Tag Archives: Amazon Kindle

Free Kindle for Amazon Prime Members??

This could be a real game changer and yes Jeff Bezos is known to create game-changing business models.

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The Ebook Market Is Growing Faster As It Grows Larger

The ebook market is growing faster as it grows larger.

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) on Friday reported U.S. wholesale ebook sales for January, 2010 were $31.9 million, up 261 percent from the same month a year earlier.

To put this in perspective, I created the chart at left. The chart compiles annual ebook sales data from the Association of American Publishers. For 2010, I took the latest IDPF January data and annualized it.

The data is collected from only 12-15 U.S. trade publishers. This means it dramatically understates what’s really happening in ebooks, because thousands of large and small publishers, as well as tens of thousands of independent authors, aren’t reporting their data. The data also doesn’t capture ebooks sold outside traditional retail channels.

The above omissions in no way invalidate the data, because as an indicator of direction and momentum, the AAP/IDPF data provides the best publicly available trending information I’m aware of.

What you see from my chart is that ebook sales grew nicely between 2002 and 2007, but were really too small to register on the radar screens of most industry watchers. Starting in 2008, however, the growth rate started to accelerate, and then this acceleration continued throughout 2009 and into the first month of 2010.

According to the AAP, in 2009 ebooks accounted for 3.31% of all trade book sales, up from only 1.19% in 2008. Even if sales stay flat from January onward in 2010, we’re looking at ebooks accounting for 6-8% of U.S. book sales in 2010. If sales accelerate further, a 10% monthly run rate is certainly likely by the end of this year. These numbers are dramatically higher than most reasonably-minded industry watchers predicted even a few months ago.

The rosy numbers above still dramatically underestimate the impact ebooks are having on the bottom line of authors, publishers and retailers. In January, during Amazon’s quarterly earnings conference call, Jeff Bezos announced that for books it sells in both Kindle and print formats, ebooks were then accounting for 60% of unit sales.

What’s driving the torrid growth of the U.S. ebook market?

Amazon deserves most of the credit. In January, Rory Maher of TBI Research reported that his publishing industry contacts were telling him that Amazon was accounting for 90% of all ebook sales. Other analysts have since confirmed those estimates.

The upcoming April 3 launch of Apple’s iPad, along with more aggressive moves by Google, Barnes & Noble, Sony and scores of other new ebook device makers and indie retailers, will no doubt try to chip away at Amazon’s purported 90% share.

The real story is not how or if these competitors take share from Amazon. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that an ever-growing pro-ebook crowd of powerful consumer-facing companies are pulling out all the stops to help spread the joy of ebooks to every corner of this book-hungry globe.

Why are consumers going ga ga over ebooks? Back in October, I blogged some of the reasons in my Huffington Post piece, Why Ebooks are Hot and Getting Hotter. I listed several reasons, such as the proliferation of exciting new e-reading devices; screen reading rivaling paper; content selection; free ebooks as the gateway drug; lower prices; and great selection.

If we boil it all down to what really matters, it’s about customer experience. People who try ebooks are loving ebooks.

Lest we think ebook reading is all about pricey jet set devices like the iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader and B&N nook, it’s worth considering some telling data that came out of the latest Book Industry Study Group survey. As I reported in my Tools of Change conference wrap-up, BISG found that 47% of all ebook reading is happening not on these new-fangled devices, but on ordinary computer screens.

Complete Story taken from here

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3 Reasons Why E-Book Failed In 2000 And What It Means For 2010

There is no doubt that 2010 has a lot to gain from the e-book industry. There are six e-book devices (Kindle, Nook, iPad etc) in the market and more soon to be released. As per predictions from a major business magazine up to seven million of these devices will be offered for sale next year.

Moreover, one of the major consulting firms have predicted that e-book sales will account for close to 10 percent of the the publishing market in five years. Clearly that indicates the rate at which more and more publishers will switch to electronic book publishing.

But this was not the case in the year 2000. Here are a few reasons for what went wrong in 2000 for the e-book industry and how could those mistakes be avoided in2010.

1. Lack of sufficient e-books – One of the mindsets that users of e-book devices had and still have is that if they don’t get to read all the books (literally all books under the sun) on their device then the worth of the device starts losing its value. If voracious readers are asked how many books would they like to read on their e-book device they would just say all (else there is no point spending hundreds of dollars on the device).

But in 2000 there weren’t much e-books available. They were expensive to covert to an e-book format and publishers were too reluctant to think in those terms. Today, the scenario is different – far better (although much scope to improve). Almost all of the top 10 New York Time Bestsellers were available in e-book format. Although some issues around the availability is the timing. Barnes & Nobles had 15 books i its Coming Soon List but made only 6 out of those 15 were made available in eb–k format the same time as the print release. That still is and will continue to be a huge concern for users and this is somethig the ebook industry should be careful about.

Another concern that needs to be addressed is the gaps in the way the books are available. For example many of the books of popular authors are not available in the Kindle store but are available in Nook device. There needs to be some consistency here in order to increase the e-book adoption rate.

2. Pricing – In 2000 many of the ebooks were priced the same as their print versions. But the way a user percieves a hardcover book is different from the way he would look at an e-book. Hardcover  books gives a nice feeling, has more substance and they can keep it in their book shelves to show how tasteful they are. But all of this is missing in an e-book. Moreover, due to the same reason the cost of publishing an ebook is much lower as compared to  a paperback/hardcover.  So why not pass on that cost saving to the users. keeping the same price is definitely not justfiable.

Amazon had been trying to resolve this by pricing the ebooks much lower than their print versions but this arrangement could not be carried on due to challenges raised by Macmillan. And now Apple also in a way supporting what Macmillan had been asking for the industry is shifting towards agency model pricing (where the publisher and NOT the retailers decide the price of the ebook at which the retailers will have to sell to the end users).  Pricing still remains a big topic of debate in 2010.

3. Poor Marketing – One of the ways by which a market for tech prodcucts are created is by identifying a groups of users and some of the problems they are facing and then trying to solve their problem with the product. I am not sure if ebook had succeded in filling up this gap back in 2000. But even now I am not sure if that need for an ebook device/reader is felt very highly. I think most of the buzz and envestment in the ebook industry is still being driven a lot by strategy than by user needs. Its just that ebooks are considered to be a huge area of oportunity and so all publishers and electronic companies are jumping into making their own device just to be sure to take full benefits of the opportunity. I think the need/benefit for an ebook needs to be better pronounced. Check out Amazon’s announcement of why one should use kindle – Point to see is that it lists all the features but not the benefits to the users.

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Amazon Launches Kindle for Mac

Amazon today launched its kindle app for Mac in its endeavor to become a ebook platform that span across all the devices.

Amazon’s e-book application automatically saves and synchronizes bookmarks and last page read across devices.

Features that will be added to Kindle for Mac in the near future include full-text search and the ability to create and edit notes and highlights.

Full analysis here

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Why Should I Buy An Apple iPad

I am sure many others are debating whether or not to buy an Apple Ipad (Apple is already taking pre-orders for April delivery). There are many features that we would have loved to have in the Apple Ipad but i still think there are several which can make this a good buy.

1. Pretty Robust ebook platform:

Ipad probably is the best and most robust option that you have for an ebook reader (others – Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony ebook reader etc). There can be three sources from which you can buy and read ebooks

a. Directly from IBook Store using IBook App : I am sure Apple biz dev folks are talking to all the top pubishers to include them in the book store

b. Using Other Apps (KIndle, Nook etc) : If a book is not available on Ibook you can download a Kindle or Nook App to buy the books

c. Access Books from cloud (Google Editions): There is a very high probability that many international books are not available through IBook, Kindle or Nook. Google has done a great job of working with thousands of publishers/libraries across the globe to make these books accessible to users (through Google Book Search program). I am sure Google will be talking to these publishers to include these books in Google Editions (Google’s cloud based ebook platform)

d. Read freely available ebooks (epub format): Apple Ibook app will allow you to upload any epub fomat ebook that you might have (many free ebook services like project Gutenberg provide book in epub format)

I dont belive any other Ebook device can provide you with such a robust solution. However, It will be intersting to check out other factors:

i. Size/Weight of the device: The device definitely is bigger than Kindle. Which might be good for a better Newpaper/magazine reading experience.

ii. Battery backup : The color screen will definitely use more battery as compared to Kindle so more frequent charging of your Ipad

iii. Reading experience: Apple Ipad will not use e-Ink format that Nook and Kindle use. E-Ink based devices are supposed to provide readers a better and more comfortable reading experience. Reading in sunlight might be problematic too.

It seems Apple will not support Flash. There are many rich media sites (Hulu etc.) that use flash. However, I believe that these companies anyway will have Iphone App.

2. Form factor:

Apple Ipad has a huge form factor advantage. This huge screen would be great for viewing TV episodes and movies on the device.  There are already various apps available on iphone App store to view your favorite TV shows on the move.

3. Access to thousands of Apps through Itunes:

Since the device can connect to internet and will have itune store available on the device there will not be any hassle of synching the device to your PC/Laptop. And you all of a sudden have access to thousands of Apps available through App store.

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Apple iBook – more details

1. Ibook app wont come as default. Users will have to download it from App store

2. Users will be able to import and read their free epub format books on IBook

3. Text to voice – similar to Amzon Kindle

Users can purchase ebooks through Apple’s iTunes-like iBookstore online. The iBooks application links directly to the store, and keeps track of your book purchases as well as where you left off in each title.

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USA Today Bestseller Will Include Kindle and Nook Sales Data

USA today Best seller’s list will now have significant influence from ebooks sales happening through Kindle and Nook. I believe that this is a step in right direction as now significant sale happens through these channels it is high time these rating agencies start including them.

However, I believe it will be best if they could somehow get usage data from Google Books. Is it possible today?

Rankings for USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List are based on retail sales data collected each week that include more than 2.5 million volumes from about 7,000 physical retail outlets in addition to books sold online. USA TODAY’s list ranks titles regardless of genre or format, providing one of the best assessments of which books are most popular among readers and consumers each week. USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list has been published each Thursday in the newspaper’s Life section since October 28, 1993.

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