The Year in E-Books 2016
Every year, I look both backward and forward. This is my annual post, looking at what happened this year. If you want to see the details, please see the ever-expanding ILMK E-Books Timeline. For posts in this series for previous years, see The Year in E-Books category. For a more numerical comparison between 2015 and previous years, I plan on doing my Annual Snapshot January 1st.
Well! This was a very different year than 2015!
I commented that 2015 wasn’t about hardware, but this year was really quite balanced between hardware and services and software for readers.
There were three significant EBR (E-Book Reader) introductions.
April saw the Kindle Oasis, a radical redesign to the morphology of the device, at a premium price. Part of that premium included that you could only purchase it with an animal-leather cover (which meant that some people, including me, wouldn’t buy it) which helped power it. It got some very good reviews. It was one of Oprah’s Favorite Things…Oprah had a big impact on making the original Kindle a success.
May gave us a special Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle – Includes Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi and Special Offers, Kindle Audio Adapter, and $19.99 Account Credit (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which returned a way to do text-to-speech (TTS) to a Kindle EBR.
In July, the least expensive Kindle got Bluetooth…allowing for TTS through an external speaker: All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
In terms of sales, those were likely eclipsed by Echo devices (which do read books to you, as of January of 2016) and Fire TV devices (which also have Alexa…and can also read to you), but certainly, that’s a good amount of EBR development.
Especially for Prime members, there was a lot going on in terms of content!
- May: Goodreads Deals (Goodreads is owned by Amazon) were introduced, announcements of e-books on sale (not just for the Kindle)
- July: Prime members got free www.amazon.com/singlesclassics (Single Classics) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), while others could pay for them
- September: Audible Channels come to Prime
- October: Prime members can now choose from (at time of writing) over 1,000 Kindle books to read for free Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
- November: Amazon Rapids, a text-style storytelling service, is introduced
Some other stories from 2016:
- I appeared on Len Edgerly’s The Kindle Chronicles twice, in February and October
- Amazon merged Shelfari into Goodreads
- The Supreme Court basically ended Apple’s e-book appeals…and some Kindle customers got money from the settlement
- Older Kindles had to be updated or they would lose wireless connection to Amazon
- Kindle EBR software got updated, giving us a new homescreen, and Page Flip was considerably upgraded
- Amazon continued community support, with Amazon Inspire for schools and the Kindle Reading Fund
- Kobo introduced the Aura One
- Changes were clearly coming to copyright, prompting a lot of statements from creators and distributors
Generally, this was a good year for Kindleers.
I think it’s clear that 2017 is going to be a year for change in a lot of fields…and I’ll make some guesses in my Year Ahead post about e-publishing, e-reading, and Amazon.
What do you think? Did I leave out anything big? Should I have talked more about how some bestsellers went up in price? What stood out to you about e-books in 2016? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.