With the holiday shopping season about to kick into high gear, Amazon (AMZN) announced something today that it probably should have done years ago. Now, you can send actual e-books as gifts to others, whether they have a Kindle or not.

"We are thrilled to make it easier than ever for our customers to give their favorite Kindle book to a friend or family member as a gift," said Amazon Vice President Russ Grandinetti in a statement. "We're making this functionality available in time for the holidays to offer an easy, stress-free holiday shopping option for anyone -- not just Kindle owners."

From the looks of things, giving Kindle books as gifts will indeed be fairly easy: Choose a book from the Kindle store, select "Give as a Gift" and send it to anyone with an email address. Recipients then get notified they have a gifted e-book waiting for them.

Amazon's move comes days after rival e-reader firm Kobo announced that it would allow customers to give e-books as gifts. But while the Canadian-based company said that feature wouldn't be available until early December, Amazon has opened up the gifting option immediately.

Such swift and decisive moves have been one of Amazon's hallmarks: This week, the company also announced it was effectively getting into the film business, and that it had acquired the back catalog of the Toby Press, a small publishing house devoted to literary fiction and translated works.

This two-pronged approach of meeting the evolving needs of its customers while also moving more definitively into media and publishing circles puts Amazon in a very strong position going into 2011. Earnings and profits are up in 2010, and Kindle device and e-book sales have a lot to do with that.

Still, the infrastructure and manufacturing costs of being the dominant e-book player, plus Amazon's intensifying push into the media market, may threaten to undermine its core business: selling products, and lots of them.

At the moment, Amazon seems to want to be all things to all possible customers and partners. The online giant has the monetary muscle to stay that way for the time being, but one misstep -- say, a large acquisition gone wrong, or a hefty tax bill -- could send its fortunes spinning off in the wrong direction.





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mike

Amazon sells kiddie porn. Don't support child molesters, don't buy from Amazon.

November 20 2010 at 11:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mike's comment
Ric

Yes, they did michael only out of respect to the 1st amendment i.e., free speech. That changed when their buying public said no. Today Amazon no longer sells that work. Ruinous rumors begin with efforts like yours a correction was needed.

November 20 2010 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kingmodailoverol

I only buy from Amazon.com. They are the BEST

November 20 2010 at 7:16 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Stacey

Oh please....I suppose you people will start burning books that you disapprove of? I don't care for the previously mentioned material, but that won't stop me from buying from Amazon. I just don't have to buy THAT book...or those books. Take care of your own lives and leave everyone else's alone.

November 19 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
fivemillion

BOYCOTT AMAZON! They sell PEDOFILE MERCHANDISE!

November 19 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply
thegrrrr8est

Gee, but that last paragraph has me trembling in my boots. Sure a huge acquisition of the wrong company could hurt Amazon. So could a tsunami or alien invasion or the sudden explosion of the Sun. This is what passes for "journalism" these days?

November 19 2010 at 4:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
patti4262

Amazon has other pedophile books on sale that are for man/boy love. They are just disgusting. I cancelled my account with them...selling books on how to molest/rape our children is just unthinkable

November 19 2010 at 3:51 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
SlickLickRick

Amazon.com recently distributed a How-to manual for pedophiles too, if that's the kind of company you from which you want to purchase gifts celebrating Jesus's birthday. Pretty sure He wouldn't approve or take the gift. Check with Satan though. He's a huge Amazon.com fan.

November 19 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SlickLickRick's comment
thegrrrr8est

Please tell me there isn't someone literate enough to use a computer who still believes in the existence of Satan. Please. For the love of god, PLEASE. Amazon can do without your business. Pardon the hell out of them for ALSO selling the BuyBull.

November 19 2010 at 4:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ecmfly

Remember, Amazon is the company that tried to sell a book on Pedophilia all under the disguise of "free speech," and "censorship." Don't buy anything from Amazon. Hit them where it hurts - their pocketbook.

November 19 2010 at 12:28 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ecmfly's comment
barneyvet

There selling the Book...... They are seller's...... Amazon has also Stopped Selling that book also...

November 19 2010 at 5:53 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply