Tag Archives: kindle

Amazon vs. Apple: The Scale Tips?

Gabe Habash -- October 5th, 2011

Way back in August, we wrote that October would likely prove to be a critical moment in the digital market and would give us a better idea of the relative positions of digital’s two biggest players, Amazon and Apple.

Well, it’s October. Amazon has announced its Kindle Fire and 3 new Kindle models, and Apple, after delaying its iPad 3 launch, has announced the iPhone 4S. How did the two digital titans do?

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Commodity Hardware, Commodity Culture

Peter Brantley -- September 30th, 2011











This week, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, it new tablet device. Fire is an amazing product with a compelling feature set, impressive technology, and the ability to secure access to a wide range of media: books, films, and music.  But I think the most amazing aspect of Amazon’s Kindle refresh was not the Fire: it was the price drop for new E-Ink models of basic Kindles to $79.00.

Commoditzing the hardware necessary to access culture translates into more widespread access to culture that is itself a commodity. Even though tablet computers enable powerfully enhanced and interactive e-books, the appeal of text-based stories is persistent; if, for no other reason, because text is cheaper. Despite my concerns about privacy, market share control of books, and proprietary formats, Amazon has been consistent with their latest product announcement: “There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.” Continue reading

Live-Blogging the Amazon Press Event

Craig Morgan Teicher -- September 28th, 2011

10:51: Kindle Fire will cost $199.  Ships November 15.

Bezos keeps stressing the notion of “premium products and non-premium prices.”

10: 44: The browser on Kindle fire will be something new:

Bezos says Amazon asked how it could use its server power to improve the speed of mobile Web browsing.  A new product called Amazon Silk, a split browser that lives half on Amazon’s cloud computing systems, half on Kindle Fire.

10:43: This won’t kill the iPad, but it will be the first device to compete…

10:37: Bezos takes aim at Apple, saying the model of backing up content is “broken” as is the idea of syncing.  All content on Kindle Fire is backed up in the cloud.

Whispersync works with all content on Kindle Fire.  Pause a movie on the device, pick up where you left off at home on another device.

10:34: “Is there some way we can bring all of these things together into a remarkable product offering that customers would love?” -Bezos

“The answer is yes: It’s called Kindle fire.”

7″ IPS display, duel core processor.  14.6 oz, all the content.

10:29: Now Bezos is running down the various facets of Amazon’s media businesses: Amazon Prime, streaming video, MP3 store, cloud player.  Lead-up to a tablet that synthesizes all of these?

10:27: Now Bezos is talking about how Amazon has spent 15 years building its media business.

Customers who don’t want touch can get a $79 Kindle!  This devices ships today.

Pre-order starts today and ships 11/21.  “We’re going to sell many millions of these,” says Bezos.

Also announcing Kindle Touch 3G.  Same but with 3G.  $99 was the wi-fi.  3G is $149.

Kindle touch will cost $99!  The fabled $99 e-reader arrives.

10:18: New feature called “x-ray” that lets you look at “the bones of the book,” by which Bezos means looking up various historical references and real characters mentioned on a particular page.  Amazon has “pre-calculated all of the interesting phrases” in a book, so along with the book comes a “side-file” with all of this information included.

10:14: Unveils Kindle Touch with infra-red touch display.  This is a surprise, sort of…no tablet yet. But this is very cool.  New kind of touch display that, Bezos says, enables readers to switch hands.  With infra-red touch, Amazon has revised the tap zones so it’s easier to turn pages no matter how it’s held.

Bezos is running down all the things Amazon has enabled the Kindle e-reader to do: e-ink, real page numbers, Kindle singles,

10:05: Jeff Bezos takes the stage…

10:03: The event opens with a video of cool professionals touting the virtues of the old-fashioned Kindle.

10:01: Nuthin’ doing yet.  Some speculation: I think we’re likely to see an inexpensive, lightweight tablet that will be, like the Kindle, a pipeline into Amazon’s various content stores and fairly low-powered in terms of other functions. Not expecting, for instance, a fancy Web-browsing experience.  This will be the t

Someone’s coming on stage and taking a cover off of something on the podium…

9:50: Things haven’t started yet, but we’re seated in front of a stage with a big Amazon logo projected on the screen.  The conversation here is all about whether and what kind of a big deal this announcement might be.  Also, lots of complaining about the cold and the heat while waiting to get in.  Things are supposed to start at 10.

9:25: I’m here with a whole lot of other journalists waiting to get in to the Amazon event where we are expecting to see the unveiling of Amazon’s tablet offering, rumored to be called the Kindle Fire.


What Will Amazon’s ‘Netflix for Books’ Do to Libraries?

Gabe Habash -- September 12th, 2011

Amazon is at it again–this time looking to open a lending library for digital books (also covered here). The details: Amazon is supposedly discussing with publishers a way to get books on the e-tailer’s digital platform so users could read an unlimited number for a subscription fee. The digital library reportedly would be part of Amazon’s growing Prime services, which put unlimited streaming video under its umbrella earlier this year, in addition to giving subscribers free two-day shipping for $79/year. Amazon’s digital books library, which would basically operate like a “Netflix for Books” (as a side note, it seems relevant to point out that Netflix has had problems since Amazon’s Prime Streaming Video feature was added), would, like every announcement Amazon makes, momentously affect others. This time, those “others” are libraries.

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The Article Everyone Who Loves Books Should Read

Gabe Habash -- September 8th, 2011

Keith Gessen’s new Vanity Fair e-book, How a Book Is Born: The Making of “The Art of Fielding” (available for Kindle and Nook), is a thorough and riveting study of books and their business, and anyone with an interest in writing should do themselves a great favor by buying it right now. It’s $1.99 well spent.

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Amazon vs. Apple: The Battle Escalates

Gabe Habash -- August 10th, 2011

In the latest chapter of Amazon vs. Apple–which is increasingly starting to resemble a popularity contest between the two prettiest girls in school–two separate stories broke today: both are good for Amazon and both are very bad for Apple.

The first story is Amazon’s announcement of its Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML5 reader that bypasses Apple’s iOS guidelines prohibiting the use of links–and their 30% cut on all sales. The Cloud Reader allows users to purchase and access Kindle titles through their browsers rather than through apps, and gives Amazon the ability to set up a Kindle storefront through an iPad’s browser without having to pay Apple a cent for purchases.

The second story, which is a loss for Apple (and thus a gain for Amazon), is the class action lawsuit filed today in California claiming that Apple colluded with Hachette, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Macmillan to fix prices on e-books. The suit alleges that this all happened back in early 2010, as Apple was readying the iPad for the digital books marketplace, and neither the publishers nor Apple were willing to accept the low margins Amazon’s $9.99 e-book pricing was forcing on them.

“Fortunately for the publishers, they had a co-conspirator as terrified as they were over Amazon’s popularity and pricing structure, and that was Apple,” Steve Berman, an attorney representing consumers in the case, said in an e-mailed statement.

In one day, Apple has been thrown into the spotlight as a frightened player in the digital books market while a major hole has been punched in  their iOS’s restrictive guidelines through circumnavigation. The impending iPhone 5 and iPad 3 announcement can’t get here soon enough.

But, at least for this week, we can safely chalk up a victory for Amazon.


How Do You Piss Off Indie Booksellers? Send Them Promo Materials Featuring a Kindle.

Marc Schultz -- July 19th, 2011

Yesterday, Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC, opened a box of promotional material from Running Press to discover this poster, for forthcoming gift book Bent Object of My Affection by Terry Border. A quarter of the poster was taken up by an anthropomorphized (and apparently amorous) Kindle. “This is not something I’m going to hang up in my store,” Hendrix told PW.

Bent Object of My Affection is the second photo collection from Border, who adds limbs to inanimate objects using bent wire. “It feels a little bit like a kick in the face,” said Hendrix, that “one of the [images] they chose to use, on a poster that they’re paying to send out to independent bookstores, has a Kindle on it.”

Hendrix reported her displeasure on the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance listerv, where it first caught our attention. PW is still waiting to hear back from the Perseus imprint on the promotional faux pas.

Amazon Tries to Lure Would-Be iPad Consumers with Kindle Cover Colors

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 13th, 2011

Is Amazon trying to trick would-be iPad buyers into buying a Kindle instead?

You’ll recognize the almost-iconic top image of Apple’s iPad 2 Smart Covers fanned out in all their colors.  But what do you think of bottom one, found on Amazon’s home page beside a Father’s Day Kindle promo?  Is Amazon trying to subliminally lure would-be iPad consumers over to the E-Ink side of the e-reader fence?

The PW Morning Report: Friday, May 27, 2011

Calvin Reid -- May 27th, 2011

Today’s links! And please check out our new Facebook Page.

Teen YA Lit Monster Mashup. It’s all about mixing chills, thrills, adventure, and romance at BEA’s YA Buzz Panel.

Politics and Superheroes. What’s Superman’s position on the death penalty?

Robot Librarians! Robots take over the University of Chicago’s new $81 million Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, sort of.

Book City USA. Amazon Ranks the most literate cities in the U.S.

King Kindle. Despite Agency Model, the Kindle leads the pack in titles, readers and sales, while the iBookstore brings up the rear.

Google and the Future of Everything. Google Talks at BEA; people listen.

Amazon Explains Kindle’s ‘Real Page Numbers’

Craig Morgan Teicher -- March 16th, 2011

In its last software update for the most recent Kindle, and to its Kindle apps, Amazon added what it calls “Real Page Numbers” to the Kindle platform, meaning e-book page numbers that correspond to the printed pages in the print editions of the same books.  After getting some feedback and questions from Kindle users, Amazon wanted to explain how real page numbers work.  Turns out it’s technology that requires algorithms and all kinds of fancy math.  Amazon explains at length in a post on the Kindle Daily Post blog.

Here’s more from the post:

With our massive selection and knowledge of print books, we were excited to be in a position to help solve this problem.  We had to invent an entirely new way to match the streams of text in a print book to the streams of text in a Kindle book, and assign page numbers in Kindle books. There are hundreds of thousands of Kindle books (and growing every day), so to handle a job of this size, we turned to our Amazon Web Services computing fabric. We created algorithms to match the text of print books to Kindle books and organized all of this in the cloud, using our own AWS platform.  The results of this work are stored in Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, where we track the complete history of every page matching file we’ve produced.   We even found a way to deliver page numbers to books that customers had already purchased – without altering those books in any way, so customers’ highlights, notes, and reading location are preserved exactly as they were.

Do real page numbers make a difference to you in your e-reading?