Thursday, January 21, 2010

Has Amazon met its match?

by Michael

There were two big announcements out of Amazon this week, both Kindle related. The first was that they are offering a new royalty structure for Kindle books: 70% of the price (minus a small delivery fee). But there’s always a catch, and in this case, several catches, including: the price must be between $2.99 and $9.99, must be lower than the hard copy price by at least 20%, and text-to-speech and other experimental features would have to be enabled.

The second and perhaps more surprising announcement is the release of a software development kit (SDK) for the Kindle, allowing developers to write applications for the device. What kinds of things programmers will do for the limited device, I’m not sure.

So what’s prompted all of this? Apple. The impending announcement of their tablet computer next week has everyone on pins and needles, and it surely has Amazon rethinking their own business model in order to stay competitive. I’m not convinced that the Apple device will be the publishing or world cure-all some anticipate, but if they can do for the tablet what they did for the smartphone (make a high-end, niche device a popular consumer product), Amazon--and everyone else--better watch out.

5 comments:

  1. I'm such a geek. I've been waiting and waiting for the Apple announcement... ;)

    I think you can even look beyond the iPhone to the iPod and see how much possibility this tablet could hold for e-readers. The iPod blew away mp3 players (not to mention Walkmans...) in terms of size, functionality, and (of course) style.

    Looking forward to 1/27...

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  2. If someone writes an app that makes it easy to take notes and export them within the document... like Word's 'comments' (but hopefully better)... then I'm totally getting a Kindle. Or if the Apple product has this feature, then I'll hop on board there. Anything that would allow me to take notes on manuscripts and easily email the whole thing back to someone would make me ecstatic. Though my laser printer might get a little lonely:)

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  3. I am just shy of being a blind Apple fanatic. I am very excited to see what they announce next. However, I like the Kindle more as a reading device. It's easier on the eyes and closer to the experience of looking at an actual book. I think I'll always prefer to have an actual book in my hands.

    I'm curious to see how this electronic reading wave affects traditional publishing.

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  4. As a new author, I am unsure what to think about this. If it gets people reading, then good. If it sells more bok, then great. But, I am unsure about the price min & max... and the 20% discount. At some point shouldn't the market influence the price? What if your book is one that people would gladly pay $19.95 for?

    As for the possible applications... there may be some good news here, but the first thing I'd worry about is piracy and copies and illegal downloads. the second thing I'd worry about is maintaining the original feel and tone of the book. I hope authors have a say in how apps are used in conjunction with their own books.

    Cheers, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores!
    www.jilledmondson.com

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  5. Yeah, but can I add my illustrations to my Middle Grade titles? (I'd settle for black and white pen and ink at this time)! C'mon Amazon, get goin' on this... like, ya know, yesterday!

    http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=PYXX

    Haste yee back ;-)

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