The Kindle 3 and the Kindle WiFi are both in stock, and selling well. Everything seems to be good.
It’s worth taking a look at the official kindle forum, and seeing what concerns Kindle owners have.
Kindle Owners’ Top Concerns before Christmas
With some thoughts thrown in.
- Kindles are in stock again. It’s interesting how the official Kindle forum seems to get news faster than any other site.
- Complaints that UK gets better free books than the US. It’s impressive that readers in every single country are upset about country-based restrictions on book offers and books.
- The thread on discounted books is going strong. It’s really worth checking.
- Help on converting PDF files to Kindle format. Multiple threads on this topic.
- Choosing between WiFi and 3G. A lot of threads discussing this.
- Is a Kindle a good gift for a 67-year-old, who is slightly up to date with technology? Depends on how much she reads.
- Paul Coleman is running a thread where he’s asking for volunteers – volunteers to be put in as characters that are killed in his next book. Indie authors are finding smarter and smarter ways to promote themselves.
- Apparently, the white Kindle 3G is sold out.
- Questions about the lack of support for library books.
- How to remove books from the Archive. Well, you have to go to the ‘Manage Your Kindle’ page.
- Question on how to input numbers when using the Kindle 3. Well, Alt+Q is 1, and so forth. Or, you could use the SYM key.
- How to do ebook returns. Email Amazon customer service, or call them up.
- Question on how to turn off the Kindle. A lot of people are still uncomfortable with the fact that the default ‘OFF’ behavior for Kindle is sleep mode.
- ‘Anonymous’ talking about how iPad will kill Kindle by going to $399. I thought it was going to be Retina Display, or a thousand pint sized assassin dolls.
- Question on custom screensavers, and lack thereof.
- Creaky Kindle 3 – Something’s moving around inside. That sounds like it would be rather annoying. Multiple threads on this.
- Kindle cover problems. It’s interesting how this issue sprang up out of nowhere. It’s been months and months since release – Suddenly, we have Kindle covers causing problems. Is it a recent batch of covers that’s causing the problem? Are people only realizing now, that there’s an issue?
- A thread on grammatical errors in Kindle books. Yes, such as the price on Agency Model books.
- A few non-US Kindle owners waiting eagerly for their Kindles to arrive.
- A thread on the ethics of distributing books caught in the public domain black hole – whatever that means.
It’s quite surprising. There isn’t really any issue (except perhaps the cover issue) that is getting a lot of attention.
For the most part, Kindle owners are pretty happy with their Kindles, and have only minor concerns.
There are a few issues that get a decent amount of attention – library books, international availability, choosing between WiFi and 3G, kindle cover problems. At the same time, we don’t have the sort of huge pain points that we had earlier (lack of PDF support, lack of Folders, the Kindle 3 freezing issue).
If you’re outside the US, you might have a legitimate complaint since Kindles are not shipping outside of US and UK, and since book availability and pricing vary wildly. However, US Kindle owners don’t have very much to complain about, and it’s reflected in the forums.
Has Kindle reached a ’90% of what needs to be done’ stage?
It’s not inconceivable that Amazon has managed to deliver 90% of what Kindle owners in the US want. That, now, all they have to do is keep selling Kindles and Kindle books and keep making money.
It makes things pretty difficult for any company that intends to steal current Kindle owners. If they’re pretty happy, and have their libraries locked into Kindle format – Why would they ever leave?
You also have the problem of Amazon’s excellent customer service.
The only option left, for Kindle rivals, is to create competing devices (like B&N has with Nook and Nook Color), and get to readers before Amazon does.
Is the real war, the war for readers who haven’t yet bought an eReader?
There are two wars that are hyped up -
- The eBook Wars – Where various eBook stores use various strategies to compete, and try to win over readers who own different devices.
- The eReader Wars – Where competing eReaders try to grab readers, and get them into their ecosystem.
For the first, you have to count out the eReaders. Both Kindle and Nook customers seem pretty content to shop at their own eBook stores. The Kindle makes it even more difficult to steal Kindle owners by not supporting ePub.
That restricts the eBook Wars to devices that are relatively open – such as iPhones and Android phones.
The eReader War becomes even more critical. If a company loses out on a reader – It’s not just the eReader sale. In all probability, it’s every single book that reader will ever buy, from that point onwards.
Should Amazon and B&N drop eReader prices even more?
Perhaps the eReader becomes even more of a customer acquisition tool.
- Take a reader who buys 50 books a year. If a company is making $2 per book that equates to $100 per year. Over 3 years, that’s $300. An eReader sale probably means $300 in profit from ebook sales – over the 3 years the customer owns the eReader.
- On top of that, you steal a potential customer from your competitor.
- You also greatly increase the probability that the customer buys her next eReader from you – thereby guaranteeing another 3 years of $100 per year in profit.
When people talk about selling ebooks to eReader owners they are being unrealistic. Stealing a reader from the company that owns the reader’s eReader isn’t easy.
You have to factor in commitment and consistency -
- Kindle owners and Nook owners are inordinately fond of their eReaders. They are also rather averse to the opposite eReader, and to competing eBook stores.
- If a reader has been a Kindle owner for 2 years, and has his library on the Kindle, it’s the path of least resistance to stick with the Kindle.
- Amazon and B&N are both doing a pretty good job of keeping customers happy.
- eReader owners are fighting against the Press, against people who think reading doesn’t merit its own device, and against other factors. That creates a lot of attachment to the eReader.
- Every book read on a Kindle, or Nook, increases the owner’s love for the device.
The net result – If you buy a particular eReader, it’s almost impossible for a rival eReader company to prise you away.
Winning over a reader, as an eReader owner, is worth $200 or more to an eReader company
If Amazon and B&N were to sit down and think through this, and you can bet they have, they’d probably figure that each reader they win over is worth $200 or $300.
That’s why the Nook Color is $249, and the Kindle WiFi is $139. That’s why there are 60 second book downloads. It’s also why Amazon and B&N are opening up app stores – shiny, pretty things to attract readers.
The competition is going to get very, very brutal. We’re only seeing the beginnings. Kindle vs Nook is going to turn into a blood-fest - readers will soon be offered $300 devices for $100.