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Yesterday, Amazon launched AmazonEncore, "a new program whereby Amazon will use information such as customer reviews on Amazon.com to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors with more potential than their sales may indicate. Amazon will then partner with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats."
The first AmazonEncore title (and only title announced as of this writing) is Cayla Kluver's Legacy, a YA fantasy book originally published by Forsooth Publishing in paperback in 2008. Amazon has bought the rights to Kluver's book and will be re-releasing Legacy in hardcover (August) and Kindle editions.
One of the neat little sub-features of Amazon's Kindle is being able to subscribe to blogs on it. You have to pay for the privilege, but for heavy Kindle users, it makes sense as you can get the content delivered to you wirelessly for your favorite blogs. You know, like TechCrunch.
But the biggest limiting factor of this so far is that only the big blogs have been included in the blog directory. Starting today, anyone can make their blogs available via the new Kindle Publishing for Blogs Beta program.
All you have to do is make your blog's feed available to the Kindle Store, and Amazon will do the rest, formatting your content for the device. According to the email from Amazon, after a few easy steps, your blog should be up and ready to go in the Kindle Store after about 12 to 48 hours of processing. Not bad.
Found via Twitter from @Hadrien: the Conversational Reading blog remarks on a Publishers Weekly article confirming that Amazon is, indeed, losing money on every $9.99 Kindle e-book that it sells.
As the articles point out, Amazon has to pay the same wholesale price to the publishers for e-books as for print editions of those books—more or less half of the print edition price. (So do other e-book vendors; this is why even Fictionwise must charge excessive rates for books from publishers such as Random House, though they do they best they can to bring the prices down with discounts.)
Amazon then can choose to sell it for however much Amazon wants: whether it comes out ahead on the deal is entirely up to it. Thus, Amazon sells it at below wholesale, as a “loss leader”—breaking even or losing money on the deal to promote sales of the Kindle and grow its share of the market. (Giving away the blades to sell the razor, as it were.)
Most electronic devices are getting smaller. Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader is bucking the trend.
Amazon on Wednesday introduced a larger version of the Kindle, pitching it as a new way for people to read textbooks, newspapers and their personal documents.
The device, called the Kindle DX (for Deluxe), has a screen that is two and a half times the size of the screens on the two older versions of the Kindle, which were primarily aimed at displaying books. The price tag is also larger: the DX will sell for $489, or $130 more than the previous model, the Kindle 2, and will go on sale this summer.
CNET says 70% of Kindle owners are over 40. And half are over 50. So I guess technology isn't just for young whippersnappers. (Kindle is easier on arthritic hands.)
It's not based on a scientific survey, but it's all we got.
I didn't think I wanted a Kindle for my next birthday (soon), but numbers never lie: I'm destined to get one. Soon.
Seeking to strengthen its presence on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Amazon has acquired Lexcycle, the company behind Stanza, a popular free e-book application for the iPhone, according to Lexcycle’s blog.
Stanza allows users to browse a library of around 100,000 books and periodicals for the iPhone, many of them in the ePub format — a widely accepted standard for e-books that Amazon has yet to support with its proprietary Kindle platform.
This post at Technovelgy ask the question, Could Amazon, via the Kindle, end up being the Big Brother of 1984 fame? Or at least his proxy?
"The apparent success of Amazon's wonderful Kindle has everyone's head full of blissful visions of instantly updated newspapers, books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs - every last error corrected and every last and most recent version included.
Well, maybe not everyone's head.
At UrbZen, the following scenario is presented:
Consider what might happen if a scholar releases a book on radical Islam exclusively in a digital format. The US government, after reviewing the work, determines that certain passages amount to national security threat, and sends Amazon and the publisher national security letters demanding the offending passages be removed."
Read the rest here.
Kindle users have been grumbling lately about Amazon locking them out of their accounts, reportedly due to an overly high volume of returns on their Kindle books. ChannelWeb draws attention to the plight of one user who admitted to three "high-priced returns," though he denied abusing Amazon's return policy. Despite this, Amazon banned him from making more purchases from the online store, which also locked him out of accessing his already-purchased Kindle items.
Here is an article in the New York Times about the Amazon sales rank problem and Amazon's response.
One of the activist against Amazon has this quote in the article:
Mr. Kramer said on Monday that he was willing to shelve the boycott for now. But in an e-mail message he wrote: “I don’t think for one second that this was a glitch,” adding, “We have to now keep a more diligent eye on Amazon and how they handle the world’s cultural heritage.”
Wow! Now Amazon is responsible for the world’s cultural heritage. Oh well, one less thing librarians need to worry about.
In response to a media inquiry initiated by the LISNews Netcast Network, the following statement was provided by Director of Corporate Communications Patty Smith in response to the questions over the recent Amazon situation:
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.
Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.