Kindle Christmas Eve ramblings, 2 free books

First, for your kindle, we have two offers -

  1. Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank. Price: Free. Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction. It’s well reviewed with a rating of 4 stars on 32 reviews. It’s about an experiment – where people in a Concentration Camp are asked to write love letters, and those letters get replies from a SS division.
  2. The Potluck Club by Linda Evans Shephard. Price: $0. Genre: Women’s Christian Fiction, Food, Intricate Plot with Real Women. Rated 4.5 stars on 50 reviews.

Another free book is available at Smashwords -

  • Death has a Name by Jerry Hanel. Price: Free with coupon code: LV25M. Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller. It’s only free till December 27th.

Which brings us to some thoughts.

Kindle Christmas Eve Ramblings

First of all, best wishes to all of you for a great Christmas, and a great New Year’s, and hope that 2011 is an amazing year for all of you, and for all Kindle owners.

Secondly, it’s a pleasure to write for all of you – Thanks!

Thirdly, there are just a lot of things circling through my mind -

  1. Are old Publishers just going to be replaced by new Publishers? It certainly seems that way.
  2. Are the platforms better than Publishers? Yes. Yet, it’s not like platforms are perfect.
  3. Does anyone know better than customers, what’s good for customers? Not really. Yet, everyone seems to think so.
  4. Are we going to see a color Kindle in 2011? It’s hard to say.
  5. Are we going to see a Kindle Tablet in 2011? Perhaps.
  6. What about Nook Color 2, and Nook 2? Definitely on the former, unless B&N goes bankrupt. Hopefully, on the latter.
  7. What will the new Sony Readers be like? Not a clue.
  8. It certainly seems like we’ll have $99 and $75 eReaders.
  9. Might Amazon start offering free eReaders with subscriptions? Perhaps.
  10. Will ebook prices go down more? It’s guaranteed. Publishers are going to really, really regret fighting $9.99.

It’s becoming tougher and tougher to figure out what’s going on, and what’s likely to happen.

8 million Kindles – Really?

The claims of 8 million Kindles sold in 2010 really took me by surprise. There’s very little in the search engine trends to suggest that – It must be UK and the stores selling a few million Kindles each.

In particular, search engine traffic (at Google) has been around 70% more to 100% more for Kindle related terms in 2010 than it has in 2009. That would suggest sales that were approximately double (we’re also factoring in the lower $139 price). Instead, we have a jump from a supposed 2.4 million Kindles sold in 2009, to a supposed 8 million Kindles sold in 2010.

Where did the extra 3.2 million sales come from?

UK? Stores? Amazon.com selling a disproportionately higher number?

We haven’t even taken into account that Nook, iPad, Nook WiFi, and Nook Color were available in 2010.

Everyone points to the $139 price, as if it’s responsible for everything. Think that’s just the easy way out – $139 doesn’t explain 8 million Kindles sold. There has to be more than just that. Either the 8 million Kindles sold figure is Amazon building up social proof, or they have found some secret trick to sell a lot more Kindles than search engine trends would suggest.

We’re getting to the point where Amazon’s secrecy around Kindle sales is going to start hurting it. There’s a point at which social proof becomes more important than keeping competitors in the dark. And we’ve hit it.

The Value of a Direct Channel to Kindle Owners

All the Kindle related sites that are currently doing well – Kindle Nation, Kindle Chronicles, Kindle World, Books on the Knob – are going to become super important in the near future.

As are all the book related sites and apps – Good Reads, Shelfari (which Amazon owns), Stanza (which Amazon bought), eReader (which B&N bought), Calibre, the Living Social Apps (Amazon has an investment in the parent company).

The Kindle ecosystem has no way to get to Kindle owners easily. You have the bestsellers list, you have the books Amazon features, and you have the books Amazon allows to be handed out for free.

For a normal author – there’s just no way to get to Kindle owners easily. 1 book out of 700,000 is meaningless.

So the only option for everyone else, is to hope they can get one or more of the main-stream book sites, and one or more of the Kindle sites, to talk about them.

At least in the past you had ten thousand book stores, with each highlighting different books. Now, we have a royal mess – The rich get richer, and everyone else dies in obscurity. It’s a very, very tough time to be an author.

Also, it’s absolutely vital for B&N to survive, and for Google Books and iBookstore to do decently well. If we end up in a world where the only determinant of success is the Kindle Bestsellers List, it’s not going to be very fun.

9 Responses

  1. Wishing you a merry Christmas as well! Thanks again for all the input and the time you spend on the blog. It is much appreciate by SO many!

    I’ve looked for a way to write you privately, but haven’t found it (I’m sure it’s a simple button I’ve overlooked). Should you not mind sharing your email address, you can send it from my business site cedarbrook.viviti.com

    Thanks, and again, Happy Holidays!

  2. Merry Christmas to all, and thanks for providing the Kindle Review.

  3. Thanks for an amazing and insightful avalanche of posts, Switch. Merry Christmas to all. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments almost as much as the blog.

  4. There is also marketing, but I think price is the single most important factor in explaining the surge of Kindle sales, so it is reasonable to focus on it. I’m betting that the demand curve of the Kindle is currently pretty darn elastic, meaning that quantity purchased will be greatly affected by a large price drop. However, Amazon has marketed the Kindle a lot, in advertisements, and putting it right smack in the middle of its homepage. Putting the Kindle in stores, where people can touch it and try it out, is also an important factor: people are going to be very wary of purchasing an expensive, unfamiliar item.

    As for social proof, I think the more important social proof is not whether in the abstract there are eight million or ten bajillion Kindles out there, but whether someone you know has one (and might let you try it out). So I don’t think it really depends that much on the raw sales stats.

  5. Merry Christmas. Hope the next year finds you well and that enables us to keep getting Kindle Review. Your site lets all of us to know what is going on in the ebook world. Being an avid reader. I find your site and other a few others to be very informative.

  6. Merry Christmas and thanks for this blog.

  7. I have been reading your blog for many months this year and have been enjoying your daily input about the Kindle and the free books and the comparisons with the Nook and Sony E-Reader. I have been downloading the free books that I was interested in on my PC; and guess what; I got a Kindle from my son in Ohio for Christmas. My wife guessed what it was because it was from Amazon and today she was correct.
    And the reason I am sending you a reply to this blog is because you wished all the Kindle readers a good year for 2011 and you said you enjoyed writing for us. That made me feel good and worth a reply. Thank you for keeping us informed.

    Roger (a new Kindle owner)

  8. Thanks for the freebie suggestions. [Link to a site removed]
    Thanks for the great blog–just found it through your long post last year answering 3 zillion (or maybe 50) kindle questions. :)

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