Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Kindle Chronicles interviews Amazon's Jay Marine re Library Lending, etc.


  Kindle Director Jay Marine is interviewed by Len Edgerly for last Friday's podcast at

SPECIAL OFFERS: some want these for older Kindles
  For each podcast, Len has a text summary with a description of what's covered in the various regular sections, and it's the most relaxing way to catch up with the week's Kindle news.

  They start out by discussing the new $114 Kindle with Special Offers and Ads (the Special Offers being a carrot for the currently low-key ads said to subsidize lower-cost Kindles).

The initial offers include:
  . $10 for $20 Gift Card
  . $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  . $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store
      (choice of over 1 million albums)
  . $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
  . Free $100 Gift Card when you get an
      Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
  . Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card
      to get a $10 credit
  . 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)

As more ads are bought by companies to be displayed on the ads-supported Kindle, it'll be interesting to watch the ratio of ads to special offers.

  While I've not been interested in this for myself, others who have Kindles already are asking, on forums, that the older Kindles get updated software to get the special offers too.  Of course, the ads would come along with those special offers.

  Marine is asked if Amazon has plans to do something like this for those wanting the special offers in a software update.  You can hear the answer at the podcast.

A question asked in the discussion of how the Kindle Library Lending will be run involved whether or not Amazon would use Adobe's DRM (digital rights management) process as Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobe do.

  In my article on how the Lending Library would probably function, vs how it's run for the other e-reader companies, I didn't think Amazon would be using Adobe's DRM.

  Marine confirms that they will not be using Adobe's DRM and that when you opt to borrow a library e-book that's available, you'll be able to have it within 60 seconds without needing to download any other software.  That's a big advantage.  And it means, to me, that Amazon will provide the download in order to track annotations and keep them for the users for possible future use.

  According to Marine, they waited until they could do it 'right' because their entire goal with the Kindle has been to make downloads seamless and fast.

  They discuss how it won't be ready right away.  Len asks some good questions during the interview.  He doesn't ask about the rumored Android tablet, he explains, since Amazon has a policy of not talking about possible coming products.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   K3 Special, $114   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 £5 Max 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.
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  1. My Kindle with Special Offers should arrive today, and it'll be interesting to see how quickly a judicious use of those special offers will cover its cost. $10 for a $20 gift care is simply $10 gratis for anyone who buys regularly from Amazon.

    The bad news is a story yesterday at Here's part of a statement released there by the developers of iFlowReader:

    "Thank you for being one of our valued customers. We are writing to you today to make a very sad announcement. BeamItDown Software and the iFlow Reader will cease operations as of May 31, 2011. We absolutely do not want to do this, but Apple has made it completely impossible for almost anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device"

    They go on to describe the specifics of how Apple drove them out of business. With their developer's markup the industry-standard 30%, there was no way they could afford to give Apple 30% of each ebook sale. That is bad news. I can't see why, come the end of June, the same Apple policy that has driven iFlowReader from iOS won't do the same for Amazon's Kindle apps.

    Fortunately, the nastiest guy doesn't always win. With Amazon now opening the Kindle up to library checkouts and with Apple beginning to drive competing ebook readers off iPads, we now face a real possibility that six months to a year from now the once tightly closed Kindle will be far more open to ebooks than Apple's mobile devices. That is truly strange. Six months ago my list of iPad advantages included "able to display commercial ebooks from multiple sources" versus the Kindle's "only able to display Amazon's commercial ebooks."

    That transformation would be particularly true if Amazon decides to use their email-document- to-a-Kindle feature to allow third party ebookstores to transfer their ebooks to Kindles, with Amazon taking perhaps 10% of the price. Amazon has already transformed the Kindle from an Amazon ebook reader to include library books, something I thought would never happen. This move would open Kindles up to ebooks bought from other retailers and isn't really any different from all the retailers who now sell through Amazon.

    Of course, that wouldn't keep iPads open to Kindle apps if Apple decides treat them like it has treated iFlowReader. Amazon can't control Apple's policy. It can merely reward or punish it. But in one move it would give Kindles an enormous competitive advantage over iPads for serious readers. Buying a Kindle would mean being able to get ebooks from almost any source, including ebook-of-the-month clubs and professional distribution sources for professionals such as physicians and lawyers. And it's the serious and professional readers where the money is.

  2. Mike,
    I did read that about iFlowReader. They put all their resources into going Apple IOS.

    They have the same option that Amazon does -- they can just be on the iPad (which actually benefits Apple as you point out) without giving the option to sell outside the app from a link within the app.

    iFlowR can give their web address but not link to the book, I imagine, and people wanting one of ther books can just go independently to their website. But they're choosing to fold instead.

    I also think anti-trust issues are involved here with Apple.

    Re Amazon, people know how to find Amazon and they don't need to sell with a link from within the app for Apple.

    iBooks cannot be read on ANY non-Apple devices of course.
    And Apple discourages development for cross-platform. How they get away with this is beyond me.

    In the meantime, Kindle books can be read on almost everything.

    Re the library lending, these are going to be downloaded from Amazon as Kindle-formatted books, straight.

    They're not taking in ePub books though. So, if other store ebooks are readable on a Kindle eventually, it would have to be via the Android app process, and Amazon app store would need to allow other e-reader stores, apps.

    Otherwise, we agree for sure.


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