Reviewing two new ‘Kindle is going to die’ articles

The Kindle might have sold 8 million units this year. Perhaps it was just 5 million. Perhaps just 3 million. Perhaps 11 million.

The only certainty is it was ‘millions of Kindles’.

You’d think that would get Kindle haters to stop predicting the death of the Kindle. No such luck.

Success of eReaders only Hype?

Lars Paronen at Reuters asks a question and answers it – Claiming that the success of eReaders is only hype.

Well, you have to admit there’s a fair bit of hype. However, it definitely isn’t 100% Hype.

The reason he feels it’s 100% hype is a survey of 755 Internet users between October 28th and November 1st.

Who are we to challenge such conclusive findings? Let’s just go through them.

  1. 65% of 755 random people paid to download/access some kind of online content. 
  2. 10% paid for ebooks.
  3. 33% paid for music. 15% paid for ringtones.
  4. 5% have paid to access online dating sites or services. That’s it?  
  5. 2% paid for adult content. There goes the reliability of that survey.

You get two classes of possible headlines. First, you have the ‘Kindle is doing very well’ type of headline -

Twice as many people buy ebooks as dating site memberships.

Kindle Books almost as popular as ringtones.

Paid eBooks 5 times more popular than paid adult content.

Of course, that isn’t what Reuters would like to discuss. Here’s what we get -

Is the success of eReaders only hype?

That’s right – ringtones are more popular than ebooks.

Let’s interpret everything negatively.

Flawless Logic. Not. 

Here are the reasons why Kindle and Nook are all hype -

  1. A survey of 755 random ‘Internet users’ says only 10% bought ebooks.
  2. 15% of those people bought ringtones.
  3. The Magazine industry is going through tough times.
  4. Kindle and Nook can’t handle ‘enhanced video content’.
  5. iPad users play Angry Birds more than they read.

The author also discusses how eBooks have ‘only’ 10% of book sales. It must have been really easy to choose Option 2 out of -

  1. Option 1: eBook sales rocket from 3% to 10% of the book market in 1 year.
  2. Option 2: eBook sales account for only 10% of the book market.

Then we get this gem -

Extrapolating from the Pew survey, for online e-book sales to compete with other media such as digital music, prices have to come down and subscriptions heavily promoted.

Guess we all forgot the rule that you have to choose one out of ebooks and digital music.

This is lovely – take an industry that has already made the shift to digital, and use it to claim that eReaders are all hype. Lately, there has been a lot of hype – However, let’s not forget that we probably have 10 million or more eReaders in play around the world.

Lack of Faith in the Kindle

At Vator News we have Faith Merino claiming Kindle will crumple under iPad. The only thing crumpling will be your hands – if you read an entire book while holding an iPad in just your hands.

To put an exclamation mark on her Kindle crumpling prediction she puts a picture of Jeff Bezos with the Kindle 1 right next to a picture of Steve Jobs with an iPad. Nothing like using a 2007 product to illustrate why the 2010 version is going to die.

She starts off with this gem -

studies have revealed that the tablet owner and the e-reader owner are two very different people.  But is that trend going to stick?

No. Those two very different people are going to merge into one.

She reduces Kindle vs iPad to price. Basically, she’s assuming once the iPad drops in price there will be zero reason to buy the Kindle. Here’s her assessment -

However Apple plans to cut the price, once it does, consumers will have no reason to prefer the Kindle over the iPad. 

With the iPad’s e-reader capability and myriad other functions, the Kindle will be rendered obsolete—that is, unless it, too, drops its price, which it likely will.

Got to give credit to that Angry Birds – teaches you to use words like myriad and obsolete. In the same sentence.

This ‘price’ thing is the favorite defence for people who don’t get eReaders.

Kindles and Nooks are only selling because they’re cheap. Just wait until the JesusPad is $300. Just wait until the JesusPad is $200. And so on …

It’s amazing to see Kindle haters and eReader haters coming up with rationalizations for why eReaders are doing well.

Helping out anti-Kindle people

It’s a little disappointing to see such lame analysis.

Perhaps we can come up with things that are more precise, and things that are so imprecise that they can’t be argued against.

Here are a few things that Kindle haters should use as evidence for Kindle and Nook being a fad -

  1. Kindle is available in more countries than iPad. Once iPad arrives in Madagascar and Faroe Islands, 90% of Kindle sales will dry up, as people will have a better option.
  2. B&N and Amazon are tricking people by not telling anyone how many are sold. Once people find out actual numbers they’ll start buying iPads instead.
  3. iPad is going to add ‘smell of books’ to iBooks soon. Once that happens, it’s bye-bye Kindle.
  4. People who buy eReaders don’t know the iPad can be used for reading. Steve Jobs is going to start sending out iBooks ads telepathically to the entire world’s population. Then everyone will know, and no one will pick eReaders.
  5. A survey of 50,000 one-toed sloths showed that iPad is better for a relaxed pace of life. Only 12% of the sloths felt an eReader would help them relax, while 52% picked the iPad. The other 36% fell asleep during the survey. 
  6. Once iBooks adds more books, the wooden bookshelf and the animated page turns will force everyone to choose iBooks. 
  7. 90% of Kindle book sales are through iPhone and iPad. The other 10% are through Android. There have only been 25 Kindles sold, mostly to people with a gun put to their head. Everyone you see carrying a Kindle – that’s just an illusion. If you were to try to grab one of the Kindles you see – well, your hand would go right through.
  8. Amazon knows sales are so bad that it’s started advertising Kindle reading apps instead.
  9. Apple couldn’t produce enough iPads. If it could have produced another 8 million iPads, zero Kindles would have been sold.

Actually, there’s a very credible rationalization eReader and Kindle haters could use to keep themselves happy in the face of tens of millions of eReaders being sold in 2011.

As iPad becomes available in enough numbers, in enough countries, and with enough animated books, we will see Kindle and eReaders die out.

They shouldn’t even worry about money – Doesn’t the iPad provide a lot more value for money? Why, Angry Birds alone is worth a few thousand dollars in wasted time.

11 Responses

  1. Don’t waste your energy on people who only believe what they want to believe. For them, nobody wants to read only. I’d like to know if these so-called ‘journalists’ have a camera that doesn’t come with their smart phone.

    In any case, Happy New Year! I always enjoy reading your analysis… It led me to buy a kindle, which I find the most beloved device ever invented! (Well, right after the computer itself, perhaps).

  2. Hmm, on a serious note, the internationalization thing IS a problem for the Kindle (although who knows to what extent Amazon is serious about expanding to non-roman alphabet countries). For example, Kindle is currently incapable of supporting a vertical text format, which is what they would need to go into Japan. Whereas the iPad, due to its robust app development, become a force in ebooks in Japan.

    Anyway, to me it doesn’t make much sense to compare the Kindle to the iPad. It would make more sense to compare the ereader market to the tablet market, or the eink readers to LCD screen devices…

  3. Clever rhetorical technique was employed in:

    “5. 2% paid for adult content. There goes the reliability of that survey.”

    “You get two classes of possible headlines. First, you have the ‘Kindle is doing very well’ type of headline –
    ………
    Of course, that isn’t what Reuters would like to discuss. Here’s what we get -”

    “It must have been really easy to choose Option 2 out of –
    1. Option 1: eBook sales rocket from 3% to 10% of the book market in 1 year.
    2. Option 2: eBook sales account for only 10% of the book market.”

    “Guess we all forgot the rule that you have to choose one out of ebooks and digital music.”

    “It’s a little disappointing to see such lame analysis. Perhaps we can come up with things that are more precise,”

      • Oh yes — good fencing technique is what I meant. I especially liked ““It must have been really easy to choose Option 2 out of -…”

      • “Rhetorical” has a bad meaning: “designed for effect or display; florid, showy, affected.” (Quoting Cassell’s dictionary)

        “Rhetoric” has also acquired a somewhat similar negative connotation. But its denotation is neutral: “The art of effective speaking or writing; the rules of eloquence.” That was the meaning I was intending.

      • PS: Colleges offer (or anyway used to offer) courses in “rhetoric,” by which they meant argumentation skills. This is/was the neutral use of the term, stretching back to ancient Greece.

  4. I find it interesting that people who predict the dedicated ebook readers are in for a tough time are labeled “haters.”

    I recently sold my Kindle DX in favor of my new iPad. Guess what, Jeff Bezos is still happy because my preferred ebook app is the Kindle App. For Amazon it isn’t about the Hardware. That’s why we have Kindle for PC, Mac, Android and iOS.

    It seems to me the people most worried about the Kindle market are a few people who hate tablets. Of course I may be being too harsh.

    • You’re absolutely right. Like all the journalists who’ve never used a Kindle, and persist in writing about how terrible it is. They hate tablets and are trying reverse psychology.

  5. I don’t believe this at all. I have both an iPad and Kindle 3. I LOVE reading on my Kindle. It’s so light, plus easy on my eyes. The iPad is fun, and yes it is nice for magazines, but I hate the backlight for book reading. I read one page of my current book on iPad and I was right back to the Kindle. I really don’t think the two can compare, especially to avid readers.

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