Round up #173: E Ink Mobius, NOOK to vanish in 2014?

Round up #173: E Ink Mobius, NOOK to vanish in 2014?

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

NYT: “One-Day Deals Making E-Books Brief Best Sellers”

This

New York Times article by Julie Bosman

talks about the impact of the Kindle Daily Deal and other “flash” sales of e-books on the bestseller list.

It has some surprisingly precise numbers, and I”m not sure how they would have obtained them. Amazon doesn’t release those numbers, and the publishers (which may just be the author) aren’t really supposed to do that if the sales are through Amazon, I believe. At least, that’s true for independents: maybe tradpubs (traditional publishers) can do it.

Regardless, I think you’ll find it interesting. Not all books are affected equally, of course, and as you might imagine, sometimes the prices are higher after a book has been a KDD than before.

Sure, why not? If demand has been demonstrated, and good reviews added, they may reasonably assume that people are willing to pay more for it.

E-book prices can fluctuate much more rapidly than p-book (paperbook) prices. That’s good if you catch them at the low point.

If you want to track particular books, you can do that for free by using

eReaderIQ

I’ve found that useful, because that is going to tell me about the books I want. However, I do check the KDD (Kindle Daily Deal) every day, and sometimes buy books from there and/or alert you to them.

If you want to be surprised by what’s on sale, there are services you can use. Some time back, I signed up for

BookGorilla.com

That’s from Kindle blogger Stephen Windwalker (we have some correspondence, but have never met). It sends you an e-mail every day, with bargain books in categories you specify. It’s worth getting, although I haven’t actually bought anything through it yet. I think I need to play around with my preferences.

The NYT article also mentions

BookBub.com

It seems to be a somewhat similar idea. I haven’t gotten an e-mail yet with books, so I’ll have to see how it goes.

NOOK one of ten brands to disappear in 2014?

24/7 Wall St makes an annual prediction about which ten (relatively) well-known brands will fail in the following year.

According to this

Yahoo! Finance article by Douglas A. McIntyre

they expect the NOOK brand to be one that goes bye-bye in 2014. While you might not exactly agree with their definitions (if Microsoft renamed the tablet the MS-NOOK, I think that might count for the brand having vanished), their reasoning on this one is not out of line.

If I had to bet, I would guess that the NOOK brand will outlast 2014…but not that the hardware under that name necessarily will. We’ll see, though…

Thanks to someone who alerted me to this story in a private e-mail.

E Ink Mobius: flexible E Ink screen

I expect we may see some big tech breakthroughs in EBRs (E-Book Readers) in 2014, and this may be one of them: E Ink Mobius.

Publishers Weekly article

It’s a super-thin, flexible screen from the folks who make the reflective (not backlit) technology screens used in the Kindle, the NOOK, and the Sony readers.

What, you forgot that Sony had readers? 😉

They were the first big name in the US market with them, but the EBR didn’t really take off here until Amazon introduced the Kindle in 2007.

In recent years, they’ve kind of fallen out of the spotlight. We hear about the Kindle, the NOOK, the Kobo reader…even the iPad before the Sony readers.

However, this new flexible screen will be exclusively available on Sony EBRs for the first year (since, apparently, Sony helped develop it). We may see it in other devices, but I wouldn’t expect it in a Kindle until 2015 (and they might have an alternative by then).

The buzz on this has been around a big screen EBR intended for academic use, but I can see some other market sectors.

One would be for SmartWatches…the advantage of E Ink over a backlit device isn’t just the appearance, but that the battery charge lasts for so long. An E Ink device could do a lot of what you would want a SmartWatch to do (e-mail, text messages, news and sports highlights, contacting Chief Patton back at Police Headquarters…no, wait, that last one is just Dick Tracy). 😉 Wouldn’t it be great if the SmartWatch could flex around your wrist, not have a torquing problem…and stay charged for weeks? That would make it work well for camping, even if you didn’t use it for video.

The lightweight nature of it and the flat morphology presents other possibilities, including clothing. You could have a t-shirt that could display a whole book, rather than just one quotation. 🙂

Flexible screen eventually will lead to morphing screens, where it is small some times and large other times…I whimsically imagine something like a screen you can stretch like Silly Putty to make it big enough to stick on a wall, or small enough to hide in your palm when reading private messages. Something like that will happen, I’m sure, although this screen isn’t it.

Amazon’s net income versus revenue

I’m always amused when somebody on the Kindle forums talks about how Amazon is all about making a profit. Apparently, those people don’t know Amazon very well…since the e-tailer is not making a lot of profit.

This chart is a great illustration of it:

Business Insider chart by Ben Evans

It shows Amazon’s net income versus their revenue (sales) over time.

It’s interesting how the two start radically diverging in 2007 (although you can see the trend before that)…the year the first Kindle was released (although, since it was released towards the end of the year, it wasn’t the only impact on that).

If you aren’t seeing the chart easily, I can explain it to you.

Net income just looks pretty much like a line across the bottom. The revenue goes up at about the same angle you would expect a firetruck to use to get the ladder to the top of an eight-story building. 😉 Not quite, but it’s easy…Amazon is making more and more sales without increasing net income. They are spending a ton of money on things like video licensing, but the EBR and tablet business simply don’t seem to produce income in the same category as revenue. That’s why it’s easier to be an Amazon customer than an Amazon investor… 😉

Kudos to switch11!

I just want to take a moment to give kudos to switch11 of

iReaderReview.com

Under that byline recently, the blog (also known as Kindle Review) has recently been doing a lot of thoughtful, informative, content-filled articles. There is some fascinating speculation there of an informed nature, and it’s really nice to see that. I recommend the site.

What do you think? Will the NOOK brand vanish? Will Amazon eventually start having to charge more to turn a profit, or can they keep people investing in future profits? Would you consider a Sony EBR, or would you wait for the technology to spread out more? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Thanks to Dave Sparks, one of my regular readers, for helping make this a better post.

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

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One Response to “Round up #173: E Ink Mobius, NOOK to vanish in 2014?”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I have felt for a long time that the coming of ebooks might facilitate a move towards real time price adjustments — not unlike the way stock prices fluctuate (ok OK not that rapidly, but something akin to the price fluctuations we see at the gas pump). The pricing flexibility inherent in ebooks will enable the deployment of computer models that can track things like demand versus price and allow authors or publishers to tinker with pricing in ways that allow them to maximize per book profitability. The NYT article to my mind is describing the first tentative steps down this road.

    There are several display technologies that can incorporate flexibility. Samsung has demonstrated some flexible smartphones using OLEDs at CES, and Liquavista has also shown flexible displays. My reading of the tea leaves suggests that smartphones or watches will be the first to see the light of day — probably in 2014 (although XMAS 2013 is an outside possibility).

    I have slowly been coming around to the notion that the problem with educational/professional applications of the eBook transformation is not so much with the H/W, but with a dearth of really compelling S/W to make usage of ebooks in classrooms, laboratories, and other educational/professional venues advantageous. Students and professionals don’t “read” books so much as use them for reference or as a study material. Easy highlighting and annotating are very important here. None of the existing EBR’s or tablets IMO do this particularly well. I think (against the grain a bit here) that high resolution styli (of the kind I have on my Surface/Pro) have a role to play here.

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