Round up #93: E-book predictions, Kindle phone

Round up #93: E-book predictions, Kindle phone

I’ve heard of a shoe phone, but…

Along with wild and contradictory predictions about upcoming EBRs (E-Book Readers) and tablets from Amazon, speculation about Amazon producing a SmartPhone is starting to heat up.

Everybody is calling it a Kindle SmartPhone, that I see, and since we are stuck with them calling their tablet (the Kindle Fire) a Kindle, I guess they  might call all of their hardware a Kindle (“Hey, did you see the new Kindle Can Opener?’).

I don’t know that there will be one released this year…there is still a lot going on without that. One of the things I’d be considering is the possible convergence of the tablet and the SmartPhone. The SmartPhone is too small to replace a lot of the functions of a tablet. A tablet, though, could do everything a  SmartPhone does…except fit in your pocket (unless we get something that can change shape, eventually, which is possible).

Will enough people decide that just carrying a tablet is enough, if it makes phone calls? Will it seem like too much to pay for two dataplans, even if the tablet is clunkier to carry?

Amazon is very forward looking…could SmartPhones be an evolutionary dead end in the next three to five years? Is that enough of a window of opportunity?

You may think it’s a silly idea to think that people might not feel like they need SmartPhones in a few years…they laughed at Apple when they stopped putting in floppy disc drives, too. 🙂


Forbes article

has some fascinating speculation…not about the hardware, but about how Amazon might turn the current model on its head.

Where do most people figure they get their cellphones?

From the carrier, right? You go to the AT&T store, or wherever, and see if you can trade in your phone for another one yet.

Carriers subsidize the phone…they are going to make a whole more money out of you very quickly than the phone costs them.

The article suggests that Amazon could sell the phone itself…without customers going through a carrier. I don’t want to take much away from it…I recommend you read Ewan Spence’s piece.

Forbes: “Five More E-Book Predictions: Making E-Book Predictions Is Hard”

Sticking with Forbes, I saw this article in my Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine app (which I’ve now decided I like, but only when connected to the wireless):

Forbes article

I first have to commend Jeremy Greenfield for owning up to earlier success (and lack thereof) in predicting events in the e-book world. I always give an accounting myself (here’s one for my 2011 predictions), and I appreciate it when others do that.

Generally, I’d say Greenfield is well informed. I don’t want to give away too much about the predictions. I’ll mention that he cites a July 27th date for a possible settlement in the Department of Justice’s Agency Model suit…and he thinks public library lending of e-books will increase. I’ll let you read the justifications and the other predictions.

I’m still thinking that at some point, publishers may do “needs tested” e-book lending, and basically drop public library lending. They seem unconvinced with Overdrive’s arguments that doing public library lending increases sales. That’s not a prediction on my part, just speculation. 😉

Independent bookstores

Independent Booksellers Week just ended in the UK, and I have been hearing a lot of interesting stories about brick and mortars recently.

I’m a former bookstore manager, so this does particularly interest me. The fate of bookstores definitely has a dependent relationship on e-books, so I think it’s worth discussing here.

In my area, Kepler’s Books has been a classic bookstore for decades. It’s in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco. I used to go there…and I remember being there when there was a live raven (I think it was a customer’s).

They are doing some very innovative things to reinvent the bookstore for the future.

They are splitting into two legal entities: a for-profit to do events, and another non-profit community-supported bookstore.

The non-profit part reminds me of my story, A Trip to the Bookstore.

If we accept the postulate that local bookstores, as a whole, will not be able to survive continuing their current business model, the question becomes: what can they do?

I’m not sure that community support, in terms of actual donations and taxes (like a museum) is going to be the way to go. I just can’t see that sort of support, unless it’s a tourist attraction…and one that makes money.

I think that the event part is different…that could work.

Of course, another part of the strategy is worth noting:

You can buy books through 😉

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


6 Responses to “Round up #93: E-book predictions, Kindle phone”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well, I read this, the Forbes article, and the original Forbes 10 predictions. All I have to say is meh! Que sera sera.

    I don’t see much sense in Amazon doing a phone, and certainly not without carrier connivance.

    The notion of every Tom, Dick, and Podunk’s local library doing ebook lending makes no sense to me. If e-book library lending makes any sense (I’m dubious), then there needs to be only one library doing it (like Amazon Prime :grin) — and yes I’m aware of publisher-imposed limits on e-book lending, but I think most of the players are not yet thinking clearly about what an e-booked world really means.

    The prediction of publishers hiring outsiders: I haven’t a clue, but if they don’t, they are toast (probably sooner rather than later :grin)

    I still believe that tradpubs, local libraries, and bricks and mortar booksellers are all headed to the dustbin of history — no matter how much “innovative” thinking they put in trying to save themselves.

    His biggest problem with his failed predictions was talking to industry insiders — in a time of destructive/transformative change in an industry, they are the last ones you want to consult with (more :grin).

    He was right about one thing: predicting the future is hard.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      One argument that brick and mortar local libraries make is that they are where unemployed people go to use the internet to look for jobs. That shows that there may need to be a shifting concept of what a library is. Is it cheaper to have a building for that, or to give people access another way? Is a “library” the right place to do that, or should it be done in an employment center?

      The driving factors that led to Benjamin Franklin’s The Library Company just aren’t the same today. Libraries as huge repositories of paper books that loan the books to anyone in the public may not have much of a path forward.

  2. Tom Semple Says:

    What we need more than a new smartphone are new calling plans. Having separate voice and data allotments is silly, and pretty much ensures that any given person pays for more than they can use each month. AT&T has said they see a time coming when the 2 will become 1, i.e. it will all be just one bandwidth allotment that can be used for ‘voice’ or ‘data’. I’d like to see a plan where you pay for what you actually use rather than trying to predict the future, plus perhaps a modest monthly charge when you don’t use anything (say $10-20). The more this charge is, the better rate you get for your bandwidth.

    Oh and there should be no additional charge for tethering wifi devices, which is another rip-off. Again, bandwidth is bandwidth, the telcos do not need to know what device is consuming it, just that someone is responsible for paying the bill, which only requires authorizing the device that connects directly to their network. Of course you can get a mi-fi device for this sort of plan and functionality but why not with smartphones as well?

    I’m hoping Amazon can disrupt the telco cartel by being the first to offer this. Of course they don’t own telco infrastructure so they will have to work it out with a telco to make the offering. Walmart has some interesting, low cost plans, so it seems feasible enough for Amazon to do so.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      It would be nice to have the charges reflect the use…the question is how the telcos could be convinced to that, since they get so much money for nothing right now. My guess would be that low users are paying relatively more than super users are saving right now on unlimited plans, so if this wasn’t forced on them I’m not sure why they would go for it.

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I hope a Kindle phone doesn’t somehow end up with Amazon deciding to charge those of us without wi-fi to have to pay for Whispernet.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I don’t see the path for that, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If Amazon is making money from a phone, I’m not seeing why that would put more price pressure on Kindle 3G use…but I’ll think about it. 🙂

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