One of the bigger complaints I have heard from people with Kindles, or those who are trying to shop for someone with a Kindle, is the inability to purchase books for someone as a gift – for example, if I wanted to give someone an eBook copy of Dan Brown’s latest novel The Lost Symbol, I couldn’t just go to the Amazon website and have it sent to them like you can with a regular paper book. You also can’t “loan” the book to someone like you can with a paper book – in other words, the book I may have on my Kindle can’t be transferred or “loaned” to someone else’s Kindle unless the other Kindle is linked to my account.
While I am certain there are many ways to technically do it, I can quickly think of two ways you can technically give Kindle books to someone – books from the Amazon website, for example, vs. the numerous other places that sell or give away Kindle-compatible eBooks.
The first way is pretty straight-forward: buy a person who has a Kindle an Amazon gift card say for $25. For that $25, they can go get two bestsellers (at $9.99 each) and still have about five bucks left over for other eBooks, mp3’s, or one of the other 1,000,001 items Amazon sells on its website. Your $25 will go a lot further than you picking the book out – a paper bestseller at $18 or so will chew the balance on the gift card pretty fast. You can get an Amazon gift card emailed directly to the participant or print it out on your printer to give to the recipient in their stocking; maybe you could slip it into the box containing the new Kindle you’re giving a loved one? You can pick up an Amazon gift card by clicking here.
Another way to give someone an eBook you’ve read or already have involves purchasing a Kindle and giving the Kindle as a gift to someone. How do you do it? Well, that’s pretty easy, too – just follow these steps:
- Purchase a Kindle and link it to your account – in other words, don’t select the gift options but have it listed in your name.
- Have the Kindle delivered to you.
- Go to the “Manage Your Kindle” option from the Amazon website.
- Have a copy of the books you have purchased sent to the new Kindle.
Once the new Kindle arrives, charge it up and turn it on with the wireless connected. The books you have selected to be sent to your new Kindle will download and be ready to go. After the books have been transferred, turn off the Kindle (you just charged it up for the recipient), wrap it up, and deliver it to the lucky gift recipient – now they have a new library to jump start their new Kindle. Make sure you deregister it from your account unless you want the recipient to be able to buy books under your account
Is the above method allowable under the terms of service? To quote a former politician – you betcha, and it has been addressed in the various Kindle discussion forums on the Amazon website and was technically encouraged in some of the threads I read. The recipient will have the books on their Kindle for however long they want but there is one catch – if they delete it, they won’t be able to re-download it to their new Kindle as they would if they had been the original purchaser.
Why is that? Well, Amazon keeps a record of everything you have bought and you’re able to re-download eBooks to your Kindle at any time. In this case, they weren’t the purchaser, so Amazon doesn’t have a record of them having it – as a result, there is not a bona fide purchase for them to re-download (they will have to buy their own copy if they want it again).