Round Up #32: iPad 2, B&N settles, Random House prices

Round Up #32: iPad 2, B&N settles, Random House prices

Things are fast and furious today!

iPad 2

As expected, Apple announced the iPad 2 today (shipping March 11 in the US).  First, I’m very happy Steve Jobs was well enough to present.  Second, it’s significantly lighter than the iPad 1.  The new one is 1.3 pounds.  The Kindle DX is 18.9 ounces…1.18 pounds.  The Kindle 3 is only 8.5  (wi-fi only) or 8.7 (wi-fi and 3G)*.  Still, that’s closer.  I’ve always pointed out that every iPad billboard you saw showed the iPad resting in someone’s lap or on something supporting the weight.  This may be light enough that you can actually hold it in your hand to read for long periods.

That’s amplified by the “smart cover”, which fits very closely to it and will support it in a “kickstand” fashion, which can be handy for reading.

They did talk about Random House joining iBooks.

It’s faster and lighter.  It has front and back cameras.  It had some cool apps they demonstrated (including on-the-fly movie editing and what seemed like an effective musical instrument simulator).

I wasn’t there, by the way…just going by what I’ve seen online.  🙂

You can see Apple’s video of the iPad 2 here:

Pricing is the same as the iPad 1.

If it is easier to read on the iPad 2, that’s good for Amazon…as long as people can keep reading Kindle books on the iPad.  Pretty much regardless of what Apple does about that, Kindle for the Web having full books will make that happen (although I think we’ll continue to see a Kindle for iPad app, although it may be one that doesn’t allow purchases).

My guess is that the techies may push back that there weren’t enough changes…but it did seem a lot cooler in terms of what you can do with it.

B&N Settles

Quick!  Name five devices you can use to read e-books! 

I didn’t hear you say the Alex from Spring Design.

Well, that’s been an interesting story.  They brought the design (E Ink screen up top, small LCD screen at the bottom) to Barnes & Noble.  B&N didn’t buy it…but then put out the NOOK, with an arguably similar design.  Spring Design brought suit…which has just been settled:

B&N Press Release 

In the release, they explain that

“…Spring Design will grant Barnes & Noble a non-exclusive, paid-up royalty free license for the entire portfolio of Spring Design patents and patent applications.”

I read that to mean that B&N paid Spring Design a lump sum, and Spring Design can continue selling the Alex.

The main thing?  That issue is behind B&N.  Don’t know what it cost them, though.  It may help the stock, since the stock market generally doesn’t like uncertainty.

Random House Prices

Random House was the last of the Big Six US trade publishers to go to the Agency Model, which they did yesterday.  That means they, rather than Amazon, are setting the price you pay for Kindle books from them.

An obvious question: did they raise prices?

I’ve already seen many anecdotal reports that they did.  It’s possible that they’ve raised some prices and lowered others, of course.

I figured out a way to do a little analysis.

What I did was go to

eReaderIQ’s marvelous Kindle Price Drop Tracker.

That’s where you can sign up for free to be notified when a given book drops in price.

However, you can also see a graph of the previous prices of the most watched books.

Unfortunately, some of the graphs didn’t work for me, but I ran twenty of the most popular titles.

The data I had were the high price, the low price, and the current price.

The question:

How does the current price compare the highest price?

RH Low High Current Current to High
No  $   12.99  $   14.99  $   14.99  $               –  
No  $   12.99  $   14.99  $   12.99  $           (2.00)
No  $    9.99  $   12.99  $    9.99  $           (3.00)
No  $    9.99  $   14.99  $   12.99  $           (2.00)
No  $   12.99  $   14.99  $   12.99  $           (2.00)
No  $   14.99  $   18.99  $   18.99  $               –  
No  $    9.99  $   14.99  $   12.99  $           (2.00)
No  $    8.46  $    9.99  $    8.52  $           (1.47)
No  $   12.99  $   14.99  $   14.99  $               –  
No  $   12.99  $   14.99  $   14.99  $               –  
No  $   12.99  $   14.99  $   12.99  $           (2.00)
No  $    5.00  $    9.00  $    5.00  $           (4.00)
Yes  $    8.93  $   11.99  $   11.99  $               –  
Yes  $    9.99  $   14.85  $   12.99  $           (1.86)
Yes  $    9.99  $   12.99  $   12.99  $               –  
Yes  $    9.99  $   15.92  $    9.99  $           (5.93)
Yes  $    9.45  $   13.99  $   13.99  $               –  
Yes  $    4.74  $    7.99  $    7.99  $               –  
Yes  $    5.00  $    7.99  $    7.99  $               –  
Yes  $    8.10  $    9.99  $    9.99  $               –  

As you can see, 75% of the Random House books are at their highest prices since they were tracked.  That compares to 33% of the non-Random House titles.

I can’t say that’s specifically because of the Agency Model, but it is interesting.

I was also curious, so I compared the current total versus the totals of the lowest prices.

For non-Random House titles it was 112%.

For Random House titles it was 133%.

Feel free to let me know what you think about any of these stories.

* Thanks to one of my readers, Sherri, who pointed out I’d put in the Kindle DX weight as the Kindle 3 weight.  I always appreciate it when readers respectfully contribute to the accuracy of this blog.  🙂

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



4 Responses to “Round Up #32: iPad 2, B&N settles, Random House prices”

  1. Dave Says:

    Quick question – whenever I run any sort of search on eReaderIQ I am always sent straight to Amazon. How are you searching for a book on eReaderIQ and staying there to see the charts?

  2. Sherri Says:

    Uh Bufo, the Kindle 3 is nowhere near 18.9 oz. It’s less than half that! It’s actually 8.7 oz, or just over half a pound. Even adding my 4.5 oz M-Edge cover doesn’t bring it up to a pound.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sherri!

      D’oh! I was looking at the DX weight. Now if they’d reported it in metric, I would have realized the mistake right away…how is somebody supposed to know what 18 ounces feels like? 😉

      I’ll fix it

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