Monday, November 22, 2010

Amazon Kindle and general e-reader/ebook news 11-22-10


  That heading came from a Google news-lead.  As it happens, the article from Techcrunch, "Top 30 Android Apps Of All Time" is a useful list of good free and paid apps for the Android, and those of you who have Android devices or will, eventually, since they're about to flood the market, might enjoy the videos of what it's like to use each one.  The Kindle App for Android gets the #1 free Android App slot.

I was away yesterday, so today's blog article is even wordier than usual.

Amazon has started the "lightning deals" today.  Some prices are as low as $3 for regular DVD’s and $5 for Blu-ray DVD's. The "lightning" specials are for limited-quantity items but I've read that they can time out after 15 minutes of being in the cart, though you'll get a 10-minutes-remaining alert.

There have been questions whether Kindles might be included, but with the current state of stocking - unavailability outside the U.S. and UK for a few weeks for the Kindle 3's - that's unlikely.  Some expect that Kindle-related items (accessories) will be involved at some point.

Reminder: Bookmark these for significant sales from approximately today through the day after Thanksgiving and probably beyond to some extent:

U.S. Black Friday specials page: Shortcut:

U.K. Black Friday specials page: Shortcut:

Wilson Rothman, who writes for both Gizmodo and MSNBC has advice on which to buy and why (or why not).  His story includes the NookColor.

 He mentions that the 3G feature, costing $50 more for the Kindle 3G-WiFi model, is not needed but neglects to mention that the Kindle's 3G also includes free web-lookups (slow browsing) in 60+ countries and doesn't limit users to the bookstore as the other e-readers do.

 For those interested in that, here is the Table of 61 countries at which the Amazon UK site shows currently (their residents are more likely to travel often in Europe and apparently need this information more).  You can see more information on the countries in the blog article from October which incorporates the table.

  And here, for newcomers, is my article on the main differences between 3G+WiFi and WiFi-Only access that should help some who are trying to decide between the two Kindle-3  (UK: K3) models.

  Here's Rothman's summary:
' For those of you who think that this was a long-winded way for me to say "Buy a Kindle and/or an iPad," you are nearly right.  After all, they are the two most solid products on the market this holiday season, with proven value.  But for those plucky early adopters with cash to spend (if they still exist in this cramped economy), the Nook Color and Galaxy Tab represent innovations that may well evolve, even in hand, after they're purchased.  But as for the rest of the gadgets in this increasingly crowded field, I ask, why get lost in the weeds when the paved road is so easy to see? '

The latest story on this comes from California's Richard Hart for KGO-TV.

He mentions that Andrew Savikas's e-reading habits are part of "a movement that is surprising even the most optimistic sellers of electronic books."  Savikas, VP for Digital Initiatives at O'Reilly Media, adds that in direct sales,
  "Our e-books outsell the print books by more than 10-to-1.  We're seeing an extraordinary shift in preference for digital and especially for mobile, consumption."

  The article also quotes statistics from Forrester Research and Simba Information, and "according to Consumer Reports, 10 percent of adults plan to give an e-reader as a gift this year. Only 4 percent did so in 2009."

  "In 2009, revenue from sales of e-books made up 1 percent of book sales.  This season, they will constitute 10 percent.  
  They also reference "Publishers" for the statement that "e-book revenues exploded from $105.6 million in the first part of 2009 to $304.6 million so far this year, a 290 percent growth rate" but that is a strange and meaningless comparison, as written, as it compares the FIRST part of 2009 to "so far this year" and 2010 is almost over.  That has to be an error.

  So I looked it up and found a reference that makes somewhat better sense, by Richard MacManus, at, who writes:
' eBook Sales Nearly Double, Now 9% of Total Consumer Books

A recent report from the Association of American Publishers stated that eBooks sales grew 193% between January and August 2010.  In dollar terms, eBook sales for January to August were up from $89.8 million in 2009 to $263 million in 2010.

UPDATE Stephen in Comments points out that the percent increase is not 290% as mentioned in other articles interpreting what the Association of American Publishers said and which I quoted from Hart's write-up, but that is correct in saying 193%, which happens to be almost a tripling of the numbers last year.

A "doubling" of the numbers would have been almost $179.60 million in sales rather than the $263 mllion quoted vs the $89.8 million the year before or almost 3 times what it was in the same period of 2009.

What's more, according to the Association of American Publishers, eBooks now make up 9.03% of total consumer book sales - compared to 3.31% at the close of 2009. '
The Comments area there is a real wasteland, since they accept all spammers (why can't they use a simple filter?).

 ONE comment did strike me though.  It's from Bronwyn at the interesting writers' blog - "The online video literary magazine," who says:
' One of the most interesting things I've discovered is that in the Kindle store, the visual difference between big publishing houses, small independents and self-published books is almost invisible.  This can only help level the playing field between them in ways both readers and writers can benefit. '

IrishTimes had featured, last week, a "good news item on online retailer after it replaced a reader’s broken Kindle e-reader quickly and without a quibble.  Within minutes of the item appearing in print and online we were bombarded with a chorus of “Shut up! That’s awesome” (the catchphrase of the Irish winter) from readers who wanted us to highlight their stories of Amazon’s awesomeness."
' First up was Cillian Daly. He only had his Kindle for three weeks when it suffered an unfortunate fall at the hands of his mammy. A third of the screen was damaged and it was effectively unreadable. “The next day I rang Amazon, had a pleasant conversation with tech support and within three days, I had a brand new e-reader. They even processed the refund on the shipping for the return of the broken Kindle while the unit was in transit back to them.” He was doubly pleased because he was terrified it would take weeks if not months to get a replacement due to the popularity of the device and he was set to go on holidays two weeks after the incident so all the books he’d bought for the trip would have been wasted. “However, I got an e-mail the following morning telling me my replacement had shipped. I can’t recall this kind of service from an Irish company.” Then there was Gary Hoban who had an experience with his Kindle which was “almost identical”. He points out that “in one of the e-mails passing between us, the company described itself as ‘striving to become the world’s most customer-centric company’. It’s getting there,” he writes. “Irish companies, please copy.” '

Remember to use the quick-response Kindle customer service ("Call Me") explained in an earlier article here.

Almost daily, although I've almost never linked to them because the stories are so common, comes a 'testimonial' type article from someone who had been adamant about not using digital e-readers.  Since the holidays bring more people to the blog wondering why others are getting e-readers and why the e-book market is exploding, here's just one article I saw today, titled, "Ten top reasons why the Amazon Kindle is my new boyfriend."

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. Thanks for the link, Andrys. As a reader and a writer, I'm definitely a latecomer to the e-reader. I resisted it for all the reasons I'm sure you've read a hundred times.

    For me, the turning point was realizing that ever since I switched to a smartphone, I've actually been reading the NY Times more than before.

    I still love books on paper for the same reasons that I've always loved books on paper and I'll keep reading them. It's just that now I have more reading options.

    PS - I'm checking out your guide to free Kindle content now!

  2. An increase from $89.8m to $263m _is_ a 193% increase. Doubling is a 100% increase, not 200%.

    The table of 61 countries is interesting - it ignores major, populous EU countries such as France, Spain, Germany and Italy, and includes the minuscule Liechtenstein.

  3. Stephen,
    Interesting. If you have $90 and you bet it and then win another $90 (100% more), people normally say you 'doubled' your money, which gets you a current total of $180.

    In other words, 100% increase is doubling your money.

    To add another $90 to get $270 would be 'tripling' it in some wording. But it's only 200% increase to triple what you had to start with.

    I guess it's a matter of how it's used. I'll see about modifying what I said.

    You can see more of the history of the 61 countries at the link I give in the body of the article mentioned at

    The same main European countries have not been included for some time, due to lack of contracts with wireless providers there. In that earlier article the countries-listing is included and recently updated, at

    Interestingly, residents of the U.S., UK, and other countries who get 3G web-browsing enabled find that they can, unofficially, via Amazon controls, use the 3G to do web lookups while in those countries while the residents can't. But that's unofficial 'support'... I linked to the UK article listing countries where UK residents were able to use that.

    It's not a matter of "ignoring" the countries as listing those with whom there are Agreements of some kind. News articles have been written about negotiations falling apart in Germany last year for one.

  4. Stephen,
    I should have said I linked to the Amazon UK forum discussion of the countries where UK residents were able to use the 3G web browsing and those included the countries you mention where the residents don't themselves have that feature enabled due to no agreements for those countries' wireless users.


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