First, the free kindle book –
- The Truth About Getting the Best from People by Martha I. Finney. Rated 5 stars on 4 reviews.
“A fun and easy-to-read blueprint on understanding and creating engagement within a team. No high falootin’ business jargon here–Martha Finney tells it like it is. She helps supervisors and managers uncover the secrets of employee engagement through behavioral examples, successes at top companies, and her charming storytelling.”
Kirsten Clark, Senior Director, Organizational Capability Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Also interesting is author Patricia Ryan’s foray into self-publishing with some of her backlist including RITA Winner Silken Threads which is rated 4.5 stars on 18 reviews (found via TeleRead). It would have made more sense for her to price a few books at $1 to build up an audience though $2.99 isn’t too bad.
In this RITA-winning medieval romance inspired by Hitchcock’s Rear Window, a soldier heals from a broken leg in the London home of a young widow who steals his heart—but his future rests on an arranged marriage to his lord’s daughter. Originally published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.
Won Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Long Historical Romance. Made the Ingrams A-List of Top 50 Requested Titles for four weeks.
It’ll be interesting to see if she makes any headway with $2.99.
Kindle 1 and non-US Kindle 2 and Kindle 3 Owners feeling left out
There are a lot of different complaints bubbling up and they all center around basically the same issue so let’s take a look –
- Some Kindle 1 owners who were upset about not getting Folders are getting more upset about not getting the free word puzzle games.
- Some Kindle 2 and future Kindle 3 owners are getting upset the games aren’t available outside the US.
- Some Kindle owners outside the US have complaints about certain books and certain free book offers not being available in their home country.
Let’s look at each of these issues in turn.
Kindle 1 owners who feel left out of the Kindle Apps joy
First, you see the same issue with other devices – phones, video game consoles, etc. Older generations generally don’t get new features or new apps – it’s a fact of life if you own electronic gadgets.
Let me assure you that very few app developers are going to build for Kindle 1. Already, getting the Kindle 3 with its WiFi and its number keys missing is a headache (though WiFi is a bonus too). Very few people would make the extra effort to make apps compatible with Kindle 1.
So you’d have token Kindle 1 apps that didn’t really work. Which would be FAR more frustrating than the other option i.e. spend $139 and get a Kindle WiFi if you find the apps that come out are great (which, by the way, is not a given).
Here’s what happens if we add Kindle 1 to the app store –
- Developers have to rethink their applications for the Kindle 1 strip – it’s a completely different way to move around.
- They have to buy the device. This is not a small impediment. Already there’s Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Kindle DX 2, and Kindle 3. Remember you need to get them for the developer, the tester, and probably for other members on the team.
- An extra cycle of testing and fixing issues. In some cases that means the difference between releasing 3 apps and 2 apps. No developer is going to cut down on the number of apps he releases just to support Kindle 1 owners.
- Developers have to fix all the issues specific to a device that is 2.5 years old. No one wants to release a half-baked product and Kindle 1 support would add a ton of work.
- Developing Kindle Apps suddenly looks more scary. There are a ridiculous number of issues to figure out for Kindle 1 – speed, graphics, page turn speed, the controller, the button arrangements. Testing introduces a whole new can of worms.
You have to make a hard decision on whether you want an App Store or you want to reduce the chances of getting apps by asking developers to develop for a device that is almost completely different. In terms of books there might not be as much of a difference – However, things are pretty different for apps because the Kindle 1 navigation strip is a completely different design philosophy.
If you coerce people to make apps compatible for Kindle 1 a lot of them are going to drop out or just flout the directive.
Amazon probably made a very hard choice – It would rather have an App Store that works for everything other than Kindle 1 than have an App Store that tries to support Kindle 1 and doesn’t materialize.
You probably don’t want to hear this but it isn’t that you’re being singled out by choice. For most developers there’s just too much work to add-on support for Kindle 1. Even if Amazon added Kindle 1 to the App Store most developers wouldn’t have the resources to make their apps Kindle 1 compatible.
If you find a lot of apps you like when the App Store opens (don’t know when that will be, you might not find any apps you like) consider getting a $139 Kindle WiFi.
Kindle owners outside the US
It’s neither your nor Amazon’s fault in lots of cases where you assume it is –
- Why are certain books not available to you? Territorial rights. It’s taken Amazon years to add international ebooks – it’s probably just as frustrated about it as you are and cursing it doesn’t help at all.
- Why are most free book offers not available to you? Publishers make the offers country specific. Amazon can’t exactly force them to make the books free.
- Why are prices higher? Because there are higher delivery charges. Perhaps there’s more here and Amazon can cut down prices.
- Why don’t you get the two free kindle apps? Perhaps because it’s a test. Perhaps because of bandwidth costs.
- Why don’t you get free Internet browsing? Probably because of bandwidth charges.
Is it frustrating? Yes.
However, at least Amazon is catering to Kindle owners outside the US. Some eReader companies don’t even have ebooks for outside the US.
It’s a very glass half-full or glass half-empty sort of question and you really should consider the things Amazon has added – there are hundreds of thousands of books for most countries, there are some WhisperNet features, Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi are being shipped worldwide, and there’s support for CJK fonts and Cyrillic fonts.
The bitter truth is you are never going to get the same features as the US because US Kindle owners took big risks – they were paying $399 when countries like UK wouldn’t even buy eReaders. If you were part of the most lucrative market you’d get features first too. If your market was the one taking big risks then you’d have products introduced first.
It’s a business – the customers taking the biggest risks get rewarded. The biggest markets get products first.
The Kindle WiFi is down to $139 and it’s available in 150 countries with lots of international features (like font support). The price and the availability is proof that Amazon isn’t neglecting you. We just have to temper what we’d like with the reality of the market we’re part of.