Amazon.com

Amazon Says It Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Christmas

Amazon.com today announced that Kindle has become the most gifted item in Amazon's history. On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books. The Kindle Store now includes over 390,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York TimesBestsellersand New Releases.

Book Learning

The C.E.O. of Amazon.com talks about reading his Kindle in the bathtub.

Interview here.

The Amazon...of Kitchenware?

The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon.com "is quietly expanding its private-label business in a bid to diversify away from its online bookstore roots and become more like a general retailer. . .

The latest sign: The Seattle-based e-commerce giant--known for high-tech innovations like one-click checkout and the Kindle e-reader--last month received a U.S. design patent for a wooden chopping block. The $24.99 Pinzon bamboo cutting board is being sold as part of a line of Amazon's own kitchen products on its website."

Giants Collide: Amazon v. Google Books Settlement

Amazon's expected objection to the Google Books Settlement landed in court yesterday and suggests the deal is "arguably unlawful."

"[I]t constitutes price fixing by horizontal competitors—namely, the Rightsholders, who are agreeing collectively on a mechanism for setting the highest possible prices to be charged for their works," argues the 49-page document, which was filed four days ahead of the September 4 deadline for written comments.

Amazon is part of the Microsoft-Yahoo-Internet Archive coalition, which is collaborating on preparing objections to the settlement. The coalition, called the Open Book Alliance, will be filing its own objection this week, while some individual parties, like Amazon, are also filing their own briefs. MediaBistro reports.

Dire Warning to Publishers: The End of Hardbacks

According to the French publishing group Hachette: Hardback books could be killed off if Amazon’s e-books and Google’s digital library force publishers to slash prices, warns Arnaud Nourry, Hachette's chief executive.

Mr Nourry said unilateral pricing by Google, Amazon and other e-book retailers such as Barnes & Noble could destroy publishers’ profits (not to mention what is happening to bookstores).

He said publishers were “very hostile” to Amazon’s pricing strategy – over which the online retailer failed to consult publishers – to charge $9.99 for all its e-books in the US. He also pointed to plans by Google to put millions of out-of-copyright books online for public use.

“On the one hand, you have millions of books for free where there is no longer an author to pay and, on the other hand, there are very recent books, bestsellers at $9.99, which means that all the rest will have to be sold at between zero and $9.99,” Mr Nourry said.

Mr Nourry’s comments come as analysts predict a growth spurt for the still-niche electronic reader market, with wireless devices from Sony, Plastic Logic and others due to compete with the Kindle.

Financial Times reports.

Chicago Area Bookstores Closing

Publishers Weekly reports on the recently purchased Crocodile Pie and other Chicago area bookstores closing.

Had enough of independent bookstores and other indie businesses closing? Want to save the remaining few? Tired of Amazon.com calling all the shots?

Check out these websites and do your part.

IndieBound
350 Project
New Rules Project

and if you're on facebook...become a fan:

IndieBound
350 Project
New Rules Project
Keep Independent Bookstores Around the World Thriving

Battle of the E-Readers

From Channel Web: Plastic Logic, the maker of Barnes & Noble's new e-reader said that the book retailer has no intention of challenging Amazon's widely popular Kindle device. (and what if they were? ...can/should Amazon have a monopoly on e-readers?)

The new device will be aimed at an entirely different audience, said Daren Benzi, vice president of business development at Plastic Logic, in an interview with Fox Business News /Battle of the E-Readers.

"We're actually targeting a different type of customer, the business professional, while Amazon has been targeting the leisure book reading customers," Benzi said. Holding up a model of the Plastic Logic e-reader Barnes & Noble will be selling, Benzi pointed out that the size of the device is larger than Amazon Kindle's DX model so that business executives can more easily read newspapers, magazines and other content.

It appears...we're being targeted.

Books vs. Kindle by way of High Fidelity: How will people know what you like?

After reading that Kindle made books worthless, one librarian wonders how the Kindle may affect social interactions and what to do with that extra space in your house.

Full pontification here

They're Going After Amazon.com

Amazon.com had better think up a better business model than cheating Uncle Sam and other nationalities out of their fair share of sales taxes.

Wall Street Journal reports: TOKYO (Dow Jones)--The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau told Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) affiliated company Amazon.com International Sales to pay back taxes of $119 million, the Asahi Shimbun reported in its Sunday morning edition.

Amazon's Japanese affiliates, called Amazon Japan and Amazon Japan Logistics, are responsible for sales and logistics operations in Japan while Japanese customers make contracts of purchasing products with Amazon's affiliates in the U.S. Therefore those U.S. companies booked sales in the U.S. from their business in Japan.

And in the U.S., Hawaii has gotten the pink slip from Amazon (in addition to Rhode Island and North Carolina): Market Watch (via WSJ) reports: Amazon.com is ending relationships with its marketing affiliates in Hawaii to avoid collecting sales tax.

Amazon's Running from The Tax Man

Following closely on the heels of Amazon.com's decision to end its "business relationships" with marketing affiliates in North Carolina (Shelf Awareness, June 29, 2009), the company has made a similar move in Rhode Island.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon "sent an email to its Rhode Island affiliates on Monday saying that it was closing their accounts immediately." This was in response to a bill passed by the state legislature recently "that would force companies to collect sales taxes if they have online-marketing affiliates--businesses that get a sales commission by featuring links to outside e-commerce sites on their own Web sites--in the state."

On the same subject, an interesting piece from Wanda Jewell's blog entitled, "He’s Just Not That Into You: An Alternative for Ex-Amazon Affiliates".

(from the blog): "It’s like the morning after the prom, when in wrinkled dress and wilting corsage you realize they’re just not that into you. At least, not when they may have to collect millions in state sales tax that could help fix bridges, keep schools open and fund libraries at a time when your states are truly suffering. And they seemed so nice."

Jewell is the Executive Director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Association.

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