Barnes & Noble Seeks Kindle Converts With eReader Upgrade Offer

Still walking around with a first generation Kindle, Nook, or Sony Reader?  Barnes & Noble is currently offering incentives to upgrade from any other eReader when you switch to the new Nook Simple Touch eReader.  While supplies last, those who choose to take advantage will get themselves a memory card with 30 books on it.  Supposedly, it’s a value of over $300.  Admittedly when looked at closely it’s an offer of questionable value for the most part, but if you have an older device on your hands and intend to switch anyway then it might be worth the trouble.

All you have to do is bring your old eReader with you to any Barnes & Noble store when you go to buy your new Nook.  This isn’t a trade-in program, so they don’t expect you to hand over your old device.  Just show up with a Kindle, Sony Reader, Kobo, or whatever you have on hand, and your new Nook will come with a preloaded 2gb SD card.

It is definitely a smart move on behalf of B&N.  Trade-in and upgrade programs are always a useful means to promote your new product, especially when that new product genuinely brings something useful to the table like the new Nook does.  The only issue I can really see with it is that of how little value the books will provide for most customers.  If it were a matter of getting 30 books of your choice, this would unquestionably be worth the trade for a PRS-500 or first generation Kindle even if it did mean handing over the old model, but instead B&N will be choosing your books for you.  A collection featuring cookbooks, crossword puzzle compilations, classics, and kids books will probably have something for everybody, but it is hard to imagine any particular person wanting all of it at once.  If I were to guess, I would be expecting perhaps 4-5 really enjoyable eBooks for any specific customer.

Normally, the shortcomings associated with this offer would be enough for me to find ways to subtly deride the good people over at B&N for such a paltry offering.  The fact is, however, that at the moment there are no competing opportunities on the market, as far as I am aware.  It won’t be a huge incentive for most people who are fairly new to eReaders, since you already have to own one to take advantage anyway.  It also certainly won’t be enough to pull in many customers who have a latest generation Kindle, since grabbing any books you want out of the offering selection would likely be cheaper than grabbing a second eReader that isn’t compatible with your existing purchases. For people who are unsatisfied with last generation devices, or those with no substantial DRM-protected eBook library, it might be enough to push the decision on an upgrade to Nook over Kindle.  The good folks at Barnes & Noble are almost certainly aware of the narrow margin by which they hold the lead right now, so any nudge in the right direction is going to help capitalize on the success.

Magazines and Newspapers Now Available on Kindle Reading Apps

One of the biggest complaints about reading magazines on Kindle is it’s lack of good support for graphics.  I have seen this sentiment in many of the Kindle magazine reviews.  This issue is resolved somewhat with the magazines’ new availability on Kindle Reading Apps such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  Barnes & Noble has done the same for it’s Nook reading apps and have a good sized collection.

The Kindle for iPad interface makes it a bit easier to read magazines because of its LCD screen that is much more amenable to colors and pictures.  National Geographic is of course known for its amazing photos, so it works the best on tablets.

The collection of over 100 Kindle magazines and newspapers include big names like The Washington Post, The Economist, PC Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and more.  The good news is that they all include two week trial subscriptions, so you don’t have to lock into a subscription right away.

You get a bit of portability (think much lighter luggage when traveling!) and a better visual experience.  Price wise, the Kindle subscriptions are about equal or less than the print subscription.  Sometimes more.  It just depends on the magazine or newspaper.

One thing I like about the Kindle Reading Apps are that they include good accessibility features.  The option to enlarge fonts, change color contrast, and include VoiceOver capabilities is a big perk for people who have vision loss.  Have you ever seen a large print or braille version of Reader’s Digest?  They are huge.

With the upcoming “tablet revolution” so to speak, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Kindle apps, especially for the iPad.  I think they will be around for awhile with such a huge variety of users using tablets and smartphones.  There will be a slew of tablets to choose from this holiday season.

When the Kindle Tablet comes out, will Amazon continue to offer the Kindle for iPad app, or just focus on its own?

The Kindle Tablet would solve the graphics issue directly as part of Amazon’s own product line, instead of relying on its software platform on another company’s product.

So, it will be interesting to see what happens!


John Locke – First Independent Author to Join Kindle Million Club

Amazon Direct Publishing has enabled a lot of authors to get their writing voices out there.  One independent author who has published a number of thrillers over the past year, is John Locke.  Locke joins major authors such as Suzanne Collins and Stieg Larsson as the eighth member of the Kindle Million Club.

Locke describes how his successful marketing strategy in his book How I sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! He does it in a clear and concise way.  One important thing that I took from his book is that if you want to sell books, magazines, or even blogs, you need to figure out your target audience.  If you can find a good niche, that’s a huge step.  Also, utilize social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter to actively reach out to fans.

With the exception of 1 Million Books, Locke’s books go for .99 each.  With a lot of bestselling ebooks going for $9,.99 or up, this is an amazing deal.

Saving Rachel is one of Locke’s top selling books and belongs to the Donovan Creed series.  This ebook sends the reader on quite the ride as killers give a man the choice between his wife and mistress.  Sam Case messes with the wrong people when he hides money from mobsters and terrorists like Donovan Creed.  The plot is pretty outrageous, but it is a matter of preference.

Speaking of outrageous, another one of Locke’s books, Wish List, certainly also falls into that category.  I cracked up at the main character’s name, Buddy Pancake.  Buddy and his friends start making crazy wishes from a Wish List website without really thinking about the consequences of those wishes.

On another note, Locke also wrote the Emmett Love Westerns.  These are set in mid nineteenth century Western United States.  Follow the Stone has met great success.  So, if you need a break from Locke’s thrillers or prefer westerns, these would be a good series.  You’ll find touching themes and great characters.

So, as you can see, it is very possible to have great success at publishing ebooks on Amazon.  This is great for those who would otherwise not get a shot with the major publishing houses, however, there needs to be more control over Kindle publishing so that all authors can get the merits they deserve and compete with the big names.