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Competition is growing in the eBook reader market. There have been plenty of electronic book devices in the past, but in the past year or so the Amazon Kindle has grown in popularity and built some credibility for the struggling market. Now, Amazon claims that Kindle eBooks account for more than 30 percent of the company's overall book sales for books that are available in the Kindle format, and Sony is jumping in again with two devices to compete with the Kindle.
Conventional wisdom has long held that the advent of the personal computer and the Internet will result in the salvation of billions of trees as paper is rendered archaic and we get all of our information digitally. I have been hearing that for 20 years or so. But then again, I've also been hearing that the United States is going to switch to the metric system…eventually.
Adding to mounting tensions in the publishing industry over the pricing of electronic books, Sony Electronics announced Tuesday evening that it was lowering prices for new and best-selling books in its e-book store, to $9.99 from $11.99.
Bringing education technology into the 21st century is a bit like entering a barge in the America's Cup yacht races.
Even the most skilled, highly motivated, nimble visionaries will find rough sailing in this shark-infested economy, where state government coffers are in distress, entrepreneurs struggle to find startup money, and cheap, flashy distractions often get in the way of real advances.
Novelist Nicholson Baker tackles the Kindle in this week’s New Yorker.
The takeaway is that he’s not very impressed with Amazon’s (AMZN) device, and that all things being equal, he thinks Apple’s e-reader is at least as good. He’s not talking about the yet-to-appear iTablet, of course. Like a lot of other people, he’s fond of Apple’s (AAPL) current iPhone/iPod touch line.
For those that have an iPod Touch/iPhone and use or have tried the Kindle app, what do you think of it? Anyone have both the Kindle and the iPod Touch/iPhone? Any feedback on that experience?
Right now, the price point for a best seller in the e-format is generally $9.99. Is that too much or too little? In April, best-selling author David Baldacci’s book “First Family,” was released at a $15 e-Book price at Amazon, and the comments about the price were scathing. The book is now priced at $9.99 for the Kindle version. Purchasers aren’t the only ones vocal about the pricing structure; it has been a topic of heated debate in the publishing community.
The Apple iTablet will use the iPhone OS, which means Amazon's extensive eBook library will be available on it. Apple may decide to let Amazon continue to deal with the licensing hassle that an eBook market would necessitate.
From San Francisco's Green Apple Books Blog (video piece), Pete writes:
"People keep asking me, as an owner of an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar independent bookstore, what I think of the Amazon Kindle, one of the many “e-readers” available. So I bought one.
I admit, I was curious. The buzz is nearly screeching; and there must be a reason we don’t sell as many John Grisham novels as we did when I started 16 years ago; and who can resist the appeal of a new gadget dedicated to one of life’s necessary pleasures: reading.
Sure, I had heard some bad stories: there’s the class-action lawsuit against Amazon concerning screens that crack. And the recent brouhaha about Amazon silently removing 1984, Animal Farm, and other titles from Kindles (albeit for a good reason—they had sold pirated copies). And having seen Amazon founder Jeff Bezos laughing on Jon Stewart's Daily Show is enough to make anyone scared.
And while there are some thoughtful, balanced articles out there, like Nicholson Baker’s piece in the current New Yorker, I wanted to see for myself.
So Green Apple's crack video crew came at it with an open mind, pitting “The Book” against the Kindle in a smack-down of the most literary sort. We had plenty of help from some, um, "talented" folks, as you'll see."
One of the most anticipated uses for Apple's (AAPL) forthcoming tablet device is as an e-book reader: With a bright, color touchscreen, it could be an awesome device to read books and magazines on. (And a formidable rival for Amazon's Kindle and other reader devices.)
So what is Apple talking about with the publishing industry?