Friday, March 4, 2011

Kindle news 03/04/11, Rise of 99-cent Kindle ebook + iPhone-revenue piece

RANDOM KINDLE NEWS - March 4, 2011

""Rise of the 99-cent Kindle e-book" by ZDNet's David Carnoy
  This is a long article covering several aspects of e-book pricing today, which should be somewhat interesting to both budding authors and Kindle owners.

Here's what Carnoy had to say about a case study of experimenting with pricing and revenue share under Amazon's self-publishing models:
' Case study: "Fifth Avenue"
Christopher Smith, who wrote the novel "Fifth Avenue," priced his novel at US$2.99 when he launched it last October. He says that with some social media outreach--he did an iPad and a Kindle giveaway for those who tweeted about the book--and little else, the book quickly reached the Amazon Top 100 and peaked at No. 4. After the initial rise, Smith then decided to drop the price of the book to 99 cents to maintain his ranking in the top 100, which is key to generating sales.

Thanks to some controversy over gay sex scenes in the book that touched off heated discussions in Amazon's Kindle message boards, Smith says "Fifth Avenue" remained in the Top 100 for three months and also has done well on Amazon's U.K. Kindle Store. His sales, he says, are in the "six figures", and he's now represented by an "A-list" agent, Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger.

"When I went to 99 cents, I was going for longevity," Smith says. Later, when he was firmly planted in the Top 100, he started playing with pricing and listed the book back at US$2.99. For every US$2.99 book he sold on the Kindle, he needed to sell six books at 99 cents to make the same amount of money. While he drifted downward on the best-seller list, if he priced at US$2.99, he says he was making significantly more money.

"To keep the book on the list as long as possible, I'd just switch it back to 99 cents and it would quickly climb the list again," Smith says. "Rinse and repeat. This went on for months." '

Other sections of this article on the trend toward 99-cents pricing include: How we got here; The App Store effect: Price drops; The new pricing sweet spot; Whither publishers?

"Apple To Take 30% Cut On Voice Orders Taken Over iPhone"
  It starts:
' (Palo Alto, California) Apple announced today that as of March 1st it will take a 30% cut of all commerce done over the iPhone. Apple will use a voice recognition system to monitor all phone calls and transcribe order information so that any company taking voice orders over the iPhone can be billed. The announcement is a clarification of a policy released to developers and publishers last week when Apple indicated that all subscriptions purchased through the phone would be subject to a 30% fee. '
You'll want to read the rest of it at Unconfirmed Sources (Kindle-edition readers will be able to click through the link too.  Press the Menu button there and select "Article Mode" to read it and, when finished, press Menu and "Web Mode" and the BACK button to get back to the blog.)

This is London's Money page writes:
" Referring to Amazon's 'best-selling item ever', the 3G Kindle, Fortune observed: 'The tablet continues to dominate the e-reader market, despite initial fears that Apple's iPad would be a problem.

'Now, it seems many people are buying both, to serve different purposes.'"
No surprise to Kindle users though.

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. Those with limited budgets, like me, can't afford both, so since the iPad came out, many of us have shifted inconclusively back and forth between:

    * Get a Kindle, the iPad costs too much when I mostly want something for reading. For reading ePaper is much better.

    * Get an iPad, considering the money I might have spent on a Kindle as money saved toward the iPad. Hey, looked at that way, it only costs $360 for the basic iPad.

    Times have changed. Now I lean heavily toward the Kindle, with a second-hand, no-longer-under-contract iPhone providing me all the marvelous apps that run on iStuff, but that will never come to the Kindle. To save $500+, I'll live with that tiny screen. Settling on an iPhone as good enough means there's no reason to even consider an iPad, particularly since it may end up being an iBookstore-only reader come July.

    So why don't I replace my Kindle 1, with it's frustrating page-turn buttons? Because the Kindle 3 isn't quite where I think it should be. I don't want to buy the model before the one I wanted.

    1. The Kindle's gosh-awful toy keyboard. Yes, I know they need to keep it small so the Kindle stays small and light. But that doesn't mean they can't use a WiFI chip that also does Bluetooth. Then we could use a full-sized keyboard whenever we want.

    2. Instapaper. I do most of my serious reading in Instapaper. It's so marvelous, particularly in how it synchs and saves what I have read, that I don't mind reading it my iPhone. But I'd much rather read it on a Kindle. Alas, all the ways to read Instapaper documents on a Kindle are incredibly clumsy workarounds. Why can't Amazon forgo yet another crossword puzzle app, and give us a full-featured Instapaper app synching through WiFi.Maybe they will.

    There's also something that's more a wish than a must-have. The Kindle is absolutely marvelous for proofing books, but there's no easy way to synch to my iMac notes made for documents that weren't purchased from Amazon. Amazon could become the friend of authors by offering added features that authors can take advantage of. The reward would be more and much better laid out Kindle books.

  2. Michael,
    I'd love to be able to use a Bluetooth keyboard with any of the Kindles when I want.

    As for that keyboard, at least I know what I'm typing, with a Kindle, and have total control over it vs what I can do with my NookColor, which is so oversensitive that hovering over a letter makes it as "good" as typing it (of course, a letter I don't intend to type).

    I still have my Kindle 1. Two friends recently had their Kindle 1's stolen, over the holidays. They now have Kindle 3's and find them zippy and easy to use and extremely clear, which is more the point.

    I have Instapaper articles on my Kindle 2 and just looked at them. They always came out well for the Kindle 2. I never tried them on the Kindle 1. They're exremely readable. I can't imagine what the problem is on a Kindle 1 but I do know you cannot dirrectly access a word on the Kindle 1, which is extremely frustrating to me, with all those slow, pop-up dialog boxes needing decision after decision.

    Sync'g can be done only if Amazon keeps the document on their servers and all the info you want re last-page-read + annotations. If they ever do this for personal docs, I imagine there'd be a fee for added storage processes, retrieval, sync'g,e tc.

    Until then I'm happy to just have them on a small Kindle that is always with me.

    For the Kindle 2, I take web articles wanted for later reading either via Instapaper or Readability or otherwise just copy/paste what I want into Microsoft Word and then move it to my Kindle. This is how one looks on the Kindle 2 at normal size-'3' font.

    I do keep a lot of personal docs and sheet music on my Kindle. But I don't think about sync'g them as it's so small there's no reason it's not always w/me. HOWEVER, guys don't carry purses, so it's not as easy for you. Pouches?


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