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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Should Amazon Create a “Paperback” Kindle?

Soth Godin, a blogger and author suggests that Amazon should create a “paperback” version of the Kindle.  Hypothetically speaking, this inexpensive device would only include the bare bones and cost about $50.  It would be small enough to fit in your pocket or purse like a paperback book.  Spending less on the e-reader allows you to spend more on the books.  So, I see Amazon’s revenue jumping in Kindle book sales once the Kindle price comes down.  That is, if the publishers can find a way to balance out the prices of the books, which they will eventually.  E-books are still a relatively new market.

According to an article from Wired magazine, the e-book reader market will soon split into two segments.  One will be for simple, cheap e-readers with monochrome e-ink such as the Kindle.  The other will be for high end e-readers with color touch screens such as the iPad.

The only way to get authors and publishers to embrace this device is to sell 20,000,000 of them. You either become the best and only platform for consuming books worth buying or you fail. And the only way to create that footprint in the face of an iPad is to make it so cheap to buy and use it’s irresistible.  – Godin

It depends on what market Amazon wants to focus on.  If they decide to take the software route and continue to market Kindle for various devices, they are already ahead of the game.  If they decide to create a cheap Kindle as Godin is suggesting, then they should make it around the size of the iPod touch or iPhone, maybe a little bit larger.  Lately I’ve been using my iPod Touch to reach Kindle books simply because it is more portable.

I would purchase a “paperback’ Kindle.  It would be much cheaper than any other device out there, including iPods, not to mention the iPad. It also would have the battery life to beat.  I might even consider buying both the iPad and the Kindle paperback version.  A cheaper Kindle would be a great beach accessory.

Kindle App. vs. Apple iBook App.

PC World has a good article that compares the Kindle application and the Apple iBook application.  The Kindle is not a device, but a platform, that runs on multiple devices such as the Blackberry, iPhone, PC and Mac.  That is one advantage that Amazon has over Apple because currently,

Kindle for iPad

Kindle for iPad

Apple’s new iBook application is only limited to the iPad.  Amazon recently unveiled plans to provide an application for the Apple iPad, which demonstrates that Amazon’s strives to reach out to the widest audience possible.

Considering that the iPad is a newly launched device, and that the price tag is pretty hefty at $499, Apple’s choice to keep the iBook application exclusive does not appear to be a very smart one.  However, eventually, there will most likely be an iBook application available for the iPhone and iPod touch.  It will be interesting to see if Apple branches out to allow an iBook application on Blackberry and Android.

Another marketing strategy that Amazon has going for it in terms of the Kindle platform is the amount of e-books available to download.  The iBook application only has 60,000 titles currently available.  This number will surely increase over time, but Amazon is ahead of the game at the moment with its much larger selection  of 450,000 titles available for readers.

According  to ReadWriteWeb’s article on comparing the two applications, the Kindle application is simple to use and doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that the iBook application uses.  For example, the user sees one page at a time on the Kindle application, whereas with the iBook application, the user can see two pages at a time and the pages turn in a more “engaging” format.  From a user’s standpoint, simplicity is key to create an easy, pleasurable reading experience.



Apple iPod Touch 32GB outsells Kindle DX on Amazon

Apple iPod Touch 32GB

Apple iPod Touch 32GB

Take a look at the list of best selling products in electronics section on Amazon.com. As of recently 3rd generation Apple iPod Touch 32GB has climbed to the second place. Currently it is outsold only by Kindle 2 and is trailed by Kindle DX. This is interesting since Kindle has had prime advertising spot on Amazon.com homepage for quite some time now, while the Apple product generates sales only because of this popularity and the fact that Amazon sells it at $20.00 discount compared to the official Apple store and provides free shipping.

Technically it also can be considered Kindle related merchandize since it can run Kindle application that is available in Apple app store.

While it has been widely rumoured that Apple will release tablet PC type device that will compete with eBook readers, the fact that two companies cooperate this much indicate that Apple will not be competing with Amazon in this space. Just look at all the current news about Apple Google feud around Google voice application for iPhone. There’s clearly competition there and no cooperation at all.

Kindle For iPhone and iPod Touch

As if recent release of Kindle 2 wasn’t enough… Kindle for iPhone application was just released to iTunes marketplace and is available for download! What it does is it brings most of the Amazon Kindle functionality to iPhone or iPod Touch. The application is free to download and can be installed either via iTunes (click here if you have iTunes already installed) or directly through App Store…

kindle-for-iphone-app-store

Once the application is installed – you need to enter your Amazon.com username and password and within seconds you have all the books that you’ve purchased before for your Kindle available in “Archived Items”…

kindle-for-iphone-splash

Couple more taps on the touchscreen and you can start reading away.

kindle-for-iphone-ebook

Ok and now when the hype is gone lets be a bit more specific. The new app can do:

  • Download and display all textual books that are available in the Kindle Store.
  • Synchronize bookmarks, annotations, reading positions etc via the WhisperSync.
  • Add new bookmarks.
  • Text is displayed very clearly and is readable even at the smallest font size (it fact when smallest font size is contains almost as much text as my Kindle which I have set to second smallest font.
  • Once application is registered iPhone immediately becomes selectable in the combo-boxes on the Amazon.com so you can send purchased books to the device.

And now on what it can’t do:

  • It looks like periodicals a missing. At least WSJ that I’m subscribed to didn’t show up anywhere in the application.
  • There is no text-to-speech
  • Regrettably there is no special interface to buy more books. It has to be done via PC or iPhone Safari browser which is doable but not the most comfortable experience you would have. Unfortunately using Amazon Mobile application (also free) is not an option since it only allows adding Kindle books to wish-list. Hopefully Amazon will update it soon enough.
  • There doesn’t seem to be any dictionary functionality.

To sum it up: Way cool, with a room for improvement. While it would seem that releasing such an application would hurt Kindle sales, personally I thing that it would not and overall it would be benefical to Amazon.com. And here is why:

  • While the text is clear and readable, reading from iPhone is not the best experience.
  • iPhone is much less autonomous than Kindle because it’s not meant to run long on a single charge but more importantly because when you are reading an eBook a back-lit display is drawing a lot of power from the battery. There is no way you can read 20,000 pages on a single charge and this was a major selling point to me and many other Kindle owners.
  • So in no way iPhone will be able to even come close to replacing Kindle.
  • On the other hand iPhone is a great opportunity because it is an undisputed leader by number of e-commerce transactions that are initiated and completed using it. This is because it provides excellent mobile browsing experience. You can actually navigate the web and shop with it comfortably.
  • There were 10M+ iPhones sold during 2008 alone. Releasing this application gives Amazon better access to this audience. And by defintion this audience likes to consume information and spend money on gadgets. So I imagine quite a few would first buy a couple of books to their iPhone to do some quick lookup or to read something during some long commute and eventually would buy Amazon Kindle to have a better reading experience with these books.

Another reason I happy about this realease is that in the modern world of proprietary mutually incompatible and overly restrictive DRM systems that hurt honest users much more than pirates having a seemless easy way to access useful copyrighted and legally purchased content across several platforms from two different manufactureres is a step in the right direction.

kindle-and-iphone

Here come the iPhone/iPod Touch e-book readers

Apple iPhone 3G

You may of heard that over the weekend Apple unveiled it’s new iPhone 3G device, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the device, mostly because of the software, the actual hardware is not that impressive and mostly includes improvements that the original iPhone should have shipped with in the first place. The iPhone 3G comes in at a impressive $199 to buy, however you will be paying more in the long term compared to the classic iPhone with higher network subscription charges.

Now how does the new iPhone effect us Kindlers? well… Apple has done something remarkable with the software – they have opened it up! which is impressive considering we are talking about Apple here. All this has allowed third party developers to create e-book apps for the iPhone 3G and has turned the iPhone into a e-book reader.

There are already a couple of iPhone e-book reading apps out already, the iPhone Bookshelf is one which supports multiple formats.

Another promising e-book app is Stanza. Stanza is an app which lets you read e-book which are stored on your iPhone and e-books online, make sure you check out the demo at the bottom of the page. Stanza can also read files in the ePub format, which many other apps are able to work with, perhaps the Kindle will eventually support ePub aswell one day.

The only annoying thing about reading an e-book on the iPhone is that each e-book comes as its own individual app, with its own icon on the iPhone home screen, Apple could have done a better job of categorising e-books or even better creating their own e-book reading App.

There is still some speculation on whether  Apple will create a dedicated e-book reading device, but for now we know e-books are on a Apple device through third party apps, if you couple this with rumours that Apple is in touch with major publishers this would support the theory that Apple is working on its own e-book reader, or at least a e-book store.

Will the touch screen make it easier to read an e-book? I don’t know since I don’t own a iPhone or iPod Touch, but I suspect that it might be a bit easier to read with the iPhone, swiping the screen to turn the page seems a more natural gesture than pressing a button, however you will be using both hands, whereas with the Kindle you need only use one. With the Kindle accidentally turning the page can be quite frustrating, I cant see it happening on the iPhone.

You can watch our buddy Walt Mossberg review of the Apple iPhone 3G in the video below, he mentions the e-book reading capability of the device.

Can Apple with its new iPhone 2.0 software challenge Amazon?