More pre-paid Kindle Unlimited plans are back (at least for now)

Those longer term Kindle Unlimited subscriptions seem to be back again, at least temporarily.

There is now a special landing page where you can now choose between 6, 12 and 24-month pre-paid plans at savings of up to 40% off, depending on the length of your subscription. The offer says it is valid until 11:59 p.m. (PST), January 11, 2019.

Over the last month, I have written about how access to purchasing pre-paid, multi-month subscriptions had disappeared. The ability to purchase the subscriptions as gift reappeared a few days ago, with the only option being a 12 month subscription deal.

If the amount of mail I’ve received over this issue over the last month from people asking about this any indication, an awful lot of people want to pre-pay for their Kindle Unlimited and like to give subscriptions as gifts.

One of the things I have noticed is that Amazon has made information on this very hard to find. At one point, the old pre-paid gifting page had a message stating that gifting is unavailable; at this time that page is still blank.

The back and forth on access to these subscription makes me wonder if the ability to purchase pre-paid plans will remain available in the long term. The current page has promo landing as part of the page title, although it is unclear whether that is because of the sale pricing or if it is an indication that pre-paid subscriptions are only a temporary promotional item. It could be an early deal for Amazon Digital Day, but those deals are not supposed to start until December 28, 2018.

At this point, I am not sure what to think….

Black Friday and Cyber Monday blues

This year, I didn’t buy a thing on black Friday or cyber Monday. Nothing. Nunca. Nada.

This is actually kind of unheard of for me,  especially given the fact that I’m such a technology buff.  Cyber Monday has actually been my favorite self-gifting holiday of the year.

Why the change this year?

I think a big part of the reason is the so many of the items offered for sale I already have.  I’ve already bought Echos, Echo Shows, Echo Dots, Kindle Paperwhites, a Kindle Oasis, Fire tablets,  Fire TV sticks,  etcetera. The picture in this post is just a few of the items that I already have (yes, there are more that arrived after I took that picture) and am currently testing to review.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the prices that these items have been offered at makes me wish that I hadn’t just recently bought them. But it’s really hard to get excited about bargains for things you already qwn.

How about you? Did this year’s cyber bargains interest you?

Daily Links and Deals: How did ‘Cyber Monday’ begin? (Plus deal, deals, deals!)

cybermondayIt is Cyber Monday, and there are lots of deals today on tablets, ereaders and hundreds of ebooks at priced at under $5.

Daily Links for day, November 28,  2016:

Tablets: Why businesses are falling in love with them, just as consumers are getting bored (ZD Net) European businesses are liking 2-in-1 tablets in a big way.

‘Google Cast’ is being phased out in favor of Chromecast for connected TVs and speakers (PC World) And the name is….Um, I think somebody needs to make up their mind.

Why you should start using Google Keep right away (Computer World) Trying this now. Because of the price increase, I am trying to clear my Evernote account before the renewal date. And, yes, Keep is available as an app for your desktop or as a Chrome extension.

Here’s the tech you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday (CNET) Since this applies in spades to Cyber Monday, it is worth a read.

How did ‘Cyber Monday’ begin? Here’s an interesting video on the origins of CyberMonday

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals for Cyber Monday includes over 400 titles at up to 85% off!

Today’s Deals include the Moto Z Unlocked Smartphone, 64GB (U.S. Warranty) plus many, many more.

For Cyber Monday, Kindle Unlimited subscriptions are on sale! Get 25% off a 6 months subscription, 33% off 12 months and 40% off a two year subscription.

All of the Echo lineup is on sale. Get the Amazon Echo  for $139.99, the Echo Dot (2nd Generation) ($39.99) and the Amazon Tap  for $89.99.

The All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote  is $29.99.

If you are looking for an e-reader deal, you can get a basic Kindle for $50 ($30 off), a Kindle Paperwhite for $100 ($20 off) and a Kindle Voyage.for $170 ($30 off).

Want a Fire Tablet? Amazon has you covered. Get the Fire tablet, 7″ for $33.33; Fire Tablet Variety Pack (3 tablets), $99.99;  Fire HD 8, $59.99 and the Fire Kids Bundle for $74.99.

Amazon also has a great selection of Certified Refurbished devices available. These come with a full one-year warranty. You can find deals on Paperwhites ($80), a Kindle Voyage ($120) and the Amazon Echo ($120) here.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find for Cyber Monday is 500 NOOK books under $5. The Romance Daily Find is Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay Series #1) by Jill Shalvis.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

All of the Nook Devices are also on sale here! You can find the new $50 NOOK tablet, the entire line of Samsung branded tablets and the e-ink Glowlight Plus, all at reduced prices.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks. The Extra Daily Deal is Pretty Girls: A Novel by Karin Slaughter.

For Cyber Monday, Kobo is also having a huge blowout sale with hit ebook titles under $4.99. (Today only.)

In device deals, the Kobo Aura Edition 2 is $99.99. The Kobo Touch 2.0 is $89.99 and includes a free sleepcover. All Kobo device offer free shipping today.  (The Aura One is still out of stock until early 2017.)

iTunes’ Weekly is also having an Great Books, Amazing Deals sale with hundreds to titles. Books include A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and other fiction and non-fiction titles.

Google has a lot of Cyberweek Specials: In Books, there are deals for Cyber Monday and you get up to 75% off Comics. In Movies, get half off any movie to own or 50% off anyone movie rental.

In devices, the Google Home is only $99 and comes with 6 months free of YouTube Red music. Plus, you can save $10 on the Chromecast or Chromecast Audio.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Are Goodreads Deals now opt-in? Check your settings

goodreads_dealsI got an email from Goodreads Deals today telling me that Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan was on sale for $1.99. My response was was not happiness, but a rush of anger and a complaint email to GR customer service. Since I had previously opted out of these notification emails, I was not a happy camper.

Granted, getting put on an email list I did not sign up for is one of my pet peeves. But a lot of my anger in this particular situation was because this is the second time that Goodreads has signed me up for a list that I did not want. The last time this happened, I also wrote an email complaining about their actions. Goodreads’ response to that email came across as uncaring – after all, as they explained, all I had to do was go into my account and change my settings. Never mind the fact that they sent me something that I did not want and had not signed up for.

After the last email, I specifically went into my listings and changed all my newsletter and mailing preferences to state that I did not want these kinds of email notifications.

When Goodreads started the Deals newsletter, the feature was supposed to be opt-in. This description is from May 20, 2016 in the The Verge:

Goodreads Deals is an opt-in feature that analyzes user data (looking at individuals’ favorite reads, authors, etc), before emailing out relevant ebooks when they go on sale. “If one of the authors you follow has a not-to-be-missed promotion on an ebook,” says the company in a blog post announcing the service. “We’ll make sure you don’t miss out.”

Notice that description says “opt-in”. Now, let’s consider that phrase opt-in for a moment.

Marketing site Click Z has this definition for opt-in:

Just to be clear, opt-in means that the recipient has knowingly given you, the sender, permission to communicate with them via e-mail. An easy test to determine whether or not your e-mail is opt-in is to ask yourself if the recipient will be expecting to receive e-mail from you. If so, it’s opt-in. If not, it isn’t.

Was I expecting to get that email from Goodreads? Absolutely not. I had previously opted out in my email settings on my account and had even written them a complaint letter about unsolicited newsletter signups. So I had no reason to expect that I would receive this kind of an email from them and every reason to expect that I would not find something like this in my inbox.

That Click Z article goes on to note that it is not against CAN-SPAM rules to send opt-in emails. It’s not illegal, but it certainly is not best practice to do so. Goodreads privacy policy says that a user can opt-out from “email messages regarding updates, improvements, or offers.” It seems pretty apparent that while Goodreads Deals was originally promoted as opt-in, it has evidently become opt-out.

The insult-to-injury part was that I already own Altered Carbon. It is actually one of my all-time favorite books. So I wouldn’t have signed up to be notified about a book I already own. It seems pretty apparent that while Goodreads Deals may have originally been promoted as opt-in, in practice, it has evidently become opt-out.

I haven’t heard back from Goodreads yet, but after the unconcern expressed the last time I dealt with them on this issue, I am not expecting much from them other than being told I can, of course, opt-out. < /sarcasm> Of course, I have done that before and we see how far that got me….

I would advise checking your Goodreads settings. And, if you don’t want to receive these kinds of emails, I suggest that you specifically opt out of the deal emails. To do so, go to Account Settings>Deals and uncheck all the boxes.

Who knows? It may actually work…for a while.

How about you? Have you gotten any unwelcome emails from Goodreads?

Daily Links : A new Harry Potter story

From Lifehacker, Spot a boring Kindle Book by looking at popular highlights.

JK Rowling post a new Harry Potter background story on Pottermore, from The Digital Reader

From Teleread, Almost a year with Scribd. Has anything changed with my reading?

Whispersync comes to the UK with 10 freebies, from The Ebook Reader.

From ReadWrite, In exposing followers, Medium fails readers.

As part of Amazon’s Daily Deals, there are 12 award winning Sci-fi deals,  including books by Octavia Butler, Harlan Ellison and John Brunner for only $1.99 each.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news.