Monday offers and deals for your Kindle (mostly business)

For your Kindle, here are some offers (courtesy Happy Reader ‘Joyce’) –

  1. Publish on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing by Amazon.com. Price: $0. Genre: Self-Publishing, Publishing Guide, For Authors. Rated 4 stars on 8 reviews. 
  2. Circle of Friends Cookbook – 25 Slow Cooker Recipes by Gooseberry Patch. Price: $0. Genre: Cooking, Cookbooks, Slow Cooking.   
  3. How to Innovate in Marketing by Rawn Shah, Monique Reece, Michael Tasner. Price: $0. Genre: Marketing, Marketing Innovation, Business. 
  4. Good, Better, Best Buy by FT Press. Price: $0. Genre: Best Buy, Reinventing Yourself. 
  5. The Truth About the New Rules of Business Writing by Natalie Canavor, Claire Meirowitz. Price: $0. Genre: Communication, Business Writing, Business. Rated 4.5 stars on 48 reviews.
  6. How to Make Money with Social Media: An Insider’s Guide on Using New and Emerging Media to Grow Your Business by Jamie Turner, Reshma Shah. Price: $0. Genre: Business, Social Media, Social Marketing. Rated 4.5 stars on 46 reviews.
  7. Breakthrough: How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Changed Our View of the World by Jon Queijo. Price: $0. Genre: History of Medicine, Science, Medicine. Rated 4 stars on 27 reviews.
  8. PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audience by Deirdre Breakenridge. Price: $0. Genre: Public Relations, Marketing & Sales. Rated 4 stars on 6 reviews.

Additionally, we now have a bunch of William Faulkner books available for preorder at a low price.

Faulkner Sale

At the William Faulkner page at Amazon, click on the Kindle Books link at the top to find the following offers –

  • Light in August for $3.75. 
  • Absalom, Absalom for $3.96. 
  • The Sound and the Fury for $6.75. 
  • As I Lay Dying for $8.36.

Found courtesy the Discounted Books thread at the official kindle forum. These arrive on August 17th, 2011.

Demon Girl at $1

The Demon Girl (The Rae Wilder Novels) by Penelope Fletcher is now at $1. It’s rated 4 stars on 17 reviews. I’d reviewed it on the blog earlier and it was a strong recommendation at $3. At $1 it’s well worth buying.

Sunday afternoon offers and deals for your Kindle

For your Kindle, some free religious themed books courtesy Happy Reader Joyce and some deals –

  1. Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins. Price: $0. Genre: Religious Fiction, Complex and Dark, Realistic and Believable Characters. Rated 4.5 stars on 54 reviews.
  2. Gray Matter by Joel Kilpatrick, David Levy. Price: $0. Genre: Medical Drama, Spiritual Insight, Power of Prayer. Rated 4.5 stars on 10 reviews.
  3. Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang. Price: $0. Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Christian Fiction. Rated 4.5 stars on 27 reviews.
  4. Milrose Munce and the Plague of Toxic Fungus by Douglas Anthony Cooper. Price: $1. Genre: Children’s Books, Spine-chilling Horror, Humor. Rated 4.5 stars on 9 reviews. 
  5. Daniel: A Novel by Henning Mankell. Price: $3.83. Genre: Murder Mystery, Haunting and Heart-wrenching Story, Crime Fiction. Rated 4 stars on 8 reviews.

    Set in the 1870s, this earnest and heartbreaking story opens with the unsolved murder of a mentally retarded Swedish girl, but this isn’t a mystery in the mode of Mankell’s international bestselling Kurt Wallander novels (Firewall, etc.). Hans Bengler, a Swedish entomologist, travels across southern Africa in search of undiscovered insects. In the desert, he finds an orphaned native boy, whom he adopts on impulse and calls Daniel. Bengler brings Daniel back to Sweden to exhibit him for money. A link eventually emerges between the girl’s murder and Daniel’s story …

Also, a few other books have had small price drops –

  1. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. Price: $4.90. Genre: Young Adult, Grade 7 Up, Romance. Rated 4.5 stars on 38 reviews. The book got starred reviews from both School Library Journal and Booklist.

    *Starred Review* The romance is intense, the writing is startling, and the story is spellbinding–and it is as difficult to turn away from as the tales beautiful Keturah tells to the people of her village, Tide-by-Rood.

    But one day Keturah must use her storytelling skills with quite a different audience. Lost and hungry after following a stately hart through the forest, Keturah encounters Lord Death, who is ready to take her. Like Scheherazade, Keturah spins a story that she leaves unfinished and extracts from Lord Death a promise that if she finds her true love in a day, she can go free.

    But Lord Death is falling in love with her, and as the villagers begin to sense her alliance with this horrifying figure, her life twists and turns on itself. This novel gets so many things just right.

  2. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell. Price: $8.25. Genre: Short Stories, Sentimental Fables, Original and Astounding. Rated 4 stars on 32 reviews. Swamplandia by Karen Russell is also down to $8.25. It’s listed as the first book in the ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ section on the Raised by Wolves book’s product page.

    *Starred Review* Russell’s short stories, some of which have been published in the New Yorker and other journals, have already generated widespread attention, as has her youth: at 24, she’s been included in New York magazine’s list of “25 under 25 to Watch.” This unusual, haunting collection confirms that the hype is well deserved

Finally, we have Kevin Kelly at The Technium predicting that the Kindle will be free by 11th November, 2011.

Will Amazon really make the Kindle free by November 2011?

Well, here’s the rather spotty conjecture –

  1. Apparently if you draw up a chart of Kindle prices from launch of the Kindle 1 to launch of the Kindle 3, and then continue the line downwards you hit zero at a point corresponding to November 2011.
  2. TechCrunch reported on a rumor that a free Kindle would be handed out to every Amazon Prime customer. Of course, TechCrunch did it a year ago. That won’t stop it from claiming credit if and when it happens.

Kevin Kelly backs it up with this conversation with Mr. Bezos –

In August, 2010 I had the chance to point it out to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. He merely smiled and said, “Oh, you noticed that!” And then smiled again.

A smile and not a laugh. Wonder what special meaning that holds.

Don’t really know what to make of it. If you used the chart method then every product would be free at some point of time in the future. Let’s stop buying cars and computers and clothes because the prices are trending downwards – these three things are going to be free by November 2013, December 2015, and January 2019 respectively.

On the other hand, Amazon is certainly crazy enough to start handing out Kindles for free this November – For the promise of future revenues. There certainly isn’t any other company so willing to delay gratification. It’s almost as if Amazon gets gratification from delaying gratification.

A hard-to-believe example of a platform flexing its power

The Kindle is looking more and more valuable every day. The device that is.

Why?

Because Android just got an update that gives new meaning to ‘Taking Advantage of the Power of the Default’.

Platforms and the Power of the Default

A platform can set the defaults, i.e. the apps users are first pointed to, the apps that are downloaded by default, the apps that show up on the first page and on the most visited pages.

That gives a platform a huge advantage whenever it decides to release an app of its own. Apple took some advantage of the power of the default when it released iBooks – It did a few things, though not many, to make sure iBooks was the first reading app that users were exposed to.

Android Market’s Books section shows Apple was extremely generous to rival ebook apps

Apple gave iBooks a bit of an edge but Apple was rather civil to rival ebook apps – until the recent push to impose a 30% tax. Note: Apple hasn’t come out and said eBook reading apps will be taxed. However, we can all agree that Apple hasn’t promised to exclude eBook apps from the tax either. That suggests it might be waiting for the right moment.

Apple seems like an angel compared to what a rival platform, Android, is doing. The Android Market is taking the power of the default to a whole new level.

Android Market added a new section titled ‘Books’  – It goes side by side with Android Apps. The big thing is that ‘Android Books’ only has books from Google eBooks. It’s basically the equivalent of setting up a sub-platform on a platform, claiming it’s the ‘Books Market’, and then only showing books from the Platform provider. It’s hilariously unfair.

To be absolutely clear of how big of a contrast this is –

  1. Apple provides one app in its App Store that you can optionally download. Apple’s ‘Books’ section of the App Store has everyone highlighted. There are tens of thousands of books and ebook reading apps.
  2. In the Android Market, there is now a new Books market that has books only from the platform provider. Everyone looking for books will first go to the Android Books Market, and there they will find nothing except Google eBooks.

Not sure how Google thinks it can get away with this.

Android Books maximizes the power of the Default

Will users search within the Android app store and find the ‘Books and Reference Apps’ section and look at the 12 paid apps and 12 free apps that are highlighted? Or will they look at the prominently featured ‘Android Books’ section of the Android Market and just go there most of the time?

It’s almost impossible to search for book apps in the Android Market if you don’t already know what you’re looking for. Now, on top of that invisibility for reading apps, you have visibility for the ‘Android Books’ store on every single page of the Android Market – It just so happens that the ‘Android Books’ store consists solely of books from the platform provider.

Android is showing us how you can really use the power of the default to get an unfair advantage.

  1. Android Market has an apps section and a books section. Everyone equates the books section with where you go to get books.
  2. The Book Apps section of Android Market, and the eReader Apps in it, are given low visibility. The low visibility for book apps and the poor search feature in the Android Market make it hard to get to book apps – it’s as if they don’t exist.
  3. The Books section of the Android Market, which is prominently featured, only has books from the platform provider.

For users that don’t know there are options, or users who don’t want to take the time to search through the already hard-to-search Android App Market, the only thing that exists is the default.

How can a Nook App or a Kindle App compete when the default Books Store only has books from Google?

It should be painfully clear that Platforms want ebook profits for themselves

Here’s the current status quo –

  1. Apple was very decent, but now there’s a chance it will extends its 30% tax to ebook apps. Apple could come out and say ‘No tax for ebook apps’, but it hasn’t – It seems quite likely that all content sales will get taxed eventually.
  2. Android Platform has lost its mind. It’s created an Android Books section that only features its own offerings. Combine that with the low visibility for book apps on Android and it means that most reading apps and book apps might as well be invisible.

eBook apps now face huge barriers and uncertainty on two of the big mobile platforms. That only leaves Blackberry and Nokia/Windows 7. If either or both of those start becoming more successful there’s a chance they will start behaving like Apple and Android.

The free ride is over.

The ‘Kindle App for iPhone is the Best Business Decision of the Decade’ illusion is now painfully apparent as an illusion.

All the companies putting a ton of effort into enriching other companies’ platforms are getting what they deserved for being so gullible. Whether it’s an ‘open’ platform like Android, or a ‘closed’ one like Apple we now know two things –

  1. Platforms always want a cut. Any company that makes a lot of profit from a platform should be aware that sooner or later the platform will want a 30% cut on revenue – which translates into most of the profit.
  2. Platforms always give their own offerings an advantage. A ‘closed’ and ‘evil’ company like Apple does this by featuring its eReader app more prominently. An ‘open’ and ‘good’ company like Android does this by creating an entire Android Books Store that has nothing except its own offerings.

Platforms control everything and whether they use a visible ‘30% tax’ or an invisible ‘power of the default’ strategy it should be clear that the Platform always wins.