Kindle Paperwhite Thoughts
- How important is weight? There was a very intelligent comment pointing out that the 7.5 oz weight of the Kindle Paperwhite is a big advantage over Tablets. Kindle Fire HD is 13.9 oz, which is nearly twice as much as the Kindle Paperwhite. iPad is 3 times the weight of the Kindle Paperwhite. If you’re reading for a long time, whether sitting or lying down or reclining, the weight of the device makes a big difference.
- How is the Kobo Aura HD affecting Kindle Paperwhite sales? We’ve seen in our Kindle Paperwhite vs Kobo Aura HD comparison that Kobo Aura HD’s HD eInk Screen will result in a better reading experience. Q1: How is Kobo Aura HD affecting Kindle Paperwhite sales in general? Q2: Out of people who actually know Kobo Aura HD exists, how many are still picking Kindle Paperwhite? My suspicion would be that the second question’s answer is scaring Amazon. Amazon might prepone the Kindle Paperwhite 2 release to lower the impact of the Kobo Aura HD. Of course, B&N has a part to play too.
- How is the anticipation for Kindle Paperwhite 2 affecting sales? Existing Kindle owners, and lots of prospective eReader owners, are perhaps used to seeing Fall launches of new Kindles. It’s a reasonable assumption that a lot of people are waiting to see what Kindle Paperwhite 2 is like, before buying their next eReader. Perhaps some are also waiting to see what the new Nook Glowlight 2 will be like. How is this affecting sales? With iPhones, we know that the quarter before the new iPhone release is relatively slow. Is it the same for Kindles?
- Does Amazon want to sell Kindle Paperwhites only to people who won’t buy Kindle Fire HDs? This is something I’ve wondered about a lot. If Amazon views the devices mostly as a means to sell content, and there are quite a few signs it does, then perhaps Amazon would rather sell a person a Kindle Fire HD. Why sell a Kindle Paperwhite and then only be able to sell books. There are some subtle things done i.e. the strip at the top of Kindle eReader product pages that shows Kindle Fire HDs and Kindle Fires. How does this impact Kindle Paperwhite sales?
- What are Amazon’s internal goals? Is Amazon now shifting focus to Kindle Fire HD 2 and Kindle Phone and Kindle TV? Is Kindle Paperwhite 2 an after-thought? Wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon is aiming to sell 10-15 million Kindle Fire HD 2s and Kindle Fires in rest of 2013 and just 3-5 million Kindle Paperwhites and Kindle Paperwhite 2s. Perhaps 90% of the focus is on Tablets now.
- What percentage of high-end eReader sales (ongoing, not cumulative) are going to Kindle Paperwhite, Nook Glowlight, and Kobo Aura HD. Perhaps, for high-end eReaders, it’s 70%, 20% and 10%. Perhaps Kobo Aura HD is helping Kobo get more than 10%. Perhaps Kindle Paperwhite isn’t at 70%. At the lower end of the market, the huge periodic sales on Nook Simple Touch must be having an impact.
- In the UK there are crazy sales on Nook Simple Touch and the Kobo eReader. Both are selling for approximately $44 (Nook Simple Touch is 29 pounds). Would be interesting to see what impact that is having on Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle WiFi sales in the UK.
- B&N is now claiming it can compete with Kindle in the UK, based on the increase in Nook content sales due to the crazy $44 Nook Simple Touch sale. Nook Simple Touch sold out once it was dropped from 79 pounds to 29 pounds. It’s still sold out. Kobo going for a similar price drop suggests that B&N’s strategy might be working very well. Kindle WiFi is 69 pounds in the UK, and isn’t really competitive if you consider the other two are selling at 29 pounds.
- Kindle Paperwhite 2 is becoming more and more important. Firstly, there are the periodic big sales on Nook Simple Touch. Secondly, there’s the advent of the Kobo Aura HD and its HD eInk screen. Thirdly, there must be 3-6 million people who are ready to upgrade from Kindle 1s and Kindle 2s and Nooks and Nook Simple Touches – What eReader will they buy?
The eReader space is interesting again – thanks to Kobo and thanks to the crazy sales B&N is running. It’s now beginning to shift more and more towards ‘take a loss now, make money from content sales’. That’s great news for customers.
Additionally, Kobo Aura HD raises the bar for eReaders and forces Amazon and B&N to deliver with Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Nook Glowlight 2.
Kindle Paperwhite 2 Thoughts
- B&N ran out of Nook Glowlights. It had the only eReader with a built-in reading light and the demand shocked B&N. That, in part, set the stage for Kindle Paperwhite to come in and take the majority of eReader sales in Holiday Season 2012. It also helped that Amazon had improved on the Glowlight in several important ways – screen resolution being, perhaps, the most significant improvement. Kobo, with the Kobo Aura HD, has set the bar this time. What will Amazon do with Kindle Paperwhite 2 to steal the Holiday Season? Will it be Nook Glowlight 2 that wins this year?
- How important is Kindle Paperwhite 2 to Amazon? There’s a legitimate case to be made that Kindle Fire tablets are more important. However, in books, Kindle Paperwhite 2, since it will be bought by hardcore readers who buy a lot more books, is perhaps more important.
- How big is the team working on Kindle Paperwhite 2? If Amazon has teams working on Kindle Fire HD 2 (definitely), Kindle Phone (almost certainly), Kindle TV (perhaps), and new devices (who knows what these are – perhaps a Kindle Watch), then how many people at Lab 126 (which makes all Kindle devices) are truly focused on Kindle Paperwhite 2?
- What’s the ratio of content sales generated per Kindle Fire HD owner to content sales generated per Kindle Paperwhite owner? My rough guess would be 2:1. My rough guess for Amazon sales generated would be 1:1. Perhaps I’m wrong on the latter. Perhaps Tablet owners buy a lot more things from Amazon. Perhaps they become Prime subscribers quite often.
- Is Amazon going to call Kindle Paperwhite 2 the Kindle HD? It would make sense. It’s much shorter and sweeter. HD should also sell better than ‘PaperWhite’. What does Paperwhite even mean?
- What prices will Amazon go with. The problem with the HD screen is that it’s more expensive (at least that’s my assumption based on the Kobo Aura HD coming in at $169). Amazon currently has Kindle WiFi at $69, Kindle Paperwhite with Ads at $119, and Kindle Paperwhite 3G with Ads at $179. If Kindle HD ends up being $169 or $159, due to the HD screen being pricier, then Amazon might keep the Kindle Paperwhite around. Another option, although a limiting one, would be to make a Kindle Paperwhite 2 that doesn’t use the HD screen.
- How much do eInk screens cost now? When the Kindle first came out, the screen was the most expensive component. Since Kindle WiFi is selling at $69, it’s obvious that eInk screens have dropped in price quite a bit. However, the new HD resolution eInk screen is newer technology and probably quite expensive – Perhaps between $59 and $79 per screen. What price could a Kindle HD (or Kindle Paperwhite HD) come in at, if the screen itself is $69? Perhaps $149. It’d be hard for Amazon to get it any cheaper if it’s adding a HD screen and also a fast processor and enough RAM and memory to make it a good Kindle that can compete effectively with Kobo Aura HD.
- Is Amazon going to continue with its iterative approach? It certainly seems so. That would mean that the main improvements we will see are – slightly lighter, slightly faster, HD screen (this is a big improvement), perhaps a bit more compact, sharper fonts, a few software improvements, a few features. Wish Amazon would start thinking ‘revolutionary’ instead of ‘incrementally evolutionary’.
Kindle Paperwhite 2 is a very important release.
Firstly, will Amazon show it still cares about dedicated readers and dedicated eReaders? Secondly, what improvements will Amazon add to out-duel Kobo and Kobo’s Aura HD? Thirdly, is there still life in eReaders?
We’d like to think that there will always be a large market of hardcore readers that want a device dedicated to reading – built without compromises, built without the ability to slice fruit and throw birds, built for people who love to read. If Kindle Paperwhite 2 is a big step forward, or even a little step forward, from Kobo Aura HD, then we know Amazon thinks there’s still life in eReaders. If Kindle Paperwhite 2 is disappointing, then it’ll be left to Kobo and B&N to drive eReaders and digital reading forward.