Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page
Amazon *still* won’t announce actual sales figures for the kindle, but they have just said that:
it has already moved more units of this year’s cheaper Kindle in October alone than it sold last year’s more expensive Kindle during the entire holiday shopping season.
Of even greater interest (if you can grok the impenetrable text) is this:
During the past 30 days, Amazon.com customers purchased more Kindle books than print books–hardcover and paperback combined–for the top 10, 25, 100, and 1,000 bestselling books on Amazon.com.
I think that means that on Amazon, ebooks are essentially outselling p-books for anything popular…
Jamie Groves has doubled his reading — up to more than 40 books a year — since he began downloading e-books on his Kindle.
Sandra Hines calls her Nook her “best Mother’s Day present ever,” after initially worrying, “It wouldn’t feel like I was reading a real book.”
Liz Jones used to buy a book every few months until she began reading on her iPod Touch. Now she’s downloading a book a week.
Nice piece in Slate from a buyer and seller of used books. Far from being a job immersed in words and ideas, it’s a living based on a laser scanner and instant valuations from Amazon:
I make a living buying and selling used books. I browse the racks of thrift stores and library book sales using an electronic bar-code scanner. I push the button, a red laser hops about, and an LCD screen lights up with the resale values. It feels like being God in his own tiny recreational casino; my judgments are sure and simple, and I always win because I have foreknowledge of all bad bets. The software I use tells me the going price, on Amazon Marketplace, of the title I just scanned, along with the all-important sales rank, so I know the book’s prospects immediately. I turn a profit every time.
Not a price war in the usual (consumer-centric) sense, but the battle contines over who gets to control ebook prices. From the Guardian:
Amazon has opened a new front in the battle over ebook prices, with a direct appeal to Kindle users to “vote with their purchases” against publishers looking to set prices for electronic editions.
An open letter to Kindle customers posted on Amazon.co.uk said that the “agency model”, where publishers set a price at which books must be sold instead of allowing retailers the freedom to discount, would be “a damaging approach for readers, authors, booksellers and publishers alike”, citing a loss of Kindle sales for publishers using the agency model in the US, and calling on customers to “decide for themselves how much they are willing to pay for ebooks, and vote with their purchases”.
From the Association of American Publishers:
Trade book sales (not including books for academic study) for the period of January-August 2010 had sales of $2.91 billion. eBook sales in the same period were $263 million.. E books for the period comprise 9.03% of total consumer book sales, compared to 3.31 percent at the close of 2009.
E book sales for January-August 2010 represented $263 million, compared to $89.8 million from January-August 2009, representing an overall increase for the category of 193% over the same period last year.
Yes, from a low base, but it’s catching on
And don’t forget, that’s unit sales – given that (notwithstanding ongoing shenanigans), ebooks are still mostly cheaper than print, there’s a fair chance that percentage sales of ebooks by unit are even higher.
One of the things that may have prompted the success of the iTunes music store was that it allowed us to buy single tracks for 99 cents (in the US) instead of the whole album. Maybe Amazon’s trying the same thing in a slightly different way. No, not books by the chapter, but shorter ‘singles’. From the New York Times:
Amazon on Tuesday introduced a new format it will begin selling in the Kindle Store, called Kindle Singles. The company describes these as texts that might be 10,000 to 30,000 words long. That would be roughly 30 to 90 pages of a printed book.
Amazon said in a press release that Kindle Singles could be “twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book,” and would be priced much less than standard books.
From Dan Gillmor on Salon:
When America’s book publishers wrested control of e-book prices from Amazon earlier this year, I expected two results. First, prices would go up. Second, I’d buy fewer new Kindle books. I got that part right.
What I didn’t expect, however, was that publishers would be so incredibly foolish as to start raising e-book prices to the point that they were close to, and in a few cases above, the hardcover prices. Here’s a non-literary term for this policy: nuts.
I’ve been keeping loose track of this trend for months, and had noticed that some hardcover books were getting close to the Kindle prices. Then the barrier fell, as the New York Times reported this week, when at least two books actually were more costly to read on Kindle devices than the actual physical book.
For us Aussies, kindle titles still make good buying compared to print
From the Guardian:
It had been heralded as the novel of the century so far, but thousands of copies of Jonathan Franzen‘s Freedom face being pulped.
Speaking in London last night, the author maintained that the British printers had mistakenly published a previous draft of his text rather than the final version, and he urged fans not to read the novel until the correct version is released on Monday.
And confirmed in today’s Herald:
Tens of thousands of copies of the new novel by bestselling US author Jonathan Franzen, Freedom, have been recalled in the UK after an early draft of the book was printed by mistake, his publisher said Saturday.
Print is such an anachronism