Kindle Link Love + Mr. Bezos apologizes for 1984

Here are the most interesting things happening in the Kindlesphere -

  1. Mr. Bezos posted an apology on behalf of Amazon at the Kindle Forum -

    Jeffrey P. Bezos says:
    This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

    With deep apology to our customers,

    Jeff Bezos
    Founder & CEO
    Amazon.com

  2. Ran into this epic list of free romance novels (be warned that it’s neverending) at the Romance Studio.
  3. Credit Suisse thinks the installed base of ereaders could soar to 32 million in 2014. They expect installed base of Kindle owners to grow to 20 million by 2014.
  4. Financial Times editor Lionel Barber thinks that most news websites will charge within a year.
  5. An excellent post on the Kindle and ebooks from Charles Pillsbury. One of the many gems -

    One problem with a musical analogy is that most musical artists don’t make the bulk of their money from the production and sale of records, but from their live performances. As with Radio, a musician can almost give away their “product” and it not hurt their bottom line.

On the financial front –  

  1. I have a college friend and an ex-roommate at Harvard at the moment (business school and physics phd program respectively) and have a lot of admiration for Jack Meyer. So this article on Harvard’s precarious position caught my attention.
  2. A related article on Jack Meyer leaving Harvard (due to the debate over his pay) is also worth a read.

It makes me wonder why there’s such a difference in my mind between -

  1. What Jack Meyer did at Harvard (admirable). 
  2. What John Arnaud did with his energy bets (impressive, however not my cup of tea). 
  3. Goldman Sachs and their recent ‘profits’ (would need some rather colorful language ;) ) .  

What’s the line between ‘investing well’ and ‘greed and manipulation’?

At what point do we say the rewards of financial investing have become out of sync with the value added?

Interesting Kindle Articles

Here are some really interesting Kindle related articles -

  1. Adam L. Penenberg at Fast Company talks about Amazon, Apple, Kindle, and the competition therein
  2. A fantastic article on why its the perfect time to start a newspaper -

    *The competition is broken
    *A start up would be free of the legacy costs weighing down current papers
    *Talent, including writers, could be lured away from their current failing employer.
    Do read the article for more …

    Personally, think it’s also a good time to become a publisher. You compete against old, slow giant publishers that have to support their outdated methods of working.   

  3. Thomas E. Weber of SmartMoney.com thinks the real genius of the Kindle is that it lets you uni-task. Have been reading, and finishing, more books than in the last 10 years so can’t argue with that.
  4. Zoe Winters talks about her self-published book, her Amazon sales rank, and more.
  5. ZDNet reports on Jim Friedland’s belief that Kindle penetration could reach 10% of Amazon’s US customer base by 2013 (some really good charts) -

    We estimate that Amazon has sold almost 800,000 Kindle units to date. We believe that Kindle sales are ramping up this year due to: (1) the elimination of major supply constraints that limited unit sales for the first 15 months after launch; (2) a large increase in content available on the Kindle Store; and (3) the Kindle2 and Kindle DX product launches. We estimate that Amazon sold 340,000 units in 2008, increasing to 900,000 in 2009 and 1.4 million in 2010. We believe that Kindle penetration could reach 10% of Amazon’s U.S. customer base by 2013, or 2% of the U.S. population

    Elimination of Major Supply Constraints? Not exactly, Mr. Friedland. The Kindle DX is out of stock for 3-5 weeks.

The first 4 articles are good enough to merit a complete post just discussing them. The Amazon Vs Apple comparison in particular is fascinating and after looking at how the Kindle’s Content Revenues are better than the iPod’s, soon will look at the sales figures and comparisons between Kindle Sales and iPod Sales.

Kindle Link Love – end June

Again, some really interesting posts and updates on the kindle that you will probably like -

  1. First, an excellent discussion at platypope on why worse is better in ebook formats.  
  2. A free book from Robert W. Walker (pdf format), found via Kindle Nation. And the book in Kindle format (If Mr. Walker wants me to remove the kindle format file, will gladly do so).
  3. The Kindle Store now has PC Magazine available.
  4. Joe Wikert has some good thoughts on the Kindle, including something that’s coming up more and more i.e.

    How much of the Kindle’s success is due to the instant delivery, cheaper prices, and the service; as opposed to the device itself and the eInk technology.

  5. At The Atlantic, a really interesting comments discussion on ‘If the Kindle had been invented first’.
  6. Teleread points to this Sony Reader Customizer that let you get features like custom fonts, localized languages, one key shut-down and much more (makes me wish even more for a Kindle App Store).

Thought for the Day: Mr. Bezos mentioned that ‘the Kindle Store is DRM agnostic’.

Its interesting that DRM polarizes people to the extent that it does. Given that a lot of content creators are very pro-DRM, and a lot of content consumers are anti-DRM, Amazon might not have an option other than to keep the Kindle Store DRM Agnostic (Recently, have been referring to Wikipedia nearly as much as Chris Anderson).

Kindle Link Love mid June

A few really good posts recently so thought it was time for some kindle link love -

  1. J. A. Konrath weighs in on whether ebooks should be cheap with a few real gems -

    What we actually have isn’t a situation where ebooks cost as much as print books. It’s a situation where publishers must charge the same for ebooks as they do with print books if they want to keep their infrastructures intact.

    The rules of supply and demand don’t work in a digital world, because the supply is unlimited. You don’t fight piracy with weapons. You fight piracy with cost and convenience.

    I offered my ebooks on Scribd 15 days ago, at the same price they are available for on Kindle, less than $2 each.
    In 15 days, I’ve sold zero books. Compare this to over a hundred books a day I sell on Amazon.
    Scribd is not the future of epublishing.

  2. Time Magazine talks about Librarians Vs Google. A good thing that more and more people are realizing that giving the rights for all orphan works to one company is not a good idea - 

    The library community recalls with horror the pricing fiasco that occurred when industry consolidation left academic journals largely in the hands of five publishing companies. The firms hiked subscription prices 227% over a 14-year period, between 1986 and 2002, forcing cash-strapped libraries to drop many subscriptions, according to Van Orsdel. “The chance of the price being driven up in a similar way (in the Google deal) is really very real,” she says.

  3. RAND Publishing commits to lower priced $9.95 ebooks.  “Our costs are lower and we want to pass on the savings” – Wow! Guess that means publishers claiming savings of only 10% are either incompetent or want us to pay for overhead of physical books.
  4. Tor, building on the success of selling their own books online, has started the Tor Store that features books from various publishers. There are mostly paperbacks and hardcovers -

    Tor now has a Store

    Tor now has a Store

  5. Joe Wikert points out that Amazon isn’t really using the Kindle’s ‘sophisticated computer’ and ’3G wireless radio’ as well as they could. A bit harsh? Not really. A ‘sophisticated computer’ ought to support folders, shouldn’t it?
  6. The Detroit Free Press newspaper and Foreign Affairs magazine are now available in the Kindle Store.
  7. Teleread point you to a $179 JetBook ECTACTO reader at NewEgg.
  8. Finally, Jan at Kindle Reader lists some new historical novels for the kindle.

Thoughts on J. A. Konrath’s Article

Actually disagree with him that the Kindle and Kindle Edition books are too expensive. He can point to Betamax all he likes. Apple is a much better example and it clearly shows that one company making things easy for customers can take over a market.

Amazon has done a few BIG things –  

  1. WhisperNet and the 60 second downloads. 
  2. A non-subscription model. This is good for customers even though they don’t get it.
  3. The $9.99 price point. Amazon are taking a loss on kindle edition books to ensure this. 
  4. Created a market for ereaders and ebooks exists.

This is the first time we’ve ever had ebooks become a real, tangible thing. We’re on the verge of success and the last thing to do would be to turn against the only company that has shown the resolve to get it done.

Google are going to sell books at publisher prices. As are all the other initiatives including sites like Scribd.

You have to give credit where credit is due – Amazon have single handedly created the current status quo. Its about time we picked one company and let it win the war against the current dysfunctional publishing landscape.

Amazon needs just two things to finish things off -

  1. Support from us i.e. current and future kindle owners.
  2. The maturing of ePaper technology.

Kindle Link Love, free book – end May

Lots of Kindle excitement and some really good articles -

* Free Romance book for your Kindle – Dancing in the Moonlight by RaeAnne Thayne. Its got a 4.5 star rating.

* Someone named BaleshDev is claiming that he has a Kindle for PC software in the works -

Kindle Air - get kindle books on PC? Kindle Air – get kindle books on PC?

There’s no way Amazon is going to allow this, even if it is more than just a hoax.

* Gadgetell thinks Kindle DX should have a ‘Print to DX’ feature that lets you print any document to the Kindle DX as opposed to printing it out on paper. This is actually exactly what Mr. Bezos was talking about at the DX announcement conference.

* CNN writes about the DX and Kindle in its ‘Amazon’s Next Revolution’ article. Wonder if in-depth articles like this will still be around once newspapers are dead. Its got a great quote from Mr. Bezos to end off.

* John August has a good post on formatting for the Kindle. He also has a good short story, The Variant, out for $0.99 that’s shot up to #69 in the Kindle Store.

* Marware has eco-friendly cases for the Kindle 2.

* Waterfield has cases for the Kindle DX. Wonder why they can’t get their cases listed on Amazon.

* The incredible App Store Hype post - interesting what a somewhat successful iPhone App developer reveals.

* TechOn Japan does a side by side teardown of Kindle 2 and Kindle 1. Its a really good article and some of the main findings include (their opinion) -

  1. The Kindle 2 is designed much better on the inside than Kindle 1.
  2. The improvements in the display have to do with a better display controller rather than improved eInk technology -

    It seemed that the number of tones and the response speed were improved by replacing the controller IC.

  3. They wrongly think that the batteries haven’t changed. Actually, the Kindle 2 Battery is Model No. S11S01A. It’s a 3.7 V, 1530 mAh lithium polymer battery.
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