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No, this is not an article about that gizmo or the book that has gone free. This is also not about grabbing goodies for cheap off Amazon.com’s digital racks. This is about diving into Amazon’s depths and coming up with useful free resources you can make use of.

Amazon.com was named after Earth’s mightiest river. It also launched with the tagline — Earth’s biggest book store. Twenty years later, it is a gigantic “warehouse” that stocks anything you can think of. Like a personal tank, maybe. Amazon doesn’t seem to be straining under the load of being the world’s largest online retailer. Everything here might be tagged with a dollar sign, but there are many alternative ways to use the resources on Amazon. Yes, they are free.

Read The Book Blog

Omnivoracious

We aim to share our passion for the written word through news, reviews, interviews, and more.

The world’s largest bookstore should have a book blog. It does, with a punchy name like Omnivoracious. It is run by the book editors at Amazon.com. This is a town-center gathering of authors, book afficionados, and publishers who are talking everything and anything about books. Thankfully, it is not promotional. There are insights on books across all genres, there are opinions on authors and their latest warbling, author interviews in text and as podcasts, and there are humorous anecdotes as well. Here, you can share your bookshelf too.

Join The Book Club

Amazon Book Club

One of the best ways to learn more about books 7 Ways To Learn More About The Books We Read & Get The Most Out Of Them 7 Ways To Learn More About The Books We Read & Get The Most Out Of Them I hope, the reader will look upon these ideas as another reminder that books or their authors are just the beginning. You can take both as keywords and launch a search to deepen your learning... Read More is through book clubs. Amazon has its own book club which again invites community participation. The Amazon Book Club has a feature called the Reading Group Guides which helps you start your discussions around good books. Oprah has her own suggestions as well. You can head to the “Best Books of 2013” and see if you missed any great reads last year. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is a wealth of information around the books which make the cut…and many gems that lie undiscovered.

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Visualize With A Free Storyboard Tool

Amazon Storyteller

All that reading has to spark off some imaginary brainwave. Amazon Storyteller is a beta tool that helps creatives create professional looking storyboards quickly. Visualize your movie/novel ideas with the library of backgrounds, characters, and props. You don’t need to be a drawing virtuoso as the tool tool “reads” a script and selects characters, backgrounds, and shots to form storyboard panels. It is a part of Amazon Studios and free to use. The storyboarding works with movie scripts that are part of Amazon Studios in the RTF format.

Find Creative Ideas

Susan Coil’s nice video show you how you can use Amazon’s riches to come up with interesting content ideas (or ideas of any kind) for any niche. Watch the video…it is as simple as paging through a book to come up with ideas and brainstorm 8 Tips To Come Up With Winning Ideas When You Are Brainstorming Alone 8 Tips To Come Up With Winning Ideas When You Are Brainstorming Alone Two heads think better than one, but brainstorming is as much about individual problem solving as it is about the group. Here are some methods to build up a “storm” of ideas. Read More around them. A book’s table of contents is also useful to get a quick birds-eye view of any topic. Look into the reviews for clues about what readers want or are missing. Use the nuggets for creative ideas of your own and not as a Xerox.

Boost Your Online Visibility

Boost Your Online Visibility

Reputation too. Amazon is a social network under the surface. There may not be friend lists and status updates, but there’s a lot you can do to make your voice heard around the community. It starts with creating a public profile after you log into Amazon.com with an account. Anything you do on Amazon will be tied to this profile. The obvious way to get some online cred is through relevant and responsive reviews. It helps all the more if you can craft the review like a small blog post with helpful hints and tips. Expert online reviewers Amazon's Top 10 Customer Reviewers Help You Make Buying Decisions Amazon's Top 10 Customer Reviewers Help You Make Buying Decisions Read More are a breed of their own and they influence many a buying decision. An interesting study in 2012 found that Amazon consumer reviews are just as good as ones from professional experts when it comes to determining quality of books.

Become a trusted Amazon Vine reviewer and see how you can get free stuff from Amazon How To Become An Amazon Vine Reviewer & Get Free Stuff How To Become An Amazon Vine Reviewer & Get Free Stuff Read More . You can also create a So You’d Like to… guide to share your advice, experiences, and product recommendations with consumers.

Online Visibility expert Denise Wakeman has some great pointers on how to maximize your Amazon profile and boost your online visibility. So, don’t write off the value of posting good reviews!

Use As A Research Tool

Amazon Advanced Search

Most of us have used Amazon as a free research tool without buying anything from there. Tie this to the last point on the value of Amazon consumer reviews (throw in some shopping research with YouTube, and you can have the best of both worlds). Maybe, Amazon’s Advanced Search feature doesn’t get used as much but it gives you the keyword filter for surgically precise searches. Use the advanced search across categories like books, magazines, MP3 downloads, classical music, and movies and TV.

On the other end, Amazon hosts public datasets on AWS (Amazon Web Services) which anyone can use for empirical research. The completely free datasets cover subjects from astronomy to mathematics.

Have A Laugh

Amazon Humor

They said shopping is therapeutic. No seriously. Amazon is rolling off at the top with humor. Put your funny bone to the test with these funny Amazon shopping reviews Funny Amazon Reviews: 6 Items That Feature Hilarious User Feedback Funny Amazon Reviews: 6 Items That Feature Hilarious User Feedback Niche products on the Internet are often the subject of ridicule, especially on big retail websites like Amazon where user feedback is encouraged. Often these "reviews" make for a hilarious read, as communities around the... Read More we put together in an earlier article. The above screenshot is taken from the reviews on Haribo Classic Sugar Free Gummy Bears.

Amazon continues to flow. Creating vicarious wishlists could be a favorite free feature for many armchair shoppers. Wishlists are worthwhile when you create them for gift-giving. Then, there are the free Kindle books and the Amazon App Store with free apps for the day (learn how to install and use the Amazon Appstore app How To Install & Use The Amazon Appstore To Get Awesome Free Apps! [Android] How To Install & Use The Amazon Appstore To Get Awesome Free Apps! [Android] How many apps do you currently use on a daily basis? The phenomenon of mobile apps has truly changed the way we operate when it comes to customization of our devices. Years ago, you would... Read More on Android).

There are little nooks and crannies around Amazon where you can do useful things without opening your wallet. Apart from shopping, how do you use Amazon? Give us your best tips and tricks.

Image Credit: Robert Scoble

  1. Jay H
    February 20, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Free Ebooks are found by typing:
    $0.00
    ...on my kindlepaperwhite that is. (Old but it was free to me)
    How else may free our insanely cheap E-books be found?

    • Saikat B
      February 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      There are quite a few ways. That is the simplest of course. You can also automate it with IFTTT recipes.

  2. Jeff
    February 18, 2014 at 3:23 am

    There used to be a section on early adopters, which was very handy to detect trends and ideas for products.

    Is there still something like that in Amazon?

    • Saikat B
      February 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

      It was this page I think. No, I think it's no longer there in its present form. Perhaps, it has been merged with the general catalog.

  3. Ron M
    February 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Another example - there are some free books that are available from time-to-time. Recently, http://www.armageddononline.org/ provided links to seven free titles. These are stored in an Amazon Kindle library that is accessible from your phone, tablet or PC via your Amazon account.

    • Saikat B
      February 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Try this as well -- Hundred Zeros for free Amazon books. There's a Twitter feed too.

  4. Cleveland Brunson
    February 16, 2014 at 6:38 am

    I find myself, quite frequently, using AMAZON's mp3 album images to populate my WINAMP music files. Since most of my music is more along the Classical and New Age genre, Gracenotes which is the default metadata tool for Winamp, does not have a lot of the images I need. Thanx Amazon!

    • Saikat B
      February 16, 2014 at 9:27 am

      I was thinking about using that. But then a lot of tagging tools do tap into Amazon as well.

  5. Rohit M
    February 16, 2014 at 6:12 am

    nice
    very helpful

  6. Brandon
    February 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    One resource you did not mention is how to make money using Amazon for free. Visit mturk.com for details. It is run by Amazon.

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Painstaking I think. Though, I don't have personal experience on Mechanical Turk.

  7. Erica C
    February 15, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I believe goodreads.com is part of Amazon now. GoodReads is the best website for any book worm because it helps you keep track of books you've read & books you want to read with lists and tags. It's a social media network that is centered around books. There are many book reviews, you can easily find friends that have similar interests & follow their activity, keep up with your favorite authors, there are soo many book clubs/groups, & they have some really good lists & the book recommendations are pretty accurate. It can be integrated with Facebook so you can share your reviews & your books will be automatically added to your books tab on Facebook when you mark them as read on goodreads.

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      I think, you can use GoodReads on your Kindle as well [Amazon Help].

      I didn't mention GoodReads here because book lovers know about it and I also wrote about some GoodRead tips previously.

  8. Rick
    February 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Small correction: Amazon.com is twenty years old, not thirty. Even that's kind of surprising to me -- tempest fugit.

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Oops yes. I got my math wrong -- 1994 it was!

    • Rob H
      February 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Yes, I spotted that too, 30 years ago the DNS system was only just being set up.
      Amazon (allegedly) started in 1994 as cadabra.com, the year the first credible web browser emerged - though very crude by todays standards, so 20 years ago Amazon didn't really exist in a form we'd recognise, as far as I can see amazon.com first went live in 1995.

    • Aaron
      February 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      @Rick I think you mean tempus fugit. :)

    • Saikat B
      February 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

      That's definitely going to be the title of my autobiography :)

  9. Bobbi W
    February 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    While your purchase will cost you - the donation won't cost you anything. If you are going to make a purchase through Amazon, consider using Smile.Amazon.com. They will make a donation to a charity of your choice at no additional expense to you. I've been using this since last year. I heard about it after I lost a grandbaby to osteogenesis imperfecta. The amount of the donation is 0.5% of eligible purchases - it does not include shipping, gift wrap etc. Like it's said - every little bit helps. There are over a million charities to pick from. You can get more information here - http://smile.amazon.com/about

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Oh yes. That's a good one. There are other free ways charities can use Amazon. For example: create a charity wishlist.

  10. christopher
    February 15, 2014 at 9:06 am

    The sugar free gummy bears reviews are the best!! I need to lose some weight, maybe I will order 5 pounds of them as well :P

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Laughing also burns a few calories :)

    • Anonymous
      April 29, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      actually if you search uranium ore on amazon their are some funny reviews. Great Article

    • Anonymous
      April 29, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      actually if you search uranium ore on amazon their are some funny reviews. Great Article

    • Saikat B
      April 30, 2014 at 3:07 am

      Stranger the product, funnier is the review!

  11. Matt S
    February 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Sometimes I read Amazon reviews just because I'm bored. I like to look out for the ones with numerous comments, because it's a good bet there's a flame-war going on between people who love and hate the product.

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      But then fiery discussions also bring out more product details!

  12. Sakshar T
    February 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Nice article. Very good point about finding creative ideas. I knew the feature, but didn't know it could be used for this purpose.

    • Saikat B
      February 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Sakshar,

      Not exactly a feature, but something you can make use of (pun intended) :)

    • Walter P
      June 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Really nice. It is more than enough from me to dig deep on amazon. Many thanks for this :D

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