Friday, April 29, 2011

A cheaper E-reader with advertising(?)

It was bound to happen. The commercial interests at Amazon are selling an edition of their Kindle reader at less than the normal price. How do you purchase one? You have to agree to some ads on your Kindle. These are, Amazon claims, discreet ads. They won't interefere with the text or your reading experience, but they will advertise Amazon products and services as screensavers between books.
The kinds of Amazon services readers will see are:
* $10 for $20 Gift Card
* $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
* $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
* $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
* Free $100 Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
* Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 credit
* 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99).
It certainly seems that Amazon is merely extending the depth and breadth of their storefront by advertising on Kindle. The savings are modest. A Kindle with Ads will cost $114 US, over the regular price of $139 US.
This is an interesting move and is significant in the ongoing war between the e-readers. Is E PUB or MOBI going to win in the end. They aren't compatible. This reminds me of the technology wars between VHS and VCR. I seem to remember that Sony won that one. I just know that I'm not going to jump into either camp at this point until I can see who's winning the battle for marketshare.
All I can confidently report is that the CEO of Penguin said, at the recent London Book Fair, that ebooks are replacing trade paperbacks in the marketplace. Well, ebooks are already outselling print books, so he may have a point.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ebooks denied to libraries!

Ebooks appear to be devastating the manner in which traditional publishing houses distribute books and make profits. Publishers are unclear as to the price of eBooks, how they are to be distributed and marketed and, most importantly, where.
MacMillan and Simon & Shuster have declared to the Digital Public Library of America that they will not sell eBooks to public Libraries and Harper Collins has announced that they will put restrictions on distribution. It’s suggested that after 25 `lends’ the book will be unreadable until more rights are purchased by the Library. It certainly makes one wonder how many hundreds of times some books are read by library users, all from the purchase of a single copy by the library. One can sense that traditional publishers are scared that they will lose millions in the same way that the music industry did as their record (?) sales shrank, but to deny sales to a host of readers (figures suggest that 25% of eBooks won’t be available to library users) is extremely shortsighted. Author’s don’t appear to have much say in this matter, although some have been very public in ignoring traditional publishers and are selling and distributing eBooks because their interest is in getting the greatest number of readers, not in maximizing profit.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where is it?

I wonder where moral outrage has gone. Is it hiding, or has it gone on an extended sabbatical? I've become inured to the egregious salaries and bonuses paid to CEO’s in the financial sector. It seems to be the way of the world in this 21st century but I’m incensed when I learn that Borders, a US bookseller, who lost $75 million in their last quarter of reported earnings, who is currently under Section 11 Bankruptcy protection, is relocating its head office from Ann Arbour to cheaper digs in Detroit and, is currently for sale; is now ready to present its new business plan to creditors and emerge from beneath the protection of Section 11. Their proposal includes closing and selling off 226 stores and paying bonuses to top company executives in excess of $8 million. These executives have obviously done a tremendous job running Borders into the ground. Over 6,000 Borders employees will lose their jobs and Borders creditors are currently owed $193 million. It seems quite perverse in our consumer and corporate society that failure is so handsomely rewarded. I wonder what rewards await the rest of us if we fail?
I've managed to locate my moral outrage. I just hope that all citizens can find theirs because it seems that Borders requires a good healthy dose!