Sources close to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos are indicating the company may be about to launch its own book publishing house. The news comes a week after the company announced that its retail bookselling division is now selling more Kindle Books than eBooks.
Amazon’s Kindle took off when they introduced a WiFi-only model for $139 late last summer. The advertisement supported versoin of the WiFi-only Kindle became available just a few weeks ago for only $114 and quickly became the best selling model according to Amazon.
Many are expecting Amazon to announce an Android tablet of some kind to compete with Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color and other Android tablets. However, that is not to be just yet. Instead Amazon announced a variant of their last successful play.
Amazon introducing ad-supported Kindle with 3G (USA Today)
The ad-supported Kindle 3G cost $164. This is $25 less than the $189 3G model without advertisements. Advertisements appear at the bottom of the Kindle’s list of books as well as the screensaver page (the page displayed when the Kindle is turned off). Advertisements do not appear on pages of books you read. Here’s what Amazon says about ads on the Kindle: Special offers and sponsored screensavers display on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen—they don’t interrupt reading. I’ve highlighted the advertisement area in the book list page here to make it easier to find it.
Were you considering a WiFi-only model recently? Does the new ad-supported 3G Kindle seem more appealing at $164.
The Association of American Publishers reported that eBook sales were up 202% and overtook paper book sales in February 2011.
So, I wasn’t surprised to read Amazon’s announcement that Kindle ebook sales overtook paper book sales there around the same time frame (March).
Amazon reported that since April 1, they have sold 105 Kindle ebooks for every 100 paper books. Amazon also notes that the new advertisement supported $114 WiF-only Kindle reader is the best selling Kindle device. They have sold three times as many Kindle readers in the first quarter of 2011 than in the same quarter of 2010.
I heard that Barnes & Noble will hold a press conference and make an announcement May 24, 2011. The company is very hush-hush about the announcement. So, I looked around the Internet and found some information in regards to what will be announced.
In an interview at Consumer Reports’ offices, Bezos indicated that if there was an Amazon tablet it will more likely supplement than replace the Kindle, which he calls Amazon’s “purpose-built e-reading device.” Bezos responded to a question from a visiting retail reporter about a possible Amazon tablet in a way that also seemed to suggest the possible co-existence of the Kindle and other Amazon devices: “I hate the term ‘killer,’ as in one device killing another in the marketplace.”
Amazon’s Kindle ebook hardware and the free Kindle ebook reader software for a wide variety of desktop and mobile platforms succeeded in making ebook reading the norm instead of a tech-geek-only activity. For all of the convenience and even cost savings the Kindle has brought, it has not been able to to be involved in one of the most basic activities related to physical books: Borrowing one. This, however, will be remedied soon according to the information in this press release from Amazon.
Here are the key points related to the Kindle Library Lending feature when it rolls out later this year:
- 11,000+ libraries in the U.S. will participate
- ebook lending will work with all Kindle hardware editions and the free Kindle reading software for various platforms
- Notes and highlights will survive between borrowing sessions (if an ebook is borrowed more than once) or buying an ebook after borrowing it
Amazon is working with digital content distribution solutions firm OverDrive for its lending system.
The figurative changing of the guard in terms of technology products is always a little surprising even when it is expected. We’ve seen this happen in the shift from vinyl records to CDs, from desktop PCs to notebooks, and from video tapes to DVDs to streaming video. Although some people may think ebooks were created by Amazon, they have a much longer history of fits and starts. We saw, for example, attempts to move reference books to CD-ROM discs in the 1990s. Some of you may remember Microsoft Encrata as one of the best known examples. Microsoft created its own ebook format over a decade ago. It was used in their Pocket PCs as well as in Microsoft Windows.
If you use the Kindle app on an iPad, you already know about the thousands of books that you can by from Amazon and read on your iPad. While you can books from Amazon, you may not know that there are thousands of free books, most of them older classics, that you can also download and read on your iPad. The simplest way to get them is to add the Magic Catalog of Project Gutenberg E-books to your Kindle library.
Author Stephen Leather sold 44,334 Kindle books this past December.
Leather explains more in his blog: “In December it was my vampire book Once Bitten that sold best, accounting for 22,607 sales. Interestingly it is my New York serial killer story, The Basement, that is currently selling best – and heading the Kindle UK bestseller list. But in December it was lagging behind Once Bitten with 17,321 sales. For most of December Once Bitten and The Basement were Number 1 and Number 2 in the Kindle UK bestseller list respectively. As of today, it’s The Basement that’s Number 1.”
Based on the numbers that Leather shared, KindleWriters.com figured Leather’s royalties for the month of December to be about £12,700 or $20,000.
CD Baby, the music distribution site where indie musicians sold handy little compact disks in the late 90′s has entered the publishing scene, and the 21st century, with the launch of BookBaby, a book distribution site for independent authors.
To be fair, the parent company has already gone digital, partnering with online retailers including iTunes and Amazon to distribute some 300,000 independent albums from over 200,000 indie artists, with licensing and other DIY services to boot. And indie publishers could certainly learn a thing or two from the music industry.
BookBaby converts .doc, .html or .txt files into the open eBook format EPUB, which is industry standard and works on all e-reading devices including the iPad, Nook, Kindle and Sony Reader. The books are then distributed across the company’s retailer network, which includes Apple, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony and, soon, Google. For $99 (marked down from $149 to promote the launch), it’s a pretty good deal. The authors keep 100% of their net sales revenue, which BookBaby pays out weekly.
“In just six months since our soft launch, BookBaby has established itself as THE destination for authors looking for a simple, comprehensive solution to their digital distribution needs,” said BookBaby president Brian Felsen in a statement. “We make it easy: our sign-up includes a free EPUB conversion to ensure your eBook is distributed to all of the largest retailers.”