Archive for the ‘eReaders’ Category
Last week I blogged about how the Kindle has reached “a tipping point” now that it’s priced at $189. Yesterday Amazon went even further by introducing a new, enhanced Kindle priced at $139 for the wifi version and $189 for 3G.
(Further, but not far enough to trigger my $99 price point. I’ll just sit over here out of the way and wait a bit longer. It’ll happen eventually.)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also predicted that “Kindle books will outsell paperbacks at Amazon sometime in the next nine to twelve months.” Last week, when he said eBooks were outselling hardbacks, I swore they wouldn’t overtake paperbacks any time soon.
Yesterday Amazon crowed that the Kindle has reached a “tipping point”:
“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle — the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books — astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.”
The actual numbers Bezos is quoting are as follows:
“Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.”
“Book lovers mourning the demise of hardcover books with their heft and their musty smell need a reality check, said Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, which advises book publishers on digital change. ‘This was a day that was going to come, a day that had to come,’ he said. He predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25 percent of all books sold will be print versions.”
Not so fast. Nobody’s talking about paperbacks here, just hardbacks. If hardbacks were priced a bit more sanely, this discussion wouldn’t even be happening.
Faced with the iPad juggernaut and a dual threat from Google (Android Kindle app and the upcoming Web-based bookstore), eReader manufacturers have done the only sensible thing they could do — they’ve lowered the price. Barnes & Noble’s Nook is now $149 for the wifi-only version; Amazon’s Kindle has dropped to $189.
I say make it $99 and we’ll talk.
Even so, we’re gonna pay, one way or another. The price of the reader may come down, but the price of the books will go up. It’s the iPod/iTunes model. And we’re already seeing it.
Btw, Om Malik thinks Amazon’s gonna win the eBook wars. I have to agree.
Amazon tells me that they’re going to introduce a Kindle app for Android Real Soon Now. That’s great news, but they’re being a bit coy about whether it will actually run on my G1. They say it “supports Droid Incredible, Google Nexus One, HTC MyTouch, Motorola CLIQ, Motorola Droid, and many more Android phones.” The MyTouch isn’t all that much different that the G1, but who knows?
(Thank you, Google, for punishing us early-adopters. That would be, oh, about 2/3 of your Android users. At least I didn’t let Google sucker me into an overpriced phone they won’t support after 5 months.)
OK, rant over.
Just in case you’re one of the 13 people on the planet who didn’t notice, yesterday Apple introduced a tablet computer called the iPad. It wasn’t exactly a secret beforehand, and as you may imagine it generated quite a lot of buzz in the media. I could link to a bunch of articles, but I’ll limit myself to one — imho the best and most concise — the NY Times’ live-blogging post. That was a surprise to me, because I thought Engadget’s would have been much better. (Oops, I lied. That’s 2 links.)
- My first thought was, how many of them will get stolen?
- I don’t think the iPad will eliminate netbooks. If I want a cheap, small computer, I’d rather pay under $300 for a netbook — yes, I know it’s running Windows XP — than $500-$700 for an iPad. Brad Stone, in the Times live-blog, says that the iPad is “the perfect breakfast table companion.” I agree, but I’ll stick with my Acer for now.
- I *do* think the Kindle might be in trouble, especially if Amazon cannot compete with Apple on the price of eBooks. And if I was gonna spend bucks on an eReader, I’d go with the iPad. The Times’ Stone says “Apple and Amazon are on a collision course.” I’d like to take that further: Microsoft is on a collision course with Google, who is colliding with Apple, who is bearing down on Amazon. Four of the biggest tech firms have to invade each other’s backyards in order to grow their businesses.
- Will the iPad be the savior of print media like the NY Times? That remains to be seen. I’m not optimistic.
- 3G through AT&T — boy, Apple sure is tight with AT&T. Verizon is verboten. And while we’re speaking German, here’s the obligatory Hitler iPad parody. (He hates AT&T, too.)