Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kindle News, lots of it, 10/13/10

The 11 items mentioned below include a few that are mainly links w/short descriptions for those interested in following the links, as there is a lot of news this week and you can follow these when you have time.  The others probably contain too much information but I wanted to see community responses to some of the news.


Staples's display area for the Kindles.  Note the larger Kindle on the desk?  I didn't THINK they have the DX Graphite in stock but it was said that they'd be in stores in November.

  At this point, they only have pre-programmed demo models although they call them "interactive"... the article drips with sarcasm, but I wish Amazon felt they could afford to have one model in each store that people could actually try for an idea of how the Kindle  (UK: K3) actually functions.

  In the article's Comments area, someone writes back in similar vein but with a different viewpoint:

  "I got my grubby paws on one of these devices last year, and actually quite liked it.  I found out that you can use the free 3G internet access to surf the web, anywhere on the planet that has 3G cellphone coverage.
  Oh, and apparently you can read books on them as well. "

The L.A. Times Entertainment blog reports on estimated sales based on a survey by Cowen and Co.:
' Not only are sales of the Kindle device expected to grow 140% this year to nearly 5 million units from 2009, but digital book sales via the Kindle store are on track to grow 195% to $701 million in 2010, according to Cowen and Co., which released a report Monday on the digital book market.

...according to the report, written by Cowen analysts Jim Friedland and Kevin Kopelman. "In fact, we think the adoption of tablets will boost Kindle e-book sales."

...For 2010, Cowan estimates Apple will have 5% of the market for digital books, compared with Amazon, which is projected to have 76% of the market.  But by 2015, Cowan estimates Amazon will have 51% of the market and Apple with 16%.

When I first saw the PR release at MarketWatch, I thought Amazon was expanding into the Dating-Services area, but instead:
' Less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000: that is the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century--works either had to be short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the "heft" required for book marketing and distribution.

But in many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, well researched, well argued and well illustrated--whether it's a business lesson, a political point of view, a scientific argument, or a beautifully crafted essay on a current event.

Today [Oct. 12], Amazon is announcing that it will launch "Kindle Singles" -- Kindle books that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book.  Kindle Singles will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced much less than a typical book.
  Today's announcement is a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world.

  "Ideas and the words to deliver them should be crafted to their natural length, not to an artificial marketing length that justifies a particular price or a certain format," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content.  "With Kindle Singles, we're reaching out to publishers and accomplished writers and we're excited to see what they create." '

Nick Bilton of the NY Times points out that
' This medium-length format has traditionally been difficult for writers to sell to publishers as it doesn’t fit into the mold of a printing-press distribution model.

  In a digital distribution system, those pricing structures no longer exist, and a digital price can be adjusted accordingly.

  By promoting this new format, Amazon can also avoid upsetting publishers who were frustrated with the company when it introduced its own self-publishing product, allowing writers to price and directly sell their content on the Kindle platform. '

Engadget's Joseph L. Flatley refers to these as "really, really short books"

  To Engadget's mostly tongue-in-cheek analysis - "It looks like Amazon has finally admitted what we knew all along: most books are too long. And boring.
  We need more e-publications that reflect our torn jeans, frayed hair, coffee swilling, ca. early-1990s slacker lifestyle.
  Kindle Singles, as announced by "the man" in an ironic blast of "PR," are described as e-books anywhere from twice the length of a Maximum Rock'n'Roll feature article to a few chapters in a typical book...."

  In the Engadget comments area, Nick Sweetman writes:
' Have you ever heard of this thing called attention span? It's when you actually get to '

  IMHo predicts:
' Mark my words: in 2020 they will come out with Kindle Fractions, for page-and-a-half publications, because by then singles will be considered long and boring :) '

  And, on a more serious note, jtnoel adds:
' Amazon is one of Dime Novel Publishing's distribution channels.  In fact, we currently have close to 30 titles published (although Amazon does not provide publishers the ability to offer texts for free...unless you are one of the big guys).

  The issue is about getting noticed. Publishers pushing short/serialized content through Amazon are, in short (no pun intended), lost in the shuffle.  By breaking this out into its own model, there is a great opportunity for authors/publishers like us to get some real marketing push from Amazon. '

 Dingus is amusing:
' The "Amazon Singles" name is all about branding.  Because calling them "Amazon Short Stories" sounds like a comic from the '50s.
  Also the acronym might not fly. '

 And, on a note that might please Amazon and Singles-authors, Mark points out why this might work:
' There are probably a lot of awesome short stories by authors I love, that I don't read.  Why?  Because I don't want to buy compilations with other short stories I am not interested in reading. ' makes some good points:
' ...Others view Kindle Singles as a new revenue source [for writers].  Writers can now take a different approach, and create smaller books that have a more narrow focus.

  It might take a year to write a traditional book, but Kindle Singles could be easily produced in two weeks to a month.  This quick turn around time could allow writers a chance to sell more digital work, so they can have the money to allow them to spend time focusing on bigger books.

  Other writers, on the other hand, may look at this as a new opportunity to carve out a unique niche, where they produce dozens of 30 to 90 page books.   Either way, this new addition to the Kindle Store provides a great deal of opportunity for many. '

Technorati's Laura Zavelson writes:
' If viewed through a magazine/newspaper lens, this could be the first step in letting journalists and writers produce their own work rather than having to be on staff or go through the tedious pitch process.  While the press release did not discuss the business model, there is also the possibility that writers might even be able to earn more for their work by going straight to distribution and bypassing the publishers.

  ... The newsstand price of a top consumer magazine runs about $5. What if you could spend less and just buy the articles you're interested in?  Would you do it? '

4. ZORK FOR KINDLE AGAIN's John Brownlee writes that while he feels the Kindle is 'worthless' for any games (of the action type, definitely), Zork is another matter:
' Given how extremely dedicated and talented the text-adventure community is even today, this seems like an absolutely wonderful development for the Kindle, transforming it from an e-reader into an affordable handheld console for a type of game not really supported on other systems.  Roll out support for A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and I’m there. '

In an article in Investor's Business Daily, by Doug Tsuruoka, about Amazon and sales of mooncakes! in China, I saw this:
' Amazon operates under the name Joyo Amazon in China.  Market research firms in China say Amazon is doing well selling books.  There are unconfirmed reports in the Chinese press that Amazon will soon start selling its Kindle e-book reader in China. '

Probably true.  In the July 28 blog entry, I wrote that the Global Times, China reported that
' Despite claims by Amazon that its E-book reader, Kindle, has no timetable for entering the Chinese market, its Chinese branch, Joyo, is in what is believed to be preparations to launch the device, media reports said Wednesday.

  An industry insider disclosed that Joyo has initiated recruitment of distribution managers and personnel via recruitment organizations, which leads industry analysts to believe this is a prelude to launching.  Information on talent-recruitment is available on Joyo's official website. '
And a couple of days later came the news that the new Kindle now handles Chinese characters.

ChicagoNow's yearley reports that the color but e-paper-like Mirasol display (that can do video) for future e-readers was demo'd at American Magazine Conference.  The part that most interested me, in a long article explaining Mirasol technology, was this:
' The Mirasol is a "color display that future E-Readers will be able to integrate for a different viewing experience from the present offerings...There is currently a dedicated fab facility, special factory that produces the displays, in Taiwan which increases its production reach and will be able to supply demand given a deal is reached soon for an E-Reader... [Emphases mine, as usual.]

The display can show images and video as a clear XGA format at 1024 x 768 screen resolution with 223 pixels per inch.

...The final question on everyone's mind is perhaps what E-Reader devices the Mirasol display might be a part of in the near future and if it will be in other mobile devices besides E-Readers.  However, that was the one question that could not currently be answered and [they] were not able to say at the present time to anyone.  Though currently Qualcomm is in the process of working on deals with major players in the E-Reader market.

The CEO of Barnes & Noble was present at the American Magazine Conference, so perhaps he caught onto some ideas after previewing the Qualcomm Mirasol display and will decide to bring it to the Nook, along with Mirasol's full color and video capabilites. '

See far more info on this promising (but muted-color) display at ChicagoNow.

Kindle Edition of Tom's Hardware mobile The popular and highly-regarded "Tom's Hardware" site is now available in a Kindle Edition for 99 cents a month.

Yet another rumor, this time from, about a possible Amazon tablet in the works (I'd not mentioned any of the other Amazon tablet rumors).

  They point out that
' TechCrunch "was the first to post the rumor that an Amazon tablet was coming and it makes perfect sense when you really think about it. Amazon’s site attracts nearly 80 million visitors each month and they have demonstrated their ability to move a branded device like the Kindle e-reader. If Amazon takes their moneymaking Kindle brand and slaps it on an Android tablet, they now have the perfect mobile platform to push their growing video-on-demand library, while also using their killer recommendation engine to sell apps and games. '

Just a rumor and not a strongly-based one though it makes sense it might happen someday.  And Amazon's Lab126 has had job postings for positions requiring experience in video and animation.

How I got a preview of the Kindle 3 – and totally geeked out - by Christopher Sutton, a "reluctant ebook adopter."  The link for this delightful read was tweeted to some Kindlers by @mikecane.

It's a long piece by a guy who's always loved physical books and strongly resisted the idea of an e-reader (does this sound familiar?).  He explains his slow turnaround, to the extent he wound up in the new Amazon video, "What Customers are Saying".  Seen just under "The Reviews Are In -- where this link takes you, though it takes a bit to load -- the video also includes a couple of appearances by Jesslyn who runs the information-focused blog My Kindle Stuff - Info, How-To & Book Resources at

10. FOR EDUCATORS - a recommended article
The Chronicle of Higher Education's Jeffrey R. Young asks, As Textbooks Go Digital, Will Professors Build Their Own Books?.  It wouldn't be that easy, for many reasons.

BookBotics - The Future of Publishing, at
  "BookBotics features commentary and analysis about the future of books, reading and publishing business models in an era of digital media and convergence technologies.  While BookBotics focuses on these issues in particular, it also provides information on legal issues in the publishing industry as well as the many technological developments and curiosities that have become part of our digital culture."

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.
    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.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment

NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]