Importance of Stores for Kindle Fire Sales, Amusing Attacks on Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is coming under some really heavy attacks in the press recently. The bar it is being held to is the $500 iPad.

Just wanted to write a general post on – Why most of these attacks are amusing, the importance of stores for Kindle Fire sales.

Context is Everything – Why most attacks on the Kindle Fire are amusing

A lot of the attacks on the Kindle Fire come with in-built assumptions that the people don’t really spell out i.e.

  1. They ignore the price difference between a $200 tablet and a $500 tablet.
  2. They assume a $200 Tablet will perform as well as a $500 Tablet.
  3. They believe there’s only one design philosophy that can be good.
  4. They think that if a new tablet uses some paradigms that they are not used to, then it must be terrible.
  5. They are aligned with one particular company and are invested in its success i.e. write about them, make apps for them, or some other alignment. They assume that this alignment doesn’t color their motivations and words.

Yet, all these people write pretending there is no bias. That’s the first thing that makes the attacks amusing. The complete lack of self-awareness.

My post isn’t pure as snow either – Writing about the Kindle and making Kindle Apps means I’m biased towards Kindles and Amazon. I will try to account for that but spelling it out so you’re aware that this is just one person’s biased perspective.

The second thing that is really amusing is the nitpicking and the complete lack of understanding that this is a V1 product.

Kindle Fire is a V1 product, but it’s getting zero benefit of the doubt

Kindle Fire is experiencing what Nook 1 did.

Nook 1 was built up by the Press as the most amazing device ever – a combination of LCD and eInk. When the first version had some bugs and was sluggish the Press turned on it violently.

Nook still did well. B&N fixed quite a few of the bugs. B&N went on to release more Nooks and, perhaps most importantly, Nook Color.

At the time, I’d written in defence of the Nook. The way Kindle Fire is being treated by some people is just as disappointing, if not more.

First, the Press tried to paint it as a magical $200 device that would be just as good as $500 Tablets. Then, when they realized it isn’t as good as $500 Tablets, they attacked it like rabid dogs.

You don’t write-off or bad-mouth a first generation product because of a few bugs. It’s a V1 - even Nostradamus couldn’t make a product that was perfect in V1.

With Kindle Fire, it’s fascinating to see how interesting some of the complaints are (my thoughts in italics) -

  1. It’s sluggish and unresponsive. Note: Haven’t found any problems - marginal speed differences aren’t my forte. iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire – all three seem fine to me.
  2. The Carousel is difficult to use. Yes, this is indeed the case. Let me go find $300 so that I can avoid the unbearable agony of the Cover Flow UI not being perfect.
  3. This is an exact quote – “The asymmetrical bezel’s chin is distracting in landscape orientation”. Asymmetrical, Bezel, Chin – Those are three words I would never have expected to find in such close proximity. If you can get distracted by an asymmetric bezel’s chin, then one has to wonder exactly what a device would have to do to keep your attention.
  4. Page Turns (it’s always the page turns) aren’t animated well enough. The exact quote – “The page-turn animation, a simple full-screen slide, is distracting, too long, and jerky.”. It took me a lot of trying to understand exactly how this writer got worked up about the 0.1 second long page turns. It’s literally a page sliding off quickly and another sliding on – there’s nothing long or distracting about it. Let’s hope, for the sake of his mental health, that he never runs into an actual physical book. 
  5. Another exact quote – I kept inadvertently turning pages when I intended to bring up the menu. Anyone who owns a Kindle Fire is going to have a hearty chuckle at this. You tap the middle of the page to get the menu. You tap the left edge to go back and you tap the right edge to go forward. Perhaps we need to have the device read your brain waves – except that wouldn’t make you happy either because it would keep going to BaconWithAnimatedPageTurns.com instead of to the next page. Dear Mr. Complain-A-Lot – you do realize that if you keep writing things like this people will start thinking you are a page-turn challenged nitpicky whiner.
  6. It’s not an iPad. I only write good things if it’s an iPad. Thanks for clearing that up. Yes, it’s not an iPad. Flip it around – You see the big ‘Kindle’. That’s your first clue. How many more do you need?

That brings us to the two real gems. First, we have a complaint about the free Prime videos -

The free Prime video selection is very poor compared to Netflix’s streaming library. The TV selection is particularly misleading: they’ll list a show, but only one season, or some subset of its episodes, is actually free.

Let’s get this straight - You paid $79 and got free 2-day shipping for a year. Amazon also added in free movies and one free book loan a month.

Now, you’re complaining that the free movies thrown in aren’t as extensive as what you get from Netflix for $7.99 a month. Well, please hold on Sir Complain-A-Lot. Let us reunite the cast of Friends for you and have them shoot the new season in your house. Perhaps you would still complain that you’d have preferred Seinfeld.

Next, we have a complaint about being ‘almost uncomfortable’ -

The bottom-left corner of the Fire, when held in portrait, gets noticeably warm during use. It’s almost uncomfortable to hold during long, moderately intensive tasks… such as video playback.

This is what happens when you let men get manicures and pedicures and tell them it’s OK to get in touch with their emotions.

Let’s imagine Sir Complain-A-Lot coming up to Chuck Norris and saying – Chuck Norris, my Tablet got noticeably warm today and it was almost uncomfortable. What should I do?

Chuck Norris would probably reply – You should let me roundhouse kick your ‘almost uncomfortable’ness out of your head.

If we’re lucky that roundhouse kick will also take care of the addiction to perfectly animated page turns.

The third thing that’s amusing, and sad, is that these are reviews written not for users but for the review writer’s own gratification.

Attacks on the Kindle Fire are self-serving, and not customer-oriented

What’s been missing is any attempt to write a review from the perspective of the people who would actually want to buy a $200 Tablet. People who don’t believe that the only correct design philosophy is Apple’s. People who don’t really care that if Kindle Fire cuts into iPad sales then there might be an impact on the earnings of people who make iPad apps.

Lots of users want to know whether to buy a $199 Kindle Fire or a $199 iPod Touch. Yet, all the Kindle Fire articles are fixated on comparing Kindle Fire with iPad. Perhaps they don’t realize that the decision being made is usually Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet vs iPod Touch. That the number of people who are actually choosing between a $200 Tablet and a $500 Tablet is relatively small.

The strangest thing is reviewers saying – Yes, we know Kindle Fire is $200 and iPad is $500 but Kindle Fire is not as shiny as the iPad. When we watch movies on it they don’t have animated page turns.

The Importance of Being Exactly As Fast as the $500 Tablet

One of the best examples of this obsession with comparing Kindle Fire with $500 Tablets is the whole ‘sluggishness’ debate.

Some reviewers are claiming that the device is sluggish. An almost identical number of reviewers are claiming it’s fast and responsive.

Who do we believe?

It was fast and responsive for me. However, every person’s definition of fast and responsive is different. So, how can a person tell whether it’s fast or sluggish?

The simplest solution: Go to a store and try it out for yourself. Chances are – you’ll like it.

If someone has been using a $500 Tablet and then finds Kindle Fire to be marginally slower – That doesn’t make it sluggish. It just makes it ‘not as fast as the $500 iPad’.

Kindle Fire haters are mostly writing from the wrong context (expecting a $200 Tablet to be as fast as a $500 Tablet, assuming the only right design choices are what Apple decides, safeguarding their livelihoods or their tech religion).

If Apple had removed the volume buttons, then the tech press would be calling it revolutionary. If Amazon does it, it’s a ‘terrible design decision’.

If you’re looking for a good, low-price tablet, don’t let the attacks on the Kindle Fire sway you. Why not go to a Store and see for yourself?

The Importance of Stores for Kindle Fire Sales

The reason stores are critically important for Kindle Fire is that Apple people are once again waging a war based on unreality. Since they have chefs cook tech journalists customized omelettes at their events, they have the tech press playing along.

Note: Let it not be said that Apple doesn’t allow customization. As long as it’s omelettes it’s fine.

Apple people are doing a combination of things -

  1. Comparing the $200 Kindle Fire to the $500 iPad non-stop. How can you, in good faith, compare Kindle Fire to a device that is 2.5 times the price?
  2. Drawing up a list of 10 to 15 vague complaints. Add these on to the real drawbacks (and there are a few) and a good Kindle Fire Tablet suddenly seems terrible.
  3. Being intentionally vague. How on Earth does anyone respond to an asymmetric bezel’s chin? Make it symmetric and Apple sues you in court for stealing the design (apparently they think other Tablet makers should make their Tablets triangular). Make it asymmetric and reviewers will complain about your Tablet’s chin (Jane Austen could probably write a lot about what a man’s chin says about him - but it’s a special gift to be able to seriously discuss a Tablet’s chin).
  4. Neglecting to mention any of the good qualities – low price, visually attractive user interface, very easy to use, light, can hold with one hand, easy to carry around, size is great for email and browsing. With Kindle it was understandable – most tech journalists didn’t read enough to be able to appreciate it. You can’t blame a tech journalist who only reads movies to understand the Kindle. What’s the excuse now?
  5. Waging a concerted campaign and trying to prevent Kindle Fire from getting momentum. That’s really what it is. The possibility that Amazon might sell 5 million Kindle Fires in 2011 has scared the Apple people and they are pulling out all the stops. Soon they’ll be blaming Kindle Fire for global warming.

Apple people are experts in vague and intangible attacks. Amazon can’t win a war against them by fighting on their terms.

Amazon says – Here’s Kindle Fire. For $200 it does 80% of the things the $500 Tablets do.

Apple says – But the animated page turns aren’t perfect. Is it really worth $300 to lose the ability to have that page glide perfectly across the screen?

Amazon can’t win the war of words and stories.

The only way to beat reality distortion is via reality. The Stores will do that. Those 16,000 stores selling Kindle Fires are 16,000 soldiers fighting a war against the reality distortion of the tech press. Walk into these stores and suddenly $300 means $300 of hard-earned money. And page turns become things you don’t even notice if you’re actually reading a book.

People are very smart. They know what they want and they know it when they see it. No amount of perfectly crafted and precisely imprecise attacks will change that. Very few people are stupid enough to pass on a very good Tablet just because it doesn’t have the sort of chin that would allow Apple to sue it in court.

Perhaps the Kindle Fire at $200 is perfect for you. Perhaps it’s not. Perhaps you expect a $500 Tablet for $200. Perhaps you’re happy with what you get for $199. The best way to find out is to go to a store and see for yourself.

It’s really unfortunate that the tech press keeps comparing Kindle Fire with the iPad. That it keeps writing Kindle Fire reviews and articles that assume every day people want the exact same things that tech journalists do. Kindle and Nook and Nook Color have all survived this intellectual dishonesty of the Press and Kindle Fire will too. Meanwhile we should call Chuck Norris so he can do something about all these Complain-A-Lots and their unhealthy obsession with Tablet chins and animated page turns.

Note: Chuck Norris was not hurt during the making of this post. Actually, Chuck Norris can never be hurt - we just put in the note to avoid unnecessary concern on your behalf. Chuck Norris says that if one more person who really doesn’t read much writes about how important animated page turns are for reading, Chuck Norris might get a headache.

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.

Kindle Review pollution courtesy Defective By Design

Ran across this ’1 star kindle review’ campaign being run by Defective By Design -

This week’s Kindle action is going great; together we’ve generated hundreds of 1-star reviews and tags.

If you haven’t written a review yet, here are direct links to the review forms. Take a few minutes to explain to potential Kindle buyers why they shouldn’t get one: 6″ Kindle, Kindle DX.

Opinion does not equal Product Review

The only people entitled to review a product are people who own the product.

When the Kindle 1 first came out there were hundreds of ’1 star reviews’ from people who had never even seen a Kindle. Thankfully we haven’t had a repeat of that fiasco – until now.

Defective by Design might think they’re doing some grand fight for freedom. They’re not.  

They are simply polluting reviews and making it difficult for people to find the real kindle reviews.

The mistake of thinking everyone thinks like you

For some reason Defective by Design think that when people are struggling to find actual kindle reviews amongst the hundreds of spam reviews that have been added, they’ll think -

Thank heavens for Defective By Design.

The 500 news articles and blog posts had totally escaped my mind.

Its so thoughtful of them to add a ‘kindle review’ to remind me.

Their consideration knows no bounds – they actually added in hundreds of reviews to hammer the memory of this injustice deep into our heads.

Now we know of the terrible calamity Amazon has brought upon the free people of this world.  

To give it some Context

  1. We’re in the middle of the greatest depression since the Great Depression.
  2. Companies that were ‘bailed out’ just 6 months ago are distributing $12 billion in bonuses to their employees.
  3. Banks, Companies, and even State Governments are going bankrupt.
  4. The U.S Dollar itself is in danger.

Why do people have the bandwidth and desire to devote all this energy to the 1984 issue?

Someone sold illegal books. They were pulled back and money was refunded. Its not a big deal.

Get Over It!

Is the Kindle getting unfair Reviews?

Update: If you want to make a decision on buying the Kindle the data from this post as well as numerous other reviews, posts and articles is collated at The Kindle Decision aka the $400 Question – Should I Buy a Kindle?

[ Update: OK - I can only get through the first 130 most helpful 1 star reviews as after that links don't work at Amazon. The Main thing is only 16 out of the 130 most helpful 1 star reviews are by actual kindle owners]

Reviews by Actual Owners (only 16 of the 130 were actual Kindle owners)

  1. Only 16 of the 130 most helpful 1 star reviews are from actual owners. The main reasons they list for returning the Kindle and/or being unhappy with it are
    1. Kindle failed and customer support was unhelpful. (this came up twice)
    2. Prospect that EVDO wireless internet access will later be charged for.
    3. No whispernet (wireless internet access) in Missoula, Montana.
    4. Kindle editions are abridged (no footnotes for some – which for me personally i don’t care about – however do agree its an issue)
    5. No support for pdf.
    6. Returned and will wait for V2.
    7. Lack of content and new releases are not released on  the Kindle.
    8. Upset ‘cos only one bible is available and it’s not easy to get to specific passages.
    9. It was a gift that didn’t make it in time for Xmas so this future owner will return it the minute he get its.
    10. Hey Amazon !! Listen to me – redesign this thing!! Get some real industrial designers to make a nice high quality device… something at least as nice as the iphone. I don’t know – may be good designers were hired and the heads at Amazon just have bad taste and told them to build something for the TrailerPark crowd.
    11. I ordered this on 12/12 and was not given any indication at the time that the order wouldn’t arrive in time for Christmas. It’s now too late to buy a different gift (i fly out on Sunday), and I was never informed of this delay. I am only finding out now by going to the website to check out the status of my shipment. All in all a horrendous way to treat a customer spending several hundred dollars!!!!
    12. I ordered this kindle on Nov 30 they say it wont be here in time for Christmas and they say they will send me a email with the estimated arrival date but i have not received that email yet. So i double checked my order to make sure it was still active and i checked the email address i put down. Everything was correct so why haven’t I gotten my Kindle yet?
    13. Crashed 7 times in 2 days and tech support sucks – said ” nothing i can do”.
    14. Check wireless service area BEFORE you buy! I am a speech therapist, 48 years old, living in a rural area in Arizona. The nearest decent bookstore is in Tucson, 4 hours away. When I heard about Kindle, I was ecstatic–I love to read, so the ability to instantly buy and read books was a marvelous idea. I read all the blurbs, then bought the device.
      Reader, I sent the device back one hour after opening the box, bitterly disappointed. I am not disparaging the device itself, but rather the fact that service is not available in my area. In fact, the closest area that has service is Tucson. I thought I had read everything, but buried in all the fine print was the service availability map. Pity I didn’t see it first.
      To the people who wrote the advertisement for this device, please PLEASE state in the beginning paragraph that service is not available in all areas and put the map link there, please? And developers–service in the rural areas would be very much appreciated! It looked like a great product.
    15. Arrived Broken Right Out of the Box. Well — I arrived home from work today and found my Kindle had been delivered. Took it out of the box, read the user guide and then plugged it in to start working with it. Unfortunately, it never powered on. Completely dead. So I called customer service and they told me I had to call a different toll-free number for Kindle support (866-321-8851) but that they were available 24×7. I called the number and was told that they were only available during the hours of 6a-10p Pacific (and it was 10:05p). So much for a positive experience with this device. I tried resetting the device and re-seating/re-connecting the battery. Nothing.

Reviews by Non-Owners

Honestly, someone reviewing a product without using it is just an opinion (and an uninformed one). Here are the reasons they list for ‘reviewing’ the kindle as 1 star without even owning it -

  1. Too Pricey++++ (people hung up on the price) (people with a lot of justifications for why it should be cheaper or free)
  2. You don’t own the book. (again a lot of people hung up on this)
  3. DRM and other reasons.
  4. purists – a kindle does not feel, look, smell like a book.
  5. Lack of pdf support
  6. Coverage
  7. don’t’ need a way to carry 200 books
  8. making notes on the sides and highlighting (fixable – would you want to)
  9. Personal Files are .10 each,(fixable via free conversion)
  10. Its cheaper to buy used books, even with shipping.
  11. the texture and feel and smell of a book
  12. Would never buy something DRM’ed
  13. Have apple team redesign it.  
  14. How secure is this thing – could someone hack into my kindle and steal my account?
  15. a good point: The price is a bit high but would be OK if the device accepted other formats. There are many classic eBooks out there for $2.00 plus libraries have regular eBooks for free. I’ve waited a long time for the right device, I can wait a little longer. (need to write a blog post on this)

  16. Will not work outside the US
  17. Being seen reading a book is geeky (wow – that’s a really bad reason – you should do what you want) 
  18.  

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