Monthly Archives: October 2011

Did Jeff Bezos say millions?

Amazon released a statement announcing the Q3 earnings today. Net sales were up 44% to 10.88 billion dollars.

From the press release:

“September 28th was the biggest order day ever for Kindle, even bigger than previous holiday peak days – we introduced Kindle Fire for $199, Kindle Touch 3G for $149, Kindle Touch for $99, and our all new Kindle for only $79,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch. And based on what we’re seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we’re increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned.”  [Emphasis added]

“Millions,” he said. That’s a lot of tablets. Already the rumors are starting that the Kindle Fire will outsell the iPad 2. And don’t forget the huge sales of the new Kindles.

But, ironically, investors weren’t happy because net sales were predicted to reach 10.95 billion - and didn’t. I guess you really can’t please everybody.

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Filed under News, Press Room, Uncategorized

News Bits and Bytes 10-21-2011

On the self-publishing front, three of the so-called “Big Six” publishers announce plans to give authors access to sales data. Melville Books calls it war with Amazon.

Why else is this important? Well, back in the spring, authors’ sales data and royalty statements were somewhat of an issue, as Kristine Kathryn Rusch indicates in her piece on book royalties and the follow-up update.   (Note: I haven’t heard of any updates on this story – If anyone has, please share in the comments.)

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If you have privacy concerns about the Amazon Kindle Fire’s new Silk browser, this article from the EFF should interest you.

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Filed under Daily News, Uncategorized

Nooks on sale

If you have been waiting for the price to be right on a Barnes and Noble Nook, now may be the right time to buy! There are some great bargains available.

Barnes and Noble is selling the Nook Touch (refurbished) for $79 on their website. The Nook 1 is selling new for only $89. You can also find the items, including manufacturer refurbished Nook Color eReaders, at  Barnes and Nobles’ eBay store.

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Filed under eReaders, Nook, Nook Color

News Bits and Bytes for 10-20-2011

Kobo has announced their new color reader, the Vox. It is available for pre-order and will be shipping on October 28. You can read the press release here.  Kobo is also having a contest in which you can win a Vox.

According to this article from SlashGear, Amazon has added Kindles to their electronics trade in program.

What do you do if your beloved eReader is [Gasp] lost or stolen? This article from Mashable has some tips.

Barnes and Noble is expanding their Marketplace,  “adding over one million new products to the catalog,” according to today’s press release. 

For self-publishers, Amazon has announce Kindle Format 8, which has HTML 5 support. Read Mike Cane’s take on the news here.

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Filed under Daily News, Uncategorized

Is the Kindle 4 coming to Australia and beyond?

A reader on the Amazon message boards shared this link to an ad from Australian retailer Big W advertising a Kindle pre-order shipping on November, 7, 2011. I have also heard that it can be ordered from the Dick Smith stores in Australia.

Because it is international, this version is the same as the $109 Basic Kindle - there are no special offers. Also note that it is not the Touch version.

Does this mean that the rest of the world is probably not far behind?

(International users should check the Kindle page. I had heard that there are international landing pages for the basic Kindle available now, but since I am accessing the site from within the US, I can’t see them….)

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Filed under Kindle, News

Kindle Daily Deals

Ever since the Agency Pricing model took effect, most readers of eBooks have seen the prices of eBooks skyrocket. (Case in point: the enhanced Kindle version of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is currently listed for pre-order at $18.99. The hardcover sells for only $19.98.) That leaves many Kindleowners looking for bargains.

Besides the top 100 paid Kindle books, Amazon lists the top 100 free books available in the Kindle Store. However, many people don’t realize that Amazon also lists a Kindle Daily Deal, where a Kindle book is available for a day at deeply discounted prices. The deal varies and can be fiction or non-fiction with selections generally priced between 99 cents and $2.99.

Generally, these books are quite a bargain. I have found $13-15 ebooks listed for less than $5.00. Today I picked up The Phoenix Apostles mystery for only $1.99.

As its name implies, the book selection changes daily.

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Filed under Daily Deals and Bargains, eBooks, Free

New software update for the Kindle Keyboard

Yesterday, Amazon announced an update for the Kindle Keyboard. This updates document and Whispersync features as well as Amazon Local offers for those who have Kindles with Special Offers.

From the Amazon forums: 

We’re excited to let you know that we’ve started delivering a new, free software update for Kindle Keyboard over Wi-Fi, which will bring software enhancements and new features, including:

–Download your archived Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: You can now view and download your archived personal documents to your Kindle Keyboard conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library until you delete them from the Manage Your Kindle page at http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle.

–Whispersync for Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: Just as with Kindle books, Whispersync automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for personal documents (with the exception of PDFs) across the Kindle devices. Learn more about Kindle Personal Document Service on http://www.amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments.

–AmazonLocal deals – Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers users in many regions can now view, purchase and redeem AmazonLocal deals directly from Kindle Keyboard – no computer, no printer, no hassle. AmazonLocal offers savings up to 75% off products and services from businesses in your city, national chains and online merchants. Learn more about AmazonLocal on http://www.amazonlocal.com.

To receive the update, turn your wireless on and connect to an available Wi-Fi network. From the Home screen, press Menu and select “Sync and Check for Items.” The software update will automatically download in the background and install the next time your Kindle goes into sleep mode. You can also manually download the update to your Kindle. You can learn more and download the update at http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates.

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The $79 Kindle – A first look

Like everyone else, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Kindle Fire. I am also trying to decide which version of the Kindle Touch I want.  In the meantime, however, I have been getting to know the new basic K4, the $79 Kindle with Special Offers. I have to admit, in many ways, I have been pleasantly surprised by the new Kindle. I honestly have to admit, this eReader is just downright cute!

I should probably point out that I was an early adopter of the first Kindle and still have two working K1′s. I also have a K3 (now the Kindle Keyboard 3G). I skipped the K2 because I didn’t like the look of the joystick controller.

Size

The size is smaller than the palm of your hand. And the weight is just 6 ounces. That makes this Kindle just perfect for one-handed reading. The new gray color is absolutely lovely. The device logo now reads just Kindle, rather than Amazon Kindle. 

Buttons and Ports: 

The new Kindle has 5 buttons: Back, Menu, Home, Keyboard and the now familiar 5-way D-pad from the Kindle Keyboard.

The keyboard button is easier to use than I anticipated it would be. The keyboard is laid out alphabetically, rather than QWERTY.

New side buttons. – There are pros and cons to the new side buttons. They are now hard to accidentally press. You can actually pick up the Kindle by the sides now without accidentally turning the page. The cons are that these new buttons are extremely small and harder to press. You also now must press them dead on in order to turn the pages. The new arrangement takes a little getting used to.

On the bottom of the device is the power button. This button pushes in to wake the Kindle, rather than sliding like the power button on the previous Kindle. The USB port is also on the bottom of the reader. A USB cable is included, but a power adapter is not. You can buy one from Amazon for $9.99. (Unofficially, I used my K3 adapter and it worked just fine.)

There is no headphone jack or speakers. No speakers means no Text-To-Speech, no MP3s and no audio books. Whether this is a pro or con actually depends on how you use your Kindle. I actually prefer my iPod touch or my Sansa Clip+  for audio and mp3s.  Even though I am vision impaired, I personally didn’t care for the Text-To-Speech, so the loss of any of these features was not a problem for me.

Battery

Battery Life. This device definitely does not have the battery life of the earlier incarnations. This is especially true when new books are first put on the device. The Kindle must index all that new content and the battery drain is significant during that time. When the Kindle is not indexing, it is much closer to the battery life of the previous Kindles.

Screen

The K4 uses the same E ink screen as the K3. I put the two side-by-side and the screens were indistinguishable from each other.

Refresh Rate: This new Kindle deals differently with the “flash” that previous models had when changing pages. Personally, I am not quite sure yet if I like the new text refresh. There is already a firmware update for the K4 for those that prefer the old style refresh. 

Special Offers: Most of the ads that I have seen so far are less obtrusive than I would have thought. The ones that aren’t, however,  are kind of glaring.  Amazon now does allow you to buy your way out of the special offers.

Under the Hood

This Kindle has less RAM than previous versions. This means that a lot of Kindle Active Content may not or will not run on the device. There are pros and cons to this – Obviously, it limits content (especially for new users), but I personally find the active content too distracting. I find I get more reading done without the games .

The experimental browser is still there. But, this device is wi-fi only. That means no 3G browsing or downloads of books.

Accessories

Smaller footprint may mean that it is more difficult to find a third-party light to fit the device. Neither my Mighty Bright or my Kandle lights worked very well.  On my older Kindles, I usually attach the light to the cover and I may be noticing this more as I haven’t gotten a cover for it yet.

When Amazon announced this in September, there were few covers ready for this device – That fact surprised me. There are a few Amazon covers available for pre-order and also third-party covers. However, more covers are appearing on the site every day.

The price of the covers was also surprising to me. Amazon Lighted cover for the new Kindle is $59, a price that I thought was high for an entry-level device. At only $79, this is almost a disposable device and I would expect a cover priced accordingly at probably around the $20 price range. But even the non-lighted Amazon cover is twice that at $39.

Ultimately, I have concluded that this is a device that is truly streamlined for reading. It is an amazing device. It is also attractively priced and really opens up the market to everyone. My first Kindle cost $400. At $79,  I think this one is a great bargain that truly makes eReaders affordable.

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Filed under Audio Books, Covers and Accessories, Kindle

Get rid of the ads on your Kindle

For those of you who opted for the ad-supported version of the Kindle and discovered that you hated it, there is now a remedy for that. According to PC Magazine, the new $79 Kindle with Special Offers does allow you to subscribe to the ads. However, you will be charged the $30 difference in price from the ad-free model.

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Filed under Kindle, Tips

Amazon Press Conference Video

In case you missed it, here is the video of the Amazon Press conference of 9/28/2011 announcing the new Kindles and the Kindle Fire tablet. I really wished Amazon would have streamed this live! Shifting back and forth between 3 live-blogging sites just wasn’t the same! :)

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Filed under eReaders, Events, Kindle, Tablets