Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amazon Halts The Holiday Rush With Easy-to-Shop Apps and Features For eBook Lovers, Toy Lovers, Shop-til-You-Drop Lovers

By Tom Dulaney, Editor

The elves at Amazon.com have been working overtime for months to make this holiday season a terrific one for iPad owners—and, of course, all those Kindle users and just about everyone else on the planet.

Just today the company has added to the big pile of ebook reading and general shopping treats. It is showering the world with such a wealth of goodies its nearly too much to absorb. All you need to claim the bounty is an email address and an account at Amazon.

For iPad and smartphone users, use Amazon's new Windowshop app http://www.itunes.com/appstore for near-total access to everything Amazon.com sells. Amazon did a “total re-write” of itself for Windowshop. Between Windowshop and the Kindle for iPad app, there isn't much you can't buy from Amazon right from your iPad and smartphone screen.  for the Kindle for iPad app for books.

Since Black Friday bears down upon us, let's begin with that Amazon announcement, then go through the whole list unveiled in the last few days, here in one convenient place:

Black Friday Deals: Deals of the Day on Amazon, including massive discounts, doorbuster-style “lightning deals,” all running through Cyber Monday (Nov. 29). Go here to see what's hot each day:  Today, for example, there are no ebooks and the Beatles Stereo Box Set deal is over, but fans on the site are begging Amazon to bring that deal back on Cyber Monday. Tons of other products available at the site.

Price Check: If you venture into a non-virtual store, take your iPhone and use Amazon's new Price Check app. It's limited to the iPhone for now, but maybe they'll make it iPad and Android friendly in the future. What it does: Say you're in a book store, or a toy store or virtually any kind of store, but lets talk books for this example. Tell the app which book you are checking out. Do that by scanning the book's bar code, taking a photo of it, speaking the book's name, or typing in the name. Amazon tells you their price for the book, shows you reviews, lets you share it on Twitter, Facebook or via text message or email. Or you can order it from Amazon on the spot.

Gift an eBook: For the first time, Amazon lets you buy and give an eBook to anyone with an email address—whether they have a Kindle or an iPad or and Android phone or any of the “Kindle for” apps. “No Kindle Required” is Amazon's big slogan this year. Every Kindle Book Store book now has a gift link, with exceptions. The exceptions: free books in the Kindle Store. Do that yourself by emailing the link for the free book to their person, tell them “I am a cheapskate, gifting you with an ebook that was free,” and smile. To gift a paid ebook, click the link, type in the recipient's email address, click and send. Done!  right from your iPad!

More Great Books: Amazon's recent announcements today quietly inserted a new number: 750,000. That's now the official count of ebooks available in the Kindle Store, up from 720,000 a few weeks ago. Joining the ebook lists:

The bestselling Rainbow Magic series of children's books by Daisy Meadows and from RosettaBooks and HIT Entertainment in conjunction with Amazon. Some 73 titles are already available in the Kindle Store

And Amazon is adding 121 titles and 61 of the finest authors from abroad to the Kindle Store, with an acquisition from The Toby Press. Between the AmazonEncore program, which brings back previously published books, and AmazonCrossing, which published translations of foreign-language books into English, The Toby Press acquisition is just one more way in which Amazon is enriching the ebook world in America.

Best Books of 2010: Need an idea for that gift book? Amazon.com's Editorial Team shares their picks with the Best Books of 2010. Go here  for their “list of lists,” including the Editor's choices, the Top 100 Customer Favorites, and breakouts of the Top 10s by genre and category.
Toys: If you are thinking “toys” for someone on your list, MasterCard and Amazon offer up their 2010 Holiday Toy List.

MasterCard Promotion: If you purchase with your MasterCard and buy $75 worth or more, two-day shipping is free or you get $10 credit for a future purchase if you are an Amazon Prime member. Details here.

Facebook Gift Card Giving:  Let's you tap into your Facebook account, choose a friend, select a gift card design, pick a date for delivery of the card, and insert the amount of the gift card. Santa never had it so easy.

Shop Amazon's Endless.com online store for luxury and unique gift items. Special deals are offered for Black Friday (Nov. 25-27) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28-29):

Nov. 25-27 (Thanksgiving weekend sale)
30% off regular-price boots, slippers and athletic shoe styles,
 as well as accessories,
 including watches and jewelry
 from endless.com's newly launched jewelry category

Nov. 28-29 (Cyber Monday Sale)
discounts include $30 off $100 orders, 
$60 off $200 orders and 
$100 off $300 orders

And welcome Italy to the fold: The Amazon stores, including the Kindle Store, set up shop from Sicily all the way up the boot through Rome, Florence, Venice and to the Alps by opening their Amazon.it operation.

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