Round up #24: Acer, Penguin

Round up #24: Acer, Penguin

Penguin, Penguin, who’s got the Penguin?

It’s clear that a lot of things at Amazon are automated, and sometimes things just happen when somebody flips a switch that they didn’t intend.

Amazon and Penguin had been working on a new contract since at least April 1st, which is known as Agency Day.

That’s the day that several large publishers in the American trade world switched to a new way of selling books.  It’s called the Agency Model

This appeared to be a pretty serious disagreement.  Penguin e-books published after March 31st were not in the Kindle store.  Amazon marked some Penguin hardbacks to $9.99 in what was widely speculated to be a negotiating tactic (but may not have been).

Yesterday, those Penguin books started to appear again.  Then there was an announcement from Amazon that an agreement had been reached and the books would be appearing.

Then, they disappeared again.

The latest thing I’ve seen is that they “should begin” appearing by Monday, per this

Publishers Weekly article

I thought it was a little odd that they had just recently sent out a press release about how they (Amazon and Penguin) were jointly doing the Breakthrough Novel thing…even though they were still arguing.

Appears to be settling, though…

B&N Reader iPad app

This is actually a big deal.  Just as Amazon has a number of free Kindle reader apps that let you read Kindle books on different devices, Barnes & Noble has a number of “e-reader” apps.  You can read B&N e-books on the nook (sic), their EBR (E-Book Reader), but you can also read them on phones, computers, quite a few things.

Why does this matter?

I think Amazon has been dominating the e-book sales on the iPad.  People don’t need a Kindle to shop in the Kindle store, and the selection is so much better than at Apple’s own iBooks.

Now, people can also read Barnes & Noble e-books on the iPad, whether or not they have a nook.

That limited lending thing that B&N does should work with the iPad as well.  You could lend an e-book you bought at B&N to someone with an iPad…well, if the publisher allows it, of course.  There are other limitations:

  • You can only lend a book once…ever
  • You can only lend it to someone for 14 days
  • You don’t have access to it while they have it (which is similar to a paperbook, of course)

B&N doesn’t have anywhere near the in-copyright selection of the Kindle store…the K-store is several times bigger. 

Category Kindle B&N Percentage
Fiction   203,387        33,172 16%
Nonfiction   376,037        15,723 4%

Still, if people don’t choose to shop at the Kindle store (and some people who own iPads may not want to do that, although my guess is that many people have both), they can buy those “frontlist” (recent, bestselling books) from B&N instead, now.

For books under the Agency Model, the price should be the same at both places, but this may siphon off some of the Kindle store’s iPad sales.

Acer announces an EBR

Acer, a leading netbook maker, has announced an upcoming EBR.  It doesn’t answer two of the popular questions (when and how much), but it has some cool features.

One new one to me is that it will have an ISBN scanner.  You’ll be able to scan the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) on a paperbook, and it will find you an e-book version.  That would be nice for filling out your e-library from your p-library…and when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

They are going to team with Barnes & Noble…but also with a German and Chinese supplier (suggesting it could work internationally).

It will have a web browser.  It’s going to have a six inch E Ink display (like the Kindle and nook), and have wi fi and 3G.  It will have 2 GB on-board, and an expansion slot.  It promises sharing of audiobooks and e-books, but under what conditions isn’t clear to me.

This sounds like it could be a pretty good device, although it’s hard to tell how much of the market it could get without a price.

Press Release

Sony expands its market reach

Sony, meanwhile, which was in the EBR business long before Amazon, is going to expand their market to other countries.  You can already get them in eight markets (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland).  They are going to start selling them (don’t know when) in Japan, China, Spain, Italy, and Australia.  That’s nowhere near the number of countries in which Amazon sells the Kindle, but it’s a step up.  China is particularly interesting, since they’ve kind of been developing home grown products as well.

Press Release 

Kindle won’t try to be iPad-like

Jeff Bezos has reportedly said that the Kindle market will focus on the ten percent of households that are “serious readers”.  In other words, that it won’t try to emulate the internet integration and graphic capabilities of the iPad.

Hm.  It’s interesting: when you say that 90% of the households aren’t serious readers, my first thought wasn’t that they were internet households, but I guess that makes sense.  I figure that those people who know how to read and can afford to read generally do so, but that’s probably old-fashioned.  I know studies actually show that people consume more words now than they used to do, but that counts reading websites and such.  I wonder what defines a “serious reading” household?  I like lots of kinds of information…definitely, I’d consider myself a serious reader, but I’m also a serious watcher (of TV and movies) and listener (of music…well, I may be more casual there).

Still, I think this is reasonable.  No point in switching to a backlit screen, for example.  Bookaholics spend tons of money on books, always have.  No reason to imagine that is going away in the near future, despite all the changes.  Amazon doesn’t need to get the gameplayers and online video watchers as well.

Macworld article 

Tip of the Day: I use to search for news stories.  That’s not my only source, but I’ve used it for years and I’m happy that the results seem to be pretty much what I want.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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