Round up #66: Unused Kindle gifts, pubs love B&N?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
New York Times: “The Bookstore’s Last Stand”
Does Barnes & Noble hold “…the fate of American book publishing in (their) hands”?
That’s the contention of this article by Julie Bosman.
If that’s the case, we’re in serious trouble.
I don’t think it is, though.
While publishers may be waxing all apocalyptic in the article, I don’t think they believe it, either.
It’s all up to Barnes & Noble if: chain bookstores are necessary to sell enough paperbooks, and if paperbooks are necessary at all for the publishers to succeed, and if no other chain bookstore arises.
I’m going to take these in reverse order.
I think the last one is somewhat unlikely…at least in the form we’ve seen before with large generic stores. There may be other brick and mortar channels for books that happen…even things like print-on-demand book vending machines. I don’t think that there is a vacuum to fill with Borders gone…and I think that’s still true if Barnes & Noble stopped having paperbook stores (even if they had games, toys, t-shirts, and a cafe).
As to the second one…I don’t think paperbooks are necessary for the traditional publishers (tradpubs) to survive. I think the nimbler tradpubs will switch over, find a way to secure a market slice. They adapted to mass market paperbacks, and they’ll adapt away from those, too. That’s why I don’t think they believe that their survival is dependent on Barnes & Noble.
I also, as I indicated above, don’t think that chain bookstores (the big “dinostores”, as I call them) are necessary even if they do keep paperbooks as significant in the mix. The internet is one reason for that: publishers may start selling directly and effectively. I also think specialty bookstores, or rather media stores, have room in the market.
At any rate, it’s a very interesting article, and I recommend it. Oh, two other key points I will mention (and this doesn’t take too much away from the article: it suggests a new NOOK this Spring; and the NOOK being sold overseas.
By the way, this
came up with a very interesting stat, using one of the numbers in the New York Times article. According to them, Kindle sales grew 177 percent during the “nine-week holiday period” of 2011, compared to 2010. At the same time, B&N device sales grew…seventy percent. Amazon did have the Kindle Fire , but Barnes & Noble also introduced a tablet, so I don’t think that’s an unfair comparison.
Bloomberg: “Amazon Fire Tablet Leaves Google Apps Behind: Tech”
Okay, maybe this one belongs in a Firestorm round-up…you can skip it if you don’t want to read about the Fire. The next one is more general interest.
The basic idea is that Amazon (and some other hardware makers) are using Google’s Android operating system, but not including the Google apps.
That may put a drag on Google’s revenue protections…they certainly may have hoped that Android would promote Gmail and such.
Google can’t make them do it, by the way. Some of you may remember when there was a flap about Microsoft basically making Internet Explorer part having Windows for hardware manufacturers. That was about ten years ago…here’s a
for nostalgia’s sake.
PC Advisor: “Amazon Kindle tops list of ‘unused’ Christmas gifts”
This was a fascinating little survey.
Have you ever gotten a Christmas gift, opened it, and then never used it?
Even a pricey gadget?
I have to say, and my family laughs at me about it, I use every single gift I get (unless I’m returning it because it’s the wrong size or something…or it’s a gift card) within a day or two. That’s because, when I was a kid, my parents had us write thank you cards for the gifts…and you couldn’t honestly say what you liked about a gift if you hadn’t used it. Hmm…I wonder if those sorts of things my parents did have anything to do with me being a blogger today? Maybe…
In the survey, done weeks after Christmas, 48% of respondents said that they had opened a gift and not used it yet. Of those, 22% (the highest number) said it was a Kindle.
Remember that the UK (where the survey was done) did not have the Fire yet, so we are talking about RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything but a Fire).
Why hadn’t they used it?
More than half said it was because they hadn’t download a book on to it, yet.
I’ve always sort of scoffed at the idea that some other EBR (E-Book Reader) manufacturers put free public domain classics on their devices when you bought them. I figured I wanted to pick which books were on there.
However, I wonder now if it wouldn’t make some sense. I noticed that Amazon did put a couple of books in my Kindle for Android installation. Maybe part of the welcome letter could be something like, “Get started right now! Download any of these ten classics for free!” That might actually work very well…that way, you could skip it if you wanted…and they could put another link in the same place for “Shop the store” that took you to the bestsellers as a gateway.
That might get people into using the Kindle right away…and then, they are far more likely to get hooked.
What do you think? Do publishers genuinely see Barnes & Noble as necessary, or are they just trying to make Amazon jealous? How bad a thing is it if people open Kindles they get as gifts…and then not use them? Is it scary for Barnes & Noble that the Kindle growth rate is so much higher? Do we need paperbook stores…and if so, what will they look like? Feel free to let me know by commenting this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.