Kindle Oprah update – Dickens is Pick 65, Kindle Oprah thoughts

We’ve suspected the Kindle will be starring in the Oprah Winfrey Show tomorrow alongside Jonathan Franzen and Oprah’s 65th Book Club Pick.

What we probably didn’t expect is for the $7.99 Kindle Oprah Book Club selection to turn out to be a public domain book. It’ll actually be a combination of two Charles Dickens classics (Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities). It’s a special version with a $20 paperback discounted to around $13 and a $8 Kindle edition.

After the great expectations created by the secret $7.99 Kindle Edition of the 65th Oprah Book Club selection it’s a bit of a disappointment to find out it’s a combination of two freely available public domain books.

Associated Press spoil the surprise and temper expectations

Associated Press has revealed the pick ahead of schedule –

  1. The AP actually bought a copy of the new Dickens special edition with the Oprah book club logo on the cover. 
  2. It’s published by Penguin and is 800 pages long.
  3. No comments from Oprah though her website recommends Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’.

The Associated Press notes that Oprah has picked Anna Karenina and East of Eden in the past so picking a public domain book isn’t a complete shocker.

Kindle Oprah thoughts

  1. On the one hand it would have been pretty cool to say the Kindle edition is just $7.99 while the paperback is $13. It being a public domain book takes away a little bit of the lustre.
  2. On the other hand being able to say you can get these Dickens books on your Kindle for free is great.
  3. If you bought the book as a blind preorder (like me) you might want to cancel and get the free versions instead – A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations are both available for $0.
  4. A Tale of Two Cities was added on December 1st which adds even more fuel to the Kindle Oprah fire. Amazon must be expecting a Kindle mention on Oprah if it just added the free version a few days ago.
  5. Wonder why Amazon waited so long to get Oprah’s recommendation for the Kindle – If it happens on Monday, that is. We’re already well into the holiday season. In 2008 having it at the end of October helped Kindle sales the entire holiday season.
  6. It’s interesting that the Kindle might need Oprah’s recommendation to re-establish itself as the reading device of choice. It’s still the best device for reading – It just seems the recent entrants and the Press have managed to steal away the limelight.
  7. Amazon has been making quite an effort recently – retail availability, adding lending, TV commercials, Kindle reading apps. Now the Oprah Show magic. Makes you wonder exactly how well Nook is doing and what impact the iPad has had.

Tomorrow, we’ll find out from the way Oprah talks about the Kindle what Amazon’s situation is (at least we’ll get a rough idea) and also exactly how Amazon is trying to position the Kindle.

6 thoughts on “Kindle Oprah update – Dickens is Pick 65, Kindle Oprah thoughts”

  1. Thanks for the warning about Oprah’s book. I am new to Kindles and did not know you could cancel an order. I took your advice and canceled my order. I will not “buy blind” again.

  2. I also wonder what this means about – the publisher !!! -of the Kindle version, that is charging money $7.99 for these public domain books?

    FYI: On another blog, someone mentioned how some various public domain books, that had been digitally converted to e-books by volunteers for free, had later shown up on, with maybe a very minor change, and then were charging 99 cents or more for it.

    If volunteers have FREELY converted these books, they should remain FREE to readers, shouldn’t they?
    Just because someone changes one sentence, or something minor – does that entitle them to charge money for it?
    Has anyone else heard about this?

    1. I think we should consider the publishers… how many were making a good buck selling printed copies of public domain books? When enough people realize these are available for free from various sources… 🙂

      It is a disappointment the books are public domain… but this might shed some good light, as you already noted Switch11, that these are normally available.


      1. About hardback or paperback published books, I can understand the cost of paper, ink, materials, truck deliveries, gas, warehouse expense, people labor costs, etc. – so to charge something for those public domain books seems fair to me.
        I have no problem with that.

    2. Lucy, the book part is public domain even if someone copies it.

      Anyone’s free to do anything they want with it – including taking it and using it for a commerical project.
      It’s not exactly super clean – However, legally the Gutenberg people (or anyone else) can’t claim that since they converted it no one else can make use of it.

      If someone is taking the Gutenberg books’ public domain part and cleaning it up further and selling it – legally it’s alright.

  3. I am willing to pay 8 dollars if they give me a polished product. But this is just me, I *strongly* dislike poorly formatted e-books. Also, there is the possibility the Penguin edition has authoritative notes, explanations, maybe prefaces… I’ll wait and see.

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