Lots of good and a few bad bits of news from Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting. There were a surprising number of Kindle related things discussed.
Kindle to focus on reading
It’s certainly good to hear that Amazon aren’t going to mess with the Kindle’s focus on reading (via Electronista) –
“The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being a very focused product,” he explained. “Serious readers are going to want a purpose-built device, because it’s an important activity for them.”
Mr. Bezos also said he has no interest in copying the iPad –
He stressed that the Kindle would emphasize e-reading and likened its role to that of a dedicated camera versus a phone camera. Just as a phone is multi-purpose but won’t be the best camera, an iPad won’t necessarily be the best reader, Bezos said
That’s just awesome. The last thing the Kindle needs is to add non-reading related features.
No Color Kindle any time soon
Mr. Bezos dismissed the notion that a Color Kindle is just around the corner (courtesy The Associated Press) –
founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that adding color to the Kindle’s “electronic ink” display is a difficult technical challenge and that a color screen is “still a long way out.” Bezos said he’s seen things “in the laboratory” that are “still not ready for prime-time production.”
Wonder what the Qualcomm Mirasol team would have to say to that.
Mr. Bezos also said that color LCDs are not suitable for a reading device (courtesy TechFlash) –
Bezos said color LCD displays (common in many devices today, including iPad) are not right for a long-form reading device like the Kindle. LCD displays produce eye strain, have a shorter battery life, and don’t work in bright sunlight, Bezos said.
The first few commenters to the news at the Kindle forum seem pretty indifferent to color –
S. Lockhart: That’s fine by me.
M. Francis: Likewise.
Pamela: Wasn’t expecting color any time soon.
country road: I do not care about color at all!
Merkin Muffley: I don’t require color.
Well, lack of color hasn’t stopped Kindles from selling and Amazon can’t really do much if eInk isn’t ready for color. You could argue that people who want color don’t buy Kindles and Amazon could add those as customers. However, it’s worthwhile to wait until the technology is fully baked.
Amazon won’t specify exactly how many Kindles have sold
To no one’s surprise Amazon again refused to divulge exactly how many Kindles it had sold –
The Amazon CEO didn’t shed any light on Kindle sales numbers, saying as he has in the past that “millions” of Kindles have been sold. He also noted that Kindle books can now be read across multiple devices …
Amazon thinks Cloud Services could be as big as retail
Pretty amazing when you think about it –
… Bezos said that Amazon Web Services, which sells Web hosting and data-storage services to other companies, has the potential to be as large as Amazon’s retail business eventually.
He called the overall market for such services a “very, very large area” that is generally not being done efficiently.
“Whenever something is done inefficiently, that creates an opportunity,” Bezos said.
Associated Press point out that Amazon’s retail operations brought in approximately $7 billion in the first quarter so Mr. Bezos is certainly very high on Cloud Services.
Kindle device and Kindle books are separate businesses
The addition of Kindle for iPad and Kindle for Android have highlighted this. It was still good to hear it brought up again –
Bezos talked in more explicit terms than I’ve heard in the past about Kindle as two businesses — the device business and the content business — and said each will survive on its own merits.
“There’s a Kindle bookstore and a Kindle device,” Bezos said. “The Kindle device will succeed by being the best dedicated e-reader in the world. The Kindle bookstore will succeed by having the best selection and lowest prices and being available on the Kindle and other devices.”
The best dedicated eReader in the world – definitely like the sound of that.
Amazon to continue to fight for $9.99
Perhaps my 2nd favorite bit of news (after the focus of Kindle on reading) was this –
Amazon has recently begun to raise the prices on some Kindle e-books in a bow to publisher demands. But Bezos made clear Amazon is still dedicated to its original $9.99 price for new e-books.
“You can expect us to keep pushing for that price point,” he said.
“If consumers perceive that prices are too high, they will shift” to lower-cost titles, he said, adding that Amazon has already seen this dynamic.
So the Agency Model boycott is working. If in just 1.5 months it’s already clear that users are ‘shifting’ to lower-cost titles then Publishers will soon have no choice but to go back to $9.99 prices.