7 Kindle thoughts, 5 Kindle Book Deals

First, for your new Kindle, here are 7 Kindle Book Deals.

I Am Legend (Richard Matheson Series) by Richard Matheson. Price: $2.99. Genre: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Short Novel, Classic Vampire Novel second only to Bram Stoker’s. Rated 4 stars on 617 reviews. Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. The book on which the I Am Legend movie was based.

Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The world’s population has been obliterated by a vampire virus, though Neville has somehow survived. As he toils to make sense of it all and protect himself against the hounding vampires who seek out his life force, Neville embarks on a series of projects to discover the source of the plague and hopefully put an end to the vampires.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith. Price: $1. Genre: Classic Sacrilege, Pride and Prejudice Inspired, Zombies with Sensibilities. Rated 4 stars on 101 reviews. The author is an Edgar winner who was probably black-mailed into writing this. 288 pages.

Alternating Current by Octavio Paz. Price: $2.99. Genre: Nobel Prize Winner 1990. It’s a collection of Essays – Literature, Art, Drugs, the murder of God, ethical and political problems. 226 pages. Note: You can get the paperback from sellers at Amazon for less.

Swimming with the Dead: An Underwater Investigation (Hannah Sampson Mysteries) by Kathy Brandt. Price: $1. Genre: Mystery, First in a Series, British Virgin Islands, What Lies Beneath. Rated 4.5 stars on 17 reviews. 282 kb in size.

Significance (A Significance Novel) by Shelly Crane. Price: $1. Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Twilight Number Four. Rated 4.5 stars on 101 reviews. 595 kb in size.

Maggie is a seventeen year old girl who’s had a bad year. She was smart and on track but then her mom left, her dad is depressed, she’s graduating, barely, and her boyfriend of almost three years dumped her for a college football scholarship. Lately she thinks life is all about hanging on by a thread and is gripping tight with everything she has. Then she meets Caleb.

That’s it for the deals. Now some Kindle related musings.

7 Kindle Thoughts

Kindle Fire’s biggest source of referrals might be other Kindle product pages

Whichever Kindle Product Page you go to, whether Kindle 3 or Kindle 4 or Kindle Touch or Kindle Fire, there is a strip at the top that shows every Kindle. Just one of those Kindles has a bright color screen – You get 5 black and white screens showing text and 1 bright color screen showing Mad Men and Angry Birds and beautiful book covers.

Wonder how much of a difference that strip makes. It’s unfortunate that Amazon doesn’t include the ‘People Who Saw This Item Went on to Buy’ section for Kindle product pages (they do for books).

Kindle Fire’s $199 price is around $100 less than what anyone thought

In all the conjecture about Kindle Fire (though everyone was calling it Kindle Tablet or Hollywood Tablet then) there was never anything (to the best of my memory) that mentioned $199. $300 and $350 were mentioned with the general consensus that $300 would make Kindle Fire a good, competitive option.

$199 is a really low price – regardless of whether or not Amazon subsidizes it (in my opinion it does – by at least $75). $199 kills every other Android Tablet instantly – unless those Tablets see drastic price cuts. Quite a few are already seeing $100 to $200 price cuts. $199 forces B&N to make Nook Color 2 either very compelling or as cheap.

Amazon has given B&N the opportunity that B&N gave it in 2009

In 2009 B&N announced Nook in October with a feature-set that blew away the Kindle. Better screen contrast (by a bit), PDF support, lower price, memory card slot, replaceable battery, ePub and library book support, LCD screen at the bottom for browsing covers.

The mistake was announcing it early enough to give Amazon the opportunity to fight back – Amazon added PDF support, cut the price, and did a lot of other improvements. By the time Nook was released it had gone from ‘best eReader’ to ‘perhaps the second-best eReader’. Then the press went to town on it for its ‘sluggishness’ and it also sold out of stock way too early.

That’s the memory that keeps coming back to me from 2009 – Wondering why on Earth B&N would show its hand so early.

This year, Amazon has announced the details of its Tablet a month and a half in advance. It’s also announced details of Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch a month and a half in advance.

If B&N has a solid Nook Color 2 (it probably does) and if B&N is willing to compete on price (which it probably isn’t willing or able to do) it could steal the Holiday season. The most interesting question for Kindle Fire vs Nook Color 2 will be – Is B&N willing to match Amazon on price?

For a company that won’t reveal Kindle sales figures, because of the supposed advantage it would give competitors, Amazon sure wasn’t hesitant to reveal details of the Kindle Fire early.

Both the new Kindles and their prices are major surprises

Good ones. Getting two Kindles in parallel to the Kindle Fire is amazing.

Kindle Touch with Ads for $99 is at a very tempting price.

Kindle 4 with Ads for $79 is almost unreal. Really hard to believe Amazon could get a Kindle done for $79 without sacrificing the eInk Pearl screen or the reading experience.

This pretty much squeezes out all the smaller players. B&N can still compete – if it chooses to do so. Sony might probably give up. Kobo will probably still fight. Don’t see how smaller companies have any chance when there is a $79 Kindle available.

Kindle Daily Deal = 365 bestsellers a year

Almost every Kindle Daily Deal book goes to #1. Does that change the value of being a bestseller? What about other ramifications?

What happens when eBooks are 80% of the market. Then Amazon could literally decide which books sell. It puts ‘Top 10 Kindle Daily Deals’ and ‘Top 100 Kindle Bargains for the Month’ and those books ALWAYS outsell all the others.

Take today’s book – Eye of the God. It’s gone from #114,592 to #1. It jumped over 114, 591 other books. Did it deserve to? Should one ‘Daily Deal’ mention have this much influence?

There’s an unreal amount of power being concentrated in things like the Kindle Bestseller Lists and Kindle Daily Deal. Same for B&N’s lists and daily ‘cheap find’.

We are seeing the rise of two companies that will dominate Publishing to an unbelievable extent.

The Race to Zero

8 of the Top 20 bestselling books are $2 or $1. The #2 Book is there only because it was Kindle Deal of the Day yesterday and was $2.

In 2008, for an aggregate ranking of the whole year, there were just a few books (less than 5) priced at $1 in the Top 100. Now we have 8 books priced at $1 or $2 in just the Top 20. And 32 of them in the Top 100.

32 of the Top 100 books in the Kindle Store are at $1 or $2.

What about free books?

We used to have 2 to 3 free books a month. Now, in October alone, we’ve seen 84 offers. Let’s put that in context:

There were more free kindle books offered in the first 8 days of October 2011 than in all of 2008.

There’s no escaping it. We are on a path towards zero and there’s nothing to stop us. Amazon can sell people a lot of other things. It has no reason to worry. Authors, on the other hand, can’t exactly sell readers a pair of blue jeans.

We are 5 weeks away from the launch of Kindle Fire

Here are some of the things we can expect in the interim -

  1. Nook Color 2 announcement.
  2. Perhaps a premium Nook Color 2 version.
  3. Kobo Tablet announcement.

That’s just from companies making eReaders (Sony’s Tablets were released in early September).

There are probably a lot of other companies getting ready to release tablets of various sorts. Companies like Asus and Acer.

Kindle Fire is going to face a lot more competition than people realize. It’s started a race amongst Android Tablets that threatens to burn a lot of Tablets and Companies to the ground.

12 Responses

  1. Doesn’t it make more sense, from the perspective of the author, publisher, and Amazon, to consider the gross revenues or profits of books rather than sales? Sure, a 99 cent book might sell a 100,000 copies, but a smaller selling, more expensive book might be more profitable.

    I also wonder if the book industry may be more resilient than the music business because pirated books are typically only easily found for best-sellers, whereas you can find almost any album pirated online.

    Still, the presence of advertisements in the new Kindles is telling. The fact that the ad-supported versions are now presented as standard is as well. It suggests that Amazon may be preparing for the day when books are not a major money maker for them anymore.

    • I’ve seen torrents out there 14, 15 gigs in size, including quite a few thousand books in both kindle and epub formats, pre-loaded as a Calibre library even, so you can use it easily. It’s insane just how many books *are* out there. Books already have a longer tail than music did, true, but the music to be found online tended to be “anything you might hear on the radio” than “anything published now” let alone “anything published ever”. Try finding classical music on filesharing in 2003-ish.

      Pretty much any book published by a major publisher in eBook format *will* be on the black market before you can say “Kindle’s and Adobe’s DRM have both been cracked”.

    • That’s a good point. Perhaps Ad-supported Kindles are the first step towards books being mostly free.

  2. One thing that I noticed today in looking for freebies on Amazon is that the top 100 list contains some books by best selling authors than only contain the first 25 (or so) chapters. That would be one way to actually sell a more expensive (but complete) book. Get the reader engrossed in the story and then have it suddenly stop.

    ==Decided to see what full price would be. I found that those freebies with a limited number of chapters are no longer there. They have moved over to the Top 100 Paid list with prices of $12.99 and up.

  3. The books that offer the first 25 chapters must have 200 chapters because when I have downloaded the 25 preview chapters they contain chapters that are only a few pages long. The length of the chapters is usually as small as a sample size portion of the book. Now here is the kicker to this, if I click on sample the book does not move up the list, but if I download the free sample sized preview of the very short 25 preview chapters the book moves into a number that places the whole book into the top 100 list on the paid for book. The is a big name athoe that is always offering his books this way . Could this be why he makes these little free token offers. I don’t bite on those types of offers anymore. It’s free book placemrnt for them. I liked it better when they use to offer the whole book for a few hours to move it up the list. A lucky few would get the whole book for free, give it great reviews (if it deserved it) and tell our friends about it, who would buy it. Now it moves up the list on the sample (hidden as a short 25 chapter preview) which you could get without influencing the books list standing. Know what I mean?

    • Nobody I saw even mentioned a price point above $300, at least not after it became known that we were talking about a 6/7″ class tablet, not a 9/10″ class tablet. As soon as you know 7″, you know Nook Color is the target, and then you know the question is match or beat on price. They went with beat, mainly due to subsidies.

      As far as showing their hand early — This is always a tradeoff. If you’re amazon (and you’re not apple), it’d be really hard to get journalists into your pressco in september and then *again* in November. You’d get less buzz from two separate events.

      The holiday shopping season is nearly upon us — and it’d simply be a bit late to announce after that started. As it is, B&N does not have time to alter their plans for Nook Color 2 (apart from scrapping it altogether and starting over). Putting a mass-market tablet into production simply doesn’t have lead times that short. Amazon presumably has better (bought-from-)insider knowledge about what is coming with NC2 than we do. I don’t think B&N can match amazon’s deep pockets, and thus can’t match the subsidies. So NC2, if it comes this holiday shopping season, will be spec-competitive with KF, but will still cost $249. They may pull an iPhone 3GS and keep NC around at $199, or possibly even $179 or $149.

      The real screwballs, if any, will come in the software, not in the hardware. Hardware is a lot harder to keep secret than software and price points, and because of that you can’t really compete on hardware. Even Apple can’t, with its overriding emphasis on secrecy, because things do leak.

  4. I am now deciding between Kindle Touch (no ads), Kindle 3 (no ads), and waiting for iPad 3 (which I expect to be smaller and lighter than iPad 2). Thoughts?

    • If you have those three options in mind then you really should wait to see what iPad 3 is like.

    • iPad 3 will be about half a year before it’s shipped, though, so do consider whether you want to wait that long.

      I expect iPad 3 to have the exact same size screen as iPad 1&2, and the same bezel size. While it might be thinner than iPad 2, there is only so far you can go, and I think iPad 2 is pretty close to it.

      My expectations for iPad 3:
      – Retina Display (god, I hope so), i.e. same size but 2048×1536 instead of 1024×768
      – A6 processor — either a dual core with generational improvements to the architecture or a quad core, combined with a next-generation GPU that needs less silicon and/or delivers a bigger punch than SGX543MP3 in A5.
      – 1024MB RAM
      – 3G model is “world phone” type like iPhone 4S.
      – HDReady front camera, Back camera FullHD and at least 3-5 MP stills.
      – still 16/32/64 at 499/599/699 for the WiFi versions.
      – And the controversial one: I expect them to use the iPad 2 case, more or less.

      If you’re someone who can think about getting a Kindle Touch or Keyboard, you’re obviously someone who reads a lot — and you’re also someone who does other things, since you’re considering the iPad.

      I’d say (but I’m a bit confirmation biased, since this is what I’ve done myself), get both. My journey was an iPad 1 first, with Kindle app, then a while after that I got a Kindle 3. Right now I’d say, get a Kindle Touch with ads now (or rather, when it comes out in november, perhaps waiting on the reviews to come out), wait to see what the next iPad Launch delivers, then choose an LCD tablet poison. I wouldn’t want to be without either one. And on the price of an iPad — well, the Kindle is priced as an accessory.

      Kindle 4 can be upgraded to an ad-free version at a later date upon payment of the $30 difference in purchase price. It seems likely the same will apply to KT and its $40 difference. Because of this, I would urge *anyone* who is allowed to buy the version with ads to do so, and postpone the decision about the extra bucks until after you’ve had a chance to get acquainted with them.

  5. Switch11–my publisher wants to pull my book off the .99 price. DId you receive our request for Alex Charles: Evening Oak? I didn’t get a response and wasn’t sure if you received it. Any information at this point would be helpful.

    Kim Reynolds

  6. Switch11 responded, because I remember seeing it. I just don’t remember where…probably in the thread where you first asked about how to get on the 99 cent list.

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