Round up #54: B&N loss, useful Fire, Kindle expands

Round up #54: B&N loss, useful Fire, Kindle expands

Hola and Ciao, Kindle!

Amazon is continuing to expand the Kindle outside the English-speaking world, as reported in these press releases:

Amazon.es Launches Spanish Kindle Store and First Spanish-Language Kindle

Amazon.it Launches Italian Kindle Store and First Italian-Language Kindle

There are now site specific Kindles for

  • The UK
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain

and Amazon.com, which is the world site. Some of these other sites serve more than one country.

Amazon lists the following sites:

  • Germany (has specific Kindle)
  • Canada
  • China
  • France (has specific Kindle)
  • Italy (has specific Kindle)
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom (has specific Kindle)
  • Amazon.com (world Kindle site)

Notice something interesting? They don’t list a separate Spanish site…and yet, there is one:

http://www.amazon.es/

They do specifically say that this is for people in Spain.

With the Mindle (the &79/$109 “basic” Kindle), we can choose one of seven different languages for the device: German, UK English, American English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese.

If you want to switch it, it’s

Home-Menu-Settings, Next Page, Device Language, Set

It will make you restart.

So, even if you aren’t in Spain, you can use Spanish on your device.

The difference in getting it from Amazon.es is that it will default to Spanish. If you do switch the one you got from Amazon.com, by the way, the virtual keyboard will include the ñ…just as it does with the one from Amazon.es.

There are some rumors that Amazon will be able to start selling Kindles in China soon…but that’s a tough one. Not all rightsholders are comfortable with the way China deals with intellectual property, for one thing.

WSJ: “Red Ink at Barnes & Noble”

Red Ink at Barnes & Noble

This is a Wall Street Journal article, so if you get to it and you can’t read the whole thing, try searching for the exact title

Red Ink at Barnes & Noble

on Google.

“Red Ink” is slang for losing money…accountants used to write negatives in red and positives in black. That’s why the day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday”…it’s the day that many stores go into the black for the year, at least according to popular belief.

Bottom line: physical book sales are down, digital sales are up, and they are selling more games and toys. Even the college bookstores have declined. Here’s the

Barnes & Noble press release

Clearly, the physical books are a strategic business challenge going forward. That’s been exacerbated by the failure of Borders…it’s going to make publishers “store shy”, so to speak. The problem with physical books, for the publishers, is there is  a big investment in resources. Printing books costs money, storing books costs money, delivering books costs money, inventorying books costs money, dealing with returns costs money, and so on.

The publishers probably had to take a loss with the bankruptcy of Borders…and they’ll certainly feel it this holiday season.

I also think that B&N pulling DC graphic novels out of their stores because of a deal Amazon made on the digital editions has to worry publishers…they don’t want to be pawns like that.

I certainly think that Barnes & Noble can survive as a company…I’m just not convinced that them having the big bookstores like they have now will be a part of that future.

Useful Fire 

I’ve had a Kindle Fire for more than two weeks now. I’ve been evaluating it, although I’m planning to keep it as a reference regardless.

I thought you might be interested in how I’ve been using it.

One of the key uses is the built-in Pulse app. Nothing else I’ve used has filled the niche of a morning newspaper as well. One of the things about that paper that thudded on your porch (if you were lucky), closed with a cheap rubber band or in a plastic bag, was discovery. That’s a hard thing on the web…we tend to direct our inquiries in a different way. We go some place because we want to go there for a particular purpose.

Pulse lets you choose newsfeeds from websites. You choose sites to go on pages, which feel to me like the sections of a newspaper.

I have a Home page, which for me, is more general interest. I see a line of thumbnails stories (often with a picture) from the USA Today, BBC News, UPI…even The Onion (just to name a few).

I have a page for Kindle news…that’s great for me! I have feeds from ILMK, A Kindle World, Kindle Nation Daily, The Kindle Chronicles, iReaderReview, Red Adept Reviews, Publisher Weekly, The Measured Circle (another blog of mine), and The Writer’s Guide To E-Publishing.

I have another page with the Hollywood Reporter, Top Science Stories, and more.

I could add additional pages.

This works very well for me. It picks up the latest stories through my wi-fi, and then I can read them off line…at lunch, for example.

So, Pulse is definitely a regular use…and being free, helps offset the cost of the device.

Another thing I’ve been doing is listening to The Kindle Chronicles, Len Edgerly’s weekly podcast about the Kindle, in the car. I’m planning to write a separate article on that, but without text-to-speech, that’s another definite use. Of course, since that’s a once-a-week broadcast, I’ll catch up on those. I download them directly from the Fire before I leave for the day.

I had a great example of using the Kindle Fire earlier today. I wanted to quote an original Star Trek episode, and I was surprised to see that I didn’t have the exact quotation. I was at home, so I was connected to wi-fi. I used free Prime streaming video to start the episode…and I could scoot right up to the end where I knew the quotation took place. I was able to type it up very quickly.

I’m finding that I can take notes on the job reasonably well. It’s more convenient than my laptop, easier than my SmartPhone. I still can’t type on it well enough to blog, but I have written a couple of e-mails.

I use the included e-mail app. When I’m connected, it’s the easiest way to read e-mail I’ve ever had (although not the easiest to write, just due to the typing).

My Significant Other plays Angry Birds on it. 🙂

I’ve used a list builder app when shopping…again, that worked pretty well. I like that when I tell it I’ve completed an item, that item drops to the bottom of the list.

I’ve listened to music on it…both Pandora and from music I had put into Amazon’s Cloud Drive.

I’ve watched some purchased videos and some streaming videos.

I’ve listened to some Old Time Radio from RadioLovers.com.

I’ve used it to have some work documents handy when I was on site.

I’ve been reading an old magazine I got from gutenberg.org.

No question, it’s been handy for websites. I’ve made a favorite out of my sales reports from Amazon…it’s been fun to watch what’s happening with Love Your Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet.

I’ve listened to some of the free Audible audiobook I told you about  recently…I’m still not really into audiobooks, but its an interesting experiment. I do find myself questioning Lou Diamond Phillips’ acting choices…”I would have gone up there” or “I would have done that slower”. 😉

I’ve shown people pictures I put on it…much easier than pulling one up on my reflective screen Kindles.

One thing I haven’t really done…sat and read a book for an hour. I’m still preferring my Kindle Touch (and my Mindle and my Kindle Keyboard) for that.

So for me, it’s worth it. Having text-to-speech on Kindle store books would enhance it’s value considerably for me…I”m still hoping that’s coming.

How about you? How are you using your Fire, if you have one? Do you think Barnes & Noble will eventually dump the bookstores, or transform them into primarily toy stores? Will Amazon ever make a deal with China? Feel free to let me know what you think.

Update: Ellen Degeneres gave away Kindle Fires on her program today…

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

2 Responses to “Round up #54: B&N loss, useful Fire, Kindle expands”

  1. jbgator9 Says:

    There’s à free audible by Louise penny also, and I highly recommend her series, but you might want to.start with the first, still life.

  2. Pam Says:

    Thanks for your list of uses for the Kindle! I have also copied a couple of movies and side loaded with no problem. Worked great! I use Pulse too and love it! I have an ipad2 and find myself trying to do things on the Fire that I can do on it, like tap the top of the page and you return to the top. I didn’t realize how much I do that! I think the Fire is an excellent value for an on-the-go tablet. Wish it had the optional monthly cellular service when on the road traveling.

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