The impact of Ebook readers

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The way in which we read is changing, as is the way we consume most media. The introduction of Ebook readers and tablets has of course changed the book market. But is it for the better or for the worse? There are of course arguments for both sides, but either way the world and market is becoming more digital. To embrace it is to thrive.

Negative effects

There is of course some negative impact on the sales of printed books with the introduction of new technology. Fewer people are buying print copies, and even with soaring sales of Ebooks there are differences in the way people buy, and the way the book industry makes a profit. For example hardback copies are in decline, meaning a decline in the higher profit margin publishers receive. Though of course there will always be consumers who resist the new technology in favour of the emotive experience of a printed copy. Over time Ebook readers are becoming more authentic though and increasing numbers of traditionalists are embracing the digital future of books.

People also consume books in a different way, whilst multibuys were highly valued by consumers in sales of printed books, the same techniques would not be so profitable when it comes to digital.

Positive changes

The reason for the difference in buyer behavior is that books are now more convenient. It’s far easier to purchase that new title, and it takes just moments whereas previously consumers liked to stockpile either whilst buying online (fewer deliveries and lower cost) or in the shop.

This also means that if a particular author, or book crosses a consumers mind they can buy it there and then. This drastically reduces basket abandonment and will obviously lead to higher sales overall. Impulse buying is a real advantage of our new instant book culture. As we all know, consumers want their purchases delivered yesterday.

The costs of producing digital versions is also far lower, eliminating print costs, packaging and postage means that profit margins are higher. Despite the slightly lower cost to the customer.

Ebook readers and tablets have brought reading back up to date, and in line with the digital age. A development that long term will see the continuation of reading as a popular pastime, as opposed to it being left behind.

The future of books

Leaps in technology now also mean that children are becoming more and more familiar with the Ebook format, especially with the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire and other color Ebook readers. For the first time children can enjoy picture books in all their glory on a digital device. This will encourage a younger generation to read, and enjoy reading whilst keeping up to date with the latest technology.

Of course there’s the risk of consumers being distracted from their book by all the other apps that are available on these multifunctional devices, but in time publishers will adapt and find new ways to keep customer “in” their app rather than distracted by others.

CES kicks off

The biggest technology and gadget show, CES, just kicked off in Las Vegas, and as usual much of the talk surrounds Apple:

Apple is the only company that consistently gets big buzz out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — without even attending.

This year will be no different.

Connected TVs — TVs that connect to and can access content from the Internet — will be a big part of CES this year. And just about everyone in tech expects Apple at some point to launch such a television — an iTV — that easily consumes and shares with other Apple devices content served from the company’s media-storing iCloud.

Microsoft made news earlier by saying this was the last year they would attend CES/ Why attend if Apple gets all the buzz anyways? Maybe Microsoft should focus on new products instead of protecting its Windows/Office cash cow? Or maybe not . . .

Will Amazon Singles survive the deluge of crap it’s sure to elicit?

Graphite Kindle.

Yesterday Amazon announced a new category of products for its Kindle store. Dubbed Amazon Singles, the new category is aimed at getting consumers to pay for written works that fall somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 words, or 30 to 90 pages.

There are a few problems with this strategy. First, there’s no market for that kind of content. That sounds like a good thing, but in my mind there is no market for a reason. Works of that length tend to be either too much or too little, rarely just right. More importantly, though, is that they aren’t published anywhere else. Though Amazon wants you to believe that great ideas will surface as a part of the Singles program, the reality is that the fairly small Kindle-using population will have access to these things and only a percentage of those users will actually read what’s inside.

More likely is that Amazon will see a surge of submissions to its digital publications service, submissions that are, as we should expect, too much or too little on a given subject. Plenty of would-be authors have a 60 to 90-page project attracting silverfish on a floor somewhere, but how many of them would we actually want to read through?

The one thing Amazon got right is lower prices. There will be people attracted to those lower prices, but it will be solely for price. Several authors have already set a precedent for free content on the Kindle, a practice that has yielded some decent exposure. Will the same be true for shorter works that come with a fee? I doubt it.

Kindle coming to a Target near you

This Sunday you’ll finally have the option to try a Kindle before you buy. Amazon plans to start selling the Kindle in Target stores beginning June 6th.

The news comes just after Barnes & Noble announced that it would offer a free $50 gift card with the purchase of any new Nook through the month of June. Nook has had a leg up on the Kindle since its release, if only because interested consumers could actually hold one before buying (let’s be honest, though, that’s not the only reason the Nook is better).

The Kindle will run you $259 in-store, just as it would if you bought it on Amazon.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Nook comes with $50 B&N gift certificate

There’s a pretty sweet deal brewing in the ebook world through the end of the June. From now until the end of the month, Barnes & Noble is offering up a $50 gift card with every Nook purchase.

It’s a nice way to get you started on your ebook craze. One of my many complaints about the current state of ebooks is price. I just can’t justify most of the prices without the option to lend/share/resell my books (I realize I sound a bit like Bradbury here). The Nook, though, does offer the option to lend books, which is leaps above the way things were just a year ago. Unfortunately for consumers, B&N prices tend to err on the high side when it comes to digital content. A lot of titles are pushing $20 or falling somewhere between $15 and $20, which means you’ll get three books – max – out of that gift card.

Still, if you were considering one already this might be enough to push you over the edge.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

The Color Kindle is a long way off

Jeff Bezos with the Kindle.With the launch of the iPad, a lot of people (myself included) thought the Kindle was dead. I still don’t believe in purpose-built devices, but I can see the value of the device in the interim, that is, before tablets overtake the reader. But Amazon wants to stay competitive. Bezos is still building out the Kindle team if we are to believe recent job postings.

Most people believe the postings are for the development of the Color Kindle, but Amazon’s CEO tells a different story. According to Jeff Bezos, Amazon is “still some ways out” from delivering a color version of the device.

This isn’t news so much as it is an update. We heard last year that color e-ink displays were years off, but it’ still sobering news for the Kindle devotees.

Google to enter the ebook market this summer

Google Editions.If the Wall Street Journal is right, Google could be launching its ebook store as early as this summer. You may remember the Google ebook store, Google Editions, from all the problems it had last year. Publishers were far from supportive – they were actually combative – and it didn’t seem like any progress was in sight.

It seems things have turned the corner, though. Google Editions will reportedly launch with somewhere between 400,000 and 600,000 titles. Hey, Amazon, remember how good it felt to be on top? With that many titles Google would be a top-notch competitor against both Amazon and Apple’s new iBookstore.

The most interesting news, though, will be whether Google Editions kept any of the original, consumer-friendly stipulations in contract. Will we be able to print? How about that copy/paste feature?

Source: WSJ

Sorry film nerds, a widescreen iPad doesn’t make sense

Apple's iPad.When the iPad was first announced there was a lot of crying about the screen size. If the thing was meant for watching video why wouldn’t it have a 16:9 aspect ratio? I mean, who wants black bars on the size of an already smaller screen than you might be used to.

I do, actually. Why? The iPad is about more than just visual media consumption. Yes, movies are going to look great on that pretty little screen, but it needs to do more than that. From everything we’ve seen about the iPad (and everything you probably know if you’ve held one) it’s meant to be wielded a lot like a book. Imagine that book on a 16:9 aspect ratio. It would be ridiculously awkward to hold.

That says nothing of actually viewing content either. Reading websites, ebooks, and browsing content like photos makes much more sense with a 4:3 screen. The iPad is not a purpose-built device; it’s designed for all sorts of content.

If you’re really that concerned about a 16:9 screen, get yourself a JooJoo. I hear that company is doing very well.

Steve Jobs shows up for estimated 700,000 iPad day one

Steve Jobs iPad.It was a big day for Apple. It was a big day for fanboys (and fangirls). It was a big day for publishers. Alright, it was a big day for just about everyone. Yes, even you haters, because like it or not the iPad is here and it’s a pretty big deal. It’s the first ultra-portable device that’s capable of handling all of your day to day tasks, be it business or entertainment.

The iPad is such a big release that Steve Jobs himself showed up at the Palo Alto location to survey the damage for just under an hour. Analysts are setting estimates for day one sales around 700,000 units, a huge chunk of the supposed couple million Kindles in the wild. By comparison, the iPhone sold just 270,000 units when it launched.

The iPad does have a leg up in that it has access to the iPhone OS App Store. Along with iPhone apps, the iPad will have its own set of apps designed to take advantage of a larger screen size.

First round of iPads are sold out

iPad.This weekend brought an interesting surprise for anyone attempting to purchase themselves a nifty, new, Wi-Fi iPad. It’s sold out. You can still buy it, of course, but the ship date isn’t April 3rd anymore. It’s April 12th. In-store pickup has been removed as a shipping method as well.

This is a big deal for Apple’s new device. I’m still standing behind the statement that no one really knows what it does. Yes, the promise of apps and the advent of a color ereader are nice, but $500 is a lot for that promise. Will it be that much better than a laptop? We’ll have to see.

Most estimates put the sold-out round of iPads around 500,000. That’s a crapload of units, especially considering that none of them have 3G. I know some people aren’t expecting big 3G sales, but I’d bet the nerds of the world will pick up a 3G unit for the just-in-case insurance. There’s really not a compelling reason to not get one and plenty of reasons for it. Remember, there are no contracts, so you can grab a month of service whenever you need it.

Source: 9to5 Mac