can use for holding a pen!)
Scatter Dot BUILT Neoprene Kindle Sleeve
It’s like a comfy sock for your Kindle. (“Machine wash cold; air dry,” it says in the cover’s description on Amazon.)
The manufacturer is also proud of the slightly curved “hourglass” shape of the sleve, which they argue gives extra protection to the Kindle by creating a kind of cushioning “bumper.” It’s created by a company called “Built,” and they offer several other designs if you’re not interested in “Scatter Dot.” They all offer interesting patterns with arty names — like the black-and-white “Vine,” or the warm oranges and reds of “Nolita Stripe.”
And there’s even one with a series of blue, green, and black bands that’s called “Bowery Stripe and Scuba Blue.”
Ikat Choco Canvas Clutch cover by designer Diane von Furstenberg
She married (and then divorced) a German prince, and re-married a commoner in 2001. But along the way, Diane von Furstenberg built an international reputation as a fashion designer — and in April, she released a line of purse-shaped “clutches” for the Amazon Kindle.
There’s three patterns — the one above is “Ikat Choco,” though there’s a less-busy pattern that’s called
“Signature,” plus a soft blue one with patches of white that’s called “Spotted Cat.” There’s actually a purse-style clatch that can hold the case shut, and when it folds open, you can hold your Kindle like a book — and there’s even a pouch to hold business cards.
MLB Baseball protective Kindle skins by SkinIt
Do you know a fan of major league baseball? Nearly every team has a protective Kindle skin for sale in Amazon’s Kindle store, courtesy of a company called Skinit. There’s the Minnesota Twins (pictured above), the New York Yankees, and of course, this year’s World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. Each one adds the familiar red stitches of a major league baseball to the front edges of your Kindle — and adds a team logo to the back, using an easily-removable vinyl skin.
The offerings aren’t just limited to baseball. SkinIt offers vinyl Kindle skins with lots of NFL Football teams, NBA basketball teams, and even NCAAF college football teams. And last month, they even began offering a Kindle skin with pictures of the vampires from Twilight — and another one with Mickey Mouse!
They’re sold separately, of course…!
December 6th, 2010
I’ve given this a lot of thought. Someone in your life loves their Kindle — and now it’s that special time of year when you want to give them a gift. Unfortunately, this year’s popular gift item is the Kindle — and they have one already! What can you give them besides a Kindle that will make their eyes light with excitement?
For starters, how about a big stack of Kindle ebooks?
Gift Cards and Gift Certificates
Amazon sells pre-paid gift cards for Kindle purchases — and you can even get one with a holiday picture!
There’s also card designs that say Happy New Years or Happy Holidays — plus over 100 other designs for special occasions throughout the year.
For last-minute gifts, you can even e-mail an official Amazon gift certificate instead. (Or, if you’ve got a Facebook account, send it as a Facebook e-mail instead…)
Some of these are really gorgeous. There’s a whole line by fashion design Kate Spade — including some stitched canvas covers that make your Kindle look like an actual book! (You even hold it in your hands like a book, folding open its top cover to reveal the Kindle’s screen…)
Or for a more practical gift, M-Edge also sell a Kindle “Guardian Case” which is waterproof. According to the product’s description, it will even float on the surface of the water, finally making it possible to read your Kindle in the bathtub, and one reviewer posted about reading their Kindle while relaxing in a swimming pool. (“I daresay I even used it as paddle on one occasion when my raft drifted too far from the boat!”)
Of course, there’s lots of other decorative skins. Just five weeks ago, a new Marware product line appeared in Amazon’s Kindle Accessories Store: colorful rubber “skins” that wrap around a Kindle. The sturdy padding is technically referred to as a “fitted silicone case,” and it protects your Kindle from chipping if it falls to a hard surface. And, according to at least one reviewer on Amazon, it can also make your Kindle easier to grip.
There’s seven different colors to choose from, including black, white, and graphite — matching the colors of Kindles — but also pink, red, blue, and “frosted”. And best of all, they’re all available for under $20.
Of course, if you want to offer someone the ultimate protection for their Kindle — buy their Kindle a two-year extended warranty!
They own a Kindle — but do they own a Kandle? These cute, battery-powered reading lamps fit over the top of a Kindle. It’s currently Amazon’s best-selling reading light for the Kindle — but perhaps the best testimonial comes from an Amazon reviewer who’d been keeping his bedroom lamp on to read his Kindle — only to discover this was infuriating his wife!
“I’m going to smash your new toy!” she growled one morning with the force of crossed gods and dying suns. A chill swept over the planet. Birds stopped singing. Children paused in playgrounds.
“Enter the Kandle. Now I can read in bed (my favorite place in the house) with barely any light spilling over onto my wife’s eyelids… No more threats against the Kindle or me.”
In November, Amazon introduced a brand new feature for the Kindle: the ability to “gift” someone with the book of your choice. Unfortunately, the ebook doesn’t actually appear on their Kindle — Amazon just sends along an e-mail announcing that the ebook’s now available and that it’s already been pre-purchased — so this only works as a Christmas gift if your intended recipient is checking their e-mail on Christmas Day. But I still think it’s an exciting gift, because it’s a completely new way that you can surprise the Kindle lover in your life.
I’ve always thought this was a great idea. Why not gift a Kindle owner with an ebook that they don’t want. When the Kindle lover in your life declines the ebook, Amazon automatically credits their account with that ebook’s original purchase price — meaning that it’s really just an ebook gift certificate, in the form of a very unappreciated book! My suggestion for the gag gift? A Kindle ebook that’s all about the Nook — like “Nook Survival Guide – Step-by-Step User Guide for the Nook eReader.”
And of course, don’t overlook the most spectacular gift idea of all for your Kindle-loving friends. If you’ve got the money, you could always buy them another Kindle! If they’ve got the Kindle 3G, get them a $139 Kindle WiFi, so they can enjoy their reading on a Kindle that’s even lighter. Or, buy them an international Kindle Dx, so that they can enjoy its even bigger 9.7-inch screen.
After all, if they’ve already got a Kindle — then you know it’s a gift that they’ll really enjoy…