Aside from ebay, Amazon is my other go-to place online to buy books, DVDs, music, and occasionally other bits and pieces.
Since forever, Amazon have been offering me free next-day postage if I sign up to Prime, for which I can get a free month’s trial of, but up until now I’ve always found the same item for less and never been in such a hurry for an item. But then I was ordering my final DVD instalment of The Hunger Games and Amazon could offer it to me for less than its Marketplace sellers, and get it to me next day if I so wished, provided I now signed up to my free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. Now, it seemed, was the time.
Amazon actually offered to credit my Prime account with £1 if I downgraded my delivery to 3-5 days, so I agreed to that too (although I’m not sure how I’ll make use of the credit).
The up-front notice informed me that I could instruct my free trial of Prime to not continue, and I could do this at any time (go to ‘Your account’ then ‘Manage Prime Membership’). This is the key thing with taking advantage of free trials that have your credit card details on file ready to take that first payment; don’t forget to cancel it!
Not one to take this opportunity lightly I looked into what else I could get out of this Prime offer; I knew there was some online “TV” stuff, but some books too.
The thing with the books though, is that my eReader isn’t a Kindle, so I would have to convert the files, but then they were DRM protected; surely there would be a way around that…
- First of all I had made the mistake of downloading the Kindle PC app offered to me by Amazon; this was too up-to-date and I would instead need version 1.17 [available here].
- I then needed something to remove the DRM, for which there is a month’s free trial of Epdubor DRM Removal tool [available here]
- I drag the .azw book files from the My Kindle Content folder in my Documents, into the tool, and then from the AllDRMRemoval folder in my User directory into Calibre [available here]
- In Calibre I then right-click the book and choose to convert. Once converted (seeing the Jobs: 0 indication at the bottom right) I can then drag the book out of Calibre to a folder of my choice and onto my eReader.
It turns out the free Prime books were on loan to me (for which there were 330 books in the non-fiction section I was interested in), so after I’d downloaded 10 (I found 16 of interest; there where lots of ‘Illustrated guides’ and travel books), subsequent downloads would need to replace a previous one. If I read them all then this equates to around 6 months of reading for me.
Kindle Unlimited (more books):
In addition to the books available for free under the Prime umbrella, there are also books that are free in the Kindle Unlimited department; here I found around 50 to my liking (I doubt I’ll read them all, but I grabbed them while I had the chance). These don’t have the same time or download limit constraints, but it’s a second thing to ensure doesn’t auto-renew. I found some would have DRM, but not all.
One can also take advantage of a month of free magazine subscriptions, providing you have a compatible device (which it turns out I don’t) and a warning in the ‘Try for free’ box told me that this too would auto renew; so this would be another opt-out thing to keep track of.
Amazon Instant Video:
I may have downloaded enough books to keep me quiet for the next couple of years, but I haven’t had time to really read any yet. That’s because I have the time constraints of all the free videos available to me. The first thing I watched was some remaining bits of not Top Gear and then one thing I’ve been keen to watch which is the Green Arrow series. My brother has been harking on about it for a while, and now I get four seasons for free… this is going to take some binging/marathoning. There may be some way, like the books, to download the videos to watch them later, but so far I’m avoiding going down this route.
There is free music too; I’ve listened to a selection for about an hour. Maybe I’ll listen to some more but I don’t listen to so much these days, and generally what I fancy listening to I have in my own collection or I can find on Youtube for free already.
I am now seeing an offer for three months free of Audible, that’s Amazon’s audiobook service. Ideal for if I’m getting on with some DIY and fancy having a book read to me to keep me company but again, I’ve found some for free on Youtube.