Friday, November 19, 2010

Amazon finally does Kindle-book gifting - UPDATE


I'll just quote the press release while providing my earlier version of of the portion in this press-release that highlights again the Editors' choices for the best Kindle books of 2010.  Amazon starts it off with this:

"For the First Time, Give the Gift of Kindle Books (No Kindle Required)
Kindle Store the first major bookstore to offer eBook gifting"

Well, in fact, Kobo offered eBook gifting a day earlier (Thursday), and since the Kobo is sold at Borders and other stores, I think that qualifies -- Amazon nodded off at the wheel there but they're awake now and ready :-)

 Here's the press release with my modifications that include links to the books they have recommended for 2010.
' SEATTLE, Nov 19, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

(NASDAQ: AMZN) - Kindle is the most gifted item in the history of and millions of people around the world are reading Kindle Books on Kindle devices and free Kindle apps.  Beginning today, just in time for the holiday season, customers can give Kindle Books as gifts to anyone with an e-mail address -- no Kindle required.  Kindle Books can be read on Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices.
  For more information or to give a Kindle Book as a gift, go to

"We are thrilled to make it easier than ever for our customers to give their favorite Kindle book to a friend or family member as a gift," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon Kindle.  "We're making this functionality available in time for the holidays to offer an easy, stress free holiday shopping option for anyone - not just Kindle owners."

To give a Kindle Book as a gift, customers simply choose a book in the Kindle Store, select "Give as a Gift" and send their gift to anyone with an email address.  Notifications of Kindle Books gifts are delivered instantly via e-mail and the recipient redeems the gift in the Kindle Store to read on any Kindle or free Kindle app.

Just in time for holiday gift-giving, Amazon editors' picks for the best books of the year are:

  [ CAUTION: A small change for this list only:
    These won't open a new window, so don't close the book-browsing window
    but instead use the Back button to get back to this page --
    otherwise, it would be hard to get back here. ]

1. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
2. "Faithful Place: A Novel" by Tana French
3. "Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War" by Karl Marlantes
4. "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand
5. "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson
6. "Freedom: A Novel" by Jonathan Franzen
7. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson
8. "To the End of the Land" by David Grossman
9. "Just Kids" by Patti Smith
10. "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" by Michael Lewis

[And here's the usual press-release paragraph that I `normally omit, but some new to the Kindle may be interested.]

  With over 725,000 books, the U.S. Kindle Store ( has the largest selection of the most popular books that people want to read - including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases from $9.99. Kindle lets you Buy Once, Read Everywhere - on Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices.  Amazon's Whispersync technology syncs your place across devices, so you can pick up where you left off.  With Kindle Worry-Free Archive, books you purchase from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in your Kindle library on Amazon where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime. '

As I said, finally !

UPDATE - For convenience, here's the tiny FAQ at the givekindlebooks page linked earlier above:

Frequently Asked Questions about Giving Kindle eBooks

Do I have to own a Kindle to give or receive a Kindle ebook as a gift?
  No. Kindle ebooks can be given and received by anyone with an e-mail address.  Kindle ebooks can be read either on Kindle or on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, or Android Phone using one of our free reading apps.

What if the recipient doesn't like or want their gift?
  Kindle ebooks received as gifts can be exchanged for gift cards.

Are all Kindle ebooks eligible to be given as gifts? All ebooks available for purchase in the Kindle Store can be given as gifts. '

Also, here is the November 5 blog article on other Amazon best-book links for 2010 so far.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

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  1. Fantastic news! This is what I've been waiting for and will make writing a Christmas gift list so much easier!

  2. I'm surprised (unless I'm unaware of this option) that there isn't a way to "delay" the purchase of the item until the day you want it to be delivered. That way, a birthday gift, or a christmas gift won't be delivered days earlier

  3. Stuart, I totally agree.

    That was my thought too, but I figured they just had not worked that into their description or announcement yet, or at least I hope so. The idea in general is great but the holiday focus is something that means an additional feature is not only important but essential. I hope it's in there. I haven't looked at it in depth yet.

  4. And not surprising, some of the most vocal voices previously demanding the option to gift eBooks are now complaining about it, stating they don't want to get eBooks but want giftcards instead.

  5. Anonymous, that figures, doesn't it.

    The giftcards have been available for some time.

  6. Good news. Is this a way to bypass the infamous "Not avalaible in your country"?

  7. Fabien,
    What an interesting point!-- whether from the standpoint of a U.S. resident gifting a friend with one or just using gift certificates which can be bought with non-U.S. credit cards.

    Hmmmm !

  8. As the restrictions on such content are on the one purchasing it, not the one consuming it, I'd guess it'd be a way.

    Someone go and organise a website for eBook trading?
    You gift me X and I'll gift you Y in return? :)

  9. j,
    In reading, I see that there's a note to the sender that if the book is not available for the recipient's area ....

  10. Hm, I live in the UK and have my Kindle registered to my account. My mum lives in Germany and would like to buy me books from for my Kindle (she can't buy from

    Has anyone tried whether it's possible to receive the books on a Kindle account if they were bought on .com? Assuming there are no copyright issues involved, book available in both countries.

  11. Anonymous,
    It would SEEM to me that UK residents have always been able to buy from (US) but that there is a disadvantage to doing so. Those of us in the US cannot buy from Amazon UK Kindlestore, however.

    It seems to me she could always have bought a gift certificate for you to use for books. The new feature is to gift a specific Kindle book and SOME say you have to be in the same area geographically.

    I haven't found the language for that, but I think the Amazon Kindle-book-gifting program is currently possible only in the U.S. so a general gift certificate is what she might want to try instead, and that ought to work.

    I'd like to know what you two find out though.

  12. Andrys,

    Originally UK customers could buy from the US store, and when the UK store opened, existing customers could choose between the two. From what I've read, they can apparently switch back and forth between stores. But people who bought their Kindles after the UK store was opened, like me, have to stick to the UK store.

    Anyway, I can't buy books from the US store - instead of the "Buy now with 1-Click" button, I get the following message:

    "Kindle titles are available for UK customers on
    Continue shopping on the Kindle Store at"

    Maybe we'll try and gift a cheap book from the US store just to see if it works. If we do, I'll report back on that.

  13. Anonymous,
    Interesting. I guess Kindles bought FROM the UK store after it opened are programmed to buy Amazon books only from the UK store. I guess this would be easier for assuring only books available to the UK would show up.

    That'll be an interesting experiment! Hope to hear back.

  14. I've been disappointed to see what the UK Kindle store doesn't yet offer the gifting service, and I'm hesitant to suggest that friends and family buy me books from the US store if there could be difficulties.

    I may stick to suggesting gift cards this year.

  15. Start,
    As with everything else there, they are slow to go international and the UK store got a late start. Should not be hard to just use the server processes there though, eventually. Hoping it's much sooner than later.

    Me? I'd love the gift cards rather than specific books. But the latter lets you remember that a book was FROM someone, with a gift card, and it can mean more.

  16. I am in the USA and used the e-book gift option on for my brother to read on his UK registered Kindle. When he tried to open the book, he received an error message stating that the book could not be accessed from the UK.

    I wrote to Amazon to ask why downloading the gift was a problem and this is the response that I received:

    "Publishers grant eBook rights on a country by country basis, as a result
    availability and pricing of titles in the Kindle Store can vary by your home
    country or region. We are actively working with publishers to get the rights to
    all titles for every country and adding more selection every day."

  17. Anonymous,
    I missed getting back to this. Random House was fast about getting rights for many countries but other publishers are slow on this, and then there are also myriad publishers, with different ones responsible for a book in any given country, it seems.

    Good luck on all this. It's definitely frustrating when you're trying to gift a book especially.


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