Friday, October 16, 2009

Amazon 's new same-day delivery / BN e-reader pics

Called "Local Express Delivery," the new Amazon same-day feature will be available only in select markets, since the shipment destinations have to be within a reasonable distance of a distribution hub.

Amazon is implementing same-day delivery in New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle.  PC World's Tony Bradley reports that there are plans to add Chicago, Indianapolis, and Phoenix in the near future.  He writes:
' The cut-off time to be able to receive same-day delivery varies from city to city.  For most markets the cut-off will be around 10 or 11 AM.  Shoppers in Seattle can place orders as late as 1 PM and still get their delivery that same day.

Amazon already has a premium shipping option called Amazon Prime.  Amazon Prime members pay $79 per year to subscribe to the service.  Members receive unlimited free 2-day shipping on a variety of items, and can upgrade to one-day shipping for an additional cost of $3.99

[Now] Amazon Prime customers in Local Express Delivery markets can upgrade to the same-day delivery service for $5.99.  Rates for non-Amazon Prime members are not yet available.  Suffice it to say that it is safe to assume that premium shipping will come at a premium cost. '
  He mentions that Barnes & Noble already offers this service, free for orders over $25, but only in Manhattan.
  B&N, by the way, will unveil their own eReader Tuesday, which also uses a 6" e-Ink screen in shades of gray.

  At the bottom of their e-reader, though, will be a little LCD window that will show the book covers in color although the book-reads will be in black & white, or grays, as with the Amazon and Sony models.

  Use of that LCD feature will drain battery power but I imagine it can be turned off.  A main feature of other e-readers is the long session life (a week or two) of the e-Ink screen with its light demand on battery life.  It'll use a virtual keyboard that displays when typing is needed (which would likely be even slower than the Kindle 2's physical keyboard).

  Here are some 'leaked' images of it with no information on whether it has equivalents of the Kindle's inline dictionary with status-line summary definition of the word your cursor is on, highlighting capability, notes, or word/phrase searches within books, or of the entire device, that the Amazon models have.  In fact there just is no information.  Only pictures.  Nicely clean design.  Rumors abound but on Tuesday there'll be actual info.

  For now, some have asked if it will also have text-to-speech, background mp3's, and audiobooks as the Kindle does.  B&N's software eReader is not readable on a Kindle or Sony, nor can a Kindle or Sony read B&N's eReader format.  Digital-rights-management complexity and multiple file-formats will continue.

  An important question will be whether or not it has wireless access to the B&N store.  It'll have to of course.  It's a sure bet, though, that it won't have even a slow but free 24/7 web browser as the Kindle does

  Monday, Amazon starts selling the International models of the Kindle.  Tonight or tomorrow, I'll write what I've found about the different Kindle features and Kindle-book offerings for the various countries and look at whether there is any reason for U.S. Kindle owners to move from the U.S. model they have to an International one.  Short answer - No, unless they travel a lot and don't mind paying extra fees for downloads to the Kindle while in other countries, or they don't get Sprint Whispernet where they live.  But there are other things to think about.

  Downloads while abroad can be continued to be done by U.S. Kindle owners to a computer and then transferred to the Kindle, at no cost.

  (International customers won't be charged fees for downloads made when in other countries, as the book prices include both VAT and some of the cost of international wireless access to the store.) Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. The same day delivery is great news. However, for us, the proud Kindle-owners, it isn't as relevant, since we have the same-minute delivery of our purchases. :-)

  2. What happened to that Best-Buy arrangement that I-REX had with B&N? That announcement was like only 3 weeks ago. And at that time, there was no decent hint of a B&N e-reader coming soon. The only thing I remember reading was that B&N refused to buy out I-REX and that their was no decision as to whether B&N would display the I-REX in their stores.


  3. SloopJohnB,

    B&N made non-exclusive (on their part) arrangements with iRex and Plastic Logic to be The Book Store for those companies in their wireless setups.

    While Plastic Logic is tied to B&N, B&N is not tied to Plastic Logic and can have a number of e-readers using their store.

    With iRex,that vendor had hoped the e-reader they were making for use at the B&N store would be "the house e-reader" -- B&N would use their reader and it would have B&N's name on it.

    B&N decided not to do that, and now we see why. But B&N has the business arrangement to be iRex's book store.

    iRex will still have its wireless directly connected to B&N, last I read. I think that part was solid and announced after B&N decided not to use their reader as the house brand.

    Neither Plastic Logic nor iRex have any web browser capability to the rest of the Net outside of the store connections, as of a few weeks ago and I doubt they'll change that.

    So far, the release of both of the specific models connecting to B&N in the U.S. would be only in the U.S. at all to start. Europe etc would come later but both are based in Europe.

    There is a rumor, not verified, that B&N was looking for a way to allow lending a book to one or two persons though the books will still have rights-management on the files.

    That's all I remember for now :-)

    - Andrys

  4. Ok Andrys, thanks for the explanation. It's going to be an interesting holiday season!



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