About

On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

Recent Comments

May 2011
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

2011 Book Expo America Free Kindle Samples and more

The 2011 Book Expo America brought all kinds of exciting events and upcoming projects for the Amazon Kindle and others.  Amazon Publishing offered author signing and interviews, Kindle excerpts and more.

Amazon Publishing has a collection of free Kindle downloads that provide excerpts and teasers for upcoming releases.  The new releases will be available in the Summer and Fall of 2011.  Some full versions are available for preorder.

This is a great opportunity to test drive some books and authors that you haven’t gotten a chance to try.

We’ve already seen the competition heating up with the latest Nook releases.  I actually got a chance to check ou the NookColor recently, and thought it was pretty decent.  At the expo, Kobo introduced the new Kobo Touch.  It depends mostly on touch screen with the exception of one home button at the bottom, which is similar to the iPad set up.  Based on reviews, the Kobo touch looks pretty clean and can probably hold it’s own in the e-reader market.

The Kobo may sound great in theory, but in order for it to be accessible, it’ll have to have some kind of voice navigation feature.  Currently, the Kindle is way ahead of both the Nook and Kobo readers because of its accessibility features and text to speech option.  The iPad also has a lot of great accessibility features of its own, however, the iPad will be more competitive with the rumored Kindle Tablet than the current Kindle e-reader.

 

$250 Amazon Gift Card Sweepstakes

Become a fan of Amazon Kindle on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a $250 Amazon Kindle Gift Card.  The sweepstakes ends on June 23.

10 people will be randomly selected, and the gift card can be used to buy all kind of Kindle goodies.  Its even more than enough to buy a new Kindle and a good stock of e-books.

The Amazon Kindle Facebook fan page does a number of sweepstakes from time to time so, check them out, and who knows, you might just get lucky.  The page also has a lot of great Kindle thoughts, reviews and special offers.

 

 

Can the Kindle Out-Deal Groupon?

I’ve been giving some thought to the implications of the still fairly new Kindle w/Special Offers as far as directed marketing goes, especially in light of the increasingly common speculation about Kindle Tablet PCs. The fact that this made such a splash, both in terms of controversy and in its success, only serves to emphasize the importance of the concept they are dealing with. It seems like Amazon is in a good position to capture the attention of huge numbers of deal seekers, and that there is some reason to believe that this is exactly their intent in the near future.

We know that people get excited about a good deal, even when it is on something they don’t necessarily need.  The site Groupon has become amazingly popular recently for providing exactly this sort of deal.  You sign up, log in, grab the deal of the day in your area, and likely end up making a purchase that would otherwise either have never occurred to you or been dismissed as wasteful.  They basically rely on the fact that they can localize the deals to the point where hundreds of communities have something interesting going on in their area at any given time.  It isn’t exactly a new concept, but it can be powerful when properly executed.

Amazon is in a position to take a swing at something like this from multiple angles at once.  The most obvious approach is through the newest Kindle.  You have to have an Amazon account to use it in the first place.  Amazon has, as a result, potentially detailed information about the purchasing habits of just about any of these customers and can use something along the lines of their recommendation system to personalize deals to individual tastes.  This is on top of the more widely ranging deal options.  Already we’ve seen things like the $20 Gift Card for $10, which you can’t really go wrong with but which also guarantees Amazon a sale that might not otherwise have taken place.  They also made the acquisition of popular deal of the day site Woot.com last June that offers a framework for even more impulsive buying opportunities.  All of this is in addition to the Gold Box Deals, sales, and otherwise plentiful discount opportunities to be found on any given day on the Amazon.com website itself.  There’s a lot going on here.

If at all possible, I expect to see this concept extended to the upcoming Kindle Tablet as part of the most basic experience of using the site, whether it focuses on media, app sales, or simply referrals.  The success of such an effort would be exactly the thing to allow Amazon to undercut the competition on purchase prices without putting themselves at a disadvantage.  While I don’t expect it will be nearly this amazing, I doubt anybody would mind getting the occasional special offer screensaver on their Kindle Tablet if it means that they get iPad-like functionality for less than the cost of a Nook Color.

Amazon’s Ad-Supported Kindle Comes Out On Top

Not too long ago there was a fair amount of debate over whether or not customers could possibly accept a version of the Kindle which incorporated advertising.  As it turns out, the answer is a resounding yes.  Apparently while there may be any number of knee-jerk reactions to connecting advertising and the reading experience, nobody gets all that upset in practice so long as the whole thing is handled subtly and with the intention of keeping it unobtrusive.  This is good news for Amazon at the moment and might be great news for Kindle enthusiasts in the long term.  It all depends on how the trend holds up.

The fact that you can find the Kindle w/ Special Offers at the top of the Best Sellers list works as a proof of concept as far as ad-supported Kindles are concerned. Customers are willing to buy it.  Their biggest complaint so far seems to be the fact that they had to.  You see, many consumers feel that if they are going to be providing Amazon with revenue from advertising on an ongoing basis, it is wrong for them to expect an initial investment on the part of the end-user.  There is a certain amount of justification to this. It is definitely possible to see that being the goal, given projections that the Kindle may soon be a free or nearly free device.  At the moment, it still needs to prove itself as a worthwhile place for advertisers to buy time on.  Let’s assume that this works out and Amazon has no problems finding companies that would love nothing more than to advertise to readers around the world.  This opens the door for not only the free Kindle, but highly affordable Kindle Tablet devices subsidized by advertising.

There is the concern, of course, that this could prove too tempting a success and result in an intrusive ad presence in eBooks themselves.  I would call this unlikely.  In an earlier interview on the topic, Jeff Bezos mentioned that part of the reason they are choosing to keep the advertising completely separate from the reading experience, besides simply the undesirability of such an immersion destroying addition, is that maintaining the separation improves the impact of the ads when they are shown.  Simply put, more ads would mean less impact per ad rather than more overall impact.  If the advertisers are not seeing results, the whole endeavor flops.

So far we’ve seen Amazon do a great job of anticipating the needs of the customer.  They offer the most full-featured, affordable dedicated eReader on the market in the form of the Kindle and now they are selling it at what is almost certainly less than cost. If they sometimes turn to unorthodox methods to provide customers with the best value for their money rather than following the most vocal demands and desires of the moment, so much the better.  I think there will be a time when the Kindle w/ Special Offers is the only one they continue to offer as a dedicated eReader, but I also see it costing next to nothing by that point.  Any thoughts?

Is Amazon’s Kindle Destroying the Publishing Industry?

This isn’t a new topic, but it also doesn’t seem to be going away.  There are some very loud people convinced that the Kindle spells the end of the book and they’re quite willing to say so.  In a very, very limited way, they’re right.  The problem is that they’re missing the point.

You see, books have come a long way already over the years.  It doesn’t matter if you decide to cite oral tradition, serialized texts, or pretty much anything else as the origination point for the modern concept of the book, it’s not possible to deny that the book as we know it is an evolution from something else.  The transition to the medium we know and love today, which is itself distinct from the books produced prior to the printing press for example, has allowed for more variety and enjoyment to emerge than ever before.  The Kindle, and other eReaders like it, is simply the next stage in the ongoing progression.  It takes the established situation and makes it more efficient to deliver, less restrictive in terms of publication, and more generally accessible overall.

In a way, this is the heart of the problem.  The publishing industry isn’t built around the text.  In the end, it doesn’t matter if they are selling the most amazing piece of literature ever written or the latest exploitation of the vampire romance novel phenomenon so long as people are buying.  The industry makes its money by selling the book as a physical object and offering the person or people who produced the information inside a cut of the profit.  If you take away the paper, their model seems less sustainable.

If anybody sitting at home can do the work to get a novel written, polished, and put up for sale with no need for a middle-man and at a higher percentage than the publishing houses are prone to offering, then what is the point of courting them?  What we need to see now is some initiative on the part of these companies.  What are they bringing to the table?  It isn’t enough to cite history and what they’ve done before.  If the Kindle is supposed to be single-handedly destroying publishing as we know it, you have to assume that it has more to do with what the public considers to be worth their money than it does with Jeff Bezos being an evil genius bent on taking over the world.

If they are going to stay afloat, people need to be informed about what advantages there are in going with a publisher.  The doors need to open up a bit.  If this isn’t enough, then it isn’t a sign that somebody is out to get them, it’s a sign that publishers simply aren’t providing authors with decent value anymore. The industry isn’t changing on a whim, it’s changing because things like the Kindle platform are making it possible for authors and readers to avoid the red tape and pointless markups that are left over from a time when successful publishing was literally impossible without an impressive backer.  We’re moving on.

Is The New Amazon Kindle Hollywood Tablet Meant For Movies?

Maybe it is owing to the fact that the rumored high-end Kindle Tablet is code named “Hollywood”, but there has been some talk going around recently about the possibility that this is going to be a video focused device. The idea is being described as a sort of Kindle for movies.  With the most recent information that has come out regarding technical specs, especially in the context of the last few developments in the Amazon.com media services.

At the moment there are a few ways to get video to your computer.  You can go with Netflix and stream all the movies you want, but really the selection is fairly limited and the quality has a tendency to be questionable at times.  Youtube is generally the cheapest and most widely supported option, but it isn’t usually the best way to find what you want to watch.  Apple will sell you movies, but they seem comparatively overpriced.  Even Cable companies will typically provide On-Demand video for subscribers, but these tend to be the worst of the bunch in any number of ways.  In spite of there being a number of avenues, however, nobody has really come up with an impressive option.  The best choice so far is probably Netflix, but if Amazon can come up with a decent streaming/downloading service selection then it shouldn’t be terribly hard for them to make it work. The Amazon Instant Video Store seems to be a push in that direction and might well be paving the way for the new Kindle Tablet.

The “Hollywood” version of the Kindle Tablet will supposedly be featuring the quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 .  This would make it faster than any other tablet on the market today by a fair margin while at the same time not sacrificing battery life at quite the extreme that a quad-core processor in a tablet would imply.  It would also support a display resolution of up to 1920 x 1200, which is a noticeable step up from the iPad’s 1024 x 768 and would allow for HD quality movie viewing.

While the available information would therefore seem to support the idea of a movie viewing Kindle equivalent, the Kindle Tablet’s other specs remain a big factor.  Without knowing what will be available in terms of storage, connectivity, and display technology it is fairly difficult to figure out exactly what is going on.  Storage may be a moot point, given Amazon’s cloud-based music service and the ability to stream movies, but it would make more sense to allow for full downloads to ensure maximum performance and battery life.  Connectivity would have a lot to do with quality concerns as well, of course.  The display is really the big point.  Since Amazon has basically built an entire campaign based on the shortcomings of the iPad’s LCD display compared to that of the Kindle, we have to assume that they have something else in mind for the Kindle Tablet. Which way they go on that point may well be the most interesting bit of information in the end.

Amazon Kindle Now Sells More Books Than Print

Long before we had the Kindle to play with, Amazon was still making a big impression in book sales.  They got started over 15 years ago now and in that time managed to become the number one destination for anybody wanting to pick up reading material.  This in itself is an amazing achievement for any company.  Then, 4 years back, they introduced the Kindle.  A good situation got better.  In these four years, Amazon has brought the eBook from a fad to a point where sales of electronic texts exceed those of print books in their entirety.

That’s right, it finally happened.  Since April 1st, Amazon’s Kindle Store has sold 105 Kindle eBooks for every 100 print books they have sold in any format.  We knew it was going to happen eventually, of course.  First they outsold hardcovers last July, then paperbacks six months later, and now this.  The speed of the progression is as impressive as the accomplishment itself.

To put this in the proper perspective, a couple things need to be kept in mind.  For one, all of these milestones I mention were factoring in only paid sales.  The free editions that tend to be the first selection of the new Kindle owner were left out for obvious reasons or else this probably would have happened a while back.  Really, how many people make their way through all their free downloads though?

Also, given the timing, this clearly came prior to and had nothing to do with the introduction of the discounted, ad-supported Kindle w/ Special Offers. This means that you can’t consider this more widely appealing Kindle offering to be part of the trend when Amazon lets us know that their 2011 Kindle Edition sales to date have been more than three times those of 2010.  When you consider than in about a month the Kindle w/ Special Offers has become the best selling member of the Kindle family by far, the trend seems poised to continue.

The Kindle Store is now home to over 950,000 titles, including 109 of 111 current NYT Best Sellers.  The vast majority of these titles are priced under $9.99, including the aforementioned Best Sellers.  Again, these numbers don’t even try to factor in the millions of titles that are available for free due to expired copyrights or the many books available through other sources that can be used on the Kindle.  On top of this, new titles are being added all the time including many from Amazon’s successful self-publishing platform.  Over 175,000 books have been added to the store in 2011 alone.

We’ve known for a long time that the eBook was on the rise.  It was only a matter of time before it became the dominant format.  While this is only citing the success of one retailer, Amazon is leading the way.  They have localized stores in multiple countries, are steadily expanding, and continue to distribute the most popular eReader on the market in spite of steadily increasing competition from tablets and competing eReaders.  Even without the upcoming Kindle Tablets, the Kindle is demonstrating an ability to keep up the momentum.

Unique Leather Kindle Covers

leather casesIf you are in the market for a unique, high quality style Kindle 2 or Kindle 3 cover, check out this etsy shop.  The leather covers are handmade and custom designed by Tovicorrie, a small business owned by a couple based in London.

The designs are printed directly onto the cover.  There are some really pretty flower designs, as well as more abstract ones.  So, you have a good variety to choose from based on your taste.  As you can see from the pictures, the case has a snap at the bottom to allow for easy sliding in and out, as well as charging.

The inside of the leather Kindle case is lined with suede to help protect your Kindle from scratches.  The case is also sturdy enough to handle traveling or toting around.  The sturdiness and protection are keys to a long lasting case.

Tovicorrie also has a number of cases available for the iPhone or iPod as well.

Kindle 3G with Special Offers at Last

kindleYay! Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) listened to its customers, and has now added the Kindle 3G with Special offers to the Kindle family.  I’ve seen a lot of comments about this on the Kindle reviews on Amazon’s site, and the Amazon Kindle Facebook page.

Amazon is offering the 3G Kindle with special offers for $25 less at $164.  It includes all of the perks of the Kindle 3G with the addition of sponsored screensavers and ads.  When I was looking at the overview of the new Kindle, I noticed how much the battery life has improved.  Three weeks with wireless on, and 2 months with it off.  That is awesome.

A couple of great special offers include: $10 for $20 Gift Card, and $100 with new Amazon Visa Card sign up.  I wish I had that offer when I signed up for my Amazon Visa Card!  These offers end June 4th and May 30th respectively.

After Amazon’s announcement, there were complaints about how people have just bought the Kindle 3G.  If you have bought a Kindle within the last 30 days, you may still send it back and get the newer special offers version.

Now, is the Kindle DX next in line?  On another note, it will be interesting to see how the tablets Amazon is supposedly working on will affect the Kindle DX.

Amazon is Getting Ready to Release Dual-Core and Quad-Core Kindle Tablets

Continuing the recent trend of slowly filling in the details of the upcoming tablet additions to the Kindle family, we have finally gotten a little bit in the way of technical specs. It is certainly true that you have to take everything these tipsters say with a grain of salt, but the timing seems right for more information to be making its way out and the site that released the information has a fairly reliable track record. Here’s what we’ve got to think about at the moment:

The first of the new Kindle Tablet devices is code-named “Coyote”.  This tablet, seemingly the introductory model, will run on NVidia’s Tegra 2 processor.  Not an unusual choice in the world of Android phones and tablets at the moment, but it seems to do the job fairly well.  While it won’t make the Coyote stand out particularly, there’s nothing to be particularly disappointed by.

The more impressive model is code-named “Hollywood”.  The Hollywood model will be making use of NVidia’s upcoming T30 “Kal-El” quad-core processor.  It will likely come as little surprise to most of you that the quad-core model is likely to be ridiculously fast by comparison.  NVidia has reported that the new processor will be approximately 500% the speed of the Tegra 2.

The only obvious comparison that you can draw at this point in the Tablet PC field is to the iPad.  None of the others have managed to make a particularly impressive splash by comparison.  Given what we know at this point, it would seem that Amazon has opted out of carving themselves off a chunk of the market to call their own and is jumping straight into contesting Apple’s dominance.

Consider what it was that gave Apple the edge in all this.  Yes, they came out with a very affordable tablet and they beat everybody else out.  The biggest factor, though, was their being poised to take advantage of every stage of tablet usage.  You don’t just buy your iPad from Apple, you also need apps if you want to do anything.  In many cases, you can’t even get by with just the app.  You need media to run with the app.  Apple makes a profit off of hardware, software, and media because they get a cut from every single step.  Amazon is now in a position to do the same.  They have themselves some new hardware, an app store, every sort of media you can think of, and an already strong following that while not as extensive as the iPhone owner community was at the launch of the iPad, is still impressive. It is obvious that the first people likely to be successfully targeted for the new device are the many satisfied customers of the Kindle since they have some experience with the company’s hardware already.

As with the Kindle, it is going to take a truly impressive product and an extensive support system for Amazon to hope to come out on top here.  The thing is, they seem like they have that.  Is Amazon going to come out with an iPad killer?  Of course not.  They are likely going to create the first meaningful rivalry that the tablet world has seen so far, though.  It is to be hoped that the Kindle vs iPad competition will do as much for tablets as the Kindle vs Nook has managed so far for eReaders.