Thoughts on various bits of Kindle, eReader news and speculation

The Kindle is again stirring up speculation of all sorts. There’s also some interesting Kindle related news.

Author finds a new way to market his book

An author at the official Kindle forum has found a new way to market his book -

  1. He announced 20 free copies – all he asked for, in return, was a genuine review.
  2. There were soon 250+ replies, with at least 100 people interested in reviewing the book.
  3. It’s gotten a lot of buzz. It might have cost him a few thousand dollars in advertising to get a similar level of publicity.

A good indicator of how competitive things are is that another half a dozen or so authors are now offering a similar deal. It’s less than a day, and already authors are copying what worked for one author. People are severely under-estimating how competitive things are going to be.

5.4 million Kindles and 4.5 million Kindles

Ming-Chi Kuo, former analyst at DigiTimes, and current analyst at Concord Equity Research, has this to say -

  1. 5.4 million Kindle 3s and Kindle WiFis sold since launch. 
  2. Amazon shipped 1.6 million Kindles in December – same as iPad. However, iPad sales in the winter quarter are expected to be between 5 and 10 million units. The shipments are down only due to iPad 2 being on the horizon.
  3. 4.5 million Kindles are expected to ship in Q1, 2011. That seems an awfully optimistic estimate. Unless there’s a new Kindle, it might be hard for Amazon to sell 1.1 million Kindles a month.
  4. 12 million eReaders have been shipped so far, and another 27 million eReaders will ship in 2011. Another very optimistic estimate – almost bordering on the unbelievable.

Thanks to Apple Insider for the scoop.

B&N might have two eReaders lined up – Nook2 and Nook Kids

PocketNow has the news that B&N is applying for a lot of new trademarks. There’s some intelligent speculation – Evan Blass at PocketNow points out that two of the trademark applications seem to be for new devices.

  1. One seems to be for the second version of the Nook, named Nook2.
  2. The other seems to be for a Nook aimed at children, called Nook Kids. The description reads –  

    “portable electronic apparatus for displaying, receiving, reading and storing downloadable electronic publications, namely, books, e-books, magazines, newspapers, text, images, digital web site content and digital media featuring music through wired and wireless Internet access, accessories therefor and instructional manuals, sold as a unit.”

  3. Both Nook2 and Nook Kids trademark applications were filed on June 8th. The same day that B&N applied for the Nook WiFi trademark.

There’s also talk of a software called Nook Cook, and a service called Nooksellers – which seems to be a recommendation engine.

Kindle 3 vs Nook 2 ought to be very interesting

Amazon has done really well with Kindle 3. It wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that B&N had something lined up, realized it couldn’t compete with Kindle 3, and went back to the drawing board.

If a Nook 2 arrives in early 2011, and it’s good, it could cause a lot of problems for Amazon. On one side, there’d be Nook Color eating up the casual reader market, and on the other side, there’d be an improved Nook 2 – stealing away readers interested in library books and ePub.

Depending on what features the Nook 2 has, it might even force Amazon to drop the price of the Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi. We do need more competition in the eReader space – a Nook2 would be great for everyone.

Is a Kindle for Kids in the works? If not, how will Amazon respond to Nook Kids?

If B&N manages to introduce an unbreakable ‘Nook Kids’ eReader, for $100 to $150, it would do exceptionally well in the children’s eReader market (which we’re assuming exists). Already, with the Nook Color, B&N has shown its interested in the children’s book market. Now, with this trademark registration for ‘Nook Kids’, you have to imagine there’s a high chance we’re about to see the first eReader made for kids.

The biggest concern parents have is that they can’t hand a $189 or $139 eReader to a kid, who might drop it or throw it, and literally throw away all that money. An unbreakable eReader would solve the issue.

At the same time, most parents do want an eReader for their kids – reading makes kids smarter, it’s a far better use of free time than TV and video games, and it can also be used for school-work.

The market is huge. You have to suspect an unbreakable Nook Kids would also do very well with junior school and middle school kids. If B&N includes support for library books, and it almost certainly will, it becomes very, very compelling.

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