Amazon selling iPad, Kindle for kids, more

Amazon selling iPad … that can’t be right

A few weeks after the Kindle 3 and Amazon came out with an ad slamming the iPad there’s news that Amazon has started selling the iPad directly from its website. Amazon seems out of stock now but lots of reliable sources like Fortune wrote about it so it must have had some stock.

All that can be found at the moment are iPads from 3rd party stores selling at a $50 to $100 premium. Perhaps Apple gave only a little bit of stock – It’s what they seem to have done with Best Buy. Anything that helps create scarcity.

Amazon selling iPads is remarkable – It’s Amazon having its cake and eating it too.

Let’s make fun of the iPad, let’s sell it and take a cut, … What’s next?

Free Kindle Book – Yet Again

Next, a free kindle book since it’s part of my blogger contract to mention one in every post (just kidding, seems more like the ‘free book’ albatross) -

  1. Remember Why You Play by David Thomas. Rated 5 stars on 3 reviews.

    If you enjoyed Friday Night Lights, this book is a must-read. Remember Why You Play documents the lives, struggles, and triumphs of the players and coaches of Faith Christian School in Grapevine, Texas.

    Sports columnist and author David Thomas followed the team for a full season, recording a story that will inspire readers to understand that relationships are more important than winning.

    One of the key events was a game that Faith Christian played against the Gainesville State Tornadoes, a school for convicted juvenile offenders. The story of this spectacular game is being made into a movie, titled One Heart, with an anticipated release in November 2010.

There’s so much in the write-up – Faith Christian taking on a school for convicted juvenile offenders, a Friday Night Lights reference, a movie to be released in a month. All we need is Aaron Sorkin to grant everyone the wit of Jeeves and Wooster and David Fincher to glam it up and mark it out as a social commentary on the post-Social Network generation.

Is Kindle 3 a good device for 9 to 11 year olds?

A very good question being asked at the official kindle forums. Let’s consider the Kindle WiFi’s suitability for children.

The pros -

  1.  It’s light and compact and even young kids’ hands won’t get tired from holding the Kindle WiFi
  2.  It’s cheap at $139 so even if they break it it’s not a big loss.
  3. Lots of free public domain books. All the classics for free and most of their assigned reading from school.
  4. Lots of free book offers.
  5. They’ll grow smarter. Instead of playing video games or farming in Farmville they’ll be reading books – hopefully good ones.
  6. With the Kindle App Store beginning to open up they have some basic games too.
  7. The built-in dictionary and the text to speech feature both add a lot of value.

These add on to all the other benefits – books in 60 seconds, carry all your books with you, a serviceable browser, no heavy back-pack. 

Something worth adding here is that the combination of a few factors makes the Kindle especially suited for kids who struggle with reading – ability to change the font size, option to change line spacing and words per line, text to speech, all the classics for free, a focus on reading. For kids who get distracted or who have reading problems the Kindle is a pretty good option.

Consider this comment from Joan -

My 12 year old daughter has my old Kindle 1, and because she has an eye sight problem, this is ideal for her.

She has it on the largest font size. She has been reading the Sisters Grimm books and loves them. She has never shown an interest in reading before this! This is such a good thing!

There are probably lots of kids who have ‘never shown an interest in reading’ because they had genuine reading struggles that weren’t being addressed.

The cons -

  1. They’ll probably be lost when their peers are talking about StarCraft and Farmville and Justin Beiber and Gossip Girl and other things young kids these days entertain themselves with.
  2. It is quite breakable and they might also lose it.
  3. No parental controls.
  4. The browser can also lead to bad sites.
  5. No password protection for purchases so you can’t exactly regulate buying unless you de-register the Kindle or remove your credit card information.
  6. The selection of children’s books is, to the best of my knowledge, a bit limited.
  7. Will the no-frills Kindle hold their attention as well as a mind-sapping flashy game console?
  8. Not many textbooks are available on the Kindle. English reading assignments – Yes. Textbooks – No.

Add on the other negatives – no library books so one source of free books is gone, eInk is still in its initial stages, new books are expensive.

What are parents saying about their kids’ experiences with the Kindle?

Mostly positive things and surprisingly positive things.

Lots of comments at this kindle forum thread on kindle for kids -

My nine year old daughter “inherited” my K2i and LOVES IT! She’s been extremely careful with it, and reads every night. ; ) HTH

I have a 10 year old boy who likes the K2. He likes it better than books. He likes to read and reads at about his grade level. We don’t find a lot of content at his level that is inexpensive, though. $9.99 a pop adds up. Some of the old classics are free or $0.99.

My 9 yr old daughter inherited my K1 and loves it. She has been an avid
reader since age 4. She is very responsible and we enjoy reading our Kindles together. My 7 yr old daughter is now asking for her own.

I got my then 12 yo daughter a kindle 1 2 christmas’s ago…and haven’t regretted for a second! She reads constantly, …

In some ways it’s a good way to teach kids to be responsible -

My K2 went to my son (almost 10) and daughter (7). My daughter uses it more than my son and she takes super good care of it.

I  have read other posts about children and Kindles and it seems that if the child is careful with it that it can work well.

It’s surprising to see so many replies (there are 56 comments). Hadn’t realized so many people are giving their kids Kindles and are seeing good results.

Follett’s Fall of Giants falls to a 2 star review rating

Regardless of whether you think it’s right or wrong you have to be impressed by this -

Check out the customer reviews for Follett’s latest “Fall of Giants.” Kindle pricing seems to have struck a collective nerve

2 star rating. 136 1 star reviews.

Plus you have to acknowledge that it is probably having an effect -

Were I to be browsing, looking for books, I would have passed this book by because it has a 2 star rating.

A few people are arguing that it’s still in the Kindle Store Top 10. Well, almost every big author release hits the Top 10 when it comes out and there are lots of die-hard fans that will buy it at $19.99. However, there are lots of people who will not buy it at $19.99 and lots of people who will not buy it because of the 2 star review rating.

Plus those reviews NEVER go away. 1 year from now people will just assume the book is terrible.

Do we really expect people to look at 1 star reviews and figure out the bad reviews are due to Kindle pricing?

Why all the 1 star reviews?

Because the ebook is priced at $19.99. Not $12.99 or $14.99 or even $17.99. It’s a gigantic $19.99.

The hardcover (all 1,000 pages of it) is at $19.39. 

Pricing the ebook at $19.99, higher than the giant hardcover version, is just pushing things too far. At some point it changes from making money to abusing your readers and rubbing salt into their wounds.

To make things worse the price is lower in other countries -

Yes, it’s only $9.99 plus $2 Whispernet charge for Australian customers too. I wonder why the US publisher priced it so high?

So Canada and Australia pay $9.99 but US readers are expected to pay $19.99.

12 Responses

  1. Thanks for steering me to Fall of Giants. Love KF’s work but for some reason missed this. I bought the Kindle Edition – price was £8.55 in the UK (about $12.99). I could not have justified (to myself) paying more.

  2. Your albatross of mentioning free books is a blessing for your readers. Keep up the good work!

  3. We’re going to get a Kindle because my 9-year-old broke her arm, making it hard for her to hold a book! She’s an avid reader and is frustrated enough by the limitations her injury has imposed.

  4. Just checked the UK amazon site — as Paul says, it’s L8.55 (sorry, no symbol for the Pound on my keyboard). Don’t know the exchange rate, but it does seem that the publisher is being pretty short-sighted. But hey, if the US market doesn’t matter to them, that’s up to them. There are other books out there…..

  5. I agree that $19.99 is too much to spend for the U.S. Kindle version of “Fall of Giants”.

    I can understand how each country has it’s own legal agreements for how it determines copyright and pricing – but in the case of this specific book, it SEEMS that the thinking is “USA people are ‘fat cats’, so let’s gouge them on a high price; and for the rest of the world, we will price it more reasonably. ” The USA pricing seems to reflect GREED on the part of the publisher.

    (Note: most authors do not have control over how their publisher sets the price. So I do not fault the author in this at all. It is the publisher who is being so GREEDY, but the result is that the author will suffer with the 1-star and 2-star review, and not the publisher.)

    • YES !!!!

      I just read this article, too.

      They make the clear statement that it is the PUBLISHERS who are setting these high prices.

      And, the publishers are saying “well, people are paying this higher price…”

      Please, please, please, if you are a Kindle owner, do NOT buy these 2 books at these high prices.

      Please encourage your friends too to NOT pay for Kindle books at these higher prices. If you do buy them, it will only encouraging these publishers to continue having higher prices.

      The time to stand up to this is now. Let’s nip this in the bud. Really.

  6. In a related note Citi bumps up its Kindle forecast, 2010 est from 3.9m to 5m units and 2011 from 5.2m to 8.4m units. Drivers are lower prices and broader distribution of the Kindle.

    http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20101004/what-ipad-problem-citi-boosts-kindle-estimates/

  7. Price-madness like this $19.99 ripoff will only further hurt the publishing industry in the long run, by driving more average ebook customers — who have never engaged in ebook piracy — into ebook piracy. And then, not only will the out-of-touch publishing firms have lost sales, but will also have further added on to their expenses if they decide to hire lawyers to fight the piracy. *cough*RIAA*cough* A stupid, vicious circle perpetuated by out-of-touch “business” people who have zero ability to adapt to the times.

    More big-time authors need to shun publishers in favour of self-publishing ebook versions of their works. It is they (big name authors) who have real talent and following, and therefore who hold the real power and clout to force old-school publishers to abandon these abusive pricing practices.

  8. thanks to your blog, I download almost a free book a day…so if I find an ebook I really was waiting for, I don’t care if the price is higher than I expected: in my eyes, it’s a sort of compensation.

    most part of the times, I try however to wait until the price comes down, because I think it’s the only way for the customers to communicate their disapproval.

  9. It’s astonishing to see how downright greedy the publishers (aka “The Agency 5″) have become. It’s great to see in other countries that they aren’t allowing the stupid agency model to take hold.

    The agency model will fall sometime in 2011… probably sooner rather than later.

    BTW, kudos to Random House for not having gotten involved with that crap!

  10. Hmmm…let’s see:

    Fall of Giants hardcover on Amazon: $19.39
    Fall of Giants ebook on Amazon: $19.99
    Fall of Giants ebook on just about any torrent site: Free.

    Yep. Easy decision. Thanks, Amazon!

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