Should Amazon buy Calibre?
Amazon is an empire.
It’s not just that they have sites Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the USA.
You may think of them just for Amazon.com (and those other country sites).
However, they are a lot more than that.
It’s not just Amazon Web Services.
It’s those other non-Amazon branded sites they own, including:
It’s important to note that the above sites were acquisitions.
Amazon didn’t develop them initially…it bought them.
Calibre is not an empire.
Like many of the sites above, it is a home-grown destination with a great reputation.
Reputation for what?
There are lots of things that it does that Kindle owners would appreciate.
How do I know?
Kindle owners recommend it quite often in the Amazon Kindle community.
Some of the features:
It works well.
It’s not always the most user-friendly in its explanations (neither is Amazon, honestly, but Amazon is better)…but it has close to three million users in 200 countries, so that’s not stopping everybody.
Calibre (pronounced like “caliber”, even though the “libre” part is from “freedom”) provides a solution for many concerns people have with Kindle management.
If it was integrated with Amazon, that would presumably allow your Kindle books to be automatically managed by Calibre, if you chose
I have no doubt that it would be a big plus for Amazon, and a big plus for Kindleers.
What about the impact on Calibre?
Well, it would a considerable shift…and not one to which they would agree lightly.
Kovid Goyal has said on the site:
“…one of my goals has always been to prevent either the fragmentation or the monopolization of the e-book market by entities that care solely for short-term goals.”
While Amazon is arguably not just interested in short-term goals (you don’t spend as much time as they did not making money on a site, or sell bestsellers below cost if you don’t have a longer view), I suspect being owned by a huge corporation might not be the first choice.
When I use IMDb, I see very little influence from Amazon. Some, but not much.
Could the same be true with Calibre?
My guess? Some deal could probably be reached. There would have to be increased integration with Amazon, and they might need to remove this “fight DRM” page:
That doesn’t mean that Calibre couldn’t be used with e-books you got other places, or that it would even be obviously branded as Amazon.
Amazon already directs people to e-book collections outside of its own shop, and Kindle apps can be used on a wide variety of devices. While there used to be the idea put out there by some people that Amazon was a closed ecosystem, I (and many others) read things from other places on our Kindles frequently. Amazon owned CDNow while it was selling CDs on its own site, I believe.
I know it’s not up to us, and Calibre may already have been approached and declined.
I also presume many of you would think this is a really bad idea, that you like the idea of extra-corporate entities. Hey, one of my favorite magazines used to carry the subtitle, “Still not a part of AOL Time Warner”.
This does seem like a good match, though. If you are going to influence how people read e-books, having the power of Amazon involved gives you a boost. Of course, a boost isn’t always good…steering a rocket is a lot harder than steering a tricycle.
Anyway, I’m just musing…feel free to tell me what you think.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.